In our last face-off, we dove into the wide world of Pikachu knockoffs and looked at how even Nintendo can’t stop ripping off its most popular Pokémon. Pokémon Sun and Moon, however, take things even farther with their introduction of Mimikyu, a petite Ghost-type Pokémon who explicitly wears a Pikachu costume in order to get closer to other people and creatures! (Given all the people I’ve seen on Splatoon who change their Mii and Inkling avatars to match their favorite YouTubers, Mimikyu feels like an awfully meta Pokémon to include.)
While Ghost types are fairly rare in Pokémon (Bulbapedia ranks them as the second-rarest type in the game), we have seen unevolving Ghost types before, such as Sableye and Spiritomb. As someone who has found Spiritomb to be brutally effective in past generations, I wondered how the new (disguised) kid on the block stood up against its Sinnoh predecessor. It was face-off time!
(As always, the data in the following analysis comes from the good folks at Serebii.net.)
|Mimikyu (Ghost/Fairy)||Spiritomb (Ghost/Dark)|
|Strong Against…||5 Types||2 Types|
|Ineffective Against…||0 Types||1 Type|
|Can’t Hit Type?||No||No|
|Resists…||1 Type||1 Type|
|Weak To…||2 Types||1 Type|
|Immunities?||Yes (Normal, Fighting, Dragon)||Yes (Normal, Fighting, Psychic)|
This section boils down to a Fairy vs. Dark debate. While it’s a close race, Mimikyu appears to have the edge, as Ghost/Fairy offers slightly better super-effective type coverage without any blind spots (Ghost/Dark, on the other hand, has trouble dealing with other Dark types). However, given the low ineffective and weakness numbers (and the useful immunities offers by the Ghost type), both typings appear to be pretty robust.
Advantage: Mimikyu (slightly)
Spiritomb has an slight overall advantage, and its stat distribution makes it incredibly flexible. Not only does it hit harder than Mimikyu, but its twin 92s allow it to take advantage of both physical and special moves to decent effect. Its Defense and Spec. Defense stats are also higher, letting it take a hit better than Mimikyu while better preserving it slightly-smaller HP stat.
It all sounds pretty good…until you read Spiritomb’s Pokédex entry from Pokémon Pearl: “It was bound to a fissure in an odd keystone as punishment for misdeeds 500 years ago.” Getting stuck in a rock also meant getting bound to a horrendous Speed stat that’s a whopping 61 points below Mimikyu’s.
Spiritomb’s advantages in four of the top five columns aren’t terribly large, and Mimkyu’s decent Attack lets it work around its unsightly Spec. Attack. Toss the Speed discrepancy on top of all this, and Mimkyu walks away with the win. (Actually, it could crawl away if it wanted—Spiritomb still wouldn’t catch it.)
Pressure and Infiltrator certainly have their moments: The former is handy for depleting those 5 and 10 PP moves in a long, drawn-out battle, and the latter protects against tanks who try to shore up their defenses or opponents who spam Double Team until they’re dodging moves like Neo in The Matrix.
For my money, though, Disguise is the best option: It lets Mimikyu take a single hit unscathed, buying it time to boost stats or letting it switch freely into any opponent’s move. Combining it with Mimkyu’s three natural immunities makes it even more frustrating for opponents to work around.
|Top 3 STAB Attacks|
|Play Rough||Fairy||90||P||Dark Pulse||Dark||80||S|
|Shadow Claw||Ghost||70||P||Sucker Punch||Dark||70||P|
|Shadow Sneak||Ghost||40||P||Ominous Wind||Ghost||60||S|
|Top 3 Non-STAB Attacks|
|Wood Hammer||Grass||120||P||Dream Eater||Psychic||100||S|
|Other Notable Moves|
|Hone Claws||Raises Attack||Hypnosis||Puts Target To Sleep|
|Double Team||Raises Evasion||Nasty Plot||Raises Spec. Attack|
|Mimic||Copies Opponent’s Move||Confuse Ray||Confuses Target|
The major thing that stands out here is how cohesive Mimikyu’s moveset is. It has decent STAB moves with Play Rough and Shadow Clow, decent type coverage with Dark and Normal moves, inexplicably learns Wood Hammer to broaden its coverage even further, and most importantly, all of its attacks are tied to its superior attacking stat. It even has Hone Claws to boost its Attack even more, and Mimic to steal a move from an opponent if it decides it wants even more type coverage!
Spiritomb, on the other hand, does not have the moves to take advantage of its Attack/Spec. Attack flexibility. Its best physical move (Sucker Punch) is predicated on its opponent also attacking (not a guarantee), its best Dark, Ghost, and even Psychic moves are based on its Spec. Attack, and it has a move to boost its Spec. Attack (Nasty Plot), but nothing to help its Attack stat. In other words, Spiritomb’s only viable option is to be a special attacker, as its physical moveset just won’t cut the mustard. On top of this, Spiritomb’s type coverage is awful, as its one non-STAB attack only works if the opponent is sleeping (thankfully, Spiritomb can induce this condition with Hypnosis).
Comparing the moves head-to-head, Mimikyu has the strongest Ghost-type move (Shadow Claw), and its Play Rough is ten points stronger than Spiritomb’s Dark Pulse. This moveset combination of strength and cohesiveness gives our disguise-wearing Pokémon the win in this round.
|Top 4 TM Moves|
|Swords Dance||Sharply Boosts Attack||Hyper Beam||Normal||150||S|
|Dark Pulse||Dark||80||S||Calm Mind||Raises Spec. Attack and Spec. Defense|
Finally! Spiritomb’s shallow move pool is partially covered by its TM offerings, as it can learn Shadow Ball to up its STAB power, Psychic to up its non-STAB power, and Calm Mind to bolster its special stats. Sure, Mimikyu can also up its game with X-Scissor and Swords Dance (and I find it amusing that it can learn Thunderbolt and Thunder in keeping with its disguise), but at this point, I’m feeling sorry enough for Spiritomb that I’m going to give it the victory here.
This face-off was a lot more of a mismatch than I expected. Mimikyu has better typing, a better stat distribution, a better ability, a more synergistic moveset, and some decent TM moves as icing on the cake. Spiritomb is not only trapped in a keystone, but also gets stuffed into its locker by its disguised counterpart.
In closing, Mimikyu appears to be the rare Pokémon who is both cute and competitively viable. I’m interested to see where Smogon ends up slotting Mimkyu in its battle tiers next year.