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I like the design and the fact its Poison type a lot, which is why I would use it if possible. But... it seems it works only as meh staller in Stockpile+Toxic or outclassed Sucker Punch spammer which is not even STAB attack at all (and that is all a big if since it is very slow and frail at the same time).


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Unfortunately Arbok hasn't really stood the test of time very well. It is outclassed by other Poison-type Pokemon that were luckier in terms of their stat distribution -- Arbok's main downfall is that it is very underwhelming stat-wise. Its base 95 Attack is alright, but nothing impressive, and beyond that it is a bit frail and can't do very much with its middling base 80 Speed. Even in Smogon's lowest tier PU, Arbok only manages a usage rate of 1.3% and just 0.2% from players who are high on the ladder, which I think is telling that it has turned out a bit of a dud.

If you're really interesting in testing its abilities in competitive though, Arbok has some redeeming qualities that might give it some fun moments. Its pure Poison typing has three more resistances than it does weaknesses, including helpful switch-in opportunities to common Fighting and Fairy attacks. Its ability to switch-in is improved by its ability Intimidate, which should give it respectable physical bulk for an offensively inclined Pokemon. It also has a good movepool including options like Gunk Shot, Earthquake, Sucker Punch and Aqua Tail.

Arbok's most viable set by far makes use of Coil, which gives it the jump on its power required to secure KOs and makes Gunk Shot far more reliable. Coil also capitalises on some of the switches that Arbok could force using its good defensive typing and movepool. On this set, Waterium Z and Aqua Tail could allow it to surprise and muscle past Ground-type Pokemon, whilst Black Sludge is a more consistent option otherwise. Sucker Punch could allow it to play against Psychic-type Pokemon and make up somewhat for its Speed.

Really though, there isn't much of a reason to be using Arbok seriously. Other Poison-type Pokemon like Alolan Muk pull off the slow set-up sweeper set better and have more interesting stats, whilst Pokemon like Toxapex do better in a defensive or stall role as well. If you do use Arbok, use it because you enjoy it.

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Thanks for the extremely detailed answer, I really appreciate it. Smogon list of usage is pretty nice to look at, thanks for it too.

Oh well, I think I wont be using it. I planned to EV train tanky spread in HP and SPDef and then Coil+Toxic.
No problem! Glad you found it helpful. Smogon actually has a massive directory full of stats if you're interested in looking at them: http://www.smogon.com/stats/
HP and SDef could be interesting and might catch a few people off guard. Maybe Coil / Protect / Toxic / Gunk Shot could work as a set, though I think it would be pretty easy to answer once its surprise factor wears out. From a purely competitive perspective, I think Toxapex makes best use of that kind of set, if you're interested in the playstyle.
Maybe something with stockpile/swallow for recovery and more Tankiness?
You could try that, but Stockpile is generally seen as a gimmick in competitive since it is so passive and tends to become setup fodder. Arbok itself doesn't make the move much better and would probably rather set up with Coil.