Flareon has always had the reputation of being the worst of the Eeveelutions, and the fifth generation didn't do much to change its status in the competitive scene. Despite its excellent base Attack, Flareon is held back by its lack of a powerful physical STAB move, and is therefore forced to concentrate on its next best stat, its Special Defense, in order to pull its weight in battle. Nonetheless, Flareon does make an effective special sponge, as it can literally absorb hits from the powerful Fire-types in RU, such as Moltres and Typhlosion, and at the same time support its team with Wish. Although Flareon will almost never be your first choice for a Fire-type on your team, one would do well to keep its impressive special walling capabilities in mind.
Flareon's most impressive attribute is its ability to solidly counter some very threatening specially based Fire- and Grass-types, such as Moltres, Typhlosion, Rotom-C, and offensive Tangrowth. As such, it is a great answer to sun teams, which use the amazing coverage of Grass- and Fire-type moves in RU to great effect. Flareon is also a great team supporter with its access to Wish, and it forms a fantastic defensive core with physically defensive Pokemon that resist its weaknesses but lack recovery, including Ferroseed, Steelix, and Sandslash.
Protect is a necessity for Flareon for several reasons: it ensures that Flareon receives the healing from Wish, helps rack up Toxic damage on the foe, and eases prediction by scouting for random super effective moves. Flamethrower is Flareon's best STAB option, but Lava Plume is also a good choice because it has a higher burn rate to help cushion physical hits. Flamethrower is usually the preferred option as it works better in conjunction with Toxic, letting Flareon outlast specially based bulky Water-types. If using Lava Plume, however, Roar is the superior choice to phaze as carrying two status moves is counterproductive.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Flareon can make good use of its great Attack stat by running a physical set with Flame Charge and Guts. With a Toxic Orb in hand, Facade does an obscene amount of damage to everything except physical walls, and after a Flame Charge, Jolly Flareon outspeeds base 120 Speed Pokemon and Adamant Flareon outspeeds base 105s. Flareon can also set up Sunny Day to boost the power of its special moves; in addition to providing team support, it makes Flareon very powerful as well. In addition, Flareon can make use of Choice items. Choice Specs or Choice Band makes it a bulky attacker, while a mixed Choice Scarf set addresses its middling Speed and lets it revenge kill a fair amount of threats. Other options in Flareon's movepool include Substitute, Curse, Baton Pass, and Yawn. Curse is rather ironic, as Flareon has the perfect stat spread for it to be an effective user of Curse, but doesn't have the movepool for it to work at all.
Checks and Counters
When countering Flareon, almost any physical attacker can fit the bill. Powerful physical attackers such as Aggron, Aerodactyl, and Feraligatr can annihilate Flareon with their STAB moves without a second thought; however, they must be careful of a burn from either Lava Plume or Will-O-Wisp. Aggron gets a special mention as it is immune to Toxic. Qwilfish is another solid option for getting rid of Flareon, as it is immune to Toxic, takes minimal damage from Flamethrower, and 2HKOes it with Waterfall. Qwilfish can also set up Spikes, making Flareon's job harder the next time it switches in.
Flareon is setup fodder for Bulk Up Gallade, and can only hope to beat it with a Toxic on the switch. Entei is another great way of dealing with Flareon, as it can't be burned and takes almost no damage from Flamethrower. It can then either OHKO with a Choice Band Stone Edge or set up Calm Minds while Flareon can do nothing back. Hariyama can also set up Bulk Ups, and thanks to Thick Fat, it easily shrugs off Flamethrower. Flareon usually won't use Toxic for fear of Guts, allowing Hariyama to easily dispose of it with either Drain Punch or Close Combat. Kabutops is a hard counter to Flareon, and can cause problems by either using Stealth Rock or setting up a Swords Dance while it switches out. Crawdaunt can set up Dragon Dances on Flareon, and can avoid status with one of Substitute, Taunt, or Lum Berry. Golurk can also use Substitute to avoid status, and OHKOes with Earthquake. In general, most physical attackers that can avoid status are fine switch-ins to Flareon, as it is setup fodder for nearly all of them and can't beat any of the physical attackers in the tier with the exception of a lucky Toxic or Lava Plume burn.