Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have finally breached the 1000 Pokemon milestone after 25 years of Pokemon, and to celebrate this momentous occasion, the folks over at The Pokemon Company put their all into Pokemon #1000; the Coin Entity Pokemon, Gholdengo. Gholdengo is somewhat infamous for being not just a pain to acquire (collect 999 Gimmighoul Coins), but also for being a dominant force in the competitive metagame of Scarlet and Violet. For a Pokemon to be viable, it must have an answer to Gholdengo. But, what makes Gholdengo such a monumental force?
Gholdengo’s primary strength is in its ability, Good as Gold. Good as Gold makes Gholdengo immune to any and all status moves used on it – while this sounds easy to deal with, there are implications to this ability you may not consider. Consider, for a moment, that a Pokemon on Gholdengo’s team set up entry hazards, damaging your Pokemon as soon as they enter battle. To deal with this, you may want to use a move like Defog, or Rapid Spin. Rapid Spin would be the ideal option here were it not for Gholdengo’s Ghost-typing, rendering it immune to Rapid Spin’s Normal typing. So, in that case you would want to use Defog – but Gholdengo is immune to that move as well thanks to Good as Gold.
Gholdengo is no slouch in direct combat, either. Gholdengo primarily focuses on Special Attacks, working off an impressive Special Attack stat of 133. Gholdengo’s primary weapons include Make It Rain, Shadow Ball, Flash Cannon, Dazzling Gleam, Nasty Plot, and even moves like Trick to swap its items with an opponent. Speaking of items, common Gholdengo sets run items like Choice Specs, Choice Scarf, Life Orb, and Leftovers. Gholdengo will also be paired up with Pokemon that compliment it. This means that, if you are in a double battle, your opponent may have a move like Ally Switch that can redirect your status move to Gholdengo and invalidate your turn.
The problem with Gholdengo should be coming into focus now; Gholdengo is a Pokemon you cannot outsmart in a 1v1. Defeating it requires some amount of forethought, and some good muscle. Here are some of the best ways you can bring Gholdengo down to size.
Gholdengo Isn’t Very Fast
Despite its snazzy golden surfboard, Gholdengo has a very middling speed stat of 84. This isn’t very impressive, even taking Trick Room into account, which causes slower Pokemon to move first. Any Pokemon with a speed of 85 or higher can outspeed Gholdengo and land a hit before Gholdengo can, and a nice, clean hit can mean the difference between a loss and a victory. A good Pokemon that can outspeed Gholdengo would be Ceruledge; Ceruledge has a speed stat of 85, and its hidden ability Weak Armor can boost that further after taking a hit. Ceruledge’s Fire- and Ghost-type attacks can hit Gholdengo for super effective damage and bring down the Coin Entity.
Know Your Type Matchups
Gholdengo is a Steel- and Ghost-type pokemon. This affords Gholdengo nine resistances and three immunities. It also makes Gholdengo weak to Ground-, Ghost-, Fire-, and Dark-type moves, all of which are common attacking types. A good Pokemon to bring against Gholdengo would be Chi-Yu; Chi-Yu’s monstrous special attacks hit Gholdengo for super-effective damage and will melt Gholdengo down into chump change.
Of course, Chi-Yu is also a legendary Pokemon and may not be allowed in certain formats. Thus, you may want to consider Pokemon like Skeledirge or Kingambit. Skeledirge can hit Gholdengo for super-effective damage with Fire- and Ghost-type moves, but can also be hit back by Gholdengo’s own Ghost-type attacks. Kingambit, meanwhile, resists both Steel- and Ghost-type attacks and can hit back with Dark-type attacks like Sucker Punch and Kowtow Cleave.
All That Glitters Isn’t Gold
Good as Gold is a very, very good ability that demands you play by its rules. However, you can play by its rules and still come out on top. Good as Gold makes Gholdengo immune to all status moves, true, but the key point is that it does not prevent the use of status moves. This means that status moves that don’t target Gholdengo are still perfectly viable; if it doesn’t directly target Gholdengo, you can use it. Rapid Spin and Defog are both good ways to clear entry hazards, but are ineffective against Gholdengo; thus, you might consider Maushold’s Tidy Up. Tidy Up not only boosts Maushold’s attack and speed, but also removes all field effects. Because Tidy Up doesn’t target Gholdengo directly, Tidy Up can be used freely.
Also, consider abilities that allow you to ignore an opponent’s ability. Mold Breaker and Mycelium Might come to mind; Mold Breaker causes all of the user’s moves to ignore the target’s ability, and Mycelium Might does the same for the user’s status moves in exchange for the user moving last in their priority bracket. Mycelium Might stands out thanks to its user, Toedscruel. Toedscruel learns the move Spore, which puts an opponent to sleep. Spore is better than more common moves like Sleep Powder due to Spore’s 100% accuracy – you can easily put someone to sleep without worrying of rolling a bad accuracy check. Toedscruel’s good Special Defense will allow it to take a hit from Gholdengo and put it to sleep with Spore, shutting Gholdengo down completely until it wakes up. Mold Breaker, meanwhile, has no drawbacks and is more common an ability, though is more often given to offensively-oriented Pokemon like Haxorus.
Fighting Fire with Fire
They say that throwing money at a problem is the best solution. In this case, it may very well be; sometimes the best counter for a good Pokemon may be itself. Gholdengo is good for a reason, so don’t feel like using it is unfair or uncompetitive. As long as Gholdengo is allowed in whatever format you’re playing, you have just as much of a right to use Gholdengo as your opponent. Gholdengo restricts your opponent into all-out offense, with some exceptions.
Gholdengo can even come out over an opposing Gholdengo thanks to its Shadow Ball and other Ghost-type attacks. However, you should consider speed ties when using Gholdengo. Choice Scarf is a popular item for Gholdengo, and while it may let you outspeed some Gholdengo, for others it may just be up to random chance. During these moments, it’s important to remember that Pokemon is an inherently random game and to not sweat the small stuff. Sometimes, you just get unlucky and your opponent moves first. Remember these tips, and you’ll do fine regardless of any bad luck.