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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We know that Pokémon's stats (largely) match those of the games, and with the exact formula now well known in the community that gives us insight into how exactly Pokémon rank according to their highest Attack, Defense and HP (hit points, health or stamina), as well as their CP overall.

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 and typing combine with their offensive and defensive stats for the highest damage over the course of a battle.

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

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 stat rework that went live in November 2018, and the handful of additional Gen 4 Sinnoh Stone Pokémon that came with it. There were one or two notable changes, but expect the additional Gen 4 Pokémon to make even more of a difference when they arrive soon!

Bear in mind as well that 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 - for those hard stat rankings read on further below.

That being said, several sources have been extremely useful for helping us decide: community work like this spreadsheet, as well as cross-referencing GamePress, PoGomoves, and Gameinfo in particular, who have all approached the situation in different ways, as well as 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 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.
9RhyperiorSmack DownEarthquakeMany, especially Electric-typesA nice counter to Electric-type attackers that might be used against Gyarados, Slowbro and King, and Lapras, and a nice upgrade on the already-tough Rhydon!
10LaprasFrost BreathIce BeamDragonite, ManyWeak quick move, can struggle vs. Tyranitar and Machamp, but counters common attackers like Dragonite, Rayquaza and Salamence well.

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 and Gen 4 Pokémon released so far, including the first wave of Sinnoh Stone Pokémon introduced in November 2018.

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 Latios 268
11 Porygon-Z 264
12 Dragonite 263
13 Gengar 261
14 Espeon 261
15 Metagross 257
16 Zapdos 253
17 Tyranitar 251
18 Moltres 251
19 Electivire 249
20 Magmortar 247
21 Flareon 246
22 Absol 246
23 Sharpedo 243
24 Roserade 243
25 Honchkrow 243

Best Pokémon by highest Defense stat in Pokémon Go

The following list is up to date with all Gen 3 Pokémon and Gen 4 Pokémon released so far, including the first wave of Sinnoh Stone Pokémon introduced in November 2018.

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 Dusknoir 254
11 Latias 246
12 Ho-oh 244
13 Umbreon 240
14 Articuno 236
15 Suicune 235
16 Dusclops 234
17 Onix 232
18 Claydol 229
19 Metagross 228
20 Kyogre 228
21 Groudon 228
22 Mantine 226
23 Skarmory 226
24 Giratina Altered 225
25 Gliscor 222

Best Pokémon by highest HP or Stamina in Pokémon Go

The following list is up to date with all Gen 3 Pokémon and Gen 4 Pokémon released so far, including the first wave of Sinnoh Stone Pokémon introduced in November 2018.

RankPokémonStamina stat
1 Blissey 496
2 Chansey 487
3 Wobbuffet 382
4 Wailord 347
5 Snorlax 330
6 Drifblim 312
7 Hariyama 302
8 Wigglytuff 295
9 Slaking 284
10 Giratina Altered 284
11 Lapras 277
12 Vaporeon 277
13 Wailmer 277
14 Lanturn 268
15 Jigglypuff 251
16 Entei 251
17 Rhyperior 251
18 Whiscash 242
19 Walrein 242
20 Lugia 235
21 Muk / Alolan Muk 233
22 Rhydon 233
23 Kangaskhan 233
24 Exploud 232
25 Skuntank 230

Best Pokémon by max CP in Pokémon Go

The following list is up to date with all Gen 3 Pokémon and Gen 4 Pokémon released so far, including the first wave of Sinnoh Stone Pokémon introduced in November 2018.

RankPokémonMax CP
1Slaking4431
2Mewtwo4178
3Groudon4115
4Kyogre4115
5Ho-Oh3863
6Rayquaza3835
7Tyranitar3834
8Latios3812
9Dragonite3792
10Metagross3791
11Salamence3749
12Rhyperior3733
13Lugia3703
14Zapdos3527
15Latias3510
16Entei3473
17Moltres3465
18Raikou3452
19Gyarados3391
20Giratina Altered3379
21Togekiss3332
22Porygon-Z3266
23Mew3265
24Celebi3265
25Snorlax3225

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 and now Gen 4 Pokémon, and it'll likely change around some more as Gen 4 continues to be 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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