Hey everyone, I wanted to cover my thought process behind why I did mono bug, why I picked the mons I did in draft, what my gameplans were, and overall how fun it was.
So why mono bug? Truth be told, I have become something of a bug-type enthusiast ever since I came back to pokemon sometime between USUM and SWSH. Even though I’m insectophobic and arachnophobic in real life, the things that make me scared of bugs IRL are not present in the pokemon. Namely, bug-type pokemon don’t usually “twitch” or “skitter” very much. I might still be afraid of something like Joltik, Ninjask, or Accelgor IRL, but a lot of pokemon have “higher intelligence” compared to real animals, where they aren’t landing on my hand and giving me a panic attack. Also having to clean my car and my entire house of spider webs every single day is annoying, but I guess if I had a Galvantula, Araqaunid, or Ariados I would have to get used to that.
Beyond that, I had recently finished the entirety of a long fangame, Pokemon Reborn, doing Monotype Bug. I was on a high from completing it, and saw a decent opportunity for it to work with the lower power level this season. If anyone is interested about my run there, I can link the reddit post I made after finishing the game in general. Bug is surprisingly easy in that game since the sheer quantity of early game encounters lets you answer most threats by leveling up one of your 18 early game bugs, and late game you have Volcarona + Scizor, nuff said.
Onto my picks!
Pick 1: Araquanid aka Drown… Taken from Amaria’s quote in Pokemon Reborn upon bringing her to 1 pokemon.
Games: 10. Items: Choice Band, Leftovers, Waterium-Z, Iapapa Berry.
I knew right away that Araquanid was one of the strongest pokemon in T2 and that I needed to snatch it up immediately. This pokemon is one of my favorites, as it has so many sets it can run. Choice band sets, Bulky sets, sub + toxic sets, even scarf and specs are theoretically doable builds in the right situations! Water bubble along with this pokemon’s amazing natural bulk makes it deceptively powerful for a 454 BST mon. It is so fun catching people off guard with its wide movepool too. Mirror coat, Magic Coat, Sticky Web, and even Wide Guard in doubles. I ended up not bringing araquanid every game like I expected though. This was largely because I found that there were many water type checks, such as electric types, that I ended up having to plan around. And while Araquanid does what it does amazingly, it offers nothing against its counters other than pray it doesn’t OHKO you and slam it hard with Liquidation.
Pick 2: Durant aka Despair, because I like edgy names and this is one edgy ant!
Games: 15. Items: Choice Band, Choice Scarf, Focus Sash, Darkium-Z, Steelium-Z, Life Orb, Expert Belt.
I had my pick of the 2 T1 bugs: Durant and Heracross. Both have their own merits, but I picked durant for its synergy with Araquanid. Durant covers the rock and electric types Araquanid struggles with by using Hustle + life orb Stomping Tantrum and Iron head, and Araquanid can switch in on the fire types with Water Bubble. Durant ended up being one of my MANY late-game sweepers, and I got to run some fun sets with it. Sash for a free hone claws, band for immense power, life orb for flexibility, and even Darkium Z with hone claws to get +2 attack (although it flopped horribly xd). Durant is also deceptively bulky on the physical side, able to take multiple hits if they aren’t boosted. Flexible, albeit unreliable unless I can hone claws, Durant was often my sole pokemon left in some of my clutch wins.
Pick 3: Armaldo aka Abrasive, because I like that word and I am a word nerd.
Games: 16. Items: Heavy-Duty Boots, Leftovers, Rocky Helmet.
Now that I had my main 2 picks, I needed to address mono bug’s biggest weakness: Stealth Rock. Having 80% of your team weak to rocks, with some being double weak is a pain. This means we need clear for rocks. A surprsing amount of bugs learn defog, as I learned this season, but that also gets rid of my rocks or webs. Instead, I opted to go for Armaldo. Bug/Rock is a surprisingly decent defensive typing, and it is very bulky along with a monster 125 attack stat. This meant I could often fully or mostly invest into bulk and still knock out my key targets. I needed a defesive core who could come in on most attacks, get rid of rocks, knock off critical items, or threaten out flying types. Armaldo got like 2 KOs the whole season but he made his fellow insects and spiders proud. Even though Armaldo seems a bit underwhelming on the surface, it carries some valuable moves, has battle armor, only has 1 of bug’s many annoying weaknesses, and is always willing to be sacked for the greater good. Armaldo was the backbone of the team.
Pick 4: Centiskorch aka Radiance because I love that word and the dota item is basically centiskorch.
Games: 1. Items: Charti Berry.
I really like Centiskorch’s design. Unfortunately, this thing was really bad. If I consistently had to play against a fire type, it may have been better, but when every mon possible is running a rock move to smack my entire team hard, centiskorch just has so few opportunities. Even when I did go against fire types, Araquanid alone was enough to handle them. It ended up being part of my first and potentially only trade in RD2LPL. If circumstances were different I would’ve kept it, but as it is, it is underwhelming on Mono Bug.
Pick 5: Frosmoth aka December, cause she’s a chilly gal.
Games: 1. Item: Occa Berry.
Another big miscalculation of mine was Frosmoth. I knew going in that Frosmoth was riddled with weaknesses and low defense, but I was hyper-fixated on the fact that it could wall ANY special attacker, set up 2 quiver dances, and potentially win the game. In practice, mono bug has WAY too many sweepers and too few bulky switch-ins or pivots, so it ended up a casualty of my trades as well. In a balanced team though, where you have answers for rock and fire types, I genuinely think it's still a good situational pick to have.
Pick 6: Galvantula aka Tazer, because he has the power of a police tazer and uses it as liberally as the police as well.
Games: 16. Items: Heavy-Duty Boots, Life Orb, Electrium-Z, Focus Sash.
Another first for me, I repicked a mon I have used before in RD2LPL. Galvantula is just so versatile, and I learned from my previous season that this thing is much better than suicide lead with webs. Thunder misses more than you would think with 91% accuracy but it is actually worth it as opposed to basically any other electric type who will always take the accuracy of Thunderbolt. Galvantula also only really needs 3 moves to function, so it can easily fit in a hidden power or a random coverage move. If I ever have a pokemon associated with me, like Burra Cincinno or Doomcow Snorlax/Vaporeon, I think mine will be Galvantula, Vikavolt, or Araquanid. Not sure on which one yet. Time will tell I guess.
Pick 7 and 8: Escavalier and Accelgor. I didn’t have nickname plans for them.
Games: 2 for Escavalier, 2 for Accelgor. Items: Heavy-Duty Boots, Occa Berry.
Truth be told, I only picked Escavalier and Accelgor to hit my “pause” time for monotype. I didn’t particularly want either of them, as I am not good with pokemon that play like Accelgor, and Escavalier is oftentimes just budget Durant, trading all of its speed for extra special bulk and a bit more damage. No surprise that I traded them off.
Pick 9: Yanmega aka Augustine because I like the word August and it’s my birth month.
Games: 12. Items: Choice Specs, Throat Spray, Choice Scarf, Grassium-Z, Life Orb.
The fact that Yanmega stayed in the pool for so long with TWO mono-bug teams is really a miracle. I slept on this thing because even though it’s one of my favorite bugs, it was underwhelming in Pokemon Reborn, which inspired this run, so I assumed it was more of the same in comp. But that is totally not the case and Yanmega is in contention with a few others for the MVP of the team. Lots of power, very versatile with its item, dangerous sweeping potential, many good abilities, and decent physical bulk make this thing amazing. It ended up being more of a wallbreaker for me, since I had so many sweepers lined up in the back, but it can also do that just fine with tinted lens or speed boost in order to outspeed fast threats. The only thing disappointing about Yanmega is not really being able to run boots because of the opportunity cost of all its other items, and its poor movepool, but that is largely offset with Tinted Lens.
Pick 10: Wormadam Sandy Cloak aka Holiday because reasons. Sandy = Beach = You are on holiday.
Games: 3. Items: Leftovers.
Is this thing good? No. Is it OK? No, not really. But I picked it because the combination of Bug and Ground along with barely usable offenses means I can check dangerous rock and steel types that can otherwise wall or blast through my team. It only got used a few times but those few times it was pretty crucial.
Pick 11: Dottler. No nickname ever used :( probably a similar name to Orbeetle down below.
I saw SPACEDUDE use a body press set with this thing last season and wanted to use it this season, but never found the opportunity and I ended up needing points for a crucial trade so it remained unplayed. Sadge. Maybe in another season.
Pick 12: Venomoth aka Queen September because it sounds nice and moth-like to me.
Games: 3. Items: Poisonium-Z, Buginium-Z.
Venomoth is fun to use but on mono bug, but it kinda has competition with everyone on the team for a slot. Which 6 bugs I bring is very crucial to my success, and venomoth primarily filled a niche of being able to break through resists. But when those resists aren’t common or my secondary types help out, venomoth is less needed. This led to relatively low Venomoth usage, but it still has to be considered by any opponent or else it could sweep if not addressed.
Pick 13: Orbeetle aka FBI, because Orbeetle looks like an agent.
Games: 7. Items: Leftovers, Light Clay, Colbur Berry, Choice Specs.
I don’t especially like Orbeetle, but it filled a huge hole my initial team had. It was able to come in, be bulky, and press status moves to annoy the opposing team. Its great defenses means it takes multiple hits to take out, and it has quite a few quirky options to play with. If it was a better strategy in singles, I definitely would’ve tried a trick room team with Araquanid and Armaldo.
Pick 14: Butterfree aka Akari. Japanese for Strawberry. I think it’s nice :) also I just now realized that's also the name of the female protag in Legends Arceus
Games: 8. Items: Heavy-Duty Boots, Focus Sash.
Butterfree is pretty value for T5. A lot of people put Butterfree for fantasy, but I guess they didn’t realize I mostly ran it for utility. Removing rocks is everything for mono bug, so oftentimes having 2 pokemon dedicated to it was necessary. Additionally, Venomoth generally ran the offensive sets better than Butterfree, since it can’t run both tinted lens and compound eyes. But my utility sets let Butterfree shine, as it packed a lot of nice moves into one very nice butterfly.
Pick 15: Vespiquen aka Lady Dimitrescu. This pokemon is quite literally her as a pokemon and I want vespiquen to step on me — —
ok sorry I went degen. also how would it step on me, I guess smash it’s comb onto me…
I picked this up cause I had 10 free points left and I needed more bulky bugs. None of the T5 options looked particularly appealing, including my homeless Frosmoth. I figured if I could use those 10 points for anything, a toxic stall mon could be handy. But I have so much of a rock weakness that I never found the chance to bring it in the 2 weeks that I had it. RIP.
If Panda was not also doing mono bug, I definitely would’ve loved to snatch up Golisopod. That thing is a BEAST and even though it would make me pretty weak to electric across my team, powerful first impressions and aqua jets as well as spikes potential and Liquidation would’ve made some matchups so much easier. Additionally, I had planned on getting Crustle as another late game cleaner but Panda got it nice and early, so I was denied that luxury. I was also close to getting Vikavolt but Ace yoinked it away from me, my precious Vika :(
My usual game plan for each match was to pick my main 3 bugs that would win me the game, and from there to cover their bases and to fill in as many holes as I could. For example, I would pick Durant, Galvantula, and Venomoth as my main damage dealers. From there I cover them with Armaldo and Butterfree setting up opportunities, and then my last slot is for whoever feels good/doesn’t feel horrible. Araquanid when there was a water weakness or I needed protection from fire types, Wormadam for Steel/Rock types, Orbeetle if I needed more webs or screens, etc. If this is a bad way to plan for games (in your opinion), feel free to let me know! I’m always learning and I’ve learned a lot but I don’t quite have what it takes to consistently do well and end up 1–1ing most weeks.
Would I recommend you do mono bug?!
Probably not. So many pokemon get stealth rock that it's virtually every game you have to worry about rocks. Additionally, many pokemon get weird access to rock slide/flamethrower despite not really being able to shoot flames or conjure rocks realistically, because gen 1–4 coverage is wack. Planning for Doomcow’s Typhlosion or Panda’s Crustle or Burra’s Moltres or Sh0’s Aerodactyl would take a lot of careful planning and requires near-perfect play, since bug monotype is inherently very offensive in nature. And everyone would run the dreaded HP fire to 1 shot my durant despite them having a 50 special attack stat. Still, it was very fun to experience and even if I won't do this again here, I will still probably pick 1 or maybe 2 bugs every season to ensure my entire team isn’t weak to ground. :)
Shoutout to vivi for letting me dump pokepastes on him every week and make sure my team won't auto-lose to random things I overlook. Also shoutout to Heron for cheering me on every week :D
Pokepastes for the interested (some of them I made changes later):
Week 7: Lost to the void I think