Victreebel has always been thought of as a run-of-the-mill Chlorophyll abuser. That has been the truth for most of Generation Four. However, with the advent of HeartGold and SoulSilver, Victreebel finally gained new toys to separate it from the rest of the pack: Leaf Blade and Weather Ball. With great offensive base stats of 105 Attack and 100 Special Attack, a revamped movepool, and Chlorophyll, Victreebel can be a fearsome sweeper under the sun.
On the other hand, Victreebel's defenses are mediocre at best, and even with its good support movepool, it cannot stand up to the hard hitters in the UU metagame. In the absence of sun, Victreebel's below average Speed stat is also exposed. While resistances to common priority moves such as Aqua Jet, Vacuum Wave, and Mach Punch increase its survivability while sweeping, Victreebel is still easily revenge killed after the sun fades away.
With Sunny Day up, Victreebel can become a very powerful special sweeper, abusing its decent base 100 Special Attack stat and doubled Speed thanks to Chlorophyll. SolarBeam is its main attack since Victreebel doesn't have to expend a turn on charging up the move while the sun is out. With 120 Base Power backed by STAB, it is easily capable of devastating Pokemon who don't resist it. Weather Ball is great on Victreebel as with Sunny Day active, it becomes a 100 Base Power Fire-type move receiving a 1.5x damage boost due to the sun, allowing Victreebel to destroy Grass-, Steel-, and Ice-type Pokemon. Sleep Powder can incapacitate one of its counters, allowing Victreebel to safely switch out to an appropriate answer to its counter. Hidden Power Rock hits Fire- and Flying-type Pokemon for super effective damage, who would otherwise cause problems for Victreebel.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Thanks to Chlorophyll and Victreebel's great Attack, a Swords Dance set is perfectly viable. Leaf Blade, which recieves STAB and a nifty increased critical hit rate, is Victreebel's main attack, OHKOing a lot of Pokemon that don't resist it after a Swords Dance boost. Sucker Punch is one of the strongest priority moves in the game, and is used to defeat some frail Pokemon such as Mismagius, Alakazam, and weaker Choice Scarf users. As priority is uncommon on sun teams, Sucker Punch can be a nasty surprise for your opponent both in and out of the sun. Return can also be run on the set, as it grants Victreebel strong neutral coverage. Sleep Powder allows Victreebel to incapacitate an enemy Pokemon before proceeding to use Swords Dance without harm. Alternatively, Weather Ball is great for coverage, as it allows Victreebel to beat not only Ice- and Grass-type Pokemon, but also Steel-types who resist Victreebel's other moves.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Victreebel's movepool is not very large. Stun Spore, Teeter Dance, and Toxic are usable support moves in order to inflict status and annoy the opponent, but in most situations Sleep Powder will be the superior option as sleep is the most effective status ailment. Victreebel can use an annoyer set, inflicting different status on the opposing team, but bulkier Pokemon such as Tangrowth and Bellossom generally do this job better. A supporting set consisting of Knock Off and Sleep Powder can be used, but it's pretty much outclassed by Venusaur, which is bulkier and faster. Synthesis is a good recovery move, but Victreebel cannot use it well due to its poor defenses. Growth can be used to boost Victreebel's Special Attack, but its frailty prevents it from accumulating many boosts. Double-Edge and Body Slam are options for the Swords Dance set, but are mostly inferior to Return. Energy Ball provides a consistent STAB move, but is mostly outclassed by SolarBeam as the sun will usually be active. Hidden Power Rock can be used to garner an easy KO against Moltres and get a good hit on other Fire-types and Altaria, but it's mostly outclassed by Victreebel's other options. Reflect is a good support option to increase physical defense, while Encore can be used to force switches on slower Pokemon, or allow a sweeper to set up. Gastro Acid and Worry Seed can mess with Pokemon who function well because of their abilities. Victreebel can run Choice Specs, but it is badly outclassed by Sceptile, Exeggutor, and Venusaur, who boast better Speed, Special Attack, and coverage, respectively.
Checks and Counters
Since Victreebel's defenses are very poor, almost every offensive Pokemon can OHKO or 2HKO Victreebel with STAB attacks, but they must be able to take a couple of Victreebel's attacks. Victreebel must also be very wary of taking Fire-, Flying-, and Psychic-type attacks as these will easily lead to Victreebel's demise. Victreebel is extremely vulnerable when the sun is not up, as opponents can take advantage of its below average Speed. Without the sun, Moltres, Arcanine, Houndoom, Swellow, Altaria, Alakazam, Uxie, and Mesprit can all switch into Victreebel, and hit it super effectively with their STAB attacks. Note that counters must be wary as Victreebel might be running unorthodox moves such as Hidden Power Rock, Sludge Bomb, or Sucker Punch.
Under the sun, Chlorophyll is activated, meaning fast and frail attackers such as Alakazam, Houndoom, and Swellow are no longer reliable switch-ins, as they will be outsped by Victreebel and knocked out. The task thus falls to extremely fast or extremely bulky Pokemon to defeat Victreebel. In the sun, Victreebel can still be outsped by Choice Scarf Typhlosion which blasts Victreebel to a crisp with a Fire-type move. Other Chlorophyll users, such as Jumpluff and Shiftry, can also outspeed Victreebel and hit it hard with a super effective Hidden Power. One can also use powerful priority moves such as Ambipom's Fake Out, Absol's Sucker Punch, Arcanine's ExtremeSpeed, and Donphan's Ice Shard to bypass Victreebel's Speed.
Against specially based variants, Chansey and Clefable counter Victreebel decently, but switching in on a Swords Dance could be devastating. Registeel and Weezing wall the physical set very well, but both must be vigilant for a stray Weather Ball. Weezing can also burn Victreebel to halve its physical damage output. Muk resists both of Victreebel's STAB attacks, but Victreebel often carries secondary attacks such as Return or Weather Ball to hit it neutrally. Uxie is extremely bulky, and Victreebel would do well to flee from a STAB Psychic. Victreebel especially fears paralysis, so it must watch out for Pokemon who can survive one of its attacks and paralyze it, such as Registeel, Uxie, and Clefable.