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Everything about the Grass/Dark Type-Combination

Posted October 7th, 2022 at 12:00 AM by Sweet Serenity
Updated October 26th, 2022 at 3:25 PM by Sweet Serenity

Everything about the Grass/Dark Type-Combination


On July 1st, 2022, I replied to a thread that asked for opinions on the Grass/Dark type combination. While the thread starter was convinced that the Grass/Dark typing was the worst possible type-combination, I respectfully disagreed and shared my reasons as to why I believed it wasn't the worst type-combination and even mentioned many positive aspects about the Grass-type and the Grass/Dark combination. However, the user that started the thread was upset that I disagreed with him and decided to make the conversation about me rather than the Grass/Dark type-combination. As a result, the moderators believed that our conversation got too heated and closed the thread before I could post a detailed reply. My intended reply to the thread contained much of the information that I've written in this post. When considering whether or not a type-combination is good or bad, players should consider more than the amount of weaknesses the type combination possesses. Players should also consider other ways that Pokémon with the type-combination in question can excel, such as on offense, how many Pokémon that it can hit super-effectively with STAB, how it interacts with field effects such as weather conditions and terrain, and so on. As a result, I compiled a list of characteristics of the Grass-type, Dark-type, and Grass/Dark-type combined to highlight as many positive aspects about the type-combination as possible.

Grass-type Pokémon


Offense
• Hit Ground-type, Rock-type, and Water-type super effectively, which are three of the most common types used in Pokémon.
• Can hit 19% of all Pokémon super effectively, which is slightly above the average of 18%.
• Hits Dark, Electric, Fairy, Fighting, Ghost, Ice, Normal, and Psychic with neutral damage, which are also common types.
• Have a high chance of creating Grassy Terrain, either through the ability Grassy Surge, using the move Grassy Terrain, or the max move Max Overgrowth after inflicting damage with it, which grants Grass-type Pokémon several benefits.
• Gain such benefits granted from Grassy Terrain that include boosting the power of Grass-type moves by 30% and grants priority to the move Grassy Glide and boosts its power by 30%.
• Benefit well from Harsh Sunlight, which is created either by Max Flare, the ability Drought, Sunny Day, or the harsh sunlight weather condition in the overworld, such as by:

o Allowing Solar Beam and Solar Blade to be used during the first turn, which are extremely powerful Grass-type moves.
o Resulting in the Grass-type move Growth boosting Attack and Special Attack by two stages instead of one stage, in which boosting stats is essential in competitive battling.
o Activating the abilities Chlorophyll, Dry Skin, Flower Gift, Forecast, Leaf Guard, and Solar Power.
o Turning the move Weather Ball into a Fire-type move and doubles its power from 50 to 100, which, as a result, has its power boosted again by 50% because of Harsh Sunlight’s effect, making its power 150, which gives any Grass-type that can learn it a great and extremely powerful coverage move in the Sun.
o Preventing Pokémon from becoming Frozen, which is very likely to happen to Grass-types because of their Ice-type weakness and is, in my opinion, the coldest status condition in the game because of an 80% chance of not thawing out each turn.
o Causing Moonlight, Synthesis, and Morning Sun to recover ? of max HP, in which many Grass-type Pokémon can learn Synthesis for recovery.
o Having the ability to be used in conjunction with Grassy Terrain, granting all benefits that each provide simultaneously.

Defense
• Resists Electric, Grass, Ground, and Water-type attacks, which are the most common attacking move types.
• Several can learn the move Synthesis, a move that restores ½ total HP in normal conditions, ? total HP during Harsh Sunlight, and ¼ total HP during other weather conditions, which is great for recovery.
• Are immune to Leech Seed and powder moves, such as Sleep Powder and Stun Spore.
• Gains some defensive benefits through the effect of Grassy Terrain, such as restoration of HP by 1/16 of the Pokémon’s health at the end of each turn, and causes the power of Bulldoze, Earthquake, and Magnitude to be halved against affected targets (regardless of whether the user of the move is affected by Grassy Terrain).

Negativities
• Is hit by Bug, Fire, Flying, Ice, and Poison-type moves super effectively, in which Flying, Ice, Fire, and even Poison-types because of Fairy coverage are common attacks in the (meta) game.
• Is resisted by seven types, which include Bug, Dragon, Fire, Flying, fellow Grass, Poison, and Steel-type Pokémon, which are commonly used types in the (meta) game as well with the exception of Bug-types and Poison-types.

Dark-type Pokémon


Offense
• Hits Ghost and Psychic-type super effectively, which are among two of the best types in the (meta) game.
• Does neutral damage against 13 types, which are Bug, Electric, Fire, Flying, Grass, Ground, Normal, Poison, Rock, Steel, and Water-type Pokémon.
• Has many moves with several unique game changing effects that other types often lack such as:

o Assurance – A move that doubles in power when the target has already taken damage that turn, which is great in Doubles or any battle where the target has taken damage with entry hazard moves such as Stealth Rock or Spikes.
o Beat Up – A move that can hit multiple times with varied levels of power, allowing it to potentially bypass items such as Focus Sash or abilities such as Sturdy.
o Darkest Lariat – A rather strong move that ignores the target’s Defense and Evasion stat changes.
o Dark Pulse – The quintessential Dark-type Special attack that can cause flinching.
o Foul Play – A move that calculates the damage done based on the target’s Attack stat instead of the user’s Attack stat.
o Knock Off – A quintessential Dark-type attack that removes the targets held item when inflicting damage, which is a must have in all levels of competitive Pokémon, as items are extremely important in battle.
o Parting Shot – A great pivot move that lowers the target’s Attack and Special Attack stats before switching out, which is great against the meta in Doubles.
o Pursuit – Another quintessential Dark-type move that doubles in power when the user is switching out, which is a great move because switching out is common in competitive battling, and it is great against Psychic and Ghost-types.
o Snarl – A move that lowers the targets Special Attack stat every time it hits.
o Sucker Punch – Another quintessential Dark-type move that grants priority and only works if the target is about to use a non-status move that causes damage, which is extremely important in competitive play.
o Taunt – An essential Dark-type move that prevents the target from using status moves, which is great against lead Pokémon that use setup moves or stallers that abuse moves status, protection, and recovery moves.


Grass-type and Dark-type Pokémon Combined


Offensively
• Combines all the benefits I listed for Grass-types and Dark-types, including those for Grassy Terrain and Harsh Sunlight benefits, and the benefits of gaining STAB from the many useful Dark-type moves I listed.
• Covers 33% of all Pokémon in the game super-effectively, and can hit Ghost, Ground, Psychic, Rock, and Water-types super effectively, which are all great and common types in the (meta) game.
• Allows the Grass-type Pokémon to now hit Ghost-types and Psychic-types super effectively.
• Allows the Dark-type Pokémon to hit Fighting-type and Fairy-type Pokémon with neutral STAB damage and hit Ground, Rock, and Water-types super effectively.
• Can hit 13 types with neutral damage.
• Grants the Dark-type Pokémon the ability to hit Fighting and Fairy-type Pokémon with a Grass-type STAB move.
• Can now hit all types in the game with unresisted STAB, as Grass-type alone is resisted by seven types, which are Bug, Dragon, Fire, Flying, Grass, Poison, and Steel-type, and Dark-type alone is resisted by three types, which are Dark, Fairy, and Fighting-type. Because the Grass-type can neutrally hit every type that resists Dark-type, and Dark-type can neutrally hit every type that resists Grass, which means that, when combined, Dark/Grass removes 10 STAB resistances and can hit every possible type combination without being resisted.

Defensively
• Maintains all the defensive benefits that I listed for Grass-types and Dark-types, including those for Grassy Terrain and Harsh Sunlight benefits, and those associated with Dark-types.
• Resists the rather common Dark, Electric, Ghost, Grass, Ground, and Water-type moves, and negates Psychic-type attacks, giving the Grass-type Pokémon the ability to resist Dark and Ghost-type moves, and nullify Psychic-type attacks, and the Dark-type the ability to resist Electric, Grass, Ground, and Water-type attacks.
• Unaffected by Prankster priority moves, Leech Seed, and powder moves such as Sleep Power, Stun Spore, Spore, and Poison Powder.

Negativities
• Is hit super effectively against Bug times four, Fairy, Fighting, Fire, Flying, Ice, and Poison-type moves

Summary


Based upon the information that we have regarding the Grass-type, Dark-type, and the two types combined, we learned that the Dark-type helps the Grass-type on offense by being able to attack all types with unresisted STAB, take down Ghost and Psychic-type Pokémon, which are common in the meta game. Defensively, the Dark-type grants the Pokémon with immunity to Prankster moves and Psychic-type attacks. When competing in the Pokémon Video Game Championships (VGC) and/or online ranked double battles, a common tactic in the meta is to use a Pokémon with the ability Prankster, which is an ability that grants a Pokémon priority when using status moves, to target sweepers with moves such as Thunder Wave to slow them down and/or prevent them from attacking. Pokémon with immunity to being targeted by moves prioritized by the ability Prankster is extremely useful in competitive play. The only negative aspect that I could think of regarding the Grass/Dark type combination is the fact that Grass-type has many weaknesses and combining the Grass-type with the Dark-type does little to remove such weaknesses. However, merely because a type-combination has many weaknesses does not render it useless. Grass/Dark-type Pokémon’s weaknesses can be covered by other Pokémon on the same team defensively and offensively. For example, a Poison/Rock Pokémon could potentially serve as a great teammate for a Grass/Dark Pokémon, considering that Poison/Rock covers much of Grass/Dark’s weaknesses such as Poison, Flying, Bug, Fairy, and Fire, whereas it would take neutral damage from Fighting and Ice-type moves. In return, the Poison/Rock-type Pokémon could then threaten the Flying, Fairy, Ice, or Fire-type Pokémon offensively. Thus, whenever you’re building a team around a Grass/Dark-type Pokémon such as Zarude, I would recommend using a Poison/Rock-type Pokémon such as Nihilego, preferably with Zarude being your physical sweeper and Nihilego being your special sweeper to cover each other.

Characteristics of Individual Grass/Dark-type Pokémon


To better fathom how Grass/Dark-type Pokémon perform in battle, we must delve into the individual characteristics and capabilities of Pokémon with the Grass/Dark-typing. Because I want to highlight how Pokémon battle at their full potential, I will only be covering fully-evolved Grass/Dark-type Pokémon. The purpose of this section is to analyze a Grass/Dark-type Pokémon's statistics, abilities, movepools, and summarize such characteristics to determine its best role for battle.


Cacturne
To begin the analysis, we will start with the Pokémon Cacturne, the Scarecrow Pokémon. Cacturne has a stat line of 70 HP, 115 Attack, 60 Defense, 115 Special Attack, 60 Special Defense, and 55 Speed, with its base stat totaling at 475. With the exception of its Attack and Special Attack, Cacturne's stats are below average and its base stat total is slightly below the average of 497 for all fully evolved Pokémon. Based upon Cacturne’s stats, I can only imagine it being good on Trick Room teams because of its low base speed stat of 55. Because of its poor Speed, terrible defensive stats, but high attacking stats, Cacturne could easily assume the role of a Trick Room sweeper. Because of its low Speed stat and weak defenses, it won’t do too well on regular teams that don’t use Trick Room. Nevertheless, the best part about Cacturne is that it can be used equally effectively as a special and physical attacker. Its hidden ability, Water Absorb, is its best ability to be used competitively over Sand Veil, as it could completely negate a Water-type attack when switching in, which is great defense for your Pokémon that are weak to Water-type moves. In fact, Cacturne would be good as a sweeper in a Trick Room Sun team, with Torkoal as its main core partner. Whenever Cacturne would be threatened by a Fire-type attack, it could switch in to sponge the damage and do massive damage with its Sun-boosted Fire-type moves. Whenever Torkoal would be threatened by a Water-type attack, Cacturne could switch in and negate the attack with its Water Absorb ability. The moveset that I would likely run for Cacturne as a physical sweeper would be Seed Bomb (strong STAB), Sucker Punch (priority STAB), Superpower (powerful and vast coverage), and Swords Dance (doubles physical Attack). As a special sweeper, I would give Cacturne Energy Ball (strong STAB), Dark Pulse (strong STAB), Focus Blast (coverage, but inaccurate) (or Sucker Punch for more priority), and Nasty Plot (or Growth) for stat boosts. However, because Cacturne is a Pokémon that likely only finds its niche on Trick Room teams with moves and abilities that don’t help it stand out, it’s unlikely to make any sort of impact against the meta, meaning that it doesn’t truly reach its full potential as a Grass/Dark-type Pokémon.


Shiftry
Shiftry is actually a pretty good Pokémon. As I mentioned before in the same thread that started this post, I used Shiftry during my first generation three play-through as my primary Grass-type because I chose Torchic as my starter Pokémon. Because of its moveset, ability to learn Leaf Blade, which boosts critical hit ratio, and the friendship/affection system in generation IV onwards that also boosts critical hit ratio, when equipped with an item such as Scope Lens or Razor Claw, Shiftry can consistently inflict massive damage with critical hits, which makes Shiftry great for a regular play-through. However, Shiftry can also be decent in competitive battling as well. Statistically, Shiftry has bad defensive stats with both being 60, good HP at 90, good Attack at 100, slightly above average Special Attack at 90, and average speed at 80, which gives it potential to be a decent wallbreaker with stat boosts. However, because of its better ability, Chlorophyll, when compared to its other abilities such as Pickpocket and Early Bird, Shiftry’s Speed would double in Harsh Sunlight, which can make Shiftry a potentially deadly sweeper on a Sun team. I would make Shiftry a Dynamax sweeper on a Sun team personally, with the moves Leaf Blade (strong STAB), Knock Off (item removal and STAB), Brick Break (coverage, screen breaking, and attack boosts when Dynamaxing), and Bounce (for speed boosts when Dynamaxing). However, despite Shiftry’s wallbreaking and sweeping potential, its main problem is that it is completely outclassed by Venusaur, which is probably the best Grass-type Pokémon on Sun teams because of its ability to learn Weather Ball, giving it great Fire-type move coverage.


Zarude
The last competitively eligible Pokémon with Grass/Dark typing is Zarude, a mythical Pokémon. Because mythical Pokémon were always banned from official Pokémon competitions sanctioned by "The Pokémon Company," players never possessed the opportunity to battle using Zarude in official tournaments. However, because "The Pokémon Company" recently allowed mythical Pokémon to compete in ranked and official battles under their newly implemented Series 13 regulations, Zarude finally can present how it ranks in the meta game. To predict how Zarude could potentially rank, analyze its stats, ability, and learnset. With a base Attack total of 120 and a base Speed total of 105, Zarude naturally functions as a physical sweeper, being capable of out-speeding many Pokémon with high potential of knocking them out in one-hit. Its signature move, Jungle Healing, a move that restores its own HP and its allies by a quarter of its maximum HP and heals any major status condition they might have, ensures that Zarude possess reliable recovery and the ability to support its teammates, which makes it useful in double battles. Zarude also has a base HP total of 105, base Defense total of 105, and a base Special Defense total of 95, which establishes Zarude as a good defensive Pokémon as well. It's ability, Leaf Guard, enhances its defensive traits even further, as it prevents Zarude from being afflicted with any major status conditions, including Yawn in harsh sunlight, which makes Zarude more likely to thrive on sun teams. Additionally, because Zarude can learn Bulk Up, a move that boosts its already high Attack and Defense stats by one stage, Zarude can become better at taking physical hits and could hit even harder, which gives Zarude the potential to be a fearsome wallbreaker. Zarude is also capable of learning Darkest Lariat, a Dark-type move that ignores the opposing Pokémon's stat changes when dealing damage, which improves its wallbreaking capabilities. However, because of its inability to learn reliable coverage moves that allow it to hit many different types super effectively, Zarude is still likely to be outclassed by other Grass-type Pokémon such as Venasaur in harsh sunlight and in double battles, as Venasaur is able to learn Weather Ball and boost its Speed stat in harsh sunlight with the ability Chlorophyll. However, considering that support Pokémon with the ability Prankster are commonly used in Doubles for their ability to paralyze opposing attacks with their priority Thunder Wave, because of Zarude's Dark-typing, it would be immune to Prankster moves that target it. In addition, Nevertheless, because of its sweeping potential, Zarude could definitely make a name for itself in official single battle competitions.

Conclusion


Thus, the primary issue with the Grass/Dark typing does not lie with the Grass/Dark typing itself, but rather the fact that the currently existing fully-evolved Grass/Dark-type Pokémon are simply not the best or are outclassed in some way, which proves my point about individual Pokémon and their stats, abilities, and move-pools mattering more than their type-combinations. For example, the problem with Cacturne is not the fact that it is Grass/Dark, but rather because of its lopsided stat distribution that renders it difficult to use for its weak defenses and slow Speed, making it impossible to use as a sweeper on non-Trick Room teams, and is completely outclassed by Pokémon such as Venasaur on Sun teams. Shiftry is a good Pokémon for a regular playthrough and would have been decent competitively as a Sun team sweeper with its ability Chlorophyll, especially when Dynamaxed, but has its dreams of being a good Sun team sweeper completely challenged by Venasaur yet again. The only Grass/Dark-type Pokémon with potential to have an impact in the meta is Zarude, which is a mythical Pokémon, because of its stats, ability to boost its Attack and Defense with Bulk Up, ability to heal its teammates in Doubles with Jungle Healing, and the fact that it is immune to Prankster moves, which is a stable in the competitive VGC.
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