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.

What's on this page:

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

A quick note, before diving in: this page is now fully up to date with the early Gen 4 meta from its launch in mid October 2018. It was surprisngly un-disruptive, at least for now, and none of the first wave of Gen 4 Pokémon have done much to break in anywhere on the list, but expect the additional Gen 4 Pokémon to make a difference when they arrive soon!

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. Can also use Focus Blast as a Fighting-type option for clearing gyms, too.
2RayquazaDragon TailOutrageManyAn exceptional move pairing and massive Attack stat put Rayquaza out on top of the dragons, although beware double-weakness Ice-type moves.
3MachampCounterDynamic PunchBlissey, Chansey, Snorlax, Lapras, Tyranitar, RhydonArguably the most important specialist attacker for you to have, thanks to its strength against many Raid bosses and regular defenders in the meta. Fastest Pokémon to take down Blissey.
4KyogreWaterfallHydro 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, and is the best Water-type attacker in the game.
5DragoniteDragon TailOutrageManyStrong against almost everything, high bulk as well as offense. Outrage just puts it above Salamence as another great generalist.
6SalamenceDragon 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, but still an excellent general option.
7TyranitarSmack DownStone EdgeManyStrong against almost everything, but with a few more weaknesses than Dragonite. Struggles vs. Hariyama. Smack Down is essential for getting the most out of its Rock typing.
8AlakazamConfusionFuture SightFighting and Poison-typesA true glass cannon, with amazing DPS but very low survivability. Needs to be high level and have type advantage.
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, even after the October 2018 stat rework. Almost any moveset outranks any other Pokémon. Takes an age to defeat and even whittles down those which counter. Can be super effective vs Machamp too.
2ChanseyZen HeadbuttDazzling GleamManyLike Blissey but just slightly faster to take down - still better than more DPS-focused defenders, and again has super-effective moves for Machamp.
3SnorlaxZen HeadbuttHyper BeamManyEssentially another option instead of Chansey.
4SlakingYawnPlay 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.
5GardevoirConfusionDazzling GleamMachampMove coverage and lack of Steel- and Poison-type attackers makes this a surprisingly strong pick, especially against Machamp again.
6DragoniteDragon TailOutrageMany, including MachampPart Flying typing makes it resist Machamp, meaning it's harder for attackers to sweep the gym. Strong Attack and bulk combined
7GyaradosDragon TailOutrageMany, including MachampA double-weakness to Electric, but not many attackers use it. Flexible attacks but countered by Tyranitar.
8TyranitarIron TailCrunchManyBulky and high in Attack, but double-weakness to Machamp is an issue.
9LaprasFrost BreathIce BeamDragonite, ManyWeak quick move, can struggle vs. Tyranitar and Machamp, but counters common attackers like Dragonite, Rayquaza and Salamence well.
10RhydonMud-SlapEarthquakeMany, especially Electric-typesA nice counter to Electric-type attackers that might be used against Gyarados, Slowbro and King, and Lapras - but expect this to fall off the bottom of the list when more Gen 4 options arrive soon!

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 now that Deoxys is out in EX Raids - none of the first wave of Gen 4 break into the top 25 for Attack stat, meanwhile.

RankPokémonAttack stat
1 Deoxys-Attack 414
2 Deoxys-Normal 345
3 Mewtwo 300
4 Slaking 290
5 Rayquaza 284
6 Salamence 277
7 Alakazam 271
8 Kyogre 270
9 Groudon 270
10 Dragonite 263
11 Espeon 261
12 Gengar 261
13 Metagross 257
14 Zapdos 253
15 Tyranitar 251
16 Moltres 251
17 Flareon 246
18 Absol 246
19 Sharpedo 243
20 Raikou 241
21 Breloom 241
22 Blaziken 240
23 Kingler 240
24 Ho-Oh 239
25 Pinsir 238

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 now that Deoxys is out in EX Raids - none of the first wave of Gen 4 break into the top 25 for Defense stat, meanwhile.

RankPokémonDefense stat
1 Shuckle 396
2 Deoxys-Defense 330
3 Lugia 310
4 Regirock 309
5 Regice 309
6 Registeel 285
7 Steelix 272
8 Aggron 257
9 Cloyster 256
10 Latias 246
11 Ho-oh 244
12 Umbreon 240
13 Articuno 236
14 Suicune 235
15 Dusclops 236
16 Onix 232
17 Claydol 229
18 Metagross 228
19 Kyogre 228
20 Groudon 228
21 Mantine 226
22 Skarmory 226
23 Milotic 219
24 Deoxys-Speed 218
25 Nosepass 215

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 - none of the first wave of Gen 4's Pokémon feature so far.

Note that there are actually a large number of Pokémon on 225 Stamina, so in their case we've chosen those with the highest Defense stat as a means of cutting them off at the top 25.

RankPokémonStamina stat
1 Blissey 496
2 Chansey 487
3 Wobbuffet 382
4 Wailord 347
5 Snorlax 330
6 Hariyama 302
7 Wigglytuff 295
8 Munchlax 286
9 Slaking 284
10 Lapras 277
11 Vaporeon 277
12 Wailmer 277
13 Lanturn 268
14 Jigglypuff 251
15 Entei 251
16 Whiscash 242
17 Walrein 242
18 Lugia 235
19 Muk / Alolan Muk 233
20 Rhydon 233
21 Kangaskhan 233
22 Exploud 232
23 Suicune 225
24 Mew 225
25 Tyranitar 225

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 - none of the first wave of Gen 4's Pokémon feature so far.

RankPokémonMax CP
1Slaking4431
2Mewtwo4178
3Groudon4115
4Kyogre4115
5Ho-Oh3863
6Rayquaza3835
7Tyranitar3834
8Latios3812
9Dragonite3792
10Metagross3791
11Salamence3749
12Lugia3703
13Zapdos3527
14Latias3510
15Entei3473
16Moltres3465
17Raikou3452
18Gyarados3391
19Mew3265
20Celebi3265
21Snorlax3225
22Rhydon3179
23Espeon3170
24Deoxys-Normal3160
25Regirock / Regice3122

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.

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, Kyogre, and Raikou in particular are great options for attacking raids in gyms, and are generally some of the strongest in the game.
  • The most powerful non-legendary is frequently changing, thanks to the influx of Gen 3 Pokémon, and it'll likely change around some more as Gen 4 is slowly brought in.
  • 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.
  • The Gen 4 stat rework hasn't changed as much as we expected - Blissey and Chansey were nerfed a little, whilst other defenders were buffed, but they're still the clear first and second choice for defending gyms, and probably will be for some time to come.

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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