Welcome to the nineteenth issue of 6th Generation's Pokemon of the Week! This week we'll be discussing the first fully evolved Pokemon in the National Dex. This week, we'll be discussing Venusaur.
Upon being born, a seed is planted on Bulbasaur's back that supplies it with nourishment. A plant sprouts from the seed and grows with the Pokemon. The plant bulb on Ivysaur's back absorbs nutrients to help it grow. When it begins swelling, a sweet aroma wafts from it to indicate that the flower is ready to bloom. Venusaur spreads the broad petals of its flower to catch the sun's rays. This fills it with energy and power. On a rainy day, the flower on its back smells stronger. The scent attracts other Pokemon.
Base Stats: 80 HP / 82 Attack / 83 Defense / 100 Sp. Attack / 100 Sp. Defense / 80 Speed
Last generation, Venusaur gained a new lease on life by obtaining Chlorophyll through the Dream World. In combination with Ninetales' Drought, Venusaur was a fast, powerful threat that was hard to switch into, and it threatened both Politoed and Tyranitar from coming in and changing the weather with powerful STAB Grass attacks. This couldn't last, however, as weather was (thankfully) nerfed this generation to last 5 turns, or 8 with the appropriate held rock. While ChloroSaur is still a viable option, with this generation bringing us a second Drought Pokemon in Mega Charizard-Y to use alongside Ninetales, Venusaur itself got a Mega Evolution that has seen a large amount of use in the competitive OU arena, which I'll discuss more in the Mega section of this article.
|Venusaur@ Life Orb|
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack) / Naive nature (+Speed, -Sp. Defense)
EVs: 252 Sp. Attack / 180 Speed /76 HP Or 230 Sp. Attack / 180 Speed / 100 Attack
Hidden Power Fire
Sludge Bomb / Earthquake
Growth / Sleep Powder
With sun support from Ninetales or Mega Charizard-Y, Venusaur can come in at doubled Speed, outspeeding even Choice Scarf base 110 Pokemon such as Latios. Giga Drain is your safest STAB attack that has the best Super Effective coverage. Hidden Power Fire takes advantage of the Sunlight, and roasts Ferrothorn, Scizor, and Forretress. Sludge Bomb is stronger than Giga Drain and has better neutral coverage, so in situations where both are neutrally effective, Sludge Bomb is the way to go. If you hate Heatran, though, a Naive spread with 100 Attack is optional to ensure a OHKO on 248 HP, 8 Defense Calm Heatran after Stealth Rock. This removes one of the best Venusaur counters in the game with one shot, so give it some consideration, and think about what your team would appreciate more.
The last slot depends on what you're using. Growth in Sunlight gives you a +2 boost to both Attack and Sp. Attack, turning Venusaur into a fast and deadly sweeper. Sleep Powder is for use on the mixed set with Earthquake, since boosting with Growth still leaves big gaps in coverage against Dragons. Sleep Powder at least gives it a means to shut them down and deal with them with another Pokemon.
Solar Beam deserves a a mention, but it's unreliable because Tyranitar is too common, and Politoed still sees occasional use. Having a means of removing Heatran is recommended before attempting a sweep if you're not using the mixed set. Dugtrio is an adequate Pokemon to use for this, as it can easily revenge-kill Heatran or switch in on an expected Heatran switch. Heatran can be lured out with both Venusaur and Mega Charizard Y, so bringing them in and immediately double-switching to Dugtrio can be a great way to remove Heatran completely. Defog support is recommended on a Sun team in general. Mandibuzz, Latias, or even Latios can do this on an expected switch. Obviously a Drought Pokemon is necessary for this to work. I'd recommend both Heat Rock Ninetales and Mega Charizard-Y if you're going to run Drought in OU, honestly, but if you don't want both, Ninetales provides more support, while Charizard provides a more threatening offensive presence.
Here I just want to mention that after a lot of research, I've determined that a physically oriented Chlorophyll Venusaur set just isn't worth it. Venusaur's physical movepool is extremely limited, and Power Whip is illegal with Knock Off. Even if Knock Off becomes a tutor, it's a lackluster set in comparison to the special version since it lacks a good Poison STAB, lacks a physical version of Hidden Power, and is walled by too many Pokemon.
Mega Venusaur: 80 HP / 100 Attack / 123 Defense / 122 Sp. Attack / 120 Sp. Defense / 80 Speed
Mega Venusaur gains the ability Thick Fat, reducing the amount of damage taken from Fire and Ice attacks. This in combination with 80/123/120 defensive stats and access to Giga Drain, Synthesis, and Leech Seed makes Mega Venusaur incredibly difficult to bring down. 100 Attack and 122 Sp. Attack means that it can not only take hits, but send them right back with incredible power for a "defensive" Pokemon. In my humble opinion, Mega Venusaur is one of the best defensive Pokemon you can use in the current metagame, and I myself use it in competitive OU.
Chlorophyll [Thick Fat]
Modest nature (+Sp. Attack, -Attack)
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Sp. Attack / 4 Speed
Hidden Power Fire / Earthquake / Leech Seed
Mega Venusaur is a fantastic counter to Azumarill and Conkeldurr, as well as not caring about much of anything Rotom-Wash can do, and just being a great defensive Pokemon in general. Being resistant to Electric, Water, Grass, Fighting and Fairy, while also being nearly neutral to Fire and Ice attacks means that Venusaur's only real type weaknesses are Flying and Psychic. This is the Venusaur I use, and the one I recommend the most. Giga Drain is a great STAB that also helps keep you alive. Sludge Bomb is a fantastic secondary STAB move that deals hefty amounts of damage and has a 30% chance of inflicting normal Poison on the opponent. This is a fantastic secondary effect for a defensive Pokemon, as it allows Venusaur to heal itself or allow you to play defensively and stall the opponent's time out as they slowly die from poison. Hidden Power Fire is great for hitting Scizor and Ferrothorn, OHKOing all versions of even Mega Scizor, and 1-2HKOing all Ferrothorn after Stealth Rock, depending on their nature and EVs, while anything they can do back is fairly insignificant to Venusaur itself. Earthquake can be used to 2HKO Heatran, even with the Modest nature. Switching to a neutral Attack nature won't change to a OHKO without a significant amount of Attack investment, and it's not worth it for what Venusaur does. Similarly, Earthquake does more than Hidden Power Ground to standard Calm Heatran, and you don't lose your Hidden Power Fire coverage, so don't consider that either. If you want Venusaur to be more defensive, Leech Seed is an option in this slot, but not heavily recommended as you become easy bait for Ferrothorn. The last slot is Synthesis, and it's necessary to keep Venusaur alive throughout the match. Without Leftovers as a constant source of healing, you'll be relying on Synthesis through the match to keep Venusaur healthy. The low 8 PP is important to take note of, so make sure to maximize the effectiveness of your Synthesis uses, and pack a Defog user to keep hazards off the field to reduce the amount of healing you'll need from repeated switch-ins.
The given EVs make Venusaur a tank, fully capable of taking hits and giving them back. Something important to consider is that 252 Sp. Attack maximizes the amount damage output, which in turn maximizes the amount of health you'll return from Giga Drain.
Something to keep in mind is that Chlorophyll can turn Drought against a Mega Charizard, and the Speed boost granted from it will be retained on the turn you Mega Evolve, so you can come in on Mega Charizard, Mega Evolve and still have the Chlorophyll boost, and Sludge Bomb for 45.6 - 54.3%, having a decent chance of OHKOing after Stealth Rock damage.
A Bold or Calm nature with a more defensive spread can be used as a more defensive Pokemon, but I find that this kind of Venusaur doesn't do much more than sit there and take hits. It's not especially threatening, it's more... annoying. That's not to say it's bad, but it's not something I'd strongly recommend. Finally, I have seen some people use Amnesia, and while that is a cool tactic that can make special hits deal pitiful damage, it takes away a vital move slot and doesn't offer it any added help for Venusaur's biggest problems: Talonflame and Mega Pinsir, who use physical attacks.
Speaking of Talonflame, it's important to pair Venusaur with a Pokemon that can handle it. Bold Rotom-Wash is an excellent choice, able to counter both Talonflame and Mega Pinsir, and can threaten Heatran with Hydro Pump.
Getting a Venusaur in-game is easy, since Bulbasaur is one of the starters offered by Sycamore near the beginning of the game. Here's what I'd suggest for an in-game Venusaur:
Petal Blizzard / Energy Ball
Venoshock / Sludge Bomb
Raising a Venusaur in-game is a very... "meh" kind of experience, to be honest. Since Giga Drain is an egg move, it doesn't have its best STAB attack available to it. Petal Blizzard comes very late at level 50, while Energy Ball TM is found late on Route 20. Venoshock is found on Route 6, though it takes a bit of searching if I recall correctly. It's good to get though, as the entire Bulbasaur family learn no Poison attacks that deal damage via level. Sludge Bomb is much better than Venoshock, but comes late in the game, on Route 19, and requires both Surf and Strength to access, if memory serves (it's been a while, I apologize). Still, when you can get Sludge Bomb, use that. Synthesis keeps Venusaur alive, while Sleep Powder shuts the opponent down, giving you time to either switch or whittle away with Venusaur.
I really like Venusaur. His design isn't "awesome" like Charizard, but it's a cool Pokemon in a different way, especially the Mega form (butt flower aside). Venusaur seems like the kind of Pokemon that would be loyal forever, protecting you from danger with non-lethal powders and things to wear enemies down enough for you to escape to safety. It's got offensive and defensive options, and right now, it's one of my favorite Pokemon to use competitive OU. I've got a long-standing attachment to this smelly toad from the days of Red and Blue, and you can bet you'll still see him on my team if you challenge me.
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