Ghost attacks are a diverse, peculiar lot.
Ghost attacks are most effective against their own type, which is
unique among all Pokémon attacks.
They are also completely ineffective against Psychic and Normal
Pokémon, even though they made a three-part series of episodes in the
cartoon about how Ghosts are the best way to beat Psychics.
However, the above applies only to standard Ghost attacks, and the only
standard Ghost attack is Lick. More on this below.
Confuse Ray is extremely accurate and, if it hits, will confuse the
victim 100% of the time. On a fast Pokémon, this can be a devastating
attack. See the Confusion page for more
information on the effects of confusion.
Unlike other Ghost attacks, however, Confuse Ray does not directly
damage the victim.
Lick is the only Ghost attack that takes type modifiers into account.
It has a chance to paralyze, and so in that way is like a really
under-powered Body Slam. But it's just
Since Ghost attacks are Physical (which is also a little strange), Lick
is based on the Attack score, which is considerably lower than the
formidable Special scores of the
Gastly series. And not only is it a
terribly weak attack, it's only super-effective against other
Ghosts. Since all Ghosts are half-Poison and can also learn powerful
Psychic attacks (which are strong against Poison types), Lick is just
about as pointless as an attack can be.
Night Shade does Calculated damage, and is not affected by type
modifiers. It is therefore effective against both Normal and Psychic
Pokémon (and is likely the reason most people have difficulty believing
regular Ghost attacks cannot affect Normal or Psychic Pokémon), much in
the way that Seismic Toss can affect
Night Shade always inflicts 1 HP of damage for each Level of the
attacker. So a L100 Gengar will
always do 100 HP of damage with Night Shade, if it hits, regardless
of any defenses that the victim might have in play or any debilitating
effects of other attacks it might be suffering from. Note that the attack
must hit normally for the damage to take place.
Because of this, Night Shade is an excellent (and accurate) finishing
move for whenever the victim has fewer HP than your Pokémon's Level, and
is also useful for when the victim is employing strong defensive
If you're a big fan of this attack, you might consider using the
Seismic Toss TM on Gengar, since it has 5 more PP and is functionally
identical, though somewhat less cool. Those extra PP can come in handy
when you're trying to wear down a Resting or
If you really don't want to lose the coolness factor, you can console
yourself with the knowledge that while Seismic Toss can be Countered, Night Shade cannot. Well, it's
At any rate, there's clearly no question here...Night Shade will almost
always be more damaging than than Lick. However, you'll probably want a
strong Special-based attack on your Gengar to use as your primary damage