Ivysaur is the first evolution of Pokemon’s Bulbasaur, one of the first three starters ever in the entire video game franchise. As I discussed in my writeup “Is Bulbasaur Good in Pokemon,” Ivysaur gains about a 25 percent gain in base stats with the tradeoff being that it naturally learns its moves later.
When I was researching this Pokemon article, I came across a Google Autocomplete suggestion of “Should I evolve Ivysaur?” As it turns out, Ivysaur does actually see some competitive play, albeit in a niche ladder on the ever-popular fan-made Pokemon Showdown online. Also, as Ivysaur learns Solar Beam at level 50, rather than level 58 like Venusaur, it makes leveling up much more productive more quickly, although Venusaur has roughly 30 percent better base stats than Ivysaur.
Like Bulbasaur, Ivysaur relies on Special Attacks and Special Defense, although thanks to the item Eviolite, it’s a bit trickier to knock out that either its unevolved or evolved form. Eviolite is an item that’s commonly seen in competitive Pokemon play, as well as in-game adventures. It gives Pokemon that can still evolve – even those that only evolve through a special means or trade – a 50 percent boost in defense and special defense. That’s a 31 base stat boost in Defense and 40 base stat boost in Special Defense for Ivysaur.
Also, while the Hidden Ability Chlorophyll is important for the Bulbasaur line in general competitively, Eviolite allows players to do just fine taking advantage of Overgrow, its regular ability that boosts its Grass-type moves by 50 percent when it’s at ⅓ or less HP. Like its other evolutions, Ivysaur is an excellent choice for Sun teams reliant on the Drought ability or similar moves/abilities that set the weather to sunny. But, it can also be a stall breaker, rather than the specially defensive wall that many players are familiar with when it comes to Venusaur.
In the Trading Card Game, like with many Stage 1 Pokemon evolutions that have a Stage 2 evolution, Ivysaur is often overlooked. However, occasionally there are very solid Ivysaur cards, such as the Platinum Supreme Victors Ivysaur, which when it’s played to evolve a Bulbasar puts your opponent’s active Pokemon to sleep.
So, while there are plenty of good reasons to evolve Ivysaur into Venusaur, there are times where it’s actually more productive to hold onto Ivysaur. Since he can learn all of the same T.M. and T.R. moves as Venusaur, all you’re losing is a boost in HP and Special Attack if you have the Chlorophyll ability and Eviolite held. While Venusaur is going to always be the better bet in top-tier competitive play, Ivysaur can more than hold its own.
What are your thoughts on Ivysaur? I’ll be doing a write-up on Venusaur, as well.
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