Diolch am eich amser!
Taken over from Aaronboyer on 19th Sept 2020, approved by xJoelituh.
Aaronboyer's unfinished analysis can be found here, for reference.
Victreebel's access to the unique combination of Wrap and Sleep Powder allows it to whittle down slower foes as well as cripple faster ones giving it great sweeping potential. With the rare Razor Leaf, it can be very difficult to switch into, especially because a would-be counter could get paralyzed by Stun Spore and subsequently dispatched by Wrap. Victreebel's Speed also makes it a reliable sleep inducer, as it outruns Lapras and Exeggutor. It can also Speed tie Cloyster while outpacing Chansey, Snorlax, and Rhydon.
However, Psychic and Blizzard are extremely common moves in the metagame, and most staples that use either will 2HKO Victreebel at minimum. This, in addition to its middling Speed, makes Victreebel a difficult Pokemon to get mileage out of. It mandates paralysis support to reach its full potential while providing little to no defensive utility in return. Its mediocre Speed also makes paralysis particularly devastating, almost completely erasing its threat potential. Victreebel is also walled by Gengar, as its coverage is almost completely restricted to Normal- and Grass-type attacks. Overall, despite being solid on paper, Victreebel tends to struggle in practice.
move 1: Sleep Powder
move 2: Wrap
move 3: Razor Leaf
move 4: Stun Spore / Hyper Beam
The rare Sleep Powder gives Victreebel among the most consistent sleep options in the game, putting a potential counter out of commission for what's likely the rest of the game. Wrap's extreme power in RBY OU should be emphasized, especially because Victreebel is among its best users; it prevents foes from attacking, wears down teams, and lets its user uniquely pivot out of any check for free by immobilizing it for a turn. Its imperfect accuracy, though, means Victreebel is always vulnerable to a counterattack after an unfortunate miss. Razor Leaf acts as a very strong STAB attack that not all teams are necessarily prepared for. Stun Spore lets Victreebel spread its own paralysis without support from teammates, which can be crucial when a faster Pokemon such as Zapdos attempts to switch in. It can also be used should Tauros come in after Victreebel lands a KO, but this risks immense damage or even Body Slam paralysis. Given the threat level of Tauros, though, it can be worth the risk. Hyper Beam can be used instead of Stun Spore to finish off foes more quickly to minimize the cumulative risk of Wrap misses.
It should be noted that bringing in Victreebel is quite difficult, as almost every threat in the metagame has a move that hits it for super effective damage, and if they don't, they likely have a way to paralyze it. Due to this, Victreebel is generally restricted to coming in on passive Pokemon, such as those that have used Rest. However, smart double switching is also a good way to get Victreebel into the game early. It's best to use Victreebel after the most natural Wrap answers, mainly common fast Pokemon such as Alakazam, Jolteon, and Zapdos, have been crippled with paralysis. This makes it very difficult for the opponent to fight back against Wrap without a smart switch-in or an unfortunate miss. Wrap can also be used to punish paralyzed foes trying to switch in on Sleep Powder; this can even lead to the paralyzed Pokemon being KOed outright. However, bulkier foes that aren't threatened too much by Razor Leaf can absorb Wrap and subsequently pivot into a faster threat, such as Starmie. This strategy keeps Victreebel from actually KOing a paralyzed Pokemon or putting a non-paralyzed one to sleep unless it is used with excellent prediction.
Victreebel can use Swords Dance alongside Hyper Beam as a surprise set to become an even more threatening late-game sweeper. Victreebel's +2 Hyper Beam is nothing to scoff at; it OHKOes Alakazam on the switch in and even has a small chance to OHKO Chansey. Such power often forces a foe out, which can allow Victreebel to sneak in some status. Swords Dance can, alternatively, be used on the Wrap set to boost its net damage output, but it is very hard to justify over the conventional options. On the whole, Swords Dance is very difficult to fit on a set, since losing Wrap or a powder move makes Victreebel very specialized and more reliant on the opponent losing to it on the spot. Body Slam can be used to give Victreebel an option to threaten both sleeping and unstatused Pokemon at the same time, alleviating the burden of prediction, but the opportunity cost of running it above other moves is generally too high to be worth it.
Checks and Counters
**Faster Pokemon**: Victreebel has major issues dealing with faster threats due to its poor defensive typing and stats. Many of the fast threats in RBY OU, such as Alakazam and Jynx, deal serious damage to it, and Victreebel can't do much back on its own. Faster threats will try to absorb the hits from Wrap, wait for it to end, and then force Victreebel out with their powerful STAB moves. Situationally, however, such matchups can sway in Victreebel's favor. For instance, Starmie can try to paralyze Victreebel and get OHKOed by Razor Leaf in return. Tauros can attempt to wait out Wrap, but Stun Spore will leave it seriously crippled and unable to sweep.
**Gengar**: Gengar is immune to Hyper Beam as well as Wrap's damage, and it resists Razor Leaf, leaving Victreebel with little in the way of options for defeating it. To make matters worse, Gengar threatens to put it to sleep with Hypnosis, which can end up dooming Victreebel due to its fragility. All Victreebel can do is status it or switch out. Wrap can be used to immobilize it on the switch in, though, allowing Victreebel to switch out to another Pokemon safely.
**Paralysis**: Paralysis almost completely nullifies Victreebel's potential. All foes suddenly become faster than it, which means it can no longer use Wrap safely. Full paralysis is very dangerous as well, putting the odds of hitting Wrap in the first place around a mere 66%. Many fast threats, such as Alakazam and Starmie, threaten to paralyze Victreebel before it can even move. Even slower threats, such as Chansey, can paralyze Victreebel if Wrap ever misses.
- Written by: [[Plague von Karma, 236353], [Aaronboyer, 239454]]
- Quality checked by: [[Amaranth, 265630], [FriendOfMrGolem120, 424525]]
- Grammar checked by: [[A Cake Wearing A Hat, 388157], [The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216]]