Pokémon Go best Pokémon: the best attackers, best defenders and best Pokémon by type

Which are the best Pokémon for Gyms, raiding and PvP in Pokémon Go?

The best Pokémon in Pokémon Go depends largely on how you're going to use them, with everything from gyms to raiding to PvP battling bringing new ways of thinking about how to use Pokémon competitively.

Here then, we'll split this page into multiple sections, including an overall best Pokémon in Pokémon go by type list, for at-a-glance reference for what to power up, as well as our takes on the best attacking Pokémon and best defending Pokémon for tackling regular Gyms and taking down Raids.

On this page:

The best Pokémon in Pokémon Go by type

There are hundreds of Pokémon available in Pokémon Go, and hundreds more still to come as the game passes through the generations. Combine that with the fact that attacking and defending Gyms, tackling raids, and fighting in PvP all require different strengths in different areas, and it's pretty clear that there are no objectively 'best' Pokémon for every scenario.

It's still useful, though, to know which Pokémon are generally strong that can be used for each, and the easiest way to divvy them up is by Type. Here's an at-a-glance look at the strongest Pokémon by type right now, including the best options for their moves at the time of writing.

pokemon_go_best_pokemon_1
Tyranitar has been a mainstay in various 'best Pokémon' lists since its introduction with Gen 2.

Note that we've opted for the best moves of that type where available, which might not be the optimal damage output moves for that Pokémon overall. Rayquaza, for example, does more damage (and is generally best used) as a Dragon-type attacker with Dragon-type moves. But it's also the strongest Flying-type attacker in the game if you equip it with Air Slash and Aerial Ace, as we've noted below. So use this table if you're trying to find a good Pokémon of a certain type, specifically, even though it's good for getting a general sense of the overall best Pokémon in the game, too.

Pokémon Go Best Pokémon by Type:

TypeBest PokémonBest UsesFast Move (of that type)Charged Move (of that type)
Normal Blissey
Snorlax
Slaking
Defending
Defending
Defending
Pound
Lick
Yawn
Dazzling Gleam
Body Slam
Play Rough
Fighting Machamp
Hariyama
Breloom
Attacking
Both
Attacking
Counter
Counter
Counter
Dynamic Punch
Dynamic Punch
Dynamic Punch
Flying Rayquaza
Dragonite
Moltres
Attacking
Both
Attacking
Air Slash
Dragon Tail
Wing Attack
Aerial Ace
Hurricane
Sky Attack
Poison Roserade
Gengar
Venusaur
Both
Attacking
Both
Poison Jab
Any
Vine Whip
Sludge Bomb
Sludge Bomb
Sludge Bomb
Ground Goudon
Mamoswine
Rhyperior
Attacking
Both
Both
Mud Shot
Mud Slap
Mud Slap
Earthquake
Bulldoze
Earthquake
Rock Tyranitar
Rhyperior
Rampardos
Both
Both
Attacking
Smack Down
Smack Down
Smack Down
Stone Edge
Stone Edge
Rock Slide
Bug Heracross
Scizor
Pinsir
Both
Attacking
Both
Struggle Bug
Fury Cutter
Bug Bite
Megahorn
X-Scissor
X-Scissor
Ghost Gengar
Drifblim
Banette
Attacking
Defending
Defending
Shadow Claw
Hex
Shadow Claw
Shadow Ball
Shadow Ball
Shadow Ball
Steel Metagross
Dialga
Scizor
Both
Attacking
Attacking
Bullet Punch
Metal Claw
Bullet Punch
Meteor Mash
Iron Head
Iron Head
Fire Entei
Moltres
Blaziken
Attacking
Attacking
Attacking
Fire Spin
Fire Spin
Fire Spin
Overheat
Overheat
Blast Burn
Water Kyogre
Palkia
Gyarados
Attacking
Attacking
Both
Waterfall
Dragon Breath
Waterfall
Hydro Pump
Hydro Pump
Hydro Pump
Grass Roserade
Alolan Exeggutor
Breloom
Both
Both
Attacking
Razor Leaf
Bullet Seed
Bullet Seed
Grass Knot
Solar Beam
Grass Knot
Electric Raikou
Electivire
Zapdos
Attacking
Both
Attacking
Thunder Shock
Thunder Shock
Thunder Shock
Wild Charge
Wild Charge
Thunderbolt
Psychic Mewtwo
Metagross
Latios
Attacking
Both
Attacking
Confusion
Zen Headbutt
Zen Headbutt
Psychic
Psychic
Psychic
Ice Mamoswine
Weavile
Jynx
Both
Attacking
Attacking
Powder Snow
Ice Shard
Frost Breath
Avalanche
Avalanche
Avalanche
Dragon Rayquaza
Palkia
Garchomp
Attacking
Attacking
Both
Dragon Tail
Dragon Tail
Dragon Tail
Outrage
Draco Meteor
Outrage
Dark Tyranitar
Weavile
Honchcrow
Both
Attacking
Defending
Bite
Feint Attack
Snarl
Crunch
Foul Play
Dark Pulse
Fairy Togekiss
Gardevoir
Granbull
Defending
Both
Both
Charm
Charm
Snarl
Dazzling Gleam
Dazzling Gleam
Play Rough

The best Pokémon in Pokémon Go: best attackers

Bear in mind as again that this Tier List is an 'editorialised' approach, rather than a ranking of Pokémon by their highest DPS movesets or definitive stats, meaning our own experiences, knowledge, and judgement come into play here as well as the raw numbers.

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 Best Attackers Tier List

RankPokémonQuick MoveCharged 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.
6GarchompDragon TailOutrageManySimilar to Dragonite only a tad less bulky, but higher base Attack. Replaces Salamence as the alternate Dragon-type attacker.
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, but Bite/Crunch makes it the best Dark-type attacker too.
8MamoswinePowder SnowAvalancheFlying, Ground and Dragon-typesThe prevalence of Flying, Dragon and Ground-types in gyms makes this chunky, high-damage 'mon an amazing option.
9EnteiFire SpinOverheatGrass, Steel, Ice, Bug-typesThe best pure Fire-type, slightly outranking Moltres now.
10RaikouThunder ShockWild ChargeFlying and Water-typesGyarados and other Water-types are common defenders, and Raikou's the best pure Electric attacker, still.

The best Pokémon in Pokémon Go: best defenders

Just like the section above, this tier list of the best defending Pokémon in Pokémon Go is editorialised with our own experience, combined with the hard stats of the sources listed above.

Pokémon Go Best Defenders Tier List

RankPokémonQuick MoveSpecial MoveBest 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 Metagross Zen Headbutt Meteor Mash Machamp Less generalist than the bulky Normal-types but selected as a great counter to their counter, Machamp.
3 Snorlax Zen Headbutt Hyper Beam Many Essentially another option instead of Chansey/Blissey.
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/Metagross for actual bulk.
5 Milotic Dragon Tail Surf Many Bulky, but can surprise Dragon-type attackers with Dragon Tail.
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 Exeggutor Confusion Seed Bomb Electric, Fighting Counters common attacking types by resisting Electric and shredding Fighting, Rock and Ground.
9 Togekiss Hidden Power Dazzling Gleam Many Bulky with nice typing makes it a good all-round defender.
10 Charizard Air Slash Dragon Claw Dragons, Grass You can surprise enemies with this chunky Fire-type that still counters grass with its Air Slash, but actually counters Dragons (and provides general coverage) with Dragon Claw. Good for filling a spare slot!

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About the author

Chris Tapsell

Chris Tapsell

Staff Writer

Chris Tapsell is Eurogamer's Staff 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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