Best Pokemon in Pokemon Go: Strongest attackers, defenders & PvP champions
Whether you’re looking for attackers to use in Raids, defenders to use in Gyms, or PvP champions for the Go Battle League, we’ve rounded up the very best Pokemon in Pokemon Go.
Catching and powering up the best Pokemon in Pokemon Go is crucial on your journey toward becoming a top Trainer. There’s plenty of depth hidden beneath the surface of the game despite its simple premise – and there’s nowhere this depth shows more than when you’re heading into battle.
With events like Community Days, weekly Spotlight Hours, and fights against Team Go Rocket Leaders Arlo, Cliff, Giovanni, and Sierra offering plenty of chances to acquire more fighters for your team, it’s important to know the best Pokemon to focus on catching and powering up for battle.
So without further ado, here are the best attacks, defenders, and PvP champions you can use in Pokemon Go in 2023.
- Best attackers in Pokemon Go
- Pokemon Go attackers tier list
- Best defenders in Pokemon Go
- Pokemon Go defenders tier list
- Best Pokemon for PvP
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 2022
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||Confusion||Psystrike||Fighting / Poison|
|#2||Rayquaza||Dragon Tail||Outrage||Bug / Grass / Fighting|
|#3||Lucario||Counter||Aura Sphere||Dark / Fairy / Ice / Normal / Rock / Steel|
|#4||Garchomp||Dragon Tail||Outrage||Dragon / Electric / Fire / Poison / Rock / Steel|
|#5||Machamp||Counter||Dynamic Punch||Dark / Ice / Normal / Rock / Steel|
|#6||Reshiram||Fire Fang||Overheat||Bug / Dragon / Grass / Steel / Ice|
|#7||Kyogre||Waterfall||Hydro Pump||Fire / Ground / Rock|
|#8||Tyranitar||Smack Down||Stone Edge||Bug / Fire / Flying / Ice|
|#9||Rampardos||Smack Down||Rock Slide||Bug / Fire / Flying / Ice|
|#10||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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 2022
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||Zen Headbutt||Dazzling Gleam|
|#3||Metagross||Zen Headbutt||Meteor Mash|
|#4||Chansey||Zen Headbutt||Dazzling Gleam|
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.
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.
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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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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
All upcoming Spotlight Hours | Current Raid bosses | All Legendaries | Arlo counters guide | Cliff counters guide | Giovanni counters guide | Sierra counters guide | Grunt counters guide | How to catch a Ditto | What are Strange Eggs? | Fastest way to get Best Buddy status | Pokemon Go catching tips | Pokemon Go promo codes
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