Frenzy Plant, a Grass type signature move that can be learned by the starter Pokémon in the main series games, has just been introduced in the game. It is a 2-bar charge move with 100 base power and a cooldown of 2.8 seconds. While Solar Beam is still the move with the strongest base power, Frenzy Plant is trying to contest its top place.
The viability of the starter Pokémon in general was discussed in this article and the moveset weave DPS comparison against the current alternatives was done in this one. However, this article targets specifically Venusaur with Frenzy Plant. Thus, an in-depth comparison against other strong Grass type attackers will be performed to analyze its viability.
Grass type Overview
Even though the Grass type is not the most useful one in the current metagame, it still maintains a solid relevance. Pokémon such as Vaporeon are not as common in gyms as they were before and the fact that there are better Electric type counters such as Raikou has slightly reduced its popularity. However, there are some good Grass type attackers and movesets that should be considered.
Grass type attackers
|Venusaur Grass Poison||198||198||160||2568|
|Exeggutor Grass Psychic||233||158||190||2916|
Venusaur is the one with the lowest Max CP and base attack stat. Offensivewise, it was the least used of the three options before Frenzy Plant was introduced, but we’ll see later how it can perform with it.
Grass type movesets
|Fast Move||Charge Move||Weave DPS|
|Vine Whip Grass||Frenzy Plant Grass||25.68|
|Vine Whip Grass||Solar Beam Grass||23.89|
|Razor Leaf Grass||Frenzy Plant Grass||23.28|
|Bullet Seed Grass||Frenzy Plant Grass||22.93|
|Razor Leaf Grass||Solar Beam Grass||22.87|
|Bullet Seed Grass||Solar Beam Grass||22.31|
|Vine Whip Grass||Petal Blizzard Grass||21.59|
|Razor Leaf Grass||Petal Blizzard Grass||21.02|
|Bullet Seed Grass||Seed Bomb Grass||18.88|
As it can be seen, Frenzy Plant is a very powerful charge move, and pairing it up with Vine Whip will make Venusaur shine more than ever. Bullet Seed is a worse fast move than Vine Whip and Exeggutor is not able to learn Frenzy Plant either. Bullet Seed cannot be paired up with Frenzy Plant as of now, since the only Pokémon capable of learning this moveset would be Sceptile if the trend continues and starters from the Johto and Hoenn regions are able to learn Frenzy Plant in the future.
How does Venusaur with Frenzy Plant perform in battle?
Several battle simulations have been performed in Pokébattler in order to observe how Venusaur with Vine Whip and Frenzy Plant performs in battle and how it compares to its Solar Beam variant and Exeggutor, the strongest Grass type attacker in the current metagame due to its high attack stat of 233. In order to do the comparison, the defender considered was a legacy Tier 3 Raid Boss, Vaporeon, with Water Gun and Aqua Tail on Clear Weather.
|Raid Boss||Tier||Fast Move||Charge Move||Weather|
|Vaporeon Water||3||Water Gun Water||Aqua Tail Water||Sunny|
The graph below shows a comparison of the cumulative damage dealt as a function of time.
Frenzy Plant is a 2-bar charge move, whereas Solar Beam is a 1-bar charge move. The first small peak corresponds to the first use of Frenzy Plant, which is performed as soon as Venusaur gains enough energy to release it. Frenzy Plant Venusaur falls behind right after the other two other competitors release their charge moves, but it quickly regains some pace due to Solar Beam’s large cooldown. It can be seen that there are several intervals of time where Frenzy Plant Venusaur performs slightly better than Solar Beam Exeggutor but in the long run, Exeggutor deals more damage. In fact, Frenzy Plant Venusaur will now be considered #2 in the list of best Grass type attackers currently in the game with a 5 to 6% difference in DPS if compared to Bullet Seed/Solar Beam Exeggutor. Thus, it will be a great addition to the team.
The bar plot below recaps the time to win comparison against the same raid boss under the same battle conditions. Frenzy Plant Venusaur is a better choice from this point of view than the Solar Beam version, but it is still outperformed by Solar Beam Exeggutor.
The final comparison includes more competitors. This time round, the weather conditions will be neutral so that the other Electric type competitors are not in disadvantage and all the movesets will be averaged. The time to win of all of them is compared to the total damage dealt before fainting.
From a time to win perspective, which is what you probably want in raids, Raikou and Zapdos are still better against Water types such as Vaporeon. Even though Zapdos has a slightly higher attack stat than Raikou, Raikou does more damage due to the fact that Thunder Shock/Wild Charge is a way better moveset than Charge Beam/Thunderbolt, which goes to show how important movesets are. However, since Grass types resist Water type attacks, they generally deal more damage before fainting, as it can be seen with Exeggutor.
The main difference between the two Venusaur movesets is the number of bars corresponding to the charge move. Frenzy Plant is a 2-bar charge move that will deal lots of damage to the opposing Pokémon. Since it is a 2-bar charge move, it will be used way more often than Solar Beam. This will lead to a higher energy gain by the raid boss or opposing Pokémon, which means that it can fire off its charge moves more often. A Venusaur with Solar Beam can perhaps last longer in battle and have a greater TDO, but the Frenzy Plant variant has a significantly lower time to win, which is great for Raid Battles and gym swiping.
Exeggutor still has a better time to win, but the gap is smaller than ever. The addition of Frenzy Plant has undoubtedly been a great move by Niantic to increase Venusaur’s viability in the current metagame. Sceptile does have a higher attack stat than Venusaur, but it cannot learn Vine Whip. Fury Cutter, even though it does not benefit from the STAB bonus, could also be a solid choice to pair up with Frenzy Plant if Sceptile is able to learn it in the future.
To sum up, Venusaur with Frenzy Plant will gain a lot of deserved popularity in the near future. The introduction of the signature move Frenzy Plant (and perhaps Blast Burn and Hydro Cannon in the future) will definitely increase the viability of the fully-evolved starter Pokémon such as Venusaur in the metagame.
From an offensive point of view, their battle potential will increase as it was shown in the different graphs and comparisons. Although Venusaur won’t probably be the top choice from a time to win perspective, its new move will probably make it show in the lists of viable counters for present and upcoming raid battles. It will now be the second best Grass type attacker in the game, just behind Exeggutor with a 5 to 6% difference in DPS.
However, a 2-bar charge move offers something else, consistency. The dodge bug is (somehow) still present almost a year later, and 2-bar charge moves such as Frenzy Plant are significantly better than 1-bar charge moves such as Solar Beam. There will be plenty of scenarios where either due to sync errors, “missed” dodges or simply because you haven’t gained enough energy, you won’t be able to fire off your charge move, and the energy gained will go to waste. However, your Pokémon is more likely to perform its last charge move before fainting if it does require less energy to release, which will be the case with Frenzy Plant in front of Solar Beam.
Furthermore, using a single-bar charge move to attack a gym often results in inefficient and slow battles. How many times have you defeated a Pokémon that had low health with Solar Beam and then it took forever to gain the required energy in the next battle? With Frenzy Plant, that won’t happen as often.
With just this slight difference in DPS and a similar TDO, Venusaur with Frenzy Plant has come to challenge the top spot in the Grass type attackers list. During the upcoming Community Day, make sure you catch or evolve a good Ivysaur into Venusaur! You will get yourself a great and exclusive attacker.