Bellossom’s role in the world of Pokemon often comes under scrutiny. Many players realize that it lacks significant strength, even as far back as its best competitive generation in Diamond and Pearl when measured against other popular Grass-type Pokemon like Leafeon or Torterra. Bellossom does have its fair share of perks and used correctly it can do good things on Sun teams. Still, it’s never stood on equal footing with its first generation predecessor Vileplume, with which it shares many of its best attributes. Has anyone managed to find competitive success with this unique Pokemon, and can it be a good Pokemon for your competitive team?
As the alternate evolution of Gloom introduced in Pokemon Gold and Silver, Bellossom is a very interesting Pokemon for a wide variety of reasons. From a trivia aspect, it’s one of only five Pokemon as of 2022 that actually loses height when it evolves. It’s also completely unique as the only Pokemon that loses weight when it evolves. Indeed, Bellossom is only about half of the height of Gloom and weighs 6 pounds less.
Base stat wise, Bellossom is almost identical to Gloom’s original evolution in Vileplume, except that its Special Attack and Special Defense are reversed. Vileplume’s 100 Special Attack base stat is partly what makes it borderline competitive, while 90 Special Defense is perfectly reasonable. The swap here means that despite having slightly more bulk, Bellossom doesn’t hit quite as hard with its respectable offensive movepool. Plus, unlike Vileplume who is both Grass and Poison type, Bellossom loses Gloom’s Poison type when evolved by the Sun Stone. This means that one of Vileplume’s key moves, Sludge Bomb, doesn’t get the same-type attack bonus of 50 percent when used by Bellossom, who lacks the Poison type.
Still, like Vileplume, Bellossom comes equipped with Leech Seed and Sleep Powder, abilities which are two excellent assets in battle for a support Pokemon. In some ways, being mono-Grass type isn’t really a benefit, as now Bellossom becomes weak to Poison-type moves itself. Thanks to losing the additional defensive typing of Poison, it gains Bug and Poison weaknesses, although it loses a weakness to Psychic type moves.
However, starting with the advent of weather in Generation 3, Bellossom has served as a bulky support Pokemon on Sun teams in the past, as well as being a Sunny Day setter itself. Thing is, Vileplume can do pretty much the same thing, as both Pokemon have the Chlorophyll ability, which doubles its speed in harsh sunlight. Even Victreebel can be run much the same way, and that Pokemon has a faster Speed stat. Both Vileplume and Bellossom have only 50 base speed, whereas Victreebel has base 70. While the Chlorophyll ability, which doubles a Pokemon’s speed in Sun, makes even 50 base Speed Pokemon viable competitively, even Victreebel’s below-average 70 Speed suddenly becomes well above average with Chlorophyll active.
Still, Bellossom is not strictly that much worse than either Vileplume or Victreebel. Most recently, Bellossom has appeared on many teams in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. In these Generation 4 remakes, if you’re a big Bellossom fan and your team is lacking Sun support, Bellossom can be an invaluable offensive asset when paired with other strong grass types like Sceptile and Tangrowth. Running a purely offensive set with Giga Drain, Energy Ball, Sludge Bomb, and Moonblast allows Bellossom to be a surprise sweeper against either Pokemon its movepool is super effective against.
Bellossom still was viable even during the Generation 5 Black and White era. When coupled with Sunny Day support from Ninetales or Volcarona, Bellossom is able to boost its low speed significantly faster than most other Pokemon due to its Chlorophyll ability. Thanks to that boost, its offensive power was still a bit above average, as it suddenly out-speeds many competitive Pokemon.
Unfortunately, as we’ve already discussed, there are simply better options for Sun teams which outclass Bellossom. However, clever Pokemon trainers have sometimes used sub-optimal team choices to their advantage, as using a Pokemon most competitive trainers don’t bother with can lead to some confusion as to its actual role on the team. In the years since Generation 6’s X and Y, Bellossom has simply found itself outclassed to the point that its become untiered according to Smogon’s competitive rankings. This is despite Bellossom actually gaining 10 points to its physical Defense stat, one of many Pokemon that were buffed during the X and Y era.
In Sword and Shield VGC, Bellossom has become so unused that it doesn’t even have a page under Series 12 VGC 2022 on the Pikalytics website. Even its Generation 1 counterpart in Vileplume barely appears. Based on the few brave souls that have managed to get Vileplume into the analytics, we can see that Vileplume runs a support set with Sleep Powder, After You, Sludge Bomb, and Energy Ball as its primary moveset. After You is interesting, because once Sun has been set and Chlorophyll is active, it allows slower Pokemon such as Torkoal, Dusclops, and Rhyperior to move directly after Vileplume. It even assists popular sweepers like Togekiss in out-speeding certain Pokemon that its modest 80 base Speed wouldn’t otherwise allow it to. Since Bellossom also learns After You as an egg move, it could run this same exact set.
So, despite being a very cute and modestly useful Pokemon in the main adventures, Vileplume is simply better in competitive play thanks to have the dual Grass/Poison typing. Even then, Vileplume is not seen as a good Pokemon during the Sword and Shield era and certainly not going into Generation 9. It’s unlikely Bellossom will ever see any more competitive love, especially now that Scarlet and Violet have a new regional evolution for Gloom. Still, if you want to play with Bellossom on your in-game team, it’s certainly not the worst option for a Grass-type. Also, if you’re trying to build a Pokemon team with those no taller than Pikachu, Bellossom is certainly one of your best options. While Bellossom is not a good Pokemon in the competitive sense, it makes up for its lack of overall power by being perfectly modest in power level and unique in several aspects of its design.