Monotype: The Psychic-type Primer

By Eien. Art by FellFromTheSky.
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Mew by FellFromTheSky


In the Monotype metagame, Psychic teams are among the most popular due to their variety and consistency. With an enormous pool of Pokémon, players can choose to build around almost any team archetype, with offensive, balance, and defensive teams all having great success in both ladder and tournament play. When Monotype is filled with balance teams, it's no surprise that a type with numerous balance breakers has good matchups left and right. That's not to say Psychic comes as an easy type to win with. It is always at risk of being outright swept by certain threats, which the player has to navigate around carefully. Nevertheless, Psychic is a window into the inner workings of Monotype, as even the best types will still need to use less viable sets and Pokémon to overcome their type disadvantages.

Psychic-type Pokémon and Cores

The Offensive Core

Medicham Mega Latias Mega Gardevoir Mega Victini Hoopa Unbound

Psychic is truly blessed to have three viable and very different Mega Evolutions to choose from. Mega Medicham is the most powerful of the trio, boasting the incredible ability to break almost all defensive teams apart with its Huge Power-boosted STAB attacks. It trades in defensive and supportive utility for the opportunity to be an almost unstoppable beast. Mega Latias takes a different approach, often opting to set up and sweep with Calm Mind or a more utilitarian role with Reflect Type. Mega Gardevoir is the best of both worlds; it can offer utility in Will-O-Wisp and Taunt, and stallbreaking power in Substitute, Calm Mind, and a destructive offensive power and move repertoire.

To back up your Mega Evolution of choice, Victini and Hoopa-U help to form the full offensive Psychic core. With Choice Scarf, Victini outspeeds the unboosted metagame and pack great power in V-create. It also serves as a fantastic offensive pivot due to its ability to force switches and use U-turn to bring in the appropriate wallbreakers; as the strongest wallbreaker in the metagame, Hoopa-U almost always assumes this role. The Choice Specs and Choice Band sets are phenomenal for opening up holes for the rest of the team to do its job. A Life Orb or Leftovers set can utilize Substitute to confer wallbreaking momentum while having a way to check Bisharp if necessary. Oftentimes the Hoopa-U set will be chosen to complement the Mega Evolution, with Mega Gardevoir and Mega Latias teams preferring the sheer power of Choice Band Hoopa-U and Mega Medicham preferring the perfect 2HKO coverage of the Choice Specs set.

One thing to take note of with this core is that Victini takes neutral damage from Bug-type attacks and has a great 100 / 100 / 100 defensive spread, while Hoopa-U takes neutral damage from Ghost-type attacks and has fantastic Special Defense. This makes the offensive core not only powerful but also useful even on the defensive.

The Defensive Core

Slowbro Mew Jirachi

This core is one of the biggest reasons why Psychic is a dominant force in the metagame. Slowbro has great physical bulk and is one of the best defensive pivots for the type. However, while it doesn't have a particularly dismal Special Defense stat, it's nothing spectacular, which is where Mew or Jirachi can come in to help. With their 100 / 100 / 100 defenses, they are quite difficult to break, even on the uninvested stat. Mew has the ability to run Will-O-Wisp, Taunt, Defog, or Knock Off alongside Stealth Rock and Roost, making it very versatile in the utility it provides. Jirachi on the other hand takes advantage of its Steel typing to strongarm Fairy teams and can run Healing Wish to replenish the health of a weakened teammate. Choosing which Pokémon to partner with Slowbro can be a very nuanced decision, but it generally comes down to figuring out what Pokémon are most threatening to the team. Teams weaker to Bisharp should use Mew for its ability to cripple Bisharp with Will-O-Wisp. Teams that have Bisharp covered can easily trade Mew for Jirachi, which has superior defensive utility and is a much more reliable backbone.

The Support

Latios Gothitelle Gardevoir

As backup to the two main cores, Psychic has a wide variety of support options. Latios is a very popular choice thanks to its great defensive typing, high Special Attack and Speed, and access to Defog for removing entry hazards. Gothitelle is a niche pick for its unique ability in Shadow Tag, which allows it to trap and remove common threats to Psychic teams such as Heatran. Gardevoir combines a lot of utility into one slot, thanks to its immunity to Dragon-type attacks, Trace, and access to Healing Wish. Gardevoir is also a good anti-meta choice, as it can Trace Swift Swim and Sand Rush, which helps defeat the common weather teams that may trouble Psychic teams. It also has a powerful Fairy-type STAB attack in Moonblast, which helps it defeat Dark teams.

Threats to the Type

The Dark Menaces

Gyarados Mega Sharpedo Mega Hoopa Unbound

Mega Gyarados is perhaps the single most difficult Pokémon for Psychic-type teams to deal with. With its monstrous base 155 Attack backing a STAB Crunch that can be further boosted by Dragon Dance, it's no wonder that it's almost impossible to defensively check outside of a Colbur Berry lure. It doesn't help that Mega Gyarados has excellent defenses, with a stat spread that even some common walls envy, and can find many opportunities to set up.

The other Mega Evolution with a Water / Dark typing is similarly threatening. Mega Sharpedo lacks the Attack-boosting capabilities of Mega Gyarados, but is bolstered by both a pre-Mega Evolution ability in Speed Boost and its post-Mega Evolution ability Strong Jaw. Very few Pokémon can survive Mega Sharpedo's Crunch even from full health without a Colbur Berry, making the threat of a Mega Sharpedo sweep all too real for many Psychic-type teams.

While Hoopa-U is one of Psychic's most reliable wallbreakers, it's also one of its worst nightmares. Unlike the other threats, Hoopa-U can't sweep at all. Instead, it boasts the ability to always get a KO if it's sent in safely against a Psychic team thanks to the unstoppable power of a Choice item-boosted Hyperspace Fury or Dark Pulse. Psychic teams have a reliable way to force Hoopa-U to switch out with Choice Scarf Victini's U-turn, but there's no way to actually stop it once it's on the field without sacking a Pokémon, which allows it to break the entire team down one-by-one.

The Hyper Offense Steel Core

Scizor Mega Doublade Bisharp

The core most commonly attributed to the popular Hyper Offense Steel team utilizes three Swords Dance sweepers that are all powerful in their own right. Psychic teams can find themselves simply lacking the tools for stopping them when they're working together. The core seeks simply to brute force its way through the defensive core, as it will slowly get worn down one sweeper at a time before one eventually breaks through and closes out the match.

Bug Offensive Core

Volcarona Heracross

Like with the Steel core, Bug teams look to just overwhelm the overworked defensive core. Moxie Heracross is capable of revenge killing almost any Psychic-type Pokémon and threatens to sweep instantly thanks to its Moxie-boosted Attack. Similarly, after just one or two Quiver Dances, Volcarona can sweep right through a team. They're both checked by Victini, but when combined with the threat of Mega Pinsir or Mega Scizor, Victini is overworked and incapable of handling all of the above threats at once.

A Closer Look at the Teams

As the ORAS Monotype metagame developed, so did the tools that Psychic teams employed.

While the potent threat of Mega Sableye loomed over the metagame, the primary Mega Evolution of choice was Mega Gardevoir, for its unique ability to outright counter Mega Sableye allowed it to then decimate most Dark-type teams. With Sablenite banned, however, some teams have begun to favor Mega Medicham's even more powerful wallbreaking capabilities. Others have turned to Mega Latias for its inherent versatility that allows it to reliably run countless sets to check whatever threatens its team.

Time has also revealed an evolution in the favored item of Slowbro, the omnipresent defensive backbone of most balanced Psychic teams. Where it once used the likes of Rocky Helmet and Leftovers, Colbur Berry is seeing a noticeable spike in usage to help it check huge offensive threats such as Mega Gyarados and Mega Sharpedo.

And where once Mew was once the most popular Pokémon for partnering with Slowbro in supporting the team, in recent times it has given some of its spotlight to specially defensive Jirachi. While Mew does keep its niche of carrying Will-O-Wisp to cripple most physical threats, Jirachi brings a much appreciated defensive Steel typing to the table for helping to check Fairy-types, which can pose a big threat to teams that lack it.

Here's an example of a fully built standard Psychic team:

Medicham-Mega @ Medichamite
Ability: Pure Power
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Fake Out
- High Jump Kick
- Ice Punch
- Bullet Punch

Victini @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Victory Star
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- V-create
- Bolt Strike
- U-turn
- Blue Flare

Hoopa-Unbound @ Choice Specs
Ability: Magician
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Dark Pulse
- Psyshock
- Focus Blast
- Thunderbolt

Slowbro @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpA
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Slack Off
- Grass Knot
- Thunder Wave

Latios (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Draco Meteor
- Psyshock
- Roost
- Defog

Mew @ Leftovers
Ability: Synchronize
EVs: 152 HP / 252 SpD / 104 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Roost
- Will-O-Wisp
- Knock Off

This team takes advantage of the cores we discussed earlier and is tailored quite heavily towards defeating the potent threats that were just explained. It uses the offensive pivoting of Victini alongside Slowbro and Mew's ability to switch into most attacks to keep the momentum on its side. With the enormous power of Mega Medicham and Choice Specs Hoopa-U, the team has little trouble breaking apart defensive cores, while Latios and Victini are huge obstacles for most offensive teams.

To defeat Dark-type Pokémon, the team fields an unusually fast Mew that reaches 288 Speed in order to outspeed Jolly Mega Gyarados. This allows it to fire off a crippling Will-O-Wisp before Mega Gyarados can employ Substitute or Taunt. In the case that Mega Gyarados manages to set up against another team member, this team uses Colbur Berry Slowbro to act as the last line of defense. It carries Grass Knot specifically to deal serious damage to Mega Gyarados, which, in conjunction with any previous damage Mega Gyarados may have taken, can put it in range to be KOed by Victini or Mega Medicham's Fake Out. Slowbro's Thunder Wave helps to check and completely cripple Mega Sharpedo, as Colbur Berry halves the damage Crunch will deal.

The hyper offensive Steel core is still a big problem for this team. Mew is capable of burning all three of the primary Swords Dance users, which is the main way this team will stand a chance. The strategic use of Victini to force out Mega Scizor and of Hoopa-U to cover Doublade is important, and taking any stray damage on these checks can lead to a lost game. This team puts a lot of responsibility on Victini, too, for handling Bug teams, which will try to overwhelm it with the combination of Mega Pinsir, Volcarona, and Heracross. Keeping Victini healthy and wisely using Blue Flare or V-create as the situation demands is the key to victory. It is absolutely necessary for Latios to be safely preserved because it's the only way for the team to remove Sticky Web. Victini is capable of surviving even a +1 Heracross Megahorn, but it should not be relied upon. The use of Mega Medicham's Fake Out can help pick off threats, but is also not very reliable.


Psychic is certainly one of the best types right now and is a great starting point for anyone looking to try out the Monotype metagame. For further information and help, check out the Monotype chatroom on Pokémon Showdown or the Monotype subforum in the Other Metagames forum. Both are great places to interact with the community and utilize the many resources available to you.

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