Magical Leaf Victreebel in PvP (Community Day Analysis)

It’s Community Day time again, this time featuring one of the more hated (or perhaps beloved?) Pokémon that literally tears through PvP: THE Razor Leafer, Victreebel! Is there any reason to fix what doesn’t seem broken with a new move that fundamentally changes what Vic does best? Our Bottom Line Up Front will give you an idea before we dive in.


  • Long a terror of PvP, Victreebel remains that today and past Community Day… and now it will have TWO terrorizing modes!
  • Traditional Victreebel will still have its same role in PvP and should NOT be going away, but Vic with its new fast move is no less potent, busting through shields instead of avoiding them, but with mostly the same devastating results.
  • By the numbers, the new move actually looks like it might be a bit better, though? It’s a larger improvement for non-Shadow Vic than it is for Shadow, but both are worthy targets to hunt down during Community Day, and are well worth a decent grind. Good luck!

Normally this is where I’d jump right into the detailed analysis, but this time, I want to instead start with a story. If you’re not interested, that’s fair… just skip the next couple paragraphs and jump down to our customary look at the stats and moves.

Still with me? Okay, cool, thank you. I’ll try to keep it brief, but… I have a soft spot for Victreebel. Don’t get me wrong… I have, like you, raged at my screen as the original “Grass hole” has ripped apart my team like a weedwacker, and more than once. (MANY more over the years. Grrrr.) But before all that, before GBL itself even existed, PvP started with grassroots… with The Silph Arena. And a younger, pre-writer JRE entered the second month of organized PvP play — February 2019 — as an inexperienced but excited rookie, encouraged to participate by my local community despite having never participated in ANY competitive Pokémon format ever before.

Indirectly, this is what started my PvP analysis “career”. I had to prepare to counter the Twilight Cup meta, one of the best that Silph ever put together. The deep dive meta analysis I’ve done countless times since began here, this first time just for myself. Knowing that Azumarill was already making a significant mark on PvP (Twilight was its first big meta) and that Victreebel could win many neutral battles with big Dark, Ghost, and especially Fairy types in the meta (only Poison types really out up a stiff resistance to heavy Grass damage), I selected it the night before my tournament with the sixth and final slot on my team. (And still have it as a prized possession, still not even double moved. I should fix that!)

That selection might seem obvious now, but Victreebel had hardly been used at all in PvP to that point. Razor Leaf had only been buffed from its original 8 damage to 11 damage weeks earlier (January 31st, 2019) and “Grass hole” was not yet a thing. (NOTE: Before you go and check, today it deals 10 damage after being slightly nerfed two years later, in January of 2021.) Out of a group of 14 players that went on to be some of the best I ever faced in battle, I was the only one to bring Victreebel to that tournament, inexperience and bad IVs and all. And in my first-ever ranked battles, I faced the #1 player in our area, a great guy we’ll just call in this article by his username “TBFIV”. And wouldn’t you know it, like half the players in that tournament, he was also running Azumarill. Still figuring my own team out, I left Victreebel on my bench (remember that these tournaments were teams of 6, not 3) for the first two games, hard-fought battles that ended up with us tied at 1-1. With IV having brought Azu in both games, I decided to go for broke and pulled out Vic. Holding it in the back, I successful predicted he was holding Azumarill in the back as well, and successfully got it locked in against my Victreebel for a blazingly fast and decisive victory. Victreebel then carried me through the rest of the day, which I ended with 4 match wins and 0 losses, and my first tournament win. From that point on, I was hooked, and kept my analysis (and spreadsheet upon spreadsheet of data) up for subsequent Silph and eventually GBL metas, and just days after that tournament posted the first of what would become the “Nifty Or Thrifty” series, deciding then on the mantra that has driven about 550 analysis articles since… why keep this information to myself when I can share it with others? And for better or for worse 😅, you can trace my whole writing “career” since then back to Victreebel and a fortunate guess at how it was about to shake up PvP.

Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day, right? 🕗

Anyway, now that storytime is over, everyone can have a cookie and a juice box… and the rest of the analysis!

VICTREEBEL Stats and Moves

Victreebel GrassPoison

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
136 (133 High Stat Product) 95 (96 High Stat Product) 128 (131 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 1-15-15, 1497 CP, Level 23)

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
175 (172 High Stat Product) 122 (125 High Stat Product) 167 (168 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-12, 2499 CP, Level 48.5)

The typing combination is one of the most common in the game (14 total Grass/Poison Pokémon, tied with Bug/Flying and trailing only Normal/Flying with a whopping 27), so I don’t think any of this will come as a surprise, but they actually complement each other rather well in several ways, with Grass negating the usual Poison weakness to Ground, Poison canceling out the typical Grass weaknesses to Poison and Bug, and the two combining for a double resistance to Grass damage. Beyond that, Victreebel gets all the good (resistances to Electric and Water on the Grass side, and to Fairy and Fighting on the Poison side) and bad (vulnerable to Psychic on the Poison side, and Fire, Ice, and Flying on the Grass side) that come with the respective types.

That was a lot, so to quickly review in simple form:

“Not Very Effective” “Super Effective”
Electric Fire
Fairy Flying
Fighting Ice
Water Psychic
Grass (2x)  

That out of the way, next up are the stats. And here I actually want to dispel at least some notions.

Victreebel is considered as a “glassy”, low bulk Pokémon. That’s a fair assessment, but it gets perhaps a worse rap then it deserves.

Is it as bulky as fellow famous Grass/Poison Venusaur? No, and it’s really not even all that close. But it IS bulkier than Grass/Poison Roserade, and again, the gap between them isn’t too close, with Vic having nearly a 100-point advantage in total stat product, which is not an insignificant gap. It’s not quite as bad off as many think.

…but yeah, it’s not great, being flimsier than other glassy Grass types like Lurantis, Decidueye, Trevenant, and even Shiftry. And that’s without the self-destructive Shadowification that many players prefer for their Victreebel, which raises its Attack by about 20% but slashes its already-scary Defense by 20% as well. If I’m doing my math right, that takes it to about 163 Attack and a pitiful 76 Defense in Great League, which is on par with the glassiest viable ‘mons in the game like Haunter and Sharpedo. So yes, if we’re talking Shadow Victreebel, it really CAN get blown over by a stiff breeze… that reputation is definitely earned.

But of course, Victreebel has been a mainstay in PvP through numerous rebalances and meta shakeups around it, from those earliest days of PvP when it was driving early Silph Arena victories (like mine!) and GO Battle League was still just a twinkle in John Hanke’s eye, to play even today where Victreebel strikes fear into teams in Limited and even Open metas alike. It has its very obvious flaws, but with blinding speed can still tear through a swath of unprepared teams.

How does it do it? To this point, it’s been primarily with very heavy fast move pressure. After Community Day, though, it’s going to have options like never before thanks to its new fast move….

ᴱ – Exclusive (Community Day) Move


  • Magical LeafᴱGrass type, 3.33 DPT, 3.33 EPT, 1.5 CD
  • Razor LeafGrass type, 5.0 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 1.0 CD
  • AcidPoison type, 3.0 DPT, 2.5 EPT, 1.0 CD

Before we look forward, though, let’s look at what we already have that has made Victreebel such a monster, which is of course Razor Leaf. Funny enough, at least for non-Shadow Vic, sticking to only Razor Leaf rather than forcing charge moves is not only a good play, but may be THE play oftentime, dropping Cresselia and (a former tie in) the mirror match, but gaining Vigoroth and Annihilape (without Ice Punch, at least) and forcing a new tie with Pelipper. Similar to how Charmers and other high pressure fast moves work, sometimes the best play is to save all your energy to throw at whatever follows and just fast move what’s immediately in front of you into oblivion.

But I digress. The nutshell is this: to date, Victreebel has achieved much of its victory on the back of pure fast move damage. The fact that it has cheap and/or complimentary charge moves absolutely helps in more drawn out battles, but generally it’s just spinning around slicing through stuff with Razor Leaf and not worrying about shields. That has been its best use in general, in fact: forcing battles where shields are still up on both sides and then laughing as it hides behind one or two shields and completely ignores shields the opponent has left. Can’t shield Razor Leaf!

Now, take all of that… and throw it out the window. After Community Day, there are now two very distinct flavors of Victreebel you’ll be able to run. The first is the same old traditional OG “Grass hole”, chewing through whatever is in front of it with Razor Leaf. (Or dying in a blaze of glory when up against something that shrugs off Grass damage.)

The second? Magical Leaf Victreebel. It’s a fundamental change, suddenly making those interesting charge moves not only matter more, but become the real focus of how you win many matches. Yes, Magical Leaf still does above average damage, but dropping from 5.0 DPT to 3.33 will still feel like a big dropoff. You simply won’t be able to power your way to victory on the back of fast move damage that way. Instead, you still apply some pressure that way (and are still capable of farming down where that’s the smart play), but a good bit of your pressure shifts to busting through shields… and punishing the opponent that doesn’t have any left to use. This version is perhaps best held in the back behind things that strip shields away and then finishing off everything the opponent has left.

But before I can really show how or IF that really works, we need to formally bring those charge moves into the equation….

Pokémon GO Community Day April 2024: Bellsprout | Pokémon GO Hub


  • Leaf BladeGrass type, 70 damage, 35 energy
  • Leaf TornadoGrass type, 45 damage, 40 energy, 50% Chance: Lower Opponent Attack -2 Stages
  • Acid SprayPoison type, 20 damage, 45 energy, Lowers Opponent Defense -2 Stages
  • Sludge BombPoison type, 80 damage, 50 energy
  • ReturnᴾNormal type, 130 damage, 70 energy
  • Solar BeamGrass type, 150 damage, 80 energy

It provides no coverage, but Leaf Blade has been an absolute must for Victreebel from the beginning. Razor Leaf has been doing most of the work, but even with its low energy gains, Leaf Blade comes quickly enough to usually take at least one shield in the process. There are matchups where Razor Leaf alone is sufficient (and even ideal), but there are ALSO matchups where Leaf Blade pushes it over the line between defeat and victory, especially in drawn out battles like Bastiodon and Registeel where Vic reaches two Leaf Blades and rides the second, unshielded one to victory, whereas Razor Leaf alone does not quite cut it. (‘The puns cut worse than ANY razor, JRE!’) One Leaf Blade deals as much damage as 6-7 Razor Leafs, on average, so there are definitely scenarios where that makes all the difference.

There has been much debate over the years about what second move to run on Victreebel (or if it even needs one!). In the olden days it was really only Sludge Bomb in contention, as prior to March 2019 (a month after my tournament win with Vic), it had only that and Solar Beam to choose from… and Razor Leaf has enough trouble getting to the 50 energy for Bomb in any meaningful spot, much less 80 energy for Beam! But then both Acid Spray and Leaf Tornado were added to its arsenal (five years ago, the last time Vic had any kind of real move shakeup), and they are now #1 and #1a choices for the second move. Not only are they both cheaper than Sludge Bomb, but they synergize well with that Razor Leaf Victreebel wants to do even if shielded: lowering the opponent’s Defense to make Razor Leaf all the more deadly (Acid Spray), or indirectly giving Vic more badly needed bulk by lowering the opponent’s Attack strength (Leaf Tornado, though whether Tornado triggers or not is a coin flip). Victreebel usually doesn’t even care if they get shielded (particularly with Acid Spray), as it is their triggered effects that make the biggest difference, and that works regardless of shielding. These moves are notoriously difficult to sim properly (even the awesome PvPoke does some funky things with how it does or does not shield moves like Acid Spray and you can get some wildly divergent results), but anyone who has used (or faced!) Victreebel can attest for how annoying and game-changing both of these moves can be on Shadow Victreebel in particular.

Put it all together, and in both Great League and even somewhat up in Ultra League, Victreebel works well. And will continue to! I’ll reiterate this point later, but any good Razor Leaf Victreebels you have already built are still good, and I think will still absolutely have a place in PvP’s future. Don’t throw them away! The rest of this analysis will show the benefits of the new fast move, but it’s more of an alternative than a true replacement.

Let’s finally get into the new move and see what I mean by that!

Victreebel eating James compilation


Again, here is our barometer with Shadow Victreebel wit Razor Leaf. (And here’s a look at non-Shadow.) And now we’ll just jump right in with a look at Victreebel with its new move Magical Leaf (in both Shadow and non-Shadow form). 👀

Magical Leaf itself is a vastly different move to Razor Leaf, as noted up in the fast move section. It still deals above average damage, albeit far lower than Razor Leaf, but it does it while also generating above average energy (as opposed to Razor Leaf which generates about 33% less energy than the average and is tied with a few other moves for lowest energy generation in the game). What this means is that Acid Spray and Leaf Tornado are now less preferred, with Spray in particular losing the great synergy it has with the high damage Razor Leaf. It is now usually better to go for straight damage output with Sludge Bomb. With non-Shadow Victreebel, Bomb can overpower things like Charjabug and Venusaur, while Spray cannot. The difference is unsurprisingly even larger with shields down, with Sludge Bomb taking out Vigoroth, Pelipper, Cresselia, and Shadow Alolan Ninetales in addition to replicating everything that Acid Spray can do. And while not as wide a gap, this still rings true of Shadow Victreebel as well, with Sludge Bomb beating Azumarill with shields down and both Umbreon and Venusaur in 2v2 shielding, beating Razor Leaf Victreebel outright in 1v1 shielding, all while beating everything that Acid Spray can. I won’t say that Acid Spray or even Leaf Tornado is now wrong, just perhaps less preferred. Magical Leaf turns Sludge Bomb from the last-ditch Hail Mary it used to be (usually as a parting gift in terrible matchups like Flying and/or Fire types) into a legit weapon that CAN be brought to bear in many meaningful situations and that opponents now must truly respect. Thanks to that, Victreebel is no longer something that can just simply be farmed all the way down in bad matchups… it’s much more likely to at least force a shield on the way out, or potentially snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

You may have noticed that, regardless of the second charge move, Magical Leaf Victreebel clocks in with a higher winrate than does Razor Leaf variants. Your eyes do not deceive you: this is actually true… most of the time. In 1v1 shielding, Shadow Vic with Magical Leaf is “strictly better” than Razor Leaf, beating all the same things plus Umbreon, Medicham, Annihilape (as long as it’s not spamming Ice Punch, at least), and RL Shadow Vic itself. The one-sided domination mostly continues with shields down too, with Magical Leaf outracing Annihilape, Umbreon, and RL Victreebel again, plus Charjabug, Poliwrath, Dewgong, and Azumarill, while Magical Leaf falls short. (In the case of Azu, with Sludge Bomb actually finishing Azumarill off before it reaches Ice Beam, not Leaf Blade as you might initially think.) BUT, the heavy damage over time of Razor Leaf far outpaces Magical Leaf in 2v2 shielding, with Magical uniquely doing in Venusaur, Umbreon, and Registeel, but Razor Leaf instead wearing down (in order) Annihilape, Dewgong, Shadow Alolan Ninetales, Pelipper, Sableye, Shadow Alolan Sandslash, Shadow Victreebel, Vigoroth, and Wigglytuff. Razor Leaf is still brutal as long as Victreebel remains on the field of battle, even when resisted! To reiterate: I don’t think Razor Leaf is (or should be!) going away. It will still absolutely have a place on many teams, and this is just one illustration of why.

The more impressive leap — and where I might consider moving more fully away from Razor Leaf in the future — is non-Shadow Victreebel. Its high bar with Razor Leaf was always lower than Shadow, with the occasional standout win thanks to better bulk like Cresselia, but far more losses, such as how Shadow can overpower Annihilape, Vigoroth, Sableye, and Bastiodon and Registeel, which non-Shadow has no real shot at. But now with Magical Leaf, non-Shadow Victreebel jumps up to be right on the same level as Shadow. It’s all gains, with Magical Leaf Victreebel gaining Annihilape (with or without Ice Punch!), Charjabug, Pelipper, Sableye, Venusaur, Vigoroth, and Razor Leaf Victreebel, and beating everything else non-Shadow Vic with Razor Leaf could in the process.

Again, no right or wrong way to do this moving forward… there are teams that will want Shadow, some that won’t, and some that benefit from new Magical Leaf, and others that will remain strongest with Razor Leaf. But I know you’re sitting here wondering what is now “best”, so again keeping in mind that everyone’s play style and teams are a little different, I’ll say that, in a vacuum, I would roughly rank them as:

1.) Shadow Vic w/ Magical Leaf 2.) Non-Shadow Vic w/ Magical Leaf 3.) Shadow Vic w/ Razor Leaf 4.) … 5.) ….. 6?) Non-Shadow Vic w/ Razor Leaf

Really, those first three are all very close, and IF you can, it would be a good idea to emerge from Community Day with all three in your arsenal. Keep in mind that, as a fast move, Magical Leaf can be taught even to Shadow Victreebel that still has Frustration!

The only rank I will stand behind there with any real conviction is the last one. If you’re going to run non-Shadow Victreebel in the future, I think Magical Leaf is the clear favorite now. If you want to Razor Leaf everything like you’re the Fruit Ninja champion, I think Shadow is (still) the way to go.

Before WE go, however, a briefer peek at Vic in Ultra!

Pokemon GO Victreebel in PvP and PvE guide: Best moveset, counters, and more


Victreebel is far less common in Ultra, but it CAN work on the right team, and thankfully even “bad” IVs that save you a ton of XL Candy works just about as well.

But I think that’s somewhat academic… because I think Magical Leaf is just better now. As in Great League, it shows well in 1v1 shielding (adding on Annihilape, Virizion, Steelix, Umbreon and Gyarados) and 0shield (NO new losses as compared to Razor Leaf, and gains of Virizion, Gyarados, Greedent, Tentacruel, and Feraligatr). But UNlike Great League, Magical Leaf seems to even be superior in 2v2 shielding, with Razor Leaf scratching out unique wins over Walrein, Shadow Alolan Ninetales, Golisopod, and Gyarados, but Magical Leaf more than holding its own with wins instead versus Venusaur, Virizion, Umbreon, Toxicroak, Cresselia, and Registeel!

That said, it runs in an awkward problem that’s a bit more apparent at this level than it was in Great League… why run even Magical Leaf Victreebel when you have Venuaur sitting right there? For what it’s worth, the relative speed (and shield busting pressure) of Leaf Blade means that Victreebel does surpass Venusaur a bit in 2v2 shielding (with wins like Registeel, Feraligatr, Tentacruel, Toxicroak, Umbreon, and Venusaur itself), but otherwise the advanatages seem to all lie with Venusaur still. So while I think it IS worth it to at least evolve one good Ultra League Victreebel while you can get Magical Leaf for free, I wouldn’t consider building one to be as high a priority as Great League. It’s neat, but not quite as special.

(And for the second, Venusaur and Magical Leaf Vic are generally much closer in performance in Great League, just to close the book on that comparative analysis.)


YES, Magical Leaf Victreebel is a worthwhile hunt for PvP this Community Day, particularly in Great League where Vic already has quite the reputation. But NO, this is not the end of the the OG “Grass hole”, I don’t think… Razor Leaf Victreebel will still be driving players to victree… er, victory as it has for a long, long time. Since at least 2019. 😀

Alright, my friends, that’s all I got for today. Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this, and for those of you who indulged my story time. Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with regular Pokémon GO analysis nuggets, or Patreon if you like.

Good hunting, folks. Do stay safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

Author & tags

PoGO/PvP Investigative Journalist, GO Hub and Silph Arena/Road Contributor, amateur cook, author of 'Nifty Or Thrifty' and 'Under The Lights' article series and #PvPfacts!

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