Screenshot by Destructoid

How to beat the 7-Star Samurott Tera Raid in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet

Welcome to the critical hits of Samurott

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I feel like a broken record saying this, but Samurott could be the most unexpected 7-Star raid in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet yet. Sure, it follows the formula of basing a raid around a previous Generation’s starter, but the meta and strategies for this fight aren’t like anything we’ve seen until now. Whether that’s good or bad is up to you, but either way, prepare for a fierce challenge that prioritizes very specific strategies.

If you’ve participated in Tera Raids since Scarlet & Violet launched, you know the deal by now. Samurott will always have the Bug Tera Type, and it will use the same strategy in every encounter. You’re limited to catching one Samurott per save file, but you can continue to farm the fight for Ability Patches, Bottle Caps, and other useful goodies. Decidueye codified a trend of boosted Tera Shard gains per victory, and thankfully that tradition continues here. I doubt you’d need to change many Pokemon’s Tera Type to Bug, but hey, more shards are better than less.

As far as the fight itself, I’ve got one thing to say to you: do you like critical hits? I hope you do, because Samurott has a lot of them to give. That sounds scary, but this fight is bizarrely simple to clear if you’re going in solo. Here’s what you should expect.

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Samurott’s moveset

As we initially expected, Samurott is a strictly physical attacker. Throughout the fight, it will use Aqua Cutter, Megahorn, Night Slash, and Drill Run. This lets Samurott deal Water, Bug, Dark, and Ground-Type damage. That said, Samurott will typically use whatever move deals the most damage to you. Any Pokemon you bring will likely need to defend against Aqua Cutter and Megahorn over anything else.

At the battle’s beginning, Samurott will use Focus Energy to boost its Critical Hit Rate. Diehard Pokemon fans may have noticed that three of Samurott’s four attacks already have an increased critical chance. In other words, prepare for virtually every attack to inflict a critical hit. Critical hits completely ignore any negative stages of the attacker’s stats and all positive stages of the defender’s stats. In other words, Defense-boosting moves won’t help you. Cutting Samurott’s attack can help, but only in one specific instance.

In fact, let’s get into timing right now. Samurott generally enters its shield phase after a few turns or once it takes a substantial amount of damage. A knocked-out ally in multiplayer rooms will also trigger the shield phase. Additionally, Samurott will use Bulldoze as an extra attack after turn 2, which fortunately shouldn’t deal substantial damage. However, this will drop your speed, making it likely that Samurott will attack first from here on out.

As Samurott’s HP drops, it will nullify your party’s stat changes. This happens twice during the encounter, so any buffs you use after the second instance will stick. Interesting enough, it won’t cleanse itself of negative stat debuffs until very late in the fight; so late you may not see it. However, be wary that it will use Swords Dance after its shield breaks, dramatically increasing its power. Remember, critical hits still register the attacker’s positive stat changes during damage calculations.

Screenshot by Destructoid

How to counter Samurott

As mentioned above, Samurott will clear your team’s stat changes throughout the fight. Since it takes so long for Samurott to cleanse its own stats, any debuffs you can throw at it right off the bat will stick. Take turn one to use a Defense-lowering move like Screech, especially if you or your allies rely on the Shell Bell for healing. Once Samurott’s shields go up, only debuffs attached to damage-dealing moves will work.

Due to the nature of critical hits, there’s little you can do to make the damage bearable for your party. That said, there is one move that can come in clutch: Mud-Slap. Yes, this basic Ground-Type move isn’t strong, but it lowers accuracy by one stage per use. More importantly, it does deal damage, meaning it is effective during the shield phase. Megahorn is one of Samurott’s strongest attacks, but its one drawback is its imperfect 85% accuracy. If you harass Samurott’s accuracy enough, Megahorn will almost never hit your team. You do rely on chance, since you can get whacked with an unlucky roll of the dice. However, there’s not much else you can do defensively.

Otherwise, there honestly isn’t much to say about the fight itself. Many speculated Flying-Type Pokemon would be dominate, but there aren’t any standout candidates that deal incredible damage here. The most important consideration is whether your monster of choice can resist Water and Bug-Type attacks, as those are the heavy hitters. A few Pokemon with hybrid typing fit the bill, but no one Type reigns dominate like in past 7-Star events. Because of this, your best strategies rely heavily on which Pokemon you build.

The best Pokemon to bring

Watching the early meta for this fight shake out has been like no other event in the game. In fact, as of writing, many players are still using an incredibly wide variety of monsters online. After testing and observing many possible counters, I can confidently say these are the best picks for this fight.

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DPS MVP: Annihilape

Despite lacking Super Effective damage or cheese strats like Stored Power, Annihilape is the most consistent attacker against Samurott. On turn one, use Screech to lower Samurott’s Defense. From turn two onward, use Rage Fist and never look back. If equipped with a Shell Bell, Annihilape should generally recover from the incoming damage. Rage Fist’s power builds as Annihilape takes hits, so its efficacy will improve as the battle progresses. You might have trouble during the shield phase, but a well-coordinated party can lower Samurott’s Defense enough to give Annihilape some sustain here.

Annihilape honestly doesn’t need any other moves than these two. It’s important for Annihilape to not get knocked on the back foot, as it needs to maintain the healing from Rage Fist to survive. Some players have found success by using Screech twice or throwing in other moves, but a single Screech into Rage Fist has the most consistent results. Because of this, pouring PP Ups into Rage Fist is highly recommended in case the battle drags on. Annihilape theoretically can learn other useful moves for this fight, but I couldn’t find the proper timing to get them to work.

This strategy will work for a solo clear. While you may get knocked out a time or two when playing with AI companions, you should get a slow and steady clear with Annihilape regardless. Just make sure you max Annihilape’s EVs and IVs for best results. I personally went for HP and Attack, though I’ve read comments that suggest investing in Defense over HP instead. I can’t bring myself to raise another Annihilape to test this myself, so use your own discretion here.

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Overall MVP: Koraidon

This fight really, really values Pokemon that resist Samurott. Just as Annihilape’s unique typing gives it massive resistance to Bug-Type moves, Koraidon’s Dragon/Fighting-Type hybrid helps it defend against both of Samurott’s heavy hitters. Combined with Koraidon’s physical bulk, this Legendary Pokemon shines here.

A major contributing factor to Koraidon’s success is Orichalcum Pulse. Establishing harsh sunlight on turn one is a major defensive boon against Aqua Cutter, especially if you’re paired with an Annihilape. From there, I honestly recommend playing Koraidon as a support. It can take hits well enough to use Screech without needing to heal, which will massively improve your party’s damage output. Sunny Day will put up weather again when the effect of Orichalcum Pulse wears off, and Mud-Slap can be used to be purely defensive if you want.

As far as damage options are concerned, here’s where things get dicey. Many sources recommend a combination of Swords Dance and Flare Blitz as your primary method of dealing damage. Where this gets risky is the recoil from Flare Blitz. Remember, we’re doing massive amounts of damage against an inflated HP bar, so Koraidon can very easily knock itself out from the sheer damage it inflicts. Additionally, the aggressive stat resets from Samurott make it difficult to set up Swords Dance. My best advice is to save Flare Blitz for breaking down Samurott’s shield and for hopefully getting a powerful finishing strike in to end the battle. Koraidon can nuke Samurott if played correctly, but I haven’t seen it pulled off in practice.

If that strategy is too risky for you, Drain Punch actually works well here. Samurott resists it, but Koraidon’s Attack stat is high enough to get steady sustain out of it if used alongside Screech. Otherwise, I’d say maybe Dragon Claw as an alternative to Flame Blitz. It won’t do massive damage, but it will be consistent if you’re primarily trying to support your team.

Support MVP: Azumarill

Here’s the deal: there are a few Pokemon that are as capable as Azumarill in a support role. However, since Azumarill is already a popular Tera Raid Pokemon to build, many players can bring this little fellow along without needing to invest in an encounter-specific monster. You’ll just need to reconfigure its moveset.

The key move here is, again, Mud-Slap. RNG is a pain, but even a single missed attack can be the difference between life or death. While Koraidon can technically cover this base already, Azumarill also has unique utility in Charm. Samurott’s Swords Dance is extremely scary, so Charm will immediately reset Swords Dance after it’s used. Because Azumarill is a Water/Fairy-Type hybrid, it doesn’t require a pure support spread of EVs to take hits from Bug and Water attacks.

Once Samurott is sufficiently weakened, feel free to contribute damage using Belly Drum and Play Rough. Just make sure it has already reset your party’s stat buffs twice so you don’t waste that deep HP loss from buffing your attack.

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Healer MVP: Cloyster

Look, I like Cloyster. I don’t see anyone else using this thing as a healer, but if there was ever a fight for Cloyster to shine as one, it’s this.

In addition to Cloyster’s ridiculously high Defense stat, it can learn the immensely valuable ability Shell Armor. This makes Cloyster immune to critical hits, granting total defense against Samurott’s primary mechanic. From here, Cloyster can spam as much Life Dew as it wants, which it can learn as an egg move. This, honestly, is helpful to the point where Cloyster’s other attack options don’t matter that much. Scary Face is a great move for turn one, as it drops Samurott’s speed more than its Bulldoze attack will in return. Otherwise, if your party is really sturdy, you can use Razor Shell to try and farm Defense debuffs on Samurott. This hasn’t made a substantial difference in my testing, but the option is there.

Otherwise, throw Helping Hand on Cloyster in case a Koraidon is trying to prepare for a nuke. It’s hard to coordinate like this in random parties, but what else are you going to do with that fourth move slot?

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Like always, find the strategy that works for you

In my testing, the above four Pokemon are the best to bring. However, the nature of this fight makes so many Pokemon viable in some capacity. If you prepared for this fight by investing in Corviknight, you’ll get decent mileage using moves like Screech, Roost, and Drill Peck. I’ve also seen Bellibolt get wins despite its weakness to Samurott’s Drill Run. If you built one to deal damage during the Decidueye fight, you might be able to use it here too. Cloyster can also be used offensively if given the Skill Link ability combined with Rock Blast. It’ll still take critical hits though, so be careful if you take this approach.

Otherwise, it’s surreal to see so many Pokemon succeed despite lacking a direct Type advantage over Samurott. Even though the Bug-Type is typically regarded as one of the worst in the franchise, it’s given players a unique challenge to overcome. If I’m being honest, I kind of like this battle. Planning for critical hits ironically takes some of the randomness out of the fight, and the lack of outright nuke strategies prevents the usual coordination issues that ruin optimal strategies. Samurott is a decent challenge in online rooms and I frankly enjoyed figuring out reliable strategies to use against it. What can I say, Generation 5 really is the best.

Whether you solo clear or farm with friends, best of luck taking Samurott down!

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Image of Timothy Monbleau
Timothy Monbleau
Guide Editor - Timothy started writing community blogs for Destructoid in 2012. He liked it so much he decided to write articles for the site professionally. His love for RPGs and the Ys series will endure forever.