Gen 2 Venusaur (QC 0/2) (GP 0/2) [WIP]

Hi. Sorry for the untimeliness.
Here is my venusaur analysis. For a long time I wasn't sure if the Swords dance set that already exists on smogon was that common and since I only found it being used twice out of the 30+ games I could find, and it wasn't very successful. Instead, as I observed in the current meta, a moveset including reflect/light screen definitely deserved more attention.


Analysis - VENUSAUR

Venusaur, our first fully evolved pokemon in the series, is a relatively bulky grass type with access to a plethora of support moves, which veer towards both offensive and defensive utilities.

Though its stats might suggest that it is outclassed defensively and offensively by its other grass counterparts, Meganium (higher defense) and Exeggutor (Psychic stab and higher SpA), Venusaur has the benefit of a toxic immunity and a resistance to one of gsc’s most offensive typings: electric. The poison typing, however, also means that it loses its resistance to the powerful and common Earthquake.
Though Venusaur mainly finds its place in the OU meta fitting in a defensive role, its access to certain moves like Roar, Double Edge and Swords Dance grant it different niches which should not be underestimated.

Set1 Leech Seed Stall

Leftovers
Synthesis
Leech Seed
Razor Leaf
Sleep Powder

With Sleep powder and Leech seed Venusaur is often able to gain a player momentum by forcing the opponent to switch out very often, something which can be abused further if spikes are laid on the field. While Sleep powder may often be answered to by switching in effectively with a sleep talk user, Leech seed proves to be a valuable secondary asset which slows down many pokemon on offensive teams that like to capitalise on leftovers’ passive recovery.
Synthesis grants the pokemon longevity, though it may run out of PP quickly.
Razor leaf is a move with high PP, which may prove helpful in battles which might tend to be drawn out over a long time. Unfortunately, it isn’t able to inflict much damage, even with a critical hit. Some notable KO thresholds for it are 2hko on cloyster, 2.6% and 46.2% chance to OHKO Golem and Rhydon respectively.


Set2 Reflect pivot

Leftovers
Roar / Reflect
Reflect/ Light screen
Razor leaf
Synthesis

This particular set may not be strong offensively, but it grants the right amount of defensive support to allow other pokemon the opportunity to setup. Reflect is generally preferred over light screen, but it depends on the type of teammates the player is using. Venusaur is bulky and deceptively fast, so it may find an opportunity to set screens up on a large chunk of the metagame: spikes users, Snorlax, golem and most normal resists, Machamp, Umbreon, Vaporeon. Besides snorlax, all of these common pokemon find themselves in a tricky situation when faced with a defensive pokemon that is immune to toxic (and resists water, electric and fighting).
The difference with the previous set, is that it is focused primarily on setup of a screen (or occasionally both), and not as much on forcing switches. It’s defensive playstyle and typing let it work as a pivot against hp legends. Roar is one of Venusaur’s moves which other grass types don’t have and can phaze setup machamp, a threat defensive cores everywhere. Phazing of course also means that it is capable of spikes shuffling, an action it seems to carry out well.

Other options:
Venusaur has access to Swords Dance, which, if used along with Sleep powder, can make it a potentially deadly sweeper. Unfortunately, its limited move pool and average attack stats aren’t much to write home about. It doesn’t learn Sludge Bomb in gen2, which definitely hurts it. For the best damage output, Double edge (which 3HKOs snorlax and Zapdos and can 2hko Raikou) can be paired with Razor leaf, which may inflict a decent amount of chip damage on normal resisting pokemon that aren’t named Skarmory. On the other hand, with the move Sleep powder and its higher speed, Venusaur will be able to put Skarmory to sleep and set up on it, an option not to be underestimated. Giga drain is also an optional move, though the main reason to choose Razor Leaf over it is its low PP. Another move that may be worth noting is Growth, though it shares similar issues with its physical attacking side: Venusaur may have a hard time finding strong special moves which can deal enough damage and to the right targets. In this case it will be even more reliant on Sleep powder and favorable sleep rolls just to get enough turns to set up.

Teammates:
Venusaur may be threatened by the presence of Snorlax, should the opposing player decide that it doesn’t mind receiving leech seed. Both Umbreon and Tyranitar tend to pair well with Venusaur: its poison typing means it can protect the team from opposing fighting types effectively and its grass typing allows it to sponge Stab electric from Raikou and Zapdos and force them to opt for Hidden Power Ice (something Tyranitar tends not to mind as much). In turn, Tyranitar or Umbreon have assets which help wall or slow down many curse-lax (normal resist and the move Charm respectively) and their dark typing can defend the team from opposing Jynx, Exeggutor or Alakazam or Espeon.
Snorlax also has excellent synergy with Venusaur, since one can benefit from the other other in a matchup against Machamp+ electric cores. With Venusaur’s ability to sponge fighting and electric moves, Snorlax’s life is made easier and it can think about switching in on Hidden Power Ice, other Fire, Water and Psychic type moves with much more leniency.
Partners that benefit greatly from the presence of reflect or light screen generally like to have Venusaur as a teammate, such as Belly Drum Charizard, a pokemon which in the right circumstances is able to sweep entire teams. Venusaur’s ability to wear down opposing electrics or stall them comes to a great benefit for its Fire type counterpart.
Water types can benefit greatly from Venusaurs presence as a check to electric types. Vaporeon or Suicune (for example) can ward off Fire type pokemon which might otherwise gain free entry on a Venusaur.
Another option is Raikou. Raikou has defensive synergies and move synergies with Venusaur, that Zapdos might not have. Raikou is known as an excellent phazer-spikes shuffler and an excellent special wall. Since it has high attacking power and electric STAB it wards off most electric types. Raikou’s Reflect means that Venusaur can run light screen. Giving different screens to two different pokemon can be beneficial, not only due to freeing up extra move slots, but also for facilitating pivoting (e.g. Raikou can use Reflect and makes it easier to switch to Venusaur on an Earthquake user, Venusaur can use light screen and make Raikou receiving less chip damage and gives it leeway to click Rest). The presence of Roar on Venusaur means that there is always also the opportunity to free up move slots for other phazing pokemon, thus making the team less predictable.

Checks and Counters:

Venusaur’s main problem is that it has a few difficult matchups with common threats. As a result, Venusaur can grant the opponent a lot of momentum.
Skarmory is the enemy #1 in that it has a quadruple resistance to Venusaur’s Grass Stab as well as a resistance to any normal moves. It can threaten it with drill peck (12.7% chance to 2HKO) or whirlwind it, which would shut down any opportunities to set up.
Fire types have no issue switching in on Venusaur, especially after it has used Sleep powder. Houndoom and Charizard are extremely threatening, especially variants that run Miracle Berry and predict a Sleep Powder. Houndoom can trap it with pursuit and Charizard may get a free opportunity to use Belly Drum and sweep the team.
Snorlax is bulky enough to withstand up to 6 unboosted double edges from Venusaur so it should be weary of Curselax, especially Sleep talk or Fireblast variants.
Exeggutor is able threaten Venusaur with explosion and Psychic. Jynx and other psychic types are no less threatening.
Pokemon that use Substitute are something to look out for, as the move in gen2 grants the user with the ability to dodge Giga drain 100% of the time as well as Sleep powder and Leech seed.

Forretress resists many of Venusaur’s moves and has the potential to remove leech seed with Rapid Spin.

Gengar: any pokemon that let Gengar in easily will have a hard time in the OU meta. It resists grass moves and can threaten it back with ice punch. Letting in means it may get the opportunity to capitalize on any forced switches with many moves like Hypnosis, Dynamic punch or even Explosion.
 
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Great analysis! My favorite set is Razor Leaf, Hidden Power Poison, Leech Seed, Synthesis and Leftovers, it is gimmicky but it makes Venusaur hard to kill. By the way, Razor Leaf is stronger than Giga Drain because it crits more (even if we take misses into account), this not only applies to Venusaur but to any pokémon that learns both moves. Giga Drain is one of my favorite moves, but if your mon learns Razor Leaf the only reasons to use the former are accuracy and its healing effect.
 

Jorgen

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The set on-site is indeed out of date.

A Growth set (Growth | Sleep Powder | Giga Drain | Hidden Power Ice/Fire) should probably be the main set. It's currently relegated to Other Options.

Given the proliferation (as I understand it) of defensive Venusaur on the ladder, a second set may well be warranted. I'm not too familiar with the particulars of this set, though. For instance, which of Screens / Seed / Roar should get top billing, if not all of them, and which attacking / status / healing moves should round out the set. I would imagine Roar or Sleep Powder would feature prominently to differentiate it from Meganium, although I suppose the Toxic immunity may be enough on its own. In any case, I don't think this analysis needs a separate treatment of two such defensive movesets (Leech Seed and Screens).

Swords dance (currently the main set listed on-site) indeed seems most appropriate for Other Options, though.

It's also important to acknowledge that Venusaur is an unusual Pokemon in GSC OU. It can certainly do some work in the format, but it is not at all OU per se, and in many cases there is probably a better Pokemon to be using. Its analysis should make this fairly explicit.

I think a little bit of further discussion among the QC team is warranted to generate cohesive and more detailed feedback.
 
First of all, thank you. It's my first time doing this.


I had to find replays to work with and the best candidate for that with public replays is someone who is very profficient on ladder. Of course, one person alone will not be able to use every set imaginable on his own.


The set on-site is indeed out of date.

A Growth set (Growth | Sleep Powder | Giga Drain | Hidden Power Ice/Fire) should probably be the main set. It's currently relegated to Other Options.
By main set do you mean the #1 set or just listed aside from other options? I rarely ever saw it myself but I will give a look into what it's targets might be. I definitely need to find more about this.



Given the proliferation (as I understand it) of defensive Venusaur on the ladder, a second set may well be warranted. I'm not too familiar with the particulars of this set, though. For instance, which of Screens / Seed / Roar should get top billing, if not all of them, and which attacking / status / healing moves should round out the set. I would imagine Roar or Sleep Powder would feature prominently to differentiate it from Meganium, although I suppose the Toxic immunity may be enough on its own. In any case, I don't think this analysis needs a separate treatment of two such defensive movesets (Leech Seed and Screens).
Of the 40 or so matches I watched, Sleep powder had the highest amount of wins overall, but Roar and Reflect were second and third in terms of overall win rate. In my analysis Reflect was listed twice as opposed to light screen being listed once. The preference of one of the other depends on whether the player prefers one type of support over the other (and also on the presence of a reflect Raikou). Roar in itself isn't the defining asset of the set so I didn't give it that title and instead opted for Reflect Pivot . It's true that a reflect or light screen set doesn't stand out too much compared to Meganium (especially since Meg is bulkier) but you get the benefit of it being able to contest many water types.

It's also important to acknowledge that Venusaur is an unusual Pokemon in GSC OU. It can certainly do some work in the format, but it is not at all OU per se, and in many cases there is probably a better Pokemon to be using. Its analysis should make this fairly explicit.
You're right about that. I didn't forget that it's BL but the analysis would be for OU so I wasn't sure. Do you think it would be best if I posted this in the Overview? Is it also best to define a strategy when describing the main sets or should each move be explained solely in the context of what their intrinsic values are (longevity, stalling, phazing etc)?
 

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