[Analysis] Poison-type attackers in raids (in case we get the other Tapus later this season)

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Why are you even writing this?

(Article TL;DR below this section.)

To be clear: There are no officially announced events or raid bosses that involve any Poison-type raid attackers, nor any scenario to use them against.

This article was prepared based on the assumption that Tapu Bulu WOULD be a raid boss in March. Since Tapu Bulu is the only boss that Poison attackers really shine against, if there’s a time to cover them, that would be it.

… And then it aged like milk.

Instead of letting this sit in my computer for who-knows-how-long, I figured I would rather put together this article quickly, so that the 5 people who care can benefit from it.

Plus, Poison is the only type I haven’t mentioned at all in my past articles, so after this, I can finally say I’ve covered all 17 non-normal types. It’s the low-hanging fruit out there.


Nihilego >> Roserade > Overqwil > Gengar > everything else.

Due to low utility – not enough bosses to use them against – Poison has one of the lowest priorities for building raid teams, unless you lack enough Metagross.

They’re by far the best against Tapu Bulu and allow an easy duo, but you can still trio Tapu Bulu with Fire and Steel counters.

In the few non-Bulu cases when they can be used, both Nihilego and Roserade are worse than Metagross. Nihilego is also typically weaker than other top legendaries you can use, but above non-legendaries. Roserade is worse than most other non-legendaries, but can be a good filler for your Steel (anti-Fairy) team.

Keep reading for:

  • Detailed breakdown of cross-type comparisons
  • Future and speculative Poison attackers

(This article is quite short by my standards.)

You can now follow me (@teban54) onTwitter!

Current Poison attackers

Poison attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.

I bet this tier list is less familiar to most people than any other type, but it’s quite simple:

Nihilego >> Roserade > Overqwil > Gengar > everything else.

  • Nihilego‘s improvement over Roserade is actually quite huge: 13.5%. For context, this is greater than Origin Pulse Kyogre over Swampert and Precipice Blades Groudon over Garchomp.
  • If you’re surprised that Overqwil is the 3rd best non-mega non-shadow Poison… So was I. Despite its lackluster 222 base attack, it benefits from the best Poison moveset (Poison Jab/Sludge Bomb), and other Poison types just being weak in general.
  • Realistically, though, Roserade and Gengar will be what most people are using (plus Mega Gengar & Mega Beedrill), since they’re also excellent at being attackers of other types.
  • For Gengar, the legacy move Lick (from its two raid days in 2018 & 2020) is technically the best in single super Effective situations, such as against Tapu Funi and Zacian. However, non-legacy Hex is not far behind, and actually becomes better against Tapu Bulu who’s double weak to Poison. Shadow Claw is inferior unless the boss is also weak to Ghost (Tapu Lele).

Also, LOL @ Sludge Bomb Darkrai.

Low utility for Poison attackers

This is the main reason why people almost never discuss Poison types in raids.

Poison is only Super Effective against Grass and Fairy types. But:

  • Grass is rare among legendaries and megas, and when they do appear, they’re typically double weak to something else or take neutral damage from poison.
    • Fun fact: Out of the 17 double typings that include Grass, only 4 do not have a double weakness and is weak to Poison (Electric, Fire, Normal, Water). Ludicolo raids FTW?
  • So countering Fairy is the main reason to bring Poison types out, especially because Fairy is a very strong defensive typing – only weak to Steel and Poison.
  • But since Fairy-type legendaries only started appearing in Gen 6, there are simply not many of them. Plus, attackers of other types are typically better.

In fact, in my Type Utility metric, Poison is close to the lowest:

Utility of all types in T5 and mega raids. Numbers are the (rough) % of raid bosses each type can be used against. Excludes released megas and research mythicals (unless they may come to Elite Raids).

I’ve mentioned in recent articles that Psychic types (Mewtwo) and Water types (Kyogre) have low utility in T5 and mega raids. Poison is in the same tier, and remains here regardless of boss selection.

Bosses that you can use Poison against:

  • T5s: Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu, Tapu Fini, Xerneas, Zacian (Hero)
  • Megas: Altaria, Audino, Gardevoir
  • Potential T5/Elites: Shaymin (Land), Iron Valiant

That’s not nothing, thanks to the Gen 6/7/8 Fairy legendaries. But most types have a much longer list.

To make things worse, Nihilego is no Mewtwo nor Kyogre…

Poison attackers compared to other types

[Section TL;DR] Both Nihilego and Roserade are worse than Metagross. Nihilego is also typically weaker than other top legendaries you can use, but above non-legendaries. Roserade is worse than most other non-legendaries, but can be a good filler for your Steel (anti-Fairy) team.

Are Poison types weak? Not really. Nihilego has 40.96 ER, which is comparable to Hydreigon (41.64), and higher than Rampardos (39), Earth Power Garchomp (38.78) and Mamoswine (37.07).

The problem is, Steel attackers can often be used together with poison. That basically means Metagross, which neither Nihilego nor Roserade have any chance of touching (even the non-shadow).

It’s unfair to only compare Poison to Steel, since Poison is good against all 4 Tapus while Steel is only good for 1. Sadly, against the other 2 Tapus with competition (Koko and Fini), Poison attackers still disappoint.

Using ER comparisons and Pokebattler rankings to calibrate, here’s roughly how Nihilego (40.96 ER) compares to other types: (there’s a Roserade table later)

Other attacking type Similar to Worse than Better than
Steel (anti-fairy)   S-Metagross, Metagross Diagla, Excadrill, Genesect, Jirachi
Ground (anti-Koko)   S-Mamoswine, Groudon Garchomp, Excadrill, Mamoswine, Rhyperior
Ghost (anti-Lele) Giratina-O, Gholdengo   Chandelure, Gengar
Electric (anti-Fini) Thundurus-T S-Raikou, Xurkitree, Zekrom, S-Elecitivire, S-Magnezone Raikou, Electivire, Magnezone
Grass (anti-Fini) Zarude, S-Tangrowth Kartana Tapu Bulu, Roserade
Fire (anti-Shaymin) * Darmanitan, Chandelure Reshiram, S-Moltres, S-Entei, S-Charizard, S-Typhlosion Moltres (Overheat), Blaziken

“S-” stands for shadows.

* Nihilego has a systematic typing disadvantage against Shaymin, as it only has grass-type charged moves, which deal neutral damage to Nihilego but resisted damage to fire attackers. Its ER is more in line with Shadow Typhlosion.

And below is the same comparison for Roserade (34.93 ER):

Other attacking type Similar to Worse than Better than
Steel (anti-fairy) Excadrill, Genesect, Jirachi Dialga, Metagross and above  
Ground (anti-Koko)   Excadrill, Mamoswine and above  
Ghost (anti-Lele)   Gengar and above  
Electric (anti-Fini) * Luxray Electivire, Magnezone and above Jolteon
Grass (anti-Fini) * Roserade (grass), Chesnaught, Tangrowth Tapu Bulu and above Sceptile, Venusaur
Fire (anti-Shaymin) Typhlosion, Flareon Blaziken and above  

* Against Tapu Fini, Roserade prefers Poison Jab/Grass Knot in neutral weather. This raises its performance to Electivire level.

Overall picture:

  • Nihilego does put up legendary performance, being above most non-shadow non-mega non-legendaries, and similar to slightly outclassed legendaries like Thundurus-T and Zarude. However, it’s consistently worse than Metagross and top legendaries of other types (Groudon, Zekrom, Kartana, Reshiram).
  • Roserade is usually worse than most non-legendaries (Ground Mamoswine, Magnezone, Blaziken). The exceptions are when compared to Steel, where it’s comparable to non-Metagross non-Dialga options; and against Tapu Fini, where its mixed moveset makes it the best non-legendary counter.

Notable special cases:

  • If you don’t have enough Metagross, then Nihilego is your next best anti-Fairy counter. If you also don’t have Dialga, then Roserade will come in handy too.
  • Against Tapu Koko, Nihilego is generally better than any non-mega that’s not named Shadow Mamoswine or Precipice Blades Groudon.
    • Yes, it’s better than Earth Power Garchomp, even if Tapu Koko has an Electric charged move.
    • Against some movesets when Nihilego has a typing advantage, it can even outperform PB Groudon!
  • Against Tapu Lele, Nihilego is on par with Shadow Force Giratina-O. This makes it the next best non-mega counter after Shadow and regular Metagross.

While investing in a Nihilego is a good way to diversity your team against fairies, I wouldn’t go heavy on it. The rare candies can be instead spent on one of the other legendaries listed above, which all have greater utility. It’s nice to have, but even one copy is far from a must.

A poison-only Roserade is best seen as a fill-in anti-Fairy counter, if you lack a full Steel team. If you already have grass Roserade built, double moving or TMing are good options.

Keep in mind the main issue with Poison types is not their power, but lack of utility.

Future and speculative attackers

Future and speculative Poison attackers ranked by ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.

[Section TL;DR] Nihilego will eventually get outclassed by Shadow Roserade, but unless Eternatus get moves not currently in the Game Master, Nihilego is quite future-proof among non-shadows, though just barely.

Gengar GhostPoison

First, note that while Gengar lacks a Poison fast move today, it can lean Poison Jab in the MSG since the beginning of PoGo. Should it receive one, either via a GBL update, a second Community Day or a third raid day:

  • Regular Poison Jab Gengar immediately overtakes Roserade, but can’t reach Nihilego level due to lack of bulk.
  • Shadow Poison Jab Gengar becomes the best non-mega unless Eternatus gets better moves.
  • Mega Poison Jab Gengar becomes even more OP.
Roserade (Shadow) GrassPoison

As mentioned in the TL;DR, Shadow Roserade will surpass Nihilego, although just barely.

A whole bunch of stuff have potential to sit within the huge gap between Nihilego and Roserade in ASE, with some tying Nihilego in ASTTW:

  • Naganadel (Gen 7 Ultra Beast), likely the first we’ll see. With the best-case moveset Poison Jab/Sludge Bomb, it has higher DPS than Nihilego, but too frail to achieve consistently good performance. PJ/SB Naganadel has essentially the same TTW as Nihilego, but falls behind in estimator.
  • Shadow Gengar without a Poison fast move. Similar situation as Naganadel, but much glassier.
  • Eternatus (Gen 8 legendary), with its current Game Master moveset. Even though its base stats are the most promising by far (278 base attack and one of the highest stats products), right now it’s stuck with Cross Poison, making it a slower, bulkier Nihilego/Naganadel.
    • Ironically, Cross Poison limits Eternatus’s potential in raids but makes it OP in Master League with bait potential – the opposite of what you would expect. Replacing Cross Poison with Sludge Bomb or Gunk Shot actually makes sense, or at least makes it less OP.
  • Arceus Poison, if each Arceus gets different moves (right now in GM they share the same moves). Arceus’s middling 238 attack makes it unable to compete with legendaries of other types as raid attackers, but Poison is the one and only time it can shine. Too bad, it got here too late and Nihilego took the spotlight.
  • Sneasler, if given Sludge Bomb. Sneasler entered PoGo last summer when it had no legal Poison charged moves to learn from Legends Arceus, but now in S/V it can potentially learn Sludge Bomb or Gunk Shot. SB can make it the best non-legendary Poison type, similar to…
  • Poison Jab Gengar, as noted above.

Note that if Eternatus does receive either Sludge Bomb or Gunk Shot, it immediately becomes the best Poison attacker, outclassing even shadows. Sludge Bomb Eternatus is even better than regular Metagross, though not Shadow Metagross.

If Naganadel and Sneasler are stuck with Gunk Shot or worse moves, they’ll end up below Roserade. Salazzle’s and Toxtricity’s ceilings are even lower than that, even if they get Sludge Bomb one day (neither do at the moment). Technically speaking, they do have the potential to join the chart, but not of any consequence.

What’s next?

Once Pokebattler adds Gholdengo to the site, I’ll write a somewhat quick analysis on Gholdengo and Double Iron Bash Melmetal as ghost and steel attackers.

  • If anyone wants some quick words: Gholdengo is good ghost, but Hydreigon is better and way cheaper. DIB Melmetal is as useful as poison Roserade described above, lol.

Besides that, March seems like a pretty chill month for most activities in the game, other than rockets. And the writer me is fine with that – I can take some time to focus on work and other things, which I haven’t really been able to in the last 3 months due to the constantly bombarding PvE “content” and consequent articles (both in quantity and quality).

  • Some quick words on Tornadus Incarnate: Worse than CD Staraptor and Honchkrow, lol. Its future signature move may change things, but probably no more than Dragon Ascent Rayquaza.

When I do have time dedicated to analyses, here are some things I may work on. Can’t give any guarantees at the moment, so these are just ideas. Feel free to vote for your favorite ones, or suggest any articles you want to see!

  • There’s an opinion piece coming up in the near future. Nothing analytical and unrelated to my past analyses, but it’s a very personal one and I just want to share my experiences.
  • Also, maybe a post with plots for all 17 non-normal types as a photo gallery. They’re scattered across various articles, but nice to have them all in one place. (Will probably do Estimator only though, since some earlier articles don’t have ASTTW.)
  • Which shadows are useful in raids? This will be more of a tier list with no plots involved. Hopefully before the Rocket takeover on Mar 21.
  • I’ll create a “landing page” in my profile to replace the appendices. It will include all my past analyses, technical explanations of the metrics, and (better written) guides on reading the charts.
  • Code infrastructure updates. Besides making my life easier and less tedious, this should theoretically allow me to simulate a full lobby of 6, instead of just a single attacker. This opens up some possibilities in the future:
    • Mixed lobbies of glass cannons and tanks: 3 Rampardos + 3 Rhyperior?
    • Calibration of ASE vs ASTTW, especially for remote raids. How often do relobbies take place? Is Estimator too prudent and overvaluing tanks?
    • Verification of mega comparisons I’ve made in the past. Those are only theoretical numbers, so let’s see what happens when you do have a Mega Aggron boosting 5 Metagross.
  • Taking a look at future and speculative raid attackers more systematically. I’ve done this for a few types in the past, and there are more types for which I have the data, but simply ran out of time to include them in the plots. I’ll hopefully complete it for each type, and with a few additional steps, this will culminate in a single question: Does “PvE as we know it” have a future? My answer is no, and hopefully, you’ll eventually see why.
  • A new type of posts that are totally unrelated to raid analyses, but I find interesting: Visualizing availability of different Pokémon, such as legendaries, shadows, and CD moves. For example, how often does each legendary and each CD move return?
  • My own version of “Top PvE Pokémon” list. There’s one on TSR every now and then, and they typically get 3x as many upvotes as I do, but most only use theoretical metrics like ER, or worse, DPS. I’m thinking about creating one that hopefully involves my experimental metrics (may still end up primarily basing it on ER, but use ASE/ASTTW to calibrate in edge cases, such as Kyogre vs Groudon or Rampardos vs Rhyperior).
    • Another aspect I’m trying to capture: How much gap is there between attackers. Kartana and Rayquaza have very different levels of dominance among their respective types.

Thanks for getting to the end of this boring article, and hopefully you enjoyed my reward to you – a whole bunch of ideas that may or may not even see the light of day, haha.

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