Tag Archives: Pokemon SM

Best Pokemon Games for a Ghost Type Run

Update 12/30/2019: The article is now updated to include Pokemon Sword and Shield

I know what you’re thinking.

Yes, it CAN be done!  BUT!  If you want to do a Ghost Type Run you’ll have to do a little research first before you dive in because a Ghost Type run can be really rough.  Ghost Pokemon have a habit of showing up around mid-game but the biggest problem by far is their limited diversity which can be very debilitating.  They are the second rarest type  ranking just above Ice Type.  Because of which, trying to find a full team AND neutralize all your weaknesses can be a big challenge.  Fortunately, there are a few great Pokemon games where you can have a fantastic Ghost team who’ll curse your opponents and haunt your way to victory!  Let’s take a look which Pokemon games will be great for a Monotype Run (or Single Type Run) for you and your Ghost Pokemon.  But first…

RULES

  1. Only Pokémon of a certain type may be caught and trained.
  2. You must catch the first Pokémon available of that type if your starter does not match that type (you’ll then have to discard that starter).
  3. You may train a Pokémon that evolves to said type as long as you do it ASAP.
  4. No trading allowed.
  5. Mega Pokémon count as long as you Mega Evolve them as soon as they appear on the battlefield.
  6. Only Pokémon caught before Elite Four are counted.
Monotype Chart Version 2.01

Check out the Monotype Chart for different games and their respective types.

Best Games

The best games, by far, for a Ghost Type Run have to be Pokemon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon.  These games just nail it on every front.  First, they have the highest amount of Ghost Pokemon as of Generation VII.  There are 13 unique Ghost families in Sun and Moon and 16 in USUM.  And they are really good Ghosts like Golurk, Gengar, Alolan Marowak, Palossand, Aegislash, and Decidueye.  You also have a nice abundance of Ghost Pokemon on the first island thanks to Hau’oli Cemetery and later Sableye on Ten Carat Hill.  You also have Rowlett as your starter which evolves into a Ghost type which is FREAKING AWESOME.  So far, it’s the only starter that can evolve into a Ghost which makes these games a lot less frustrating for a Ghost run.  Finally, as of Generation VII, these are the only games in the series where you can catch a Gengar.  That’s right!  No need to trade!  Go to the Thrifty Megamart, find a Haunter, use an adrenaline orb on it, chip its health down, and just sit and wait for it to call a Gengar.  It will take awhile (as seen in this handy video) but you will eventually catch one.  It’s because of these reasons that the Sun and Moon games are the best, by far, Ghost run games.

However, it will be tricky, especially at the beginning because Bite and Pursuit is very common for low level Pokemon so they can easily destroy the fragile Ghosts.  Also, the first Totem Pokemon can be an Alolan Raticate so that’s rough.  Thankfully, Rowlett would not evolve into Decidueye by then so you’ll be on equal footing by the time you face off against them.  There’s also a huge abundance of Dark Pokemon on your first island so you’ll need to tread carefully as you gather your team.

There are a few other games you can consider but they rank in “B” territory for me.  Pokemon XY can cover your weaknesses and give you variety but your first Pokemon, Nincada and Honedge, won’t come until after the first gym so you’ll need to be patient.  On the flip side, you can catch a Nincada in ORAS before the first gym but you’ll be starved of Ghost Pokemon until the end of the game (made even worse if you’re playing OmegaRuby as Sableye is exclusive to AlphaSapphire).  Pokemon Sword and Shield are really fantastic and you catch Dragapult who’s the strongest non-Legendary Ghost Pokemon but Sword is exposed to Ghost weaknesses as Sableye is not catchable in that version.  Still though, you can train a Golett very early and really, who wouldn’t?

Worst Games

Yeah…just avoid Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, LeafGreen.  You only got the Gengar line which is available long after the third gym and you can’t get a Gengar unless you trade.  This is a very terrible run for Ghosts.  Please avoid for your own sake.

I’d also avoid the Johto games as well.  Gold, Silver, and Crystal gives you a Gastly via Sprout Tower before the first gym but you’re still gonna just have that Haunter (HGSS gives you a Misdreavus at least in the Safari Zone).  Black, White, and B2W2, give you a decent selection of Ghosts but you’ll have to wait until after the third gym to catch one.  Finally, Ruby and Pearl are inferior games to their already flawed counterparts due to version-exclusive Ghosts.

Ghost Teams in Pokemon Games

Pokemon RBY and FRLG
Ideal Team: Haunter
First available Pokémon: Gastly at Lavender Tower, after the third gym
Covers weaknesses? No, Ghost and Dark moves are not covered

 

Pokemon GSC and HGSS
Ideal Team: Haunter, Misdreavus (HGSS via Safari Zone)
First Pokémon: Gastly via Sprout Tower (or at night at Route 30 in Pokémon Crystal) before the first gym; Gastly can also be caught on the Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Ghost and Dark not neutralized

 

Pokemon RSE and ORAS
Ideal Team: Shedinja, Sableye (S, E, AS)/Spiritomb (ORAS), Drifblim (ORAS), Trevanant (ORAS), Froslass (ORAS), Jellicent (ORAS)
Optional Pokémon: Banette, Dusclops, Cofagrigus (ORAS), Mismagius (ORAS)
First Pokémon: Nincada in Route 116 before the first gym
Covers Weaknesses? Yes for Sapphire, Emerald, and ORAS.  However, in Ruby, Ghost and Dark are not neutralized.

 

Pokemon DPP
Ideal Team: Haunter, Drifblim, Dusclops (Platinum)/Mismagius (Diamond), Rotom (Platinum), Froslass (Platinum)
Optional Pokémon: Giratina (Platinum)
First Pokémon: Drifloon on Fridays at the Valley Windworks before the second gym
Covers Weaknesses? No, Ghost and Dark moves are not neutralized

 

Pokemon BW and B2W2
BW Ideal Team: Cofagrigus, Chandelure, Jellicent, Golurk
First Pokémon: Yamask via Relic Castle after the third gym
Cover weaknesses? No, Dark and Ghost moves not neutralized

B2W2 Ideal Team: Cofagrigus, Chandelure, Banette, Drifblim, Jellicent, Golurk
First Pokémon: Yamask via Relic Castle after the third gym
Cover weaknesses? No, Dark and Ghost moves not neutralized

 

Pokemon XY
Ideal Team: Shedinja, Aegislash, Rotom, Golurk, Sableye, Chandelure
Optional Pokémon: Haunter, Phantump/Pumpkaboo, Drifblim, Banette
First Pokémon: Nincada and Honedge via Route 6 after the first gym.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

 

Pokemon SM and USUM
SM Ideal Team: Decidueye, Sableye, Palossand, Aegislash(scan), Gengar (S.O.S. by Haunter in Thrifty Megamark after the Ula’ula Trials), Mimikyu
Optional: Trevanant, Dhelmise, Froslass, Drifblim, Chandelure (scan), Mismagius, Alolan Marowak
First Pokémon: Rowlett via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

USUM Ideal Team: Decidueye, Sableye, Palossand/Golurk (US), Aegislash(scan), Gengar (S.O.S. by Haunter in Thrifty Megamark after the Ula’ula Trials), Mimikyu
Optional: Trevanant, Dhelmise, Froslass, Drifblim, Chandelure (scan), Mismagius, Banette, Jellicent, Alolan Marowak
First Pokémon: Rowlett via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

Pokemon Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Golurk, Dragapult, Dusknoir, Sableye (Shield)/Mimikyu, Gengar, Aegislash
Optional Pokémon: Runerigus, Cofagrigus, Shedinja, Gourgeist, Froslass, Polteageist, Rotom, Cursola (Shield), Chandelure, Jellicent, Trevanant (Raid), Dhelmise, Drifblim, Eternatus
First Pokémon: Watchtower Ruins is your best bet.  Regardless of weather you will find a Duskull, Drifloon, Gastly, or Golett by random encounters.  You can also find a Nincada at West Lake Axewell by Sandstorm random encounter or South Lake Miloch by Sandstorm or Intense Sun random encounter.  Finally, you will always catch Ghosts in Den 6/47 at Watchtower Ruins for Max Raid battles.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes in Shield due to the exclusive Sableye.  In Sword you are exposed to Ghost moves.

 

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

Image result for Decidueye

Decidueye

At the top of our list is Decidueye, with only four in-game appearances there is a lot going for him.  Mainly, Decidueye is one of the strongest non-Legendary, non-Mega Ghost Pokemon.  This combined with their status as a starter Pokemon means you have your strongest team member right from the get-go.

I think your biggest flaw with Decidueye is his rather low movepool diversity.  Don’t get me wrong, the moves it can learn are strong and rather exclusive but…not very diverse type-wise and that’s probably the Grass pairing weighing him down.   Also, there is the elephant in the room with Decidueye being a starter from a later generation so availability is very limited at this time.

As a side note, I feel sorry about Dhelmise which was also introduced in this generation and is also very strong.  Hopefully, you’ll get a chance to shine later, anchor-buddy!

Available in: SM and USUM

Image result for Sableye Spiritomb

Sableye (and to an extent Spiritomb)

At the time of this writing, there are unfortunately no Ghost/Normal Pokemon officially released.  Which is a shame as that pairing can give you a Pokemon that’s totally immune to Ghost moves.  Thankfully, we have Sableye (and I guess Spiritomb) who can solve both your Ghost AND Dark problems!

Spiritomb’s availability is very limited but Sableye is much more common which is why we’re primarily focusing on Sableye.  It’s stats are…okay…and honestly really lacking if I have to be honest.  But it’s a trade off.  You get subpar stats for a much-needed defensive typing and a decent moveset.  Sabeleye can learn Dazzling Gleam which is ballin’ so take that Dark types!  And those Dark and Ghost moves are really nice to stick it to Ghost enemies who may take you down with one hit.

Why not both?  If you want Spiritomb and Sableye you can pick up AlphaSapphire.  It’s one of the few games where you can pick up Spiritomb and not go through all sorts of crazy, underground, shenanigans.  You can capture one before the Elite Four which is nice but…why not train a Mega Sableye instead???  Instantly Sableye’s medicore stats are boosted and you get a great defensive Pokemon ready to shield your attacks.  Poor Spiritomb…at least you got OmegaRuby?

Available in: Ruby and Emerald (Sableye), XY (Sableye), OmegaRuby (Spiritomb), AlphaSapphire (Spiritomb and Sableye), SM and USUM (Sableye), Shield (Sableye)

Image result for Aegislash

Aegislash

Aegislash’s arrival came a hair too late as Steel lost its resistances to Dark and Ghost in Generation VI.  Very unfortunate but not the end of the world.  Aegislash has some of the best stats either offensive or defensive for any Ghost Pokemon.  Many competitive players use Aegislash’s form change to strike hard and strong and play defensive and cool.  It’s super versatile and damn is it a cool Pokemon.  Like Decidueye, its movepool is alright but who cares?? Those attack stats are out of this world (150)!  A STAB Iron Head or Shadow Ball (and to an extent the priority move Shadow Sneak) can just obliterate opponents, throw in Sacred Sword and your golden.

Main issues here are its HP and Speed which are lackluster.  So if you’re in Blade Forme and get hit by something you’re probably out of here.  Bye bye.  Still, the move King’s Shield can lower an opponents Attack stat so you can have them suffer.  Open yourself back up and swish, slash!

Available in: XY, SM and USUM (Island Scan), SWSH

Image result for Chandelure

Chandelure

Chandelure is a fantastic, and surprisingly common, Pokemon in its own right and should always be considered when doing a Ghost run.  It has a whopping 145 Special Attack stat which is just incredible.  A STAB Shadow Ball and Flamethrower is enough to carry Chandulure around.  If you want, you can burn your opponents with Will-o-wisp and use Hex which doubles its power to 130 (by comparison, Shadow Ball’s power is 80).

Hex can also be used with one of Chandelure’s abilities, Flame Body which has a 30% of burning an opponent if it physically attacks you.  On the flip side, the Flash Fire ability makes you immune to Fire attacks and charges up your Fire moves instead.  This can work very well if you have Shedinja, Decidueye, Trevanant, Dhelmise, Gourgeist, Froslass, or Aegislash on your team as you can bait an enemy Fire Pokemon, switch to Chandelure, take the hit and use Shadow Ball on them.

Only faults?  This is minor but Chandelure’s Speed and bulk are okay.  Not bad, not good, just average.  You also won’t get an incredible move diversity out of Chandelure besides the usual Ghost, Dark, and Psychic moves that practically all Ghost Pokemon have.  The Grass-move Energy Ball is nice though as well as its plethora of Fire moves.  And who needs diversity when you have Calm Mind?  Use that once or twice and just go to town!

Available in: BW, B2W2, XY, SM and USUM (Island Scan), SWSH

Image result for Golurk

Golurk

When you’re doing a Monotype Run, you want to find the oddballs.  The Pokemon who get off the bandwagon and do their own thing.  These Pokemon, like Golurk, can round out your team and give you diversity that’s not just about weakness-neutralization.  Golurk is, to put it simply, everything a Ghost Pokemon is not.  It’s bulky, not particularly fast, has very low Special Attack, and it has high Physical Attack.  Like, really high.  124 to be exact.  Few other regular Ghost Pokemon, like my beloved Dhelmise, exceed that stat.

Here’s the thing.  Golurk can actually use this stat to its full advantage!  Dhelmise and Aegislash, and a lot of other Ghosts for that matter, struggle to reach the movepool that Golurk has achieved.  This combined with Golurk’s Iron Fist ability makes him a BEAST.  Hammer Arm, Shadow Punch, Dynamic Punch, and Focus Punch can be learned by leveling up while the elemental punches and Drain Punch can be taught by Move Tutor (best used in B2W2, US, or SWSH).  Golurk can also learn Earthquake, Rock Slide, and Heavy Slam; physical moves that other Ghosts don’t even have a chance, a dream, to properly use or learn.

Available in: BW, B2W2, XY, US, SWSH

Image result for Gengar haunter

Gengar/Haunter

The Gengar line in Pokemon is such a twisted, crazy mess that I debated whether to include them or not.  The biggest thing, by far, that’s holding them back is the required trading to evolve your Haunter which breaks the rules of the run.  If it wasn’t for that they would be top of this list, no doubt.  But they’re not and we have to sort through this to understand why Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar can still be very important to you and your team.

Of course, they are the first Ghosts that were introduced in Pokemon.  And this early introduction combined with Ghosts’ scarcity, makes them the most common Ghost line in all the Pokemon games by far.  They are catchable before the Elite Four in 21 games as of Sword and Shield (the next most common line, Chandelure, in catchable in 12 games).  A few of these games are pretty early too!  In the Johto and Galar games you can catch a Gastly before the first gym, in Sinnoh it’s shortly after the first gym, and Alola you can get them in the cemetery shortly before the first trial.

Haunter and Gengar can also learn some nice moves like Thunderbolt and Dazzling Gleam.  If you’re training one before Generation IV you can teach them Ice, Thunder, and Fire Punch which they will use very well thanks to their high Special Attack.  Gengar can also learn Focus Blast too.  Sludge Bomb is also great for potential poison damage.

Despite being a second stage, Haunter is quite fast and has a really nice Special Attack stat (115).  However, it’s incredibly fragile and a decent physical attack move can shut it down.  But still, Haunter is really cool!  I’ve trained Haunter several times when I was much younger on Pokemon Blue and it was great!

There’s also some good news for you Gengar purists.  If you want a Gengar you can catch one in SM, USUM, and SWSH!  In the Sun and Moon games if you go to the Thrifty Megamart after its trial and force a Haunter to call for help, there’s a chance it will call a Gengar.  However, this is a very tedious process so be prepared to hang tight and be patient.  This video demonstrates the procedure and how long it takes.  SWSH is a bit easier as you can find Gengars in the Wild Area.  All in all, once you catch your Gengar, you are ready to go to town on your opponents with a very powerful, and iconic, Ghost Pokemon!

Available in: RBY, GSC, FRLG, DPP, HGSS, XY, SM, USUM, SWSH

Mimikyu artwork by Ken Sugimori

Mimikyu

Mimikyu has become one of the big stars of the Sun and Moon games.  Besides the starters, it seems like Mimikyu is the most frequent Gen VII Pokemon seen in toys, art, and promotional materials.  Thankfully, its inclusion in SWSH continues its popularity and makes it a worthy addition to your team.

Mimikyu’s very fun and very unique Ghost/Fairy combo gives your team a much needed resistance to Dark which otherwise is quite hard to pull off.  It even beats Sableye as it has the power and moves to take out Dark Pokemon.  It’s decent Physical Attack gives it access to moves that other Ghost Pokemon struggle to use like X-Scissor, Play Rough, Drain Punch, and Shadow Sneak (all of which can fight off your enemies).  It also has pretty good bulk which ties nicely to its signature ability, Disguise.  Biggest downside is that very low Special Attack but you got other Ghosts that can handle that easily so no need to worry.  Don’t forget to pick up Mimikium Z in USUM!

Available in: SM, USUM, SWSH

The Best Pokemon Games for a Poison-Type Run

Update 1/14/2020: This article now includes Sword and Shield

If you’re looking for a fun, and rather different, Single Type (or Monotype) run in Pokémon I would suggest the Poison Type. This is one of the few types that make a feasible run in Generation 1 due to their extraordinarily high abundance and diversity. Ever since then, these toxic monsters litter the games and make a wonderful monotype run in every generation with the exception of Black/White and its sequels. For this article, we will look at the best games for a Poison Run and the most common and/or useful poison type Pokémon you’ll run into during your playthroughs (along with some helpful moves to look out for).

As usual, the rules are as stated. You must catch the first Pokémon of that type ASAP and disregard all other types. A Pokémon that evolves into your type may be trained as long as you evolve it ASAP. Only Pokémon you can catch in your game are counted (i.e., no traded Pokémon). And only pre-Elite Four Pokémon are counted for the run.

Monotype Chart Version 2.01

Check out the Monotype Chart for different games and their respective types.

The Worst Games

Just avoid Black and White. You can train only three unique Pokemon (Scolipede, Garbodor, and Amoongus), which all have subpar typing.  And the first Poison type you catch is after the second gym.  No thanks!  At least its sequels are much better for Poison.

The Best Games

Honestly, pick virtually any other game in the series and you’ll have a fun time. If you want more information, consult my type chart as seen here. Now, you’re going to watch out for Psychics, especially in early games, as Poison/Dark Pokemon are uncommon and unfortunately there’s no Poison/Steel or Poison/Psychic yet.

Nostalgia paints a rosy picture for all of us so take this for what you will but one of the best Poison-Type games would be Red, Blue, and Yellow. You can get a Bulbasaur as a starter (or get it later in Yellow), catch a Weedle in the forest and from there, pick up the Nidorans, catch a Zubat in Cerulean Cave, pick up a Bellsprout or Oddish if you’re feeling it, and then find a Gastly/Haunter in the Lavender Tower. Later on, you can find your Tentacool in the seas, Venonat in the Safari, and finally catch a Muk or Koffing in the Cinnabar Mansion. Lots of good choices!

But what if you hate Psychics and realllly want to defend yourself?

Generation 6, 7, and 8 are fantastic but the best games are Pokemon XY.  All these games have diversity and coverage necessary to block attacking types and give you great type coverage.  Sword and Shield have the wonderful Wild Area to give you a plethora of Poison Pokemon, while Sun and Moon can give you Alolan Muk (’nuff said).  XY though are the best as they have the highest diversity of Poison Pokemon in any game and the Pokemon they have are amazing!

I think if I had to choose I would go for Pokémon Y as you can catch a Skrelp and evolve it into a Dragalge! I love this Pokémon but it’s unfortunately rare. You can also get a Bulbasaur (with a mega bonus too!), Venipede, Croagunk, and Zubat fairly early on so that already gives you a good wide base of moves and abilities. Later on you can catch a Nidoran, Stunky, and Tentacool which further expands your movesets. Drapion fans are in luck as Skorupi is catchable with the setback that you won’t find one until late in the game. I’m not even counting other Poison Pokémon as well! So you got a lot of great choices going into it.

Poison Teams in Pokemon Games

Pokemon RBY and FRLG
Ideal Team: Venomoth, Golbat, Venusaur, Nidoking, Nidoqueen, Tentacruel
Optional: Vileplume (Red, FireRed, Yellow), Victreebel (Blue, LeafGreen, Yellow), Haunter, Weezing (all versions except Yellow), Arbok (Red, FireRed)
First available Pokémon: Bulbasaur via starter or Nidorans via Route 22 in Yellow
Covers weaknesses? No, Psychic not neutralized.

 

Pokemon GSC and HGSS
Ideal Team: Haunter, Venomoth, Tentacruel, Victreebel/Vileplume, Crobat, Nidoking/Nidoqueen
Optional: Muk, Weezing, Arbok, Ariados (G, C, HG), Beedril (S, C, SS)
First Pokémon: Weedle (S, C, SS) or Spinarak (G, C, HG) in Route 30.
Via Pokewalker Grimer and Koffing (Town Outskirts at 1500+ steps), Tentacool (Blue Lake at 0+ steps), Gastly (Dim Cave at 1000+ steps), Zubat (Dim Cave at 0+ steps), Venonat (Noisy Forest at 700+ steps), Oddish (Noisy Forest at 0+ steps), Bellsprout (Noisy Forest at 3000+ steps) and the Nidorans (Refreshing Field in 500+ steps) are available.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Psychic is not neutralized.

 

Pokemon RSE and ORAS
Ideal Team: Dustox/Beedril (ORAS)/Venomoth (ORAS), Crobat, Tentacruel, Vileplume, Dragalge (OR), Drapion (ORAS)
Optional: Seviper (S, E, AS), Swalot, Roselia (R, S, ORAS), Muk, Weezing, Garbodor (ORAS)
First Pokémon: Wurmple via Route 101
Covers Weaknesses? Yes except for Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald where Dark is not neutralized.

 

Pokemon DPP
Ideal Team: Roserade, Crobat, Drapion, Toxicroak, Tentacruel, Dustox
Optional: Haunter, Stuntank (Diamond)
First Pokémon: Zubat via Route 203 and 204 and Budew via Route 204 both of which can be caught before the first gym
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

 

Pokemon BW and B2W2
BW Ideal Team: Scolipede, Garbodor, Amoongus
First Pokémon: Venipede via Pinwheel Forest after second gym
Cover weaknesses?  No, Psychic is not neutralized.

B2W2 Ideal Team: Scolipede, Weezing, Muk, Crobat, Drapion, Roserade
Optional: Amoongus, Seviper, Garbodor
First Pokémon: Venipede via Route 20 in dark grass after the first gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

Pokemon XY
Ideal Team: Venusaur, Nidoking/Nidoqueen, Drapion/Skuntank, Scolipede, Toxicroak, Dragalge (Y)/Tentacruel
Optional: Beedrill, Roserade, Vileplume, Swalot, Crobat, Seviper, Haunter, Arbok, Amoonguss, Garbodor, Ariados, Qwilfish
First Pokémon: Weedle via Route 2 in X or Santalune Forest in Y.  Both before the first gym
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

 

Pokemon SM and USUM
SM Ideal Team: Muk, Crobat, Tentacruel/Toxapex, Gengar (S.O.S. by Haunter in Thrifty Megamark after the Ula’ula Trials), Roserade (scan), Scolipede (scan)
Optional: Victreebel (scan), Ariados, Garbodor, Salazzle
First Pokémon: Spinarak via Route 1
Cover weaknesses? Yes

USUM Ideal Team: Muk, Dragalge (UM)/Salazzle, Crobat, Tentacruel/Toxapex, Gengar (S.O.S. by Haunter in Thrifty Megamark after the Ula’ula Trials), Venusaur (scan)
Optional: Garbodor, Arbok, Salazzle, Ariados, Beedril (scan)
First Pokémon: Spinarak via Route 1
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

Pokemon SWSH
Ideal Team: Drapion, Roserade, Toxapex, Weezing, Toxicroak (Shield)/Toxtricity, Gengar
Optional: Vileplume, Skuntank, Garbodor, Salazzle (Shield), Qwilfish, Toxtricity, Eternatus
First Pokémon:  You can always find Stunky in random encounters at North Lake Miloch.  Keep an eye out for Oddish, Gastly, Budew, and Roselia as they can be found throughout the Wild Area.  Finally, Den 29/86 at East Lake Axewell will always spawn Poison Pokemon for Max Raid Battles.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and it’s taken care of before the first gym!

 

MVP (Most Valuable Pokémon)

Crobat Line

Considered one of the most pestilent, annoying Pokémon, Zubat, and its evolutions, can be found in almost every single game naturally except BW and SWSH. There’s a reason many players dread going into the caves! But to the Poison Type fan, Zubat is a blessing. Not only are they usually found early on but they offer a valuable immunity to Poison’s hated Ground weakness. Zubat’s final evolution, Crobat, is also a solid Pokémon to train. Incredible speed and a wide range of support moves makes Crobat a great partner when tackling your respective region. Oh, and Crobat has the highest stats of any non-Mega, non-Legendary Poison Pokémon. That’s pretty awesome! Plus, Crobat gets a subjective boost as you need to love and support your bat to be its very best! Love it.

Available in: RBY and FRLG (Golbat), GSC and HGSS, RSE and ORAS, DPP, B2W2, XY, SM and USUM

Tentacruel

Similar to the ubiquitous Zubat, you can find Tentacool in almost every game. Unlike Zubat though, Tentacool does not neutralize any weaknesses but the trade-off is pretty great. Tentracruel is a great wall that has decent special attack. Teaching Tentacruel Surf and Ice Beam is a smart way to handle Ground types (and Giga Drain as well in some games!). Tentacruel also learns Toxic Spikes which really hones in that Poison mentality.

Available in: RBY and FRLG, GSC and HGSS, RSE and ORAS, DPP, XY, SM and USUM

Poison/Grass Pokemon

Unfortunately from here, Poison Pokémon are more scattered throughout the games so any I list from now on must be taken with exceptions. That being said, these four itchy and allergenic Pokémon you will more than likely find on your journey. Grass/Poison Pokémon serves as a decent wall for different types and offers a nice neutralization towards Ground moves. Poison status and Leech Seed/Drain moves can make short work of walls while gaining you a nifty HP boost in return. Venusaur is obviously the top choice here as it’s the strongest of the four and, if you’re playing in later generations, can go Mega. That being said, if you want to venom-up your creepy Poison team, I would get a Victreebel ASAP!

Available in: Every game

Poison/Dark Pokemon

One of the best type combos in the games, Poison/Dark is a fantastic combination for Poison Pokemon as that Dark type makes them immune (!) to Psychic attacks!  But the other reason why they’re here on our list is their prevalence.  Drapion, Skuntank, and Alolan Muk are catchable in every game starting from Pokemon Diamond and Pearl onwards with the exception being Pokemon Black and White.  These three can also fight your enemies well.  For instance, Alolan Muk can learn Rock Slide and Flamethrower, Drapion can learn Fire Fang, Aerial Ace, Iron Tail, and Rock Slide, and Skuntank can learn Iron Tail and Flamethrower.

Disadvantages?  Hm, well, they sometimes show up late in the games.  Um, Muk and Drapion’s move diversity is good…but Skuntank’s is okay.  They also have a…Ground weakness…?  But it’s just the one so just…not fight against a Steelix?  These Pokemon are also strong (Muk and Drapion have 500 Total Base Stats while Skuntank has 479) but nothing to write home about.  Really, the only major qualm I have is they don’t show up in earlier games.  At least you can train an Alolan Muk in Let’s Go Pikachu!

Available in: DPP (Skuntank in Diamond and Drapion for all), B2W2 (Drapion), XY (Drapion and Skuntank), ORAS (Drapion), SM and USUM (Muk), SWSH (Drapion and Skuntank)

Nidoking/Nidoqueen

As much as I love the Nidorans, they are unfortunately not that common in the main games; Kanto, Johto, and Kalos are pretty much the main regions you can catch them. That being said, they are great for their nice stats, lovely designs, and a STAB Earthquake bonus. The Nidorans also learn a bunch of moves through TMs like Thunderbolt, Flamethrower, Ice Beam, and Surf. Finally, they both learn moves naturally that can combat weaknesses like Nidoking’s Megahorn and Nidoqueen’s Crunch (but only for Generation 3 and on).

Available in: RBY and FRLG, GSC and HGSS, XY

Scolipede (and other Bug/Poison Pokémon)

Bug/Poison Pokémon are honestly a mixed bag. On the one hand, they’re (usually) available early on, they neutralize Ground weakness and have a STAB, super effective move against Psychics. On the other hand, their stats range from average to poor and what Bug moves they do learn are usually weak (or in early Generations practically nonexistent). Scolipede is the exception to this rule, although mainly available in Black/White and X/Y, Scolipede is a fast, hard-hitting Bug Pokémon that can learn Megahorn naturally and learn some decent TMs, like Earthquake. If you can’t catch a Venipede but still want a Bug, go for the likes of Venomoth or even Dustox. In later generations, they can learn Giga Drain along with Bug Buzz and the incredible Quiver Dance.

Available in: Every game

gengar

Gengar/Haunter

So I honestly hesitate to put Gengar on here as although it is a strong Pokémon, there’s some unfortunate setbacks. First, trading. If you’re going solo you’re basically stuck with a Haunter. Now if you love Haunter that’s not a big deal! I honestly have taken Haunter to the  Elite Four several times and I love that creepy ghost. So if that doesn’t bother you then good!  Fortunately, in Sun/Moon and USUM you can catch a Gengar in the Thrifty Megamart!! After the Ula’ula Trials, go back to the mart, find a Haunter, and have it call for a Gengar via S.O.S.  It may take a few tries but it’s definitely going to be worth it.  Gengar is amazing.  You can also catch a Gengar in the Wild Areas which is amaaaaaazing.

Second, the game appearances. Gengar has a spotty record of locations as it’s entirely absent from Hoenn and basically nonexistent in Unova. Other than that you’re looking at a Pokémon that surprisingly has some early-in-game locations as seen in Johto, Sinnoh, Alola, and Galar.

There’s also a weird sticking point for its ability. Gastly and Haunter have Levitate which is amazing for those Ground moves. Gengar though lost its Levitate ability in Generation VII so be prepared to suffer a OHKO from an Earthquake attack as Gengar’s defenses are low. However, Gengar is a beast! He can learn an amazing array of moves like Shadow Ball, Psychic, Thunderbolt, Dazzling Beam, Energy Ball, and the list goes on. He’s fast as well and that special defense is pretty good. If you can get your hands on a Gengar you’re going to have a stellar time on your Poison Run!

Available in: RBY and FRLG (Haunter), GSC and HGSS (Haunter), DPP (Haunter), XY (Haunter), SM and USUM (Gengar), SWSH (Gengar)

The Best Pokémon Games and Types for a Monotype Run

Major Update 12/22/2019: The article now includes additional analysis from Pokemon SWSH as well as a brand new Monotype Chart!!!  Check it out, and let me know what you think.  Thanks as always for reading!

Self-made video game challenges and runs have been a staple in recent gaming and can create exciting and new ways to replay your favorite games. There are a whole variety of them ranging from a no-kill run in Metal Gear Solid to only using your knife as a weapon in Resident Evil 4. Pokémon is no exception to this rule as one of the most famous video game challenges of all time is the Nuzlocke Run which actually makes the Pokémon games exceedingly difficult. Today, I offer you a different sort of run, one that although is not as challenging as a Nuzlocke Run, is still very enjoyable. I give you, a Monotype Run/Challenge.

Simply put, a Monotype Run (or Single Type Run) is where you catch Pokémon who only belong to a certain type whether it is Water, Bug, Dark, or Dragon. If a Pokémon does not have a type in that category then it’s out.   This is a great challenge I think because you can form a team around your favorite type(s) and not have to worry much about picking your favorites. Your team’s weaknesses are what make this challenging as you have to look out for moves or Pokémon that may defeat you. And to be fair, this isn’t exactly a brand new, exciting concept; many people have done this Run for a long time. That is why today, I’m going in depth and telling you what Pokémon games and types are the best for a Monotype Run. Let’s take a look!

If you want to cut right to the chase, just click the image below that will explain everything to you concisely. Below the chart I have written my methods in approaching this monumental task and the overall best games and types for a Monotype Run.

Monotype Chart Version 2.01

Check out the Monotype Chart for different games and their respective types.

Before I analyzed a whole bunch of different pokedexes, I had to design a series of rules to make sure I kept my analysis consistent which are as follows.

  1. A type must be selected before starting the game. Upon playing the game the player must make all attempts to capture a Pokémon of that type as soon as possible. Once captured, the previous Pokémon of the party must be disregarded if they are not of that type.
  2. Pokémon that have yet to evolve into that type (e.g., Nidoran in a Ground type Run or Caterpie in a Flying type Run) may be caught but must be evolved as soon as possible.
  3. Trading is not allowed
  4. Only Pokemon caught before Elite Four are applicable for your team.
  5. Mega Evolutions that changes a Pokémon to your type are allowed provided you mega evolve the Pokémon as soon as their battle begins.

Of course, everyone has their own version of the rules and that’s totally fine! This is just how I approached the analysis.

In order to determine which Pokémon games are the best for a Monotype Run I had to design a categorizing system that was nonsubjective. What’s more, I had to find a simple but effective rating system that can satisfy all 516 possible combinations between typing and the games. This was solved by a dual grading system using numbers and letters. Every typing and video game combination has a letter (S-F) and number grade for how beneficial a Monotype Run would be. Numbers indicate a game’s type diversity by the amount of unique Pokémon of that type you can catch.  Letters indicate how early you can catch a Pokémon: S=Your first Pokémon is your starter; A=First Pokémon you can catch is before the 1st gym; B=Between the 1st-2nd gym; C=Between the 2nd-3rd gym; D=Between the 3rd-4th gym; F=After the 4th gym. For the Sun and Moon games I used the trials in place of gyms since they acted as similar milestones.  Finally, the asterisk symbol, “*”, represents a team that neutralizes all the weaknesses.  For example, if you were to do a Ground type run in Pokémon Red, you would have a 6A rating (i.e., you can catch at least six, fully-evolved Ground type Pokémon and the first Pokémon you can catch, the Nidorans, is before the first gym but you are exposed to your Ice and Water weaknesses).

As such, teams with a rating of *6A or higher are the Runs you are looking for. You can catch a Pokémon fairly early on and you can get a diversified team that has all of its weaknesses covered. A *6S rating is the best because you will have your Starter right from the getgo! Surprisingly, given all the strict guidelines, we see a huge amount of teams that can match these strict standards, especially in the later games.

For the purpose of saving a lot of headaches, trading was not included in the Monotype Run Chart. Trading defeats the purpose of the Run as it’s much easier to get a team of six Pokémon (especially in the later generations) that has all of its weaknesses covered. This is why a lot of games on the Chart (such as Generation One for Bug types) won’t have the full team even if they have the diversity needed (Scyther and Pinsir are version-exclusive Pokémon). Also, Pokémon catchable after the Elite Four were not included as, in my opinion, you’re at the end of the game. I imagine you win the challenge once you beat the Elite Four. True, some games have a lot of content after the Elite Four (such as the Johto games), but this is only after hours and hours of playing the games. Tyranitar in Gold/Silver is a great example as you can catch Larvitar at Mount Silver but that’s only after you acquired 16 badges (and by then, what’s the point?).

The Best and Worst Pokémon Games for a Monotype Run

By far, the best Pokémon games for a Monotype Run are Pokemon Sword and Shield, followed by Generation 6 and 7.  These later generations are fantastic as the amount of Pokemon you can catch in them is staggering.  SWSH wins out in the end though because of the Wild Area which is available after Route 2 and just hits you with a tsunami of Pokemon.  No joke, every type can be caught before the first gym.  No other game can claim that title.  If you have a Switch, go for SWSH and if not, there’s nothing wrong with either generation 6 or 7.

Sun, Moon, and USUM are really good.  First off, the level of diversity in Sun and Moon rivals ORAS while Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon have a team diversity almost on par with X and Y.  This means that many types are quite feasible for a Monotype Run although I would hesitate to choose Rock or Dragon types due to their availability of the end of the first island.  Ice types are actually doable in the game thanks to Crabrawler which is a welcome change of pace for them!  For more information about Sun and Moon and its sequels check out my in-depth article here.

The games to avoid would definitely be the Generation 1 games and that’s not surprising given the games’ initial lack of diversity. Pokémon Blue and Yellow only have one type that’s *6A or better (Normal) while Red has that and Electric. Ironically, the Electric type only sometimes acquires a *6A rating given their low diversity. If you want to do an Electric type Run in Yellow, catch a Pikachu and later catch a Magnemite, then Jolteon, Electabuzz, Voltorb, and Zapdos. I wouldn’t recommend this though given the mentioned Pokémon have a rather low movepool (look towards B2W2, USUM, and SWSH if you want a great Electric type Run).

The Best and Worst Types for a Monotype Run

Normal, Normal, Normal, Normal! The Normal type is the only type that has a 100% excellent rating. This is thanks to Normal type having only one weakness (Fighting) which it can easily cover! Oh, and guess what! The Normal/Flying type combination is the most common type combination in the games. Every generation (except Gen 8) has introduced one and you are more than likely to run into one in the game’s first route. Boom, Normal’s commonality combined with its low weaknesses and early route availability makes it the perfect type for a Monotype Run. I recommend going old school and do a Normal type Run in Generation 1 as you can catch a plethora of iconic Pokémon like Jigglypuff, Pidgey, Tauros, Kangaskhan, and Snorlax. You will have a fun time as they are strong and can learn a variety of moves.

If you don’t want Normal I would then recommend a Water type Run (although Ground, Bug, Fighting, Fairy, and Flying are also good). Again, their commonality and low amount of weaknesses make them a great type to do a Run. Water/Ground and Water/Flying Pokémon are surprisingly common and are introduced in almost every generation. These two potent combos cover Water type’s weaknesses and more than help you have a good time. Also, the Water type has the most superb ratings, a *6S or better, out of any type!  As Water type is one of the key starters in most of the games, it’s no wonder that Water teams are easy and fun to do.  If I were to recommend some games they would be Pokémon Sapphire, Emerald, and Alpha Sapphire. Pick Mudkip as your starter (Water/Ground), catch a Lotad (Water/Grass) in Route 102, and Wingull (Water/Flying) in Route 104 and you are set. From there, you are given a huge range of great Water Pokémon. Some off the top of my head are Gyarados, Crawdaunt, Sharpedo, Lanturn, Tentacruel, Marill, and Relicanth.

Ice and Dragon type are the worst types for a Monotype Run and have an average D+ and C- grade respectively. This is not surprising given they are usually available fairly late in the game and their diversity is rather lack luster. Surprisingly, Ice type neutralizes its weaknesses in GSC but is severely marred by their late game status. If you want to do an Ice type run go for SWSH thanks to the extreme early availability of Ice Pokemon in the Wild Area.  You can also do Pokemon SM and USUM thanks to Crabrawler’s early availability and the nice diversity of Ice types in those games.  The best Dragon game is definitely SWSH thanks to, again, the Wild Area which adds a lot of Dragon Pokemon in the Raids and you can neutralize your weaknesses thanks to Duraludon.

Trivia

-The worst Monotype Run is probably the Dark Type run in Pokemon LeafGreen and FireRed.  You CANNNOT catch ANY Dark Type Pokemon!   The game doesn’t even allow your Eevee to evolve into one which sucks.  This easily makes it the worst run in the entire series.

-In general, the sequel game in a series (Crystal, Emerald, Platinum, B2W2, and USUM) will have better runs due to an increase in diversity. The only exception to this is Pokémon Yellow.

-Remakes’ (FRLG and HGSS) ratings are generally similar to their original games as Pokémon availability are usually the same. The major exception to this is ORAS which introduced the National Dex before the Elite Four and not after.

-If you want to do a Water type Run in Pokémon Yellow, your first Pokémon will be a Magikarp from the Pokecenter salesman outside of Mount Moon. Have fun!

Final Thoughts?

So that’s the article! I originally published it in February 2016 and have continuously update and change it as new games are made.  The amount of time I have sunk into this project is ridiculous but hopefully worth it, I consider my chart version 2.0 to be one of my best works.  Additionally, there’s so much research and data in this that some mistakes may have fallen through the cracks; if you spot something that’s incorrect, let me know! Happy playing!

Link to other Monotype Run Articles (this will slowly update over time)

Games
Red/Blue/Yellow
Gold/Silver/Crystal
Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald
FireRed/LeafGreen
Diamond/Pearl/Platinum
HeartGold/SoulSilver
Black/White/Black2/White2
X/Y
OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire
Sun/Moon
Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
Sword/Shield

Types
Bug
Dark
Dragon
Electric
Fairy
Fighting
Fire
Flying
Ghost
Grass
Ground
Ice
Normal
Poison
Psychic
Rock
Steel
Water

 

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