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POTW: Pokémon of the week #96: Dratini, Dragonair & Dragonite


Rainbow Swan
Nov 29, 2012
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In the World of Pokémon, there lives 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 line and talking about what makes it special. This week's Pokémon of choice is...

Dragonite and its pre-evolutions Dratini and Dragonair!

Meet the very first Dragon-type and pseudo-legendary line, coming straight from the first Generation.

Known for having an intelligence almost on par with humans and for its sturdy body, Dragonite is capable of flying over raging seas without much effort and to find and recognize drowning people and Pokémon, which it proceeds to rescue and take to dry lands. Due to this friendly behavior, it got the title of "sea guardian" and "sea incarnate". It's also surprisingly fast for having such big physique and small wings, as it is able to fly around the world in only 16 hours. This means that it can reach a speed of around 1500 mph or 2500 km/h, which is almost Mach 2 (twice the speed of air)!

Its pre-evos have unique traits as well, with Dragonair being able to change the weather with the power of its crystalline orbs and Dratini shedding its skin on a daily basis to keep growing. Dratini's shed skins are often used to make luxurious boots, and have been great motivation for finding these elusive Pokémon, as they live quietly in the depths of seas and lakes. The very first fisherman who got a Dratini struggled for then hours straight, so good luck finding your own serpentine dragon!

So, how do these characteristics translate in terms of battling potential? Well, Dratini and Dragonair are capable of healing from status ailments by shedding their skins, or they can even use their Marvel Scales to boost their Defense if affected by status effects. Dragonite, however, gains an even better set of scales that allows it to tank supereffective damage much better if it is at the top of its health, essentially turning supereffective attacks into neutral hits when it jumps in the battlefield. Just beware of Stealth Rock, as it can easily remove this advantage.

Their affinity with water gives them many Water-type options at their disposal -- like Aqua Jet, Dive, Surf and Aqua Tail -- while their sturdy bodies grant them the ability to attack at very high speed, thanks to moves like Extreme Speed or Speed-boosting options like Agility and Dragon Dance. They also are connected with other elements aside from water, which give them a plethora of elemental powers like being able to breathe Flamethrowers or Fire Blast, blast opponents with chilly Ice Beams or Blizzards, electrocute opponents with Thunder Waves, Thunderbolts or Thunders, and throw elemental punches or summon Hurricanes as a Dragonite. However, they still are dragons at heart, and that gives them powerful attacks like Dragon Pulse, Dragon Rush and Draco Meteor, or even makes them fly into a rampage and assault their unlucky opponents with unstoppable Outrages.

Dragonair and Dragonite are popular picks among Dragon Tamers and Dragon Trainers, with Champion Lance being known for having a unique Dragonite with Barrier -- a move that Dragonite isn't capable of learning in any generation -- and Gym Leader Clair having a couple of Dragonair in her team.

In the anime, Dratini and Dragonair got their debut as protagonist in the banned Safari Zone episode "The Legend of Dratini", which is infamously known for creating a plot hole in the anime for countries outside of Asia, as Ash's thirty Tauros have all been caught in this episode. In this episode, the guardian of the Safari Zone protected the titular Dratini by keeping its identity hidden and threatening people with his firearm. It ultimately reunites with the guardian at the end of the episode, now evolved into a Dragonair and having a Dratini as its child, and the gang promised to not reveal any secret about the safari zone. Dragonair has been featured in successive episodes as well, with the anime version of Clair having one as her ace and being a tough opponent for Ash's Charizard due to it using the Gym's pool to its advantage, and Pokémon Performer Amelia owning a shiny one and competing alongside an Espeon against Serena's Braixen and Pancham during the Master Class competition, losing against them in the process.

Dragonite has been featured heavily in the anime, often shown as very powerful and challenging Pokémon owned by strong Trainers. It first appeared in the episode "Mystery at the Lighthouse" in the form of a mysterious giant Pokémon, approaching Bill's lighthouse before retreating in the sea after being attacked by Team Rocket. Another Dragonite got a major role in the episodes "Hello Pummelo" and "Enter the Dragonite", belonging to Orange League champion Drake. Going against the game-imposed limits, this Pokémon got the biggest moveset to-date, with a total of ten different moves! This made it a very tough opponent for Ash, who was forced to use four Pokémon in order to take it down and become the new Orange League champion. Lastly, a Dragonite became a member of the main cast under the ownership of Iris, who got it in the episode "Iris and the Rogue Dragonite!" after managing to protect it from people who falsely accused it of causing a blackout in Undella Town. Doing so earned its respect, but Iris found out that making a relatively hostile Pokémon obey her is easier said than done...

And now, 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 this Pokémon? Why?
  • How is this Pokémon in-game?
  • How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
  • Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
  • How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
  • If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
  • Should this Pokémon have gotten a Mega Evolution, like Salamence and Garchomp did?
  • How does this Pokémon compare with the other pseudo-legendaries?
Many thanks to @PkmnTrainerV for suggesting this PotW!

If you have any suggestions for Pokémon you'd like to discuss in the future just leave your ideas at the bottom of your post. Make sure you give your thoughts about the current Pokémon first!

Previous Pokémon of the Week:


eyes of paradise
Oct 9, 2011
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The Dratini line has always been one of my absolute favourites! My only gripe is that Dragonite has kind of an ugly shiny colour so it's a real shame that I can't get it shiny, but it's not a huge loss.

Otherwise, for most of my teams in-game, I've always strived to at least have a Dragonite. It's really a force to be reckoned with if I'm honest.

I also think the anime played a role somewhat in me liking Dragonite -- it's intelligence is a large reason why I like it I think; it's a Pokemon that seems like it has about human-level inteligence if anything which is super cool I think.

Also Dragonair is flawless and absolutely adorable cause of the wings on its head! It's... actually hard to wrap my mind around it flying, but that may be because I've never really seen the anime in years so I don't know whether it really does or not. @[email protected]


Dusk Wolf Pokémon
Mar 24, 2014
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Dratini and Dragonair are certainly adorable. Dragonite, on the other hand, I don't like as much.


Dec 19, 2011
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dragonite sure is one dopey tub of lard. For the longest time, its mere existence tainted my opinion of its entire family. I've come to realize how unfair that is, though -- dratini and dragonair are exceptionally adorable and majestic, and deserve appreciation regardless of what they could potentially evolve into. You really can't get them to lv. 100 fast enough. It's the only way they'll ever be safe.


Glacial Golem
Nov 20, 2016
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Dratini and Dragonair are really pretty Pokémon. Dragonite should have been a majestic flying serpent to cap off the line, but as it is, I reckon it’d be better if its evolution line stopped at Dragonair. Wasted potential for what could have been a more lovely third-stage evolution.

Rocket Zigzagoon

Team Rainbow Rocket Gym Leader Giovanni
Feb 22, 2018
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Not a big fan but they are pretty adorable and kinda overkill. Too overkill that Game Freak hates Dragonite too much (some kinda liked their adorable part).

But if you ask if Dragonite should receive Mega Evolution like Salamence and Garchomp did, Dragonite should receive an exclusive Z-Move like Kommo-O do, instead. A potent Mega Dragonite would be utterly disgusting but a Flying-type-based exclusive Z-Move for Dragonite would be a good thing.

Tactician Karina

detective prince
Sep 26, 2015
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Dratini and Dragonair are so cute/elegant, and while I like Dragonite too there are other final evo pseudo legends I like more.


Call of Fate
Feb 26, 2015
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Dragonite isn't my favourite pseudo-legendary, but I still like it and its pre-evolutions. Dratini is adorable, Dragonair is majestic and serene, and Dragonite looks both derpy and powerful. Dragonite also has a vast movepool, with moves like Flamethrower, Thunderbolt, Surf, Hurricane, Waterfall, Fire Punch, Outrage, and Draco Meteor, as well as priority attacks in Aqua Jet and Extreme Speed, and it can become faster and stronger with Dragon Dance and keep Multiscale intact with Roost. I do understand why many people dislike Dragonite, but the only thing about it that irks me is its Shiny colour scheme (and even shiny Dratini/Dragonair aren't that great to me).
Drake's Dragonite in the anime was overpowered thanks to its ten moves, but I liked Iris' Dragonite for his personality. Too bad he started losing battles after becoming obedient.


Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2012
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Ah, the original family that defined the Dragon type in Pokemon (despite how many ways from Sunday it was broken back in Gen 1). Dratini is a cute little serpent, and Dragonair is certainly its logical evolution. Dragonite may as well have been drawn by a different artist for how much it resembles its younger forms, but the type itself encompasses interpretations on both sides of the pond.


A deeper shade of blue
Aug 24, 2009
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I really wished Dragonite retained the blue/white coloration and design from Dragonair and Dratini. I've seen some nice fanart where the artist did and it looks much better than the actual yellow coloration it has.

I've never used Dragonite as an in-game team member. I find Dragonair (much like its counterpart Pupitar later) difficult to train. I might start a new file of FireRed or SoulSilver soon so I'll try getting a Dratini.