Resource A Beginner's Guide to Monotype

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

The first thing you need to know about Monotype before we get anywhere, though, 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! Pokemon 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 Pokemon that it has. Oftentimes, as long as you're not playing an unviable type, 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 in relative viability within each group), so choose whichever you find more fun to play!

As a brief explanation, 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.

Offense teams, as the name implies, focuses 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 being fast, 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.

Steel uses hazard stacking and pivoting to pressure the opponent and has a resilient defensive backbone in Skarmory / Celesteela + Heatran + Ferrothorn that covers most of its troubling matchups and weaknesses. While it lacks sheer, immediate power, Steel teams choose to wear down enemies slowly but surely until their sweepers like Mega Scizor 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 + Porygon2. Barring its one weakness in Fighting, most teams will struggle to brute force their way through this core and will get picked apart by Z-Conversion Porygon-Z and powerful wallbreakers such as Diggersby supported by Mega Lopunny or Mega Pidgeot. Normal-types are very dedicated to their role and play fairly straightforwardly, so Normal is a great beginner type for those trying to get a hold on the metagame.

Flying is the most proactive of the four balance teams. Skarmory + Zapdos + Mantine shuts out most offensive threats with its renowned typing synergy and bulk. Flying teams also use some of the strongest wallbreakers in Mega Charizard Y, Dragonite, and Landorus along with setup sweepers like Landorus-T and even stallbreakers in Gliscor and our old friend Zapdos to break down almost any 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. 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.

Fairy is the best type in the metagame right now and for good reason. Klefki provides dual screens and Thunder Wave support that make it almost impossible for other offensive teams to punch through the team freely. Z-Belly Drum Azumarill is perhaps the single most threatening sweeper, and it's supported by two great wallbreakers in Tapu Bulu and Tapu Koko. With the support of the powerful Mega Diancie and options like Clefable and Togekiss, it's no wonder Fairy can make defensive cores crumble and offensive teams weep.

Psychic is not far behind Fairy, though, and puts on a very similar showing. Deoxys-S is the best suicide lead in Pokemon 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 Alakazam, Mega Gallade, Mega Gardevoir, and Choice Band Victini make up for it in spades. Players that want to play a more traditional Hyper Offense style of dual screens into setup sweeper should definitely give Psychic a try.

Ground is the most successful of the weather-based teams with Sand Rush Excadrill and Hippowdon. It has access to two powerful wallbreakers in Landorus and Mega Garchomp, whose alternative formes Landorus-T and Garchomp are also two fantastic setup sweepers. Ground's answer to possibly annoying checks is Dugtrio, which can trap and remove almost all threats to the team including Tapu Bulu. While it may not have as much momentum control as the other two, teams will have to think twice about trying to hit back, as the threat of Dugtrio removing Excadrill's checks is very real. Ground teams are often the bulkiest of the offense teams, so Bulky Offense enthusiasts have found their match!

Electric is similar to Ground 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 Pokemon of the metagame. Electric's claim to fame is its control, though. It uses Volt Switch to jump around until it finds a good position and never lets up. Rotom-W and Zapdos in particular pivot into Ground-type attacks and Volt Switch right out, punishing the opponent for trying to hit Electric's only weakness. If you want to feel in control of the pace of the match, then Electric is the type for you.

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 Psychic and Flying have the versatility to be used in different ways as well! You may notice there are ten types not listed here. Those other ten are just not quite as viable as these eight because they either have a poor typing as a whole like Ice does or simply don't have a lot of viable Pokemon like Ghost. Certainly some such as Bug and Water are still quite good, but 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 right here in our forum, 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 Pokemon are best in the metagame. All you need to do is open up the section for your type! The best Pokemon 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.

But, you may ask, do these Pokemon really work that well together? Luckily, we've got more resources for you to use. Our Sample Teams contain a list of teams that are made just for you to view! You can use them for yourself, but you can also compare your team to them as well. Many of them use Good 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 doing something right.

While it is still a work in progress, you can also check the Smogon Strategy Dex for Monotype-specific sets and analyses like this one. We're doing our best to make sure all the best Pokemon in the metagame have an analysis for you to view and learn from, but not every Pokemon has one yet. These analyses are written by great players and checked for quality before they're uploaded for you to use. They come with sets, usage tips, and team options, so you can learn the nuances and niches of your Pokemon. 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 the Forum Index!

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 three main places you can ask your questions and get fast help:
  • The Monotype Chatroom - You can always find tons of people talking about Monotype in our chatroom, and you should definitely join in too! This is probably your best bet if you have a question and want to get a real-time answer. People are always there to help you with your team as well, so go ahead and drop a pastebin and get some advice if you need it!
  • Ask a Simple Question, Get a Simple Answer - If you have a pretty basic question, usually about the forums or any specific resource listed above, then go ahead and post it here!
  • The Monotype Discord Channel - Like the chatroom, you can always find someone here that can answer your questions. The server is a bit more casual and more for Monotype players to chill and talk, but if you ask a question, you'll definitely get an answer!
I hope this has helped you get a start in Monotype and organized all of the many resources available to you. Also, 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. 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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