Featured LC Pokemon: Gastly

By comatthew6. Art by nada somos.
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Gastly is one of those Pokemon that fills a specific role on Little Cup teams, and if a Pokemon does it better, then Gastly will be nonexistent. For a good amount of the DPP and BW LC metagames, that Pokemon was Misdreavus with its higher Speed and defenses. Thankfully for Gastly, Misdreavus was banned in both metagames, giving it the chance to shine. And how! After the banning of Misdreavus, Gastly became the most popular Pokemon to use in DPP (alongside Gligar), and in BW, it is currently behind only Mienfoo in terms of usage. Gastly has thus managed to separate itself from the likes of Drifloon and Duskull in DPP and Frillish in BW. Because of this, Gastly has been able to firmly plant itself as one of the best Pokemon in Little Cup throughout both metagames, a feat that only Gligar was able to boast until it was banned in Round 4.

Gastly's Qualities

Gastly has numerous strengths, and some of them are quite apparent. The first is its blistering Special Attack, reaching 19 with a neutral nature, or 20 with a boosting one. In Little Cup, these numbers are only beaten by Abra and Solosis. In addition, it is also quite fast, being able to hit 18 Speed. Unfortunately, it cannot hit the magic Speed tier of 19, which is a little disappointing. Gastly's Ghost / Poison typing is also incredible, giving it immunities to Normal-, Fighting-, and Ground-type attacks in conjunction with Levitate. Sadly, its weakness to Dark-type attacks make it easy for Pokemon like Stunky and Pawniard to switch in and trap it with Pursuit. Its ability, Levitate, is one of the best in the game, giving it an immunity to Spikes to go with the mentioned Ground-type immunity. On a different note, Gastly also carries a wide array of special attacks, ranging from strong STABs in Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb to coverage moves such as Thunderbolt and Energy Ball.

Playing With Gastly

The best way to use Gastly is to make the most out of its enormous Special Attack and relatively high Speed. This means that a Life Orb or Choice Scarf set works most efficiently, with Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb taking the first two slots, leaving the last two for Thunderbolt, Trick, Hypnosis, Substitute, or a Hidden Power. These sets can prove very effective in the late-game, but both of them are very vulnerable to trappers such as Stunky and Pawniard unless Gastly has Substitute or Hypnosis. Despite Gastly's low defenses, it can also run less hyper-offensive sets in a the form of a bulky Eviolite set. This set contains Hypnosis, Substitute, Shadow Ball, and Sludge Bomb with an EV spread of 116 HP / 36 Def /116 SpA / 196 Spe and a Timid nature. The purpose of a bulkier set is to allow Gastly to survive more neutral hits, such as Chinchou's Thunderbolt, in order to set up Hypnosis and Substitute more reliably. A variant of this set, more popular in the fourth generation, was used with Hidden Power Fighting sometimes over Sludge Bomb, and Leftovers or Oran Berry over Eviolite. This way, with a successful Hypnosis, Gastly can hide behind a Substitute relatively easily and proceed to sweep teams.

Playing Against Gastly

Gastly's biggest downfalls are its low defenses and weakness to Dark-type attacks, and these should be exploited in order to take out the specter. Stunky is probably the best trapper to beat Gastly, since it resists both Ghost- and Poison-type attacks and can trap Gastly with Pursuit. Stunky also hits 18 Speed, so it can potentially net an easy KO on Gastly before it even moves. Gastly's low defenses also make it vulnerable to most neutral attacks, so most Pokemon that outspeed Gastly and have a neutral STAB attack can usually 2HKO or sometimes OHKO Gastly. Magnemite is immune to Sludge Bomb and resists Shadow Ball, and can easily OHKO most variants with a Life Orb-boosted Thunderbolt.

Fitting Gastly Onto Your Team

Gastly is an offensive Pokemon in nature, and its teammates should reflect that. Gastly doesn't need a lot of support no matter which set it runs, but there are a few Pokemon that can, and should, take advantage of the qualities (superior Special Attack, high Speed, four immunities) which Gastly brings to the table.

Environmental Factors

Stealth Rock is absolutely vital to Gastly's success as a sweeper. With opponents guaranteed to lose health every time they switch in, checks and counters will be less inclined to switch in knowing that they'll have to stave off a strong Shadow Ball or Sludge Bomb. Dwebble is one of, if not the best, users of Stealth Rock there are, and can almost always set it up along with at least one layer of Spikes before going down. Ferroseed has great synergy with Gastly, as it resists Ghost-, Dark-, and Psychic-type attacks, while Gastly in turn is immune to the ever-common Fighting-type attacks. Toxic Spikes is also never a bad thing for Gastly, but offensive teams might be hard-pressed to find room for Trubbish or Tentacool.


A strong Fighting-type Pokemon such as Mienfoo or Croagunk goes a long way in supporting Gastly, as most trappers are easily handled by them. Fighting-types also fare quite well against Lileep and Ferroseed, two thorns commonly in Gastly's side. Speaking of Lileep, it is also a good teammate for Gastly as it easily handles Chinchou, a bulky Water-type that can usually sponge two hits from Gastly and take it out with Thunderbolt or Hydro Pump. Because Gastly cannot hit 19 Speed, it will struggle against faster Pokemon with strong STAB attacks, such as Staryu. For this reason, reliable Choice Scarf users in Snover and Chinchou will be quite effective in removing faster threats.

Get Out There!

Gastly has once again managed to establish itself as one of the biggest threats in the Little Cup metagame. With high Speed, a strong Special Attack stat, and a solid offensive typing, Gastly has proven for the second time that it is a true contender in Little Cup. If you're playing Little Cup and need a strong Ghost-type to fill the void that Misdreavus left, look no further than Gastly, because this Pokemon will surely not disappoint.

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