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Old 05-06-2014, 07:51 PM   #36
used First Impression
Shadowshocker's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,015
You all knew this was coming.

Poison at a glance:
Compared to the original videogame-based metagame, Poison stands out for a glaringly dangerous reason: the implementation of physics and distance in battle means that stalling with Toxic is a prevalent and viable strategy. (Other factors helping this tactic include a heavy Switch = KO environment, how not all Pokémon have access to Heal Bell/Aromatherapy and said moves don't affect the team in their PokéBalls.) As a type that is not only immune to that strategy but also has an endless pool of energy to inflict the status, it goes without saying that Poison-types play a considerable role in the strategies of most Trainers. Small wonder, then, that Venoshock had to be pre-emptively nerfed before Generation V was introduced. Toxic is by far not the only way for Poisons to do their dirty work; a good number of them, even the newer ones, have a respectable set of off-type offence moves to make up for Poison's admittedly less remarkable effective coverage. Even when it comes to their weaknesses, expect a portion of Poisons to have a Ghost, Dark or Grass move to shove in the face of their nemeses.

Poison problems:
In the grander scheme of things, Poison is hardly the be-all-and-end-all of types. Despite its reliability, Toxic will never win matches by itself against anything that can put up a decent offence, as these opponents will beat the clock and take down its Toxic tormentor before the poison can eat away at it completely. Despite not actually being effective against them, Ghost Pokémon are Poison's greatest enemy, being typically considered Toxic-immune and resisting Poison as well, shutting down a great handful of the Poisons you could find on this list. Ground-types are another problem, fearing none but a few of the Poisons below while threatening with very dangerous Earthquakes. Psychic-types have long since fallen as a favourite counter due to how nerfed they are each generation, but they will always pack a punch.

Drapion - This guy always makes it on my gym team and it's not hard to see why. Drapion is an instant answer to most, if not all Ghost and Psychic enemies threatening the team, and even in the very unlikely scenario that neither of those types appear, the reliability of its typing make it a solid option in most matchups. While it's not as type-versatile as a few other Poisons, Swords Dance backing a decent set of attacks (Poison Jab, Crunch, Aqua Tail, Earthquake) is enough to go toe-to-toe with a lot of enemies, and status inducers like Toxic Spikes and Confuse Ray are icing. I might not always use Gengar (it happens), but it's safe to say I will always be using Drapion.

Gengar - The acquisition level system restructuring bumped this guy to Level 6 for a good reason. In many ways, Gengar is better than Drapion - hailing from the original generation has given it a ton of edges, including Psywave and Self-Destruct to number among its offences. Ghost powers, levitation and status inducers like Disable and Confuse Ray are more ways it can mess with its opponent, often helping to waste precious attacking opportunities while smiting away with the poison status. Mean Look is another vital move to prevent switches in an environment where opponents are very, very switch-happy. Gengar's only problems are a defensively weaker type combo and the inability to boost itself, but it's enough to nudge it a few steps lower than Drapion on this list.

Nidoking - Another member of Kanto's old guard, there's no surprise Nidoking is high in the toxic tiers. Without stats holding it back, Nidoking is free to let its Normal-esque movepool tear through enemies, even when its typing is often left wanting. While it lacks most support moves, its access to high-power attacks such as Earthquake, Fire Blast and Megahorn puts it on par with the types normally sent to counter it, and allow it to score crippling effective damage on most things it comes across. At the same time, Toxic Spikes can line the field just as well as Drapion can to wear opponents down over time. Megahorn being particularly prized as another move to punish Psychics is why male chauvinism noses in a victory over feminism this time.

Nidoqueen - While she makes less appearances in my gym, Nidoqueen should not be underestimated. Despite being considered the more docile of the needle rabbits, Nidoqueen actually has access to Nidoking's full range of offensive capabilities, sans Megahorn, meaning it can handle everything Nidoking can. Nidoqueen's additional access to Pursuit and support moves such as Disable and Supersonic also help to sustain its longevity, but in the end it pales in comparison to Nidoking's sheer power.

Tentacruel - Tentacruel's circumstances as a jellyfish have not granted it many moves to play with, though it does get a few nasty tricks, and is frequently one of the Pokémon I send out as a scout while keeping Gengar and Drapion in reserve. It might not have the movepool of Nidoking, but Tentacruel can at least score neutral damage on a lot of things thanks to its Water typing granting it Hydro Pump; between this and Ice Beam, Tentacruel is a reliable counter for visiting Dragons, Steels and Grounds - the latter two not being completely comfortable chasing it into water. Confuse Ray, Toxic Spikes and the new toy in Reflect Type also make it an annoying beast to face. Despite its utility, Tentacruel's issues with Psychics and Electric spam make it hard for it to go higher on the list.

Dragalge - As a disclaimer, I have yet to possess a Dragalge, never mind use it in the gym, but Kalos' sole Poison line scores surprisingly high on this list. Not only is Poison/Dragon a pretty respectable typing, but the weedy dragon has very decent off-type offences, including Thunderbolt and Focus Blast to deal with its obvious issues against Ice Beaming Waters and Steels. Dragalge might not be able to navigate land due to its flimsy anatomy, but in the water or poison moat I fully expect it to be a beast, messing with enemies using Acid Armour and Venom Drench while plaguing the land with Toxic Spikes. This is one Poison who's better under the sea.

Crobat - Crobat is another vital utility Pokémon that often edges in a spot on my gym team. Not only is it able to use Mean Look to punish foolish opponent selections, it can also U-turn to swing the type matchups in my favour. Nasty Plot backing up its decent special pool of Sludge Bomb, Twister, Heat Wave and Shadow Ball make it alright for sweeping with, and if all else fails, it can remain reliably airborne while Toxic poisoning does its work. Crobat's main issue is that its typing leaves a lot of defensive holes it can't cover despite its own decent coverage, often making it more useful as a disruptor than a damager.

Muk - Out of all the mono-Poisons that exist, Muk's movepool is distinctly the most monstrous, with limbs to carry out decent physical moves and a chemical lab's worth of special concoctions. Despite not packing any powerful boost moves, Muk is a reliable sweeper nearly on par with Nidoking in situations, particularly where using a Ground-type would be undesirable. Annoying attacks such as Acid Armour and Minimise are also useful in varying extents. Muk's main problem is its inability to handle Ground-types, often leaving its space to others who can.

Skuntank - Skuntank really only has one reason to be this high up a long list of Poisons: it sharing the same type combo as Drapion. Beyond that, Skuntank is really not remarkable; Flamethrower, Memento and Explosion are the only things it has above the demonic scorpion. By virtue of this, however, Skuntank remains a reliable choice especially against foes who submit a squad full of Psychics and Ghosts to outlast the inevitable Drapion countering. This role as a vital (though boring) reserve member prevents it from slipping into the lower tiers, but stacking a team with one-and-a-half of the same Pokémon leaves the squad with issues against Ground-types.

Toxicroak - The boxing frog is a Pokémon I've desperately wanted to like and use more often than I do. To be fair, it has a very respectable resumé - boost moves in both physical and special spectrums is nothing to sniff at, and neither is its full access to the destructive power of the Fighting type. Steels and Darks quaver in the face of a boosted Focus Blast or Punch. The only problem - Toxicroak's Psychic weakness is a significantly devastating Achilles' heel, and its presence on my initial six will always cement a Psychic Pokémon on the opponent's team, meaning that all it usually gets to do is rattle sabres at enemy Darks and Steels.

Scolipede - If the team needs a Dark counter, Scolipede will usually fill that role over Toxicroak unless Psychic usage is unlikely; Scolipede also often fulfills the Psychic countering required on the team thanks to its very painful Swords Dance-boosted Megahorn, scouting before Drapion and Gengar. Between that and Earthquake, Scolipede is by far the most capable Bug/Poison, having a few answers to the types that counter it. In the end, though, a lack of versatility prevents it from going any higher.

Venusaur - Ah, Venusaur. An all-time favourite of those old enough to play the first generation and still scoring a lot of cool points in the years that followed, the tropical flower beast is probably as good as you're going to get in a Grass/Poison. Sufficient bulk has given it Ancient Power and Earthquake, vital for letting it get around many of its weaknesses, and a Swords Danced Power Whip puts paid to the otherwise defensively dangerous Water/Ground Pokémon. Sadly, Grass is simply not a great type to be thanks to poor overall coverage and abusable Ice weakness against the Waters it's supposed to be countering.

Roserade - Roserade is not like traditional Grass/Poisons, designed with agility and poise in mind. This unfortunately prevents it from getting any high-powered physical moves, and by extension this means that it doesn't get much variance in the assaults it can pull off. Still, Shadow Ball, Dazzling Gleam and Extrasensory isn't shabby, alongside both flavours of Weather Ball (which would be great if I didn't have to ban weather moves in my acid raining gym).

Seviper - A sort of jack-of-all-trades, Seviper can pull off several anti-Steel, Psychic, Ghost and Ground manoeuvres, while boosting its reliability with the rarely-seen Coil. Most of its moves, however, lack the significant strength of attacks privy to other Pokémon higher on the list, making it an average choice for a Poison team but not often making the cut.

Qwilfish - Qwilfish's capabilities could be summed up as the strange baby of Tentacruel and Weezing - it gets a few strange toys in Shock Wave, Self-Destruct and Shadow Ball while keeping Hydro Pump and Swords Dance. This isn't too bad until you realise that Qwilfish has very poor mobility issues even in water. It could make for a nice Toxic Spikes + Minimise abuser, but it's only the defensive prowess of its typing that prevents it from plummeting any lower in the tiers.

Arbok - There isn't much that separates Arbok from Seviper. Elemental fangs, Seed Bomb and Fissure are all very well, but don't make a great case for it when it comes to viability.

Weezing - It's a wonder Weezing got any moves at all, and sadly, Smogon's universal emblem really does not function all that well. A smattering of special moves, levitation to avoid Earthquakes and self-sacrificial attacks manage to prevent it from being close to unusable.

Swalot - Lesser cousin of the pure Poisons, Swalot used to be higher on the list and frequency of usage, owing to a few strange moves in the Sing + Dream Eater combination, Ice Beam and elemental punches. Unfortunately, its lack of most stronger moves leave it to be outclassed by other Poisons.

Garbodor - It learns Psychic, and... wait, that isn't even remotely impressive. Garbodor really does not make use of any benefit of being a Poison-type, save for setting up hazards and blowing itself up. Outside of the above, it's not as impressive as Roxie makes hers out to be.

Ariados, Beedrill, Venomoth, Dustox - Without any form of bulk, any Bug/Poison that isn't Scolipede is in big trouble. To their credit, Ariados does get Megahorn, Beedrill gets Swords Dance and the moths get Quiver Dance, and they do get a couple moves (Dark or Grass in varying measure) that punch a whole in the types they're weak to. Unfortunately, Steel and Fire Pokémon walk all over them completely, and the fact that Energy Ball or Seed Bomb are so common amongst a lot of poisons anyway using these guys hardly seems worth the effort.

Victreebel, Vileplume - At times I wonder if these two weren't created just to make Venusaur look good. Kanto's Grass starter has generally not needed the help since 1995, and these two have been left in the dust consistently. Victreebel does rank a little higher due to Leaf Blade and Weather Ball, but frankly not only Venusaur, but also Roserade pulls this off better. Vileplume gets Drain Punch, and that's literally the only thing it does better than its fellow plants.

Amoonguss - No boost moves, strongest non-Normal, non-STAB attack is Feint Attack. ...Really, you wanted me to say something?
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