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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41 responses to “Pokemon Platinum: Mastering the Moveset – Garchomp and Dusknoir”

  1. Mohamed Al-Saadoon Avatar
    Mohamed Al-Saadoon

    All hail the wise Pokemon sage.

  2. Aaron Sirois Avatar

    I’d like to see what you’d do with a Roserade. When I used it, I went full out with the grass attacks: Giga Drain, Leech Seed, Stun Spore, and Magical Leaf. Setting up usually leaves me constantly at full HP and the opponent taking tons of damage. Obviously, I was open to any fire attack that came within a hundred feet of me.

  3. Alex Lucard Avatar

    Aaron –

    It’s generally a good idea to always have only 1-2 items of your Pokemon’s type as with only grass moves Roserade is left out to 1 hit knockouts from Psychic and Fire types, along with other types. I can definitely do a Roserade for you next time!

  4. Aaron Sirois Avatar

    Well, you ARE talking to a poke noob here. I’ve played Blue and Diamond all the way through, but I don’t tend to play against other people, so I never needed to learn how to properly equip the little buggers.

    The final four ain’t so tough when you’re packing legendary birds or Dialga.

  5. dion Avatar

    hows this moveset for garchomp

    dragon claw
    draco meteor
    dragon pulse

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      Dion –

      That’s three Dragon type moves and one Ground. That means all the moves will have STAB applied to them, but that doesn’t really let Garchomp gain type advantage over anything but Dragon, Fire, Rock, Electric, Poison, and Steel. What’s more is that Earthquake only has 10 PP and that’s where most of those Type Advantages are coming from. If someone Disables your Quake or you run out of PP, Garchomp’s at a bit of a disadvantage.

      Draco Meteor’s a nice move, but it only has 5 PP and each use lowers your Special Attack two stages. As Garchomp already has a mediocre Special Attack, it might be worth it to nix that move and take something from another type. Dragon Pulse has the same problem that is uses Garchomp’s Special Attack stat rather than Attack.

      What you have is a fine moveset for a Garchomp if you’re just playing the game against the computer. If you want to go to the Battle Frontier, take on the Elite Four a second time, or other players, I’d nix both the Draco Meteor and Dragon Pulse and go for something of a different type like a fighting, rock, ghost, flying, or fire move.

  6. Cesar Avatar

    What are the moves for dialga and
    Oalkia to make egg?

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      Cesar – You can’t have a Palkia or Dialga from an egg unless you’re cheating or using a hack. Sorry.

  7. Cesar Avatar

    Palkia sorry!!!!!!!!

  8. […] know we don’t typically post FAQs or guides aside from Lucard’s excellent Pokemon pieces, but foreseeing a list of questions arising for our users based on my review of the import PSP game […]

  9. RISK Avatar

    Ok, I’d like a strong Psychic type on my team, but I’m not too enthused about using Alakazam again, as I used it through Pearl and it’s traded, so it doesn’t always obey when you’re starting out.

    Now, the only Psychic type that comes even close to Alakazam’s stats (that I have access to via Sinnoh dex) is Espeon, but I don’t really like its moveset or what it learns from tutors.

    So keeping in mind I don’t like using TMs, what would you recommend? Or am I too picky and should just nix Psychic from my team entirely?

  10. Zorantu Avatar

    Well, that’s all great for those two pokemon- but what would your suggestion for a team be?

    Keeping all types and stats are difficult without having a team of six Deoxys… deoxyses? Deoxi?

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      That’s the beauty of Pokemon. There is no one single perfect team that can beat any other. Even legndary Pokemon can fall if the other Pokemon is raised right and has a great moveset. Even Pokemon that don’t do a lot of damage, like a Shuckle can be a game winner depending on your strategy.

  11. John Avatar

    Hey, that’s great movesets for those two Pokémon!

    Could you do one for Electivire (Not sure how it’s spelled, sorry) and Hypno?

    If you decide to do one, please send an e-mail to J.Link-@hotmail.com with the – after Link. It is my first time visiting this website and surely do like it, but I have probably forgotten about it tomorrow.

    Also, here is a very good moveset for Azelf:

    – Psychic (10pp, Psychic)
    – Thunderbolt (15pp, Electric)
    – Flamethrower (15pp, Fire)
    – Nasty Plot (20pp, Dark)


  12. […] a month and a half ago I did a feature on building movesets for two Pokemon – Garchomp and Dusknoir, by the request of one of my writers. It seemed like a fun idea and little did I know that this […]

  13. Midget_2_ Avatar

    i need a move set for aggron
    can someone help

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      Sure. This week it’s Umbreon and Roserade and next column it will be Electrivire and Hypno. After that I’ll be happy to do one for Aggron, who is a great Pokemon.

  14. bsynthetic Avatar

    What about giving Garchomp a lax incense to hold to further lower the foe’s accuracy?

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      That’s definitely a great idea! We aren’t covering holding items in these articles but you bring up one of (if not the) best item for Garchomp to hold!

  15. Frank Avatar

    What are good moves for Giratina? I Have:

    Dragon Claw

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      Frank – that is a very good moveset. You have four different Type moves which allow Garchomp a great deal of versatility.

  16. Steve Avatar

    hows my garchomp moveset?

    -dragon claw
    -fire blast
    -swords dance

  17. Brian- Avatar

    Dusknoir Moveset:


    Meanlook and Curse the foe see his death.
    Will-O-Wisp and Payback with double power……..he‘s death.

    Dusknoir have Great Defense & Sp. Defense.

    Holding Item: Sitrus Berry

  18. Brian- Avatar

    If one pokémon of your team use Reflect and Light Screen,Dusknoir is standing better to super effectif moves.

    Some sort of strategy…

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      Brian – Using Light Screen or Reflect against a CPU is a waste of a move spot and more often than not, it will get you killed in a PVP battle. You’ll be wasting a turn to reduce damage, but you’ll still be taking it.

  19. Brian- Avatar


    What is a good Moveset for Luxray?

    I have
    Charge Beam

    I think it‘s not good
    I have only Sp.moves and Return have not a base attack

    He have not the good moves to his weakness.

    Sorry for my english
    I come from the Netherlands

  20. Brian- Avatar

    I think i’ts not good.
    I have only Sp.Moves and Return have not a base attack.

    He have not the good moves to his weakness.

    Sorry for my English.
    I come from the Netherlands

  21. Brian- Avatar

    Why not Pokemon Moveset of the Week?

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      I don’t really have time to do a Pokemon moveset each week, but there is a piece coming up next week on movesets for non-evolving Pokemon.

      As for Luxray, You have too many Electrical attacks. It may be an Electrical Pokemon, but you really want to diversify with your moves so it can take on as many Types as possible.

      Thunder has too low an accuracy to be worth using. Thunderbolt is probably your best overall Electric attack. It’s a great balance of damage, accuracy and chance of inflicting the paralyze status. Hpwever. because Luxray has a higher Attack than Special Attack, you might want to consider moves like Discharge or Thunder Fang instead.

      Luxray learns Crunch naturally, which is one of the most powerful Dark moves, so make sure you keep that.

      With proper breeding and Egg Moves, a Luxray can know Fire Fang and Ice Fang. It’ll take some time, but that’ll really make your Luxray well rounded and top tier.

      Thunderbolt or Discharge or Thunder Fang
      Fire Fang (Egg Move)
      Ice Fang (Egg Move)

  22. Brian- Avatar

    Thanks for your answers :)♪

  23. Brian- Avatar

    Moveset for Dusknoir

    Fire Punch
    Double Team
    Focus Punch

    Is it better?

  24. Brian- Avatar

    Will-O-Wisp instead of Fire Punch?

  25. Alex Lucard Avatar

    Brian – Will O’ The Wisp only has a 75% accuracy rate and it doesn’t do any damage. It just burns a Pokemon which causes a little bit of damage at the end of each round. It’s better to do a lot of damage with a move that is guaranteed to hit and has a chance of ALSO burning that it is to have a move that just Burns and has a 25% chance of missing, meaning your Pokemon wasted a move.

  26. Brian- Avatar

    But Will-O-Wisp halves the attack of the foe of not?

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      Brian – a Burn will reduce attack by 50%, but that’s only if the status effect is inflicted, With Will O’ The Wisp, you only have a 75% chance of hitting, which is too low. As well, it’s a waste if you are dealing with a Pokemon that uses Special Attacks rather than Attacks. It also has no effect on any Fire Pokemon or Pokemon with Water Veil like Wailord or Seaking. Even worse, if a Pokemon has GUTS, Burn will actually raise their attack by 50%. Do you really want to make Tyranitar or Heracross even stronger than they already are.

      Burn is a great status effect, but it’s better if used as part of a damage dealing attack as well. If you miss with Will O’ the Wisp, you’ve just wasted a turn and your Opponent will have gotten a free round to do damage to you. Compare that to something like say Flamethrower, that has a high base damage, a 100% accuracy AND may cause a burn to you.

      if you’re looking to simply inflict a status effect and no damage, something like say, Parasect’s Spore or Ninetails’ Confuse Ray are better call as it always hits.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m used Will O The Wisp with Dusknoir before. I’ve just seen it miss in actual tournaments far too often and that miss has generally been what brought down the Trainer that used it. It’s kind of like why Thunderbolt is preferred to Thunder.

  27. Brian- Avatar

    What is the best six pokémon?

    My Team

    My six pokemon:Raichu but i have two electric pokémon.

    What you think?

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      Biran – there are no six best Pokemon. Any team can beat any other on a given today. It just depends on movesets, how you raised the Pokemon and who the Trainer is.

  28. Brian- Avatar

    Sorry,my english is not good.What is the best latest pokemon for my team?What do you think?

    Sorry for my bad english:/

  29. Brian- Avatar

    But is my Dusknoir moveset good?

    Fire Punch/Ice Punch/Thunder Punch
    Double Team
    Focus Punch

  30. Alex Lucard Avatar

    Brian – No worries. Your English is better than my Dutch. :-)

    That’s a nice little moveset for your Dusknoir.

    As for your team, you don’t need three Electric types.

    A good edition for your team would be a dual type covering something you don’t already have. A Rock/Water like Relicanth or Fire/Ground like Torkoal or Heatran would be another.

  31. Hunter Avatar

    Oh my, these sets are full of fail.

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