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Pokemon of the Week DP: Arcanine

by Ninjomewtwo

Arcanine

Sets

CB Dog

Item Held
Choice Band
Ability
Intimidate
Nature
Adamant (+Attack, -Special Attack) / Jolly (+Speed, -Special Attack)
Effort Points
252 Attack – 252 Speed – 6 HP
  • Flare Blitz
  • Thunder Fang
  • Iron Head
  • Extremespeed

Thanks to its Ability, Intimidate, Arcanine can make a quite good Choice Bander as its ability to switch in is increased. Flare Blitz is all Arcanine was looking for all those years, a Physical STAB. Choice Band boosted, STABed Flare Blitz will deal huge amounts of damage to most Pokémon though there will appear some problems with the recoil damage. Thunder Fang, another new move to Arcanine, covers those Water-types that will usually come in to wall you, such as Suicune and Milotic. Iron Head covers Rock types, especially Tyranitar, and has a nice chance of making them flinch, should they be slower. Extremespeed is obviously an awesome move due to its first-strike effect. Unfortunately, this set has nothing to hit Swampert which can easily shrug off damage from Extremespeed. With Adamant nature, you’ll outrun those Pokémon who usually stand at 270 Speed (like Heracross) but, with Jolly nature, you’ll outrun base 100 Speed Pokémon with a neutral nature (like Salamence). Adamant is prefered though since you can use Extremespeed to move first.

Howl Sweeper

Item Held
Leftovers / Salac Berry
Ability
Intimidate
Nature
Adamant (+Attack, -Special Attack)
Effort Points
252 Attack – 180 Speed – 78 HP
  • Flare Blitz
  • Thunder Fang
  • Extremespeed
  • Howl

Pretty much the same set as above but now using Howl to power up instead of directly sweeping with Choice Band. You’ll want to make this Arcanine as bulky as you can in order to be able to get a hit while setting up with Howl. So, stopping your Speed at 271 (180 EPs, max IVs) and stuffing the remaining EPs in HP is a good idea. After howling once or twice all you have to do is sweep with the appropriate moves. A quite effective late-game sweeper set.

Specs Dog

Item Held
Choice Specs
Ability
Intimidate
Nature
Modest (+Special Attack, -Attack)
Effort Points
252 Special Attack – 252 Speed – 6 HP
  • Flamethrower
  • Dragon Pulse
  • Hidden Power Grass / Hidden Power Ground / Extremespeed
  • Overheat

This is the best Arcanine can do on the Special side. Fire – Dragon is a classic offensive combination with Hidden Power Grass being here to cover some of its weaknesses (Water, Ground and Rock). Hidden Power Ground gets mentioned as it hits Heatran which resists or is immune to all other moves. Extremespeed for those who can’t get the Hidden Power of their choice. Overheat is a good move to use in the early stages of the game. Very similar to the SpecsMence set, isn’t it?

Sunnybeamer

Item Held
Heat Rock / Life Orb
Ability
Intimidate / Flash Fire
Nature
Modest (+Special Attack, -Attack) / Timid (+Speed, -Attack)
Effort Points
252 Special Attack – 252 Speed – 6 HP
  • Sunny Day
  • Flamethrower
  • Solarbeam
  • Hidden Power Ice / Dragon Pulse

Switch in on something that fears Arcanine and set Sunny Day as they switch. Flamethrower deals ridiculous amounts of damage to anything that doesn’t resist it and Solarbeam covers Arcanine’s weaknesses, OHKOing Swampert and Rhyperior. Hidden Power Ice is for the Dragons who resist your other moves. Dragon Pulse is inferior to Hidden Power Ice but it’s the best substitute to it if you can’t get it. Flash Fire can actually be used here because switching in on a SpecsMence’s Flamethrower kind of ends their game. Using it with Pokémon that lure Fire-type moves, like Scizor or Forretress, is the best way to go.

Other Possible Options

Crunch is an option on the Physical sets but, other that hitting Slowbro, Slowking and Starmie, it won’t do much. Aerial Ace is also a Physical choice, but anything it hits is covered by Flare Blitz, apart from Poliwrath which is covered by Thunder Fang. Will-O-Wisp is a nice move but as with most Fire-type Pokémon, activating Milotic’s Marvel Scale is a huge danger. Arcanine can use the Endure – Salac Berry – Reversal combo but its weakness to Stealth Rock, Spikes and Sandstorm won’t help it. Fire Fang is a weaker alternative to Flare Blitz if you don’t want the recoil. Finally, Arcanine has access to some supportive moves like Roar, Toxic and Safeguard but using them is like wasting Arcanine’s base 110 Attack and 100 Special Attack.

Counters

Swampert is by far the best counter to any Arcanine set without Hidden Power Grass or Solarbeam. Rhyperior too but it’ll need the boost from Sandstorm to get a Choice Specs boosted Hidden Power Grass and survive. Other bulky Ground-type Pokémon like Hippowdon, Gliscor and Donphan can wall the physical sets.

Gyarados can come in on predicted moves from Choice Band/Specs Arcanine but some prediction skills are necessary if you want to avoid switching in on a Thunder Fang. Bulky Water-types like Calm Mind Suicune and Vaporeon shut down the Special sets and do a pretty good job against the Physical ones too.

Anything with Flash Fire can come in on Arcanine’s Fire-type moves and counter it. Especially Heatran with its Earth Power. Dugtrio can also trap and kill Arcanine in no time. And, of course, Stealth Rock is a quite big problem for Arcanine since it’s weak to Rock.

Opinion & Notes

Diamond and Pearl came with many awesome additions for my favorite Pokémon which became much more usable now. Flare Blitz and Dragon Pulse are the most notable changes with Thunder Fang and Solarbeam being also useful. However, Arcanine will continue to suffer from the same thing as it does since the very first day. There is always a better Fire-type Pokémon to use. In the 1st generation, it was Charizard, then came Typhlosion, then Blaziken and now, Infernape and Heatran will leave no room for the legendary dog. What’s more, the arrival of Stealth Rock and one more Pokémon with Sand Stream wrecks Arcanine in competitive battling. But anyway, we can’t hide the fact that Arcanine is the Pokémon with the biggest base stat sum after all the legendaries and pseudo-legendaries.

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