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
With Pokémon Go’s Pokédex now numbering to 793 (plus 15), the number of Pokémon in the game has certainly Exploud-ed over the past few years. Even with the ones that are missing (nobody mention Kecleon), there’s an almost daunting number of mons to choose from, so you’d be forgiven for having no idea what the best Pokémon in the game are.
While there are still some obvious bests - like Mewtwo - the addition of variants such as Armored Mewtwo and Shadow Mewtwo complicate things, just as the Alolan and Galarian forms do. There’s a lot more to choose from than when the game first came out.
And just to make things even more complicated, different Pokémon are good for different things, so whether you’re looking to take down or defend a gym, or even beat your friends in a round of PvP, you’re going to want a different line up.
So, while there’s no single best Pokémon for every scenario, it’s good to know that there are still some standout contenders that you’ll want to focus your time (and more importantly, Stardust and Candy) on.
As such, it’s good to know which Pokémon are generally best for each style of playand 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.
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.
Of course, if PvP is more your thing, we have dedicated pages to each of the cups that you can try your hand at, from the mainstays of Great League, Ultra League and Master League, to those that come and go less frequently, like the Flying Cup, Jungle Cup and Element Cup!
Pokémon Go Best Pokémon by Type
Note: because the best Pokémon are almost always Mega and then Shadow Pokémon, adding them seems almost pointless. If there’s a Mega Pokémon, it’s almost always best in class as an attacker, but obviously loses points as a defender, where it can’t be Mega Evolved.
If there’s a Shadow version of anything on this list, use it if you want it as an attacker, but hold it back as a defender because Shadows are basically glass cannons.
The below tier list is as of July 2022:
|Type||Best Pokémon||Best Uses||Fast Move (of that type)||Charged Move (of that type)|
Giratina (Origin Forme)
Weather Ball (Ice)
Best attackers in Pokémon Go
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 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 while a Pokémon may rank near the very top for raw damage output, it may not rank as highly in our tier list because of some flimsy defences and lack of type coverage.
It’s also worth noting that the best attackers are almost always the Mega Pokémon, so we won’t be including those in our list.
You can only have one at a time, and if you’re doing a raid where the opponent is weak against something you can Mega Evolve, you should almost always have a Mega-Evolved Pokémon of that type to power up your friends’ Pokémon and help get you better rewards at the end. Instead, we’ll be focusing on the ‘best of the rest’, as it were, rounding out the other five 5 slots in your team.
Pokémon Go Best Attackers Tier List
The below tier list is as of July 2022:
|Rank||Pokémon||Quick Move||Charged Move||Best vs.||Reasoning|
|1||Mewtwo||Confusion||Psystrike or Shadow Ball||Pretty much everything except dark and steel-types||Mewtwo is still just about the best all-rounder, with excellent Attack and bulk, even without perfect moves. Your choice between Psystike and Shadow Ball is a tough one as they are both excellent - we’d recommend putting resources into a Mewtwo with both for extra versatility.|
It can also use Focus Blast as a fighting-type option for clearing gyms, too.
|2||Rampardos||Smack Down||Rock Slide||Fire, flying, bug and ice-types||Rampardos is a great addition to any raid against any fire, flying and ice-types, including the likes of Charizard and Articuno, thanks to its type effectiveness. The combination of Smack Down and Rock Slide is particularly brutal in these raids.|
|3||Thunderus (Therian)||Thunder Shock||Thunder Bolt||Flying and water-types||Thundersock is an excellent fast move, but its legacy status means you may want to swap to the much slower Volt Switch if you don’t have an Elite TM. This is a fairly tanky mon too - just don’t send it out against ice or rock- types.|
|4||Landorus (Therian)||Mud Shot||Earth Power||Electric, fire, poison, rock and steel-types||‘Sky cat’ Lando is another tanky beater, especially against the types listed on the left. Note that technically, the best attack is Extrasensory, but we run Mud Shot for that STAB boost. Also note that if you can’t get the legacy move Earth Power, Earthquake is an acceptable second.|
|5||Darkrai||Snarl||Shadow Ball||Ghost and psychic-types||An army of Darkrai against any ghost or psychic-type will make for an easy raid. This is why we recommend Shadow Ball over Dark Pulse, which would get STAB, but when you’re going against these types Shadow Ball is the slightly better option.|
|6||Rayquaza||Dragon Tail||Outrage||Dragon-types||An exceptional move pairing and massive Attack stat put Rayquaza out on top of the dragons, although beware double-weakness ice-type moves.|
|7||Chandelure||Fire Spin||Shadow Ball||Many||Easily the best ghost-type attacker in the game so far, its high defence and hard-hitting fire-type move make it an excellent addition to your team. .|
|8||Dialga||Metal Claw||Draco Meteor||Many||The undisputed king of Master League is unsurprisingly an excellent addition to most raids. Not only is this this a tank, but its steel-typing covers its otherwise crippling weakness to ice and fairy, making it an indispensable dragon-type attacker. The combo of Metal Claw and Draco Meteor is also particularly crippling.|
|9||Machamp||Counter||Dynamic Punch||Dark, ice, normal, rock and steel-types||Machamp is exceptional at taking down both raids and gyms, given the huge number of normal, rock and steel types you see defending gyms out in the wild. We strongly recommend building a team of these to bring into battle.|
|10||Mamoswine||Powder Snow||Avalanche||Flying, ground and dragon-types||The prevalence of flying, dragon and ground-types in gyms makes this chunky, high-damage 'mon an amazing option.|
Honourable mention: Attack Deoxys is one of the hardest hitters in the game, but since it’s so difficult to get hold of, relative to the rest of the list, it’s basically unobtainable for 51 weeks of the year, if you’re lucky. If you have one, and can get enough candies to level it up, Zen Headbutt and Psycho Boost are the moves you’re going to want to run with!
Currently live is the Test Your Mettle event, and along with it the debut of Togedemaru and Mega Aggron. Recently, we've seen the arrival of Season of Light and special research quest A Cosmic Companion. Elsewhere, be sure to use Daily Adventure Incense for the chance of encountering Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres. There's also a new special research quest - A Mysterious Incense. Finally - don't forget about the new Prime Gaming rewards every fortnight.
Best defenders in Pokémon Go
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
The below tier list is as of July 2022:
|Rank||Pokémon||Quick Move||Special Move||Best vs.||Reasoning|
|1||Blissey||Zen Headbutt||Dazzling Gleam||Many||It works like this: 'Is there room in the gym? Yes? Good. Is there a Blissey in there? No?? Well, you know what to do then.'|
Still the best out there, even after all this time. The combo of Zen Headbutt and Dazzling Gleam make this Pokémon a nightmare to remove from a gym, even without its intense stats.
|2||Togekiss||Charm||Dazzling Gleam||Many||'Is there a Blissey in there? Yes, Ok, put a Togekiss in the gym.'|
The combination of bulk and the fairy-type attacks makes Togekiss an incredible defender.
|3||Metagross||Zen Headbutt||Meteor Mash||Machamp||Less generalist than the bulky Normal-types but selected as a great counter to their counter, Machamp and Lucario.|
|4||Snorlax||Zen Headbutt||Hyper Beam||Many||Essentially another Blissey. It’s slightly worse than Togekiss, but still one of the best options out there.|
|5||Goodra||Dragon Breath||Draco Meteor||Many||Bulky, but can surprise Dragon-type attackers with Dragon Breath. Draco Meteor is an excellent nuke too.|
Combined with its excellent defence makes Goodra an excellent choice that most people don’t count on battling in the gym!
|6||Dragonite||Dragon Tail||Outrage||Many, including Machamp||Its typing makes it resistant to Machamp, meaning it's harder for attackers to sweep the gym. It’s basically strong attack and bulk combined.|
|7||Drifblim||Hex||Shadow Ball||Many, including Machamp||What beats the number one gym attacker, Machamp? Ghost-types with massive defence. If you have a Drifblim that’s too big for Great League, but has a CP below 3000 (above this and it will lose motivation quicker in a gym), Drifblim is worth tagging as a gym-goer.|
|8||Milotic||Waterfall||Hyper Beam||Pretty much everything except grass and electric-types||As a mono-water-type, Milotic has few weaknesses you’ll see taking on a gym. Combined with its high defence, you have a Pokémon which has been camping out in gyms since its release in the game.|
|9||Garchomp||Mudshot||Earthquake||Electric-types||Gyarados, Tokegiss, Drifblim and Dragonite all share a weakness - one that is covered by this exact Pokémon. Want to stop a gym getting swept when it’s looking a little monochrome? Add this big blue land shark and let those free coins roll in.|
|10||Gyarados||Waterfall||Outrage||Any rock, ground or fire-types||Another counter counter, Gyarados is excellent against a good number of attackers - including the likes of fire-type legendary Pokémon, Entei. A fan favourite in gyms, and for good reason.|
Honourable mention: Slacking - while it is comically easy to take down (thanks to Yawn being a dreadful attack), putting one in a gym will immediately shoot up its height, making the gym look well defended, even when it’s not, thanks to its ridiculous CP. My 5000+ CP perfect Slacking basically lives in the gym as a result.