Armaldo enjoys significant usage in NU for one thing and one thing only: Rapid Spin. Of course, this is in a metagame where many of the top threats require Rapid Spin support, and Armaldo is one of the few viable Pokemon that can provide it. Armaldo stands out among spinners in NU for two reasons; it has the greatest offensive presence of any spinner in NU, as its access to Swords Dance allows it to break through common spinblockers such as Misdreavus and Drifblim. On top of this, Armaldo is one of just a handful of Pokemon that have access to both Stealth Rock and Rapid Spin, which allows it to fill two would-be teamslots by itself. Offensive sets are also effective, as Armaldo can use the aforementioned Swords Dance or utilize a Choice Band to bust through defensive cores. Armaldo is blessed with awesome dual STABs as well, as Rock is a solid offensive type in NU, but it is Armaldo's access to a Bug-type STAB move that allows it to break through the premier physical wall in NU: Tangela. Unfortunately, that's where the positives come to an end.
While Armaldo's 75 / 100 / 80 defenses might look attractive, especially on the physical side, in reality, Armaldo is extremely slow and prone to being KOed by most decently powered special STAB moves. Even more powerful physical STAB moves, such as Braviary's Brave Bird, will leave Armaldo unable to do to much for the remainder of the game. In addition, Armaldo's typing is poor defensively. Although it only has three weaknesses, it has no useful resistances as well; it takes full damage from the most prominent attacking types in NU, namely Flying, Fighting, and Fire. It is also weak to Stealth Rock, and furthermore takes full damage from Spikes and Toxic Spikes, all of which are highly undesirable in a spinner. To top it all off, Armaldo lacks reliable recovery, which leaves it easily worn down to the point where it is easily outsped and KOed. Despite its glaring weaknesses Armaldo is still one of the best candidates for the job of spinning in NU, with its access to Stealth Rock setting itself apart from other spinners, such as Wartortle.
Armaldo is one of the best spinners in NU, and this set is one of the major reasons why. Swords Dance lets it break through every spinblocker in the tier, including Misdreavus, that are using a fast spread or that have taken previous damage. After a single Swords Dance, Armaldo reaches an Attack stat of 766, more than enough to let it plow through almost everything in sight. In fact, counters to +2 Armaldo exist only because of Armaldo's four-moveslot syndrome. Bastiodon and Probopass can take on Armaldo that lack Earthquake, while Tangela and Torterra are thorns in Armaldo's side should it lack X-Scissor. However, the primary purpose of this set is not to sweep, but to break through your opponent's spinblocker in order to successfully get a Rapid Spin off, and allow a teammate to sweep. While Armaldo is almost impossible to wall at +2, its lack of Speed and defensive investment leave it prey to common offensive teams; Pokemon such as Gorebyss and Braviary can halt Armaldo's sweep.
Stone Edge is Armaldo's most powerful STAB move; although its accuracy might let you down at times, it can still do massive damage to most switch-ins. It helps Armaldo break through spinblockers as well; specifically, after a boost, it OHKOes Drifblim and does upwards of 70% to Misdreavus. The last moveslot is left up to the trainer: X-Scissor is a more reliable secondary STAB move that provides essential coverage on Tangela and Torterra, while Earthquake allows Armaldo to hit Steel-types such as Probopass and Bastiodon, as well as Fighting-types such as Sawk and Gurdurr. While the EdgeQuake combo certainly has its benefits, X-Scissor is usually the preferred choice because it is one of Armaldo's main niches over Golem, other than Rapid Spin. Although Rapid Spin is the main reason to use this set, X-Scissor makes Armaldo a fantastic Tangela lure.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While the Swords Dance set is better if Armaldo merely wants to clear the field once, Armaldo can also take advantage of its unique qualities to use Rapid Spin in a more supporting role. This set takes advantage of Armaldo's high base 100 Defense stat to set up Stealth Rock and use Rapid Spin multiple times. While Armaldo's typing is usually a burden defensively, it is uniquely helpful for countering Sawsbuck, one of the most threatening sweepers in NU. Once again, the focus of this set is Rapid Spin, which is is a godsend in a tier where many of the top sweepers are weak to Stealth Rock. Armaldo is one of the few viable users of Rapid Spin in NU, and this set's main difference from the Swords Dance one is its greater utility on more types of teams. Every competitive team should have a Stealth Rock user, and Armaldo might sometimes be the only Pokemon on the team that can set it up. Rather than use the Swords Dance set to spin more effectively, you must compromise and trade the ability to beat spinblockers for the unique qualities of this set; countering certain threats and setting up Stealth Rock.
Even without investment, Armaldo's attacks still pack a punch thanks to its high base Attack. Dual STAB is usually the way to go, as they have crucial coverage in NU, such as on Swellow and Torterra. Rock Blast is the preferred Rock-type move as it has the same accuracy as Rock Slide, and will usually be at least as powerful, if not more. Being a multi-hit move, it can also break through the frail Substitutes of Haunter, Kadabra, Rotom-S, and Ninjask. However, Rock Slide is still an option for greater reliability. X-Scissor is the move of choice in the last slot, and is especially useful for Sawsbuck, Musharna, and Torterra. Despite this, Knock Off is a solid team support option, as there is an abundance of both Eviolite users and Choice Scarf revenge killers in NU. Using Knock Off on these Pokemon as they switch in will make them much harder to wall or revenge kill. However, X-Scissor is usually the superior choice because Knock Off is very prediction-reliant and Armaldo needs all the longevity it can get.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While most Armaldo sets take advantage of its access to Stealth Rock, Rapid Spin, or both, this set uses Armaldo's offensive capabilities rather than letting it support other offensive Pokemon. Armaldo is a fine user of Choice Band thanks to its high Attack stat, good bulk, and excellent coverage; it hits hard off the bat and powers through Pokemon that attempt to switch in on Stealth Rock, Rapid Spin, or Swords Dance. It can not only break through some of Armaldo's usual offensive checks, such as Gorebyss, Samurott, and Golem, but even common physical walls, namely Tangela, Torterra, and Regirock. This set fits best on balanced teams that can both provide hazards for Armaldo to take advantage of, and provide complementary offense to break down Armaldo's checks. Additionally, Armaldo can't be counted on to take hits, so defensive teammates are necessary as well.
Stone Edge is Armaldo's most powerful STAB move and the one that it should be using the most often; it is particularly helpful against the many Flying-type Pokemon in NU. Earthquake is a necessity to hit Steel- and Fighting-types such as Gurdurr and Probopass, and completes the EdgeQuake combination. One of Armaldo's greatest assets is its Bug-type STAB; this set is no exception. X-Scissor is a wonderful secondary STAB to have in the NU metagame, as it is not only reliable but useful for 2HKOing Tangela and Torterra, which Armaldo's other moves fail to do. Rounding out the set is Superpower, which gets coverage on Normal-type special walls that Armaldo can easily switch into, such as Miltank, Lickilicky, and Audino. It's worth noting that Superpower is more powerful than Earthquake against Normal-, Ice-, and Dark-type Pokemon over two turns, but if you expect Armaldo to stay in for three turns or more at a time, Earthquake is the superior choice.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
A Rock Polish set is very viable on Armaldo, with Life Orb boosting its attack power and Rock Polish doubling its Speed. Stone Edge, Earthquake, and X-Scissor provide an amazing combination of both power and coverage, with each move being useful in the correct circumstances. This set plays very differently to any other set, because it tries to break down walls over time before setting up a sweep against faster revenge killers by using Rock Polish. An EV spread of 48 HP / 252 Atk / 208 Spe along with a Jolly nature is the recommended spread, as this lets Armaldo outspeed base 80 Choice Scarf users and Swellow after a single Rock Polish. The main reason that this set doesn't have a more detailed write-up in the main analysis is that it has to make a crucial choice when choosing natures; a Jolly-natured Armaldo is almost completely outclassed by Golem, because even with its super effective STAB, Armaldo only has a very small chance to 2HKO Tangela. Golem has a much better typing both offensively and defensively, as it is granted both STAB EdgeQuake and a resistance to Stealth Rock. While an Adamant nature remedies the lack of power, losing out to Swellow and Choice Scarf Braviary isn't exactly ideal either. The only way this set can beat Tangela is with a little prior damage, and even then the vine monster can just switch out and recover health, then deal with Armaldo later.
Unfortunately, aside from Rock Polish, every other useful move in Armaldo's movepool is either extremely situational or leaves it outclassed in some way by another Pokemon. Curse is an interesting prospect that Armaldo has the stat spread to use well; it boosts Armaldo's already high Attack and Defense while lowering its already pitiful Speed. Curse is best used on a mono-attacking RestTalk set that tries to accumulate multiple boosts over time. However, using RestTalk leaves Armaldo at the mercy of BW's sleep mechanics; worse still, Armaldo will be easily outsped and KOed by a strong special attack, such as Gorebyss's Hydro Pump. Another boosting move that Armaldo has access to is Hone Claws, which shores up Stone Edge's accuracy issues while also boosting the power of Armaldo's other attacks. However, it is largely outclassed by Swords Dance.
Finally, Armaldo can be a good sun supporter with its access to Sunny Day. Pokemon such as Charizard require Rapid Spin support, and Armaldo is the best candidate for the job. Not only is Armaldo's weakness to Water-type attacks neutered, Armaldo can also set up Stealth Rock to aid sun sweepers. Other spinners such as Wartortle and Tentacool don't like their already pitiful Scald being weakened even further.
Checks and Counters
While few Pokemon can switch into any of offensive Armaldo's moves due to its impressive combination of power and coverage, there are a few Pokemon that stand above the rest. Alomomola is arguably the best check to Armaldo, as only the Swords Dance set stands a chance of beating it. The only move that 2HKOes Alomomola is +2 Stone Edge, and in return, Waterfall always 2HKOes Armaldo after Stealth Rock. Toxic is an unreliable option, however, as Armaldo is often seen carrying a Lum Berry. Vileplume and Amoonguss are two defensive Grass-types that aren't weak to X-Scissor, and therefore aren't hit hard by Armaldo. They can both take even a +2 Stone Edge and put Armaldo to sleep with either Spore or Sleep Powder. However, as noted before, most Swords Dance Armaldo will carry a Lum Berry to prevent this exact scenario. Weezing is another top-notch check to all Armaldo variants, as it can take a +2 Stone Edge and burn Armaldo before getting rid of its boosts with Clear Smog. Misdreavus can counter all of Armaldo's sets, and most importantly, can prevent it from using Rapid Spin. Misdreavus outspeeds Armaldo and can hit it twice with Will-O-Wisp before Armaldo can connect twice with a Swords Dance-boosted Stone Edge.
While the list of Pokemon that can switch into offensive Armaldo is small, support variants—especially those that lack Earthquake—are much easier to counter. Regirock, Probopass, and Golem can shrug off all support Armaldo's attacks not named Earthquake, retaliate with STAB Rock-type attacks, or set up Stealth Rock as Armaldo switches out, which not only renders Armaldo's efforts for naught, but also compromises its ability to switch back in. Fighting-types resist both Armaldo's STABs and are dangerous for Armaldo to stay in on. Gurdurr, for example, can boost its stats and recover all of its health back with Drain Punch. Wartortle is a huge pain for Armaldo as it can spin away Armaldo's Stealth Rock and Haze away any boosts that Armaldo has acquired before wrecking it with Scald. Similarly, Gorebyss and Samurott can switch into the support set's weak attacks and OHKO it with Hydro Pump.