Sneaky Niantic. They suckered us with the “bad moves inbound” teaser, knowing we’d mine it and be bummed out.
After a proper (and deserved!) round of lamenting by the community (and yours truly!), they come back with a legitimately nasty (in the good way!) spread of moves for Lurantis and Fomantis JUST before their event arrives in Oceania and suddenly looks like a merciful benefactor.
Hey, I’m just glad we have some good moves to talk about… but obviously this left me and other analysts NO time to do our thing prior to release. I’m already WAY behind now! Grrrrr.
So with that in mind, let’s keep this really simple and to the point.
I won’t bother laying out all the stats and typing and all that jazz other than to say LURANTIS‘ stats are very average… very slightly less bulky than Swampert, Venusaur, and Talonflame, and right in line with Trevenant in terms of Attack strength and overall bulk. (Those are ALL right in the same ballpark depending on IVs.) The pure Grass typing means Lurantis and Fomantis resist Grass, Electric, Water, and Ground, and are weak to Poison, Fire, Ice, Flying, and Bug. Grass is one of the best known commodities in PvP (and Pokemon in general), so probably no surprises there, but good to review before we move on to what these mantises (mantes?) can and cannot do well.
First, let’s briefly look back at the fake-out. Initial mining showed both releasing with Bullet Seed and Razor Leaf as fast moves, and Grass Knot and Energy Ball as their only charge moves. In hindsight, those pointing out that having the exact same moves and only two charge moves in total seemed a little sus were on to something, but in fairness to the rest of us… well, this IS Niantic, the company that has butchered most of the new Alolan Pokemon thus far and absolutely annihilated some faves like Decidueye. (I am postulating that somebody high up over at Niantic has a bad case of strigiformophobia or something.) So unfortunately we’ve been conditioned to expect the worst.
And that would indeed have been the worst. About the best we would have seen would have been a subpar Razor Leafer or a worse Bellossom with no coverage and nothing that allowed it to stand out in any real way. In other words, about as “meh” as they come.
But that was then, and this is now. Gone are Energy Ball and Grass Knot, and Bullet Seed, leaving us with only Razor Leaf and a whole new set of moves. Fury Cutter is our Bullet Seed replacement, offering slightly higher (well, without factoring in STAB) damage, slightly less energy generation, but importantly, some actual coverage and something that already allows Lurantis to distinguish itself from most other Grasses. (Only Sceptile and poor Parasect share that distinction.)
And then there’s the charge moves. Enter the awesome might of Leaf Blade, by far the most damaging spam move in the game: just 35 energy for a whopping 70 damage. For reference, Body Slam, Sacred Sword, and the universally-labeled-as-busted Icicle Spear deal only 60 damage for that same cost, and Weather Ball was so OP with those stats that Niantic dropped its damage to just 55. Leaf Blade blows ALL of those away.
Also for 35 energy, we have the much more humble X-Scissor, which deals only 45 damage but of Bug type damage, which can be handy.
Next up we have two moves that are way overpowered for their cost, but come with some stiff drawbacks. Superpower provides intriguing coverage (particularly versus Steels and Ices that can give Grass types a lot of trouble), smacking stuff for 85 base (Fighting) damage for only 5 more energy than Blade/Scissor (40 energy), but with the penalty of dropping Lurantis’ Attack and Defense one stage per use. One use isn’t TOO bad, but they really stack up and hurt badly with each repetition.
And finally, we have the crazy powerful Leaf Storm, dealing a whopping 130 damage for only 55 energy. The downside is nerfing Lurantis’ Attack stat by TWO stages at a time, pretty severely hobbling it right away. But the threat factor is very real… Storm WILL draw shields from panicked opponents, whether you actually fire it off or not. Paired with the other cheap moves, this is a scary big stick to be carrying!
Now let’s sink our teeth into some actual numbers.
The first thought for many is probably to pair the raw potential of Leaf Blade with the coverage and closing power of Superpower. (And that is PvPoke’s default moveset as well.) How does that look? Not too shabby, though it doesn’t blow your socks off either. Not surprisingly, the performance closely emulates Chesnaught, with most wins (and losses) being shared; Lurantis is superior versus Psychics (like Defense Deoxys) and outraces Machamp and Registeel, while Naught is better in terms of Grass damage (thanks mainly to Vine Whip) and therefore better beats Dewgong, Lapras, and Jellicent (plus Sableye as a bonus).
But just standing on its own two spindly legs, Lurantis handles Waters that don’t have distinct advantages versus Grass types (like Walrein, Dewgong, and Lapras with their Ice damage and Pelipper with its Flying AND Ice damage), most all Grounds (only Nidoqueen really gives it major trouble among core meta Pokemon) and Rocks. Typical Grass stuff. But where Superpower comes in is giving it handy wins over Shadow Machamp and a slew of Steels that includes Ferrothorn, Registeel, Galarian Stunfisk, and even the mighty Bastiodon. Ferro and Bastie it can beat with ONLY Superpower — no baits necessary! — which is quite nice. (Do note that Registeel has potential outs, though… if it softens you up with a debuffing Zap Cannon first AND gets a shield with it.) But still… it’s a performance that, while impressive in its own right, trails other established Grasses like Venusaur and Meganium in overall breadth of wins, and will fall behind Chesnaught even a bit further once it (presumably) gets Frenzy Plant one day. (Naught will then be able to also take out Regi, Bastie, G-Fisk, and Ferrothorn too. 😬)
While there’s nothing at all wrong with running Superpower — and that will surely be the right play on certain teams and/or in certain limited metas — I do wonder if Lurantis may find more success by actually shedding coverage in favor of raw power, which means running Leaf Storm instead. Not surprisingly, all those special Steel wins I mentioned slip away, but look at the overall improvement! Walrein remains elusive, but now Dewgong, Lapras, and Jellicent all enter the win column, as does Pelipper, and Sableye that was a standout for only Chesnaught before. And then there’s the really impressive stuff like Alolan Ninetales (with Charm), Sylveon and Wigglytuff, Hypno and Cresselia, and Cofagrigus and even Froslass. Granted, with Leaf Storm dropping your Attack after you KO stuff with it, you’re still left in the position of not lasting long afterwards or having to shout “SWAP ME OOOOOUUUUT!!”, but still… the stuff you can take down along the way and keep momentum and swap advantage (for the moment, at least) is dang impressive for a pure Grass type running no coverage charge moves.
I can already hear your question, though: “what about running Storm AND Superpower for the best of both worlds, JRE?” Well, while that’s impressive with shields down, unfortunately with shields up it gets a bit messy. You still get some of those eye-catching Steel (and Dark) wins, can still handle Mud Boys and handful of others, but when even things like Azumarill and Galarian Stunfisk slip away… well, you know you done messed up. I don’t really recommend NOT running with Leaf Blade (or X-Scissor if you like to live dangerously) in one of the charge move slots.
And that even goes for Ultra League, where you’d think that double bombs would have more play, but it really doesn’t work out that way. Even here you’re MUCH better off sticking with Leaf Blade, partly for spam but also partly for its own cumulative damage; even on its own, Blade can take down all the major Waters but Walrein and Empoleon (more on them in a moment), big Darks (Umbreon, Obstagoon, Scrafty), bonuses like Defense Deoxys, Greedent, and even Meganium, and with some Attack weight to it (such as with a hundo!), Galarian Stunfisk.
Then you add on a ton of stuff with your second choice of move. I still lean Leaf Storm a bit, as it can go on to overpower some neat stuff like Machamp, Gallade, and depending on IVs, Empoleon and Walrein too. And it maintains the same win rate even as a resource-saving hundo, though it gets there a bit differently by giving up Walrein, Empoleon, and Meganium to overpower Galarian Stunfisk, Sylveon, and Cresselia instead.
But Superpower, while it does fall off a bit as a hundo, is a perfectly acceptable altnerative, with special wins like Registeel, Empoleon, and G-Fisk all coming naturally, as well as stuff like Snorlax with lower Attack/higher bulk (AKA higher XL) versions of Lurantis.
But we can also go the other direction… how is Lurantis in Little League?
Not too bad, actually. Specifically in Little Jungle Cup, Lurantis can take down Galarian Stunfisk and fellow Grounds Onix and even Swinub (plus the Mud Boys), Dark types Umbreon and Obstagoon (yes, people have ways of sneaking Goonie under 500 CP… I’ve seen that and Mandibuzz in Little League before!), Vigoroth, Chansey, and somewhat amazingly, Abomasnow too. Note that at this level, where speed of moves is particularly important, you want Superpower more than you do Leaf Storm. (Plus, Superpower is basically a must to beat G-Fisk, as Lurantis really struggles to get over that hump otherwise.)
But Little League also brings something else into the discussion: Lurantis’ pre-evolution FOMANTIS. It has no play anywhere else, as it tops out just over 800 CP even at Level 50, but a Fomantis leveled into the mid-20s fits nice and snugly into Little League. Having slightly better overall bulk, it can hang in there long enough in Little Jungle Cup to also beat Galarian Stunfisk, as well as everything else Lurantis does besides Umbreon, but it does substitute in Scrafty as a win instead. Neither it nor Lurantis have a blow-your-socks-off performance in Little Jungle, but they’re both very much viable, yes.
WAIT, WHAT ABOUT RAZOR LEAF?
So while I do think Fury Cutter is generally the way to go, it’s worth taking a minute to consider the implications of any Razor Leafer with three charge moves that all cost 40 energy or less. That said, this WILL only take a quick minute….
Razor Leaf Lurantis is kinda disappointing. It DOES have an impressive win against Bastiodon and can even potentially sneak away with a (1 HP) win over Registeel, but it generally lacks the sheer force of better, established Razor Leafers and I don’t see it ever being a particularly strong recommendation. That said, it’s actually not awful in Ultra League, now outperforming stuff like Shadow Victreebel, but I think you’re still usually better off with Fury Cutter.
Razor Leaf MAY be more of a viable alternative in Little Jungle Cup, where Lurantis and Fomantis both replicate most of their Fury Cutter performance (still including G-Fisk), with really just Abomasnow slipping away. Again, I’d still recommend Fury Cutter instead, but that’s your call and Razor Leaf will absolutely fit somee teams better. Good luck!
So what’s the verdict?
In case I didn’t already make it plain, Lurantis is well worth hunting for as a new toy in Great League, Little League, and Ultra Leauge, in that order. You may even want two if you can manage it, one with Superpower (sneaking away with some impressive Steel wins) and one with Leaf Storm (for a higher ceiling with big bomby damage)… though Storm gets my vote in Great and Ultra League if you have to settle for just one. (Superpower is generally more useful in Little League.) Little League Fomantis is intriguing enough to try and find a good one as well.
While I kept this analysis rather brief, while Lurantis (and Fomantis) have uses in Open play, I do suspect they’ll shine out brightest in Limited/Cup metas where their inherant advantages versus their fellow Grasses especially will give them a leg up in any format where they’re eligible. Good luck with the grind!
Sorry this took a little extra time, but as I said, having these tasty movesets drop SO late before release made that unavoidable. Still plenty of event left before us though, so have at it!
Good hunting, Pokéfriends, but please remember to be safe out there. Thanks again for reading, and catch you next time!