#6 non-shadow non-mega, just below Roserade, but slightly better than all other non-legendaries (incl. all other Frenzy Plant starters).

Unfortunately, WAY below KartanaLevel 30 Kartana is 10% better than Level 50 Chesnaught.

This CD is mostly for new players who missed Kartana raids and don’t have enough Roserade, and Unique 6 non-shadow users.

  • If that describes you, get your budget grass team this CD! They’re great. Especially for Primal Kyogre raids.
  • If not (if you have enough Roserade or better)… Skippable.

Keep reading for:

  • List of my previous analyses (in Appendix 2)

You can now follow me (@teban54) on Twitter!


The Gen 6 starters are finally getting their long-awaited Community Days! Chespin CD will be held on Saturday, January 7, from 2pm-5pm local time (raiding and CD move evolution window until 10pm). Any Chesnaught evolved between 2-10pm will know the CD move Frenzy Plant.

While players are understandably hyped about the first starter CD in 16 months, getting the 6th Frenzy Plant user surely feels way less exciting than the 1st. And from a raiding perspective, FP Chesnaught arrived perhaps a bit too late: Just in the past year, we had Tapu Bulu, Shaymin Sky, Kartana and Mega Sceptile, the latter two blowing all other grasses out of water.

How useful is Chesnaught as a grass attacker today? Does it still have relevance, or has it been too outclassed?

Why “Quick Analysis”?

“Quick analysis” is a series I’m experimenting for highlighting relatively unimportant additions to raid counters. Occasionally, I may also do it for Pokemon that are not new but worth mentioning, when they’re featured during events.

The primary reason is to save time. This article, which primarily consists of a grass-type plot with Chesnaught highlighted, “only” took me 2 hours to write. On the other hand, doing a full analysis – generating new simulations, doing a detailed comparison of Chesnaught vs other attackers (e.g. Sceptile), possibly doing inter-type comparisons, mentioning all future attackers, etc, can easily take 8+ hours spread across multiple days. Things like Chesnaught are simply not worth this level of effort, especially when I have other analysis projects to do.

Feel free to suggest a better name for the series!

Chesnaught among Grass-type attackers

Grass attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.
Grass attackers ranked by Equivalent Rating (ER) and DPS.

See Appendix 1 (at the end of this article) for technical details and how to read the charts. The Chandelure analysis also contains explanations on ASE vs ASTTW.

The Good

Chesnaught (Vine Whip/Frenzy Plant) is basically the best non-shadow Gen 1-6 Frenzy Plant starter.

  • Only Sceptile can out-DPS Chesnaught, but that’s mostly theoretical. In all simulation-based metrics, Sceptile only ties Chesnaught at best.
  • The difference between Chesnaught and Sceptile is very small and situational, though.

Chesnaught is also the #6 best non-shadow non-mega grass attacker, just enough for the “Unique 6” users. It also sits above all non-shadow non-mega non-legendary grasses not named Roserade.

  • Top 5 are: Kartana, Zarude, Xurkitree (Power Whip), Tapu Bulu and Roserade.
  • (This doesn’t include Shaymin Sky because it needs Hidden Power Grass.)
  • However, if you include shadows, Chesnaught falls out of #6 immediately.

Compared to other non-legendaries, Chesnaught is quite bulky. It has almost identical bulk as Tangrowth, and about 45% more bulk than Roserade and Sceptile.

The Bad

If you have enough Kartana powered up, even just a little bit, you can forget Chesnaught exists.

  • Level 30 Kartana >> Level 50 Chesnaught.
    • Even the L50 vs L30 comparison still has at least 10% difference. If at the same level, the difference is more than 30%.
    • While Kartana does require rare candies, Level 20 to 30 only needs 66 candies, so a 6*L30 Kartana team is relatively affordable.

Even if you ignore Kartana and other legendaries, Roserade is also a great option that’s better than Chesnaught. If you have a Roserade team, Chesnaught isn’t worth building all over again.

  • Roserade had a Community Day in February 2021, so long-term players probably have enough.
  • Do note that Chesnaught is better than Roserade against Kyogre and Groudon raids, which are the landmark use cases for grass attackers. This is because Chesnaught can actually tank a Fire Blast and Blizzard. That may be enough to build a couple, but still not worth heavy investments IMO.

While Sceptile and Venusaur (with Frenzy Plant) are both slightly worse than Chesnaught, they both have mega evolutions while Chesnaught doesn’t. So even for a budget team, you may still find investing in a mega-evolvable grass attacker more desirable.

Also, compared to grass type’s competitors, in neutral weather Chesnaught is worse than non-legendary electrics (Electivire, Magnezone), and non-legendary waters (Kingler, every Hydro Cannon starter but Blastoise).

In the future, Rillaboom (Gen 8 starter) will completely outclass all earlier grass starters and non-legendaries, when it gets Frenzy Plant in like 2027. (More info in my Kartana analysis.)


This CD is mostly for new players who missed Kartana raids and don’t have enough Roserade.

If this applies to you, congratulations, you can now get a budget grass team for free! This is especially useful if you’re lacking counters for the upcoming Primal Kyogre raid in February.

  • Consider evolving a few high level Chespins so that you can also avoid the stardust cost.
  • You can’t use grass attackers against Primal Groudon (ground/fire).

For anyone who has any sort of a grass team… This CD is skippable.

  • Technically, you can use a Chesnaught to replace an equally leveled Sceptile, Venusaur, Tangrowth etc on your team, or use a L50 Chesnaught to replace L40 Roserade. But that’s it.

Why this CD arrived too late

A bit of personal opinion.

It’s completely understandable that Niantic needs to control the speed of content release, and not rush through 7 generations of starter CDs immediately. Still, a Chespin-like CD in 2021 would have had much greater fanfare than in 2023. (Chespin itself was only released in December 2020, so this is just a what-if scenario.)

  • Kartana didn’t dominate all grass types yet.
  • People also didn’t have time to build shadow grass types, and in the case of Shadow Venusaur/Torterra, didn’t get their CD moves.
  • Before February 2021, Roserade also wasn’t basically given out to everyone for free.

Chesnaught wouldn’t have been a transformative addition even back then, but it would have provided a great option that’s not far from the best (Roserade and shadows).

This is not blaming Niantic or anyone… It’s just the inevitable result of power creep. The cost of being excited about Kartana is that every other grass type is extremely underwhelming now.

Articles coming up next

When my IRL schedule permits, I plan to analyze the following:

  • Mega Salamence. Also will give a mention of other dragons and Shadow Salamence.
  • Larvitar CD Classic: A rehash of rock and dark/ghost analyses, but with more focus on Mega Tyranitar and/or how to improve Tyranitar’s moveset. Also comes with the long-overdue dark/ghost future attackers.
  • Shadow Mewtwo and other shadow legendaries: It will still definitely come at some point, but no ETA. The writer me is hoping for no Rocket takeover in January…
  • Fairy: Probably when Mega Gardevoir comes, if the speculations come true. (If I have more than enough free time, I may get to it when Tapu Koko is in raids, to see how it would look like if it gets Fairy Wind… But don’t bet on that happening.)

Appendix 1: Guide on how to read the charts & Technical details

Don’t know how to read the charts?

If you’re totally lost, just look at the first two plots, or just the first one if you don’t dodge in raids. These two plots are based on my Average Scaled Estimator (ASE) metric, which approximates in-raid performance using Pokebattler Estimator, best suited for realistic shortmanning (2-5 raiders).

The Average Scaled Time to Win (ASTTW) plots are similar, but best suited for medium or large lobbies (6+ raiders). This metric assumes no relobbying (i.e. reentering the raid after all Pokemon fainted).

The ER (aka DPS3*TDO scaled) and DPS plots are for experienced players who want to check these metrics.

In all six plots, the higher, the better. Example: Kartana is generally better than Zarude, which is better than Roserade, if they’re all at the same Pokémon level. But everything listed is perfectly usable and will let you pull your weight in raids.

You can also compare different attackers at different levels: points on the same horizontal line mean they’re equally as good. Example: Looking at the “ASE no dodging” plot, A Level 30 Zarude performs similarly to Level 40 Shadow Exeggutor and Level 50 Chesnaught.

Reminder: All plots show average performance against many raid bosses. Against a specific raid boss, the rankings can be different.

Technical details:

  • The first two plots are based on my in-house Average Scaled Estimator (ASE) metric, which estimates in-raid performance by automatically computing the average Pokebattler estimators against a variety of T5, Mega and T3 raid bosses, scaled so that the best attacker at L40 gets 1.0. The smaller, the better. For more details, refer to my Venusaur analysis in January 2022 and the comments.
  • The middle two plots using Average Scaled Time to Win (ASTTW) follow the same methodology, but replaces Pokebattler estimator with TTW.
  • “ASE Dodge” uses simulations with the “Dodge Specials” + “Realistic Dodging” options on Pokebattler. You can compare it to ASE without dodging to see how much dodging helps an attacker.
    • For example, Kartana’s ASE at Level 40 drops from 1.004 without dodging to 0.991 with dodging, so dodging generally helps Kartana’s performance.
    • However, Zarude’s L40 ASE rises from 1.137 to 1.172 with dodging, so dodging may hurt Zarude more than it helps.

Appendix 2: Past analyses on other types

Missing types: Fairy (planned – Mega Gardevoir), Poison

If multiple articles are listed for the same type, they’re sorted from most to least recent. Not all articles are included: the ones here typically have sections not covered in the most recent articles.