Picking the right mon to battle a gym
This blog post is in response to this Tweet from Pokemon Go Radio:
In Pokemon Go, type advantages use a complicated RPS (rock, paper, scissors) system.
A type advantage is called “Super Effective”, giving you 1.25x damage. For example, Water is Super Effective against Fire. Or another way to put it: Fire is vulnerable to Water.
A type disadvantage is called “Not Very Effective”, reducing your damage to 0.8x. For example, Fire is Not Very Effective against Water. Or in other words, Water is resistant to Fire.
So Vaporeon is recommended against Flareon because it is both effective AND resistant. (For simplicity, I used an example where the attack type matches the species type.)
Let’s call type match ups that are both effective and resistant: “direct counters”. Each type in Pokemon Go has at least one direct counter:
- Normal: Fighting*
- Fight: Fairy, Flying, Psychic
- Flying: Electric, Rock
- Poison: Ground
- Ground: Grass
- Rock: Fighting, Steel
- Bug: Fire, Flying
- Ghost: Dark
- Steel: Fire
- Fire: Rock, Water
- Water: Grass
- Grass: Bug, Flying, Poison
- Electric: Ground
- Psychic: Dark
- Ice: Fire, Steel
- Dragon: Fairy
- Dark: Fairy, Fight
- Fairy: Poison, Steel
*not strictly a direct counter, but it’s the best option available.
Note: there are no Dark Pokemon yet (just a few Dark type moves). Which gives Psychic types a slight advantage in the current meta.
Some types are more common than others. So you can get pretty far by memorizing this:
Water > Fire > Grass > Water
Some Pokemon have a dual-type. You want this because resistance can cancel out vulnerability. (And more move types benefit from STAB, but more on this later).
A great example is Lapras. Normally, Ice is vulnerable to Fire. But having a dual type of Water/Ice, Ice’s vulnerability is cancelled out by Water’s resistance.
Dual types is also a double edged sword because Vulnerabilities can stack.
One of the strongest Pokemon is Dragonite which is both Flying/Dragon. Just so happens that both Flying and Dragon are vulnerable to Ice. This makes Lapras with a Blizzard attack really useful for taking down Dragonites.
There’s a lot of possible dual-type combinations. But these are the only ones that exist in the current meta, along with recommended counters:
- Psychic/Grass: Bug
- Dragon/Flying: Ice
- Fire/Flying: Rock
- Psychic/Water: n/a
- Ice/Water: n/a
- Grass/Poison: n/a
- Water/Fight: n/a
- Ground/Poison: n/a
- Ground/Rock: Water, or Grass
- Rock/Water: Electric
- Normal/Fairy:Poison, Steel
- Water/Poison: Electric, Psychic
- Bug/Flying: Rock
- Ghost/Poison: Dark, Ground
- Normal/Flying: Rock
- Poison/Flying: Rock
- Bug/Poison: Fire, Flying, Rock
- Electric/Flying: Rock
- Ice/Flying: Rock
- Electric/Steel: Ground
- Bug/Grass: Fire, Flying
- Ice/Psychic: Steel
- Psychic/Fairy: Steel
Each Pokemon have one quick move and one charge move. A Pokemon species has up to two possible quick moves, and three possible charge moves. This gives you up to six possible move combinations per species.
If a move’s type matches the species type, you also get a same-type attack bonus (STAB) of 25%.
In general, you want to keep the Pokemon with the strongest move set combination, and juice the rest.
The base attack stat of a Pokemon species is important too. So a Flareon’s Fire Blast is much stronger than the Ninetales version.
So for your next lucky egg, keep an eye out for these powerful move sets:
- Vaporeon: Hydro Pump
- Flareon: Fire Blast
- Exeggutor: Zen Headbutt and Solar Beam
- Victreebell: Razor Leaf and Solar Beam
- Nidoking: Poison Jab and Earthquake
- Golem: Mud Shot and Stone Edge
- Gyarados: Hydro Pump
- Jolteon: Thunder Shock and Thunder
One thing I regret is not checking my Eevee IVs. I blew a lot of dust on a Vaporeon with so-so IVs and a weak move set. That’s life I guess.
Shameless Self Promotion
Now it’s time for shameless plugs. I’m working on an iOS app: GoTypeChart. The idea is to walk up to a gym, glance at the app, and within seconds make a decent decision about which Pokemon to use.
Here are some of the features:
- Quickly filter by type, and intuitively find dual types
- See which Pokemon are good attackers and defenders
- Find out which move set is best for a given Pokemon
- See how a Pokemon’s move measures up to the strongest move in the game
The app is free. It’s also ad-free, and there are no in-app purchases.
Check out these Resources
All this information is readily available online. You just need to sift through for quality and authoritative sources. Here are some I keep coming back to:
- Pokemon Go Radio: Stay updated on Pokemon Go app updates. These guys are hilarious too.
- Trainer Tips on YouTube: Great tips from a very knowledgeable source. Check out the move-set video, and the google sheet link in the video description.
- PokemonDB dual-type chart: Great reference for type match-ups. One motivation of my app is so I wouldn’t look like an idiot carrying around a color print-out.
- Silph Road: I’m not an original Pokemon player, so I’m learning a lot of this for the first time. If you want to hear from an expert, check out a more authoritative source like Silph Road.