Monotype Spotlight: Toxapex

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Art by MamOwOswine.

The Introduction of Toxapex in Sun and Moon

With the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon came the addition of Toxapex to Monotype. Since then, Toxapex has been one of the most important additions to both the Poison and Water typings, packing insane bulk and a great defensive typing that helps Water deal with Grass-type moves better and helps Poison deal with Fire- and Ice-type moves easily. It also boasts the ability Regenerator, which makes it arguably the best defensive pivot in the tier. With access to Toxic Spikes, Toxapex has helped begin a shift in usage on Water-type teams, as Suicune can take advantage of them on balance and the entry hazard helps to cripple teams when using stall, leading to Swift Swim being less effective than it used to be in Generation 6. Toxapex's second staple utility move in Haze helps both Poison- and Water-type teams deal with threats in the tier such as Volcarona and Mega Pinsir.

Giving Poison the Buff it Needed

In Generation 6, Poison-type teams left something to be desired in the tier. As of right now, two of the three S-rank Pokémon were released in Generation 7, with the other being Mega Venusaur, which has been made even better when paired with Toxapex. The core of Mega Venusaur and Toxapex is a major reason why Poison has seen a huge rise in usage this generation. Mega Venusaur's Grass typing allows it deal with Ground- and Electric-type attacks that scare out Toxapex, whereas Toxapex's Water typing allows it to deal with Fire- and Ice-type attacks that could break Mega Venusaur. This core, with the addition of Alolan Muk to give an immunity to Psychic-type attacks and to trap Psychic-types with Pursuit, makes Poison teams very hard to break through.

Fairy-type Pokémon were released in abundance in Generation 7, so Poison was always going to see a rise in usage. Poison especially stands out due to its matchup against other types. Toxapex resists Steel-type attacks and can use Scald to potentially burn Steel-type threats, while other Pokémon that rely on Poison-type STAB moves cannot do much in the matchup. Toxapex is able to help against Bug as well, being able to use Haze on Mega Pinsir, Mega Scizor, and Volcarona, halting any setup sweeper. Most importantly is the Flying and Fire matchups, with both types almost always having a Mega Charizard X or Y; Toxapex is able to deal with both of them. It only takes less than half of its HP from a sun-boosted Fire Blast and Solar Beam from Mega Charizard Y, and it can Haze Mega Charizard X, stopping it from setting up.

Toxapex's Influence on Water-type teams

Ever since Toxapex has been released, it has been a staple on both balance and stall Water teams, as it is able to form defensive cores with Suicune, Alomomola, Azumarill, and Lanturn. Toxapex's Toxic Spikes aid Suicune when Pressure stalling foes or setting up to sweep. This makes it beat Pokémon like Porygon2 and Chansey on Normal-type teams faster, losing less HP and using fewer moves. Toxapex also forms a great Regenerator core with Alomomola, being able to outlast foes and cripple them with burns and poison. Lanturn and Azumarill release Toxapex from its constant pressure it gets from Electric- and Grass-type moves, with Azumarill even having the ability to trap and deal with Grass-types very efficiently. Water, although already a viable type, has become much better in the current metagame, despite the fact that Swift Swim has seen a significant drop in viability since ORAS.

Swift Swim was once quite a force to be reckoned with, being heavily used throughout ORAS because it was easy to build around Mega Swampert and Kingdra and had an easy-to-learn playstyle. However, since SM, it has been less useful; this is due to it struggling to break through defensive cores such as Poison, Water, and Normal. What you may notice about that is how two of the three types mentioned have access to Toxapex itself. Toxapex is a thorn in the side of Swift Swim, forming cores with other defensive Pokémon to stop Mega Swampert and Kingdra's combined forces from breaking it. This may come as a surprise to newer Monotype battlers, as it would seem on paper that Swift Swim Water teams got quite the buff with Pelipper becoming a useful rain setter and Mega Swampert being involved in the buff to Mega Evolution. However, in practice, the team just does not have what it takes to stack up with other offensive typings such as Fairy and Psychic.

Toxapex has what it takes to help beat a lot of types, with Toxic Spikes wearing down bulkier teams, such as Normal, as well as having the bulk to be able to stand up against some Fairy-type Pokémon; when paired with the right offensive Pokémon, it can set up Toxic Spikes for deadly sweeps. Both Greninja and Gyarados are preferred to other offensive Pokémon when building Water-type teams around Toxapex. Greninja, usually holding a Choice Scarf, can beat a lot of types late-game after they have been worn down and crippled by a defensive backbone. With access to Protean and a wide movepool boasting Ice Beam, Dark Pulse, Hydro Pump, Gunk Shot, and U-turn, it is able to hit a lot of top-tier types for super effective damage. Gyarados, on the other hand, sets up Dragon Dance to sweep. In return, Toxapex helps this by crippling physical attackers with burns and wearing down checks with poison to the point that Gyarados is able to set up and sweep.

Why Is Toxapex So Viable?

So why is Toxapex so viable? You must take a closer look at the playstyle players adopt while using Toxapex. Firstly, you can safely switch in Toxapex on most Pokémon just to scout sets and EV spreads, as its ability Regenerator means you will most likely not be punished for sending it in on an attack. Toxapex gaining you information is great for the rest of your team, as you will then know how to deal with it later in the battle.

Toxapex is very easy to build around, as with Toxic Spikes, Haze, and Scald, it is never really deadweight on a team and most of the time will put in a good shift helping the team do its job. Being viable on Water balance and stall teams as well as on any Poison-type team, Toxapex pairs well with practically every Water- and Poison-type. If you are struggling to find a sixth member for your team, you can never go wrong with Toxapex.

Best Ways to Use Toxapex

Toxapex tends to be forced to run these four specific moves in order to maximize its impact on a match. However, these moves are all great for supporting a team. Toxic Spikes and Scald are used to cripple teams, poisoning bulkier Pokémon and attempting to burn physical attackers, and Recover lets Toxapex sustain its health. Baneful Bunker is used in the final slot to scout Choice items as well as to beat Diggersby, essentially letting Toxapex beat Normal on its own, and pairs especially well with Toxic Spikes. Another option is Haze over Baneful Bunker to halt setup sweepers. Black Sludge is used for constant recovery so that Toxapex maintains as much health as possible per turn. It has EVs in Defense over Special Defense because its Water / Poison typing allows it to take a lot of neutral special attacks that would threaten the rest of your team, and the Defense EVs are used to survive hits from Victini, Mega Lopunny, Mega Pinsir, and Bisharp more easily.

How to Beat Toxapex

I would be lazy if all I told you was the way to beat it is with super effective damage, but that is obviously the most efficient way; having Tapu Koko on Fairy, Excadrill on Steel, and Latios on Dragon teams in order to have super effective coverage for Toxapex is great. However, here are a few other ways to beat Toxapex.


The most effective way to beat Toxapex is with stallbreakers, but you can't just throw a Taunt user on a team and expect it to beat Toxapex, as Taunt does not stop Scald from burning or Toxic Spikes damage from happening. Taunt does limit Toxapex's recovery, however. Offensive Taunt users such as Gyarados may want to pair it with Substitute in order to avoid a burn, whereas Pokémon such as Mew and Gliscor do not need to worry; Mew has reliable recovery and Leftovers as part of its stallbreaker set, so it has no need to worry about being burned when dealing with Toxapex. Gliscor has Poison Heal, so assuming the Toxic Orb activates before it gets hit by Scald, it can easily threaten Toxapex with Taunt and Earthquake.


Wallbreakers such as Choice Band and Choice Specs users are very hard to beat for bulky Pokémon, and Toxapex is no exception. Pokémon such as Kyurem-B and Victini all can be seen using Choice Band. Choice Specs users are somewhat less predictable, as there are fewer common ones, but Pokémon such as Hydreigon and Latios could potentially use it and break Toxapex.


A more niche way to beat Toxapex is by trapping it. Although Shadow Tag was banned from Monotype, Toxapex can still be trapped by Azumarill, Dugtrio, and Heatran. This is a reliable way of getting rid of Toxapex but will mean you have to build around these specific Pokémon and sets. Azumarill, used to trap Pokémon with Whirlpool + Perish Song, is a common Pokémon on Water-type stall teams. Dugtrio has access to Arena Trap in Monotype, unlike in other tiers, to let you deal with Toxapex reliably. Heatran's signature move Magma Storm traps foes for four to five turns, giving it move than enough time to KO Toxapex with Earth Power.


Toxapex has had such a huge impact on the metagame that more and more lure sets are being made for it. Two of the most common lures for Toxapex are Shattered Psyche Volcarona and Tectonic Rage Greninja. Volcarona is a good lure for Toxapex on Poison, as Alolan Muk fears a boosted Inferno Overdrive, which used to be very common early in the meta, but Toxapex can reliably take both STAB attacks Volcarona has to offer and Haze it back to being unboosted. Greninja is also another common lure, as Toxapex can safely take every hit from Greninja, even an Extrasensory, scout, and pivot into the relevant check; however, after a neutral move from Greninja without Life Orb recoil, it is often assumed that Greninja will be Choice Scarf, so you don't suspect Tectonic Rage. Keldeo has been using Choice Specs Hidden Power Electric sets for Toxapex.

Now go out there and take advantage of Toxapex to its fullest!

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