Tag Archives: Pokemon 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 Version 2.01

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

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)

Image result for abomasnow

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)

Image result for FroslassImage result for Avalugg

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.

Image result for CloysterImage result for walrein

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)

Image result for mamoswine

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

Image result for weavile

Weavile

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

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

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

Best Monotype Runs for Pokemon Sword and Shield

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

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

Rules

  1. A type must be selected before starting the game. Upon playing the game the player must make all attempts to capture a Pokémon of that type as soon as possible. Once captured, the previous Pokémon of the party must be disregarded if they are not of that type.
  2. Pokémon that have yet to evolve into that type (e.g., Chewtle for a Rock type run) may be caught but must be evolved as soon as possible.
  3. Trading is not allowed
  4. Only Pokemon caught before you fight the Champion are counted

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

  • Changing the battle from “shift” to “set” so you won’t have an advantage on your opponent
  • Not teaching your Pokemon TM, TR, or Move Relearner moves
  • Avoid potions and other healing items
  • And any other rules you think may give you a more challenging, but still fun, playthrough
Monotype Chart Version 2.01

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

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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 Sword 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, Sableye (Shield), 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 by Heavy Fog random encounters in most of the areas.  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 Heavy Fog random encounters in most of the areas.  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, Sableye (Shield)/Mimikyu, Gengar, Aegislash

Optional Pokémon: Runerigus, Cofagrigus, Shedinja, Gourgeist, Froslass, Polteageist, Rotom, Cursola (Shield), Chandelure, Jellicent, Trevanant (Raid), Dhelmise, Drifblim, Eternatus

First Pokémon: Watchtower Ruins is your best bet.  Regardless of weather you will find a Duskull, Drifloon, Gastly, or Golett by random encounters.  You can also find a Nincada at West Lake Axewell by Sandstorm random encounter or South Lake Miloch by Sandstorm or Intense Sun random encounter.  Finally, you will always catch Ghosts in Den 6/47 at Watchtower Ruins for Max Raid battles.

Weaknesses Covered? Yes in Shield due to the exclusive Sableye.  In Sword you are exposed to Ghost moves.

 

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.  Look for Swinub during Snowstorms and 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), Cinccino, Greedent, Obstagoon, 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

If you like my Monotype Run article you can show your appreciation with a small $1 donation. I annually pay fees for the website and I would like to add more features to it such as an easy search filter for Pokemon Teams. Thanks!

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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
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 Version 2.01

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

Best Games

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

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

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

Worst Games

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

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

Ghost Teams in Pokemon Games

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

Image result for Decidueye

Decidueye

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

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

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

Available in: SM and USUM

Image result for Sableye Spiritomb

Sableye (and to an extent Spiritomb)

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

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

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

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

Image result for Aegislash

Aegislash

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

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

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

Image result for Chandelure

Chandelure

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

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

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

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

Image result for Golurk

Golurk

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

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

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

Image result for Gengar haunter

Gengar/Haunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mimikyu artwork by Ken Sugimori

Mimikyu

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

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

Available in: SM, USUM, SWSH

Best Pokemon Games for a Dark Type Run

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

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

RULES

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

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

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, Sableye (Shield), 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)

sableye-mega

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 very limited movepool selection (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 its 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), Shield (Sableye)

krookodile

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 its Moxie that sells it with Krookodile’s great speed which can make him a Juggernaut.  Krookodile can learn the various Earth-based moves, of course, but it can also learn Outrage, Thunder and Fire Fang, Shadow Claw, and Aqua Tail.  Finally, it is found in every game between Pokemon BW to Pokemon USUM.  Again, another reason why the later games are best for a Dark type run!

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

Best Pokemon Games for a Bug Type Run

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

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

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

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

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

Rules

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

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

Worst Pokémon Games

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

 

Best Pokémon Games

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

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

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

 

Bug Teams in Pokemon Games

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

MVP (Most Valuable Pokémon)

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Heracross

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

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

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

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

volcarona

Volcarona

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

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

Available in: BW, B2W2, ORAS, USUM

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Shuckle, Armaldo, and Crustle

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

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

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

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

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Forretress and Durant (and I guess Trash Wormadam)

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

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

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

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Galvantula and Vikavolt

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

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

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Golisopod and Araquanid

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

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

Best Pokemon Games for a Ground Type Run

Image result for ground pokemon

Update 12/31/2019: This article now includes Sword and Shield

A top-tier Monotype Run (or Single Type) in Pokemon would be the Ground Type.  There are few types that have a better record in delivering solid team after solid team in the main line games.  Even going back to Pokemon Red and Blue you can craft a team that is sturdy and strong like its namesake.

What makes Ground Type such a fun run to do is the plentiful type combos that neutralize two of its three weaknesses (i.e., Water, Grass, Fire, Dragon, and Steel).  There are a lot of Water/Ground Pokemon while Steel and Dragon duos make a surprisingly strong showing in the later games.  Ironically, some of these duos trade these resistances for 4x weaknesses!  Once you have one of these combos you can pair it with another Pokemon and finish off the last weakness easily.

Only a few games have a poor Ground Type run so in this article, we’re going to cover which games are the very best for a Ground Type run and which Pokemon you should look out for.

As usual the rules are as follows.  Check out the chart as well for a quick look at each of the games.

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

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

Best Games

The Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Kalos, Alola, and Galar games all have very nice teams.  The Sun and Moon games you’ll have to wait a little while before your first Pokemon (Alolan Diglett) but it still has a nice set with Palossand being a great new addition.  I also like the “classic” feel in Pokemon Gold with Quagsire, the Nidos, and Gligar making a strong team.  Pokemon ORAS also gives a lot of a late game Ground diversity like Excadrill and it’s nice to have Mudkip right from the getgo.

Subjectively, the best games are probably Pokemon Platinum, Pokemon XY, and Pokemon SWSH.  This is thanks to their huge diversity, early availability and more importantly, Hippowdon!  We’ll talk about Hippowdon in a moment but this hippo makes Ground Type runs extra fun and extra sweet.  Hippowdon has Sand Stream which triggers a sandstorm, because of which you can easily use the Pokemon from these games to take advantage of the storm and go to town on your opponents.  It’s fun!

Worst Games

I would say Pokemon BW and B2W2 are probably the worst games in the series for a Ground Type Run.  In BW there are less than six unique Pokemon on your team and in B2W2 the first Pokemon you can catch is well after the second gym. I should say though that all the BW games still neutralize their weaknesses despite the flaws.  The Kanto games are also just okay.  Sure the Nidos are there at the beginning to help you out but after that you have a lot of Ground/Rocks to train which compounds on your Water and Grass weaknesses.  It’s doable but be prepared for some headaches!

 

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

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Water/Ground Pokemon

The Water/Ground combo is one of the best type duos in Pokemon.  Ground’s immunity to Electric attacks and Water’s resistances to itself and Ice make it an acceptable addition to any team.  Water/Ground Pokemon are also quite common and are available pre-Elite Four in every game after Pokemon Yellow except FRLG and B2W2.  I just love these guys in general.  They have a great move diversity and they have some fantastic abilities like Gastrodon’s Storm Drain and Quagsire’s Water Absorb (which further nullify that Water weakness).

Your big issue is that 4x weakness to Grass attacks.  THANKFULLY, and surprisingly, every Pokemon game has a Ground type that neutralizes its Grass weakness.  Whether it’s a Nidoran, Gliscor, or Excadrill, you’ll find a Pokemon that can cover your bases.

Available in: All games except Pokemon RBY, FRLG, B2W2

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Torterra and Swampert

A lot of starters evolve into dual types and thankfully, you’ll have a few games with a Ground-based starter.  Enter Mudkip and Turtwig.  Both starters hail from vastly different regions but evolve into your Ground Pokemon.  They also give you handy resistances to a couple of your weaknesses.  Of the two, Torterra seems to get the short end of the stick as there are a lot of weaknesses to watch out for but it makes up for it with its sweet design and recovery moves.  If you have ORAS, you can mega evolve your Swampert which is a nice bonus.  It’s also great that both of these starters are in games with diverse Ground Pokemon so you took your first easy step for your fantastic Ground team!  For you USUM players, use Island Scan and find these respective Pokemon in your game.  How’s that for awesome sauce?

Available in: Pokemon RSE, DPP, ORAS, and USUM (Island Scan)

Trapinch artwork by Ken SugimoriGible artwork by Ken Sugimori

Ground/Dragon Pokemon

Starting in Generation 3 onwards you can find a Ground/Dragon Pokemon in every main series game except FRLG, HGSS, and BW (a track record only exceeded by Ground/Water).  Although the 4x weakness to Ice stinks, the resistances to Fire and neutralization of Water and Grass are appreciated.  Flygon’s Levitate and Garchomp’s Sand Veil are both useful abilities for your team.  Garchomp is also the strongest, non-Legendary, non-Mega, Ground Pokemon so you’ll have the powerhouse on your team.

The real reason why they should be on your team though is there incredible move diversity, especially for move tutoring and TMs.  They can learn at least a dozen strong moves from different types ranging from Crunch to Flamethrower, from Bug Buzz to Shadow Claw, and from Thunderpunch to Steel Wing.  This is essential for your team!  You may be packing a lot of Rock, Steel, and Fighting moves but you’ll be severely lacking in other categories.  Definitely get one of these two.  They’re awesome.

However, besides the 4x Ice weakness, the two other major issues with these guys are their mid to late game availability and their evolution delay.  You’ll be waiting quite awhile before you get some good moves so expect to carry these guys and babysit them for awhile.

Available in: RSE (Flygon), DPP (Garchomp), B2W2 (Flygon), XY (Flygon and Garchomp), SM (Garchomp), USUM (Garchomp and Flygon), and SWSH (Flygon)

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Hippowdon

I’m highly bias towards Hippowdon so take this entry for what you will but I think this beautiful creature is a very important member in any Ground team.  Sand Stream automatically generates a Sandstorm upon battle entry and, if you’re playing before Generation 6, will go on forever until it’s changed for a different weather.  As such, you can incorporate many Ground Pokemon’s abilities that rely on Sandstorm into your team very nicely!  Garchomp and Gliscor have Sand Veil, and Excadrill has Sand Force and Sand Rush.  Sandstorm’s boost towards Rock’s defenses makes it appealing and you can whittle down your opponent’s teams!

Hippowdon does fantastically well as a tank, I have trained one several times in competitive teams for this reason alone.  Teach it Roar and combine it with Stealth Rock via TM in Gen 4 and you have an annoying beast!  Crunch and a STAB Earthquake rounds things off well with your Pokemon.  Hippowdon is also among the strongest Ground Pokemon so it’s going to be pulling its weight well.

Hippowdon does suffer from relatively low game occurrences so the chances of you running into one are unfortunately slim.  Hippowdon additionally suffers from low movepool diversity.  This is not surprising given its monotype nature.  Speaking of which, Hippowdon can’t bestow any additional resistances or immunities to your team so the other members will have to pick up the slack.

But come on, Sand Stream, it more than makes up for it.

Available in: DPP, XY, SWSH

Steelix artwork by Ken SugimoriExcadrill artwork by Ken SugimoriImage result for alolan dugtrio

Ground/Steel Pokemon

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I placed the Steel type on this list.  They are super defensive and eliminate Ground’s two of three weaknesses without trading it with a 4x weakness.  They are also very common in the later games so expect to find one from Generation 6 and on.  You can even catch Steelix in some of those games!  You don’t need another game to trade an Onix with a Steel Coat, you can get one yourself!  I find this very curious but I’m not complaining!  Alolan Diglet is also among the first Ground Pokemon you can get in the Sun and Moon games so you’re starting strong with a fast attacker.

They’re all nice in their own way.  Excadrill is probably the MVP of the three due to its sandstorm-related abilities and really powerful attack.  The main thing that’s holding all three of them back would be their limited movepool.  Mainly Fighting, Dark, Ground, Rock, and Steel moves.  Which is not bad but a lot of other Ground Pokemon can learn them.  If you have a Steelix for Sword and Shield teach it Body Press as it has a maaaaaaaaasive Defense stat and can use the move extremely well!

Available in: DPP (Steelix), BW and B2W2 (Excadrill), XY (Excadrill and Steelix), ORAS (Excadrill), SM and USUM (Dugtrio), SWSH (Steelix, Stunfisk, Excadrill)

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Nidoqueen and Nidoking

Bless these rabbit-like, therapsids, for they are glorious and fun to train.  Besides the obvious neutralization of Grass weakness, the Nidos are fantastic as they are among the best Ground Pokemon for move diversity, rivaled only by the likes of Garchomp, Flygon, and Golurk.  They also have decent Special Attack stats, something that other Ground Pokemon lack, and thus are equipped for that Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, or Flamethrower you have prepared for them.  Of course, a Poison STAB means you can handle your Grass Pokemon well (and it pairs nicely with Quagsire in the Johto games) (and don’t forget about Nidoking’s Megahorn too!).

Your biggest drawback is their rarity which almost kicked them off this list.  Although the Nidos save the Kanto games from being almost unplayable for a Ground Type Run, they don’t make many other appearances.  Thankfully, GSC and especially XY are great Ground Type runs and its partially thanks for their inclusions.  Depending on your game, you may additionally have trouble finding a Moon Rock to evolve your respective Nidoran so be prepared for that.

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

 

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Krookodile

Krookodile has one of the highest occurrences of Ground Type Pokemon which is the biggest reason it’s on this list.  It’s also here because of its strength and diversity.  Besides it’s own STAB moves, it can learn strong Dragon, Fighting, Water, Ghost, and Poison moves giving it diversity that other Ground Pokemon lack.  It’s Intimidate and Moxie abilities are also top notch and sets itself well for a great revenge killer or wall.  Although that Dark pairing won’t save your team from any weaknesses, it’s still nice to have especially when you have to deal with Psychics or Ghosts.

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