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 Arcanine Analysis

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PostSubject: Arcanine Analysis   Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:17 pm

Arcanine
Flash Fire
Grants immunity to Fire and increases Fire's power 50% when hit by a Fire move.
Intimidate
Lowers the foe's Attack 1 stage. Decreases wild encounter rate.
Type Tier
Fire BL

Name Item Ability Nature
Physical Choice
Choice Band / Choice Scarf Intimidate Adamant / Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Flare Blitz
~ ExtremeSpeed
~ Thunder Fang
~ Iron Head / Overheat
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Arcanine has always been strong on the attacking side with nice stats on both ends, but it has often lacked the moves to back up the statistics, particularly on the physical spectrum. Flare Blitz gives the legendary dog a powerful physical Fire move that is sure to put a dent in anything that doesn't resist it. ExtremeSpeed’s usefulness goes without saying, but even without the priority modifier it is still a strong 80 base power attack that can do consistent damage. Thunder Fang helps cover most Water-types that resist Fire, and provides the odd flinch or paralysis. The final spot can go to either Iron Head or Overheat. Iron Head grants Arcanine the opportunity to hit those Rock-types it otherwise couldn’t dent, while Overheat could be a nasty surprise against certain physical walls, such as Donphan, that might try to absorb your physical attacks.

Name Item Ability Nature
Special Choice
Choice Specs / Choice Scarf Intimidate Modest / Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Flamethrower
~ Dragon Pulse
~ Hidden Power Grass / ExtremeSpeed
~ Overheat / ExtremeSpeed
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Special Arcanine is more versatile than the physical type, but not quite as strong. Flamethrower and Dragon Pulse combine for excellent type coverage and accuracy and are the foundation of this set. Beyond that, there are not many special options for this guy. While physical Arcanine dearly misses the ability to use Hidden Power, special sets greatly benefit from the move's ability to help it cover particular threats. Grass is recommended, as it will be able to put the hurt on some of Arcanine's biggest threats, namely Swampert and Rhyperior. Hidden Power Ground can help out against Heatran and other Fire-types. If you choose not to use one of the aforementioned Hidden Power types, consider Hidden Power Ice over Dragon Pulse, as it hits most of the Dragons even harder. You won't have as good coverage against Water-types with that, but Overheat actually hits them harder on a switch-in than Dragon Pulse does. Overheat is a great move for obvious reasons and can help Arcanine to be used in a similar fashion as Choice Specs Salamence, complete with Intimidate and a Stealth Rock weakness! However, it is hard to suggest an Arcanine without ExtremeSpeed, as the usefulness of that move cannot be emphasized enough.

Name Item Ability Nature
Howl
Leftovers / Life Orb Intimidate Adamant
Moveset EVs
~ Howl
~ ExtremeSpeed
~ Flare Blitz
~ Thunder Fang / Iron Head
76 HP / 252 Atk / 180 Spe
This is very similar to the physical set, but uses Howl to boost its Attack while retaining the versatility of move selection. This is best used in late game when things have been weakened a bit. Switch in when it is advantageous, get off a Howl or two, and go to work. The EVs allow it to outspeed neutral natured Heracross and add a little survivability with some HP, while focusing on attack. Generally, Arcanine likes to be fast, but provided you can secure a few Howls, you can afford to be slower since you can use ExtremeSpeed to finish off faster, more fragile threats.

Name Item Ability Nature
Mixed Attacker
Life Orb Flash Fire Naive
Moveset EVs
~ Flare Blitz
~ Overheat
~ ExtremeSpeed / Dragon Pulse
~ Hidden Power Electric / Hidden Power Ground
228 Atk / 92 SpA / 188 Spe
This set serves as a wall breaker, because of its ability to hit from both ends of the spectrum lets it hit the common walls on their weaker defense stat. A Flash Fire boosted Overheat from this spread will severely hurt Hippowdon and Donphan, and OHKO Gliscor. It even does considerable damage to physical walls that resist it, such as Slowbro and Swampert, who each take about 50% HP if they have max HP and no Special Defense EVs. Flare Blitz functions as a means to eliminate special walls, specifically Blissey. With the Flash Fire boost, it becomes a 6/13 shot to OHKO a max HP and Defense Blissey, but those that invest some EVs into Special Attack / Special Defense are surely one-shotted.

Of course, things that resist Fire can slow it down, which is why Hidden Power becomes very important. You can use Hidden Power Grass or Hidden Power Electric to cover Water-types. Electric stops Gyarados, but Grass lets you take on Swampert and Rhyperior. Arcanine can use Hidden Power Fighting to cover the Rock-types, specifically Tyranitar. Hidden Power Ground also hits the Rock-types like Hidden Power Fighting does, but it hits Heatran x4 instead of x2 at the cost of less power against Tyranitar, and covers Tentacruel a bit better. As usual, you can choose between Hidden Power Ice and Dragon Pulse.

Name Item Ability Nature
Bulky
Leftovers Intimidate Bold
Moveset IVs
~ Will-O-Wisp
~ Hidden Power Ground
~ Flamethrower / Fire Blast
~ Roar
30 SpA / 30 SpD
EVs
240 HP / 168 Def / 28 SpA / 72 Spe
Bulky Arcanine is not something to laugh at since it can counter a lot of the major physical threats in the OU metagame thanks to Intimidate. The EVs above ensure that you survive a variety of physical attacks from Pokémon like Choice Band Jolly Dugtrio, and Jolly Garchomp. A Jolly Garchomp can not even OHKO Arcanine with Earthquake. The Speed EVs ensure you outspeed Jolly Tyranitar and other Pokémon who EV to outspeed Jolly Tyranitar by one point.

Will-O-Wisp is probably the most important move here, since the ability to cut the opponents Attack in half is key to this set. Using this move on a wall also limits the durability they have, which will be needed sooner or later. Hidden Power Ground is needed to combat and 2HKO Fire-type threats that are immune to Will-o-Wisp such as Heatran and Infernape. The Fire-type move is your choice. Flamethrower is for reliability, while Fire Blast may be used for the extra kick. Roar is used to scout, cause some damage from Spikes or Stealth Rock if you set them up, and abuse Leftovers.

The EVs are very specific on this type of Arcanine, as the HP and Defense EVs will maximize defensive capabilities while still 2HKOing Heatran and Infernape and being able to outspeed Jolly Tyranitar plus those that aim to outspeed Jolly Tyranitar by a single point. This is very important as you will be able to further diminish Tyranitar's Attack with Will-o-Wisp before it can hit you with an Earthquake, which (with the suggested HP and Defense EVs) won't KO anyways.

Other Options

Most of the sets suggest the use of Intimidate, as it is a consistently great trait. You can use Flash Fire on any Arcanine set, especially with Hidden Power Ground, to prevent a Heatran sweep, but you'll usually find Intimidate lets you stay alive longer and switch into some physical threats. Crunch pops up frequently when discussing Arcanine, but there is rarely a time when it warrants the use of a move slot. Flare Blitz / Fire Blast will always hit the Ghosts and Psychics that are weak to Crunch harder, with the exception of Slowbro, Slowking, Starmie, Lunatone and Solrock. None of them enjoy Hidden Power Grass, and the Waters are also hurt by the more versatile Thunder Fang. Of course, Arcanine really doesn’t want to stay in on any of them regardless.

EVs

Speed natures and considerable EV dedication can help it outspeed Pokémon with a base Speed of up to 105, provided they are using a neutral Speed nature. Fire-types are hardly known for their survivability, and even though Arcanine is one of the sturdier of the bunch, trying to make it defensive is usually a waste of effort. Focus on Speed and the primary attacking stat, and dump the remaining points into HP.

Opinion

Arcanine will likely remain in the same position it has been in since Pokémon was first released oh-so-long ago; not quite up to snuff with the standards, but too much of a powerhouse for UU. Flare Blitz was this generation's greatest gift to Arcanine, and while it was originally expected to be a godsend, it really doesn’t change this Pokémon's role at all. The addition of Stealth Rock and Stone Edge, as well as more of a reason to use Earthquake than ever, makes Arcanine tough to switch in and nearly impossible to keep in.

Counters

Rhyperior and Swampert quickly come to mind if the set does not include Hidden Power Grass. Even with the move, both are likely to survive if at full health and will easily OHKO with Earthquake. Bulky Waters will always limit Arcanine’s effectiveness, but Thunder Fang at least gives the pooch a chance to fight back, especially against Gyarados. Additionally, Flash Fire users, particularly Heatran, can pose a problem, as, unless Arcanine carries Hidden Power Ground, it does not have anything to deal considerable damage to them should they switch in on a Fire move.
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