Tag Archives: Pokemon SWSH

Best Pokemon Games for a Psychic Type Run

Psychic type | Pokémon Wiki | Fandom

Ah, the Psychic Type.  For many people, it’s their favorite Pokemon Type and I don’t blame them!  There’s so many cool and weird Psychic Pokemon that are amazing and wonderful  And starting in Generation IV, we started getting Psychic Pokemon that not only had high Special stats but Physical stats as well!  As such, having a team full of Psychic Pokemon is surprisingly doable in many games.  So let’s take a look which Pokemon games are the best (and worst) for a Psychic-only team and which Pokemon you should look 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.

Pokemon Monotype Chart Version 2.02

Best Pokemon Games

The Psychic Type has a surprising range of games you can choose for your Monotype Run.  I’d say it’s even doable as far back as Pokemon Gold/Silver so you have a collection of nice choices   XY is probably the best games with X edging Y due to version exclusive Starmie.  But that honestly won’t be a problem as you can train at least 21 Psychic Pokemon in either game!!  The diversity in this game is incredible AND you have Fennekin as your starter who is main reason why XY are the best games.

There are still plenty of other games to choose from for your Psychic Run that won’t be disappointing including ORAS, USUM, and SWSH.  I really like ORAS as you can catch Ralts very early in the game and evolve them into a powerful Gardevoir/Gallade.  However, it will be awhile before you can catch other Psychic Pokemon so keep that in mind but at least you can catch one of the Lati@s!  USUM gives you a little more selection at the beginning and you can train a Metagross which is very nice.  Finally, SWSH unloads a torrent of Pokemon on you to the point that you can have a full team with all your weaknesses neutralized right before the first gym!

 

Worst Pokemon Games

I would avoid the Kanto and Unova games with the worst one being Yellow.  What they all have in common is a later-than-usual appearance of Psychic Pokemon and a team exposed to common weaknesses.  Despite B2W2’s abundance of Pokemon, I would avoid them as Eevee is your first Pokemon and that’s well after the 2nd gym.  Yellow is especially dismal because your first Pokemon appears after the 2nd gym and you barely have a full team of six Pokemon.

Delphox (Pokémon) - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon ...

List of Pokemon Psychic Teams

Red, Blue, Yellow, and FireRed, LeafGreen
Ideal Team: Hypno, Mr. Mime, Exeggutor, Jynx (all versions except Yellow), Starmie, Slowbro
Optional: Kadabra
First Pokémon: Abra via Route 24 after Mount Moon for all versions except Pokemon Yellow, just before the second gym.  In Pokemon Yellow the first Pokemon would be Drowzee on Route 11 after the second gym.
Covers weaknesses? No, Bug and Ghost are not neutralized.

 

Gold, Silver, Crystal, and HeartGold, SoulSilver
Ideal Team: Espeon, Exeggutor, Girafarig, Xatu, Jynx, Starmie/Slowbro
Optional: Lugia (S, SS), Kadabra, Hypno, Wobbufett, Mr. Mime (HGSS via Safari), Unown
First Pokémon: Unown at the Ruins of Alph before the first gym; after Unown you can get a Slowpoke at the Slowpoke well before the second gym.
Via Pokewalker Abra (Town Outskirts at 5000+ steps), Wobbufett (Noisy Forest at 4000+ steps), Slowpoke (Beautiful Beach at 1000+ steps), Smoochum (Dim Cave at 5000+ steps), and Staryu (Beautiful Beach at 5000+ steps) are available.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Dark is not neutralized

 

Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, and OmegaRuby, AlphaSapphire}
Ideal Team: Gardevoir, Medicham (R,S,ORAS)/Gallade (ORAS), Girafarig, Xatu, Claydol, Starmie/Slowbro (ORAS)
Optional: Lunatone (S, AS)/Solrock (R, E, OR), Lati@s (ORAS), Grumpig, Espeon (ORAS), Bronzong (ORAS), Gothitelle (ORAS), Hypno (ORAS), Beheeyem (ORAS), Musharna (ORAS), Unown (ORAS)
First Pokémon: Ralts via Route 102 before the first gym
Covers Weaknesses? Yes, except Emerald where Dark is not neutralized

 

Diamond, Pearl, Platinum
Ideal Team: Mr. Mime/Gardevoir (Platinum), Bronzong, Medicham/Gallade (Platinum), Kadabra, Girafarig, Espeon (Platinum)
Optional: Chimecho
First Pokémon: Abra via Route 203 before the first gym
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

 

Black/White and Black2/White2
BW Ideal Team: Musharna, Swoobat, Sigilyph, Gothitelle (B)/Reuniclus (W), Beheeyem
First Pokémon: Munna via Dreamyard right after the first gym
Cover weaknesses?  No, Dark and Ghost are not neutralized.

B2W2 Ideal Team: Sigilyph, Gothitelle (B2)/Reuniclus (W2), Starmie, Claydol, Metagross, Solrock
Optional: Grumpig (B2), Swoobat, Lunatone, Beheeyem, Espeon
First Pokémon: Eevee via Castelia Park before the third gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

X and Y
Ideal Team: Delphox, Gardevoir, Gallade, Malamar, Slowbro, Sigilyph
Optional: Kadabra, Meowstic, Medicham, Grumpig, Lunatone, Solrock, Swoobat, Espeon, Chimecho, Mr. Mime, Wobbuffet, Reuniclus, Exeggutor, Jynx, Gothitelle, Starmie (X)
First Pokémon: Fennekin via Starter
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

 

Sun, Moon, and UltraSun, UltraMoon
SM Ideal Team: Oranguru (Moon)/Gothitelle (scan), Starmie, Espeon, Metagross, Raichu, Slowbro
Optional: Hypno, Kadabra, Bruxish, Oricorio, Reuniclus (scan)
First Pokémon: Pichu via Route 1
Cover weaknesses? No, Dark is not neutralized in Sun and Moon.

USUM Ideal Team: Oranguru (UM)/Malamar, Slowbro/Starmie, Gallade (scan), Metagross, Gardevoir (scan), Delphox (scan)
Optional: Hypno, Kadabra, Bruxish, Oricorio, Xatu, Claydol (UM), Beheeyem, Mr. Mime, Espeon, Raichu, Slowking (S.O.S. by Slowpoke in Kala’e Bay), Jynx
First Pokémon: Pichu via Route 1
Cover weaknesses? Yes, all weaknesses are neutralized.

 

Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Orbeetle, Sigilyph, Bronzong, Gardevoir, Gallade, Malamar
Optional: 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!

 

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

Gardevoir Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...Gallade Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Gardevoir/Gallade

Starting in Generation 3 the Gardevoir line has been incredibly popular, both in real life and in games, and will be incredibly useful for your team.  They also keep getting better and better with Generation 4 introducing Gallade and Generation 6 adding the Fairy type to Gardevoir and giving both Mega forms.  It also helps when you can find Ralts very early in the game, a lot of times before the first gym.

Gallade and Gardevoir are the must haves for your team.  They fill in different roles and counter different Pokemon you may encounter.  Gardevoir has high Special Attack, can learn a variety of Special moves, and the Fairy type neutralizes Bug and Dark attacks.  Meanwhile, Gallade has a high Physical Attack, can learn a lot of Physical moves, and can also easily counter Bug and Dark foes.  Gallade is especially important for that high Physical Attack, something that a lot of Psychic Pokemon don’t excel at.

Honestly, the biggest disadvantage to them is trying to find a Dawn Stone for your Kirlia.  They can be a pain in the butt to acquire.  Even in ORAS, you don’t get one until right before the Elite Four which stinks.  So if you’re having trouble getting that Gallade, especially if your playing Generation 3, then you might want to consider Medicham instead.

Available in: RSE (just Gardevoir), Platinum, XY, ORAS, USUM, SWSH

Metagross Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...Bronzong Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Metagross/Bronzong

Our Steel bois are top tier for team members and although they lost their nifty Dark and Ghost resistances in Generation 6, they’ll still provide a great support.  Both of these Pokemon also fill different roles for your team so if you want offense then go with Metagross but if you want defense then stick with Bronzong.  Bronzong’s abilities give it a further immunity, which is nice, and so if you want outstall a team or setup some great moves then hell yeah, train that bell!  Meanwhile, Metagross is the strongest non-Legendary, non-Mega Psychic Pokemon so you definitely want him on.  Metagross also carries a ton of Physical moves like the awesome Meteor Mash and the fantastic Earthquake.  Metagross can definitely fill in missing spots or holes that you would be lacking.

I would say their biggest downside is their exposed Ghost and Dark weaknesses.  It’s too bad this were to happen to them so if you’re pining for those good ol’ days I’d suggest Pokemon Platinum as Bronzong reeeeeeally shines as that defense.  And like I said, Bronzong is NOT an offense Pokemon so don’t try to make a shield into a hammer.

Available in: DPP (Bronzong), B2W2 (Metagross), ORAS (Bronzong), SM and USUM (Metagross), SWSH (Bronzong),

Xatu Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon DatabaseSigilyph Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Flying/Psychic Pokemon

Xatu was one of the first Psychic Pokemon introduced to counter a Psychic weakness, in this case Bug type.  From there, Xatu, and later Sigilyph and Swoobat, offer common and decent support for your Psychic team.  Of course, Flying moves are super effective against Bugs but you could also use them against foes like Scrafty or Medicham who may resist Psychic attacks.  Sigilyph also has some weird support moves that can boost its stats and lay down some crazy moves on your opponents.  Swoobat can be found relatively early in Black/White and even though I love this bat’s design…their stats are pretty low so you may want to switch to Sigilyph once you catch one.

I will admit they are not the strongest Pokemon out there but I would argue their unique typing and movesets offsets their weaknesses, barely any of the Psychic Pokemon can learn a strong Flying move so they can fill that hole.  The flyers are also quite common so if you wanted an easy anti-Bug member then they are more than likely there to support you.

Available in: GSC and HGSS (Xatu), RSE (Xatu), BW and B2W2 (Swoobat and Sigilyph), XY (Sigilyph), SM (Oricorio), USUM (Oricorio and Xatu), SWSH (Xatu, Sigilyph, and Swoobat)

Girafarig Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Normal/Psychic Pokemon

Bug counters won’t be too difficult for you to find (and heck, neither will Dark types) but you’re going to have a rough time trying to find a Ghost encounter; there’s just not that many Psychic Pokemon out there that can do it.  Thankfully, there are three Pokemon  who are completely immune to them!  Girafarig, Oranguru, and Indeedee’s Psychic/Normal typing gives them a perfect counter to Ghost foes.  Additionally, Girafarig can naturally learn Crunch, Oranguru can be taught Shadow Ball, and Indeedee can be taught Shadow Ball and Dazzling Gleam.  Sure, they may not be the strongest Psychics on your team but if you need a Ghost counter then they’re your best bet!

Available in: GSC and HGSS (Girafarig), RSE and ORAS (Girafarig), Moon and UM (Oranguru), Sword (Indeedee), Shield (Indeedee and Oranguru)

Slowbro Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...Starmie Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Slowbro/Starmie

I add these Pokemon here because of their commonality AND their fantastic stats combined with a stellar move diversity.  Slowbro can act as a tank and can learn Flamethrower; Starmie can be taught Thunderbolt and is incredibly fast.  And of course, both of these Pokemon have been around since Generation 1 so there’s a high chance you’ll run into either of them.  Slowpoke can even be cause early in Johto before the 2nd gym which is sweet.  You can also get a Mega-Slowbro in ORAS so don’t let that slip you bye!

Available in: RBY and FRLG (both), GSC and HGSS (both), RSE (Starmie), B2W2 (Starmie), X (both), Y (Slowbro), ORAS (both), SM (Starmie), USUM (both)

Malamar Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Malamar

Rounding out our crew is Malamar the funky calamari Pokemon!  I still find it funny that our first Psychic/Dark Pokemon is an upside down squid, lol.  But Malamar is honestly pretty good!  The Dark typing is the main reason why it’s here but it works great as a soft counter to other Dark Pokemon and a hard counter to Ghost types.  I honestly recommend you have a Malamar with a Contrary Ability cause it can naturally learn Superpower which instead of lowering it will raise Malamar’s Attack and Defense stat so use it!  You can also catch an Inkay at the beginning of USUM which is super nice and immediately eliminates two of your three weaknesses.  Speaking of which, if you see a Bug Pokemon then get the heck out of there!

Available in: XY, USUM, SWSH

Best Pokemon Games for a Water Type Run

Without a doubt, the Water type is among the best types in Pokemon for a Monotype Run.  A Monotype Run is a run where you only train one type of Pokemon throughout the whole game.  Water is perfect for this as, with very few exceptions, you are bound to have a Water starter in your game.  Water is also the best starter type because it has only two weaknesses (unlike Grass) and it’s quite abundant (unlike Fire).  As such, you can pick a random Pokemon game and you are more than likely to have a great team.  Let’s find out which games are the best though (and the worst) and which Pokemon you should look 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 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.

Pokemon Monotype Chart Version 2.02

Worst Games

There’s really only one “bad” game out there and that’s Pokemon Yellow.  Obviously, you have that Pikachu starter so that’s a setback but the real kicker is that your first Pokemon is after the first gym AND it’s Magikarp!  You buy it from the shady guy at the Pokemon Center near Mount Moon.  So you basically have to train with a Magikarp until level 20 so if you’re up for the challenge then go for it! Haha.  Honestly though, if you want to play in Kanto just pick RBY or FRLG and you’re in for a fun time.

Best Games

Yeesh this is tough.  Just look at the chart above and you’ll see what I mean!  So many perfect scores.  I got a personal favorite but before I say it check out XY, USUM and SWSH as you can catch over 30 Water Pokemon!!!  XY also has the highest abundance of Pokemon for a Monotype Team for any type (and it has Greninja which is super ballin’)!  So if you want variety go for those!  Generation VII also introduced Pelipper with the Drizzle Ability so if you want to make it rain then those are the games to do it!

But me?  I have to fall back on my tried and true Sapphire, Emerald, and AlphaSapphire for this amazing reason.  Your starter is a Mudkip, who can take care of your Electric problems, and then catch a Wingull, for your Grass problems, and then catch a Lotad for further diversity.  Boom, three Pokemon ready to help you and get you up and running by the first gym!  And if you don’t like Wingull then you get the Old Rod in Dewford Town and fish for a Magikarp!  From there, you can catch a beautiful collection of Water Pokemon that range from Crawdaunt to Tentacruel and the likes of Slowbro and Jellicent in ORAS.  ORAS is also always nice with its cool catching feature so you can find Hidden Abilities and Egg Moves easily! (I love Crawdaunt with Adaptability).

 

Water Teams in Pokemon Games

RBY and FRLG
Ideal Team: Blastoise, Slowbro, Poliwrath, Lapras, Tentacruel, Vaporeon
Optional: Starmie, Gyarados, Omastar/Kabutops, Cloyster, Dewgong
First available Pokémon: Squirtle via starter or Magikarp via the Pokecenter just before Mt. Moon in Yellow
Covers weaknesses? No, Electric is not neutralized

GSC and HGSS
Ideal Team: Feraligatr, Gyarados, Quagsire, Slowbro/Starmie, Tentacruel, Lanturn
Optional: Lapras/Dewgong/Cloyster, Vaporeon, Seaking, Golduck, Azumarill, Kingler, Corsola, Poliwrath, Octillery (S, G, HG, SS), Mantine (G, C, HG), Suicune
First Pokémon: Totodile via starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

RSE and ORAS
Ideal Team: Swampert, Gyarados, Ludicolo (S, E, AS)/Lanturn, Tentacruel, Sharpedo/Crawdaunt, Starmie/Slowbro (ORAS)
Optional: Pelipper, Azumaril, Milotic, Whiscash, Relicanth, Walrein, Wailord, Vaporeon (ORAS), Jellicent (ORAS), Seismitoad (ORAS), Gastrodon (ORAS), Kingler (ORAS), Clawitzer (AS), Lumineon (ORAS), Alomomola (ORAS), Dewgong (ORAS), Barbaracle (ORAS), Kyogre (Sapphire and AS)
First Pokémon: Mudkip via starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

DPP
Ideal Team: Empoleon, Quagsire/Whiscash/Gastrodon, Gyarados/Mantine, Tentacruel, Octillery, Vaporeon (Platinum)
Optional: Golduck, Milotic, Azumarill, Floatzel, Lumineon, Palkia (Pearl)
First Pokémon: Piplup via Starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Black/White and Black2/White2
BW Ideal Team: Samurott, Seismitoad, Carracosta, Swanna, Alomomola, Jellicent
Optional: Simipour, Basculin
First Pokémon: Oshawott via starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

B2W2 Ideal Team: Octillery, Walrein, Jellicent, Vaporeon, Swanna, Starmie
Optional: Samurott, Simipour, Basculin, Azumarill, Mantine, Wailord, Golduck, Pelipper, Lapras, Floatzel, Corsola, Dewgong
First Pokémon: Oshawott via starter
Cover weaknesses? No, Electric is not neutralized

XY
Ideal Team: Greninja, Clawitzer (X)/Cloyster (Y), Gyarados, Slowbro, Quagsire, Ludicolo
Optional: Simipour, Bibarel, Crawdaunt, Seaking, Sharpedo, Golduck, Blastoise, Pelipper, Swanna, Wailord, Tentacruel, Starmie (X), Qwilfish, Lapras, Seadra, Relicanth, Vaporeon, Mantine, Octillery, Lanturn, Corsola, Gorebyss, Huntail, Alomomola, Whiscash, Poliwrath, Floatzel, Barbaracle, Azumarill, Wash Rotom
First Pokémon: Froakie via Starter
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and in more ways than one, you can interchange some of these Pokemon for others and still be fine.

Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
SM Ideal Team: Primarina, Gyarados/Pelipper, Slowbro/Starmie/Bruxish, Gastrodon, Golisopod/Aquachnid, Lanturn
Optional: Whiscash, Poliwrath, Milotic, Lanturn, Sharpedo, Corsola/Relicanth/Caracosta (Sun), Azumaril (scan), Feraligatr (scan), Cloyster/Lapras/Walrein(scan), Golduck, Vaporeon, Politoed (S.O.S. by any Pokemon in the rain at Malie Garden)
First Pokémon: Popplio via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes. Also, heads up, Pelipper now knows the ability Drizzle. Take that into account if you want to make a rain team.

USUM Ideal Team: Primarina, Gyarados/Pelipper, Slowbro/Starmie/Bruxish, Gastrodon, Empoleon (scan), Golisopod/Aquachnid
Optional: Whiscash, Poliwrath, Milotic, Lanturn, Sharpedo/Crawdaunt/Greninja (scan), Tentacruel, Corsola/Relicanth/Caracosta(US), Omastar (US), Kabutops (UM), Jellicent, Clawitzer, Blastoise (scan), Swampert (scan), Cloyster/Lapras/Walrein(scan), Golduck, Vaporeon, Slowking (S.O.S. by Slowpoke in Kala’e Bay), Politoed (S.O.S. by any Pokemon in the rain at Malie Garden)
First Pokémon: Popplio via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes. Also, heads up, Pelipper now knows the ability Drizzle. Take that into account if you want to make a rain team.

Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Inteleon, Gyarados, Gastrodon, Dracovish, Araquanid, Ludicolo (Shield)/Cloyster
Optional: 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.

 

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

Top 6 Water Starters in Pokemon | LevelSkip

Your Starter

With over 100 Water Pokemon available, it would be overwhelming to list a whole bunch of Pokemon so I’m going to limit it to five key roles that’ll include multiple Pokemon.

By far, the most valuable member on your team is your Water Starter!  Excluding Yellow and the Let’s Go games, you are guaranteed a Water Starter at the start of the game!  Because of this, the Water Starters are the principal reasons why the Water Type is the best type to do a Monotype Run.  They are quite formidable and rank among the strongest non-Mega, non-Legendary Water Pokemon.  The starters come in many different flavors whether it’s their dual typing, stat distribution, Mega forms, or unique moves.

They’re all great but there are some that stand out to me.  Swampert’s Ground typing gives it a nice immunity to Electric moves and a STAB Earthquake attack.  Empoleon’s unique Steel/Water typing gives it a basket of resistances.  Greninja is fast, knows Water Shuriken, and is very cool looking.  And Blastoise can Mega Evolve and learns a a diverse set of moves.  The other four are amazing as well; pick one and have at it!

Quagsire Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Water/Ground

You only have two weaknesses to worry about; Grass and Electric.  Thankfully, you gain a necessary Electric immunity with Water/Ground Pokemon who are super popular and can be found in almost every game!  Not only can they act as a necessary wall but they also have those sweet STAB, Super Effective attacks against your Electric foes!

There are five familes of W/G Pokemon; Quagsire, Swampert, Whiscash, Gastrodon, and Seismitoad.  And the nice thing is they all range from decent to great with some bringing unique abilities or moves to the table.  The OG Quagsire can learn Earthquake naturally since Gen 2 and has the Water Absorb Ability.  Swampert is a starter and can Mega evolve in ORAS.  Gastrodon has the highest Special Attack among the five, naturally learns Earth Power, and knows Water Drain. Seismitoad is ugly and has Swift Swim.  And Whiscash is there.

Of course, the biggest thing to worry about is that 4x weakness to Grass, just don’t even think about facing an Oddish!  Thankfully, you’ll have another team member that will spot you…

Swanna Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon Database

Water/Flying

There since Generation 1, you are guaranteed to find a Water/Flying Pokemon in every game.  That’s awesome!  Sure, there are other Pokemon out there that can wall Grass types like Tentacruel (who is most excellent) but they are nowhere near as common as these flying bois.  They are one of the main reasons why your weaknesses are covered in throughout the games.  They’re pretty much the antithesis of their Ground brethren who lose a weakness but gain a 4x weakness; in this case to Electric moves.

Okay, so Gyarados is incredibly popular, strong and very common!  So when you’re fulfilling your dream role of being an amazing Water trainer then have this sucker on your team!  Biggest thing to think about though is Gyarados has a dismal lack of Flying moves and, imo, doesn’t really become useful until Gen 4 when the Physical/Special split happened.  Still, he can learn a lot of strong physical moves which is great!  If you want Flying moves consider maybe Cramorant or Swanna who can learn them naturally and easily by TMs.  Also, Pelipper, in later generations, has the Drizzle Ability which is super sweet.  Mantine is alright but at least has some decent bulk.

Slowbro Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Move Diversity Learners (e.g., Slowbro, Clawitzer, Octillery, Ludicolo)

This is a relatively broad category but basically, many Water Pokemon are kind of limited in their movesets.  99% of them can learn a strong Ice Move, which is incredible, and over half can learn a strong Ground move like Earthquake.  But finding a Pokemon that knows a Fairy, Grass, Fire, or Electric move can be challenging.  You’ll need a Pokemon that can fill in gaps for you!

Slowbro is probably the best example of a multi-talented Pokemon!  Some Pokemon can learn a diverse set of moves but aren’t able to fully utilize them (like Golisopod).  But Slowbro has a high Special Attack AND can learn Flamethrower, Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, and of course Psychic.  Meanwhile, Clawitzer has the Mega Launcher ability so be sure to have it use Dragon Pulse, Aura Sphere, and Water Pulse (and maybe Flash Cannon or Sludge Wave).  Then you have Octillery who can learn Energy Ball, Flamethrower, Flash Cannon, Sludge Wave, and Psychic.  Finally, Ludicolo can learn the Grass attacks, Elemental Punches and potentially learns Zen Headbutt and Drain Punch.  You should also consider other Pokemon like Lanturn, Tentacruel, and Jellicent for move diversity.

Ludicolo Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Rain Users

Our last group includes all the Pokemon boosted by the rain.  Of course, Water attacks are strengthened while it’s raining and Thunder is 100% accurate but there are Pokemon whose abilities make them much better while it’s raining.  This is definitely beneficial if you happen to have a Pelipper from Gen 7 onward who has the Drizzle Ability.  A lot of Water Pokemon have Rain Dish, Swift Swim, or Hydration abilities which are activated in the rain.  Hydration and Rain Dish will be the rarest for you but quite a few Water Pokemon know Swift Swim so if you want to have a fast team then look out for these guys!  For me, I like the idea of having a Rain Dish Ludicolo who can keep chugging along with HP recoveries in Leech Seed, Giga Drain, and Drain Punch.

Best Pokemon Games for a Steel Type Run

I think out of all the Pokemon types out there the Steel type looks the most intriguing for a Monotype Run.  A Monotype Run is a run where you train only one Pokemon type throughout the game, similar to being a gym leader.  And with the main issue being that you have to watch out for your weaknesses…a Steel type run looks pretty stellar!  After all, there are a lot of Steel Pokemon with dual typings and quite a few of them neutralize their weaknesses!  Steel has also seen a boom in early availability which makes them prime and ready for a Monotype Run.  So let’s take a look which Pokemon games you should play, and which you should avoid, and which Pokemon you should have on your team!

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 2.02

Best Games

Fans of the DS, 3DS, and Switch can breathe a sigh of relief as you are more than likely to find a team that can fit you.  Platinum, Sun/Moon, and B2/W2 are great but XY, Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon and Sword/Shield are stellar.  What these latter games have in common is a high abundance of Steel Pokemon, early availability, and notable stars that will carry you to victory.

It’s hard to pick which one of these is my favorite in all honesty.  Even Platinum and B2W2 I like a lot despite the less-than-common Steel Pokemon.  USUM has Empoleon and Metagross which are quite rare, SWSH gives you Rookidee from Route 1 which neutralizes two of your weaknesses (and of course the Wild Area), and XY gives you a Riolu before your first gym and then later a Lucarioite which is fantastic!  However, if you were to twist my arm, I would pick XY because of that sweet Riolu but you also get the likes of Honedge early on (nice), and later pick up Pokemon like Steelix, Aggron (X), Skarmory, Durant, Klefki, and Ferrothorn.  It’s such a nice, diverse team and it’s a shame that neither Bronzong or Metagross are in those games because it would be perfect.

I tell you, when those Sinnoh remakes do come out it’s going to be great for you Steel fans.  So many great Steel Pokemon with Piplup as your starter, I think it’s going to be a wonderful ride.  I haven’t done a Steel run yet, but if I do it will probably be when the remakes come out.

Worst Games

Yeah…not a shocker that Kanto games just straight up suck.  Hope you enjoy that Magneton!  It’s available halfway through the game!  Johto is also not the best as Scizor and Steelix is acquired by trading so you’re limited to just three Pokemon and even then Skarmory is found in just Silver, Crystal, and SS.  Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald are incrementally better as you can neutralize your weaknesses but it’s not a whole team and your first Pokemon is after the first gym.

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Pokemon Teams for Each Game

Red/Blue/Yellow and FireRed/LeafGreen
Ideal Team: Magneton
First available Pokémon: Magnemite via Power Plant through surfing (need the Soul Badge)
Covers weaknesses? No, Ground, Fighting, and Fire not neutralized.

 

Gold/Silver/Crystal and HeartGold/SoulSilver
Ideal Team: Magneton, Forretress, Skarmory (S, C, SS)
First Pokémon: Pineco via headbutting trees after the second gym or Magnemite in Suburban Area at 1000+ steps via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Fire is not neutralized

 

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald and OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire
Ideal Team: Aggron, Skarmory, Magneton/Magnezone, Mawile (R, E, OR)/Klefki (ORAS), Bronzong (ORAS), Excadrill (ORAS)
Optional Pokémon: Forretress (ORAS), Klinklank (ORAS)
First Pokémon:  In RSE, Aron via Granite Cave shortly before the second gym.  However, in ORAS, the second floor basement is blocked off and you need a Mach Bike to access it.  As such Aron is acquired after the second gym (as well as Mawile in OR).  The earliest Steel Pokemon you can catch in ORAS is a Magnemite via Horde Encounter on Route 110, also after the second gym.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

 

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum
Ideal Team: Empoleon, Bastiodon (Pearl and Platinum)/Probopass (Platinum [need an ID that ends with an even number]), Bronzong, Lucario, Steelix, Magnezone (Platinum)
Optional Pokémon: Dialga (Diamond), Wormadam
First Pokémon: Piplup via starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes, provided you get a Bronzong that has the Levitate Ability.

 

Black/White and Black2/White2
BW
Ideal Team: Excadrill, Klinklang, Ferrothron, Cobalion, Bisharp, Durant
First Pokémon: Drilbur via Wellspring Cave after first gym
Cover weaknesses? No, Fire is not neutralized.

B2W2
Ideal Team: Lucario/Cobalion, Metagross, Excadrill, Aggron, Ferrothorn, Skarmory
Optional Pokémon: Klinklang, Probopass, Bisharp, Magnezone
First Pokémon: Riolu via Floccesy Ranch before first gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

X/Y
Ideal Team: Lucario, Probopass/Aggron (X), Aegislash, Mawile, Ferrothorn, Durant
Optional Pokémon: Wormadam, Klefki, Bisharp, Magnezone, Skarmory, Steelix
First Pokémon: Burmy via Route 3, before the first gym.  Don’t worry, you’ll get a Riolu soon after via Route 22, also before the first gym.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and in more ways than one. Ground is covered by Ferrothorn, Durant, and Skarmory.  Fire by Probopass/Aggron. Fighting by Mawile, Durant, Wormadam, Aegislash, and Skarmory.

 

Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
SM Ideal Team: Metagross, Skarmory, Dugtrio, Bastiodon (Moon)/Probopass, Aegislash (scan), Klefki
Optional Pokémon: Sandslash (Moon), Togedemaru, Magnezone
First Pokémon: Magnemite near the Trainer School, before the first trial
Cover weaknesses? Yes

USUM Ideal Team: Metagross, Skarmory, Empoleon (scan), Dugtrio, Bastiodon (UM)/Probopass, Aegislash (scan)
Optional Pokémon: Sandslash (UM), Togedemaru, Klefki/Mawile, Forretress, Bisharp, Magnezone
First Pokémon: Magnemite near the Trainer School, before the first trial
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

Sword/Shield
Ideal Team: Corviknight, Lucario, Bronzong, Ferrothorn, Aegislash, Duraludon
Optional Pokémon: Perrserker, Steelix, Klinklang, Stunfisk, Bisharp, Mawile (Sword), Excadrill, Copperajah, Durant, Togedemaru, Escavalier (Sword Raid)
First Pokémon: Rookidee by overworld (30%) via Route 1
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

 

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

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Metagross and Bronzong

Honestly, I was going back and forth among three different Pokemon who was the top MVP but I landed on our Psychic bois for these principal reasons; their commonality in late games, the handy resistance to Fighting moves and, in particular, Metagross’ stellar stats and Bronzong’s defense.  Starting with Metagross, this is the strongest non-Mega, non-Legendary Steel Pokemon and it has an amazing moveset.  The stellar Attack and the good Special Attack give Metagross the potential to dish out such attacks as Earthquake, Meteor Mash, Ice Punch, Thunder Punch, Shadow Ball, and Hammer Arm.  Pretty sweet.

Bronzong, meanwhile, really leans into its defensive Steel typing with impressive Defense and Special Defense stats but the real reason why you want this bell is its abilities.  Levitate is pretty incredible making it completely immune to Ground moves which is fantastic.  And Heatproof halves Fire damage making it a potential switcher when you’re facing the likes of say a Magmar.  It doesn’t have anything too stellar for attacking but Psychic, Rock Slide, and Grass Knot would be good against the Ground, Fire, and Fighting types.  And it can do a lot of status and defense buffs which is great.

Available in: DPP (Bronzong), B2W2 (Metagross), ORAS (Bronzong), SM and USUM (Metagross), SWSH (Bronzong)

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Lucario

Lucario was recently voted as the second most popular Pokemon, behind my frog Greninja, in a 2020 Official Pokemon poll.  And I don’t find this surprising!  Lucario is wonderful and is definitely the cool and stoic mascot of Generation 4.  In our case, Lucario is a fantastic addition for your team as it has so many great things going for it.  The biggest thing?  It’s movepool.  Just scroll through its list of TMs, TRs, Move Tutors, and Level Ups, and its apparent Lucario can learn a lot.  Some simple highlights include Blaze Kick, Dragon Pulse, and Aura Sphere.  Fantastic.

Also, surprisingly, Lucario can be caught early in quite a few games, sometimes before the first gym like XY and B2/W2.  Lucario is the prime reason why these games are great in the first place.  You have on your team a versatile Pokemon with great stats.  Only flaw?  No crucial resistances.  You’re exposed to all three weaknesses.  Whoops.  Welp, at least you can get a Mega Lucario before the Championship in XY.

Available in: DPP, B2W2, XY, SWSH

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Aggron (along with Bastiodon and Probopass)

Finding a resistance and even immunities to Fighting and Ground moves are easy for your Steel team, for Fire moves…not so much.  Empoleon is a rare starter, Heatran is a legendary, and Duraludon was just introduced.  So that leaves our Rock team members.  Although they’re 4x weak to Fighting AND Ground attacks, the resistance to Fire is so helpful especially since Fire Pokemon are weak to Rock attacks.  You need some sort of counter to them and these guys can do it.

All three of them really embody their Steel/Rock combo and have super high Defense stats.  Additionally, Bastiodon and Probopass have a really high Special Defense stat while Aggron’s is pretty small.  So if you need a wall, it’s these guys.  Unfortunately, Bastiodon and Probopass are really bad attackers so stick to their defense moves if you use them.  Of the three, Aggron, is the strongest and has a really good Attack stat so I suggest him.  Aggron can learn the elemental punches, Dragon Claw, and Aqua Tail so you have a nice variety of moves against your opponents.  Aggron has the ability Rock Head which is supeeeeeer niiiiiiiiice for Head Smash which you can easily get in ORAS.  Also…GET THAT MEGA AGGRON IN ORAS!  Super strong and its Filter Ability halves super effective attacks which is EXCELLENT.

Available in: RSE and ORAS (Aggron), Pearl (Bastiodon), Platinum (Probopass and Bastiodon), B2W2 (Probopass), X (Aggron and Probopass), Y (Probopass), Moon and UM (Bastiodon and Probopass), Sun and US (Probopass)

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Aegislash

I kid you not, as of Sword and Shield, Aegislash has had a near perfect appearance record since its XY debut.  It also has a great habit of appearing relatively early in the respective games being available after the first gym in XY, on the second island via scanning in SM and USUM games, and Hammerlocke Hills in SWSH.  Okay, so why Aegislash?

A startlingly high Attack and Special Attack (150!) makes even substandard moves seem deadly in Aegislash’s sword.  Heck, Aegislash’s move distribution is alright but it doesn’t really matter when you’re packing stats like those right?  Honestly, teach it the likes of Sacred Sword, Shadow Sneak, Iron Head, and Shadow Claw and you’re good!  Biggest disadvantage is obviously that bulk as it’s offense mode has really low defense and HP and it’s quite slow.  So if you’re worried about survival you can keep it’s signature King Shield ability which is quite helpful.  Still though, that immunity to Fighting is freaking sweet.

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

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Empoleon

I debated whether to put Empoleon on here or not but I relented because despite its rarity, this starter has a lot of things going for it and is the reason why Platinum is good and USUM is stellar for a Steel run.  First, type combo.  Empoleon is, as of Gen VIII, the only Pokemon that is Water/Steel which is fantastic for your Fire foes but more importantly it gives you a crucial STAB against Ground and Fire Pokemon.  And second, amazing stats,  Empoleon has one of the higher Special Attacks among Steel Pokemon so this means you can use the killer combo of Surf and Ice Beam no problem.  And of course, if you’re playing DPP, or the eventual Sinnoh remakes, you will start off with Piplup as you’re starter which is such a blessing.

Available in: DPP (Starter), USUM (Island Scan)

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Skarmory and Corviknight

These two birds are important as they give you an immunity to Ground attacks and a resistance to Fighting attacks.  On the whole, you’re more likely to run into Skarmory, who’s surprisingly common, compared to the very recent Corviknight.  Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of their usefulness.  Their movepool selection is rather small so their Flying moves are appreciated but they won’t do much against your Ground opponents except stalling and whittling them down.  Skarmory also suffers from lack of physical Flying moves and it can only learn strong Special Flying moves by leveling up which it fails to use due to its low Special Attack.  Like, come on, Gamefreak, at least give Skarmory Drill Peck or something…TMs and Move Tutors are nice but doesn’t do much for Skarmory.

Honestly, Skarmory is a fantastic example of just because it blocks your weaknesses doesn’t mean it’s useful.   Skarmory may be great for a Flying Run but given the option I would go for Metagross/Aegislash and Ferrothorn/Durant before picking it up.

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

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 2.02

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
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.
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, 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 2.02

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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.

 

Donation for Website

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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

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!

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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 2.02

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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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 2.02

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.

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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…

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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 (Red, Yellow, FireRed), 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
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)
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 2.02

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, 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 2.02

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 ORAS, SM, and SWSH are also 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)/Absol, Krookodile, Scrafty, Drapion, Bisharp
Optional: Liepard, Umbreon
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
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)
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