Typing Review: An Overview of Grass Types for Raids in Pokemon Go

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"Which starter do I pick?" has long been one of the most perplexing and polarizing questions that our society has faced. Since 1996, countless individuals have started up any given Pokemon game and stared at the first big decision that they'd have to make on their journeys. And, every time that this question arises, the first pick available to players is inevitably a Grass Type.

Grass is an interesting type in Pokemon. It has the most weaknesses of the three starters, doesn't quite have the defensive advantages of Water and its two type weaknesses, and also lacks the powerful offensive coverage that Fire brings to the table. On paper, it seems like Grass should easily be the weakest of the three, yet its tactical ability to hit major threats and its key list of resistances makes it deceptively useful. Even here in Pokemon Go where Grass isn't needed extremely often for raids, it has its sudden moments where it genuinely shines, and can even keep up with many of the types that have an oppressive offensive presence... thanks in part to a handful of stellar Grass Types that elevate their archetype to new heights. So let's take a moment and give these plant-Pokemon the water and sunshine that they need as thanks as we look at the Pokemon that help this type shine, as well as its growth potential in the future.

The State of the Type

The current top Grass Type attackers in the game are already outlined in our Best Attackers by Type list, linked above, so we recommend that you take a look at that to get a better list-breakdown. But to make things a bit easier on us, here's the list of the current candidates that we'll be working with in this article:

Grass is definitely one of those types; a type that has a few absolutely centralizing Pokemon that dwarf all of the rest. In this case, Mega Sceptile and Kartana are the dominant Grass Types, and nothing can quite match them. The rest of the options on this list can generally do the job, but in most cases they'll be overshadowed by the major types that Grass competes with. One Pokemon worth particular mention here is Shaymin; Sky Forme. This little guy spent so long without a reliable/good Grass Type Fast Move, and while I was writing this article it was finally given Magical Leaf, allowing it to take its rightful place. Good on 'ya, buddy!

The Secondary Options

While we normally go in-depth about the "second tier" options, Grass Types tend to fall off pretty hard after the top few, so we won't really go into any more of them here.

Grass Type Moves

As of the publishing of this article, we currently have access to 18 different Grass Type attacks, divided into 5 Fast Moves and 14 Charged Moves.

Fast Moves Charged Moves
Bullet Seed Energy Ball
Hidden Power (Grass) Frenzy Plant
Leafage Giga Drain
Magical Leaf Grass Knot
Razor Leaf Leaf Blade
Vine Whip Leaf Storm
Leaf Tornado
Mega Drain
Petal Blizzard
Power Whip
Seed Bomb
Seed Flare
Solar Beam

The Good Moves

For the best Grass Type Fast Moves, we have three main options that cover the main bases of what Fast Moves should be; Magical Leaf, Vine Whipand LeafageMagical Leaf is the overall strongest, sporting a strong mix of DPS and energy generation that grants it outstanding general performance. Vine Whip has slightly more DPS, but loses some Energy Generation as a trade-off. Finally, Leafage has the highest base DPS, but the lowest energy generation of the three.

The Grass Type Charged Moves start with the classic Frenzy Plantwhich puts other Grass Type Charged Moves to shame and gives the Grass starters their niche. Next are Grass Knot and Power Whip, which are virtually identical to one another and sport great damage profiles. After that is Leaf Bladewhich is a bit weaker on paper, but the fact that its 3-bar keeps it very competitive due to its flexibility. 

The Bad Moves

Being perfectly honest here, Grass Type Fast Moves really don't delve too deep into the "bad" territory, with even the bad options still proving themselves usable to varying degrees. To that end, the worst options for the type have to be Razor Leaf and Bullet Seedas both lag behind the best Grass move options. And then there's Hidden Power (Grass), which is about as bad as Razor Leaf and Bullet Seed, but objectively worse due to the randomness factor in the typing of the move.

To start the less than outstanding Grass Type Charged Moves, we have TrailblazeWhile it's not an objectively bad move, it's a definite disappointment when compared to the good Grass Type moves, and isn't exactly an exciting move to see as a Grass Type Pokemon's best option. In short; while a Grass Type could be happy to get any of the "good" Charged Moves, Trailblaze would be a bit of a disappointment. Next are  Leaf Storm and Solar Beam. While not strictly horrible, they fall noticeably behind the good moves. Their DPS is generally not too far behind Leaf Blade on paper, even potentially out-pacing Trailblaze situationally. But, in practice, the fact that they're single-bar makes them substantially less reliable. Following this up, we have Shaymin's signature move, Seed FlareThis move is a disappointment, and it doesn't have any genuine utility. Moving on, we have Seed Bomb, Petal Blizzard, Energy Ball, Leaf Tornado, Giga Drainand Mega DrainThese moves all fall short of the bar, and lack the power needed to be worthwhile.

The Future of Grass Types

Currently Unreleased Grass-Type Pokemon

Currently Unreleased Grass-Type Moves

  • Absorb
  • Apple Acid*
    • Appletun
  • Aromatherapy
  • Branch Poke*
    • Rillaboom
  • Chloroblast*
    • Hisuian Electrode
  • Cotton Guard
  • Cotton Spore
  • Drum Beating*
    • Rillaboom
  • Flower Trick* 
    • Meowscarada
  • Forest’s Curse*
    • Trevenant 
  • Grass Pledge*
    • Grass Starters
  • Grass Whistle**
    • Roserade
  • Grassy Glide
  • Grassy Terrain
  • Grav Apple*
    • Flapple
  • Horn Leech**
    • Sawsbuck
  • Ingrain
  • Ivy Kudgel*
    • Ogerpon
  • Jungle Healing*
    • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Zarude
  • Leech Seed
  • Matcha Gotcha*
    • ​​​​​​​Sinistcha
  • Needle Arm**
    • ​​​​​​​Cacturne
  • Petal Dance
  • Sappy Seed*
    • ​​​​​​​Eevee (Let's Go)
  • Sleep Powder
  • Snap Trap*
    • ​​​​​​​Galarian Stunfisk
  • Solar Blade**
    • ​​​​​​​Lurantis
  • Spicy Extract*
    • ​​​​​​​Scovillain 
  • Spiky Shield
  • Spore**
    • ​​​​​​​Parasect
  • Strength Sap**
    • ​​​​​​​Shiinotic
  • Stun Spore
  • Synthesis
  • Syrup Bomb*
    • ​​​​​​​Dipplin
  • Trop Kick*
    • ​​​​​​​Tsareena
  • Wood Hammer
  • Worry Seed

*: Signature Move
**: Formerly a Signature Move

The Non-Threats

Aside from the Pokemon that aren't fully evolved, we can pretty safely rule out Hisuian Lilligant, Silvally, Eldegoss, Flapple, Appletun, Calyrex, Arboliva, Brambleghast, Toedscruel, Scovillain, Dipplin, Sinistca, and Wo-Chien due to the lack of strong stats or good moveset potential.

For Signature Moves that probably won't pan out in the future (if we get them at all), we have Apple Acid, Chloroblast, Forest's Curse, Grav Apple, Matcha Gotcha, Sappy Seed, Snap Trap, Spicy Extract, Strength Sap, and Syrup Bomb. This is because of low stats, odd moves, or other issues with the Pokemon that can utilize them.

On that note, Pokemon frequently gain access to moves that aren't signature but that bring them into viability regardless. This means that even our low-priority list isn't 100% safe, as they're simply the least likely to see new viability in the future given what we currently know.

The Existing Threats

Pokemon in this section have already been released into Pokemon Go, but their future is still bright. Due to moveset updates or other bonuses, they have the potential to rise on the list to varying degrees.

Note that we may treat select unreleased Mega Evolutions and alternate formes as Existing Threats, where applicable, due to their base-formes already existing in-game.

  • Current Best Moveset: Bullet Seed + Frenzy Plant
  • Best Possible Moveset: Magical Leaf + Frenzy Plant

So what happens when you take the best Pokemon of a type and give it a substantially better Fast Move? It becomes substantially better! The jump from Bullet Seed to Magical Leaf would boost Mega Sceptile's power by around 10%, which may not seem like much, but it's actually a fairly significant boost considering this monster's base DPS thanks to its high power and great Charged Move.

Oh, and Sceptile/Shadow Sceptile would definitely appreciate it too!

  • Best Possible Moveset: (Various) + Frenzy Plant

No, not all of these Pokemon have been released. But the majority of them have, so they're going to stay in this section.

This is a mass-entry that includes all of the Grass Type starters for one very real reason: Frenzy Plant isn't the only starter-exclusive Grass Type move. Alongside the three big moves; Blast Burn, Frenzy Plant, and Hydro Cannon, Gamefreak has also released an often overlooked second set of moves that are exclusive to the starters: Fire Pledge, Water Pledge, and most important to this list, Grass Pledge. These moves are easily overlooked in the main series as they're not exactly useful, and chances are very slim that Niantic would ever release them as Charged Moves that would surpass the existing Starter moves. Still, it is possible that they could be released as Fast Moves, which could bring all of the starters even higher than they are now if they're given a kind treatment by Niantic.

This is admittedly pretty unlikely, but the fact that the three Pledge moves do exist means that Niantic has even more wiggle room for customizing the starters in the future.

  • Current Best Moveset: Leafage + Grass Knot
  • Best Possible Moveset: Magical Leaf + Frenzy Plant

Meowscarada has a lot of future potential, as it's easily one of the strongest Grass Type starters in the game, which means Frenzy Plant is quite literally guaranteed to become a part of its moveset at some point in the future. And while Leafage is fine for this role and Magical Leaf is even better, the real hope is that Meowscarada is given the Greninja treatment and is given access to its Signature Move from the main series, Flower Trick, as a powerful Fast Move at the same time. If this is the case, then Meowscarada could very well overshadow even Rilaboom (who we'll cover later in this article)! ...unless Rilaboom gets the same treatment too, that is.... 

  • Best Current Moveset: Vine Whip + Power Whip
  • Best Possible Moveset: Magical Leaf + Power Whip/Grass Knot

Zarude is a very reliable Pokemon that tends to slip under the radar for many players due to its sub-par DPS. A moveset-update with Magical Leaf could help, but not by a huge margin. No, what Zarude needs is access to its very own Signature Move!

....and here-in lies a slight issue. Zarude's signature move goes by the name of Jungle Healing, and in the main series it's... well... a healing move. We haven't had any healing moves added to Pokemon Go in the past, so it feels a bit odd to use as an attack here. Still, it's very possible that this move could get the Geomancy treatment and become a great Fast Move.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Leafage + Grass Knot
  • Best Current Moveset: Bullet Seed + Grass Knot

Tapu Bulu is one of those "oh yeah, that exists" Pokemon. It's pretty middling and mediocre overall, with its only really outstanding feature for raids being its Fairy sub-typing. However, it's not all over for Tapu Bulu, as it could be given a better Grass Type Fast Move in Leafage! If blessed with this new boon, Tapu Bulu would rise to become... a fair bit better than it is now.

Yeah, as-is we don't have a whole lot of hope for poor Tapu Bulu. It doesn't even have a Grass Type Signature Move to call its own, so its only real hope is that Niantic gives it something like Wood Hammer or Horn Leech as souped-up normal moves similar to Brutal Swing. Minus that, Tapu Bulu will still be lazing at the edge of viability.

  • Best Current Moveset: Magical Leaf + Grass Knot
  • Best Possible Moveset: Magical Leaf + Grass Knot

This one is a bit of a stretch. Blessed with its best possible moveset currently, Tsareena is held back only by its mediocre Attack stat. Its one and only hope for the future is the fact that it has its own Grass Type Signature Move by the name of Trop Kick. If given the Aura Sphere treatment, then it definitely has the potential to be a strong attacker. However, the fact that it's substantially less popular than Lucario means that it probably won't ever get this treatment. Still, it's not unthinkable that Trop Kick could turn out to be a Charged Move with stats superior to Grass Knot, so the future isn't entirely set in stone.... just 99%.

The Future Threats

These are the Pokemon that we don't currently have in-game, but have the potential to join our Top Attackers by Type list if Niantic does them justice. Note that this list won't necessarily order Pokemon according to their potential, as we will take likelihood of a good implementation into consideration as well.

  • Best Currently Projected Moveset: Razor Leaf + Grass Knot
  • Best Possible Moveset: Magical Leaf + Grass Knot

This is a Pokemon with potential! Rillaboom is set to be the top non-Mega Grass Type starter in the future. As the non-Mega Grass starter with the highest base attack of the lot, it's set to be great once it drops and gets access to Frenzy Plant, potentially even sitting around Shadow Victreebel with better TDO to back it up. On top of this, Rillaboom also has two Signature Moves in Stick Poke from its pre-evolutions and Drum Beating, so it could get the Greninja treatment and receive its own unique Fast Move for additional power.

And while we don't normally delve too deep into Shadow Formes for unreleased Pokemon, it's worth noting that Shadow Rilaboom with Razor Leaf + Frenzy Plant will actually rival Kartana. Yeah, let that soak in.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Magical Leaf + Grass Knot

A bit unexpected for some, but this future variant of Virizion actually could make some waves in the Grass meta. With a high Attack stat for a Grass Type and access to the best possible generally-available Grass Type moveset, it could very well sit close to the top Shadows as a strong attacker that will hopefully have better availability. While it won't make waves at the top, it will still be a great Pokemon so long as Niantic gives it a bit of love.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Magical Leaf + Power Whip or Grass Knot

The adorable little star of the Teal Mask DLC over in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, Ogerpon... doesn't have a ton of power behind it. With a pretty mediocre 241 base attack, it's not going to be making many waves, even if it gets its best possible moveset.... unless Niantic also gives it its Signature Move, Ivy Cudgel. Legendary Pokemon Signature Moves tend to come out pretty strong, so it could very well overcome Ogerpon's weakness and make it a genuinely great Grass Type attacker.

And while we could also mention that it has formes that have identical stats, access to Ivy Cudgel, and fun sub-typings in Water, Fire, and Rock, it's worth noting that Ivy Cudgel changes type to match the sub-type of Ogerpon's forme in the main series, so it likely wouldn't retain its Grass typing. 

The Looming Shadows

So let's just be honest here; Shadow Kartana would be meta-shattering to the point where it would approach Shadow Mewtwo's performance. Nothing in this game would likely ever surpass it, and all hope would be lost forever. Fortunately, we don't have any precedent for shadow Ultra Beasts yet, so it's yet to be seen if we'll actually see this happen or not. And speaking of not having precedence; Shadow Zarude and Shadow Shaymin - Sky Forme could also be huge, but we haven't seen any Shadow Mythical Pokemon yet. Shadow Meowscarada could also be huge post-Frenzy Plant, especially if given access its Signature Move as a Fast Move, and we have very strong precedence for Shadow Starters, so we can almost definitely count on seeing it rise to Kartana levels in the future, possibly even passing it in select scenarios!. The "lesser" Grass Types like Shadow Tapu Bulu, Shadow Roserade, Shadow Chesnaught and Shadow Breloom could breathe new life into the type as well, but they wouldn't make huge waves for the most part.

For the future, the big Pokemon to keep an eye on is Shadow Rillaboom. This thing could potentially beat out Meowscarada in the future. Shadow Ogerpon could also be a big deal, especially if Niantic smiles down upon Ivy Cudgel. Those aside, Shadow Iron Leaves could be really good as well, though we have no clue how paradox Pokemon are going to be handled yet, so that's hard to really speculate on at this time.

The Gigantamax Factor

While not extremely likely, it's possible that Niantic could release the Dynamax/Gigantamax system first introduced in Generation 8/Galar into Pokemon Go. For those unaware, this system turns Pokemon giant, gives them new/overpowering moves, and grants a tremendous HP boost while active. And while the release of this feature isn't super likely, we thought it best to at least list the possible candidates with unique formes just to cover all bases, so these are all of the Grass Type Pokemon with a Gigantamax forme:

Verdict for the Future

Grass is sitting in a really great place at the moment. With access to its best possible Mega Evolution (assuming Niantic doesn't do something huge to mix up the meta down the road) and an overpowering Legendary Ultra Beast to fill in any gaps, the top of the meta is likely to not see many major changes for a good, long time. New Frenzy Plant users and Shadows could definitely change some things up, but the current Grass Type top options are all really good and safe investments well into the future for those looking to create a Grass team

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About the Author(s)

Gamepress Pokemon Go site lead with a focus on theorycrafting and gameplay optimization and a background in business management and freelance writing.  A bit of a hermit, but also an outdoors enthusiast who loves cycling and hiking. Long-time Gamepress fan who is very proud to be a part of the team.