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Top 10 Pokémon Attack Types

In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.

Choosing Attacks in Battle

Whether playing traditional Pokémon games or spin-offs like Pokémon GO!, trainers must carefully select moves to deal maximum damage. Each has a listed power, but damage is also affected by the user and target's stats, whether the move has STAB (same-type attack bonus), and of course, elemental weaknesses.

You can score double damage when a move hits a weak spot, or even quadruple against a Pokémon double-weak to a type (like Electric against Gyarados). Conversely, you might also deal ½, ¼, or even no damage if your target is resistant/immune to the attack type. But with over a dozen elements, which work best on offense? These are the 10 best aggressive Pokémon types!

Tyrunt using Crunch

Tyrunt using Crunch

10. Dark

Recommended Moves: Pursuit, Foul Play, Knock Off

Dark's disadvantage is that it deals half damage more often than double. That said, no elements are immune to it, and the types it does trump are ones with few weaknesses that you'll want to attack with either Dark or . . .

Dark's Matchups in "Pokémon"

2x (super-effective)1/2 (not effective)

Ghost

Dark

Psychic

Fairy

Fighting

Gengar using Shadow Ball

Gengar using Shadow Ball

9. Ghost

Recommended Moves: Shadow Ball, Shadow Bone, Spirit Shackle

Interestingly, Ghost moves hit the same types as Dark for double pain, including Ghost itself. And while completely ineffective against Normal types, you can type-trump all elements Ghost is weak to with Fighting (which is super-effective against Dark, Steel, and Normal), offering easy coverage.

Also consider that all Ghost attacks have 100% accuracy as of this writing, offering reliable moves that very rarely miss.

Ghost's Matchups in "Pokémon"

2x1/20x (immune)

Ghost

Dark

Normal

Psychic

Steel

Blastoise using Hydro Pump

Blastoise using Hydro Pump

8. Water

Recommended Moves: Hydro Cannon, Steam Eruption, Water Shuriken

While it hits as many types for extra damage as it does for half, one of Water's problems is a lackluster movepool; most of its best techniques attacks are signature moves only available to specific Pokémon.

That said, Water attacks power up during stormy weather caused by Rain Dance, and since Water's a strong defensive type, it's easy to receive STAB with its attacks. Pair with Ice or Fairy for good coverage.

Water's Matchups in "Pokémon"

2x1/2

Fire

Dragon

Ground

Grass

Rock

Water

Gardevoir using Moonblast

Gardevoir using Moonblast

7. Fairy

Recommended Moves: Moonblast, Sparkly Swirl, Fleur Cannon

Fairy's largest drawback is a shallow movepool with few high-damage options, though it'll surely expand with time.

The type works well when combined with Ground; every element resistant to Fairy takes double damage from Ground attacks. But Fairy's biggest benefit is its incredible defensive matchups, only being weak against Poison and Steel (which are both very rare aggro types), making Fairy arguably the safest STAB.

Fairy's Matchups in "Pokémon"

2x1/2

Dark

Fire

Dragon

Poison

Fighting

Steel

Beautifly using Gust

Beautifly using Gust

6. Flying

Recommended Moves: Sky Attack, Hurricane, Beak Blast

Like Water, Flying has three positive and negative counters. And since almost every Flying Pokémon has two types, you'll have two elements that can potentially employ STAB.

Even better, Flying techniques blend spectacularly with Ground; each type that resists one is weak to the other, exposing weakpoints in almost any foe. Fighting also pairs well.

Flying's Matchups in "Pokémon"

2x1/2

Bug

Electric

Fighting

Rock

Grass

Steel

Charizard using Flamethrower

Charizard using Flamethrower

5. Fire

Recommended Moves: Fire Blast, Blast Burn, Sacred Fire

Fire moves enjoy a fantastic movepool with many powerful attacks, often inflict the burn condition, and will thaw you out if frozen (even when used by a non-Fire Pokémon). Plus, Sunny Day's intense sunlight increases Fire damage, allows immediate charges of Grass move Solar Beam (which works well against Fire's weaknesses), and weakens Water, mitigating one of Fire's disadvantages.

It's also a decent defensive element, and if you're willing to take a quad weakness to Rock, you can negate its Ground weakness by combining it with Flying (seen with Charizard and Moltres). But keep in mind that Pokémon with the Thick Fat ability takes half damage from both Fire and . . .

Fire's Matchups in "Pokémon"

2x1/2

Bug

Dragon

Grass

Fire

Ice

Rock

Steel

Water

Articuno using Ice Beam

Articuno using Ice Beam

4. Ice

Recommended Moves: Ice Beam, Blizzard, Avalanche

Despite being a rare type with a limited movepool, Ice moves land solid damage and often freeze opponents, inflicting one of the deadliest status conditions. It's also one of few types strong against Dragon, especially relevant before Fairy debuted.

Admittedly, Ice suffers on defense, meaning most players use Ice attacks from non-Ice Pokémon and rarely receive STAB. Still, it works well with Ground moves, which hits Ice's resistances for either neutral or double damage.

Ice's Matchups in "Pokémon"

2x1/2

Dragon

Fire

Flying

Ice

Grass

Steel

Ground

Water

Lucario using Aura Sphere

Lucario using Aura Sphere

3. Fighting

Recommended Moves: Close Combat, Aura Sphere, Focus Blast

Fighting holds the distinction of being the only type able to hit Normal for double damage. And despite several types resisting it (or being immune in Ghost's case), it type-trumps four other elements, has a large movepool to select from, and mixes well with Ghost or Rock.

While Fighting contains a respectable amount of indirect options, many of its creatures have impressive Attack stats that let them unleash devastating physical blows.

Fighting's Matchups in "Pokémon"

2x1/2Immune

Dark

Bug

Ghost

Ice

Fairy

 

Normal

Flying

 

Rock

Poison

 

Steel

Psychic

 

Mega Tyranitar using Stone Edge

Mega Tyranitar using Stone Edge

2. Rock

Recommended Moves: Rock Wrecker, Stone Edge, Head Smash

One of only two types to have more advantages than disadvantages (and not tie), Rock moves are often inaccurate but powerful, landing crushing blows that few resist. Admittedly, there aren't many indirect Rock moves, limiting choices for Special Attack sweepers, but most Rock creatures prefer physical Attack anyway.

Like many of today's elements, Rock pairs best with . . .

Rock's Matchups in "Pokémon"

2x1/2

Bug

Fighting

Fire

Ground

Flying

Steel

Ice

 

Drilbur using Drill Run

Drilbur using Drill Run

1. Ground

Recommended Moves: Earthquake, Earth Power, Mud-Slap

Ground's the sole element that type-trumps Electric foes, and it's the only one with five advantageous pairings, including rare bonuses against Poison and Steel. It also enjoys a nice spread of both physical and special attacks.

Ground only fails against Flying types, but even here, you can negate their immunity with moves like Gravity, or simply handle them with Ice or Rock attacks (which also cover Ground's ineffectiveness against Grass and Bug respectively).

Ground's Matchups in "Pokémon"

2x1/20x

Electric

Bug

Flying

Fire

Grass

Poison

Rock

Steel

Attacking Effectively in Pokémon

In addition to elemental weaknesses/resistances, consider STAB and stats when selecting your four moves per team member. And be flexible, even if you have a higher Attack than Special Attack, you may want to select an indirect move against foes with low Special Defense.

Stat changes, abilities, and held items should also be considered, but for now, as we await Nintendo's next-generation, vote for your favorite type and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill