Type Analysis: Fighting

By Harsha and PK Gaming. Art by ium.
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Fighting has always been regarded as one of the premier offensive types for its good coverage and strong moves. While the typing doesn't grant a good set of resistances, it does grant STAB on some of the most powerful and fearsome moves in the game. Most Fighting-types also have access to expansive movepools—or at least movepools that provide enough coverage to get the job done. Every team you encounter in the OU environment sans stall teams will likely be running a Fighting-type, and if you happen to encounter the rare stall team, you're in luck, as Fighting-types provide the power necessary to take them down!

Fighting-types in OU

One should note that Fighting-types are nearly all physical attackers. They pack quite a punch, though, so even the bulkiest physical walls must fear switching in.

Fighting-types in OU can be grouped into a few categories without much trouble. First and foremost, there is the setup sweeper, one of the most fearsome Fighting-types one will ever encounter. These are actually quite common in the metagame, and they are likely the hardest to deal with. Like any setup sweeper, they will aim to either sponge a hit and boost an offensive stat or take advantage of a forced switch in order to set up. Common examples of such sweepers include Keldeo, Breloom, Terrakion, and Toxicroak. These Pokemon are all very threatening, even without setting up, and when they grab the appropriate boost, they have the potential to singlehandedly decimate the opposition. Maybe you've now noticed that Keldeo is on this list, but it has a measly base 72 Attack. Not all Fighting-types are physical attackers, and as Keldeo can attest, some can even be specially-based juggernauts!

The other two categories are based on the item they wield. Choice-equipped Fighting-types are a common sight among OU Pokemon, and many wield either a Choice Band or Choice Specs to blow holes in common walls. With a Choice Band attached, there are no common Pokemon in OU that would dare switch into a Terrakion Stone Edge or Close Combat (though you can bring in a Cresselia to ward it off, I guess). Choice Specs Keldeo is one of the most fearsome wallbreakers, and under the rain, it has the capability to pummel even sturdy Pokemon that bear resistances to its attacks, such as Amoonguss and Celebi. These Pokemon are incredibly difficult to wall, but their weakness lies in their middling Speed stats. However, these Pokemon are generally accompanied by a Choice Scarf user, so you can't solely depend on beating these by using Speed alone.

Speaking of Choice Scarf, that brings me to the last category. Choice Scarf-wielding Fighting-types are quite common in this metagame, if only because many possess good Speed stats. Such Pokemon include Terrakion, Keldeo, Infernape, and Mienshao—you should note that they all have base Speed stats of 105 or higher. The former two are quite powerful in their own right, but the latter two have an important niche: access to U-turn. With the ability to conserve momentum for teams and access to powerful moves, these two lesser-used Fighting-types can do decent damage in OU.

Terrakion is the Pokemon you think of first when Fighting-types are brought up. It is the quintessential Fighting-type, considering its high base 129 Attack, its great base 108 Speed, and great movepool. With access to Stone Edge and Close Combat, Terrakion can hit all but five Pokemon for at least neutral damage, leaving very little room for switch-ins. If you've read the above paragraphs, you should note that Terrakion is in every single category. It can run many good sets, so scouting it out is essential for any opposing player. One false step and it can have a Substitute set, readying itself with an upcoming Swords Dance.

Breloom was pretty much set to coast on Spore and Poison Heal for the remainder of Generation V, but it seems like Game Freak had some plans in store for Breloom, because they decided it to give it Technician. Talk about a match made in heaven, for Technician Breloom is an absolute monster in Gen V. It has trouble switching in, but when it does, good lord—your opponent better start praying they can access their checks in time, or Breloom is going to tear them apart. Between Low Sweep absolutely decimating Pokemon that rely on their typing to check Breloom—such as Latios or Starmie—,Mach Punch hitting fast and hard, and Bullet Seed having the potential to reach a jaw-dropping 187 BP (before STAB!), there aren't many Pokemon that can ever hope to withstand Breloom's onslaught in BW OU. It's a pity it is slow as molasses.

Keldeo is a top-class offensive sweeper, and generally a one-of-a-kind Pokemon. It thrives in the ubiquity of rain and has no trouble sweeping straight through most teams. Its rain-boosted Hydro Pumps are unbelievably powerful, and it curbstomps any special wall that attempts to check it by cutting them up with Secret Sword. If anyone plans on stopping Keldeo, they need to invest in heavy duty Keldeo counters, because even Pokemon that resist Water risk getting 2HKOed by Hydro Pump in the rain.

Toxicroak was always an underrated sweeper, but with the new, rain-infested metagame, it can really shine by using its Swords Dance set to its full potential. The beauty of Toxicroak lies in that it can OHKO most Pokemon that outspeed it with a boosted Sucker Punch and also beat down any slower Pokemon with either Ice Punch or Drain Punch. While one does have to watch for the occasional Jellicent or Psychic Politoed, Toxicroak is a rather safe play, and it's a really good Pokemon to combat teams that have Ferrothorn or Politoed as their defensive backbone.

Lucario has definitely seen better days, back when when its base 90 Speed was acceptable, but it's still a beast. It is impossible to wall, since it can beat nearly every single defensive wall in the tier after a Swords Dance boost. Pokemon that would ordinarily revenge kill it still have to watch out for its insanely powerful ExtremeSpeed, and it's also still got that awesome interchangeable moveset, which can help Lucario get a leg over checks such as Jellicent, Gliscor, or Gengar. Setting up Lucario may be difficult, but the reward is oh-so-worth-it. If you can get Lucario set up and your opponent's team is partially weakened, it'll sweep them before they can even utter, "Damn, did I just lose?"

Some other Fighting-type Pokemon that don't suck, but aren't necessarily well-equipped for this metagame, are Virizion, Cobalion, Conkeldurr, and Scrafty. All of these are effective with the right support, though the common Tornadus-T blows by Virizion, and rain-boosted Water moves simply plow through the rest. Still, Cobalion has a niche as a good Stealth Rock setter with access to Volt Switch, while Conkeldurr has the potential to sweep unprepared teams if they lack the power to swiftly KO it. Underestimate Fighting-types at your own peril! They might just pack a punch (literally).

Notable Fighting-type Moves


Brick Break – 75 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Inflicts damage and removes Light Screen and Reflect.

No self-respecting Fighting-type would ever be caught dead using this move, though Brick Break is useful on non-Fighting-type Pokemon that needs the coverage. That said, its pitiful Base Power often ends up disappointing everything that ends up using it. Hell, it even got nerfed in BW. (Brick Break no longer removes screens if a Ghost-type switches in.)

Close Combat – 120 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Inflicts damage and lowers the user's Defense and Special Defense stats.

The perfect move for a Pokemon that wants to go balls-to-the-wall and absolutely destroy their target with little regard for the consequences. Close Combat is arguably the best Fighting-type move ever created; it's a powerful, physical Fighting-type move with perfect accuracy. Its main drawback is a lowering of both defense stats, so it should only be used on Pokemon that are near guaranteed to KO their target or are durable enough to take a hit after their defenses are lowered. It's thus the perfect move for fast, hard-hitting Fighting-types such as Terrakion and Lucario.

Cross Chop – 100 Base Power – 80% Accuracy – Inflicts damage and has an increased critical ratio.

Cross Chop is to Fighting-types what Eminem is to black people. There's always a better Fighting-type move out there, and it should only be used when you have no access to higher quality substitutes, as in the case of Electivire and Golduck.

Never forget! Cross Chop can be bred on many Pokemon like Psyduck and Machop! Use it well!

Drain Punch – 75 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Inflicts damage and up to 50% of the damage inflicted to the target is restored to the user as HP.

Drain Punch was given a new lease of life in Generation V. Its Base Power might not be anything to write home about even after the boost, but more importantly, it also acts as a recovery move, meaning it is perfect on slow, bulky Fighting-types that set up with boosting moves such as Bulk Up. One of the best aspects about Drain Punch is its ability to push the user's HP just outside of 2HKO range. Notable users of this move are Toxicroak and Conkeldurr, both of which are infuriating to deal with after they've set up.

DynamicPunch – 100 Base Power – 50% Accuracy – Inflicts damage and confuses the target.

DynamicPunch just screams insanely high risk, no reward; you'd have to be out of your mind to even consider a move with even less accuracy than Stone Edge move over other more reliable Fighting-type alternatives... unless your name is Machamp. Machamp's No Guard ability gives DynamicPunch perfect accuracy, which means anything that gets hit by this move is forced to play Machamp Roulette and pray to Arceus that they don't stupidly hit themselves while confused. Machamp's DynamicPunch is basically synonymous for causing high blood pressure and making people rage quit; it's the only reason why you would ever want to use this thing in OU.

Hi Jump Kick -130 Base Power – 90% Accuracy – Inflicts damage, and if it misses, the user will take crash damage equal to half of its maximum HP rounded down.

For most of its existence, Hi Jump Kick was a forgettable move seen on niche Pokemon or Pokemon that had better options, but in BW it received a monumental boost in power. Here's a quick rundown: if it hits, you’re probably going to heavily cripple, if not outright KO, the unfortunate Pokemon, due to its absurd power. If you miss, your Pokemon will probably hit itself and probably die from the recoil. Idiot.

Low Sweep – 60 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Inflicts damage and lowers the target's Speed stat.

At first glance, Low Sweep seems like an interesting but ultimately forgettable move, since its low Base Power prevents most Fighting-types from making good use of it. Breloom is the exception to this rule, though. With Technician, Breloom can turn Low Sweep into a fairly powerful Fighting-type attack with a fantastic secondary effect that guarantees that anything that switches in will be slower than Breloom after being hit, which basically translates to being at Breloom's complete mercy. Fun.

Mach Punch – 40 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Inflicts damage and has a +1 priority over regular attacks.

Mach Punch is a great multifaceted attack for Fighting-types. It can revenge kill or pick off Pokemon that would ordinarily outspeed the user. It's the ultimate staple for Fighting-type Pokemon... or it would be if its distribution wasn't so atrocious. Fortunately, the Pokemon that do get Mach Punch tend to make good use out of it. The most notable user of this move is Breloom, whose lightning quick Technician-boosted Mach Punch can fell some of the strongest Pokemon in the game after a Swords Dance boost. Conkeldurr also makes decent use out of this move, since its slow Speed makes it prone to being outsped by everything.

Sacred Sword – 90 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Inflicts damage and ignores the target's Defense and Evasion boosts.

The signature move of the Swords of Justice finds itself in a very unfortunate position. Every single one of its users has the much better Close Combat at their disposal. Sacred Power's lack of drawbacks just can’t compete with Close Combat's sheer power; even defensively-oriented variants of the members of the Swords of Justice find themselves preferring Close Combat. In Keldeo's case, it gets access to an even better version of this move: Secret Sword. At least it looks cool.

Superpower – 120 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Inflicts damage and lowers the user's Attack and Defense stats.

Another powerful Fighting-type move, which has the unfortunate side effect of lowering a Pokemon's Attack on top of lowering Defense after use. This makes Superpower a "poor man's" Close Combat. The only Pokemon that would use this move only does so out of necessity, since Close Combat has limited distribution. With all that said, Superpower is still a great move to use, since it has high Base Power and perfect accuracy, usually allowing a Pokemon to massacre anything that switches in. You'll want to switch your Pokemon out after one or two uses though.


Aura Sphere – 90 Base Power – Inflicts damage and ignores all accuracy and evasion modifiers.

Aura Sphere is arguably the best special Fighting-type move, which isn't saying much, but it's still a fantastic move in its own right. Ironically, the Pokemon that make use of this move aren't Fighting-type at all, since the two fully-evolved Pokemon that get STAB on this (Lucario and Mienshao) almost exclusively rely on their physical sets. Mew and Togekiss get to use Aura Sphere to deal with Pokemon that would otherwise hard counter them, such as Tyranitar. It baffles me that Game Freak would restrict this move to so few Pokemon. Pokemon like Alakazam and Gengar would give an arm and a leg to use this over Focus Blast.

Focus Blast – 120 Base Power – Inflicts damage and has a 10% chance of lowering the target's Special Defense stat.

Focus Blast is literally the polar opposite of Aura Sphere. No, really, it's got terrible accuracy and high power, and plenty of Pokemon learn it. Focus Blast is a necessary evil for some Pokemon, because the extra coverage is invaluable, but the awful accuracy can cost you games. This makes it all the more infuriating; it's a move you hate to use, much like Stone Edge. Alakazam and Gengar are some of the unlucky saps that have to use this move to get by their biggest check, Tyranitar.

Vacuum Wave – 40 Base Power – Inflicts damage and has a +1 priority over regular attacks.

One of the very best Fighting-type moves in the game—haha, just messing with you, this move is terrible. It's got terrible distribution and it's only usable on special attacking Fighting-types, which are really rare.

Secret Sword – 85 Base Power – Inflicts damage and calculates damage by using the user's Special Attack and the opponent's Defense stat.

Now we're playing with power! Keldeo's signature move kicks all kinds of ass. Remember when I said Aura Sphere was the best special Fighting-type move? Scratch that. Secret Sword takes top honors, since it allows you to completely bypass special walls like Blissey and Chansey, as well as any Pokemon that heavily invests in its Special Defense stat. Since Keldeo is a special attacker first, it can use its other attacks to deal with physical walls that can take a Secret Sword. It essentially gets the best of both worlds!

Final Gambit – The user faints and inflicts damage equal to however much HP the user had before using the move.

This move is great. It causes your Pokemon to scream "FINAL GAMBIT" before blowing itself and your opponent's Pokemon to atoms. Ahem. Final Gambit is great because it completely bypasses the damage formula, and straight up deals damage proportional to the amount of HP the user has. It gets some of the weirdest distribution in all of Pokemon, including Shedinja (wtf, Game Freak), and its best users are not actually Fighting-types, but the Pokemon with somewhat high HP stats like Victini or Staraptor (which are unfortunately Stealth Rock-weak). It's a bit underrated, and it's an awesome trump card if you execute it correctly. And it doesn't activate if your opponent is a Ghost-type. How nice!


Bulk Up – The user's Attack and Defense stats increase by one stage.

Bulk Up is pretty spiffy. Since it boosts Defense, you can set up on weak physical attacks while also boosting your offense. The end result is a Pokemon that is really hard to KO on the physical side and powerful too. Conkeldurr is basically the perfect Bulk Up candidate; after a few boosts, you are going to have a hell of a time trying to remove it from battle with physical attacks. Toxicroak is also a really good Bulk Up user; it especially excels if the rain is up.


Hopefully, you've found this article to be both accurate and informative. If there is one thing to remember from reading this article, it would be that nearly every Fighting-type is an offensive behemoth with a movepool that carries all the essentials. Fighting-types are a large asset for any offensive team, and you would be wise to not underestimate them, lest you allow your team to fall prey to a raging Terrakion. Give a Fighting-type a shot, you won't be disappointed!

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