Hello and welcome to the PUCL aquarium. I will be your guide, SumtimesIFly, as today we look at a rare specimen from the Alolan region, Toxapex. Toxapex resemble starfish, but unlike the beautiful Staryu and Starmie, this invertebrate is known for its vicious demeanor. You may remember a few weeks ago Scron was the Pokemon of the Week and I had hoped to do Toxapex in his honor. Unfortunately, I missed my opportunity but now he’s back, so lets take a closer look at this underwater predator.
Description: The Brutal Star Pokemon
Hidden Ability: Regenerator
Competitive: [Smogon OU] [Prebank – Pokeaim guide] [VGC 2017]
Evolution: Mareanie -> Level 38 -> Toxapex
Origin: Toxapex is based on a crown-of-thorns starfish. On top of an amazing name for an animal the crown-of-throns stafish is very representative of Toxapex. It has the ability to regenerate its limbs, it is covered in thorns that inject poison causing a sharp sting and persistent bleeding, and it preys on coral.
Original Appearance: Pokemon Sun and Moon
Dex Entry [Sun]: Toxapex crawls along the ocean floor on its 12 legs. It leaves a trail of Corsola bits scattered in its wake.
Dex Entry [Moon]: Those attacked by Toxapex’s poison will suffer intense pain for three days and three nights. Post-recovery, there will be some aftereffects.
Toxapex GX is not yet out, outside of Japan, so there is no translated card image yet. Pokebeach thankfully has it translated here.
Toxapex is one of the few Pokemon in the game to have officially documented predatory habits (although that number is increasing), due to the fact that it preys on Corsola. One of my favourite Easter Eggs in Sun and Moon is that you can only find Mareanie through S.O.S. chaining Corsola, because it is actually coming for the food not to aide. As a result, it is hard to come across Mareanie in your play through and I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time with Toxapex as I would have liked.
Toxapex has access to a unique move in Baneful Bunker, which is exactly like Protect except if it blocks an attack that would make contact, the attacking Pokemon is Poisoned. It also has the unique ability Merciless, which causes all attacks against Poisoned Pokemon to be critical hits. The synergy between those two things seems to describe itself, unfortunately it does not work out most of the time. Toxapex has fantastic defenses, both Special and Physical, but poor HP and attacking stats.
In the VGC Toxapex struggles. It simply cannot provide enough offensive pressure, not even able to OHKO a Tapu Bulu with a 4x super effective Sludge Bomb. However, Wolfe Glick did bring up the point that it can counter some slower strategies like Porygon2 by applying Toxic and completely walling it with its defenses. In singles there is already a great set on Smogon. It uses the Regenerator ability to act as a great pivot Pokemon, spreads Poison with either Toxic or Toxic Spikes, Scald scares Physical attackers from switching in less they get burned, Recover makes it wall almost anything that isn’t super effective, and Haze counters anything that tries to set up on Toxapex. This set normally runs max HP and max Def but Toxapex could also be run with Sp. Def in mind. Baneful Bunker seems like a tempting option at first but it is actually easy to play around, especially since most of the things attacking Toxapex will be using non-contact moves like Earthquake or Thunderbolt. Overall, Toxapex, is a fantastic singles Pokemon and deserves its place in OU.
Before writing this article I was determined to create a Merciless/Venoshock set for Toxapex. I built a team and went onto the Showdown ladder. Sadly, Every game I wished I had Regenerator over Merciless, and the few times I did get to attack with Venoshock, which does double damage to Poisoned Pokemon and is a critical hit due to Merciless, it didn’t even get a knock out. After a several games I had gotten only one Venoshock combo knock out, and had mostly provided support to my Mega Charizard X for which Regenerator would have been far superior. It is an interesting gimmick, I only wish it were more viable.
Finally, I am going to try my hand at some TCG analysis. The Sun and Moon base set Toxapex can be great at countering teams that retreat a lot, but if you read the ability carefully you can see it only poisons retreating Pokemon and not Pokemon brought out after KO’s, by abilities, or by moves, so it is very situational. Toxapex GX however is insane from my perspective. One energy for an expected value of 60 damage is great and for 3 energy you can apply ultra poison to the opponent which adds 10 damage counters a turn instead of 1! That is 200 damage before it is your turn again. You likely wouldn’t run this as your only GX attacker but if you needed to use the GX attack it is still very strong. 150 damage for 3 energy and you are immune next turn, giving you a free opportunity to apply ultra poison. With a base HP of 210, and only being a Stage 1, I can see Toxapex GX becoming a real threat. I am still only learning the game so hopefully this wasn’t too off the mark.
If you have ever read the tale of Hansel and Gretel you know not to follow the trail of bread crumbs. Well if you ever see a trail of broken Corsola parts, take the lesson from that story and run, because Toxapex is one mean Pokemon.
Until next time, SumtimesIFly.