The hunt for the best Pokemon in Pokemon Go is always on for trainers, whether it’s for attacking or defending in Gyms, Raids, and Battles.
Niantic’s free-to-play mobile app Pokemon Go launched in 2016 and quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. While it’s not as popular as it once was, there’s still a loyal base of players who drop in every day to get their fix.
The game may seem simple enough at first glance, as you walk around and catch Pokemon to fill up your Pokedex, but there’s actually plenty of depth hidden beneath the surface. Nowhere does that show more than when heading into battle.
Whether you’re looking for the best attackers or the best defenders for your team, we’ve got you covered.
Here are our picks of the best based on everything from stats, max CP potential, weaknesses, our own experiences with the game, and how well they’ll actually perform in battle.
While these are all solid choices, the basics still remain. You’ll need to make sure your Pokemon has decent Attack, Defense, and Stamina IV stats by getting it appraised, and spend some time powering it up for maximum potential before letting it loose on the world.
Pokemon Go best attackers
Historically, Dragon-type Pokemon have been prioritized as attackers, and that remains the same to this day. There are plenty of them here, from Rayquaza to Dragonite, as well as some Legendaries including Mewtwo and Reshiram.
Our picks for the best attackers in Pokemon Go are as follows:
As expected, the OG Legendary creature Mewtwo remains the top choice for attacking in Pokemon Go. Using a combination of legacy moves Confusion and Psystrike, it’s a powerhouse, especially with a CP that reaches over 4,000. Get a Shadow Mewtwo, and it will deal 20% more damage.
While its Defense and Stamina are very poor, this incredibly rare Mythical Pokemon earns its place on the list for having the highest Attack stats of any creature in the game: 345 in its Normal Forme, and an astonishing 414 in its Attack Forme. The moves Zen Headbutt and Hyper Beam reign supreme.
As far as Dragons go, you won’t get much better than Rayquaza. Dragon-type moves are rarely resisted, making it a great all-round attacker with Dragon Tail and Outrage, and it can also be utilized as a great Flying-type attacker if needed thanks to its dual typing.
It may have slightly less Attack power than another popular Dragon-type alternate, Salamence, but Garchomp edges the competition out with higher max CP, Defense, and Stamina stats. It’s also strong against a number of popular types: Fire, Electric, Rock, Poison, and Steel.
It may not be quite as imposing as the Legendaries featured on this list, but Machamp can still pack a punch in Pokemon Go. Many of the best defenders are Normal-type, and their weakness to Fighting-type attacks leaves Machamp in a prime position to take them down with Counter and Dynamic Punch.
If you’re looking for a Fire-type attacker, Reshiram is the way to go. With Fire Fang and Overheat in your move set, you won’t get much better when going up against Bug, Grass, Steel, or Ice-type opponents who will be sent out in a blaze of glory thanks to their weakness to Fire-types attacks.
As in most Pokemon games, the Legendary Kyogre is the best Water-type attacker you’ll find here, with Waterfall and Hydro Pump dealing some serious damage, especially towards Rock and Ground-types which are often used as defenders. It has a high Attack and enough bulk to stand its ground even against the strongest opponents.
If Machamp isn’t your vibe, go for Lucario. The wildly popular Pokemon has a lower max CP than its fellow Fighting-type, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with when using the move set Counter and Aura Sphere, the latter of which is a better Fighting-type charge move than any of Machamp’s options.
The Dragon-type Rampardos is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to Attack stats, having the highest of any non-Legendary Pokemon in the game (295). Its Defense is poor and its Stamina isn’t the best either, so it won’t last long – but the attacks it does manage to land will be devastating.
Yet another Dragon on our best attackers list, Dragonite is a dual Dragon/Flying-type that can also double as a defender, as you’ll find out later on. It’s strong against most types, has a high bulk, and is easier to find than most on this list. Use the move set Dragon Tail and Outrage.
As always, you’ll want to take typing into consideration. The Legendary Water-type Kyogre may feature on our list, for example, but it will always be impacted when going against a strong Electric-type or Grass-type opponent.
Pokemon Go best defenders
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 a Pokemon has and how long it will be able to stay in a gym before needing to rest.
Our picks for the best defenders in Pokemon Go are as follows:
As far as defenders go, Blissey remains the best choice for any trainer. It has a ridiculous amount of Stamina (496) and a decent Defense stat (169), making it the perfect Pokemon to leave in gyms as it will simply sponge damage. You won’t find much use for it outside of this scenario, though.
If you don’t have a Blissey or Chansey, get yourself a Snorlax, the OG tank. It’s almost as bulky and should defend its place in a gym with ease. While Normal-type Pokemon often seem bland and have no type advantages, they do benefit from having only one vulnerability, which is Fighting.
Rounding out our top three is another Normal-type, 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.
Steel/Psychic-type Metagross will do a brilliant job of defending gyms from Fighting-type attackers. 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.
Blissey’s previous form, Chansey, obviously isn’t quite as good as its evolution, but it’s still an incredibly solid choice if you don’t have Blissey yet, with only slightly less Stamina (487). It falls short when it comes to Defense (128), but don’t let that put you off as it can still take a huge beating.
This Water-type is a bulky choice for gyms and will go great with many lineups thanks to its lack of weaknesses. Only Grass and Electric-types do major damage to it, and they aren’t often used as attackers. With the fast move Dragon Tail, it can also take on common Dragon-type attackers.
It suffers from double weakness to Ice-type moves, but a combination of strong bulk and good Attack stats make Dragonite a worthy investment for any trainer. Being part Flying-type, it will be able to ward off Fighting-types like Machamp easily.
It’s far from the best when it comes to pure stats, but as a bulky Fairy/Flying-type, Togekiss is a great choice to defend against the many Dragon-types that are commonly used as attackers. The move set Charm and Dazzling Gleam will help to take them out.
As well as defending gyms, Gyarados is very effective when used in the Go Battle League or raids. It is very weak against Electric-types, although they’re not often used as attackers. Pair Gyarados with one or two Electric-resistant Pokemon, and you’ll be good to go.
Unlike many of the best attackers we featured, the best defenders in Pokemon Go 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.
The list should be a good reference point, and ideally you will have at least one of them on your team for all situations. But if you don’t, then it’s a case of choosing a Pokemon that has high CP, Defense, and Stamina.
For more guides and tips like this, check out our dedicated Pokemon Go hub.