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How to Use STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus) in Pokémon

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

STAB in Pokémon

Funny that Pokémon would have an acronym as gruesome as STAB (same-type attack bonus), but it's an important part of competitive battling. As befits its name, STAB refers to the attack bonus Pokémon receive when using an attack that shares one of its types. But this mechanic is often misunderstood since it's rarely mentioned in-game—today we'll explore everything you need to know about STAB in Pokémon!

Sceptile using Leaf Blade

Sceptile using Leaf Blade

What Is the STAB Attack Bonus?

STAB has been with us since the very beginning, debuting in generation one. It increases the power of a same-type move by 50% (100% if the user has the adaptability trait). If your Pokémon has two types, both can trigger STAB, meaning Charizard will get a bonus for both Fire and Flying strikes.

Contrary to a widespread myth, Normal Pokémon do receive STAB, and so do Z-moves. However, attacks with fixed damage, like Night Shade and Seismic Toss, won't ever gain STAB. You can also benefit from it in Pokémon GO!, although there it only boosts moves by 20%.

Blastoise using Hydro Pump

Blastoise using Hydro Pump

STAB Example

Just to be sure we're clear, here's a quick STAB example. Your Blastoise is a Water Pokémon, and it uses its Water-type Surf attack. Surf has a base power of 90, so a 50% boost adds half of 90 (45), resulting in 135 base power. However, Ice Beam (which also has 90 power) will remain at 90 power since Blastoise isn't Ice-type.

And since Pokémon with two types receive full STAB benefit from both elements, Water/Dark Greninja could also use Surf for 135 base power. His Dark moves would gain an equal benefit, but anything else would remain at its listed value.

Charizard using Flamethrower

Charizard using Flamethrower

Choosing Movesets in Pokémon

Each Pokémon can only learn four attacks, making every slot precious. For Pokémon with two types, you'll often want a damaging move from each element, letting you utilize STAB while exploiting different weaknesses.

But sometimes versatility matters more than STAB; for instance, Charizard's Fire and Flying types have many offensive similarities (strong against Bug and Grass while weak to Rock), meaning you'll often want just one STAB move while devoting the rest to coverage.

So, an ideal moveset for a Charizard might include Flamethrower for STAB, weather-causing Sunny Day for utility, and Grass-type Solarbeam or Ground-type Earthquake for coverage. Of course, this also depends on whether you're employing Mega Charizard X (a physical attacker) or Mega Charizard Y (a special attacker), but you catch my drift.

Other Stats That Affect Damage

So, using STAB wisely lets you score extra damage, but don't forget to pay attention to your Pokémon's stats—use physical moves if its Attack is higher, or indirect if it favors Special Attack. Your target's Defense/Special Defense also affects damage, as will typing, critical hits, and some held items.

Choose your moves wisely, but never forget that Pokémon favor their base elements and reward you for using same-typed attacks. But for now, as we await Nintendo's next batch of collectible creatures, vote for your favorite STAB type and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill