Arceus, the God of Pokémon, can assume 18 different formes that are dependent on the Plate He holds. While Arceus is usually Normal-type, giving Him a Plate will change His type. To denote which forme is which, Arceus conveniently changes colour. For instance, Arceus holding a Draco Plate turns violet with green spots and becomes a Dragon-type, while Arceus holding a Flame Plate turns scarlet with orange spots and becomes a Fire-type. Some of these palette swaps are quite nice to look at. Others, to use a phrase a friend of mine uses in his YouTube videos, are ‘somewhat… suboptimal.’ Finally, a small grouping of these palette swaps are just unforgivably ugly to a point which the Arceus formes belonging to this category should hang their heads in shame.
In this article, the first of two, I will present my thoughts on and rank the lower echelon of Arceus formes from 18th to 10th. I will also provide small details regarding the competitive viability of the different Arceus formes in ORAS Ubers. Judgements will be based off the BW2 Arceus sprites, as the XY models are too washed out for my liking.
When Arceus wields the Mind Plate, He transforms into possibly the ugliest Arceus forme of them all. For a Plate that’s supposed to allow Arceus to channel mental acuity and common sense, it does quite a poor job of it. Arceus-Psychic eschews any scintilla of fashionability, instead choosing to look like some hick disco stud from the 1970s. Of course, pink and green, like any colour combination, can look acceptable when applied correctly. However, the shades of pink and green that adorn Arceus-Psychic clash with each other with more fury than Groudon and Kyogre did during ancient times. This results in Arceus-Psychic manifesting as little more than an insult to the colour pink.
As if this wasn’t already bad enough, Arceus-Psychic has zero use in the ORAS Ubers metagame, being completely outclassed by every other Psychic-type and losing to a plethora of good Pokémon without really trying. It must suck being both a fashion abomination and a terrible Pokémon.
The Insect Plate transforms Arceus into a beast that looks as if it has come down with a severe illness. Arceus-Bug takes a repugnant shade of green and a shade of pink that shouldn’t exist and mixes them together to create a grotesque colour scheme that He should be ashamed of. The only reason Arceus-Bug’s crime against fashion is less serious than that of Arceus-Psychic is that He wisely chose not to use colours that are repulsively bright. This makes His colour scheme slightly less conspicuous and, hence, slightly less atrocious. I am not fond of His underbelly’s dark grey colour, as it does not go well with green and pink at all. However, Arceus-Psychic is just as guilty of this, so, in this regard, they are as bad as each other.
Like Arceus-Psychic, Arceus-Bug is complete garbage competitively. His only use is as a Swords Dance user that must rely on a pathetically weak STAB move in X-Scissor, as a Calm Mind set would be complete Ho-Oh bait. You don’t want to be complete Ho-Oh bait in ORAS Ubers.
Donning the Stone Plate, Arceus adopts possibly the blandest colour scheme of them all. Arceus-Rock’s problem isn’t so much His ugliness as it is the sheer plainness of His colouring. I’m pretty sure tan suits went out of fashion when people realised that it wasn’t the best idea to wear clothes that looked like low-grade sandpaper, and it’s clear Arceus-Rock just didn’t get the memo.
It’s a shame, too, as Arceus-Rock is one of the better Arceus formes. No type is immune to Rock, and Rock resistances are actually not that common in Ubers – even the mighty Primal Groudon takes neutral damage from Calm Mind Arceus-Rock’s Judgements. Arceus-Rock is also one of the best Ho-Oh stops in ORAS Ubers, so He is worth devoting your Arceus slot to if you really struggle with the flaming pheasant. There was a fair amount of potential here. A lot of natural rock formations are really pretty, so I’m at a loss as to why the God of Pokemon didn’t think to make His stony self just a little more attractive.
The Iron Plate bestows upon Arceus a colour scheme that is almost as plain as that of Arceus-Rock. Arceus-Steel only barely edges out Arceus-Rock ranking-wise because His colouring is less boring. There’s not much you can do with grey, and Arceus-Steel at least attempts to do a good job with what He has. When all is said and done, though, an Arceus forme that relies on a sickly shade of yellow for His accents simply cannot justly be placed in the upper ranks of fashionability.
As a matter of fact, Arceus-Steel should thank His iron buttocks that I am not basing these rankings off competitive usefulness. Arceus-Steel is either the best useless Arceus forme or the worst useful Arceus forme, depending on your viewpoint. This is because He loses very badly to Primal Groudon and Ho-Oh, the latter being especially painful if Arceus-Steel is running a Calm Mind set or a Swords Dance set without Stone Edge. In addition, Arceus-Steel cannot hope to beat Geomancy Xerneas carrying Focus Blast, which the Swords Dance set would be able to deal with reasonably well otherwise. This is a huge fall from grace for this ugly Pokémon, considering He was pretty top-notch in DPP and BW Ubers.
Near the front of the four-strong conga line of blandly coloured Arceus formes is Arceus-Flying, who would probably kill to be the same shade of blue as the Sky Plate He bears. Arceus-Flying sits comfortably above Arceus-Rock and Arceus-Steel because His underbelly actually corresponds in colour with the rest of His body. The white accents that punctuate His abdominal protrusion are also mildly interesting, as they evoke symbolism of clouds dotting the sky. Unfortunately, Arceus-Flying’s shade of blue is too greyish for me to place Him anywhere higher than this rank; if it were a better shade, He would surely ascend towards the upper echelon of my preferences.
While Arceus-Flying has the second-best colour scheme of the Four Musketeers of boring Arceus formes, He is the most unusable. Flying is an excellent offensive typing in Ubers, but the problem lies in the fact that Arceus-Flying is, first and foremost, a stallbreaker. Unfortunately, as a stallbreaker that is wrecked by well-built stall teams, Arceus-Flying is just terrible and, more or less, a waste of your team’s Arceus slot. Arceus-Flying is not helped by the fact that every good Ubers team has a Flying-type resistance in it thanks to Mega Salamence being everywhere. Like Arceus-Rock, Arceus-Flying really could have done much better as far as His colour scheme is concerned.
Arceus-Ground separates Himself from the formes below Him by doing an exemplary job with a colour that is almost impossible to work with. Unlike Arceus-Rock’s disgusting light brown, Arceus-Ground has chosen to colour Himself with a shade of brown that, in comparison with most shades of brown, is quite soothing to look at. His accents complement His shade of brown quite well, as does His underbelly. While these traits are hallmarks of the Arceus formes that populate the top of this list, Arceus-Ground is severely held back by the fact that His colour scheme is a brown one – and brown is a fundamentally flawed colour. It reminds me a little bit too much of a pair of shoes my dad owns. It is this that holds Him back from the higher ranks.
Fortunately for Arceus-Ground, His Swords Dance set is a fantastic Primal Groudon check and an excellent late-game sweeper in general that can also pressure entry hazard setters throughout the match. This means that, despite His aesthetic inferiority to other Arceus formes, Arceus-Ground is at least good to use.
Arceus holding the Fist Plate is a mixed bag. On one hand, Arceus-Fighting’s dark orange colouring – I hesitate to call it brown – complements His dark grey underbelly and light orange accents reasonably well. This means that He looks less like a pair of men’s shoes and more like an embodiment of raw, fighting spirit. On the other hand, the shade of dark orange that forms the core of Arceus-Fighting’s colour scheme still really isn’t that stellar, which renders Arceus-Fighting yet another forme with a decent amount of fashion potential that is cruelled by a single bad choice. It is not as disgusting or bland as any of the schemes that the Arceus formes below Arceus-Fighting ‘show off’, however, which means Arceus-Fighting comfortably holds His position in 12th place.
Contrary to the mixed feelings I have towards Arceus-Fighting’s colour scheme, there is no chance of me ever wavering from my viewpoint that Arceus-Fighting is a dreadful Arceus forme in ORAS Ubers. He can check Arceus-Normal and Darkrai reasonably well with His STAB Fighting-type Judgement, and He can competently run a lure set that carries Stone Edge, Ice Beam, and Judgement that surprises His usual checks. However, better checks to these Pokemon that do not take up an Arceus slot, such as Skarmory and Xerneas, exist. Arceus-Fighting is also cursed with an abhorrent defensive typing that leaves Him weak to common Flying- and Fairy-type attacks.
Arceus and Arceus-Electric look so similar that it is difficult for me to rank them. However, where Arceus-Electric loses out to Arceus is the fact that the Zap Plate gives Him a slightly less appealing shade of yellow. Arceus-Electric’s shade of yellow is brighter than Arceus’s, which would be fine if the shade was actually any good. Arceus-Electric’s underbelly is also unusually shaded, being an unappealing mix of grey and yellow. These shortcomings are what, in my eyes, cost Arceus-Electric a spot in the top 10. His red accents complement His shade of yellow, but this is not sufficient to displace Arceus from His ‘throne’ as the Arceus forme with the tenth-best colouring.
Where there is a great divide between Arceus-Electric and Arceus is their competitive viability. Arceus-Electric is severely compromised by the commonality of Primal Groudon, which simply destroys Him. Additionally, threats such as Latios and Arceus-Ground laugh at Him. This means He is not a very good Arceus forme unless you desperately need something that checks both Primal Kyogre and Flying-type Pokemon, or are just bored.
When not holding a plate, Arceus takes on His base forme. It is likely that He spends much of His time chiding Himself for making His Electric-type forme look so similar to Him, as there is little that separates them. Arceus is ranked above Arceus-Electric because His gold colouring and bright green accents mix relatively well. He is clearly a patriotic Australian, given that bright green and gold are the colours of most of Australia’s international sporting teams. Arceus’s shade of yellow is superior to Arceus-Electric’s, being a golden shade. This is befitting for a Pokémon that is supposed to be regal and divine. Arceus also somehow makes His grey underbelly ‘work’, which is always a bonus. Arceus’s middling position in these rankings is attributable to how His colour scheme really isn’t anything special, exciting, or pleasant, unlike those above Him.
However, Arceus can take solace in the fact that He is the most splashable Arceus forme of them all, being able to access the item slot – unlike other Arceus formes. This means that He can augment the power of all His coverage moves, meaning that the Earthquakes, Shadow Claws, and Stone Edges that His Swords Dance set can fire off are nothing to laugh at. He also receives STAB on Extreme Speed, making Him an extremely threatening revenge killer and late-game sweeper.
Hopefully, this article has shed light on both how disgustingly ugly some Arceus formes are and how useful they are in ORAS Ubers! In Part II, I’ll present to you the top 9 Arceus formes, which were much harder to decide the order of than these unfortunate specimens.
Edited by Astinus, bobandbill and gimmepie.
Cover art by WikiHow.