Throw it on the ground
The Ground-Type is one of the fiercest Types in the Pokemon franchise.
As a Type, Ground arguably has the best offense in the franchise thus far. It hits five Types for Super Effective Damage with only two Types resisting it, giving it ridiculous coverage. It is also the sole Type to deal Super Effective damage to Electric-Type Pokemon. This would be enough to cement Ground as a threat, yet Earthquake puts Ground-Type Pokemon over the top. An insanely powerful Type combined with one of the best attacks in the entire franchise means you better have an answer for Ground-Type Pokemon.
Unfortunately, the counterplay for Ground-Type Pokemon can get complicated for a variety of reasons. Though Ground-Type monsters only resist two Types, their offensive potential is high enough that they’re still difficult to take down. That said, you have numerous options at your disposal to counter the Type. Once you know the available tools, trainers can formulate a strong counter to any Ground-Type monster. Let’s unpack Ground’s weaknesses.
The best Type to counter Ground
In a vacuum, the best Type to match up against a pure Ground-Type is Grass.
Grass is the only Type to both deal Super Effective damage to Ground while resisting it in return. Bug is the only other Type that resists Ground, but it’s generally too weak to recommend outside of niche situations. Because many Types can counter Grass, hybrid Ground-Type Pokemon can potentially shut down your Grass Pokemon. For example, Clodsire is Ground/Poison, so it deals Super Effective damage to Grass-Type Pokemon while taking neutral damage in return. Camerupt is Ground/Fire, creating another situation where Grass-Types struggle. Grass is still a strong counter against many Ground-Types, but it’s not universally powerful.
Ground’s other two counters are Ice and Water. Water may not resist Ground attacks, but Water’s two weaknesses make it less risky to use against Ground. Ground/Water hybrids like Gastrodon and Quagsire are best dealt with via Grass attacks, but you’ll be in fewer situations where you risk getting destroyed by an opponent’s secondary Typing. Meanwhile, The Ice-Type’s wide spread of offensive capabilities makes it incredibly attractive for dealing with Ground-Types. Major threats like Garchomp will take X4 damage from Ice-Type attacks, so even a Pokemon without a native Ice-Typing will benefit from knowing some Ice attacks!
There’s one crucial detail we haven’t covered yet: Flying-Type Pokemon are immune to Ground attacks. In a vacuum, this means Water/Flying Pokemon like Pelipper are the best for dealing with Ground-Type Pokemon. It’s not uncommon for Ground-Type Pokemon to run moves like Rock Slide to counter Flying-Types, so even this is not a sure thing.
Items and abilities that block Ground attacks
The above Types all have an answer for different Ground-Type Pokemon. There just isn’t a Type that is a clear best counter, though that could be said for several other Pokemon Types in the game. Fortunately, with Ground’s immense power comes several abilities and items that can help you out.
The most obvious option here is Levitate. Any Pokemon that knows this ability will be immune to Ground-Type attacks as if they were Flying-Types themselves. While most Pokemon with Levitate aren’t necessarily great counters for Ground-Types by themselves, they open up many options for you to develop smart counterplays. In Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, Levitate can be learned by Mismagius, Rotom, Electross, and Hydreigon. Speaking of, Iono uses a Mismagius with an Electric Tera Type, giving it no weaknesses thanks to Levitate. Feel free to copy this strategy!
Alternatively, Orthworm has a unique ability to counter Ground attacks. Though a Steel-Type like Orthworm isn’t typically recommended, its ability Earth Eater prevents it from taking damage from Ground attacks completely. In fact, it will be healed by 1/4th its health when it takes a Ground attack! This can be extraordinarily helpful if you predict an opponent using Earthquake and switch in an Orthworm to get free healing. Even having an Orthworm on your team can potentially make your opponent scared to use Ground attacks.
Finally, we have the item Air Balloon. When held by any Pokemon, they functionally gain the Levitate ability and earn immunity to Ground attacks. If a particular Pokemon is especially worried about Ground attacks, this can be a valuable way to force your opponent to use other attacks. That said, a Pokemon’s Balloon will pop after one hit connects, leaving them vulnerable to Ground attacks once more.
The weather threat
When considering all the abilities of Ground-Type Pokemon, there is one last interaction you should keep in mind: Sandstorm.
Sandstorm damages all Pokemon on the field except Ground, Rock, and Steel-Types. This isn’t too bad on its own, but several Ground-Type Pokemon know abilities that activate during a Sandstorm. Gastrodon knows the ability Sand Force, which will increase the power of its Ground-Type attacks by 30% during a Sandstorm. Garchomp can also know Sand Veil, lowering the accuracy of incoming moves. While these strategies aren’t necessarily dominant in competitive battling as of writing, it’s still worth keeping in mind as you formulate a counterplay. Tyranitar is both very strong and summons a Sandstorm with its ability Sand Stream, so it’s not out of the question that you’ll see teams utilizing abilities like these.
Ground-Type Pokemon are unquestionably powerful, and every team must prepare to deal with an Earthquake user in one way or another. Whether you prioritize defense or hope to outspeed and KO an enemy is up to you. If you’re entering the competitive scene, check out which Ground-Type Pokemon are used the most and plan to counter them specifically. Opponents can still take you by surprise, but it’s worth covering the most used options first. Between all the potential ways to counter Ground-Types, you’ll inevitably find a team that will keep you safe from a barrage of Earthquakes. Best of luck battling, don’t get knocked off your feet!