- Lowers the foe's Attack one stage. Decreases wild encounter rate.
- 1/3 chance to heal status every turn.
- Prevents the foe from consuming its held Berry item.
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
In an incredibly fast paced metagame with so many offensive powerhouses, Arbok would seem to struggle to make an impact with its mediocre stats and comparatively poor defensive typing. However, access to the somewhat rare Coil and a few useful niches mean that Arbok has carved out a home for itself in NU. With two very useful abilities to choose from, Arbok can change its role completely; either using Shed Skin to be an incredibly hard Pokemon for stall to beat, or using Intimidate to slow down offensive teams and hit them where it hurts with its STAB Gunk Shot. Throw in a host of coverage moves as well as some priority, and Arbok becomes a force to be reckoned with. All things considered it is one of the most anti-metagame Pokemon currently, as it matches up so well against many common teams.
Poison is a surprisingly effective offensive type in NU, primarily due to the distinct lack of Steel-types when compared to other tiers. For those few Steel-types that do exist, Arbok possesses the necessary coverage moves to work around them, making it a very relevant threat. Offensive teams in particular can struggle to take +1 Gunk Shots, so a single mistake allowing Arbok to set up can be fatal. It finds a lot of time to set up against hazard users like Garbador and Cacturne as well as against Pokemon that are common on offensive teams like Skuntank. Combine this with its good Speed tier which lets it outspeed Samurott and Ludicolo, two of the biggest threats in the NU metagame, and you have a fantastic anti-metagame Pokemon. The rare Coil is a great boon for Arbok, acting like Bulk Up with the added advantage of boosting Gunk Shot's accuracy to a respectable 91%. When at +1, Gunk Shot is absolutely lethal, especially with its poor accuracy compensated for. It can be unreliable if Arbok is forced to attack before it gets a chance to use Coil, but when played correctly, it is exceptionally dangerous. A few notable threats can easily take boosted Gunk Shot and cripple Arbok in return, however. The choice of coverage move depends on which of these Pokemon your team is more concerned by. Aqua Tail is great for destroying Golurk and being able to hit other Ghost-types such as Misdreavus, while still breaking through Golem. Earthquake, on the other hand, hits Steel-types like Probopass, Bastiodon, and Metang much harder. Sucker Punch is a powerful priority move, something which is almost invaluable in NU. It also helps to prevent Psychic-types such as Gardevoir from revenge killing Arbok.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Arbok is very effective against offensive teams, it can also be built to completely stop many stall teams. The fact it is immune to Toxic and partially immune to other status (due to Shed Skin) is fantastic, turning it into a semi-reliable status absorber for your team. It also absorbs Toxic Spikes, meaning stall's main method against boosting sweepers is irrelevant. This immunity to status means that top walls like Alomomola and Vileplume are simply setup bait. Coil is the set up move of choice, giving Arbok a boost similar to Bulk Up while also boosting the accuracy of its STAB Move, Gunk Shot. Rest is a very valid option with Shed Skin, enabling Arbok to heal off repeated attacks and absorb status several times in a match. Aqua Tail provides the best two move coverage with Gunk Shot, preventing Arbok from being walled by both Steel-types and Ghost-types, as well as hitting Golem much harder than Earthquake. It also appreciates Coil's accuracy boost. Sucker Punch is also a viable option to prevent faster, frail Pokemon such as Swellow, Zangoose, and Gardevoir from revenge killing Arbok. It has poor coverage with Gunk Shot, however.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Arbok has very few viable sets that do not utilize Coil; it's what gives Arbok a niche. Substitute can be a nice addition to a bulky boosting set, as it lets Arbok use Intimidate while still being able to avoid status. Choice sets could be an option, but generally there are better users like Braviary. Arbok does get Switcheroo however, which can be a nasty surprise for walls. It also gets additional coverage moves in Seed Bomb and the elemental fangs, but the listed moves are generally superior. Pursuit is another interesting option, but Psychic-types will generally not be switching out of Arbok, so it struggles to find use. Glare is another quiver in Arboks bow, which can paralyze Ground-types and help Arbok get the jump on some faster threats, but it really has no room to fit it on a moveset. Dragon Tail could be used to stop opponents from phazing Arbok, as well as enabling Arbok to set up on Gurdurr, but it gives no real coverage. A bulky Dragon Tail set could work, but Eelektross probably does it better.
Checks and Counters
Powerful Ground-types are among the best counters to Arbok; Piloswine and Golurk in particular deal with it easily. Psychic-types such as Musharna and Gardevoir can also easily dispatch Arbok with STAB Psychic, provided they can avoid Sucker Punch. Misdreavus walls any set that lacks Aqua Tail, so it must be taken into account. Alomomola can beat the offensive set, but struggles with the bulkier Rest versions. Rock-types such as Regirock, Carracosta, and Golem (provided Arbok doesn't have Aqua Tail) can easily take Gunk Shot and threaten Arbok with Earthquake. Bulky Seismitoad takes hits all day and can scare out Arbok with STAB Earth Power, but will lose to Seed Bomb. The key to countering Arbok is to not let it set up, so be sure to maintain momentum and don't go needlessly setting up Spikes if you do see one.