As a physically defensive Pokemon, Tangrowth faces stiff competition from a variety of Pokemon in UU, including Slowbro and Shaymin. At the same time, it is fairly unique in what it does; with good offensive stats, impressive physical bulk surpassed only by some Rock- and Steel-types and Cresselia, and the great support moves that Grass-types tend to have, Tangrowth is blessed with enough versatility to function as a hard-hitting wall or a bulky sweeper. Defensively, its typing is a double-edged sword, having five weaknesses, but also key resistances to Water and Ground. In addition to this, Tangrowth has plenty of ways to recover HP, including Regenerator, Leech Seed, Giga Drain, and Synthesis, allowing it to continue to frustrate physical attackers throughout the fight. However, these advantages are counterbalanced rather cruelly by its cripplingly low Special Defense and Speed stats, and the fact that Regenerator Tangrowth cannot learn Synthesis. Like a good rope, Tangrowth may not ward off fires very well, but one can depend on it to hold in the face of physical brutality, and to dish some back out.
Tangrowth's mammoth physical bulk is well-suited to a physically defensive set. It can take two of just about any neutral physical attack in UU, and even some super effective ones, and live to fight back. Choice Band Azumarill fails to 2HKO with Ice Punch, Rhyperior fails to 2HKO with Megahorn, and even Medicham requires a Life Orb or Choice Band to guarantee a 2HKO with Hi Jump Kick. To make matters worse for unwary physical attackers, Tangrowth has an easy time recovering HP through Leech Seed or Giga Drain, and can even switch out to heal one third of its HP. Between Regenerator, HP-draining moves, and excellent physical walling prowess, Tangrowth can serve as a very long-lasting tank.
Tangrowth also has a formidable arsenal of moves of all three flavors. Its physical weapons include Power Whip and Earthquake to hit Steel- and Fire-types, such as Registeel, Empoleon, Bisharp, and Houndoom. On the special side, it has Giga Drain and Hidden Power Ice for assaulting Grass- and Dragon-types, such as Shaymin and Flygon. It also receives a wide array of status moves, including Sleep Powder, Stun Spore, Knock Off, and Leech Seed. This versatility gives Tangrowth a major advantage over other physical walls, making Tangrowth somewhat unpredictable. Regenerator also lets Tangrowth excel against Choice Band and Choice Scarf attackers because, if necessary, it can switch to a better counter to the opponent's move without worrying too much about healing.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Tangrowth's offensive side can be likened to a desert slave driver, setting up on physical attackers and proceeding to punish their insolence with a boosted Power Whip. Any resistance through fire or iron is swiftly squelched with Earthquake, leaving only Flying-types, Rotom-H, and opposing Grass-types as holes in this two-move offensive combination. Unfortunately, this leaves Tangrowth with only one moveslot, and must choose between Rock Slide to deal with the former two, and Hidden Power Fire for the latter. Tangrowth's naturally low Speed necessitates the desert sun to beat down on the land for optimal sweeping ability. As such, the most prominent foe will typically be the eight-turn time limit, though the occasional appearance of Snover among the opposition will cause issues as well.
Tangrowth is highly favored among UU sun sweepers due to having great offensive stats and a high Defense stat to help it to set up. Most other sun sweepers, such as Shiftry and Victreebel, are rather frail, so they have a hard time finding a good opportunity to set up. Nonetheless, like the others, Tangrowth suffers from moveslot and typing issues that tend to plague Grass-types. Thus, Tangrowth, and the sun team in general, should be played intelligently and precisely to ensure success.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
For all of Tangrowth's versatility, its stiff competition leaves it few alternatives without being outclassed by a different Pokemon. A specially defensive EV spread has its uses but takes away from the prime reason to use Tangrowth: its physical walling ability. Even with Regenerator, its packed moveset makes it difficult to justify niche support options, such as Block. Tangrowth can also try a SubSeed set with 100+ HP Substitutes, but Jumpluff and Whimsicott offer the Speed (and Prankster on the latter) that is generally more desired in a SubSeeder. Reflect would be an excellent move, but lack of Light Screen kills its viability. Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb are powerful against Grass-types, but they provide otherwise mediocre coverage. Leaf Guard could be good on a staller in a sun team, but lack of permanent sun kills its viability.
Checks and Counters
Shaymin is one of the best counters to Tangrowth because it resists most of Tangrowth's moves, can remove any status by switching out, and has enough bulk to take several hits from Hidden Power Ice. Plus, it establishes the threat of Seed Flare on whatever switches in. Swellow is another great counter because Flame Orb or Toxic Orb protects it from paralysis and sleep, and it can drill through Tangrowth's physical defense with a powerful Brave Bird. Heracross works similarly, threatening a powerful Megahorn. Sigilyph uses Tangrowth as a setup opportunity while using Magic Guard to ignore Leech Seed, using a Flame Orb to make itself immune to Sleep Powder, and possibly using Psycho Shift to burn Tangrowth. While Fire-types are decent checks in general, Rotom-H deserves a special mention, not only because of its immunity to Earthquake, but also thanks to its lack of the painful 4x weakness to Rock-type attacks that Moltres and Charizard have due to their additional Flying typing. Defensive Arcanine is another good counter because Intimidate cuts Tangrowth's Attack, making it difficult to beat even with Earthquake. Poison-types are also worth a mention; Crobat and Nidoking can be especially dangerous if they manage to avoid Hidden Power Ice.
Tangrowth's counters largely depend on its choice of coverage move. Flygon, Crobat, and Roserade can take advantage of a lack of Hidden Power Ice, while Fire-types such as Victini switch in freely if Tangrowth is not running Earthquake.