Under The Lights: Venomoth (Sorcerous Cup)
The "Under The Lights" series provides some deeper dives on Pokémon of particular interest, ones with (re-) breakout potential in the ongoing Cup. And today we're going to look at a Pokémon hoping to recapture some former glory. Dust off your old Venomoth buddy, because he's back... under the lights.
Attack: 129 (125 High Stat Product)
Defense: 104 (109 High Stat Product)
HP: 129 (131 High Stat Product)
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-13-15, 1500 CP, Level 27.5)
So, ol' Mothy gets in with its Poison typing, just as it did way back when it first burst onto the PvP scene way back in Season 1's Twilight Cup. Back then it was a breakout star as a rock solid counter to Toxicroak, shredding it with Confusion in a format that didn't have much in the way of Confusion.
But I digress. We'll get to that in a second. For now, note that it's a little glassier than you might like, with its shaky Defense, but at least the HP is high enough to stick around, and the decently high Attack combined with the aforementioned Confusions can finish things off before they can wail on Mothy too much.
The typing combination is a little awkward, leaving it vulnerable to Fire, Flying, and Rock on its Bug side, and Psychics on its Poison side. Venomoth resists Poison, Fairy, and Bug damage and double resists Grass and Fighting (part of what makes it so appealing against Fighters like Croak).
Confusion (Psychic, 4.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 2.0 CD)
Bug Bite (Bug, 3.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 0.5 CD)
I've already more than hinted at it, but Confusion is what really makes Moth tick. Bug Bite is a fine enough move, though it is exactly average in terms of damage output (even with STAB on top of it) and energy generation. There has not yet been a meta where it's better than Confusion.
Confusion alone still destroys Toxicroak, and every single Poison type in Sorcerous except Alolan Muk, Skuntank, and Golbat. (And even Bat is SUPER close.) That means Tentacruel, Haunter, the Grasses, the whole kit and caboodle. Interestingly, Confusion is also enough to beat down Granbull and gets all the other Charmers under 20 HP (with Wiggly being the "healthiest" afterwards at only 17 HP).
But it's the charge moves that push it over the top....
Poison Fang (Poison, 40 damage, 35 energy)
Silver Wind (Bug, 45 damage, 45 energy, 10% Chance to Increase User Attack/Defense by 2 Stages)
Psychic (Psychic, 90 damage, 55 energy, 10% Chance to Decrease Opponent Defense by 1 Stage)
Bug Buzz (Bug, 90 damage, 60 energy)
Return (Normal, 130 damage, 70 energy) (Purified only)
So in the past, such as in Moth's glory days in Twilight Cup, it worked best with (then-Legacy) Poison Fang for baiting and Moth's only Poison damage output, and Silver Wind as a closer with boost potential. Of course, that was before Wind got caught up in the horrible nerf to it, Ancient Power, and Ominous Wind. Silver Wind underwent the hardest fall of all, and now deals only 45 damage for the same amount of energy. Ouch. Even with Poison Fang baits, that leaves it very hobbled in Sorcerous Cup, as it sadly has been in other recent metas. It DOES use Fang to take down all the major Fairies--even Azumarill that's toting the seemingly-preferred-in-Sorcerous Play Rough rather than Ice Beam--and can even sneak away with a win over Golbat now too. But Silver Wind basically does nothing for it... that's all just with Fang.
However, while we didn't really consider them in the past, Venomoth DOES, of course, have other moves. Psychic is a little better, but just doubles up the already solid Psychic damage output with Confusion in the mix.
No, the move to consider anew is the other Bug damage move: Bug Buzz. It's not the best move out there, being outclassed by Megahorn and all the Flamethrower/Thunderbolt/Ice Beam types that deal the same 90 damage for only 55 energy (rather than Buzz's 60 energy). But here in Sorcerous, it just works. This is somewhat of a slower meta, with number of long, drawn out slugfests, so Moth has the time to get to Buzz and uses it to slam the door on both Dark/Poisons, as well as major Normal types Munchlax and both Lickiboys. Those are some nice pickups, and contribute to a very robust 63% win percentage against the core meta. And things that can potentially take out Azumarill AND Alolan Muk AND Tentacruel (and Munchie and others, for good measure) are in very short supply. Now, yes, some of those wins are aided by good shield baiting with Poison Fang... but not all. The Fairies and non-Dark Poisons and others go down regardless, and somewhat surprisingly, the Charmers all perish to Bug Buzz, even without Fang. That's nice to know too.
With shields down, the others do start to catch up, though note that Croak (not shockingly) and the Charmers all still reliably fall, as do the major Grasses, Haunter, and even Alolan Raticate.
With the benefit of two shields, Moth takes on a different sort of role. The Fairies and Grasses still fall, and now so do BOTH major Fighters (with Medicham now sharing Toxicroak's fate). So too do Poisons like Tentacruel and Haunter. But add to the list now major Ices Glalie and even popular pick Froslass, who just cannot quite reach a third Avalanche in time for the killing blow. I did NOT expect those names on the list, but that's why we check these things out!
Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with near-daily PvP analysis nuggets or Patreon which now has a tie-in exclusive Discord server you can access to get straight through to me. And of course, my continued thanks to my buddies in my local playgroup, the MD PvP Alliance Discord, and the GO Stadium PvP Discord for their guidance and brainstorming.
And as always, the simulated battles above from my go-to simming resource at PvPoke.com are a good start to the story, but they are certainly not the whole story. Run some sims yourself, pull your old buddy Venomoth out of...well, mothballs and test it yourself, and again: please discuss! I always love to hear your feedback and any discussions that come out of these deeper dives.
Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends, and see you again real soon!