Is Grafaiai Good? – New Scarlet and Violet Pokemon

Grafaiai pokemon scarlet and violet

One of the most maligned Pokemon designs of all time, Grafaiai is not off to a good start as one of the pocket monsters trainers will encounter in the Paldea region of the Generation 9 Scarlet and Violet video games. While the concept of an Aye-Aye Pokemon is fine, it’s hard to say what informed the very haphazard and frankly ugly design of this Toxic Monkey. Of course, we’re stuck with Grafaiai as is, so we’ll have to put up with this Poison/Normal-type Pokemon whether we want to or not.

Fortunately, Grafaiai is actually a fully evolved Pokemon, evolving from an even stupider looking Toxic Mouse thing in Shroodle at level 28. This means Grafaiai has usable stats, including good attack and speed. In fact, its base total 485 is actually quite respectable. While its defenses are quite mediocre – 63 HP, 65 Defense, and 72 Special Defense – its 95 Attack and 110 Speed make it borderline mid-tier competitive.

According to the Scarlet and Violet website, Grafaiai is “a moody Pokémon with a fastidious disposition. It doesn’t form packs, preferring to roam alone. It’s constantly caught up in territorial struggles with other Pokémon.”

Despite its visual design being atrocious, however, the lore behind this Pokemon is actually somewhat deep. Apparently, Grafaiai set up poison traps around the territory it chooses for itself. To wit:

“Grafaiai is nocturnal. Once the sun sets, it licks its hands and fingers to cover them in poison, then uses them to draw patterns on the trees in its territory. The poisonous saliva it uses to paint paralyzes Bug Pokémon, which are drawn to the saliva’s sweet, fragrant scent. When dawn draws near, Grafaiai goes to collect any incapacitated prey.” – The Pokemon Company

From this we can gather that it prefers to prey on Bug Pokemon as its primary diet, and likely trainers will only encounter this Toxic Monkey at night. Also, Grafaiai is apparently rather artistic, and it will be interesting to see how these patterns on the trees are represented in the open world adventure. There’s speculation that Grafaiai patterns on trees may be an in-game event similar to the Honey Trees of Diamond and Pearl, which would make sense.

Also, when Grafaiai sense danger, their “poisonous saliva becomes even more toxic.” The official site reads:

“This Pokémon specializes in using its poisonous saliva—which changes color depending on what the Pokémon eats—to attack foes by spitting at them or by slashing at them after coating its claws with the saliva. When Grafaiai senses danger, its poison rapidly becomes concentrated, resulting in a potent toxin that, once absorbed, will immobilize a victim for three whole days.” – The Pokemon Company

Now that we have some rather interesting lore out of the way, let’s look at Grafaiai from a game mechanics perspective. First, Grafaiai has an option between two abilities: Unburden and Poison Touch. The Unburden ability is particularly great, as it doubles the Pokemon’s Speed stat whenever its held item is used or otherwise lost. Poison Touch is similar to Poison Point, but in this case, the Pokemon with Poison Touch has a 30 percent chance to poison the opponent if it makes contact. Poison Touch is actually a bit better than Poison Point, as the more defensive latter ability is easier to work around. Neither are abilities that are particularly useful in high-level competitive play, but this Pokemon clearly wasn’t designed for that niche aspect of the game anyway.

With two good abilities, with Unburden being particularly strong, Grafaiai also has the benefit of a dual-typing. The Poison/Normal typing is actually unique to Grafaiai in the entire Pokemon universe so far. This means that Grafaiai gains a Same-Type Attack Bonus of fifty percent for both its Poison-type and Normal-type moves. Defensively, this means Grafaiai is weak only to Ground-type and Psychic-type moves. While the Normal-typing nullifies Poison-type’s resistance to Fighting-type moves, it gains a Ghost-type immunity, as well as retaining the Poison-type resistances of Fairy-type, Grass-type, and other Poison-type moves.

So, despite the extremely unpopular homely design of this Aye-Aye based Pokemon, Grafaiai may actually be worth using on a trainer’s team. I promised to provide a verdict on just how useful this Toxic Monkey will really be when the stats and move pool were revealed, and this is what I will do now.

Grafaiai has fine stats, but what can it do to take advantage of these stats? It has Poison Fang and Slash as early moves with Same-Type Attack Bonus (STAB), which makes it usable even as a Shroodle. It also learns U-Turn, which many faster Pokemon learn, as both Bug-type coverage and the ability to switch out into a team mate. It’s off to a good start.

After it evolves, Grafaiai can replace Poison Fang with the much better Poison Jab. It also learns Taunt and Substitute by level up. Taunt is very useful for stopping opponent’s Pokemon from using status or stat boost moves. Substitute takes 25 percent of Grafaiai’s HP and creates a Substitute for the Monkey to hide behind. This isn’t a great user for Substitute though, not with a 63 HP stat.

But, Grafaiai continues to learn two very important moves. One of these is the Dark-type Knock Off, not only a strong type coverage move, but one that knocks off the opposing Pokemon’s item. Grafaiai also learns the powerful Poison-type move Gunk Shot, which while inaccurate, hits with 120 base power. By TM, Grafaiai can also learn the Flying-type Acrobatics, Ghost-type Shadow Claw, Bug-type X-Scissor, and the Ground-type Dig. Grafaiai can also use Swords Dance to power up its Attack and Facade as a decent Normal-type move that doubles in power if the user is statused.

What does the best Grafaiai move set look like? Being so frail, it really can’t take much time to set up Swords Dance without support of a partner in doubles. In singles, you’ll likely run its most accurate moves, Poison Jab and Facade, U-Turn to get the heck out of Dodge, and the fourth move can be one of Taunt, Acrobatics, Shadow Claw, Dig, or its signature move Doodle.

Doodle is interesting in that it copies the abilities of the target Pokemon for both itself and even its potential teammate in doubles. Which abilities are worth copying? It really depends, and it’s really only worth using up a move slot in competitive doubles depending on what the best Pokemon happen to be in that given format (aka what Pokemon are allowed to be played and which play the best under those circumstances). While you’re not really ever going to use Doodle in game, it’s good to know that it learns this, and can relearn it at any time thanks to moves no longer being permanently forgotten in Scarlet and Violet.

So, is Grafaiai a good Pokemon? The Toxic Monkey, despite its putrid design, is at least useful. It could be a permanent team member if you’re looking for a lead that has decent typing with some powerful attacking moves. It’s not really good as a utility Pokemon, but it’s hardly the worst pivot or lead you could have in-game. In competitive Pokemon, it’s probably a mid-tier option at best. Still, considering all the negative press this guy got for its design, we ended up with a perfectly decent Pokemon.

Updated 11/19/22

Photo Credit: The Pokemon Company

Pokémon and All Respective Names are Trademark & © of Nintendo 1996-2022

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: