While not quite up to snuff with all the standards, Arcanine has a strong presence in UU, where its overall high base stats, both offensive and defensive, can overwhelm a lot of the other Pokemon. Flare Blitz was the 4th generation's greatest gift to Arcanine, finally giving it some powerful physical STAB to use off its neglected base 110 Attack. Combined with ExtremeSpeed and the bulk to switch into neutral attacks with relative ease, Arcanine can take weakened teams by storm. However, despite being able to hit hard with both physical and special attacks, Arcanine has a limited and predictable movepool which can easily be countered if one knows its set. Stealth Rock often ends up squandering its bulk as well, meaning Arcanine really has to be played strategically to get the most out of it.
While Morning Sun's recovery may not be as set in stone as moves like Recover and Softboiled, it goes a long way in aiding Arcanine as it tears through teams, holding either a Life Orb (for increased damage) or Leftovers (for added survivability).
Flare Blitz is Arcanine's main attack, while ExtremeSpeed cleans up anyone who can survive the attack. Morning Sun helps Arcanine recover from repeated recoil damage from both Flare Blitz and Life Orb (if you choose this item) as well as from entry hazard damage, though at the cost of a turn.
The move in the last slot is mainly filler, although the choice is mainly decided by how you play Arcanine. More cautious players may opt to use Toxic, helping them to wear down counters, such as Hitmontop and Slowbro, who may try to stop your sweep. Will-O-Wisp is a cautious move, easily incapacitating physical sweepers, although the many Fire-types with Flash Fire and threatening Guts sweepers can diminish its usefulness. If you're looking to use Arcanine as a stand-alone sweeper, you may be interested in Thunder Fang or Iron Head, as they are the most competitively viable attacks Arcanine has at its disposal; Thunder Fang puts dents in Water-types, while Iron Head provides reliable damage with a chance to flinch. The EVs given allow Arcanine to outspeed base 80s who possess a Speed-boosting nature, most notably Jolly Venusaur.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Arcanine is usually seen as a sweeper because of his high Attack and Speed stats, he has all the necessary tools to function as an effective specially defensive tank. Arcanine's good HP and Defense, naturally high Attack and Speed, and access to a reliable recovery move, Morning Sun, allow him to safely switch into and beat many top-tier special sweepers one-on-one.
With maxed out HP and Special Defense stats, Arcanine becomes a formidable special tank. This Arcanine is able to switch into some of UU's strongest special attackers and eliminate them. Even with no investment in his Attack stat, Flare Blitz and ExtremeSpeed still hit hard enough to take care of physically frail sweepers such as Alakazam and Mismagius, as well as targets hit super effectively, such as Venusaur. Toxic is Arcanine's main source of damage against walls such as Milotic and bulkier sweepers such as Moltres; both of the aforementioned Pokemon can generally be stalled out with Morning Sun.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set aims to provide a great switch-in to many threats, hit its counters hard, and eventually sweep late-game. Arcanine has access to Flare Blitz, which is its main STAB attack and hits incredibly hard, with or without a Flash Fire boost. Thunder Fang and Hidden Power Grass provide decent coverage options for Arcanine, and while Thunder Fang seems like the better choice due to Arcanine's superior Attack, most of Hidden Power Grass's targets have a 4x weakness and are thus OHKOed. Thunder Fang is still recommended, however, since it nails Arcanine's most popular counters, such as Milotic, Slowking, and Blastoise harder. ExtremeSpeed is one of Arcanine's most useful assets, because it allows Arcanine to finish off weak, faster foes who would otherwise KO Arcanine. This is especially important due to the presence of Dugtrio. Morning Sun is used in the last slot so that Arcanine can switch in more often, and with Intimidate and Flash Fire, it definitely will find a turn to use it.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
When donning a Choice Band, Arcanine's power increases to demi-godly levels. Provided you predict correctly, Arcanine is sure to cause major damage to the opponent's team, as hard counters to this set are few and far between. However, it is important to remember that one incorrect prediction can easily spell the end of this legendary dog, since this set lacks the ability to freely switch moves or heal with Morning Sun after being locked into an ineffective attack. In addition, Flare Blitz recoil and entry hazard damage can quickly add up, especially with Arcanine's weakness to Stealth Rock, so this set cannot be played recklessly.
Flare Blitz, packing a whopping 180 Base Power with STAB factored in, will easily obliterate any Pokemon who doesn't resist it and even some who do. ExtremeSpeed is one of the most powerful priority attacks available in the tier, making it a great move for cleaning up frail sweepers who would otherwise outspeed and KO Arcanine. Thunder Fang is Arcanine's best bet against Moltres and bulky Water-types such as Milotic and Azumarill, all of whom would otherwise switch in on Arcanine with impunity. Morning Sun rounds out the set as a sort of filler move, while providing a source of much-needed recovery. Although it might seem counterintuitive to use Morning Sun over a fourth attack on a Choice set, Arcanine actually has a decent amount of opportunities to recover his health, since many times opponents will switch out in fear of a strong Flare Blitz or ExtremeSpeed. However, keep in mind that Arcanine will be a sitting duck when using Morning Sun; as in all cases when using this set, prediction is imperative to success. Iron Head may be used as an alternative that hits Rock-types super effectively, but it's rather weak and won't even come close to 2HKOing Regirock or Rhyperior. Finally, Hidden Power Grass is useful for doing huge amounts of damage to Kabutops, Omastar, and Rhyperior, but it doesn't really fit in well on a Choice Band set.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Arcanine's good all-round stats allow it to be both bulky and yet hit extremely hard at the same time. This fact, combined with its Intimidate ability and access to ExtremeSpeed, allows it to function as a very effective anti-lead.
Flare Blitz is a high powered STAB attack that does big damage to pretty much anything that doesn't resist it. ExtremeSpeed allows Arcanine to beat Focus Sash users without having to take another attack, and can 2HKO some faster, frailer leads. Against Arcanine, the bulky Water switch in is almost inevitable, and a well-timed Toxic can cripple both Slowbro and Milotic (despite activating Marvel Scale, if it doesn't have Rest, it's not going to enjoy Toxic). Steel-types never switch into Arcanine, and Poison is often paired with Grass, meaning there is usually very little risk involved in using Toxic.
Arcanine has a couple of different moves that all work well in the last slot. Hidden Power Grass is noted because otherwise, Rock- and Water-types fear next to nothing from this set. Since Kabutops and Omastar are occasionally seen as Stealth Rock / Spikes leads, being able to hit them with a 4x super effective attack has great benefits. Hidden Power Grass also lets Arcanine do a bit of damage to incoming Slowbro, although with no Special Attack investment the damage isn't enough to 2HKO. Overheat is another good choice for the last slot. It can be used when you're low on health and can't afford the recoil from Flare Blitz, when you've been Intimidated, or when you want to hit high-Defense Pokemon, such as Steelix, Cloyster, and Gligar, convincingly hard.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Arcanine's sweeping prowess is certainly his most appealing attribute, it would be foolish to underestimate his bulk and defensive capabilities. With decent HP and Defense stats and an excellent ability in Intimidate, Arcanine has all the necessary tools to shut down many of the powerful physical attackers in the tier. Even though Arcanine can take on a variety of different physical attackers, keep in mind that the UU environment is not especially friendly to physically defensive Fire-types due to the widespread use of Stealth Rock and the popularity of Water-, Rock-, and Ground-type physical attackers, such as Azumarill, Rhyperior, and Donphan, respectively.
Will-O-Wisp is the crux of this set, instantly crippling any physical sweeper who isn't a Fire-type or has the ability Guts. It is an especially effective move on Arcanine when you consider that some of the aforementioned physical attackers are among the most popular switch-ins to Arcanine. Thus, Arcanine will often catch Pokemon such as Kabutops, Feraligatr, and Rhyperior looking to switch in and wreak havoc off guard, instantly rendering them nearly useless for the remainder of the match. Morning Sun is another necessity, since Arcanine's HP will frequently need to be replenished after taking entry hazard damage and tanking attacks. Flare Blitz and ExtremeSpeed are the only two attacks Arcanine really needs, as Flare Blitz provides a reliable and powerful STAB attack that will still hurt many frail sweepers, while ExtremeSpeed serves as a useful priority move that can pick off faster foes.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Arcanine can be a valuable asset to any team that requires an effective shuffler. His real selling point is his ability, Intimidate, which drops the opponent's Attack by one stage and helps your team deal with physical sweepers much more easily. Arcanine can force the opponent to reveal team members by utilizing Roar on Pokemon like Chansey, Registeel, Steelix, and Scyther as they switch out in fear of his STAB Fire-type moves, expelling the switch-in and revealing the opponent's best answer for Arcanine in general. This is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of entry hazards on the field, which chip away at the opponent's health slowly and wear them down for the sweepers on your team. Since Flare Blitz receives STAB and has 120 Base Power, it can scare away many foes, and Arcanine will find himself juggling the opponent's team the entire match if they don't pack enough strong Water-, Rock-, or Ground-type moves.
Rest is essential to the set because it allows Arcanine to heal off the damage after taking previous blows from the opponent. The key move in this set is Sleep Talk, which can surprise an opponent because it is usually the last thing they will find on an Arcanine. Sleep Talk can randomly fire off Flare Blitz or Roar, which can make the opponent think twice before they switch in their Arcanine counter. When selected by Sleep Talk, Roar also loses its negative priority, and thus can be used to phaze out an opposing Pokemon before it even has a chance to move. This 'sleep shuffling' strategy can be particularly effective against more defensive teams, which often don't have many Pokemon who can outspeed Arcanine. The EVs are straightforward: their main purpose is to maximize Arcanine's ability to take physical hits. The remaining 4 Speed EVs can be helpful to outspeed 0 Speed Drapion and other base 95s, such as Uxie.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Since most Arcanine sets take advantage of the doggie's excellent base 110 Attack stat, his perfectly usable base 100 Special Attack stat is often neglected. While it is true that Arcanine is better off utilizing a physical set most of the time, a special set is perfectly viable and can pose as a major offensive threat. Although other special Fire-type sweepers like Houndoom and Moltres somewhat outclass Arcanine in this role, Arcanine offers much better bulk and reliable recovery over the former and better abilities, a lesser weakness to Stealth Rock, and superior Speed over the latter.
Fire Blast is Arcanine's STAB attack of choice for this set; his lower Special Attack means that the high Base Power of Fire Blast is preferred over the reliability of Flamethrower. In the same vein, a Modest nature is listed as the main option because Arcanine could really use the power boost. The Hidden Power of choice provides excellent coverage alongside Arcanine's STAB move, hitting bulky Water-types super effectively. Hidden Power Grass gives Arcanine a way to OHKO Rhyperior and deal heavy damage to other Rock-types, whereas Hidden Power Electric covers Qwilfish and Moltres. Morning Sun is another necessity for this set, since entry hazards and Life Orb recoil are a pain to deal with without a source of reliable recovery. The last slot is mostly filler, but Dragon Pulse does have some uses, hitting Altaria super effectively and providing a solid attack that garners neutral coverage against Fire-types like Houndoom and opposing Arcanine who would otherwise easily wall or set up on this set. Alternatively, Overheat can be used for a burst of immediate power that boasts better accuracy than Fire Blast; just keep in mind that Arcanine will almost always have to switch out after using it.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Arcanine doesn't have too many options other than the ones already listed or mentioned. Arcanine can be made into a Sunny Day sweeper, which allows him to abuse SolarBeam and Morning Sun to their fullest while gaining a buffer against Water-type attacks. However, this job is usually better left to the more powerful and bulkier Moltres. Howl is Arcanine's only method of boosting his Attack and can be used along with three attacks in order to sweep more easily. However, Howl is not particularly effective because Arcanine will suffer from a lack of reliable recovery while still not being powerful enough to muscle through threats like Rhyperior and Slowbro. Crunch can be squeezed into the physical sweeper sets to provide super effective coverage on Uxie and Mesprit, while also hitting Slowbro and Slowking harder than Thunder Fang would. Iron Tail hits Rhyperior and Regirock harder than any move bar Hidden Power Grass, but it is inaccurate. Overall, the aforementioned two attacks provide worse coverage than the recommended options, so they generally shouldn't be used. Finally, Agility could help Arcanine sweep against faster threats, but his already good Speed isn't usually what is stopping him from sweeping in the first place, especially with his access to ExtremeSpeed.
Checks and Counters
Arcanine's biggest counters are bulky Water-types, packing a resistance to Arcanine's STAB Fire attacks and generally having the defenses to take neutral attacks without too much difficulty. The most common bulky Waters of UU, Slowbro and Milotic, have skewed defenses and may have trouble with super effective attacks hitting on their lower defensive stat. Milotic doesn't particularly enjoy Choice Band Thunder Fangs, and Slowbro can't withstand Choice Specs Hidden Power Grass. Blastoise has more even defenses and can take all the punishment Arcanine can deliver it. Azumarill has generally bulky stats as well, even though they aren't too heavily invested in normally, but it poses a much more direct threat to Arcanine with a super effective Aqua Jet off its sky high Attack.
The Rock/Water types such as Kabutops and Omastar enjoy a 4x resistance to Fire as well resisting ExtremeSpeed, and their naturally high Defense stats mean that Thunder Fang isn't an immediate problem. However, they have to be very wary of being KOed by a 4x super effective Hidden Power Grass. Regirock is practically a full stop to any Arcanine set, especially in sandstorm, as it can threaten back with big damage from Stone Edge. Rhyperior walls any set without Hidden Power Grass and OHKOes with Earthquake.
Moltres counters the lead set particularly well if it can switch in on anything but a Toxic. It can Roost off Flare Blitz damage and quickly deplete ExtremeSpeed's limited PP with its Pressure ability. However, it has to be cautious of switching into other Arcanine sets as they can threaten it with Thunder Fang, and Arcanine has a naturally higher Speed stat than Moltres and so the fiery bird will be unable to use Roost and remove its Electric weakness. Stealth Rock will also halve Moltres' health every time it comes into play. A physically defensive Altaria functions similarly to Moltres, but won't mind Toxic as much because of its Natural Cure ability. Chances are it can't do too much to Arcanine in return, though, but can use the free turns as a valuable opportunity to support the rest of the team.
Hariyama and Miltank have high defensive stats and aren't weak to any of Arcanine's moves, and by running Thick Fat, obtain a useful resistance to Fire. Miltank has Earthquake to scare Arcanine out with, whereas Hariyama wields a wide array of Fighting moves off its own high Attack stat. Porygon2 makes for an interesting counter, since both of Arcanine's abilities can be used against it. It can cripple sweeper sets with paralysis, while Recover off the damage it takes as it slowly chips away at Arcanine's health with Thunderbolt.