After having Sewaddle, Swadloon and Leavanny show the Bug/Grass dual-types of yester-year how it’s done, it’s time to try pushing our luck and seeing whether we can do the same for the half-dozen assorted worthless Bug/Poison Pokémon. Here’s the latest addition to this already overfull type combination: Venipede. To be honest, I don’t have a whole lot to say about Venipede or his evolved form, Whirlipede. Their main defining feature is that they’re extraordinarily ill-tempered. Beedrill were ill-tempered too, of course, but that was something they grew into – Weedle are perfectly sweet, if disturbingly pointy – and it was mainly about defending their nests from predators anyway. Venipede, on the other hand, have deep personal grudges against just about everything, which they express by repeatedly and insistently poisoning you. Whirlipede continues to hold these grudges, and expresses them by rolling into a ball and trying to run you over. Then he evolves into Scolipede and everything gets a whole lot worse for everyone. Scolipede is not only still foul-tempered, he’s also two and a half meters long and made of pure awesome. Scolipede is another of those Pokémon that makes you wonder what exactly the parents of the Pokémon universe must be smoking that they would willingly allow their children to wander the wilderness alone. This is an apex predator, found in temperate forests, that is probably willing and almost certainly able to kill and eat humans. I mean it; there are South American centipedes that can kill and eat bats, in flight no less, and those are “only” thirty centimetres long, so don’t tell me Scolipede is probably harmless to humans. There’s not really a whole lot more to Scolipede than that; he’s enormous and angry and enjoys poisoning things altogether too much. It’s not a very deep concept, yet somehow… I’m okay with that. “Giant centipede” has a certain amount of innate appeal, and Scolipede himself is nicely done; simple but awesome.
So, how does Scolipede rate in battle? Well, Bug/Poison is not exactly a winning combination; compared to Leavanny’s Bug/Grass, its weaknesses are not nearly as crippling but its resistances are also far less useful, so it’s hard to say which is worse, and, like Bug/Grass, it’s been represented in the past by Pokémon that are just as terrible – namely, Ariados and Beedrill. Scolipede is basically Beedrill on crystal meth. He doesn’t get U-Turn and his special defence is weaker, but in just about every other respect I can think of, he’s significantly better. However, there is a third existing Bug/Poison Pokémon who, while he has a lot of problems, is far from unusable: Venomoth. Game Freak just keeps being nicer and nicer to Venomoth. Diamond and Pearl gave him the Tinted Lens ability, which causes all his resisted attacks to do double damage – basically, resistances just aren’t, unless they’re double-resistances or immunities. Black and White then added Quiver Dance to Venomoth’s movepool, the lovely new technique that boosts special attack, special defence and speed all at once. Even with Tinted Lens and Quiver Dance, Venomoth’s main attacks are still easy enough to resist that making him work as a sweeper is… tricky. Venomoth can actually use Baton Pass to give those boosts to something else more dangerous, though, so he has a viable niche. Scolipede can use Baton Pass as well, but he doesn’t have the craziness that is Quiver Dance to go with it. Still, Swords Dance for power and Agility for speed are nothing to sniff at. What’s more, Scolipede is very fast, fast enough to use Swords Dance and then get out before trouble finds him – a useful trait in a Baton Passer. Also, although he doesn’t have Leavanny’s ability to protect the rest of his team with Reflect or Light Screen, he has an infinitely better attack spread in Megahorn, Earthquake and Rock Slide, so he can very easily turn around and start disembowelling people if Baton Pass isn’t your thing – and that works too, because Scolipede is naturally fast and has a decent attack stat, although I don’t think I would advise trying it without Swords Dance. He can, in theory, use Spikes and Toxic Spikes, throwing down layers of nasty pointy things to damage or poison your opponents on every switch, but trying to do this with Scolipede seems like a bad idea, if you ask me, since it takes several turns to do properly and he just doesn’t have the defensive capabilities to sit around for that long. Realistically, you could probably get more out of Venomoth, whichever sort of Pokémon you need, but Scolipede isn’t a terrible choice. I don’t know that he’s necessarily a good choice either, but he could be made to work.
When it comes right down to it, there’s not a whole lot to be said in Scolipede’s favour other than that he looks ludicrously badass. His flavour is, sadly, pretty one-dimensional, while his powers leave a lot to be desired – even Beedrill on crystal meth is still just Beedrill once the drug-induced euphoria wears off. His stats would be perfectly respectable attached to almost any other type combination, but Bug/Poison is a really hard one to live down… and to be honest, there’s not really all that much Scolipede can do. He has basically two workable movesets: [Swords Dance – Megahorn – Earthquake – Rock Slide] and [Baton Pass – Megahorn – Earthquake – Swords Dance/Agility]. His design is, as I’ve said, pretty shallow: it’s a bad idea to get him mad, but unfortunately he’s almost certainly mad already, so you should probably just run. That’s hardly anything new. Honestly, I don’t think Game Freak should have bothered with Venipede or Whirlipede since they didn’t really do anything interesting with them; Scolipede would have worked absolutely fine as a stand-alone Pokémon and this little quest of mine is all about trimming the fat. However, there is still room in later games to expand on Scolipede’s design with additional Pokédex entries, and on his skills with move tutors and such, and he does present a solid base to build on – as he is now, he can’t compete at the highest levels, but it’s hard to avoid the comparison to Beedrill, who is so woefully incompetent that almost anything looks good next to him. What’s more, it really would be a shame to waste such an awesome Pokémon. I’m letting Game Freak off with a warning on this one, but Scolipede could have been done better and I am a little disappointed.
I hereby affirm this Pokémon’s right to exist!