Carnivine, The Bug Catcher Pokémon. It attracts prey with its sweet- smelling saliva, then chomps down. It takes a whole day to eat prey. Hanging from branches using its tentacles, it looks like a plant. It awaits prey, mouth wide open. It binds itself to trees in marshes. It attracts prey with its sweet- smelling drool and gulps them down. ť
Much like Zilla-Gorilla last week or boxer-in-a-skirt the week before, we've gotten another “Never-used” Pokémon on the analysis list. This time around it's Carnivine… who I have no stupid nicknames for because it actually looks quite cool.
Anyway, it isn't a bad Pokémon, but when you've been assigned to the Grass type, you already know you'll need to be something special just to break out of the Underused environment, much less the Never-used environment. It's got okay stats and the fairly generic Grass move-set. Aside from Levitate, this means it has little to separate it from its Grass brethren, and sadly, this'll probably keep it locked into the NU tier for good.
Levitate: gives you a nice immunity to Ground moves, Spikes and Toxic Spikes. The Ground immunity isn't much of a difference maker, since Grass types resist Ground moves anyway, and the Spikes immunity is pretty irrelevant in the NU tier where there's few Spikers around. Toxic Spikes is an okay immunity (since there are a few NU Toxic Spikers), but even that isn't hugely widespread. It's an okay ability, but it isn't excellent in Carnivine's hands.
- Swords Dance
Swords Dancing isn't the sole domain of Carnivine amongst Grass types, but it's still a pretty solid option. One real problem that Carnivine will run into is a real lack of Speed, which hinders sweeping attempts significantly. In fact, it's probably best to save stat-boosting for later until you've managed to spread a few Stun Spores around, since paralysed opponents help to compensate for your own lack of Speed. Once you do get around to firing off a Swords Dance, this is when Power Whip comes into play. 85% accuracy is a little shaky but it's worthwhile for 120 Base Power and STAB.
That lack of move-pool starts to show as you round things out. Crunch is your only other viable physical attack, short of maybe Return. The other, and arguably better “rounding it off” alternative is Sleep Powder, which can give you a good way to give yourself an opportunity to kick off a Swords Dance, or just a means to shed an irritating opponent's company.
- Sleep Powder
Double-status is an effective strategy, and something of a Grass type staple. Sleep Powder forces the switch and then you land a Stun Spore on whoever shows up next. Power Whip is obviously there for a strong source of reliable damage, and you can finally round things off with either Knock Off to ruin your opponent's day some more or Synthesis to heal up when it's needed.
EVs and Nature:
Leech Seed, Substitute, Seed Bomb, Energy Ball, Grass Knot, Hidden Power [Fire / Ice].
Sub-Seed (Leech Seed and Substitute) is a Grass type staple as well, although Carnivine lacks the Speed to really pull it off to perfection.
Seed Bomb is a plausible replacement for Power Whip if you have some major accuracy concerns, but the power difference is pretty large, making Power Whip the more attractive option, even at the cost of a little risk.
Energy Ball and Grass Knot are special options, and there's only a 10 Base Stat difference between Carnivine's Attack and Special Attack, making special attacking a viable option. This also opens up the Hidden Power route for you as well, with Fire and Ice being the preferable ones.
The status threat is a very problematic issue for any counter to potentially face. Short of Pokémon with a Lum Berry and Pokémon with self-inflicted statuses (such as Fire Orb or Rest-Talk), there's not too many Pokémon you can turn to who can safely deal with its status options. As far as its actual attacking goes, it doesn't offer a great deal of variety. Its core moves are Grass moves (obviously) and there's little else at its disposal. Grass-Poison types like Vileplume and Venusaur get a 4x resistance and STAB Poison moves to abuse, and the same applies to Bug-Flying types (such as Mothim, Beautifly and Vespiquen) who have a 4x resistance and super-effective STABs… and I never thought I'd mention Bug-Flying types as a counter for… anything… ever… You've got Poison types too, Fire types and other assortments since Grass is resisted by a lot of types. The only potential complication comes in the form of Hidden Power, which isn't an unheard of option (despite being listed in other options as opposed to the main move-sets). Even then, Hidden Power isn't the strongest of moves so working around it shouldn't be too difficult. As I stated at the start, the biggest threat it poses to Pokémon who resist its Grass STAB come in the form of statuses, and sadly, there isn't really an easy way around that problem.
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