Pokemon Go best Pokemon: Strongest attackers, defenders & PvP champions

Dragonite and Blissey, two of the best Pokemon in Pokemon GONiantic

Players looking to take on the Pokemon Go Battle League, or Raids, PvP content, and Gyms will want to know which Pokemon are worth leveling up in the game, so here are our recommendations to become unstoppable in Niantic’s game.

If you want to become one of the best trainers in Pokemon Go having the most powerful ‘mon on your team will be essential. Despite the mobile game having a simple premise, there’s a lot of depth to the mechanics, especially when it comes to battles. 

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Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities to obtain stronger Pokemon in the game. From fights against tough Team Rocket leaders including Giovanni, Sierra, and Arlo, as well as the weekly Spotlight Hours events, and Community Days, you’ll regularly be adding new Pokemon to your team, and it’s essential to know which ones you should focus on catching.

With that in mind, here are the best attackers, defenders, and PvP champions available in Pokemon Go. 

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An image of a park with people and Pokemon Go gymsNiantic
Trainers should think carefully about the Pokemon they send into raids and gyms.

The best Pokemon in Pokemon Go explained

It’s difficult to say what the best Pokemon in Pokemon Go are, as it really depends on what you’re looking for. To defeat Raid Bosses you’ll need powerful attackers, to protect Gyms you’ll need sturdy defenders, and winning PvP Battles is a whole different ball game.

To help you figure out what to focus on, we’ve rounded up the best Pokemon for each area of the game based on everything from stats, max CP potential, weaknesses, our own experiences with the game, and how well they’ll actually perform in battle.

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While the below Pokemon are all excellent choices, the basics still remain: You’ll need to make sure that they have decent stats, spend time powering them up, and teach them the best moves before letting them loose in the world.

Best attackers in Pokemon Go

If you’re looking to take part in Raid Battles and catch some powerful Legendaries, then you’ll need the very best attackers on your team.

Mega Evolved Pokemon are typically the best options, but you don’t need them to be successful. The most important thing is choosing a lineup of Pokemon that can exploit the weaknesses of the specific Raid Boss you’re fighting.

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We’ve rounded up some of the top attackers that you can use in Pokemon Go below, as well as details of their optimal movesets and what they’re strong against.

3: Lucario

Screenshot of Lucario battling in Pokemon anime.Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
You won’t get a better Fighting-type attacker than Lucario.
  • Fast Move: Counter
  • Charge Move: Aura Sphere

While it may appear to have mediocre bulk with just 144 Defense and 172 Stamina, Lucario’s part Steel-typing boosts this by giving it extra resistances that many other Fighting-types don’t have.

Aura Sphere has pushed it to the top of the attacker meta, easily overtaking the previous Fighting-type king Machamp, and you don’t even need a Shadow version to make it viable.

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2: Rayquaza

Rayquaza from the Pokemon animeThe Pokemon Company
Rayquaza is a formidable addition to any raid and battle team.
  • Fast Move: Dragon Tail
  • Charge Move: Outrage

As far as Dragons go, you won’t get much better than Rayquaza. Dragon-type moves are rarely resisted, making it a great all-around attacker with Dragon Tail and Outrage.

Rayquaza can also be utilized as a great Flying-type attacker if needed, thanks to its dual Dragon/Flying typing, where powerful moves like Hurricane give it a big advantage.

1: Mewtwo

Mewtwo in the Pokemon animeThe Pokemon Company
Mewtwo is the most iconic Psychic-type Pokemon ever.
  • Fast Move: Psycho Cut or Confusion
  • Charge Move: Psystrike or Shadow Ball

As expected, the OG Legendary creature Mewtwo remains one of the best attackers in Pokemon Go, with a huge 300 Attack stat and the versatility to perform well in loads of different scenarios.

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Using a combination of Psycho Cut, Psystrike, and Shadow Ball, it’s a powerhouse, especially with a CP that now reaches almost 5,000. Get a Shadow Mewtwo, and it will deal even more damage.

Pokemon Go best attackers tier list in 2023

Our top 10 picks for the best attackers alongside their best moves and type advantages in Pokemon Go are as follows:

Rank Pokemon
Fast Move Charge Move Strong Against
#1 Mewtwo Pokemon Go Mewtwo Attacker Confusion Psystrike Fighting / Poison
#2 Rayquaza Rayquaza Dragon Tail Outrage Bug / Grass / Fighting
#3 Lucario Lucario Counter Aura Sphere Dark / Fairy / Ice / Normal / Rock / Steel
#4 Garchomp Garchomp Dragon Tail Outrage Dragon / Electric / Fire / Poison / Rock / Steel
#5 Machamp Machamp Counter Dynamic Punch Dark / Ice / Normal / Rock / Steel
#6 Reshiram Reshiram Pokemon Go attacker Fire Fang Overheat Bug  / Dragon / Grass / Steel / Ice
#7 Kyogre Kyogre Waterfall Hydro Pump Fire / Ground / Rock
#8 Tyranitar Tyranitar Pokemon Go Smack Down Stone Edge Bug / Fire / Flying / Ice
#9 Rampardos Rampardos Pokemon Go attacker Smack Down Rock Slide Bug  / Fire / Flying / Ice
#10 Kartana Kartana Razor Leaf Leaf Blade Ground / Rock / Water

As always, you’ll need to take typing into consideration. The Legendary Water-type Kyogre may feature on our list, for example, but it will always struggle against a strong Electric-type or Grass-type opponent.

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Best defenders in Pokemon Go

If you want a Pokemon to leave at a gym in order to earn your daily coins, or you need a bulky option to send out first in battle and wear your opponents down, then get one of these defenders on your team.

Ultimately, you’ll be looking for a good combination of Defense and Stamina, the latter of which decides how much HP it has and how long it will be able to stay in a gym before needing to rest.

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3: Metagross

Metagross in the Pokemon animeThe Pokemon Company / Bulbapedia
Metagross is super popular as a gym defender.
  • Fast Move: Zen Headbutt
  • Charge Move: Meteor Mash

The Steel/Psychic-type Metagross will do a brilliant job of defending Gyms, as it has great stats and a whopping 10 type resistances. With the charge move Meteor Mash under its belt, it will also deal some serious damage, extending its use beyond just being a defender.

2: Slaking

Slaking in the Pokemon animeThe Pokemon Company / Pokemon Fandom
Interestingly, Slaking has the highest CP of all currently available Pokemon Go.
  • Fast Move: Yawn
  • Charge Move: Play Rough

Sitting at number two of our top three is Slaking. It has the highest max CP in the game with the potential to reach a whopping 5010 CP. Its Defense stat may not be as good as Blissey or Snorlax, but its high CP, Stamina, and Attack stats should help ward off potential attackers.

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1: Blissey

Blissey Pokemon animeThe Pokemon Company
This cute Normal-type can defend from the best of the best with insanely high stamina.
  • Fast Move: Zen Headbutt
  • Charge Move: Dazzling Gleam

As far as best defenders go, Blissey remains the best choice in Pokemon Go for any trainer. It has a ridiculous amount of Stamina (496) and a decent Defense stat (169), making it the perfect ‘mon to leave in gyms as it will simply sponge damage.

Pokemon Go best defenders tier list in 2023

The full list of our top 10 picks for the best defenders in Pokemon Go are as follows:

Rank Pokemon
Fast Move Charge Move
#1 Blissey Blissey Pokemon Go defender Zen Headbutt Dazzling Gleam
#2 Slaking Slaking Yawn Play Rough
#3 Metagross Metagross Zen Headbutt Meteor Mash
#4 Chansey Chansey Zen Headbutt Dazzling Gleam
#5 Snorlax Snorlax Zen Headbutt Outrage
#6 Milotic Milotic Waterfall Hyper Beam
#7 Dragonite Dragonite Pokemon Go defender Dragon Tail Outrage
#8 Togekiss Togekiss Charm Dazzling Gleam
#9 Gyarados Gyarados Waterfall Outrage
#10 Drifblim
An image of Drifblim, one of the best defenders in Pokemon Go. Hex Ominous Wind

Unlike many of the best Pokemon Go attackers we featured, the best defenders often aren’t Legendary. This means you should find it easier to catch one with decent stats and level them up to a high CP.

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Best Pokemon for PvP (Go Battle League)

There are three major Leagues to enjoy in the Pokemon Go Battle League: the Great League, the Ultra League, and the Master League. These rotate throughout each season, with only one appearing at a time, often alongside special cups like the Retro Cup or the Kanto Cup.

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Each league has different restrictions, the main one being the CP limit. The Great League has a 1500 CP limit, the Ultra League has a 2500 CP limit, and the Master League has no limit. This means the best Pokemon for each League can be wildly different.

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Great League

With a CP limit of just 1500, you won’t encounter many Legendaries in the Great League meta. You can find our complete Great League guide here, or check out our top three recommendations below.


Walrein appearing in Pokemon Go Ultra League Premier Classic

  • Fast Move: Powder Snow
  • Charged Moves: Icicle Spear and Earthquake

Walrein made a surprise entry into the top tiers of the Great League following its Community Day event, where it was given moves it needed to become a huge threat: Powder Snow and Icicle Spear. It’s got good bulk and solid coverage options that make it one of the best options for your team.

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Galarian Stunfisk

Galarian Stunfisk

  • Fast Move: Mud Shot
  • Charged Moves: Rock Slide and Earthquake

Galarian Stunfisk isn’t the easiest Pokemon to get hold of, but if you can, it’s a surprisingly excellent fighter in the Great League. A unique Ground/Steel-typing means it’s resistant to most major Great League types and is particularly good at defeating Fairy-types.



  • Fast Move: Dragon Breath
  • Charged Moves: Sky Attack and Dragon Pulse

It takes a massive 400 Candy to evolve Swablu into Altaria, but it’s definitely worth the effort, as it’s got bulk and impressive damage capability. Altaria’s only major flaw here is its double weakness to Ice-type attacks, but other than that, it’s very difficult to take down.

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Ultra League

With a higher CP limit of 2500, the Ultra League is where the big players start to emerge. You can find our complete Ultra League guide here, or check out our top three recommendations below:


An image of Registeel on a Pokemon Go background

  • Fast Move: Lock-On
  • Charge Moves: Flash Cannon and Hyper Beam

This Steel-type Legendary is arguably the best choice for the Ultra League, as it has an incredible Defense stat and a massive amount of type resistances, which means it can take loads of hits. Meanwhile, Lock-On has one of the fastest energy generations in the game, allowing Registeel to unleash some brilliant Charge Moves.

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Trevenant (XL)

Trevenant in Pokemon Go

  • Fast Move: Shadow Claw
  • Charge Moves: Seed Bomb and Shadow Ball

Trevenant quickly became one of the best performers in the Ultra League following its debut, thanks to its ability to take down some of the biggest threats like Swampert, Cresselia, Galarian Stunfisk, and Giratina. It does need XL Candy to reach its full potential, but it’s worth the investment to get a long-term champion.


Swampert in Pokemon Go

  • Fast Move: Mud Shot
  • Charge Moves: Hydro Cannon and Earthquake

Swampert is a well-rounded fighter that acts as a brilliant counter for the Fire and Steel-types that dominate the Ultra League. Even better, its Water/Ground-typing means it only has one weakness: Grass. With the moves Hydro Cannon and Earthquake, it’s almost unstoppable.

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Master League

In the Master League, all CP restrictions are removed, meaning you’ll need the help of XL Candy to win. We’ve got a more in-depth Master League guide here, or you can find our top recommendations below:

Dialga (XL)


  • Fast Move: Dragon Breath
  • Charge Moves: Iron Head and Draco Meteor

Dialga is considered by many to be the reigning champion of the Master League, and it’s not hard to see why. It has an incredible amount of type resistances and a lineup of very powerful moves including Dragon Breath, Iron Head, and Draco Meteor that make it a force to be reckoned with.

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Mewtwo (XL)

Mewtwo in the Master League

  • Fast Move: Psycho Cut
  • Charge Moves: Psystrike and Focus Blast

The Legendary Mewtwo has an immense Attack stat, the ability to quickly spam Psystrike, and a wide array of secondary Charged Move types to choose from, which makes it one of the most versatile competitors in the Master League. If you have a Shadow Mewtwo, even better.

Melmetal (XL)

Pokemon Go melmetal

  • Fast Move: Dragon Breath
  • Charge Moves: Wild Charge and Crunch

Melmetal is the most desirable Mythical creature in Pokemon Go thanks to its performance in the Master League. With great bulk, high damage output, and a massive amount of type resistances, it’s incredibly difficult to take down. Any Master League team will benefit from a Melmetal.

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Those are the best Pokemon in Pokemon Go, from attackers to defenders and PvP stars. Want to be the very best as you try to catch ’em all? Check out some more guides below:

Best Elite Fast TM | Best Pokemon in Pokemon Go | How to catch Ditto | Best Eeveelutions | Field research tasks | Promo Codes for free items | How to get Pinap Berries | How to defeat Giovanni | Rarest Pokemon | Best Mega Evolutions | Community Day schedule | How to get Raid Passes | Team Go Rocket Grunt guide

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