Howdy folks! As I’ve done many, many times before, I’m here to take a close look at this month’s Community Day spotlight Pokémon and examine its merits in–wait, what? You say we already HAD a Community Day Pokémon this month? And this other, now second Community Day features a repeat? Well, considering that repeat is one of the best all-time Pokémon in PvP and PvE, I think we can openly accept this, the first Community Day Classic, happily!
Because today, my friends, we go all the way back to the first starter, the first Pokémon in everyone’s Pokédex, and the first in many of our hearts. It’s time to once again bring Bulbasaur’s big brother VENUSAUR back… under the lights!
Now I’m sure it’s not secret at this point, even to those who barely dabble in PvP, that Venusaur has been one of the more frequently used Pokémon in PvP since before GBL even existed, and remains so today. It has been one of the most stable fixtures in PvP through now three years of The Silph Arena, GO Battle League, and various other PvP formats… and yes, being a personal favorite of mine, there’s a long-running inside joke of yours truly leading off every “Nifty Or Thrifty” analysis I can with my boy Venusaur. Put simply: Venusaur is good, and everybody knows it.
But WHY is it good? Why does it remain imprinted on PvP play everywhere despite all the time that has passed and all the new Pokémon and move rebalances and all that have played out over the last few years? HOW does it remain steady like a rock in the roiling ocean of the ever-changing metas around it? What makes Venusaur so special?
Glad you asked, because that’s what I want to key in on today. So sit back, grab a Dr Pepper, and let me try to paint that picture for you, Pokéfriends. Here we go!
VENUSAUR STATS & MOVESVenusaur GrassPoison
Great League Stats
|122 (121 High Stat Product)||122 (124 High Stat Product)||122 (123 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-14-11, 1498 CP, Level 21)
Ultra League Stats
|158 (156 High Stat Product)||155 (160 High Stat Product)||160 (160 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 1-15-14, 2499 CP, Level 39)
Master League Stats
|168 (179 at Level 50)||161 (171 at Level 50)||162 (172 at Level 50)|
(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; CP 2720 at Level 40; CP 3075 at Level 50)
The OG Grass starter remains one of the best, and such is the case in Pokémon GO. Venusaur sports good middle of the road PvP stats… not as tanky as other starters Meganium and Serperior, but generally tankier than the rest. But the thing that really seperates it from the rest is its secondary Poison typing. Grass/Poison was a super common pairing in Generation 1 (literally ¾ of that Generation’s Grass Pokémon were also half Poison!), but after that it only returned with the Budew/Roselia/Roserade and Foongus/Amoonguss lines and that’s it. Venusaur is almost certainly the only Grass/Poison Pokémon that will ever know the exclusive Grass starter move Frenzy Plant in Pokémon GO.
So why does that matter? Because Grass/Poison is one of the better type combinations in PvP.
- Grass types naturally resist Electric, Ground, Water, and other Grass, and are vulnerable to Bug, Fire, Flying, Ice, and Poison.
- Poison types are vulnerable to only Ground and Psychic, and resist Grass, Poison, Bug, Fairy, and Fighting.
- Put them together, and Grass/Poison types like Venusaur end up being weak to Fire, Flying, Ice, and Psychic damage, resisting Electric, Water, Fairy, Fighting, and double resisting Grass, and takes neutral damage from Ground and Bug damage (and everything else not listed, of course).
Some of those end result resistances (and vulnerabilities) are very significant in PvP. For one thing, Venusaur and the other Grass/Poisons are the only Grasses in the game that resist Fairy AND Fighting damage, two typings that are extremely common in all three (well, four if you include Little League) levels of GO Battle League. Obviously Waters and Grasses are extremely prevalent as well, and Venusaur resists (or double resists) those. It’s also one of very few Grasses in the game that does not take super effective damage from Poison or Bug damage, though admittedly this is a little less significant since it has trouble landing non-resisted damage on enemy Pokémon of those types.
The downsides are the extra vulnerability to Psychic damage and the unfortunate neutral Ground damage. Of course, Venusaur is going to be chunking most Grounds down and usually end up on top anyway, but it can make things hairier against, say, Flygon or even a Galarian Stunfisk with some extra energy than if you were using a Meganium or the like instead.
Okay, I think I’ve beaten the stats and typing stuff to death. Let’s get to those moves!
- Vine Whip – Grass type, 2.5 DPT, 4.0 EPT, 1.0 CD
- Razor Leaf – Grass type, 5.0 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 1.0 CD
I’ll make this very easy: you want Vine Whip. Yes, technically Venusaur can operate with Razor Leaf, and especially as a Shadow, it’s decently spicy (as compared to, say, a more dedicated Razor Leafer. If you have an extra Shadow Venusaur with good PvP IVs laying around, sure, go for it. (For the record, RL Shadow Venu can outlast things like DDeoxys and Lickitung that Shadow Vic struggles to finish off, but Vic turns around and beats things RL Venu can’t like Diggersby, Cofagrigus, and Shadow Nidoqueen and is just plain better in that role.) But it would be solely for the surprise factor. As you’ll see once we add in the charge moves, it’s mostly a waste of Venusaur’s higher potential with Vine Whip, and this is the last word I’ll really be saying on Razor Leaf moving forward.
On to those charge moves!
ᴱ – Exclusive (Community Day) Move
ᴾ – Purified-exclusive Move
- Frenzy Plantᴱ – Grass type, 100 damage, 45 energy
- Sludge Bomb – Poison type, 80 damage, 50 energy
- Petal Blizzard – Grass type, 110 damage, 65 energy
- Returnᴾ – Normal type, 130 damage, 70 energy
- Solar Beam – Grass type, 150 damage, 80 energy
Now let’s start putting it all together….
Obviously the main talking point is exclusive Community Day move Frenzy Plant. Even stopping right there for a moment with no other moves factored in yet, you can clearly see that Venusaur is generally the best pure Frenzy Plant user in the game, superior to, well, Serperior and Meganium, beating both of them head to head (even with their second moves Aerial Ace and Earthquake, respectively) as well as literally everything they beat plus Dewgong, Scrafty, Vigoroth, and Wigglytuff, showing off those extra resistances with the last three of those, and showing off the hidden downside of its lower relative bulk in that Dewgong win by finishing it off before it can reach a second Icy Wind that it DOES get to versus the other Frenziers. You won’t get ANYTHING like that with Venusaur’s other Grass moves. Petal Blizzard and Solar Beam are not unviable moves or anything — Petal Blizzard is a clone of Sludge Wave and Hurricane, and Solar Beam sees actual use on things like Typhlosion and others — but they are not what you want Venusaur to be stuck with. If you are going to run Venusaur in PvP, you basically must be running Frenzy Plant. And this coming Community Day rehash is very, very likely your last chance to get it without having to dip into your Elite TM stash.
All that said, there’s the second charge move to factor in. And as I have said in many “Nifty Or Thrifty” reviews and other articles over the years, Frenzy Plant makes Venusaur viable, but it is only because of Sludge Bomb that it truly excels in PvP. It already beats all the major Charmers in Great League with just Frenzy Plant, it’s true, but it slams the door much harder with Sludge Bomb, and beats the vast majority of its fellow Grasses, including especially tough ones like Ferrothorn and (Razor Leaf) Tropius. This becomes even more apparent in shieldless scenarios, where Frenzy Plant alone fails to beat Ferrothorn, Tropius, Meganium, or Fairies Sylveon and Alolan Ninetales (in either its Charm or Powder Snow variation) without Sludge Bomb in the mix. (And yes, that DOES mean Venu can tank a Powder Snow A-Tails Weather Ball and come back and win… you won’t ever be seeing Meganium or Serperior or the rest ever doing that.)
And while I don’t usually like to show scenarios with a shield advantage, as they cane be difficult to engineer and make many Pokémon look a LOT better than they actually are, it’s hard to ignore the potential that Sludge Bomb offers if you are up a shield or catch the opponent napping. So I’ll just throw this out there and note that, as I hinted out, Venusaur also looks nuts with a shield advantage and just Frenzy Plant, but note that Sludge Bomb allows some pretty crazy stuff, like beating Talonflame, Noctowl, and Pidgeot (even when it gets the successful Feather Dance bait) in addition to several expected wins versus opposing Grasses.Venusaur (Shadow) GrassPoison
A quick word on Shadow Venusaur before I wrap up Great League. Generally, I recommend non-Shadow Venu, as it alone can reliably beat Galarian Stunfisk, Jellicent, and Umbreon (even with Psychic), obviously three HUGE names in Great League, plus Pelipper who is definitely a big threat too. That said, Shadow Venusaur can better outrace Medicham, Obstagoon, Cofagrigus, and sometimes even Bastiodon through sheer, overpowering damage output, so it’s certainly no slouch either, and will legit fit some teams better. Just some food for thought.
Now there ARE, of course, advantages that others like Meganium (Earthquake can take certain Steels and even some Fires) and Serperior (Leaf Tornado for high probability, match-flipping debuffs and baits) have, but generally, Venusaur reigns supreme in Great League among non-Razor Leaf, non-tricksy (Abomasnow really being an Ice, and Tropius being more of a Flying threat with Air Slash, Trevenant’s high Ghost damage) Grass types… and still the best Frenzy Plant user.
Let’s take a gander at Ultra League before we wrap this one up.
Again, no denying that Venusaur is a very “meta” option in Ultra League, and you’ve surely run across a heap of them by now. Now while Venusaur does NOT surpass the performance of Meganium at this level — Meg beats stuff like Ferrothorn and Origin Giratina with neutral damage from Earthquake, Melmetal and Registeel with super effective Earthquake, and Armored Mewtwo and Gallade due to taking only neutral damage from Psychic damage, unlike Venusaur — Venu is able to beat Meganium head to head, and its half-Poison typing allows it to also beat Toxicroak, Scrafty, and Togekiss, and sometimes outlast Shadow Nidoqueen, things that Meg just cannot do. They’re both very viable Grasses in Ultra… but again, Venusaur isn’t going anywhere without Frenzy Plant.
Shadow Venusaur again presents an interesting alternative. It loses now to Shadow Machamp and Toxicroak, but gains a more reliable win over Shadow Nidoqueen, as well as now outslugging Umbreon, Melmetal, and Galvantula, the latter two with nothing but resisted Frenzy Plants. Perhaps this will change before their (hopefully?) future Community Day Classic events, but Meganium and Serperior don’t have Shadow versions as of yet, leaving this yet another special Venusaur distinction.
One more other potentially huge point in Venusaur’s favor? Unlike Meganium and all other Grasses ranked in the Top 50 in Ultra League (including Abomasnow, Trevenant, Ferrothorn, Serperior, Shiftry), Venusaur doesn’t require a single XL candy to build… even a #1 IV one is “only” Level 39. There is a potentially HUGE cost savings here. Even a Shadow Venusaur costs over 170,000 less stardust to build than an Ultra League sized Meganium, Serperior, Abomasnow, or Ferrothorn, and is still cheaper than even the Level 42ish Trevenant necessary for most specimens to approach 2500 CP. That’s right: even Shadow Venusaur is cheaper to build than any of the other top Grasses in Ultra League, often significantly so.
Well, it can’t ALL be good news. Even at Level 50, Venusaur just barely crests 3000 CP, and that holds it back in Master League. It DOES still beat all the Fairies (and yes, it pretty well dominates Zacian by resisting ALL of its charge moves, so that’s nice), as well as other non-surprises like Swampert, Rhyperior, Kyogre, and Zarude. It’s not useless. But its lower CP keeps it from hanging with other things you’d expect it to beat, like Machamp, Landorus, Excadrill, Gyarados, and Groudon. Shadow Venusaur does flip enough of those to wins (DT Groudon, Machamp, Excadrill, Lando-I) to at least become a little interesting, but you need to have a perfect one to even consider it. Mega Venusaur would change all of that, of course, but I still really don’t see that ever happening… and even if it did, you’d have a whole new, different meta filled with everyone else’s Megas anyway, so not much sense even going down that road.
Instead, let’s wrap it up here and get on with the rest of our week!
- Venusaur remains the best overall Frenzy Plant user in Great League. Other Frenziers like Meganium and Serperior do some neat, unique things with their coverage/bait moves, but Venusaur just does it best, thanks in no small part to its Poison subtyping (resisting Fairies and Fighters) and Sludge Bomb.
- The competition is a little fiercer in Ultra League, with Venusaur and Meganium having pretty equal value depending on team need, and other Grasses with specialized skills and/or typings like Trevenant, Abomasnow, and Ferrothorn shining out a bit brighter in the UL meta. But Venusaur also shines out bright and is well worth building for its simple effectiveness and the things it can still lock down with its Poison side.
- Venusaur’s CP holds it back in Master League, but it’s not completely crazy or unviable, resisting all of Zacian’s charge moves to handily beat it and its fellow Fairies and still smack around most Fighters and major Waters and several of the big-name Grounds, especially as a Shadow. There are more insane ideas!
- No matter where or in what version you run your Venusaur, it MUST have Frenzy Plant to work. If you lack a good Venusaur for Great and/or Ultra and/or even Master League (AKA a hundo) with its exclusive Community Day move, THIS IS LIKELY IT… your last last chance to get them without using Elite TMs. Don’t miss out, folks!
Oh, and one final, final thing: while I am a PvP analyst and only dabble in PvE analysis — it’s best left to the real experts! — I can say, with confidence, that Mega Venusaur is still THE best Grass attacker in the game for PvE purposes. Check GO Hub, check Pokebattler, check wherever you want. While they all have slightly different rankings and calculations, they all come to that same conclusion: Mega Venusaur is #1, and Shadow Venusaur is right up there too. Lends a little more credence to maxing out a Master League spice project in a hundo Venusaur (or Shadow Venusaur), right?
Thanks for your faithful readership, and good hunting during the Community Days BOTH of the next two weekends! Stay safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!
(Original article can be found here.)