As the final evolution of Pokemon’s Bulbasaur, one of the three first ever starter monsters from Red and Blue, Venusaur has enjoyed a long competitive history. Despite having many different weaknesses in earlier generations of the video game franchise, Venusaur has gained additional resistances as types have been introduced into Pokemon.
Also, while its move sets were once rather limited, each generation has given Venusaur new tools to play with in building a better competitive mon. In fact, Venusaur has become so much better in recent years, it was even banned in some competitive formats for a time. This is partly thanks to his hidden ability Chlorophyll, as there weren’t many effective counters for a specially bulky wall buster that could double its speed in sunlight.
So, yes, the short answer is Venusaur is a good competitive Pokemon. In Generation VIII (Sword and Shield), Venusaur is still a key member of Sun teams. While it can set harsh sunlight on its own with Sunny Day, it’s better alongside Pokemon such as Ninetales and/or Torkoal who have the Drought ability to set up Sun as soon as they come into play. Some builds still use Venusaur’s original best attacks, Leech Seed and Solar Beam, but there are many more options it can learn now to consider, such as Venoshock and Sludge Bomb for special poison moves, Leaf Storm, Giga Drain, and Energy Ball for Grass moves, and the Normal-type Weather Ball, which is powerful in harsh sunlight.
While Venusaur’s overall base stats aren’t incredibly impressive, its Hidden Ability Chlorophyll can essentially make the grass type a base 160 speed in harsh sunlight. Speed is everything in competitive play, and although there are some Pokemon that want to be slower in order to take advantage of Trick Room, Venusaur is not one of them. Its Special Defense is good enough that some players prefer to build a Calm nature Venusaur that focuses on maximizing its Special Defense stat and using it as a wall with status moves like Toxic and Sleep Powder to wreak havoc on opposing teams.
Also, thanks to a Bulbasaur introduced in Sword and Shield’s Isle of Armor expansion that can evolve into a Venusaur that can Gigantamax, Venusaur can use an extremely powerful G-Max move. While Venusaur was actually quite powerful in Sun and Moon thanks to Weather Ball and Normalium-Z, the G-Max version has given Venusaur a significant power boost that can help sweep some teams.
The best nature for Venusaur depends on whether you’re oriented more towards defense or offense. For Sword and Shield, the competitive Pokemon experts at Smogon suggest a Modest nature, in order to power up Venusaur’s Special Attack stat. This is especially useful for taking full advantage of Venusaur’s extremely powerful exclusive Gigantamax move, G-Max Vine Lash. Not only does it deal anywhere from 90 to 150 base damage depending on the move it replaces, it inflicts damage to any of your opponent’s non-Grass type Pokemon for four additional turns equal to 1/6th of that mon’s HP.
For those that still play Sun and Moon or the Let’s Go games on Nintendo Switch, you have access to Mega Venusaur. His base stat boosts are significant, gaining 40 defense points, 22 special attack points, and 20 special defense points. Because of that Special Attack boost, a Modest nature is even more preferable. Mega Venusaur also gains the Thick Fat ability, which halves the damage of incoming fire and ice attacks connecting with it, mitigating two weaknesses for Venusaur.
What are your thoughts on Venusaur as a competitive Pokemon? While Charizard and Blastoise continue to be superior in terms of fan favoritism, when it comes to competition, Venusaur continues to be the mon with the better competitive pedigree.
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