Not a pair to be taken lightly, both Darumaka and Darmanitan wield amazing strength and attacks, though their initial looks may not imply such. The pair has both Darumaka’s cuteness and Darmanitan’s ferocity, adding to their popularity with many fans. With Darmanitan’s unusual ability to change its form, type, and base stats around and Darumaka’s cuteness these characters stand out even more. But even so, a few battle aspects of both Pokemon balance out their seemingly-unbeatable power.
While Darumaka can be easily found in the desert around Route 4, only a few Darmanitan can be caught in the wild. These unusual Darmanitan have the Dream World ability Zen Mode, which is exclusive to just this Pokemon. When its HP gets very low, Darmanitan will revert to its Zen form, which looks very similar to Darumaka except it is now blue. This form adds Psychic as a second type, swaps attack with special attack, reduces speed greatly, and both defenses get a huge boost of fifty points. This character has turned into a very strong tank, and possibly just in the nick of time. But planning is important for this mode as physical attacks are almost useless now. Thankfully Darmanitan can learn a small variety of attacks to cope with both possible forms.
A lot of useful physical moves like Fire Punch, Flare Blitz, and Hammer Arm are learned by these two Pokemon at relatively low levels, along with many other interesting attacks. Overheat is the last move these two can learn through regular leveling, and may be useful for a Darmanitan with Zen Mode, though TMs may offer better choices. Solarbeam and Psychic are good for the Zen form of this Pokemon, along with the classic Flamethrower.
Grass Knot may come in handy also, as it can deal a hefty amount of damage to a heavy target. But balancing the number of physical and special attacks is important – too many physical attacks will diminish the usefulness of the Zen form, and the same applies with special attacks and the regular form. But even if the Darmanitan has its regular Sheer Force ability the possibilities are numerous. Stronger attacks means Fire Punch and other moves with secondary effects like are almost default for its move pool.
Though using Flare Blitz with this ability is like a double-edged sword – greater power results in greater recoil, though this Pokemon’s base HP is high enough to deal with this problem to an extent.
These characters excel with HP and speed, but poor defenses leads to the problem where a few hits may faint them. Using Substitute may possibly help, but Toxic or Roar may have a more desired effect depending on who the opponent is. Having all offensive attacks may also work well enough since Darmanitan is strong enough to faint many Pokemon in one or two turns. U-turn can also be a last resort if necessary, since the user switches out after it attacks. It can potentially be helpful with strong Water-type opponents or if the opponent knows a move like Earthquake.
Both Pokemon have had appearances in the Pokemon anime, including both of Darmanitan’s forms. Darmanitan has its own Trading Card Game card, but Darmanitan has much more merchandise than just a card. Thanks to its cuteness, the Zen Charm Pokemon has a couple plush, a TOMY MC figure, and of course a small number of charms to its name. One of its plush is from the Pokemon Center series of small Pokemon plush, and another upcoming plush of this Pokemon will be from the My Pokemon Collection series.
Using such fragile Pokemon may be a challenge for some and a breeze for others, but they are worth the effort to train, especially a Zen Mode Darmanitan. Sadly they are somewhat overlooked due to the other strong Fire-type Pokemon of the fifth generation like Reshiram. But less attention does not necessarily mean these two, especially Darmanitan, are useless. They can be a fun challenge to use, and add a fiery touch to the team.