VGC2014 Type Analysis #1: Poison

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P(n) = 1 - (1 - P(1))^n
VGC2014 Type Analysis #1: Poison

I'm starting a new weekly series called the VGC2014 Type Analysis, where I will briefly discuss the various Pokemon types, Pokemon that fit these types (as well as sample VGC viable movesets), and brief move and item analysis.

Our first type analysis under the radar: Poison

Strength/Weakness analysis:

Poison vs Fairy: x2
Poison vs Ghost: x1/2
Poison vs Grass: x2
Poison vs Ground: x1/2
Poison vs Poison: x1/2
Poison vs Rock: x1/2
Poison vs Steel: x0

Bug vs Poison: x1/2
Fairy vs Poison: x1/2
Fighting vs Poison: x1/2
Grass vs Poison: x1/2
Ground vs Poison: x2
Poison vs Poison: x1/2
Psychic vs Poison: x2

-Poison-type Pokemon are immune to the Poison and Badly Poisoned status

Offensively, Poison is among the worst types. Steel types are immune to it, and it faces four common resistances in Ghost, Ground, Poison, and Rock. Most Grass type or Fairy type Pokemon also have a dual-type of some kind to mitigate their Poison weakness, such as Mawile, Venusaur, or Amoonguss. It only recently gained attention as an offensive type because of the new Fairy type, but two common Fairy type Pokemon, Mawile and Klefki, are outright immune to it. The only Pokemon 4x weak to Poison are Whimsicott (who isn't legal in VGC2014) and any Fairy types given a grass typing via Forest's Curse.

Defensively, Poison is a mixed bag. Poison type Pokemon are obviously immune to the Poison and Badly Poison status, and pack useful resistances to Bug, Fairy, Fighting, and Grass attacks. However they are weak to the ever-common Ground type, as well as Psychic type attacks.

Move Analysis

Poison type moves are a mixed bag of status and attack moves, but few are outright viable. The most common Poison-type moves that will be seen are status moves like Toxic or attack moves like Sludge Bomb and Sludge Wave. Here are the most viable moves for VGC (all accuracies are 100% unless otherwise noted)
  • Acid – Special 40BP. Spread attack that hits the opposing side only, and may reduce the opposing side's Special Defense stat.
  • Acid Armor – sharply increases the user's Defense stat.
  • Acid Spray – Special 40BP. Sharply reduces the target's Special Defense stat.
  • Belch – Special 120 BP, 90% accuracy. After consuming a berry, this attack can be used to inflict strong Poison damage.
  • Clear Smog – Special 50 BP, perfect accuracy. All stat changes on the target are removed. This attack never misses.
  • Coil – Increases the user's Attack, Defense, and accuracy.
  • Cross Poison – Physical 70 BP. Can leave the Badly Poisoned status, and has increased critical hit rate.
  • Gastro Acid – This nullifies the target's ability.
  • Gunk Shot – Physical 120 BP, 80% accuracy. Can poison the target.
  • Poison Jab – Physical 80 BP. Strong physical attack that can Poison.
  • Sludge Bomb – Special 90 BP. Strong special attack that can poison.
  • Sludge Wave – Special 95 BP. Spread poison attack that hits all adjacent Pokemon, including allies.
  • Toxic – 90% accuracy. Non-damage attack that inflicts the badly poisoned status. Poison-type Pokemon using this move never miss with it.
  • Venom Drench – When used on a Pokemon that is poisoned, it harshly lowers Attack, Special Attack and Speed.
  • Venoshock – Special 65 BP. Deals double damage if the opponent is poisoned.
On the physical side, the strongest attack is Gunk Shot, but the distribution is poor and the 80% accuracy leaves much to be desired. Cross Poison has less distribution, while Poison Jab is a TM move with wide distribution and is generally the better of the two.

On the special side, Belch is a new TM move introduced in Gen 6. Once a berry has been consumed, Belch can be used, and is the strongest Special poison attack. Venoshock is useful if you are going to spread Poison around, otherwise Sludge Bomb is the better choice when possible. Sludge Wave has lower distribution, and is risky to use because it also hits ally Pokemon. There are few times where Clear Smog will be desired over a more direct attack, but against opponents that abuse Double Team or Moody, it can be used as a counter. Acid Spray is also an interesting move, acting as a pseudo special attack boost in addition to straight damage.

As far as status moves go, Gastro Acid can be a surprise to counter an opponent's ability like Levitate or Magic Guard, and of course Toxic will slowly decrease the opponent's HP over time with the Badly Poisoned status.

Poisoned vs Badly Poisoned

The Poisoned status is a status that slowly drains the target's HP every turn, equal to 1/8 the maximum HP, rounded down. Without recovery, the target will at most last 9 turns. However other than the HP drain there is no other penalty.

The Badly Poisoned status increases its damage every turn, starting with 1/16 max HP, then 1/8, then 3/16, etc., until the opponent faints. After three turns of Badly Poisoned it is outdamaging what Regular Poison or Burn would have done. Not factoring in recovery, a Pokemon that is badly poisoned will faint in a maximum of 6 rounds.


There are a few items that are relevant to the poison typing.

  • Pecha Berry – This cures the Poison status only
  • Lum Berry – This cures all status, including Poison.
  • Kebia Berry – This halves the damage of a super-effective Poison attack
  • Poison Barb – Increases damage of Poison-type attacks by 20%
  • Toxic Plate – Increases damage of Poison-type attacks by 20%
  • Black Sludge – Poison-type Pokemon holding this gain 1/16 HP every turn, while non-Poison type lose 1/8 HP every turn
  • Toxic Orb – Pokemon holding this item are inflicted with the Badly Poisoned status at the end of one turn
  • Ring Target – The holder loses all type immunities
  • Air Balloon – The holder becomes immune to ground type attacks until damaged.
Lum Berry is a useful item for all Pokemon to hold to prevent status, including the Badly Poisoned status. There is generally no reason to carry a Pecha Berry over a Lum Berry. Very few Pokemon should worry about carrying a Kebia Berry over other useful items.

For defensive Poison-type Pokemon, the Black Sludge is desired over Leftovers whenever possible. Not only does it free up Leftovers for other Pokemon on the team to use, it also makes it a bad idea for opponents to Trick or Switcheroo that item away.

Toxic Orb serves three niches: First, it powers up Guts users after one turn, and blocks undesired status effects like Burn and Sleep. Second, Pokemon with the ability Poison Heal (such as Gliscor) will gain HP when poisoned, and again block undesired status like Burn and Sleep after Poison is triggered. Third, it can also be flung at the opponent to inflict Badly Poisoned status, or tricked away for a surprise poisoning.

Ring Target is gimmicky, but if it is Tricked or Switcherooed onto a Steel type, that Pokemon can be affected by Poison attacks.

Pokemon Analysis

The following list of Pokemon are Poison-types that you will likely encounter in VGC2014. The vast majority of Poison-type Pokemon are dual-typed, so it is rare to encounter a mono-typed Poison Pokemon, even outside of VGC.
  • Amoonguss - Poison/Grass
  • Crobat - Poison/Flying
  • Dragalge - Poison/Dragon
  • Drapion - Poison/Dark
  • Gengar - Poison/Ghost
  • Nidoking - Poison/Ground
  • Nidoqueen - Poison/Ground
  • Roserade - Poison/Grass
  • Scolipede - Poison/Bug
  • Tentacruel - Poison/Water
  • Toxicroak - Poison/Fighting
  • Venusaur - Poison/Grass
  • Vileplume - Poison/Grass
Generally you aren't going to bring a Poison type into battle because of its Poison typing; you will bring it into battle for its secondary typing or its useful move pool; the Poison typing is usually seen as a bonus.


The Mushroom Pokemon is well known in the VGC metagame. It brings with it very high bulk, a useful Grass/Poison typing, and access to the perfectly accurate Spore as well as Rage Powder. It isn't very known for its Poison-type STAB but it does have access to Toxic, Clear Smog, Gastro Acid, and Sludge Bomb. A sample support Amoonguss set can look like this:

Amoonguss @ Sitrus Berry / Black Sludge
Ability: Regenerator
Nature: Bold
Evs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
-Rage Powder
-Giga Drain
-Protect / Sludge Bomb

This Amoonguss is a classic support Amoonguss, providing a perfectly accurate Spore, and Rage Powder to redirect attacks from its partner. Giga Drain is usually its STAB of choice, with Protect rounding out the move list. However it does have a moderately powerful Sludge Bomb to use when facing opposing Grass types. Amoonguss must beware opposing Fire, Flying, Ice and Psychic types, as well as opposing Grass types that can resist Giga Drain and are unphased by Spore and Rage Powder.


Venusaur is the first fully evolved Pokemon in the National Pokedex, and a long time fan favorite of Pokemon Trainers. Like Amoonguss, it too sports a Grass/Poison typing, but unlike Amoonguss it is known more for its speed and offensive power than being a straight-up wall. Under the sun (provided by Mega Charizard Y, or the move Sunny Day), Venusaur reaches incredible speeds thanks to its Chlorophyll ability and is capable of outspeeding most of the Metagame.

Venusaur also has the option to Mega Evolve if it wishes, further bolstering its high bulk, and shedding its weakness to Fire and Ice attacks thanks to its Mega evolution's ability Thick Fat.

Venusaur @ Venusaurite
Ability: Chlorophyll (Thick Fat)
Nature: Modest
Evs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 Spe
-Giga Drain
-Sludge Bomb
-Sleep Powder

This particular Venusaur is a bulky physical attacker. Thanks to Venusaurite it gains a large amount of defenses, and it loses its Ice and Fire weaknesses. However if it chooses to forego Mega Evolution, it can act as a very fast Sun sweeper thanks to its Chlorophyll ability; giving it one of the fastest Sleep Powders in the game. Giga Drain and Sludge Bomb are its STABs of choice, but far from the only ones at its disposal.


Gengar is an extremely unpredictable Pokemon to face. Among Ghost types it has among the largest move pool around, and can do just about anything it wants. It has the second highest Speed of all Poison types, the highest Special Attack, an immunity to ground via its Levitate ability, and the option to Mega Evolve if it wishes (though it loses its Ground type immunity in the process). Its defenses leave something to be desired, but it makes up for it by being among the most powerful special sweepers in the Metagame.

Gengar @ Focus Sash
Nature: Timid
Evs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
-Shadow Ball
-Sludge Bomb
-Destiny Bond

This set allows Gengar to act as a fast physical sweeper, able to take a single high damage hit that would normally KO it and inflict at least one attack before going down. Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb are its strongest STABs. Because of its Poison sub-type it needs to beware opposing Psychic, Dark and Ghost type attacks, but it does not fear Ground attacks because of its ability Levitate; its Ghost typing also makes it immune to Normal and Fighting moves. When things have gone south for Gengar, it can fire off a fast Destiny Bond in an attempt to take down its opponent when it faints.

This is far from Gengar's only set; its move pool is so large that it can run almost any set it wants, including that of Perish Song trapper if it chooses to Mega Evolve. Caution must be used when using a Gengar; while it can do almost anything, it can't do everything at the same time.


The last Poison type we will look at is Scolipede, which has seen increased attention with its new ability Speed Boost. After every turn its speed increases by one stage; throw in that it has a wicked high base speed to begin with and has a high Attack stat, and you have the bug equivalent of Blaziken. However unlike its Bug/Poison bretheren like Venomoth and Beedrill, it has a useful offensive move pool that can hit a wide variety of targets as well as decent defenses.

Scolipede @ Focus Sash
Nature: Adamant
Evs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe
-Swords Dance
-Megahorn / Poison Jab
-Rock Slide

Like all Bug types, Scolipede fears Rock, Fire, and Flying attacks. While it is also weak to Psychic type attacks, Psychic types are also weak to its STAB Megahorn. Also due to its Bug sub-type, it takes only normal damage from Ground attacks, and it is 4x resistant to Fighting and Grass and 2x resistant to Poison, allowing it to effectively check Venusaur and Amoonguss.


The Poison type, while not without its issues, is an interesting type. With the prevalence of Steel types, Poison types have to be careful to avoid attacking an immune target, but Fairy types need to beware to avoid getting hit super effectively by it. It also has useful resistances to common Fighting, Grass, and Fairy attacks. The poison type Pokemon found in VGC are moderately powerful and should be handled with caution.

What other useful Poison type Pokemon do you see as VGC viable? Any unique move sets to take direct advantage of the Poison type, or perhaps a combination of Toxic and some other move like Venoshock or Venom Drench? Is Poison overhyped as a Fairy weakness? Do Poison types still fear Psychic types like it did in previous generations?
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I could see the Nidos being valuable in VGC. They get STAB Sheer Force Sludge Wave, and immunity to Electric never hurt. Plus they have have a large pool of coverage they could pull from.
In depth. My only gripe is the ev spreads on the sets you mentioned.

Amoonguss needs a few evs in Spa to 2HKO certain pokemon. Scollipede should be running at least 92 Spe to make sure after a SB he out speeds base 130s. Also, focus sash isn't the best item for him in doubles. He's seen as a major threat and will get double targeted a lot. Lol

Other than the sets, good job :D


P(n) = 1 - (1 - P(1))^n
In depth. My only gripe is the ev spreads on the sets you mentioned.

Amoonguss needs a few evs in Spa to 2HKO certain pokemon. Scollipede should be running at least 92 Spe to make sure after a SB he out speeds base 130s. Also, focus sash isn't the best item for him in doubles. He's seen as a major threat and will get double targeted a lot. Lol

Other than the sets, good job :D
All fair points. I was going after some basic ideas and sets without diving too deep into full out analyses.
  • Acid – This move sharply reduces the opposing side's Special Defense stat.
  • Acid Spray – Reduces the target's Special Defense stat.
- Acid may (10%) lower the opposing side's Special Defense by one level
- Acid Spray reduces the (single) target's Special Defense by two levels
unless something changed in XY.


P(n) = 1 - (1 - P(1))^n
- Acid may (10%) lower the opposing side's Special Defense by one level
- Acid Spray reduces the (single) target's Special Defense by two levels
unless something changed in XY.
Somehow I missed this. Thanks.
In depth. My only gripe is the ev spreads on the sets you mentioned.

Amoonguss needs a few evs in Spa to 2HKO certain pokemon. Scollipede should be running at least 92 Spe to make sure after a SB he out speeds base 130s. Also, focus sash isn't the best item for him in doubles. He's seen as a major threat and will get double targeted a lot. Lol

Other than the sets, good job :D
Meh. For a set that is meant to be fully supporting I do not really see those EVs a must. This is actually very similar to the set I use for it and it works very well. The only thing is that I run Effect Spore because I do not really switch. I rather take that chance with Rage Powder and someone getting paralyzed.
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