Back from the dead: Ghost in SM Monotype

By Ghost Cream.
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Art by Tikitik

Art by Tikitik.

Introduction

During ORAS, Ghost was one of the most unviable types in the metagame along with Ice and Rock. Ever since new additions in SM were introduced, Ghost has adapted to the metagame, and therefore it became a notable threat. New Pokémon such as Mimikyu and Alolan Marowak were introduced, and Mega Sableye was unbanned, causing Ghost to become a viable type.

Let's take a look at the pros and cons of using a Ghost team.

Pros

Cons

ORAS Ghost

Back in ORAS, Ghost was not a viable type. Using Ghost meant that one was playing a type without any wallbreakers and hazard control. After Mega Sableye was banned, Ghost's viability went downhill. Without Mega Sableye, it lost hazard control and a great utility Pokémon and easily got worn down by hazard stacking teams because of the switches they forced. Due to this, regular Sableye was used in place of its Mega Evolution. Although it was inferior, it could stop hazard setters with Taunt and could stallbreak using Will-O-Wisp and Recover. This caused Sableye to be a staple on ORAS Ghost. Ghost in ORAS was even more restricted than in SM, and a standard team included Gengar, Jellicent, Sableye, Golurk, Chandelure, and maybe Doublade in the last slot.

Teambuilding

New Additions

Let's take a look at some new additions Ghost received in SM and how they influence Ghost teams.

Alolan Marowak

Alolan Marowak

Gen 7 brought a new wallbreaker to the table: Alolan Marowak. Access to Stealth Rock allows it to support its team by reliably setting up entry hazards. Lightning Rod allows it to deal with Electric-type threats, most notably Tapu Koko, by blocking their STAB attacks and Volt Switch. Back in ORAS, Golurk was the only Stealth Rocker, and it was used frequently because of its physical presence and Ground coverage. Alolan Marowak is considered a superior Golurk because of its additional Fire coverage and wallbreaking potential.

Mimikyu

Mimikyu

Because of its Fairy typing, Mimikyu greatly loosens up the Dark matchup for Ghost. Back in ORAS, Ghost relied on Gengar's Focus Blast and regular Sableye's neutrality to take on Dark, which were both unreliable. Play Rough 2HKOes most Dark-type Pokémon. Although Mimikyu is very weak, Swords Dance makes up for its low base Attack, and Disguise allows it to check many Pokémon such as Z-Belly Drum Azumarill, Dragonite, Mega Charizard X, and opposing Mimikyu. Mimikyu's offensive presence, coverage, and ability make it a staple on Ghost teams.

Dhelmise

Dhelmise

Dhelmise is the only Ghost-type Pokémon with Rapid Spin. It can take advantage of Trick Room with its low Speed and its high Attack. Grass coverage along with pseudo-Steel STAB allows it to deal with Ground-, Water-, and Fairy-type Pokémon nicely.

Decidueye

Decidueye

Decidueye, similarly to Dhelmise, is also a Ghost / Grass Pokémon with hazard removal and can trap Pokémon with Spirit Shackle. At the beginning of the generation, many people used Decidueye with Defog and U-turn so that it could remove hazards and then pivot out to Gengar. Although it may seem attractive, Decidueye lacks coverage and is very passive outside of being a Defogger.

Offensive Pokémon

Gengar

Gengar
  • Gengar @ Choice Scarf
  • Ability: Cursed Body
  • EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
  • Timid Nature
  • IVs: 0 Atk
  • - Sludge Wave
  • - Shadow Ball
  • - Focus Blast
  • - Trick
  • Gengar @ Choice Specs
  • Ability: Cursed Body
  • EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
  • Timid Nature
  • IVs: 0 Atk
  • - Sludge Wave
  • - Shadow Ball
  • - Focus Blast
  • - Thunderbolt
  • Gengar @ Life Orb
  • Ability: Cursed Body
  • EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
  • Timid Nature
  • IVs: 0 Atk
  • - Taunt
  • - Shadow Ball
  • - Sludge Wave
  • - Focus Blast

Boasting a huge Special Attack stat along with being fairly fast, Gengar's role on Ghost teams is serving as a wonderful special attacker while easily being one of the most diverse Pokémon on the type. While holding a Choice Scarf, Gengar can outspeed opposing Scarfed Pokémon such as Excadrill and Tapu Bulu while also revenge killing faster threats such as Tapu Koko. Being very flexible, Gengar is able to hold many items, such as a Choice Scarf, Choice Specs, Life Orb, and even Z-Crystals. Along with being an excellent special attacker, Gengar can remove Toxic Spikes for Jellicent and Mega Sableye or act as a stallbreaker with Taunt. Unfortunately, Gengar is held back by its low defensive stats, so beware of switching it into strong attacks and the threat of Alolan Muk.

Alolan Marowak

Alolan Marowak
  • Marowak-Alola @ Thick Club
  • Ability: Lightning Rod
  • EVs: 48 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 204 Spe
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Fire Punch
  • - Earthquake
  • - Shadow Bone
  • - Stealth Rock
  • Marowak-Alola @ Thick Club
  • Ability: Rock Head
  • EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpD
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Flare Blitz
  • - Swords Dance
  • - Shadow Bone
  • - Earthquake

Ghost appreciates Alolan Marowak as a teammate because of its ability to set Stealth Rock. Ghost / Fire coverage along with a Thick Club allows it to serve as one of Ghost's best wallbreakers, taking on bulky Pokémon such as Mega Venusaur and Mega Scizor. Despite its high Attack, Marowak lacks bulk, so it cannot take many attacks, and it is fairly slow, so a defensive backbone is much appreciated to support it. If you are using Alolan Marowak as a Trick Room attacker, you may want to use Golurk for Stealth Rock, as unspinnable Rocks help in various matchups. Swords Dance is used to make sweeping under Trick Room easier. Fire Punch is used over Flare Blitz on the Lightning Rod variant, as Flare Blitz wears Marowak down way too quickly.

Mimikyu

Mimikyu

Being part Fairy and having Disguise to support its low bulk, Mimikyu is seen as one of the most offensive and dangerous Ghost-types to types that are weak to Fairy coverage. Swords Dance allows it to set up, acting as a late-game cleaner under Disguise, and Shadow Sneak allows Mimikyu to revenge kill faster threats such as Latios, Alolan Raichu, and Victini. Having Disguise allows it to revenge kill sweepers such as Mega Charizard X, Dragonite, Gyarados, and Excadrill. Unlike other Ghost-types, Mimikyu utilizes Z-Crystals quite well, as a +2 Z-Shadow Claw is able to knock out many threats such as Gyarados and Mega Charizard X, as well as severely denting Mega Scizor, Mega Venusaur, and Ferrothorn.

Defensive Pokémon

Mega Sableye

Mega Sableye
  • Sableye-Mega @ Sablenite
  • Ability: Prankster
  • EVs: 248 HP / 116 Def / 144 SpD
  • Careful Nature
  • - Knock Off
  • - Foul Play
  • - Will-O-Wisp
  • - Recover
  • Sableye-Mega @ Sablenite
  • Ability: Prankster
  • EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
  • Bold Nature
  • IVs: 0 Atk
  • - Snarl
  • - Calm Mind
  • - Recover
  • - Will-O-Wisp

Mega Sableye's main role on Ghost teams is to serve as a utility Pokémon. Its high defenses along with Magic Bounce allows it to switch into many hazard setters such as Skarmory, Ferrothorn, and Armaldo. A Ghost / Dark typing allows it to take Dark-type attacks without much trouble, and Recover allows it to heal off the damage. Knock Off is able to remove various items, such as Eviolites, Choice items, and Leftovers, weakening the opposing team. As many Ghost Pokémon do, Mega Sableye gets access to Will-O-Wisp, which helps it whittle down foes and cripple physical attackers. A majority of Ghost players use Mega Sableye for utility, but a Calm Mind set can be used with max Defense, though many people consider it inferior.

Jellicent

Jellicent

Because of its Water typing and its high special bulk, Jellicent is the premier special wall of Ghost, being able to take hits from the likes of many Fire- and Water-types. Water Absorb allows Jellicent to absorb Water attacks and thus avoid Scald burns, which maintains its durability. Taunt Jellicent takes care of a lot of defensive threats, such as Toxapex, Clefable, Suicune, and Chansey. Partnered with Mega Sableye or even Gourgeist, Jellicent finds itself on balanced Ghost teams, supporting the team with a defensive backbone, or on Trick Room teams, supporting the team with Trick Room.

Other Options

Golurk

Golurk

Golurk serves as a reliable lead, having access to Stealth Rock. Though it can hold a Focus Sash to take strong attacks, Alolan Marowak provides more utility and is generally used over Golurk. Golurk is mostly found on Trick Room teams with Stealth Rock, as Alolan Marowak will be carrying Swords Dance over the usual Stealth Rock.

Cofagrigus

Cofagrigus

Cofagrigus's job on Ghost teams is to set Trick Room. Because of this, it is mostly found on Trick Room teams as a defensive Trick Room setter with Z-Shadow Ball. Along with Trick Room, Cofagrigus also gets utility moves such as Will-O-Wisp and Toxic Spikes, which allow it to wear down teams with status. Cofagrigus's unique ability in Mummy allows it to counter huge threats such as Mega Lopunny and Mega Pinsir by nullifying their ability. Cofagrigus is rarely seen on Ghost teams because Jellicent outclasses it as a defensive Trick Room setter.

Doublade

Doublade

Doublade's main role on Ghost teams is to use its high Defense stat to set up Swords Dance and attack with Shadow Sneak and Iron Head. Doublade isn't seen very often on Ghost teams because many common Pokémon such as Mandibuzz, Tapu Koko, Mega Charizard X and Y, and Mega Sableye all beat it very easily. Doublade helps in specific matchups such as Fairy and Rock where it can use its high Defense and typing in order to switch into the likes of Tapu Bulu and start setting up. Doublade can also check Mega Diancie and Mega Altaria with its high Defenses, although it cannot take an Earth Power from Mega Diancie when chipped.

Dhelmise

Dhelmise

Dhelmise is the only Rapid Spinner Ghost teams have, which allows them to clear away hazards. Using its huge Attack and low Speed, it can function under Trick Room very nicely. Though it has nice coverage, it fails to take down many defensive threats and is worn down quickly through hazards or status. Dhelmise is usually seen carrying an Assault Vest in order to take strong special attacks. Dhelmise is useless outside of Trick Room, as its low Speed makes it vulnerable to revenge killers.

Hoopa

Hoopa

Hoopa serves as a decent wallbreaker and Trick Room attacker on Ghost teams. Choice Specs along with Psychic coverage allows it to deal with Poison- and Fighting-types, and a Choice Scarf makes up for its poor Speed. Its poor Speed also allows it to fit on Trick Room teams, using its high Special Defense to set up and its high Special Attack to take advantage of it. Hoopa is outclassed as a revenge killer by Gengar because of Gengar's convenient Speed tier and Poison coverage, which allows it to deal with Fairy-type Pokémon.

Gourgeist-XL

Gourgeist-XL

Gourgeist-XL's main role on Ghost is to take care of physical wallbreakers. Being part Grass makes it more suited to take on Diggersby, Tapu Bulu, and Excadrill while allowing it to absorb Spore and making it immune to Leech Seed. Will-O-Wisp and Synthesis allow Gourgeist-XL to switch in on wallbreakers. Although it is very bulky, Gourgeist-XL is very passive and can be worn down with status or used as Spikes bait. Gourgeist-XL is most often found aside Jellicent and Mega Sableye as part of the defensive core.

Tough Matchups

Dark

How to Win?

The Dark matchup is difficult to win for Ghost because of Ghost's general weakness to Dark, not to mention the variety of wallbreakers a Dark team usually has: Life Orb Greninja, Choice Specs Hydreigon, and even opposing Mega Sableye. Mimikyu and Mega Sableye can deal with Dark-types pretty easily, so keep Mimikyu's Disguise active and Mega Sableye healthy. Be careful of when to set up with Mimikyu, as Disguise allows it to handle many Dark-type threats such as Mega Sharpedo or Hydreigon. Golurk can take down a single Dark Pokémon with its Focus Sash and Dynamic Punch in case Mega Sharpedo gets out of hand.

Tips

Normal

How to win?

The Normal matchup is hard for Ghost because Mega Pidgeot, Mega Lopunny, and Diggersby all pose huge threats to Ghost with their immense power. Mega Lopunny, Mega Pidgeot, and Diggersby all take advantage of free switches, usually taking down a Pokémon every time it happens. Porygon-Z can set up on Jellicent and can make short work of the team if Scarf Gengar or Mimikyu is already knocked out. Ditto is also able to switch into Gengar's Focus Blast and use Gengar's high power against the team. Choice Scarf Gengar can be used to deal with Mega Lopunny and Pidgeot, and Jellicent can take care of Chansey quite nicely using Taunt.

Tips

Poison

How to win?

The Poison matchup is very tough for Ghost because of Poison's defensive nature taking advantage of Ghost's lack of wallbreakers outside of Alolan Marowak. After Alolan Marowak is knocked out, Ghost easily loses to Poison. Jellicent, Mimikyu, Gourgeist-XL, and Mega Sableye are stalled out by Toxapex while Gengar loses to Alolan Muk as usual. In order to defeat Poison, you need to keep Alolan Marowak healthy to break Poison's defensive core. In order to do this, you need to keep switching Alolan Marowak out to Jellicent or Mega Sableye to avoid allowing Nihilego, Nidoking, or Gengar to potentially knock it out.

Tips

Water

How to win?

Water is a tough matchup for Ghost because of Mega Sharpedo, Manaphy, Mega Gyarados, and Toxapex. Nothing can switch in on Mega Sharpedo or Gyarados, Mega Gyarados hits through Disguise and hits Mega Sableye with Taunt with its Mold Breaker, making it a huge threat. Aside from those two, Manaphy is able to set up on defensive Pokémon such as Mega Sableye and Jellicent and can break through them with +3 Energy Ball or Scald, thus making short work of Ghost's defensive core. Toxapex is a huge threat because of Haze, which allows it to stall out Mega Sableye and Mimikyu by clearing their boosts.

Tips

Sample team

Jellicent @ Leftovers
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 248 HP / 252 SpD / 8 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Taunt
- Toxic
- Recover


Mimikyu @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Disguise
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Shadow Claw
- Shadow Sneak
- Swords Dance
- Play Rough


Gengar @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Shadow Ball
- Sludge Wave
- Focus Blast
- Thunderbolt


Sableye-Mega @ Sablenite
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 252 HP / 112 Def / 144 SpD
Careful Nature
- Will-O-Wisp
- Knock Off
- Foul Play
- Recover


Gourgeist-Super @ Leftovers
Ability: Frisk
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature
- Leech Seed
- Will-O-Wisp
- Seed Bomb
- Synthesis


Marowak-Alola @ Thick Club
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 48 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 204 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Fire Punch
- Earthquake
- Shadow Bone
- Stealth Rock

This team revolves around using Mega Sableye, Gourgeist-XL, and Jellicent as a defensive core and Gengar, Alolan Marowak, and Mimikyu as an offensive core. Mega Sableye is able to bounce back status and Stealth Rock, while Jellicent and Gourgeist-XL are able to take strong attacks coming off of opposing offensive Pokémon. At the same time, Alolan Marowak, Jellicent, and Gourgeist-XL form the Fire / Water / Grass core, giving the team many resistances and a Water and Electric immunity. Choice Scarf Gengar with Thunderbolt is used to revenge kill many faster threats with its perfect coverage, and Thunderbolt is used to hit Water- and Flying-types for super effective damage. Mimikyu with a Ghostium Z is used as a Dark check and a late-game cleaner, while Alolan Marowak absorbs Electric-type attacks and uses its wallbreaking potential to remove any defensive threats that may cause trouble to the team such as Mega Venusaur and Toxapex.

Trick Room Ghost

Trick Room is another Ghost archetype that is based on using slow wallbreakers under Trick Room to bring out their full potential. Many Trick Room Ghost teams have at least two Trick Room setters, namely Mimikyu, Jellicent, or Cofagrigus, and a few Trick Room attackers or wallbreakers that excel under Trick Room. Choice Scarf Gengar is usually used to keep faster threats in check outside of Trick Room, and Mega Sableye is used for utility, as always. Many Trick Room teams run Golurk for Stealth Rock, as Alolan Marowak will be running Swords Dance in order to make sweeping under Trick Room easier. Notable Ghost-type Pokémon that take advantage of Trick Room are Dhelmise, Alolan Marowak, and Hoopa. Trick Room Ghost is the hardest archetype to play due to how hard it is to preserve Trick Room turns and the lack of a complete defensive backbone, leaving the team vulnerable outside of Trick Room.

Here is an example of a Trick Room Ghost team.

Jellicent @ Leftovers
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Trick Room
- Toxic
- Recover


Golurk @ Focus Sash
Ability: No Guard
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Dynamic Punch
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge
- Stealth Rock


Gengar @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Shadow Ball
- Sludge Wave
- Focus Blast
- Thunderbolt


Sableye-Mega @ Sablenite
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 252 HP / 112 Def / 144 SpD
Careful Nature
- Will-O-Wisp
- Knock Off
- Foul Play
- Recover


Mimikyu @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Disguise
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Brave Nature
- Trick Room
- Shadow Claw
- Swords Dance
- Play Rough


Marowak-Alola @ Thick Club
Ability: Rock Head
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpD
Brave Nature
- Swords Dance
- Flare Blitz
- Shadow Bone
- Earthquake

Get Out There!

Due to how anti-metagame it is, Ghost is a type that more experienced players use in order to gain leverage on high-tier types like Psychic or even middle-tier types such as Electric and Bug. Despite that, Ghost is still a very restricted type, and it often struggles to run more than one or two builds per archetype. Whether you are new to Monotype or have been playing it for years, playing Ghost takes practice, and practice makes perfect. If you are interested in getting involved with Monotype, find its room on Pokémon Showdown or the Monotype forum on Smogon. Thank you for reading this article and have a nice day.

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