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2 votes
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If you have a good competitive moveset for Donphan, post an answer below and upvote the best ones. Movesets for any of its pre-evolutions can also be shared on this thread.

Be sure to include full set details in your post, e.g. items, abilities, natures and EVs. Some detail, including the intended game mode for your set, is also appreciated. Access the full list of guidelines here.

Donphan Pokédex and learnset for reference.

Sprite

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12 Answers

3 votes

Donphan
F.E.A.R.-PHAN

Donphan @ Shell Bell
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 Atk
Brave Nature
- Endeavor
- Ice Shard
- Roar
- Rapid Spin


Yes this is a F.E.A.R. set, this works best with a level 25 Donphan (lowest possible level for him) and is even better with Sand support, he is the new Aron! You will want minimum IVs in every stat except Attack, his stats should be: 80 HP, 96 Atk, 65 Def, 35 SpA, 35 SpD, 27 Spe. On PO he can be lvl 1 though. Endeavor is for lowering the opponent down to your HP. Ice Shard is priority in case you are up against a Pokemon that is not immune to sand or you are not on a sand team. Roar is for switching a Ghost type away. Rapid Spin is for getting rid of hazards.

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Warning this set is insanely cheap especially on Sand teams.
Why people run FEAR sets on random stuff IDK. Aron, Rattata etc are obvious jokes, Smeargle works ok with FEAR due to the fact it can use spore + support move first, but this seems awfully... random.
3 votes

Now Donphan is commonly used as a spinner. But let's take a little initiative here and try out a different set. Donphan's attack stat is a base 120. Let's abuse that sucker attack stat with Choice Band

Donphan @ Choice Band
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Head Smash
- Ice Shard
- Seed Bomb / Superpower

Earthquake is STAB and super powerful. Head Smash is realllllly powerful coming off that Attack stat, even with recoil. You can add some wish support for the guy if you want. Chansey would work well. Ice Shard is priority and for hitting dragons like Salamence. Seed Bomb and Superpower is your choice, Superpower offers more coverage all around but maybe you want Seed Bomb to hit pokes like Gastro and Jelli. Now the poor guy is pretty slow, but with Sturdy and that Bulk he can do pretty well for himself. Again with Wish support from Chansey or others you can play him out again and again, reviving sturdy every time. Give it a try, you might be surprised. I know I was.

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Rock Slide>Head Smash.
2 votes

Donphan

Donphan @ Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Rock Polish
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge
- Seed Bomb


Rock Polish boosts Speed. Earthquake is STAB. Stone Edge is coverage. Seed Bomb is coverage.

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All I'd say is replace rock polish with ice shard for dealing with grass types
1 vote

Donphan (F) @ Expert Belt
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 6 Def
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge
- Play Rough / Knock Off
- Ice Shard

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0 votes

Donphan
Donphan @ Life Orb / Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 HP / 116 Atk / 140 Def

Adamant Nature
- Rapid Spin
- Knock Off
- Earthquake
- Ice Shard

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0 votes

I'll go on a bit of a different path, but I really like this moveset.

Donphan @ Smooth Rock
Ability: Sand Veil
EVs: 252 Atk / 128 Def / 128 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Fire Fang
- Thunder Fang
- Sandstorm

Earthquake (STAB, Power)
Fire Fang (Covers Ice- and Grass-type weaknesses, plus Bug- resistance)
Thunder Fang (Covers Water-type weakness)
Sandstorm (I'll explain)

Donphan holds the Smooth Rock, making Sandstorm last for eight turns. It deals damage to most opponents, but not you. Plus, it raises his evasion by 25%. It can dodge, while we keep attacking with the help of a sandstorm. Nice and easy! Tell me what you think please!

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0 votes

Too late for this one :/
Donphan @ Assault Vest
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Ice Shard
- Earthquake
- Rapid Spin
- Rock Slide

Ice Shard (Welp, DUH)
EQ (STAB)
Rapid Spin (Man GET that leech seed outta here)
Rock Slide (For extra coverage)

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0 votes

This set works very well:

Sturdy
Adamant

Rocky Helmet (to faint foe on 1 HP)
252ATT/252SPD

Ice Shard (use after Endeavor)
Endeavor (use at 1 HP w/ Sturdy)
Rock Polish (for a faster Endeavor/EQ)
Earthquake (alternate and reliable damage)

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0 votes

I'm not the best moveset maker, but I think this works well:

Donphan @ Assault Vest
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 60 HP / 65 Atk / 65 Def / 66 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge
- Seed Bomb
- Fire Fang

Earthquake is STAB, Stone Edge is Coverage against Ice, and works very well against Charizard. Seed Bomb is Coverage against Water, and Fire Fang is Coverage against grass, and I think it will work against Ferroseed.

Before you say "Why in the world you maximized Donphan speed?", let me tell you why: not the best speed, but it will help against some Pokémon that would normally outspeed him. There was one time that My Donphan outspeeded a Touccanion.

Assault Vest helps his poor Sp.Def. . Sturdy helps a lot, in case you're about to be KO'ed but you still live at one HP to cause some damage to the opponent before fainting.

This big cool elephant already defeated an Eternatus in National Dex Ag, in Pokémon Showdown.

Comment if there is any English errors. Thanks!

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Bad ev spread. Ev's in every stat minimizes the effect they have. Alsso, you're missing ice shard, an amazing move for donphan
There's nothing wrong with spread out EVs, they work just as well as Smogon's 252 spreads. Though 252 speed on Donphan is a waste of EVs.
0 votes

[email protected] Policy/Leftovers
Donphan
Ability:Sturdy
Nature:Jolly
EVs:252 Atk/252 Spe/4 HP
•Rock Polish
•Earthquake
•Gunk Shot
•Stone Edge
Sturdy garuntees you can take a hit. Weakness policy can give you a chance for a 2x boost for attack, and leftovers is reliable recovery. Rock Polish doubles speed, earthquake is strong STAB, gunk shot is grass coverage, and Stone edge is ice coverage that makes EdgeQuake.

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0 votes

Gen 7 RU / National Dex UU

Donphan @ Leftovers / Heavy Duty Boots
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Rapid Spin
- Ice Shard
- Stealth Rock

Earthquake is STAB. Rapid Spin spins away hazards on your side. Ice Shard is to revenge kill weakned Pokemon. Stealth Rock is to set an entry hazard. If you decide to use this in National Dex UU for some reason, you can run Heavy Duty Boots for the item so Donphan won't get chipped by entry hazards when you bring it in. You should bring in Donphan on by using a slow pivot or switching in on a passive Pokemon.

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0 votes

National Dex AG
Suicide Lead

Excadrill Wannabe ( Donphan ) @ Custap Berry / Protective Pads / Red Card
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 164 HP / 140 Def / 204 Spe
IVs: 0 SpD
Jolly Nature

  • Stealth Rock
  • Rapid Spin
  • Bulldoze / Earthquake
  • Endeavor / Rock Tomb

If any of you guys play NDAG, then you know that Its Infested with Excadrill HO, and its pretty easy to see why. It has all the tools a Suicide lead could ask for: Mold Breaker / Decent Speed / Solid Defensive Typing;
It even has Steel beam if you wanna be creative.
Its p much the only one possessing All this + Rapid Spin.
Now Mirror Excadrill MU is p much RNG Dependent: Whoever wins the Speed tie is almost always destined to win. And you can't do anything about it. :/
So I looked for an alternative that can somehow do what Excadrill does while still denying Hazards from
Itself / Deo-S / and Shuckle, and look who I found. Donphan.

  • The Speed EVs allows it to outspeed Fully Invested Base 90's with a Speed Boosting Nature at +1.
  • The Bulk EVs is Specific: It allows Donphan to live a +1 Sunsteel Strike from LO Offensive Dusk Mane.
    It also Guarantees Donphan's Survival against Scale Shot ( 5 Hits ) from LO Ada MRay while eating 3 Koff / Fplay from SpDef Yveltal and Unboosted Cloyster's Icicle Spear.
  • Stealth Rock, with Rapid Spin is p self-explanatory. Bulldoze is your "Rock Tomb" but STAB, P useful in Keeping Threats like DD Dusk-Mane and Non-Airborne Dynamax Sweepers in Check.
    Earthquake is another Option that sports more power at the costs of checking the said threats.On the Bright Side, it allows Donphan to KO Lead Excadrill and Slurpuff with EQ after a Rapid Spin if High Roll; thats all there is to it, and many times its inferior.
  • If Custap, 0 SpD IVs allows Neutral Uninvested Judgment from Support Arceus Formes to always put Donphan In Custap Range, p much dependent on roll though.
  • Endeavor allows you to chip whatever your facing after being damaged severely and has great synergy with Custap Berry, Opening opportunities for its hard hitting teammates such as Caly-S to set-up a Sub / NPlot by threatening a KO. It employs mind games between You and Support Arceus Formes too. Rock Tomb is another option that allows you to punish Yveltal / Ho-Oh and airborne threats like MRay better than Endeavor but at this point, your p much better off with Excadrill as Donphan more often than not, Prefers having Endeavor more.

  • Donphan's Niche ( I believe ) lies in its ability to hold an item other than Focus Sash: Custap Berry has great Synergy with Endeavor, Dealing heavy damage to opponents once you've received major chip. Can act as a "last ditch effort to set up rocks" too. Protective Pads is another option meant specifically to counter Helmet Dusk-Mane, which can kill Donphan by chipping it every time it spins its rocks away. Red Card is yet another option, allowing you to put a halt to set-up sweepers trying to take advantage of you.

Other Options:

  • If Custap, 21 SpD IVs can be run to ensure that you will live Modest Moongeist Beam from Lunala while still allowing neutral Judgments to put you in Custap Range, Still dependent on roll though.
  • Safety Goggles is yet another option, Allowing Donphan to stand fearlessly against sleep inducers like Smeargle, But its an Inferior option sometimes due to how uncommon it is and its teammates' tendency such as Caly-S to pack Substitute.
  • 42 SpD EVs can be run to eat a LO DMeteor from Mixed Zekrom ( 42 = 4 SpA EVs Iirc ) but its not Recommended as this means taking EVs from Def, which Donphan doesn't appreciate. Zekrom is p rare too and Mixed Zekrom is even rarer.
  • Roar is an option over Endeavor / Rock tomb, but it leaves Donphan unable to punish common defoggers, and double-switching can be risky at times.
  • A Mono Attacking Donphan with Rock Tomb / Rocks / Spin / Endeavor is an option, but losing your Ground STAB means your Excadrill / Slurp MU will be p weird.
  • An Alternate Set of EQ / Rocks / Spin / Rock Tomb is another option But this is done better by Excadrill and its only useful on certain scenarios, for Donphan at least.And its walled to Death By Bulky Defog Arceus Formes.
  • Toxic is yet another option that allows Donphan to Punish Most of Its Stops and Setup Sweepers trying to take advantage of it better than Endeavor or Rock Tomb alike but you will find yourself walled by the rare Skarmory and Celesteela.

Notes:
- Donphan is the complete definition of "Passive", Especially if running Endeavor. Its setup fodder for Airborne Threats like MRay without Rock Tomb and can bypass its Sturdy with a boosted Scale Shot. Thus Having Revenge Killers such as Marshadow and Ditto is always appreciated.
- Toxic Variants of Shuckle can outlast Donphan with ease, allowing it to setup its hazard/s without fear of being spinned, and Smart Players can Encore it to an Exploitable move and Switch to its Abusers ( e.g Encore Rapid Spin for Caly-S ). Underspeeding Donphan also means that Shuckle can get at least a key hazard, Webs to be exact then switch into a Spin Blocker to maintain it. Thus, leading with a different lead if facing Shuckle can sometimes be beneficial.
- Threats Like Special Reshiram / Kyurem-W / Kyurem-B / Boosted Cloyster / Specs Lunala / Band Scale Shot MRay can all bypass Donphan's Sturdy and Can KO it with ease
- Caly-S is a thorn for Donphan, as it shuts down even Custap variants courtesy of Unnerve and can taunt it. Thus playing around it is crucial, Partnering it with Extreme Killer or Having a Solid Revenge killer like Ditto is recommended as one wrong misplay can cost you rocks, or even the game itself.
- Ferrothorn is Shuckle V2 for Donphan, not fearing anything it can throw at it par Endeavor and can proceed to lay spikes while wearing it down through Iron Barbs and Leech Seed. Pads Variant can circumvent this, but underspeeding Donphan means it will almost always setup at least one layer of Spikes.
- The Rare Magnet Rise Zekrom can setup on Donphan with little to no fear if not partnered with Ditto or if not Running Rock Tomb.
- Players can play around Endeavor by scouting for it, Thus not revealing it until its really necessary is optimal, as its success heavily relies on surprise factor.
- Magic Bounce Users is A BIG Headache. Keeping Donphan alive until the MBouncer is dead can be p nifty at times but more often than not, having a Magic Bounce User par MDiancie usually Means your gonna have to play without Rocks.
- Zygarde, Like Excadrill is Donphan's worst Nightmare. Every set Zyg can run Punishes Donphan. Thus Weighing whether leading with Donphan or not against such a team would be Optimal is recommended as the best thing it can do in return is to lull Zyg into thinking its helpless, then surprise it with Endeavor. This doesn't always work though.
- Despite all these Cons, Donphan can still considerably play the game its supposed to. It can set up rocks while making Sure Some Variants of Shuckle / Excadrill / Deo-S / Galvantula / Lycanroc / Aerodactyl / Ribombee never gets their hazards up.
- Without Endeavor / Toxic, Defog Arceus Formes can Stop Donphan in its tracks. Playing Aggressively in this Situation Is Recommended.
- Both the Giratina Formes are Immune or take pitiful damage to whatever Donphan throws at them par Toxic and can Exhaust Donphan's Stealth Rock PP through Pressure + Defog. Should you encounter one, This means your gonna have to wreak havoc without rocks. Playing Aggressively in this situation is recommended.

Best Partners:
Ditto: Ditto is by far its best partner, Preventing the Opponent from exploiting Donphan.
But being in a HO team, Ditto Sometimes doesn't fit on some HO Archetypes.

Caly-S: Offers alot to the table: Speed Control with W/O Scarf / Halt to Sleep-Inducers with Substitute / Taunt while also threatening every relevant Magic Bounce Users. It can also, with Baton Pass position Donphan and its other teammates such as Xerneas to good results courtesy of its tendency to lure in its Best Friend, Yveltal.


Overall, Donphan is the best example of "Having the tools but fell short" kind of Suicide Lead. Its p good, or should I say Decent in what it Does but is Outclassed by Excadrill in the Job and Cloyster in countering it.
Its Cons outweighs the Pros more often than not, but its definitely useful; In Ladder at least.

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Many of the Pokemon mentioned (Reshiram, Kyurem-W, Offensive Lunala, Zekrom though noted rare) are mostly non-existent and unviable, along with leads like Slurpuff, Galvantula, Lycanroc, Aerodactyl, etc. outclassed because Smeargle and Deoxys-S exist. I don't also think Donphan does anything better than Excadrill to have any use. The non Steel-type sure looks better vs opposing HOs, but you can just use Cloyster for cteaming Excadrill. Plus, the lower speed tier puts into an disadvantage vs Arceus formes and Smeargle (they just go Calyrex-S on Rapid Spin and Safety Goggles is too niche).
True, I knew it but- I informed them about it anyway. Well to be fair, Donphan is really like a "gimmick" lead but yeah, it can get the job done.
True, Cloyster will be much much better but- Cloyster is already well known so most teams have countermeasures for it, especially if they're using Excadrill imo. Besides, Donphan has the Surprise Factor of whether its Red Card / Endeavor and can p much employ a mind game.
Regarding the Speed tier, Yeah its p terrible but most Arc Formes Are Defensive so you can Outspeed ( Or Speed tie with them at least ) at +1.Besides, The Main Priority Is Setup Rocks, Having the Chance to hit is p much just the Icing on the Cake, At least For Donphan. As for Caly-S, well you can punish it with Doze/EQ and For Smeargle, If they're not Goggles, They prob Should Lead with a fast Sub user like Caly.Lastly, Cloyster Does work wonders but-
The only thing it can offer is... Spikes. and HO really Prefer's Rocks more. At least in Ladder.
Thanks alot tho, i forgot Cloyster x]