Dark types in Trainer Battles: Meta Relevant Dark Types

Dark types in Pokémon GO fill in a niche when it comes to PvP battles. They have found their place in Raids and Gym battles, but when it comes to PvP, that’s a whole other story. The stats, honestly, are all over the place for this typing. From one Pokémon being a total offensive monster to another being a complete tank and everywhere in between. Perhaps one of these Pokémon will find a spot on your PvP teams? Especially if you’re planning to play in the Twilight Cup tournament, this guide will serve as a primer on Dark types in PvP.

Dark Types For Offense

Dark type Pokémon can deal massive damage to Psychic and Ghost types while also dealing neutral damage to Normal, Fire, Water, Electric, Grass, Ice, Ground, Flying, Bug, Rock, Dragon and Steel types. Of course, this is assuming you are using a Dark move. As mentioned above, there are some Dark Pokémon that can really bring the offensive weaponry. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of “high” attack ones to choose from. So, if you’re trying to deal massive damage, choose wisely!

Dark Types For Defense

Oddly enough, defense is where this type shines. With only three weaknesses, Bug, Fighting and Fairy, there isn’t much to worry about. Bug types aren’t as commonly used as they should be and there aren’t very many Fairy moves currently in Pokémon GO (especially a Fairy quick move) either. Fighting types, however, are the most common. Since a lot of Dark types have good bulk, this disadvantage may not be an issue depending on you’re circumstances.

Great League

PokémonHPATKDEFQuick MoveCharge Move(s)
UmbreonUmbreon

@ level 24.5

15293168Snarl Dark
  • Foul Play Dark
  • Last Resort Normal
SkuntankSkuntank

@ level 22

15312492Poison Jab Poison
  • Sludge Bomb Poison
  • Crunch Dark
DrapionDrapion

@ level 21

114119132Infestation Bug
  • Sludge Bomb Poison
  • Aqua Tail Water
Muk (Alola)Muk (Alola)

@ level 20*

144118108Poison Jab Poison
  • Dark Pulse Dark
  • Sludge Wave Poison
ShiftryShiftry

@ level 22.5

14013686Feint Attack Dark
  • Foul Play Dark
  • Leaf Blade Grass

* Since Alolan Muk can’t be 1500 CP or under for the Great League, you’d have to trade for it. The stats chosen were for an IV combination of 9/9/9.

Ultra League

PokémonHPATKDEFQuick MoveCharge Move(s)
SkuntankSkuntank

@ Max level

193157116Poison Jab Poison
  • Sludge Bomb Poison
  • Crunch Dark
Muk (Alola)Muk (Alola)

@ level 33

185153140Poison Jab Poison
  • Dark Pulse Dark
  • Sludge Wave Poison
HonchkrowHonchkrow

@ level 34.5

18219589Snarl Dark
  • Dark Pulse Dark
  • Brave Bird Flying
UmbreonUmbreon

@ Max level

182111201Snarl Dark
  • Foul Play Dark
  • Last Resort Normal
DrapionDrapion

@ Max level

147154171Infestation Bug
  • Sludge Bomb Poison
  • Aqua Tail Water

Master League

PokémonHPATKDEFQuick MoveCharge Move(s)
TyranitarTyranitar189210175Bite Dark
  • Crunch Dark
  • Stone Edge Rock
WeavileWeavile147203146Ice Shard Ice
  • Foul Play Dark
  • Avalanche Ice
HonchkrowHonchkrow18920393Snarl Dark
  • Dark Pulse Dark
  • Brave Bird Flying
Muk (Alola)Muk (Alola)195162147Poison Jab Poison
  • Dark Pulse Dark
  • Sludge Wave Poison
HoundoomHoundoom154188125Snarl Dark
  • Crunch Dark
  • Fire Blast Fire

All quick moves were chosen based on the best EPT ratings (energy per turn). All charge moves were chosen based on the lowest energy needed to fire off (except for Fire Blast on Houndoom). All stats were chosen to be a perfect 15/15/15 for an easy stat comparison.

In-depth analysis

UmbreonUmbreon
Quick MoveSnarl 
Charge Move(s)
  • Foul Play
  • Last Resort
LeagueGreat/Ultra

Umbreon is a straight up tank. It shines best in the Great League bolstering both an insane DEF and HP stat. This alone helps Umbreon dominate super effective/neutral match ups. In a disadvantage against a Bug or Fairy type, Last Resort has low enough energy (55) to deem a worthy fight. Yet, in a Fighting type matchup, I’m afraid Umbreon might not be up to the task. Regardless, this Dark type behemoth is a fantastic Pokémon to use in the Great League and a decent choice for the Ultra League (Hariyama is very common in Ultra League).

Muk (Alola)Muk (Alola)
Quick MovePoison Jab
Charge Move(s)
  • Dark Pulse
  • Sludge Wave
LeagueGreat/Ultra/Master

Alolan Muk is all around good. Its stats are very well rounded regardless of any League you’d like to use it in. That’s what makes it such a viable Dark type option. Dark Pulse charges up fast enough (50 energy) to deal great STAB damage and Sludge Wave isn’t terribly slow itself being a 1 bar charge move (65 energy). The only downside is it can’t cover its one and only weakness, Ground. Aside from that, Alolan Muk can definitely take down a Fairy, Psychic or Ghost type Pokémon you throw in its way!

SkuntankSkuntank
Quick movePoison Jab
Charge Move(s)
  • Sludge Bomb
  • Crunch
LeagueGreat/Ultra

As the name suggests, Skuntank is a TANK! Leading with the best HP stat in both the Great and Ultra League charts above, Skuntank can take the hits. It can really shine in either league actually. Unfortunately, just like Alolan Muk, it doesn’t have any charge moves to cover its Ground weakness. But only having ONE weakness is a plus for such a beefy Pokémon. I highly recommend this Pokémon to counter Azumarill in the Great League or even Togekiss in the Ultra League. Give it a try!

DrapionDrapion
Quick MoveInfestation
Charge Move(s)
  • Sludge Bomb
  • Aqua Tail
LeagueGreat/Ultra

Another Pokémon with only a Ground type weakness? YEP! The interesting thing is, with Infestation Bug as a quick move, Drapion can win a Dark vs Dark match up. It can also cover its own weakness with Aqua Tail Water. Aqua Tail is one of the fastest charging moves as well (only 35 energy). This makes Drapion a very versatile Pokémon. Its stats are pretty solid for the Great League, which is heavily weighted on type coverage moves (Drapion fits the bill). As for the Ultra League, Drapion shines even more because it can have its stats maxed out. Now Drapion is a relatively new and hard to obtain Pokémon. But if you have one, give it a few test runs!

ShiftryShiftry
Quick MoveFeint Attack
Charge Move(s)
  • Foul Play
  • Leaf Blade
LeagueGreat/Ultra

Shiftry is an interesting Dark Pokémon. It has a dual typing with Grass and has access to one of the best Grass charge moves in PvP, Leaf Blade. Because of this, Shiftry has a lot more versatility in the Great League. This is especially true since Water types are so common in the Great League (i.e. Azumarill, Blastoise, Whiscash, etc…). Having the highest attack stat compared to the others listed above is a plus as well. Another thing to consider is Shiftry might hold its own against a Fighting type matchup due to Leaf Blade dealing devastating neutral STAB damage (this scenario does depend on the Fighting Pokémon). As for the Ultra League, give it a try. It can shine under the right circumstances, but I don’t think it should be a staple on any team due to how common Fighting types are in that league.

HonchkrowHonchkrow
Quick MoveSnarl
Charge Move(s)
  • Dark Pulse 
  • Brave Bird
LeagueUltra/Master

Honchkrow is a skull crushing, border-line glass cannon. Due to the nature of Pokémon stats in the Ultra League, this is where Honchkrow can perform best. If you look at the tables above, there isn’t much difference in Honchkrow’s stats between the Ultra and Master League. One thing worth mentioning is the fact that Brave Bird Flying is an available charge move. Interestingly enough, Brave Bird will charge up fairly fast for being a one bar charge move (only 55 energy). So when faced up against a powerful Fighting or Bug type that will deal strong neutral damage, Brave Bird can one hit these opponents! As far as any other type coverage goes, Honchkrow simply does not have access to any other charge moves. If you think your opponent may throw out an Electric, Ice, Fairy or Rock Pokémon, leave Honchkrow at home. Unless you like to roll the dice!

WeavileWeavile
Quick MoveIce Shard
Charge Move(s)
  • Foul Play
  • Avalanche
LeagueUltra/Master

Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room. Not only does Weavile have a weakness to Bug, Steel, Fire, Rock, Fairy and Fighting types, it also takes double the damage from any Fighting move. Although Weavile can be a good choice in the Ultra League, I don’t recommend it due to Hariyama being so common. You could argue Machamp being common in the Master League as well, but Weavile will still shine more in that League regardless. The moves Weavile has access to are great and can easily take down one of those common Dragon type Pokémon that your opponent will most likely throw at you in the Master League.

TyranitarTyranitar
Quick MoveBite
Charge Move(s)
  • Crunch
  • Stone Edge
LeagueMaster

Good ole Tyranitar… Where do I even begin? First off, Tyranitar benefits most from being maxed out for the Master League. Its stats are impeccable. Combine that with a fast move that deals the most possible DPT (4.0 is the highest DPT) and with charge moves that fill up quickly, Tyranitar is a recipe for destruction! The main downside is it too is extremely weak to Fighting moves and will gain absolutely zero ground in a Fighting type match up. On the other hand, Tyranitar is great for going up against Lugia, Metagross, Latios, Latias and Mewtwo.

HoundoomHoundoom
Quick MoveSnarl
Charge Move(s)
  • Crunch
  • Fire Blast
LeagueUltra/Master

This is sort of a wild card. Its stats are mediocre compared to the others listed. But it does have access to Snarl (3.33 EPT) coupled with Crunch (45 energy). This Dark move set alone is enough to win a battle as long as you’re dealing super effective damage. Be wary of Fighting types in both leagues. Ideally, Houndoom would be a solid choice if you’re going up against any of these types: Ice, Steel, Grass, Ghost, Fire and Psychic. If only it had access to Flamethrower…  

There are a TON of good Dark types to choose from. Due to that, there are some that I did not list. So with that being said, we want to hear from you! What are some other good Dark types? Ones you’ve tested that are tried and true PvP battlers! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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