NU Venusaur Suspect Coverage

By allstarapology, Nuked, poh, and yogi.
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Art by LifeisDANK

Art by LifeisDANK.


When Venusaur dropped to NU in the January tier shifts, it immediately established itself as a top threat. Venusaur then started showing just how much of an overpowered Pokémon it could be, with its many sets, especially Z-Celebrate, being thought to be broken. All of this led to it being suspect tested in May.




Venusaur [Z-Celebrate]

Z-Celebrate, out of the several sets Venusaur could run, was the most broken and hardest to deal with. Acting primarily as a late-game sweeper, its sheer bulk coupled with good STAB options and utility moves in Growth, Hidden Power Fire, and Synthesis made it nigh unkillable and extremely hard to defensively check once it'd set up. Standard checks to it, like Sneasel and Incineroar, all struggled to either revenge kill Venusaur or defensively check it, leaving previously niche options like Alolan Sandslash and Ferroseed to rise in usage, with even those two losing to the Hidden Power Fire variants; Golbat also rose substantially in usage, becoming a staple on many teams to avoid losing to Venusaur and its coverage options. Both Growth and Synthesis variants of this set made facing it obnoxious, as the former made it basically impossible to check defensively, outside of Golbat, and Synthesis let it outlast being chipped by Sneasel and Ferroseed. Scouting for Z-Celebrate was also dangerous due to both Choice Scarf and Choice Specs sets punishing Pokémon such as Sneasel and Silvally-Steel.

Venusaur [Life Orb]

Life Orb Venusaur was another extremely threatening set that, while not having the same sweeping potential as Z-Celebrate or wallbreaking ability as Choice Specs, was very difficult to wear down throughout the match and didn't have to worry about a one-time Z-move or residual damage from entry hazards. Synthesis alongside its bulk allowed Life Orb Venusaur to constantly pivot and deal large amounts of damage to the opposing Pokémon throughout the game, easily coming in on metagame staples like Steelix, Choice Scarf Passimian, and defensive Diancie and either healing with Synthesis or doing substantial damage to the incoming Pokémon as it forced a switch. Venusaur's ability to cripple common switch-ins, such as Golbat, with Sleep Powder also made it troublesome to deal with. The only non-broken thing about Life Orb Venusaur was that it was easy to identify it once it had attacked.

Venusaur [Choice Scarf / Specs]

Both Venusaur's Choice Scarf and Choice Specs sets were deadly in their own rights, being able to break and clean effectively, although not as overall potent as the Life Orb and Z-Celebrate sets. The Choice Specs set, similarly to the other sets, had very limited switch-ins, even fewer if correctly predicting Steel-types, like Silvally-Steel and Ferroseed, switching in, and was capable of dismantling more defensive teams that lacked Golbat or Type: Null. Choice Scarf Venusaur, while lacking the raw power of the previously mentioned sets, was a proficient cleaner late-game, outspeeding Sneasel, Life Orb Whimsicott, and Life Orb Houndoom, beating all with a slight amount of chip damage. Both of these sets were very hard to identify at Team Preview, meaning that they had to be scouted for during the battle, making wrong assumptions very dangerous.

Venusaur [Specially Defensive]

Undoubtedly the least broken set Venusaur had at its disposal, specially defensive Venusaur was easy to fit on teams thanks to it blanket checking most of the tier's special attackers, such as Comfey, Rotom, Sceptile, and Whimsicott, forcing them out or crippling or outright beating them; and even without investment, specially defensive Venusaur was still capable of dealing a substantial amount of damage to more offensive Pokémon. Specially defensive Venusaur was also one of the best counters to every Venusaur set, bar Z-Celebrate, stalling the Life Orb variant out of recovery and taking any hit from both the Choice Scarf and Choice Specs sets, outside of Choice Specs Hidden Power Fire. Though uncommon, this set could even drop Knock Off to lure and neuter Z-Celebrate Venusaur, showing how impactful this Pokémon was when one of its best counters is itself.


Alolan Sandslash Slowbro Sneasel Rotom Diancie Venusaur
Pohjis NUPL Week 1: Pohjis vs meeps meeps
Vanilluxe Slowking Heliolisk Steelix Passimian Venusaur

This is a replay from NUPL Week 1, between Pohjis and meeps. In this battle, after losing 2 Pokémon, meeps U-turns on Pohjis's Slowbro switch in and goes to Venusaur. At this point, Pohjis doesn't know what Venusaur set it is, so he goes to Alolan Sandslash. However, meeps reveals that the set is Z-Celebrate and hits Alolan Sandslash with a Hidden Power Fire, simultaneously dodging the Icicle Crash. After the Alolan Sandslash is KOed, meeps's Venusaur then goes on to KO Pohjis's Venusaur and would have actually taken the Sneasel's Ice Shard; however, meeps decides to play it safe and go to his Passimian, guaranteeing the win, since he can simply KO everything that isn't Sneasel with Venusaur and revenge kill the Sneasel with Passimian.

This replay mainly highlights the unpredictability of Venusaur and the vast coverage it runs. Alolan Sandslash was supposed to be a mostly safe check to Z-Celebrate Venusaur, but it shows that Venusaur could simply run the appropriate coverage to deal with any threat that might arise to deal with it. Additionally, the replay shows the fact that every game revolved around what Venusaur's set could be, making every game, and therefore the meta, centered completely around it.

Silvally-Steel Venusaur Slowbro Golbat Comfey Probopass
Sacri' NUPL Week 1: Sacri' vs Eternally Eternally
Malamar Passimian Whimsicott Golbat Probopass Gastrodon

In this replay, Sacri's Venusaur is Z-Celebrate. Once Sacri' manages to weaken Eternally's Golbat to the point where it can be KOed by Sludge Bomb (which is made possible by Sacri's own Golbat having Taunt), Sacri' simply wins, with Venusaur sweeping the remaining 5 Pokémon on Eternally's team.

This battle is significant because, even in the face of a Golbat, Sacri's Venusaur still sweeps Eternally because of Sacri's ability to wear down Eternally's Golbat with the rest of his Pokémon. It also highlights the lack of counterplay for Z-Celebrate Venusaur, as there was absolutely nothing Eternally could have done to prevent the sweep; once his Golbat was KOed, the game was simply over. This battle shows how restrictive Venusaur is in battle and how easily it wins once its few checks and counters are KOed.

No Ban Reasoning for Venusaur

There weren't very many arguments made in favor of keeping Venusaur. Of the few made, however, one of the more common ones was that the omnipresence of Golbat and Silvally-Steel, Venusaur's hardest counters, prevented Z-Celebrate variants from reliably sweeping late-game and the sets geared towards wallbreaking from reliably punching holes into teams.

Another argument made was that, although Venusaur was very versatile, it could not handle everything in the tier with just one set, meaning that once the opponent scouted enough to where the set was obvious, dealing with Venusaur became a lot less difficult. Its meager Speed also made this more apparent, since this made revenge killing it easier.

Ban Reasoning for Venusaur

Venusaur simply lacked defensive counterplay outside of Golbat and Silvally-Steel due to its typing, high-powered STAB moves, decent bulk, and access to reliable recovery in Synthesis. The problem with these two Pokémon was that they were forced onto multiple teams despite not being the easiest Pokémon to use, highlighting Venusaur's impact on both teambuilding and the tier, and still could not reliably switch in due to Venusaur's ability to cripple them with Sleep Powder, as well as Knock Off in the case of the former.

Z-Celebrate sets were particularly difficult for most teams to deal with late-game, since the boosts to Venusaur's already solid Speed and defenses made revenge killing it more difficult, which limited offensive counterplay, and the boost to Venusaur's Special Attack gave it an easier time plowing through teams. Venusaur could even tailor the final moveslot to the needs of it and its team; Synthesis gave teams an even harder time revenge killing it, Growth gave Venusaur the ability to force its way through Pokémon like Garbodor and Toxicroak on top of preventing Parting Shot from Silvally-Steel from weakening it, Sleep Powder incapacitated its defensive checks, and coverage options like Hidden Power Fire and Earthquake allowed Venusaur to bypass some of its other checks like Ferroseed, specially defensive Alolan Sandslash, and Silvally-Steel.

Finally, some of the Pokémon that dropped to NU like Diancie, Gigalith, and Comfey as well as Pokémon such as Slowbro, Slowking, Passimian, and Steelix seeing increased usage benefitted Venusaur greatly, since these Pokémon made wallbreaking sets even more threatening for teams to play around and provided Z-Celebrate sets with more setup opportunities.


With an almost unanimous 93.75% ban majority (30 of the 32 people that voted), Venusaur was promptly banned from NeverUsed.

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