A Nuzlocker’s Guide to the Snivy Line

Written by Reddit user u/Samurott1

Snivy is far from typical when it comes to Nuzlockes. Most of the gym leaders in Unova will beat the Grass Snake Pokémon to a pulp. The Snivy line also lacks an offensive presence unless you’re running a Coil set, which comes late and is difficult to pull off in Nuzlockes that disallow healing. The Snivy line also lacks good coverage. These negative traits make Snivy incredibly difficult to use in a Nuzlocke. However, not all is lost. Serperior is one of very few Pokémon that can make excellent use of a move that is usually forgotten about in regular playthroughs: Substitute. This move allows Serperior to transform itself into a destructive force or stall indefinitely with Giga Drain and Leech Seed. On the other hand, this strategy is rather challenging to pull off and, again, comes late in the game. Serperior is a Pokémon with great potential, but it is not for the faint of heart. Think it through before you pick Snivy.

Snivy’s Match-ups in Important Battles

Snivy versus Rivals in Nuvema Town: Snivy’s Tackle spam should get the job done. Leer is always an option to lower Tepig or Oshawott’s Defenses, but you likely won’t need it. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 5; Tackle, Leer.

Snivy versus N in Accumula Town: Snivy can handle this without too much difficulty, but you’ll want a Lillipup or Patrat around in case you need to switch. Snivy is stuck with the physical Vine Whip until level 16, so N’s Purrloin can annoy your starter with Growl. Purrloin can’t hit too hard, but bringing a Potion or two along in case things get dicey is advised. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 7; Tackle, Leer, Vine Whip.

Snivy versus Bianca in Route 2: Lillipup can cause a problem for Snivy, so you’ll want a back-up plan if things go awry. Snivy can 3-4HKO Lillipup with Vine Whip, but you’ll want to switch out if Snivy takes more than one Leer. When Snivy is at -2, Lillipup’s Tackle becomes much more potent than Vine Whip. This can be problematic since you’ll want your starter to be as healthy as possible when Oshawott comes out. Speaking of Oshawott, Snivy can 2-3HKO with Vine Whip. Oshawott can’t do much in return unless Snivy has taken two Leers from Lillipup. That’s why you’ll want a Lillipup, Patrat, or Purrloin waiting in the wings. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 8; Tackle, Leer, Vine Whip.

Snivy versus Cheren in Striaton City: Snivy cannot possibly be expected to stand up to Tepig. The Panpour you get from the Dreamyard is your best option here. Barring that, Lillipup or Patrat can get the job done a lot better than Snivy can. Purrloin can pull an Ember out via Assist, which can take about two-thirds of Snivy’s HP if it lands critically. This scenario is very unlikely, but keep an eye on Snivy’s HP nevertheless. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 9; Tackle, Leer, Vine Whip.

Snivy versus Chili in Striaton City Gym: Snivy can handle Lillipup with a Growth boost, which makes Vine Whip a 3HKO. Lillipup will set up with Work Up. Lillipup can probably only OHKO Snivy with a critical hit after three boosts, and Snivy is faster. However, retreat when Pansear enters the battle. Snivy can’t even stand up to Pansear if it holds a berry; Incinerate will render the berry useless anyway. The mere existence of Pansear is the reason you get a Panpour for free, so use it. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 13; Tackle, Vine Whip, Wrap, Growth.

Snivy versus Cheren in Route 2: The Grass Snake Pokémon still can’t stand up to Tepig, but it can handle Purrloin with three or four Vine Whips. Purrloin can still pull out Ember via Assist, so keep Snivy’s HP above two-thirds of its maximum to eliminate the chance of being KOed by a critical hit. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 14; Tackle, Vine Whip, Wrap, Growth.

Servine versus N in Nacrene City: Snivy needs to stay away from Pidove, but Servine can stand up to it. Leaf Tornado from Servine does quite a bit more damage than Pidove’s Gust. Pidove also lacks Super Luck, so the chance of a critical hit is unlikely. However, Servine should stay out of this until Tympole or Timburr enters the battle. If Timburr comes out first, use Growth two or three times to guarantee the OHKO with Leaf Tornado. This is important as Timburr carries Bide. Servine will decimate Tympole with Leaf Tornado with or without a Growth boost. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 17; Tackle, Vine Whip, Growth, Leaf Tornado.

Servine versus Lenora in Nacrene City Gym: This match-up is a little dicey for the Grass Snake Pokémon, but it can put in some work here thanks to Leech Seed. You’ll want to lead with Leech Seed against Herdier. Be wary of its Take Down; a critical hit will take about three-fourths of Servine’s maximum HP. After Leech Seed is set, Leaf Tornado is a guaranteed 3HKO thanks to Leech Seed damage. However, Servine can’t take a boosted Retaliate from Watchog, so send in a Pokémon that can tank a Retaliate when Herdier faints (or, more likely, a fodder Pokémon). Servine can come back in and get Leech Seed up once Watchog’s boosted Retaliate has been spent. Servine’s Leaf Tornado is a guaranteed 3HKO after Leech Seed damage. Watchog’s unboosted Retaliate does hit about as hard as Herdier’s Take Down, so keep that in mind. Servine probably won’t be able to finish Lenora alone though, so bring a solid back-up. (Perhaps something with a Fighting-type move.) Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 20; Tackle, Growth, Leaf Tornado, Leech Seed.

Servine versus Burgh in Castelia City Gym: As this is a Bug-type gym, it seems like Servine should stay as far away as possible. However, this is more due to Leavanny’s immunity to Leech Seed and Struggle Bug’s one-hundred percent chance to lower Special Attack as the only Bug-type move Burgh has at his disposal is rather weak. Surprisingly, Servine can put in some work in this battle. The aforementioned Whirlipede should be avoided. Servine can land a Leech Seed and run; Whirlipede’s Poison Tail can’t OHKO Servine even with a critical hit. This will put the Grass Snake out of commission for the rest of the battle if it gets poisoned, though. Servine’s best chance to contribute is by fighting Dwebble in place of your Fire- or Flying-type Pokémon as these Pokémon would have some trouble otherwise. Dwebble’s only Bug-type move, Struggle Bug, does less damage than its other STAB move, Smack Down. Servine can set up Leech Seed and beat Dwebble with an onslaught of Leaf Tornadoes. Dwebble may lower the Grass Snake Pokémon’s accuracy with Sand Attack, but Leech Seed will give you some guaranteed damage each turn. However, Servine cannot fight Leavanny. Leavanny will take about one-third of Servine’s HP with Struggle Bug, but the real reason Servine can’t be used against it is its immunity to Leech Seed. Otherwise, Servine could employ a similar set-up-Leech-Seed-and-run strategy that it can utilize against Whirlipede. Without the ability to use Leech Seed, Servine is completely walled by Leavanny. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 23; Tackle, Growth, Leaf Tornado, Leech Seed.

Servine versus Bianca in Castelia Gate: Herdier’s Take Down will hurt a bit, but Servine can weather the storm with Leech Seed or just use three Leaf Tornadoes to finish the Loyal Dog Pokémon. Servine’s Tackle does significantly more damage than Pansear’s Incinerate, but keep an eye on Servine’s health if it’s weak from fighting Herdier. It’s best to have a Water-, Rock-, or Ground-type fight Pansear. A critical hit Incinerate will take about two-fifths of the Grass Snake Pokémon’s HP. In fact, Munna’s Psybeam is slightly more powerful than Pansear’s super-effective Incinerate. Servine can 2HKO Munna with Leaf Tornado, but continue to keep an eye on the Grass Snake Pokémon’s health. Dewott will get crushed by Servine’s Leaf Tornado before it has time to think about using Fury Cutter. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 23; Tackle, Growth, Leaf Tornado, Leech Seed.

Servine versus Cheren in Route 4: Pidove can put the hurt on Servine with Super Luck boosted Air Cutter; stay away. On the other hand, the Grass Snake Pokémon walls Pansage. Hit the Grass Monkey Pokémon with Tackle until it falls. Liepard can be annoying with Sand Attack, so lead off with a Leech Seed. Liepard is likely faster though, so keep that in mind. Servine can beat Liepard with three (maybe two after Leech Seed) Leaf Tornadoes while the Cruel Pokémon struggle to do damage in return. Stay away from Pignite though; Grass-types do not enjoy fighting Fire-types if that needs to be said. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 23; Tackle, Growth, Leaf Tornado, Leech Seed.

Servine versus N in Nimbasa City: Servine’s Leaf Tornado will take care of N’s lead, Sandile. Lead with Leech Seed when Scraggy comes out; it may try to confuse Servine with Swagger and Leech Seed gets you some guaranteed damage each turn. After Leech Seed, Servine can 3HKO Scraggy with Leaf Tornado. Turn tail and run when Darumaka or Sigilyph enter the field. Servine doesn’t even have enough leeway to attempt a Leech Seed. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 24; Growth, Leaf Tornado, Leech Seed, Mega Drain.

Servine versus Elesa in Nimbasa City Gym: Well, Emolga is a Flying-type and can 2HKO Servine, and Zebstrika can 3HKO with Flame Charge. Servine struggles to do anything in return. The Grass Snake Pokémon can switch in and use Leech Seed if Zebstrika is the last Pokémon remaining, but this counts on a perfect prediction and your willingness to give Zebstrika at least one free Speed boost. Not to mention that it probably won’t be worth it anyway. Just keep Servine on the bench for this one; the best is yet to come for the Grass Snake Pokémon. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 27; Growth, Leaf Tornado, Leech Seed, Mega Drain.

Servine versus Cheren in Route 5: Cheren’s lead, Liepard, can’t do much to Servine. Lead with a Leech Seed, which makes Liepard’s attacks even more pitiful. Then, a pair of Leaf Tornadoes should finish the job. Servine walls Pansage, but the Grass Snake Pokémon can only harm Pansage with Return. As such, you’ll want Servine to have learned Return via the TM from the Nimbasa City Pokémon Center. Servine’s Return should net a 3HKO on Pansage. In the event you lack Return, Leaf Tornado is still better than anything Pansage can throw at the Grass Snake Pokémon (barring an untimely critical hit). However, stay away from Tranquill and Pignite regardless of Servine’s moveset. Tranquill has Super Luck and Air Cutter while Pignite is a powerful Fire-type Pokémon. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 27; Growth, Leech Seed, Leaf Tornado, Return/Mega Drain.

Note: Servine is nearing a critical inflection point. It learns Leaf Blade at level 32 and Coil at level 36, so you will soon have to decide between a SubSeed or SubCoil set. Unfortunately, Serperior cannot feasibly run Leech Seed, Coil, and Substitute at the same time, as this limits its offensive options to Leaf Blade. Know that SubCoil sets are incredibly difficult to pull off in no-healing runs, making SubSeed the superior option in that scenario. SubCoil is easily the most destructive Serperior set. However, it can be tricky to pull off. Your Serperior’s nature may also be a deciding factor. Any Attack, Defense, or Speed lowering nature will hinder Serperior’s SubCoil set while a Defense, Special Defense, or Special Attack lowering nature will do the same to the SubSeed set. Choose wisely.

Servine versus Clay in Driftveil City Gym: Leaf Blade is Servine’s best option here, so you’ll want to train it to level 32. Note that this is one level over that of Clay’s ace, so those utilizing level caps may want to consider an alternate option (or try and roll with Leaf Tornado, which is riskier). Leaf Blade will OHKO Krokorok, who lacks Intimidate. Any Grass-type move will decimate Palpitoad, but don’t waste this opportunity to set up with Growth if you still have it. (Note that Krokorok isn’t set up bait thanks to its Swagger and Torment.) Set up Leech Seed first, as Servine is going to need to tank a few hits. Servine needs to be at a whopping +5 Attack to OHKO Excadrill with Leaf Blade, and it will never OHKO with Leaf Tornado (barring a critical hit, of course). However, unless your Servine has a Speed reducing nature, it will likely outspeed Excadrill. Clay’s ace does have Sand Rush, but can’t set up Sandstorm. Just don’t set up your own Sandstorm and this is a non-issue. Servine will only need to boost to +2 Attack to guarantee a 2HKO on Excadrill, so that’s what you want to aim for unless your Servine has a Speed reducing nature. Leaf Blade also has a high critical hit ratio, which means Servine has a high chance of OHKOing Excadrill with a critical hit at +2. (This is driven even higher if you give Servine the Scope Lens, which is found in Castelia City.) Servine can outspeed Excadrill (again, this probably won’t happen if your Servine has a Speed reducing nature) and hit it with Leaf Blade. If it fails to land a critical hit, Excadrill will likely use Hone Claws anyway, allowing Servine to finish it on the next turn. Excadrill only needs to land a critical hit at +1 Attack to OHKO Servine from full health, which is a scenario that can play out (although unlikely). Tread lightly, though. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 32/31; Growth, Leech Seed, Return/Mega Drain, Leaf Blade/Leaf Tornado.

Servine versus Bianca in Driftveil City: As usual, Bianca leads with Herdier, who has Intimidate. Leading with Leech Seed is recommended. Servine can then 3HKO Herdier with Leaf Tornado or Leaf Blade. Turn tail and run when Pansear enters the battlefield; Flame Burst does a lot of damage and Sevine can’t do as much in return if its Attack is still lowered. Let another teammate handle Pansear. Musharna can be annoying with Hypnosis and Defense Curl; lead with Leech Seed to get some guaranteed damage every turn. Proceed to 3HKO Musharna with Leaf Blade. Give Servine the Scope Lens for this battle as a critical hit will break past Musharna’s Defense Curl boosts. Bianca’s Dewott does carry Revenge, but Leaf Blade will likely OHKO and Revenge doesn’t do that much damage even when it’s boosted. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 32/31; Growth, Leech Seed, Return/Mega Drain, Leaf Blade/Leaf Tornado.

Servine versus N in Chargestone Cave: Smack Boldore around with Leaf Blade and dispatch the Ore Pokémon. The rest of N’s Pokémon pose too much of a threat to Servine: Ferroseed has incredible bulk, incredible resistance to Grass-type moves, and Pin Missile; Joltik won’t fall fast enough to Return and can do some damage with Bug Bite; Klink grinds Servine’s gears with the aptly-named Gear Grind and has Bind to trap the Grass Snake Pokémon, who can’t do much damage to Klink. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 32; Growth, Leech Seed, Return/Mega Drain, Leaf Blade.

Servine versus Skyla in Mistralton City Gym: Servine, in its (possibly) final battle before evolving, performs terribly. Swoobat will send Servine flying with Acrobatics. Unfezant is faster and has Air Slash to cause flinching. Swanna is in the same boat as Unfezant, except the Pokémon using Air Slash has a viable Special Attack stat this time around. Keep your starter away from this battle. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 35; Growth, Leech Seed, Return/Mega Drain, Leaf Blade.

Serperior versus Cheren in Twist Mountain: Serperior can be very useful in this battle, but stay away from Unfezant. Liepard can be used as set up bait if you have Coil. Use Coil three times to net the OHKO on Simisage and Pignite with Aerial Ace (obtained in Mistralton City). Liepard will fall to Leaf Blade. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 36; Leech Seed, Leaf Blade, Coil, Aerial Ace/Return/Mega Drain.

Serperior versus Brycen in Icirrus City Gym: Serperior isn’t particularly useful in this battle, but it can put in some work if need be. As for SubCoil Serperior, it can 2HKO Vanillish but is 2HKOed in return with Frost Breath. Leaf Blade might not 2HKO, so be careful. Vanillish can also use Acid Armor, preventing a 2HKO barring a critical hit. A more appropriate counter is preferred. Cryogonal is likely 2HKOed by Leaf Blade but has Reflect. Its Frost Breath will also do a lot of damage. When Beartic comes out, stay far away; it can tank all of Serperior’s attacks and retaliate with a ton of force. The advice for SubSeed Serperior is mostly the same if it has Leaf Blade. It can aid team members with Leech-Seed-and-run if it comes to that. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 39; (SubCoil) Leaf Blade, Coil, Return/Aerial Ace, Substitute; (SubSeed) Leech Seed, Leaf Blade, Return/Aerial Ace/Mega Drain, Substitute.

Serperior versus Bianca in Route 8: SubCoil Serperior can’t set up on Bianca’s lead, Stoutland, who carries Roar. Stoutland also has Intimidate, so don’t lead with SubCoil Serperior. SubSeed Serperior can lead with Leech Seed, which will aid a teammate if Serperior gets switched out. That’s all that Serperior should do against Stoutland though (unless it somehow has Giga Drain already). Serperior can’t face Simisear either; that should be a given. Musharna is best faced down by SubSeed Serperior. Both variations of Serperior can use Substitute to avoid Musharna’s Hypnosis, but the Drowsing Pokémon has Defense Curl to make SubCoil Serperior’s job more difficult. Psybeam may be powerful enough to break Sub, too. Musharna is still solid set-up bait. Serperior just needs to use Coil twice to 2HKO Musharna. For SubSeed Serperior, just stall and attack with Leaf Blade. Either variant of Serperior will finish Samurott with a pair of Leaf Blades, but SubCoil Serperior can OHKO from +2. A Slash or Revenge from Samurott (if it doesn’t land critically or is boosted, in Revenge’s case) isn’t enough to break Serperior’s Sub, but note that it carries Encore. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 40; (SubCoil) Leaf Blade, Coil, Return/Aerial Ace, Substitute; (SubSeed) Leech Seed, Leaf Blade, Return/Aerial Ace/Mega Drain, Substitute.

Serperior versus Iris/Drayden in Opelucid City Gym: SubCoil Serperior is much more useful here than SubSeed Serperior. SubSeed Serperior can only use Leech Seed its opponents. The Regal Pokémon does require Return to do much in this battle, so make sure you teach it that move. However, this is a difficult match-up nonetheless, even with max Return. The Opelucid City Gym Leader’s Fraxure and Haxorus both have Rivalry. It’s only recommended that you use Serperior in this battle if its gender is the opposite of its opponent’s. A male Serperior is the best for fighting Iris and a female Serperior is the best for fighting Drayden. You’ll want to lead with a Coil against Fraxure, who will likely use Dragon Dance first. Make sure that the rest of your team can hold their own if sent out as it can use Dragon Tail. Don’t bring any frail and/or underleveled Pokémon to this battle; that’s what the PC box is for. Serperior can then use Substitute and attempt to 2HKO with Return. If Serperior is of the opposite gender, Fraxure will need two Dragon Dance boosts to take out a Substitute with Dragon Tail. Druddigon can ignore your boosts with Chip Away, but this move shouldn’t break a Sub from full health anyway (if Serperior is at +1 with Coil, which it should be). The only move in Druddigon’s arsenal that can break a Sub (again, provided Serperior is already at +1) is a boosted Revenge. Abuse Druddigon for another Coil boost (or two if you want to be careful). After you’re at +2 or +3 Attack, Serperior can 2HKO Druddigon with Return. Haxorus will go the same way. Note that Haxorus can take two-thirds of Serperior’s health with a Dragon Dance-boosted critical hit Slash, and Dragon Tail is slightly more powerful. (Note that this calculation assumes that Haxorus and Serperior are of opposite genders.) Hopefully, it won’t come to that, but heal when necessary. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 43; (SubCoil) Leaf Blade, Coil, Return, Substitute; (SubSeed) Leech Seed, Leaf Blade, Return/Aerial Ace/Mega Drain, Substitute.

Serperior versus Cheren in Route 10: Stay away from Unfezant, as usual. A Scope Lens induced critical hit Air Slash is not something Serperior wants to tank. Simisage is pure set-up bait for SubCoil Serperior though, and you can get as many boosts as you want if you can use healing items. Get to +1 or +3 to 2HKO or OHKO Simisage with Aerial Ace, respectively. If you have Return instead, it’s recommended that you temporarily replace it with Aerial Ace for this battle. Barring that, getting to +2 or +4 to 2HKO or OHKO Simisage with Return, respectively. Liepard has Taunt, which will shut down SubCoil Serperior if you didn’t set up on Simisage. Serperior only needs to be at +2 Attack to OHKO Liepard with Leaf Blade. Without a boost, Leaf Blade is a 2HKO on the Cruel Pokémon. Be wary of Night Slash; a critical hit will take out half of Serperior’s HP regardless of Defense boosts. As for SubSeed Serperior, it can deal with Simisage via a coverage move (preferably Aerial Ace). The Regal Pokémon can also 2HKO Liepard with Giga Drain. Both variants must avoid Emboar, though. Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 44; (SubCoil) Leaf Blade, Coil, Aerial Ace/Return, Substitute; (SubSeed) Leech Seed, Aerial Ace/Return, Substitute, Giga Drain.

Serperior versus the Elite 4: Recommended Level and Moveset: Level 50 (for the Elite Four)/Level 54 (for N/Ghetsis); (SubCoil) Leaf Blade, Coil, Return, Substitute; (SubSeed) Leech Seed, Protect/Return, Substitute, Giga Drain.

Serperior versus Shauntal: For SubSeed Serperior, lead with Substitute on Cofagrigus, who loves to use Will-O-Wisp. Next, wear it down with Leech Seed and Giga Drain. Do the same to Jellicent and Golurk, both of which get 2HKOed by Giga Drain. For SubCoil Serperior, avoid Cofagrigus. It may seem like a good idea to lead with Substitute to nullify Will-O-Wisp and then begin to set up. However, Shauntal will likely send out Chandelure next, and Serperior can’t stand up to it. Cofagrigus can also break Subs with Shadow Ball. Overall it’s a good idea to avoid Cofagrigus. SubCoil Serperior doesn’t need to use Sub at all in this battle; Jellicent and Golurk, the only Pokémon Serperior can fight, both fall to a pair of Leaf Blades anyway. You could lead with Substitute on Golurk if you want to avoid Curse, but note that its Shadow Punch will shatter a Sub and it’s not guaranteed to go for Curse. Stay away from Chandelure (if you need to be told that).

Serperior versus Grimsley: Grimsley’s lead, Scrafty, is rather threatening to Serperior as it carries Poison Jab. This hits hard (it will 3HKO), so steering clear is advised. Krookdile has Intimidate, but SubCoil Serperior can still 2HKO with Leaf Blade and SubSeed Serperior 2HKOs with its Giga Drain. Krookodile can’t be used as set up bait by SubCoil Serperior thanks to the Intimidation Pokémon’s Foul Play. Liepard can be annoying with Fake Out and Attract, but a male Serperior is immune to the latter and can use a STAB move to finish Liepard in two hits anyway. SubCoil Serperior needs its Attack to be maxed out if it wants to fight Bisharp, which is unreasonable. Bisharp can also 2HKO with X-Scissor, so a critical hit is likely fatal whether Serperior has Defense boosts or not. Bisharp’s Bug-type move is also why SubSeed Serperior cannot even risk using Leech Seed.

Serperior versus Caitlin: This battle is rather risky for the Regal Pokémon. If you have a better counter, just use it. Otherwise, Serperior can be somewhat helpful in this battle. Reuniclus can 3HKO with Psychic. Leaf Blade is a 3HKO and Giga Drain is a 4HKO on Reuniclus. SubSeed Serperior can use Leech Seed and promptly run for cover if you want to try that. Musharna is packing Reflect and its Psychic hits nearly as hard as that of Reuniclus. Musharna is also bulkier than Reuniclus and can raise its Special Attack with Charge Beam. Leaf Blade is just a 4HKO, and Giga Drain is a 5HKO. Again, SubSeed Serperior’s Leech-Seed-and-run strategy is your best way to use Serperior here. Stay away from Sigilyph, who can 2HKO the Regal Pokémon with Air Slash. SubSeed Serperior must stay away from Gothitelle, who has great Special Defense and can abuse the turn Serperior uses Leech Seed by boosting with Calm Mind. SubCoil Serperior can 3HKO with Leaf Blade. However, note that Gothitelle needs just one Calm Mind boost to have a chance to OHKO Serperior from full health with a critical hit Psychic. Tread lightly.

Serperior versus Marshal: SubCoil Serperior was built for this battle. The only threatening move comes in the form of Mienshao’s U-Turn, and all moves are physically-based. Throh has Storm Throw, which always results in a critical hit. This will bypass Serperior’s Defense boosts and breaks Sub. Have a different Pokémon handle Throh if possible. Otherwise, Leaf Blade is just a 4HKO, so bring some healing items. Set up Coil on Sawk. Sawk can break Sub with a Stone Edge, so boost to +1 Defense before using Sub. Be wary of critical hits if Sub is not up; a critical hit Stone Edge will take about three-fifths of Serperior’s health. Get to +3 to OHKO Sawk and Mienshao with Leaf Blade, which also nets the 2HKO on Conkeldurr. Tread lightly though, and bring healing items if possible. SubSeed Serperior doesn’t fare nearly as well. All of Marshal’s Pokémon can shatter Sub, and Conkeldurr and Mienshao can 2HKO the Regal Pokémon. You can safely Leech Seed Sawk and Throh from full health, and Serperior can then try to stall out with Giga Drain. Beware of Stone Edge’s high critical hit ratio, which can foil your plan.

Note: Do not forget that you can leave the Elite 4 and train your team before fighting N and Ghetsis. This is recommended for those that entered the Elite 4 with their team below level 52.

Serperior versus N: Serperior has bad match-ups against almost all of N’s Pokémon and doesn’t get any good set up opportunities. Only fight Carracosta, who is 2HKOed (thanks to Sturdy) by any Grass STAB move. Zekrom/Reshiram is much too powerful, Archeops has a super-effective Acrobatics and resists all of Serperior’s moves, Vanilluxe has powerful Ice-type moves, Zoroark decimates the Regal Pokémon with Flamethrower, and Klinklang resists all of Serperior’s moves.

Serperior versus Ghetsis: The Regal Pokémon fares much better against Ghetsis than against N thanks to Cofagrigus. Ghetsis’ Cofagrigus uses Toxic and Protect to stall out its opponents, so it’s perfect Sub bait. SubSeed Serperior can use Sub, Leech Seed, then 3HKO with Giga Drain. However, SubSeed Serperior can only fight one more Pokémon on Ghetsis’ team: Seismitoad. SubCoil Serperior, however, is great in this battle. After setting up to +4 with Coil, Serperior can 2HKO or OHKO Cofagrigus, Eelektross, Bouffalant, and Seismitoad with Leaf Blade. (You may be thinking that Boufflalant has Sap Sipper, which would give it a free Attack boost. However, it has Reckless instead.) Hydreigon can only be 2HKOed with Return though (unless you boost to +6, which only gives you an OHKO chance). Hydreigon can retaliate with Fire Blast, which is fatal if it lands critically. To make this situation worse, it is liable to come out right after Cofagrigus, wasting your precious Attack boosts if you switch out. Fortunately, Serperior is faster. Keep Serperior’s health above four-fifths and hope Fire Blast doesn’t land critically if Hydreigon comes out early. It’s very risky, but it’s your best bet at taking Hydreigon down. You can attempt to max out your Attack on Cofagrigus to maximize your OHKO chances. As for Bisharp, it has Metal Burst and won’t be OHKOed by anything in your arsenal. Let something else handle it if possible. If it happens to come out early, you better hope Serperior has high health and is only at +4, which may allow it to survive Metal Burst. This strategy is very risky, but it will be very rewarding if you can pull it off.

Everything in Between

Pre-Nacrene City: The Grass Snake Pokémon is rather average in the early game; Pidove and Woobat are dangerous. Its offenses are also rather lacking, so you’ll want a Lillipup or something similar to make up for it. The wild Throh/Sawk can be problematic for Servine, but the Grass Snake Pokémon is one of the best Pokémon to stand up to these early game threats. This is thanks to its high Speed, which allows it to run from these Pokémon. Unfortunately, running is honestly your best choice; both have base Attack stats over one hundred before the second gym.

Pinwheel Forest: Servine can be pretty solid against Team Plasma, but the Bug-types here can be threatening. Tread lightly, and don’t overestimate Servine’s bulk.

The Desert: Servine is good for fighting Ground-types, but Dwebble, Darumaka, and stray Sigilyph can all pose a threat. Like in Pinwheel Forest, don’t overestimate Servine’s bulk.

Mid-Game Areas: Several Pokémon can pose a threat to the Grass Snake Pokémon in this area, so be wary. Keep Servine away from Pokémon of types that it’s weak to, but you hopefully don’t need to be told that. As for the route west of Driftveil, keep Servine away from wild Tranquill. Other than that, Servine can be useful, but it’s Grass-type moves are mostly useless here. Stick with coverage moves. Servine doesn’t have any distinct advantages or weaknesses against Team Plasma in the Cold Storage, so Servine can be used if you lack a better counter. It’s best to keep Servine on the bench when you enter Celestial Tower though; there are a lot of Litwick.

Caves and Mountains: Your starter’s Grass-typing might give you the impression that it’s great in caves, but don’t be fooled that easily. Woobat can be found everywhere while Chargestone Cave and Twist Mountain have their own set of problems. The former is full of Klink, Ferroseed, and Joltik while the latter has Ice-types. (Granted, Cubchoo is a joke, but Cryogonal can be threatening.) Twist Mountain does contain Serperior’s best weapon though: Substitute.

Water Routes: Serperior performs well here, for once. It’s Grass-type STAB moves will decimate Frillish, so it can handle the water section of Unova’s water routes. Watch out for Crustle on the mainland and you should be fine.

Late-Game: Serperior makes a joke out of the Icirrus City area, which contains mostly Stunfisk and Palpitoad. Route 9’s Poison- and Steel-types can be problematic, but Serperior is good for any Krokorok you might run into while fighting trainers. As for Route 10, watch out for Bouffalant, who may have Sap Sipper. Watch out for Pokémon of types that Serperior is weak to as always.

Checks and Counters

Super-Effective Types: Serperior lacks a good way to handle the types that it’s weak to, which can almost always break Substitute with a super-effective attack. As such, a Water-, Fire-, or Rock-type will pair well with Serperior. Water-types cover Fire-types; Fire-types themselves cover Bug- and Ice-types; Rock-types can handle Flying-types and resist Poison-type moves. In return, Serperior can beat opposing Grass- and Electric-types for Water-types and beat Ground- and Rock-types for Fire- and Rock-types.

Steel-types: Pokémon of this type, like Ghetsis’ Bisharp, cause quite a problem for Serperior, who can only hurt them with a super-effective Hidden Power type. As such, the aforementioned Fire-types will be useful. A Fighting- or Ground-type could be useful as well. Serperior can also take on Water-types for Fire- and Ground-types.

(SubCoil) Pokémon that can prevent sweeps: Those Pokémon that have Encore, Taunt, or a phazing move can shut down Serperior’s sweep. Notable users of these moves include Bianca’s Samurott (Encore), Cheren’s Liepard (Taunt), and Bianca’s Stoutland (Roar). Any Pokémon that can deal with these moves (essentially any Pokémon that doesn’t rely on setting up).

Overall Grade: A

The Snivy line has many disadvantages in the Unova region, but its late-game Substitute strategies make up for this. Its access to Leech Seed, Coil, great Speed, and good bulk gives it everything it needs to succeed once it has access to Substitutes. However, the line lacks coverage, and its lack of offensive presence in the early-to-mid-game makes it difficult to use. While not for the faint of heart, the Snivy line can be a true challenge whose positive traits make it effective and enjoyable to use.

Resources to Utilize

Serperior’s Learnset: https://pokemondb.net/pokedex/serperior/moves/5

Written by Reddit user u/Samurott1. For questions about this guide or for specific advice for your playthrough, send them a message on Reddit.