Defeatist: Attack is halved if this Pokemon's HP is under 50%.
What a way to keep a great physical attacker down. With one of the worst new abilities this generation - Defeatist - Archen goes from a very respectable physical attacker to a deadweight should its HP fall under 50%. A weakness to Stealth Rock makes things much, much worse for the poor prehistoric bird.
However in spite of this glaring weakness, Archen is still a very potent threat, given the correct precautions be taken. With a wide movepool and both Attack and Special Attack usable, Archen can dent any Pokemon who isn't a dedicated wall. With a field clear of Stealth Rock and a bit of prediction, Archen can be a very useful Pokemon for any team who could use a Ground immunity.
Naive / Jolly
U-Turn Hidden Power Grass / Crunch Earthquake Stone Edge
252 Atk / 236 Spd / 20 Sp Atk
Defeatist, one of the worst abilities in the new generation, really hurts Archen as an attacker, especially since it has a weakness to Stealth
Rock. Still, its base 112 Attack is something that should not be overlooked. If you are using this set, you should be fully planning on some kind of Rapid Spin-user, or at the very least using Archen as a lead. Ignoring Archen's ability, it works extremely well as a revenge killer with a Choice Scarf with its QuakeEdge combo. U-Turn is very useful on this set, as it allows Archen to scout for priority attack users who are the absolute bane of it. With a weakness to Steel, Ice and Water, the most common priority attack types, Archen needs team support for this.
Hidden Power Grass is useful on this set for the sheer coverage, although Crunch is recommended if you want Archen to be able to take out Misdreavus in OU NFE - Stone Edge is a mere 2HKO. In UU NFE, however, Hidden Power Grass proves as the superior option, hitting Onix, Rhyhorn, Palpitoad, Tirtouga, Shellder and Hippopotas for lethal damage. Such Pokemon who are expecting to come in on Stone Edge will be immediately KOed the next turn with Hidden Power Grass, as it is a 2HKO on all of these Pokemon. Even in OU NFE, Hidden Power Grass proves useful for a 2HKO against Marshtomp and Rhydon, who may expect Stone Edge to be used. These two also meet a similar fate - by switching into Hidden Power Grass, they are 2HKOed with
no way to escape it unless they switch out, as Rhydon and Marshtomp do not have access to any priority attacks. Jolly, of course, is the recommended Nature on this set if you do not elect to use Hidden Power Grass.
The Speed EVs are designed to be able to outspeed a +1 Fraxure, as well as anything that aims to outspeed this Fraxure. Other Pokemon who are always outsped include a max Speed Kadabra, Electabuzz and Magmar. Archen CANNOT outspeed a Choice Scarf Vibrava, Gabite, Servine or Quilava, however.
It is important to ensure that Archen has an odd-numbered HP stat. This way, it can freely switch into Stealth Rock twice without having Defeatist activated, as Archen becomes nearly unusable after Defeatist is activated. If you are using Crunch on Archen, you can take the Sp Atk EVs out and add them to Speed. With the extra Speed, Archen ties with Choice Scarf Mankey, and can now outpace Scarf Cranidos for a OHKO with Stone Edge or Earthquake.
Archen gets access to Dragon Pulse, Heat Wave and Earth Power, all moves that are not hindered by Defeatist and have passable coverage alongside Stone Edge or Earthquake. An Acrobatics + Flying Gem set with Baton Pass and Agility support from Gligar or Scyther could be used, but Gligar itself can do this better and doesn't sport a Stealth Rock weakness.
Aqua Tail and Shadow Claw are usable physical attacks that could replace U-Turn, but you no longer have the forewarning against priority attack users and neither attack hits as hard as Stone Edge bar Pokemon with an x4 weakness to its type (even Rock / Ground types are hit harder by Hidden Power Grass than Aqua Tail).
Stealth Rock can be used on the choice set, but you risk all of Archen's usability by leaving it open to an attack, and base 45 defenses are not something that will keep Archen's head above the 50% health water line.
Anti-priority Pokemon are key to making Archen work well. In OU NFE, Poliwhirl is one of the best choices for this, as it
takes down Sneasel, Metang, Piloswine to an extent, and Dragonair, the most common priority attack-users in OU NFE. Frillish is a good choice for both tiers,
as it is resistant to Ice Shard, an optional immunity to Water, and an immunity to Fighting and Normal, working extremely well at switching into such priority
attacks. It can proceed to use Will-O-Wisp to burn these Pokemon or take them down with a STAB Surf, or in Dragonair's case, Ice Beam. Marill works well as an
anti-priority Pokemon in UU NFE, being able to check Tirtouga, Carvanha, Swinub and Houndour. Houndour can never OHKO Marill with Sucker Punch after Stealth Rock
damage if it is at full HP.
Rapid Spin users are also a high recommendation for Archen. Tentacool is one of the best choices for this as it has a weakness to Ground that Archen can take advantage of.
A sandstorm team with Archen will highly benefit from Drilbur as an attacker, and it can also learn Rapid Spin.
Wish users are very helpful to Archen to help ward off the ill effects of Defeatist. Togetic is an immediate idea for this, as it is the most reliable Wish user in NFE
bar Chansey. In UU NFE, Clefairy, Chimecho and Tranquill are notable Wish-users. None of these particularly synergize well with Archen, but their access to Wish is very
Togetic only fears Stone Edge, and can use Thunder Wave to destroy Archen's Speed, or use Hidden Power Water on the Choice Specs set
to take it down. Shelgon also works as a check, not being 2HKOed by Stone Edge if it invests in HP and Defense, and threatening with Dragon Claw. Grotle isn't 2HKOed
by any attack Archen has, and can threaten with Seed Bomb, which gets Archen under 50% of its HP.
Without Hidden Power Grass, Marshtomp and Rhydon in OU NFE can easily take down Archen. Lairon and Gligar can also work well depending on what attack Archen elects to use.
Ferroseed is a very noteworthy counter if it holds Rugged Helmet - it isn't weak to any of Archen's attacks, and if U-Turn or Stone Edge is used, it does a
total of 51% damage to Archen if Stealth Rock damage is taken, which just gets it under 50%, even if it has an odd-numbered HP stat. Ferroseed can then use Curse, set up
entry hazards or use Thunder Wave on Archen depending on the situation, leaving Archen with no worthy options.
Walling Archen off and forcing it to switch will easily thwart its efforts at sweeping. After 3 switch-ins, its Attack becomes quite insignificant thanks to Defeatist.
Burning Archen also destroys its capabilities outside of resorting to Hidden Power Grass. Dusclops, Misdreavus and Drifloon can all do this while being able
to take at least two of Archen's attacks relatively well, or at least in enough time to burn it.
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