Venusaur, The Seed Pokémon. There is a large flower on Venusaur's back. The flower is said to take on vivid colors if it gets plenty of nutrition and sunlight. The flower's aroma soothes the emotions of people. After a rainy day, the flower on its back smells stronger. The scent attracts other Pokémon. By spreading the broad petals of its flower and catching the sun's rays, it fills its body with power.
As one of the original three starters, everybody knows about Venusaur. However, Venusaur has had somewhat humbler origins than its counterparts. It was often considered the most “boring” choice; it was the easiest way to start the Gen 1 games, and it wasn’t considered as “cool” as Charizard, who was a fire breathing dragon, or Blastoise, who had freaking cannons coming out of its shell. Nevertheless, Venusaur has had an interesting run. It was always a fairly average Pokemon, sporting well rounded stats that didn’t really excel in any one area, but at least gave it a decent mix of power and bulk. Yet when Gen 5 came around and gave it Chlorophyll as a hidden ability and a buffed Growth, it gained a solid niche due to being able to excel in the weather wars of Gen 5 by performing well on Sun teams. Of course, Gen 6 put a stop to that by nerfing the weather-inducing abilities, so it seemed like Venusaur’s moment in the sun (pun intended) would come to an end. However, Gen 6 gave Venusaur two very important gifts that more than make up for this. The first was the introduction of Fairy types, which Venusaur can counter without much duress thanks to its Poison typing. The second, and more important, was the advent of Venusaur’s Mega Evolution! Its Mega Evolution is fantastic, so it became a staple in Gen 6. However, standard Venusaur, while not outright terrible, is still a rather average Pokemon when not using its Mega Evolution. That said, unlike a handful of other Pokemon, Venusaur’s not a total wash without its Mega Evolution. Still though, when it comes to using the plant-dinosaur hybrid, you’re usually better off with the Mega Evolution.
Overgrow: When HP is below 1/3rd its maximum, power of Grass-type moves is increased by 50%. - Ah Overgrow, your standard grass-type starter Pokemon ability. In truth, this ability has never been particularly reliable. Getting your HP below 33% without being KO’ed certainly isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and even then, it only increases the power of its Grass STAB attacks and not any of its coverage moves. In general, this ability’s unreliability causes it to be somewhat underwhelming, but if you’re not utilizing weather on your team, then it can still be the preferred ability.
‘Saur Like an Eagle
-Giga Drain / Leaf Storm
Here we have your very standard offensive Venusaur, most often seen in lower tier play. In more inclusive formats it faces competition from Roserade, who sports more speed and power (and more reliable abilities) in exchange for bulk. However, when Roserade isn’t around, standard Venusaur is the top offensive Grass/Poison type. For its offensive options, STAB attacks are obvious. However, in terms of its Grass STAB, Venusaur has two potential options. Leaf Storm boasts high power, but it comes with a special attack drop that favors hit and run tactics. However, if sustainability is more your game, Giga Drain deals more consistent damage, albeit with a noticeable drop in power. However, it does boast recovery that can help offset accumulated damage. On the other side of the STAB spectrum, Sludge Bomb is pretty much your only viable option for a Poison type STAB, so it goes without saying that it’s chosen. It’s become more valuable than ever in the 6th generation as well, as it has no problem putting Fairy types in their place. However, there’s an obvious gap in Venusaur’s STAB, and that would be Steel types, who are common no matter where you go. As a result, Hidden Power Fire is the preferable coverage move, as it can absolutely fry things like Escavalier and Durant, who would otherwise be solid counters to Venusaur. Finally, Synthesis helps keep Venusaur healthy, especially when one considers that its somewhat average special attack necessitates Life Orb and the recoil that comes with it.
Max Speed and Special Attack are intended to maximize Venusaur’s offensive presence. The choice of nature comes down to personal preference, but both Modest and Timid are viable. Modest affords you a bit more power, while Timid lets you outspeed some things that you otherwise wouldn’t, such as the myriad of base 80’s that tend to run Adamant natures, such as Braviary and Medicham. Life Orb is the preferred item to maximize damage output, as Venusaur’s base 100 special attack is a little lacking without the boost. In terms of ability, if you’ve got Sun on your team, Chlorophyll is undoubtedly the superior ability; however, if you’re not running sun, you can always opt for Overgrow for some emergency power on your Grass STAB, mostly since Chlorophyll will never do anything without your preferred weather being provided, while Overgrow has the potential to be useful (albeit situationally) without specific team support.
-Earthquake can be an option if you want to run a mixed set, as it deals well with most steel and poison types you come across.
When dealing with Venusaur where it’s most commonly used, there are a few ways to go about it. In terms of walling Venusaur, Golbat stands tall as arguably its best counter. Even physically defensive Golbat is at best 5HKO’ed by Venusaur, while it can 2HKO Venusaur with Brave Bird, or even 1HKO Venusaur with Life Orb recoil considered. Meanwhile, it can Roost off any damage that Venusaur does to it, allowing it to continuously wall Venusaur. Bronzong is able to shrug off Venusaur’s STAB attacks, and it’s only 4HKO’ed by Modest Life Orb Hidden Power Fire. However, it doesn’t do much in return, but it can set up hazards or screens if it forces Venusaur out. Uxie is only 3HKO’ed by Sludge Bomb, but can 2HKO with Psychic, or use the opportunity to use its myriad of support options as well. Mega Camerupt’s specially defensive set is only 3HKO’ed at best by Giga Drain, but it can soundly 1HKO Venusaur with Flamethrower or Fire Blast. Meloetta is 3HKO’ed by Sludge Bomb, while it can manage to 1HKO Venusaur most of the time with Psychic. In terms of checking Venusaur, there are several fast fire types who can do the trick. Delphox outspeeds Venusaur and either of its STAB attacks can 1HKO Venusaur with ease. Emboar’s common Choice Scarf set is capable of outspeeding Venusaur, and then obliterating it with Flare Blitz. Fletchinder’s Gale Wings allows it to get priority on Acrobatics, which can 1HKO Venusaur in a heartbeat. Houndoom has the speed and power necessary to fry Venusaur with a single Fire Blast.
As you get into more inclusive formats, more Pokemon become able to deal with Venusaur without the power of its Mega Evolution to protect it. Crobat is able to only be 3HKO’ed by Sludge Bomb at best, while it outspeeds and destroys Venusaur in one shot with Brave Bird. Cresselia’s supreme defenses allow it to only be 4HKO’ed by Sludge Bomb, but it is capable of keeping itself healthy with Moonlight and it can 2HKO Venusaur with Psychic or cripple its speed with Thunder Wave. Powerful fire types such as Arcanine, Darmanitan, Entei, and Infernape are all capable of outspeeding Venusaur and 1HKOing it with a powerful Flare Blitz. Blissey is capable of walling Venusaur (barring the rarer mixed variants), but can’t do much in return thanks to Synthesis’s recovery. Chandelure and Rotom-H are capable of 1HKOing Venusaur with their special fire attacks such as Fire Blast and Overheat respectively. Psychic types such as Reuniclus, Alakazam, and Espeon are all capable of soundly 1HKOing Venusaur wth their STAB, with the latter two outspeeding Venusaur and the former having enough bulk to survive Venusaur’s attacks. And of course, if you try to take Venusaur against the things that its Mega evolution struggles with, such as Heatran, Talonflame, the Mega Charizards, Kyurem-B, Latios and Latias, Mega Metagross, and so on, then you’ll find that standard Venusaur goes down without much duress. Venusaur may not be a bad Pokemon, but without its Mega evolution, it’s rather average, so it has trouble playing with the big boys.
When the three Kanto Starters first had their Mega Evolutions revealed, Venusaur, as usual, was met with the most criticism. Its design was criticized as being a very minor change, while its Thick Fat ability was mocked for seeming less impressive than Mega Charizard Y’s Drought and Mega Blastoise’s Mega Launcher. However, a quick look at Mega Venusaur’s stats show that there’s much more to it than meets the eye. Solid 80/123/120 defensive stats make Mega Venusaur incredibly bulky, while base 100 attack and base 122 special attack mean it’s pretty good offensively as well. In addition, although Thick Fat may not have seemed like much at first, it’s actually a fantastic ability on a grass type Pokemon, as it neutralizes the common Fire and Ice weaknesses, which are often very common coverage moves. As a result, very few water types can break through Mega Venusaur, and it has no trouble walling even the fiercest of Fairy types, such as the dreaded Mega Altaria. However, it’s not all sunshine and flowers for Mega Venusaur, as it still has to deal with shoddy offensive typing, and its weaknesses to Flying and Psychic are still very easy to exploit. However, its mix of bulk, power, and Thick Fat make it able to perform well in Stall, Balance, and even offensive teams with a Bulky Offensive set. It may not be the flashiest Pokemon in the world, but this Mega Evolution is built like a tank, so you'd do well not to underestimate it!
Thick Fat: Fire and Ice-type moves deal 50% damage. - Compared to other Mega Evolution abilities like Aerilate, Huge Power, Tough Claws, etc, Thick Fat may seem underwhelming because it’s more defensive in nature compared to the more common offensive abilities. However, Thick Fat actually lends itself well to Mega Venusaur’s cause, complementing its fantastic bulk, by turning its weaknesses to Fire and Ice into neutralities. This is helpful given many Pokemon rely on Hidden Power Fire or Ice Beam as coverage moves to deal with grass types, so most Water types can be stopped cold by Mega Venusaur, and Hidden Power Fire will be shrugged off. A great defensive ability, for sure.
Mega Venusaur makes a solid tank with its mix of power and bulk, so it has no trouble running a bulky offensive set. Its movepool tends to be pretty consistent, and doesn’t terribly differ from its standard form’s offensive set in terms of moves used. Giga Drain is its best option for a Grass STAB, as with its sizeable bulk and offensive presence, Giga Drain provides the consistent damage and healing to make it the most reliable option. Sludge Bomb is the best option for a poison STAB, and is more valuable in Generation 6, as it allows Mega Venusaur to put a stop to Fairy types such as Mega Altaria and Clefable. Hidden Power Fire is an essential coverage move for Mega Venusaur, as it helps cover the Steel types who otherwise resist Mega Venusaur’s STAB combination, allowing it to fry the likes of Ferrothorn, Scizor, and to a lesser extent Skarmory. Finally, it should go without saying that with Mega Venusaur’s supreme bulk, reliable recovery is essential, so Synthesis is the best option for its final moveslot.
Modest Nature and 252 Special Attack EVs ensures that you hit as hard as possible, which more or less goes without saying on an offensive tank. 20 Speed EVs ensures that you outspeed Adamant Azumarill with 252 Speed EVs when factoring in Hidden Power Fire’s needed Speed IV of 30, but if you’re not using Hidden Power Fire, you only need 16 Speed EVs to reach this benchmark. The rest is put into Mega Venusaur’s bulk; 232 HP EVs maximizes its bulk, while also keeping its HP odd for minimizing Stealth Rock damage. The remaining 4 EVs are put into special defense. For its pre-Mega ability, Chlorophyll is the best answer, as you’ll still get the speed boost from it on the turn ou Mega Evolve, which can be handy if there’s Sun up from Mega Charizard Y. In addition, Overgrow really won’t do anything before Mega Evolving, so the choice of an ability that has the potential to actually do something, albeit situationally, is a no brainer.
Strong as Ironwood
On the flipside of things, rather than a tank role, Mega Venusaur finds itself right at home with a more defensive set. Fortunately, as far as moves are concerned, the set doesn’t vary much from the previous one. Giga Drain remains your best bet for a grass STAB, allowing Mega Venusaur to recover some HP as it attacks. Sludge Bomb is still your best bet for a Poison STAB for disposing of Fairy types. And of course, on a defensive set, Synthesis is arguably of even more importance than its offensive set, because good luck trying to wall anything if you can’t reliably keep your HP up. Hidden Power Fire remains a potent coverage option that burns through several steel types, most notably Scizor and Ferrothorn with their 4x weaknesses, but on such a defensive set, Leech Seed can also be an option for additional passive healing and gradual damage to force switches.
Where this set differs more significantly from the previous one is its EVs and nature, which emphasize bulk. 248 HP maximizes Mega Venusaur’s bulk while also minimizing Stealth Rock damage. From there, 144 Special Defense allows Mega Venusaur to survive a Life Orb Psychic from Alakazam, and reliably avoid being 2HKO’ed by a +3 Ice Beam from Manaphy. 20 Speed EVs once again is needed to outspeed max speed Adamant Azumarill, although if you opt for Leech Seed over Hidden Power Fire, you only need 16 EVs. The rest of the EVs are put into Defense to afford it solid mixed bulk. A Bold Nature is used to help Mega Venusaur ward off powerful physical attackers such as Mega Altaria, Azumarill, and Mega Lopunny. However, if you’re more worried about special attackers, Calm is also viable. Once again, Chlorophyll is the preferred pre-Mega ability for the fact that it has the potential to net a Speed boost on the turn you Mega Evolve if the sun is up.
-Earthquake is an option that’s almost exclusively for dealing with Heatran, who otherwise is a solid counter to Mega Venusaur.
Countering Mega Venusaur
Mega Venusaur’s certainly tough, but it’s not an insurmountable obstacle to overcome. Heatran can wall any Mega Venusaur set lacking Earthquake, and its access to Taunt means it can stop Synthesis if Mega Venusaur thinks it can attempt to stall it out. It does have to watch out for Sleep Powder and Leech Seed, and an uninvested Lava Plume only 4HKO’s offensive sets, but it’s still able to take Giga Drains all day, and getting a burn can hurt Mega Venusaur’s longevity. Chansey is able to wall Mega Venusaur all day, only being 7HKO’ed by Sludge Bomb, but Knock Off can cripple Chansey for the rest of the match and Chansey isn’t going to be KOing Mega Venusaur on its own. Tornadus-T’s Assault Vest set is only 3HKO’ed by Offensive Sludge Bomb (while Defensive only 4HKO’s), can utilize Regenerator to heal back damage taken, and it can 2HKO with Hurricane regardless of Mega Venusaur’s set (although accuracy can be an issue). With a Life Orb however, Tornadus-T can 1HKO Offensive Mega Venusaur from full health about 62% of the time, although Sludge Bomb can take a more sizeable chunk out of this set’s HP, enough to 2HKO even on the defensive set. Latias is at best 3HKO’ed by Sludge Bomb from offensive sets, but 2HKOs Mega Venusaur with Psyshock regardless of if it’s offensive or defensive. Victini has enough bulk to take a few Sludge Bombs (offensive sets only 2HKO about 37% of the time), while a Choice Band V-Create can nuke offensive Mega Venusaur off the face of the planet even with Thick Fat. Without a Choice Band or against defensive sets, Victini can opt to 2HKO with Zen Headbutt instead, as V-Create’s stat drops can be problematic if it doesn’t secure the KO. Mega Charizard Y’s moderate special bulk allow it to stomach a Sludge Bomb, although it can 2HKO on offensive sets, but the raw power of Mega Charizard Y’s Drought-boosted Fire Blasts 2HKOs Venusaur regardless of the set it runs. Although they hate switching into Sludge Bomb, Mega Pinsir and Talonflame can demolish Mega Venusaur with their flying STAB attacks, although Talonflame only 2HKOs without a boost (or the rarer Choice Band). Still, both can revenge kill a weakened Mega Venusaur in a heartbeat. Mega Metagross is only 3HKO’ed by Hidden Power Fire on offensive sets, but it can soundly 2HKO Mega Venusaur and even 1HKO with Zen Headbutt if Stealth Rock is up. Fast Psychic types like Alakazam, Mega Medicham, and Latios can survive a Sludge Bomb and at worst 2HKO Mega Venusaur, although they may fall short of the 1HKO on Defensive sets. Finally, Kyurem-B’s Teravolt allows it to ignore Thick Fat, which means its Ice Beam will 2HKO with minimal investment, but with more investment it can even manage to 1HKO Offensive sets. Meanwhile, it has only a miniscule chance of being 2HKO’ed by an offensive Sludge Bomb, so it’s able to stand up to Mega Venusaur without much duress. Defensive sets can be pestered by Mega Scizor if they lack Hidden Power Fire given Mega Scizor can set up on Mega Venusaur, but with how common Hidden Power Fire is, this isn’t always a great plan. It’s also worth noting that due to the lack of Leftovers recovery, a burn can go a long way towards wearing Mega Venusaur down, so it has to be at least a little wary when switching into Scalds, and Will-o-Wisp is definitely not fun for it. Regardless, with its limited offensive coverage, modest power for a Mega Evolution, and underwhelming speed tier, Mega Venusaur can be worn down, despite its great bulk.
Bulbasaur's a rather middle-of-the-road Pokemon in the Little Cup. It's certainly viable, but it's got a few things holding it back from preventing it from being a top tier threat. Most notably, Bulbasaur faces competition from Bellsprout, who sports higher offenses and Weather Ball. However, Bulbasaur does have better bulk and slightly more speed than Bellsprout, so it's not entirely outclassed. Regardless, Bulbasaur has a very specific niche in the Little Cup, and that niche is Chlorophyll. With it, Bulbasaur becomes a frightening sweeper in the sun… but only if the sun is up. Without its preferred weather, it's kind of a lackluster Pokemon in the Little Cup.
Regardless, when using Bulbasaur, Sludge Bomb is its Poison STAB of choice, and one that deals well with Fairy types and other grass types, such as Cottonee. For its Grass STAB, it has two viable options; Giga Drain and Solar Beam. Given Bulbasaur excels in the Sun, Solar Beam becomes a 1-turn attack when its preferred weather is up, giving it a powerful special attack. However, Solar Beam is useless when the sun isn't up due to its charge-up turn, making Giga Drain more reliable. Regardless, Hidden Power Fire remains the best option for coverage, as it helps Bulbasaur get past the steel types that would otherwise wall it, especially since Hidden Power Fire gets a boost in the Sun as well. Finally, Sleep Powder is Bulbasaur's best option for neutering would-be counters and checks, as very few things in the Little Cup want to switch into it.
Modest Nature is Bulbasaur's best bet for maximizing its power; meanwhile, 240 EVs in Special Attack and Speed give it a Special Attack stat of 17 and a Speed stat of 14 after accounting for the IVs needed for Hidden Power Fire. With Chlorophyll as its ability, Bulbasaur hits a staggering speed tier of 28 when the Sun is up, meaning it outspeeds almost the entire tier, even many choice scarfers. Even some of the more popular Choice Scarf users such as Mienfoo and Gastly are outsped in the sun, in addition to every Shell Smash user barring Dwebble. Life Orb is the preferred item to help Bulbasaur squeeze out as much power as possible, because its special attack stat isn't exactly the greatest in the Little Cup.
Growing Like a Weed
For a slightly different approach to sun sweeping, Growth is also an option. In the sun, Growth becomes an instant +2 Special Attack and Attack. Mind you, Bulbasaur won’t be using that +2 Attack, but what is effectively the equivalent of a Nasty Plot boost is hard to overlook. For this particular set, given you spend time boosting with Growth, you burn up turns in the sun, so Giga Drain is the preferred STAB over Solar Beam, since if that sun runs out Solar Beam becomes useless. In addition, with Growth taking up a spot for coverage, Sludge Bomb is forgone in favor of Hidden Power Fire. Hidden Power Fire maximizes your coverage, since without it, Steel types will wall you into oblivion and you’ll be forced to switch out, losing your boosts and wasted turns of Sun. You could in theory drop Sleep Powder for Sludge Bomb’s coverage, but Sleep Powder’s ability to shut down would-be checks and counters makes it more valuable. Plus, opening with Sleep Powder can afford you the turns you need to boost more safely with Growth.
Like the previous set, 240 Special Attack and Speed EVs will maximize your offensive presence when considering Hidden Power Fire’s needed IVs. However, unlike the previous set, given you’re boosting your power with Growth, the speed from Timid nature is more valuable. This puts you at 15 speed, which is enough to speed tie with Dwebble after a Shell Smash and outspeed pretty much everything else in the Little Cup when Chlorophyll’s speed boost in the sun is in effect. However, given you’ll be using at least one turn boosting with Growth, Eviolite is the preferred item to make it safer to boost, and the power you lose from dropping Life Orb is compensated by Growth’s boosts.
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