When we last left off with our “Is It Good” series with Beedrill, Generation 4 had been kind to our bee friend. Splitting moves into physical and special actually helped Beedrill more than it hurt, giving it new options for those competitive players who wanted to use it on their team. Sure, there were better options available for the roles it played, but Beedrill wasn’t the absolute worst choice in the world.
However, Generation 5 brought over 150 new Pokemon into the game with Black and White. Beedrill would be nowhere to be seen in the main story of Pokemon Black, but it would be available in the postgame at a high level. In Black 2, it would be a Hidden Grotto Pokemon. It was also available in the Dream World where it gained access to a Hidden Ability. This Hidden Ability is Sniper, which causes critical hits to do 3x damage instead of 2x damage.
Black and White also gave Beedrill access to some new moves with the generation shift, all by TM. One is Venoshock, which is a great move which doubles in power if the opponent’s Pokemon is already poisoned. Unfortunately, it’s a special attack, meaning that Beedrill can’t take much advantage of it thanks to Beedrill’s pitiful Special Attack stat.
The other notable move that Beedrill now learned by TM was a brand new move called Acrobatics. While only a 55 base power Flying move, it doubles in power if the user has no held item. Certainly, Beedrill that held berries could have this as a coverage move, which after consuming a Berry, would be a 110 base power move going off of Beedrill’s fairly strong Attack stat.
With a new potential Ability and a couple new moves to work with, how did Beedrill fare? Actually, pretty badly. Competitive players finally decided Beedrill was simply bad by this point. You would rarely see a Beedrill used in a Support role in the new lowest tier of Smogon University/Pokemon Showdown singles called PU, which literally stands for P.U., as in stinky.
PU Support Beedrill focused on setting Toxic Spikes as an entry hazard or Tailwind to boost your team’s speed. It would then play U-Turn to get to another teammate. Support Beedrill would also run Endeavor to help deal major damage to defensive walls. Unfortunately, it was looking like Beedrill would be a forgotten Pokemon going forward. Fortunately, Game Freak would not forget Beedrill, and in fact, give it a brand new life starting in Generation 6.
The Mega Evolution of Beedrill
Beginning in X and Y, a handful of Pokemon were selected to gain Mega Evolutions. Some of these Pokemon were already objectively powerful, while others received Mega Evolutions to breathe new life into forgotten Pokemon. Beedrill was on the verge of being completely irrelevant, and being a Generation 1 Pokemon that was now far behind the power curve, Mega Beedrill was born.
Obviously, a Mega Evolution is the best thing that could’ve ever happened to Beedrill. Upon Mega Evolving, its Ability switched from Swarm (or its Hidden Ability Sniper) into Adaptability. This ability, best known on Eevee, makes Mega Beedrill’s Same-Type moves deal 2x damage instead of 1.5 damage. So, this means that Poison Jab and U-Turn could deal significantly more damage than ever.
The base stats are what make Mega Beedrill particularly deadly. Its Attack balloons from 90 all the way to 150 base Attack. Its Speed skyrockets from a now mediocre 75 base stat all the way up to 145! For reference, 150 base Attack is the same as Groudon, Rayquaza, and Zekrom in Generation 6. That 145 Speed stat is bested only by Ninjask (160 base speed), Mega Alakazam (150), and Mega Aerodactyl (150) plus several Formes of Deoxys (Normal, Attack, and Speed). It’s also tied in Speed with Mega Sceptile and Accelgor. Becoming the 4th fastest Pokemon in the game that hits as hard as three Box Legendary Pokemon is exactly what Beedrill needed.
However, Mega Beedrill didn’t come into play with Pokemon X and Y. This was despite that you could actually catch Weedle very early in Pokemon X right on Route 2, as well as Kakuna in Santalune Forest. Beedrillite wasn’t invented until Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Therefore, you could only ever have basic Beedrill in X and Y, which is a bummer.
How Great was Mega Beedrill in Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire (ORAS)?
In Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, you could only get a Beedrill by catching a Kakuna in the Safari Zone and evolving it. But, you would be rewarded for evolving that Kakuna, or breeding it to get a Weedle with a Jolly or Adamant nature. Aboard the wrecked Sea Mauville on Route 108, which you can only access once you get Dive as an HM, you can find the Beedrillite in the Storage Room. This gives you access to this monster Pokemon, so strong that not only will it help you considerably in the endgame, but strong enough to be a top contender in competitive Pokemon!
Smogon University outlines a Mega Beedrill build they call “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” This Beedrill ran a move set of U-Turn, Protect, and Poison Jab, along with either Drill Run or Knock Off in its fourth move slot. U-Turn will be the move used most, because with Adaptability, it’s twice as powerful as usual. The same is true for Poison Jab. Protect exists mostly as a way to safely Mega Evolve if the opponent is faster, and since you’re starting with just 75 base Speed, this will be often.
As for the other moves, Knock Off is particularly useful in competitive Pokemon, as if the opponent is holding an item, this Dark-type Physical attack deals 50 percent more damage. Drill Run is useful Ground-type coverage, if the trainer’s team so needs it.
The only drawbacks of Mega Beedrill are that its HP and Defenses remain the same. Fortunately, the only stat decreased with Mega Evolution is Special Attack (45 to 15) which you’re never using anyway. Also, since you can only Mega Evolve once per battle, and Beedrill must hold the Mega Evolution item (in this case, Beedrillite), you have to build your team around it a bit.
The plus side is that once you Mega Evolve, you can freely use U-Turn to switch out, then come back in later. Mega Evolution lasts the entire battle until that Pokemon is knocked out. Therefore, Mega Beedrill could prove to be a great hit-and-run attacker. The trick to playing with Mega Beedrill effectively involved setting your own entry hazards and keeping your side of the board clear of same hazards. Mega Beedrill is most effective when it can consistently swap in and out.
The only things that could really threaten Mega Beedrill were Choice Scarf users with base speed over 80, Stealth Rock, and Pokemon with priority attacks like Extreme Speed. While it couldn’t ever outspeed Mega Aerodactyl, which was very popular, many trainers chose a Jolly nature for Mega Beedrill to give it a bit of an edge against many other speed boosted Pokemon.
How Good was Mega Beedrill in Generation 7?
Fortunately for Beedrill, Mega Evolutions continued to exist in Generation 7. Despite the massive power creep of Generation 7 with its many new powerful Pokemon such as Ultra Beasts, Mega Beedrill’s stats allowed it to continue being a solid offensive pivot. The only other Pokemon which now could outspeed Mega Beedrill were Electrode (whose base Speed was buffed to 150) and Pheromosa.
Unfortunately, Beedrill wasn’t available in Generation 7 until Ultra Sun and Moon, although you could eventually use Pokemon Bank to transfer your Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Pokemon over to the newer games. Even then, Beedrill was a pain to acquire in Ultra Sun and Moon, as it was only available through the Island Scan feature on Thursdays. The good news is that Beedrilite is available as a reward at the Battle Tree. So if you didn’t manage to have one from Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire, it was obtainable.
In competitive Pokemon, Mega Beedrill was run exactly the same as it was in Generation 6, move set and all. While it wasn’t top-tier, it was still solidly considered an Underused Pokemon (UU) on Pokemon Showdown.
For Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu, held items and abilities were removed entirely. However, Mega Evolutions for any of the first 151 Pokemon who had them would retain them. You could purchase the Beedrillite right before the Elite Four at Indigo Plateau for 30,000 Pokedollars. Even without its Adaptability ability, Mega Beedrill is still good enough to be a strong team member. Ideally, you’d use it the same way you would in competitive play, using U-Turn to consistently pivot out, then use Poison Jab or Drill Run to finish off weakened foes.
Beedrill Bids Adieu in Generation 8
With the massive downsizing of the Pokedex for the Generatino 8 games Sword and Shield, Beedrill was one of hundreds of Pokemon left behind. Mega Evolutions also said goodbye, replaced by the Dynamax gimmick. Butterfree was chosen over Beedrill for these games.
That being said, Beedrill did still appear in Generation 8 via the Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes. While not truly Generation 8 games, as they contain only Pokemon through Generation 4, they are considered to be thanks to be on the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, without a Mega Evolution, Beedrill reverts to its base form.
While certainly not a top competitive Pokemon with all the buffs many other Generation 4 Pokemon received over the years, Beedrill would still pop up in the niche Wi-Fi battle scene as a surprise Fell Stinger sweeper. While it had this move previously, its base power was too low to consider for Mega Beedrill. But, if Fell Stinger KO’s a Pokemon, it raises that Pokemon’s base Attack by two stages. Holding a Choice Scarf, Fell Stinger Beedrill could still be a decent sweeper. But, as it was in Generation 4, it’s even more outclassed. It’s a sad swan song for a Pokemon that with its Mega Evolution became a solid mid-tier offensive pivot.
Being entirely left out of the initial release of Scarlet and Violet, it’s hard to say if we ever see Beedrill return. However, there is good news. While not an official format by any means, one of the most popular competitive formats on Pokemon Showdown (run by Smogon University) is National Dex OU. While Mega Beedrill sees next to no play in the format, it did see a smattering of play in Generation 8’s version of the format, since Mega Evolutions are allowed in National Dex play. These Mega Beedrill typically ran a moveset with Poison Jab, Drill Run, Knock Off, and Fell Stinger.
While it’s too early to know if Mega Beedrill will see any play at all in Generation 9 as of this writing, it does seem its best days are behind it. Still, Beedrill has had a long underdog history that was a lot of fun to research and write about. As it’s a Pokemon I’ve really never used until I picked up Mega Beedrill in Let’s Go Eevee, it was good to know that this Mega Evolution did revitalize one of the OG Bug types who always deserved better.
It wouldn’t be a total shock to me if Mega Evolutions actually return to Pokemon in the future, as immensely popular as they were. I’m curious what Mega Beedrill, or even regular Beedrill, would do with the Tera Type mechanic. Unfortunately, I think that Beedrill and its Mega counterpart may be the subject of National Dex only debate for the foreseeable future.
What did you think of seeing Beedrill evolve over the past quarter-century? It was a blast putting this together, and there will be more of these multiple part series to come.
What Pokemon would you like to see me cover in the “Is It Good” series next?
Related: Is Beedrill Good (Part 1) | Is Butterfree a Good Pokemon? | Is Rabsca a Good Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet? | Is Vespiquen a Good Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet?