What Kind Of Pokémon Trainer is Kyle?

I’ve always fancied myself an Electric-type trainer, but will the data come to the same conclusion? (Image from the Pokémon Fandom site)

Extreme isolation will drive a mind into some very strange places…

Longtime readers of this blog will recall that despite my Splatoon 2 obsession, the Pokémon franchise occupies a fair bit of my time as well (see: my annual Nuzlocke runs). My Pokédex knowledge may not be was it once was (my post-G4 knowledge is a lot worse than I care to admit, and Fairy-type monsters still catch me off guard a lot). While sitting around this evening wondering what the heck to write my next post about, a question popped into my head, once that I had pondered off-and-on for many years: If I were appointed a Pokémon gym leader and had to pick a single type to specialize in, what type would that be?

Usually, my answer was simple: Despite not being a Pikachu fan, I was an Electric-type trainer through and through. I made a point of putting an Electric Pokémon on nearly every team I formed, and my most memorable teams (Pokémon Red and Pokémon Pearl) featured multiple Electric types in my top six. Me and Lieutenant Surge were the true power players of Pokémon!

However, with Pokémon Sword becoming the 22nd game I had conquered in the series, this time I realized that actually had enough data to conduct a proper analysis and put some rigor behind my answer. How did my head and heart compare to the cold, hard facts of (Pokémon) life? It was time to crunch the numbers!

(Yes, I’m fully aware of the silliness and pointlessness of this experiment, but it was either that or review Adam Hambrick’s new single, and I’m kind of tired of reviewing songs this week anyway. Bring on the Pokémon!)

The ground rules for this experiment are as follows:

  • Examine every Pokémon that was part of my “A-line” that beat the Elite Four and Champion (minus HM lackeys and field fillers), and record their types. Total up the numbers across all 22 games and see which type comes out on top!
  • All types are recorded as they were at the time of the generation they were used in. For example, Wigglytuff only counts as a Normal type because I used it for Pokémon Gold, but Gardevoir from Pokémon Y counts as both a Psychic and Fairy type.
  • Dual-type Pokémon count towards the final tallies of both of their types.

My hypothesis is that Electric Pokémon will lead the pack, but if I had to pick a few more contenders, my original Pokémon Red team relied primarily on four types (Water, Electric, Ground, and Flying), and that formula remained a common theme for succeeding teams as well. Therefore, I expect those four types to dominate the competition.

Without further ado, let’s check out the data!

Type Total
Normal 23
Fire 14
Water 23
Electric 19
Grass 11
Ice 3
Fighting 4
Poison 9
Ground 10
Flying 30
Psychic 11
Bug 12
Rock 3
Ghost 4
Dragon 5
Dark 8
Steel 3
Fairy 3

…Well, that was not what I expected! There are a few major conclusions we can draw from this:

  • I’m apparently far more of a Flying-type trainer than anything else, with Water coming in at #2 and Electric getting denied a podium slot at #4. However, this makes sense given the mechanics of the early-generation games: HMs like Surf were required to traverse certain areas (there’s always a water section somewhere), and Fly was your only method of fast-travel across the world. Ergo, Water and Flying appearing prominently on this list shouldn’t be a surprise (this doesn’t completely explain Flying’s utter dominance here, but we’ll get to that). Electric types have no natural HMs and are thus more of a personal pick, which is why they seemed more prevalent in my mind than they actually were: I wanted Electric-types on the squad, but I needed Water and Flying types.
  • But where the heck did all these Normal types come from? Not only did they deny Electric types a spot on the podium, they forced Water to share its silver medal with them! This, I believe, can be explained by one of my major quirks when constructing a Pokémon team: I tend to fall in love with the first few monsters I capture, and stick with them against all logic and reason for the rest of the game. If you look at the individual monsters that make up the squads, this pattern pops up again an again: Linoone in Pokémon Sapphire, Bibarel in Pokémon Platinum, Stoutland in Pokémon Black, Watchog in Pokémon White, etc. However, there’s one particular type that always shows up early in Pokémon: The classic Normal/Flying type. These show up a lot of my teams: Fearow, Noctowl, Staraptor, Unfezant, and three separate Pidgeots. (Early Bug/Flying types like Butterfree and Vivillon also made their presence known as well.) I’m glad that The Pokémon Company has tried to branch out its early-bird typing with monsters like Talonflame and Corviknight, but there’s a lot of Normal/Flying history in this franchise, and it’s reflected in my team compositions.
  • Ground types didn’t make much of a showing at all, getting beat by Fire (which I’ve used more often recently), Bug (a small but steady presence across generations), and even Grass and Psychic (which tend to be more niche picks for me, though I’m starting to appreciate Grass’s healing powers as of late). Of the “core four” I highlighted earlier, Ground was definitely the Mark Herndon of the bunch, picked usually because Water/Flying/Electric teams had no reliable counter to Electric opponents. Still, I’m surprised they wound up this far back in Flying’s rear view mirror.
  • There’s little else to speak for the remainder of the types, but I want to give a shout out to one type in particular: I had three representatives of a single type in my top six on five separate occasions: Flying (four times) and…wait, Poison? This is what happens when you’ve played through Kanto a million times and are trying to use different monsters than you usually do: You end up running a Victreebel, Arbok, and Venemoth in Pokémon Let’s Go! Eevee. (All three of them acquitted themselves quite well, by the way.)
Image from Bulbapedia

So apparently I’m more Falkner than Lt. Surge, and my teams tend to soar and fall on the wings of birds and bugs (true to form, my Sword team backs Inteleon with a Corviknight/Xatu combo). As big a role as electricity has played in my life, when it comes to Pokémon, maybe I should avoid lightning more in the future.

Either that, or I should never leave home without a Zapdos. 🙂

2 thoughts on “What Kind Of Pokémon Trainer is Kyle?

  1. Personally, I’d want to be a Poison type trainer. It’s a type that always seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to representation (Very few gym leaders and Elite Four members use it), but until Gen 5 or so, it was the bane of all our existences. Though I don’t know, Sneasel is my favorite Pokémon, so I might have to consider Ice or Dark …

    And now you and Mark have me itching to do a Nuzlocke …

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