Articuno - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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This is a strategy guide for using Articuno in competitive play for the games Pokemon Sword and Shield. Read on for tips on the best Nature, EV spreads, Movesets, and Held Items to use with Articuno, as well as its strengths and weak points.

Articuno - Related Articles
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Basic Information for Articuno

Types and Abilities

Pokemon Type 1 Type 2
Ice Type Flying Type
Pressure The Pokemon raises the foe's PP usage.

Type Defenses

Takes 4x damage
Pokemon Rock Image
Takes 2x damage
Pokemon Fire Image Pokemon Electric Image Pokemon Steel Image
Takes 0.5x damage
Pokemon Grass Image Pokemon Bug Image
Takes 1/4x damage
Takes 0x damage
Pokemon Ground Image

What is Type Effectiveness?

Base Stats

HP Attack Defense Sp. Atk Sp. Def Speed
90 85 100 95 125 85

Best Nature for Articuno

Best Natures
(+Sp.Def, -Atk)

Singles Movesets for Articuno

Pressure Stall Moveset & Best Build

Pressure Stall Articuno.png

Nature Calm (+Sp.Def, -Atk)
EV Spread HP 248 / Def 4 / Sp.Def 160 / Spd 96
Final Stat Values HP 196 / Def 121 / Sp.Atk 115 / Sp.Def 181 / Spd 117
Ability Pressure
Held Item Heavy-Duty Boots
Moveset Substitute

Great mixed defenses and reliably recovery makle Articuno a great choice to fill the role of Pressure Staller in a dedicated Hail Team.

About Articuno's Moves

Substitute is what allows Articuno to stall with its Ability, and it also prevents it from getting hit by status moves. Roost is its recovery, and also gets rid of its secondary Flying-type for the turn it used it.

Freeze-Dry is its only attacking move. While relatively weak, it hits Water-types for super effective damage. It's last move is Hail, allowing Articuno to reset the weather condition once it runs out.

About Articuno's EV Spread

We're using a mixed Defensive set for this Articuno. 248 HP EVs and 160 Sp.Def EVs make it as bulky as possible on its special side, while 96 Speed EVs ensure it outruns slower sweepers and walls. The remaining 4 EVs are placed in Defense to round off its bulk.

About Articuno's Ability

This build revolves around Articuno's Pressure ability, which causes the opposing Pokemon to lose 2 PP instead of 1.

About Articuno's Held Item

We're giving Articuno Heavy-Duty Boots to protect it from Stealth Rock, which would otherwise cut its HP in half.

Other Viable Moves

Tailwind An alternative to Hail if your team already has a dedicated main and backup weather setter.

How to Use Articuno Effectively

Pressure Stall in Hail

Articuno's reliably recovery and Pressure Ability makes it a dangerous stall Pokemon in a dedicated Hail Team. The combination of Substitute, Pressure, and the residual damage from Hail can whittle down the opposing team and force switches, especially if they like an Articuno counter.

How to Build a Team with Articuno

Articuno only has a niche in dedicated Hail Teams where it fills the role of a Pressure staller.

Stall the Opposing Team with Pressure

Articuno faces some competition from Mandibuzz as a specially defensive wall in Hail. Instead of using it as a defensive Pokemon, it's better used as a dedicated staller.

Team Options for Articuno

Alolan Ninetales ImageAlolan Ninetales Galarian Darmanitan ImageGalarian Darmanitan
Lead Hail Setter Choice Scarf Sweeper
Articuno ImageArticuno Reuniclus ImageReuniclus
Pressure Staller Defensive Pivot
Clefable ImageClefable Frosmoth ImageFrosmoth
Cleric/Special Wall Setup Sweeper

Articuno has great defensive synergy with, Reunicules and Clefable who both cover the Freeze Pokemon's defensive shortcomings. In turn, Articuno is usually switched in when the team faces a bulky Water-type Pokemon looking to wall Galarian Darmanitan, such as Toxapex or Jellicent.

Counters for Articuno

Counter it with a Fire-type

Articuno lacks a reliable way to handle Fire-types. The Freeze Pokemon is particularly vulnerable to faster physical Fire-types that can easily overpower and outright KO the Legendary Bird.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Cinderace ImageCinderace Ranking: ★★★★★
・Takes little damage from Freeze-Dry
・Outspeeds Articuno and easily KOs with Pyro Ball

Moveset & Best Build for Cinderace
Entei ImageEntei Ranking: ★★★★★
・Takes little damage from Freeze-Dry
・Outspeeds Articuno and easily KOs with Sacred Fire

Moveset & Best Build for Entei

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