Better Know a Typing - Poison

By Seven Deadly Sins. Art provided by Lorak.
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Poison Pokemon

In terms of underappreciated typings, Poison is up there. Arguably the worst offensive typing in the game, with only one super effective target compared to four resistances and an immunity, Poison is quite possibly the worst stand-alone typing in the game. However, not all is lost. Poison makes a fantastic secondary typing, as many different Pokémon appreciate the four resistances that a secondary Poison-type provides. Combine that with the fact that Psychic is an extremely rare attacking type, and Poison makes a great complementary type for many top-tier Pokémon, both in OU and UU.

Poison on the Offensive — OU

While Poison is a terrible STAB to have, it is quite the boon to one of the most famous OU Pokémon of all time: Gengar. With Gengar's Levitate ability giving it an immunity to Ground, a Poison typing gives Gengar an excellent 4x resistance to Bug, 2x resistance to Grass, and immunity to the Toxic status effect, which provides Gengar with plenty of opportunities to switch into opposing teams and wreak havoc with its excellent 130 Special Attack and fantastic movepool.

While not necessarily part of Poison's notoriety, the Toxic status effect is one of the most widely used attacks in the metagame. With its ability to effectively break down Pokémon regardless of defensive stats over time, and the fact that all Pokémon outside of Wynaut/Wobbuffet/Magikarp/Feebas get access to Toxic, it's a top choice for some offensive Pokémon. Toxic Spikes also get an honorable mention here, as many offensive Pokémon can use Toxic Spikes to reduce the viability of their walling counters.

Poison on the Defensive — OU

It's hard to mention poison-types without mentioning Tentacruel, a Pokémon which owes the majority of its use and notoriety to its secondary Poison typing. Tentacruel benefits greatly from poison typing for a number of reasons; It gets Toxic Spikes, and is arguably the best Pokémon with which to set them up; Its Poison typing makes it the best OU Pokémon with which to absorb Toxic Spikes as well, which helps Stall greatly; Poison gives Tentacruel resistance to Fighting and neutrality to Grass, which meant that before the drop of Latias into OU, Tentacruel was bar none the best Infernape counter in the game, able to switch into any of its sets with impunity. Previously, there was also use of Pokémon such as Nidoqueen and Weezing in OU to counter the powerful Fighting-types inhabiting it such as Lucario, Heracross, and Machamp. However, their popularity has fallen, as many physical attackers now have enough power to simply muscle their way through the resistance-starved Poison-types.

Once again, Toxic and Toxic Spikes shine on the defensive. The use of Toxic allows Pokémon to deal large amounts of damage while recovering, regardless of their own offensive stats. This makes Toxic the preferred method of damage-dealing for stall teams, which generally lack acceptable levels of damage output.

Poison on the Offensive — UU

UU is where the Poison-type really shines. Of course, this applies most to Roserade, which relishes its secondary Poison-type for a number of reasons. First, unlike OU, access to the powerful STAB Sludge Bomb is fantastic, since the general lack of specially defensive Rock, Ground, or Poison-types makes it a tough move to switch into. This is supplemented by the lack of Steel-type Pokémon in UU outside of Registeel and Steelix, which means there are few Pokémon that aren't at least stung by Sludge Bomb. It also gives fairly good neutral coverage with Grass, though it leaves you still walled by opposing Poison-types and Steel-types. Venusaur, while not as threatening as Roserade, enjoys its poison typing for similar reasons.

On the physical side, there is Drapion, whose Poison-Dark typing gives him a useful typing with only a singular weakness to Ground. With its typing, it can do a boatload of damage with Swords Danced attacks, and Poison Jab provides powerful secondary STAB on CB or SD sets. Toxicroak can do the same, using its myriad resistances to get up a Swords Dance before sweeping with either Fighting/Dark/Rock coverage or Poison/Ground/Rock coverage. Qwilfish, while NU, still gets an honorable mention for its excellent performance on Rain Dance teams. Water-Poison provides unresisted coverage in UU outside of Toxicroak, so a Swords Dance / Waterfall / Poison Jab / Explosion set often wreaks havoc on many teams with ease.

Poison on the Defensive — UU

Poison is best known as a defensive typing, and this is truest in UU, where the resistances provided by Poison typing are often crucial to success. Fighting-types, Grass-types, and Bug-types are huge threats in UU, and Poison is also a powerful attacking type from foes such as Roserade and Toxicroak. Physically, there is Nidoqueen and Weezing. Nidoqueen's Ground/Poison typing gives it a wide range of useful resistances, including Bug, Fighting, and Rock, and is effective as long as it is kept away from powerful special attackers or foes with strong Ice, Water, or Ground attacks. Weezing's pure Poison typing, combined with a Levitate ability that turns one of its weaknesses into an immunity, makes it a fantastic counter to any Fighting-type not named Medicham (and even then, it can switch in on Hi Jump Kick all day), as well as Toxicroak, Leafeon, Tangrowth, and other powerful physical attackers.

On the special side, Roserade's high Special Defense and 4x resistance to Grass makes it a great switchin to Energy Ball, as well as weaker Fighting-type attacks, Blaziken Vacuum Wave, etc. However, if you're looking for a Poison-type special wall, Muk is excellent at absorbing these special attacks and firing back with its own powerful assaults. It can take the best of licks from foes such as Roserade, Yanmega, Nasty Plot Toxicroak, and essentially anything without STAB Psychic. Venusaur's good 80/83/100 defenses make it tough to take down, but it is often overshadowed by Roserade, which trades physical defense and HP for much stronger attacks, a better ability, and more Speed.

Notable Poison—Type Moves


Poison Jab – 80 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – 30% Chance to inflict Poison status

Reliable STAB for Poison-types. 80 Base Power isn't the best, but it's still solid, and the chance to inflict Poison can sometimes come in handy.

Cross Poison – 70 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Increased Critical Hit Rate and 10% Chance to inflict Poison status

The second effective physical STAB for Poison-types, Cross Poison trades 10 Base Power for an increased Critical Hit rate. Drapion especially enjoys this attack, as its increased Critical Hit rate combined with the Sniper ability results in massive destruction on one out of eight attacks.

Gunk Shot – 120 Base Power – 70% Accuracy – 30% Chance to inflict Poison status

Your standard "accuracy for damage" move, Gunk Shot is unreliable, but provides huge power on a hit. Best on Choice Band users, when power is a premium and there's little drawback for a miss.


Sludge Bomb – 90 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – 30% Chance to inflict Poison status

Reliable special STAB for Poison-types. 90 Base Power is strong, and often the strongest attack in a Poison-type's arsenal.


Toxic – 85% Accuracy – Inflicts Badly Poisoned status.

Toxic is learned by basically everything in the game, and many Pokémon find it useful both offensively and defensively. The bane of a defensive Pokémon, Toxic is a ticking time-bomb that severely limits the effectiveness of a defensive Pokémon by forcing it to switch out often and diminishing its ability to sit and take damage greatly. Every turn, a Badly Poisoned Pokémon takes 6.25% of its Max HP in damage, with the damage increasing by another 6.25% cumulative every turn. (6.25%, 12.5%, 18.75%, 25%, etc.) This damage caps at 15/16ths of the Pokémon's maximum HP. Poison-type and Steel-type Pokémon cannot be inflicted with the Badly Poisoned status.

Toxic Spikes – Support – Inflicts Poisoned status on enemies that switch in (one layer), or Badly Poisoned status on enemies that switch in (two layers).

Excellent move for both Offensive and Defensive teams, as it passively damages enemies once they switch in. It is generally imperative that one gets two layers down, as regular poison is often more of a nuisance than truly crippling. They do not affect Flying or Steel-types, and grounded Poison-types will absorb the Toxic Spikes, permanently removing them on first switchin. While Toxic Spikes are definitely effective, they are generally not used much for a number of reasons:

1: Delayed damage: Toxic Spikes do their damage over time, and become useless after the opponent's first switchin, whereas Spikes and SR deal their damage instantly and repeatedly.

2: Lack of viable targets: The excess of Flying-types and Steel-types in OU makes Toxic Spikes ineffective against many teams, while in UU, the popularity of Roserade and other Poison-types makes it hard to effectively use Toxic Spikes.

However, Toxic Spikes are good at what they do, and fantastic for wearing down opponents such as Celebi, Vaporeon, and Blissey, which are hard to damage with regular Toxic.


While Poison is commonly thought of as the worst type in the game, it is not without its perks. Poison-types tend to have fantastic movepools with which to bludgeon foes, and the resistances provided by the Poison typing are an excellent complement to most other types. It's not the best, but Poison definitely isn't a type to overlook.

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