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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Pokemon Type Matchups
Wild Mass Guessing specifically related to the Type Matchups in the Pokémon franchise. For other Pokémon related WMG's, see WMG.Pokemon.

Please add new entries to the bottom of the page.
Here's my our speculation about why certain Pokémon types are good against other types:
Key (Flipped as necessary; all applicable signs used, separated by |): '+> super effective against; -> not very effective against; #> Has no effect on.
  • Fire + >|<- Grass - Obviously, plants are quite flammable.
    • Have you ever tried to start a camp fire using green wood? It's very, very hard, trust me. Dead plants, sure, very easy, but if there's any green or life in it...
      • Go outside and find a green plant, pick it, and hold a lighter up to it. The fire will dry the plant out and make it flammable. The hotter the flame, the faster it'll dry out and the sooner it'll ignite.
      • The question here being if a healthy plant is really more flammable than any other living thing.
      • Probably just due to forest fires being the most common naturally occurring outbreaks of fires.
      • Except, aren't most forest fires started by lightning?
      • Grass types tend to be covered with plants, which would make any fires that hit them catch easier and burn longer, kind of like being covered in easily-burnable hair. Likewise, any plants directed at Fire types tend to be quickly burnt up, which is why Grass type attacks don't do much damage to Fire types.
      • Which would suggest all hair Pokemon should be just as flammable and attack's like Lopunny's should do reduced damage to fire?
      • Well, not all types of hair burn easily. Wool is fairly fire-resistant, as living things go, so maybe the hair of Pokémon is more similar to wool.
  • Water +>|<- Fire - Water puts out fire.
    • A caveat: It only makes flammable oils more angry. Granted, non-oil-based fires are seen much more commonly in Real Life, so...
  • Steel -> Electric + > Water - Water conducts electricity.
    • Except for the part where that's false. Only water with conductive solutes conducts electricity.
      • Conductive solutes like electrolytes, which are necessary for most animals to absorb water with enough efficiency to survive? And of which sea creatures have a lot of, and a tolerance for a greater amount than land creatures, due to living in the sea? If they didn't do their homework, and used the Clear, Cool, Theme Park Version of water, sure, but water as it would exist in living things...
    • Metal conducts electricity far better than water does, but Steel-types take neutral damage from Electric-type attacks.
      • Have you ever been in a metal cage near Tesla coils? The electricity stays in the outer edge of the metal, but if you put anything organic out of the cage, like say a finger, you will feel a painful shock. So that is why Electric is Neutral.
      • When has Pokemon ever been scientifically accurate?
      • When it was bug-catching back before the NES days.
      • Steel types have metal on the outside of their bodies, not passing though their vital organs, while Water types' entire bodies are conductive.
      • No electricity is felt inside a conductor. The damage is from the heat.
      • Or they just wanted to have Steel take neutral damage from at least a few types, so they moved Steel's disadvantage against Electric to a resistance on Electric's part. Water resists Steel for the same reason (since water rusts metal).
    • Perhaps it's not that it conducts electricity. Electrolysis forms hydrogen and oxygen from water. The bubbles of H2 and O2 would decrease the amount of water (and Water types are probably very sensitive to that) and cause an increase in pressure (hydrogen and oxygen are gases in most conditions, and electrolysis of water basically turns two particles into three). That could cause as much damage as the shock itself.
    • Deep Six explains why. Now You Know.
    • Also, in that Mythbusters episode about the "Electrified Bathtub", they showed that getting wet decreases your electrical resistance.
  • Steel - > Water - No idea why water doesn't rust metal, but have you ever tried slicing water? Not very effective, is it?
    • Metals like iron oxidise relatively slowly — probably not fast enough for a water attack. If it did oxidise quickly like lithium, it wouldn't occur in nature.
    • Also, not all metals rust. Sure, iron and steel do, but not all Pokémon with the Steel type are necessarily made of those. Registeel's Pokédex entry even says that it isn't made of steel, but rather some otherworldly metal that is harder and more flexible. This could also be why Steel types tolerate electricity; they have a low conductivity compared to regular steel.
  • Grass + >|<- Water - Plants absorb water.
    • Of course, this brings up the question of why they're not constantly under the effects of Water Absorb or Storm Drain or have an immunity to it; however, this can be easily explained by the fact that while plants may absorb water, too much water can kill them. Still, plants are far more resilient to water than other materials.
    • Yes, too much water does kill them. Which is why they die if you repeatedly surf over them.
  • Fire + >|<- Ice - Fire melts ice.
    • A demonstration of why heat beats cold and not vice versa. Also note that while fire can melt ice, it is very difficult to put out a fire just by lowering its temperature. Fire suppression methods almost always try to separate the fuel and the oxidizer.
    • Also, wearing a fur coat in high temperatures is generally not a good idea.
    • Having fire is one of the most crucial elements to surviving in extreme cold, which gives Fire types their resistance. On the other hand, creatures adapted to extreme cold tend to do so by retaining heat, making them less suited to withstanding extreme temperatures, except for those with the Thick Fat ability.
  • Electric + >|<- Flying - Because lightning tends to strike objects that are high up.
    • This troper speculates that all of flying’s weaknesses are based on things that penetrate the air so easily they become part of the weather.
      • Electricity can hit high things more readily. The most spectacular form of electricity in nature is lightning in thunderstorms. Therefore flying is weak to electric.
      • Ice crystals are high in the air. They can form hail and snow. Therefore flying is weak against ice. Ice Pokémon even have a signature weather move, Hail.
      • Rock bits can get blown into the air, if they are tiny enough. They can form sandstorms. Therefore flying is weak against rock. Rock Pokémon also have a signature weather move, Sandstorm.
    • There are exceptions to the rule.
      • Ground would be blown into the air more easily than rock. On the other hand, its attacks are “grounded”, and flying is out of reach. Therefore flying is immune to ground.
      • Water can get into the air too. However, if it gets too high, it will just freeze to ice. Therefore flying takes normal damage from water.
      • Although the weather can be very hot, air is a terrible conductor. Fur, feathers, clothing, and building insulation trap air, and that is why they are so good at insulating. Therefore flying takes normal damage from fire.
  • Ground + >|<# Electric - Dirt doesn't conduct electricity very well.
    • "Dirt doesn't conduct electricity very well" = Ground beats Electric. The problem being?
      • Or electricity could just bypass them and hit taller objects like trees or trainers.
      • The ground-type could actually be grounded with a conducting outer coat or body part, causing current to prefer that path instead of through vital organs (like the lightning rod of a building). As for why ground kills electric-types... dunno.
      • There are no "electric-types" in Real Life (except for eels, I guess), so grounding electricity is effectively the same thing as "killing" it.
      • Power Lines are sometimes taken out by earthquakes.
      • Also, other types might be held back in fighting Electric types for worry of being shocked, preventing them from doing super-effective damage. Ground types, being the only type completely immune to electricity, don't have to worry about that and can bring all of their might to bear against Electric types, and are thus the only type super-effective against them.
    • Case of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Ground has to be good for something, or no-one would ever want any ground Pokémon.
      • Ground is usually used to take out rock and steel types. But I suppose electric had to be weak to something. Though water seems to be a better choice.
      • Maybe Ground is good against Steel and Rocks since earthquakes, landslides, and the like can wreck stone and metal objects.
  • Psychic + >|<- Fighting - Standard Mage/Warrior match-up, and telekinesis stops physical attacks.
    • And since Fighting is based around martial arts, their moves are structured and easy to read and predict.
    • Plus they can pretty much pick up and toss the other Pokemon with their mind alone. What they can't touch, they can't punch.
    • Standard case of Mind over Matter. Fighting types take a physical approach to lifting things, while a Psychic type can do so with their mind with little-to-no effort needed.
    • I always saw it as a case of "stop hitting yourself" - the psychics literally turn the fighters' physical power against them.
  • Fighting #> Ghost - Ghosts can turn intangible at will, so the attacks go straight through.
  • Normal #>|<# Ghost - Some sort of Anti-Magic power?
    • Or that the normal and spirit planes can't directly interact.
    • So, why do Flying moves affect Ghost types?
      • They're being paid off by the Pidgeotto lobby.
      • It's the Air element behind Flying types that does the damage. Normal and Fighting are mostly just hitting a guy with raw physical power. A ghost can avoid that, but you can't out-maneuver the wind.
    • The ability Scrappy allows for Normal-type attacks to hit Ghost-types; therefore, it may be that the immunity comes from the Ghost-types scaring foes into disencouraging close combat. Remember the Silph Scope? Your Pokémon is probably not able to use it while you do, so, it's still fighting the scary, nondescript, and unidentified ghost you were seeing beforehand.
      • Scrappy is more like the Pokémon getting the ability to touch intangible stuff with its Normal-type attacks. Think of the ecto-gloves from Danny Phantom.
    • Maybe they just DON'T see dead people. Or ghost type Pokémon.
  • Flying + >|<- Bug — Birds eat bugs.
    • The problem here, though, being that "Flying" is not just "birds"... I think it can get a better explanation than that.
      • Some bats also eat bugs. As do some flying bugs.
      • By that logic, Araidos beats all other Bug Pokémon.
      • And going by its unholy size, probably most Basic-stage com mons and Flying-types. Ever heard of the bird-eating spider?
      • Ever heard of do your research
      • I think for this it helps to understand that Flying-type used to be Bird-type.
      • The correct explanation is "Wind will blow away smaller things (like bugs) more easily."
      • And webs are usually decimated by gusts of wind.
  • Ground #> Flying - They're up in the air and therefore not affected, but Fridge Logic suggests some attacks should still hit.
    • Considering that some of the more popular ground moves (e.g. Magnitude) would be conveyed via the ground, this makes sense.
    • Moves like that club thing Cubone gets are probably quite slow, so a bird or wasp can fly rings around the strike.
      • You'd think that this would mean moves like Surf or Low Kick would be easy to dodge by flying just above it...
      • Also, Mud Bomb is a Ground-type move that Flying-types are immune to, but it's also a projectile that could very well be fired to hit a flying target.
      • Maybe the Mud Bomb (and other ground-based projectile moves) simply have crappy aerodynamics.
      • Wouldn't that cause them to have trouble hitting anything? ...On second thought, that certainly explains their imperfect accuracy. It also explains why Earthquake is so accurate — unless you can fly, it's pretty tough to dodge an attack that's essentially just the ground shaking a lot.
      • Mud Bomb DOES have quite a bit of trouble hitting things with only 85 accuracy, so that suggests Nintendo might have thought of the 'crappy aerodynamics' thing. Most likely it's just gameplay/story segregation; it's easier to leave all ground moves as incapable of hitting fliers than it is to program certain moves to break that rule, and less confusing for the younger players I guess.
      • Alternatively, Mud Bomb simply has short range. 85% percent accuracy when you're shooting it at an opponent standing toe-to-toe with you, but definitely not when you're trying to hit a fast moving target who can just fly out of its range.
  • Rock + >|<- Flying - Birds have hollow bones, so hitting them with something hard can break their bones.
    • There is also the saying, "killing two birds with one stone"...
    • This can also have a far more convoluted explanation if you factor in that many Rock-type attacks could weigh the target down and force it onto the ground, which would only really be a problem for targets that aren't already stuck on the floor.
      • Heck, there seems to be a Rock-type attack debuting in Black and White which does precisely that.
      • There is. It's called Smack Down. In addition to damage, it forces the opponent all the way down. It removes the ground immutity of Pokémon that are flying type or have Levitate.
    • As for the Rock-type resistance to flying, it's probably because traditional Flying type weapons (beaks, talons, gusts of wind) wouldn't do much damage to solid rock.
  • Steel ->|<+ Fire: Metal melts easier than a lot of the "hard" elements.
    • Metal also conducts heat very readily. One assumes their innards get cooked faster.
    • Also a nod to the Chinese elements, where Fire beats Metal.
  • Grass <- Electricity: Plants have roots, so they're ground-like but not quite, I guess...?
    • Plants absorbs Water, which increases its conductivity.
    • Or it could be that Wood is an insulator, and their exterior is probably wood-like, reducing shock.
    • This one was explained in the anime (sort of...), where Grass types can ground the electricity through some connection with the earth [that they rightly shouldn't have since none of them have roots]. Not as efficiently as a Ground type, but still.
      • That Bellsprout that pwned Godchu says hi.
    • Rubber is made from plants. You're welcome.
      • Synthetic rubber isn't necessarily.
  • Rock +> Bug: A bug's exoskeleton may be hard, but solid rock is harder. So suffice it to say, *SMASH*.
    • Seriously. Go outside. Pick up a rock. Drop it on a nearby ant or slow-moving bug and see what happens.
      • That's mean... but so damn funny! *sniggers*
  • Fire +>|<- Bug: As any kid with a magnifying glass could tell you, bugs are notoriously easy to fry to a crisp.
    • Many parasites and biting bugs can be removed by fire or kept away by smoke too.
  • Dark ->|<+ Fighting: Dirty tricks fail against honorable warriors.
    • Three words, everyone: Cheaters Never Prosper. 'Nuff said.
    • Also, whatever was made to kill the former Game Breaker had to be weak to something itself — why not the former underdog?
      • It's like punching an emo kid in the face.
      • One would almost think it would make more sense going the other way around. Dirty tricks take down Honor Before Reason, non-Combat Pragmatist warriors, but a sneak attack fails when the opponent can read your mind and toss you like a twig with the power of their thoughts. And yet most psychics are Glass Cannons, and will shatter if you look at them the wrong way.
      • I think there's a bit of Fridge Brilliance at work here. The strongest Dark attacks, Crunch and Dark Pulse, have a base power of 80 (though Payback and Assurance go to 100 in certain conditions), while the strongest Fighting moves are almost twice that strong. Obviously, a trained, honorable warrior has more power than a fighter that relies on cheating.
      • Actually, the strongest Dark-type move is now Trickery Foul Play, with 95 base power. So... still nothing above 100. At least Ghost has Shadow Force.
      • Or maybe, cheaters anger honorable warriors to the point that they give the cheater types a bigger thrashing than usual. I think there's a trope name for that...
      • As well as an ability: the musketeer trio's "Justified" raises their attack power every time they get damaged by Dark-type moves.
      • I've always believed that it was because in Eastern Cultures, Martial Arts are used to "purify the soul, mind, and body", unlike in the west, where we view Martial Arts as merely for self-defense. Dark types have moves like "Snatch" and "Embargo", which are looked at as dishonorable, and thus "impure" tactics, making Dark moves (and Pokemon, by extension), less "moral". Thus, it's because of their clairvoyance and clean souls, and not necessarily their physical ability, that makes Dark types susceptible to Fighting moves.
      • You can also take Dark to a literal extent and think of fighters skilled enough to battle without seeing, i.e. blindfolded or in a dark battlefield.
      • But wouldn't fighters that can see in the dark have an advantage over those that can't? (Not so much when there's plenty of light, but when there isn't...)
    • Anyone who follows structured rules of combat such as in the martial arts that fighting types are based off of knows that not everyone follows these rules, so they would be prudent to learn to defend the vital targets a dirty fighter would go after while taking advantage of the shortcomings the opponent is trying to hide by employing these tactics.
    • Also, it's a bit tough to use crunch or bite when all your teeth have been knocked out.
    • Random thug tries to rob a trained fighter in an alley, and gets his butt kicked. Many martial arts demonstrations usually have some improvised "thug" trying to attack the martial artist.
    • The Dark element has a powerful association with Terror and Psychological Warfare (Bite and Dark Pulse make the target flinch; Feint Attack, Fake Tears, and Flattery all beguile the opponent; Taunt and Torment incite the opponent to come close to defying their Trainersnote ; Foul Play, Knock Off/Switcheroo/Thief, Payback, Punishment, Pursuit, Snatch, and Sucker Punch all abuse the target for pursuing conventional tacticsnote ; Hone Claws and Nasty Plot seek to amplify the user's lethality, while Memento and Snarl both terrorize the opponent into becoming less aggressive; and Beat Up, Embargo, and Fling are all deliberately abnormal attacks just to mess with the ideas of conventional tactics).
      • The Fighting type, however, really has no time for this Dark-type bullshit, and applies its focused, trained skill to the heart of the problem.
    • There's also the possibility that Fighter types, recognizing the tactics of the Dark types, force them into a direct contest of strength, which puts them at a disadvantage.
  • Ice/Steel <+ Fighting and Rock->|<+ Fighting: The martial arts being used to break hard objects like bricks. Since rocks are used more often in martial arts strength training, fighting types develop a resistance to it rather than Ice or Steel.
    • There's also the point that while a well-muscled body might resist blunt force from rocks better, no amount of muscle is going to stop freezing temperatures or sharp steel weapons.
    • Hardness equals brittleness. Fighting (and, by the same token, Steel) shatters rock and ice because these elements are brittle, which can be taken advantage of by Fighting (which is a blend of brute physical force and technique) and Steel (which is generally treated as more dense than rock).
    • As for Fighting being strong against Steel, it's a classic strong-man feat to bend steel with raw muscle.
  • Steel +>|<- Ice/Rock: The sheer weight, mass, and density of metal is used to pulverize less sturdy hard materials.
    • It seems to be a power ranking. Steel is the strongest, then Rock, then Ice, but since Rock isn't as strong as Steel, Ice has normal effectiveness against it, and because Ice is the weakest, it gets regular damage from Normal type moves.
      • Makes sense, assuming normal people represent normal; you can usually break through a thin layer of ice and break it, when the same thickness of rock (and I don't mean those sissy gypsum rocks neither) or steel would support your weight.
    • Or let's just say that something akin to Moh's scale of hardness applies here.
    • What about human prehistory? The stone age is more advanced than the ice age, and the copper/bronze/iron ages are more advanced than the stone age.
    • Also, since steel is harder than rock or ice, then Rock/Ice types wouldn't be able to hit Steel types at full power without also hurting themselves.
  • Normal->Rock and Normal/Grass/Rock/Psychic/Dark/Bug/Flying -> Steel Ever try hitting a boulder or chunk of iron with your bare hand? Ouch.
    • For that matter, the same deal goes with the rest of the Steel type's resistances. A being made of metal isn't gonna take much damage from rocks, wind, insects, plants, or dirty tricks. Steel might be too dense or heavy for Psychics to work their magic on. Water and Electric SHOULD be doing super-effective damage, but they do neutral damage for the sake of balance.
      • Water does normal damage against steel types because iron may rust via water but stainless steel doesn't?
      • Probably more because rust-damage only occurs after prolonged exposure; the effects would take too long to occur in the time-span of a basic battle.
    • Psychic-type attacks failing against Steel-types can also be a result of failed attempts of any variety. Steel-types are usually the heaviest among Pokémon, so, they would be difficult to heft physically, let alone through mindpower. Also, the Steel-types' bodies are sturdy and probably hard to bend, which a Kadabra (for example) would probably try to do after successfully bending so many spoons, only to find that a Steel-type is no Spoony Bard.
    • I was thinking more on the lines on why Prof. X can't mind attack Magneto cause of his metal helmet. But Jean Grey could just lob stuff to hit him.
    • Furthermore, rock is kind of generic. This isn't just metal (as some metals are very fragile or unstable), this is steel — as hard as it gets.
  • Psychic <+ Ghost: With greater spiritual awareness comes greater spiritual vulnerability.
    • Or maybe Psychics (representing the powers of the mind) are easily put off by things that inspire fear (which Ghosts and other supernatural entities are good at).
      • Or maybe Psychics are just susceptible to possession.
    • The original ghost-type line (Gastly-Haunter-Gengar) is speculated actually to be a race of beings from an alternate dimension, which lends a specifically alien connotation to all Ghosts. The three weaknesses of the Psychic type all have powerful associations with Nightmare Fuel (Ghosts are spooky, Bugs are creepy, and Darks have a biological inclination to Terrorism), which suggests that Psychic weaknesses are based in their mentally destabilizing capacities.
  • Water/Grass +> Rock/Ground and Ice +> Ground: Erosion.
    • OTOH, trying to kill a grass monster with fresh soil will only make it love you.
    • Also a nod to the Chinese elements where Wood beats Earth by breaking up the ground/rock via roots.
    • Also, freezing soil or earth can cause it to split apart when it thaws, damaging the Ground-type further.
  • Dark +>|<# Psychic. Much like Ghost type, the malevolent thoughts from Dark Types overwhelm the overly sensitive minds of Psychic types. Alternatively, their moves are far harder to read, being improvised dirty fighting.
    • Much of the (decent) Fan Fiction describes dark-types as a psychic "void" of sorts. Assaulting one with psychic energy is literally like dumping water down a drain.
      • On that note, it's not hard to picture why Dark +> Ghosts too. One can imagine exactly what a walking energy-sucking void would do to a spirit composed entirely of energy.
      • ....So where does that leave Sableye and Spiritomb, then? If they're both a being of energy and a 'black hole' for energy....
      • That kind of paradox would explain why Dark/Ghost types have absolutely no type weaknesses. (Except for Fairy.)
      • Spiritomb looks kind of like a black hole.
      • I figured that the unpredictable Dark moves catch Ghosts off-guard before they can go intangible, which they usually would to evade Normal and Fighting moves. One should also consider that Ghosts rely on fear. Dark types are already pretty nasty and do not fear Ghosts, and can resist their moves as a result.
      • I always assumed that Dark-types knew things that Pokemon were not meant to know, and when a psychic type attacked them, they would Go Mad from the Revelation.
    • This troper believes that Dark types have such warped and twisted minds that anything a Psychic does to it is moot, considering that nothing shocks it anymore. Sort of like /b/ and the internet.
    • Whereas this troper theorizes that they have a "Dark Aura" which shuts down anything spiritual. Hence why creating a blast of said aura (Dark Pulse) is one of Dark's most powerful moves. Said aura creates a psychic shield, but physical blows simply ignore the aura. Since Dark relies on the Dark Aura for protection, it is vulnerable to something that ignores it.
      • In Marvel Comics, you know how The Hulk's mind is too chaotic for psychics to breach? Same idea in this matchup. The Psychics can't "see" the Dark types' minds because they're clouded with evil. So they can't make a mental connection. Hence, Miracle Eye, which works like Psychic night-vision goggles.
    • Since psychic-types are based on the mind, maybe psychic's weaknesses (ghost, bug, and dark) are based off three common fears?
    • This troper thinks that Psychics use the dark power of Ghosts for their attacks. These spirits could corrupt them, but they could also hold their own against them. But the spirits are just a part of the power of Dark that is all that the Psychics have.
    • Psychic powers target a Pokémon's soul. Dark Pokémon don't have a soul at all.
      • Then they shouldn't be able to gain any tameness or befriend anyone, a la Nobodies. Also, look at adorable Zorua and tell me it has no soul.
      • And then there's Umbreon, which you get by befriending an Eevee at night...
    • Psychic types have highly developed minds which generate their psychic energy and distribute it along equally advanced nervous systems; this leaves them highly sensitive to physical pain, hence their glass cannony-ness, vulnerability to dark types who hit below the belt and similarly target sweet spots as well as the painful bites and stings of bug types, though fighting types (which make more direct attacks to vital organs) can be defended against through mind over matter. While psychic types trying to damage dark types are like a candle trying to light its own shadow.
    • Mundane theory. Dark types are evil and crafty. They know how to lie, fool, and hide from psychics and throw off their defensive strategies. The "psychic void" thing falls apart when you realize they're only immune to damaging psychic moves. Imprison still works, Future Sight worked until Generation five, dark types have to obey the various room rules, and they have no defense against Mind Reader, probably because it's normal and thus too straight-forward to deceive.
    • Guys... a reminder that Dark Is Not Evil needs to be thrown in here. Dark, ghost, psychic, and fighting (ki) are the "spiritual" types. Given moves like dark pulse, shadow ball, psybeam, and focus blast, mundane explanations may not work too well anyway.
      • Thank you for reminding everyone about that! But technically, they are crafty, so maybe they think "I'm going to use bite!" when the Psychic Pokémon reads their mind, but it turns out that the Dark type does something completely different that the Psychic wasn't expecting.
      • Except they are. In Japan they are called "Evil" type.
    • Mundane take 2. Anger, malice, and resentment are commonly sighted as "negative" emotions, which dark pulse is made of. However, peaceful protestors can be motivated by anger at injustice, the wrongly oppressed will resent their treatment, and reformers have malicious intent against the current order. As long as Wrath is suppressed, there is nothing wrong with those thoughts; Dark Is Not Evil. Absol warns people, and Umbreon grows with love, but they still get their power from anger, malice, and resentment. Make a fist and think evil thoughts, it feels good. Someone zealously motivated in such a way will be hard to reason with. Their minds are still detectable (future sight/imprison/mind reader), but their zeal blocks out psychic influence. Shaming the Mob proves they can still be reached. Miracle Eye allows psychics to see what makes them tick, then undermines their motives.
      • Mostly agree with the above, except the Dark Is Not Evil. On the contrary, the Dark-type reflects opposing views on the nature of evil; some are just misunderstood (Absol, Darkrai), whilst others are bad to the bone (Spiritomb).
    • I always figured that it's a mixture of Flat Earth Atheist and Clap Your Hands If You Believe: they don't believe that psychic powers are actually real even when there's ample evidence for them, and their belief in the nonexistence of them is so strong that it combines with their own latent psychic powers to create a modified void that has power only because their lack of belief makes it so. In short, they're actually psychic themselves and have such a strong lack of belief in the presence of psychic powers that they have no effect on them because their own psychic powers effectively forces the two to cancel out.
    • Wouldn't Psychics be more susceptible to fears? Namely Fear of the Dark.
  • Dragon <+> Dragon: Dragonhide can only be pierced by a dragon's fang/dragonfire, much like many stories with dragons in them.
  • Poison +>|<- Grass: Plants are sensitive to pollution.
    • Weed killer. Which makes it rather annoying that Bugs are no longer weak to poison as of Generation II...
      • Simple. They adapted to poisons just like real bugs do.
  • Ghost <- Poison: As they lack a meaningful metabolism at all, poison doesn't affect ghosts too much.
    • Ghosts are also already dead, so Poison would also be a tad redundant.
  • Steel <# Poison: Just how would you go about "poisoning" a hunk of metal? Alternatively, they're too hard and airtight for the stingers/pincers/sludge to penetrate their outer defenses, which would at least explain why Rock-types don't benefit from the same immunity.
    • I always assumed most steel types were either inorganic (Thus can't be poisoned in that respect) or just covered with a more or less airtight impenetrable shell. Don't ask about Lucario...
    • Rock types do seem to be portrayed as more organic (strangely), though you do occasionally hear a story about a creature of living rock, certainly more often than one of living steel. The only time you hear about poisoned steel, the steel is just coated in poison and is itself unaffected, being used to deliver the poison. Metal has also been used to store and transport poisons and acids, before glass. Then there is the fact that some metals are themselves poisonous, hence heavy metal poisoning. So take your pick as to why they are immune, there are plenty of reasons.
      • Lucario's Steel typing never made any sense anyway.
      • Rule of Cool, man.
      • Actually, I've always thought either: A) His training in the martial arts is so far beyond that of any other fighting-type that he has honed his skill to machine-like precision. B) His fur is just that strong and dense. C) Both.
      • I like the idea that instead of fat under his skin, he has steel plating.
      • So then how the hell does he move? Actually, that explains his merely so-so Speed...
      • Or maybe he could be similar to Wolverine, with a literal metal skeleton or something like that.
    • There's some Fridge Logic going on with the Acid moves, though. By all rights, they should be super-effective against Steel (acid corrodes it) but it does nothing like any other Poison move. Even plain Water at least does neutral damage.
      • Acid isn't a very powerful move, even against those with no special defense against it. Clearly, it isn't a strong enough acid to dissolve a Steel type's armor.
  • Psychic +> Poison: Psychic healing/purification. Sure, it's dubious in real life, but all those other psychic powers clearly exist in the Pokemon universe(s), so why not?
    • I always looked at it like "Mind can overcome corruption, but only brute force can overcome evil" for Psychic, Poison, Fighting, and Dark. Hammy and lame, yes, but...
    • Also, anything can be deadly as long as it's in the right (or wrong) place, especially poison. Psychic-type attacks have been shown to be capable of moving the target's entire body around, so, it shouldn't be hard to relocate a Poison-type's toxins to places where they're not as convenient as they are in their venom sacs.
      • Alternatively, some psychic attacks work by overloading the foe's brain, like Extrasensory. Most real creatures with poison have some defense mechanism against self-poisoning, like snake fangs folding in when they close their mouths to avoid stabbing themselves. Maybe Psychic-type attacks override those defenses.
    • I had always thought it was something like how Psychics don't need to come into contact with the Poison material, and thus aren't poisoned on contact, because they don't touch it. The reason that it's normal effectiveness instead of not-very-effective or ineffective is because when the poison creature actively lashes out, it still makes contact.
    • Maybe Psychics, being physically frail, have a phobia of poison. They can deflect poison with their psychic powers and avoid direct contact, but they take severe damage when hit, so it balances out to normal effectiveness. On the other hand, the thought of being poisoned drives Psychic types into such a panic that they immediately blast the poison type away as quickly as possible, hence being super-effective against them.
    • A lot of classic Poison types (Grimer and Koffing lines) have only barely tenable physical "forms" (Grimer is a clump of sludge, Koffing is a ball of gas... as is the Gastly line, while I'm at it), so Psychic type attacks (which bypass almost all physical defenses) might have an especially adverse effect on the fragile molecular structure inherent in the Poison Type itself (by the same token, the density of steel itself becomes a resistance to this). This could also, in a roundabout way, explain the resistance to the Fighting type, which emphasizes physical techniquenote , which would have trouble against the amorphous Poison typenote .
  • Ice +> Grass: Plants can be killed by sudden frost almost as easily as by fire.
    • Many plants go dormant during the winter... which suggests evergreens would be part fire?
      • Or part ice? Anyway, a dormant grass-type would effectively be in hibernation, which is not conducive to fighting other Pokémon.
      • Maybe you should look at Snover, a Grass/Ice moving evergreen tree that summons hail by being in battle.
  • Bug + > Psychic: This Troper actually heard of a theory once that the psychics' strength is proportional to their state of mind. So they can beat up the big, tough bully because they're confident they can do it, but they're weak to fear, the worst of which would be irrational fears, some of which are bugs, the dark, and ghosts, which could be a reason why they're weak to those types.
    • Alternatively, bugs pour into skulls and feed off of psychic brain tissue, because psychic skulls are porous to other psychic powers to escape their mind to be used.
    • Well, the reason bugs do extra damage to psychics: if you've ever been in a fly-heavy area, you'll know it's hard to concentrate and the little buggers are everywhere. A Psychic has to have total control at all times, or it risks some form of psychic blowback. The extra damage from Twineedle isn't so much to do with the needle but due to the backlash.
      • Right. Bug type moves center around being annoying. Biting (Bug Bite), shining bright lights in the eyes (Signal Beam), making lots of noise (Bug Buzz), or just darting around. The average Psychic type is psychologically sensitive (being Psychic and all) and can't deal with such torment.
    • Since psychic-types are based on the mind, maybe psychic's weaknesses (ghost, bug, and dark) are based off three common fears?
    • Or maybe the Bug-type minds are either too simple or too complex (Hive Mind or something similar) for the Psychic-type to safely affect?
      • Bug-types don't resist Psychic-types. But maybe the hive-mind thing could explain the weakness... something about the Psychics not being able to read their thoughts, and therefore never see their attacks coming?
    • Except the only bug Pokémon that could be called hive minded is Combee. More likely psychics are too bugged to focus their defenses.
  • Flying + >|<- Fighting/Grass: Due to fliers coming from above, it makes it much more challenging for the fighter to anticipate or evade its attacks. As for grass, the wind blows leaves off trees.
    • I dare you to try to Karate Chop a bat in real life. And as for plants, they're sort of more flexible. Maybe not trees, but actual grasses can often bend quite far and not break or die. Unlike, say bones.
    • Also, birds eat plants, and most Fighting-types can't fly or use projectile attacks, so Flying-types can avoid them.
      • And no matter how hard you try, you can't block or dodge wind with your bare hands.
      • Flying types beat grass because grass is made up of plants and mushrooms. Flying types get high but lose to rock because it's not good to fly stoned.
    • Fighting types also concentrate overwhelmingly on direct, physical, close-quarters combat. Against a Flying type, they have fewer opportunities to actually bring their moves to bear and are left vulnerable.
    • Perhaps Flying's Resistance to Fighting is because of the fact that, since they can fly, the force that comes from Fighting-Type attacks could be resisted because some of the force transfers into kinetic energy, meaning less of the force is there to deal damage, meaning better protection for Flying-Types.
  • Ice + > Flying: Ice can freeze the Flying-type's wings in mid-air, causing it to come plummeting down.
    • Also, many species of birds fly south for the winter, presumably because they have low tolerance for cold.
    • Additionally, ice can cause wings of aircraft to become less aerodynamic and stop producing lift. Not sure how well this carries over to living creatures, but still...
    • I doubt it. Since birds are warm blooded, they can handle the cold much better than other organisms, like grass and dragons. There are even bird species that live in cold climates (ex. arctic tern, snowy owl, skua, etc.). I remember that ice crystals can form in the air, like frost and hail.
    • Flying Pokemon haven't solved the icing problem. Except for Articuno.
      • Or the Wingull line.
    • On the contrary, all possible ways to resist and neutralize ice have been exploited by flying Pokémon.
      • Ice — Articuno; don't forget Delibird.
      • Water — Wingull line; don't forget Ducklett line, Mantine line, and Gyarados (yeah, although it doesn't look it, Gyarados is technically a flying type.)
      • Fire — Moltres, Ho-oh, and Charzard (that is even supereffective against ice).
      • Steel — Skarmory
    • Birds use columns of warm air (called thermals) to help them travel without having to flap (just spread your wings and up you go). Since ice-types would probably be pretty cold, they'd cool the air around them, making flying-types have to work harder to stay in the air. Thank you K.A. Applegate.
  • Ice +> Dragon: Dragons are reptilian. Reptiles are cold-blooded and thus don't function well in the cold. Alternatively, Dinosaurs Are Dragons, and one of the many theories explaining the dinosaurs' extinction was that they couldn't adapt to colder global temperatures.
    • Yet they're resistant to fire...
      • It's quite common in mythology that dragons are immune to or, by association with Salamanders, absorb fire (except sometimes dragonfire).
      • Thus dragon's weakness to itself.
    • This troper's theory is that Dragons are ancient creatures associated with climate (especially in Asian mythology; and that's a reason why they're resistant to important elements in the game: Fire, Water, Electric, Grass) and what they may fear is a return to an Ice Age.
    • In one of the games, a Dragon Trainer mentions how Dragons are "Full of life energy". How do you put a damper on life energy? Give it a big chill. Lowering the body temperature of something high on life energy would decrease the flow.
      • Especially since cold is basically an energetic void, so the cold could be drawing their life energy out (much like how it draws out heat energy).
      • All this doesn't explain why bug (insects are cold blooded as well) Pokémon aren't weak against ice moves.
      • Especially Pinsir, which is explicitly noted to be rendered sluggish by cold temperatures.
  • Poison <- Fighting: Some of them are gelatinous blobs, living stomachs, and gas clouds, and others are things like snakes, which, unless you crush them under a rock or cut them in half, can really take a beating.
    • You generally don't want to make direct contact with toxic substances. Since fighting types rely on repeated forceful strikes... yea....
    • Since Poison types aren't super-effective against Fighting types, it's probably the case that the Fighting type holds back to keep themselves from getting poisoned, trying to keep the Poison type at a distance and not touch it as much. This, of course, reduces the effectiveness of their attacks.
  • Ground + >|<- Poison: Certain types of clay can neutralize poisons.
    • Also, Ground types tend to live underground or in the mountains, environments that would probably lead to them developing greater bodily stamina, and thus being able to better fight off poison.
    • Many poisons are liquids, too, which would become less likely to transfer the toxins when smothered with dirt.
    • As for Ground being super-effective against Poison: Can you imagine what being buried in sand would do to a sludge creature like Muk?
  • Rock <- Poison: It's hard for toxins to seep through rock, and poison stingers have a hard time piercing it. Unlike Steel, Rock is not immune because Poison can seep through pores in the rock.
  • Bug <-> Fighting: Fighting types have fast enough reflexes to fend off the worst of a bug's sting, but due to the size of a bug poke, its exoskeleton is too thick for mundane kicks and punches to do anything too severe to it.
  • Bug -> Ghost: Ghosts are masters of harassment and mind games. Insects are annoying, but can't measure up.
    • And as with Normal and Fighting types, it would be pretty hard to defeat a spiritual/energy being by stinging it.
  • Bug -> Poison: Even though bugs adapt to poisons, it still takes time. Time which Poison types will not give them.
    • Bugs frequently use venoms in their attacks, hence all the Bug/Poison types and the Bug moves that involve stinging or biting. Poison types, being toxic beings, are not phased by these.
  • Bug +> Dark: On the obvious side of things, fireflies can light up the dark.
    • Sneaky tricks and attacks are very difficult to pull off on creatures who have too simple/alien a thought process to fall for them. They would probably just go through with the offensive anyway. Same thing if the attacker is a product of a Hive Mind.
      • Or to put it simply, bugs are Too Dumb to Fool. Now, psychics, on the other hand...
    • Kamen Rider thing? Good is based off of an insect.
      • Yeah, "Good vs. Evil" again. Fighting types just punch the Dark types until they run crying. But Bug types look outclassed, don't they? How do good guys usually beat villains that outclass them? They harass them until they're worn down and vulnerable. That is... they Bug them.
    • Dark and Psychic could have their focus thrown off by being bugged, since both of them are mental to a degree.
    • It's not easy trying to hatch a cunning scheme when there's an annoying insect buzzing in your ear.
    • Villains have a stereotypical tendency to attract bugs and/or to be surrounded by bugs. Maybe they're dirtier, so Bug-type attacks do more damage.
    • The out-of-universe explication seems to be that, back in Gen II, Bug needed some offensive buffs, as it was only super-effective against Psychic and Grass, and plenty of types, including Poison (that was weak to it before !) and the brand-new Steel, resisted it.
      • It's still resisted by way too many types.
  • Bug +>|<- Grass: simple; bugs eat plants.
  • Fighting + > Normal: How would you feel if a Professional MMA fighter punched you in the face?
    • Alternatively, a trained fighter should easily beat a normal person in a fight.
  • Ground +> Fire: Shoveling dirt on an open flame, even oil/gas or electrical ones, will put it out, while using water to put out a B or C type fire... not so much.
    • Pretty much the only way to extinguish a white phosphorus fire is to completely smother it with sand or a similar 100% noncombustible substance.
  • Ground -> Bug: A lot of bugs live in the ground, so it would be kind of like attacking a fish with water.
    • Bugs are too light, small, and nimble to be affected by things like earthquakes.
  • Psychic -> Steel: Know that flesh cannot mark steel. Know that steel may mark flesh [...] Know that the tentacled ones were of flesh. They relied on the flesh and used it as tools for their will. Well, that, and steel was introduced to curb psychic's curb stompyness. Before you bring up spoon-bending, keep in mind that a spoon is relatively thin when compared to an Aggron or Steelix.
    • There's a psionic defense in original AD&D called "Tower of Iron Will".
    • Perhaps psychic types work by altering the currents in the brain with some sort of weak but precise electromagnetism, which is messed up by trying to work through metal? Kind of like Magneto's psychic-proof metal helmet.
      • Or regular tin foil caps.
      • Or another reference to that Cold Iron thing they bring up with fairy types. Cold Iron doesn't just mess with the Fae, it also disrupted magic, something referenced plenty of times with psychic-types. That is, them being magical.
  • Dark - > Steel: Once you get past the cruelty of them, Dark type moves aren't very strong. Consider that other types have moves boasting 150+ Base Power, while Dark struggles to reach 95. Steel just hangs tough.
    • Alternately, steel types are just Made of Iron, and resist everything that doesn't have a particular reason to be strong against them.
    • As of Generation VI, Steel no longer resists Dark. Dark types have become more cunning in their underhanded assaults and have learned to strike at the chinks in the Steel type's armor. However, their raw defensive power still outmatches anything that Dark can do to them, hence why it's still only neutral.
  • Fighting->|<+FlyingDid you ever try to punch a bird? Why does this not apply for "normal"? Because mind reading, size changing, and exploding are normal for Pokémon. The guys who dedicated themselves to punching and kicking are the weird ones.
    • Alternatively, Fighting types focus on the horizontal axis, and therefore, cannot conceivably riposte something that attacks from the vertical axis.
  • Grass +> Rock — Now call me crazy, but I think this matchup is actually a reference to literal rock-paper-scissors. Grass type is basically "Plant" type, which would include wood and other cellulose-containing compounds. In other words, the kind of materials paper is made of. And paper covers rock.
    • Plants can cause some forms of physical erosion. The roots get into cracks that are in the rock, and as the roots grow thicker or bigger, they cause the cracks to become wider and split the rocks into smaller pieces. Also, I don't recall the exact length, but I recall there was a Douglas Fir tree that had a tap root push its way through over several hundred miles of solid rock to find water....
      • Wait a minute, if Rock is weak against Grass because of that, then shouldn't it be weak against Ice too? Water gets into a crack and freezes, causing it to expand, widening the crack and eventually breaking the rock. Of course, Rock has enough weaknesses as it is.
      • That's probably the logic behind Ice being super-effective against Ground.
    • Wood-based weapons tend to be superior to stone ones.
      • What is this I don't even... How are wooden weapons superior? Other than being lighter and possibly easier or quicker to make, I just can't understand how you even arrived at that conclusion.
      • How, besides being lighter and easier to make? Stone may be harder, but shaping it to a sharp point makes it much more brittle, so the debarked wood equivalent will last longer, meaning your forces suddenly have more spears and arrows than the other guy just using rocks.
    • Also, bamboo shoots can go straight through rock.
    • A shout out to Chinese Elements, Wood beats Earth by breaking up the ground/rock via roots.
  • Grass +>|<- Ground Most plants need soil to grow, and absorb nutrients from it. Also a shout out to Chinese elements, where Wood breaks Earth.
  • Ghost ->|<+ Dark Ghost types are only KINDA evil; they scare people, but only to stay alive. Dark types are just rotten to the core; to them, Ghost tactics are just love taps. And in battles between two guys who use the same power, but one is way better at it, who ends up worse for wear?
    • Or maybe Ghost-types are minions of Dark-types.
    • Dark Is Not Evil. However, death is associated with darkness, and ghost stories are often associated with dark places like haunted houses, mines, tunnels, and graveyards. Thus, ghosts could be considered to hide in the dark. Dark types, of course, can see just fine in the dark, so ghosts can't surprise or evade them.
      • Have you ever tried to scare an emo? They just end up insulting/humiliating you.
    • Some evil spirits and ghosts can be beaten by tricking them into defeat.
      • I think the above is more of a case for why Dark beats Ghost, not the other way around. Regarding "Dark Is Not Evil", see the type matchup for Psychic vs. Dark. In Pokémon, Dark Is Evil, hence why it's called the "Evil-type" in Japan. Members of the Dark-type represent conflicting views on the nature of evil, some being just misunderstood (Absol) whilst others are just naturally evil (Spiritomb). As for why Dark resists Ghost, it's probably due to the void explanation given for Dark vs. Psychic (after all, kind of hard to do spiritual damage to a soulless entity). Not sure how that explains its weakness to Bug, though ...
      • If dark types were a "void", miracle eye would not hold up. Just stick with tricky/deceptive.
    • Dark-types aren't scared of anything ghosts do. They can think of far worse things.
    • Ghosts, being spiritual, might have the same sensitivity to spiritual energies that psychics do, hence whey they share two weaknesses: Ghost and Dark. The dark energies hurt them all the more.
    • Or maybe Dark types are occult masters and know the secrets to attacking spiritual beings.
    • Also, many religions and mythologies involving ghosts have some kind of underworld. Maybe the Ghost types fear Dark types because they worry about being corrupted by evil energies. What would be scarier to a ghost than being sent to Hell?
    • Again, it could be a mix of Flat Earth Atheist and Clap Your Hands If You Believe: again, they don't believe that ghosts exist while being latent psychics themselves, and while that lack of belief weakens ghosts around them thanks to the psychic abilities acting on that lack of belief to sink them, the naturally alarming nature of a ghost is enough to create a bit of uncertainty, which means that while they can still hit ghosts nice and hard because they believe that what they're seeing can be harmed just like anything else, they're just uneasy enough for ghosts to be able to affect them as well, albeit not to any significant degree because most of the belief in the nonexistence of ghosts is still there.
      • Except Ghost types are strong against Psychic types. If a fully cognizant and powerful psychic like Alakazam or even Legendaries like Mewtwo can't defend against Ghost assaults very well, how can a mere "latent" Psychic resist them so effectively?
  • Ground +> Steel Soil can erode and dull metals to the point where they are no longer useful. For example, drag a knife along a dirt road and it will become blunted.
    • Earthquakes and landslides can cause severe damage to metal objects and structures.
    • Something as dense as steel will fall hard if the ground is torn out from under it. Same goes for Ground vs. Rock.
  • Ghost <+> Ghost — Maybe ghost types exist on a separate plane and are much weaker than other types, but resist everything, so when they seem to be taking full damage, it's only half damage on their weaker forms, but Ghost inflicts full damage to itself.
  • Dragon -> Steel — Knights wear metal armor to protect themselves from the dragon's physical attacks. Keep in mind that this doesn't apply to fire breath.
  • Ghost -> Steel — There is a superstition that you can protect yourself from evil spirits by wearing silver jewelry, putting horseshoes on your door, with crucifix necklaces (generally made of metal), and wind chimes (which also often use metal).
    • Ghost is now of normal effectiveness against Steel in Gen VI. Probably because Ghosts can phase through it in the same way as Rock and Ice. This is also hinted at by Ghost's new immunity to trapping moves.
  • Fairy +><# Dragon In fairy tales, fairies are often said to produce spells and materials that are powerful against dragons, which often play a bad role in this kind of story (especially in western fairy tales). Remember how in Sleeping Beauty, the fairies cast a spell on the prince's sword to make it kill Maleficent?
    • "Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." - G. K. Chesterton
  • Fairy -> Fire: "Courage to strengthen / Fire to blind / Music to dazzle / Iron to bind." That, and Fire really needed some defensive boosts.
  • Fairy -><+ Poison: Poison and toxic waste harm the natural environments which fairies live in.
    • Also, there was a folk legend that pixies could be killed by leaving out a dish of poisoned milk and honey in your garden.
  • Fairy -><+ Steel: The traditional weakness of The Fair Folk is Cold Iron, which dampens their powers and harms them on contact.
    • Also, Steel may be too mechanical for the Fairy spiritual attacks to strike effectively. Kind of like Psychic is not very effective against Steel.
    • Alternatively, Steel represents technology and scientific advancement opposite the more mystic and magical fairies, and Science Destroys Magic.
  • Fairy <- Bug: Fairies already live in the Forest, they don't have to fear generally ugly creatures such as bugs.
    • The Fairy-type and the Bug-type are already very similar — both are 2x effective against Dark and 1/2x effective against Steel and Fire. Additionally, depictions of fairies often show them as small, living in the forest, and possessing butterfly wings, like bugs. So the effect would be similar to a type resisting itself.
  • Fairy +><- Fighting: Fairy's typechart highly suggests it can be thought of as a "holy" type (or a Light-type ?) that acts in complement of Fighting and Psychic in that regard. While Fighting is more physical and direct, and Psychic more mental and logical, Fairy is more spiritual and emotional. A spiritual being is not one you would easily overcome by brute force. Furthermore, Fighting-types could be easily amazed by Fairy's spirituality and sensitivity.
    • Simple. Ever tried punching a fairy in real life? Same ordeal with Psychics, they can just use their magic to hold you off.
  • Fairy +><- Dark: See above. Fairy's senses, state of mind, intuition, and/or luck make Dark-type moves not very effective against it. Plus, like Fighting, Dark-types would be submerged by Fairy aesthetics and emotions.

Chapters 4-9 of this fic give pretty awesome explanations for every type and type match-up prior to Gen VI!
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