Why Pokémon Ghost-Type Immunities Changed In Gen 4 | Screen Rant

With Gengar being overhauled in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl in 2006, some fans may be left wondering why Ghost-type immunities changed in Gen 4. Making its first appearance in 1998's Red and Blue, the Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar evolution line introduced the series to Ghost-type Pokémon. While the Gen 1 ghost trio was massively popular with fans, the Ghost-type had some serious flaws when it came to their actual integration into the Nintendo RPG.

In Pokémon Generation 1, players could find their first Ghost-type Pokémon in Lavender Town after entering the creepy "Pokémon  Tower" located north of the small town. The spooky specters cannot be seen, however, until trainers return with the Silph Scope item. Even after being able to see them, the game only offered up three Ghost-type Pokémon in total to catch and there were only three Ghost-type moves as well, which were Confuse Ray, Lick, and Nightshade. Oddly, all of these moves were physical except for Nightshade.

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The biggest problem with Ghost-type in Pokémon Red and Blue was that it was supposed to be a direct counter to Psychic-types like Alakazam, Slowbro, and Hypno. Despite the game confirming this in dialogue, Psychic-type Pokémon ended up actually being immune to Ghost-types along with Normal-types. Even worse is that Ghost Pokémon were only strong against other Ghost Pokemon. So, with Gengar's small pool of weak physical moves to choose from, and not being strong against pretty much anyone, the incredibly cool Pokémon was in desperate need of an overhaul.

In Johto's Pokémon Gold and Silver Game Freak fixed the game so Ghost-types were finally now strong against Psychic-type Pokémon as originally intended. The series also added more Ghost-type moves to choose from, such as Curse and Shadowball. Because Ghost-type attacks were largely "physical" though, the Pokémon class was still considered very niche and weak in many situations.

All of this changed in Generation 4's Pokémon Diamond and Pearl when Game Freak decided to split Ghost-types moves between "Physical" and "Special," making most of their most powerful attacks now special moves. In particular, this made Gengar an absolute powerhouse in the Sinnoh region due to its high special stab attacks with Shadow Ball and Sludge.  The decision to change Ghost-type immunities in Gen 4 was to make the Ghost-type Pokémon more competitive and to move the Pokémon category away from Physical attacks in favor of Special instead.

The major change also introduced new Ghost-moves to the Pokémon franchise such as Shadow Claw and Shadow Sneak. In Pokémon X and Y, Steel-type Pokémon were changed to no longer be resistant to Ghost-type, making Pokémon like Gengar one of the series' most powerful choices to bring into battle. As of Pokémon Sword and Shield in 2019, Ghost-type is now one of the least-resisted Pokémon in the Pokémon franchise, which is quite the turnaround considering its weak origins.

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