Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (2024)

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The Poison-Type has been around in Pokémon since the beginning for Red, Green, and Blue, but it continues to be overlooked and categorized as a mediocre typing. Poison is generally feared as a status affliction and little else, but the type deserves respect beyond this. While Poison types are considered dangerous and are often synonymous with villainous organizations in Pokémon games and anime, they do have plenty to offer any trainer.

The Poison typing has evolved with each generation of games, especially with Scarlet and Violet pushing the roster count to over 1,000 unique species. Naturally, that expanded Pokédex has resulted in better viability across competitive settings in mainline Pokémon games. But before delving into the competitive scene with Poison creatures, players should familiarize themselves with their strengths and weaknesses.

Updated on July 2, 2024, by Antonio Samson: Poison-Type Pokémon are one of the most unique types in the series. Their main goal in battle is to slowly chip away at their opponents' health by poisoning them. This article has been updated to include more information on Poison-Types and to meet CBR's editorial and formatting standards.

The Poison Type's Offensive Strengths & Resistances

Poison Has Well Rounded Offensive and Resistance Capabilities

Super-Effective Strengths

Not Very Effective Resistance

Immune

Grass

Poison

Steel

Fairy

Ground

Rock

Ghost

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For years, Poison-Type Pokémon were defined by Ekans, Arbok, Koffing, and Weezing — toxic Gen I creatures that afflict poison and are often seen pairing up with Pokémon villains. That became the public perception of the Poison typing moving forward, and few players paid attention to their type matchups in battle. From Sludge Bomb to Poison Jab, there are plenty of Poison-Type moves that are generally taken for granted. These techniques can be useful tools when used in favorable matchups.

Poison-Type moves have two super-effective advantages over Grass- and Fairy-Type Pokémon, but have four types that resist their own moves, reducing the damage output to 1/2. Poison is thwarted even by Steel types, as Poison moves do not affect them whatsoever.

Poison-Type Moves Are Super Effective Against Grass & Fairy Types

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (2)

Poison's negative reputation ultimately stemmed from only having one super-effective strength over Grass types, at least until the Fairy typing was introduced in Gen VI. Poison-Type offense was primarily used for its status capabilities, as there were more enticing counters for Grass types.

However, the introduction of Fairy types in X and Y changed the game for Poison Pokémon. Fairy types were introduced to provide much-needed counters for Dark and Dragon, but in doing so, their weakness to Poison saved the latter typing. With Fairy Pokémon being powerful in every generation since their arrival, Poison types are now more competitively viable than ever. A Poison Tera Pokémon can be used to take advantage of these matchups to an even higher degree.

Poison-Type Moves Can't Even Hit Steel Pokémon And Are Resisted By Poison, Ground, Rock & Ghost Types

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (3)

Poison's negative reputation was formed as early as the first generation, with four different Pokémon types resisting their moves hardly helping matters. Poison Pokémon resist moves of their own typing, while Ground- and Rock-Type Pokémon can repel Poison moves from hitting as hard as they ought to. Ghost types also resist Poison-Type moves, a matchup that is often forgotten about.

Unfortunately, the drawbacks for Poison-Type moves don't stop there, as Steel types have been immune since their introduction to Gen II. Pure Steel types have a staggering ten type resistances, in addition to their sole immunity to Poison types. They're easily the best defensive typing in the mainline Pokémon games. Surprisingly, Poison has much better matchups defensively than in its offense.

Stat

Average

Attack:

75.07 (overall)

Sp. Attack:

73.17 (overall)

Attack:

89.50 (fully-evolved Pokémon)

Sp. Attack:

88.43 (fully-evolved Pokémon)

Generations II and onward undoubtedly helped the typing's offensive options by introducing more viable attacking moves. Attacks like Sludge Bomb, Poison Jab, Cross Poison, and more help diversify Poison Pokémon's movepools. This is partially reflected in the Type's offensive averages.

Overall, the pool of Poison Pokémon's Physical Attack has a slight 75.07 advantage over Special Attack's 73.17, while the averages among fully-evolved species are 89.5 and 88.43, per Bulbapedia. Lacking more super-effective checks and immunities, and having so many Types that resist it holds Poison back, but status-afflicting moves offer another offensive alternative. Even in the competitive meta, inflicting opponents with Poison via Toxic or Toxic Spikes is extremely valuable since it can severely erode an opponent's HP per turn.

The Poison Type's Defensive Resistances & Weaknesses

Beware of Ground And Psychic Moves

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (4)

Not very Effective Resistances

Super-Effective Weaknesses

Grass

Ground

Fighting

Psychic

Poison

Bug

Fairy

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A Pokémon type's strengths and weaknesses are always based on the super-effective advantages of their own attacks in addition to the super-effective weaknesses they have from opposing moves. This means that defensive resistances can often be overlooked. For all of its offensive shortcomings, Poison Pokémon are solid competitors in terms of defense, with resistance to five different types.

Poison Pokémon species have just the two super-effective weaknesses, a fact that fans wouldn't have thought possible due to the typing's supposed negative reputation. Poison-Type Pokémon need only steer clear of Psychic and Ground Pokémon as far as these unfavorable matchups go. But the defensive stats of each Poison Pokémon will ultimately determine their longevity in a drawn-out competitive match.

Poison Types Resist Grass-, Fighting-, Poison-, Bug- & Fairy-Type Moves

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (6)

While the fact that Poison-Type Pokémon resists five different types is a surprising concept, each matchup makes sense when analyzed closely. Poison has offensive advantages over Grass- and Fairy-Type Pokémon, so resistance from their moves makes sense, as does Poison's own resistance to Poison-Type moves.

Poison and Ghost types resist Bug-Type attacks despite having no such advantage with their own offense. This likely comes from how small and insignificant Bug-Type moves can generally be, especially when facing such toxic forces. The consensus regarding Poison's resistance to Fighting-Type moves is that physical offense like martial arts would do little to a threat such as poison, especially in a liquid form. While this would open up questions about Fighting's relationship with Water, Poison needs these extra resistances to make it more viable.

Stat

Average

Defense:

70.27 (overall)

Sp. Defense:

72.95 (overall)

Defense:

84.44 (fully-evolved Pokémon)

Sp.Defense:

89.48 (fully-evolved Pokémon)

There's a slightly higher disparity between these Pokémon's defensive stats, but somewhat similar to their offenses, Physical Defense and Special Defense are robust. Overall, this pool of species Defense averages 70.27 and 72.95 for Special Defense, and 84.44 and 89.48 among fully-evolved Pokémon, per Bulbapedia.

Poison Types Are Weak To Ground- & Psychic-Type Moves

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (7)

Poison's weaknesses are simple enough to grasp and easy to implement. First up is Poison's super-effective weakness to Ground-Type moves. Moves like Earthquake have risen in popularity and remained effective over the years, mainly as they are Electric's sole weakness. However, so many unique non-Ground types can learn moves like Earthquake and Dig. This spells trouble for Poison types, as they don't fare well against this kind of versatility.

Psychic-Type moves are the other major weakness for Poison Pokémon, with the idea that the mind and psychic powers can dispel harm. This applies to Psychic's super-effective advantages over Fighting and Poison types — combatting both body and mind. Psybeam and Zen Headbutt barely scratch the surface of the Psychic-Type moves that overwhelm Poison Pokémon. These will wipe them out quickly if they don't have the appropriate Special Defense or Defense stats.

Some Of The Best Poison-Type Pokémon To Use In Scarlet & Violet

Amoonguss Retains Its Power From Gen V

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (8)

Type:

Poison/Grass

Stat total:

464

Notable Poison moves:

Sludge Bomb, Toxic, Clear Smog

Notable Ability:

Regenerator

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After taking into account the Poison-Type's pros and cons, players will likely want to know which species are the best to use in the most recent games — Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. The Gen IX games have a healthy mix of returning favorites and even some new heavy hitters, with Amoonguss being one of the former. The Gen V Pokémon has been a surprise hit in the competitive scene, with the dual Poison/Grass-Type only getting stronger since the Gen VI games made Poison more viable.

One of the more immediately noticeable strengths Amoonguss has is its dual typing, as it benefits from the offensive and defensive moves of the Grass-Type. Boasting a high HP stat (114), decent defenses, and the terrific Regenerator ability that heals a third of its max HP when switching out of battle, this Pokémon plays a great supporting role on a team. This means it can survive an intense battle of attrition, especially with attacks like Giga Drain and Sludge Bomb, and status moves like Spore to put opponents to sleep.

Iron Moth Is A Paradox Powerhouse

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (10)

Type:

Fire/Poison

Stat total:

570

Notable Poison moves:

Sludge Wave, Toxic Spikes

Notable Ability:

Quark Drive

One of the key features introduced in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet was the Paradox species concept. While these creatures are unique species altogether, their appearances are meant to be either futuristic or ancient analogs to existing species. Violet introduced the version-exclusive Iron Moth, which is a sci-fi twist on the Gen V Pokémon Volcarona. This new creature drops the Bug-Type altogether for Poison, becoming a dual Fire/Poison-Type.

Considering Bugs are generally frail defensively — with some exceptions — pairing Fire with Poison opens up exciting offensive possibilities for Iron Moth. On top of its staggering 570 stat total and Quark Drive ability, Iron Moth has a wide range of Special-focused attacks like Fire Dance and Sludge Wave to deal heavy damage and possibly inflict a status effect on the opponent. With the Quark Drive ability potentially boosting its already impressive Special Attack stat (140) by another 30 percent, Iron Moth is a menacing Poison Pokémon for the latest generation of games.

Gengar Continues To Be A Poison-Type Stalwart

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (11)

Type:

Ghost/Poison

Stat total:

500

Notable Poison moves:

Sludge Wave, Sludge Bomb, Toxic Spikes

Notable Ability:

Levitate

Since its debut in the Generation I games Pokémon Red and Green, Gengar has continued to be a strong Poison-Type representative. While its strengths in the original Game Boy games were more so related to its Ghost typing, the dual Ghost/Poison-Type has made increasingly better use of the latter as generations made battling more sophisticated. It's impressive that the creature has endured competitively since Pokémon's inception, with its movepool, abilities, and typing making it well-rounded in Scarlet and Violet.

Though its stats are average in other areas, Gengar's fantastic 130 Sp. Attack and 110 Speed allow it to hit hard and fast. Thanks to its Levitate Ability, it even negates the Poison-Type's Ground weakness, while its movepool reaches far beyond Ghost and Poison attacks. With its Sp. Attack and wide coverage options for moves, Gengar can attack with Thunder Bolt, Focus Blast, and Energy Ball to compensate for its frailties. That is, of course, on top of reliable moves like Shadow Ball, Sludge Wave, Sludge Bomb, and Toxic Spikes.

Toxtricity Has A Uniquely Useful Dual-Type

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Type:

Electric/Poison

Stat total:

502

Notable Poison moves:

Sludge Wave, Sludge Bomb, Toxic Spikes

Notable Ability:

Punk Rock

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Similar to Gengar, Toxtricity is another Poison Pokémon with a broad offensive range thanks to its dual typing. A newer species introduced in the Generation VIII games Pokémon Sword and Shield, Toxtricity is a dual Electric/Poison-Type — the only evolutionary line to have it. This does mean that it now has a glaring 4x weakness to Ground-Types as opposed to the usual 2x against Electric and Poison individually, but its offensive stats and diverse attacks make up for it.

Toxtricity's offensive stats are close enough to justify a role as a mixed attacker, with a 98 Phys. Attack and 114 Sp. Attack, letting attacks like Thunder Bolt, Thunder Punch, Poison Jab, and Sludge Bomb all hit for impressive damage. For added coverage, it can even amplify the already powerful 140 base damage of the Normal-Type attack Boomburst by 1.3x with its Ability Punk Rock.

Poison-Type Pokémon Have Become Stronger Over Time

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (14)

Poison types have come a long way since the very beginning of Pokémon, but they owe their current position to the Gen VI introduction of the Fairy typing. Poison types deserve more respect, especially for their super-effective advantages over Fairy and Grass types, and resistance to Fighting, Bug, and their own moves. They still carry some glaring flaws in having two super-effective weaknesses and not being able to inflict heavy damage on five types but they have proven themselves more than just dangerous species existing to afflict poison on their foes.

Some Of The Best Poison-Type Moves To Use In Scarlet & Violet

Sludge Bomb

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (15)

Type

Special

Power

90

Accuracy

100%

Effect

Has a 30% chance of poisoning the target

Sludge Bomb offers a strong balance of power and accuracy, making it a reliable offensive move. The 30% chance to poison the target adds a layer of strategic value, as poisoned opponents take damage over time, which can turn the tide in prolonged battles.

Poison Jab

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (16)

Type

Physical

Power

80

Accuracy

100%

Effect

Has a 30% chance of poisoning the target

This physical move is ideal for Poison-Types with high Attack stats. Its perfect accuracy ensures consistent damage, and the added chance to poison the opponent can disrupt their strategy and force them to switch out or use healing items/moves.

Toxic Spikes

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (17)

Type

Status

Effect

Lays a layer of spikes that poisons opposing Pokémon that switch into battle.

Toxic Spikes are a fantastic move for setting up hazards on the battlefield. By laying down spikes, you can poison any opposing Pokémon that switches in, which is especially effective against teams that rely on frequent switching. This move can steadily weaken the opponent's team and create a significant advantage.

Cross Poison

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (18)

Type

Physical

Power

70

Accuracy

100%

Effect

High critical-hit ratio and a 10% chance of poisoning the target.

Cross Poison is valuable for Poison-Types that focus on critical hits. The high critical-hit ratio increases the likelihood of dealing extra damage, and the chance to poison the target adds another utility layer. This move is both reliable and effective, especially in critical-hit-based strategies.

Toxic

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (19)

Type

Status

Accuracy

90%

Effect

Badly poisons the target, causing increasing damage each turn.

Toxic is a cornerstone of Poison-Type strategy. Badly poisoning the target means they will take increasing damage each turn, which can quickly wear down even the bulkiest opponents. This move is perfect for stalling strategies and can force opponents into unfavorable positions.

Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (20)
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
Franchise
Pokemon

Platform(s)
Switch

Released
November 18, 2022

Developer(s)
Game Freak

Publisher(s)
Nintendo , The Pokemon Company

Genre(s)
RPG

ESRB
E For Everyone Due To Mild Fantasy Violence

How Long To Beat
32 Hours

Metascore
72
Pokémon: How To Use The Poison Type (2024)

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