Obviously the title gives away my inspiration. I've felt like I've wanted to do some writing again recently, and this is a good place for me to start with, talking about plant quality. My rankings are based on my viability rankings, and I may refer to them from time to time. This will include gemiums, but won't include anything obtainable with seed packets or mints. All plants are assumed level 1, and this ranking is based on single player. Let's rock!
When talking about Chomper, it's very easy to kick a dead horse and talk about how awful it is - so I'll spare you the details. All you need to know about Chomper is that even though it's technically buffed from the first game, this plant is still so useless that it struggles even in the Big Wave Beach levels designed around it. This thing immediately begins struggling if there are more than two zombies in its lane. This plant is how you make a reusable instant look like complete garbage.
It's Plant Food is pretty nice though.
Unlike many, I actually enjoy the idea of a Peashooter/Wall-nut hybrid existing in game. Such a shame that the Peashooter aspect is entirely useless, making this plant essentially a Wall-nut that costs three times the amount of sun. The shorter recharge is nice (and recently with Reinforce-mint this plant had some new life breathed into it), but if it wants to be even remotely viable today it'd have to have that elusive fast recharge.
Like I can't quantifiably say that Hypno-shroom is useless, but at this point it's so far outclassed and out of a job that talking about it is just sad. Hypnotizing one zombie isn't impressive anymore when there's a plant that can hypnotize multiple zombies or another plant that literally creates them. It's decent plant to start with (but Potato Mine, Squash, and any one of the many other good starting plants), but really feels like nothing more.
#41 Electric Currant
So this plant was a cool experiment, and is actually pretty decent when upgraded (so is like everything), but Electric Currant's damage is too mediocre, requires a strategy built around to be anywhere near useful, and the strategy you can build is so flimsy that this plant just falls apart no matter where you look at it. Still a very unique plant design, however.
Another plant where every knows exactly how awful it is, even after being buffed. It's too expensive, and it doesn't attack consistently enough to be seen as anything more than a meme. Admittedly this is plant that needs more experimentation, since I think that if used in the right strategy, it could be good. Either we haven't found the strat yet, or this plant actually sucks. I'm one for experimentation, so let's see if I can figure something out.
#39 Blooming Heart
I've made comparisons with this plant to Cabbage-pult in the past, and though I can say that they haven't quite held up, it's really, really close to being true. Blooming Heart is a unique concept in a game that just wasn't built to support it. Really though the closest thing this has to a niche is being an early game plant, which in that case there are many premiums that do that better.
#38 Snow Pea
Simply put, Snow Pea is designed to be an early game plant and nothing more. That's fine, we need them. The thing with it is though is that is all Snow Pea is good for. In that regard, it's decent, but there's better. Works shockingly well with Winter-mint though.
People have talked about this plant to death too so I'll save most of the details. Torchwood was nerfed from PVZ1, and because of that the plant is generally terrible in most situations. Strategies revolving around it are greatly inefficient, with its only niches being in Frostbite Caves and in last stand levels. I've heard it's also got a good niche in Battlez, so good for it I guess.
This is my go to plant for killing Octo Zombies. Aside from that however, this plant is just really bad. Although when spammed its DPS can be quite good against tough zombies, it's hard for that to work really well since there's often a swarm of zombies coming out. Even against Octos, I prefer Phat Beet, since Phat Beet's DPS, although slightly worse, also hits more of the octos around him. He's also free, meaning there's not really a reason to purchase Starfruit unless you really want all the plants in this game.
Mention also goes out to Starfruit's Plant Food effect, which does a massive amount of damage when zombies are on top of it.
There's a trend here when it comes to premium plants: plants who's only niche is in the early game - and Cactus fits that to a tee. It's actually pretty solid early game, but it falls off so hard that you forget you've even planted it by the late game. It doesn't help that this plant becomes significantly worse if zombies are near it, since it loses a lot of DPS by hiding. Overall it's not the worst plant you could buy, but there's definitely better.
Funny how Toadstool is numerically 10 places up from Chomper. Anyways, I think a lot of people undersell Toadstool. Admittedly yes, it's not a great plant in most situations. This thing sucks really badly in Endless Zones, it's eating time is pretty obnoxious, and the sun production aspect of it is admittedly quite gimmicky. Where this plant really shines however is that it's actually really good in most regular levels. Toadstool is a surprisingly effective early game plant thanks to the range-advantage it has over Chomper. What's more, Toadstool doesn't fall off quite as hard as Chomper does, making Toadstool the superior choice always. The range advantage on Toadstool is very substantial and should not be overlooked. Although this should never be your first purchase (in fact there's little reason to buying this plant now anyway, since there's a lot of plants now that can do what it does), it's a cute plant that isn't bad per se.
#33 Homing Thistle
Once they fixed its accuracy, Homing Thistle has come back as a cool option for early game defense. Once again, it does really suck in Endless Zones, but it's use in normal levels is actually not too bad, and it works well with Spear-mint. The reason why it's so low is because it's pretty much entirely outclassed by Sling Pea now, meaning you never really have a reason to use this if you have the option of using Sling Pea.
On paper, Aloe seems like a really bad plant, and in practice, that's mostly true. However, this thing has so many insane synergies that it's enough to carry Aloe from useless status to being a somewhat usable plant. It has fantastic synergies with Holly Barrier and Chard Guard, and even works decently with Endurian, Garlic Kiwibeast, and Pea-nut. In Reinforce-mint based strategies, Aloe is definitely a usable choice. Although the plant requires these synergies in order to be usable, Aloe shouldn't be overlooked.
#31 Fire Peashooter
Fire Peashooter is a fantastic offensive starting plant in Frostbite Caves, and a pretty mediocre starting offensive plant anywhere else, but usable. Although I prefer Wasabi Whip, Fire Peashooter is good because it deals with a lot of early zombies quite easily, and isn't entirely useless once you've made it past the early game. Although it's hard to call Fire Peashooter a good plant, since it has a lot of weaknesses, it's at least usable, and a good option (especially for gems) for those looking to get some leverage in Frostbite Caves.
The problem with Squash isn't that it's bad, because it's really not. Squash is a decent plant. The problem comes from the fact that it's wildly outclassed by pretty much every other instant in the game. It's more expensive then Potato Mine, doesn't have the AOE killing power of the explosives or Jalapeno, and doesn't have the ability to disable entire areas like Hurrikale or Solar Tomato. Because of this, Squash is almost never considered, and realistically shouldn't be considered since it's a pretty average plant, and most other plants get the job done better.
#29 Witch Hazel
Although very similar to Electric Blueberry and Caulipower, I put Witch Hazel down a peg because it's main gimmick (transforming zombies) fails more often then you think due to it not working when a zombie is near another plant, and it's slightly more expensive then Electric Blueberry, meaning Witch Hazel is kind of just worse than both of them, however slightly. Realistically though it's not a big difference, but just big enough that it's worth a mention.
#28 Electric Blueberry and #27 Caulipower
These plants are really strong when spammed, but their high seed packet cooldown really holds them back. Caulipower is the best of the reusable instants imo since it has the best effect (hypnotization), while Electric Blueberry has the fastest attack rate, and it's the cheapest. Both of these plants suffer from what I like to call "dipshit targeting" (like it's really bad), so they aren't seen terrible much. However, they're aren't particularly bad.
#26 Sweet Potato
Although entirely outclassed by Hot Date, Sweet Potato, if played correctly, can be the only defensive plant you ever need. However, it can be pretty hard to play with Sweet Potato, and it's very prone to being removed through the numerous amount of zombies that just don't eat or can get around it. But when Sweet Potato it works, it works very well.
#25 Jack O' Lantern
Jack O' Lantern is a very mechanics intense plant. When played correctly, Jack O' Lantern is very solid at clearing out vast amount of zombies, as it has very solid DPS. More often then not however, it tends to be a liability more often then not, and it's very hard to use Jack O' Lantern to its fully extent. However, if one can play Jack O' Lantern correctly, it can be a devastating force. Also very solid warming plant in Frostbite Caves.
Like Squash, Jalapeno is often outclassed by its explosive contemporaries. Unlike its contemporaries however, it's also directly outclassed by Hurrikale, who has a much shorter cooldown, meaning it can disable entire lanes quite easily, while Jalapeno's high cooldown means that one use and you're left hanging for 35 seconds, which can leave you very vulnerable. In most cases, any of the explosives are generally better since they effect a much more relevant area.
#23 Escape Root
Escape Root is essentially a worse version of Primal Potato Mine. Its arm time is longer, and sometimes it may have a much smaller explosion radius, but sometimes it can be about as good as Primal Potato Mine. For all intents and purposes, its swap effect is general unused, but can be used occasionally to get out of bad situations. Overall though, Escape Root, while a unique concept, often fails to be practical in practice and is thus often outclassed.
#22 Hot Date
Hot Date is exactly like Sweet Potato, except he explodes like a Jalapeno when he dies. Additionally, he also thaws plants in Frostbite Caves. He's generally better than Sweet Potato in most strategies, but isn't really an exceptional defensive plant because his cooldown is too high, and he isn't really tough, meaning that once a Hot Date goes down, more often then not you have 2-3 lanes completely exposed to zombies. Not a bad plant by any means, but like Sweet Potato, not exactly great either.
#21 Apple Mortar
This is a plant that gets a lot of hate, and I think it's because people don't know how to use Apple Mortar. Apple Mortar is not a late game plant, nor is it a DPS plant. Apple Mortar is an early game that excels at bombarding zombies from range, and stunning them. Plus, it hits all three lanes at once, making it a fantastic plant to spam in the early game while you build up sun. This plant has two major flaws though. The first is that it admittedly falls of pretty hard, but even in the late game stalling just one Gargantuar per lane can make a difference. On the other hand, Cold Snapdragon pretty much outclasses it entirely thanks to the latter being cheaper, having a shorter cooldown, and having AOE, meaning Apple Mortar generally shouldn't be used if you have Cold Snapdragon. However, I think people are really sleeping on this plant. Dusk Lobber it is not, nor does it need to be.
Another plant that I think is pretty slept on, especially after his sun cost buff. Sap-fling is a good plant in fire based strategies, since it provides a slow that can really help many of the fire based plants. What's more, Sap-fling in a pinch can serve as a pseudo-Cold Snapdragon or Winter Melon, slowing down entire lanes from range. Obviously doing literally 0 damage isn't great, and this plant is also generally outclassed by Cold Snapdragon (but what isn't lol), but in the right scenarios this plant can shine.
Now I love Kiwibeast. I really like its design, and I think it's actually pretty decent in game, but pretty hard to use. This stems from the fact that a lot of zombies in this game can simply ignore Kiwibeast, giving them no room to grow or DPS. When Kiwibeast is not ignored however (which generally requires a lot of support), Kiwibeast can destroy entire levels quite easily - see my old TFT blog where I made a strat that consists of boosting Kiwibeasts. When supported properly, Kiwibeast can wreck levels. Just keep him as far away from Gargantuars as possible please <3
#18 Wasabi Whip
Wasabi Whip is Bonk Choy's concept done right. Although its attack speed is slower, Wasabi Whip makes up for it by having higher DPS and the ability to warm plants in Frostbite Caves, however niche that may be. Thanks to its higher over all damage, Wasabi Whip is actually competent at starting off levels, and is actually better at handling Weasel Hoarders compared to Bonk Choy (although Bonk Choy is admittedly better against Chicken Wranglers). It also works well with Sap-fling, and its Enforce-mint boost is quite strong. Although Wasabi Whip's lack of AOE does hurt it, it doesn't fall off quite as hard as one would thing - and since it's so cheap, it's easy to use early game. It's also really hard to use Wasabi Whip with any chilling plant, making Wasabi Whip not a great choice in most Endless Zones (or even normal levels, since Cold Snapdragon outclasses it). Still a good plant over all though.
Although Parsnip can't attack backwards, Parsip makes up for it by 1) not being a fire plant, which aside from Frostbite Caves is generally a good thing, and 2) the rush attack actually being quite relevant most of the time, although Guacodile is generally more cost-efficient for that. Aside from those traits however, what I said about Wasabi Whip also applies to Parsnip. I just think Parsnip is the better of the melee plants because of the aforementioned factors.
#16 Lava Guava
Aside from being a good warming plant in Frostbite Caves, Lava Guava is also good at DPSing zombies and disabling a lane for quite a while. Although his explosion's damage is really mediocre, the lava tile is not to be ignored since it does very good DPS. While I do think that there are better instants out there (which is why this doesn't really see play), it's not bad.
Strawburst is another plant where you gotta build a strategy around him in order to be successful. Although with Strawburst, he's much easier to support since he's a lot more self-sufficient compared to other plants, works extremely well with Winter Melon (like the two plants are made for each other), and a whole column of fully grown berries can just wipe out waves of zombies all too easily. Sure it's expensive, and isn't a great plant in normal levels, but even against Gargantuars if you have the right support, Strawburst is incredible.
#14 Missile Toe
Although not quite as destructive as Strawburst, Missile Toe is a lot more consistent, and is better at bursting really tough zombies (such as Gargantuars) rather than hordes. I think Missile Toe is generally more consistent, but still needs support in order to be successful, especially with her large down time.
#13 Ghost Pepper
Although this plant has also been mostly phased out for the likes of Grapeshot or Primal Potato Mine, Ghost Pepper is still a great instant inside of levels due to its sun cost, and can handle a bunch of early game zombies quite easily. It also synergizes well with Pepper-mint. It's unfortunate that Ghost Pepper's explosion doesn't do quite as much damage as other explosive plants, or it'd have a chance to compete in most endless zones.
The easiest way for me to describe Electric Peashooter is "Laser Bean but better". His DPS generally higher than Laser Beans, his range is longer than Fume-shrooms, and he can effect lanes other than his own. This plant is a fantastic early and mid game plant for DPS, and although generally outclassed by Winter Melon as a damage plant (but who isn't), Electric Peashooter's cheap cost and high-effectiveness should not be overlooked.
There's not really much to say about this plant. It's quite a big waste of money if I'm being honest. Sure, it's technically better than Cherry Bomb, which is why it's up this high on the list, but it's completely outclassed by Grapeshot (who can one-shot Gargantuars if planted properly) and if Cherry Bomb or Primal Potato Mine are obtained (both of which are free), there's really no need to have this plant. Because it is an explosive plant however, it automatically gets a high rank on any of my lists, because I think that explosive plants are really good.
Also those seeds do like barely any damage what
#10 Solar Tomato
Solar Tomato is cool because it can stun large groups of zombies and can offer large amounts of sun easily, making it a great plant in the mid game as well as when you're in a tight spot. Generally however, this plant is outclassed by Gold Bloom when it comes to sun production (since it's not a good plant in the early game), but as a stalling plant this thing is actually pretty good. Also when paired with Enlighten-mint, this plant becomes really strong.
Although Hurrikale is my favorite plant, and I might be a little biased when writing this, I think Hurrikale deserves his spot here. This plant's cooldown is surprisingly low for a plant that can disable an entire lane with little trouble, its sun cost is perfect for what it does, and its effect is so strong. Although Hurrikale is not the omnipresent plant for me that it once was, it's still one of my go to instants and can easily save you from rough situations in most levels. I rank this even over Bombegranate specifically because of the cooldown. If Hurrikale even had a sluggish recharge, it'd drop quite a few places on this list.
#8 Power Lily
Now I know a lot of people would put Power Lily way higher, and don't get me wrong Power Lily is a fantastic plant, let me explain why it isn't even in the top 5. For one, Power Lily's recharge is long. Yes, we have longer now thanks to Gold Bloom and the mints, but Power Lily's effect of giving one plant food isn't quite as impactful as Gold Bloom's effect of giving a bunch of sun at the start of a level, or the mints effects to basically clear the whole screen (depending on the mint, of course). Power Lily is fairly difficult to bring to normal levels (although entirely usable), but where Power Lily really shines is Endless Zones. Power Lily can easily turn careless plant food usage into a good strategy, and that by itself should warrant a high spot on this list. This plant defines a lot of strategies in Endless Zones, and should be sought-after if attempting to climb.
The thing is though is that I've started rotating Power Lily in and out of my Endless Zone strategies, and since Power Lily has competition for a plant slot, I think being lower on this list than what a lot of people really expect is ok.
Holly Barrier doesn't look that strong on paper. Sure, it's an Endurian that can launch essentially three mini-Endurians for free. What's the big deal? Well for one, each of Holly Barrier's shots comes with a 3x3 by aoe knockback, which is fantastic for stalling zombies. Two, Wall-nut first aid alloys for Holly Barrier to easily replenish any of his missing missiles. Three is the crazy synergies this thing has. Not only does it synergize well with Aloe, but also synergizes stupidly well with Reinforce-mint (replenishing its leaves and spawning a bunch of plant food barriers). This plant can easily stall entire lanes with the support of a slowing plant, giving you enough time to build up sun for your artillery. What keeps Holly Barrier from being any higher is that his applications aren't universal, unlike the plants which are higher up on the list.
It's hard to believe that there are 5 premium plants that I consider to be better than Grapeshot, and truly Grapeshot is a fantastic plant. It can 1 shot Gargs, kill zombies from the other side of the map, and can often come in handy in emergencies. So what holds Grapeshot back? Well for one, its cooldown is its greatest vice. Grapeshot doesn't have the best up time, and because of that, you're often forced to either imitate it or even use insta-recharge on it, the latter of which feels really bad to do. In general however, Grapeshot is a fantastic instant and shouldn't be overlooked. It's substantially better than Cherry Bomb, and for me I personally rate it over Primal Potato Mine.
No other plant enables strategies quite like Shrinking Violet. Sure, it doesn't instantly kill Gragarntuars, but with how much up time it has (even without Imitater) it turns entire waves of Gargantuars into nothing. You can easily use this in combination with DPS plants and never have to worry about really anything. The only things I can criticize about this plant are its cooldown (which while good, still requires it to be Imitated more often then not), and the fact that it doesn't actually kill anything, just weakens and stalls. But Shrinking Violet puts up a good case for being one of the best premium plants in the game with how universal it is.
Imitater is only really as good as the plants around it. A while ago (like when the game first came out and a ways after), Imitater wouldn't really be seen as a top plant - a really good one yes, but being a top plant seemed kind of far fetched. That was before we got some of the best instant use plants in the game however. Imitater has always worked best when imitating instants, since they have powerful effects but long cooldowns, and for a while PVZ2 didn't have many great instants. Sure, we had Cherry Bomb and Power Lily int he beginning, but those weren't really enough to push Imitater over the edge. Then we got so many great instants all in a row - Primal Potato Mine, Shrinking Violet, Grapeshot, Gold Bloom, and even Solar Tomato - all plants that are good or even fantastic when imitated. Nowadays it's very hard for me to go without imitating something in my strategies because the plants we have today are just so powerful. And where there are powerful plants, Imitater is going to be right behind them.
It's hard for me to believe that I'd put Explode-O-Nut has anything but #2, but if I'm being true to myself, it's true. Explode-O-Nut however is just dumb on most levels. Although there are a bunch of zombies that don't eat Explode-O-Nut, quite a few of them can trigger Explode-O-Nut's effect anyway - namely Gargantuars - making Explode-O-Nut a really cheaty choice in Endless Zones and normal levels alike. Sure, Primal Wall-nut has more uptime, and Holly Barrier has more stalling potential, but no other plant deals with Gargantuars and so much other bs quite like Explode-O-Nut - which is why I have it up here.
When not eaten though this plant really sucks lol
#2 Gold Bloom
I love Gold Bloom. It's everything I want in a plant and more! Gold Bloom's sun production abilities are not only insanely relevant in the early game, allowing you to easily get massive amounts of sun and build a strong defense in later Endless Zone levels, but it's also fantastic early game for allowing you to scrap together a defense that can handle the zombies with ease. This plant's application are universal - you can bring it into pretty much any level and it'll do great - maybe even improve your strategy. So why is it not number one? Well simply put, a strategy is only as good as the sum of its parts, and if Gold Bloom is supporting bad offensive plants, then Gold Bloom looks bad too. That criticism really only applies to early endless zone levels though, so aside from that this thing is great.
This should surprise nobody. Cold Snapdragon has been the best plant in the game since its inception, and that remains true to this day. You can take Cold Snapdragon into literally almost any level and it'll do fine. There are some edge cases where it needs support - such as against Octo Zombies (although Cold Snapdragon does make for a good octo sponge), Wizard Zombies, and Fishermen Zombies, but aside from those, Cold Snapdragon is brutally strong. It handles the early game incredibly well, two columns of them have the potential to solo infinite bucketheads (at least in the middle 3 lanes), and because of this plant's AOE and slow, this plant is almost always useful. It doesn't fall off late game despite bring a close-ranged plant. A plant like this deserves to be number one, where you can easily just win the entire game with it. If you're considering buying a premium plant, BUY THIS ONE. Or Gold Bloom. Both are good options!
Also did I mention that it works very well with Winter-mint?
If you actually read all of this, thanks a lot! it means a lot to me.
Also, please remind me to never do a list as long as this again lol this is quite annoying.