Arcanine Discussion Thread

Arcanine in UU

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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
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?
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!


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On the offensive set, I actually prefer Flare Blitz / ExtremeSpeed / Close Combat / Crunch. Crunch gets hits on Chandelure, Victini, Slowbro/king, and lets you damage Mew/Azelf without the recoil from Flare Blitz. Wild Charge hits... Milotic? Morning Sun over Crunch if you prefer longevity, but I honestly never use it because if I'm using Arcanine I'm trying to kill shit as fast as possible.

Arcanine is still really fucking cool (its among my favorite mons tbh) even though its kinda hard to justify using it over the much more powerful Darmanitan / Victini. Close Combat and ExtremeSpeed are obviously its main selling points, and I think they're actually worth it sometimes (for example CC -> ES always 2HKOs Flygon and CC + CC 2HKOs non-defensive Swampert like 80% of the time with SR).

The defensive set has kind of fallen out my favor lately, imo, because the metagame has simply become too offensive for it. Things hit way too hard and fast for it to keep up--especially with that weakness to Stealth Rock.
The weakness to Stealth Rock is super annoying for both sets, though I think it particularly hurts the ability of the Defensive set to outperform other Defensive pivots. The offensive set mainly faces competition from other pokemon weak to SR so while the weakness is annoying and compounded further by LO recoil, it doesn't make it any worse off than Darmanitan or Victini.

I agree that Crunch is a great option for Arcanine and is less risky to use in case they try to sneak a Flygon in on a predicted Wild Charge. Wild Charge is decreasing in relevancy as Milotic has been overshadowed by the metagame, but it is not altogether useless. It hits Slowbro for slightly more damage and also can kill the (very) rare Azumarill.

I disagree however, with the idea that the metagame is too offensive for the defensive set, however. Whenever I put an Offensive Arcanine on my team I find myself switching it at some point to the Defensive set because I get greedy and want a solid but powerful pivot. The element of surprise is a huge boon to the set. It can play offensively for a little while, revenge killing and tricking the opponent into thinking you slapped a band on Arcanine, and then bam, you Toxic or Flare Blitz something that can't deal with the respective move.

I'd agree in saying that I find myself hardpressed to say Arcanine has the sweeping capacity of a Darmanitan, but I think it is a better early game wallbreaker. An undervalued strategy is Dual-Physical Fire types, as Arcanine is capable of breaking a lot of counters to typical fire types to the point where a late game clean up is more than viable.

Much more nicely done than my Slaking thread, I gladly admit, which is my own personal attempt to start a discussion thread.

Now that Hail is out, I think Arcanine usage will drop slightly. Even though it's resistant to Blizzard, it takes heavy damage from water-type moves from the essential bulky hail waters such as Slowbro or Blastoise. It's also weak to SR and vulnerable to all forms of hazards. In addition, LO+Hail+Hazards will cut your lifespan in three. Literally. If you attack in full hazards, you'll take 72% of your health from SR+3 layers of Spikes+2 layers of Tspikes+hail+LO Recoil. Good luck! You can't even use Morning Sun in Hail properly, so there goes your reliable 50% recovery that stands it out from the other UU fire-types. It really NEEDS the lefties recovery now, so I'd say Physical Wall has more utility; Intimidate is invaluable.

All's not gloom for Arcanine though; It's got great bulk and the capability to run both offensive and defensive sets unlike the other fires in the tier, and has a great move in Extremespeed that allows it to bypass speed tiers, though if you really want to use it as a revenge killer Entei is arguably better because of its higher base attack. Choice Band might not look too bad on it actually.

A few edits:
Nobody really runs 0 SpA Slowbro anymore, generally people use at least 16 SpA EVs which, is just enough for a guaranteed 2HKO, so maybe invest slightly into SpDef so that you can troll them right back. However this requires significant investment (>80 EVs) so you might just want to rely on teammates.

I'd say that Checking a Broad Array of Threats is more important than having a couple of hard counters, unless you are really weak to the things Arcanine counters, such as, you know, Heracross. Other than that, you can't counter the entire metagame with 6 Pokemon that well, so just try to make a very adaptable team that can check the entire metagame 2 times over if possible.


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Hail is so not a problem for Arcanine. You don't need to talk as if no one's ever played Hail before - it's been on the ladder for a month and hasn't affected Arcanine one bit. Arcanine is actually a great anti-Hail Pokemon with Flash Fire, strong Electric attacks for Water types, and Flare Blitz for everything else.

I don't think the Defensive set is a real bulky water check - it needs SR to be off field and critical hits need to never happen for it to win.
Yeah, I don't see how a bulky fire type beats a bulky water... Milotic can just outstall arcanine with rest-talk while taking minimal damage in return.
I'm not suggesting that Arcanine is a check to water types, just that Toxic is a very useful tool should it come down to a desperate situation. Milotic is almost a non-factor in this discussion, as not only is it barely seen in the current metagame, the Rest-Talk set is not what is primarily used. My point about Defensive Arcanine is that using Toxic on a predicted Slowbro, Blastoise, Swampert, or even standard Milotic switch in drastically reduces the bulk of those pokemon, making them far less of a defensive threat to you team. I'd argue that a Slowbro that has sustained Toxic is in far worse shape to wall than one who was struck by Wild Charge or Crunch, as 33% of that damage will disappear once Slowbro switches out. While the Toxic damage will disappear as well, the status alone makes it very difficult for any of the bulky waters to do their jobs for prolonged periods of time, particularly with hazards on the field.

TLDR: I'm not saying Arcanine checks Bulky Waters, just that in dire circumstances it can be more effective in crippling them than the offensive set.


UU player and community member
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i liked the defensive set even when sand was still legal C: and i like it now although i strongly prefer will o wisp to toxic since it lets you do cool things like beat Band Flygon one on one if you're at 100% and you managed to intimidate him. you're also clearly beating weaker guys like Rhyperior if you manage not to miss and generally they stay in to use SR on you on the first turn if you lead with Arcanine. So if you're weak to say swampert/Rhyperior then having a defensive Arcanine is a cool way to burn them ~75% of the time (accounting for accuracy). of course you could use something random with HP Grass or Grass Gem Xatu hehe but its nice to have something that at least checks roughly 70% of all UU Physical attackers while being the tiers best straight up counter to a few of them (probably the best physical victini counter for instance).

On that same note I bet Bolt Strike Victini is going to partly eclipse Arcanine within a month or two because Bolt Strike>>>>>Wild Charge while already V-Create>>>>>Flare Blitz. The only thing Victini really lacks over Arcanine imo is Extremespeed but Victini can for instance outspeed and KO Timid Nidoking or Meloetta both of which outspeed and KO Arcanine while absorbing an Extremespeed, so the prority advantage isn't as decisive as you might think. Incidentally Victini's stats are almost totally superior only having slightly less attack which you generally can't tell because Jolly Scarf V-Create is going to be hitting as hard as LO Adamant Flare Blitz or actually slightly harder iirc.

what i'm saying defensive Arcanine=very cool if you keep in mind a large hazard weakness and offensive arcanine=before you use it look at Victini or Darm (which incidentally is stronger than Victini assuming equal sets).
I personally love Arcanine. I had it on my first UU team and used the support set on my trickroom team running a Iron ball. But that is a specific set so I'm not going to mention that here because it is mostly useless other then in specific situations. Instead I am going to use this post to show a few things that Arcanine should never EVER try staying in on.

1. Bulk Up shed Skin Scrafty.
This is my usual counter to any and all Arcanine's on my particular team, but even though this set is rare it does have the ability to walk all over Arcanine. Even a Close Combat will only be doing 75%-44% depending on EV investment and Shed Skin means it will shrug off whatever status you try. Intimidate can help this but even then it can just bulk up and get rid of that attack drop while raising its defenses. Even at +1 Def Arcanine can do little to nothing to this set.

Good news is that these are not terribly common so you shouldn't have to worry. But be wary when staying in on scrafty or it will just boost up on you with ease.

2. Darmanian
OK so it would seem pretty evident that staying in on this is a terrible idea, even if you resist its main stab, and you've intimidated it, it is still going to hit you like a truck. The Defensive sets can stand a hit but they really can't do anything to Darmanian who doesn't care about toxic (He doesn't take hits anyhow) and isn't affected by Will-o-Wisp. So it may seem evident to not do this but I would just like to say it for everyone because I have seen it happen far to many times in the past.

3. I will edit this later for more threats. Thanks for your patience.
Milotic rare? What? It's on almost 7% of teams, that's far from "rare". It really doesn't matter what the set is, bulky arcanine will ALWAYS lose to any bulky water. It cannot outstall them due to having a shitty recovery move. And now because of hail and rain, morning sun is going to become almost nonviable. Rest-talk milotic counters arcanine(CB max attack wild charge does 48% MAX to a sleeping milotic, but that combination is almost nonexistent, anyway), it doesn't matter if it isn't used that much.


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lol you wanna get your facts straight before you start talking next time?

clearly you never played DPP UU. the second set would beat recover milotic pretty much every single time. specially defensive toxic arcanine still beats non-rest bulky waters in BW--and because rest fucking blows this gen, non-rest bulky waters are even more common.

you talk about morning sun being unviable and then go on and imply that rest-talk is any better??? at least morning sun is reliable in all non-weather matches. rest-talk on the other hand, sucks in almost every situation.
Not really. Rest-talk can be pulled off pretty well by milotic due to her ability. I've used the set enough to know how good it is and how to execute it. I don't think you should be knocking off rest-talk milotic so easily. Morning sun is crap were all weather conditions in the tier play against it. Don't get me wrong that defensive set used to be my favorite early bw and dpp, but it isn't what it used to be. It doesn't matter whether or not i played dpp uu(seriously were did that come from?), considering anyone can see that milotic beats arcanine. That arcanine set is outstalled by rest-talk milotic, who(with that set) beats arcanine in almost every situation. Seriously rest-talk works really well on pokemon like milotic and snorlax. If you play stall, you know how good its implications are. You also have to take into account that if there's Sr on the field and arcanine switches in, it loses. The difference between rest-talk and morning sun is one doesn't depend on weather. And seriously, milotic can just run refresh and fuck over that lousy set.


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lol you have got to be kidding me... here, let me break this down like a fraction for you:

your initial point was that arcanine can never beat a bulky water, which is plainly false as i--and countless other people who played dpp uu--can attest to.

you latest post not only says that rest-talk is a viable strategy in a metagame where giving a single free turn to your opponent can cost you the game, but also this:

"And seriously, milotic can just run refresh and fuck over that lousy set."

so you're suggesting the use of refresh and calling morning sun arcanine a lousy set in the same sentence... do you see the problem here?

this doesn't even begin to touch upon the fact that milotic is completely and utterly unseen in higher level uu play. there's a reason for that: it gives away way too much momentum in exchange for something that slowbro/slowing (bulky waters that don't give momentum away as easily because they don't need to burn turns healing themselves) can also do.

let me put it to you this way: if you're facing a rest milotic, once you force it to rest, its dead. in a metagame this offensive, staying in for three turns in a row is nigh-impossible (and if it happens, its because either 1. your opponent sucks really bad, or 2. you got really really really lucky with sleep talk).

i'm not really sure i can make my arguments clearer at this point, and i'm not interested in shitting up this thread any further--so this well be the last post on the subject, savvy?


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do you hear a sizzle because i think kokoloko is frying up Milotic - you should have said something on the uu viability rankings when i was saying milotic was only mediocre :C

Here's another arcanine set that should be used more imo: sunnybeam! Its standard only in the sense that it has an onsite analysis pretty much nobody from what i see on the ladder uses him ever. Considering hail is around and at this point it is probably going to be legal (a mistake imo) Sunny Day should be even more effective - snover already sucks so your opponent may end up sacking him early game if you don't have an obvious weather changer (e.g. Kingdra because they run weather a lot). Just use sunny day after he dies and bam no more walrien to worry about, no more free 100% accurate blizzards and you probably just lured out a Blastoise who is in a sticky situation.

Even if you're not hail weak you still can lure and then beat every single bulky water in the tier, no questions asked which clears the way for cleaner sweep from anything from Darm to Flygon to Sharpedo. I'm not sure if the on site ev spread is still optimal but i think this set relies on its move more than its evs and sunny day/fire blast/solar beam/morning sun is looking fine. honestly one of the only reasons i wouldn't use this set (in theory btw i never even tried out sunny day arcanine) is because victini can run a similar set with more speed and power (93% accurate blue flare>85% accurate fire blast) and bulk (not counting intimidate) but um I rather be abusing the (likely broken) Bolt Strike Victini now.

Oh and notebolo scarfty=/=arcanine counter since it gets 2hko by cc or fb and defensive sets can just phaze him out. Physically defensive Arcanine=best darm counter except slowbro because it gets 2hkod only by lo eq - and thats if hazards are up- while arcanine can just toxic stall or phaze or fight back since it will have plenty of hp to spare if it comes in on anything other than a lo attack.

edit: incidentally i just read the op again and i still think sunnybeamer arcanine still works because it can actually beat most pokemon on a hail team one on one. i also think sunny day teams in general are viable but thats besides the point since sunny day arcanine does not have to be used in a sunny day team.
It's nice to see bulky Arcanine getting some love. He has the potential to be fatter than one would expect, even with a crappy recovery move.

As for talking about bulky waters, I'm kind of shocked that anyone would even mention Milotic in this regard, especially the rest-talk set. Crocune does this job better, with access to roar over the semi-okay dragon tail, knocking pokes that intend to set up a sub on such a set and boost to victory, and access to CM over... nothing? Hell, if we want to talk about bulky phazing sets that rely on dragon tail to phaze, I personally believe that eviolite shed skin Dragonair does a better job. But I digress, that was a stupid gimmick set I gave up on long ago anyway (albeit a fun one...)

Either way, great post OP, I've actually been forming a team for the suspect latter, and I think one of these sets could snuggle in an empty slot very easily.
I have to agree with kokoloko here about Milotic; the defensive set defeats SOME bulky waters, with the notable exceptions of offensive Suicune and Choice Band Swampert. All else can be stalled out or simply smashed with coverage moves.

I wasn't saying that Hail puts a full stop to Arcanine, just that it's less useful in it, and I was complaining about the fragility of the offensive set (note the ridiculous hazards damage, a relatively likely scenario versus Hail Stall teams). It's not viable running a set like that in the current meta, given that superior offensive fire-types exist.

Mixed defensive sees a lot of utility in Hail to sponge Blizzards and provide some threatening coverage.

Milotic gets reliable recovery. Crocune doesn't in Gen 5 Metagame because rest mechanics are now lolfail. That's the difference; also, Milotic is very useful overall for coming in and sponging ridiculously powerful special attacks, unlike Crocune who will be running max def Bold to offsest the weaker stat.
Milotic gets reliable recovery. Crocune doesn't in Gen 5 Metagame because rest mechanics are now lolfail. That's the difference; also, Milotic is very useful overall for coming in and sponging ridiculously powerful special attacks, unlike Crocune who will be running max def Bold to offsest the weaker stat.
Fair enough :). I wasn't exactly advocating Crocune use in the current meta, just bringing up that Crocune has some other options that make it more appealing over rest-talk Milotic, to me at least. Not that I've run either for quite some time.

I'm just gonna go back to lurking then. :)
Since I learned about Defensive Arcanine I've been in love with the concept, it seems exactly the kind of pokemon I'd love in my side, but that pesky Rock Stealth weakness make it too hard to use.

In the offensive sets I'd rather run Crunch than Wild Charge, that electric attack often ends up being underwhelming to me -even when super effective, but it's even worse for neutral damage-, which Crunch's ocassional stat drop has come handy more than once. It's also cool to have perfect neutral coverage with Crunch/Close Combat. Too bad the set is kind of outclassed by other pokes...
Started using Defensive Arcanine these days, and it performed perfectly. It completely stalls Victini who was thought extremely powerful. Will-O-Wisp cripples other physical attackers such as Flygon and Moxie Hera. Really amazing.
Ive been using the Defensive set recently on my stall team, and I really dont think the Stealth Rock weakess is as huge as it may seem. Even after taking 25% health and an attack (lets say Scarf Heracross' Close Combat), it still forces the switch and heals off the damage with Morning Sun. The point Im trying to make is that Arcanine is still a solid check to a lot of physical threats in UU even with the SR weakness.

I actually prefer to run Roar over ExtremeSpeed, as it easily phazes out bulky sweepers like BU Scrafty while also gaining momentum and racking up residual damage on the Arcanine switch (as Arcanine forces switches easily).

Arcanine is pretty awesome.

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