In the Meta: Arbok
Slithering into PUCL’s spotlight this week is the classic snake antagonist, Arbok. With beautiful patterns and a regal demeanor, Arbok paralyzes and demolishes its many prey. Unfortunately, this beautiful Pokemon has been locked away in the depths of NeverUsed, when it deserves so much more.
The key to Arbok’s success is to determine which of its two good abilities should be used. Shed Skin would be the obvious forerunner if its status-heal chance was 100%, but the real 30% chance is good as well. Running this ability allows the capacity for a decent defensive set with recovery in Rest. The other option, Intimidate, is perhaps more reliable, but less defensively fungible. The perk to this ability is that Arbok will be given a brief chance to set up against a weakened physical attacker to deal with more daunting foes.
A set running Shed Skin should certainly run a more defensive set-up. With Physical Defense covered by the move Coil’s stat boosts, investment in Special Defense is pertinent to the success of Arbok. The point of Shed Skin as an ability would nearly be moot if Rest was not run for the purpose of recovery. The synergy here greatly increases the chance that two entire turns need not be wasted just to heal. To synergize with Coil, Gunk Shot is a fantastic choice for a move due to the accuracy boost from the former and the 80% accuracy from the latter, not to mention the Defense and Attack boosts also granted. The last move can be variable, though Earthquake tends to be a renowned favorite in the NU tier. A plethora of other moves are viable if Arbok is used in higher tiers including Sucker Punch, Seed Bomb, and Aqua Tail.
To run Intimidate on an Arbok forces more aggressive tactics in order to prevail. If switched into a weak, physical fighter, Arbok can often force switches into more fearsome Pokemon. An excellent example of this would be Kadabra, which can easily have a Focus Sash broken with a single Sucker Punch. Coil is still necessary with Intimidate as ability, but more offensive moves take precedence over Rest here. Arbok has a very good offensive move pool, and the choice of moves depends on what tier it is being run in. Seed Bomb is a good choice in the lower tiers of RU and NU due to the abundance of Ground / Water types, as well as Earthquake. Aqua Tail hits a lot of things for neutral damage, and may be preferred over Seed Bomb in higher tiers due to an increase in power. Gunk Shot is almost certainly necessary due to STAB and its naturally tremendous power.
Concerning items, Black Sludge is generally preferred. Arbok simply does not possess the natural physical bulk to take risks enough to run an item such as Life Orb. Black Sludge is preferred over Leftovers on the occasion that an opponent attempts to steal Arbok’s item. Although not generally used, a great move at Arbok’s disposal is Glare. With a 100% paralysis chance, Arbok can attempt to set up more than usual. Often not determined worthy of the extra move slot due to its inability to effect Electric types, this former signature move is now disregarded, but worth a mention.
Shed Skin Arbok (Smogon NU)
252 HP / 192 Sp. Defense / 64 Speed
192 HP / 252 Attack / 64 Speed
64 EVs in Speed allow Arbok to outspeed bulkier / slower tanks, and allows to graze the upper speed tiers. Arbok may not have too many uses, but letting your guard down can spell a death by snakebite. Wait for an opportunity, coil up, and strike relentlessly. Remember this Puclonians, and your Arbok will be the very best.