With Pokémon Sun and Moon set to debut this weekend, the handheld franchise that compels aspiring trainers everywhere to catch’em all will enter its seventh generation. One part of the Pokemon games that make them so consistently rewarding is the type mechanic. Each and every Pokemon belong to 1 or 2 of the 18 types that exist in the game, with every Pokemon strong against certain varieties and weak against others. The Rock-Paper-Scissors mechanic is one of the simplest but most important parts of the franchise, and the types themselves have built up a bit of a reputation based on the Pokemon they boast.
So what are the most popular types? Which type has consistently offered the most memorable, most powerful, and most fun Pokemon to train and battle with? It’s obviously a subjective topic, but we think we’ve got it pinned down. Here are Screen Rant’s picks for The Most Loved Pokemon Types, Ranked.
Normal is the vanilla of Pokemon types. It’s a fine enough type to have, but most people like it accompanied by other types for contrast at the very least. Actually, vanilla might be more popular than the Normal Pokemon type.
In the Pokemon games, Normal has never had any inherent strengths in the fundamental rock-paper-scissors type game, and it’s ineffective against Steel, Rock and Ghost varieties while possessing a particular weakness towards Fighting types. It doesn’t help with the cool factor that most of the Normal Pokemon you encounter are found in the early game, or throughout as common fodder to run from. We’ve all seen enough Rattatas.
In the more competitive Pokemon scene, there are a few standout Normal Pokemon, like Blissey or Arceus, who have a lot of hit points and can provide great support for their teams. There are also a few big Normal Pokemon in each generation that stand out, like Snorlax, Kangaskhan and Slaking, and don’t forget the more curious normal Pokemon like Ditto and Smeargle. But at the end of the day, Normal types are…just a bit boring by comparison.
In the first few generations of Pokemon games, Poison was a type that seemed to exist only to apply its status effect of the same name. It was pretty annoying too, since you would always find opponents who had Poison Pokemon before you could get your own. Creators often seemed to make Poison Pokemon the meanest and nastiest looking of the bunch, making them an appropriate calling card for the villainous Team Rocket. And when the battle was over, you had to deal with that flashing black border on your screen reminding you that your poisoned Pokemon’s life was still ebbing away while you frantically cycled back to a Pokemon Center.
It took a while for Poison to come into its own as a type. Finally, by the time generation 6 rolled around, Poison has gained some of its own heavy-hitting and utility moves, as well as a few primary Poison type Pokemon that actually looked cool, like Drapion and Toxicroak. Poison is also good against the new Fairy type, and has resistances against Bug, Fairy, Fighting, Grass, in addition to an immunity to being poisoned themselves.
Fairy’s introduction in generation 6 was even more of a blatant balance fix to the type metagame than Dark and Steel was in generation 2. Fairy is strong against Dark, Dragon and Fighting types, 3 of the most powerful offensive varieties in the game. It’s also the only type that is immune to Dragon attacks, but it is also inherently weak against Steel and Poison types. So the best got nerfed a bit and the worst got buffed a bit.
It’s a bit hard to judge Fairy types, since plenty of us are still getting used to old Pokemon being converted into the classification. (When was the last time any of us thought about Granbull?) Plenty of the conversions make sense, of course, like Clefable, Wigglytuff and Togekiss. Pokes like Sylveon (the Fairy Eevee evolution) and the Legendary Xerneas are probably the most well liked Fairy types to date, though Sun & Moon characters like Primarina, Magearna, Tapu Fini, and Mimikyu could soon be giving them a run for their money. The new games are clearly looking to emphasize the latest type addition, so this could soon become a fan-favorite. For now though, they’re definitely at the back end of the beloved scale.
Earthquake. We all love it, we all hate it. But what else does the Ground type have to offer? In the first generation, it mostly served as a dual type pair with Rock, though it had a few single type Pokemon, including Onix, Geodude, Rhydon, Cubone and Sandslash. In generation 1, there were no strange type combinations to protect Ground from its all too common weaknesses to Water and Grass.
But then we got Claydol, Excadrill, Krookodile, Golurk, and freaking Groudon! After the introduction of the Steel type, Ground boasts a total of five types it is super effective against. Only the Fighting Pokemon have as many strengths, and Ground is the only type that is super effective against Electric Pokemon. Good luck hitting flying types, though.
The Anime and Manga always bring the Pokemon to life a bit more literally than the games. When on-screen Pokes use earthquake, it doesn’t just cause fissures in the arena for one turn before everything goes back to normal.
Was switching in a Metapod or a Kakuna who only knew harden worth doing a bunch of times just to evolve a Butterfree or a Beedrill? Different trainers may feel differently. There wasn’t much to write home about for the Bugs in generation 1, except in the anime. You cried when Ash released his Butterfree, don’t deny it. And pretty much everybody who played Red and Blue wanted a Scyther or Pinsir from the opposite version.
Bug has always been a challenged type. It’s weak to common offensive moves from Fire, Ice, Rock and Flying types, and most Bugs don’t have the raw stats or type coverage to use their strength against Psychic. Then, someone at GameFreak had the hair brain scheme of making a Bug/Steel type, so we got the glory that is Scizor (and Mega Scizor), Escavalier and Genesect. Bug may still have a tough time in the type metagame, but it’s still getting really cool Pokemon with each generation, like Heracross, Shedinja, Galvantula and Volcarona.
Grass is a very underappreciated type. It’s one of the most common types, and it’s given us a lot of average Pokemon inspired by various foliage. Grass also makes up one of the common starter type Pokemon, and for most trainers, they usually end up being the least memorable of each trio. Grass Pokemon oftentimes get type pairings that double up some of their common weakness. Grass/Flying Pokemon are doubly susceptible to Ice type moves, and Grass Bug Pokemon are twice as weak against Ice and Fire, for example.
But Grass Pokemon were some of our first Pokemon that taught us about statuses, like sleep, paralysis, and draining moves. Grass also has its own major type strength against the very common Ground, Rock and Water types. Each generation has introduced some pretty cool Grass types, like Exeggcutor, Breloom, Abomasnow, and Amoonguss. And honestly, there’s nothing quite like Sunny Day/Solarbeam combos.
Rock had a lot of the coolest Pokemon in generation one. Remember when you first saw Onix in the anime and freaked out when you had the chance to catch one in Red and Blue? Remember when those kids clever enough to evolve their Graveller into a Golem were the royalty of the lunch table? Too bad all the Rock types in generation 1 had an enhanced weakness to Grass.
But Rock has always had one of the best defense stat averages in the game, if not the best type match-ups. Like plenty of other types, Rock Pokemon benefited greatly from the other type combinations introduced in later generations. Aerodactyl, Tyranitar, Cradily, Bastiodon, and Barbaracle all have some of their major weaknesses covered by their dual typing. And we got Tyrantrum, the freaking Dinosaur rock dragon! Rock Pokemon even got a slot in the recent Mythical Pokemon group in Diancie, along with the likes of Mew and Celebi.
Something about Flying types makes them automatically impressive. Oh, here’s a plain Fire lizard starter you were raising. You hit level 36? Boom, that fire lizard is now a flying fire dragon! You were grinding a weak little fish Water type? Just a few more levels and you’ve got a colossal Water Dragon!
Fly was one of the coolest things you could do with your Pokemon outside the battle arena. Who wouldn’t want to ride the back of a Pidgeot to whatever city they wanted? Sure, the Flying type got saddled with interchangeable bird-inspired Pokemon every generation. But they also got cool themed Pokemon like Noctowl, Tropius, Honchcrow, Talonflame, Noivern and Tornadus. The Flying type has been paired up with every other type in the game at least once, creating some of our favorite and most impressive Pokemon. Both the Legendary Birds and the Legendary Forces of nature owe part of their majesty to their Flying typing, not to mention plenty of Dragons and Starters.
Ice has always been one of the more sought after types. Ice Pokemon tend to be among the more aesthetically interesting and occasionally beautiful looking creatures in the series, like Cloyster and Aurorus, respectively. They are also tied with Ghost for being the most uncommon Pokemon Type, so their exotic rarity is reinforced.
The great thing Ice had going for it in generation 1 was that it was pretty much the only type that could kill Lance and his Dragon lineup in the Elite Four. You know you had a Jynx, Cloyster, Laprass, or maybe even an Articuno (if you were lucky) in your back pocket that was ready to fire away with an Icebeam at a moment’s notice.
Icebeam can often be found in the arsenal of non-Ice Pokemon, because of the common and uncommon type strengths it has. Ice also sports some bizarre Pokes like Jynx on its roster, just to spice things up. Fans continue to speculate to this day as to what thematic or mythic inspirations may be behind her Ice typing.
The strong and mighty Fighting type was not always so strong and mighty. It was always threatened by the powerful Psychic type, and is even weak against the common Flying Type. In generation 1, it was only super effective against Normal, Rock, and Ice, the last being mostly a secondary type. And with the exception of Polywrath, there were only pure Fighting types in generation 1.
But then generation 2 introduced Steel and Dark, and elected to make Fighting types super effective against both of them. Suddenly, Fighting was super effective against five types, tying it with the previously mentioned Ground as the only classification in the game that’s so strong against so many different types.
Fighting soon began getting paired with other types, resulting in some truly great Pokes like Medicham, Lucario, and Hawlucha. Three out of the six fully evolved Fire starters — and one of the six fully evolved Grass starters — have a Fighting secondary type. Blaziken, Infernape and Emboar are not only some of the most popular starters released so far, they’re flat-out giants, even in the competitive scene. Fighting got so offensively dominant that Fairy was made to be super effective against it when the series’ newest type was introduced in generation 6.
It should come as no surprise to Pokemon fanboys and girls that Water is the most common type of them all. It does make a certain amount of sense when you think about how much life on the planet revolves around water and bodies of water. All manner of real and legendary creatures of the sea have served as inspirations for Water Pokemon. Throughout the generations we’ve had some seriously powerful water creatures like Gyarados, Lapras, Suicune, Wailord, Kyogre, Palkia, Seismitoad and Keldeo, and we may have a few more of them to add to that list in the very near future.
The Water starter Pokemon have always been some of the most dependable, powerful, and bulky Pokes that trainers could find through the midgame. They were our surfers, taking us to the open ocean for new adventures. Blastoise, Feraligatr, Swampert, Empoleon, Sumarott and Greninja make a fine line up of Water team mainstays.
The Water type has had its share of iconic Pokemon like Squirtle, including the cool dude one with the shades that joined Ash’s team. And with Z moves coming in Sun & Moon, even Magicarp might no longer be totally pathetic. Also, we heard you like Mudkips?
Remember in the Pokemon trading card game when the new Metal energy cards came out? Those were dope. The introduction of the Steel type shook up the game in a major way. Steel was introduced with a whopping 11 resistances out of the then-17 Pokemon types. It eventually lost its resistances to Ghost and Dark, but gained a resistance to Fairy, and later, a super effectiveness against Fairy in generation 6. Registeel, Klinklang and Mega Aggron are the only pure Steel types, but the Pokemon paired with dual Steel typing are some of the toughest in the game, depending on its other classification. For example, Empoleon, Generation 4’s final water starter, is still one of the best defensive support starters around.
If you thought Onix was cool, wait till you see Steelix and Mega Steelix! How about Skarmory and Metagross and Aegislash? We also have The Legendary Dialga and Cobalion representing the Steel type, and we have Jirachi as a Mythic Steel Pokemon, in case you want to take things to the next level.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Solgaleo in Sun & Moon; that dude is going to be awesome.
The Ghost type has always had an interesting spot in the type metagame. They’ve been in a tug of war with Psychic and Dark since the second generation. Ghost is one of the few types that is strong against itself, much like Dragon, but it’s also immune to Normal and Fighting moves. As it stands, Dark is the only type that is resistant to Ghost.
But enough nitty gritty, Ghost Pokemon are cool! Remember trying to catch a Gastly or even a Haunter in Lavender Town, or how spooky and funny the Ghosts themselves were in the Anime? How about when Misdreavus was introduced as the first pure Ghost type, and nobody knew how his name was spelled? (We got it right, right?) Generation 4 also gave us Giratina, the Ghost/Dragon Pokemon that represented antimatter in the creation trio with Dialga and Palkia. Giratina can create portals to alternate dimensions and take on more primal looking forms that look like a cross between a snake, a spider, and a dragon, which is obviously makes it a prime candidate for the most badass Poke in town.
Dark Types are so cool, they’re too cool to have been a type theme for any gym in any of the Pokemon games so far. However, various members of the Elite Four in several regions specialize in Dark types, including Karen, Sidney and Grimsley. The villainous Pokemon teams also finally got impressive Pokemon when Dark was introduced, which was definitely a nice touch.
Dark was another type introduced to shake up the Psychic and Ghost metagame. Dark is super effective against both of them — and completely immune to Psychic attacks — but to balance things out a bit, it’s had its own weaknesses to Bug, Fighting, and Fairy types since generation 6.
At first, we had the midgame but still very cool Dark types like Houndoom and Sneasel. Like all the various types, we got more outrageous Pokemon with each generation, but Dark Type endgame Pokemon are among the most powerful and terrifying of all. We have Umbreon, Absol, Bisharp, Zoroark, and Darkrai, all of whom are fearsome in their own right, but then we have the Dark Dragon Hydreigon and the Legendary Pokemon of death itself, Yveltal.
We’ve finally arrived at the first ever inarguably over-powered classification. When the Psychic type was first introduced in generation 1, it virtually had free reign because of the type matchups it had. The only pitfalls were that it was susceptible to Bug type moves and unable to effect Ghost types; that was it. Too bad all three Ghost Pokemon and most of the Bug Pokemon in generation 1 had a Poison secondary type, which Psychic is super effective against. Psychic could also crush that Machoke, Primeape, or even that Hitmonchan you loved so much, which surely broke some hearts back in the day.
Things got steadily more balanced for Psychic with the Dark type introduced and Ghost and Beg type growing more into their own. But rest assured, the Psychic type has grown as well. Each generation sees awesome new incarnations or combinations with the Psychic type, like Xatu, Gardevoir, Hoopa, Espeon, Reuniclus. Plenty of the Legendary Pokemon come from the Psychic type as well, including Lugia, Celebi and Victini. Let’s not forget about the big guns Mewtwo and Mew though, who were the original omnipotent and uniquely rare Pokemon.
And if you thought Solgaleo looked cool, wait until you get a load of Lunala.
Let’s be honest: there is one reason and one reason only why electric is number 3 on this list, and that’s Pikachu. But that’s a damn fine reason. As the main Pokemon character of the Anime and the mascot of the franchise, Pikachu still charms Pokemon fans (especially little kids) all over the world. The novelty of having your own Pikachu follow you around in Pokemon Yellow just like the show was really special back in the day.
It’s not like Electric is a lackluster type sentimentally or mechanically, either. Electric is super effective against the two very common Water and Flying types, and it only has one true weakness (Ground). This makes it a crucial type, at least for attacking moves. Plenty of Electric favorites got even more awesome evolutions in later generations, like Electivire and Magnezone. And let us not forget the likes of fan-favorites like Jolteon, Zapdos and Raikou.
Everybody loves Dragons. From our very first and only Dratini, Dragonair, and Dragonite to the latest Legendary Trio topper in Zygarde, these guys were always destined to be fan-favorites. The Dragon type is comprised almost entirely of Legendaries and end game staples like Salamence, Latias and Latios, Rayquaza, Garchomp, Reshiram and Zekrom and Kyurem.
The Dragon type is only super effective against itself, but it has some of the highest average base stat totals of any type in the game. This means that Dragon type Pokemon who use same type attack bonuses will do better damage than most other attack varieties, especially since the only types that resist Dragon are Steel and Fairy. Dragon itself is resistant to all the common starter types, from Fire to Water to Grass, and even Electric. (So how did Ash’s Pikachu beat a Dragonite on the Orange Islands again?)
What kid doesn’t dream of owning fire-controlling animals? The first generation of Pokemon did a great job of hooking us with superpowered fiery beasts. Here’s Arcanine, a dog that’s on fire! Here’s Ninetails, a fox that’s on fire! Here’s Rapidash, a horse that’s on fire! And the awesomely ablaze animals just kept on coming. The Fire starters have usually been the most popular of each trio, especially Blaziken and Infernape. Fire types throughout the pokedex, like Flareon, Magmortar, Camerupt and Pyroar, have always been prized for their beauty and power.
Fire has its common weaknesses to Water and Ground, of course, but it also has 6 resists and key strengths against Steel, Ice and the very common Grass type. The Fire type boasts some of the best Legendaries too, including Moltres, Ho-oh, Heatran and Volcanion.
But the real reason Fire tops this list is the one and only Charizard. Ash’s Charizard went from one of his most troublesome to most loyal and powerful Pokes. And just when you thought he couldn’t get any cooler, he got two different mega evolutions in X and Y. Charizard is still arguably the most enduringly popular fully evolved starter, so by association, Fire is our pick for the most beloved Pokemon type.
What’s your favorite Pokemon type? What did you think of our rankings? Let your voice be heard in the comments section!