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POTW: Pokémon Of The Week #11: Houndour and Houndoom

The Greatest Pokémon Ranger
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Hey everyone, this is Falconwing! I’m currently one of Bulbagarden.net’s Staff Coordinators and one of the friendly voices on our social media channels. This week, let’s talk shop about one of my all-time favorite pokemon lines.

In the World of Pokémon, there live a vast number and variety of amazing creatures to befriend and collect. Every week, we will be focusing on a single one of these Pokémon or evolutionary lines and talking about what makes it special. This week's Pokémon of choice is the Houndour line!



Houndour and Houndoom were introduced to the world in Generation II and received a Mega Evolution in Generation VI. Currently, they are the only Pokemon to have the combination of fire and dark as their typing. Their inspiration comes from the mythological hellhound, possibly even Cerberus specifically, and their design definitely backs it up, adorning both dog-like Pokemon in bones and giving Houndoom the classical pointed tail and ram horns associated with devils. Most trainers were introduced to these crafty canines when they served as Team Rocket Admin Archer’s signature Pokemon. Since then, Houndoom has also featured heavily on Cyrus’ and Flint’s Platinum teams in Generation IV.

Houndour is well known for using different cries and ominous howls to communicate between its pack. Houndoom’s howling is equally chilling. The Pokedex tells us that within packs it is the Houndoom with the most sharply raked horns that assumes dominance, though fighting for that position is usually common. Make sure you avoid Houndoom’s fiery breath. According to legend, the burn inflicted by a Houndoom never goes away. Both species prefer living in rough terrain such as the foothills of mountains, or apparently the outskirts of Saffron City. Their shiny variant is colored blue.

Neither member of the line is very common in any region with the exception of Platinum’s version of Sinnoh and X’s version of Kalos. Notably, due to the lack of Fire Types in the initial Generation IV games Houndour had to be added into Platinum for more variety. Otherwise, trainers were left with the choice of only Chimchar or Ponyta.

As of Generation VI, Houndour and Elektrike appear to be version exclusive counterparts of each other.

Houndour and Houndoom’s typing, great offensives, and ability to safely switch in on fire attacks makes them very potent for their respective tiers of play. Sadly, Mega Houndoom rarely is given the single mega evolution spot on most teams’ rosters due to heavy competition. However, the regular forms have been popular Nasty Plotters for several generations and should never be taken lightly. Just make sure your flaming hound isn’t walking into a powerful offensive Pokemon. They won’t remain conscious for long with their defenses.

Here are some questions to consider to get conversation rolling. You don't have to answer all of them or any of them in your post as long as you're staying on topic and within global forum rules.

  • Do you like or dislike these Pokémon? Why?
  • How are these Pokémon in-game?
  • How are these Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
  • Do you like these Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
  • How do you think these Pokémon would interact with our world?
  • If given the power to, would you change anything about these Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
  • Did you ever use Houndour or Houndoom in Generation 2? Were you able to find one without using the Pokedex?
  • Did you rely on Houndour and Houndoom to get you through Sinnoh? Did you go out of your way to catch one in Johto’s Safari Zone in HGSS?
Previous Pokémon of the Week:
 
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Beep Boop
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I've loved Houndour's and Houndoom's designs since the first time I saw them. What's not to love about a fire breathing dog decorated with bones? :D

Sadly I've never been able to use it, due to its availability in the games during the main story. Have never owned X and there were too many other Pokémon I liked more during my one Platinum playthrough. I hope it's available in Alola, so I can have another chance at using it!
 
Fire Chicken
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Do you like or dislike these Pokémon? Why?
I like the concept and unique typing. I actually like these Pokemon more than you may think judging from a few of my replies below :)
How are these Pokémon in-game?
Only got to use it a bit in post-game Emerald. I'd say Houndoom was quite mediocre there. Hopefully things are better these days with Nasty Plot and the Mega.
How are these Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
Haven't used them in competitive yet. I've heard somewhere that Houndour is good for Little Cup though.
Do you like these Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
I don't remember too many of their appreances. But Harrison in the Johto arc had one as his travelling companion and I felt like it made him look even more awesome. The battle with Ash in Johto League was nice too.
How do you think these Pokémon would interact with our world?
They wouldn't really be well-liked in our world given their devilish apperance. Let's not even get started on getting burned by them...
If given the power to, would you change anything about these Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
Better stats and some more awesome Ability.
Did you ever use Houndour or Houndoom in Generation 2? Were you able to find one without using the Pokedex?
Nope to both. I wouldn't get any team members from Kanto in those games with the exception of Snorlax.
Did you rely on Houndour and Houndoom to get you through Sinnoh? Did you go out of your way to catch one in Johto’s Safari Zone in HGSS?
Nope to both. I prefer Infernape as a starter in Sinnoh. When I'd get any of the other two I just wouldn't use a Fire-type at all. Johto is a similar case, Typhlosion is good, if I get Totodile I'd maybe use some Fire-type but not go out my way just to get Houndour in particular.
 
"What do you mean, my Gengarite is contraband?!"
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  • Do you like or dislike these Pokémon? Why?
I do like them, there's a handful of interesting applications I could use.

  • How are these Pokémon in-game?
I haven't used one in-game so I can't really say.

  • How are these Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
I use a Mega Houndoom for Smogon's OU tier and it forms a surprisingly solid duo with Gengar in terms of their types.

  • Do you like these Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
Harrison's Houndoom was alright, but I most remember Doomy, the Houndoom that befriended Misty's Togepi. They were a sweet pair and it was sad to see them part ways.

  • How do you think these Pokémon would interact with our world?
Could be anywhere from loyal companion to public menace, I'm not certain.

  • If given the power to, would you change anything about these Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
Give normal Houndoom Drought for obvious reasons. :p

  • Did you ever use Houndour or Houndoom in Generation 2? Were you able to find one without using the Pokedex?
Never played those games.

  • Did you rely on Houndour and Houndoom to get you through Sinnoh? Did you go out of your way to catch one in Johto’s Safari Zone in HGSS?
Rapidash really isn't as bad as DP's haters make it out to be. I got through Platinum just fine with one when it was bred to know Double-Edge and Double Kick. It's now my Battle Tower lead.
Again, never used this line in-game.
 
Thesaurus rex
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I rather imagine that in the modern pokémon world they'd have a lot of fans. I mean, it's a cliché in itself to declare that sharks/wolves/bats aren't unholy creatures of the night, heavens no - it's true, but as far as myth-busting is concerned it busts a myth that's already thoroughly shattered. I can see documentaries airing repeatedly about how Houndoom's flames don't really burn forever, about how they're really devoted parents, highly intelligent, and usually peaceable
 
Fluffy with 80% more spots!
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Love love LOVE Houndour and Houndoom! I'm probably biased because I love canine Pokemon, but these two just look really cool. Hellhounds resembling dobermans/rottweilers? Yes!

I always hated that they came so late in the game during the GSC days. I remember really anticipating Gold and Silver wanting to have a Houndoom in my team. I was saddened to see they weren't available until you reached Kanto. Fortunately, X and Y fixed that and they appear earlier than normal. Houndoom's a lot of fun to use! Good Special Attack and interesting typing makes me use it a lot, even though it's really nothing special competitively. They fall short on crappy defenses and their offensive power really doesn't compare to other Dark-types or even Fire-types. They're also not the fastest things alive (heh, Sonic reference). Mega Houndoom was such a disappointment in terms of buffing up. The design is awesome as hell, but it's still outclassed by Mega Manectric. Still, they're fun to use. If there's one thing I'd change, it would be raising their Speed to help in overcoming a lot of their weaknesses.

The anime had me love them even more! I love the first episode Houndour appeared in. A pack of vicious-looking Pokemon helping another member out was nice. I wish Ash captured one of them. What a waste of an opportunity. Houndoom's first appearance was nice, too, even though most of the focus was on Togepi. They didn't get the short end of the stick in how they appeared in the anime, and that makes me happy.

In the real world, I'd imagine they would behave like wild dog packs and just as domesticated as real-world dogs. I'd have a Houndoom, that's for sure.
 
Smexy. Videogaming when I can.
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See, there's the thing about Houndour line: it totally falls in line with the "editorial" aspect of Pokémon concepts being "this or that creature, with strangeness and mysticism behind it". It's a nice approach to something that if you think about it would be reasonable people in the past would have called a "hell hound", without falling into the dark and edgy for the popularity points. They are not overdesigned, but not flat "my mom's dog" either, however that means they do lack something representative and iconic about it, the skull-like protrusion doesn't really cut it. The anime did a good work with it too, both with the introduction of Houndoom during the episode where Togepi gets lost, and with its appearances in such circumstances as Movie 8, where we see three of them working in tandem, faring very well for mooks that have at most a full minute of screentime. Really, it gave the impressoin that if you want order and calm in your team, a Houndoom is a good choice to have around.

My character in a Pokémon RP that I'm part of used to have one, because why not? they're awesome. I've been thinking of picking one again, they should be fun to write about.

As for the questions:

* Do you like or dislike these Pokémon? Why?
* Do you like these Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?

More or less already answered.

* How are these Pokémon in-game?

Like most Pokémon, in-game they are just fine, no big pros or downsides. Find and train one, or take the time to breed one specimen, and it'll take you long way. Its largest bonus is not needing a Stone to evolve like many Fire-types of its same kind of likability (Arcanine...).

* How do you think these Pokémon would interact with our world?

They'd be very much disliked by conservative retrogrades I'm guessing, in particular the religious kind ("hell hound", and all that). Because of their Fire typing and their pack behaviour, they also would tend to become an issue in city outskirts or around routes, attacking trainers or raiding places if they are left unchecked. But when they have company, when they have someone they can fill the role of a "guardian" dog for, like with most dogs they would be very effective at it, which is why we created dogs in real life. Its relatively simple form, without elements like fur manes that can weigh it down or get him stuck with stuff, would make Houndour and Houndoom great assets for both public and private search and rescue systems, and the idea of a Dick Tracy detective noir-like character with a tagalong kid and their accompanying Houndour wandering into the night is just the right kind of lovable.

* If given the power to, would you change anything about these Pokémon and if so, what would you change?

As with any and all Pokémon, they can always be better. I think the Mega is overdone, so I would tone its design back a bit, for one. It's hidden ability could use improvement, but that's an issue with the ability, not with Houndour. I don't really get into stats and competitive stuff so nothing to say from that angle, though I'm guessing extra Sp.Def. would get along with the concept of a "hell hound", difficult to rid of. IMO, it's one of the "normal" Pokémon that could very well use a signature move, so why not, let's give it one. Something something blue fire. Maybe a "countdown"-like form of burn, where you don't get the damage per-turn but instead you get an unshakable countdown, Perish Song style, where after that time you get accumulated Fire damage. Sticks past switches, too, so switching out your Pokémon only extends its awake time.

All in all a nice kind of Pokémon to follow with the concept of what a "Pokémon" means. Not too many bells and whistles, but just about the right combination of stuff to make it interesting and "lively" into a world of alike creatures.
 
PinkIceTales!
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Do you like or dislike these Pokémon? Why?
I love these pokemon. I've loved them since I was little and the first time I ever saw em I knew they were amazing.
How are these Pokémon in-game?
I wouldn't know. >_> In pretty much every game I've played I never got a chance to use one since they weren't in any of the versions I played, or they were catchable too late for me to feel like training one up. Or I already had a dedicated fire type on my team via my starter.
How do you think these Pokémon would interact with our world?
They'd probably be roaming in packs as ferals since most people would not be able to handle training them, probably... or worse. ): They'd be used in dog fighting.
If given the power to, would you change anything about these Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
Let you actually catch them in the games. |: I mean crap they're not even native to Johto where they were INTRODUCED. You can only catch them in Kanto for some reason. I can only assume they're native to Sinnoh (via Platinum) and Kalos.
Did you ever use Houndour or Houndoom in Generation 2? Were you able to find one without using the Pokedex?
Haha. Little child me desperately wanted one of them. But you can only find them in Kanto on route 7 at night. Child me couldn't play games at night. No hellhound for me.
Did you rely on Houndour and Houndoom to get you through Sinnoh? Did you go out of your way to catch one in Johto’s Safari Zone in HGSS?
If I can catch one when I get to Nuzlocking Platinum after I finish Soul Silver, I will most definitely try to use one. I can't really catch them in my Nuzlock for Soul Silver.

Child me absolutely fell in love with the pokemon's design. It was spooky. It looks like a doberman. I'm not a dog person but I love how Doberman look. It was a fire type. PUPPY WHY DID THEY MAKE YOU SO DIFFICULT TO FIND.
 
Driving You Batty
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Oh hey, it's a third Johto Dark-type from our guest contributors for PotW. I guess it goes to show just how solid the initial Dark-type are!

Again just like how Sneasel and Murkrow were locked away behind the Pokemon League so was Houndour. That's a real shame since out of the three it got the better deal from Gen II having good stats that matched its typing and an evolution. Finally becoming available in Platinum and XY was a relief for many players including myself. I didn't get to play Platinum when it was relevant though I really wanted to experience the expanded dex with Houndoom as one of its key draws. I still haven't played Platinum but I did get to use Houndoom in X where it performed very well. I was pretty surprised just how early it evolves. Having some pretty good stats and being available so early really makes Houndoom a really solid team member in XY.
 
ever so slightly
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Houndoom is literally my favorite Pokémon. I've elaborated more than enough times as to why (and on multiple forums, no less), but essentially it comes to down to how badass it is. No other Pokémon comes close.
 
steel solid soul
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  • Do you like or dislike these Pokémon? Why?

    I h8 houndoom. For reasons. Whatever those reasons are now. Who cares.

  • How are these Pokémon in-game?

    fine

  • How are these Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?

    mega houndoom is okay thanks to its speed and decent physical bulk, though it's pretty mediocre for a mega. Regular houndoom is really mediocre in general as both a dark and fire type by this point. Big whoop, you were good in like gen IV or whatever, what are you doing now? Sweeping with nasty plot? Good luck with that speed. It's unfortunately far from terrible, I confess, being decent in ru, but it's not an impressive pokemon in the slightest anymore

  • How do you think these Pokémon would interact with our world?

    apart from my inevitable attempts to load the creatures into trucks and drive them off cliffs, no idea

  • If given the power to, would you change anything about these Pokémon and if so, what would you change?

    I'd swap its stats with mothim's

  • Did you rely on Houndour and Houndoom to get you through Sinnoh? Did you go out of your way to catch one in Johto’s Safari Zone in HGSS?

    I regret to admit that I used one briefly in a platinum nuzlocke. It died very soon, thank god

    since I'm talking about this stupid dog I might as well clarify my opinions on its design. I wish I could pretend it was some awful design like gengar's or klinklang's but if I'm being serious, it's not. Though it's not a good design either. It's just there. You can tell me how badass and cool you think it is but it's always going to be some boring dumb dog to me. That reminds me more of edgy deviantart users than I'd like it to
 
Praise Euterpe
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Oh, sorry, I'm off a week, but I have to respond to this one! Hope it's not against the rules. >.<
  • Do you like or dislike these Pokémon? Why?
Definitely like! Mega Houndoom is a little over designed for me, but not anywhere near as bad as others. I wasn't aware of the concept of a 'hell hound' until after I became interested in Houndour/Houndoom, but I love their designs and typing.​
  • How are these Pokémon in-game?
I've only had the chance to use them once, and found them to be a fine addition to my team.​
  • How do you think these Pokémon would interact with our world?
These Pokemon would naturally be very dangerous in our world. Being the devil in dog form with a flames that cause neverending pain. The design is great, but leave them in the Pokemon world!​
  • If given the power to, would you change anything about these Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
I wouldn't change anything.​
  • Did you ever use Houndour or Houndoom in Generation 2? Were you able to find one without using the Pokedex?
I never used them back in G/S/C. They appeared far too late in the game.​
  • Did you rely on Houndour and Houndoom to get you through Sinnoh? Did you go out of your way to catch one in Johto’s Safari Zone in HGSS?
To be honest, I don't even remember them in Sinnoh (or HG/SS, really). =/ I didn't use Houndoom until Omega Ruby, when I wanted to start choosing what Pokemon I use in-game. I caught one in X and transferred her over pretty early. I think this happened because I originally had Mightyena and I stopped and thought "Wait, Houndoom is so much more appealing, I should get one of those" and so I did.​
 
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