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.
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 and defending Pokémon right now
- Best Pokémon by highest Attack stat in Pokémon Go
- Best Pokémon by highest Defense stat in Pokémon Go
- Best Pokémon by highest HP or Stamina in Pokémon Go
- Best Pokémon by max CP in Pokémon Go
- What do these 'best Pokémon' lists tell us?
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
|Rank||Pokémon||Quick Move||Special Move||Best vs.||Reasoning|
|1||Mewtwo||Confusion||Shadow Ball||Many||Mewtwo 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.|
|2||Rayquaza||Dragon Tail||Outrage||Many||An exceptional move pairing and massive Attack stat put Rayquaza out on top of the dragons, although beware double-weakness Ice-type moves.|
|3||Machamp||Counter||Dynamic Punch||Blissey, Chansey, Snorlax, Lapras, Tyranitar, Rhydon||Arguably 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.|
|4||Kyogre||Waterfall||Hydro Pump||Fire, Rock and Ground-types||Rock 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.|
|5||Dragonite||Dragon Tail||Outrage||Many||Strong against almost everything, high bulk as well as offense. Outrage just puts it above Salamence as another great generalist.|
|6||Salamence||Dragon Tail||Draco Meteor||Many||Very 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.|
|7||Tyranitar||Smack Down||Stone Edge||Many||Strong 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.|
|8||Alakazam||Confusion||Future Sight||Fighting and Poison-types||A true glass cannon, with amazing DPS but very low survivability. Needs to be high level and have type advantage.|
|9||Moltres||Fire Spin||Overheat||Grass, Steel, Ice, Bug-types||The best pure Fire-type with added benefits of part-Flying type resistance to Grass and Bug-types.|
|10||Raikou||Thunder Shock||Wild Charge||Flying and Water-types||Gyarados and other Water-types are common defenders, and Raikou's the best pure Electric attacker right now.|
Pokémon Go Defenders Tier List
|Rank||Pokémon||Quick Move||Special Move||Best vs.||Reasoning|
|1||Blissey||Zen Headbutt||Dazzling Gleam||Many||Still 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.|
|2||Chansey||Zen Headbutt||Dazzling Gleam||Many||Like Blissey but just slightly faster to take down - still better than more DPS-focused defenders, and again has super-effective moves for Machamp.|
|3||Snorlax||Zen Headbutt||Hyper Beam||Many||Essentially another option instead of Chansey.|
|4||Slaking||Yawn||Play Rough||Many||A 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.|
|5||Gardevoir||Confusion||Dazzling Gleam||Machamp||Move coverage and lack of Steel- and Poison-type attackers makes this a surprisingly strong pick, especially against Machamp again.|
|6||Dragonite||Dragon Tail||Outrage||Many, including Machamp||Part Flying typing makes it resist Machamp, meaning it's harder for attackers to sweep the gym. Strong Attack and bulk combined|
|7||Gyarados||Dragon Tail||Outrage||Many, including Machamp||A double-weakness to Electric, but not many attackers use it. Flexible attacks but countered by Tyranitar.|
|8||Tyranitar||Iron Tail||Crunch||Many||Bulky and high in Attack, but double-weakness to Machamp is an issue.|
|9||Rhyperior||Smack Down||Earthquake||Many, especially Electric-types||A 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!|
|10||Lapras||Frost Breath||Ice Beam||Dragonite, Many||Weak 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
Best Pokémon by highest Defense stat in Pokémon Go
Best Pokémon by highest HP or Stamina in Pokémon Go
|21||Muk / Alolan Muk||233|
Best Pokémon by max CP in Pokémon Go
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.