Tag Archives: Pokemon Sword

Best Pokemon Games for a Flying Type Run

Would you be surprised if I told you that the Flying Type in Pokemon is among the best types ever to do a Monotype Run??  In fact, it’s so good, I’d rate it as the third best behind Water and Normal Type.  Why is that?  Well, you can find a plethora of Flying Pokemon throughout the games, with very few exceptions you can catch your first Flying Type before the first gym (and even as a Starter!), and it’s surprisingly easy to cover their weaknesses.  The diversity Flying Pokemon have is absolutely amazing and they were the first of the 18 types to be paired with every other type.  You will have a fun time with this often overlooked team of Pokemon.  Let’s take a look at the best and worst games in the series for a Flying Type Run and which Pokemon you should be looking out for!

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 2.03

Best Games

Okay, so here’s the thing.  There’s quite a few Pokemon games that I would recommend for a Flying Type Run, in fact if you go to my game-specific articles, you will frequently find Flying as among the best types in each game.  So writing about every single game that does well would be time consuming and frankly bloated so let’s keep it short.

Old school games hold up well here but I really like the Kanto and Johto games as their Flying diversity is almost unparalleled and you can train the likes of the Legendary Birds, Charizard, and Aerodactyl in Kanto and Xatu, Skarmory/Gligar, Crobat, and Ho-oh/Lugia in Johto.  In both games you can also train Gyarados, Dragonite, a host of Normal/Flying Pokemon, and many bugs as well.  The Johto remakes, HGSS, also get a boost with the likes of Yanmega, Honchkrow, and Gliscor (all of which I love, love, love, love!).

If I had to pick one series of games that are the best it would be Pokemon XY.  No other games in the entire series comes close to matching the diversity of Flying Pokemon here as you can train over 30 unique families!!  This diversity means you can constantly switch in and out certain Pokemon and pick a whole host of favorites without feeling too constrained by type weaknesses.  The fact you can get a Charizard, Aerodactyl, Yanmega, Gliscor, and Salamence really sells it for me.

Worst Games

Pokemon Black/White are the worst games for a Flying Type Run.  What’s funny is that this team is not necessarily bad just not as good as other games.  The biggest drawback is that “late” first Pokemon which you can only get after the first gym (Black/White are the only games in the entire series to do this).  This is also the game with the lowest amount of Pokemon you can train and you’re exposed to your weaknesses.  Still though, you can get a full team of unique flyers and you can train the likes of Sigilyph, Archeops, and Emolga.  Ironically, Black and White are also the only games in the series where you can catch either a Tornadus (Black) or Thundurus (White) before the Championship and they’re really good Flying Pokemon.  B2W2 are so much better so you should go for those.  You can train a Gliscor, Skarmory, Vespiquen, and many others!

Pokemon Games and their Flying Teams

Pokemon RBY and FRLG
Ideal Team: Charizard, Dragonite, Aerodactyl, Gyarados, Zapdos, Articuno
Optional: Pidgeot, Fearow, Dodrio, Scyther (Red, FireRed, Yellow), Moltres, Butterfree, Golbat, Farfetch’d
First Pokémon: Charmander via starter or Pidgey (Yellow) via Route 1.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Rock is not covered.

Pokemon GSC and HGSS
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Dragonite, Gligar/Gliscor (G, C, HG)/Skarmory (S, C, SS), Murkrow/Honchkrow, Jumpluff/Togekiss (HGSS), Xatu
Optional: Dodrio, Pidgeot, Spearow, Mantine (G, C, HG), Crobat, Yanma/Yanmega, Scyther, Ledian, Butterfree (G, C, HG), Farfetch’d, Ho-Oh (G, HG), Lugia (S, SS)
First Pokémon: Pidgey and Hoothoot via Route 29 before the first gym.
Via Pokewalker Pidgey (Refreshing Field at 0+ steps), Doduo (Refreshing Field at 2000+ steps), Spearow (Noisy Forest at 0+ steps), Hoothoot (Rugged Field at 0+ steps and Suburban Area at 0+ steps), Murkrow (Suburban Area at 1000+ steps), Zubat (Dim Cave at 0+ steps), and Dratini (Blue Lake at 5000+ steps) are available.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes, regardless of your version

Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, and ORAS
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Salamence, Swellow, Ninjask, Skarmory, Xatu
Optional: Beautifly, Masquerain (R, S, ORAS), Pelipper, Crobat, Altaria, Tropius, Honchkrow (ORAS), Drifblim (ORAS), Mega-Pinsir (ORAS), Mandibuzz (ORAS), Chatot (ORAS), Unfezant (ORAS), Pidgeot (ORAS), Braviary (ORAS), Rayquaza (Emerald)
First Pokémon: Wurmple via Route 101
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Vespiquen/Yanmega (Platinum), Drifblim, Honchkrow (Diamond), Gliscor (Platinum), Tropius (Platinum)
Optional: Staraptor/Noctowl/Chatot/Togekiss (Platinum), Pelipper/Mantine
First Pokémon: Starly via Route 201
Covers Weaknesses? Only in Platinum, in Diamond and Pearl the Electric and Rock types are not neutralized.

Pokemon Black/White and Black2/White2
BW Ideal Team: Tornadus (B)/Thundurus (W), Sigilyph, Archeops, Emolga, Swanna, Braviary (W)/Mandibuzz (B)
Optional: Swoobat, Unfezant
First Pokémon: Pidove via Route 3 after the first gym
Cover weaknesses? No, Rock is not neutralized.

B2W2 Ideal Team: Skarmory, Gliscor, Emolga, Altaria, Swanna, Sigilyph
Optional: Swoobat, Crobat, Unfezant, Drifblim, Mantine, Pelipper, Mandibuzz (B2)/Braviary (W2), Delibird, Vespiquen
First Pokémon: Pidove via Route 20 before the first gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon XY
Ideal Team: Talonflame/Charizard, Gyarados, Gliscor, Salamence/Dragonite, Aerodactyl, Honchkrow
Optional: Ninjask, Mothim, Butterfree, Swanna, Pelipper, Swellow, Vivillon, Jumpluff, Swoobat, Crobat, Drifblim, Emolga, Hawlucha, Sigilyph, Staraptor, Mantine, Fan Rotom, Skarmory, Noivern, Pidgeot, Altaria, Scyther, Yanmega, Delibird
First Pokémon: Pidgey, Scatterbug, and Fletchling via Route 2
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and in more ways than one.  You can have several different team matchups and still have your bases covered.

Pokemon Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
SM Ideal Team: Toucannon, Gyarados, Drifblim, Aerodactyl, Salamence, Skarmory
Optional: Braviary (Sun)/Mandibuzz (Moon), Crobat, Talonflame, Masquerain, Honchkrow, Minior, Fearow, Staraptor (scan), Oricorio (4 forms), Dartrix
First Pokémon: Rowlett via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

USUM Ideal Team: Toucannon, Gyarados, Charizard (scan), Aerodactyl, Salamence, Skarmory
Optional: Braviary (US)/Mandibuzz (UM), Crobat, Talonflame, Masquerain, Honchkrow, Minior, Xatu, Tropius, Hawlucha, Noivern, Pidgeot, Fearow, Noctowl, Drifblim, Oricorio (4 forms), Dartrix
First Pokémon: Rowlett via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Corviknight, Noivern, Sigilyph, Togekiss, Gyarados, Hawlucha
Optional: Swoobat, Braviary (Sword), Mandibuzz (Shield), Xatu, Noctowl, Unfezant, Butterfree, Pelipper, Delibird, Ninjask, Vespiquen, Drifblim, Fan Rotom, Cramorant, Mantine
First Pokémon: Rookidee by overworld (30%) and Hoothoot and Caterpie by random encounters (5% and 15%) via Route 1.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

MVPs (Most Valuable Pokemon)

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The Early Bird

In every single Pokemon game, excluding Pokemon Black and White, you can catch a Flying Pokemon on the first route.  These birds are the primary reason why the Flying type is amazing for a Monotype Run.  They evolve into a strong final form who can pack quite a punch!  Most of them can learn Dark, Bug, Fighting, and Steel moves which is nice.  Really the biggest thing that’s holding (most of) them back is their Normal typing which doesn’t offer much for diversity and defense.

One thing I’m beginning to notice about these birds is that Gamefreak is making them more and more unique in later generations.  Up until Generation 5 they were pretty similar but in Gen 6 we got Talonflame with its nice Fire/Flying combo, Toucannon has a super high Attack stat which goes well with Beak Blast, and now Corviknight offers an amazing defense with its Steel/Flying.  They really make those later generations that much better for a Flying run.

Available in: Every game’s first route except BW who only appear after the first gym.

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Gyarados (and other Water/Flying Pokemon)

There since Generation 1, Water/Flying Pokemon are rather ubiquitous in their occurrences.  Six out of the so far eight generations have introduced at least one new Water/Flying Pokemon and every game contains at least one catchable family.  The Water typing gives your team access to moves you may otherwise lack mainly Water and Ice attacks.  You also get a nifty neutralization from Ice moves and a STAB attack against Rock Pokemon with the trade off being that 4x weakness to Electric (which honestly, as far as problems go, this one is at least manageable).  Although Swanna and the others are fine the best one by far is also the most common and of course I’m talking about Gyarados.

I cannot stress how important it is to have Gyarados on your team, especially starting Gen 4 onwards.  The physical/special split really benefited Gyarados’ high Attack stats so it can use Waterfall incredibly well.  Although Gyarados’ Flying movepool is pretty poor, that’s okay as you have at least five other team members who can more than make up for this.  You can teach Gyarados anything from Outrage to Iron Head, Ice Fang to Crunch, and most delicious of them all, Dragon Dance.  I would say your biggest problem is its Magikarp stage but given that it evolves at level 20 it’s honestly not even that big of a deal considering you would be at your second or third gym by then.

Available in: Every game.  Gyarados can be found in every game except Black/White and B2W2.

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Gliscor/Gligar

So once you get your Gyarados the next question you should ask is, can I get a Gligar or Gliscor?  Gliscor pairs amazingly well with your Water Pokemon thanks to its immunity to Electric moves (which is really nice) and Rock neutralization.  Not only that, a STAB Earthquake attack is sooooo gooooooood and can really stick it to any Electric or Rock Pokemon that trouble you.  Gliscor also knows a variety of elemental fang attacks, Rock Slide (nice), Poison Jab (Poison is surprisingly rare for Flyers), and some very strong Dark and Bug moves.

Like Gyarados, Gliscor suffers from an okay selection of Flying moves and a 4x weakness, this time to Ice attacks (this is not too bad as Gliscor will already be avoiding Water Pokemon anyway).  Gliscor is also not that common so pay attention to that when you pick your games.  And finally, Gliscor did not become available until gen 4 so if you’re playing Gen 2 then you’re stuck with Gligar.  Thankfully, don’t fret about your Electric or Rock weaknesses as there are other Pokemon to help you out like…

Available in: Gold, Crystal, Platinum, HeartGold, B2W2, and XY

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Dragon/Flying Pokemon

Neutralizing your Electric problems (with a 4x weakness to Ice moves) are the Dragons who are amazing additions to your team.  The four Pokemon are really common and it would be hard to miss one for your team.  Salamence and Dragonite are the strongest, non-Legendary, non-Mega Flying Pokemon.  They can deliver powerful attacks both physical and special, they are fast, and they can take the hits.  You also have the plethora of moves they can learn which adds a lot of necessary diversity to your team.  They both can learn Earthquake to take care of your Electric foes.  They are frankly wonderful.  Your biggest downsides for these two are their late game appearances compounded by late evolutions which means you’ll have to be very patient if you want one on your team.

On the flip side you have Noivern and Altaria, who trade their lower stats for easier training and commonality.  Altaria…it’s alright…nothing too special, but it does learn Moonblast, one of the few Flying Pokemon that can learn a strong Flying move.  Noivern is definitely where its at though both with speed and design.  Its decent Special Attack stat means you can use some great moves like Boomburst, Flamethrower, Psychic, and Shadow Ball.  I also like how you can catch Noibat relatively early in Pokemon SWSH.

Available in: RBY and FRLG (Dragonite), GSC and HGSS (Dragonite), RSE and ORAS (Salamence and Altaria), B2W2 (Altaria), XY (all four), SM (Salamence), USUM (Salamence and Noivern), SWSH (Noivern)

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Skarmory and Corviknight

Taking care of your Rock and Ice weaknesses (pairs nicely with your dragons…) are Skarmory and Corviknight.  Steel/Flying is one of those type combos that works so extremely well.  The Flying type is immune to Ground and neutralizes the Fighting weakness and the Steel neutralizes Ice and Rock attacks.  Of the two, you’re more likely to run into Skarmory, who’s surprisingly common, compared to the very recent Corviknight.  Your main advantage in carrying these guys is defense so if you have a tricky opponent you can throw them out to stall or to dish out status-based moves.  Admittedly, their movepool selection is rather small but they can still learn the standard Steel moves which is nice to have against Rock and, especially, Ice Pokemon.

Available in: Skarmory in Silver, Crystal, RSE, SoulSilver, B2W2, ORAS, XY, SM, USUM.  Corviknight in SWSH

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Charizard

I don’t think you’ll need me to convince you to train a Charizard!  It’s Charizard!  Who wouldn’t want to train one??

But it goes deeper than just pure joy of having one on your team.  First, Charizard, of course, is a starter.  You pick Charmander in RBY or FRLG and you’re good to go!  You can also catch one just before Mount Moon in Let’s Go and get one from a trainer after Mount Moon in Yellow.  So Charmander can be found relatively early if not the start of your game.  But! It can also be found outside of Kanto!  You can train one in both XY (with the bonus Mega Evolutions) and in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon via Island Scan.  That’s nice.  But you know what’s also nice???  That movepool diversity is delicious.  Fire moves are stellar and all but you also have Dragon Pulse, Rock Slide, Earthquake, Thunder Punch, Shadow Claw, and Brick Break.  Excellent.  Biggest thing to worry about are Rock moves which are killer.  The Ice resistance is appreciated but a Pokemon that can learn an Ice move may be a Water type so that’s a bit rough.  Regardless, Gamefreak’s affection towards their favorite starter means you’ll have a nice time with your fiery buddy.

Available in: RBY and FRLG (Starter), LG and Yellow, XY, and USUM (Via Island Scan), SWSH (via max raid battle but they are extremely rare, you can check it out here)

Best Pokemon Games for an Ice Type Run

As of Generation VIII, the Ice Type is the rarest Pokemon type and, as you can imagine, is very difficult to pull off a Monotype Run.  The type generally appears late in the games, they are exposed to numerous weaknesses, and are so uncommon that it’s unlikely you can form a full team of six unique Ice Pokemon, especially in the earlier games.  Nevertheless, there are a select few games in the Pokemon series that give you amazing opportunities for an Ice Type Team.  In fact, Ice Pokemon have probably the richest potential, out of any Pokemon type, to utilize their abilities and work together as a team.  Let’s take a look!

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 2.03

The Best Games

Pokemon Sword and Shield (SWSH) are undoubtedly the best games in the entire series for an Ice Type Run thanks to the Wild Area!  As soon as you enter the Wild Area you can catch a plethora of Ice Pokemon like Snover, Snorunt, Swinub, Vanillite, Delibird, and Shellder.  Boom!  Very quickly you have a team of six unique Ice Pokemon (seven counting Snorunt’s split evolution) with your weaknesses covered!  AND…Snover and Vanillite’s evolution have the ability Snow Warning so you can have a constant stream of Hail shivering your opponents as you destroy them with Blizzard and gain the advantage with Hail-related abilities like Ice Body and Snow Cloak.  There’s other Pokemon to catch as well like the Fossil Pokemon and Rotom so you can continue to switch out your Pokemon and add others in their place.  So go out there and obliterate Hop’s hopes and dreams like a flower in liquid nitrogen!

There are a few other games in the Pokemon series that are pretty good but nowhere near as stellar as SWSH.  USUM give you Crabrawler relatively early and shortly afterwards Shellder, Smoochum, and Delibird.  Unfortunately, a lot of your Ice-team members will show up near the end of the game so you will be playing with a less-than-stellar team for much of the run.  If you still have your Pokewalker then HeartGold and SoulSilver are surprisingly decent games for an Ice Run!  You can catch a Shellder and a Smoochum in the Pokewalker which means you have two very nice Pokemon on your team by the first gym (which is Flying)!  Add a Lapras later on followed by a Swinub and this team is looking pretty great!  If you can stomach it you can even train a Delibird!

Worst Games

I’d pretty much avoid the other games in the series unless you’re desperate.  Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, and Diamond and Pearl are absolute trash as these Pokemon are caught after the sixth gym AND you can only catch TWO DIFFERENT FAMILIES IN EACH GAME!!  RSE has Glalie and Walrein while Diamond and Pearl has Abomasnow and Weavile.  Just don’t even bother with it.

You probably thought about Pokemon XY but I would caution against it as although the games neutralizes Ice’s weaknesses, your team will initially be incredibly small since your first Pokemon, Eevee, is after the first gym followed much later with Amaura and much later again with Shellder and Lapras.  I don’t personally think it’s worth it.

Ice Teams in Pokemon Games

Pokemon RBY and FRLG
Ideal Team: Lapras, Articuno, Dewgong, Jynx (all versions except Yellow), Cloyster (all versions except LeafGreen)
First Pokémon: Shellder via the Super Rod (from Route 12 from a fisherman), attainable after you complete Lavender Tower and move the Snorlax.  Shellder can be fished in various areas of Kanto.  In LeafGreen, use the Super Rod to fish a Poliwhirl (found in various areas) and trade it to an NPC in Cerulean City for his Jynx.
Covers weaknesses? No, Rock is not neutralized.

Pokemon GSC and HGSS
Ideal Team: Piloswine/Mamoswine, Lapras, Dewgong, Cloyster, Jynx, Delibird (S, C, SS)
First Pokémon: Lapras in Union Cave after the fourth gym or Smoochum (Dim Cave at 5000+ steps) and Shelldar (Blue Lake at 500+ steps) via Pokewalker
Covers Weaknesses? Surprisingly yes

Pokemon RSE and ORAS
Ideal Team: Walrein, Glalie, Glaceon (ORAS), Beartic (ORAS), Dewgong (ORAS), Delibird (ORAS)
First Pokémon: Snorunt via Shoal Cave, before 7th gym
Covers Weaknesses? No, Rock is not neutralized and Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald are additionally weak to Fighting.

Pokemon DPP
Ideal Team: Abomasnow, Weavile, Glaceon (Platinum), Mamoswine (Platinum), Froslass (Platinum), Glalie (Platinum)
First Pokémon: Snover/Sneasel in Diamond and Pearl on Route 216 after the sixth gym or Eevee in Hearthome City in Platinum just before the third gym.
Covers Weaknesses? No, all versions weak to Fire and Steel. Diamond/Pearl additionally weak to Rock and Fighting

Pokemon BW and B2W2
BW Ideal Team: Vanilluxe, Beartic, Cryogonal
First Pokémon: Vanillite, via Cold Storage, shortly before the fifth gym
Cover weaknesses?  No, Fire, Fighting, Steel, and Rock are not neutralized.

B2W2 Ideal Team: Beartic, Walrein, Lapras, Mamoswine, Weavile, Delibird
Optional: Vanilluxe, Dewgong, Glaceon
First Pokémon: Eevee via Castelia Park before the third gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon XY
Ideal Team: Aurorus, Frost Rotom, Cloyster (Y)/Lapras, Mamoswine, Jynx, Abomasnow
Optional: Glaceon, Beartic, Avalugg, Weavile, Vanilluxe, Delibird, Cryogonal
First Pokémon:  Eevee via Trade in Camphrier Town after the first gym.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

Pokemon SM and USUM
SM Ideal Team: Froslass, Vanilluxe, Sandslash(Moon)/Ninetales (Sun), Mamoswine (scan), Cloyster/Lapras/Walrein(scan), Crabominable
Optional: Delibird, Glaceon, Weavile
First Pokémon: Crabrawler via Route 2, just before the first trial
Cover weaknesses? Surprisingly yes regardless of version differences.

USUM Ideal Team: Jynx, Vanilluxe, Sandslash(UM)/Ninetales (US), Mamoswine (scan), Cloyster/Lapras/Walrein(scan), Crabominable
Optional: Delibird, Glaceon, Dewgong, Aurorus (UM), Weavile, Froslass
First Pokémon: Crabrawler via Route 2, just before the first trial
Cover weaknesses? Surprisingly yes regardless of version differences.

Pokemon SWSH
Ideal Team: Abomasnow, Froslass, Mamoswine, Cloyster, Mr. Rime, Frost Rotom
Optional: Glalie, Delibird, Glaceon, Vanilluxe, Beartic, Weavile, Frosmoth, Avalugg, Lapras, Darmanitan (Sword), Eiscue (Shield), Arctovish, Arctozolt
First Pokémon:  You are guaranteed to find an Ice type Pokemon if it’s Snowing in the Wild Area.  Find an area that’s snowing and start searching!  The Pokemon you can find include Snover, Snorunt, Swinub, Vanillite, Delibird, and Shellder (fishing) via Wild Area.  Look for Sneasel in Den 35 at West Lake Axewell for Max Raid battles. This can all be done before the first gym.
Weaknesses Covered?  Yes, and it’s taken care of well before the first gym!

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

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Snow Warning Users

Unfortunately, the Ice Type is probably the worst Pokemon type due to its plague of weaknesses and lack of resistances so your team will need all the help it can get. That’s where Abomasnow, and later Vanilluxe starting Generation VII, comes in!  Their ability, Snow Warning, whips up a hailstorm that can immensely improve your winning chances.  Hailstorm whittles away your opponents’ health, makes Blizzard 100% accurate, and triggers a whole host of Ice Pokemon abilities (more on that in a moment).  Couldn’t you use just the move Hail and be done with it?  Yes, but you’d lose a valuable turn which can expose you to weaknesses.  Hailstorm is definitely a long-term strategy and you need all the short cuts you can get.

However, Abomasnow and Vanilluxe aren’t that good even compared to other Ice Pokemon.  Abomasnow has a whole list of weaknesses (and that 4x weakness to Fire is rough) and Vanilluxe suffers from a really limited movepool.  Snow Warning was also nerfed in Generation VI and is now active for five turns unless you’re holding an Icy Rock.  Still, a guaranteed 100% accurate Blizzard move is pretty sweet!

Available in: DPP (Abomasnow) XY (Abomasnow), SM and USUM (Vanilluxe), SWSH (Abomasnow and Vanilluxe)

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Hail Users

As of Generation 8, out of the 49 Ice Pokemon, 27 have an ability that is affected by Hail (this includes hidden ability users).  This is incredibly high for a type and is the number one reason why you should have a Pokemon with Snow Warning.  There are three Hail-related abilities; Slush Rush (which increases the user’s speed), Hail Body (which steadily regenerates HP), and Snow Cloak (which increases evasion).  Of the three, Slush Rush will be the rarest as most Pokemon who can learn it have it as a hidden ability.  Beartic can learn it naturally though so you can have a fast attacker on your hand.

The other two will be more profitable for your crew.  I love Snow Cloak as its a soft counter to the tons of weaknesses Ice Pokemon have, I think Froslass, Alolan Ninetales, Piloswine, Glaceon use this the best.  Hail Body is also a nice defensive ability and a great way to “weather” battles.  The tanky Avalugg and Walrein use Hail Body very well.

Of course, your biggest flaw is that Hail factor, once it’s gone the abilities go with it.  So it might be helpful to have an extra Pokemon know the move Hailstorm in case you want to reactivate it and/or your Snow Warning user has fainted.

Available in: Generation 4 and onwards.

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Water/Ice Pokemon

Water/Ice Pokemon are incredibly important for your team and they are absent in only a few games (Lapras is the most common Ice type as of Gen VIII in 20 games!).  First, that Water pairing neutralizes your Fire and Steel weakness and gives you a nice counter against Rock and Fire types via Surf or Waterfall.  Lapras can learn Psychic and Thunderbolt which is super cool, Walrein is a beast of a tank in Hail, and Cloyster has that sweet Skill Link Ability making it a prime candidate for Rock Blast or Icicle Spear.

Really you’ll just have to watch for that Electric weakness which can be tricky.  Mamoswine can back you up if you run into that problem but beyond that quite a few Ice Pokemon can learn Earthquake or other Ground moves so just keep that in your back pocket for emergencies.

Available in: RBY, FRLG, GSC, and HGSS (Lapras, Cloyster (except LG), and Dewgong), RSE (Walrein), B2W2 (Lapras, Walrein and Dewgong), ORAS (Walrein and Dewgong), XY (Cloyster in Y and Lapras in both), SM (Cloyster, Lapras, and Walrein), USUM (Cloyster, Lapras, Walrein, and Dewgong), SWSH (Cloyster, Lapras, and Arctovish)

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Piloswine/Mamoswine

These last two Pokemon are here for their commonality and late-blooming strength.  First, Mamoswine’s Ground type offers viable protections for your team especially for your Water Pokemon.  Additionally, it offers a crucial resistance to Rock moves and can deliver a STAB Earthquake right back at them!  A STAB Ice Shard is also always appreciated and with Mamoswine’s stellar Attack stat, you don’t need speed to finish your opponent off.  I always get a lot of joy finding a Swinub in the games because I know I can have a wonderful time with the hairy furball!

Biggest disadvantage?  Not a lot of move variability, it’s basically going to be Ice, Rock, or Ground moves for you and that’s about it.   Even then, Mamoswine can learn a lot of Special Attack moves and that’s frustrating.  Later generations definitely boost Mamoswine up a bit but he’s a little rough around the edges early on.  The Ground weaknesses are also problematic but as long as you have Snow Cloak then you have a chance to avoid your opponent’s awful moves.

Available in: GSC (just Piloswine), Platinum, HGSS, B2W2, XY, SM, USUM, and SWSH

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Weavile

Despite its Generation 2 popularity, Sneasel unfortunately doesn’t appear in GSC and HGSS until the very end of the game!  Gah!  It’s so frustrating!  I want to train one and I couldn’t!  But!  Other games have thankfully remedied this problem so now we can finally train a Sneasel and evolve it to a Weavile before fighting the Champion.

Weavile is an Ice Cannon through and through.  Super fast, super physically strong but middling defenses.  Ice Shard on this guy is fun but you’re so fast I’d say go for Ice Punch!  You also have all those nice Dark STAB moves which is good and you can teach it Brick Break and Low Sweep which is crucial against your tricky Rock and Steel foes.  Like Mamoswine, Weavile suffers from learning Special Attack moves that it can’t quite pull off.  But the moves it can learn is great AND in Generation VIII it can learn Psycho Cut via TM which is soooooooo gooooooooood.  That in itself makes it top tier.

Available in: DPP, B2W2, XY, SM, USUM, and SWSH

Best Monotype Runs for Pokemon Sword and Shield

TLDR: Pokemon SWSH are the best games in the series for a Monotype Run.  You can catch every type before the first gym.  Water, Flying, Steel, Psychic, and Bug are probably the best whereas Fire and Dragon are the worst.  The full list of teams is at the end of this article.

Without a doubt, Pokemon Sword and Shield (SWSH) are the best games in the entire Pokemon franchise for a Monotype Run (also called Single Type).  A Monotype Run is a self-imposed challenge where you play a Pokemon game with only one type, sort of like a gym leader.  You pick a type, like Dark, and catch the first Pokemon that matches that type, in this case Nickit, and from there only catch Pokemon of that type and progress your way to the Champion.  The Pokemon diversity in SWSH is absolutely incredible as you can catch every type before the first gym (compared to XY’s 14 types)!  Additionally, out of 18 types and two games, 32 of 36 team combinations have all their weaknesses covered which is INSANE (XY ties it for the best).  As such any type you pick will basically be a winner!  I have a list of full teams below but first let’s take a look at the rules.

Rules

  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., Chewtle for a Rock type run) may be caught but must be evolved as soon as possible.
  3. Trading is not allowed
  4. Only Pokemon caught before you fight the Champion are counted

Optional Rules
Many folks have commented that SWSH are among the easiest games in the series.  If you find that to be the case with your Monotype team I encourage you to make it more difficult by imposing such rules as

  • Changing the battle from “shift” to “set” so you won’t have an advantage on your opponent
  • Not teaching your Pokemon TM, TR, or Move Relearner moves
  • Avoid potions and other healing items
  • And any other rules you think may give you a more challenging, but still fun, playthrough

Monotype Chart Version 2.03

1200px-823corviknight

Best Types

I could go on and on why all these types are amazing so I’ll do my best to keep it short and to the point.  The short of it is that any type is pretty great because you can catch a Pokemon from EVERY TYPE before the first gym!  No other game has come close to this perfection!  The Wild Area is the main factor as, in some cases, you can have a full team of Pokemon of your type before hitting the first gym.  But what about the best?  Water, Steel, Psychic, Bug, and Flying are probably the best due to their extreme early availability and amazing diversity.  There are so many team combinations that to say that one is the “best” is a mute point.  My interpretation of a type’s ideal team will certainly be different from yours and I think that’s what makes these types so great.

Weather Teams are also really wonderful as you can catch Pokemon that will trigger weather conditions on the battlefield.  Ground is excellent, as usual, but I want to focus on Ice and Rock.  SWSH are probably the best games in the series for an Ice and Rock run.  For Ice, you can catch a Snover and Vanillite at the Wild Area whereas for Rock you can catch a Larvitar in Shield and a Gigalith in both versions.  These Pokemon’s abilities will trigger weather conditions that you can use to full advantage.  I strongly recommend you to catch a Darmanitan in Sword as its ability Gorilla Tactics makes it a fast, physical sweeper.

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Worst Types

Unfortunately, Sword and Shield came SO CLOSE to getting a perfect record!  Despite your starter, Fire is probably the worst type due to its inability to cover weaknesses.  In Shield you are exposed to Rock and Water moves whereas in Sword it’s just Rock thanks to the version exclusive Turtonator.  Granted, Fire traditionally has a tough time covering weaknesses and has only pulled it off a few times.  If a SWSH sequel comes out Gamefreak just needs to add Camerupt or one of the fire starters and it’s perfect.  Still though, this is a pretty good team!  You got a Torkoal with Drought, which is excellent, and combined with such Pokemon as Chandelure, Centiskorch, and Coalossal you’ll have a great team!  Finally, Ghost in both versions and Fairy in Shield have a weakness exposed so be prepared.

Hmm, if I have to pick one more type it would be Dragon as it’s comparatively “bad” even though SWSH are the best games in the entire series for a Dragon run.  It has two main pitfalls.  Finding your first Dragon Pokemon can be a draaaaag.  Initially, Dragon Pokemon only spawn from this one specific Den (37/64)in the Wild Area so if it’s not going you need to buy a few Wishing Stones to spawn them in Max Raid Battles.  Thankfully, you’ll start with good team members like Trapinch, Axew, Noibat and Jangmo-o (Sword) or Goomy (Shield).  Second, you will be wide open to your weaknesses until near the end of the game thanks to the late-appearing Duraludon so that Fairy and Ice Gym is going to be rooooooooough.

Wild Area and Your First Pokemon
Usually, finding your first Pokemon is pretty straightforward.  Is it your starter?  If not, what’s the first route it shows up on?  That’s it.

Sword and Shield’s Wild Area has thrown that out of the window and was by far the most time consuming part of my research.  I’m glad that 11 out of the 18 types can be found before the Wild Area because those were super easy.  But those other seven types were rough so here’s how I broke it down.  I wrote down what Pokemon were easiest or most likely to find first and then wrote other Pokemon you can find that are rarer but still possible to find.  If there’s a Pokemon you can find only in Max Raid battles, I took note of that and wrote down their den numbers which were provided by Serebii.

Also, so we’re on the same page, random encounters are encounters with the “!” symbol whereas overworld encounters are Pokemon just walking around.

Type Teams

Bug

Ideal Team: Crustle, Centiskorch, Durant, Orbeetle, Galvantula, Araquanid/Golisopod

Optional Pokémon: Butterfree, Vikavolt, Shedinja, Ninjask, Escavalier (Sword Raid), Accelgor (Shield Raid), Ribombee, Vespiquen, Shuckle, Frosmoth

First Pokémon: Blipbug, Caterpie, Grubbin by random encounters (30%, 15%, and 10%) via Route 1.

Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and it’s taken care of before the first gym!

Dark

Ideal Team: Drapion, Grimmsnarl, Malamar, Bisharp, Scrafty (Sword)/Pangoro, Mandibuzz (Shield)/Crawdaunt

Optional Pokémon: Thievul, Liepard, Shiftry (Sword), Obstagoon, Skuntank, Umbreon, Weavile, Morpeko, Tyranitar (Shield), Hydreigon (Sword)

First Pokémon: Nickit by overworld (5%) via Route 1.  Route 2 is more productive with Zigzagoon and Nickit by overworld (2% and 15%) and Purrloin and Seedot (Sword) by random encounters (10% and 20%).

Weaknesses Covered? Yes

Dragon

Ideal Team: Flygon, Dracovish, Turtonator (Sword)/Haxorus, Kommo-o (Sword)/Drampa (Shield), Duraludon, Dragapult

Optional Pokémon: Goodra (Shield), Flapple (Sword)/Appletun (Shield), Dracozolt, Hydreigon (Sword)

First Pokémon: In Rolling Fields, you can always find Dragon Pokemon by Max Raids at Den 37/64.  These include Noibat, Trapinch, Axew, Jangmo-o (Sword), Goomy (Shield) and sometimes Applin and Dreepy.

Weaknesses Covered? Yes, thanks to Duraludon who’s unfortunately catchable near the end of the game.

Electric

Ideal Team: Vikavolt, Toxtricity, Wash Rotom, Galvantula, Dracozolt, Arctozolt

Optional Pokémon: Manectric, Jolteon, Other Rotom Forms, Boltund, Raichu, Morpeko, Togedemaru, Pincurchin, Heliolisk

First Pokémon: Grubbin by random encounters (10%) via Route 1.  Yamper will follow soon after on Route 2 by overworld (5%).

Weaknesses Covered? Yes

Fairy

Ideal Team: Weezing, Togekiss, Gardevoir, Mawile (Sword)/Sylveon, Mimikyu, Grimmsnarl

Optional Pokémon: Clefable, Shiinotic, Slurpuff (Sword), Ribombee, Whimsicott, Alcremie, Aromatisse (Shield), Hatterene, Rapidash (Shield)

First Pokémon: You can find a Ralts in Overcast random encounters in Rolling Fields.  In Rolling Fields, Den 33/62 will always spawn Fairy Pokemon (Cleffa, Togepi, Cutiefly, Swirlix, Clefairy, Morelull and sometimes Impidimp and Ralts).

Weaknesses Covered? Only in Sword thanks to Mawile.  In Shield, Fairy is exposed to Steel type moves.

Fighting

Ideal Team: Scrafty (Sword)/Pangoro, Lucario, Toxicroak (Shield)/Kommo-o (Sword), Gallade, Bewear, Hawlucha

Optional Pokémon: Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee, Hitmontop, Gurdurr, Machamp, Sirfetch’d (Sword), Throh, Sawk, Passimian (Sword), Falinks, Grapploct

First Pokémon: You can always find Tyrogue by overworld encounters in the Rolling Fields and you can always find Pancham in the Rolling Hills’ western most grasses by overworld.  In the East Lake Axewell, you can always find a Stufful by overworld encounters and sometimes by random encounters.  Look out for Machop at South Lake Miloch as you can find them in most weather conditions.  Finally, Ralts is rarer but you can find them in Overcast encounters at Rolling Fields.  In Rolling Fields, Den 1/48 will always spawn Fighting Pokemon for Max Raid battles such as Scraggy (Sword), Croagunk (Shield), Timburr, and sometimes Riolu.  This is before the first gym.

Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and you can accomplish this before the first gym!

Fire

Ideal Team: Cinderace, Torkoal, Centiskorch, Coalossal, Heat Rotom, Turtonator (Sword)/Arcanine

Optional Pokémon: Flareon, Ninetales, Salazzle, Chandelure, Heatmor, technically Darmanitan in Zen Mode

First Pokémon: Scorbunny via Starter

Weaknesses Covered? Sadly no, Shield is weak to Water and Rock.  Sword is weak to just Rock thanks to Turtonator.

Flying

Ideal Team: Corviknight, Noivern, Sigilyph, Togekiss, Gyarados, Hawlucha

Optional Pokémon: Swoobat, Braviary (Sword), Mandibuzz (Shield), Xatu, Noctowl, Unfezant, Butterfree, Pelipper, Delibird, Ninjask, Vespiquen, Drifblim, Fan Rotom, Cramorant, Mantine

First Pokémon: Rookidee by overworld (30%) and Hoothoot and Caterpie by random encounters (5% and 15%) via Route 1.

Weaknesses Covered? Yes

Ghost

Ideal Team: Golurk, Dragapult, Dusknoir, 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 South Lake Miloch by Intense Sun random encounter.  Finally, you will always catch Ghosts in Den 6/47 at Watchtower Ruins for Max Raid battles.

Weaknesses Covered? Unfortunately no as both are exposed to Ghost weaknesses (and Sableye is only available after the championship in Shield).

Grass

Ideal Team: Rillaboom, Ludicolo (Shield)/Dhelmise, Flapple (Sword)/Appletun (Shield), Roserade, Ferrothorn, Mow Rotom

Optional Pokémon: Vileplume, Gourgeist, Cherrim, Shiftry (Sword), Eldegoss, Whimsicott, Shiinotic, Bellossom, Trevanant (Raid), Leafeon, Tsareena, Abomasnow, Maractus

First Pokémon: Grooky via Starter

Weaknesses Covered? Yes

Ground

Ideal Team: Flygon, Hippowdon, Golurk, Gastrodon, Excadrill, Sandaconda

Optional Pokémon: Diggersby, Mudsdale, Onix, Whiscash, Steelix, Quagsire, Runerigus, Seismitoad, Rhyperior (Raid), Dugtrio, Claydol, Stunfisk, Mamoswine

First Pokémon:  In the Rolling Fields, you will find Bunnelby in the overworld in every weather except Snowstorm and Thunderstorm; additionally, you will always find them by random encounter.  You can also find Nincada, Mudbray, Baltoy, Golett, and Diggersby in random encounters throughout the Wild Area.  They are most common in Sandstorms and Intense Sun (although Sandstorms won’t be unlocked until after the third gym).  Look for Swinub when it’s Snowing, Barboach fishing in South Lake Miloch, and Tympole and Wooper in West Lake Axewell.  You can also find Ground Pokemon for Den 16/52 in Rolling Fields for Max Raid Battles including the aforementioned Pokemon as well as Diglett and Yamask.  There’s also a chance to find a Trapinch by Max Raid battles in Rolling Fields.  This is before the first gym.

Weaknesses Covered? Yes

Ice

Ideal Team: Abomasnow, Froslass, Mamoswine, Cloyster, Mr. Rime, Frost Rotom

Optional Pokémon: Glalie, Delibird, Glaceon, Vanilluxe, Beartic, Weavile, Frosmoth, Avalugg, Lapras, Darmanitan (Sword), Eiscue (Shield), Arctovish, Arctozolt

First Pokémon:  You are guaranteed to find an Ice type Pokemon if it’s Snowing in the Wild Area.  Find an area that’s snowing and start searching!  The Pokemon you can find include Snover, Snorunt, Swinub, Vanillite, Delibird, and Shellder (fishing) via Wild Area.  Look for Sneasel in Den 35 at West Lake Axewell for Max Raid battles. This can all be done before the first gym.

Weaknesses Covered?  Yes, and it’s taken care of well before the first gym!

Normal

Ideal Team: Bewear, Heliolisk, Unfezant, Oranguru (Shield)/Indeedee, Drampa (Shield)/Obstagoon, Snorlax

Optional Pokémon: Diggersby, Noctowl, Braviary (Sword), Greedent, Dubwool, Cinccino, Persian, Ditto

First Pokémon: Wooloo and Skwovet by overworld (15% and 50%) and Hoothoot and Skwovet by random encounters (5% and 50%) via Route 1.

Weaknesses Covered? Yes

Poison

Ideal Team: Drapion, Roserade, Toxapex, Weezing, Toxicroak (Shield)/Toxtricity, Gengar

Optional Pokémon: 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!

Psychic

Ideal Team: Orbeetle, Sigilyph, Bronzong, Gardevoir, Gallade, Malamar

Optional Pokémon: Swoobat, Musharna, Solrock (Sword)/Lunatone (Shield), Meowstic, Reuniclus (Shield), Gothitelle (Sword), Hatterene, Mr. Rime, Espeon, Claydol, Xatu, Wobbuffet, Beheeyem, Rapidash (Shield), Indeedee, Oranguru (Shield)

First Pokémon: Blipbug by random encounters (30%) via Route 1

Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and it’s taken care of before the first gym!

Rock

Ideal Team: Crustle, Drednaw, Coalossal, Stonjourner (Sword)/Tyranitar (Shield), Gigalith, Solrock (Sword)/Lunatone (Shield)

Optional Pokémon: Sudowoodo, Rhyperior (Raid), Shuckle, Onix, Barbaracle

First Pokémon: Chewtle by overworld (10%) via Route 2.

Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and it’s taken care of before the first gym!  Which is good because it’s Grass, see if you can evolve your Rolycoly before you fight Milo otherwise you might need to lean on Dwebble.  Also, get the Sandstream Ability from Gigalith.

Steel

Ideal Team: Corviknight, Excadrill, Bronzong, Ferrothorn, Aegislash, Duraludon

Optional Pokémon: Perrserker, Steelix, Klinklang, Stunfisk, Bisharp, Mawile (Sword), Lucario, Copperajah, Durant, Togedemaru, Escavalier (Sword Raid)

First Pokémon: Rookidee by overworld (30%) via Route 1

Weaknesses Covered? Yes

Water

Ideal Team: Inteleon, Gyarados, Gastrodon, Dracovish, Araquanid, Ludicolo (Shield)/Cloyster

Optional Pokémon: Crawdaunt, Drednaw, Quagsire, Seismitoad, Golisopod, Qwilfish, Toxapex, Whiscash, Wishiwashi, Pyukumuku, Barraskewda, Milotic, Wailord, Lanturn, Mantine, Basculin, Vaporeon, Pelipper, Kingler, Seaking, Octillery, Wash Rotom, Cramorant, Lapras, Jellicent, Arctovish

First Pokémon: Sobble via Starter

Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and it can be taken care before the first gym!  Which is good because the first gym is Grass.  You might want to consider a Rain team with Pelipper’s Drizzle ability.

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Links to other Pokemon Monotype Articles

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
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee
Sword/Shield

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

Pokemon Sword and Shield’s Amazing Potential to Honor the History of Paleontology

So, Pokemon Sword and Shield have an amazing opportunity that Gamefreak shouldn’t pass up.  And that opportunity is fossils.

As a fossil maniac, I appreciate the many different fossil Pokemon Gamefreak has designed over the years.  Some of them are based on more popular ancient animals, like the T-Rex, and others not as much, like the crinoid and Anomalocaris.  I was very disappointed that Pokemon Sun and Moon didn’t introduce new fossil Pokemon.  But I can begrudgingly accept this as Hawaii isn’t really known for its fossils.  As a string of recent land masses, Hawaii does not have a long biological history.  What fossil are preserved are destroyed as the ocean washes away the oldest islands.

But Galar is different because it’s set in England.  Not only does England have fossils but it represents the beginnings of paleontology and the birthplace of the word “dinosaur.”  Since practically ancient times, humans knew about the existence of fossils but didn’t fully understand what they represented.  They could have been mythological beasts or animals once present in the Garden of Eden.  It wasn’t until the Enlightenment era that scientists, such as anatomist Georges Cuvier, realized that these fossils belonged to animals that were thousands if not millions of years old.  That through gradual change over many, many years, animals come and go and create a succession, of sorts, to the modern era.  Even more astonishingly, some of these animals were unlike anything alive today; they were so wild and out there they deserved their own classification.

Ichthyosaurus.  Image credit: John Sibbick/Science Photo Library

A Plesiosaur

By the early 1800s, English scientists were pushing the field of paleontology from a curious idea to a serious subject.  One notable collector was Mary Anning whose achievements include finding the first Ichthyosaurus (a fish-like reptile), two nearly complete Plesiosaurus (a long-neck swimming reptile), and other fossils such as shells and a Pterosaur.   The Plesiosaurus were especially important as only bits and pieces were found until her discovery.  These additions continued speculation on what these animals are, or were, and how they fit in Earth’s history.

The curious animals became more comprehensive as new specimens came to light.  In 1824, two different fossilized animals were found and described as Megalosaurus and Iguanodon.  These animals, along with the aforementioned Ichthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus, were the inspiration of English scientist Gideon Mantell’s famous paper titled “Age of Reptiles” where he placed these animals in this era and divided it up into three periods which later became known as the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous.  Just a year after this publication Mantell founded and described another ancient reptile which he named Hylaeosaurus in 1832.  However, it wasn’t until 1841 when famed anatomist Sir Richard Owen united Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, and Hylaeosaurus into one branch which he named “Dinosauria,” terrible lizard.

This of course is a rather brief review of Paleontology’s early history.  I encourage you to look into as it’s very fascinating.  I like the interpretation of Iguanodon as a lumbering, rhino-like giant iguana, to its modern appearance as a gracile, slender animal with a prominent thumb spike.  There’s also the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs which was possibly one of the first, large-scale interpretations of ancient animals.  The park contains all the previously mentioned animals and more.

Image result for crystal palace dinosaurs dinner

While the park dinosaurs were being built, a New Year’s Eve dinner was held inside the still incomplete Iguanodon specimen which is quite frankly, a great way to start the new year!

But I would like to instead pivot back to the matter at hand.  The fossil Pokemon of Galar.  It would be very remiss of Gamefreak not to include any of these animals as Pokemon Sword and Shield’s fossils.  The way I see it we can go down two, neatly packaged, routes.

The first route is to have fossil Pokemon based on Ichthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus with their respective fossils being Tail and Flipper.  These two animals lived in the same time period in the same habitat so it wouldn’t be surprising to find fossils of them next to each other.  As for typing…well that’s probably the major downside to them.

Rock/Water is the fourth most common dual type combination in Pokemon as of Generation VII.  Both of these Pokemon would solidly be in that category (as a side note, I have very mixed feelings about Fossil Pokemon’s Rock typing so we’re ignoring that for now).  But would our Pokemon have to be Rock/Water?  Sure in Generation I both Kabutops and Omastar were Rock/Water while in Generation III, Armaldo was Rock/Bug and Cradily was Rock/Grass even though their respective animal was definitely aquatic.

With that in mind I would still give the Ichthyosaur Pokemon a Rock/Water typing since it’s just too much like a fish.  It fits it so well!  Yet for our Plesiosaur Pokemon I think we can give it Rock/Dragon without batting an eye.  Just like Armaldo it could still learn Water attacks but it would stay close to home with its dual typing.  But mark my words!!!  If it wasn’t for the Rock requirement our Plesiosaur would be Water/Dragon easily and it would be soooooo gooooood.

Let’s turn our attention to our three English Dinosaurs; Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, and Hylaeosaurus.  Hmm…right away I can see a problem…there’s three of them.  Now you could do a scenario where there’s two “regular” fossils and one “special” one like in Generation I but I don’t think we have to worry about that.  Megalosaurus is a therapod dinosaur.  A very iconic group of dinosaurs who were (about 99% of the time) carnivorous and bipedal.  Some had small heads and long arms, others had large heads and short arms but they all had similar body plans.  And as I’m sure you folks can see where I’m going with this, we already have a therapod Pokemon, Tyrantrum.

Left, a modern interpretation of Megalosaurus.  Right, the mid-1800’s interpretation of Megalosaurus.  Image credit: Mark Garlick/University of Warwick.

Unfortunately, as best as we can tell, Megalosaurus was a rather “average” looking therapod.  Nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t really stand out compared to the more outlandish therapods like Spinosaurus or Therizinosaurus.  And although Gamefreak doesn’t mind reusing animals multiple times (and even using a Monkey Grass Pokemon twice!), I think it would be a waste of time for them to reuse a standard therapod when the paleontological record offers so much more.

As a side note, it would be balls awesome if Gamefreak gave us Megalosaurus but based on its original interpretation as a quadrupedal carnivore with a fat-crocodile mouth and a dragging tail.  It would be kind of horrifying and sad for the Megalosaurus Pokemon but really cool!  Like, the lore would be that due to an incomplete skeleton, the reconstructed dinosaur could not resume its original shape and instead pieced together what it had to make its now misaligned form.  That would be wild.

Image result for iguanodon

Iguanodon

Anyway, that leaves us with Iguanodon (Thumbspike Fossil) and Hylaeosaurus (Plate Fossil) and luckily we haven’t had dinosaurs based on them yet!   This is perfect and their body variation can really lend itself well to some cool type combinations.  First, Iguanodon, I imagined three different type combos with them.  Rock/Normal would be my initial suggestion as these guys are one of the most common dinosaurs you can find, they were basically the elk of the dinosaur world.  But you also have that trademark thumbspike that is so well known on Iguanodon that you just have to use it somehow.  Perhaps as an electrical rod?  So maybe Rock/Electric?  Maybe it can be used to inject poison into its foes so Rock/Poison?  Any of these three suggestions would be interesting.

Image result for hylaeosaurus

Hylaeosaurus

As for Hylaeosaurus, the armor plating, trademark of all Ankylosauria, immediately suggests a Rock/Steel type which is a nice fallback.  Hylaeosaurus also had spikes protruding from its sides which suggests a porcupine-esque defense so Rock/Poison would be delightful.  I could also imagine Gamefreak throwing a curveball and making it Rock/Fire similar to how they made Aurorus Rock/Ice.

If I had my druthers I would make Fossil Pokemon out of Iguanodon and Hylaeosaurus and make the Plesiosaur a modern Pokemon.  This works very well thanks to the folklore surrounding Nessie and the occurrence of modern fossil-based Pokemon like Aggron and Tropius.  And the Plesiosaur can be Water/Dragon which would be great!

So there you have it.  Will it happen?  I’m banking on no unfortunately.  Although Gamefreak has been doing very well lately designing Pokemon that are inspired by their respective region, I can’t imagine them going the extra mile to put that paleontology flavor in.  Now a Pokemon based on the Loch Ness Monster?  Sure, I can buy that but I won’t be holding my breath.  We shall see.  Fingers crossed!

Future of Monotype Run Articles

12/30/19 Update: Step 1 and 2 is done and I will be tackling the other steps in the near future.

For the past six months or so I’ve been writing new Single Type Run (STR) articles and updating old ones to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date.  They have been a constant source of views and uses for my website and I enjoy researching and writing these articles.  However, with Pokemon Sword and Shield just around the corner I wanted to give everyone an update on the future of these articles and where I go from here.  This list will be the general order of events as we head into Generation VIII of Pokemon.

1. The next STR article will focus on Pokemon Sword and Shield.  Finished!

This article will honestly take awhile to write as I predict there will be a lot of things to consider including Galar’s Wild Area and Dynamaxing.  There will also be tons of Pokemon in this region similar to the past two generations so that will slow things down especially when informational websites like Bulbapedia will gradually update.  I also want to play the game blind because I find that enjoyable!

Nevertheless, I will write it but I can’t guarantee it will be out by the end of this year.  Probably by January.  As a comparison, I published my Sun and Moon article at the end of December 2016 when the games came out November 16th, 2016.  But it’s on my list!   The STR on Sun and Moon is my most viewed article ever and I’m predicting my article Sword and Shield will be popular as well.

Single Type Run Chart

2. I will produce a new STR chart and it will include both Generation VII and VIII and a new “S” rating.     Finished!

This will be the most important step on our list as the original STR article is by far one of my most popular articles.  Instead of writing and publishing a new article I’m going to update the old one as I have been doing.

More importantly, I’m going to incorporate Generation VII AND VIII into the chart!  Previously, I left Sun and Moon out as the lack of gyms made it impossible to apply it to the chart but I’ve been doing some thinking how we can change that.  At this point, I’m thinking our benchmarks will be the first battle against Captain Ilmia, then the Verdant Trial, then the first Kahuna Trial, then leaving the first island.  This works pretty close to previous games’ gym locations and can account for Sun and Moon’s notoriously long tutorial scenes.  There’s also a lot going on on the first Island which is really nice AND you can catch a Pokemon from every type on the first Island which is also incredible.

Thankfully, Sword and Shield is returning to the gym format so, barring any major surprises, we can use Sword and Shield for our chart with hopefully no problems.

The ratings are going to change as well.  After writing and researching so many articles my opinions have changed about what makes a good STR fantastic and by far the most important quality is early Pokemon availability.  So I’m going to change the letter grades to reflect that and introduce the new “S” grade (which will stand for Superior/Starter depending on your cup of tea).
“S” grade=Your first Pokemon is a starter that matches your type or can evolve into said type (like Chimchar for a Fighting Run)
“A” grade=First Pokemon caught is before the first gym/Ilmia battle
“B” grade=First Pokemon caught between first-second gym/between Ilmia-Verdant Trial
“C” grade=First Pokemon caught between second-third gym/between Verdant Trial-first Kahuna Trial
“D” grade=First Pokemon caught between third-fourth gym/between first Kahuna Trial-leaving the first Island
“F” grade=First Pokemon caught after the fourth gym

Gym battles are still important benchmarks for Pokemon games and although they can vary wildly in occurrence or story-placement they can still serve as a model how great or bad the games can be for STRs  Thankfully, my articles focused solely on specific games like Diamond/Pearl/Platinum can offer a richer detail of what to expect for your Run.

Not sure about the number grades yet.  I should change them to make them less confusing but not sure how to approach that.  One idea is make the number grade reflect the number of unique Pokemon that can be caught so Pokemon Moon would have a Steel rating of 10A for 10 unique Steel families but Pokemon Silver would have a 3B rating for just 3 families.  A little “*” symbol can indicate if all weaknesses are neutralized.  This might be way too complex though.  I like the “1A” ratings because it’s simple and gets to the point.  Any thoughts appreciated here.

 

3. Preexisting articles will be more user-friendly and have a consistent template.

This step will most likely be addressed multiple times in the coming months, especially while I’m waiting for Sword and Shield to come out.  With a lot of articles under my belt I noticed a lot of inconsistencies in article designs so I want to harmonize them.

There will also be collapsible text options to reduce clutter and make it easier to read what you want instead of constant scrolling scrolling scrolling.

Finally, long shot, but, it would be really cool to have a clickable link on the chart to learn more about a certain team and what it would look like.  Just cut right to the chase!  Not sure how to pull that one off yet but any ideas are appreciated.

 

4. Preexisting articles focused on just types will include Sword and Shield.

I’ve already written a few articles on types alone like Bug, Grass, and Ground but they’ll need to be updated once Sword and Shield comes out.  These articles don’t get a lot of love compared to their game-focused counterparts so this step is not urgent.

 

5. New Pokemon Type Articles will be written and published.

Finally, I will write new Pokemon Type articles once the previous tasks are done.  Water and Flying are two big types that I will likely focus on next.  I may not even write articles for every single type since some of them are still pretty abysmal like Ice, Rock, and Dragon.  But maybe Sword and Shield will be excellent games for them.  We’ll see!

 

Website Donation

As usual, thanks for reading, everyone!  If you have any suggestions or comments your feedback is appreciated. Any donation to the website is also valuable for website maintenance and with these projects. Thanks again!

$1.00

 

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 2.03

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 both are exposed to Ghost weaknesses (Sableye is catchable after the Championship in Shield).  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, 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? Unfortunately no as they are exposed to Ghost weaknesses (Sableye is catchable after the Championship in Shield).

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)

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

Best Pokemon Games for a Fighting Type Run

March 18th, 2020 Update: This article now includes Sword and Shield

If you want to have a great and fun Monotype (or Single Type) Run I would highly suggest the Fighting type.  This type has steadily increased in diversity since Generation 1 and now contains a plethora of Pokemon that are fun to train and easily available.  But the best reason why you should do a Fighting Type Run is that it’s the most common secondary type for the starters.  As of Generation 7, there are four starters from four separate generations that evolve into a Fighting type.  If you want a Fighting team I suggest those games they are in but I am getting ahead of myself.  Let’s take a look at the teams and the Pokemon you’ll be training for a Fighting Team.  Punch it!

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 disregard 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 2.03

The Best Games

First, I would give SM, USUM a strong “B” as you have a variety of Fighting Pokemon but you won’t catch you first Pokemon (Crabrawler) for awhile and you’re exposed to Flying weaknesses (Lucario can’t be caught until after the Elite Four).  Still, you can catch a Bewear, Kommo-o, and the starter Pokemon by Island Scan which is really nice.  SWSH I rank better as well due to the huge variety of Fighting Pokemon that you can catch in the Wild Area which is fantastic.  But we can do better than that.

Image result for Chesnaught

General rule of thumb, if there’s a starter that can evolve into a Fighting type then that game is, at minimal, a fun Fighting Run!  In RSE and ORAS, you don’t neutralize all the weaknesses but the teams are pretty decent and better than what the earlier generations could offer (and ORAS offers some more variety).  As a side note, when you’re playing ORAS, GET A BRELOOM, catch a Shroomish with its Hidden Ability Quick Feet and you’re going to get Technician when it evolves; it’s a lot of fun and you won’t regret it!

Meanwhile, Platinum is opposite as you have a simple but solid team.  There’s seven Pokemon you can train; Infernape, Gallade, Heracross, Croagunk, Lucario, and Medicham (with Machoke being the optional 7th) and they’re pretty great!  However, you will be stuck with Chimchar for awhile before you can catch a Medicham, Ralts, and Machop.  The most stressful part will be that Heracross which has a 5% of showing up on honey trees but other than that it’s a decent run.

Much better is the following generation; Black/White and B2W2.  Honestly, Black/White doesn’t differ much from B2W2 (Heracross and Lucario are the only major additions to those games) but there’s a VERY strong reason why you should do a Fighting Run in these games and its because of…

Image result for musketeer pokemon

If you are not opposed to training Legendary Pokemon I say capture Cobalion, Virizion, and Terrakion and add them to your team.  They’re strong, diverse and are available before the Elite Four.  And that Cobalion…damn!  It can wall any incoming Psychic or Flying moves that might mess you up.  Beyond the Musketeers you have your starter, Scrafty, and Mienshao which you can trade out for a Heracross in the sequels if you want.  You’re going to have a slow start in Black/White though so be prepared for that (in B2/W2 you can catch a Riolu fairly early on followed soon after by a Scraggy which is nice).

I think the best Fighting games in the Pokemon series though is XY (with Y edging X due to the version-exclusive Heracross).  This is perfection.  This is the game you definitely want for a Fighting Run!  You have your starter, Chespin, followed quickly by Riolu and Ralts and the other Pokemon will just fall into place.  This is such a nice run that I played it myself actually.  I couldn’t decide who to keep on my final team and I just kept rotating them in and out.  One Pokemon I kept until the end was Toxicroak, because he’s soooooo much better due to the Fairies!  Here’s a pro tip, breed a Pangoro with Bullet Punch with a Croagunk.  Raise that Croagunk and teach it Sucker Punch and Poison Jab and you’ll have a Pokemon that can destroy Fairy and Psychic Pokemon (Sucker Punch is risky but so satisfying). This is a fantastic team that I am running out of adjectives to describe how stellar it can be!

The Worst Games

Fighting is one of those types that slowly got better as the generations progressed.  That first generation was rough on them due to the Psychics and they only modestly improved in the second generation (by the third generation they began to stand tall with diversity and starter-evolutions).  As such, RBY, GSC, FRLG, and HGSS are among the worst games in the series for a Fighting Run as it’s hard to get a full team with unique members, they are very exposed to their weaknesses, and sometimes the first one doesn’t show up until after the second gym.  It’s hard to pick which among these is the best as they are all just bad.  If you have a Pokewalker then HGSS would be the way to go as you can get a Machop through that device and then afterwards, you can start hunting for Poliwag and Heracross and then get the Hitmons after the eighth gym (you would need a ditto to breed with Tyrogue in order to get all three of them).

Fighting Teams in Pokemon Games

Pokemon Red, Blue, Yellow and FRLG
Ideal Team: Machoke, Hitmonlee/Hitmonchan, Primeape (all versions except Blue), Poliwrath
First available Pokémon: In Yellow, FireRed and LeafGreen it’s Mankey on Route 3 before the first gym.  In Red, it’s Mankey via Route 5, after the second gym.  In Blue, it’s Machop in the Rock Tunnel after the second gym.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Flying and Psychic not neutralized.

Pokemon Gold, Silver, Crystal and HGSS
Ideal Team: Primeape (C, G, HG)/Machoke, Poliwrath, Heracross, Hitmontop, Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee
First Pokémon: Heracross via headbutting trees after the second gym, Poliwag in Crystal via Route 30 before the first gym, or Machop via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Flying and Psychic not neutralized.

Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald and ORAS
Ideal Team: Blaziken, Breloom, Heracross, Medicham (R, S, ORAS), Gallade (ORAS), Scrafty (ORAS)
Optional Pokémon: Machoke, Hariyama, Hitmonchan (ORAS), Hitmonlee (ORAS), Hitmontop (ORAS), Throh (OR), Sawk (AS), Gurdurr (ORAS), Primeape (ORAS)
First Pokémon: Torchic via starter
Covers Weaknesses? No, Flying is not neutralized.

Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum
Ideal Team: Infernape, Heracross, Toxicroak, Medicham, Lucario, Gallade (Platinum)
Optional Pokémon: Machoke
First Pokémon: Chimchar via starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon Black, White, and B2W2
BW Ideal Team:
Emboar, Scrafty, Cobalion, Virizion, Terrakion, Mienshao
Optional: Sawk (B)/Throh (W), Gurdurr
First Pokémon: Tepig via starter
Cover Weaknesses?  Yes

B2W2 Ideal Team: Emboar, Lucario/Cobalion, Scrafty, Mienshao, Virizion, Terrakion
Optional: Gurdurr, Sawk, Throh, Heracross
First Pokémon: Tepig via starter
Cover Weaknesses? Yes
Note: Heads up that in White 2 you can only get a Heracross via Hidden Grotto in Lostlorn Forest and even then it has a 0.75% of appearing.  Black 2 they are easier to catch and don’t need the Hidden Grotto.

Pokemon XY
Ideal Team: Chesnaught, Lucario, Gallade, Pangoro/Scrafty, Toxicroak, Hawlucha
Optional Pokémon: Medicham, Mienshao, Machoke, Hariyama, Throh (Y)/Sawk (X), Heracross (Y), Poliwrath, Gurdurr
First Pokémon: Chespin via Starter
Cover Weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon Sun, Moon, and USUM
SM Ideal Team: Crabominable, Emboar (scan), Poliwrath, Bewear, Kommo-o, Pangoro
Optional: Primeape, Passimian (Sun), Hariyama, Machoke
First Pokémon: Crabrawler and Makuhita via Route 2, just before the first trial
Cover weaknesses? No, Flying is not neutralized

USUM Ideal Team: Crabominable, Blaziken (scan), Poliwrath, Bewear, Kommo-o, Pangoro
Optional: Primeape, Passimian (US), Hariyama, Scrafty, Hawlucha, Gallade (scan), Infernape (scan), Chesnaught (scan), Machoke
First Pokémon: Crabrawler and Makuhita via Route 2, just before the first trial
Cover weaknesses? No, Flying is not neutralized

Pokemon Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Scrafty (Sword)/Pangoro, Lucario, Toxicroak (Shield)/Kommo-o (Sword), Gallade, Bewear, Hawlucha
Optional Pokémon: Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee, Hitmontop, Gurdurr, Machamp, Sirfetch’d (Sword), Throh, Sawk, Passimian (Sword), Falinks, Grapploct
First Pokémon: You can always find Tyrogue by overworld encounters in the Rolling Fields and you can always find Pancham in the Rolling Hills’ western most grasses by overworld.  In the East Lake Axewell, you can always find a Stufful by overworld encounters and sometimes by random encounters.  Look out for Machop at South Lake Miloch as you can find them in most weather conditions.  Finally, Ralts is rarer but you can find them in Overcast encounters at Rolling Fields.  In Rolling Fields, Den 1/48 will always spawn Fighting Pokemon for Max Raid battles such as Scraggy (Sword), Croagunk (Shield), Timburr, and sometimes Riolu.  This is before the first gym.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and you can accomplish this before the first gym!

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

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Your Starter

Of course!  The best way to start a Monotype Run is to have a starter that evolves into your type.  Four games with four starters is a damn good record.  I honestly think, after theorizing and playing many Monotype Runs, that the best runs are the ones where you can get your Pokemon ASAP, especially if it’s a starter.  A lot of people complain about the prevalence of Fire/Fighters but this time it’s a blessing for you.  Speaking of which, that Fire typing is going to save your butt against the Fairies starting Generation 6 so they will be extra helpful.  What’s nice is that you can recapture some of them in the Sun and Moon games thanks to Island Scan.

Anyway, they’re great.  Good stats and good moves gives you an easy start that will glide your way to victory.  Chesnaught has its signature move, Spiky Shield, which further propels its role as a tank.  Emboar can learn Scald which…the hell?  And Blaziken and Infernape are such extreme attackers that they almost make the rest of your team redundant.  Good times.

Available in: RSE, DPP, BW, B2W2, XY, ORAS, SM (Emboar via Island Scan), and USUM (Blaziken, Infernape, and Chesnaught via Island Scan)

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Lucario and Cobalion

If your Fighting team has neutralized all its weaknesses, chances are you have one of these guys on your team.  The Fighting/Steel combo is fantastic as all the weaknesses are accounted for AND the Steel STAB perk gives you extra protection against the Fairies.  Cobalion shows up in all the Black and White games while Riolu sometimes shows up very early as seen in B2W2 and XY (and the latter portions of DPP) so you have a nice mixture of availability.

But that’s not all!  Cobalion has just incredible all around stats that can take hits, out-speed opponents, and attack back.  Lucario, however, I think trumps Cobalion on its higher Attack and Special Attack stats and its sheer diversity of moves.  Psychic, Shadow Ball, Shadow Claw, Poison Jab, Dark Pulse, Dragon Pulse, Ice Punch, and Thunder Punch are some of Lucario’s great moves.  Lucario also has the highest Special Attack stat out of any non-Mega, non-Legendary Fighting Pokemon so he can use these moves flawlessly!  If you have gaps in your team, Lucario will fill those gaps for you.

Finally, one of the most daunting problems that you will face in a Fighting Run is a weakness to birds.  They are so incredibly prevalent that you will run into trainers and wild Flying Pokemon guaranteed in almost every route.  Lucario is also one of the few Fighting Pokemon that can effectively counter Flying Pokemon without being OHKO’d by them.  Practically every Fighting Pokemon can learn Rock Slide but they are usually too slow to use it before they’re knocked out.  Lucario can take care of that for you with Ice Punch, Thunder Punch and the aforementioned Rock Slide.  Have him ready; he’s that important.

Available in: DPP (Lucario), BW (Cobalion), B2W2 (Cobalion and Lucario), XY (Lucario), SWSH (Lucario)

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Medicham and Gallade

I am always happy if I can find a Ralts because that means I can evolve it into a Gallade (if you’re after Gen 3 that is)!  Gallade are the counterparts of Gardevoir with exceptionally high Physical Attacks and very nice Special Defense.  This means Gallade can be thrown into an oncoming Psychic attack, take it fine, and dish back to it an X-Scissor or Night Slash.  Medicham, meanwhile, has an incredible 120 Attack stat thanks to its ability Pure Power.  It can also learn the elemental punches naturally by Move Relearner.  And of course, both of these can Mega-evolves which will come in handy for you in ORAS.

Available in: Ruby and Sapphire (Medicham), DPP (Diamond and Pearl for Medicham and Platinum for both), XY (Both), ORAS (Both), and USUM (Gallade via Scan), SWSH (Gallade)

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Scrafty and Pangoro

Pokemon Black and White finally answered our pleas and gave us our first Fighting/Dark type via Scrafty.  Scrafty, and later Pangoro, are absolute must haves for your Fighting team.  The 4x weakness to Fairy is pretty rough but the trade off is you are immune to Psychic attacks!  Both of these Pokemon are incredible in their own way thanks to their diverse abilities like Scrafty’s Moxie and Shed Skin and Pangoro’s Iron Fist and Mold Breaker.  Btw, Pangoro can learn Bullet Punch by leveling up so if you want to surprise some Fairies then Punch them!

Available in: BW and B2W2 (Scrafty), XY (Both), ORAS (Scrafty), SM (Pangoro), and USUM (Both), Sword (Both) and Shield (Pangoro)

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Toxicroak

I think you may have a raised eyebrow when you saw this frog on my list.  After all, that 4x weakness to Psychic attacks is BRUTAL.  But!  What would you say if I told you Toxicroak is a fantastic anti-Psychic Fighter?  Toxicroak carries on him Sucker Punch, a strong priority, Dark move that hits hard and fast.  With that juicy 4x target on his back, you’re basically baiting Psychic Pokemon to attack you.  And since Psychic Pokemon, for the most part, have weak defenses, you can deliver a strong KO against them!  It’s a risk but man it’s nice when it pays off.

Of course, the Poison Jab move is nice for Fairies and when you don’t have Lucario around, Toxicroak offers a nice resistance to Fairies (and if you’re willing to, you can also hatch a Croagunk that knows Bullet Punch!).  Toxicroak also has the usual elemental punches that it can taught by TM or Move Tutor, as well as Rock Slide, Earthquake and X-Scissor.  Toxicroak’s biggest disadvantages is its uncommonality which is a shame as I love this frog Pokemon.

Available in: DPP, XY, Shield

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Heracross

Heracross is a bit of a mix bag when it comes to Fighting teams but I think he’s worth it in certain circumstances.  That 4x weakness to Flying is super rough but Megahorn makes up for it.  A STAB Megahorn with Heracross’ exceptionally high Physical Attack stat is one of the best Pokemon-move combos in the game.  Even Pokemon that aren’t weak to Bug moves would very likely be knocked out in one hit from this move.  Another prominent reason why he’s on this list is his availability which not a lot of other Fighting Pokemon can match.  And Heracross sometimes shows up early to mid-game so if you’re still struggling with a weak or limited team then Heracross will come in and give you a nice boost!

Available in: GSC, RSE, DPP, B2W2, Y, and ORAS

Bonus meme!
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The Best Pokemon Games for a Normal Type Run

March 18th, 2020 Update: This article now includes Sword and Shield.

When people ask me which Pokemon type has the best Monotype (or Single Type) Runs out of all the types I unflinchingly respond with Normal.  In every single game of the series you can get a full team of unique Normal Pokemon, who are able to counter their main weakness (Fighting) easily, are found on the first route of the game, and can learn a diverse set of moves.  No other type comes even close to matching the diversity and early availability of Normal types.  But which games are the best of the best?  The ones you should play and the ones you should skip?  This won’t be easy to decide so let’s take a look.

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. Only Pokémon caught before the Elite Four are counted.

Monotype Chart Version 2.03

Worst Games
This is a very hard choice and is among my most difficult decisions since I started writing these articles.  In every single game for a Normal run you get a unique team, early availability, great stats, and weaknesses covered.  There’s no bad team at all.  Regardless of you choice you will have a fun time with your Normal team.  But if I had to choose…the Kanto games are a really rough start with Brock being the first gym leader and all.  You will have to level up a weak Rattata (cause your Pidgey and Spearow ain’t gonna cut it) and just hope for the best.  At least in Sinnoh you get Bidoof and in Hoenn you have Whismur and Slakoth helping you.  Additionally, Black and White have among the lowest diversity of Pokemon so you will still get a full team but you might be scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Best Games
And now for the harder question.  With all the fantastic games out there for Normal Runs I would go for either XY or Moon/Ultra Moon or Shield.  I just like the diversity in these games and they provide a lot of dual Normal types that’s not just Flying.  Moon, Ultra Moon and Shield, give it the win due to the version exclusives Drampa and Oranguru.  These two Pokemon will give you the edge as Drampa can learn AN INCREDIBLE amount of diverse, strong moves!  Meanwhile, Oranguru has that Psychic typing and that’s pretty neat.  Add Snorlax and Bewear to your team and you’re in for a fun time.

Normal Teams from the Pokemon Games

Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, Leafgreen
Ideal Team: Snorlax, Tauros, Clefable, Pidgeot, Chansey, Kangaskhan
Optional Pokémon: Porygon, Fearow, Dodrio, Raticate, Persian (Blue, FRLG), Farfetch’d, Lickitung, Wigglytuff, Ditto
First available Pokémon: Pidgey and Rattata in Route 1
Covers weaknesses? Yes!

Gold, Silver, Crystal, Heartgold, Soulsilver
Ideal Team: Pidgeot, Clefable (HGSS via Safari)/Wigglytuff, Dodrio/Togekiss (HGSS), Girafarig, Miltank, Tauros
Optional Pokémon: Stantler, Ursaring (S, C, SS), Fearow, Noctowl, Kangaskhan (HGSS via Pokewalker and Safari Zone), Lickitung, Ambipom (HGSS)/Aipom, Persian, Furret, Raticate, Ditto, Dunsparce, Farfetch’d
First Pokémon: Pidgey, Rattata, Sentret, and Hoothoot via Route 29 before the first gym. Kangaskhan, Doduo, and Spearow via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, OmegaRuby, AlphaSapphire
Ideal Team: Slaking, Swellow, Girafarig, Exploud, Wigglytuff, Dodrio
Optional Pokémon: Linoone, Kecleon, Zangoose (R, OR), Sawsbuck (ORAS), Porygon (ORAS), Delcatty, Spinda, Stoutland (ORAS), Chatot (ORAS), Unfezant (ORAS), Bouffalant (ORAS), Raticate (ORAS), Ambipom (ORAS), Pidgeot (ORAS), Lopunny (ORAS), Braviary (ORAS), Purugly (ORAS), Cinccino (ORAS), Audino (ORAS), Ditto (ORAS), Persian (ORAS), Stantler (ORAS)
First Pokémon: Zigzagoon in Route 101
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Diamond, Pearl, Platinum
Ideal Team: Starraptor/Togekiss (Platinum), Clefable, Snorlax, Girafarig, Ambipom, Lopunny
Optional Pokémon: Bibarel, Chatot, Noctowl, Purugly (Pearl), Lickilicky (Platinum), Porygon (Platinum), Blissey
First Pokémon: Starly and Bidoof in Route 201
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

BW
Ideal Team: Stoutland, Unfezant, Cinccino, Audino, Sawsbuck, Bouffalant
Optional: Watchog, Braviary (W)
First Pokémon: Patrat and Lillipup via Route 1 before first gym
Cover weaknesses?  Yes

B2W2
Ideal Team: Stoutland, Unfezant, Clefable, Sawsbuck, Bouffalant, Zangoose
Optional: Watchog, Braviary (W2), Dunsparce, Raticate, Delcatty (W2)/Lopunny (B2), Eevee, Cinccino, Castform, Audino, Ditto
First Pokémon: Lillipup via Route 19 before the first gym
Cover weaknesses?  Yes

XY
Ideal Team: Snorlax, Pidgeot, Tauros/Miltank, Pyroar, Heliolisk, Wigglytuff
Optional Pokémon: Diggersby, Linoone, Swellow, Staraptor, Dodrio, Dunsparce, Delcatty, Farfetch’d, Furfrou, Furret, Audino, Smeargle, Kecleon, Exploud, Zangoose, Bibarel, Fearow, Watchog, Chatot, Noctowl, Kangaskhan, Spinda, Ursaring, Lickilicki, Ditto
First Pokémon: Bunnelby, Fletchling, Zigzagoon, and Pidgey via Route 2, before the first gym
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

Sun, Moon
Ideal Team: Toucannon, Tauros/Drampa (Moon), Snorlax, Wigglytuff, Bewear, Oranguru (Moon)/Miltank
Optional: Raticate, Blissey, Braviary (Sun), Fearow, Staraptor (scan), Slaking (scan), Gumshoos, Smeargle, Spinda, Stoutland, Kangaskhan, Ditto, Komala
First Pokémon: Yungoos and Pikipek via Route 1
Cover weaknesses? Yes

Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon
Ideal Team
: Toucannon, Tauros/Drampa (UM), Snorlax, Wigglytuff, Bewear, Oranguru (UM)/Miltank
Optional: Raticate, Blissey, Pyroar, Pidgeot (scan), Lopunny, Braviary (US), Fearow, Gumshoos, Smeargle, Spinda, Stoutland, Kangaskhan, Ditto, Komala, Furfrou, Noctowl, Kecleon, Cinccino
First Pokémon: Yungoos, Pikipek, and Buneary via Route 1
Cover weaknesses? Yes

Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Bewear, Heliolisk, Unfezant, Oranguru (Shield)/Indeedee, Drampa (Shield)/Obstagoon, Snorlax
Optional Pokémon: Diggersby, Noctowl, Braviary (Sword), Cinccino, Greedent, Dubwool, Persian, Ditto
First Pokémon: Wooloo and Skwovet by overworld (15% and 50%) and Hoothoot and Skwovet by random encounters (5% and 50%) via Route 1.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

MVP (Most Popular Pokemon)

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Your Bird Pokemon

Normal/Flying is the most common dual type combo in Pokemon.  Because of which, these guys are the main reason why you can neutralize your Fighting weakness.  Plus, you are more than likely to find one within the first route of the game (Black and White are the only exceptions to this).  The early availability of these guys means you can train a Pokemon that can become relatively powerful from the start.

The sheer abundance of these birds means they are scattered throughout the games.  No one, individual bird is more common than the others excluding the Fearow and Pidgeot lines which are rather abundant.  Later games also have multiple birds so you can even pick which one you want (Team Starly for the win!).

The biggest drawback in training these Pokemon are their additional weaknesses and limited movepool.  You have a hard beginning for the Kanto, Sinnoh, and Hoenn games due to the Rock-inclined gym leader so be prepared to rely on your area-exclusive rats.  Your birds will primarily learn Normal and Flying moves and, in later generations, Fighting moves and U-turn.  Thankfully, you can teach them Steel Wing via TM which can neutralize the likes of Ice and Rock Pokemon.

Available in: Every Game

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Snorlax

The sheer commonality and abundance of Normal Pokemon means you will not see many repeating Pokemon from generation to generation.  Thankfully, Snorlax is surprisingly common and given its notoriety and its strength is a welcome addition to any Normal Team.

Snorlax’s main function is to hit hard and absorb special attacks like a champ.  A lot of people just have Snorlax use Curse a few times (which lowers Speed but ups Attack and Defense) and then go to town on its opponents.  Snorlax’s trademark move, Rest, can be used to regain HP and lose any debilitating status and you can have it use Sleep Talk to randomly pick a move and use it against your opponent while you’re napping (although there is a chance it would pick Rest and the move would just fail).  And then there’s the straight up attacking moves like Body Slam, the Elemental Punches, Earthquake, Crunch, and so forth.

Alright, so here’s the downside; Snorlax has shit Speed.  But you knew that already, right?  You don’t train a Snorlax for its agility.  But what you probably didn’t know is that Snorlax has a pretty mediocre Special Attack.  Which is such a shame!  It can learn Flamethrower, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Psychic and Shadow Ball!  You’d honestly be wasting your time teaching Snorlax these moves unless…if you teach your Snorlax via TM Work Up, then you can raise its Special Attack stat to a decent level.  The problem with that is that it also raises your Physical Attack as well.  So…you might as well keep using your physical moves if that’s the case!

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

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Drampa

Okay, so here’s the problem.  Normal Pokemon in general, just suck when it comes to their Special Attack stat.  There are only a few Normal Pokemon that have a Sp. Attack stat 100 or greater and even fewer that you can catch within the rules of the run (even Fighting has a better Special Attack stat than Normal).  So your team will be mainly physical based.  Which is a shame considering the vast amount of moves Normal Pokemon can learn.  That’s why you need Drampa.  Drampa is tied for the highest Special Attack stat for Normal Pokemon at 135.  Only Porygon-Z and Mega Pidgeot can match it.  Even Arceus falls short of its stats!

Drampa’s Special Attack stat is used to its full extent.  The amount of moves Drampa can learn is stupid ridiculous.  It can learn Hyper Voice, Surf, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Flamethrower, Extrasensory, Signal Beam, Focus Blast, Hurricane, Dragon Pulse, Energy Ball, Shadow Ball, and others.  Use these moves to fill in the gaps that your team lacks.

Drampa’s two biggest downsides are its availability and its speed.  You can only find it (so far) in three games so its pretty exclusive…It’s speed is also horrendous, just a smidge better than Snorlax.  But unlike Snorlax, it doesn’t have the bulk to take hits very well and dish them back.  Just be prepared to retreat if you see any Fairies!

Available in: Moon, Ultra Moon, and Shield

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Togekiss and Clefable

It’s easy to overlook the Pokemon that changed to Fairy Type but don’t forget them!  If you want a Normal Pokemon with a strong Special Attack stat then look for these guys.  They can learn a wide range of elemental attacks and use them very well.  But man, Togekiss’ stats are ridiculous.  It takes hits no problem but that Special Attack is to die for.  120!  It’s 120!  And it can learn Aura Sphere and Air Slash!  Just send this bad boy out and go to town!

Here’s the but.  And the but is two buts named Shiny Stone and Moon Stone.  Depending on the game, they can be real easy or a pain in the butt to acquire.  There’s no consistent way you can find these stones so I’ll leave that up to you to find out how to get them.

Available in: RBY (Clefable), FRLG (Clefable), DPP (Clefable and Togekiss in just Platinum), HGSS (Both), and B2W2 (Clefable)

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Tauros and Miltank

The sheer commonality of Tauros and Miltank is the principal reason why they are on this list (that and their 490 Base Stat Total).  It just floors me how common these guys are.  You can get a Tauros of course back in Red and Blue days but when Miltank comes along in Gold and Silver, these two are together.  If you find one, you’re sure to find the other (except Kanto, because of course, it’s Kanto).

Okay, so you have your choices then.  Tauros is the physical attacker and Miltank is the sponge/healer.  Both fill these roles very well I have to say.  Tauros can learn Zen Headbutt upon leveling up and Wild Charge by TM and Miltank has the ability Thick Fat and the move Heal Bell.  But may I say, they’re both pretty fast!  Like, damn Miltank, 100 Speed?  That’s nuts.

Available in: RBY (Tauros), GSC (Both), FRLG (Tauros), Emerald (Both), DPP (Both), HGSS (Both), XY (Both), SM and USUM (Both)

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Girafarig and Oranguru

Girafarig was the first Normal Pokemon introduced that wasn’t paired with Flying.  As such, many people, including one of my close friends, commonly forgot about its Normal half and would use Ghost moves on it which would inevitably fail.  But this is the exact reason why this pairing is quite good as one weakness is gone completely (Ghost) and the other is neutralized (Fighting).  This sweet pairing means Girafarig and Oranguru should be on your team.

Although Oranguru has better stats overall than Girafarig, both of them have a 90 for their Special Attack.  Not bad, not great, but definitely better than the average Normal Pokemon.  Use this to your advantage for the likes of Thunderbolt, Energy Ball, and Shadow Ball.  They’re definitely a nice counter to your Fighting and Ghost problems.  Of course, I wouldn’t blame you if you forego’d these Pokemon.  If you want an all-physical team then be my guest!

Available in: Girafarig for GSC, RSE, DPP, HGSS, and ORAS;  Oranguru for Moon, Ultra Moon, and Shield

Best Pokemon Games for a Dark Type Run

Update 1/14/2020: This article now contains Pokemon Sword and Shield Teams

Oh the Dark type.  I place it in that special category of types like Psychic, Steel, and Ghost of types you don’t see too often but are pretty cool.  For a type as…prestigious…as Dark, you may be surprise to learn that it’s actually a good type for a Monotype (or Single Type) Run.  Earlier generations not as much but the later games offer some premium teams that you can train and have fun with (what’s funny is that Dark type has the worst type run in the entire series as well as one of the best!).  Dark Pokemon are also just plain fun!  Crawdaunt, Krookodile, Hydreigon, and Scrafty are just a few of the amazing Pokemon you can train.  The games also cover your weaknesses and they offer a very diverse set of moves that make other types envious.  What are those games?  Let’s dive in and find out!

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 disregard 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 2.03

The Worst Games

In general, the first four generations will not offer very many, if at all, satisfying Dark-type runs.  Most of these earlier generations see Dark Pokemon in few numbers or appearing late in the games.  Of course, Kanto games are the worst example of this as there are no Dark Pokemon catchable in these regions.  This makes a Dark type run in FireRed and LeafGreen the worst Monotype Run in the entire franchise.  Dang!

It’s not all gloom and doom.  Emerald and Sapphire are actually quite good as they offer a diverse team that covers your weaknesses and you can have two Pokemon that evolve into a dark type by the time you hit your first gym (Poochyena and Nuzleaf) and your neutralizer Sableye before your second gym.  But why play Emerald or Sapphire when you have their remakes…

The Best Games

Starting from Pokemon Black to SWSH you get a series of games that are very high quality for a Dark playthrough (with the exception of Pokemon White due to the absence of Mandibuzz which your mileage may vary for that one).  These games hit all the good marks; an early available Pokemon, a full and diverse team, all the weaknesses are covered, and there’s a nice distribution throughout the routes.  The best games by far are Pokemon USUM followed by XY but the other Generation V and on games are really good.

XY and USUM’s diversity is on a whole another level, like God-tier level.  You can catch about 12 different type combinations from each game which is ridiculous.  The amount of Dark Pokemon you can train is insane in X (19), Y (20), US (17), and UM (18).  The Pokemon are also spread nicely throughout the games (and not all bunched up at the end like ORAS).  Finally, you get a starter that evolves into a Dark type which equates these games to a near-perfect Monotype Run.

The reason why I edge USUM over XY is the weakness-neutralization that’s done near the start of the game.  First, your starter, Litten, will be a Fire/Dark type which takes care of Bug and Fairy weaknesses (and SE against Bug types).  Quickly following that you can catch an Inkay near Professor Kukui’s lab which neutralizes the Fighting weakness (Psychic/Dark and it’s SE against Fighting).  These weaknesses are further taken care one after the other with an Alolan Grimer at the Trainer School (Poison/Dark which neutralizes ALL the weaknesses and is SE against Fairies), Murkrow in the Hau’oli Cemetery (Flying/Dark neutralizes Fighting and Bug and SE against the two), and a Sableye at Ten Carat Hill (Ghost/Dark which is immune to Fighting and neutralizes Bug).  That’s FIVE Pokemon on just the first island alone!  And that’s not counting Alolan Raticate, Alolan Persian, and the very rare Zoroark!  You could have a full team by the time you get off the island and take it to the Elite Four with no problem!  Did I say near-perfect run?  Forget that!  A Dark type run in USUM is as perfect of a run as you can get in the entire Pokemon Series.  Don’t pass it up!  I played with this one and it was great!

Dark Teams in Pokemon Games

Pokemon GSC and HGSS
Ideal Team: Murkrow, Umbreon, Tyranitar (HGSS via Safari)
First Pokémon: Eevee given by Bill in Goldenrod after the third gym or Murkrow via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes, thanks to Murkrow and Fairy not being introduced yet

Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, ORAS
Ideal Team:  Crawdaunt/Sharpedo, Honchkrow (ORAS), Krookodile (ORAS), Drapion (ORAS), Hydreigon (ORAS), Scrafty (ORAS)
Optional Pokémon: Absol, Mightyena, Umbreon (ORAS), Zoroark (ORAS), Mega-Gyarados (ORAS), Spiritomb (ORAS), Sabeleye (S, E, AS), Shiftry (R, E, OR)/Cacturne
First Pokémon: Poochyena via Route 101
Covers Weaknesses? Yes for all versions except Pokemon Ruby

Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum
Ideal Team:  Drapion, Weavile
Optional Pokémon: Absol (Platinum), Honchkrow (Diamond), Stuntank (Diamond), Houndoom (Platinum), Umbreon (Platinum)
First Pokémon: Murkrow can be caught at Eterna Forest after the first gym in Diamond. In Pearl, you can catch a Skorupi in the Great Marsh well after the third gym. In Platinum, you can acquire an Eevee in Hearthome City just before the third gym.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon Black, White, and B2W2
BW Ideal Team: Liepard, Scrafty, Krookodile, Bisharp, Mandibuzz (B), Hydreigon
First Pokémon: Purrloin via Route 2 before the first gym
Cover weaknesses? Only for Pokemon Black, in Pokemon White Fighting is not neutralized.

B2W2 Ideal Team: Hydreigon, Mandibuzz (B2)/Weavile, Krookodile, Scrafty, Drapion, Bisharp
Optional: Liepard, Umbreon, Absol, Zoroark
First Pokémon: Purrloin via Route 19 before the first gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes, thanks to Drapion

Pokemon XY
Ideal Team: Greninja, Pangoro/Scrafty, Malamar, Honchkrow, Houndoom (X)/Bisharp, Drapion/Skuntank
Optional Pokémon: Crawdaunt, Sharpedo, Absol, Umbreon, Sableye, Liepard (Y)/Mightyena (X), Krookodile, Weavile, Tyranitar (Y), Hydreigon (Y), Zoroark
First Pokémon: Froakie via Starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon SM and USUM
SM Ideal Team:
 Incineroar, Honchkrow, Muk, Pangoro, Hydregion (scan), Sabeleye
Optional: Krookodile, Absol, Weavile, Raticate, Sharpedo, Mandibuzz (Moon), Umbreon, Persian
First Pokémon: Litten via Starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

USUM Ideal Team: Incineroar, Malamar, Bisharp, Honchkrow, Muk, Pangoro
Optional: Krookodile, Absol, Weavile, Raticate, Sharpedo/Crawdaunt/Greninja (scan), Tyranitar, Scrafty, Sabeleye, Mandibuzz (UM), Umbreon, Houndoom (US), Persian
First Pokémon: Litten via Starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Drapion, Grimmsnarl, Malamar, Bisharp, Scrafty (Sword)/Pangoro, Mandibuzz (Shield)/Crawdaunt
Optional Pokémon: Thievul, Liepard, Shiftry (Sword), Obstagoon, Skuntank, Umbreon, Weavile, Morpeko, Tyranitar (Shield), Hydreigon (Sword)
First Pokémon: Nickit by overworld (5%) via Route 1.  Route 2 is more productive with Zigzagoon and Nickit by overworld (2% and 15%) and Purrloin and Seedot (Sword) by random encounters (10% and 20%).
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

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Poison/Dark Pokemon

Monotype runs can be difficult.  So finding that one Pokemon that can neutralize all your weaknesses is like hitting the jackpot.  The Dark type has three of them.

One of the best type combos in the games, Poison/Dark is a fantastic combination for Dark Pokemon as Poison neutralizes ALL its weaknesses and you get a STAB super-effective move against the Fairies.  Having one of these Pokemon on your team guarantees you a wall against a tricky opponent.  But the other reason why this is #1 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.  You can find these guys in all the other games before the Elite Four.  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, but those games aren’t even that good for a Dark type run to begin with so that’s not the worst thing ever.

Yeah, these guys are sweet.

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)

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Umbreon

After the Poison/Dark Pokemon, all other MVPs fight for second place.  They will give you support, diversity, and availability where the previous Pokemon fail.

One of those is Umbreon.  Umbreon is a widely popular Pokemon and the recent, Reddit survey of favorite Pokemon had placed it 6th place (607 people out of 52,725 voted for it) making it the most popular Eevee family member.  But what makes Umbreon special is not its popularity but its availability and stats.  First, Eevee is a very common Pokemon in the games.  And depending on the version, you can catch one in every region (except for the Kanto remakes which is pbbbbbtttt).  Umbreon also has some impressive stats and its highest of which are on its defenses and third highest in its HP.  Umbreon is thus the ideal tank to have if you’re worried about being one-shot by an opponent.

As such, Umbreon is not one for attacking, more for defense and status-inflicting moves.  Even its moveset reflects this as it barely knows any moves that are not Dark type.  Still, Umbreon does its job very well and will be a lovely partner for you through thick and thin.

Available in: GSC, Platinum, HGSS, B2W2, XY, ORAS, SM, USUM, SWSH

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Honchkrow and Mandibuzz

When I’m doing a Dark type run, these are the guys I make a beeline towards as quick as I can.  Flying pairs nicely for Dark type as it neutralizes its Bug and Fighting weakness and provides Super Effective STAB moves to boot.  In fact, if you’re playing any game before Generation 6, having one of these guys on your team will guarantee you weakness coverage since Fairy wasn’t introduced yet.  Because of which, Mandibuzz’s absence in Pokemon White demotes a Dark type run from fantastic to decent.

Since Murkrow was introduced in Generation 2, we get to see these guys pop up all over the place so you’re likely to run into them in later generations.  Murkrow’s evolution, Honchkrow, arrives in Generation 4 providing a strong boost to this family.  In fact, both of these bad birds total base stats are over 500 which is really nice.  Mandibuzz is on the tanky side so if you want an attacker go for Honchkrow.  Honchkrow can even learn Steel Wing so if you want to give Fairies the middle finger you can surprise them with this move.

Your big fault here is the move diversity.  Flying Pokemon in general have poor movepools so Mandibuzz and Honchkrow suffer.  Embarrassingly, Honchkrow’s only strong Flying move by TM or Level Up is Fly and that’s it.  Honchkrow can still learn Psychic and Shadowball though so it’s not all bad news (and Nasty Plot is nice).  However, if you have a move tutor your movepool expands greatly so look out for them in B2W2, USUM, and SWSH.

Available in: GSC (Murkrow), Diamond (Honchkrow), HGSS (Honchkrow), Black and Black 2 (Mandibuzz), XY (Honchkrow), ORAS (Honchkrow and Mandibuzz), SM and USUM (Honchkrow in all and Mandibuzz in Moon and UM), Shield (Mandibuzz)

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Pangoro and Scrafty

Both Scrafty and Pangoro are incredible Pokemon for their own reasons but the main reason why you want to carry them is not their Bug resistance but their move diversity.  Elemental punches, Outrage, Earthquake, X-Scissor, and of course, Fighting moves give you nice coverage.  Pangoro can also learn Bullet Punch by level up which is nice to surprise Fairies.  These guys are stroooong and with their nice abilities you can be an effective attacker (Pangoro) or a tank (Scrafty).  However, watch out for those Fairy weaknesses, they can mess you up!

Available in: BW and B2W2 (Scrafty), XY (Pangoro and Scrafty), ORAS (Scrafty), SM (Pangoro), and USUM (Pangoro and Scrafty), SWSH (Pangoro for both and Scrafty for Sword)

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Your Starter

Greninja and Incineroar are both starters for their respective series, XY for Greninja and SM and USUM for Incineroar.  They are what make their respective games amazing for a Dark type run.  You have your Pokemon and you don’t need to wait and catch one.  This makes them very ideal to have on your team and they’re both so good.  Greninja is fast, learns Water Shuriken, and can learn a variety of moves.  Incineroar’s Fire type neutralizes Bug and Fairy weaknesses, and can learn some strong Fighting moves.  If you’re torn between the two, why not both?  They both appear in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon!  Really, their only downfall is that they don’t appear in all the games!

Available inXY (Greninja), SM (Incineroar), USUM (Incineroar and Greninja)

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Sabeleye (and if you’re lucky, Spiritomb)

In the old days, Spiritomb and Sabeleye had no weaknesses due to their type combinations.  When Gamefreak made them they were either weak (Sableye) or had a limited movepool (Spiritomb).  Now they have a Fairy weakness but unfortunately, neither problem was fixed with the exception of Sableye’s Mega Evolution.  Still, that Ghost type is really nice for them as you have an immunity to Fighting and a neutralization for Bug.  Of the two, I pick Sabeleye as it’s more common and it learns some nice moves.  It will learn Zen Headbutt and Power Gem via level up so you can counter your foes easily.  Sabeleye is also available usually early on so keep an eye out for it!  Spiritomb, meanwhile, will only show up legitimately in ORAS but why catch him when you got a sweet Mega-Sabeleye?

Available in: Sapphire and Emerald (Sabeleye), XY (Sabeleye), ORAS (Sabeleye in Sapphire and Spiritomb in both), SM and USUM (Sabeleye)

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Krookodile

The last MVP Pokemon is a bit subjective but hear me out on this.  Although Krookodile does not neutralize any weaknesses, it makes up for it by stats, moves, abilities, and commonality.  Krookodile’s strength is just behind the starters and Umbreon sitting at a BST of 519.  Intimidate pairs well for its average defenses but it’s Moxie that sells it with Krookodile’s great speed which can make him a Juggernaut.  Krookodile can learn the various Earth-based moves, of course, but it can also learn Outrage, Thunder and Fire Fang, Shadow Claw, and Aqua Tail.  Finally, it is found in every game between Pokemon BW to Pokemon USUM.  Again, another reason why the later games are best for a Dark type run!

Available in: BW, B2W2, XY, ORAS, SM, USUM

Best Pokemon Games for a Bug Type Run

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Update 12/30/2019: The article now includes Sword and Shield

If you were doing a Monotype (or Single Type) Run in Pokémon, would you go for a team with a lot of diversity that shows up late or a team with low diversity that appears very early on? I think, given the options, trainers would choose the latter rather than the former. And if you’re the case, let me suggest training a Bug Team in Pokémon.

Bug Pokémon have one of the highest rates of early availability in the Pokémon games. Not counting the starters, they are just behind Normal and Flying type for their early availability occurrences. As such, they are great if you want to get your team rolling almost right away. However, be prepared for low diversity as a huge number of Bug Pokémon are part Poison or Flying type, types that don’t give them a lot of variability. Bug Pokémon also suffer from an abysmal movepool by primarily favoring Bug, Poison, and Flying moves. If you want to stop Fire, Flying, and Rock Pokémon, you got to have the moves to back it up. Diversity will play a very strong role to make your team great.

Finally, Bug Pokémon, on average, have the worst stats out of all 18 types. Now, before I go any further, Bug Pokémon have a huuuuge disadvantage to this because there are very few Bug Legendaries. Even then, fully evolved Bug Pokémon are relatively weak as they are treated as early Pokémon you can train before moving on to bigger fish. It’s a trade off for their early availability. Thankfully, later generations change this perception which is why you’ll see me more likely recommend later rather than earlier games. As a side note, Generation 5 was probably the best generation for Bug Pokémon as it introduced an incredible range of Pokémon that are actually very strong and diverse. Expect to see a few of these Pokémon in our MVP list.

Let’s take a look at what your team may look.

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 2.03

Worst Pokémon Games

I want to start with the worst games because frankly, there’s not a lot of necessarily bad games for a Bug type run. The Kanto games are arguably the worst games for a Bug type run as they have abysmal diversity with a rather weak team. Oh, and watch out for Blaine and his fire comrades, they’ll roast you! Jumping a few generations later, Black and White is a mixed bag as the first Bug you can catch is after the second gym, the latest out of any of the games. Even then, you’ll still have great diversity with Volcarona and Galvantula giving you stellar support…you’ll just have to wait a bit before you can catch that Venipede.

Best Pokémon Games

The rest of the games honestly range from decent to fantastic; in fact, a lot of them have a “*6A” rating or better as seen in the chart above. Even starting in Generation 2 we have a team that can neutralize weaknesses thanks to Heracross and Shuckle.

Personally, I like Black 2, USUM, and Sword and Shield. The other games are great but these are packing some of the best bugs around! What these games have in common is a slow but steady increase of teammates throughout the game and a nice variety of Pokémon to cover your weak points. Sword and Shield are probably the best as you can catch a whole team of Bug Pokemon who neutralize your weaknesses RIGHT BEFORE THE FIRST GYM!!!  These games also have the rare but coveted Move Tutors who can teach you anything from Scolipede’s Aqua Tail to Forretress’ Stealth Rock. Check out the team combos below.

XY and ORAS are also really good, probably not as stellar as the previous examples but that’s a high bar to reach.  I really like the diversity they offer and the early availability of Pokemon.  ORAS you will have an issue of weak Pokemon near the beginning of the game but that will clear by the middle of the game when you get Heracross and Armaldo, and later with Galvantula, Volcarona, and Forretress.  Both games offer Shedinja as well which neither Black 2 nor USUM has.  Shedinja!  They’re great!  I mean they’re not very strong but they’re super adorable.  Love these cicada ghosts.

Bug Teams in Pokemon Games

Pokemon RBY and FRLG
Ideal Team: Parasect, Venomoth, Scyther (Red, FireRed, Yellow)/Pinsir (Blue, Leafgreen, Yellow), Butterfree, Beedrill (all versions except Yellow)
First available Pokémon: Caterpie and/or Weedle (except Yellow) via Viridian Forest.
Cover weaknesses?  No, Flying, Fire, and Rock not neutralized.

Pokemon GSC and HGSS
Ideal Team: Heracross, Venomoth, Shuckle, Parasect, Scyther/Yanmega, Forretress
Optional: Butterfree (G, C, HG), Beedril (S, C, SS), Ledian (S, C, SS), Ariados (G, C, HG)
First Pokémon: Caterpie (G, C, HG)/Weedle (S, C, SS)/Ledyba (S, C, SS)/Spinarak (G, C, HG) in Route 30 before the first gym. Venonat and Paras via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon RSE and ORAS
Ideal Team: Dustox/Venomoth (ORAS)/Beedril (ORAS), Heracross, Volcarona (ORAS), Forretress (ORAS), Galvantula (ORAS), Armaldo/Crustle (ORAS)
Optional Pokémon: Pinsir, Beautifly, Shedinja, Ninjask, Leavanny (ORAS), Parasect (ORAS), Kricketune (ORAS)
First Pokémon: Wurmple via Route 101
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon DPP
Ideal Team: Vepiquen, Wormadam (Steel and Ground form), Heracross, Dustox, Mothim/Yanmega (Platinum)/Scyther (Platinum)
Optional Pokémon: Kricketune, Beautifly
First Pokémon: Kricketot via Route 202 before the first gym
Covers Weaknesses? No, Fire is not neutralized

Pokemon BW and B2W2
BW Ideal Team: Scolipede, Leavanny, Crustle, Galvantula, Volcarona, Durant
Optional: Karrablast, Shelmet
First Pokémon: Sewaddle and Venipede via Pinwheel forest after second gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes

B2W2 Ideal Team: Galvantula, Scolipede, Crustle, Vespiquen, Heracross/Leavanny, Volcarona
Optional: Karrablast, Shelmet, Pinsir, Shuckle
First Pokémon: Sewaddle via Route 20 before the first gym
Cover weaknesses?  Yes.  HOWEVER, be warned that in White 2 you can only get a Heracross via Hidden Grotto in Lostlorn Forest and even then it has a 0.75% of appearing.  So technically you can cover your weaknesses it would just be very annoying.  At least in Black 2 you don’t need the Hidden Grotto.

Pokemon XY
Ideal Team: Vespiquen/Yanmega, Shedinja, Scolipede, Crustle, Heracross (Y), Durant
Optional Pokémon: Beedrill, Butterfree, Viviilon, Ninjask, Masquerain, Pinsir (X), Shuckle, Scyther, Wormadam and its various forms, Mothim
First Pokémon: Scatterbug via Route 2 and Weedle (X)/Caterpie (Y) for Route 2 as well but you can catch them both in both versions at Santalune Forest.
Weaknesses Covered?  Regardless of versions, you’re good!

Pokemon SM and USUM
SM Ideal Team: Vikavolt, Golisopod/Aquachnid, Scolipede (scan), Masquerain, Romblebee
Optional: Parasect, Butterfree, Ledian
First Pokémon: Caterpie, Ledyba, Grubbin, and Spinarak via Route 1
Cover weaknesses? No, Rock is not neutralized in Sun and Moon

USUM Ideal Team: Vikavolt, Golisopod/Aquachnid, Volcarona, Forretress, Armaldo (US)/Masquerain, Romblebee
Optional: Masquerain, Parasect, Butterfree, Ledian, Ariados, Beedril (scan)
First Pokémon: Caterpie, Ledyba, Grubbin, and Spinarak via Route 1
Cover weaknesses? Yes, every type is taken care of

Pokemon Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Crustle, Centiskorch, Durant, Orbeetle, Galvantula, Araquanid/Golisopod
Optional Pokémon: Butterfree, Vikavolt, Shedinja, Ninjask, Escavalier (Sword Raid), Accelgor (Shield Raid), Ribombee, Vespiquen, Shuckle, Frosmoth
First Pokémon: Blipbug, Caterpie, Grubbin by random encounters (30%, 15%, and 10%) via Route 1.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and it’s taken care of before the first gym!

MVP (Most Valuable Pokémon)

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Heracross

Ah yeah, Heracross, baby! One of the best Bug Pokémon, Heracross offers so much for your team and is just cool overall. What’s more, Heracross is one of the most common Bug Pokémon you’ll likely encounter in a Bug playthrough so be prepared to find and train one. What’s nice is they usually show up about midway through the games so you won’t have to wait until the end to catch one.

Heracross’ signature move, Megahorn, is the move that helped define Generation 2 and was Gamefreak’s answer to the overpowered Psychic Pokémon. After G2, other Pokémon acquired it as well but Heracross started it and is a very strong STAB move to fight against your foes. Of course, Heracross learns other cool moves like its various Fighting moves and Night Slash which is very fine. But check out the TMs; Rock Slide, Earthquake, and Shadow Claw are moves you’ll need to stop your Flying, Rock, and Fire Pokémon (except Shadow Claw, it’s just pretty sweet).

Unfortunately, it’s not all honey sap and apricorns for Heracross. That 4x weakness to Flying moves is brutal and can be a pain to counter. And despite having the most powerful Bug move yet, Heracross is weak to Psychic moves which is a huge bummer. Thankfully, the Rock neutralization makes up for this and Heracross is packed with sufficient Rock-countering moves.

Available in: GSC, RSE, DPP, HGSS, B2W2, Y, ORAS

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Volcarona

Volcarona is the most powerful, non-Legendary and non-Mega evolved Bug Pokémon (quite a mouthful). Impressive on its own but even more impressive is its unique Fire/Bug typing, which only it and Centiskorch share. As such, Volcarona can learn a plethora of Fire-based attacks and even Psychic via TM. Let me doubly stress this as Volcarona is the ONLY Bug Pokémon that can learn Fire attacks; Fire attacks can hit so many Pokémon super effectively and is a must for your team. The fantastic Quiver Dance is also nice as each use raises your Sp At., Sp Def., and Speed, by one stage each (already raising its monstrous Special Attack stat). Once you up your stats, use Roost (by TM or by Move Tutor), replenish your health, and go to town! If you’re feeling up to it, you can even teach it Hurricane for a very strong Flying move.

Like Heracross, Volcarona has a 4x weakness but this time for Rock. This is very rough, so tread carefully among the Ground, Steel, and Fighting Pokémon. And like a lot of strong Pokémon, Volcarona doesn’t evolve until Level 59 which is incredibly rough as by then you’re knocking on the Elite Four’s door. Thankfully, you can catch a fully evolved Volcarona in B2W2 after the Quake Badge.

Available in: BW, B2W2, ORAS, USUM

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Shuckle, Armaldo, and Crustle

Bug/Rock Pokémon are nice as they neutralize both Flying and Fire and offer a STAB, counter offense to them. How effective this…depends on which one you catch and train! Obviously, Shuckle is super defense heavy so be prepared for long, sluggish battles but the other two offer more offensive-based attacks. I highly recommend getting one of these guys as I can’t tell you how headache inducing it is to fight a bird without anything significant to counter them.

Unfortunately, their move diversity is just okay. They know some Ground moves, maybe a Poison or Ghost move, but you’re not going to get anything more than that, especially for earlier generations. Crustle gets a boost though in Sword and Shield thanks to the TRs but most importantly it can learn Body Press which relies on the user’s Defense and not Attack stat.  For the love of God you should teach it to Crustle as its Defense is 125!!  That’s a really nice move to have on your team.

These guys are also pretty slow so be prepared to take a hit or two before you can finish off an opponent. And ironically, they’re still weak to Rock! Don’t forget about that! I have done that more than a few times.

Available in: GSC (Shuckle), RSE (Armaldo in all three and Shuckle in Emerald), HGSS (Shuckle), BW (Crustle), B2W2 (Crustle and Shuckle), XY (Crustle and Shuckle), ORAS (Armaldo), US (Armaldo), SWSH (Shuckle and Crustle)

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Forretress and Durant (and I guess Trash Wormadam)

It may surprise you how common Bug/Steel types are even when we subtract Scizor, Genesect, and Escavalier. Forretress, Durant, and Wormadam are scattered throughout the games so you’ll probably run into one when you do a Bug run.  Like Rock, Steel neutralizes two of Bug’s three weaknesses, namely Flying and Rock. If you want to play up that defense then look towards Forretress but if you want a speedy offense, look towards Durant instead. Wormadam…is okay, it’s stats are better than other Bug Pokémon but you can do better.

Of course, that 4x Fire weakness is horrendous. You’ll be roasted so bad by any kindlers or circus performers. And, unfortunately, these guys do not have a great move diversity. Move tutors can alleviate this but not by much. But Forretress doesn’t really need move diversity for what it’s trying to pull; it will act as your wall, set up spikes and wear down your opponents. And at least Durant can learn Rock Slide and Shadow Claw by TM.

Available in: GSC (Forretress), E (Forretress), DPP (Wormadam), HGSS (Forretress), BW (Durant), XY (Wormadam, Durant), USUM (Forretress), SWSH (Durant)

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Galvantula and Vikavolt

I love Galvantula, I really do. And although I was sad I couldn’t train one again in Alola, we got a nice counterpart via Vikavolt. The Electric type pairs nicely with Bug as both compliment their strength and weaknesses. In this case, neutralizing that Flying weakness and zapping the birds from the sky! Galvantula also has the ability Compound Eyes which makes your Thunder attacks about 91% accurate which is sooooooooooo goooooooood. Your biggest drawback is your limited movepool. Both Pokémon can learn Electric and Grass moves and that’s about it. Granted, those moves are pretty decent for Bug Pokémon so it’s not too bad.

Available in: BW and B2W2 (Galvantula), ORAS (Galvantula), SM and USUM (Vikavolt), SWSH (Both)

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Golisopod and Araquanid

We end our list with the latecomers whose main fault is their few appearances which will likely change as new games are produced. Both of these Pokémon have the amazing Water/Bug type and really deliver it justice (unlike Surskit introduced four generations earlier). Golisopod is second in natural strength to Volcarona but first in move diversity. Teach your Golisopod a variety of moves (especially if a Move Tutor is involved) such as Rock Slide, Poison Jab, Shadow Claw, and Sucker Punch. Of course, teach it its trademark move, First Impression, to deliver a very strong attack right at the beginning of the battle! Araquanid, meanwhile, makes up for its low move diversity and alright stats for a very nice ability in Water Bubble. Water Bubble halves Fire attacks, doubles Water attacks, and prevents a Pokémon from being burned. This is great! You hardly ever get an actual resistance to Fire attacks for Bug Pokémon! Just remember that you’ll need to nurture your Wimpod as a baby so be patient with it and Araquanid is more defense oriented so don’t expect it to win battles by quick KOs.

Available in: SM and USUM (Both), SWSH (Both)