We’re carrying on our mission to find the best Pokémon of every type. This go around, we’re focused on Dark type Pokémon. After a shaky start in gen 2 (shaky as in “hardly any actual Dark types”), Dark types have gradually carved out a niche of their own as unpredictable utility Pokémon. Some are good for support, others hit hard, and some manage to balance both roles pretty well. We’ve narrowed all that down to the top 10 best Dark type Pokémon, with no Mega Evolutions or Legandaries allowed.
Absol is something of a glass cannon. It has excellent Attack, with a base stat of 130. Everything else is decent but not exactly overwhelming. That’s okay, though, because Absol has a pretty fantastic move pool suited to its strengths. Absol with the Super Luck ability is ideal, since it raises the chance for landing critical hits. You can have it learn Slash and Night Slash — both with high crit rates — plus Swords Dance to raise Attack even more. Then there’s Stone Edge, Play Rough (great for taking on other Dark types), Double Team, X-Scissor, and Psycho Cut, giving Absol an incredibly well-rounded set to pick from. You just have to be a bit careful how you use it.
Cacturne is another case where one of the best Dark type Pokémon needs to be used with a bit of caution. It has an advantage over Absol in attack and utility. Despite Cacturne’s Attack stat being a bit lower at 115, its Special Attack is a lot higher, also 115. This means you can make great use of Cacturne’s same-type attack moves, whether they be physical or special. Energy Ball and Payback work just as well as Dark Pulse and Seed Bomb. Cacturne’s super-slow Speed gets offset a bit with Cotton Spore. There are recovery options too, with both Leech Seed and Ingrain. So if you’re smitten with Cacturne’s cool design, there are ways to make it work as a viable member of your team.
Incineroar might not be outclassed as a Fire type, but it’s definitely a great Dark type Pokémon. Unlike Cacturne and Absol, Incineroar has high Attack (115) and a good HP stat to give it a bit of bulk. Defenses are still a bit iffy, like with most Dark types. But Incineroar can take a few hits. Its move pool is a nicely varied one that lets you play Incineroar in multiple roles. Nasty Plot makes special attacks viable, even if it does take a turn to work. Incineroar gets Bulk Up and Work Up to bolster its stats and a whole suite of Fire, Dark, and Fighting moves. And that’s not all. Plenty of support and surprise moves work with Incineroar too, from Scary Face and Snarl to Outrage and Iron Head.
Liepard might seem like an odd choice for this list. Like its name and nature suggest, though, Liepard is a bit of a dark horse. Nasty Plot and Hone Claws beef up its middling Attack and Special Attack, and from there, how you use it is up to you. Liepard can run plenty of support moves, ranging from Thunder Wave to Charm. It also gets a bunch of surprise moves. Seed Bomb is one, with Play Rough, Psycho Cut, and Shadow Claw making it a threat to multiple different opponents.
Weavile isn’t a ‘mon you’d want to use in competitive, thanks to the ever present Stealth Rock and Weavile’s Ice dual typing. But its high Speed of 125 and Attack of 120 make it one of the best Dark type Pokémon to use in-game. There aren’t many Pokémon likely to move before Weavile, and being Dark type means it gets reduced damage from Shadow Sneak and Sucker Punch. Aside from Night Slash as a level-up move, TMs and TRs are where Weavile’s best moves come from. Brick Break makes slow Rock and Ice types a breeze, Ice Punch is a must, and you’ve got Shadow Claw and Psycho Cut for coverage. If you want a special-focused Weavile, Nasty Plot works for that too.
Umbreon stands out among Dark types for being primarily a defensive and support Pokémon. Defense and Special Defense are its best stats, 110 and 120 respectively, with a healthy HP stat of 95 as a complement. Attack and Special Attack are low; there’s no denying that. But Umbreon has access to all kinds of stat-altering moves to soften up your foes and a few that dish out good damage. Fake Tears and Screech help make even Umbreon’s meager attacks stick, while Snarl and Baby-Doll Eyes lessen potential threats for any Pokémon you might switch in. Then there’s Foul Play, a Dark move that gets more powerful the higher the target’s Attack is. Using Swagger, then switching to Umbreon for Foul Play might involve a bit of planning, but it can take down even the strongest opponents.
With Bisharp, you finally have a Dark type that can take hits and land some potent attacks. That’s not why it’s on our best Dark type Pokémon list, though. It’s Bisharp’s adaptability that earns it a spot. Trainers like using Assault Vest to boost Bisharp’s Special Defense by 50% to make it a super bulky fighter. That gives you two ways to raise Bisharp, since the Assault Vest prevents you from using stat moves.
One way is as a mixed Pokémon, using some combination of Metal Sound, Iron Defense, or Laser Focus with offensive moves. The other is all-out attacker. Bisharp with an Assault Vest would focus on Iron Head, Sucker Punch or Night Slash, and some surprise moves like Poison Jab or Stone Edge. Best of all, Steel dual typing negates the Fairy weakness.
Introducing Fairy types in gen 6 might have knocked Hydreigon off its lofty pedestal a bit (4x weakness = pain). But it’s still one of the most well-rounded and best Dark type Pokémon. Like the best dragons, none of Hydreigon’s stats dip below 90. Attack of 105 and Special Attack of 125 mean Hydreigon can take good advantage of its wide-ranging move pool. Dragon Pulse sits alongside Flash Cannon, Earth Power, and U-Turn, giving Hydreigon plenty of coverage options and making it unpredictable for your opponents. And you can always run Nasty Plot, Dragon Dance, or Work Up to build those stats up even more.
Sableye is great if you’re looking for a Pokémon to drag the battle out and wear your enemy down. It’s not really spectacular with any of its stats. But Sableye’s Dark/Ghost typing means it has three resistances and only one weakness: Fairies. It gets the usual moves that make Ghosts a pain too. Confuse Ray and Disable are annoying, where Will-O-Wisp damages the opponent every turn and opens it up to extra damage from Hex. If you want to go on the offensive, Sableye can learn Dazzling Gleam and Foul Play as well, with Drain Punch for a recovery move too.
Crawdaunt exists to be big and smash things. Its best stat is Attack, at 120. And Hidden Ability Crawdaunt, with Adaptability, gets a .5 increase to its same-type attack bonus. Water and Dark moves become twice as powerful, which is pretty big. Moves like Crabhammer and even Night Slash and Razer Shell are incredibly powerful, while useful weaker moves like Aqua Jet and Payback are even more valuable than before. The downside is Crawdaunt basically turns into a crab dinner if it actually gets hit with anything. But at least you’ll go down swinging.
That’s it for our best Dark type Pokémon list. If you’re just now catching up, be sure to check out our other best Pokémon roundups so far: