Team of the Episode: Venusaur
Hello and welcome to this week’s Team of the Episode, featuring the monster tree-frog, Venusaur! We are exploring this behemoth in the OU tier, where recent trends and bans have made this froggo shoot up in viability!
Since the Zygarde ban, a solid Groun-resistant Grass is no longer required! This lets Venusaur come back and claim his throne again to complete against Ferrothorn, Tangrowth, and Amoonguss as a staple Grass-type in OU. Trends like a resurgence of Mega Mawile, Kartana, and Choice Specs Tapu Koko are also great for the tree frog, while OUT staples like Heatran and Ash-Greninja are easily taken advantage of by Venusaur. It does need some help though, so lets take a look at a team! As I (Seth Vilo) said in the podcast, this is my primary OU team currently, so I’ll be telling ya’ LOADS on how it works!
Click the sprites to go to a PokePaste of the team!
We start out with the Thicc Fat Mega Venusaur itself, of course! The Bulky Froggo is here to soak hits and annoy the hecc out of your opponent by simply NOT FAINTING. Between Synthesis and constant Leech Seed spamming, you can maintain your HP very well through the match. Of all the moves, you want to spam Leech Seed and Sludge Bomb most, since between Seeds and possibly Poisoning, you can start the war of attrition very early on. Synthesis you only every want to use in a desperate situation, as you only get 8 of them. Finally, Hidden Power Fire lets you bop Mega Mawile and Kartana, as well as preventing Ferrothorn from getting free Spikes up against you. It also lets you win against opposing Celesteela, since they can’t Leech Seed you back and Thicc Fat makes Flamethrower neutral against you. The EVs let you avoid a 2HKO from Ash-Greninja’s Dark Pulse pre-transformation and always outspeed Mega Mawile, with the rest dumped in Physical Bulk (NOTE: the updated spread that still does all this is 252 HP / 172 Def / 68 SpD / 16 Spe). There are some things you have to be mindful of with Venusaur though! Firstly, since you lack Leftovers recovery, entry hazard damage makes it hard for you to switch in and absorb attacks. Burns also limit the usefulness of Leech Seed for healing you up. Also be mindful of certain abilities, like Bulletproof blocking Sludge Bomb (Kommo-o), Magic Guard stopping Seeds, powerful Fire-types (like Heatran with a Flash Fire boost), and Terravolt/Mold Breaker going through your Thicc Fat (looking at you, Kyurem-B). This is where your teammates come in…
I just said Venusaur hates hazards, burns, and particularly powerful Fire-types, right? Enter Tapu Fini to cover all those weaknesses in one place! Tapu Fini has Defog support, Misty Terrain to block stray Scald and Will-o-Wisp burns, and serves as a fantastic counter to both Heatran and Ash-Greninja. It’s also part 2 of the Fire-Water-Grass Core this team has, as well as part one of the “Fantasy” core! The Terrain is one of the most under-appreciated features of Tapu Fini, as it heavily neuters things like opposing status-based stall teams, Sableye-M, Rotom-W, and Toxic Heatrans from ruining your day. In a pinch it also can hinder grounded Dragon-types on the opponent’s side trying to Outrage or Meteor their way through your walls. Taunt is there to stop things like Ferrothorn and Toxapex from doing whatever they want against you as they switch in. If desired, this can be dropped for the more aggressive Nature’s Madness, but it’s not recommended thanks to the value it brings. The EVs let you always outspeed Timid Heatran, survive a +2 Acrobatics from Hawlucha from full HP, and always 2HKO offensive Heatrans. Tapu Fini and Venusaur have fantastic synergy together, blocking most of each others weaknesses – both type-based and use based (like aforementioned hazards). However, powerful Psychics can still be a threat to this core, as there’s only so much they can take together. Kartana can also overwhelm this core easily if given the chance. So…
Enter the trusty ol’ Celesteela! A Seth Vilo staple, this rocket serves as a fullstop to Kartana and PsySpam srchetypes, while also continuing the Leech Seed spam! This set is a weird one though. Instead of the normal Heavy Slam + Flamethrower route, we went with an Air Slash + Metal Sound one. The reason is simple; Reuniclus eats this team alive (spoiler alert, our Volcarona cannot stop Reuni). While classic Celesteela is setup fodder for Reuniclus, this one at least makes it think twice about setting up too much. After a few Metal Sounds – which, as a reminder, drop the target’s SpD by 2 stages – your Air Slashes start to really hurt since Reuniclus can’t keep up with you through Calm Minds. Celesteela is also the teams best answer to Tornadus-Therian, as the other members take far too much from Hurricanes to stop it. Be conservative with Celesteela if you see Reuniclus or Tornadus-T. The EVs are boring ol’ mixed defenses, which let you stop things like Hawlucha and Pinsir more easily, as they are big threats to the rest of the team.
Tank Garchomp is the mandatory Stealth Rocker on the team, and also serves as a great way to hurt anything that makes contact thanks to Rough Skin and Rocky Helmet. If you manage to catch a stray U-turn, Fake Out, or Bullet Punch just by switching in at the right time, it can be devastating to the opponent’s precious HP. The other moves are fairly standard for Tank Garchomp, with Earthquake for massively powerful STAB, Fire Blast for Ferrothorn and to at least chip anything that floats, and Toxic to continue to rack up passive damage on the opponent. The EVs are boring as well, letting you always use that 102 Speed to the fullest while being as bulky as possible. Use Garchomp early to get Rocks up, and through the match as a Heatran stop and contact-move killer. Watching something KO itself after touching you is one of the more satisfying things to witness, with things like Landorus-T and Mega Medicham being primary targets. The fact that you can switch in a weakened Garchomp against something to do nearly 30% while being KOd is not something to forget! It also serves as a decent revenge killer to weakened Magearna and Tapu Lele. Try and keep it healthy through Leech seed as well!
Volcarona is here as the offensive Endgame. Even with the bulky spread, 135 base SpA cannot be underestimated, and is lethal after a boost or two from Quiver Dance or Fiery Dance. The EVs are to make you as physically bulky as possible to counter things like Kartana and Tapu Bulu while also outspeeding Mega Alakazam at +1 Speed. The weirdest move on this set is Psychic with the Psychium Z. This is because Toxapex can handle most of our team fairly well and heal itself up. At +1 SpA from either a Quiver Dance or a Fiery Dance on the switch-in, Shattered Psyche does upwards of 90% to a Toxapex, letting you break through it fairly easily. You want to use Volcarona in the end game to clean up, but don’t forget you can switch it in if no hazards are up to fish for Flame Body burns! Keep yourself healthy with Roost as well, since this team is more “in it for the long game” than “go for blood”.
Finally, the weirdest member of the team, and our form of Speed Control: Ditto. Choice Scarf Ditto is a set I’ve fallen in love with recently, as it’s basically the best revenge-killer in the game. This team is extremely passive in nature, meaning it’s easily taken advantage of by setup-sweepers if you’re not careful. However, most setup-sweepers can’t really handle themselves, meaning Ditto can waltz in, copy their boosts thanks to Imposter, and still outspeed them thanks to the Scarf! You then initiate a reverse-sweep on the opponent. But that’s not all Ditto is good for! The IVs are specific to have your Hidden Power type be Ground, as this allows you to come in on Magnezone, trap it with your own copied Magnet Pull, and OHKO it. Important note, even though the IVs are lowered on YOUR end, Imposter makes Ditto copy the CURRENT RAW STATS of the opponent, meaning the altered IVs you select are only used for determining your Hidden Power type; having lower IVs will NOT make your stats lower than the opponent after you transform. Ditto is also extremely useful against Stall teams as well, provided you can get the Choice Scarf Knocked Off. It let you have essentially infinite PP if you switch in and out, and you can use any tricks of the opponent against them, such as Heal Bell Chansey, Recover on Sableye, and hazard control (be that stacking or removal). Ditto is a fantastic glue pick that I’ll be using on almost all my teams for the foreseeable future.
This team is incredibly solid and able to adapt to a lot of threats during a match! Clever play through switches, Misty Terrain setting, and the incredible Ditto let you come back from otherwise grim looking battles. However, there are a few weaknesses to the team. First off, without Celesteela, this team is massively weak to Tornadus-Therian and Reuniclus. There are a few things to keep in mind in matchups with those two, and unfortunately they are often paired together. Celesteela needs to remain healthy through constant Seeding, as Leftovers are likely to be Knocked Off by Tornadus-T. Reuniclus must also be prevented from gaining too many boosts, as unlike other sweepers Ditto cannot stop it. Additionally, Hazards remaining up will basically make the game a 5 vs 6 because of Volcarona’s massive weakness to all hazard forms.
Between recording and writing, one thing I’ve been experimenting with is replacing the Volcarona slot in attempts to limit both of these weaknesses. One Pokemon I’ve had decent success with is Heart Swap Magearna (yes the PokePaste says Hear Swap. Sue me). This solves the Tornadus-T and Reuniclus issue all at once, while also making the Ash-Greninja matchup slightly easier, and contributing to the wearing down of the team through Pain Split. You also gain momentum with Volt Switch, and a powerful nuke in Fleur Cannon that you can Heart Swat the stat drops away with! Reuniclus becomes something you WANT to let set up, as you can just walk in and steal all its boosts. Celesteela can then go back to the more “standard” set with Heavy Slam and Flamethrower to better counter Kartana, and luring in Reuniclus. The IVs are to underspeed minimum speed Sassy Celesteela so you can absorb the Leech Seed and send in something for free after you Volt Switch out.
So stop listening to me gush about Venusaur and get out there and play! It’s a great asset in the current state of OU. Till next time, catch you on the flip-flop!