Item Choice Band
Nature Adamant / Jolly
Moveset EVs 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
~ Flare Blitz
~ Thunder Fang
~ Iron Head / Overheat
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 attack that is sure to put a big 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. Coming from Arcanine's naturally high Attack stat and further boosted by Choice Band, it can be used to pick off faster Pokémon with ease. For example, Hitmonlee is often Scarfed and can outrun Arcanine to land a hefty Close Combat, but a Choice Band ExtremeSpeed has the power to OHKO with Stealth Rock damage. Arcanine can do upwards of 85% to other physically frail sweepers such as Houndoom, Espeon, Primeape, Roserade, and Swellow, giving it great utility as a revenge killer and a check against these fast threats.
The last two slots are used to cover against Arcanine's common switch ins, namely Rock and Water-types. Thunder Fang's low base power can often be a letdown against the bulkier Water-types such as Slowbro, but can be used to 2HKO Milotic and Azumarill. Iron Head won't be doing enough to 2HKO the likes of Regirock, but it will almost always get a 3HKO, and in situations like this the 30% flinch rate may really pay off. Overheat can be run to hit the physical walls harder on their weaker side, and will out-damage Flare Blitz against the likes of Steelix and Cloyster. Arcanine has quite a limited movepool, and that is the extent of its viable attacking options. However, Arcanine's tendency to lure in bulky Pokémon not fearful of ExtremeSpeed can be used to its advantage, and Toxic can be run in the last slot as a crippling surprise for many of its checks.
Having a teammate lay down Stealth Rock can turn many 3HKOs on Arcanine's common switch-ins into 2HKOs. Most notable out of these is Milotic - after taking Stealth Rock damage, even the bulkiest of Milotic will be 2HKOed by a Choice Band Thunder Fang. Stealth Rock also means that Moltres won't come in on Arcanine with impunity, as Flare Blitz is an easy 2HKO on a 50% Moltres, and Thunder Fang will get a clean OHKO. Since you will often find yourself wanting to bring Arcanine in to ExtremeSpeed a weakened sweeper, keeping the rocks off your own side of the field will greatly increase Arcanine's lifespan, as well as giving you the freedom to switch it in and out and abuse Intimidate and ExtremeSpeed. Blastoise pairs up well with Arcanine as a Rapid Spinner, with good defenses on both sides allowing it to come in on Surfs as well as Rock Slide and Earthquake from Regirock and Arcanine's other physically oriented counters. Blastoise can scare off Regirock and Moltres with the threat of a super effective Surf, and has Toxic to cripple other bulky Water-types, weakening them and making them far less reliable switch-ins to Arcanine. Being able to come in on the majority of Arcanine's counters gives Blastoise ample time to Rapid Spin, and can continue to support Arcanine throughout the game.
Name Special Choice
Item Choice Specs / Choice Scarf
Nature Modest / Timid
Moveset EVs 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
~ Flamethrower / Fire Blast
~ 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. Fire Blast is useful for compensating for Arcanine's average Special Attack, and is the preferred choice for a Scarf set so that it can do acceptable amounts of damage. Beyond that, Arcanine doesn't have too many special attacking options. 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 the Rock- and Water-types that tend to switch into it. Whereas physical Arcanine missed the 2HKO on Slowbro with Thunder Fang but was able to get Milotic, Hidden Power Grass works in the opposite way, hitting Slowbro on its lower Special Defense for up to 75% of its health. It will also 2HKO any Regirock that doesn't run a Special Defense boosting nature after Stealth Rock damage, provided a sandstorm is not raging.
Overheat works well as a hit-and-run move for Specs Arcanine, similar to Salamence's Draco Meteor in OU (complete with Intimidate and a Stealth Rock weakness!). However, Scarf sets will prefer Fire Blast's consistent damage, as without a Special Attack boosting item, Overheat may fail to get crucial KOs, and a second Fire Blast will outdamage two uses of Overheat if the first failed to KO. However, it is hard to recommend an Arcanine set without ExtremeSpeed, as the usefulness of that move cannot be emphasized enough.
Toxic Spikes support is particularly helpful for this set in wearing down Milotic (without disadvantaging yourself by giving it a Marvel Scale boost) and Chansey, and in particular will stop Chansey from staying in and trying to outstall Arcanine with Softboiled. Roserade makes a fine partner for Arcanine, as it has a Water resistance and a decent Special Defense stat for switching into Surf. Milotic can be scared off with the threat of a super effective Leaf Storm, while Roserade can take advantage of its own low HP stat by annoying Chansey to no end with Leech Seed. All this gives it plenty of time to set up two layers of Toxic Spikes, which will make sweeping with Specs Arcanine a lot easier.
Item Lum Berry
Moveset EVs 192 HP / 252 Atk / 64 Spe
~ Flare Blitz
~ Hidden Power Grass / Overheat
Arcanine's good all-round stats allow it to be both bulky and yet hit extremely hard at the same time. This fact, combined with its Intimidate ability and access to ExtremeSpeed, allows it to function as a very effective anti-lead.
Flare Blitz is a high powered STAB attack that does big damage to pretty much anything that doesn't resist it. ExtremeSpeed is the real crux of the set, allowing Arcanine to beat Focus Sash users without having to take another attack, and can 2HKO some faster, frailer leads. Against Arcanine, the bulky Water switch in is almost inevitable, and a well-timed Toxic can cripple both Slowbro and Milotic (despite activating Marvel Scale, if it doesn't have Rest, it's not going to enjoy Toxic). Steel-types never switch into Arcanine, and Poison is often paired with Grass, meaning there is usually very little risk involved in using Toxic.
Arcanine has a couple of different moves that all work well in the last slot. Hidden Power Grass is noted because otherwise, Rock- and Water-types fear next to nothing from this set. Since Kabutops and Omastar are occasionally seen as Stealth Rock / Spiker leads, being able to hit them with a 4x super effective attack has great benefits. Hidden Power Grass also lets Arcanine do a bit of damage to incoming Slowbro, although with no Special Attack investment the damage isn't enough to 2HKO. Overheat is another good choice for the last slot. It can be used when you're low on health and can't afford the recoil from Flare Blitz, when you've been Intimidated, or when you want to hit high-Defense Pokémon, such as Steelix, Cloyster, and Gligar, convincingly hard.
Attack is maximized to give Arcanine as strong a Flare Blitz and ExtremeSpeed as possible, and to allow it to put out enough damage in the lead scenario to KO the opposing Pokémon. The Speed EVs allow it to outrun Adamant Honchkrow and +Speed base 60s, while the remaining EVs are allocated into HP to bulk Arcanine up. Lum Berry is a great item on a leading Pokémon, allowing Arcanine to easily come out on top against Roserade and Hypnosis Yanmega leads by using Flare Blitz and ExtremeSpeed.
One of the most appealing things about this set is that it can function as a good revenge killer with ExtremeSpeed later on in the game as well. It is not limited to just the lead scenario, and with its decent defensive stats and Intimidate, can become a real asset for the team later on too by revenge killing fast, frail sweepers. Since this set will be leading, it generally doesn't need too much in the way of support to be effective. However, if you're not running Hidden Power Grass, having a way to deal with Rock/Water-types is recommended, as otherwise they can just sit there and Spike (Omastar) or Swords Dance (Kabutops) away. Having a good switch-in to Moltres is useful as well, as Arcanine can't really damage it outside of poisoning it.
Item Leftovers / Life Orb
Moveset EVs 76 HP / 252 Atk / 180 Spe
~ Flare Blitz
~ Thunder Fang / Iron Head
Arcanine's ExtremeSpeed is just as powerful as Lucario's, but the fiery dog misses out on Swords Dance to instantly double its Attack stat so has to do with the weaker Howl. However, Arcanine's overall bulk and Intimidate gives it the staying power to get multiple Howls off and boost its Attack to similarly high levels.
This is best used in late game when things have been weakened a bit. Switch in when it is advantageous, Howl as many times as feasible, and get to work. Attack is maximized to make ExtremeSpeed as powerful as possible, and the Speed EVs allow Arcanine to outrun neutral natured base 85s such as Toxicroak and Nidoking. The remaining EVs are placed into Arcanine's HP to allow it to take hits better as it tries to get Howls under its belt. 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.
Since Arcanine has no recovery outside of Leftovers, it greatly appreciates starting off with 100% health instead of 75% when it comes into battle. Keeping Stealth Rock off the field could mean Arcanine gets in one more Howl, giving it just enough power to sweep with ExtremeSpeed. With the limited coverage provided by running only three attacking moves, you should have a way of dealing with either Rock or Water-types, depending on which of Thunder Fang or Iron Head you decide to run. Screen support can greatly extend Arcanine's longevity and allow it to potentially get twice as many Howls in, and Gardevoir and Uxie make good choices to support Arcanine with. Gardevoir has a high Special Defense stat and Thunderbolt to scare off bulky Water-types, and Uxie can use its great mixed walling stats in conjunction with Toxic to wear opponents down, as well as using Memento to further weaken the foe as Arcanine switches in.
Name RestTalk Shuffler Item
Moveset EVs 252 HP / 252 Def / 6 Spe
~ Flare Blitz
~ Sleep Talk
Arcanine can be a valuable asset to any team that requires an effective shuffler. Its real selling point is its ability Intimidate, which drops the opponent's Attack by one stage and helps you to deal with physical sweepers much more easily. Arcanine can force the opponent to reveal team members by utilizing Roar on Pokemon like Chansey, Registeel, Steelix and Scyther as they switch out in fear of its STAB Fire moves, and expelling the switch-in, which also reveals the opponent's best answer for Arcanine in general. This is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of entry hazards on the field which chip away at the opponent's health slowly, wearing them down for the sweepers on your team. Since Flare Blitz receives STAB and has 120 base power, it can scare away many foes and you will find yourself juggling the opponent's team the entire match if they don't pack strong Water-, Rock- or Ground-type moves.
To demonstrate how bulky Arcanine is, here are some damage calculations of common attacks it might have to take:
Steelix, 0 Atk Earthquake vs 252 HP / 252 Def Arcanine w/ Intimidate: 27.08% - 32.81%
Jolly Swellow (Guts activated), 252 Atk Facade vs 252 HP / 252 Def Arcanine w/ Intimidate: 36.98% - 43.75%
Adamant Hitmontop, Life Orb, 252 Atk Fake Out vs 252 HP / 252 Def Arcanine w/ Intimidate: 10.94% - 13.02%
Adamant Hitmontop, Life Orb, 252 Atk Close Combat vs 252 HP / 252 Def Arcanine w/ Intimidate: 32.29% - 38.28%
+2 Jolly Scyther, Life Orb, 252 Atk Aerial Ace vs 252 HP / 252 Def Arcanine w/ Intimidate: 54.95% - 65.10%
Adamant Choice Band Nidoking, 252 Atk Earthquake vs 252 HP / 252 Def Arcanine w/ Intimidate: 61.46% - 72.40%
Rest is essential to the set because it allows Arcanine to heal off the damage after taking previous blows from the opponent. The key move in this set is Sleep Talk, which can surprise an opponent because it is usually the last thing they will find on an Arcanine. Sleep Talk can randomly fire off Flare Blitz or Roar which can make the opponent double-think before they switch in their Arcanine counter. When selected by Sleep Talk, Roar also loses its negative priority, and so can be used to phaze out an opposing Pokemon before it even has a chance to move. This 'sleep shuffling' strategy can be particularly effective against more defensive teams, who often don't have many Pokemon that can outspeed Arcanine. The EVs are straightforward and their main purpose is to maximize Arcanine's ability to take physical hits. The remaining 6 Speed EVs can be helpful to outspeed 0 Speed Drapion and other base 95s such as Uxie.
Arcanine is naturally forcing plenty of switch outs due to its impressive attacking stats, both physically and specially. It is highly recommended that all three entry hazards are placed on the field to take advantage of the set. Toxic Spikes can be really important to deal with those pesky Water-types which are Arcanine's natural counter.