Arceus Unleashed - The Brand New Uber Metagame

By firecape. Art by *Hen*.
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Sporting base 120 stats across the board plus a ton of moves to choose from, Arceus can do almost anything! Arceus has another quality that makes its already incredible versatility even more over-the-top: Multitype. With this ability, Arceus can become any single type in the game as long as it holds the corresponding plate! Because of this, Arceus is so multifaceted that it's essentially the equivalent of 17 Pokémon in one, all with a 100 Base Power special STAB. There are generally 3 different kinds of Arceus (Swords Dance, Calm Mind, and support), but note that there are many Arceus sets that don't fall into any of these three categories.

Arceus has only been released at level 100, meaning the only way to give Arceus EVs is through Vitamins, which cap at 100 EVs per stat. These EV restrictions are not programmed into Shoddy, so Arceus is currently banned. However, the beast will be usable in Shoddy 2, and is currently usable on the Pokémon Online battle simulator.

Pokémon That Are More Useful in the Arceus Metagame

In the Arceus metagame some Pokémon become more viable due to their ability to handle multiple Arceus sets; Skarmory is one of the most prominent examples of this. Skarmory has great typing in any tier, and although Skarmory is good in a metagame without Arceus, it usually has major competition for a teamslot with Forretress, and Forretress nearly always wins because of Rapid Spin. Now, Skarmory is a lot more useful because it can wall nearly all physical variants of Arceus thanks to Roost. The only way a physical Arceus set can take down Skarmory is if it includes Overheat in its moveset, which limits its coverage against other Pokémon. If a physical Arceus lacks Overheat, Skarmory can come in, set up Spikes, and Whirlwind Arceus away when it's done. Even though Skarmory aims to wall physical Pokémon, it is still better to EV it in Special Defense to allow it to take the powerful special Dragon-type attacks of Ubers better.

Ho-Oh is another example of a Pokémon who was extremely good pre-Arceus, but has become more useful with Arceus's introduction into the metagame. With its 106 HP and 154 Special Defense stats along with only 3 weaknesses, Ho-Oh has the ability to switch in and check nearly every Calm Mind Arceus set that does not carry Thunder or a super effective Judgment. This ability is amplified if Ho-Oh is provided with sun support, draining Thunder's accuracy down to 50% while essentially eliminating its Water-type weakness. Once in, Ho-Oh takes advantage of the fact that Calm Mind sets usually lack a way to boost Defense with powerful Brave Birds and Sacred Fires, the latter of which can burn Arceus, a deadly effect. A +1 neutral Judgment will never OHKO the standard Ho-Oh after Stealth Rock, meaning it may go down, but it will probably take Arceus with it.

Latias is more useful with Arceus on the loose because Calm Mind Arceus needs a critical hit to beat it, unless its STAB hits Latias for super effective damage. Against Arceus, Latias needs to have Thunder to come out on top, because if they both possess equal Calm Minds, all it takes is one untimely full paralysis to spell the end for Arceus because Dragon Pulse 3HKOes it. It is due to this 3HKO that Thunder is needed for Latias to take down Arceus. It may seem unreliable to rely on full paralysis, but it is nearly impossible to run out of Thunder PP without first paralyzing Arceus, even in the sun! Arceus fail to 3HKO a Latias with 154 HP investment with Ice Beam, meaning Latias has ample time to paralyze Arceus.

With its great set of resistances, Heatran can handle multiple Arceus sets. Any Arceus set that doesn't carry Fighting-, Ground-, or Water-type attacks will struggle to bring the lava-loving Pokémon down. Heatran can also Taunt Arceus to prevent it from boosting its stats or healing, and then proceed to whittle away at Arceus's health with Toxic or sun-boosted Flamethrowers. It can also phaze Arceus's Calm Mind boosts away with Roar. Heatran's 91/106/106 defenses are nothing to scoff at either, especially when complemented by its 130 base Special Attack.

Blissey can handle many Calm Mind sets; however, she must be careful not to run into an Arceus set with Substitute or Refresh, as both nullify Blissey's only way of hurting Arceus: Toxic. With Blissey's massive Special Defense and HP, Arceus needs +6 Special Attack to 2HKO the Egg Nurse, and even then Blissey will be able to stall out a poisoned Arceus by spamming Softboiled or Wish + Protect. However, Blissey loses to Steel-, Poison-, and Fighting-type Arceus sets; the former two are immune to Toxic, while the latter only needs 2 Calm Minds to 2HKO Blissey.

Garchomp is slightly better in a metagame with Arceus. Since Arceus has a limit of 100 EVs per stat, including Speed, Jolly Garchomp will always outspeed Arceus. This gives Garchomp a huge advantage, being able to use Choice Band to revenge nearly every Arceus set with powerful Dragon- and Ground-type attacks. Alternatively, most of the time Garchomp can take at least 1 attack from Arceus and set up a Swords Dance in its face, then proceed to obliterate it with a Life Orb Outrage.

The Main Sets

Calm Mind

Arceus's most commonly used set is undeniably Calm Mind. Every single Arceus type (bar Psychic) brings something unique to that type in the form of an extremely durable setup sweeper with reliable recovery. Each type also has a dependable 100 Base Power STAB in the form of Judgment, which changes its type alongside Arceus. Calm Mind sets also have the ability to use just one attack—Judgment normally—and simply use Recover to restore health alongside Substitute or Refresh in the last slot to block status. It is also worth noting that even with the EV restriction, Arceus can make 101 HP Substitutes. Recover is a staple on nearly every single Calm Mind set; although some types can successfully run Calm Mind + 3 attacks, it is usually better to run Recover to capitalize on Arceus's amazing natural bulk. The most common thing for these sets to run is 2 attacks, including Judgment for STAB and a second attack to cover important Pokémon that resist said STAB. For instance, Electric Arceus will commonly use a set composed of Calm Mind / Judgment / Ice Beam / Recover to obtain near perfect coverage. Finally, Iron Defense is sometimes used alongside Calm Mind to create a near unbreakable tank; for instance, Steel Arceus with Iron Defense can even set up on non-Roar Groudon!

Swords Dance

The second most used Arceus set is Swords Dance. With Swords Dance Arceus can use its bulk to obtain multiple boosts in a short period of time and raise its Attack to astronomical levels, but this comes with a catch. Arceus has no physical form of Judgment, and its physical movepool is rather lackluster, meaning only a few types can successfully run a Swords Dance set. Swords Dance also doesn't increase any of Arceus's defensive stats, meaning it is easier to strike down with powerful attacks. For this reason some Swords Dance sets opt to use Cosmic Power alongside Recover to attempt a slow and steady set-up, eventually resulting in an unstoppable offensive juggernaut.


The final type of set Arceus can make use of is support. Arceus has an excellent support movepool and the stats to back it up. It can make use of sets that take advantage of Dual Screens, phazing, Stealth Rock, and walling—the list goes on. While using these moves, it can boost its defense stats to near-unbreakable levels with Cosmic Power and keep itself healthy with Recover. It is worth noting that sets such as "bulky Water Arceus" that can be duplicated by others (in this case, Sleep Talk Kyogre) are generally a bad idea, as you can only use one Arceus on your team, and it's important the set you pick uses Arceus to its full potential.

The Best of the Best

This section will talk about a few types and why they are considered to be "the best of the best". When reading this, please note that this section is based off opinion, and the type you think is the best may not be here.

Dark – Dark may seem inferior to the other types here, as it can only do one thing; however, it does it very well. Dark Arceus is arguably the best mono-attacking Calm Mind Arceus set. The bonus of running only one attack is that Arceus can now run either Substitute or Refresh to eliminate troublesome status. Its STAB has excellent coverage in the Uber tier, only resisted by two Ubers in total, neither of which can do much once Arceus has a Calm Mind or two under its belt. Over Ghost, Dark Arceus has the advantage of nothing being immune to its STAB. To make the deal even sweeter, Arceus is immune to Wobbuffet's Mirror Coat, meaning it isn't easily shut down if Wobbuffet switches in before it gets too many Calm Minds.

Electric – At first glance Electric may seem to be just another type, but if one takes a closer look, they will find Electric is a cut above the rest, as it boasts one of the best Calm Mind sets in comparison to other Arceus types. This is due to the fact Electric Arceus achieves near perfect type coverage with its STAB and Ice Beam, only resisted by Magnezone, Shedinja, and Lanturn, none of which can do significant damage to Electric Arceus. Electric typing also provides Arceus with only one weakness, Ground, and the only Ground-types seen in Ubers are hit for super effective damage from Ice Beam. Lastly, Electric Arceus is one of the few Calm Mind Arceus sets that can beat Ho-Oh without taking a significant beating.

Fighting – Fighting Arceus is great because it too receives near perfect neutral coverage with just two attacks; however, unlike Electric, it can also run a Swords Dance set that has perfect coverage. For its Calm Mind set, it usually runs Dark Pulse and Judgment as the main attacks, as Dark Pulse's flinch chance is more valuable then Shadow Ball's Special Defense drop. For Swords Dance sets it uses Shadow Claw and Brick Break, a combination which hits many Ubers for super effective damage. In addition to its coverage, Fighting is also an amazing defensive type. A resistance to Stealth Rock, coupled with only two weaknesses to types that are rarely used (Flying and Psychic), as well as handy resistances to Rock, Bug, and Dark.

Ghost – Ghost Arceus has a lot of valuable perks over the other types. Ghost typing grants Arceus useful immunities to Normal- and Fighting-type attacks, as well as the ability to block Rapid Spin, which makes it easy to fit on offensive and stall teams alike. Ghost Arceus attains perfect coverage in two moves, Shadow Force and Brick Break or Judgment and Focus Blast, making it quite a potent Swords Dance or Calm Mind sweeper. Ghost Arceus is also a capable lead; only Darkrai, Kyogre, and Tyranitar leads can defeat it. Furthermore, Ghost Arceus is very adept defensively and is an excellent addition to stall teams. Although Giratina is bulkier, Ghost Arceus boasts Recover and lacks Giratina's Dragon and Ice weaknesses.

Normal – Normal Arceus is extremely deadly if you are unprepared for it, its most dangerous set being Swords Dance. With Swords Dance, Arceus can unleash hell upon the opponent's team with its powerful STAB ExtremeSpeed, coming off a healthy 120 Attack stat. Normal Arceus also has the ability to choose its item, meaning it can hold Leftovers for recovery, a Life Orb for raw power, or even something like Light Clay if it wants to run a Dual Screen set! It can also hold a Choice Band to make a decent revenge killer, with ExtremeSpeed tearing through weakened teams. Normal Arceus is the most versatile of all the types due to its sheer unpredictability.

Steel – Steel Arceus is hands down one of the best types. It boasts 11 resistances, including a coveted Dragon-type resistance, with only 3 weaknesses. Most other Steel-types possess one problem or another—not enough Special Defense, no recovery, weak attacks—but Arceus has none of these problems and thus makes a great addition to any team. Steel Arceus is most adept at making use of Calm Mind sets, it often makes use only one attack (usually Judgment) with Roar over a coverage move so it can beat Pokémon like Latias who attempt a Calm Mind war. Swords Dance is another option for Steel Arceus; with Iron Head for a reliable STAB, it can use Swords Dance in conjunction with Cosmic Power and Recover to set up on almost everything safely. Finally, Steel Arceus can make use of a support set, such as dual screens or a tankish set, due to its great bulk and ability to switch into many different attacks.

Sample Team

After reading this you are hopefully interested in the Arceus metagame, so a sample team is provided below:

Metagross @ Lum Berry
Clear Body
252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Stealth Rock
- Meteor Mash
- Bullet Punch
- Explosion

Metagross aims to help the team start on the right foot. It has the ability to limit Deoxys-S to one layer of entry hazards with Meteor Mash + Bullet Punch, which also lets it beat Darkrai thanks to its Lum Berry. It can also set down Stealth Rock, which aid this team's sweepers and phazers alike. Explosion allows Metagross to strike huge damage to any nearly any Pokémon caught in its way. When using this team, it is better to not Explode Metagross early in the game, as it can double as a Dragon resist later on.

Skarmory @ Leftovers
Keen Eye
252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Spe
Careful Nature (+SpD, -SpA)
- Spikes
- Brave Bird
- Roost
- Whirlwind

Skarmory acts as this team's check to most physical Arceus sets, and also sets up Spikes, which are very useful in Ubers. Roost allows Skarmory to set up on a wide variety of things and Roost away any damage taken later. Whirlwind allows Skarmory to phaze out Pokémon that have obtained a boost or two, while making the opponent's Pokémon take damage through entry hazards. Brave Bird may seem odd on a defensive Pokémon, but it's a 120 Base Power STAB with few resistances. Skarmory also serves as an invaluable Steel-type for this team, taking powerful Dragon-type attacks.

Kyogre @ Choice Specs
216 HP / 252 SpA / 40 Spe
Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Water Spout
- Surf
- Thunder
- Ice Beam

Choice Specs Kyogre is a valuable addition to this team as an extremely powerful hitter that is also able to check quite a few Pokémon. Kyogre gives stall teams a run for their money, 2HKOing even Blissey. Water Spout tears through teams without a proper Kyogre counter. Surf is there for when Kyogre is at lower health and Water Spout is no longer as powerful. Thunder and Ice Beam round off Kyogre's coverage, hitting Water- and Dragon-types, respectively. Kyogre's bulk should not be underestimated, either, as it will very rarely die in one hit, and can check Pokemon such as Rock Polish Groudon. Kyogre also serves as a valuable Ho-Oh check, canceling out the sun and outspeeding the standard Ho-Oh set.

Latias @ Soul Dew
160 HP / 96 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Calm Mind
- Dragon Pulse
- Thunder
- Recover

Latias is very useful for checking many different Calm Mind Arceus sets, as well as the ever-threatening Kyogre. Calm Mind is crucial on this Latias, as it allows her to boost alongside the aforementioned threats to avoid being squashed by their boosted attacks. Dragon Pulse is there for STAB and taking out other Dragon-type Pokémon. Thunder hits the Steel-types that resist Dragon, and sends Kyogre to a watery grave. Maximum Speed is very useful as it allows Latias to at least speed tie with opposing Latias and Latios, which can be game-breaking. Latias also serves as a great check to most rain-based teams (Kingdra needs to lock itself into Outrage to kill it).

Arceus @ Spooky Plate
100 HP / 100 Def / 100 SpA / 100 SpD / 100 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Calm Mind
- Judgment
- Thunder
- Recover

Arceus's purpose on this team is two-fold. It acts as a valuable spin blocker so Skarmory and Metagross's turns spent setting up hazards do not go to waste, but it also serves as a threatening setup sweeper. With Ghost-type Judgment, the many Psychic-types of Ubers are sent running for cover, with Thunder hitting the types that resist Ghost for neutral damage. Calm Mind and Recover make Arceus a nearly unbreakable tank as it sets up. A +Speed nature is crucial on this Arceus (as it is with all Arceus sets bar Normal) to allow it to outspeed max +Speed base 90s.

Garchomp @ Choice Scarf
Sand Veil
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Outrage
- Earthquake
- Dragon Claw
- Stone Edge

Garchomp gives this team a great revenge killer, as well as an immunity to Thunder and its pesky 30% paralysis chance. Outrage is used for power, and Garchomp can easily clean up with it once the opponent has been weakened. It may seem odd to use Dragon Claw on a set with Outrage, but it's necessary if Garchomp doesn't want (or need) to lock itself into a move. Dragon Claw lets Garchomp eliminate things like Palkia and Rayquaza with ease. Earthquake compliments Garchomp's Dragon attacks by hitting the Steel-types that resist it (bar Skarmory and Bronzong) for super effective damage. Stone Edge rounds off the set by shooting down Ho-Oh.

Only use this team if you are really at a loss for team building, and even then, the best way to learn about a metagame is to build your own team and try out new things for yourself! It is also important to note that just because you can use Arceus, doesn't mean every team needs it to be successful. For example, Jibaku's well known "Vulcan Fury" team (which can be viewed in the Rate My Team archive) functions exceptionally well in the Arceus metagame.


As of right now, Arceus's effects on the metagame are widespread. It's like adding 16.5 (Psychic Arceus is awful, so let's just call it half of a Pokemon) Pokémon to a metagame that only had 24 to begin with! There is also the interesting subject of "what will happen when an Arceus with no EV limit is released?". While we obviously can't know for sure, there will most likely be a huge metagame shift, and the Ubers metagame will become largely centralized on Arceus.

After reading this article, if you still need more help, don't worry—there are resources available to everyone. There is an Ubers Simple Question Simple Answer thread where most, if not all, of your questions can be answered! Finally, it is important to note that because of Species Clause, you can only use one Arceus per team, so it is of the upmost importance that you don't waste it on a gimmicky set.

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