Is Meowscarada a Good Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet?

Meowscarada is the final stage evolution of Sprigatito, with Floragato in between. It is a Grass/Dark type, a typing it shares with Cacturne, Shifty, and Zarude. There are both positives and negatives to this dual typing: it’s a fantastic offensive combination, but comes with the drawback of many weaknesses on defense.

Grass/Dark types are weak to Fire, Ice, Fighting, Poison, Flying, and Fairy type moves, and are doubly weak to Bug-type moves. So, to be a successful Grass/Dark type in competitive Pokemon, you have to know when to pick your spots, or just be fast enough to outspeed your threats. Fortunately, Meowscarda has a couple of great things about it that may overcome its obvious defensive shortcomings.

Meowscarada has a blazing 123 base Speed stat. This is faster than most Pokemon ever. Dragapult is definitely faster, with 145 base Speed, but it only has potentially Flamethrower to even hit Meowscarada. The Magician Pokemon also enjoys a high base 110 Attack. Unfortunately, on defense, it’s pretty frail: 76 base HP, 70 base Defense, and 70 base Special Defense. Its Special Attack is just 81, respectable, but not great at all.

While Meowscarada does have the Hidden Ability of Protean, the ability has been nerfed somewhat. Whereas Meowscarada’s type would change to match the type of move it was using, this ability now only activates once per time on the board. This is the same for Cinderace’s Libero, too. This means, to get the next activation of Protean, or to change your type back, you have to switch that Pokemon out. Of course, you can just run U-Turn for this purpose, but this makes Protean and Libero much more balanced. Either way, Protean is still a great ability to have.

However, you can only get Protean Meowscarada in Scarlet and Violet by acquiring an Ability Patch, most easily available in the postgame from high-level Tera Raids. So, most of the time you’ll be stuck with its base Ability of Overgrow, which is perfectly fine. This ability appears on all Grass type starting Pokemon going back to Ruby and Sapphire, which boosts the power of Grass-type moves when the Pokemon is at one-third HP or lower.

So, Meowscarada is some combination of Greninja and Sceptile, except focusing on Physical Attack and not being a potential mixed attacker. It’s one of the most frail of the starter Pokemon we’ve ever had, though. Sceptile was actually worse on physical Defense (just base 65), but it also had a great move pool and could tank Special Attacks. These Defenses are reminiscent of Blaziken, and we all remember how good he’s been in the past, especially when he had Speed Boost.

Overall, Meowscarada is a weird blend of Greninja, Sceptile, and Blaziken, but with worse defensive typing than the other three. The question becomes does Meowscarada have a deep enough move pool and is fast enough and hits hard enough to sweep once it gets set up?

Meowscarada does have a pretty sweet signature move in Flower Trick, a physical Grass-type move that not only never misses, but also is always a critical hit. This means, as a Grass-type, it gains both same-type attack bonus (STAB) of 1.5x, and the critical hit bonus of 1.5x. Essentially, this move is 140 power coming off a very strong 110 attack. Every Meowscarada is likely going to run this.

For a boosting move, Meowscarada runs Hone Claws, which boosts Attack and Accuracy by one stage, which in many cases is about 50 percent. On top of that Meowscarada learns another powerful physical Grass-type move in Seed Bomb. For Dark type moves it learns both Night Slash and Knock Off. Night Slash is a 70 base power move with a 1 in 8 chance of landing a critical hit, so it’s a good move. But, considering many Pokemon who previously ran Knock Off lost it in Generation 9, Meowscarada will likely run this in competitive Pokemon, although Night Slash is probably fine in game.

For coverage, Meowscarada also has the Normal-type Slash and Fairy-type Play Rough. Hone Claws is particularly useful for Play Rough, a 90 base power move which is actually only 90 percent accurate and has been known to miss at very inopportune time in competitive Pokemon.

Meowscarada also has U-Turn, a Bug type move that will allow Meowscarada to get the hell out of Dodge against an opponent it’s otherwise weak to. Sometimes a Protean boost will be helpful on this move, too. However, Meowscarada is clearly going to suffer from four-slot syndrome. You want to focus on hitting hard as possible, as while 110 attack is great, you need the boost in order to OHKO (one-hit KO) more defensive Pokemon.

By TM, Meowscarada has lots of other physical attacks that can offer type coverage, including the Electric-type Thunder Punch, Fighting-type Brick Break, Flying-type Acrobatics, and the Normal-type Giga Impact. It can also learn other physical Grass-type moves in Grass Knot and Trailblaze. Meowscarada does learn the extremely powerful Frenzy Plant, too, but it’s a Special move that this physically based Pokemon won’t take full advantage of at all.

The best moveset for Meowscarada will either be Adamant or Jolly, and it’s likely an Adamant Choice Scarf set of four attacks is going to be common. Likewise, a Jolly move set with a damage reducing berry could be a good chance to run a Hone Claws set with Flower Trick and Knock Off likely to be staples, plus one of Play Rough, U-Turn, or Quick Attack. Yes, Quick Attack is sometimes better than you think, especially with Protean, thanks to priority.

The best thing to do with Meowscarada is obviously giving it a Fairy or Normal Tera Type or get it to run the Protean ability. With Protean, you can not only switch its type to the first move you use until you switch out, but you could even double down on Protean and STAB. This Magician Pokemon is going to be tricking people a lot, and also making their Pokemon faint a lot.

As I’ve been a Sprigatito Stan from day one, this is easily my favorite of the final starter evolutions; this is coming from someone who thinks Skeledirge is actually extremely viable in competitive Pokemon. The big question is going to be how the Speed tiers shake out and if Meowscarada can continue to hit first. I love myself glass cannons, and I have always been very fond of building my teams around them; heck, I’m planning on building a team around Strong Jaw Bruxish of all things!

What do you think of Meowscarada? Honestly, it plays well with Skeledirge on the same team! But, I’d love to hear your thoughts on your favorite of the three Scarlet and Violet starters and which final form you prefer!

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.

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