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Old March 5, 2011, 03:43:08 PM
Justjack91's Avatar
Justjack91 Justjack91 is offline
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Default Week 8: Arcanine

(3/5/11) To my bros in the US: Dudes, can you believe Black and White are coming out tomorrow? I am counting the hours. To my bros in Europe: You can suck it.

Just kidding Europe. We love you...I guess.

Hey there Pokenerds. Welcome to the continuing series of "Generation Shift" (week 8 after long break, blah, blah, blah).

This week's featured Pokemon has always been known as a loyal pet and a power guard dog. Its evolved form was given the title of "legendary" even though, by our standards, he isn't.

So here it, the canine of fire, Arcanine!


Isn't he cool? I myself only got to raise one on XD: Gale of Darkness since I always had versions of the game that kept him out as an "exclusive" (really annoying).

Anyways, Arcanine is just cool. He was great competition with Charizard when you didn't go with Charmander as your starter. There are several things to account for with this Pokemon. For one thing, he is the first "stone-evolved" Pokemon I am covering, so keep in mind when I talk about his moveset, I will be mentioning both his pre-evolved and evolved moves together (starting with Growlithe and then followed by Arcanine).

So let's see what this Pokemon's general strategy was through the generations

Consistent Strategy

Arcanine is an offensive Pokemon. Much like Charizard, you're quicker than a lot of Pokemon and can dish out a powerful attack at the same time. It's important to note that, though your offenses get better with each generation, you tend to take more damage as well (we'll get to why that is later).

To summarize, hit everything for as long as you can.


As cool as we know Arcanine is today, it was plagued with a common problem for Pokemon like Flareon: move coverage. There's not a lot of moves that work well with Arcanine outside of fire and normal (both get walled by rock types and water types just have to take a hit and counter with a one).

Flamethrower is worth noting specifically here because it was a difficult move to get along with Thunderbolt and Ice Beam back in the times of Red and Blue. Getting your Growlithe to learn it at 50 was very much a blessing when you only had one Fire Blast TM and wanted to make sure he knew a reliable move. It lacks full-on power, but its accuracy is very important when you want to take out general opponents.

Take Down
and Double-Edge dwindle your HP quite quickly, but his high Attack stat helps to mediate this along with a decent HP stat. You really do need to go with one of these moves back then. Otherwise, water types would (almost) completely wall you.

Besides these two type choices, Red and Blue gave some interesting "surprise" choices.

Dragon Rage, though inferior to many moves, does guarantee 40 damage on whatever it hits. Though a bit on the weak side (especially in higher levels), its a good way to finish off a water type or weaker level Pokemon that you believe would survive a hit from, say, Flamethrower. That's all its really good for though (unless you're playing the Petite Cup or something on Pokemon Stadium).

good back then. No protect and no Earthquake damage back then made this a nice move for fighting rock types and several other types. It also did good damage thanks to that high Attack stat. Just make sure you save that TM for him when you're in Cerulean City.

Skull Bash is...okay, but that turn lost is a bummer. It's basically like Solar Beam but with a little less power and it's normal typed. I don't care for it though. Arcanine can't take a lot of hits.

Body Slam
is good too on Arcanine, but again, Double-Edge has more power and you really want to make sure you kill what you're trying to kill. However, Body Slam, in the right circumstance, is a very useful move for taking out foes or even paralyzing them.

That basically does it. Outside of Dig, as I said before, your only real options are normal and fire, so you're at a severe disadvantage against Pokemon like Aerodactyl and Moltres (amongst many others).

Did traveling to Johto help with any of these problems?


Well, yeah. Better type coverage at least.

Bite, a generation ago, was only normal, but with the introduction of Dark types, it's now a main dark type move. Bite goes well with Arcanine as now it has another special move in its arsenal so it's not walled by Pokemon like Starmie or Slowbro anymore. Dark also goes well in coverage with fire so you normally can fight just about anyone now (not kill but certainly hurt).

Of course, the next level up from that (by breeding) is Crunch, but it's a bit harder to get when you lack a Houndoom or Girafarig that knows it. Bite is easier to get and is a decent compromise at this point.

Return can be replaced with Double-Edge for about equal damage and no re-coil (yay for staying alive).

Dragonbreath is an upgrade from Dragon Rage. A decent chance of paralysis and (at this point) the good coverage of dragon attacks is a nice addition to Arcanine. Dragonite and Kingdra best be prepared (though it's still pretty weak compared to today).

Iron Tail has its use against Rock types, but it lacks the coverage of Dig. However, with Earthquake being able to hit underground Pokemon now, it's a lot harder to wanna use dig against rocky opponents. Choose your poison.

Roar has become more useful this generation. Forcing an opponent to switch to a random Pokemon in his/her party is very useful when you know you can't fight them with Fire, normal, and dark attacks (with another mix-up move). It's also good for phazing and things of that nature.

Finally, we have what could be considered a "signature move" of Arcanine this generation, Extreme Speed. This move has twice the power of Quick Attack with half the calories (just kidding). It's a nice move, but you can only get it (at this point) as Arcanine when you use a Fire Stone at Lv. 50. Seeing as how you can get Flamethrower at this level as well, it's best to train your Growlithe to 50 first before evolving him (a hassle, I know, but it really does pay off).

Generally speaking, Arcanine had some nice improvements. True, competition got more intense, but Steel types back then were very weak to a good fire type and dark types couldn't handle fire very well either.

Onto Hoenn.


Unfortunately, Arcanine didn't get anything useful in Hoenn. All he got was more competition from better ground types and dragon types.

It's really unfortunate too. Fire types begin to lose their superiority here (well, at least pure Fire types do). Generally, you need more than just general move coverage to be strong nowadays.

Choice Band is good for hitting things harder, but you still have to deal with the restrictions of Fire being special along with his other moves, so really you only get Dig, Iron Tail, and Extreme Speed really benefiting from it.

His new abilities, Flash Fire and Intimidate, are nice additions that increase his attack power or decrease his threats respectively. However, they won't always work in your favor against a water type.

But when we go forward one generation...


Surprise! Arcanine get's a nice comeback from Kanto again.

...Well, not a lot, but hey, at least you could use him against a lot of the metagame now.

A huge benefit this generation was the Physical/Special Split in giving Arcanine physical fire moves. Arcanine was able to go both special and physical together, but it was hard to go only one way for EV training.

Things got interesting though with Flare Blitz. It's basically Double-Edge with A LOT more power for Arcanine. This is a big difference in attack power from Arcanine's early days. The recoil sucks, but the damage done by it is Happy breeding.

Thunder Fang is a pain in the Anorith for a lot of traditional Arcanine counters. It's not really strong, but Gyarados won't like you for it.

Dragon Pulse finally gives Arcanine some better offense against dragons that he lacked before (he even lost Dragonbreath when he went to Hoenn, so getting this back as an attack type is great). Dragon Pulse has some good power and good coverage. That's all that needs to be said.

Crunch is gained by leveling up now. A nice improvement, but other moves are sometimes better.

Attack-based water types are weakened a bit more by Intimidate (you might survive a Waterfall attack, but no promises), but otherwise, Intimidate does what it did in Hoenn.

One thing to mention that relates to Flare Blitz is the HP problem for Arcanine in competitive battling. Stealth Rock, Life Orb, and Flare Blitz all add up for HP costs in this generation. Choosing when to send Arcanine out and what items/moves he knows is very important as your HP can dwindle VERY quickly.

Experiment: Unova

Since we're moving forward a new generation this Sunday (in the US), I wanted to at least take a look for myself at what Arcanine's benefits are in the Unova generation. Of course, I can't name his counters off the bat since this is a very new generation, but I can at least recommend moves that vastly improve Arcanine in the long run.

Flare Blitz is gained by leveling up now. No more breeding for it! Yay! Level 56? Boo!

Wild Charge is a better version of Thunder Fang and it scares water types even more! Recoil sucks, but we know this with Arcanine. Just max out his HP.

This one definitely caught my eye: Close Combat?!? Thanks to a little breeding with Infernape (and others), you can now get this move on Arcanine. Man, that is obscene. I mean, screw Iron Tail. Rock types will hate this more.

Essentially only 2 really useful moves were given to him, but hey, they are REALLY powerful moves for him. Getting them is strongly recommended (and wait til you can breed for CC and dominate several Pokemon).


Arcanine was never known for powerful type coverage...until now. He still has to deal with his HP draining quickly (whether by Double-Edge in Kanto or Flare Blitz in Unova), but that's how you play with Arcanine. It sucks when he's slower, but it rocks when he's faster. Arcanine ought to be a fun Pokemon to use this 5th generation.

That's it for today. Hope everyone has fun tomorrow on Black and White. Til next time!
Old March 5, 2011, 05:33:45 PM
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RK-9 RK-9 is offline
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Close Combat? Wild bolt?!

Arcanine is going to Borderline and possibly (not so, though) OU.

And I'm proud.
Old March 6, 2011, 04:21:27 AM
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Shadow Shadow is offline
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Before reading this article, I was asking myself: "I should tell Justjack91 to include information from Unova, too". And then I saw that you did that, so kudos to you.

In my opinion, I think that Gen V has done Arcanine a huge favour by increasing his versatility with Wild Bolt and Close Combat. Hopefully, he'll be able to move into the higher tiers due to this.
Old March 6, 2011, 05:20:01 PM
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Justjack91 Justjack91 is offline
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Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
Before reading this article, I was asking myself: "I should tell Justjack91 to include information from Unova, too". And then I saw that you did that, so kudos to you.

In my opinion, I think that Gen V has done Arcanine a huge favour by increasing his versatility with Wild Bolt and Close Combat. Hopefully, he'll be able to move into the higher tiers due to this.
Yeah, I'm considering doing that for previous ones as well since it does make a big difference and (let's face it) some Pokes have changed a lot in Unova (not saying that 100%, but simply giving Arcanine CC is evidence enough we should look closely again at movesets).

I hope he does better too. I saw many dogs go down this last generation even with his improvements. He's a good fire type, and the lack of Stealth Rock as a TM this time around along with less Sandstorm focus of teams means Fire and Flying types might gain popularity again.

Who knows. I truly hope things get better for this legendary dog.
Old December 6, 2011, 09:33:21 AM
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gokugurl11 gokugurl11 is offline
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You know, after reading this, I kind of want to raise one now after I finish going through White again.
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