Classes or Jobs in a typical role-playing game determines the abilities and combat prowess of characters. They are used to differentiate each character to make them more unique. But due to the mixed-in monster hunting gameplay in the Pokemon games, character classes are nowhere in sight – yes, Pokemon is still an RPG series at heart. However, it can be argued that the 18 Pokemon Types can be classified as character classes as well.
For example: Dragon-type Pokemon are typically offensive powerhouses, so they can be regarded as the “Knight” class. Psychic-type Pokemon, in the main games, have very high Special Attack stats, so they can be identified as the “Mage” class. Electric-type Pokemon usually have very high Speed stats, so they can be put in the same criteria as the “Ninja” class. Obviously, Fighting-type Pokemon are similar to the “Monk” class. And then there’s Ground, Rock and Steel. These three Types can be rolled into one to form the commonly designated “tank” character (the specific class name varies from game to game).
As the article implies, we’ll focus on the latter three Types. Because despite being apparently “tanks” based on their design alone, they’re really different from each other. But we’ll remove Steel from the equation since it really doesn’t belong in Pokemon Go. The Steel Type was only introduced in the second-gen games, and the only Pokemon from the original 151 retroactively given the Steel Type were Magnemite and Magneton – both primarily known as Electric-type Pokemon.
Rock-type Pokemon are weak to Water, Grass, Fighting and, curiously, Ground moves. They are resistant to Normal, Flying, Fire and Poison moves. On the other hand, Ground-type Pokemon are weak to Water, Grass and Ice moves. They resist Poison, Rock and Electric moves (in the main games, Ground-type Pokemon are completely immune to Electric moves, but Pokemon Go removed Type immunities).
Obviously, Rock-type Pokemon are the more defensive-oriented, based solely on the number of Types they resist. The bad news is that their weaknesses are all very common Types, with the latter two (Fighting and Ground) particularly on the “hard-hitting” side. The good news is that Rock-type Pokemon usually come with high Defense stats. And with the omission of the traditional stats from the main games, Rock-type Pokemon don’t have to worry too much about Water and Grass moves – they’re usually Special Attacks in the main games, and Rock-type Pokemon typically have low Special Defense stats. This means that Rock-type Pokemon are now more formidable, defensive-wise, in Pokemon Go.
It’s the same case with Ground-type Pokemon: Water, Grass and Ice moves are usually under the Special Attack category in the main games. We say “usually” because the fourth-gen games, Diamond and Pearl, changed the mechanics of Pokemon moves. Instead of being based solely on the Type to determine Physical and Special attacks, moves are now based on the characteristics of the move. Example: Ice Punch is a Physical attack. The Ice-type is usually under the Special Attack category. Anyway, don’t worry too much about these; Pokemon Go doesn’t have the Physical and Special differentiation.
In terms of defensive capabilities, Ground-type Pokemon are not really all that formidable. They don’t usually have high Defense stats either. This is due to Ground-type Pokemon being primarily offensive-oriented. The best examples of this are Nidoking and Nidoqueen, which both carry the Poison sub-type. Although their offensive firepower aren’t really sky-high, these two Pokemon have access to a wide range of moves that’s on par with Dragonite. And that’s saying a lot. Obviously, this no longer applies in Pokemon Go.
Pokemon Go doesn’t have a Pokemon (yet) that is exclusively Rock-type. The two most notable Rock/Ground hybrid Pokemon are Rhydon and the previously trade-only Golem. The former is the epitome of an offense-defense hybrid in the main games. Both of its Attack and Defense stats are very high, and it has a lot of HP, too. Rhydon still carries the same attributes to Pokemon Go, but it’s now more formidable thanks to the lack of the Special Attack and Special Defense stats.
As for the latter, Golem in Pokemon Go is at the top of the Rock-type food chain, which is a contrary to the main games where he’s usually an afterthought, no thanks to lackluster stats. So the simplified parameters in Pokemon Go helped Golem a lot, making it now more powerful. In terms of stats, Rhydon is the more balanced in terms of Attack and Defense, while Golem has very high Defense in Pokemon Go.
Rock-type and Ground-type Pokemon are usually very slow in the main games, but Dugtrio is different. The three-headed Pokemon is one of the fastest Pokemon in the first-gen games, capable of dancing with speedy Electric-type Pokemon. Aerodactyl is a similar case, thanks to its Flying sub-type. However, thanks to the different combat system in Pokemon Go, these two Pokemon have lost their one big advantage in Speed.
Another notable Pokemon is Marowak, an offense-first Ground-type Pokemon. It’s notable because…well, it evolves from poor little Cubone who is one of the more recognizable Pokemon among the hundreds of them. In the main games, however, Marowak is an offensive juggernaut when equipped with a specific item which doubles its Attack. But since Hold Items aren’t in Pokemon Go yet, Marowak is simply relegated to an average Ground-type Pokemon.
Similar spawn locations
As you can see, Rock-type Pokemon and Ground-type Pokemon are really different from each other. One is more defensive-oriented while the other places more focus on offense. However, they do share at least one thing in common: spawn locations. In Pokemon Go, Rock-type and Ground-type Pokemon can be found in the same spawn locations. Namely, they can both be encountered near farmlands, quarries, hiking trails, parking lots and nature reserves. This means that if you decide to have someone else catch Rock-type Pokemon for you, be sure to give the instruction to catch Ground-type as well.
Out of the two, Rock-type Pokemon benefitted most from the gameplay changes in Pokemon Go, especially with the removal of the Speed stat. They can now go toe-to-toe with typically fast Pokemon and can dish out heavy damage of their own. If you want to know more about real tank characters, hop over to League of Legends.