None of them can ever touch Kartana, and they’re also all worse than shadow grass types (& Zarude). But they’re among the best of the rest!
- Tapu Bulu >= Roserade > Tsareena > Chesnaught, but they’re all very close. (L50 of one > L40 of another)
- They’re the best “non-Kartana non-shadow non-mega” grass attackers.
- Sadly, L30 Kartana > L50 anything here.
- Also sadly, they’re worse than budget Electric and Water types: Electivire, Magnezone, Swampert, Kingler etc (which are in direct competition with grass).
- Good if you want “non-shadow variety”, but anyone with established teams (even just from January CD) don’t need to care. Bulu is a very weak candidate for rare candies, but not worthless.
If your Shaymin has grass-type Hidden Power, it’s also excellent in Sky Forme, better than the aforementioned ones and barely below shadows (though still way worse than Kartana). If not, don’t worry too much.
Keep reading for:
- Chart of all grass-type attackers
- All pairwise comparisons between Tapu Bulu, Roserade, Tsareena and Chesnaught
- Future speculations (Magical Leaf Shaymin-Sky, Trop Kick Tsareena on a Community Day in the distant future)
- If anyone at Niantic is reading this: GIVE SHAYMIN MAGICAL LEAF YOU COWARDS
- List of my previous analyses, in Appendix
Three pieces of “news” after a relatively quiet week:
- Sustainability Week starts on Thursday, April 20, featuring the release of Bounsweet. It’s a 3-stage evolution line and can eventually evolve into Tsareena, a mono grass-type Pokemon.
- Shaymin will be available to all players via a Special Research, in its Land Forme, once Sustainability week starts. You can change its form to the more useful Sky Forme.
- Tapu Bulu is now back in Tier 5 raids for two weeks with its shiny debut, until the morning of May 2.
Coincidentally, they are all (or have potential to be) not bad in raids! Tsareena and Tapu Bulu are great grass-type raid attackers, though not close to the best, while Shaymin Sky is even better if you’re lucky to get Hidden Power Grass (1/16 chance).
This article examines just exactly how good they are, and how much future potential they have if they ever get better moves.
- One line on Tapu Bulu as a fairy attacker: Surprisingly, not totally bad despite not having a fairy fast move, but worse than Togekiss, Gardevoir and Shadow Gardevoir.
Preliminaries: Stats, Moves and ER/DPS Numbers
(Skippable in the interest of time)
[Section TL;DR] Tsareena has middling attack stat but a very good moveset (Magical Leaf/Grass Knot), while Tapu Bulu has better stats than Roserade but a worse fast move. Shaymin Sky has even better stats, but lacks a grass-type fast move unless you get Hidden Power Grass.
First, let’s look at the stats and moves of all three Pokemon, plus close competitors Roserade and Chesnaught:
|Pokemon||Atk||Def||HP||Fast Move||Charged Move||MSP|
|Shaymin (Sky)||261||166||225||Hidden Power (Grass)||Grass Knot||7.63|
|Tapu Bulu||249||215||172||Bullet Seed||Grass Knot||7.58|
|Roserade||243||185||155||Razor Leaf||Grass Knot||7.85|
|Tsareena||222||195||176||Magical Leaf||Grass Knot||8.19|
|Chesnaught||201||204||204||Vine Whip||Frenzy Plant||8.79|
|Shaymin (Land)||210||210||225||Hidden Power (Grass)||Grass Knot||7.63|
MSP (Moveset Specific Power) measures how good a moveset is (independent of the Pokemon). It’s a new metric recently developed by u/Elastic_Space. For example, this shows Vine Whip/Frenzy Plant is the best moveset among those in the table, while Bullet Seed/Grass Knot is the worst.
I should first mention… None of them can even remotely compare to Kartana, which has an insane 323 base attack (even though its bulk is lower than everything listed here).
But just for the sake of comparing everything within the table…
- The middle 4 (Tapu Bulu, Roserade, Tsareena, Chesnaught) have base attack from highest to lowest in this order, but moves from worst to best.
- In particular, Tsareena has middling attack, but a surprisingly good moveset thanks to Magical Leaf being a strong fast move.
- (In fairness, its 222 base attack isn’t too bad for a grass type – Tangrowth only has 207, and Sceptile only has 1 higher attack at 223 but much lower bulk.)
- Roserade is the glassiest by quite a margin, while Chesnaught is the bulkiest of the four.
- Shaymin Sky has the highest attack stat by far, but most Shaymins doesn’t even have a grass-type fast move. If you’re lucky to get Hidden Power Grass, it’s still a bad moveset, but Shaymin Sky’s high attack is enough to salvage it.
- Shaymin Land is kind of pathetic, even with Hidden Power Grass.
These factors result in theoretical ER and DPS numbers like this:
“The middle 4” all have quite similar ER numbers, albeit with varying DPS (Roserade is a clssic glass cannon while Chesnaught is a tank). Shaymin Sky seems to outperform all of them.
Of course, those who follow my articles know that I never stop here… Let’s see how well they actually do in Pokebattler simulations.
Grass Attackers: The Charts
[Section TL;DR] Tapu Bulu and Tsareena are both similar to Roserade and CD Chesnaught. WAY WAY WAY below Kartana, WAY below Shadows (plus Zarude and HP Grass Shaymin-Sky), but they’re the best of the rest.
Tapu Bulu and Tsareena are roughly in the same league as Roserade and Frenzy Plant Chesnaught, leading the pack of “traditional” grass types – i.e. they’re among the best non-Kartana non-shadow non-mega grass attackers.
- In that sense, all of them generally edge out Tangrowth, Sceptile and Venusaur.
However, here’s the bad news: They’re all WAY WAY WAY below Kartana, and also WAY below any Shadow grass types (plus Zarude and Power Whip Xurkitree).
- Level 30 Kartana > Level 50 anything here.
If you’re one of the lucky bastards that got Hidden Power Grass on your Shaymin Sky, congrats – it’s significantly better than the bunch above, now sitting just below shadows. If you didn’t get HP Grass, you also don’t need to worry too much: it’s still a lot worse than Kartana, and a good IV Shadow Tangrowth/Sceptile/Venusaur is also comparable or better.
- Shaymin Land only gets to Leafeon level even if it has HP Grass.
- If you don’t have HP Grass, then HP Electric and Flying seem to be the next best ones, and HP Water likely has situational uses. But all of them dip below Tsareena and Chesnaught on average, and most HP types (plus Zen Headbutt) are again only at Leafeon level.
- Note that Hidden Power type is fixed for each Shaymin and can’t be changed.
So, if you don’t have enough Kartana (even L30) or shadows powered up, keep reading…
Comparisons: Tapu Bulu >= Roserade > Tsareena > Chesnaught
[Section TL;DR] Basically the title; L50 of one > L40 of another. Chesnaught has a niche in Tier 5 Kyogre and Groudon raids (but not Primal raids).
As I said in the section header… Tapu Bulu >= Roserade > Tsareena > Chesnaught.
Most other comparison pairs are self-explanatory from the chart, but Tapu Bulu vs. Roserade has a bit more nuances:
- Roserade is a classic glass cannon, while Tapu Bulu is tankier but with slightly lower DPS.
- But in practice, they really don’t differ that much. Both are very, very close in performance.
- Here are the distribution plots, which show how much one is better than the other. As you can see, most of the time the TTW difference is within 2%, and either one can be better. For TTW only, I’d even say Roserade is the better of the two.
- Bulu does seem to get a bit more advantage in estimator, but that’s assuming you use a team of 6 Bulus – and let’s be real, who’s doing that in this economy?
- (Technical) Roserade definitely outperforms its ER here. This is due to a combination of Razor Leaf outputting more consistent damage, and grass types typically focusing a bit more on DPS over bulk compared to other types (u/Elastic_Space is analyzing this for all types).
What’s not shown here is that all 4 are still very close to each other, even when there’s a clear ranking difference. In fact, L50 of any of them > L40 of anything else.
I omitted Roserade vs. Chesnaught in the main table, but it’s here for those interested.
One last note about Chesnaught’s unique niche: its bulk makes it the safest of the bunch against Tier 5 Kyogre and Groudon raids. At L40, Chesnaught is the best of the 4 against T5 Blizzard Kyogre and T5 Fire Blast Groudon, as it can actually tank both. However, this advantage gets erased in Primal Kyogre raids, which OHKOs all of them with Blizzard.
Comparing to attackers of other types
[Section TL;DR] Tapu Bulu is only comparable to budget, non-legendary Electric and Water types (Magnezone, Swampert, Kingler etc). Roserade, Tsareena and Chesnaught are even worse than that.
No analysis of Grass types is complete without comparing it to their competitors, especially Electric (against water) and Water (against rock/ground). Unfortunately, all grass types not named Kartana fall short here… And Bulu and Tsareena are no exceptions.
I made some plots when writing the Kartana analysis (though they’re missing Tsareena and Chesnaught, and only uses ASE, not ASTTW):
Compared to Electric:
- Tapu Bulu < Electivire, ≈ Magnezone.
- Roserade is even worse.
Compared to Water:
- Tapu Bulu ≈ Swampert, Samurott, Kingler and Empoleon.
- Roserade is worse than these water types.
Tsareena and Chesnaught are not on these plots, but they should be roughly between Roserade and Tangrowth.
In short, even Tapu Bulu is only comparable to budget options, while Roserade, Tsareena and Chesnaught are even lower. While all of them are still very usable and may get typing advantages sometimes, it’s hard to justify investment if you already have good electric and water teams.
What if they get better moves?
Shaymin really should have gotten a grass fast move, Magical Leaf, on release. I’m still scratching my head around why it didn’t. But if it does get it one day, Shaymin Sky will outclass shadow grasses, but just barely, and still well below Kartana.
As for Tsareena, it’s extremely likely to have a Community Day in the future, not just because it’s a 3-stage evolution line, but it also has a signature move in the MSG, Trop Kick. Even in the best-case scenario where Trop Kick becomes a Frenzy Plant clone, Tsareena’s ceiling is above Bulu and Roserade, but still below Shadow grasses and well below L30 Kartana.
- Not to mention, how many years will it take to get a Bounsweet CD? Will the game even be alive by then?
One last mention of Tapu Bulu with a hypothetical fairy fast move (it can’t improve further as a grass):
- Shadow Granbull clone. Above Gardevoir, but significantly below Shadow Gardevoir.
- However, it’s the best of all Tapus if they only receive one fairy move. (Tapu Lele needs both a fairy fast move and Dazzling Gleam to surpass Bulu.)
- For details, read my Mega Gardevoir analysis.
- Tapu Bulu >= Roserade > Tsareena > Chesnaught, but they’re all very close.
- They’re the best “non-Kartana non-shadow non-mega” grass attackers, but well below shadows and get destroyed by Kartana.
- They’re also generally worse than budget Electric and Water types: Electivire, Magnezone, Swampert, Kingler etc.
Honestly, now in April 2023, most people will probably see little value in an additional Tapu Bulu or Tsareena on their team – even though they’re great in their own right, grass types are too saturated with options now.
- For premium options, Kartana was in raids half a year ago, and it dominates grass types.
- For cheap options, Chespin CD was just 3 months ago. Roselia also had its own CD in 2021. Both Pokemon and their XLs are more accessible than Tapu Bulu (a legendary) and Tsareena (a “if you’re lucky” spawn during the event).
- How often do you need a grass type to begin with? Grass doesn’t have very high utility, and while I think a combined electric-grass-water team or two is crucial, the options we’re discussing here are easily substitutable.
- Even if you prefer unique teams, Tapu Bulu is barely at the edge of the Unique 6 range if you include shadows. Throw in the electric and water counters, and it’s pushed down further.
- The only way I can see them being worth it: If you want a team of Unique 6 non-shadows. Here, Bulu is #3 grass (#4 if you have HP Grass Shaymin), and Tsareena is #5.
There’s still merit in this analysis – without it, I bet most people wouldn’t even think Tsareena is relevant for raids. Building 1 Tapu Bulu and/or 1 Tsareena certainly have some merits, but neither are worth more than that today.
Tsareena does have some FOMO concerns due to its (likely inevitable) CD… If you’re willing to wait an unknown number of years for that. It will become a better version of itself, but still can’t compete with the almighty premium grass types.
Articles coming up next
- Mayyyybe an analysis on Mamoswine for Swinub CD Classic?
- Mega Pinsir has been datamined recently, so I’ll try to have an analysis whenever it and/or Mega Gallade are actually released. Preliminary thoughts on Mega Pinsir here.
- Quick analysis on Blast Burn Delphox in May, assuming leaks are true.
Appendix: Past analyses on other types
- Bug: Bug Out
- Dark/Ghost: Gholdengo & DIB Melmetal
- For Tyranitar speculations: Tyranitar CD Classic
- For Giratina-O comparisons: Shadow Force Giratina-O
- Dragon: Breaking Swipe Rayquaza
- For full future attackers: Mega Salamence
- Electric: Reshiram & Zekrom with Fusion moves
- Mega Mewtwo Y (Thunderbolt) data is wrong
- For Xurkitree comparisons: Bug Out
- Fairy: Togekiss CD
- For full future attackers and detailed fairy-dragon comparisons: Mega Gardevoir
- Fighting: Shadow Mewtwo (Part 2 Terrakion section), with a few future and speculative attackers
- For future megas: September GBL update (Mega Mewtwo X data is wrong)
- Fire: Shadow Sceptile & Blaziken
- For more on Reshiram: Reshiram & Zekrom with Fusion moves
- Mega Mewtwo Y (Flamethrower) data is wrong
- For full future attackers: Gen 3 mega starters
- Flying: Staraptor CD
- Grass: This article
- For more on Shadow Sceptile: Shadow Sceptile & Blaziken
- Ground: Primal Kyogre & Groudon
- Ice: Kyurem & Mega Glalie
- Mega Mewtwo Y (Ice Beam) data is wrong
- Poison: Poison attackers
- Psychic: Mega Gardevoir
- For Shadow Mewtwo with IVs: Shadow Mewtwo
- For full future attackers: September update/Psychic Spectacular
- Mega Mewtwo data is wrong
- Rock: Tyranitar CD Classic
- For full future attackers: Gigalith CD
- Steel: Gholdengo & DIB Melmetal
- For full future attackers: Mega Aggron
- Water: Mega Slowbro CD
- For more on Primal Kyogre: Primal Kyogre & Groudon
- For full future attackers: Gen 3 mega starters