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

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Poison; one of the types that... doesn't really have much utility. Honestly, the only time that Poison is recommended over other types is against Tapu Bulu: the one and only relevant Pokemon that's double-weak to Poison. This is a type that lacks power, but here's the real question; does it also lack a future?

The State of the Type

The current top Poison 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:

Poison is in a sad, sad position. This is a type that can only hit two types for Super Effective damage; Grass and Fairy. This means that, in terms of game balance, it should be a genuinely powerful type to make up for its limited utility and allow it to be worthy of investment. But, sadly, that's far from the case. Poison has a very unfortunate mix of low powered Pokemon and a lack of genuinely killer moves, meaning it's painfully mediocre should only called on in the rare cases of facing a 2x weak opponent. The problem in that case is the fact that only two fully evolved Pokemon to date actually have a 2x weakness to Poison: Whimsicott and Tapu Bulu. And what about cases where Poison is only 1x Super Effective? Well, in these cases Poison has to directly compete with Flying, Fire, and even Steel, none of which Poison Types can even begin to approach in terms of raw power.

All of these factors come together to explain the reason that Poison is quite possibly the last type that players will want to make a raid team for.... not counting Normal.

Poison Type Moves

As of the publishing of this article, we currently have access to 11 different Poison Type attacks, divided into 4 Fast Moves and 7 Charged Moves.

Fast Moves Charged Moves
Acid Acid Spray
Hidden Power (Poison) Cross Poison
Poison Jab Gunk Shot
Poison Sting Poison Fang
Sludge Bomb
Sludge Wave

The Good Moves

We have a short list when it comes to Poison Type Fast Moves, and the Good side is even shorter. The best Fast Move for Poison Types to hope for is Poison Jabwhich has a well-rounded stat spread. Meanwhile, Acid is fairly close behind, with lower raw damage output and higher energy gains.

Yet another short list here, as we really only have two "good" Poison Type moves. First up is Sludge Bombwhich is fortunately a pretty well distributed Charged Move. And second is Gunk Shotwhich is substantially worse by comparison, yet also still just barely close enough to be worth using. Also, it literally kicks a trash can at the opponent, which is always fun.

The Bad Moves

For the bad Fast Moves, we have Poison Stingwhich falls a fair bit behind the above competition. And then we have the pariah among Fast Moves: Hidden Power (Poison)This is generally the weakest Poison Type Fast Move in the game, and then there's the ever-present issue of the need for good RNG to get it in the first place.

The vast majority of Poison Type Charged Moves are not worth using. Sludge Wave, Cross Poison, Sludge, Poison Fangand especially Acid Spray are all bad moves, with the latter in particular showing up as an absolutely pathetic move.

The Future of Poison Types

Currently Unreleased Poison-Type Pokemon

Currently Unreleased Poison-Type Moves

  • Acid Armor
  • Acid 
  • Baneful Bunker*
    • Toxapex
  • Barb Barrage*
    • Overqwil 
  • Belch
  • Clear Smog
  • Coil
  • Corrosive Gas
  • Dire Claw*
    • Sneasler
  • Gastro Acid
  • Judgment*
    • Arceus
  • Malignant Chain*
    • Pecharunt
  • Mortal Spin*
    • Glimmora
  • Multi-Strike*
    • Silvally
  • Poison Gas
  • Poison Powder
  • Poison Tail**
    • Seviper
  • Purify*
    • Pyukumuku
  • Shell Side Arm*
    • Galarian Slowbro
  • Smog
  • Toxic
  • Toxic Spikes
  • Toxic Thread*
    • Ariados
  • Venom Drench
  • Venoshock

*: Signature Move

**: Formerly a Signature Move

The Non-Threats

Aside from the Pokemon that aren't fully evolved, we can pretty safely rule out Silvally, Toxtricity, Grafaiai, Fezandipiti, and Pecharunt due to a 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 Baneful Bunker, Malignant Chain, Multi-Attack, Poison Tail, Purify, Shell Side Arm, and Toxic Thread. 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 can 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.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb
  • Current Best Moveset: Lick + Sludge Bomb

Give Poison Jab to Gengar already, you cowards!

The original "good" Poison Type, it's long been mused that giving this toxic ghost access to Poison Jab could potentially save the type... and that estimate isn't too far from the truth.

Poison really doesn't have anything even close to a strong Mega Evolution, and the insane power of Mega Gengar would definitely do this under-utilized type a lot of good, but then we have the issue of non-mega Poison Types. While Steel has Mega Evolutions like Mega Aggron and Mega Scizor that are genuinely mediocre, they're still at least a bit useful due to the fact that they can boost the monster that is Shadow Metagross in particular when both are on the field. If Niantic gives Poison Jab to Mega Gengar, then we've got an amazing Mega Evolution that... doesn't really boost anything worthwhile. Add to this the fact that Mega Metagross is set to exist in the future, and a Poison-attacking Mega Gengar's comparative utility becomes... a bit more dubious. a Poison Jab Mega Gengar would out-DPS Mega Metagross, but it's still not the most useful choice. Oh well, I guess that it's all hopeless....

But wait! There's hope! While Mega Gengar getting access to Poison Jab would be meta-defining for Poison, doing so would also give regular Gengar access to it as well, and more important than that; Shadow Gengar. With the combo of Mega Gengar and Shadow Gengar, you've actually got a core of Pokemon that could rival Steel against Fairy Types. Sure, Shadow Metagross will tend to out-perform Shadow Gengar by... a fair bit, but Mega Gengar could out-dps Mega Metagross by a fair bit, so there's still some hope!

Overall, a change of one move is probably the single greatest change that this type can possibly hope for, and this change would be purely healthy for the raid meta as it would finally make Poison at least worthy of consideration, even in the face of its extremely steep competition. Do it Niantic! Give Gengar and Poison their due!

  • Best Possible Moveset: Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb
  • Current Best Moveset: Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb

Is Naganadel out yet? No. But is Poipole already out, with signs that it will probably be able to evolve into Naganadel in the near future? Yup! So we're putting it it into this section regardless.

Naganadel is an Ultra Beast with the distinction of having the semi-unique Poison/Dragon typing. It's set to easily be one of the best Poison Type attackers in the game, with a relatively high Attack stat and top-tier Poison Type moveset. It sadly won't put Poison on the map, but it will definitely have more utility than many other Poison Types.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb
  • Current Best Moveset: Poison Jab + (Any)

Sneasler, or rather Shadow Sneasler, actually has a lot of potential as a Poison Type. It's got a relatively high Attack stat, access to the best possible Poison moveset in the main series, and a Poison Type Signature Move in Dire Claw. Honestly, the viability of Sneasler greatly hinges on Dire Claw. Sneasler could potentially fall just about anywhere on the grid depending on how strong this move is... if it ever materializes. 

  • Best Possible Moveset: Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb
  • Current Best Moveset: Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb

Overqwil lacks a strong Attack stat and already has the best possible Poison Type moveset, but it also has more potential in the future in the form of Barb Barrage, its signature move. This means that it has actual potential in the future, though it's hard to say just how much.

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 Possible Moveset: Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb
  • Current Best Moveset: Poison Jab + Cross Poison

Eternatus is a monster of a Legendary Pokemon, so powerful that it brought about a calamity known as The Darkest Day in the main series. In Pokemon Go, it's one of the single strongest Poison Types on the horizon, standing with the top possible Pokemon of the type.... except for the fact that it's set to have access to Cross Poison instead of Sludge Bomb. This alone hurts poor Eternatus badly, and leaves its future potential as pretty mediocre on the Poison side. Still, here's hoping that it gets a better moveset pre-release, though it's more likely to lean into the Dragon meta, as that's where both of its Signature Moves are.

And no, we're not going to talk about Eternamax Eternatus. That thing wasn't a Pokemon in the main series, rather a Pokemon turned into a final boss battle. It's only seen for a moment when it uses Eternabeam, and that's the closest that players have ever gotten to actually using it without hacking the game.

  • Current Best Moveset: Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb

Munkidori has the highest potential among the Loyal Three, thanks exclusively to the fact that it has the highest attack in the trio alongside access to the current best possible Poison Type moveset. These factors have the potential to make Munkidori... okay-adjacent. It would sit right around Sneasler in DPS terms, which is decent for Poison Types, but still very much a let-down in general.

  • Current Best Moveset: Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb

With Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb, Okidogi has the potential to be... really mediocre, truth be told. Still, it might be an okay Poison Type attacker... as if that actually has much meaning.

  • Best Possible Moveset: (any) + Sludge Wave

Iron Moth is so infuriatingly close to becoming the new apex Poison Type someday! It has the highest Attack stat of all non-Mega Poison Types, even beating out the Legendary Pokemon Eternatus. However, its moveset options in the main series are painfully limited. This unfortunate paradox Pokemon only has access to Sludge Wave, and absolutely no currently available Poison Type attacks! This means that it's going to at the very least need a new Poison Type Fast Move, and the only available options are Venoshock and Toxic. And even if it did manage to get one of these moves as a Fast Move on a par with Poison Jab or Acid, Iron Moth would still be a mediocre Pokemon due to the fact that it's stuck with Sludge Wave, sitting right around Nihilego if it had access to a Fast Move on a par with Poison Jab alongside Sludge Wave. This means that it really needs a brand new Fast Move and access to Sludge Bomb or another new Poison Type move in the main series to stand a chance.

  • Best Possible Moveset: (any) + Sludge Bomb

Glimora legitimately feels like it should be a low-attack, defensive Pokemon, but in truth it's actually a fairly powerful attacker in the main series, meaning it actually has the potential to put in good work in the Main Series.... or rather it would if it had access to a Poison Type Fast Move. While it sits right around Nihilego in terms of base Attack (with the same typing, interestingly), Glimmora likely won't pan out... however, it does have a Signature Move by the name of Mortal Spin in the main series. This is a weak utility move, with a focus on clearing the field of hazards and poisoning the opponent, so it could show up as a powerful Fast Move. If this happens, then Glimmora has a lot of potential. If it drops as a Charged Move, then it would have to be extremely strong to overcome the lack of Poison Type Fast Move damage.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb

Poison is another type where Arceus has the potential to shine to a certain degree due to the lack of strong competition on average. It has access to the current best possible Poison Type moveset, with Poison Jab in particular standing as a very important piece of this puzzle. This is due to the fact that Judgment has the potential to be any type in the game, meaning it could become a very powerful Poison Type Charged Move, thus giving a Poison Type Arceus a major leg up on the competition.... assuming everything goes perfectly in its implementation.

The Looming Shadows

Let's start with the crazy concepts first: Shadow Iron Moth and Shadow Naganadel. This is because the former is a Paradox Pokemon, while the latter is an Ultra Beast. And while the latter is treated as a Legendary Pokemon, it's also event-exclusive at this point, and has a unique classification that we haven't seen released as a Shadow Pokemon yet. A such, both are a bit far fetched at the moment, but have the potential to be pretty great Poison Type attackers given a Shadow boost.... and if Iron Moth is given access to a new Poison Type moveset at some point in the future. To a lesser degree, Shadow Nihilego also falls into this classification, and could be great in its own right.

On the more realistic side, we could see some potential utility in Shadow Eternatus (if it gets a good Poison Type Fast Move and Sludge Bomb), Shadow Munkidori, Shadow Glimmora (if it gets any good Poison Type Fast Move), and Shadow Roserade. Any of the above could see genuine utility in the Poison meta... for whatever that's worth.

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 Poison Type Pokemon with a Gigantamax forme:

We're not really going to go into any depth here, as Dynamax/Gigantamax only effects HP in terms of raw stats. The majority of the offensive power that these Pokemon gain in the main series comes from the unique moves that overtake their normal movesets while Dynamaxed/Gigantamaxed.

The Terastallization Factor

While we'd normally cover Terastallization in this section, in this case taking a look at the powerful non-Poison Types that could be good if they were given the proper moveset/the ability to become Poison types, but we sadly don't really have any genuinely good options here. The top damage-dealers tend to not have access to any good Poison Type moves, meaning they likely won't be able to stand tall with the top Poison Types.

What About Z-Moves?

The regional gimmick of Generation 7/Alola, Z-Moves focused on transforming normal versions of moves into mutant, hulking versions of themselves for a single use. However, it seems that The Pokemon Company has all but swept this particular regional gimmick under the rug, and it seems like it would be pretty awkward to add to the Raid meta of Pokemon Go if ever it made its way back into the spotlight, so we're not really going to even consider what sort of an impact it could have here.

Verdict for the Future

Poison is a strong contender for saddest type in Pokemon Go. Despite only being Super Effective against a mere two types in the entire game and a lack of many Poison Type Pokemon with an objectively high Attack stat, Niantic has done almost nothing to balance the game in such a way that actually makes Poison useful in PvE. It's a contender for weakest type in the game, and has had little love given to it since Pokemon Go's initial release. Poison needs new moves, in particular new Fast Moves, to be good, and it would also appreciate buffs to its lower-powered attacks to make them competitive with the big-name types of the game.

Right now, we have almost no hope for Poison, and Niantic's continued shift away from the PvE meta doesn't bode well. However, the book isn't quite closed yet. Hopefully we'll see a new future for this lost type at some point in the future!

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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.