Are Great Tusk and Iron Treads Good Pokemon?

Great Tusk Pokemon Scarlet Book

Donphan is one of the lucky Pokemon in Generation 9, to get not just one but two Paradox Pokemon in the game. One is the Past Paradox Great Tusk and the Future Paradox Iron Treads. Both seem to have some merits. So, which Paradox Donphan is better, and which version, Scarlet or Violet, features the better Donphan form?

How Good is Great Tusk, the Pokemon Scarlet Paradox Pokemon?

Great Tusk is a Ground/Fighting type with these base stats: 115 HP, 131 Attack, 131 Defense, 53 Special Attack, 53 Special Defense, and 87 Speed. This is the Donphan Paradox form exclusive to Scarlet. Traditionally, Donphan has been a very slow Pokemon. But, since all Paradox Pokemon have a base stat total of 570, there’s plenty to play with here.

That’s a massive Attack and Defense stat, with great HP, too. Its Special Defense is absolutely awful, so you need to watch for strong Special attackers when Great Tusk is out. But, on the physical side, this Pokemon is a house.

Like all Past Paradox forms, Great Tusk has the Protosynthesis ability, meaning its highest stat is boosted in Sun or if the Pokemon is holding Booster Energy. You may wonder which stat will be raised with Great Tusk, because its Attack and Defense base stats are identical. But, most of the time these stats will be slightly different, especially if you’re leaning into Attack or Defense using Effort Values (EV’s). Most likely you’ll be investing in Physical Attack for this Pokemon, so typically, your Attack will be the boosted stat.

On offense, he learns the Fighting-type Close Combat, the Ground-type Earthquake and Headlong Rush, and the Rock-type Head Smash. Most of these moves normal Donphan learns, too, with the exception being Headlong Rush, which was previously the signature move of Ursaluna in Legends Arceus. Great Tusk also learns the powerful Bug-type move Megahorn for type coverage.

Also like Donphan, Great Tusk can learn a few useful moves by TM, including Rapid Spin which not only chips in for damage, but also wipes away any entry hazards, and raises the user’s Speed. Interestingly, it learns no other boost moves other than Bulk Up. You could also run Stealth Rock for your own entry hazards. Great Tusk also learns Knock Off, a competitive Dark-type move that not only hits for good damage but knocks off the opponent’s held item, too.

While its not the fastest thing, Rapid Spin is enough to get Great Tusk enough just speed to be dangerous. It hits hard enough and switches into even super-effective moves (Grass, Fairy, Flying, Ice, Psychic, and Water) without necessarily being one-shot. But, it also resists Bug, Poison, Rock, and Dark type moves, and takes neutral damage from Normal, Fire, Fighting, Ground, Ghost, Dragon, and Steel. Being a Ground-type, it also entirely blanks Electric-type moves.

Great Tusk also learns a new move called Ice Spinner by TM. This is an ice type move that deals decent damage but also destroys terrain. This isn’t a big deal for Great Tusk, who doesn’t rely on terrain itself. It can also Substitute, which is a strong move with Great Tusk’s substantial HP stat, allowing you to set up a Rapid Spin or Bulk Up behind it for a turn or two.

Other notable physical moves this Pokemon learns include:

  • Body Press (Fighting)
  • Body Slam (Normal)
  • Dig (Ground)
  • Ice Fang (Ice)
  • Iron Head (Steel)
  • Play Rough (Fairy)
  • Rock Slide (Rock)
  • Smart Strike (Steel)
  • Stone Edge (Rock)
  • Thunder Fang (Electric)
  • Zen Headbutt (Psychic)

Will Great Tusk be the better of the two Paradox Pokemon? Let’s first take a look at Iron Treads, the Future Paradox form of Donphan.

How Good is Iron Treads, the Pokemon Violet Exclusive Paradox Pokemon?

Iron Treads is a Ground/Steel type with these base stats: 90 HP, 112 Attack, 120 Defense, 72 Special Attack, 70 Special Defense, and 106 Speed. This is Pokemon Violet’s exclusive Donphan Paradox form. Honestly, 106 Speed is really strong and may actually make it more competitive than Great Tusk simply by being so much faster.

The question then becomes, what does the fast still physically intimidating Iron Treads do better than Great Tusk? First, every Future Paradox form has Quark Drive, an ability that gives the Pokemon a boost to its highest stat in Electric Terrain or if it holds Booster Energy. Typically, this ability will boost Defense, although full investment in Attack could push its overall Attack stat somewhat higher than its Defense stat. Notably, Iron Treads also learns Iron Defense, which Great Tusk does not.

On defense, Ground/Steel is akin to Steelix, so it’s weak to Fire, Water, Fighting, and Ground type moves. Like with Great Tusk, its Special Defense isn’t great, although its significantly better. On the physical side, it can wall Normal, Flying, Psychic, Bug, Rock, Dragon, Steel, and Fairy types quite well, while also being immune to Electric and Poison entirely. So, it certainly has the better defensive type coverage of the two.

Being a Ground/Steel type, it has a slightly different move pool than Great Tusk. It still gets Earthquake, of course, and Megahorn for the same Bug-type coverage. Iron Treads also still gets the utility of Rapid Spin. But, it gets a strong Steel-type physical move in Smart Strike, a move that Great Tusk also learns but doesn’t get the STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus) that Iron Treads does.

Notably, Iron Treads learns Knock Off, too. Since many popular Pokemon lost access to this powerful move, both Treads and Tusk have this move as a reason to play them on your Battle Stadium team. However, Iron Treads also has access to Wild Charge, which is 50 percent more powerful on Electric Terrain, so this is a real option.

Another very interesting niche move is Steel Roller, which only works when there is an active terrain. This move has a massive 130 base power, not including Treads’ Steel-type same-type attack bonus, but it destroys active terrain. Fortunately, you can still run this move, but just keep it in mind because it’s completely useless without active terrain.

While it’s not going to be a great move far as damage as concerned, Iron Treads also can learn Volt Switch by TM. This means that while the damage may not be a lot coming off a mediocre 72 Special Attack stat, it’s a free switch. On Electric Terrain, though, it’s going to make a heck of a chip on the way out. Like Great Tusk, Iron Treads can also learn Stealth Rock and Electric Terrain. It can also learn Ice Spinner to destroy terrain.

Other physical moves that may be of interest that Iron Treads can learn include:

  • Body Press (Fighting)
  • Body Slam (Normal)
  • Bulldoze (Ground)
  • Facade (Normal)
  • Heavy Slam (Steel)
  • Ice Fang (Ice)
  • Rock Slide (Rock)
  • Thunder Fang (Electric)
  • Zen Headbutt (Psychic)

Which of Great Tusk or Iron Treads is the better Pokemon? They both have their strengths and weaknesses, and the one you prefer really depends on the team you’re building. Iron Treads seems like the more competitive on account of the Speed and the benefits it gains from Electric Terrain. Meanwhile Great Tusk is a physical house that does benefit from being on a Sun team, although it only gains an indirect stat boost for as long as the weather is up.

But, Iron Treads has actual moves that take full advantage of the terrain both offensively and strategically. Also, while it doesn’t have the physical bulk of Great Tusk, the eight resistances and two immunities to electric and poison more than make up for its four weaknesses.

My preferred of the two Donphan Paradox forms is certainly Iron Treads. But, Great Tusk should still be a good Pokemon, especially as a physical wall and bruiser on Sun teams.

Which of these two Donphan Paradox Pokemon are your favorite?

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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