Arceus, The Alpha Pokémon. According to the legends of Sinnoh, this Pokémon emerged from an egg and shaped all there is in this world. It is told in mythology that this Pokémon was born before the universe even existed. It is described in mythology as the Pokémon that shaped the universe with its 1,000 arms.
All hail the great lord and creator. May his blessings shine upon you. Arceus, often dubbed as the “god” of Pokemon, is certainly an amazing beast. With a “perfect” stat spread of base 120 across the board, an ability that lets it be literally any single type it wants, and a movepool chocked full of options to let it abuse those stats and types, Arceus is as versatile as it is deadly. Arceus even once boasted the highest base stat total in all of Pokemon at an unprecedented 720! ...Although, with the advent of Gen 6, things such as Mega Rayquaza, both Mega Mewtwos, and the Primal Reversions managed to edge Arceus out with higher base stat totals. This is of relatively little consequence though, as it is still in possession of the highest base stats of any non-mega and non-primal Pokemon. And in fact, Gen 6 did give it a new toy as well in the form of the Pixie Plate, allowing it to add Fairy type to its repertoire as well. However, even god has some faults, and in Arceus’s case, it does have to contend with limited item options, as it can’t hold anything other than a plate if it’s anything other than Normal type. That said, Arceus is still absolutely one of the most devastating and lethal Pokemon in existence, and only a handful of Pokemon (many of which are Mega or Primal) can match its might. Not only that, but there does not exist any Pokemon that can claim to counter or even check every form of Arceus. If you take Arceus lately, it can and will remind you of why it is the Alpha Pokemon. All things began from Arceus, and it can make sure that all things end with Arceus as well!
Multitype: Changes type to match the held Plate. - As Arceus’s only ability, it kind of goes without saying that you’ll be using Multitype. That said, Multitype is what makes Arceus so versatile, and lets it be any type it wants. You need a ghost type? Here you go. Ground type? Sure, why not. Water, Rock, Fairy? Yes to all of the above. Mind you, not every type is worth using, but the fact that Arceus can be any single type is pretty darn useful. The only downside, however, is that this forces Arceus to carry a Plate as its item, which often makes you wish you could use a more useful item. In addition, if you are using normal type Arceus, who can hold other items, then this ability doesn’t actually do anything. Oh well.
One might think that being a normal type is not very threatening, with its lack of resistances and STAB that is super effective against nothing. But lo and behold, because Arceus’s normal form is its most feared, as normal typing does grant Arceus the benefit of getting STAB on the coveted Extreme Speed. With its solid 80 base power, +2 Priority, and STAB coming off a solid base 120 attack, it is easily one of the most fearsome priority attacks in the game, and the higher priority allows it to circumvent other priority users as well. Of course, Arceus is not content with just leaving its attack stat as it is. Oh no, the great creator saw fit to bestow upon itself Swords Dance, allowing it to double its attack stat in a single turn. With a fantastic STAB and solid boosting abilities, all Arceus needs is some coverage. Naturally, with the ancient Primal Groudon running amok, Arceus needed a move to use against it, and for that reason, Earthquake is there to shred Primal Groudon, in addition to a few others such as Dialga and Zekrom. For its final moveslot, the creator has given its user the freedom of choice. It can opt for carry Shadow Claw to break through Ghost types, such as Gengar, and both variants of Giratina, while Stone Edge can allow Arceus to break through defensive Yveltal, Lugia, and Mega Salamence.
The given nature and EVs are fairly self explanatory. Jolly Nature and 252 Speed EVs maximize Arceus’s speed so that it speed ties other Arceus and unboosted Mega Salamence. 252 EVs are put into attack to ensure it hits as hard as possible, while the leftover 4 EVs are put into defense. It might seem tempting to go for Adamant since you’ll be relying on Extreme Speed’s priority a lot, but being outsped by other Arceus can be detrimental. That said though, if you do want the extra power of Adamant, you can opt for a bulkier Arceus, utilizing up to 240 HP EVs; however, you do not want to go any higher than that, or you’ll find yourself outsped by the myriad of base 90’s. Extreme Speed may remedy this to an extent, but you want to be able to outspeed things like Primal Groudon to be able to Earthquake it and to secure the KO. Life Orb is the preferred item for maximizing Arceus’s damage output, although Silk Scarf can be a weaker alternative to power up Extreme Speed without the recoil, and Lum Berry can prevent Thunder Wave or Will-o-Wisp from being easy answers.
Also worth noting that Arceus can utilize Refresh to beat some of the things that try to answer it, such as Ghost type Arceus. When using Refresh, given it is mostly ghost types that may try to burn it, using Shadow Claw is more essential to allow it to muscle past Giratina and Ghost Arceus more easily.
With a Spooky Plate, Arceus takes on arguably its most versatile form as a Ghost type. Much like its normal type form, Arceus can run a rather potent Swords Dance set as a ghost, boosting its attack to sky high levels. Shadow Force is an extremely potent STAB, and one that penetrates Protect. The two-turn effect can be something of a deterrent, but not a lot of Pokemon like switching into it. Extreme Speed is once again a solid priority attack with a devastating +2 priority bracket to pick off weakened foes. Finally, Brick Break, despite being weak, is Arceus’s only option for a physical fighting type attack, which along with ghost has perfect neutral coverage. Although rare, Brick Break also has the benefit of breaking through Screens should they appear.
The given nature and EVs are exactly the same as Normal Swords Dance Arceus. Jolly Nature and 252 Speed EVs maximize Arceus’s speed so that it speed ties other Arceus and unboosted Mega Salamence. 252 EVs are put into attack to ensure it hits as hard as possible, while the leftover 4 EVs are put into defense.
For a more defensive spin on things, Ghost type Arceus finds itself able to play a supportive role for its team. Will-o-Wisp is the crux of this set; its ghost typing gives it an immunity to normal and fighting, meaning that it can threaten things like Mega Kangaskhan, normal Arceus, and Mega Mewtwo X with a burn. Judgment is its obligatory STAB, and fortunately Ghost typing has pretty good coverage, barring things like Darkrai, Yveltal, and normal types (which are threatened by Will-o-Wisp anyway so the latter is not a huge concern). Defog allows Arceus to clear away hazards, which things such as Ho-Oh appreciate to no end. Finally, Recover allows Arceus to keep itself healthy, especially with its supreme 120/120/120 bulk backing it up.
Max speed EVs and a Timid nature ensure that Arceus can speed tie with other Arceus, which is essential for trying to burn them ASAP. The rest of the EVs are used to maximize its bulk, with 248 EVs going into HP and the remaining 8 going into defense.
If you’d like Ghost type Arceus to take on an offensive role, but don’t want to deal with the burns that plague Swords Dance sets, look no further than a Calm Mind set. Judgment is Arceus’s main STAB attack, which has solid neutral coverage on its own. Recover puts Arceus’s solid bulk to good use by keeping it healthy. Calm Mind is the crux of this set, which allows Arceus to set up against the myriad of dragon types it may force out. For its final moveslot, however, it has a few options. Will-o-Wisp lets Arceus cripple the physical attackers who may try to take it out on the weaker defense stat if Calm Mind has been set up, letting it eliminate some would-be cheks. Focus Blast has its ever-shaky accuracy, but mutilates Darkrai and actually offers perfect neutral coverage alongside ghost-type Judgment. Finally, Thunder can be an option to deal with Ho-Oh and Yveltal, both of whom are solid answers to Calm Mind Ghost Arceus.
Timid nature and 252 speed EVs maximize Arceus’s speed so that it can tie with other Arceus and Mega Salamence. 248 HP assures maximized bulk on both sides of the spectrum, while the remaining 8 EVs are put into Defense to bolster its physical bulk since its special bulk is handled by Calm Mind.
With an earth plate equipped, Arceus manages to cement itself as the number one check to what is unequivocally one of the most dangerous Pokemon around; Primal Groudon. Although physical Ground type Arceus was the favored set in XY, OR/AS breathed new life into special sets, as in its ground type form, Arceus’s STAB Judgment has no problem 1HKOing your standard Primal Groudon, and even the most specially bulky sets are still 2HKO’ed. Things such as Zekrom and Klefki are also soundly handled by Judgment as well. Ice Beam rounds off the coverage nicely by mutilating many of the things that may think they can switch in, such as Rayquaza, Mega Salamence, Shaymin-Sky, etc. Recover gives Arceus some staying power, which with its fantastic bulk can make it hard to bring down. For its final moveslot, Arceus has an option of team support. Defog is ever valuable for hazard control, especially given that in its ground type form, Arceus resists Stealth Rock. However, Thunder Wave can bait in some common switch-ins, such as Kyogre and Palkia, and absolutely cripple them.
As ever, max speed is crucial. 252 Speed EVs and Timid nature ensure that Arceus speed ties with the other base 120’s, such as opposing variants of itself and Mega Salamence. 252 Special Attack EVs ensure that its special attacks hit as hard as possible, while the remaining 4 EVs are dumped into special defense.
Just because a special Ground Arceus can check Primal Groudon a bit better doesn’t mean that physical sets can’t still wreck things. They may not 1HKO Primal Groudon with an unboosted Earthquake due to its supreme physical bulk, but it can still 2HKO it with ease. STAB Earthquake is nothing to scoff at when coming off a base 120 attack stat, and with Swords Dance doubling its attack… good luck. Of course, Earthquake on its own has a major gap in that flying types are problematic, so to that end, Stone Edge rounds things off, giving Arceus fantastic neutral coverage. For its final slot, Arceus can opt for Recover to allow it to keep itself healthy, or Extreme Speed for some valuable priority to pick off faster threats that may be weakened.
As with all physical Arceus, Jolly Nature and 252 Speed EVs maximize Arceus’s speed so that it speed ties other Arceus and unboosted Mega Salamence. 252 EVs are put into attack to ensure it hits as hard as possible, while the leftover 4 EVs are put into defense.
Arceus takes on the power of a Water-type with a Splash Plate equipped, which is something of a mixed bag. On one hand, the rise in Primal Groudon makes its once potent STAB riskier than ever to use. On the other hand, however, Arceus’s water type form actually pairs astonishingly well with Primal Groudon, given Primal Groudon wrecks many of its checks such as Kyogre and Zekrom. Regardless, Water type Arceus differentiates itself from Kyogre by adopting a physically bulky spread. Recover allows Arceus to keep itself healthy, which is a very obvious good thing with Arceus’s solid bulk. Toxic allows Arceus to stall out foes, and can be a nuisance to things like Primal Groudon who think they might have a safe switch-in. Judgment is the obvious STAB attack, but unfortunately, it’s very risky due to the fact that not only does Primal Groudon make it useless, but also due to the fact that numerous Legendary Pokemon resist it. Ice Beam offers solid coverage on many of the things that resist it, and can deal at least some damage to Primal Groudon. However, with its solid bulk, Arceus’s water type form also makes a solid Defogger if things like Mega Salamence and Ho-Oh need Stealth Rock to be removed.
Arceus uses 248 HP EVs and 204 Defense EVs in addition to a Bold nature to maximize its physical bulk, while also keeping 56 Speed EVs to outspeed Adamant Rayquaza. You can opt for more speed, such as 176 Speed EVs to try to outpace base 110’s, but you will miss out on the bulk.
The Dread Plate bestows Arceus with the power of darkness, giving it a Dark STAB that has rather good coverage on its own. As a result, it’s able to do what few Pokemon dare to do; run a mono-attacking boosting set. Judgment is Arceus’s standard STAB attack, and what you’ll be using for offense; only a handful of things such as Yveltal, Xerneas, and Darkrai really like switching into it. From there, Calm Mind allows it to boost its special stats to afford itself opportunities to set up on things it may force out. From there, Refresh allows it to laugh at things that may think they can stall it out with status, such as Blissey or Lugia. Finally, Recover rounds off the set by allowing Arceus to keep itself healthy, which is very easy to do with its supreme bulk and Calm Mind making itself more bulky on the special side.
176 Speed EVs and a Timid nature allow Arceus-Dark to outspeed the myriad of base 110’s, such as Latios, Latias, and pre-Mega Gengar. 248 HP EVs helps to maximize Arceus’s bulk, while the remaining 84 EVs are put into defense due to the fact that it’ll be boosting its special defense anyway. However, if you want a faster set, you can opt for the full 252 Speed EVs, which will let it speed tie with other Arceus, but reduces its physical bulk a bit.
Are you ready to rock? With a Stone Plate attached, Arceus’s rock type form can check the myriad of flying types, most notably Ho-Oh whose wings are clipped by that 4x weakness, in addition to a few others such as Mega Salamence and Rayquaza. As always, Judgment remains its primary STAB attack, and unlike its physical alternative, Stone Edge, perfect accuracy makes it all the more reliable. Will-o-Wisp affords Arceus the opportunity to check physical threats, such as normal Arceus, Mega Mewtwo X, etc. As ever, Recover in conjunction with Arceus’s fantastic bulk can make it hard to bring down. For its final slot, Arceus can opt for Calm Mind for a boosting set, as Rock type does actually have pretty solid coverage. That said, if you’re lacking in hazard control, Defog is always an option.
The given nature and speed EVs maximize Arceus’s speed so that it can tie with other Arceus and Mega Salamence. 248 HP assures maximized bulk on both sides of the spectrum, while the remaining 8 EVs are put into Special Attack for a little more oomph on its Judgment.
Finally, with its newest toy, the Pixie Plate, Arceus takes on the power of a Fairy type, ready to combat the slew of legendary dragons and dark types. As ever, Judgment is your obligatory STAB attack, and it actually has pretty solid coverage since Fairy’s a pretty potent offensive type. And also predictably, Recover continues to be an amazing recovery move that in conjunction with Arceus’s solid bulk makes it hard to break. Defog remains a fantastic support move, which can make life easier for Pokemon like Ho-Oh who absolutely loathe Stealth Rock. Finally, Will-o-Wisp allows Arceus to cripple many of the physical attackers not named Primal Groudon, Ho-Oh, or Blaziken that it may encounter.
112 Speed EVs with a Timid nature it enough for Arceus to outspeed up to Garchomp and everything below it, meaning that it’ll outspeed the myriad of unboosted base 90’s and 100’s. The remaining EVs are split between its HP and defense to increase its physical bulk.
For a more offensive spin on Arceus’s fairy type form, look no further than a Calm Mind set. Much like the previous set, and many others, Judgment remains the most reliably STAB option, while Recover puts Arceus’s solid bulk to good use by keeping it healthy. Calm Mind is the crux of this set, which allows Arceus to set up against the myriad of dragon types it may force out. For its final moveslot, however, it has a few options. Will-o-Wisp lets Arceus cripple the physical attackers who may try to take it out on the weaker defense stat if Calm Mind has been set up, letting it eliminate some would-be cheks. Psyshock is a great tool against Mega Gengar, especially prior to it Mega Evolving, and can allow it to beat other Calm Mind users by hitting their unboosted defense. Finally, Thunder can be an option to deal with Ho-Oh, whose great special bulk and resistance to Fairy otherwise lets it check Arceus pretty easily.
Timid nature and 252 speed EVs maximize Arceus’s speed so that it can tie with other Arceus and Mega Salamence. 248 HP assures maximized bulk on both sides of the spectrum, while the remaining 8 EVs are put into Defense to bolster its physical bulk since its special bulk is handled by Calm Mind.
-The Zap Plate can be used to give Arceus a powerful electric STAB that can deal with Kyogre, Lugia, Ho-Oh, and several others. However, Primal Groudon is problematic for it due to being immune to its STAB, so it’s more of a niche option.
Double & Triple Battle Options
GONNA CALL THIS GOOD
Arceus is the epitome of versatility in Pokemon.
Some may argue that Mew or Ditto define versatility, but they fall short miles before Arceus. Mew is 120 Base Stats behind Arceus and can only be the Psychic Type, Ditto is suprisingly limited on what it can do to any opponent who doesn't have coverage against its own type.
Arceus finds itself in the Hall of Fame of the most Powerful Pokemon in a given Generation. Other Pokemon who share this title include R/B/Y Mewtwo, R/S/E Kyogre, and ORAS Mega Rayquaza. Because it is so versatile, its only weakness is that in most competitive scenes you won't be allowed to use more than one Arceus per team. Down to business. Arceus can be ONE of any Type thanks to it's Multitype ability, but only one type. It's learnset (aside from Draco Meteor) isn't altered by its type. Because of this, Fire Arceus is able to fire off Thunder to counter Rain strategies, and then follow up with Ice Beam to hurt Ground types. Base 120 Speed is terribly fast in a Metagame where the strongest Pokmeon average about Base 90 Speed.
Normal Arceus is the most recognized, dangerous and easy to set up variant. Also widely prepared for.
Ironically the most feared Arceus set doesn't use its signature move in Judgement. Rather it uses the +2 Priority STAB Extreme Speed, which is surprisingly powerful at +2 Attack. The idea is for Arceus to Swords Dance once then deal absurd damage with Extreme Speed. Netting this Arceus a free turn for set up will make it much easier to pull off a sweep. Though intimidate and burns will hamper this strategy as it is primarily a physical set. Extreme Speed has low Power Points too, so opposing Pressure will cut Extreme Speed off rather quickly.
Partners for this Arceus will want to either deter or benefit from Intimidates wildly. Bisharp is probably the only sane option in an Uber environment as Milotic will get Thundered into Oblivion. Fake Out support will make the first Swords Dance come easier, Scrappy Kanghaskan can do that and then Mega evolve and hold its own with the various cover legendaries. Weak points in this set are Extreme Speed's low Power Points in a Pressure heavy environment. Some players will run a Normal resistant Arceus just to make like hard for the EKiller.
Judgement / Heat Wave
This set looks to use Calm Mind to set up for powerful attacks the turns following after. Judgement is single target, but is 100% accurate. Heat Wave will deal spread damage, but 1% of the time will miss both opponents. Thunder is used to hard check Rain teams or Kyogre that think they can switch in on Arceus just because it's Fire. 30% of the time, that switch in will leave them paralyzed. Ice Beam is for coverage, and Earth Power hits Heatran hard, but also other Steels in the Rain too.
This Arceus can't be burnt! But lacks physical Fire type attacks to take advantage of it. This kind of Arceus is an aggressive special attacker. It'll want Physical attack detterents like Intimidate and Will-O-Wisp to support it, but free turns every now and again wouldn't hurt it. Redirection strategies would be welcome here or even a Pokemon with Wide Guard, as this Arceus is weak to the two most popular spread moves in Earthquake and Rock Slide.
Weak points in this Arceus include Special Walls, or just plain low damage output before boosting. With base 150 attacking stats being common, being available to do serious damage at all points in a battle is invaluable. This Arceus simply needs to set up first before becoming an unstoppable threat.
Becoming part Ghost means Arceus can dodge Fake Out! What better way to celebrate a Fake Out immunity than by setting up a Trick Room? Of course dodging Taunts would help this set up a lot, which is why Magic Coat is there as many Taunt users don't enjoy being Taunted themselves. Will-O-Wisp is for hitting nabbing the Sucker Punch users before they deal too much damage. As much insurance as Magic Coat provides insurance for the Strategy, for the Pokemon Arceus itself, it may prefer additional coverage in Brick Break or extra utility/support in it's Filler moves.
This Arceus would like some slower teammates to take full advantage of Trick Room. It won't take much but a negative speed tier to be slower than most of the base 90's and 95's so one could run a relatively normal looking team then throw out the Trick Room.
This set isn't its strongest when facing opposing Mega Mawile, or Pokemon that don't invest much in speed to begin with like Groudon or some of the earlier mentioned base 90 and 95s. And Trick Room can be prevented if the opponent knows ahead of time that they're facing Trick Room.
Gravity and Earthquake this is only resisted by Bug and Grass types, which can be dealt with by Arceus's team mate or with Overheat. This set demands its own team to abuse Gravity's accuracy increasing properties. The set also demands some redirection or time buying in general. Between Refresh and Swords Dance, nothing is stopping Arceus from attacking from full power.
Telepathy Pokemon are preferred partners because unlike Mold Breaker, Gravity won't break Telepathy allowing the partner to avoid silly amounts of collateral damage. And as it turns out, Dialga, Palkia and Giritina (Altered) have Telepathy as their Hidden ability. This very well may be the best time to put the ability to work.
For as much damage the set threatens to dish out, it will be a few turns before said damage comes out. One turn for Gravity, another turn for Swords Dance, and a 3rd one for Earthquake. The opponent could be doing a number of things to stop this set cold. Most notably Wide Guard, which can be dealt with in a number of ways but still will hinder Arceus from shaking things up.
Arceus also contributes to the infamous Perish Trap strategy by being a Perish Song user itself! Perish Song and Protect are self explanatory, but the last two moves are a way to patch up Perish Trap's vulnerable switching turn by lowering the damage of any attack coming in that turn. There are probably a handful of other effective ways to run this variant of Arceus, and they will surface in time, but for now, just know that this IS a possibility.
The reason for Iron Plate is simply for allowing Arceus to switch out of a potential super effective attack into it's ready and waiting Eject Button Regenerator Ho-Oh, who resist's all of the Steel Type's weaknesses, catches the Regenerator health on it's way out into another Healthy Pokemon all the while never once, giving momentum to the opponent. As silly as it sounds, this kind of stalling is what makes Perish Trap so deadly and infuriating to fight against.
This Arceus set mostly supports, so without an attacking move, a well timed Taunt would shut this set down and make the Perish Trap hard to set up.
If it wasn't apparent with the multitude of sets, Arceus is very versatile. It should be built around a team, not the other way around (EKiller is the only exception).
In every set, pretty much any move is interchangeable to better suit one team or another. The sets here are vague and only exist to present just how many ways Arceus can be ran successfully. Arceus can be the frontline offense, the defensive switch in, the speed control method, disruptive support, or just about anything. Its contribution to any team will be substantial, so what are you waiting for? Start using and experimenting with this Pokemon!
You might want to start praying if you think that you can find something that can counter or even check every single Arceus form. Forget it, it’s not happening. That said, each form has specific checks and counters that can help deal with it, which means you’ll often have to deduce which form it’s using based on its teammates.
Normal type Arceus is undoubtedly the most frightening due to its ability to hold an item ramping up its power, but it can be stopped. Bulky Ghost types such as Ghost Arceus and Giratina can survive a +2 Shadow Claw and burn Arceus with Will-o-Wisp, but they have to be wary of Refresh. Defensive Yveltal can deal with Arceus if it doesn’t carry Stone Edge, as it can switch in on a predicted Swords Dance, and proceed to utilize Foul Play to turn the boost against it, 1HKOing with Stealth Rock up. +2 Extreme Speed can 2HKO without Stealth Rock up though, and +2 Stone Edge 1HKOs if Stealth Rock is up, so you’ll want to ensure you’re not switching into Rocks to ensure Yveltal has the best chance. Physically Defensive Unaware Clefable can stall Arceus out by ignoring its boosts, as it is only 3HKO’ed at best by Life Orb Extreme Speed. Mega Scizor can check Arceus lacking a fire type attack if it’s got a little prior damage, by not being 2HKO’ed at +2, and subsequently dealing heavy damage with Superpower. Likewise, Skarmory can wall normal Arceus if it’s not packing the uncommon fire type move, and phase it out to rid it of its SD boosts. Sabeleye and its Mega Evolution can deal with Arceus lacking Refresh with Prankster Will-o-Wisp, and can utilize Foul Play to prey on Arceus’s own boosts. Also worthy of note is that it’s immune to Extreme Speed and is not 1HKO’ed at +2 by any of Arceus’s coverage moves. Mega Salamence is a decent check thanks to Intimidate in its base form and solid bulk after Mega Evolving, but it has trouble switching in, especially if Stealth Rock is up. However, it can 2HKO Arceus with Return, and thanks to Intimidate it tends to win 1v1. Other Arceus forms can weaken Arceus, due to their 120/120/120 bulk allowing them to survive a +2 Extreme Speed and attack back with either Will-o-Wisp or Judgment.
Ghost type Arceus is the most versatile, so a universal answer can be tricky. Yveltal is probably the best answer, as it destroys Swords Dance with Foul Play, can taunt support variants and stop Calm Mind sets from setting up, but hates getting burned by Will-o-Wisp and Thunder can clip its wings. Darkrai has to be wary of Focus Blast, but it checks Ghost Arceus easily by outspeeding it and putting it to sleep with Dark Void. In addition, Darkrai can 2HKO with Dark Pulse or set up a Nasty Plot and subsequently 1HKO. Ho-Oh destroys Calm Mind and Support sets due to its supreme special bulk and high attack, but has to be wary of a +2 Shadow Force from a Swords Dance set, which soundly 1HKOs it. However, Sacred Fire can threaten Swords Dance sets with its 50% chance to burn, so Ho-Oh can still pressure it. Arceus’s Dark type form can combat Ghost Arceus as well, as it tends to beat it in Calm Mind wars and shut down support Arceus Ghost, although Focus Blast and +2 Brick Break can be problematic to it. Normal Arceus can beat support sets if it’s packing Refresh to deal with Will-o-Wisp, and can proceed to set up on it. Focus Blast and +2 Brick Break are threatening to it, though. Primal Kyogre can be an interesting check, despite any kind of type advantage, due to the raw special stats and power of rain-boosted Origin Pulse, which can 1HKO more often than not with Stealth Rock up. It wins Calm Mind wars, but has to be wary of Swords Dance sets, which can crush it. Unaware Clefable can try to stall out Arceus in its Ghost form as well, but it does have to be wary of Shadow Force doing upwards of 58% HP. However, given its two-turn necessity, Clefable can use Softboiled to heal, as none of Arceus’s other coverage moves are really enough to finish off Clefable after a Shadow Force. Primal Groudon can check Swords Dance variants of Ghost Arceus thanks to its colossal physical bulk, as an unboosted Shadow Force only 3HKO’s while an unboosted Precipice Blades 2HKO’s.
Ground type Arceus runs into issues depending on what sets it’s running. Without a doubt, the number one counter to both special and physical sets is Arceus-Grass, who resists Earthquake but is not weak to Stone Edge, and with a specially defensive spread, Ice Beam only 3HKO’s at best, while Judgment 2HKOs. Primal Kyogre can deal with special sets thanks to its insane special bulk and soundly 1HKO with Origin Pulse while only being 3HKO’ed by Judgment, but physical sets 2HKO with an unboosted Earthquake or 1HKO with a +2 Earthquake. However, Choice Scarf Kyogre can check Arceus Ground by circumventing the speed tiers. Shaymin-S checks Arceus Ground rather well too, outspeeding it with ease and obliterating it with Seed Flare. It does have to be wary of Ice Beam on Special Sets and Stone Edge on physical sets though, so it has to be wary switching in. Palkia checks Ground type Arceus as well, 1HKOing with Hydro Pump, but it has to be wary of being 2HKO’ed by Judgment or Earthquake. Giratina can deal with physical sets by burning them, and its physical bulk has no problem letting it survive anything Ground Arceus throws at it. Unaware Clefable is a solid answer to physical variants, as it is only 3HKO’ed by Earthquake and can stall Arceus out, but it has to be wary of Judgment 2HKO’ing on special sets. Skarmory can deal with both sets, phasing it out, although the special set can 3HKO with Ice Beam, and Skarmory can’t do much else other than phasing it out. Physical or special Arceus sets can deal with Ground Arceus as well; defensive sets can often burn Ground Arceus with Will-o-Wisp, and Calm Mind variants can often out-boost Ground Arceus. Thanks to getting their Soul Dew back, the Lati-twins can work well against Ground Arceus, being able to switch into Judgment or Earthquake and threaten it with Draco Meteor’s 2HKO (a combination of Psyshock and Draco Meteor does the same as well). Meanwhile, Ice Beam only 3HKOs at best due to Soul Dew’s bulk, and Stone Edge does likewise, but both can Roost off the damage.
Next up on the list, Water type Arceus. Ferrothorn makes a solid answer, as it resists Judgment, is neutral to Ice Beam, and is immune to Toxic stalling. Meanwhile Arceus-Grass doesn’t like Toxic, but it is only 4HKO’ed by Ice Beam, and can 2HKO with Judgment. Ice Beam and Toxic can be a nuisance to Zekrom, with the former 2HKOing, but Zekrom can check Water Arceus by 1HKOing it with Life Orb Bolt Strike. The niche Arceus-Electric is 3HKO’ed by Judgment and hates Toxic, but it can 2HKO with Judgment. Dialga is a solid answer to Water Arceus, as it is immune to Toxic, resistant to Judgment, and only takes neutral damage from Ice Beam. Meanwhile, offensive Dialga can 2HKO Water Arceus while only being 4HKO’ed at best, and defensive variants fear absolutely nothing and can slap Arceus with Toxic to beat it at its own game. Shaymin-S can check Water Arceus in a pinch, as although Ice Beam is a clean 1HKO on it, Life Orb Seed Flare can 1HKO about half the time, which is a guarantee with Stealth Rock. It goes without saying that the Desolate Land that Primal Groudon brings can overpower Water Arceus’s Judgment, and Ice Beam has a horribly low chance to 4HKO. Toxic can be a nuisance to Primal Groudon, but it can set up Swords Dance to break through Water Arceus with Precipice Blades. Primal Kyogre is largely in the same boat, as it is only 4HKO’ed by Judgment less than 10% of the time, while Primal Kyogre 2HKOs with Thunder. Toxic can be a pain to Primal Kyogre, though. The pink blobs, Blissey and Chansey, fear nothing from Water Arceus, given they can cleanse their own status and counter-stall Water Arceus with Toxic. A fast Taunt from the likes of Yveltal or any variant of Mewtwo can greatly hinder Water Arceus, given it relies on Recover and Toxic to stall out a lot of foes. Kyurem-W doesn’t particularly like Toxic, but it is only 5HKO’ed by any of Water Arceus’s moves, and the raw power of its Choice Specs Draco Meteor can 1HKO Arceus almost 70% of the time if Stealth Rock is up.
For the Dark type variant of Arceus, Fairy types are your best bets. Dark Arceus rarely carries any other attacks than Judgment so Fairy types can wall it entirely. Xerneas stands tall as the most noteworthy counter, as it can set up Geomancy with almost no opportunity cost and proceed to sweep Arceus’s team. In addition, Xerneas can easily pound away at Dark Arceus with Fairy Aura boosted Moonblasts, which can 1HKO an unboosted Arceus or 2HKO even at +2 Special Defense. Fairy type Arceus is in the same boat, and can set up Calm Minds alongside Dark Arceus, usually winning due to the type advantage. Unaware Clefable has no problem ignoring Dark Arceus’s Calm Mind boost, taking the chance to set up its own instead. Mega Mewtwo X can soundly 1HKO Dark Arceus with Low Kick, although it does have to be wary of switching in as standard Mewtwo, as Judgment can be hard to tank. Blaziken and Mega Blaziken have to be wary of boosted Judgments due to its low bulk, but thanks to Protect and Speed Boost it can outspeed Dark Arceus and proceed to 1HKO with either Low Kick or High Jump Kick. Specially Defensive Tyranitar is barely scratched by Judgment, especially thanks to the Sandstorm boost, and can 2HKO with the combination of Low Kick, Sandstorm, and Stealth Rock. The less common Mega Tyranitar is in the same boat, although its low Kick deals upwards of 66% damage to Dark Arceus, so its 2HKO is guaranteed. Offensive Ho-Oh can 2HKO with Choice Band Brave Bird or Sacred Fire, and the latter’s 50% burn chance can put pressure on Dark Arceus by forcing it to refresh, lest the residual damage add up. Meanwhile, an unboosted Judgment only 3HKOs, while at +1 Judgment is still only a 3HKO. Genesect can revenge kill a weakened Dark Arceus with Download U-Turn, especially on its Scarf set, given it does upward of 69% damage. However, it does have to be wary as Judgment soundly 2HKOs it, and at +1 Judgment can 1HKO about half the time. U-Turn also allows it to pivot out to a counter such as Xerneas even if it’s not sufficiently weakened. If Arceus accumulates too many boosts, phasing is always an option to rid it of those boosts, but many common phasers may find themselves losing to Dark Arceus, such as Lugia or Giratina, so be wary when doing so. If phasing’s not an option, hitting it with strong physical attacks can help to wear it down, as Calm Mind boosts make it harder to revenge kill on the special side. Things like Zekrom and Mega Salamence can both manage to 2HKO Dark Arceus, although they have to be wary of boosted Judgments dealing heavy damage to them.
For Rock Arceus, it goes without saying that Primal Kyogre makes an excellent counter. Judgment’s chance to 3HKO is very low, while a rain-boosted Origin Pulse obliterates Rock Arceus in one fell swoop. Arceus-Grass, Arceus-Water, Arceus-Steel, and Arceus-Ground are all solid answers as well; their bulk is sufficient to not be bothered by Judgment, but can 2HKO with their own Judgment. Judgment can 3HKO Palkia, but offensive variants can soundly 1HKO Rock Arceus with Hydro Pump. Ferrothorn hates being burned by Will-o-Wisp, but it can set up hazards, Leech Seed, o Status against Rock Arceus as Judgment does next to nothing against it. Scizor and Mega Scizor absolutely loathe Will-o-Wisp since it makes them useless, but they can check a weakened Rock Arceus with Bullet Punch to finish it off. Scarf Genesect is in the same boat, as it can finish off a weakened Rock Arceus with Iron Head, especially if it nets an attack boost from Download, but it hates Will-o-Wisp. Primal Groudon has to be wary of the low chance of a 2HKO from Judgment, but it is immune to Will-o-Wisp and absolutely mutilates Rock Arceus with Precipice Blades, which is a clean 1HKO. Blaziken and Mega Blaziken have to be wary of switching into Judgment due to their low defenses, but they can switch into Will-o-Wisp, protect to net a Speed Boost, and then proceed to 1HKO Arceus with High Jump Kick or Low Kick. Mega Mewtwo X has to be wary off Will-o-Wisp, but it outspeeds Arceus and 1HKOs with Low Kick, making it a solid check. All variants of Mewtwo have the ability to carry Taunt as well, which reduces Arceus to spamming Judgment, making it that much easier to handle. Mega Gengar can trap and destroy Rock Arceus with Focus Blast and/or shut it down with Taunt, while Gothitelle can set up Calm Minds on Arceus and utilize Rest to deal with Will-o-Wisp. Shaymin-S can’t switch into Judgment at all, but it can check Rock Arceus by outspeeding and 1HKOing with Seed Flare. Offensive Dialga is 5HKO’ed by Judgment, while it 2HKOs with Flash Cannon (or 1HKOs on Choice Specs sets). Meanwhile, Defensive Dialga is barely harmed by Judgment and can stall Arceus out with Toxic.
Fairy type Arceus has to be wary of the dreaded Mega Gengar. Mega Gengar traps Fairy Arceus and destroys it with Sludge Wave by 2HKOing, and can taunt it if it tries to Calm Mind. Only the uncommon Psyshock poses a threat to Mega Gengar, but even if it packs that, Mega Gengar can troll it with Destiny Bond to bring it down with it. The niche Poison and Steel Arceus can 2HKO Fairy Arceus with Judgment, but have to be wary of too many Calm Mind boosts accumulating if they’re not running Calm Mind themselves. Ho-Oh resists Fairy type Judgment and is only 3HKO’ed about 15% of the time by an unboosted Thunder, while it can soundly 2HKO with Choice Band Brave Bird or Sacred Fire (with the latter’s burn chance putting pressure with residual damage). In addition, Ho-Oh can easily switch in on Will-o-Wisp due to its fire typing. Scizor, Mega Scizor, and Scarf Genesect all hate Will-o-Wisp, but they can check a weakened Fairy Arceus with Bullet Punch or Iron Head to revenge kill it. Primal Groudon has no problem crushing Fairy Arceus, as it’s immune to Will-o-Wisp, resists Judgment (making it only a 5HKO), and can 2HKO Arceus with Precipice Blades or set up Swords Dance or Rock Polish on it. Although less reliable than Primal Groudon, Primal Kyogre can also overwhelm Fairy Arceus with the raw power of its rain-boosted Origin Pulses, which can 2HKO. Mega Mewtwo Y has enough special bulk to only be 3HKO’ed by Judgment, can Taunt to stop setting up, and can 2HKO with Psystrike if Stealth Rock is up. Clefable can ignore Calm Mind boosts with Unaware, and tends to stall Arceus out thanks to Toxic and Softboiled, or can set up its own Calm Minds.
As for the other Arceus forms, most tend not to be used too often due to being outclassed by other Arceus forms, or being just plain ineffective. As a result, many are countered or checked by common sights. Electric and Poison Arceus hate dealing with Primal Groudon for instance, while Grass Arceus is destroyed by Ho-Oh and Mega Salamence. Ice Arceus has to deal with awful defensive typing allowing fire, rock, fighting, and steel types to prey upon it. The same fairy types that trouble other dragons give pause to Dragon type Arceus. Flying Arceus has to deal with the fact that every Mega Salamence check will also be trying to blast it out of the sky, while Steel Arceus is dealt with by Primal Groudon and other fire types. In general, aside from the main forms listed here, you often don’t need to worry about Arceus’s other forms, as they tend to have relatively common checks and counters where you don’t specifically need to prepare for them, but can still handle them if they pop up.
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