Landorus used earthquake! Pokemon sword and shield screenshot. Tags: Hydreigon, Seismitoad.

Why Landorus Will Forever Remain Popular in Competitive Pokemon Formats

If you’ve played a dozen matches of online Pokemon, you’ve probably noticed that Landorus has a dominant presence in the metagame. If you play Smogon’s battle showdown, he’s even more ubiquitous. Landorus accounts for a whopping 40% of Smogon’s most popular OU format! Ever since Lando’s creation, he’s been a significant threat. In many ways, he has the metagame in a stranglehold.

Although, Landorus is hardly a bannable Pokemon. 

Both of his forms are far from unbeatable threats. Whether you are looking to counter Landorus or you’re considering taking Lando online with you, your best bet is to analyze what exactly makes Lando so popular. Let’s dig in, shall we?

profile of lando-t that's been dynamaxed.

The short answer is that Lando is versatile. He can be an efficient lead, pivot, wallbreaker, or sweeper – often holding down two roles at a time. While his move pool isn’t flashy, he’s got one of the best toolkits in the game. It allows him to compress important competitive roles for your team so that other Pokemon can shine. Suddenly, you have room for a Tailwind user or a Pokemon to combat weather wars.

Slow Down!
What’s The Difference Between Landorus Therian Form And Incarnate Form?

I want to knock this question out nice and quick: What are the differences between the two Landorus forms?

First, here’s a visual I made to help distinguish what they both look like:

Infographic text: Landorus Forms Therian vs. Incarnate. Therian: Stands on four lets and resembles a lion. Incarnate: Rests on a cloud.
The Therian form is a quadruped, while the Incarnate form rests on a cloud.

And the differences in stats:

  • Lando-T has 145 base attack and 91 base speed.
  • Lando-Incarnate has 125 base attack and base 101 speed.

Their HP and defenses are identical. Their move pools are identical. Landorus-T has the ability Intimidate, which accounts for his higher usage rates. 

Landorus Incarnate has some solid abilities in Sheer Force and Sand Force. As long as the Pokemon metagame continues to be dominated by physical attackers, Lando-T will retain relevancy. Dropping enemy attack scores on switch-in has an immediate payoff.

You can switch Lando’s forms at any time by using the Reveal Glass on him from your Key items compartment in your backpack. The process is reversible and won’t use up the item.

That settles that. Now, let’s talk about what makes this guy so popular!

Reason #1
Stealth Rock, U-turn, and Self-Destruct Combine to Make A Great Lead

Landorus is one of over 130 Pokemon with access to Stealth Rock. 

Big deal, right?

Most stealth rock users are also powerful physical sweepers who aren’t ideal for tossing out on the first turn. Lando himself is an outstanding physical sweeper, too… But U-turn makes him unique. 

Here’s why:

Imagine yourself as the opponent. You can probably identify and predict a stealth rock user when the game prompts you to select your team. You’ll send out a counter for it. If you’re facing our old friend Lando himself, you’ll probably check him with a decisive Ice-type move.

Except, in this situation, you’ve taken the bait. You’ve sent out your frail glass cannon Ice-type or your best coverage ‘Mon early on. To make matters worse, Lando will probably bounce out before getting touched. Landorus is pretty speedy, after all!

Better yet, your target could be hiding a focus sash and brace the attack before releasing a powerful Self-Destruct to keep momentum going in the opposing team’s favor.Everything about Lando is very fluid.

Reason #2
Lando-T is One of The Strongest Rock Slide Users

Opening with Rock Slide is arguably the strongest move in double battles. Not only does it damage multiple targets without harming teammates, but it comes with an alarming 30% flinch rate and a respectable 75 base power.

Rock Slide is one of the most popular moves to pair with a choice band or choice scarf. It’s almost unreal how powerful the move is. Coverage over Ice, Fire, Bug, and Flying is just icing on the cake!

Anyway, I’d like to highlight precisely how strong Lando-T is. Let’s take a look at who the most powerful Rock Slide users in the game are:

  • Necrozma (Ultra): 167 Attack
  • Rampardos: 165 Attack + STAB
  • Slaking: 160 Attack
  • Regigigas: 160 Attack
  • Groudon: 150 Attack
  • Rayquaza: 150 Attack
  • Zekrom: 150 Attack
  • Haxorus: 147 Attack
  • Lando-T: 145 Attack
  • Rhyperior: 140 Attack + STAB
  • Tyranitar: 134 Attack + STAB
dynamax Landorus-Therian in sword and shield battle tower.

The bulk of this list is either banned in most formats or stuck behind inefficient abilities like Slow Start. ‘Mons like Rhyperior and Tyranitar can hit harder with Rock Slide thanks to their Rock-typing, but Rock-typing is defensively unfavorable as long as Ground-types exist. 

Still not enough? Lando has a much higher speed rating to abuse the 30% flinch rate.

With a favorable nature, Lando-T maxes out at an astounding 427 Attack. That’s overkill. So, many competitive Pokemon players opt to run a Jolly Landorus to hit an impressive 309 speed.

Reason #3
Landorus Has An Incredible Defensive Typing

Landorus Has Two Crucial Immunities: Electricity and Ground.

Every competitive team needs a good pivot. Lando proves himself as a helpful Pokemon to switch into, thanks to his two immunities. He also resists Fighting, Bug, and Poison – which certainly doesn’t hurt his case.

As far as weaknesses go, Lando’s only concerns are Ice and Water. Bringing me to my next point:

Reason #4
Ice-types Are Frail

dynamax weavile enters the chat
Weavile can tear down Lando like nobody's business... it's everything else that he's scared of!

STAB Ice moves are virtually non-existent in high-ranked matches. Ice-types are traditionally the worst defensive type in Pokemon. Hell, a Landorus with a choice scarf can drop rocks on most of these threats and knock them out before they get the chance to wave hello.

Usually, Water-types are carrying a team’s Ice-type coverage with Ice Beam. A few specially-attacking dragons pose a threat of Ice Beam, too. Drampa and Kingdra come to mind.

Overall, that makes counters to Landorus pretty easy to read.

Reason #5
Access to Swords Dance and Substitute Makes Landorus A Massive Pile of Threat

landorus Incarnate busts through solid stone on the anime!
I mean, is that the face of someone you would invite over for a game of checkers?

When Lando finds a free turn, he can double his attack with Swords Dance. Remember, even the slower version, Lando-T, waltzes around with a respectable 91 base speed.

So there could be a handful of games you hop in with the intention to set rocks but wind up sweeping entire teams. 

Reason #6
All of Lando’s Abilities Are Powerful

Lando-T is infamous for his Intimidate ability. 

  • Intimidate: When this Pokemon enters the battlefield, it lowers the opponent’s attack by 25%.


Lando-T gains even more momentum by dropping the physical attack of opponents by one stage (25%) every time he switches in.

If we’ve learned one thing from Incineroar, it’s that a good Intimidate and bail plan works absolute wonders for an opening turn. 

*Lando-T laughs menacingly in U-turn*

Although, his little bro Landorus Incarnate isn’t slouching, either:

  • Sand Force: Ground, Rock, and Steel-type moves deal an additional 30% damage in a sandstorm.


Sand Force makes Lando-T the perfect companion for Tyranitar on a Sandstorm team. Since he’s a Flying-type, he won’t be taking any damage from his partner’s Earthquakes, either.

  • Sheer Force: Attacks with secondary effects deal 30% more damage, and their secondary effect is removed.


Sheer Force can turn that 30% flinch rate on Rock Slide into 100 base power, which isn’t anything to scoff at. A Pokemon can outspeed a flinch, but that damage will be difficult to shrug off! While Sheer Force may not be as powerful, it allows a more flexible team build than Sand Force. Options are what Lando is all about.

Reason #7
Lando-T Has Great Coverage and Wallbreaking Moves at His Disposal

Superpower and Stone Edge combine to hit 8 types for super-effective damage. Access to Outrage and Iron Tail doesn’t hurt, either. While Lando won’t win any awards for best coverage in-game, it’s solid. Fighting-type, in particular, will help you deal with popular Normal-type walls holding Eviolite: like Chansey and the gang.

His base 145 attack stat can push through any prominent stallers and render them useless for the remainder of the match.

Reason #8
Landorus Has A Base Stat Total of 600

You vs. the guy she tells you not to worry about meme
I mean, stats DO matter.

600 BST Pokemon experience the best of both worlds. They don’t get banished to the land of 680 BST box-cover legendaries, but they have solid enough stats to hang with the big boys.

Naturally high stats can convert into excellent tanking capabilities or shovel straight into a 252/252 EV split of attack and speed for additional carnage.

There are no wrong answers when a 600 BST Pokemon hops into the equation. 

Moveset Suggestions:

On Smogon, Landorus gains access to Toxic, Defog, Knock Off, and Explosion because he could use those moves in prior generations. For the sake of simplicity, here are some great movesets that you can use in Pokemon Sword and Shield:


Suicide Lead:

Jolly Nature

EV’s: 252 Atk/252 Speed

Item: Focus Sash

  • Stealth Rock
  • Self-destruct
  • U-turn/ Protect
  • Earthquake


Defensive Lead:

Impish Nature

EVs: 252 HP/164 Def/92 Speed

Item: Metronome


  • Rock Slide/ Rock Tomb
  • Stealth Rock
  • Earthquake
  • U-turn



Jolly Nature

EV’s: 200 Atk/ 252 Speed / 156 HP

Item: Lum Berry/ Choice Band


  • Swords Dance/ Superpower
  • Stone Edge
  • Earthquake
  • Substitute/ Iron Tail


Sheer Force Special Attacker (Incarnate):

Timid Nature

EV’s: 252 HP/ 252 Speed/ 4 Sp. Atk

Item: Leftovers/ Assault Vest


  • Sludge Bomb
  • Earth Power
  • Protect/ Focus Blast
  • Substitute/ Psychic


Sand Rush Special Pivot (Incarnate):

Modest Nature

EV’s: 252 HP/ 252 Speed/ 4 Sp. Def

Item: Weakness Policy


  • Calm Mind
  • Earth Power
  • Psychic
  • Grass Knot

Moveset Suggestions:

  • Historically, Weavile and Mamoswine are Lando’s two worst enemies. Weavile has a naturally high speed, and Mamoswine has a priority move that hits like a freight train. 
  • Landorus has a severe lack of Flying-type moves. Options like Ludicolo, Tangrowth, and Ferrothron become very effective. Special-attacking Water-types will deal some serious hurt, especially if they’re packing Ice Beam or Icy Wind. 
  • Some bulky Pokemon with a decent hitting Ice Beam are Blastoise, Clefable, Suicune, Kingdra, Starmie, and Milotic.
  • Skarmory and Corviknight provide a solid wall that meshes well with stall teams.
  • Eviolite Porygon2 can use trace to throw back Lando-T’s Intimidate and land an Ice Beam or three.