Pokémon Face-Off: Mimikyu vs. Spiritomb

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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.)

The Types

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
4x Weakness? No No
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)

The Stats

Statistic Mimikyu Spiritomb
HP 55 50
Attack 90 92
Defense 80 108
Spec. Attack 50 92
Spec. Defense 105 108
Speed 96 35
Total 476 485

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.)

Advantage: Mimikyu

The Abilities

Mimikyu Spiritomb
Disguise Pressure
Infiltrator

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.

Advantage: Mimikyu

The Moves

Mimikyu Spiritomb
Top 3 STAB Attacks
Name Type Power Phys./
Spec.
Name Type Power Phys./
Spec.
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
Slash Normal 70 P
Feint Attack Dark 60 P
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.

Advantage: Mimkyu

The TMs

Mimikyu Spiritomb
Top 4 TM Moves
Name Type Power Physical/
Special
Name Type Power Physical/
Special
X-Scissor Bug 80 P Shadow Ball Ghost 80 S
Thunder Electric 110 S Psychic Psychic 90 S
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.

Advantage: Spiritomb

 The Results

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.

Winner: Mimikyu

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.

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