Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: 8 Best Ghost-Types
Ghost-types are prevalent in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet's Paldea region. The in-game day-and-night system churns at a reasonable enough pace to ensure that most players should have the chance to go hunting for some after dusk at least once per session they spend parked in front of their Switch. Some can even be found by day.
With an ample number of ghostly possibilities at your disposal, who among them are the best of the bunch? We're looking at stats, strategies, and a heaping dash of 'wow, this one looks rad' to determine our answers. Just remember, our first iteration of this list is being written prior to any real competitive play, so our opinions will almost assuredly shift in the future.
When Greavard, Houndstone's pre-evolved form, was introduced to us by way of a 'found footage' style marketing trailer, the internet was set ablaze with that most delicious blend of fear-meets-laughter. The trailer's camera-wielding narrator, after all, appeared to have met her end when the undead pupper consumed her life force. Ask Nintendo, though, and they'll probably give you a more innocent analysis.
And so it was that we all wanted to see what Greavard would become. Would it stay cute? Would its killer instincts evolve as well? Houndstone represents the perfect transformation: it's still adorable, and it will absolutely kill you with cuteness.
Stats-wise, Houndstone is, unfortunately, not the greatest. And yet, it's been relegated to the highest competitive tier, 'Uber', on popular competitive Pokemon site Smogon. How did that happen? And why is Houndstone dead (ha) last in our list if so?
It's all about Houndstone's signature move, Last Respects. It starts at a mere 50 power, but improves by another 50 for every downed teammate. With the rest of the party fallen, you're dishing out 300 damage with this monstrous strike. Granted, you could have most of your party knocked out in-game, and go around slaying fiends with your dog? Seems kind of suboptimal outside of multiplayer, though.
We have so much less to write about Gengar by comparison. It's a steady old standby, a faithful first-gen ghost we'd almost call rock-solid if it weren't, in fact, the exact opposite. Gengar's stats are well-proportioned, with a 130 Special Attack positioning it well to take advantage of its Ghost/Poison dual typing.
For decades, players have harped on about move sets like Shadow Ball, Nasty Plot, and Substitute (with a fourth ranging from Focus Blast for Fighting coverage to Sludge Bomb for more direct Poison prowess). If you want a classically designed Ghost Pokemon in Scarlet & Violet with very few downsides and a tried-and-true approach, Gengar's your ghost boy.
Ceruledge quickly became a fan favorite upon its reveal alongside Armarouge. The duo is version-exclusive evolutions of Charcadet, with the Ghost/Fire Ceruledge a more physical attacker to the Psychic/Fire Armarouge's special attack range. At first blush, a Ghost-type that relies so heavily on its Attack stat sounds like a dangerous combination, and while Ceruledge isn't the best Ghost representative in Paldea, it still manages to impress.
Hook yours up with Phantom Force for good Same Type Attack Bonus. Poison Jab is handy if you lack Poison-type coverage on your team. Ceruledge's signature move, Bitter Blade, has 90 attack power and restores Ceruledge's HP by 50 percent of the damage dealt. It's the perfect complement if you can find one of these blue boos with the Weak Armor ability, which lowers Defense one stage but elevates Speed by two every time it's hit.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet have already confirmed the nascent Gen 9 as one of the greatest for Ghost-types in the history of the series. The fact that there are four more Ghosts we rank higher than the fabulous Gholdengo, three of whom are just as new, seals the deal.
Gholdengo's ability, Good as Gold, prevents it from being affected by status conditions. Not a single harmful hit gets to this rodeo gold-rusher. That alone puts it in a defensive league of its own, albeit one without substantial defensive stats. (They're pretty good, though.) A 133 Special Attack is terrific for a 'regular' Pokemon, however, and the signature move Make It Rain has 120 base power as a special-based Steel move. The only glass-half-empty here is that it lowers Gholdengo's Special Attack by one stage.
If you chose Fuecoco at the beginning of Scarlet or Violet, you really don't need to raise a Ceruledge unless you're in love with its design. Skeledirge is Fire/Ghost, after all, and while its stat spread is quite different, its capabilities are plentiful.
Ideally, you'll have a Quiet Skeledirge for a boost to Special Attack at the expense of Speed, since Speed is easily Skeledirge's worst aspect, anyway. Even online, and surely in the single-player, you may want to keep two Fire-type moves on Skelly rather than the conventional approach of spreading things out with just the one. Torch Song has 80 base power but ramps up Skeledirge's Special Attack; using that boost on Overheat, which lowers it, can create a nice tempo.
Shadow Claw is your prime pick for a Ghost move, with its high critical ratio.
Fighting/Ghost-type Annihilape really came out of left field, didn't it? Mankey and its evolution, Primeape, have existed since the days of Red & Blue. Since then, so many more monkey-likes have appeared that we never would have guessed Primeape would get a new evolution in the year 2022.
But here we are, and Annihilape delivers. 535 base stats total might not sound like much relative to real powerhouses, but the spread is solid. The only weak stat here is Special Attack, so it can take a few hits while handing out (or palming out?) some knockout blows via high Attack. The move you must use 20 times as a Primeape in order to trigger the evolution, Rage Fist, can safely get replaced with a higher-power Ghost attack… except in competitive matches.
We suspect Rage Fist is going to matter a whole lot more online. Its paltry 50 attack power climbs by 50 every time Annihilape is hit. If situations arise in which this can be used smartly, and against major threats in the meta, a 300-power move is some Gigantamax energy right there.
The terror of Galar is back for another round as one of the best Ghost-types two generations running. Dragapult has been one of Sword & Shield's most stalwart regulars in online challenges and big-time tournaments. The Dragon/Ghost has a blazing-fast 142 Speed and 120 Attack to make it matter. Even so, its 100 Special Attack can be increased to 150 (!) with the Choice Specs item, which limits it to the first move it uses.
That's less disabling than it sounds. Online, you'll be switching in and out often. Draco Meteor is simply too good to pass up, and as it's special-based, you'll want those Choice Specs to shine. Shadow Ball is your Ghost-based move. Dragapult has a nice range of learnable moves; Smogon's most popular set has often suggested one or two out of Hydro Pump, Flamethrower, and Thunder, depending on your team's needs.
While playing Scarlet & Violet as a single-player RPG, the Choice Specs are less relevant, and less helpful for that matter (as you'll likely be switching active Pokemon far less frequently. In this case, load your Dragapult up with attack-based attacks. Weirdly, the preceding sentence is technically correct.
1/8 Flutter Mane
Well, this is weird. A genetic ancestral cousin of Misdreavus — which, as most of us know, evolves into another Pokemon, Mismagius — is the most powerful Ghost-type Pokemon in Scarlet & Violet. Not a cousin of Mismagius, but of its pre-evolved form. Flutter Mane is a menace, already banned to Uber status in Smogon's competitive discourse.
And unlike Houndstone, that doesn't boil down to an ability. It's because of everything this Pokemon represents. Its stats are unlike anything we've seen before; three straight stats, HP, Attack, and Defense, are all miserably low 55. But the other three, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed, make up for it at 135 apiece. We're talking about something that can rush, slay, and endure for the long run.
But Flutter Mane has an ace up its sleeve, too. Protosynthesis increases Flutter Mane's Special Attack automatically in harsh sunlight. With Sunny Day set up, 135 becomes just north of 200, and Flutter Mane is, quite suddenly, the Grim Reaper incarnate.
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