Poison type has a history of being below the power level of many other types in competitive formats. In Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow the metagame was dominated by Psychic type Pokemon, a natural enemy of Poison Pokemon. The addition of Poison type was often considered a hindrance. Slowly Mono-Poison type teams have gained traction with Dark/Poison types such as Drapion and Skuntank. The introduction of Fairy type Pokemon has given Poison Pokemon solid footing in the Overused metagame. VGC in 2016 saw less usage of actual Pokemon of the Poison type but a large inclusion of Poison type moves used for coverage of Xerneas a lethal offensive threat.
Toxapex, Alolan Muk, Nihilego and Salazzle are additions from the Alola region that have broadened the horizons of Poison Monotype. With these four new tools for experimentation, the poison type feels refreshed and is a solid contender in the monotype hierarchy. Personally, I have found the type to have a nice balance challenge but with the potential to be powerful when properly prepared.
Poison type has been around since the beginning of the Pokemon games, thus it has a fairly diverse roster to choose from when building a team. General battle style favors balance or offensive, reason being most Poison Pokemon have a small set of resistances even with a secondary type. They also haven’t gotten a diverse number of tank or stall oriented Pokemon. Scolipede, Crobat, Nihilego, Gengar and Slazzle are fast and relatively powerful while Toxapex, Mega Venusaur and Alolan Muk can take some hits. Teams can easily be built to align with a personal playstyle more than ever, the new generation has opened the doors for Poison Pokemon with it’s recent additions.
By the Numbers
# of Pokemon with this type: 64
# of Fully Evolved Pokemon: 30
2x Super effective against: Fairy, Grass
Effective against: Normal, Fighting, Flying, Bug, Fire, Water, Electric, Psychic, Ice, Dragon, Dark
2x Resisted by: Rock, Ground, Ghost, Poison
Ineffective against: Steel
2x Weak against: Ground, Psychic
Damaged normally by: Normal, Ghost, Dark, Water, Ice, Flying, Electric, Steel, Dragon, Fire, Fighting
2x Resistant to: Fighting, Grass, Poison, Fairy, Bug
Immune to: None
- Mega Gengar
- Alolan Muk
- Mega Venusaur
- Mega-Beedrill (Upon Megastone release in February)
Physical- Poison Jab, Poison Fang, Gunk Shot, Cross Poison
Special- Sludge Bomb, Sludge Wave, Acid Spray, Clear Smog
Status- Toxic, Toxic Spikes, Coil, Baneful Bunker
- Acid Downpour can be physical (100-190 Base Power), special (100-190 Base Power) or status type depending on the original move.
- Z-Toxic raises physical defense one stage alongside the effects of Toxic.
Type in OU
Four popular Pokemon in the overused metagame feature Poison typing: Nihilego, Alolan Muk, Toxapex and Mega Venusaur as of the writing of this article.
Nihilego is a diverse Pokemon well known for its use as a lead, setting up Stealth Rocks or Toxic Spikes and holding a focus sash due to its extreme physical weakness. It also functions well as a user of either Choice Scarf or Specs, as it has high speed at base 103 and special attack at base 127. Nihilego’s weaknesses are its limited movepool and very low defense. It requires proper support to succeed, preferring to be paired with bulky offensive pokemon that may force a lot of switches to take advantage of the entry hazards it can set up. It shares a common weakness of Poison types, Ground type. Landorus Therian form poses a problem for us due to its high usage, but basically any Earthquake will OHKO it if it does not have a Focus Sash intact. HP Ice is common on it for this reason, allowing it to threaten the likes of Landorus, Garchomp, and the occasional Gliscor.
On the other end of the spectrum, Toxapex is a bulky stall oriented Pokemon, but also fits well into balance teams that need a physical wall. With additional Water typing, one of the most common types for bulky Pokemon, Toxapex gets access to an astounding set of support moves: Toxic Spikes, Recover, Scald, Haze, Stockpile and Toxic just to name a few. Its ability, Regenerator, is what pushes it over the top. Allowing Toxapex to recover health when switching out of battle, this combination of good typing, movepool, base stats and ability have pushed solidly into the OU metagame. Toxapex appreciates being paired with pokemon that cover its type weaknesses, such as Mandibuzz who can switch in on two kinds of super effective attacks aimed at Toxapex for zero damage, but beware of electric attacks.
Speaking of stall, Mega Venusaur has returned this generation as a top contender for a bulky Pokemon in OU. Its ability Thick Fat eliminates its weaknesses to Fire and Ice, leaving it weak to only Flying and Psychic. Mega Venusaur can wall all sorts of Pokemon in OU between its decent HP and high physical and special defense. Sludge Bomb and Giga Drain are staples on Mega Venusaur; the remaining two moveslots are usually taken up by Hidden Power Fire, Leech Seed, Synthesis, Earthquake, or Toxic.
The last highlight Pokemon is Alolan Muk. A combination of high HP, Attack, and Special Defense plus a great Dark/Poison typing make Muk a premier offensive pivot and Pursuit trapper against common foes like Latios. Unfortunately Alolan Muk currently lacks the elemental punches, so Ground and Steel types pose a big problem. However, Knock Off makes Alolan Muk very threatening. Poison touch is Muk’s best ability, potentially crippling walls that switch in or an opposing pivot, decreasing their durability. Muk’s biggest weakness is its lack of recovery outside of Rest and that holds true in this generation. An assault vest set with max HP and attack is usually the most efficient way to run Alolan Muk, allowing it to pivot in and out of resisted Special hits and Knock Off/poison foes as they switch around themselves.
Scolipede must be mentioned here, as it was recently banned from UU. Scolipede’s combination of strength and speed, plus the ability to Baton Pass speed boosts, means it has some utility on OU teams. However, it is held back by frailty and a susceptibility to Stealth Rock.
Overall Poison Pokemon have finally become strong and usable in OU, although they still suffer. Poison Pokemon have fairly diverse base stats, but are held back by their typing due to the commonality and effectiveness of Ground and Psychic types, two types that contain very strong and fast offensive Pokemon.
Type in Mono
Poison monotype has become very strong with the addition of our new friends from Alola: Alolan Muk, Nihilego, Toxapex and Salazzle. Before the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon, Psychic monotype teams were considered number one in the type ranking, only contested by Flying type. Such dominance led to the weakness of Poison teams until the seventh generation games. While Nihilego and Toxapex fill much of the same role as in OU, Alolan Muk has become the premier special tank and Psychic counter on Poison teams with access to Pursuit, Knock Off and a priority move in the form of Shadow Sneak, with stats geared to be specially defensive accompanied by a solid attack stat.
Salazzle has been helpful for covering opposing Steel type teams. Its unique ability, Corrosion, allows it to inflict Toxic upon even Steel Types, while its secondary Fire typing lets it threaten most with Flamethrower. While still a problem for Poison teams due to their immunity to our main STAB boosted attacks, Heatran is their only reliable switch in for dispatching Salazzle. To cover this weakness Salazzle needs only to use Hidden Power Ground, assuming the use of a Choice Specs set.
Given Poison types balanced playstyle, Mega-Venusaur fills an important role of being neutral to Earthquake and resistant to Water and Electric types, something many of our other Pokemon do not do. Despite its slew of resistances, Mega-Venusaur boasts a special attack stat of 122 base making it the leading option for the tank role.
Type in Other Metas
Poison has limited use in the Uber tier as their are only two “Uber” restricted Pokemon, Poison type Arceus and Mega-gengar. Arceus is good at setting up with calm mind against Blissey and Chansey and is one of the viable Toxic Spikes absorbers. Mega Gengar is much more offensive: with the ability Shadow Tag, it can trap and remove threats from the opposing team without much contest. Its lethal combination of Perish Song, Disable, and Taunt can wholly shut down some defensively oriented Pokemon, while its high special attack and speed let it trap and remove more offensively oriented foes.
Underused is where many Poison types reside. Gengar, Tentacruel, Nidoking, Nidoqueen, Roserade, and Crobat are all significant threats in this tier.
Gengar is in UU for the first time because of its recent ability change. Originally Levitate, a valuable immunity on a Poison Pokemon, Cursed Body has replaced it and decreased Gengar’s effectiveness.
Tentacruel has always been on the edge of viability due to it’s good water typing, but now there is Toxapex, and the main role Tentacruel could fill is gone, limiting it a lower tier Rapid Spin user while sometimes being useful on rain teams.
Amoonguss was OU in Generation VI but has fallen in usage since the introduction of Toxapex, who fills a similar niche as a defensive pivot. Amoonguss’ niche lies in being one of two viable Pokemon to get access to Spore.
Nidoking and Nidoqueen have unique typing and a good movepool. The combination of Sheer Force and a Life Orb makes either one a threatening special attacker; however, they are held back from stardom by their mediocre base stats. They are not naturally fast enough to compete with offensive OU Pokemon and not strong enough in OU to use Choice Scarf. Nidoqueen fills a more defensive role than Nidoking by making use of Stealth Rock and slightly higher bulk at the expense of some offensive power. The other tiers have yet to be established as Pokemon Bank was recently released and the dust is still settling.
Tips and Tricks
Here are two of my favorite monotype cores to use:
|Salazzle @ Choice Specs
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Fire Blast / Flamethrower
– Sludge Wave
– Dragon Pulse
– Hidden Power [Ground]
|Venusaur @ Venusaurite
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe
Bold / Relaxed Nature
– Leech Seed / Earthquake
– Giga Drain
– Hidden Power [Fire]
|Venusaur @ Venusaurite
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA
– Giga Drain
– Sludge Bomb
|Muk-Alola @ Assault Vest
Ability: Poison Touch
EVs: 252 HP / 120 Atk / 136 SpD
Careful / Adamant / Brave Nature
– Knock Off
– Poison Jab / Gunk Shot
– Brick Break / Rock Slide / Stone Edge / Fire Blast
|Crobat @ Rocky Helmet / Black Sludge
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
– Brave Bird
|Toxapex @ Black Sludge
EVs: 252 HP / 196 Def / 60 SpD
– Toxic / Toxic Spikes
To wrap things up, Poison types have come a long way since the first generation Pokemon games. Game Freak has been fair with the nerfs, buffs and secondary type availability providing a fun and potentially diverse experience. I appreciate you taking the time to read this article and hopefully I have inspired you to build a Poison Type team of your own.