OverUsed Monotypes

By Arifeen and Dream Eater Gengar. Art by LifeisDANK.
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OU monotype


Monotype is an OM known for requiring you to use a team labeled by a type. The user has a plethora of types to pick from and different playstyles that work for each types. Some types are blessed with the ability to use different playstyles, but some are cursed and have a restricted number of them. What is to blame? Pokémon repartition by type. Which divides the types by ranks. We have top-tier types, which include Psychic, Flying, Steel, Water, and Fighting. Mid-tier types envelop Bug, Dragon, Dark, Ground, Normal, Fire, and Fairy. At last, low-tier types contain Grass, Electric, Ghost, Poison, Rock, and Ice. In this article, we are going to be interested in top-tier types and the reasons they are such a reckoning force in today's metagame.

In Generation 5, Psychic was fortunate enough to be a top-tier type due to having a plethora of useful Pokémon it could pick from. Adding to its balanced capabilities, Psychic teams had the power to switch between offensive and defensive Pokémon thanks to the synergy such Pokémon had, but it still had problems going fully offensive or more defensively oriented.

Come Generation 6, Psychic received great Pokémon that could Mega Evolve, notably Mega Medicham, Mega Gallade, and Mega Gardevoir, which helped Psychic to synergize even better and gave it a better way to deal against their weaknesses. Nowadays, Psychic is viewed as one of the strongest, if not the best type in Monotype, so let's dive deeper in the type and see the reasons.

Psychic has access to various viable Pokémon that have great synergy together and fulfill many roles, which is why it has earned a spot as one of the best types out there. It can utilize offensive Pokémon such as Victini, Latios, Mega Gardevoir, Mega Medicham, Mega Gallade, and Hoopa-U. Victini is a great Choice Scarf user, as it helps against the type's weakness to Bug. Mega Gardevoir, Mega Medicham, and Mega Gallade are viable choices for a Mega Pokémon on Psychic-type teams due to their secondary typings that can help against Psychic-types' most fearsome foes: Dark-types. More defensively oriented Pokémon such as Slowbro, Mew, Meloetta, Mega Latias, and Cresselia are used to sponge hits and form great synergy with more offensive Pokémon. These Pokémon and many others offered Psychic access to a variety of playstyles, such as balance, offense, and even semi-stall.

Offensive Psychic teams usually carry a hazard setter, generally Mew, Azelf, or Deoxys-S, and wallbreakers, notably Mega Gardevoir, Mega Medicham, Victini, Hoopa-U, and Alakazam. The choices are clear; Mega Gardevoir, Mega Medicham, and Mega Gallade are used to help against the omnipresent Dark-types that hurt Psychic badly, but the latter two can also take on Steel-types, which are also problematic for Psychic. Victini is usually seen carrying Choice Scarf because it aids its team against Bug-types and it already has strong STAB moves such as V-create and Blue Flare. However, offensive Psychic can be easily worn down, as they lack bulky Pokémon. Sadly, offensive Psychic is threatened by fast Pokémon carrying super effective STAB moves such as Scolipede, Gengar, and Mega Sharpedo. The Bug weakness can be mitigated by carrying a Focus Sash Alakazam, which is effective against a lot of Psychic threats allowing it to KO or cripple a threat. Other choices such as Choice Scarf Latios and physically defensive Mew also work.

Balanced Psychic teams, which are the most popular, are versatile, as a a lot of Pokémon can fit on such teams. They usually carry a hazard setter in the form of Deoxys-S, Deoxys-D, or Mew. The first takes advantage of its Speed and acts as a suicide lead to lay hazards and stop the foe from setting theirs due to Taunt. The second uses its defensive stats to sponge hits and cripple the foe with status moves and lay hazards on the field, and Mew is famous for its longevity in battles thanks to Soft-Boiled. Psychic-type teams also use a Mega Evolution in the form of a special attacker in Mega Gardevoir, a physical wallbreaker in Mega Medicham, or a Swords Dance sweeper in Mega Gallade. A defensive backbone is needed to serve as protection to the offensive members. A Psychic team's typical defensive wall isn't passive, which makes it better than the other types. Slowbro is used as a physically defensive member that can sponge dangerous attacks threatening the team otherwise from the likes of Excadrill, Entei, and Azumarill and also has the opportunity to status Bisharp, Mega Gyarados, and Mega Sharpedo if it is healthy or holds Colbur Berry. Meloetta is often used as a special tank with Assault Vest, alleviating the team's Ghost weakness, since it is immune to it, and crippling the foe thanks to its wide coverage. Latias also plays the role of sponging special hits but has another important niche, which is being able to clear hazards and heal back a partner thanks to its access to Defog and Healing Wish.

While neither being the best nor the most used playstyle, semi-stall Psychic is also viable. It usually contains a hazard setter in Deoxys-D or Deoxys-S and a cleric in Mew or Jirachi. The choice of Mega varies between Mega Gardevoir, which is able to cover the type's threats thanks to its Fairy typing, and Mega Latias, which is utilized as a Calm Mind sweeper, while Slowbro can also make use of a Calm Mind set due to its access to Scald and its physical bulk. Other options such as Gothitelle, Jirachi, and Reuniclus are also viable. Gothitelle offers the team a Shadow Tag user, allowing it to trap a threat to the team or cripple opposing stall Pokémon such as Chansey. Reuniclus can be used as a wincon with Calm Mind, and its difference from Slowbro is that it has a superior Special Attack but lower Defense and can make use of it to fire off strong Focus Blasts and Psyshocks. Jirachi finds its way in semi-stall teams as a stallbreaker thanks to its ability in Serene Grace and good support moves such as Thunder Wave and Wish. This playstyle aims to wear down the opposing team with hazards while keeping the members healthy, and Calm Mind users serve as wincons as they can—with their bulk—boost their special stats easily.

Even though Psychic teams are blessed with versatility, they are doomed with weaknesses that are tough to deal with. Starting with the most problematic Pokémon, Bisharp. This Pokémon can boost its Attack thanks to Swords Dance and proceed to tear holes in the team with Knock Off and Sucker Punch. Bisharp is considered a premium threat due to the amount of support it receives from its respective types. Fortunately, Psychic does have answers, such as offensive pressure from Pokémon like Mega Gardevoir, Mega Gallade, and Mega Medicham, which are able to pressure Dark and, in the case of the Fighting duo, Steel teams, accompanied by Slowbro, which can sponge a hit from Bisharp and retaliate with Thunder Wave or Fire Blast. Bug teams also greatly threaten Psychic teams. Volcarona deserves a mention, as it is able to pull off a Quiver Dance thanks to its good bulk and ability in Flame Body, which is able to punish physical attackers. It is backed up by Galvantula, which is able to lay Sticky Web on a Psychic team's field, and Armaldo, which can keep off entry hazards off its field. While this seems problematic, Victini can make use of V-create and Blue Flare to create holes in Bug, with the assistance of Latias, which is able to Defog away Sticky Web and heal back Victini with Healing Wish. Another Pokémon that deserves to be called a threat to Psychic teams is Heracross. Located on Bug and Fighting teams, thanks to its ability in Moxie, Heracross can find itself being able to clean Psychic easily with a Choice Scarf. However, Heracross is still weak to Psychic and can be revenge killed by preserving Choice Scarf Victini or Choice Scarf Latios. Sharpedo poses itself as a threat whether being Mega Evolved or not thanks to Speed Boost. The usage of different Sharpedo sets has grown, so it can catch Psychic off guard and make the user wonder if it's special or physical, and Mega Sharpedo's combination of Speed Boost and Strong Jaw punches through Psychic teams with Crunch. It is supported on Water teams with Azumarill sponging Fighting and Bug moves. But due to its mediocre defensive stats, it can be revenge killed if important Pokémon such as Victini, Slowbro, and Mew aren't removed. Another threat that deserves a mention is Mega Gyarados, as thanks to its bulk, it is able to set up Dragon Dance behind a Substitute, making it hard to break. Choice Band or Life Orb Scolipede can also clean up Psychic teams due to its ability Speed boost.

Flying is one of the most dominant types in the tier. Backed by an amazing core of Skarmory and Zapdos, which walls a majority of physical and special attackers, Flying also has a lot of variety in secondary typings via Pokémon like Mega Charizard Y, Mega Gyarados, Togekiss, Dragonite, Aerodactyl, Landorus, and Gliscor. Flying teams also have a number of wallbreakers, most notably Landorus, Mega Charizard Y, Honchkrow, and Choice Band Dragonite. In addition to that, setup sweepers include Lum Berry Dragon Dance Dragonite, Swords Dance Gliscor, and Dragon Dance Mega Gyarados. On top of that, Flying has a number of great Choice Scarf users to act as revenge killers and offensive pivots: Landorus-T, Thundurus-T, Staraptor, and Togekiss. If that's not enough, Flying also offers a wide variety of playstyles, which further proves how versatile it is.

Offensive Flying teams usually contain a suicide lead, mainly Custap Berry Skarmory, and the rest of the team consists of wallbreakers and revenge killers, most commonly Mega Charizard Y, Landorus, Thundurus, and Choice Band Dragonite. There are other choices too; Mega Gyarados proves to be a great sweeper, especially with the aid of wallbreakers such as Dragonite and Landorus. Aside from that, offensive Flying teams could be Tailwind oriented, which mainly use lead Aerodactyl and Tornadus as setters and often carry slower wallbreakers such as Honchkrow to provide more offensive pressure. The main key to using offensive Flying is to ensure hazards are on the opposing side while trying as hard as possible not to let the opponent set up hazards by punching holes in the opposing team with strong wallbreakers.

Balanced Flying teams usually consist of the Skarmory + Zapdos core with a Pokémon that can take on specially offensive Ice-types better, which could be a specially defensive Mega Charizard Y or a tank Gyarados. The rest of the three slots contain wallbreakers and/or setup sweepers and a Choice Scarf user to give the team overall speed. Balanced Flying uses Skarmory and Zapdos to take hits while spreading Stealth Rock and Toxic, respectively. This wears the opposing team down as the game continues, which will give more setup opportunities or a free switch to a wallbreaker as the foe tries to recover its health or if Zapdos has Volt Switch. Late-game, Choice Scarf Pokémon, such as Thundurus-T, Togekiss, and Salamence, can easily clean the worn-down team.

Although Flying has a lot of versatility, it has some major weaknesses that are really hard to deal with. One of the biggest issues to Flying teams is Kyurem-B, which is a staple on Dragon- and Ice-type teams. Kyurem-B, if running Life Orb, can attempt to 6-0 Flying-type teams if Thundurus, Thundurus-T, Choice Scarf Landorus-T, Landorus, or Mega Charizard Y is taken down beforehand. On Dragon-type teams, Kyurem-B is backed up by Latias in order to absorb Fighting-type hits, so Focus Blast from Mega Charizard Y, Thundurus, Thundurus-T, and Landorus cannot reliably take it down. Dragon-type teams in general are very hard for Flying to take down due to the sheer number of threats they have: Choice Specs or Life Orb Latios, Kyurem-B, Mega Garchomp, and Dragalge. Latios pressures Zapdos and Skarmory a lot with Psyshock and Ice Beam, respectively; Mega Garchomp wears Zapdos down with Dragon Claw or Stone Edge and 2HKOes Skarmory with Fire Blast; and Dragalge has a lot of raw power with its STAB moves due to Adaptability, letting it take Zapdos down. Ice-types are a nightmare for Flying-types to face, as Pokémon like Mamoswine, Weavile, Abomasnow, Kyurem-B, and Cloyster pressure them a lot. In addition to these threats, Electric-types are also very hard to take down, as Zapdos is the only bulky Flying-type Pokémon that is not weak to Electric-type attacks without a 4x weakness to Ice-type attacks, but it gets pressured by Toxic, Guts Luxray, and Nasty Plot or Choice Band Thundurus. Choice Scarf Terrakion deserves a special mention, as it can clean a weakened Flying-type team if Skarmory is down, which isn't too hard to do, as Skarmory gets heavily pressured to check Fighting- and Rock-types. However, Ice and Electric generally are lesser-used types, which is why Flying is one of the most used types.

Ever since the XY era, Steel has been one of the most consistent types in the tier. Originally Steel teams had the "immunity core", consisting of Heatran, Skarmory, and Aegislash, which made Steel the best type to use at that time by providing immunities to Steel's three weaknesses, with the most glaring foe being Landorus, as Air Balloon Aegislash could switch into it. With the banning of powerhouses like Aegislash, Mega Mawile, and Mega Metagross, Steel lost the prominence it used to have. However, it still stayed as one of the top types due to solid defensive backbones in Heatran, Doublade, Skarmory, and Ferrothorn while still having offensive powerhouses in Excadrill, Mega Scizor, and Bisharp. For these reasons, balance is Steel's best playstyle.

Steel balance generally runs three wallbreakers as well as Skarmory and Heatran. They rely on wearing the opposing team down with hazards and status ailments, allowing setup sweepers like Scizor, Bisharp, and Doublade to clean late-game. Balanced Steel has a great matchup versus many types, notably Normal, Psychic, Dark, Rock, and Ice. Normal- and Psychic-types hate facing Knock Off users such as Bisharp and Mega Scizor and have great difficulty keeping them at bay. Dark-type teams faces problem against Mega Scizor and Heatran, as they have an easier time breaking their Sableye + Tyranitar + Mandibuzz core.

The Steel type, despite being one of the best, has some harsh drawbacks. One of the most glaring weaknesses of Steel is its vulnerability to Fire-types, especially Darmanitan, Mega Charizard Y, and most notably Infernape. These Pokémon have moves to hit Heatran very hard, which is Steel's only answer to Fire-type attacks. Fighting-types give it a lot of trouble too, especially Keldeo, as it can take down Skarmory and Doublade with ease. Ground-types can pressure Steel a lot, particularly Mega Garchomp due to its coverage of Earthquake and Fire Blast. Landorus is extremely threatening for Steel-types, as it can entirely decimate the type, unless the team has a Life Orb Hidden Power Ice Cobalion or Choice Scarf users like Hidden Power Ice Magnezone and Ice Punch Jirachi. Hydreigon is also very dangerous for Steel-type teams, as it can potentially KO the specially defensive wall, Heatran, with Earth Power, and ease its way past the team. Pokémon with Fire- and Ground-type coverage such as Nidoking, Mega Camerupt, and Heatran are also very dangerous. Additionally, specially offensive hard hitters such as Nasty Plot Thundurus, Choice Specs Meloetta, Hoopa-U, and Mega Gardevoir can also pressure Steel a lot, as Heatran lacks reliable recovery.

In BW, Water was regarded as the top type due to permanent rain from Drizzle and a plethora of playstyles and Pokémon to choose from. During the start of XY, rain teams became the face of Water teams, as most of the users ran it. Eventually, due to the sheer power of rain teams, Damp Rock ended up being banned, which reduced the number of rain teams for Water. This was for a good cause, however, as rain teams were really broken, and this opened up for different playstyles to be used. Moreover, Water-types are great in general due to having only two weaknesses: Grass and Electric, both of which are subpar in Monotype. Thus, mono-Water is one of the best types in the tier to use on balance, and it still offers different playstyles in offense and stall.

Balanced Water enjoys having one or two Pokémon immune to Electric, mainly Swampert and Lanturn, with another Pokémon to complete a defensive backbone, backed up by wallbreakers and sweepers. The defensive backbone has a plethora of Pokémon to choose from: Empoleon, Slowbro, Tentacruel, Swampert, Alomomola, Starmie, and Suicune. Empoleon and Swampert are great specially and physically defensive Stealth Rock users, respectively. Slowbro and Suicune are great Calm Mind users and acts as physically defensive walls and wincons. Tentacruel and Starmie perform their roles as defensive and offensive hazard removers, respectively. Alomomola can pass Wishes to its teammates while benefiting from Regenerator, making it really hard for the team to take down. In terms of an offensive backbone, Water-type has a lot of Pokémon to choose from as well: Keldeo, Azumarill, Gyarados, Crawdaunt, Manaphy, Sharpedo, and Feraligatr. Choice Specs Keldeo, Choice Band Azumarill, and Life Orb or Choice Band Crawdaunt are the wallbreakers, while Dragon Dance users in Feraligatr and Gyarados, Tail Glow Manaphy, and Mega Sharpedo with Speed boosts act as sweepers and cleaners. Balanced Water teams have a great matchup against a lot of types, most notably Normal and Dark, due to Keldeo's Secret Sword and Azumarill's Knock Off or Superpower. Water-types also pressure Ghost-, Psychic-, and Flying-types due to Mega Gyarados or Mega Sharpedo.

Another playstyle of Water is stall. Unlike balance, stall has fewer Pokémon to choose from. They usually rely on an Electric-type absorber, mainly Lanturn or Quagsire; an hazard stacker and spinner in Tentacruel; a Stealth Rock user in Empoleon; and a Wish passer, preferably Alomomola, due to its high HP stat and Regenerator. Sap Sipper Azumarill is mandatory in Water stall because otherwise, Breloom and Serperior can easily break through the team. The idea is to set hazards, mainly Toxic Spikes, and wear down the opposing team while keeping the team intact. Stall Water teams are very passive and have little-to-no variation, making them very predictable, as the switch pattern could be easy to read and can be taken advantage of.

Water-types have a nice matchup versus a lot of types due to their lack of weaknesses. However, Water-types just fall down to one type in particular: Grass. Grass-types have dangerous attackers in Breloom, Serperior, and Mega Venusaur, which destroy every Water-type apart from Sap Sipper Azumarill, which still loses to Mega Venusaur. Mega Ampharos also pressures Water-types a lot thanks to Mold Breaker. Mega Charizard Y is also threatening to Water-types due to the combination of Drought and Solar Beam. Strong wallbreakers such as Landorus, Terrakion, Crawdaunt, Hoopa-U, Gengar, Nidoking, Mega Gardevoir, and Thundurus are also very difficult to switch into, as they 2HKO most switch-ins, punching holes in the team.

In BW, Fighting-type teams were reigning over the metagame thanks to a variety of type combinations that helped against common types such as Water, Fire, Dragon, and Ground. In Generation 6, Fighting took a hit due to the introduction of Defog and Fairy-type Pokémon, but they are still counted as one of the best types in the metagame even with the abundance of Flying- and Psychic-type teams. The introductions of Mega Medicham and Mega Gallade offered Fighting-type teams more offensive pressure thanks to their raw power, coverage, and Speed tiers. Even though Fighting-type teams can only go offensive, they are still a defining force in today's metagame. Let's kick in!

Fighting teams are usually composed of a lead, mainly Infernape and Cobalion; a Mega Evolution in Mega Gallade or Mega Medicham, a Choice Scarf user in Terrakion or Keldeo; and others, depending on preference and the way the user wants to compose the team. Fighting-type teams have a lot of Pokémon they can choose from and enough coverage to go against current common types. Most teams contain Breloom, which offers Fighting-type teams a status move in Spore, priority in Mach Punch, and effectiveness against a popular type: Water. Keldeo is also seen on Fighting teams, as it can be kind of unpredictable thanks to its capability of running a Substitute + Calm Mind set that can power through a lot of teams, Choice Specs sets, and even Choice Scarf if the team lacks speed control. Terrakion is the main Choice Scarf Pokémon thanks to its typing in Rock / Fighting making it a solid check to Flying- and Bug-type teams, which threaten Fighting. Heracross is another option for a Choice Scarf Pokémon, as it can clean up weakened Psychic teams and sponge Will-O-Wisp thanks to Guts. Other choices are Toxicroak and Lucario, which help the team go head-to-head against Fairy-type teams and offer priority in Sucker Punch and Extreme Speed, respectively. Scrafty is another choice to take on Psychic-types thanks to its Dark / Fighting typing and Shed Skin allowing it to set up and absorb status moves effectively. Another good option is Hawlucha, which, thanks to its typing and ability, is able to power through Bug- and Grass-types. Thus, Fighting-type teams have the opportunity to check a wide range of types in the metagame thanks to their secondary typings. Terrakion, Keldeo, and Breloom are great examples of that. The first deals with Fire-, Bug-, and Flying- types thanks to its secondary typing in Rock. The second deals with Fire- and Ground- types. The last is effective against the omnipresent Water-types, as well as Ground-types. Fighting-type teams also have the capability to go against their weaknesses.

Although Fighting-types are blessed with wide versatility, they are still threatened by common Pokémon in the metagame, and their defensive backbone is fragile; thus they cannot switch out and absorb attacks as they please. Fighting-types fall prey to fast and offensive Pokémon. Mega Pinsir is the premium enemy to Fighting-type teams thanks to its ability in Aeriliate, Speed tier, and priority in Quick Attack. Slowbro poses itself as a threat for Fighting due to its great defensive stats and typing, and let's not forget Scald, which is able to neutralize most physical attackers that Fighting offers, making it hard for Fighting-type teams to break. Mega Sableye acts as a solid wall against Fighting. Being immune to their primary STAB moves, it is able to stop most physical attackers on Fighting teams thanks to Will-O-Wisp and its great defenses, but it must be wary of Guts Pokémon such as Heracross. It is also weak to special attackers like Keldeo and Substitute users such as Hawlucha. On Ghost, it is accompanied by Jellicent, which directly stops Keldeo, and Doublade, which is a threat on its own due to its physical bulk and immunity to Fighting's primary STAB moves, giving these two an easier time setting up Acid Armor and Swords Dance, respectively, against Fighting teams. On Dark, there's an offensive answer in Hoopa-U, which, when equipped with Choice Scarf, can weaken the opponent's team due to its high Special Attack and access to Hyperspace Hole to get past Substitute users, and Mandibuzz, which provides an amazing defensive backbone with Mega Sableye. Another threat that deserves a mention is Togekiss, which, due to its bulk and ability in Serene Grace, can break though Fighting teams.

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Now that you know why such types are labeled as top tier, you can go and play around with them! Due to their versatility, such types are fun to toy around with. But you shouldn't be discouraged from using other types, since the usage of top-tier types could be used as bait. The rise of Psychic is accompanied by a slight Dark and Bug rise. The reason types are classified lower than those is simply due to their pool of Pokémon not being as wide, and due to their weaknesses against other types making them much harder to use. If you enjoy challenges, I'd recommend using mid- and low-tier types, specifically low, as using such types is always fun and allows you to become better. In the end, it all depends on your preferences; remember, it's how you use the team that matters, not the tier of the type.

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