Pokémon come in 18 different types, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Types are a fundamental aspect of the Pokéworld, greatly influencing how a Pokémon lives, acts, and battles. Many trainers (including Gym Leaders and Elite Four members) specialize in one particular type.
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- Strong against nothing because it's neutral and the closest to Non-Elemental.
- Simultaneously ineffective against and immune to the Ghost-typenote because tangible and intangible beings cannot physically interact. Alternatively, the living and the dead cannot communicate with each other; once a person is dead, they're gone from the current plane of existence, therefore the living cannot interact with them in any way as they are eternally separated.
- Resisted by Rock and Steel because they are sturdy structures.
- Weak against Fighting because an average guy is almost always going to be beaten by a guy who has actually trained in some form of hand-to-hand combat.
- Burns Grass and Bugs, melts Ice and Steel. Thinking about Satoshi Tajiri as a bug collector, kids often burn bugs with magnifying glasses.
- Weak against and resisted by Water because it gets doused. Weak against and resisted by Rock because stones are still stable even when heated or burned (assuming that it's possible to burn a rock in the first place). Weak to Ground, because water isn't always the best way to put out a blaze. (ex. grease fires) Another way to put out a fire is to smother it for example, by burying it in sand.
- Resisted by Dragon because dragons are reptiles and as such resist the heat, and though varied, Western-style Dragons default to being fire-breathers.
- Douses Fire, erodes Rock, and washes away dirt and sand (Ground).
- Both weak against and resisted by Grass because plants absorb water. Resisted by Dragon because their bodies are covered in scales, and as such they're impermeable. Water takes half damage: imagine trying to drown a fish.
- Resists Steel because water is incompressible and able to distort metallic objects.
- Resists Fire and Ice because it takes a lot of thermal energy to alter the temperature of water in comparison to other substances (like, say, metal).
- Flying-types are more likely to get hit by lightning, as electricity tends look for the shortest path. Water is weak because it conducts electricity.
- Resisted by Grass because grass tends to disperse electricity well for the same reason Ground does, due to the current being literally grounded.
- Absorbs Water, weathers Rock (plants growing into crevices, cracking even solid rock), grows in dirt (Ground).
- Weak against Bugs who hide in and eat leaves. Weak against Fire because it gets burned. Weak against Flying because birds live in and around trees/seeds and leaves get blown away by wind. Steel resists Grass because the former can't support life.
- Resists Ground because its roots are well bound to the soil, preventing it from being moved or eroded. Plants also draw their nutrients from the soil, and could be seen as draining Ground-types of their vitality, not unlike a vampire.
- Beats Dragon since reptiles are cold-blooded creatures. Grass types tend to wilt and die if their climate changes too much. Ground also freezes over completely, imitating frost conditions.
- High altitudes, where birds and other fliers like to soar, tend to be extremely cold. This puts high fliers at increased risk of frostbite.
- Weak against Fire because heat melts Ice. Weak against Rock and Steel because they shatter its crystalline structure.
- Resisted by Fire because low temperature alone doesn't do much to a fire a fire that's already burning generates plenty of its own heat.
- Trained fighters beat Normal ones, and Fighting types can smash through Rock, Steel, Ice (seemingly stable materials) with their bare hands or more easily than a normal person would (board breaking comes to mind). Straightforward honorable fighters triumph over cheaters and dishonorable tactics (Dark/Evil types). Cheaters also don't tend to train on how to fight well, leaving them helpless against a more skilled opponent once their dirty tricks fail.
- Weak against Psychic because of telepathy and clairvoyance reading their moves extremely easily. Weak against Fairy because normal fighters can't do much to magical creatures. Doesn't affect Ghost because physical fighting doesn't affect the intangible. Resisted by the Flying type due to difficulty in landing a punch or kick on an opponent that is flying away.
- Why are Fighting-type moves less effective against Poison types? Because since most Fighting moves involve hand-to-hand combat, the user has to keep their guard up to avoid coming into contact with the enemy's toxins/poisonous fangs/stingers, and thus can't go all-out.
- If Absol was wrongfully labelled as a Dark/Evil type for apparently causing disasters they were trying to warn about, does that mean that Fighting being super-effective against Dark is all in the mind? Learning the proper way of fighting to protect the weak, the attacker is in a high sense of self-righteousness and puts in more effort to deal with the Designated Evil target.
- The Dark type is also about being pragmatic in how you fight (rather than simply evil), but idealism would maintain that those who fight with honor (i.e. the Fighting type) should still have an advantage.
- Causes plants to wither (Grass) and harms Fairies since poison is an extremely common way to kill or hurt in Fairy tales (see Snow White for an obvious example) and can also represent corruption of nature like pollution, which is treated as Kryptonite to magical creatures (similar to Steel).
- Completely ineffective on Steel and resisted by Rock and Ground because their bodies do not work the same way as types like Grass some may not even have blood or organs that poisons would traditionally damage. Ghosts are incorporeal. Poisonous beings tend to be resistant to their own toxins, if not a wide variety of toxins (some, like monarch butterfly caterpillars, even acquire their toxins by ingesting them).
- Why do Poison-types tend to have high defensive stats? In nature, poison is produced by plants and animals as a way of defending themselves from predators. Toxic plants are less likely to be eaten by animals, and many poisonous animals evolve bright coloration to warn predators to stay away from them.
- Grounds electric types, smothers Fire, erodes Rock. Earthquakes topple buildings and other Steel structures.
- Ground is super-effective against Poison because certain types of earth can absorb toxins and render them harmless. Case in point, the scarlet macaw ingests clay to neutrilize the toxins from the jungle berries it eats, allowing the poison to pass harmlessly through its system.
- Resisted by Bug because they live in dirt. Weak against and resisted by Grass, as plants grow in dirt. Water erodes dirt over time. Doesn't affect Flying because Flying-types live most of their lives never really touching the ground.
- Birds eat Bugs and plants (Grass), Flying types are too mobile for Fighting typesnote and force them to fight on an unusual ground without being dishonest, putting them off balance (in both ways). Bugs and leaves are also both very lightweight, making it easy for the wind to move them around.
- Not very effective against Steel and Rock types because they're too sturdy to be blown or chipped away, weak against Rock as bird bones are very hollow (and also as a nod to the phrase "kill two birds with one stone"), and weak against Electric because electricity can injure even airborne birds.
- While most Special Flying-type moves are indeed wind-flavored, the physical Flying moves are generally based on attacking from in midair Peck, Brave Bird, Sky Attack and Fly, for example.
- Psychic is weak to Bug, Ghost, and Dark because they're all common fears.
- Psychics are known as mind readers and having mental influence in most cases. This explains both their advantage against Fighting and Poison as well as their weakness to Bug and Dark:
- Fighting-types have their carefully practiced routines used against them.
- Psychics are also knowledgeable enough to study poisons and treat them. Furthermore, one way of coping with an ailment is through mental discipline.
- Dark-types are duplicitous and cunning, so it's reasonable to assume that they can easily mask their thoughts, making it harder for a Psychic to figure out what they're thinking.
- The Bug-type either has so alien a mind that the Psychic can't comprehend it, or is simply Too Dumb to Fool.
- Steel resists Psychic, because they either can't predict their moves (robots or other artificial creatures don't think the same way) or because Psychic types are unfamiliar with machined or otherwise "made" things compared to naturalistic types, or possibly the metal acts as a filter and blocks Psychics from reading their mind, like a tinfoil hat (Think of Magneto and his metal helmet).
- There are many Psychic types originating from outer spacenote Why the typing? Because they need supernatural powers to survive the vacuum of empty, cold outer space.
- Bugs are too simple-minded to fall for feints and trickery (Dark/Evil).
- Alternatively, their developed eyesight (see Compound Eyes) enables them to keep up with Dark's dirty tricks or because a bug's compound eyesight enables it to see well in darkness.
- It's also tied to Japanese culture: Bugs hitting Dark for super-effective damage could also be a reference to Kamen Rider, another Japanese franchise where the heroes are all bug-like and fight evil.
- The Fairy-type relies on its natural charm and being close to nature. Being Too Dumb to Fool, bugs also lack the means to reliably distinguish a Fairy from its enviroment; whereas anyone else can clearly see Fairy Pokémon (as their brain remembers and/or recognises where is a Pokémon and where is empty space), bugs will only see something natural that belongs to this world just as fine as themselves or common plants or ground... having only the vague location of the Fairy Pokémon, they just can't aim at Fairy Pokémon properly, so all their hits are grazing ones at best (especially if a Fairy Pokémon tries to evade).
- Bugs eat plants (Grass).
- Bugs scare the pants off Psychic-types.
- Weak against Fire because Fire burns their food source or the bugs themselves.
- Weak against Flying since birds are natural predators of insects.
- Weak against Poison in Gen I because of pesticides. Lost this weakness in Gen II because bugs adapt to them through exposure (many Bug-types are also Poison-type).
- Resisted by Steel because they can't burrow into it.
- Kills two birds with one stone (literally 2x effective). Smothers Fire, crushes Bugs, shatters Ice (a harder material).
- Weak to Fighting who train against hard material. Weak to Ground, Water, and Grass because of erosion. Weak to Steel because steel tools can break rocks.
- Also, to go along with the Elemental RockPaperScissors theme, Grass beats Rock because paper is made from trees. Paper covers rock!
- Strong against other Ghosts because only they can understand each other.
- Strong against Psychics because their existence taps into a basic fear. It also goes along with the idea of someone with supernatural powers (a medium, for example) being possessed by a spirit. Also, zombies love to eat brains, and Psychic-types have plenty to go around.
- Simultaneously ineffective against and immune to the Normal-type because Ghosts are intangible; an intangible being can neither touch nor be touched by something physical. That and the whole point of being dead is that the living cannot interact with it.
- Strong against Dragon because it Takes One to Kill One.
- Resisted by Steel because knights wore metal armor and had steel swords. It isn't vulnerable against Steel because it kills dragons if it finds a weak point or if the sword is magic, and in either case, the material in the weapon is not what causes the damage, nor does it make success particularly more likely. Also, while technology can supersede superstitious beliefs in dragons, the series takes place in a world where dragons are very much real, and therefore, not a superstition.
- Doesn't affect Fairy because they're always defeated in fairy tales and, in folklore, they are vulnerable to magic, which the Fairy-type represents.
- Weak to Ice because dragons are basically giant lizards, and lizards are cold-blooded.
- No two dragon species that start with the Dragon type share the same primary typing except for Dragon/Flying and Dragon/Fire, since flight and firebreathing are common traits of western dragons. This, combined with Dragon-types' drastic differences in body shape, also reflects how Our Dragons Are Different is in full effect, echoing how every culture has similar enough but at the same time markedly different dragon mythologies.
- Dragon-types tend to be either a prime example of Magikarp Power or already extremely powerful depending on if it has a pre-evolution or not; Stronger with Age is a trope that common pop culture, fiction, and even ancient myths associate with dragons (an example of it even serves as the trope's page image).
- Weak against Fighting because dishonorable tactics lose to honorable fighters or those with better training.
- In Japan, Dark types are called "Evil" types. Fighting types are strong against Evil types because they are literally fighting *against* Evil. This would be similar to comic book superheroes or manga protagonists fighting against Evil in their respective mediums. Even if Evil types aren't actually "evil".
- Weak against Fairy because of three reasons:
- Dark/Evil characters tend to lose in fairy tales.
- The light emitted by Fairy-types diffuses darkness.
- Dirty tactics are useless against magic.
- In many cultures around the world, a good deal of emphasis is placed on respectful treatment of the dead. This can even extend to the point of praying to the spirits of one's ancestors. Dark-type attacks are known for their... "pragmatic" nature. So, using such an underhanded (or "dishonorable") tactic against a Ghost is comparable to dishonoring the dead. It's not that the attack itself is particularly effective, it's the disrespectful nature that the attack represents that's so powerful against Ghosts. From the other side, too, Dark-types can resist Ghost-type attacks because they have no respect for the dead, and so the dead can do little against them, and evil is bad for the soul.
- A lot of mythos in Eastern cultures also come to believe that the spiritual world is more malleable than the physical world, but so can one's state of spirit be changed indefinitely through one's state of mind. In many of their metaphysics, like China with Yin of Yin and Yang, India with Tamas of Savattic theory, and Japan with kegare, darkness tends to warp those who lean closely to into beings of that affinity. Moreover, they are what their religions and mythos considers demons, and depending on where they reside, they exist to capture lost souls to send them to hell or feast on them when they stray off into dangerous places.
- Because Dark-types are sociopaths, in that they are not affected by lectures of morality or ethical issues, they are not remotely phased by mind games; they cannot be emotionally played. Psychic-types have nothing on them, because they cannot be toyed with or corrupted, as they've passed that Moral Event Horizon.
- Additionally, a Psychic-type may either not want to read the mind of a Dark-type or simply can't because the Dark-type is so naturally cunning that it can easily mask its thoughts in some way. And precognitive powers can't work on Dark-types because they're too unpredictable.
- Dark also beats Psychic by using Psychic's fear of it to turn Psychic's powers against itself.
- Why is the Dark-type now of neutral effectiveness against the Steel-type? Dark-types are based around brutal/unfair fighting, and one such tactic is attacking their opponents in the weak spots (i.e. back stab, groin attack, slashed throat, etc). Between Gen V and VI, they attempted to find the weaker areas of Steel-types and learned to strike them there. However, it's still neutral, as said weak spots are still armored and Dark-types are not as strong as Fighting-types whose blows can easily crush the armor.
- As of Gen VII, Dark-types are now immune to priority status moves boosted by Prankster. Of course they wouldn't fall for such prank tactics, since they're used to their own dirty tricks!
- Strong against Fairy because it's the traditional weakness of fairies. Strong against Ice and Rock because it's a harder substance that can shatter them.
- Resists Dragon because of the Knight in Shining Armor trope providing protection against fang and claw (not so much fire), and not super-effective because the steel weapons were almost always enchanted - run of the mill steel weaponry was useless against dragon scale.
- Resisted by Electric types because it conducts electricity. Weak against Fire because it heats up and melts. Does half damage to Steel because Like Cannot Cut Like.
- From Gen VI onward, no longer resists Dark and Ghost. Ghosts are intangible and pass through metal. Dark-types aim for weak spots in the armor.
- A lot Steel's resistances don't make much sense on their own, with many proposed explanations for each one being stretches in logic at best or counterintuitive at worst. That is until you step back and analyze them as a whole. Real world steel is extremely durable in a variety of situations. It only makes sense that the Steel-type would resist most of the types save those that make absolutely no sense for it to.
- Corrosion is an ability that is an exception to Steel-types being immune to poison status. It's not that poison somehow enters whatever circulatory system the Steel-type Pokémon has, but rather, as the name of the ability suggests, the poison eats through its metallic flesh to deal gradual damage.
- Strong against Dragon because Dragons are usually slain in fairy tales. Also, dragons are traditionally depicted as being vulnerable to magic.
- Strong against Fighting because magic beats straightforward fighting.
- Strong against Dark since evil loses in fairy tales. The Fairy-type also involves light, which disperses darkness, and dirty tactics are useless against magic.
- Fire (coal), Steel (metals, particularly steel and iron), and Poison (smog and similar pollution) represent industrialization, and as such they hardly care about fairy tales (the reason Fire is only resistant is that combustion wasn't something really new, so it's not strong against them).
- Fire and Poison cause destruction of natural environments.
- Fairies are depicted as pure and innocent, while the Poison-type represents pollution, contamination, and corruption.
- Fire is also one of the few ways to repel mythical beings, such as... The fae. It's not that they are weak to it, it's that it just repels them, and you're not likely to hit something that repels you very hard, are you?
- Its Steel weakness has a clever alternative explanation: The Fair Folk are weak to Cold Iron.
- Many Fairy type attacks have names such as "Dazzling Gleam", "Charm", "Play Rough" and "Disarming Voice". Fairy-type attacks involve the Pokémon using its beauty, charm, and feminine wiles to throw the opponent off guard. It's about being able to attack the opponent while giving off the guise of being harmless and innocent. Hell, 'Play Rough' is essentially beating the crap out of the opponent under the facade of "playing" with them. So when you think about it... the Fairy type and the Dark type are two sides of the same coin. Both use manipulative tactics to their advantage, but the Fairy type is more subtle about it. Fairy beating Dark isn't just a matter of light driving out darkness... it's a matter of using one's charisma and guile to beat the dirty thugs at their own game. This also explains why the Fairy type is strong against Fighting. Martial artists are often taught to only use their strength for self-defense, and not to victimize innocent people. Thus, they'd naturally be inclined to hold back against the seemingly innocent Fairy type.
- Despite it not being a Fairy-type move, Attract is quite common among Fairy-types. This ties into supernatural beings using glamour to seduce men.
- Quite a few Fairy-types have a Grass secondary typing; after all, Fae myth generally states that that it's a very, very bad idea to go to into forests where Fae dwell. Furthermore, since the modern world has worked metal everywhere, forests are the only place left for them to feel safe. The other most common paired type is Psychic, because even if they can't read minds, Fae are known for Blue-and-Orange Morality that often deceives and plays mortals who can't sniff them out, usually to said mortal's detriment.