On the surface, the Pokémon franchise exudes all the family-friendly vibes that Nintendo (well, Game Freak) are known for. The main games are accessible and fun RPGs, full of loveable characters, bumbling villains and moral messages for younger players to imbibe.
It’s all truly wholesome. Pokémon themselves love the battling as much as Trainers do, countless NPCs have told us, so that’s fine too. The question is, which path should players take in combat? Is mixing up their teams with a range of different Pokémon the way to go, or should they should they go for a Gym Leader-esque approach of mastering a specific type? Let’s take a look at the foibles of both tactics and find out!
10 Diversify: You're Better Prepared For A Range Of Opponents
Let’s get the first and most obvious advantage of a diverse Pokémon party out of the way first: your team will be infinitely more adaptable. The type chart is one of the first things a series newbie learns (that’s what the Fire, Water and Grass start things is all about), and you’ll want to make sure your bases are covered.
You can never be sure which Pokémon you’re going to encounter in battle, so varied types and move coverage will mean you’re more likely to have a safe switch-in and effective moves to strike back with.
9 One-Type Trainer: It’s A Fun Main Game Challenge
Naturally, many of us who are eagerly anticipating Pokémon Sword and Shield are franchise veterans by now. More than a few of us will want to hurry through the story as quickly as possible to get to the true end-game experience: raising new Pokémon from scratch to hop into competitive battling.
Being an RPG series that’s so accessible for children, the story itself doesn’t tend to be that deep or taxing. As such, lots of players give it a new lease of life by switching things up with self-imposed restrictions. A monotype challenge can make the experience feel entirely new.
8 Diversify: It’ll Work Wonders For Your Collection (And Pokédex)
If you’re an old hand when it comes to Pokémon, you’ll remember that professors all around the world have been echoing their familiar shtick since Oak back in 1998: that Pokédex won’t fill itself!
If you’re one of those competitive players who want to hurry through the story to open up your breeding options, you may not be bothering to linger in different areas and routes, snatching up every Pokémon you can lay your hands on. It pays to keep switching your party around, though, because you’ll have access to a lot of different Pokémon, egg groups and such when the time comes to start team-building for PvP. We don’t know how the final Pokédex for Sword and Shield looks just yet, but this is sure to be the case again.
7 One-Type Trainer: It’ll Force You To Think Outside The Box And Improve Your Knowledge Of The Game
As we’ve already seen, being a one-type Trainer is a sure way to ratchet the game’s difficulty up several notches. This isn’t only the case when you’re battling AI Trainers, though. In a serious match against a good Pokémon player with a diverse team, you’re at a huge disadvantage.
Why is this a positive thing? If you try running a Gym Leader style team, you’d be surprised by the clever little tricks (secondary types that help with weaknesses, unconventional item and Ability choices) you can employ to try and avoid being steamrolled. Lots of players stick to tried-and-tested cookie-cutter strategies in standard play, and trying something unconventional can teach you a lot about strategies you’d never even considered trying before.
6 Diversify: You Can Also Mix Things Up
While we’ve just stated that monotype Trainers can delve into all kinds of interesting strategies, it stands to reason that those who diversify their teams can do exactly that too. Of course, they’ve got far more varied resources at their disposal to do so.
The principle is the same: the best Pokémon players are those who know how to make the most of what they have and tailor their teams to perform at their very best. Copying teams that others have found success with can work very well, but it’s even better to develop your own spin on things. In August 2014, Sejun Park made waves by winning the World Championship with a Pachirisu on his team. It fitted the exact role he had planned out for it, and legions of players tried to shoehorn the unconventional pick into their own teams. This is why it pays to keep your team varied.
5 One-Type Trainer: It’s The Way Of The Pokémon World
Ever since Pokémon Red and Blue, it’s just been a fact of the Pokémon universe: Gym Leaders (as well as Alola’s Captains and Kahunas) will specialize in a particular Pokémon type and stick with it exclusively. The same is true of the Trainers who reside in each Gym.
Heck, even the Elite 4 members also stick with a specific type each. The message is clear: this is the way (almost) every professional Pokémon Trainer operates. Who are we to stand in the way of what is (essentially) canon?
4 Diversify: Who’s That Mega?
As we know, Sword and Shield are doing away with Mega Pokémon and Z-Moves, in favor of fresh new gimmicks: Dynamaxing, the even-more-absurd Gigantamaxing, and… cooking rice. In the previous couple of generations, however, Z-Moves and Mega Evolutions were another huge incentive for players to keep their team varied.
If the opponent saw a Kangaskhan at team preview, it was instantly clear what your team’s Mega would be. Having several Pokémon capable of Mega Evolving, on the other hand, added an element of doubt: which one would Mega and when? As will be the case with Dyna/Gigantamaxing, it’s going to be all about saving that mechanic to surprise your opponent at the opportune moment.
3 One-Type Trainer: It Can Be Something Fun To Assuage Competitive Burnout
If you’re an Overwatch player, you’ll be familiar with the feeling that you just… need to take a break from Competitive for a while. Super serious matches can be darn stressful. If they’re getting to you, you can hop into Quick Play or Arcade and enjoy some fun, silly matches without the high stakes.
In many ways, trying out a monotype team is the Pokémon equivalent of that concept. You can cut loose, try something completely out of your comfort zone, and see how that mono-fire team works out for you.
2 Diversify: Speaking Of Comfort Zones…
There is a lot more depth and strategy to Pokémon battling than new players may think. If you’re considering diving into competitive play for the first time, you’ll find that you have many questions about moveslots, item choices, EV allocations and the like. There’s also a wealth of information to sift through on those subjects.
This is why, as a starting point, lots of players like to imitate teams that have already been successful for experienced players. This is all well and good, but as you battle more, you’ll find that certain elements of the team aren’t working quite the same way they did for said player. To truly become better as a battler, you’ll want to diversify that team. Change a member out, swap things around and gradually make it your own.
1 One-Type Trainer: A Whole New Meta (Don’t You Dare Close Your Eyes)
One thing that surely holds a lot of players back for trying out a monotype team is the fact that they’re hard to pull off. Those who battle to win by any means aren’t likely to try it against players fielding balanced, standard teams, because it’s an uphill battle.
If this is what’s turning you away from being a one-type Trainer, competitive community Smogon boasts a separate Monotype metagame. It’s true that certain types are dominant here (Flying has long been known to rule the roost, so to speak, as balanced and effective as it is in the meta), but you can base your team around your favorite type and dive into an entirely different kind of competitive play.