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Hidden Powers of Each Pokémon Type

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

Advantages of Each Pokémon Type

Pokémon types affect several gameplay mechanics, most notably which elements a unit takes extra or reduced damage from. Pokémon also receive a 50% damage boost when using a move from a type they possess (this is known as STAB, same-type attack bonus).

But some elements come with extra effects the games rarely tell you about, usually shields against status conditions or field hazards. So, which types contain hidden bonuses? Today we'll examine each Pokémon type's special abilities!

Fire Pokémon

Fire Pokémon

Fire-Types: Burns

Of the traditional three starter types, only Fire has an affiliated non-volatile status condition, and it's pretty brutal; burns inflict ongoing damage and halve their victim's attack stat. Luckily, Fire-types are themselves immune to burns.

Fire attacks also help against freezing, as using a damage-dealing Fire attack will thaw a frozen warrior (and still utilize the attack), and this even works if the user itself isn't Fire-type. But speaking of freezing . . .

Ice Pokémon

Ice Pokémon

Ice-Types: Freezing

Most players agree Ice is the worst defensive type, carrying five weaknesses with just one resistance, but it's immune to the dreaded freeze condition, which prevents any action until the Pokémon thaws.

Ice-types are also the only units who don't take damage from the Hail weather condition, slightly compensating for their numerous vulnerabilities.

Electric Pokémon

Electric Pokémon

Electric-Types: Paralysis

In generation six games Pokémon X and Y, Electric Pokémon finally became immune to their trademark status. Paralysis gives a 25% chance for a move to fail and cuts a unit's speed by 50% (25% prior to generation seven).

Note that Ground Pokémon are immune to paralysis from Electric attacks (since they negate all Electric moves), but they can be paralyzed by other elements, such as from a Normal-type move like Body Slam.

Steel Pokémon

Steel Pokémon

Steel and Poison-Types: Poison

Both Steel and Poison Pokémon ignore the poison status effect, which deals reoccurring damage each turn. This also includes immunity to the much-feared "bad poison" inflicted by moves like Toxic, which doubles the end-of-turn damage each round.

However, don't get too comfortable—foes with the Corrosion ability can override your protection and successfully envenom even Steel and Poison Pokémon.

Grass Pokémon

Grass Pokémon

Grass-Types: Leech Seed

Seeding is only inflicted by the Leech Seed attack, but that doesn't mean it's not devastating: affected units lose 1/8th their max health each turn, and the move's user recovers that amount. Plus, since seeding is a volatile status, it can be combined with non-volatile conditions like poison, but Grass Pokémon will always resist the effect.

Grass moves also receive a 50% boost with the field generated by Grassy Terrain, though this depends on the attack's type, not the user's. Ironically, many Grass Pokémon also benefit from the harsh sunlight weather condition (which strengthens Fire attacks), activating abilities like Chlorophyll and letting you immediately unleash Grass-type Solar Beam without charging.

Rock Pokémon

Rock Pokémon

Rock, Ground, and Steel-Types: Sandstorm Damage

Unlike Hail, which only Ice Pokémon ignore, there are three types that evade Sandstorm damage: Rock, Ground, and Steel. Rock and Ground are typically better offensive elements than defensive, but this provides yet another benefit to Steel, arguably the best defensive element in the game.

And despite Rock's numerous weaknesses, sandstorms raise the special defense of Rock Pokémon by 50%, drastically increasing their longevity.

Flying Pokémon

Flying Pokémon

Flying-Types: Most Entrance Hazards

Airborne companions put their mobility to good use by not just negating Ground damage, but also hovering above entrance hazards like Toxic Spikes. Sadly, the exception to this rule is Stealth Rock, which successfully inflicts double damage on entering Flying-types.

Flying Pokémon are also immune to the switch-preventing Arena Trap ability, though they can't receive any benefit from terrain effects. Note that these traits are removed when a Flying Pokémon becomes "grounded" from moves like Roost or Gravity.

Poison Pokémon

Poison Pokémon

Poison-Types: Can Remove Toxic Spikes

When a grounded (not Ground-type, but non-Flying) Poison Pokémon enters your field, it will automatically remove Toxic Spikes set by opponents, letting your other allies successfully enter without receiving the Poison condition. This proves especially useful when foes have set two Toxic Spike layers, which would inflict bad poison.

Ghost Pokémon

Ghost Pokémon

Ghost-Types: Can Switch out Even When Bound

Foes can prevent your team from swapping out with binding moves like Fire Spin or Wrap. However, Ghost Pokémon ignore this, which makes sense considering their intangible forms. Ghosts also have a special effect when using the move Curse, sacrificing half their HP to deal 1/4th max HP damage to the target at the end of each round (non-Ghosts using Curse reduce their speed but gain attack and defense).

While not a special power per se, all Ghost-type moves as of this writing have 100% accuracy, making them difficult to dodge.

Other Type-Related Pokémon Effects

Remember that several moves and abilities can alter a creature's type (like Conversion or Pixilate), and some units change their typing when they mega evolve, something to keep in mind when selecting your attack.

Additionally, many type-related status immunities weren't implemented in early generations, so be wary when replaying classic games. But for now, as we await Nintendo's next batch of elemental abilities, vote for your favorite type and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill