Nature’s Madness: Tapu Bulu (A PvP Analysis)

Howdy folks! Today marks the third in a series of articles looking at the Guardian Deities (the “Tapu”s) with their new, shared signature move. We’ve looked at the Electric and Psychic Deities, and now today, it’s time for TAPU BULU! Let’s begin with our customary Bottom Line Up Front and then get down into the weeds of this analysis!


  • The improvement with Nature’s Madness is less apparent on the surface with Bulu than it has been with the other Tapus thus far, but it IS definitely there throughout basically all scenarios across multiple Leagues.
  • What Tapu Bulu lacks in drastically better win/loss numbers in Master League, it makes up for with the value of those wins, with most having more importance than the few losses it suffers along the way. Tapu Bulu is better and more consistent than ever before with its new move.
  • The improvement in Ultra League is a bit more readily apparent, but it remains one of several Grasses that compete at that level and may have more trouble breaking out even now. But hold one for Ultra if you can… there’s some promise here!

Alright, hopefully that gives you an idea of what follows. Here comes the details!

TAPU BULU Stats and Moves

Tapu Bulu GrassFairy

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
176 (175 High Stat Product) 158 (158 High Stat Product) 127 (128 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs {Best Friend Trade}: 6-15-15, 2500 CP, Level 26.5)

Master League Stats

Attack Defense HP
222 193 157

(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; 3865 CP at Level 50)

We’ve gotten a little better with the stats with each passing Tapu review. All have 157 HP when maxed out, but the Defense and Attack stats vary between them all. Tapu Koko had slightly more Attack than Bulu (about 223 as opposed to Bulu’s 222), but about 30 less Defense. Lele had about 8 more Attack and 6 less Defense. Tapu Fini (when we get there to wrap up this miniseries) is by far the bulkiest (over 30 more Defense than Bulu!), but Bulu is a nice balance with still-decent Attack and passable bulk.

Next up is the typing. Grass isn’t actually a bad typing in Master League in particular. Probably the biggest threat as far as super effective damage is Ice, a potent typing in Master League already. Combined with its Fairy subtyping, Tapu Bulu is left weak to Ice, Flying, Fire, Steel, and 2x to Poison. But many of those are rather rare in Master, with Ice (as mentioned) being somewhat common, but Steel really only showing up with Dialga’s Iron Head (a problem for Fairies in general), Fire mostly only coming into play with Ho-Oh and Solgaleo and Reshiram, and Flying being quite rare outside of Lugia and the occasional Yveltal). The largest concern, Poison, is basically non-existant, found only on the off-meta Nihilego. Maybe when Eternatus hits the game?

There are a lot positives that come with the type combination too. The Fairy side resists Dark, Fighting, and Dragon (2x), and the Grass side shrugs off Electric, Ground, Water, and other Grass. Tapu Bulu benefits from all of those, as well as Fairy canceling out the typical Grass weakness to Bug. In the end, that’s seven resistances and only five vulnerabilities, with the resistances being overall more common in Master League than the weaknesses.

Fast Moves

  • Bullet SeedGrass type, 1.66 DPT, 4.33 EPT, 1.5 CoolDown
  • Rock SmashFighting type, 3.0 DPT, 2.33 EPT, 1.5 CD

Sometimes a deeper analysis is just not necessary. Rock Smash is a terrible PvP move that provides no meaningful coverage for Bulu and lacks STAB. Bullet Seed gets STAB and allows Bulu to quickly race to its meaningful charge moves. Moving right along….

– Exclusive Move

Charge Moves

  • Nature’s MadnessFairy type, 80 damage, 50 energy, Reduces Opponent Defense -1 Stage
  • Grass KnotGrass type, 90 damage, 50 energy
  • MegahornBug type, 110 damage, 55 energy
  • Dazzling GleamFairy type, 110 damage, 70 energy
  • Solar BeamGrass type, 150 damage, 80 energy

So with Bullet Seed cranking out more energy than any fast move on any other Guardian Deity, what is Bulu to DO with all that energy? Well, it already comes with a charge move costing only 50 energy: Grass Knot, which is easily its go-to charge move. It takes only four Bullet Seeds to charge it up (13 energy x 4 = 52 energy), which is 6 seconds of real time, making Tapu Bulu the fastest Tapu to reach any charge move, period.

And the new (exclusive to raids, for now) move Nature’s Madness also costs just 50 energy! Previously, the cheapest second move was Megahorn, which deals big damage for only 55 energy, but the typing is a little awkward, especially in Master League. Bug deals super effective to Dark (already covered by Fairy damage), Grass (mostly nonexistent in Master League), and Psychic (so uh… Mewtwo?), but is also resisted by a TON of relevant stuff (Ghosts, Fairies, Steels, Fires probably chief among them in Master League). It’s not an awful coverage move, but it’s hardly the best. The only other non-Grass move Bulu has had available to this point is Dazzling Gleam, which is decent enough but costs 70 energy, requiring another two Bullet Seeds (and another three real time seconds) beyond Grass Knot/Nature’s Madness to charge up. Still not awful, but more than a little awkward when your fast move itself is dealing negligible damage while you build up.

Nature’s Madness solves all those problems. The coverage is still not perfect (Steels and/or Fire types still resist everything, but that was true of Megahorn and Dazzling Gleam already anyway!), but it’s pretty comprehensive. Other than Steel, Fire, and not-even-in-the-ML-meta Poison, between Grass and Fairy damage, Bulu can hit everything for at least neutral damage, and Nature’s Madness hits Grass-resistant Dragons for BIG damage. You’ll see some direct effects of that in the simulations below. And in fact, right now!


I won’t keep you waiting… let’s start off right away with a comparison between Bullet Seed/Grass Knot Tapu Bulu with MegahornDazzling Gleam, and the new Nature’s Madness. Megahorn’s pros (uniquely beats Mewtwo) and cons (cannot beat a bunch of Dragons and even Darks that Fairy moves can, like Dragonite, Rayquaza, Zekrom, and Yveltal) are unsurprising. Dazzling Gleam beats all those just mentioned (except Mewtwo) and Therian Landorus, but loses Zarude along the way. (Gleam is just too slow there.) Nature’s Madness, on the surface, looks no better than Gleam, but I would argue its wins are overall more impactful; as compared to Gleam, Madness loses Rayquaza, Yveltal, and unfortunately Landorus-T, but the gains have more value, I think: Zarude, Ursaluna, and Altered Giratina. Yes, walking away from a potential win over Therian Landorus in today’s meta is a tough pill to swallow, RayRay and even Yveltal are kinda fringe, no? I think the overall value of the Madness side is a little higher.

And Madness takes over more fully in other shielding scenarios. With shields down, Megahorn retains only Mewtwo as a special win, dropping a slew of Dragons (including Dragonite, Altered Giratina, and Zygarde Complete) to do it. Gleam shows better with wins over those Dragons plus Snorlax. But Madness is the clear winner now, picking up Origin Giratina and Togekiss and dropping only devasted-by-the-Breaking-Swipe-nerf Rayquaza in the process. To repeat: despite dealing 30 less damage, Nature’s Madness beats everything Dazzling Gleam can in 0shield except Rayquaza and adds two impactful wins of its own.

And in 2v2 shielding, Megahorn really falls off, with NO unique wins to speak of now. Dazzling Gleam moves way ahead with pickups versus Palkia (including Origin), Dragonite, Zekrom, Rayquaza, and Gyarados. But then Nature’s Madness stakes its claim with its own unique wins over Dialga AND Dialga Origin, getting in FOUR charge moves before Dialga can reach its third Iron Head, and winning even if Dialga wisely lets that first Madness through before it starts shielding. In a straight, fair battle, Dialga CANNOT win… even if it lets the first two charge moves through and plans to save shields for the last two, just those first two Madnesses finish it long before then. It is Bulu’s match to lose and the Dialga player can’t do anything but pray for some type of favorable lag. Conversely, the only thing Gleam beats that Madness usually cannot in the 2v2 shield matchup is Zekrom, which isn’t nothing, but even then it is an extreme example of a pyrrhic victory, with Zekrom being left with literally 2 HP. Now a blip of lag or something flips things the other way… into Bulu’s favor!

So in the end, the addition of Nature’s Madness doesn’t show a huge surge in wins like it did for Tapu Koko or Tapu Lele. They needed more help, quite frankly, whereas Bulu, as a reminder, was already decent in Master League. What “Going Mad” does for Bulu is make it more consistent (its average battle rating increases across the board, more and more noticable the more shields are invested into the battle), and generally gives it more impactful, top-of-the-meta wins.

tapu bulu wallpaper


So the good news is that Nature’s Madness is a near-straight upgrade in Ultra League, and in all even shield scenarios. As compared to Dazzling Gleam in 1v1 (+Annihilape, +Altered Giratina, +Defense Deoxys, +Poliwrath), 0v0 (+Cobalion, +Greedent, -Annihilape), and 2v2 (+Annihilape, +Cresselia, +Shadow Dragonite, +Obstagoon, +Poliwrath) shielding. The bad news is… there are several better overall Grass and Fairy types to choose from. While it’s true that Tapu Bulu with Nature’s Madness has unique utility against Dragon and/or Dark types that, say, Venusaur lacks, other Grasses like Venusaur come with more inherant advantages overall (such as more consistently handling Icy Water types, and opposing Fairies and even Psychics). And while it can handle some Water and Ground types better than Fairies like, say, Clefable, those other Fairies have a much easier time versus a wider range of threats from Fighters to Darks to Fairies and more.

In short, I would say that Tapu Bulu is at least viable now in Ultra League formats, and I can absolutely see someone making it work (and work well) on the right team. Not sure it could have said that before Nature’s Madness. But will it suddenly break out as a top meta option? Not at this point, I don’t think. If you happen to come across one with really good Ultra League IVs in a trade or something, hang onto it, certainly. I imagine it may get its 15 minutes to shine in at least some future Cup meta.


We continue to get more and more interesting as we go through these. And we still have one more to go!

But that will be for another day. For now, I hope this was insightful for Tapu Bulu, already perhaps a tad underrated in Master League, but just enough improved with Nature’s Madness that perhaps a brave soul will tear up their opponents with it now. Good luck to you!

That’s all we got for today. Thanks for reading! Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with regular Pokémon GO analysis nuggets, or Patreon, if you’re feeling extra generous.

Happy raiding for those going out! 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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