When Venusaur was first dropped into the UU tier, nobody could've foreseen how dominant he was destined to become. He has just the right stat distribution and movepool to excel as a bulky sweeper; notable features include complementary STAB moves in Sludge Bomb and Leaf Storm, semi-reliable recovery in Synthesis, and the ability to instantly disable an opposing Pokemon with Sleep Powder. Not only this, but Venusaur also has a plethora of other options and the stats to make use of them; he can run defensive, physical, and mixed sets effectively as well. Despite these attributes, Venusaur's middling Speed and predictable coverage ensure that he is far from uncounterable. By no means, however, should this top-tier threat be overlooked.
This is Venusaur's bread-and-butter set, and it utilizes his fantastic Special Attack and dual STAB to the fullest extent. Venusaur's respectable defensive stats and array of resistances enable him to switch into many prominent UU Pokemon, including Spiritomb, Milotic, and Sceptile, with the threat of unleashing a powerful, Life Orb-boosted Leaf Storm or Sludge Bomb. The main idea of the set is not to outright sweep, but instead use Venusaur as a tank, force switches, and continually bash the opponent to the point where one of your own sweepers and finish off the opponent's team. Only a handful of Pokemon resist Venusaur's STAB combination, the most common being Registeel, Drapion, and Weezing, and this is where Sleep Powder comes into play. Sleep Powder allows Venusaur to incapacitate a counter and net a free turn in the process; in some cases, it even lets Venusaur beat some of his would-be counters. For instance, Venusaur can hit a Chansey switch-in with a powerful Leaf Storm and follow up with Sleep Powder to prevent her from recovering with Softboiled. Natural Cure will ensure that Sleep Clause does not activate once Chansey is switched out, so Venusaur can repeat this tactic every time he switches in until Chansey is KOed, barring a miss or one-turn sleep. Synthesis rounds off Venusaur's moveset, healing damage incurred through Life Orb recoil or from resisted attacks such as Milotic's Surf or Azumarill's Waterfall.
This set utilizes a fairly standard EV spread. A Timid nature and maximum Speed are used to tie with the other base 80 Speed Pokemon that plague the UU tier, including Kabutops and Blaziken. Special Attack is maximized to augment Venusaur's damage output. Even with no investment in his defensive stats, Venusaur remains fairly bulky, both physically and specially, a trait that separates it from other Grass-type sweepers such as Sceptile and Leafeon. Unlike them, Venusaur can switch fairly comfortably into Ice Beam from bulky Water-types such as Blastoise and Milotic, for example.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Just when you thought your Chansey and Clefable were safe, along comes this set. With a respectable base 82 Attack stat, a powerful 120 Base Power STAB attack, and the means to gain a free turn via Sleep Powder, Venusaur makes a fairly effective Swords Dance user. While his significantly higher Special Attack stat ensures that this set will remain the lesser of the two offensive sets, Swords Dance has a greater degree of surprise factor behind it, and its existence alone attests to Venusaur's sheer unpredictability. The list of counters to this set is, for the most part, far different from that of the special set.
The premise behind this set is simple: put a Pokemon to sleep, set up with Swords Dance, and attempt to sweep. Bluffing a special set for as long as possible is recommended, and opening with Sleep Powder is the best way to maintain this illusion; however, it is sometimes better to Swords Dance first and then Sleep Powder – if an opponent switches in a Pokemon slower than Venusaur, this tactic will net you an extra turn in which to boost or attack freely, so long as the switch-in does not wake up immediately or use Sleep Talk on the sleep turn. However, if you're facing a purely offensive opponent, then just opening with Power Whip can be a great move. Because most heavy offense players rely solely on type synergy for defense, blasting their go-to special Venusaur counter with a physical attack can quickly garner you the advantage in battle.
After a single Swords Dance boost, Venusaur can rip through most of UU with Power Whip. Earthquake hits Registeel as well as Fire-types, such as Arcanine, and grounded Poison-types, such as Drapion, for super effective damage; Return, on the other hand, achieves coverage on Grass-types, most notably Leafeon and Sceptile, as well as Weezing.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Despite his lower Defense stat, Venusaur can make a superb check against numerous physically offensive threats. Due to his Grass typing, Venusaur can strike physically offensive behemoths such as Rhyperior for massive damage, and he's both fast and bulky enough to take a hit before dispatching them with strong, special attacks, which usually hits these threats on their weaker defensive stat.
Each move on this variant of Venusaur allows him to check as many dangerous threats as he can. Grass Knot hits big, heavy threats such as Rhyperior and Aggron for plenty of damage, and it can be used multiple times against bulkier Pokemon such as Milotic and Steelix. However, Leaf Storm is a reasonable option to KO or at least severely damage frailer sweepers in one blow. Sludge Bomb nails pure Grass-types such as Leafeon, Tangrowth, and Sceptile, all of whom are easy enough for Venusaur to check. It also hits opposing Swords Dance Venusaur for decent damage, and in tandem with Sleep Powder, makes this Venusaur more than capable of checking opposing physical Venusaur. If this Venusaur is being used on a stall team, Roar is a decent option over Sleep Powder to still allow him to check Swords Dance Venusaur while gaining the ability to rack up damage from entry hazards. Synthesis is generally better than Leech Seed due to the high-powered attacks Venusaur will tend to switch in on, which make reliable recovery almost necessary. Despite this, Leech Seed can still be a decent option to whittle away at the opposing team while also providing some sort of healing for Venusaur and his teammates.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Due to Venusaur's plethora of resistances and fantastic Special Defense, he can be a formidable special tank that is capable of checking numerous prominent threats in the current metagame, such as Milotic, Mismagius, Sceptile, Rotom, and opposing Venusaur. With a strong physical attack in Power Whip, Venusaur has the capability to hit these threats on their generally weaker defensive stat, and thus do plenty of damage to them. Furthermore, Venusaur's access to sources of healing in Synthesis and Leech Seed is also appreciated, as they greatly increase his overall longevity and allow him to continue to check special threats throughout the battle.
The choice between which move to use as healing, however, depends on what you want Venusaur to check. While Synthesis is the more reliable option, Leech Seed's healing is decent against most Pokemon and its ability to gradually weaken opposing Pokemon can be very helpful at times, especially against special threats that are bulkier and thus will not be dealt with easily by Power Whip or Sludge Bomb. Additionally, this Venusaur will be switching into weaker attacks in comparison to the Physically Defensive set, which gives him more time to spam Leech Seed. Leech Seed also gives Venusaur the ability to beat Registeel and Chansey one-on-one. However, you should know that Leech Seed will not work on opposing Grass-types; most importantly, it won't work on opposing Venusaur, which means that Venusaur will not be nearly as effective at checking them. Fortunately, Sludge Bomb helps alleviate this issue due to its ability to smack opposing Grass-types for plenty of damage, and even without investment, Venusaur's Special Attack is still formidable. Finally, Venusaur can choose between two other support options in Sleep Powder and Roar. Sleep Powder is generally the better option due to its ability to temporarily disable a Pokemon, which helps stop Venusaur from being utter setup bait. However, Roar has some use if you're using Venusaur on a stall team with plenty of entry hazard support, as Venusaur makes a fine shuffler thanks to his great overall bulk and resistances.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
With fairly good and balanced offenses, strong STAB options, and Sleep Powder, Venusaur can used a mixed set to great success. This set takes advantage of how each offensive Venusaur set lures out different counters, and abuses this fact to dispatch those would-be counters with ease. For example, special Venusaur tends to lure in Chansey. By using Sludge Bomb to bluff this Venusaur as the Special Sweeper, you can then proceed to lure in Chansey and 2HKO her with Power Whip. Alternatively, you can bluff the physical set with Power Whip to lure in pure Grass-type Pokemon before KOing them with Sludge Bomb. While this set is weaker than both the physical and special sweeper sets, it's still fairly strong and capable of sweeping through the opponent's team.
Sludge Bomb is Venusaur's most reliable STAB option on this set, and it can help bluff a special set. In addition to this, it has just enough power to KO Moltres as long as Stealth Rock is on the field, preventing it from switching in on Power Whip too easily. Power Whip is Venusaur's second STAB option, and it's strong enough to obtain 2HKOs against the likes of Milotic, Slowbro, and Chansey. It also tends to be Venusaur's primary sweeping move. Sleep Powder is standard on any Venusaur set, as it guarantees that Venusaur will be able to disable at least one Pokemon during the match. In the last slot, Synthesis increases Venusaur's overall longevity by healing off the damage from entry hazards, Life Orb recoil, and any weak attacks that Venusaur could have switched in on. However, Earthquake hits adversaries such as Registeel, Drapion, and Toxicroak who resist Venusaur's STAB combination. Because these foes are such huge threats, it may be worth giving up Synthesis's healing if your team needs these threats removed for your other attackers to sweep.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Venusaur's great Special Attack stat makes him a prime candidate for sweeping opposing teams, but he is unfortunately hindered by his relatively mediocre Speed. However, this can be remedied by simply slapping a Choice Scarf on Venusaur, making him extremely fast and fairly strong. Choice Scarf Venusaur is designed to act as a hit-and-run Pokemon early in the game, throwing out powerful Leaf Storms and incapacitating Sleep Powders. Choice Scarf Venusaur can even be used in the lead position due to his blistering Speed and access to a somewhat reliable sleep inducing move. Mid-game, he can act as a great revenge killer, being able to take down Rock Polish Torterra and Aggron, as well as most Water-type sweepers. Late in the game, when the opposition has been severely weakened, he can be a decent choice to clean up the opposing team with as well.
Leaf Storm is a nasty attack when fired off of Venusaur's great Special Attack, and helps compound this set's playstyle of a hit-and-run attacker. Leaf Storm's short burst of extreme power makes it a great attack to simply throw out near the beginning of the game, and it's also useful for revenge killing bulkier sweepers. Similarly, Sleep Powder can also be simply thrown out early in the game to guarantee that one of the opponent's Pokemon will be disabled temporarily. Sludge Bomb has decent neutral coverage in UU, and is usually a decent option to use if you're unsure of the incoming Pokemon. Hidden Power Ice rounds off the set by hitting Flying-types such as Altaria, Scyther, and Swellow for super effective damage, as well as Torterra.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Most Grass-types are capable of running a SubSeed set with reasonable success. However, Venusaur's access to Sludge Bomb and Sleep Powder sets him apart from his brethren; the former allows Venusaur to hit opposing Grass-types who are immune to Leech Seed for great damage, and the latter makes it much easier to set up. Additionally, Venusaur's great bulk can make it difficult to break his Substitutes, and if the opponent does not have a suitable counter to him, they may find themselves struggling.
While Energy Ball does not really set Venusaur apart from other Grass-types, it does allow him to beat Omastar, Kabutops, Donphan, and Milotic, who would otherwise beat this variant of Venusaur. However, you should know that by replacing either Sleep Powder or Sludge Bomb, you are losing the ability to set up as easily or hit opposing Grass-types respectively. Therefore, the choice of using Energy Ball or not depends on whether or not you have lures who can bait Pokemon for Venusaur to set up on, and teammates who can beat opposing Grass-types.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Surprisingly, Venusaur's movepool is not particularly large, despite the numerous sets listed in this anaysis. However, even though he doesn't have a whole slew of other options besides the ones already listed, he has a few extra tricks that can throw an opponent off guard. In terms of stat boosting moves, Venusaur is nowhere near short of them, possessing Growth, Amnesia, and Curse. Growth is the only move that can boost Venusaur's Special Attack stat, and can be a relatively decent option to boost Venusaur's already great Special Attack. However, a simple +1 boost is not nearly worth the time it takes to use Growth, and Venusaur is generally better off simply attacking immediately. Curse is a fairly good option, as with Venusaur's already great Special Defense stat, he can utilize Curse to become bulky on the physical side as well. In addition to this, Venusaur's access to Synthesis and a strong physical move in Power Whip makes it entirely plausible for Venusaur to boost up with Curse and sweep. Despite this, Venusaur simply has too many weaknesses that can be preyed upon, which makes it way too difficult to set up enough to sweep, and Venusaur is neither powerful nor bulky enough after just one Curse. Amnesia can be used to further bolster Venusaur's Special Defense, but pure defensive boosts are rarely worth it, and Venusaur has too many weaknesses that stop him from becoming impervious to attacks. Additionally, while somewhat gimmicky, Venusaur has access to Ingrain to prevent himself from being phazed while attempting to boost up, though forcing Venusaur to stay on the field will generally result in the loss of your Venusaur.
Venusaur's alternative attacking movepool is pitifully small, consisting of essentially three moves that are even worth considering: Seed Bomb, Double-Edge, and Outrage. Seed Bomb is a reasonable option instead of Power Whip for a more reliable Grass STAB, but the difference in power is tremendous, and will definitely affect Venusaur's ability to damage opposing Pokemon. Double-Edge is an option if you want an attack that has more power than Return; however, the recoil, in tandem with the Life Orb that Venusaur is likely to carry, will result in him being worn down exceedingly fast. While Outrage may seem like a decent option thanks to its fantastic Base Power of 120, the lack of STAB and the fact that it locks Venusaur onto the field for at least another turn is disappointing. Venusaur's remaining support options are basically limited to Knock Off and Sunny Day. While both of these are decent supporting options in their own right, Venusaur simply has much better things to do than to remove opposing Pokemon's items or set up Sunny Day, the latter being better done better by Pokemon such as Registeel or Chlorophyll users like Tangrowth. Finally, Venusaur is capable of running a Choice Specs set quite handedly, but it is outclassed by the Choice Scarf set, and Venusaur's Speed matches with too many other Pokemon in UU to make it worthwhile.
Checks and Counters
The first step to countering Venusaur is figuring out which set he is running through smart scouting. Altaria and Weezing are safe switch-ins to just about any Venusaur, and both are capable of running RestTalk sets effectively, ensuring that switching into Sleep Powder will not severely disable them. Altaria must beware of the occasional Hidden Power Ice or Swords Dance-boosted Return, though, and Weezing can be worn down through repeatedly switching into Leaf Storm. Additionally, unlucky Sleep Talk rolls will prevent these Pokemon from successfully handling Venusaur, particularly Swords Dance variants. Arcanine, while not as ideal of a sleep absorber, makes a good initial switch-in to any Venusaur as well, although he cannot act as a dedicated check to both physical and special Venusaur at the same time.
After determining the set that Venusaur is running, dealing with him becomes much easier. Registeel is a perfect counter to the Life Orb special set – even with Sleep Powder, it is impossible for Venusaur to breach its high Special Defense without team support. It also walls physical sets that opt for Return over Earthquake. Chansey is another good counter to special sets, although she can be brought down if, through Sleep Powder, she is prevented from recovering. Drapion resists both Leaf Storm and Sludge Bomb, but he is prone to being worn down through repeated switch ins, even if he invests in Special Defense. He does, however, have Taunt to prevent the use of Synthesis, Sleep Powder, and Leech Seed. Thanks to Magic Guard, Clefable is immune to passive damage, and she can therefore wield a status orb to prevent sleep while countering any Venusaur set based on Leech Seed; furthermore, she has the bulk to take the attacks of the special sweeping set fairly well. Moltres and Scyther take a large amount of damage from Sludge Bomb and are torn up by Stealth Rock, but they are otherwise effective checks to most Venusaur sets and surefire counters to purely physical variants lacking Return. Bulky Grass-types, such as Tangrowth and Leafeon, are fantastic counters to physical variants as well, but they will take a huge hit from Sludge Bomb when against any other variant of Venusaur.
If Venusaur does knock out a Pokemon, using a faster Pokemon to revenge kill him is entirely plausible. Because Venusaur has so many weaknesses, and is fairly slow, it isn't difficult to find a Pokemon that can outspeed and hit him super effectively. Houndoom, Alakazam, and Swellow are examples of such Pokemon; while they are rarely able to switch into any of Venusaur's moves due to their frailty, they're more than capable of threatening a KO on Venusaur once they're in play. Unfortunately, this is not a surefire way of removing Venusaur from the battle, as the opponent can always just switch Venusaur out of such precarious situations. As such, Dugtrio is an option to guarantee the removal of Venusaur. However, Dugtrio often lacks the power necessary to take on a healthy Venusaur, making it so that he can only trap and KO weakened variants.