Divine Wrath

  1. Introduction
  2. Arceus's defining traits
  3. Arceus's movepool
  4. Arceus's common sets
  5. Arceus's formes
  6. Conclusion

Introduction

Throughout the years, some Pokemon have been deemed too powerful to compete in the Standard metagame. In order to prevent them from dominating, they have been banished to the Uber tier. However, one of these Pokemon is so strong that even the Uber tier denizens cower before its might. This Pokemon is Arceus.

Since when it was first released close to the end of the DPP era, Arceus never failed to uphold its reputation of "king among the kings". It has a movepool which Mew would be proud of, a stat spread which allows it to do whatever it wants, and an ability which extends its versatility to unparalleled levels; Arceus possessed incredible potential, held back only by the restrictions on EVs it suffered in the 4th generation. But with the advent of BW, these restrictions have been smitten, and Arceus has reached the pinnacle of its ability.

While Arceus still lacks the immediate terrific power of titans such as Kyogre or Mewtwo, and can't vouch for an arsenal of support moves comparable to the likes of Forretress or Ferrothorn, its diversity is unrivaled. "Sky's the limit" is the sentence that most clearly describes the extent of Arceus's skills.

Arceus's defining traits

The first thing you'll notice about Arceus is probably its stat spread. With base 120 in each stat, it can be tailored to suit pretty much every role imaginable. Even if base 120 Attack or Special Attack may look "average" compared to the base 150 ones of most Ubers, Arceus can boost them easily with Swords Dance or Calm Mind; these moves are especially dangerous since Arceus has the movepool to back them up. If anything, the titanic defenses allow it to set up more easily, making those "average" Attack and Special Attack stats a lot more threatening than on a first look.

What makes Arceus truly unique, though, is its ability: Multitype. Thanks to it, Arceus can change its type (which is Normal by default) depending on which Plate it holds. For example, if it holds a Spooky Plate, it will turn into a Ghost-type Pokemon. This is Arceus's greatest advantage over its Uber competitors, as it allows it to take advantage of its wide movepool in a way no other Pokemon can emulate. With the right Plate, Arceus can turn from a hard counter to Groudon and Kyogre to the best possible check to beasts such as Mewtwo and Reshiram, and even to a frightening sweeper on its own. The fact that each Plate boosts the power of its acquired STAB moves by 20% is just a bonus. It is also worth noting that Multitype grants Arceus immunity to Trick and similar moves, which is a nice perk on defensive sets.

Arceus's movepool

While the ability to change its own type allows for a surprising versatility in itself, its potential would be largely wasted if its movepool was somewhat lacking. Luckily for Arceus, this is not the case: its level up list includes some jaw-dropping gifts, and it can even learn over two-thirds of the available TMs, as well as a plethora of tutor moves from the past generation. While several of these options are often very niche, and will find a spot only on some sets (depending on the Plate held), many moves are staples on most variants of Arceus, and deserve a closer look. For the sake of the analysis, these moves have been divided into three categories: physical offense, special offense, and support.

Physical offense

ExtremeSpeedthe strongest priority attack in the game, and a lethal weapon in Arceus's hands. When backed up by STAB and Swords Dance, this move has the potential to sweep teams. Kyogre, Mewtwo, and Palkia — they all fall to the power of ExtremeSpeed. Even when Arceus runs a Plate, thus giving up on Normal STAB, ExtremeSpeed sometimes finds a place on the moveset as an invaluable countermeasure against the Choice Scarf users that roam in the Uber tier.

Earthquake100 BP, reliable accuracy, good synergy with ExtremeSpeed and a plethora other moves... Arceus has a lot of reasons for running Earthquake. Thanks to this move, Arceus can crush all those Pokemon, such as Dialga or Jirachi, which could otherwise stop its ExtremeSpeed rampage. When holding a Earth Plate, Arceus can even find itself sweeping teams with a boosted STAB Earthquake.

Brick Breakanother important coverage move that finds a spot on many physically based Arceus sets. While 75 BP may look underwhelming, Brick Break pairs especially well with Ghost-type attacks such as Shadow Claw and Shadow Force, and thus is a common sight on Swords Dance Arceus when it holds a Spooky Plate.

Shadow Clawa vital coverage move for Normal Arceus, Shadow Claw prevents Ghost-types such as Giratina-O from walling ExtremeSpeed. It is also an important STAB for when Arceus turns into a Ghost-type himself. This move is often considered as an alternative to Shadow Force as well.

Shadow ForceShadow Force packs a lot more power compared to the relatively weak Shadow Claw, but has a charge turn. While it breaks through Protect and Detect, Shadow Force can still be easily played around if the opponent packs an appropriate resistant or immune Pokemon, such as Blissey, easily depleting the 8 PP of the move. Thus, both Ghost Arceus and Normal Arceus often prefer Shadow Claw's reliability.

Stone EdgeWhile not as important of a coverage move as Earthquake or Brick Break, Stone Edge still finds room on some Arceus sets that need Rock-type coverage, mainly those, such as Bug Arceus, that have issues with Ho-Oh. It is also the obvious STAB for the physical variant of Rock Arceus.

PaybackPayback differs itself from the other attacking moves in that it is mainly used not to sweep teams, but to defensively check teams. Dark Arceus and Psychic Arceus, in particular, sport this move from time to time when they are needed to stop Mewtwo from rampaging through teams.

OutrageThe main STAB option for Swords Dance Arceus when he holds a Draco Plate. It has the power to smash through the majority of the tier after a Swords Dance, but it locks the user for 2-3 turns, leaving it confused at the end of the rampage and thus making the move risky in some situations.

Dragon ClawIt lacks the raw power of Outrage, but it has no drawback either. For this reason, those Arceus formes which lack Dragon STAB but still need Dragon-type coverage, such as Water Arceus, generally opt for Dragon Claw over Outrage.

WaterfallIt's only relevant use is as a STAB move for physically based Water Arceus, and is preferred to Aqua Tail because of the reliable accuracy and the flinch chance.

Iron HeadSimilarly to Waterfall, Iron Head is the STAB move of choice for Swords Dance Steel Arceus, and is the main choice over Iron Tail because of the 100% accuracy and the flinch chance.

X-ScissorIt's employed only as a STAB move for Swords Dance Bug Arceus. It sees no use otherwise.

Special offense

JudgmentWhile many formes of Arceus lack a physical STAB attack, Judgment is a solid 100 BP (120 when factoring in the Plate boost), 100% accuracy special move that changes type according to the held Plate, just like Arceus itself. This allows it to have a special STAB for any forme available.

Ice BeamOne of the most useful coverage moves for many Calm Mind sets, Ice Beam is a common sight on those types, such as Fighting and Electric, that pair up well with Ice.

Focus BlastFocus Blast has very shaky accuracy, but its type and power make it a necessity for some of Arceus's formes, most notably Ghost, Poison, and Steel.

Spacial RendJust like some Swords Dance sets use Dragon Claw for coverage even when lacking Dragon STAB, their special variants commonly resort to Spacial Rend for the same reason. While Dragon Pulse boasts more PPs as well as reliable accuracy, the few sets that need Dragon-type special coverage are often very offensively minded, and thus prefer Spacial Rend's higher Base Power and critical hit chance.

Earth PowerA reliable option for many types due to the wide super effective coverage of the Ground-type. It is a common sight on Steel and Dragon Calm Mind Arceus, among others.

Flamethrower, Fire Blast, OverheatA necessity on any Arceus set that has issues with Ferrothorn or Skarmory, in particular for support variants of Ghost Arceus. Fire Arceus sometimes uses Fire Blast over Judgment because of the higher power and the burn chance. Overheat is preferred on physical sets because they often require the higher power, and because they're not bothered as much by the harsh Special Attack drop.

Thunderbolt, ThunderNot as crucial of a coverage option as Flamethrower or Ice Beam under most circumstances, but still, Electric Arceus sometimes runs Thunder over Judgment because of the higher power. However, this forces it to rely on rain support, so many still prefer Judgment or even Thunderbolt, which makes up for the slight loss in power with higher PP and a paralysis chance. It should also be mentioned that Thunderbolt is the staple coverage move for Ice and Fire Arceus.

Grass KnotOften Grass Arceus uses this move over Judgment because the Uber tier is full of heavy Pokémon that are hurt more by Grass Knot. Not really common otherwise.

PsyshockThis move is what sets Psychic Arceus apart from other formes running Calm Mind sets. It is a special move with 80 BP and 100% accuracy, but it hits the opponent's Defense, giving Psychic Arceus the upper hand when it sets up alongside opposing Calm Mind users.

Support

Swords DanceThe bread and butter of physical oriented Arceus sets. After only one turn of set up, this move allows Arceus to sweep weakened teams with ease. Only few types have a physical STAB move which makes Swords Dance viable, but those that do are deadly threats that always keep opponents on their toes.

Calm MindThe main set-up option for special variants of Arceus, Calm Mind allows it to set up on weak or resisted special attacks and steamroll the opposition. Thanks to the reliable STAB Judgment provides, Calm Mind Arceus can show up with pretty much any type bar Normal.

RecoverOne of the most useful moves in Arceus's arsenal, Recover makes it possible to take advantage of his great defenses. It is a must on almost any support or Calm Mind set, and even Swords Dance variants sometimes run it.

Will-O-WispAnother one of the most useful moves in Arceus's arsenal, Will-O-Wisp cripples powerful physical attackers and makes it easier for Arceus to set up. It is usually more common on support sets, but it has its uses on a Calm Mind set.

Thunder WaveMost usually seen on Grass Arceus because of how easily it scares off Ground-types. Thunder Wave is very useful to check threatening Ubers such as Choice Scarf Kyogre and Ho-Oh.

RefreshThe bane of stall teams, this move heals Arceus from any status afflictions, making attempts to stop it with Toxic, Will-O-Wisp, or Toxic Spikes pointless. It is often seen on Calm Mind sets that run only Judgment as their attack.

SubstituteJust like Refresh, Substitute gives Arceus a welcome protection against status ailments. It has the disadvantage of not helping Arceus against Toxic Spikes and not allowing it to switch safely into the likes of Blissey, however. Nevertheless, it makes it easier for Arceus to set up on slow Pokemon carrying Leech Seed, such as Ferrothorn. And most importantly, it gives Arceus an important protection against revenge killing. Dragon Arceus in particular enjoys hiding behind a Substitute because of how common Choice Scarf Dragon-types are.

RoarA useful option to prevent opponents from setting up on more defensive variants of Arceus.

Perish SongSimilarly to Roar, Perish Song allows Arceus to thwart set-up attempts. It also has the advantage of not losing its usefulness when the opponent is down to his last Pokemon, and given how hard it is to find a viable Perish Song user in Ubers, Arceus is an excellent candidate. However, it has only 8 PP, and while it forces out the foe, it does so only after three actions, which are more than enough for something like a Swords Dance user to cause major damage before retreating.

ToxicAn underrated option, yet effective in that it allows Arceus to defeat opposing Arceus attempting to set up on it. However, special care should be paid for those formes, such as Dark and Dragon, that are known for running fairly often mono-attacking sets, as they will foil any Toxic attempt with Refresh.

Stealth RockAn invaluable set up move in Ubers as in every other tier. However, Arceus has better things to do generally, so it is advisable to leave Stealth Rock duty to other Pokemon such as Groudon or Dialga.

Magic CoatIt takes a bit of prediction, but when used at the right time, Magic Coat allows Arceus to screw many potential counters. Bouncing back a Dark Void at Darkrai, or a burn at an opposing Arceus, can easily turn the tables. However, generally only support sets manage to find room for this move.

Arceus's common sets

Despite the immense versatility it boasts, Arceus commonly runs only three kinds of sets, thus easing up a bit on the pressure it puts on teams seeking ways to counter it. Similarly to how moves have been classified, it is possible to identify three main archetypes: Swords Dance, Calm Mind, and support.

Swords Dance Arceus frequently goes for a hyper offensive approach, looking for an opening to set up one Swords Dance and sweep the opposition. The offensive power is generally granted either by STAB ExtremeSpeed, which excels at mopping the floor with weakened teams, or by another kind of strong STAB such as Earthquake or rain-boosted Waterfall. When attempting to check a physical Arceus, it is important to act quickly. If it is a variant without ExtremeSpeed, it can be an option to just sacrifice the active Pokemon and then bring in a faster revenge killer. Such options include, but are not limited to, Choice Scarf Palkia, Darkrai, and Choice Scarf Terrakion (which has the added benefit of resisting Normal and thus being able to revenge kill even ExtremeSpeed variants).

However, if such an option is unavailable, or if said Arceus has ExtremeSpeed (with or without STAB), it may be better to resort to defensive checks. Skarmory is a very useful one, able to sponge hits from the likes of Normal and Ghost Swords Dance Arceus with ease (especially in the rain, when their attempts to break through with a surprise Overheat are less of a concern) and phaze them with Whirlwind. Other options include Groudon, or a Ghost-type such as Giratina or Ghost Arceus. Remember, though, that if you check Arceus with a phazing move, you need some kind of plan for when it is the last Pokemon of your opponent.

Calm Mind Arceus plays in quite a different way. Instead of setting up in one turn and sweeping, it will generally try to look for some Pokemon he can set up on—such as a Dragon that just used Draco Meteor, or a wall of some kind—and then try to pile up several boosts before sweeping. This holds especially true for mono-attackers, those Arceus variants that use only Judgment as their attacking move and then a combination of Recover, Refresh and Calm Mind to slowly set up, unhindered by status ailments. This means that, unlike Swords Dance sweepers, it is sometimes impossible to stop a Calm Mind Arceus with status (although having a Pokemon with Toxic in reserve is useful against many formes such as Electric and Ground), and even sacrificing the active Pokemon may backfire. However, it should be noted that special variants of Arceus can't rely on ExtremeSpeed to bring down faster foes. Those sweepers that naturally outspeed Arceus such as Darkrai and Mewtwo are more than capable of coming in and put a halt to the rampage with Dark Void and Psystrike, respectively.

For support sets, the matter is a bit more complicated, and it depends largely on the Arceus forme. Normal Arceus, for example, is likely to pack Will-O-Wisp and Roar, whereas Grass Arceus commonly carries Thunder Wave. Regardless, though, you have to be prepared for some kind of status ailment. Almost always, it will be Will-O-Wisp, so sending in a Fire-type like Ho-Oh or Heatran is a possibility. Otherwise, a status absorber such as Dialga could work. Another move you have to watch out for is Recover, so don't try to beat them by attrition unless you can count on something like Taunt or Toxic. Speaking of which, crippling a support variant with a status ailment of your own is often the best way to get it out of your way. Burn isn't ideal, because it can be recovered off—although if it is physically inclined it will be crippled nonetheless. Paralysis is better because a couple full paralysis are all it takes to break through the Recover cycle and bring down Arceus. If possible, attempt to Toxic him, either with the move itself or with Toxic Spikes.

Arceus's formes

With that being said, all the formes generally fall under one of the aforementioned archetypes, but each one is unique in its own right. So, whether you're unsure on which kind of Arceus would fit best on your team, or if you want to check which formes you can or can't counter, it is better to give each Arceus variant an overlook (note: the list of common sets follows alphabetical order, rather than viability or other criteria).

Bug Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Swords Dance.

The Bug-type is not renowned as a good defensive typing, and even with its massive defenses, Bug Arceus struggles to switch in and set up. On one hand, Stealth Rock causes it to lose one quarter of its max health every time it switches in. On the other hand, a lot of Pokemon in Ubers carry Fire-type moves. Mewtwo, Palkia, Reshiram, Dialga, Ho-Oh... the list is pretty long. Those that don't, such as Kyogre, can often destroy Arceus with neutral moves alone. And to make things worse, Latias and Latios, two Pokemon whose presence contributed significantly to Bug Arceus's viability, are now a rare sight because they don't have access to Soul Dew anymore.

Dark Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Support.

Dark Arceus is often compared to Darkrai because of the typing. The latter has two strong points in Dark Void and Nasty Plot, along with the slightly higher Speed, but Arceus still has a niche because of its innate bulkiness. Due to the fact that few types resist Dark-type, and that no type is immune to it, Dark Arceus can afford to run a threatening mono-Calm Mind set that abuses Recover and Refresh to stomp through stall teams. Alternatively, it can abuse STAB Payback and the favorable defensive stats to turn into a really good Mewtwo check, as well as an insurance against several other threats.

Dragon Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Swords Dance.

Few formes possess the raw destructive power of Dragon Arceus. After a Swords Dance, STAB Outrage can plow through anything but Steel-type Pokemon. This is where Earthquake comes into play, putting most of them in place. When holding the Draco Plate, Arceus benefits as well from being the fastest Dragon-type in the game, thus being safe against almost any kind of revenge killers bar Choice Scarf Dragons such as Palkia. If Swords Dance isn't an option, though, there's still the option of running Calm Mind. Thanks to the unparalleled neutral coverage provided by the Dragon-type, Arceus can afford to run Judgment as its only attack, freeing up a slot for Substitute to foil those revenge killing attempts which threaten the Swords Dance set. The ability to run two different sets that require completely different checks contribute significantly to the might of Dragon Arceus.

Electric Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind.

Electric Arceus is one of the most fearsome offensive Calm Mind users of the entire tier, able to plow through almost any team after one or two boosts. Electric STAB, either in the form of Judgment, Thunderbolt, or the stronger but less reliable Thunder, provides Arceus with the strength to destroy many Ubers such as Kyogre, Palkia, and Mewtwo. Ice Beam complements it wonderfully, OHKOing all but the most specially defensive variants of Groudon and dealing serious damage even to Ferrothorn and Dialga. If the opponent lacks a proper answer, such as Toxic Spikes or Blissey, things are likely to turn sour very quickly.

Fighting Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Support.

Fighting Arceus boasts some uncommon resistances that make it a welcome addition to many teams, especially defensive ones. Fighting-type Judgment can be quite the menace in a tier where a large part of the metagame is neutral or weak to it. Those that resist it are easily brought down with Ice Beam, although Ho-Oh and Mewtwo are problematic exceptions that slightly limit Fighting Arceus's viability. Still, it is one of the few formes that stand a chance against the frightening ExtremeSpeed Normal Arceus, and the only one that can hit it hard right off the bat. The choice between a Calm Mind set or a more defensive one including Will-O-Wisp / Toxic usually depends on Arceus's teammates, as it excels at both roles regardless.

Fire Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind.

Fire-type Arceus gets some fierce competition from the absurdly strong Reshiram in this generation, but as is the case with most of Arceus's formes, bulkiness and access to Calm Mind as well as instant recovery gives it enough tools to differentiate itself from its alternatives. Under sunlight, its boosted Fire-type attacks can annihilate even the bulkiest of Ubers. Thunder (or Thunderbolt) is still there to give a hard lesson to Kyogre and Ho-Oh (another point Fire Arceus boasts over Reshiram). The weakness to Stealth Rock is a problem, but the raw destructive power Arceus unleashes when holding a Flame Plate makes up for it more often than not.

Flying Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind.

A Flying-type is a mixed bag for Arceus. On one hand, it provides a whole host of unwelcome weakness, as Electric- and Ice-type attacks are everywhere, and losing 25% of its max health on every switch in is never fun. On the other hand, though, Flying is a pretty good type offensively, with few notable Pokemon resisting it; those that do won't like being hit with Earth Power. It is important to point out that Flying Arceus is also one of three types that doesn't care about Toxic Spikes, something most other formes can only dream of. All in all, it may be difficult to switch Flying Arceus in unscathed, but once it hits the field, your opponent will be in for a world of pain.

Ghost Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Support, Swords Dance.

Ghost Arceus is arguably the most versatile of the Arceus formes. Its Swords Dance set benefits from good STAB attacks such as Shadow Claw and Shadow Force, as well as perfect coverage with Brick Break. The Calm Mind set is just as good if not better, with Judgment complemented by Focus Blast for flawless coverage once again. And when sweeping isn't necessary, access to Recover and Will-O-Wisp makes Ghost Arceus one of the most resilient spinblockers in the tier, as well as a great check against the feared Normal Arceus because of Ghost Arceus's immunity to ExtremeSpeed.

Grass Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Support.

The best Kyogre and Groudon counter in the game, Grass Arceus is never out of job in a tier where Grass-weak weather starters constantly fight against each other for supremacy. Since no Ground-type Pokemon can afford to switch into him either, Grass Arceus excels at spreading paralysis on teams with Thunder Wave. It may not be the most threatening sweeper available, but its utility in a defensive role is invaluable.

Ground Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Support, Swords Dance.

Resisting Rock is always a good start. Boasting a strong STAB both on the physical and on the special side makes the deal even sweeter. Ground Arceus is one of the few formes that displays enough variety and advantages to be able to do whatever it wants. As a Swords Dance sweeper, it has nothing to envy from Groudon, especially because of Arceus's excellent base 120 speed and access to Recover along with fantastic defenses. On the special side, Judgment has the same power of Earthquake, and Ice Beam complements its STAB as well as Stone Edge does for the physical counterpart. Ground Arceus can even forgo sweeping altogether, using its good typing and defenses to spread burn across teams with Will-O-Wisp while STAB Earthquake in tandem with Stone Edge ensure it won't be set up bait for nigh anything.

Ice Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind.

When a type is absolutely terrible defensively, even Arceus's natural bulkiness can do little to salvage it. The Ice-type has all the issues of Bug, and then some. The weaknesses to Rock and Fire are still a huge disadvantage, but weakness to Fighting and Steel make it much worse. Perhaps, the worst flaw of Ice is the fact it resists nothing but itself. At least Bug Arceus could take advantage of some actually useful resistances, such as Ground. Still, if you could find room to set up a Calm Mind, Ice STAB is very potent in the Uber metagame, especially because the few common Pokémon resisting it (most notably Kyogre and Steel-types) are maimed by Thunderbolt and Fire Blast. Ice Arceus has all the marks of an Uber Pokemon, but it is always hard to justify choosing it over the other formes.

Normal Arceus


Common sets: Support, Swords Dance.

Normal Arceus has been nominated or hinted to quite a lot of times throughout this guide, and for good reason. Thanks to access to STAB ExtremeSpeed, Arceus can ravage through offensive and defensive teams alike, often to the point that the opponent can do nothing about it. Earthquake smashes those Pokemon, such as Dialga, which could take ExtremeSpeed, and Shadow Claw takes care of Ghost-types. It can't be stressed enough: you absolutely need an answer to this thing if you wish to build a serious Uber team; he is that good. However, if you are actually looking for answers to the mighty Extreme Killer (Swords Dance Normal Arceus's most common epithet), or you simply want to try something different, Normal Arceus can also run a very effective defensive set. And differently from other formes, in fact, he can run Leftovers instead of a Plate. Will-O-Wisp is there to shut down physical threats, while Recover keeps Arceus healthy. And when something tries to set up, Roar or Perish Song can phaze them away in the blink of an eye.

Poison Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Support.

Viable Poison-types are hard to come by in Ubers. They're still in high request nonetheless, due to the ubiquity of Toxic Spikes. This is why, even if there are a lot of better types for Arceus, both offensively and defensively, many teams enjoys the presence of Poison Arceus, so that they can clear Toxic Spikes from the field just by switching it in. It isn't just a sitting duck, though. Will-O-Wisp cripples threatening sweepers, such as Groudon, which would love to switch into it. Alternatively, Reflect can accomplish a similar task, halving the incoming physical damage for five turns. Then, you have a whole bazillion of other support options, including Roar, Stealth Rock, and Perish Song. If support wasn't what you were looking for, though, Poison Arceus is very capable of running a Calm Mind set. While Poison doesn't shine as a good STAB offensively, it has the incredible advantage of being immune to Toxic poison, thus making Arceus able to set up on Pokemon such as Blissey that otherwise constitute a full stop for most Calm Mind Arceus sets.

Psychic Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Support.

Psychic Arceus comes as an oddball among Arceus formes, because instead of Judgment as its STAB attack of choice for its Calm Mind set, it resorts to Psyshock. This move hits the opponent on the physical side, thus giving Arceus the edge against opposing Calm Mind users. The comparison with Mewtwo is inevitable, since both share a Psychic-type, and Mewtwo is faster, stronger, and has Psystrike instead of Psyshock. However, Arceus's bulkiness gives it a lot more opportunities to switch in and set up, and also makes it a lot harder to revenge kill. Alternatively, with the right EVs and moves, Psychic Arceus can turn into the closest thing to a Mewtwo counter the tier has to offer, using a combination of Payback and ExtremeSpeed to bring it down while letting the high defenses and the resistances to Psychic- and Fighting-type attacks do the rest. A forme often labeled as inferior in the past due to the high availability of Psychic-types in the last generation, Psychic Arceus turned into a legitimate threat that every team should take into account.

Rock Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Support, Swords Dance.

Rock Arceus may look like an odd choice at a first look. Rock isn't certainly considered a good type defensively, with painful weaknesses to Fighting-, Grass-, Ground-, Steel-, and Water-type attacks. Even if it still packs some useful resistances, such as to Fire and Flying, Rock Arceus's main advantage is the Special Defense bonus he can get thanks to sandstorm, which makes it the only true Reshiram counter in the game (while still functioning as an extremely useful Ho-Oh check, with or without sand). Offensively, Rock is an incredible STAB, so good that it is perfectly viable on a mono-attacker set along with the usual Refresh or Will-O-Wisp to cripple the inevitable Groudon or Garchomp switch-in. Alternatively, a Swords Dance set packs huge power, being able to smash even through Skarmory (a full stop for most other Swords Dance Arceus sets), although at the cost of being stopped in its tracks by Groudon (and Ferrothorn, if Arceus lacks Overheat). If its user wants to take a fully offensive approach without resorting to Swords Dance, Rock Arceus can also run an all-out Calm Mind set, rounding off its coverage with Grass Knot and Fire Blast. Finally, forgoing a stat up move allows Rock Arceus to abuse both Will-O-Wisp and Roar to annoy its opponents to no end.

Steel Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Swords Dance.

Steel is a top defensive typing, and Arceus's naturally high defenses allow it to truly shine. The Calm Mind set in particular enjoys the immunity to Toxic poison, which allows Steel Arceus to laugh at common checks to Calm Mind users such as Blissey. Steel isn't a particularly good STAB, but at least nothing is immune to it, thus allowing Arceus to use the last slot for a utility move such as Roar (useful if something tries to set up Calm Mind along with it) or Will-O-Wisp (to cripple those Earthquake sweepers which will inevitably switch in). Alternatively, Steel Arceus can also go with a physical set, abusing Swords Dance in tandem with STAB Iron Head and its sweet flinch chance.

Water Arceus


Common sets: Calm Mind, Swords Dance.

When it holds a Splash Plate, Arceus can turn into the most fearsome physical Water-type sweeper in the tier, able to sweep with Swords Dance, rain-boosted Waterfalls. Ferrothorn and Dialga are kept at bay by Brick Break, and Dragon Claw takes care of would-be Dragon-type checks such as Zekrom and Rayquaza. If necessary, it can also run a Calm Mind set, as the superior speed and access to Fire Blast to maim Ferrothorn gives it enough reasons to be used over Calm Mind Kyogre or Manaphy. It should be noted, though, that Kyogre is still a must to get the most out of Water Arceus, and the latter makes a very good job at taking out checks to the former, which can then sweep unhindered later on.

Conclusion

It is not an overstatement to say Arceus defines the Uber metagame as much as weather starters do, if not more. The sheer variety it brings in the metagame revolutionized the entire tier since when it was first released, and this is still the main reason for why almost every Uber team finds a spot for it. However, you can only use one forme for every given team, and finding the best one to work with may be difficult, albeit rewarding in the end. Hopefully, this guide will be a valuable help in your choice whenever you'll need to unleash Arceus's divine wrath on your opponents.