Arcanine in UU Awesome image shamelessly plucked from Icepick's wonderful art thread: http://www.smogon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58255&highlight=arcanine Introduction Currently the most used Physically Based Fire type in the tier (second overall to Chandelure, that bitch), Arcanine has an incredible influence over the tier. To some, its position as the number one physical fire type in the tier may seem odd. After all, it doesn't have a signature, game-breaking attack like V-Create ala Victini or an astounding 140 base Attack paired with an incredible offensive ability like Darmanitan. True, Arcanine's 110 Base Attack slightly outmatches Victini's Base 100, but the 100/100/100 Defenses paired alongside a 100 base speed and V-Create should more than make Victini a more omnipresent force than Arcanine. And yet it is not, nor is it even close. Arcanine is the #7 most used pokemon in the tier while Victini doesn't even crack the top 20. While usage statistics do not necessarily reflect a pokemon's potential in the tier, it is still interesting to analyze what makes this pooch such a good fit for the tier. Broad Questions to Consider For Discussion What makes Arcanine so relevant to the tier? Which Arcanine set is the most relevant in the current environment (Stage 10)? What is better, checking a broader amount of threats or hard countering a few important ones? Relevant Sets Wall Breaker @ Life Orb Trait: Intimidate / Flash Fire Nature: Adamant EVs: 72 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 176 Spe - Flare Blitz - ExtremeSpeed - Wild Charge / Crunch - Close Combat / Morning Sun The more used of the two currently relevant Arcanine sets, this version of Arcanine can rip huge holes in your opponents team provided you can predict well. With proper support, Wild Charge can 2HKO most Bulky Waters that threaten other fire types (with the obvious exception of Swampert who walls this set completely). Additionally, the set can act as a makeshift lure for Thick Fat Snorlax who sometimes attempt to come in on Flare Blitz, only to be KO'd or damn near close to it by a Close Combat. Beyond this, Extremespeed can be an extremely useful move for late game clean up, allowing Arcanine to take out an entire weakened team with this powerful priority. In terms of ability, I personally would opt for Intimidate, as even though taking advantage of Will-O-Wisp and Choice Scarf Chandelure boosts is great, the ability to cut the power of a Moxie Heracross / Krookodile / Scrafty in addition to other prominent sweepers is simply too much for me to pass up personally. Morning Sun can be utilized with this set for greater staying power, but generally I find the wall breaking ability provided by Close Combat to be better. This set in particular faces huge competition from the tier's other premier Physical Fire Types, Darmanitan and Victini. Both boast much better Choice Scarf sets than Arcanine; Choice Scarf often enables Victini to use V-Create twice in a row and the extra 5 base speed means that Victini will still outspeed positive base 85s (Nidoking, Heracross) even after one use, while Darmanitan's ability to scout early game with U-Turn and then return late game to sweep with any number of destructive moves is not to be underplayed. As previously mentioned, Victini has its incredible signature move, dual STAB (though arguably Psychic hurts more than it helps), and a better Electric move in the way of Fusion Bolt. While Darmanitan does not boast those same advantages, a monstrous 140 Base Attack paired with Sheer Force boosted Flare Blitz make him a force to reckon with and capable of doing far greater damage. That being said, neither of these pokemon have access to priority or Intimidate, leaving the playing field heavily competitive. Set Specific Questions to Consider: Is this particular Arcanine set any less relevant because there are other powerful physical fire types? Is this set best suited to the current metagame? Does the predictability of this set make it any less viable? Physical Wall @ Leftovers Trait: Intimidate Nature:Impish EVs: 248 HP / 248 Def / 8 SpD / 4 Spe - Flare Blitz - ExtremeSpeed / Hidden Power [Grass] - Morning Sun - Toxic / Will-O-Wisp This is by far my favorite of the two Arcanine sets relevant to today's metagame. Arcanine's bulk with this set is shocking, especially when you come in on a physical threat and cut its attack with Intimidate. This makes it, in my opinion, one of the premier counters to threats like Heracross, Darmanitan, Victini, Physical Virizion, Opposing Arcanine, and a multitude of other physical attackers. Since many people may not be familiar with the usefulness of this set, I'll demonstrate it through some calculations. 252 Atk/252 Spe Jolly Heracross EQ: 47% - 55.4% Fails to 2HKO. 252 Atk/252 Spe Jolly Heracross EQ After Intimidate: 31.3% - 37.1% Fails to 3HKO. 252 Atk Adamant Swampert EQ After Intimidate: 47%-55.4% Fails to 2HKO, Arcanine can win with Toxic Stall. 252 Atk Jolly Darmanitan Flare Blitz: 29.24% - 34.46% 252 Atk Jolly Darmanitan Flare Blitz After Intimidate: 19.58% -22.98% Fails to 5HKO 0 SpA Bold Slowbro/Milotic Scald: 49.09%-58.49% Fails to 2HKO on Average, Arcanine can win with Toxic Stall. This Arcanine set makes a great pivot for an otherwise offensive team. It checks many pokemon that these teams commonly have problems with, namely speedy physical revenge killers, and provides a decent offensive presence of its own. Additionally, this set can severely shorten the lifespans and even defeat bulky waters that hard counter the other Arcanine set and slow the momentum of an offensive team by crippling them with Toxic and stalling with Morning Sun. While this set does have its amazing advantages, it comes at the cost of losing to some pokemon that the other set doesn't have trouble with due to a lack of wall breaking ability. For example, while Snorlax is commonly killed by the other Arcanine set, it walks all over this set, Resting off any Toxic status and repeatedly Body Slamming / Whirlwinding. The loss of coverage is one of the biggest things to consider in placing this Arcanine on your team; while it hard counters threats that the other Arcanine set lightly checks, it does not check nearly the same amount or variety of threats. Set Specific Questions to Consider: Do the important threats this set counters make it better suited to the current metagame? Does this set require Rapid Spin support more or less than the offensive set? How important is a defensive pivot for an offensive, or any, team and is Arcanine a good fit for that role? Conclusion This is my first time leading a discussion thread. I really hope this post provides a basis for a discussion about Arcanine and its place in the tier. There may, of course, be other sets or variations on these sets that you feel are relevant to the tier, these are just the ones I have found to be the most useful in my personal experience. If you feel I missed anything that is relevant to the current metagame, please let me know. I intentionally left out the Sunny Day set because currently weather isn't that viable of a strategy in UU, especially with the reintroduction of hail which would cut short Arcanine's day in the sun. With all that in mind, please discuss!