Victreebel is widely regarded as the most immediately dangerous weather sweeper in the metagame. Due to its solid offensive stats, Chlorophyll, moves such as Sleep Powder and Weather Ball, and its Toxic immunity, it can harass offensive and bulky teams alike under sun. Its strong Grass-type STAB moves in Solar Beam and Leaf Storm are especially effective at threatening metagame staples such as Regirock and Slowking.
Nonetheless, Victreebel's Speed outside of sun and bulk are pretty lackluster, and weaknesses to common types such as Fire and Psychic make Victreebel easy to revenge kill and hard to bring safely onto the field. Therefore, it relies a lot on sun to accomplish anything against offensive teams. Furthermore, while Victreebel is certainly powerful, its Special Attack isn't enough to reliably break through common special walls such as Cradily, Lickilicky, and Hypno. The omnipresent Skuntank is also very troublesome, as it resists Victreebel's STAB moves and threatens it with Pursuit and Sucker Punch.
name: Chlorophyll Sweeper
move 1: Sleep Powder
move 2: Solar Beam
move 3: Weather Ball
move 4: Sludge Bomb / Hidden Power Rock
item: Life Orb
nature: Timid / Modest
evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
This set is one of the main reasons why sun is a solid team archetype in NU. Sleep Powder stops opposing Pokemon from disturbing Victreebel and its teammates. Solar Beam is a powerful STAB attack without any drawbacks under sun. Weather Ball in sun threatens common checks to Victreebel such as Drifblim and Skuntank with a potential OHKO after Stealth Rock damage. Sludge Bomb is a secondary STAB move that hits Fire-types very hard and is Victreebel's most consistent attacking move when sun is gone. However, Hidden Power Rock can also be considered, as it OHKOes Charizard and heavily damages Drifblim, which otherwise would freely set up on Victreebel outside of sun.
Maximum investment in Special Attack allows Victreebel to get the aforementioned KOs when holding a Life Orb. A Timid nature with 252 EVs in Speed is recommended in order to outspeed some of the most common Choice Scarf users, such as Typhlosion and Manectric, under sun, with the former being very threatening for sun teams. Nonetheless, Modest should also be considered for a very likely OHKO on Skuntank and Drifblim with Weather Ball after Stealth Rock, both of which could shrug off Sleep Powder with Lum Berry or Chesto Berry and cause major trouble otherwise.
On dedicated sun teams, Regirock is highly recommended as a Sunny Day user due to its access to Stealth Rock and ability to check opposing Fire-types that could take advantage of sun. Other notable sun setters are Persian and Jumpluff, as they can reliably set it in the lead position due to their Speed and various disrupting moves such as Taunt and Sleep Powder. Shiftry is another staple of sun teams and can get rid of most of Victreebel's answers. With Sucker Punch, it can threaten the very troublesome Gardevoir that revenge kills Victreebel by virtue of its ability Trace. Shiftry is also able to break through problematic special walls such as Cradily and Lickilicky with Explosion or moves boosted by Swords Dance or Nasty Plot. Fire-types provide a strong offensive presence with their sun-boosted STAB moves and ability to reliably use Solar Beam. Typhlosion in particular is very dangerous with its extremely powerful Eruption. Ninetales is also a good candidate due to its ability Flash Fire, which permits it to absorb Fire-type attacks aimed at Victreebel and its teammates, becoming tremendously powerful by doing so. Skuntank is a valuable partner, as it can use Pursuit to threaten the very bothersome Gardevoir as well as Hypno, which ignores Sleep Powder and can take Victreebel's attacks quite well.
name: Non-sun Attacker
move 1: Sleep Powder
move 2: Leaf Storm
move 3: Sludge Bomb
move 4: Morning Sun / Sucker Punch
item: Life Orb
nature: Modest / Rash
evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
While it faces competition from the more popular Shiftry outside of dedicated sun teams, Victreebel distinguishes itself thanks to its access to Sleep Powder, Toxic immunity, and better Special Attack. Sleep Powder makes Victreebel harder to play around, and it can be very rewarding because most teams only have one reliable switch-in to Leaf Storm from Victreebel. Leaf Storm is Victreebel's strongest attack, scoring an OHKO on Regirock and most Slowking variants. Keep in mind that it should be used carefully, as the Special Attack drop essentially forces Victreebel out. Sludge Bomb is a reliable STAB attack that deals a lot of damage to Fire- and Grass-types that would be tempted to switch into Leaf Storm. It can also inflict poison, which is extremely annoying for bulky Pokemon that cannot afford to have their Leftovers recovery cancelled. However, be wary of poisoning a foe that would be more hindered by Sleep Powder.
Morning Sun is a semi-reliable form of recovery that allows Victreebel to counterbalance the health loss induced by Life Orb, entry hazards, and other sources of damage. It also drastically improves Victreebel's matchup against stall teams, as it allows Victreebel to switch in on Pokemon such as Cradily, specially defensive Regirock, Meganium, and Politoed throughout the match. However, Victreebel can make use of its base 105 Attack by using Sucker Punch to deter Pokemon such as Haunter, Jynx, Gardevoir, and various weakened Choice Scarf users from revenge killing it, which makes Victreebel more menacing for offensive teams instead.
Maximum Special Attack investment and Life Orb allow Victreebel to OHKO Slowking with Leaf Storm. The remaining EVs are dumped into Speed in order to outspeed Pokemon like defensive Gardevoir and Meganium that would be tempted to invest into Speed as well. Modest is usually the nature choice, but a Timid nature can be chosen to outspeed Pokemon sitting at base 80 such as Medicham, Gardevoir, and Shiftry with a neutral nature. Rash is recommended if Victreebel packs Sucker Punch.
Thanks to its typing, Victreebel absorbs Toxic Spikes upon entry and can serve as an offensive check to Poliwrath lacking Ice Punch, a trait greatly appreciated by bulky Pokemon such as Regirock, Cradily, Lickilicky, and Sableye. In return, these Pokemon make solid defensive backbones, potentially checking offensive threats that tend to force Victreebel out like Charizard, Skuntank, Tauros, Gardevoir, Jynx, Magmortar, Haunter, Drifblim, and Medicham. Furthermore, Cradily and Regirock can set up Stealth Rock, which limits Charizard's, Jynx's, Magmortar's, and Drifblim's ability to revenge kill Victreebel. Victreebel tends to struggle against specially defensive Pokemon such as Cradily, Lickilicky, and especially Hypno, which has the luxury of safely switching into Sleep Powder by virtue of Insomnia. Therefore, physical wallbreakers such as Tauros, offensive Regirock, and Medicham are teammates of choice. Nonetheless, Victreebel can still cripple its defensive checks with Sleep Powder or, to a lesser extent, poison induced by Sludge Bomb. Other specially offensive Pokemon, such as Haunter and Charizard, may have an easier time getting past the aforementioned special walls if Victreebel statuses them beforehand. With Hypno and Drifblim being some of Victreebel's biggest nemeses, Skuntank is naturally a good partner, as it can get rid of both of these annoyances with Pursuit. It also helps against other troublesome Pokemon like Gardevoir, Haunter, and Jynx.
Victreebel with a Timid nature can turn itself into a self-sufficient sweeper by using Sunny Day and outspeeding common Choice Scarf users such as Typhlosion and Manectric, something that Vileplume cannot accomplish. However, it takes away an important moveslot, and Victreebel's bulk makes it difficult to successfully pull off. Swords Dance in tandem with Leaf Blade lets Victreebel lure in and dent typical switch-ins such as Cradily and Lickilicky and can be very difficult to deal with under sun. However, Shiftry is usually a better user of Swords Dance due to its STAB on Sucker Punch and better physical movepool. Choice Scarf makes Victreebel a revenge killer with a fast Sleep Powder, but its STAB attacks are easily covered and being locked into Leaf Storm can be very punishing. Other disrupting moves such as Encore and Stun Spore have some merits once Sleep Clause is underway, but they are hard to fit onto a set.
Checks and Counters
Special walls such as Cradily and Lickilicky take most of Victreebel's hits fairly well and stall it out as long as they avoid Sleep Powder and, to a lesser extent, Sludge Bomb poison. Such walls are especially harmful if Victreebel's team relies on sun and can't afford to waste turns. Hypno gets a special mention due to Insomnia, which allows it to shrug off Sleep Powder. Drifblim resists Victreebel's STAB moves, can play around Sleep Powder with either Substitute or Chesto Berry, and can attempt to set up with Calm Mind. Nonetheless, it should be wary of setting up against a Victreebel under sun, seeing that a boosted Weather Ball does up to 70%. It also takes a noticeable amount of damage from Leaf Storm with Stealth Rock down and should be wary of Sucker Punch. Poison-types naturally check Victreebel due to their typing; Skuntank in particular is extremely dangerous, as it outspeeds Victreebel and can threaten it with Pursuit and Sucker Punch if sun is active, although Leaf Storm is quite threatening for it. Venomoth can stomach a Leaf Storm with relative ease and force Victreebel out. However, both of these Pokemon need to avoid Weather Ball in sun as well as Sleep Powder. Although much rarer, Muk is a solid counter to Victreebel due to its naturally great special bulk and power.
Outside of sun, Victreebel's lackluster Speed leaves it very susceptible to faster Pokemon such as Charizard, Magmortar, Tauros, Haunter, Jynx, Medicham, and many more. Choice Scarf Typhlosion and Manectric are fast enough to revenge kill Modest Victreebel under sun, as are Shiftry and Gardevoir thanks to Chlorophyll and Trace. Even in sun, Victreebel's frailty remains a problem against strong priority users like Skuntank and Cacturne. However, Sleep Powder enables Victreebel to play around them. Fake Out users, such as Medicham, not only severely cripple Victreebel but also stall out precious sun turns. Finally, while much less common, Ice Shard users like Piloswine and Sneasel threaten Victreebel with a potential OHKO.
- Written by: [[Wenderz, 331114]]
- Quality checked by: [[Oglemi, 40358], [Bughouse, 52547], [Rabia, 336073], [Honko, 42413]]
- Grammar checked by: [[Finland, 517429], [Rabia, 336073]]