Tapu Bulu

Tapu Bulu, The Land Spirit Pokémon. It pulls large trees up by the roots and swings them around. It causes vegetation to grow, and then it absorbs energy from the growth. The guardian deity of Ula’ula is a lazy Pokémon. It commands plants to immobilize its foes and then deals them a savage blow with its horns. It makes ringing sounds with its tail to let others know where it is, avoiding unneeded conflicts. Although it’s called a guardian deity, it’s violent enough to crush anyone it sees as an enemy.

Overview

Initially regarded as one of the worst Tapu's released, many people considered Tapu Bulu an inferior choice to use on a team compared to what Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele and Tapu Fini could bring to a team. Bulu's multiple weaknesses (Flying, Fire, x4 Poison, Steel, Ice) along with his main STAB being Grass (a very inferior offensive type compared to Electric, Water & Psychic), didn't do him any favors either. However, an aspect often overlooked on Tapu Bulu is the fact that Bulu's offensive outputs rivals those by Lele and the healing utility provided by Grassy Terrain can be extremely useful given the right support. While Tapu Bulu has a large number of weaknesses, it also has plenty of resistances which grants him many opportunities to switch into battle.

Overall, with the right amount of support and taking advantage of Tapu Bulu's strengths, the Grass Bull will not disappoint you.
Positives
+ Respectable 70/115/95 defenses grant Tapu Bulu great durability thanks to the healing effects of Grassy Terrain while boosting Horn Leech.
+ A solid base 130 Attack means that Tapu Bulu will be able to deal great amount of damage to even Grass resistant Pokemon thanks to the boost provided on his powerful STAB Grass moves like Wood Hammer and Horn Leech while also having access to great coverage moves like Stone Edge & Superpower.
+ Its ability provides great support to its party members by weakening Ground type attacks. This means that Pokemon weak to Ground attacks like Heatran, Mawile, Magnezone & Arcanine will take less damage from moves like Earthquake.
+ Resistances to Water, Electric, Grass, Fighting, Dark, Ground and an immunity to Dragon gives a fair amount of opportunities for Tapu Bulu to switch in.

Negatives
- Tapu Bulu has a long list of weaknesses: Flying, Fire, Ice and Steel, but most importantly, a severe x4 weakness to Poison. Almost any Poison attack will OHKO Tapu Bulu or severely cripple him on the match.
- An average base 75 Speed, while not bad by itself, isn't great either as it makes Tapu Bulu to be easily outsped by Pokemon such as Heatran & Venusaur.
- The terrain effects Tapu Bulu provides can also be taken into advantage by your opponent as it makes their pokemon more difficult to be wear down while it basically prevents you from using efficiently Ground type attacks of your own (Unless you are using Zygarde's Thousand Arrows which isn't affected by Grassy Terrain). It also powers up Grass type attacks from the opposing side of the field, such as Kartana which makes it even more dangerous to play around.
- Lack of a strong physical Fairy STAB means that Tapu Bulu misses a lot on coverage it would have loved to obtain vs Dragon Type Pokemon.

Abilities

Grassy Surge: Activates Grassy Terrain for 5 turns when the Pokémon enters a battle. Tapu Bulu's signature ability, Grassy Surge, allows it to summon Grassy Terrain whenever it enters the battlefield. Under Grassy Terrain, the HP of all grounded Pokémon will be restored by 1/16 of their maximum HP at the end of the turn while weakening Ground type moves like Earthquake, Magnitude and Bulldoze to a 50%. Finally, it boosts all Grass type moves to a 50% which allows Bulu to deal ridiculous amounts of damage to even Pokemon that resist Grass attacks.
Hidden Ability (Not Available):
Telepathy: Prevents damage from teammates during Double and Triple battles. While this is not currently obtainable, none of the Island Guardians have a good reason to use this over their terrain abilities anyway.

Movesets

Olé

- Swords Dance
- Horn Leech
- Superpower
- Stone Edge / Wood Hammer
Item Attached: Rockium Z / Fightnium Z / Grassium Z
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs and Nature:
252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly / Adamant Nature

The premise of using this set is simple: Use Swords Dance to boost your Attack to sky high levels and plow through sturdy Pokemon like Skarmory, Celesteela & Tangrowth. While a little bit weak, Horn Leech is an excellent way to dish out damage while recovering some health back in order to keep Tapu Bulu consistently healthy throughout the match. Superpower is an excellent coverage move that allows Tapu Bulu to destroy Steel types like Ferrothorn and Heatran. When combined with a Fightinium Z, it allows Tapu Bulu to fire an All-Out Pummeling that it is easily able to remove Celesteela after Stealth Rock damage. Stone Edge is there to hit Fire types like Charizard & Volcarona. Rockium Z can be used in order to hit hard against neutral targets like Mega Venusaur and Tangrowth. If using Grassium Z, Wood Hammer is an excellent option to nuke resists to Grass type attacks. With the Grassy Surge boost and after a Swords Dance boost, Bloom Doom is so strong, it is even able to OHKO Tangrowth after Stealth Rock damage. Even offensive variants of Mega Scizor (x4 resist) take a 50% from their health when hit by the move!
The Z Crystal to use depends on which of his usual checks Tapu Bulu wants to remove or weaken for other teammates. A Jolly nature can be used in order to outspeed Jolly Bisharp, Adamant Mamoswine and Timid Magearna. However, if none of this matters, you can use an Adamant nature for extra power. Speed and Attack are maximized on this set in order to maximize its wallbreaking abilities.

Brass Bull

- Wood Hammer
- Horn Leech
- Superpower
- Zen Headbutt / Stone Edge
Item Attached: Choice Band
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs and Nature:
252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature

With a Choice Band, Tapu Bulu becomes a fearsome wallbreaker that is capable of putting dents on many switch-ins to Grass-type attacks. Wood Hammer becomes Tapu Bulu's most spammable move as it is able to achieve some impressive benchmarks like OHKOing Mega Charizard Y and Latios after Stealth Rock damage. Horn Leech is used for more consistency in order to keep Tapu Bulu healthy throughout the match. Superpower allows Tapu Bulu to hurt Skarmory, Ferrothorn & Heatran switch-ins and finally, Zen Headbutt provides super effective coverage to destroy Mega Venusaur and Amoonguss. Stone Edge is an option to hurt Zapdos and Volcarona badly without having to resort to Wood Hammer and risk a Static paralysis or a Flame Body burn.
Maximum Speed and Attack investment allows this set to be as powerful as possible while outspeeding numerous defensive threats and even slower offensive threats. On this set, Tapu Bulu appreciates the extra power of an Adamant nature as it allows him to punch holes on the opponent's team.

Nature's Wrath

- Horn Leech
- Substitute
- Leech Seed
- Nature's Madness / Superpower
Item Attached: Leftovers
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs and Nature:
232 HP / 216 SpD / 60 Spe
Careful Nature

This is a set that maximizes Tapu Bulu's durability abusing fully Grassy Terrain's healing effects, the recovery provided by Leftovers and Leech Seed making it one of the most annoying sets for your opponent to face. Once again, Horn Leech provides reliable recovery albeit a bit weak. Substitute shields Tapu Bulu from common switch-ins like Heatran & Skarmory allowing it to use Leech Seed next turn while also protecting it from status moves. It also lets Tapu Bulu to set up on Pokemon like Toxapex who is rendered useless against this set as it will find itself unable to break Bulu's Substitutes. Nature's Madness is the recommended move on the last move to pressure your opponent's switches by removing half of their HP, which is valuable for hitting neutrally against anything immune to Leech Seed (Grass-types). Superpower is an option to hit Ferrothorn, however, it achieves very little due to the lack of offensive investment.
The given EVs allows Tapu Bulu to take Ash Greninja Choice Specs boosted Hydro Pump 4 times, factoring Grassy Terrain and Leftovers recovery. Under Grassy Terrain, this Tapu Bulu is only 3HKOed by Specs Tapu Lele's Psychic. 60 EVs in Speed allows Tapu Bulu to outspeed max neutral Speed Tyranitar while also outrunning defensive Heatran.

Other Options

• Assault Vest takes advantage of Tapu Bulu's fantastic resistances and combined with Horn Leech & Grassy Terrain's recovery, makes it effective to use in Singles. With this item, Tapu Bulu has an easier time switching into Pokemon like Tapu Koko, Ash Greninja and Keldeo.
• Life Orb is an option to power up Tapu Bulu on the Swords Dance set, however, Tapu Bulu usually prefers the nuke power a Z-move can provide to remove or weaken one of its checks.
• Taunt can be used to stop defensive pokemon like Toxapex cold.
• Rock Tomb is a nice move that reduces the Speed of common switch-ins like Latios slowing them down in the process, allowing Tapu Bulu to pick them up. However, the move is useless vs defensive Pokemon like Skarmory.
• Bulk Up is an interesting option allowing Tapu Bulu to gain a defense buff making it easier to set up against Pokemon like Landorus-Therian & Zygarde.

VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options

Tapu Bulu is the least used of the four Tapus, but that does not mean it is a bad Pokemon in VGC 2018. In fact, Tapu Bulu can actually beat any of the other Tapus 1v1 (usually). Unless Tapu Lele or Tapu Fini are very slow, Tapu Bulu's terrain is typically the terrain that stays up due to its lower speed, meaning it can reliably be led for terrain control. Although Intimidate can slow it down, Tapu Bulu's incredible Attack stat, especially backed by Grassy Terrain when using Grass-type moves, can break through many opponents. Sadly, Tapu Bulu has not received any physical Fairy-type attacks, so its coverage moves typically fill out a set, but the power of its Grass-type moves are a huge threat for an opponent.

Grab the Bulu by the Horns

-Wood Hammer
-Horn Leech
-Superpower / Rock Slide
-Protect
Item Attached: Grassium Z
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature

Offensive Tapu Bulu needs maximum Attack, and it typically appreciates maximum Speed as well unless you have reliable speed control. Adamant nature further boosts attack and is more likely to ensure your terrain overrides Tapu Fini's or Tapu Lele's, but Jolly can still be used. Grassy Surge is its only ability available, but is very useful to boost its own attacks and support the team (unfortunately, it is also the terrain your opponent can most take advantage of as well with recovery). Grassium Z gives Tapu Bulu one of the strongest attacks in the game, as a Grassy Terrain-boosted Bloom Doom backed by Tapu Bulu's high Attack can take out almost any Pokemon that does not resist it.

Wood Hammer is Bulu's strongest attack, and it also gives Bloom Doom its highest power. Additionally, the nasty recoil is somewhat offset by the Grassy Terrain recovery. Horn Leech also receives a Grassy Terrain boost, and is often more than enough to pick up a knock out, but will recover your health in the process. Superpower and Rock Slide both provide good coverage. Superpower hits many steel types hard, but Rock Slide gives spread damage and hits many Fire-types super-effectively. Protect keeps Tapu Bulu safe from threatening attacks, gives it a free turn of Grassy Terrain recovery, or stalls out speed control.

Guardian of Ula'ula

-Horn Leech
-Wood Hammer / Leech Seed
-Substitute
-Protect
Item Attached: Leftovers / Mago Berry
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature

The other common way to use Tapu Bulu is a bit less offensive, and more geared to lasting long on the field. Maximum HP lets Bulu take attacks well, while an Adamant nature with maximum Attack still lets it hit hard to pick up necessary KOs, although many trainers will invest in some Special Defense instead. Leftovers gives consistent recovery and is great when paired with Grassy Terrain to recover off damage from Substitute or Wood Hammer, but a pinch berry like the Mago Berry can really come in handy to immediately recover half of your health.

Horn Leech again provides good damage and recovery with Grassy Terrain. Wood Hammer provides a little more damage when needed, but Leech Seed can further increase recovery. Substitute goes well with Bulu's good bulk and recovery options, and allows it to dodge dangerous attacks. Protect is arguably the best move in the game, again keeping Bulu away from attacks that threaten to knock it out while a teammate helps out.

Other Options & Team Ideas

-Assault Vest is an item picking up in usage lately, and for good reason. The boost to its special defense shores up Tapu Bulu's weaker defensive stat, and makes it incredibly bulky. With four moveslots available, it is able to take full advantage of its high base attack, and the terrain's recovery still acts as a free “Leftovers.”
-Choice Scarf is especially useful in situations where your opponent cannot tell if you are Scarfed, and Bulu's strong attacks can surprise an opponent for knockouts.
-Life Orb and Choice Band can boost Bulu's damage even more, and even other Z-Moves like All-Out Pummeling have seen some usage for certain threats (like Heatran, for example).
-Nature's Madness is commonly seen on the Assault Vest set, and is great to reduce an opponent's health greatly, especially if followed up by another strong attack.
-Bulk Up is very effective with Tapu Bulu's bulk and recovery from its terrain, especially behind a Substitute. Swords Dance is another alternative to set up.
-Rock Tomb and Stone Edge are single-target alternatives to Rock Slide. Rock Tomb of course also provides speed control for your team.
-Megahorn, Zen Headbutt, and Smart Strike all provide additional coverage (though typically only in specific matchups).
-Whirlwind can deny Trick Room and mess with other setup attempts by your opponent, as can Taunt in certain scenarios.
-Psych Up can copy the boosts of you or your opponent's Pokemon.

-Pokemon weak to Earthquake like Arcanine, Tapu Koko, Incineroar, Heatran, Aegislash, and Mawile all appreciate the reduction in damage in Grassy Terrain.
-Grass Pokemon like the boost to their Grass-type attacks in the terrain.
-Rain protects Tapu Bulu from Fire-type attacks, and Bulu is also a decent check to rain with its ability to take Water-type attacks, resistance to both of Mega Swampert's STABs, and good overall bulk.
-Milotic and other Competitive or Defiant Pokemon deter Intimidate against Bulu.
-Bulky Pokemon such as Snorlax or Z-Move Kommo-o appreciate the recovery of Grassy Terrain.
-Being a mid-tier speed Pokemon, Tapu Bulu appreciates speed control, even able to thrive under Trick Room in the right situation.
-Pokemon like Torkoal with Nature's Power like firing off boosted Energy Balls in Grassy Terrain.
--Gogoat! No, seriously. Tapu Bulu's Grassy Terrain activates Gogoat's Hidden Ability, Grass Pelt. With a boost to your grass attacks and Gogoat's defense, you can have some fun with Gogoat, however effective it will actually be in practice!

Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Not in game

Gold/Silver/Crystal:
Not in game

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Not in game

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Not in game

Colosseum/XD:
Not in game

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Not in game

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Not in game

Black/White:
Not in game

Black 2/White 2:
Not in game

X/Y:
Not in game

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Not in game

Sun/Moon:
Ruins of Conflict

Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
Ruins of Conflict

Animé Appearences

Tapu Bulu has made several appearances in the anime. In these appearances, it appears as the guardian of Ula'ula Island and helps Nebby evolve.

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
987 A Dream Encounter! Ash and Nebby! A Mysterious Encounter!! Pics
994 Family Determination! EffortfuLillie! A Determined Runaway Act! Pics
995 Revealing the Stuff of Legend! The Altar of the Sunne! Solgaleo Descends!! Pics
996 Rescuing the Unwilling! Hurry Up! Operation: Rescue Lusamine!! Pics
1017 TBC This Tough Old Geezer's the Island Kahuna? Pics
1018 TBC Tapu Bulu! Intense Slacker Training!! Pics

 
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