Pokemon Platinum: Mastering the Moveset – Garchomp and Dusknoir

Our own Mohammad Al-Saadoon back in Saudi Arabia wrote me the following email:

There is a Pokemon Tournament coming up and I thought I’d get some advice. I’m going to train a Garchomp (currently a Gible) and a Dusknoir (still looking for a Duskull) and I was wondering what are some good movesets for these Pokemon?

Well, you’ve come to the right spot. Let’s look at each of these Pokemon and come up with several movesets for each. Hopefully you’ll like one of these and they’ll lead your Pokemon team to victory back in the Middle East! For the purposes of this article we’ll be using the move lists and TM’s from Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum.


Garchomp is a great Pokemon and was on my original team of six the first time I beat the Sinnoh League. As a Ground/Dragon dual-type, the only things you have to worry about are Ice and Dragon attacks. Because of this you can either have your Garchomp be an out and out offensive powerhouse, or a Pokemon that slowly whittles down your opponents while you heal your other Pokemon back up. Let’s look at one you can do with him.

Naturally Learned Moves Only – Version One: Direct Offense

This move list doesn’t take into account TM’s, egg moves or Move Tutor abilities. First, you’re going to want at least one Dragon and one Ground move to take advantage of STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus). Garchomp learns three Dragon type attacks: Dragon Rage, Dragon Claw, and Dragon Rush. Dragon Rage only does 40 damage flat, so let’s nix that. Dragon Rush is a more powerful attack than Dragon Claw as it has a base damage of 100 compare to Dragon Claw’s 80. Dragon Rush also has a 20% chance of making the opposing Pokemon flinch. Both also rely on Attack rather than Special Attack. At first glance it seems Rush is the way to go, but hold on and look at the accuracy. Dragon Rush only has a 75% accuracy while Dragon Claw has a 100% accuracy. In a tournament, it’s more important to land a hit than to go for a more powerful move and risk missing altogether. As such, go with Dragon Claw.

For Ground Type Moves, Garchomp can only learn two: Sand Tomb and Dig. Both are great moves, but Dig does a lot more damage and it causes your opponent to (usually) miss one of its attacks while Garchomp is underground. Dig is the better choice for an offensive Pokemon.

For your third move, take Crunch, which Garchomp learns at level 48. It’s a Dark move, which will help against Psychic and Ghost Type Pokemon. It’s also one of the most powerful Dark attacks and it has a chance of lowering special attacks.

Now for your fourth move. Ice is your weakness and Ice is weak against Fire, Rock, Steel and Fighting. Out of all of those, the only one you learn naturally is a Rock move and it’s Sandstorm. Sure Sandstorm doesn’t do a lot of damage but look! Garchomp’s evasion level goes up in a Sandstorm, making it harder to hit. So now you have a move that is effective against Ice attacks and also is a great defensive boost as well. Not bad

MOVE SET: Dragon Claw, Dig, Crunch, Sandstorm

Naturally Learned Moves Only – Version Two: Annoying Jerk

garchomp For this, we’re going to keep Sandstorm. It does a little damage each round and it helps Garchomp’s evasion. We’re also going to replace Dig with Sand Tomb. Why? It too does only a little bit of damage, but it’s for several rounds. It also traps the opposing Pokemon. When used in conjunction with Sandstorm, this means your opponent is taking two hits per round! Again, it’s whittling the opponent down so it’s not as fast as direct offense, but it also forces your opponent to exhaust moves on a Pokemon that is hard to damage.

For your third move, take Sand Attack. Sand Attack lowers an opponent’s accuracy. You can do this repeatedly which will eventually mean your opponent can’t hit anything. Combine your opponent’s now low accuracy with Garchomp’s improved evasion during a Sandstorm and this makes Garchomp virtually immortal. Your opponent will be wasting moves left and right as everything misses Garchomp and it slowly dies from Sand Trap and Sandstorm. This is REALLY going to irritate your opponent.

For your fourth move, it’s back to Dragon Claw Vs. Dragon Rush. Dragon Claw is a guaranteed hit which will help out if you are facing a Pokemon strong that Sandstorm doesn’t affect or a Flying type Pokemon which is immune to Sand Trap. Dragon Rush however adds even more to the theme of being annoying. Your opponent can’t hit, your Garchomp’s evasion is increased, then you hit it with Dragon Rush…and your opponent doesn’t even get to TRY and attack. Oh look, now it takes damage from Sand Trap and Sandstorm. Knocked Out. You Win. Remember though, Dragon Rush only has a 75% chance of hitting. It fits the theme of this move set better, but if you’re going for a direct win, Dragon Claw might be the better choice.

MOVE SET: Sand Trap, Sandstorm, Sand-Attack, Dragon Rush

TM’s Worth Considering:

Good TM choices for Garchomp are ones that focus on Attack rather than Special Attack. The sole exception I would make for this is Surf, because no one will see it coming. Otherwise I would consider one or more of the following:

Poison Jab – a strong poison attack with a 30% chance of poisoning your opponent. This goes great with the annoying move set. You can damage them up to three times a round with this. Poison, Trap, and Sandstorm damage. OUCH! And you still get a normal attack!

Stone Edge – A good Rock Move with a high critical attack ratio

Shadow Claw – Your opponent won’t be expecting a Ghost Type attack.

Flamethrower – 100% accuracy plus it is super effective against Garchomp’s Ice Weakness.

Earthquake – Replace Dig in the first moveset with this if you can find one.

Move Tutor and Egg Moves

To be honest, none of Garchomp’s potential egg moves are worth investing the large amount of breeding time it takes to get one. The Move Tutor however offers an awesome choice that no one will see coming – Aqua Tail. It’s a physical (rather than special) Water Type move with a Base Attack of 90 and a 90% hit rate. In this way, it’s better than Surf as again, no one will expect a Garchomp with a Water Attack, and this uses Garchomp’s superior stat rather than its mediocre Special Attack.

So there you go Garchomp fans! You know have two solid movesets, five strong TM’s to modify the movesets with and an awesome unexpected surprise courtesy of the Move Tutor. Now it is your turn to gear your Garchomp to your specific playing style.


Dusknoir is a fun Ghost Pokemon, although he’s a little harder to build a move set for.

Naturally Learned Moves Only

Dusknoir is a hard Pokemon to do a direct offensive set for as its previous forms of Duskull and Dusclops aren’t geared for offense and as such, the natural move list reflects that. Dusknoir only learns six actual direct attacks, the best of which is Shadow Punch, which is an unavoidable Ghost move. It only has a base damage of 60, but at least you can apply your STAB to it. Another offensive move worth taking is Payback. Payback is a Dark Move with a base damage of 50, but if Dusknoir gets hit in the round before using this move, its base attack jumps to 100. As Dusknoir has a very low Speed statistic, it is almost always certain to go last, thus giving you the benefit of the bonus damage.

That leaves you with two moves left. You’re going to want to take Confuse Ray. With its 100% chance to hit and give your opponent the Confuse status effect, it will really help you make up for the fact Dusknoir isn’t that great at doing damage. You know have a 50% chance of watching your opponent hurt itself, which will help your Dusknoir survive.

The fourth move is a bit hard, simply because Dusknoir has such a poor naturally learned move list. If you’re willing to take a chance with Curse, you’ll be able to inflict damage twice a round, but you’ll also love half your hit points. In a tournament, losing half your life in a turn isn’t that unheard of, which means you may just lose your Dusknoir by doing that. Will O’ the Wisp gives your opponent the Burn Status and this combined with Confuse Ray can really annoy your opponent, but as it only has a 75% chance of hitting, it’s best left alone. Disable is another option, as it turns off one of your opponent’s attacks, but it only has an 80% chance of hitting. So again, not worth using. Future Sight is a Psychic attack, but it uses Dusknoir’s Special Attack stat and it takes two to three turns to connect, so it’s REALLY not worth it. Thus, for your fourth move, you’ll want to take Shadow Sneak which is the Ghost type version of Quick Attack. This will help Dusknoir actually get the first hit in for once and finish off a very weak opponent before it gets the chance to attack. Again, this isn’t the best move set, but if we’re sticking to naturally learned moves only, this is what we have to work with. Note this move set leaves Dusknoir pretty weak against Normal and Fighting Pokemon.

MOVE SET: Shadow Punch, Shadow Sneak, Payback. Confuse Ray

TM’s Worth Considering

To be honest, to build a quality Dusknoir, you’re going to want to basically go with JUST TM’s and Move Tutor moves. This will be expensive, but worth it. Sadly, there are a not a lot of TM’s worth using with Dusknoir either. This is mainly because it learns TM’s geared for a Special Attack when its primary stat is Attack. With the above Move Set, you’ll probably want to keep Shadow Punch and Shadow Sneak.

Brick Break is a good choice to replace Shadow Sneak with as it’s a strong Fighting attack and you can now damage Normal and Fighting Types without using Payback. Giga Impact and Earthquake are good choices to replace Confuse Ray, although I always like having Confuse Ray as it can seriously tie up an opponent for several turns. Because Dusknoir has crazy high Defense and Special Defense statistics, it can use Giga Impact and that lost turn won’t be too bad, especially if you do a Confuse Ray/Giga Impact combo.

At this point, I would suggest one of the three following move sets:

SET 1: Shadow Punch, Payback, Brick Break, Confuse Ray
SET 2: Shadow Punch, Payback, Giga Impact, Confuse Ray
SET 3: Shadow Punch, Brick Break, Confuse Ray, Giga Impact

Move Tutor and Egg Moves

Like Garchomp, none of Dusknoir’s possible egg moves are worth going after. Now the Move Tutor is a completely different story. In fact, I’d suggest learning three moves from the Tutor – Fire Punch, ice Punch, and Electric Punch. As your fourth move, have Shadow Punch and suddenly Dusknoir is a boxing machine! Four type attacks, one of which can’t miss and three of which can inflict status abnormalities. Each of these new punches has a base attack of 75, so they aren’t as powerful as Payback when you attack last in a round, but Dark also doesn’t have a lot of type advantages compared to what Electric, Fire, and Ice can do. Dark is also effective against the same things Ghost attacks are, so you could feasibly give up Payback or Shadow Punch. It just depends on if you want the STAB or the potential for more damage.

With these three new punches and Shadow Punch, Dusknoir is now super effective against Bug, Dragon, Flying, Ghost, Grass, Ground, Ice, Psychic, Steel, and Water. That’s ten types! Now let’s say we keep Brick Break via TM instead of Thunderpunch. We lose Water, but gain super effectiveness against Normal, Rock and Dark! That’s twelve types, so let’s do that. Now the Types you aren’t super effective against are Fighting, Fire, Electric, Poison and Water. However, Not too shabby, eh?

Final Move Set: Shadow Punch, Fire Punch, Ice Punch, Brick Break.

With this move set, your Dusknoir is prepared for just about anything. Talk about making a champion out of what started out with a nearly laughable moveset.

If any of our other readers are interested in a moveset for a specific Pokemon, just let me know and I’ll be happy to make another column similar to this to help you out.



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