Pokémon moves have been an integral part of the franchise since its inception, from the damage counters of the Trading Card Game through to the bombastic Z-Moves of Pokémon Sun and Moon. Pokémon Go moves, of course, continue the trend, and whilst battling is still basic compared to the main games, much of the playerbase are now at the point where there's an interest in maximising CP for the strongest team, along with catching the best Pokémon in Pokémon Go and, of course, figuring out their strongest moves.

Despite the relative simplicity on the surface, a Pokémon's moveset can make a pretty remarkable difference to its success in taking down gyms. With the addition of Fast TMs and Charge TMs, too, there's now an added layer of sophistication to the system.

Movesets play a central part in how the most serious players choose when to Power Up and evolve their Pokémon precisely because a fully-evolved, maxed-out Dragonite could still get taken down by something weaker if the moveset isn't right. Below, we'll take you through everything you need to know about them.

Note - with the impending arrival of Pokémon Go Trainer Battles and PvP and the addition of a second Charge move, this page is due an update. Thanks for your patience!

Pokémon Go Fast TMs and Charge TMs explained

We've raided a lot, but TMs are hard to come by.

Introduced with the first Raids were TMs, special items that allow you to change your Pokémon's moves - or more specifically "reroll" your Pokémon's moves, seeing as it's decided at random when you use one.

Using a TM on a Pokémon will randomly reselect one of its moves, with a Fast TM giving you a different fast move and a Charge TM a different Charge move. You're guaranteed to get a different move each time you use a TM, but of course you can only get a move that said Pokémon can learn in the first place. You're not going to get Hyper Beam on that Weedle any time soon (or ever).

How to get TMs in Pokémon Go

There's just the one way to earn TMs in Pokémon Go at the moment: raiding.

Completing a raid, of any kind, will earn you a chance at being rewarded with Fast and Charge TMs. You don't get many though, and you don't get them very often at all, so use them wisely when you do.

We advise you save them for the most powerful Pokémon you have, that you'll be using a lot, and that have very high IVs, too. That way you know they're not going to be rendered obsolete when you catch a better version down the line!

Pokémon Go best moves list - the best Fast Attacks

Fast Attacks in Pokémon Go revolve around two key factors: the damage dealt per second (DPS) and the amount of Energy generated from each attack.

weather moves
You can see Ancient Power is boosted here by the weather.

That's largely because the main factor which determines how often you can use the move is the amount of time it takes for the attack animation to complete. Fast Attacks don't have any other resources which govern their use, so it's simply a case of finding out how many seconds it takes to complete the attack before you can immediately use it again. With that in mind, the DPS is how we've ranked this list.

The other factor worth noting in assessing the strength of Fast Attacks is the Energy generated. Because the more powerful Special Attacks rely on energy to be used, and as such you'll want to balance your Fast Attacks' damage with generating as much energy as possible, depending on how often you want to use your Special Attack. Since the most recent patch however, you'll essentially want to use Special Attacks as often as possible, so it's well worth keeping an eye on the Energy column as you way up your options here.

Note that these are continually updated by Niantic now - our tables below are up to date as of then Gen 3 updates in February 2018. The table is ranked by DPS first, and where that's tied it's decided by Energy Granted, as that's the next most useful factor.

Below are the top 20 Fast Attacks in Pokémon Go:

RankMoveTypeDamage-Per-Second (DPS)Energy GrantedPowerAnimation Time (secs)
1 Steel Wing Steel 13.75 7.5 11 0.8
2 Dragon Tail Dragon 13.64 8.2 15 1.1
3 Iron Tail Steel 13.64 6.4 15 1.1
4 Counter Fighting 13.33 8.9 12 0.9
5 Rock Throw Rock 13.33 7.8 12 0.9
6 Waterfall Water 13.33 6.7 16 1.2
7 Razor Leaf Grass 13 7 13 1
8 Shadow Claw Ghost 12.86 8.6 9 0.7
9 Fire Spin Fire 12.73 9.1 14 1.1
10 Confusion Psychic 12.5 9.4 20 1.6
11 Poison Jab Poison 12.5 8.8 10 0.8
12 Fire Fang Fire 12.22 8.9 11 0.9
13 Scratch Normal 12 8 6 0.5
14 Bite Dark 12 8 6 0.5
15 Dragon Breath Dragon 12 8 6 0.5
16 Pound Normal 11.67 10 7 0.6
17 Vine Whip Grass 11.67 10 7 0.6
18 Air Slash Flying 11.67 8.3 14 1.2
19 Rock Smash Fighting 11.54 7.7 15 1.3
20 Metal Claw Steel 11.43 10 8 0.7

Pokémon Go best moves list - the best Charge Attacks or Special Moves

Deciding on the strongest, most efficient Charge Attacks in Pokémon Go is no easy feat. Whilst DPS plays a part, it's less central to a Special Attack's effectiveness as it is for Fast Attacks.

That's because Special Attacks aren't really governed by how quickly you can start the next attack animation, but by how much Energy they cost, and how quickly you can charge that energy up.

Magikarp has some cracking moves.

As you look at your Pokémon's Special Attacks, or Charge Moves - what do you call them?! - you'll see that sometimes the blue Energy bar is a single, long strip, and sometimes it's split into several smaller bars. The full length of that meter is always 100 Energy, but the smaller bars mean that, for that particular move, you can use it whenever a single one of those smaller bars are filled. Future Sight, for example, has one long bar, meaning it costs 100 Energy to use. Foul Play, meanwhile, has two smaller bars half the length of the full one, meaning it costs 50 Energy to use.

Foul Play and Future Sight also serve as a good example for showing why both DPS and Energy Cost play integral parts in ranking moves. Future Sight (44.44), for instance, has a slightly higher DPS than Foul Play (35), however for each 100 Energy you can use two Foul Plays - at 70 Power each - for every one Future Sight - at 120 Power each - meaning you'll do a total of 140 Power with Foul Play for every 120 that you do with Future Sight. In that case then, Foul Play actually is the more optimal move despite it's lower ranking for DPS.

Then again, DPS still affects things, because if Foul Play were even slower than it already is - in terms of literal seconds to finish the attack animation - then an excessively low DPS would drop it down below Future Sight in the pecking order, again. It basically depends on whether you could make up that extra 20 Power between one Future Sight and two Foul Plays by using fast attacks.

Likewise, it depends on what moves you could pair with each one. A Pokémon that can learn Future Sight might also learn fast attacks capable of charging energy faster than any Pokémon can with Foul Play, so you might still get more Future Sights out on a certain Pokémon than you would Foul Plays, and overtake it in the damage race again. It's complicated stuff!

With the in mind, the balancing of overall Power, DPS, Animation Time and Energy Cost is an important skill in deciding the best Special Attack for your Pokémon. We've included a "Damage-Per-100 Energy" column in the table below, so that you can compare those factors a little more easily yourselves, and save the effort of working it out for each move comparison like the Hyper Beam example above.

If all this still hasn't put you off and your thirst for never ending Pokémon depth has yet to be quenched, then Redditor Professor_Kukui was one of the first to compile a highly detailed, if intimidating, spreadsheet ranking the exact efficiency of all Pokémon and their relative movesets, including some other extra factors not featured here. Bear in mind, however, that this was assembled some time ago now.

The table below is ranked by Damage Per 100 Energy, with DPS the next most important factor where that's tied.

Below are the top 20 Special Attacks (or Charge Moves) in Pokémon Go:

RankMoveTypeDamage-per-100-EnergyDamage-per-second (DPS)PowerEnergy CostAnimation Time (secs)
2Leaf BladeGrass21029.1770332.4
3Magnet BombSteel2102570332.8
5Ancient PowerRock2102070333.5
6Silver WindBug21018.9270333.7
7Flame ChargeFire21018.4270333.8
8Disarming VoiceFairy21017.9570333.9
9Shadow BallGhost20033.33100503
10Dazzling GleamFairy20028.57100503.5
15Solar BeamGrass18036.731801004.9
16Grass KnotGrass18034.6290502.6
17Power WhipGrass18034.6290502.6
18Wild ChargeElectric18034.6290502.6
19Dynamic PunchFighting18033.3390502.7

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.

Other factors to bear in mind when choosing the best Pokémon Go moves

  • The big Gen 2 Update changed a lot - Gen 1 Pokémon's potential movesets have been altered; base damage for some moves have changed; energy costs have been capped at three bars, meanining at least 33 Energy is required for a Special Move; animation times have been altered; and there are of course new Pokémon. All of the new data is in the updated tables above!
  • Note that Pokémon recieved before each update will keep their current movesets, unless you evolve them in which case their moves are taken from their Gen 2 movepool. We have a Dragonite with Steel Wing and Dragon Pulse, for example, which now isn't possible to acquire post-update.
  • Same type attack bonus, or STAB, is an important factor in deciding a move's strength. A move's power is multiplied by 1.20 - so a 100 Power move is instead 120 Power - when the Pokémon using it is the same type as the move, so it's well worth adding that to your thoughts on how to kit out your squad. We also have a full Pokémon Go Type Chart for your ease of use, alongside details on how to catch Pokémon according to their Type locations, too.
  • Another factor to consider now is the weather. Similarly to STAB, a beneficial weather condition adds a 1.2 multiplier to moves of a certain type. See our Pokémon Go Weather page for more on that!
  • Your Pokémon's Attack stat does of course modify the strength of a move by a considerable amount, so it's worth checking out our list of the best, most powerful Pokémon in Pokémon Go where we rank them according to Attack, Defense, and a combination of all stats if you're building a team from scratch. The exact formula for how Attack affects the damage dealt is still unknown at this point, however.
  • Some moves are better for defending Gyms than attacking, as Gym defense is automated. The AI will automatically use a Fast Attack every two seconds when defending, and no faster, whilst it will use Special Attacks as soon as they're available, regardless of their strength. That means the likes of Confusion - which has a decent DPS thanks to is high power and slow Animation Time - is instead a very strong move when defending, as all moves' Animation Times are effectively brought up to 2 when defending anyway.
  • Back in earlier versions of the game, some Special Attacks had such a low DPS that it's actually not even worth using them compared to your Pokémon's Fast Attacks. Icy Wind, for example, had a measly 6.58 DPS, meaning that you'd actually have dneo better chipping away with your Articuno's Frost Breath than you would be using it's Special. That controversial, free Articuno handed out and then revoked back in the game's early days was an example of that rather unfortunate moveset in action, and those kinds of ratios may yet return.

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Chris Tapsell

Chris Tapsell

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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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