A Beginner's Guide to Monotype

By Eien. Released: 2019/04/20.
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Art by anundeadboy

Art by anundeadboy.


So you want to get into Monotype but aren't sure where to start? That's what we're here for, so buckle yourself in and let's get on the road!

The first thing you need to know about Monotype before we get anywhere is not to put too much stock into type matchups. While in some cases, such as Water against Grass, the type matchup is unbearable, others such as Flying vs Rock are completely the opposite of what you would expect! Pokémon that are immune to the type's weakness, such as Gastrodon and Seismitoad being immune to Water-type moves for Ground teams, are essential for turning the tables on these otherwise poor matchups.

What matters the most in Monotype isn't necessarily the number of weaknesses and resistances a type has, although certainly it does help. The most important quality of a type is in the Pokémon that it has. Oftentimes, as long as you're not playing an unviable type (there are only like a few of these!), you're on the right track.

So, on that note, let's try to pick out a type!

Choosing a Type and You!

While we certainly do not have the luxury of going very in-depth into each type, we can still briefly cover what types you should try out. We've divided the list of types into balance and offense (and ordered the types by relative viability within each group), so choose whichever you find more fun to play!

Balance Teams

Balance teams are those that use an offensive frontline with a defensive backbone to support it. The main goal is to pressure the opponent with an offensive threat, retreat to a defensive pivot, and then go back into another offensive threat after. They get their namesake from balancing offense with defense instead of going all out in one direction.

Steel uses hazard stacking and pivoting to pressure the opponent and has a resilient defensive backbone in Celesteela, Heatran, and Ferrothorn that covers most of its troubling matchups and weaknesses with a formidable combination of immunities and resistances. While it lacks sheer, immediate power, Steel teams choose to wear down enemies slowly but surely until their sweepers like Mega Scizor, Bisharp, and Jirachi can clean things up. Those that want to play an attrition style should look no further than Steel.

Normal takes a much more defensive approach to balance, able to boast the sturdiest defensive core in the Eviolite-holding duo of Chansey and Porygon2 backed by defensive Staraptor. Barring its one weakness in Fighting, most teams will struggle to brute force their way through this core, as even setup sweepers must be careful around the looming threat of Ditto. Slower teams that try to wear Normal down tend to get picked apart by Z-Conversion Porygon-Z and powerful wallbreakers such as Diggersby. Normal-types are very dedicated to their roles and play fairly straightforwardly, so Normal is a great beginner type for those trying to get a hold on the metagame.

Flying boasts the largest defensive core of these balance teams. Celesteela, Zapdos, Mantine, and Gliscor shut out most offensive threats with their renowned typing synergy and bulk. With this combination, even types like Ice and Electric will not find it easy to rely completely on type advantage to win the game. Flying teams also use some of the strongest wallbreakers in Dragonite and Landorus and stallbreakers to break down almost any opposing defensive core. So, if you want to have a nice defensive backbone but still have incredible power, Flying's your calling.

Poison plays similarly to Normal, but its defensive core of Mega Venusaur + Toxapex + Alolan Muk is much less vulnerable to Knock Off and setup sweepers. With the support of Crobat to pivot into Ground-type attacks and remove entry hazards, Poison teams punish teams that lack wallbreakers with appropriate coverage. While Poison teams often lack hard-hitting physical attackers, Gengar, Nihilego, and Nidoking are some of the most threatening special wallbreakers and have a wide range of coverage. Poison would be a great option for those looking for a defensive core like Normal's that has much better pivoting potential and offensive presence.

Water is not only one of the best types in Monotype but also famous for being the most diverse type. It easily has the most options when it comes to balance teams. The most standard core consisting of Swampert, Toxapex, and Mantine could replace Swampert with Gastrodon, swap out Mantine for Rotom-W or Empoleon, and even incorporate Pokémon like Suicune and Azumarill. In addition, Water teams' offensive options include multiple Keldeo sets, Dragon Dance Gyarados, Mega Sharpedo, Greninja, and more. Water is a great choice if you want to keep your options open and try many different kinds of teams in the same type.

Offense Teams

Offense teams focus more on hitting fast, hard, and often. They tend to lack the ability to take hits, but they dish out great damage in return. By using fast Pokémon, they seek to get the first hit in to avoid taking damage back. These teams look to overrun the opponent by gaining momentum and keeping the pressure on.

Fairy may not find much diversity in Pokémon to select from, but every Fairy-type possesses a handful of sets to mix and match. Z-Belly Drum Azumarill is perhaps the single most threatening sweeper in Monotype, and it's supported by two great wallbreakers in Tapu Bulu and Tapu Koko that can act as sweepers in their own right. With the support of the powerful Mega Diancie, dual screens Klefki, and options like Clefable and Mimikyu, Fairy can optimize its team to beat just about anything with the right sets. Even its type weaknesses in Poison and Steel can be overcome without jeopardizing its other matchups too heavily.

Psychic brings Deoxys-S, which is the best suicide lead in Pokémon and can not only set Stealth Rock and Spikes but also protect the team with dual screens! Double Dance Mewnium Z Mew outspeeds offense and breaks balance, giving it a strong case for also being one of the best sweepers. Psychic epitomizes offense in that its switch-ins are rather limited when it comes to its weaknesses, but the pressure it puts on with hard hitters like Mega Gallade and Choice Band Victini makes up for it in spades. Players that want to play a more traditional hyper offense style of dual screens supporting setup sweepers should definitely give Psychic a try.

Water shows how diverse it really can be by turning up as one of the best offense teams as well. Thanks to the power of Drizzle Pelipper and Swift Swim Mega Swampert, Water can punish other offense teams with fast and powerful wallbreakers. Alongside Mega Swampert is Seismitoad, which offers a second immunity to Electric and a way to OHKO Grass-type threats with Sludge Wave. With Greninja capable of carrying lure sets for virtually any type and Keldeo stallbreaking the few walls that stop Mega Swampert, the rain archetype proves to be incredibly potent in Monotype even without the help of the banned Damp Rock.

Electric is similar to rain Water in that its potential is unlocked when Electric Terrain is set by Tapu Koko. All Electric-type attacks are more powerful and Surge Surfer Alolan Raichu jumps up to be the fastest Pokémon in the metagame. Electric's claim to fame is its control, though, using Volt Switch to jump around until it finds a good position. Rotom-W and Zapdos in particular pivot into Ground-type attacks, punishing the opponent for trying to hit Electric's only weakness. With the help of Zeraora and Thundurus as powerful physical attackers, no team is safe against the offensive pressure that Electric can put on. If you want to feel in control of the pace of the match, then Electric is the type for you.

Dragon is a powerhouse of a type that looks to hit fast and hit hard. It comes packed with some of the strongest wallbreakers in Monotype between the formidable Kyurem-B and Dragonite. Supporting them are great stallbreakers: Taunt Hydreigon seeks to shut down walls, and Stored Power Mega Latias uses them as setup fodder. To break down Dragon's disadvantages, Kommo-o is a favorite, able to easily beat both Steel and Normal. Dragon takes a more traditional approach to offense, lacking switch-ins for basically any offensive threat with super effective damage, but it shows off its strength by plowing through just about any balance team in the metagame and is a great choice for those who want to go all out.

Notably, stall doesn't have a section. While yes, technically, stall exists in Monotype and can be quite powerful in the right hands, it's very difficult to use and has its own unwinnable matchups. It's strongly recommended that you choose one of the other main playstyles instead.

That was a lot to take in, but you've hopefully now got an idea of what type you want to play. Most of these styles are the best ways to build these types, but some types like Water have the versatility to be used in different ways as well! You probably noticed that there are some types not listed here. Some of them are just not quite as viable because they either have a poor typing like Ice does or simply don't have a lot of viable Pokémon like Ghost. The others are still quite good, and almost every type is viable on some level even at the highest level of play. However, it may be best to hold off on exploring the more difficult-to-use types until later!

How Do I Get Started?

The first thing you need to do is get in touch with our resources. We have plenty of them in our subforum, and the most useful of them all is the Viability Rankings. The community works very hard to keep it updated to make sure you can always check out what Pokémon are best in the metagame. All you need to do is open up the section for your type! The best Pokémon for your type are listed right at the top, and in most cases, you can just load your team up with the A- and S-rank threats and you would probably do fairly well.

But, you may ask, do these Pokémon really work that well together? Luckily, we've got more resources for you to use. Our Sample Teams thread contains a list of teams that are made just for you! You can use them for yourself, but you can compare your own teams to them as well. Many of them use established cores that have great success in the Monotype metagame, so absolutely feel free to copy some of them! If your team looks strangely like a sample team, you're probably doing something right. The whole point of our sample teams is to help new players get a feel for how Monotype teambuilding works and how to pilot a reliable team, so there's no harm in trying them out.

You can also check the Smogon Strategy Dex for Monotype-specific sets and analyses like this one. Almost every Pokémon that is decently ranked on the Viability Rankings will have an analysis on the website for you to check out. These analyses are written by great players and checked for quality before they're uploaded for you to use, so don't worry about if they're accurate or trustworthy! They come with sets, usage tips, and team options, so you can learn the nuances and niches of your Pokémon. Take advantage of these resources and learn all that you can from them!

How will you keep all these links together? Well, you can always find them all right here in our Forum Index along with other important information.

Getting help

This guide isn't a catchall and I'm sure you still have some questions, and that's great! We're happy to answer any questions you have. There are a few main places you can ask your questions and get fast help:

Closing Words

I hope this has helped you get a start in Monotype and introduced all of the many resources available to you. Don't feel shy! You don't need to be a veteran Monotype player to talk in our chatroom, so definitely join in on discussions you're interested in. Once you’ve built your team and gotten comfortable, check out some of our most competitive tournaments! On behalf of the Monotype staff and community, welcome to our metagame, and we hope you have a blast playing with us!

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