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Top 10 Best Defensive Pokémon Types

All Pokémon types (as of generation 7)

All Pokémon types (as of generation 7)

How Pokémon Types Affect Battling

The Pokémon series originated with 15 different elements but has since expanded to 18, giving trainers plenty of options when crafting their ultimate team. Every Pokémon belongs to one or two types, and their attribute(s) influence how much damage they take from opposing attacks. Weakness-hitting, super-effective moves deal double damage, or even quadrupled damage if both your types are weak to an attack!

Luckily, types can also resist techniques or, in some cases, completely negate them. But with over a dozen different elemental powers, which attributes reign supreme?

These are the 10 best defensive Pokémon types!

Eevee

Eevee

10. Normal

Example: Eevee

You might be surprised to see Normal here considering its lower number of resistances, but honestly, one-for-one isn't such a bad deal, especially when you're trading one weakness (Fighting) for an entire immunity (Ghost)!

Admittedly, Fighting ranks as one of the best offensive types, but this is still a nice trade-off, and Normal's also a great second element on Pokémon who would otherwise be weak to Ghost, like when paired with Girafarig's Psychic nature. As a secondary quality, Normal also adds another type to potentially trigger your STAB (same-type attack bonus).

Normal's type matchups

WeaknessesResistancesImmunities

Fighting

N/A

Ghost

9. Flying

Example: Tornadus

Flying Pokémon suffer from weaknesses to two of the most common aggressors: Rock and Ice. However, calculating its coverage reveals it bears three resistances to offset its three weaknesses, plus an entire immunity to Ground! Since Flying Pokémon almost always bear another type (often Normal), this immunity helps protect otherwise Ground-weak elements.

Good typing pairings include Zapdos's Electric/Flying, Skarmory's Steel/Flying, and Charizard's Fire/Flying (though watch out for that quad Rock weakness). And speaking of Fire...

Flying's type matchups

WeaknessesResistancesImmunities

Electric

Grass

Ground

Rock

Bug

 

Ice

Fighting

 

Entei

Entei

8. Fire

Example: Entei

At face value, Fire appears one of the best types, bearing twice as many resistances as weaknesses! Unfortunately, each and every one of its chinks are among the most frequent offensive elements; Fire faces trouble against Earthquake, Stealth Rock, Surf, and more.

Still, it's hard to beat six resistances. Fire doesn't bear any complete immunities, but all Fire Pokémon are (in the original generation and since generation 6) immune to the burn status, granting them yet another appreciated barricade.

Fire's type match-ups

WeaknessesResistancesImmunities

Water

Fire

Burn (status)

Ground

Grass

 

Rock

Ice

 

 

Bug

 

 

Steel

 

 

Fairy

 

Druddigon

Druddigon

7. Dragon

Example: Druddigon

Dragon Pokémon resist each of the three traditional starter types (Fire, Grass, and Water) plus Pikachu's Electric element, a hearty elemental barricade. Admittedly, you've got three weaknesses, but two of those can often be ignored. Few non-Dragons wield Dragon type moves (its surprisingly lackluster offensively), and if you're facing a Dragon, well, they're as disadvantaged as you. Fairy can also be problematic, but it's still a relatively rare attribute that you're less likely to encounter.

The real problem is Ice, especially since many Dragon creatures are also part Flying or Ground, resulting in a quadruple weakness. Still, four awesome resistances compensates for a glaring Achilles heel. Plus, before the X and Y games of generation 6, Dragon impressed even more considering its Fairy fragility hadn't yet been created.

Dragon's type match-ups

WeaknessesResistancesImmunities

Dragon

Fire

N/A

Ice

Grass

 

Fairy

Water

 

 

Electric

 

Blastoise

Blastoise

6. Water

Example: Blastoise

Like Fire, Water bears twice as many resistances as weaknesses, and its shortcomings are less of an issue. Ground moves like Earthquake or the Lightningrod ability (on allies) can help deal with Electric enemies, and the Grass weakness is often countered by the Ice moves that nearly all aquatic monsters can learn.

Water's guards against Fire, Water, and Ice are all definitely appreciated. Admittedly, Steel isn't the most abundant assailant, but it's still a nice resistance to have in stow, further complementing Water's impressive repertoire. Misty would be proud.

Water's type match-ups

WeaknessesResistancesImmunities

Electric

Water

N/A

Grass

Fire

 

 

Ice

 

Steel

Pikachu

Pikachu

5. Electric

Example: Pikachu

Electric and Normal are the only types to bear only one weakness, but Electric packs a fierce three resistances! Admittedly, you'll need to take caution of the bountiful Ground attacks available, but resisting Electric, Flying, and Steel helps compensate, even if none are quite as frequent.

In addition to the three-for-one bundle Electric provides, it also (as of generation 6) brandishes a sweet immunity to the paralyze debuff, which would normally cut your speed stat and make 1/4 of your attacks fail.

Electric's type matchups

WeaknessesResistancesImmunities

Ground

Electric

Paralyze (status)

 

Flying

 

 

Steel

 

Dusknoir

Dusknoir

4. Ghost

Example: Dusknoir

Ghost starts out strong with its distinction of having two immunities, something no other type shares. Not only that, it offers two resistances, meaning your two weaknesses are balanced by twice as many barricades, half of which are immunities! Normal and especially Fighting are both common blows that Ghost helpfully blocks. Poison isn't often seen aggressively, but more resistances always help, and the Bug defense comes in handy more often than you might think.

Plus, one of Ghost's few weaknesses is to itself, meaning your opponent can only exploit it by forfeiting STAB or by also employing a Ghost, rendering them vulnerable to the same attacks as you.

Ghost's type matchups

WeaknessesResistancesImmunities

Ghost

Poison

Normal

Dark

Bug

Fighting

Poipole

Poipole

3. Poison

Example: Poipole

Like a good wine, Poison gets better with age. In the original Red and Blue games, it had three weaknesses and three resistances, luckily, in generation 2's Silver and Gold titles, Bug swapped over to deal half damage instead. More recently, with Fairy's introduction in Kalos, Poison gained yet another protection, granting two and a half times as many resistances as weaknesses!

As if that weren't enough, Poison Pokémon enjoy an immunity to their trademark HP-draining poison status condition, and they handily remove the stage hazard Toxic Spikes from your field when entering the arena. While Poison isn't nearly as impressive on offense, when a Poison uses Toxic, inflicting the dreaded "badly poisoned" status, it bypasses accuracy check to always hit, letting their venomous leanings help land your debuffs.

Poison's type matchups

WeaknessesResistancesImmunities

Psychic

Poison

Poison (status, not type)

Ground

Fighting

 

 

Grass

 

 

Bug

 

 

Fairy

 

Xerneas

Xerneas

2. Fairy

Example: Xerneas

The most recent type (as of this writing) captured our hearts with three resistances and one immunity, more than balancing a mere two weaknesses. As we mentioned earlier, Dragon isn't a common offensive element, but the negation still helps, and resistances to Bug, Dark, and particularly Fighting account for many defensive points.

Plus, Poison and Steel simply aren't commonly seen in most attacks when Fighting, Rock, and Ground provide better overall coverage, so many adversaries simply won't possess the needed moves to type-trump your Fairy creatures. A daunting matchup list, but beware the limited Defense and Special Defense stats many Fairy Pokémon bear.

Fairy's type matchups

WeaknessesResistancesImmunities

Poison

Bug

Dragon

Steel

Dark

 

 

Fighting

 

Mega Aggron

Mega Aggron

1. Steel

Example: Mega Aggron

Just glancing at that chart shows how long Steel's defensive array extends. With only three weaknesses (albeit commonly seen ones), Steel takes halved damage against a monstrous ten types! This includes the only resistance to Dragon (other than Fairy's immunity to it), a rare resistance to Normal, and many more defenses that perfectly complement the naturally high Defense attribute of most Steel behemoths. Oh, and did I mention Steel also completely resists Poison, both the attack type and the status condition?

If you're somehow still not convinced of Steel's dominance, remember that prior to Fairy's debut, Steel used to also resist Dark and Ghost, adding even more defenses to this already hearty attribute. Rarely seen as purebreds, Steel Pokémon often blend with other types, and pair especially well with Flying to mitigate their Fighting weakness and completely shutdown their Ground.

Steel's type matchups

WeaknessesResistancesImmunities

Fire

Normal

Poison (both type and status)

Fighting

Flying

 

Ground

Grass

Ice

Rock

Psychic

Steel

Bug

Dragon

Fairy

Future of Pokémon Types

As we've seen, not all Pokémon types are created equally, although the most vulnerable ones tend to excel on the offensive, evening the playing field somewhat. With other unexplored type-related eccentricities remaining (like the atypical Bird, Shadow, and ??? types), we'll likely return to examine more elemental reviews in the future.

But for now, as we eagerly await Nintendo's next games (and possible new types), vote for your preferred attribute and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!

© 2018 Jeremy Gill