If you're serious about Pokémon Go, you'll want to assemble a team of the best Pokémon to help take over Gyms for your chosen team.

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Players have discovered that hidden stats (largely) match those of the games, giving us insight into how Pokémon rank according to their highest Attack, Defense and HP (hit points, health or stamina).

As you can imagine, rare Pokemon and Legendaries tend to top the list, but there are a few surprise entries throughout each one to look out for.

It should be noted, crucially, that base stats and CP aren't everything.

As any Pokémon veteran will tell you, the right moveset is just as important as the right numbers for Attack and Defense, which is also why we have a best Pokémon tier list first - which includes calculations on how a Pokémon's respective movesets combine with their offensive and defensive stats for the highest damage over the course of a battle.

A quick note, before diving in, to say that this page is now fully up to date with the February 2018 meta.

What's on this page:

Pokémon Go Tier List - the best attacking Pokémon and best defending Pokémon right now

This Tier List is 'editorialised' approach, rather than a ranking of Pokémon by their highest DPS movesets or defensive stats, meaning our own experiences, knowledge, and judgement come into play here as well as the raw stats.

That being said, several sources have been extremely useful for helping us decide: GamePress, PoGomoves, and Gameinfo in particular have all approached the situation in different ways, with calculations varying in depth from complete matchup simulations to more simple attacking and defending DPS calculations, and plenty in between.

We recommend you give all of the above a look if you're on the hunt for an even more detailed breakdown of the information at hand - but be warned, it gets complex!

Below, we'll take into account all of the above, along with our own understanding of the general metagame climate as things stand - that means that whilst, say, Alakazam may rank near the very top for raw damage output with Confusion and Future Sight, it may not rank as highly in our tier list because of some flimsy defences and lack of type coverage.

Pokémon Go Attackers Tier List

RankPokémonQuick MoveSpecial MoveBest vs.Reasoning
1MewtwoConfusionShadow BallManyMewtwo is still just about the best all-rounder, with higher Attack and bulk compared to Rayquaza, even without perfect moves.
2RayquazaDragon TailOutrageManyAn exceptional move pairing and massive Attack stat put Rayquaza out on top of the dragons, although beware double-weakness Ice-type moves.
3DragoniteDragon TailOutrageManyStrong against almost everything, high bulk as well as offense. Outrage just puts it above Salamence.
4SalamenceDragon TailDraco MeteorManyVery similar to Dragonite only a tad less bulky, but higher base Attack. Importance of survivability in the meta puts it just below its fellow dragon for now.
5MachampCounterDynamic PunchBlissey, Snorlax, Lapras, Tyranitar, RhydonSuper-relevant because of its strength against many Raid bosses and regular defenders in the meta. Fastest Pokémon to take down Blissey.
6TyranitarBiteStone EdgeManyStrong against almost everything, but with a few more weaknesses than Dragonite. Struggles vs. Hariyama
7AlakazamConfusionFuture SightFighting and Poison-typesA true glass cannon, with amazing DPS but very low survivability. Needs to be high level.
8KyogreWaterfallHydro PumpFire, Rock and Ground-typesRock and Ground is still very common in defenders, as well as surprisingly high Attack, Kyogre has the bulk to save you some much-needed Revives.
9MoltresFire SpinOverheatGrass, Steel, Ice, Bug-typesThe best pure Fire-type with added benefits of part-Flying type resistance to Grass and Bug-types.
10RaikouThunder ShockWild ChargeFlying and Water-typesGyarados and other Water-types are common defenders, and Raikou's the best pure Electric attacker right now.

Pokémon Go Defenders Tier List

RankPokémonQuick MoveSpecial MoveBest vs.Reasoning
1BlisseyZen HeadbuttDazzling GleamManyStill the best out there. Almost any moveset outranks any other Pokémon. Takes an age to defeat and even whittles down those which counter.
2SnorlaxZen HeadbuttHyper BeamManyLike Blissey but just a slightly faster to take down - still better than more DPS-focused defenders.
3SlakingYawnPlay RoughManyA weird one, with crazy high Attack and CP in particular, which keeps the gym "tall" for longer thus deterring attackers. Best coupled with Blissey/Snorlax.
4GardevoirConfusionDazzling GleamManyMove coverage and lack of Steel- and Poison-type attackers makes this a surprisingly strong pick.
5DragoniteDragon TailOutrageMany, including MachampPart Flying typing makes it resist Machamp, meaning it's harder for attackers to sweep the gym. Strong Attack and bulk combined
6GyaradosDragon TailOutrageMany, including MachampA double-weakness to Electric, but not many attackers use it. Flexible attacks but countered by Tyranitar.
7TyranitarIron TailCrunchManyBulky and high in Attack, but double-weakness to Machamp is an issue.
8Slowbro/KingConfusionIce Beam / Fire BlastMany, including MachampAnother Machamp counter that forces attackers to rotate.
9LaprasFrost BreathIce BeamDragonite, ManyWeak quick move, can struggle vs. Tyranitar and Machamp, but counters the common Dragonite well.
10RhydonMud-SlapEarthquakeMany, especially Electric-typesA nice counter to Electric-type attackers that might be used against Gyarados, Slowbro and King, and Lapras

Those are our editorial choices for the game's best creatures. But if you're curious about raw stats, the following tables will be of interest.

Best Pokémon by highest Attack stat in Pokémon Go

The following list is up to date with all Gen 3 Pokémon released so far, which is almost all of them barring a few Legendaries and outliers.

RankPokémonAttack stat
1 Mewtwo 300
2 Slaking 290
3 Rayquaza 284
4 Salamence 277
5 Alakazam 271
6 Kyogre 270
7 Groudon 270
8 Dragonite 263
9 Espeon 261
10 Gengar 261
11 Metagross 257
12 Zapdos 253
13 Tyranitar 251
14 Moltres 251
15 Flareon 246
16 Absol 246
17 Sharpedo 243
18 Raikou 241
19 Breloom 241
20 Blaziken 240
21 Kingler 240
22 Ho-Oh 239
23 Pinsir 238
24 Gardevoir 237
25 Gyarados 237

Best Pokémon by highest Defense stat in Pokémon Go

The following list is up to date with all Gen 3 Pokémon released so far, which is almost all of them barring a few Legendaries and outliers.

RankPokémonDefense stat
1 Shuckle 396
2 Steelix 333
3 Lugia 323
4 Cloyster 323
5 Aggron 314
6 Onix 288
7 Ho-Oh 274
8 Mantine 260
9 Skarmory 260
10 Umbreon 250
11 Articuno 249
12 Groudon 251
13 Kyogre 251
14 Metagross 247
15 Forretress 242
16 Milotic 242
17 Lairon 240
18 Tentacruel 237
19 Suicune 235
20 Claydol 236
21 Relicanth 234
22 Dusclops 234
23 Mr. Mime 233
24 Torkoal 234
25 Golem 229

Best Pokémon by highest HP or Stamina in Pokémon Go

The following list is up to date with all Gen 3 Pokémon released so far, which is almost all of them barring a few Legendaries and outliers.

RankPokémonStamina stat
1 Blissey 510
2 Chansey 500
3 Wobbuffet 380
4 Wailord 340
5 Snorlax 320
6 Hariyama 288
7 Wigglytuff 280
8 Slaking 273
9 Vaporeon 260
10 Lapras 260
11 Wailmer 260
12 Lanturn 250
13 Entei 230
14 Jigglypuff 230
15 Walrein 220
16 Lugia 212
17 Rydon 210
18 Kangaskan 210
19 Muk 210
20 Exploud 208
21 Swampert 200
22 Suicune 200
23 Tyranitar 200
24 Piloswine 200
25 Noctowl 200

Best Pokémon by max CP in Pokémon Go

The following list is up to date with all Gen 3 Pokémon released so far, which is almost all of them barring a few Legendaries and outliers.

RankPokémonMax CP
1Slaking4548
2Kyogre4074
3Groudon4074
4Mewtwo3982
5Ho-Oh3889
6Tyranitar3670
7Rayquaza3645
8Metagross3637
9Lugia3598
10Dragonite3581
11Salamence3532
12Entei3377
13Snorlax3355
14Raikou3349
15Zapdos3330
16Rhydon3300
17Gyarados3281
18Moltres3272
19Blissey3219
20Vaporeon3157
21Donphan3022
22Aggron3004
23Espeon3000
24Milotic2967
25Gardevoir2964

Note that the stats above do change on a semi-frequent basis with Niantic's patches to Pokémon Go but, at the time of writing, are accurate according to the datamining and formulae found by the community.

Looking to catch yourself some more Pokémon go tips and tricks like this? We cover everything you need to know about the new Research quests feature, as well as all you need for finding out how to unlock Mew in Pokémon Go, and we've also got some advice on where to find Ghost-type Pokémon if you're having trouble. Other current events include April's Community Day, while you can finish off your Gen 3 Pokémon collection, and learn how the new creatures changed 2km, 5km and 10km Egg charts, region exclusives, Buddy distances and Shinies. Ever-expanding Pokédex completionists, meanwhile, might want to read about the various Special Items available as well as the various methods for determining Eevee evolutions.

What do these 'best Pokémon' lists tell us?

  • We know that Legendary Pokémon like Rayquaza, plus the other first, second and third Generation Legendary counterparts like Mewtwo, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, Kyogre, Groudon, the legendary dogs and so on are some of the most powerful in the game, and are worth capturing when we get the chance.
  • The most powerful non-legendary is frequently changing, thanks to the influx of Gen 3 Pokémon.
  • While Slaking has the highest CP, outside of specialised Gym defence other non-legendaries like Dragonite, Salamence, and Tyranitar are generally far more useful.
  • Starter Pokémon are gradually becoming less relevant to the meta, but the likes of Blaziken can still hold their own.
  • Not every Pokémon who ranks in high up on one stat type does so in others. Blissey, for example, has by far the highest Stamina / HP of any creature in the game, but suffers in other areas so it fails to list elsewhere, and you should always bear that in mind when building your squad for attacking or defending Gyms.

Additional reporting by Matthew Reynolds.

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About the author

Chris Tapsell

Chris Tapsell

Guides Writer

Chris Tapsell is Eurogamer's Guides Writer, its newest Chris, and a keen explorer of the dark arts of gaming, from League of Legends to the murky world of competitive Pokémon.

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