Enlightenment: Working Out Arceus Formes from Team Preview

By shrang. Art by Magistrum.
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Collectively, Arceus is probably the biggest influence on the Ubers metagame. The fact that He can potentially be one of 17 different types is a concept that unnerves some new players to the tier. One important thing to remember when you see Arceus in Team Preview is that it does not show His forme. This article will discuss the various Arceus formes and what kind of teams they are most often used on. While the methods used will not always work, this article will attempt to teach you how to make educated guesses about potential Arceus formes that you will encounter on opposing teams.

Common Arceus Formes That Fit On Most Teams

Extreme Killer

Normal Arceus @ Silk Scarf
EVs: 240 HP / 252 Atk / 16 Spe
Nature: Adamant
- Swords Dance
- ExtremeSpeed
- Shadow Claw
- Earthquake

Extreme Killer Arceus is the most common Arceus variant, and for good reason. Its bulk and power allow it to pull off sweeps and revenge kill frail, dangerous threats, meaning it can function well on pretty much every team. When you see an unknown Arceus on Team Preview, this is a Pokemon you should NEVER rule out. You do not want to sacrifice anything like your Skarmory or Giratina before you can rule out the presence of this beast.

Ghost Arceus

Ghost Arceus @ Spooky Plate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Nature: Timid
- Calm Mind
- Judgment
- Focus Blast / Will-O-Wisp
- Recover

Ghost Arceus is another one of those Arceus formes that can fit pretty much everywhere, especially if you see hazards present on the opposing team and they are lacking other Ghost-types. What makes Calm Mind Ghost Arceus so threatening is its relative lack of exploitable weaknesses. Other variants of Ghost Arceus include the Swords Dance variant, as well as support Ghost Arceus, but neither of these are as dangerous as Calm Mind.

So, Extreme Killer and Ghost Arceus are the Arceus formes most generally seen. However, there are Arceus formes that fit better with certain teams than others. These mostly depend on the following factors, which mainly comprises of what the rest of the opponent's team is like, as well as any weather conditions that your opponent has brought. This next section is also a way for any prospective team builders to learn what Arceus formes fit well in what teams. The following section will show the common Arceus formes used in each team style.

Teamstyle-specific Arceus formes

Rain Offense

Example team: Kyogre / Kabutops / Giratina-O / Arceus-* / Genesect / Ferrothorn

In rain offense, the Arceus forme should either synergize well with the team, take on problem Pokemon, or just be an additional sweeper. As Kyogre is an integral part of rain teams, Pokemon that can take on its weaknesses make good team members. Ground Arceus and Steel Arceus are examples of such Pokemon. Ground Arceus (most common variant being Swords Dance) provides a handy Electric immunity, as well as being a huge pain to most sun teams as they generally lack the tools to deal with it. Steel Arceus (most common variant being Calm Mind) does well against Latias and gains a Fire neutrality in the rain. Another forme that works well on rain is Fighting Arceus (Calm Mind), as it takes down Dialga and Ferrothorn that trouble rain teams a lot. Other formes that work well include Water Arceus (double STAB-boosted Water attacks), Dark Arceus (counters Latias), and Electric Arceus (accurate Thunder). Do not forget the ever-looming threat of Extreme Killer and Ghost Arceus.

One important thing to note, of course, is the rest of the team. Ground Arceus fits well onto the team above (of course, I made it so), but if it already has a Ground-type on it (such as Gliscor or Landorus-T), then the chances of having Ground Arceus on that team falls significantly. Conversely, if Giratina-O is missing on that team, then Ghost Arceus is a likely replacement for spinblocking.

Likely Arceus formes: Extreme Killer, Ghost, Ground, Steel, Fighting, Water, Dark, Electric

Other less likely formes which could potentially benefit: Bug (Fire neutrality, beats Latias), Grass (Checks Kyogre, but not a good offensive forme)

Rain Balance

Example: Kyogre / Ferrothorn / Dialga / Arceus-* / Palkia / Terrakion

Using the same approach as above, we should be able to deduce that the Arceus forme used in the above team is very likely to be Ghost Arceus, since there are several entry hazard users on the team. The other formes most likely are Extreme Killer (used to glue the team together against fast threats as well as mop up late-game). In terms of synergy, Ground Arceus is again excellent on a team like this, as well as Flying or Grass Arceus, as something this team needs is a sturdy Ground resist. Steel Arceus is possible, but with so many Ground weaknesses and the presence of Ferrothorn already on the team, Steel isn't as necessary. Fighting Arceus is again an excellent choice for slapping away Ferrothorn and Dialga, although since Terrakion is already there, another Fighting-type is less likely. Again, Water and Electric Arceus can be used to take advantage of rain, but these are also less likely.

Likely Arceus formes: Ghost, Extreme Killer, Ground, Steel, Fighting, Flying, Grass, Dark

Other less likely formes which could potentially benefit: Water, Electric

Rain Stall

Example: Kyogre / Ferrothorn / Tentacruel / Giratina-O / Arceus-* / Latias

All the standard Arceus formes for rain teams could potentially go here. I would like to point out a couple of interesting ones that could potentially fit on rain stall, though. One variant is Wallceus (physically defensive Normal Arceus). It can take most physical attacks and burn the attacker, all the while using moves like Perish Song to stop last-Pokemon boosters. Another forme that is similar in nature is support Fighting Arceus. Since Darkrai is troublesome for many stall teams, Fighting Arceus provides a very good check to it, as well as being a strong physical wall against threats such as Rayquaza and Extreme Killer Arceus. Since there is a Giratina-O on the team already, Ghost Arceus is less likely, but still possible due to the presence of double Ghost combinations. Extreme Killer is still possible for late-game cleanups when everything has taken a mountain of hazard damage. Ground Arceus shares good synergy with rain stall teams.

Likely Arceus formes: Wallceus, support Fighting, Ghost, Extreme Killer, Ground

Other less likely formes which could potentially benefit: Dark (breaking other stall teams), Psychic (Mewtwo check)

Sun Offense

Example: Groudon / Espeon / Ho-Oh / Kyurem-W / Genesect / Arceus-*

The most likely forme is Extreme Killer, as this team is pretty much all about keeping as much momentum as possible. One thing to note is that due to the presence of sun, the rare Overheat Extreme Killer is a possibility, as it fries Skarmory which normally walls the Extreme Killer totally. Ghost Arceus is also a big candidate. Other rarer formes may include Rock Arceus (to guard against Fire-types), bulky SubSD Dragon Arceus (my own set so far, mainly to deal with Kyogre), as well as Fire Arceus (to take advantage of sun) and Electric Arceus (strong against rain).

Likely Arceus formes: Extreme Killer, Ghost

Other less likely formes which could potentially benefit: Rock, Dragon, Fire, Electric

Sun Balance

Example: Groudon / Xatu / Genesect / Arceus-* / Ho-Oh / Zekrom

One Pokemon that sun balance teams needs, apart from Groudon, is Latias. This is why I'd like to draw attention to the lack of Latias in this team to highlight a specific Arceus variant—support Water Arceus. The set was specifically designed for a sun team to take on Kyogre, as well as powerful Fire-types such as Reshiram and Ho-Oh, and recently, Kyurem-W. It is strictly for balanced sun teams that don't want to weaken themselves to Kyurem-W. In exchange, however, support Water Arceus has virtually no offensive capabilities whatsoever. Another option is Grass Arceus, which used to be a decent option until people found how much it was a of a liability against opposing Fire-type attackers. It is still viable, of course, since it's excellent at taking on pretty much all of the weather setters apart from Abomasnow. Steel is another one that was used in early BW, but it has also subsided due to the liability against Fire-types.

Likely Arceus formes: Support Water, Extreme Killer, Ghost, Grass

Other less likely formes which could potentially benefit: Steel, Dragon (Kyogre check), Fire (sun-boosted Fire attacks), Electric (strong against rain)

Sun Stall (Classic stall)

Example: Groudon / Latias / Giratina / Arceus-* / Forretress / Blissey

Classic stall is quite an old team archetype in Ubers. The format is usually Groudon / Latias / Giratina / Forretress / Blissey / filler. The filler is often Lugia, but there are a number of Arceus formes that have come up lately which are generally better fits, due to their ability to take on common stallbreakers. Fighting Arceus is one very prominent one, especially ones with either Calm Mind or Perish Song, due to its ability to defeat Dark Arceus, Darkrai, and Heatran. Extreme Killer can also make an appearance as a usable revenge killer to pick off weakened sweepers (by residual damage). Wallceus is another option (especially with Perish Song), as well as support Water Arceus (with Perish Song). Ghost Arceus can also be used for double Ghost combination, but that severely exacerbates the team's weakness to Dark-types (especially Darkrai).

Likely Arceus formes: Fighting, Wallceus, Extreme Killer

Other less likely formes which could potentially benefit: Ghost, Poison (for easy Toxic Spikes removal)

Sand Offense / Balance

Example: Tyranitar / Excadrill / Arceus-* / Giratina / Ferrothorn / Latios

Depending on how offensive or defensive the team is, different Arceus formes will be used. While it wasn't the best Kyogre check on sun teams, Grass Arceus is an excellent fit on sand teams. This is because is it good at checking not only Kyogre, but also a bigger threat when facing sun teams—Groudon. Unlike with a sun team, Tyranitar and Giratina easily deal with most Fire-types. Rock Arceus, while exacerbating Fighting- and Ground-type weaknesses, functions best in a sandstorm due to its huge defenses and strong STAB coverage. Calm Mind Water Arceus has also recently started being used take advantage of opposing rain teams.

Likely Arceus formes: Rock, Grass, Water, Extreme Killer, Ghost

Other less likely formes that could potentially benefit: Steel (Immune to Sandstorm), Electric

Sand Stall

Example: Hippowdon / Latias / Blissey / Giratina / Excadrill / Arceus-*

This team is quite Ice weak, so Steel and Water Arceus are ideal. For other formes, Fighting Arceus is once again good to deal with Darkrai and Dark Arceus. Grass is again a good choice to deal with Kyogre and Groudon, but since Kyurem-W is a bigger threat to this team than Kyogre (due to Latias), and Groudon is easily taken care of via Giratina and Hippowdon, Grass Arceus is not the best choice. Wallceus can be used for Perish Song support, and never forget the presence of Extreme Killer and Ghost Arceus.

Likely Arceus formes: Steel, Water, Fighting, Normal (both), Ghost, Grass

Other less likely forms that could potentially benefit: Rock

Weatherless Offense

Deoxys-S / Rayquaza / Arceus-* / Giratina-O / Genesect / Darkrai

The most likely forme would be Extreme Killer due to the offensive nature of the team. Since there is a Ghost-type on the team already, it is less likely to be Ghost Arceus. There aren't really many more specific Arceus formes that would be likely on this team; the only thing I'd like to point out is that any obscure Arceus forme that works only on offensive teams and is not dependent on a particular weather effect (like Ice Arceus) is most likely to appear in a team like this.

Likely Arceus formes: Extreme Killer, Ghost

Other less likely Arceus formes that may appear: Fighting, Ice, Bug, Flying, Dragon, Psychic

Weatherless Balance

Arceus-* / Forretress / Groudon / Kyogre / Genesect / Latias

*Note* I consider dual weather when using Groudon and Kyogre without specifically caring about the weather effect used to be weatherless.

On this team, the most likely forme is probably Ghost Arceus, since it has numerous hazard users without a Ghost-type. The other one is definitely Extreme Killer. Basically, most Arceus formes can fit onto a team like this one, provided it doesn't add additional weaknesses, but Ghost and Extreme Killer are definitely the ones you are most likely to see. Otherwise, obscure formes such as Ice and Flying Arceus can also work here.

Likely Arceus formes: Ghost, Extreme Killer, Steel

Other less likely Arceus formes that may appear: Fighting, Ice, Bug, Flying, Dragon

Weatherless stall

Skarmory / Giratina / Excadrill / Latias / Arceus-* / Genesect

As it's a stall team, Fighting Arceus is a huge contestant for a teamslot, although Genesect is pretty good at checking Darkrai. Support Water Arceus is an okay option since Reshiram has plenty of free switch-ins and can nuke the team pretty badly. Wallceus is a good general physical wall that can work well on this team too.

Likely Arceus formes: Fighting, Wallceus, Water, Ghost (for double spinblocking)

Other less likely Arceus formes that may appear: Extreme Killer


Abomasnow / Arceus-* / Ho-Oh / Forretress / Terrakion / Kyurem-W

Hail teams are fairly rare. On this team, mono-attacking Water Arceus with Calm Mind, Recover, and Refresh is a pretty good option, as it takes on most Fire-types, including Heatran that sports Toxic, while sharing excellent synergy with Abomasnow. Rock Arceus can take on Ho-Oh that gives this team problems, while Fire Arceus can take on opposing sun teams. Ghost Arceus can prevent the opponent spinning away Forretress's hazards. Some people might get greedy and start using Blizzard-spamming Ice Arceus, although that's horrible synergy-wise. Of course, never forget Extreme Killer.

Likely Arceus formes: Water, Rock, Ghost, Extreme Killer

Other less likely formes that could potentially benefit: Fighting (take on Tyranitar, less likely with Terrakion on the team), Fire, Ice

Psychic Arceus

I'd just like to point out that Psychic Arceus hasn't really been mentioned. The reason is that Mewtwo outclasses it offensively and Latias defensively, leaving it barely any niche. The only real niche is if you want a Mewtwo check with Payback and ExtremeSpeed in the rain, but that is really, really specific and is generally dropped in favor of better options.


In summary, the following Arceus formes would generally fit well on the following teams, if at all:

I hope this has been informative.

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