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Venusaur has been lingering around the BL/UU area ever since RBY, and that hasn't changed with the advent of Generation 4. Generation 4 gave the Grass-typed starter Pokémon new toys to play with, such as Leaf Storm on the special side, and Power Whip on the physical side of things. However, it also brought Roserade, who gives Venusaur severe competition for a team slot in OU; Roserade is currently the more popular choice for OU teams with its superior Speed, Special Attack, and support options. However, Venusaur enjoys immense popularity in UU, and that is not likely to change in the near future.
Venusaur is a very well rounded Pokémon—it has great defenses and a couple of handy resistances to take hits with, while its offensive stats are good and can be boosted further with Swords Dance / Growth. Its decent base 80 Speed allows it to outrun a fair portion of the tier. It also has a great offensive and support movepool, including Power Whip, Leaf Storm, Sludge Bomb, Earthquake, Sleep Powder, and Leech Seed. As a result, it can be tweaked to fulfill many roles in a team.
As a sweeper, it is excellent. 82 Attack may not seem like much, but combined with Swords Dance and Power Whip, Venusaur suddenly becomes a whole lot scarier. It also gets Earthquake to ruin any Steel-types that resist Power Whip. At low health, Overgrow kicks in, which makes Power Whip downright brutal. Venusaur also makes great use of Choice Specs and Choice Scarf. Its special options include Energy Ball, Sludge Bomb, and Leaf Storm to blast opponents with. Venusaur can also go mixed, which allows it to function as a decent wall breaker.
Defensively, Venusaur is very reliable. It may not have top-notch defenses like Registeel or Tangrowth, but Venusaur's access to Leech Seed, Sleep Powder, and handy resistances make it quite hard to take down, making it a great choice to sponge hits with. Defensive Venusaur makes a great check to Pokémon like Hitmonlee, Hitmontop, and Azumarill.
When playing Venusaur offensively, your main options are sweeping with Swords Dance, its dual STAB special attacks, or as a hit-and-run attacker utilizing a Choice Scarf / Specs. STAB Power Whip hits incredibly hard, and after a boost, it will absolutely devastate anything that doesn't resist it. Sleep Powder gives Venusaur an opportunity to set up, and Earthquake rounds off its coverage. Venusaur's physical movepool is pretty barren, but it rarely needs anything more than Power Whip and Earthquake to do its job.
Venusaur also makes a great revenge killer when equipped with a Choice Scarf. Base 80 Speed is sufficient to outrun every unboosted Pokémon in the tier, and can even outrun Gorebyss in the rain. With Leaf Storm, Sludge Bomb, and Earthquake, Venusaur will be laying down the hurt on the opposition. Scarf Venusaur makes a lovely lead as well, due to its ability to outspeed other common leads and shut them down with Sleep Powder. This particularly helps against leads like Froslass, who would otherwise be able to set up the ever-annoying Spikes.
Specs Venusaur makes up for its average Speed with raw power. Nothing is really going to like taking a Specs Leaf Storm to the face, unless it’s resisted. And even then, it still stings. Sludge Bomb hits the annoying Grass-types who can absorb Leaf Storm, and is a strong STAB move in general. Grass Knot or Energy Ball are used if you would like a consistent STAB move to sweep with.
On the other hand, you can use Venusaur as a wall. Defensive Venusaur is extremely sturdy, has reliable recovery in Synthesis, and makes a good wall both physically and specially, depending on the build. Physically defensive Venusaur is a good counter to Azumarill, Hitmonlee, and Hitmontop, amongst others, and checks Pokémon like Feraligatr and Rhyperior nicely. On the other hand, specially defensive Venusaur checks the likes of Raikou, Milotic, and special Swift Swimmers like Omastar and Ludicolo.
SubSeed Venusaur is a nice, durable Pokémon that can effectively stall out other Pokémon. It has quite a few opportunities to set up; for example, Registeel will almost always switch out of Venusaur, fearing a Sleep Powder / Earthquake. Venusaur then sets up a Substitute, and proceeds to use Leech Seed on whatever switches in. When used this way, Venusaur becomes a major headache for teams to deal with, since anything that might threaten it can be shut down by Sleep Powder, and the Grass-types who are immune to Leech Seed are greeted with a Sludge Bomb to the face.
To counter Venusaur, it is recommended that you have someone to absorb Sleep Powder, like RestTalk Rotom or RestTalk Arcanine. RestTalk Arcanine does a wonderful job of countering Venusaur, since it resists Leaf Storm, has Intimidate to weaken Power Whip / Earthquake, and boasts STAB Flare Blitz to boot. Even non-RestTalk versions of Arcanine do a fine job of keeping Venusaur in check, provided they don't switch in on Sleep Powder.
Moltres is another great counter to Venusaur, being immune to Earthquake and possessing a 4x resistance to Grass. Moltres can then use the opportunity to Toxic stall, or just unleash one of its fearsome STAB attacks. Tangrowth also does a good job of countering physical variants of Venusaur.
Registeel does a fantastic job of stopping the special variants, but is complete set-up fodder for Swords Dance and SubSeed variants. Make sure you have those covered if using Registeel.
Then, of course, there are the offensive checks and revenge killers. Alakazam can outspeed and blast Venusaur with Psychic. Houndoom can use Fire Blast. Dugtrio can revenge Venusaur once it has been weakened enough (Life Orb recoil makes this easier), and Raikou can also revenge weakened Venusaur with Extrasensory. Swellow can switch in on Swords Dance, Earthquake, or Sleep Powder (since Swellow will usually be statused) and then smash Venusaur with Brave Bird. Froslass can outspeed and KO with Ice Beam, although Venusaur will need to be weakened a little.
Since Venusaur is so versatile, it can be fit on your team in many different ways, and it can support the team extremely well. Venusaur can act as a revenge killer, special sponge, annoying SubSeeder, or a hard-hitting wallbreaker, so fitting Venusaur onto a team is usually very easy. There are also a few ways to make Venusaur's job even easier.
Venusaur is immune to Toxic Spikes, absorbing them when it switches in, and is neutral to Stealth Rock. However, being grounded, Venusaur is affected by Spikes, which are quite common. Spikes make it harder for Venusaur to switch in, even on resisted hits, and reduce its staying power considerably. Hence, Venusaur, especially when Choiced, appreciates a Rapid Spinner to clear the field of all hazards. Blastoise, Hitmontop, and Donphan are all great spinners, each with their own merits. Hitmontop can get a nearly guaranteed Spin with Foresight, and has Close Combat to deal with Chansey should you require it. Blastoise resists Fire and Ice, and also has access to Foresight. Donphan, on the other hand, can beat up Ghosts who try to block Rapid Spin with Assurance, and has a strong Earthquake. Ultimately, it comes down to team requirements.
Venusaur is a great Pokémon, but it can't handle everything. So its teammates should cover up everything that Venusaur can't. Fire- and Water-types work well, as the Fire / Water / Grass core is a great defensive combination. Arcanine, Blastoise, Moltres, Milotic, and Azumarill are all nice choices for such a core. Also, Houndoom can take advantage of Fire-typed attacks aimed at Venusaur to get a Flash Fire boost, as can Arcanine.
Venusaur hates faster Pokémon that carry super effective moves, such as Arcanine, Moltres, Alakazam, and Houndoom. Using a Pursuiter to remove Alakazam, such as Spiritomb, works well. Houndoom can take advantage of Fire-typed attacks aimed at Venusaur to get a Flash Fire boost, and so can Arcanine. Dugtrio also outspeeds and kills each of those threats (except it ties with Alakazam, but Dugtrio can use Sucker Punch), although it should beware of priority. Once the aforementioned threats are eliminated, Venusaur can have a nice time trolling the opposite team.
Venusaur is a great Pokémon for teams that need either more bulk or more power. Go try it for yourself; you won't be disappointed with the results!
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