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Dark-types - Upgrading the Underwhelming

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First of all, I apologise for putting this up earlier than intended, because the next of the main series of articles isn't done with proofreading yet, and I believe that now is a good time to put up another article regarding the Dark-type.

For today’s article, I will put eight Dark-types that are currently not quite impressive, and suggest improvements so that they would be better-suited for battling. Basically, the article will cover each fully-evolved Pokémon’s merits, their problems, things that could be improved on them and finally, the possible effects of the chance, with the occasional comment. Do keep in mind that these suggestions are theoretical, so it’s not known if the improvements will put them in a more positive light. If you want to find out what I have in store, let’s go!


- Good abilities. Intimidate is great for reducing Physical damage, Quick Feet turns status into a Speed boost, and Moxie’s makes it more threatening offensively, which works well with Sucker Punch.
- Mightyena is on the slow side, despite having Sucker Punch
- Attack is not quite high enough to use its coverage moves
- Fragile without the aid of Intimidate; Howl is the only way to boost Attack
- Coverage problems (Fang moves are weak)
- Speed increases to base 110 and Attack increases to base 125
- Slight increase to Defence (+15) and HP (+10) to make Intimidate more effective in aiding its survivability, and potentially making Yawn a good way to disrupt whatever the opponent responds with.
- Learn Close Combat or Superpower for offensive coverage
- Learn U-turn, Switcheroo and Bulk Up

Effect: With the improvements I suggested, Mightyena (or theoretical Mightyena evolution) would have an easier time with many Psychics and Ghosts. If Quick Feet’s effect is activated with Toxic Orb, Burns can’t be inflicted. In addition to this, you can give your opponent your Toxic Orb with Switcheroo, giving you an advantage. U-turn could also be used to get out of there so that Toxic damage won’t take the toll too fast and check your opponent’s current Pokémon. Having Bulk Up would help it with Intimidate and Moxie, and the higher Speed and Attack might provide it with an advantage over Krookodile. The higher Speed will also ensure that most walls won’t fully take advantage of it, since it can learn Taunt. The Fighting attacks are to complement well with its STAB, so it might have a set of Bulk Up/Crunch/Close Combat/Taunt. It would still have problems with a lot of Fighting-types and U-turn, not to mention neutral Special attacks, but I suppose that can’t be helped, because every Pokémon should have weaknesses or ways to overcome.


- Prankster as a Hidden Ability. Works very well with Taunt, Encore and Torment.
- Very frail, even for in-game standards
- Lacking offensively, because there is a lack of Special attacks to use with Nasty Plot, and its Physical movepool is also lacking
- Increase Speed to Base 116
- Learn more Status moves (Trick/Switcheroo, Perish Song, Baton Pass, Roar, Heal Bell, Hypnosis, Mean Look, Entrainment, Agility and Disable)
- Make Dragon Tail or Circle Throw compatible with Assist [Optional]

Comment: While it’s true that one of Liepard’s problems is its bulk and offensive capabilities, I decided not to focus my improvement on them, because I think it’s more important to enhance its Prankster abilities. A slight increase in bulk would be nice, but this is the area I decided to focus on more.
Effect: Those are a lot of status moves, but each of them has their own uses. With a wealth of useful Status moves to select, Liepard would become unpredictable. For example, Disable dissuades a Choice attacker from staying it, giving you a free turn. This kind of pressure might allow you to pull off a Hone Claws boost (providing a more reliable Hypnosis) or a Nasty Plot/Agility boost to be Baton Passed. If a pseudo Haze Pokémon comes in, you might also pull off Roar (no idea why Liepard can’t learn this yet) to get rid of them first. Of course, there’s still the classic Encore or Torment to ensure your opponent doesn’t try anything funny. In Doubles, Liepard might even provide a teammate with this ability (with Entrainment) so that the fun of using Status moves will continue. With a base Speed of 116, it will outpace Tornadus and Thundurus, a couple of Pranksters who are currently faster than Liepard. A quick Thunder Wave would put those two in place as offensive attackers. It didn’t outpace Whimsicott, but that’s OK, because Whimsicott isn’t offensively threatening (unless it uses Hurricane).

In regards to the “Make Dragon Tail or Circle Throw compatible with Assist”, I should explain this one. Currently, when Assist is used, it won’t call either attack from another Pokémon with it, meaning that you cannot perform a firsthand Dragon Tail or Circle Throw. If it were allowed, it would be very powerful, because it’s not likely that your opponent have a quick attacker that can outpace this Pokémon if you base a team with only Dragon Tail Pokémon unless you use Taunt with a faster Prankster Pokémon. Because of the unstoppable nature of the strategy, the current restriction is understandable.


- Good HP and Attack
- Poison-type renders it immune to Poison and allows it to absorb Toxic Spikes
- Can learn Fire attacks
- Offensive potential is wasted on the Special side
- Frail, despite high HP
- Drapion is the better Poison/Dark Pokémon
- Increase Special Attack to base 111 and expand its Special movepool (Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Energy Ball/Grass Knot and Hurricane)
- Increase defence stats, especially Special Defence

Comment: The route I am taking here is to make Skuntank a Special attacker, because this is something Drapion cannot do well.
Effect: With an extra helping on Special attacking, Skuntank can finally make good use of Flamethrower to become threatening to almost every Steel-type that tries to wall its Poison and Dark STAB, especially Skarmory, Forretress and Ferrothorn (and possibly Scizor). The extra Special attacks allow it to pick its poison (get it?) besides Sludge Bomb, and it could use Acid Spray for more damage or a chance for the opponent to retreat their Pokémon (not every Steel-type would dream of switching into something with a Fire attack). If able, Skuntank could even use Crunch to attack Physically. The extra Special defensiveness will aid Skuntank, because with its only weakness to Ground, a normally Physical offensive type, Skuntank could check Special attackers well. Heatran would still be a problem, though.


- Good Status options, especially Spikes
- Offensively capable
- Immunity to Sandstorm despite not being the correct type
- Low Speed
- Frail, plus six weaknesses
- Sand Rush as a new ability
- Base Speed increase to 65
- A bit more support moves (Bulk Up, Hone Claws and Knock Off)
- Extra offensive coverage (Stone Edge, Weather Ball, Zen Headbutt and Thunderbolt)

Effect: Because of the usefulness of Sandstorm, Sand Rush is a pretty nice option on a support Pokémon, making Cacturne more in demand for Sandstorm teams. The Speed that Cacturne would be at allows it to out-speed many things after it is doubled, even Scarf Garchomp, which counts as something. Cacturne’s great choice of support moves (Spikes, Destiny Bond, Disable, Leech Seed, Magic Coat) coincides well with its great attack stats and offensive moves, making the Speed bonus extra worth it.

It may be true that Sand Rush is enough to prove Cacturne as worthy, but I decided to suggest a little extra. Bulk Up ties well with its status as a Human-like Pokémon (a good number of Fighting-types are in this group), and is a nice way to quickly boost its stats, and then punch something out with Sucker Punch. Hone Claws is used as an accuracy buffer for Focus Blast and Grass Whistle, while Knock Off is for item deprivation when the need arises. As for offensive coverage, since Cacturne is based on a scarecrow, it should have more moves that scare Flying-types, so Stone Edge and Thunderbolt fits that role, and to a lesser extent, Weather Ball (it becomes a Rock attack in Sandstorm). As for Zen Headbutt, it’s a nasty surprise for a Fighting-type, not to mention it hurts them when Cacturne pokes them with its spiky hat.


- Water is a great STAB attack
- Dual-type Pokémon with Adaptability
- Great Attack and good offensive coverage
- Dragon Dance
- Frail, especially on the Special side
- Poor Speed; one Dragon Dance isn’t quite enough
- Increase its base Defence to 115 and Speed to 80

Comment: The reason I am rather hesitant is doing this will render it even more superior to Kingler, a Pokémon that Crawdaunt sadly outclasses. I didn’t really restrict the improvements too much, because I would prefer to suggest improvements for Kingler instead.
Effects: The heightened Defence allows Crawdaunt to more reliably use Dragon Dance, and a decent base 80 allows it to out-speed Pokémon with up to base 144 Speed without a Scarf (sadly not Accelgor, which it misses by one point) after a boost. With its power, it could afford to give up some power for Speed. It does have some issues with taking Special attacks, but some weaknesses on a Pokémon are necessary.


- Phenomenal movepool, with Physical, Special and Status aspects covered well
- Very high Attack, helped with Super Luck. This makes Sucker Punch a deadly attack.
- Stats prevent Absol from utilising its wide movepool well
- Bisharp is the better Sucker Punch user due to Steel-type and good Defence
- Increase base Special Attack to 100 and Speed to 115
- Slightly increased defences

Effects: A huge Speed increase allows Absol to become an offensive force, as the boosted Special Attack allows it to use Special attacks for some needed coverage on a Physical wall like Gliscor (Ice Beam) and Skarmory (Fire Blast). It will also be able to obtain a Swords Dance boost more easily because the Speed makes it riskier for the opponent. The obscure move Me First might also become a great move to use, because if you suspect your opponent using their Dragon attacks for no good, you could use this move to make the attack backfire (base 110 is the highest Speed for any Dragon-type). The extra Speed also makes it easier to use a crippling status move like Taunt, Will-O-Wisp and Perish Song, or escape (somewhat) with Baton Pass, possibly with any boosts.


- No natural type weaknesses
- Good defences
- Good array of status moves
- Psychic-killer
- Low HP doesn’t complement good defences
- Type combinations didn’t involve key resistances
- Its best roles receive competition with other Pokémon
- Slow
- Increase base HP to 108
- Give it Trick Room
- Provide Aura Sphere
- A new ability (Cursed Body, Unaware, Shadow Tag or Wonder Guard)

Effects: Spiritomb is actually a potent Trick Room user who doesn’t have this move yet. The reason is its ability to learn Nasty Plot, allowing it to move before any foe. Not only that, it has the necessary status moves to become a menace, with moves like Will-O-Wisp and Hypnosis. The heightened HP increases its survivability after a Curse, and if it didn’t survive, you could use a trapper to ensure the opponent doesn’t stave it off by switching. Speaking of Nasty Plot, that set would be better with Aura Sphere, giving it a powerful coverage attack.

Perhaps another way to make Spiritomb better is a new ability. I wasn’t sure which ability would be great for this Pokémon, so I came up with three possibilities. Cursed Body is interesting because the Disable effect is immensely useful at preventing your opponent from further damaging Spiritomb, and is the most logical of them all. The other two abilities would’ve probably been too good, as Unaware with great defences would be too good as a setup attackers’ negator despite the lack of recovery (not to mention it doesn’t make any sense), while Shadow Tag makes eliminating Psychics and Ghosts easier. In the end, I guess Cursed Body not only makes sense, but doesn’t break this Pokémon too much.


- Very fast. The fastest among Dark-types.
- Great Attack
- Most of its Physical attacks have low Base Power
- Doesn’t have abilities it could take advantage of
- Give it Technician

Effects: With the power of Technician, its movepool suddenly becomes awesome. Ice Shard becomes a hard hitting attack that decimates many Dragon-types and more with, with the advantage of hitting first. Low Sweep’s power becomes good, with the advantage of slowing down any switch-ins that might be faster than it. Low Kick’s potential to be more powerful is also great, as you could take advantage of the ability to hit more weight tiers for more damage (like Mienshao and Excadrill). Bite becomes a great STAB attack with a chance of making the opponent flinch. Of course, there’s Pursuit, meaning that it’s still a strong attack even if the opponent doesn’t switch. As a bonus, Aerial Ace has a power boost, so it could be used to hit those Fighting-types hard. Fake Out’s power boost also comes in handy as well.

That’s it for this one. Initially, I have a list of 15 fully-evolved Dark-types to figure out improvements for, but the list dropped to ten, and then finally eight. I actually think this is one of the harder topics to write about, mainly because suggesting improvements is hard, due to not knowing the result of said improvements being implemented. However, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.

Thanks for reading.

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Updated 3rd September 2012 at 06:34 AM by winstein (Title change)

Ghost and Dark Entries , Reviews


  1. Ranger Jack Walker's Avatar
    Some of these improvements might push some of these Pokemon into the 'too good' territory. For example, Absol would do great with just an incresase in speed. Buffing it's special attack is unnecessary.
  2. winstein's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger Jack Walker
    Some of these improvements might push some of these Pokemon into the 'too good' territory. For example, Absol would do great with just an incresase in speed. Buffing it's special attack is unnecessary.
    Can you tell me the improvements that are, in your opinion, too much? Besides the Absol one, which is understandable now that I think about it.

    Thanks for reading.
  3. Ghetsis-Dennis's Avatar
    These upgrades are why I'm predictable a base state overhaul as a revolutionary upgrade for Gen VI (or maybe a type chart overhaul or a movepool overhaul).
  4. Ranger Jack Walker's Avatar
    Shadow Tag on a Pokemon with no weakness might be a little too much. The other abilities would be cool for Spiritomb.

    That's all that I can think of really on a second read-through.
  5. $aturn¥oshi's Avatar
    Wow. 4 of these Pokémon are part of my chosen 'mons. :B
  6. Lord Clowncrete's Avatar
    Technician weavile and sand rush cacturne will still not get to OU, with their frailty and weaknesses to priority moves.
  7. winstein's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Clowncrete
    Technician weavile and sand rush cacturne will still not get to OU, with their frailty and weaknesses to priority moves.
    Thanks for your input. Admittedly, when I completed this, it was before I did my first online battle.

    Thanks for reading.


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