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Play Pokémon GO for long enough, and sooner or later you'll want to get involved in gym battles. This is where you get to put your Pokémon's fighting prowess to the test, battling other players and Pokémon to take over gyms and then defending them.

Raids provide a similar kind of challenge, often pitting you against the most powerful Pokémon including Legendaries to get the chance to catch the rarest monsters – amongst other amazing rewards.

However powerful you might think your Magikarp is though, you won't be winning much of anything unless you know the absolute best Pokémon to bring into battle with you.

In this guide, we've put together a list of the best Pokémon for both attacking and defending, including the best moves to use for both. We've ordered them by tier too, so you can check at a glance if you have the absolute best of the best.

Pokémon GO - Best Pokémon For Attacking

When attacking gyms, you not only want a Pokémon with a high Attack statistic, but one with decent moves. These can be a crucial deciding factor in the tougher battles. Here are the best Pokémon, organised by tier.

Tier 1 Attacking Pokémon

Appearance Pokémon Optimal Attack Optimal Moves
2
Kyogre 270 Waterfall / Hydro Pump
3
Machamp 234
  • Counter / Dynamic Punch
  • Karate Chop / Dynamic Punch
4
Mewtwo 300 Psycho Cut / Shadow Ball
5
Rayquaza 284 Dragon Tail / Outrage
6
Tyranitar 251
  • Smack Down / Stone Edge
  • Bite / Crunch
7
Groudon 270 Mud Shot / Solar Beam
8
Raikou 241 Thunder Shock / Wild Charge

Tier 2 Attacking Pokémon

Appearance Pokémon Optimal Attack Optimal Moves
9
Dragonite 263
  • Dragon Tail / Outrage
  • Dragon Breath / Outrage
10
Salamence 277

Dragon Tail / Draco Meteor

11
Hariyama 209 Counter / Dynamic Punch
12
Latios 268 Dragon Breath / Dragon Claw
13
Entei 235 Fire Spin / Overheat
14
Gyarados 237 Waterfall / Hydro Pump
15
Moltres 251 Fire Spin / Sky Attack
16
Exeggutor 233
  • Confusion / Solar Beam
  • Bullet Seed / Solar Beam
  • Confusion / Psychic
17
Zapdos 253 Thunder Shock / Thunderbolt

Tier 3 Attacking Pokémon

Appearance Pokémon Optimal Attack Optimal Moves
18
Metagross 257 Bullet Punch / Flash Cannon
19
Espeon 261

Confusion / Future Sight

20
Alakazam 271
  • Psycho Cut / Future Sight
  • Confusion / Future Sight
21
Gardevoir 237 Confusion / Dazzling Gleam
22
Gengar 261

Shadow Claw / Shadow Ball

23
Golem 211
  • Rock Throw / Stone Edge
  • Rock Throw / Rock Blast
24
Heracross 234 Counter / Close Combat
25
Lugia 193 Extrasensory / Sky Attack
26
Vaporeon 205 Water Gun / Hydro Pump
27
Blaziken 240

Counter / Focus Blast

28
Flareon 246 Fire Spin / Overheat
29
Articuno 192
  • Frost Breath / Blizzard
  • Frost Breath / Ice Beam

Tier 4 Attacking Pokémon

Appearance Pokémon Optimal Attack Optimal Moves
30
Houndoom 224

Snarl / Foul Play

31
Jolteon 232 Thunder Shock / Thunderbolt
32
Ho-Oh 239
  • Extrasensory / Brave Bird
  • Steel Wing / Solar Beam
33
Sceptile 223
  • Bullet Seed / Leaf Blade
  • Fury Cutter / Leaf Blade
34
Scizor 236
  • Bullet Punch / Iron Head
  • Fury Cutter / X-Scissor
35
Swampert 208 Water Gun / Surf
36
Latias 228 Dragon Breath / Outrage
37
Breloom 241 Counter / Dynamic Punch
38
Jynx 223 Frost Breath / Avalanche
39
Pinsir 238 Bug Bite / X-Scissor
40
Venusaur 198 Vine Whip / Frenzy Plant
41
Charizard 223 Fire Spin / Blast Burn

Tier 5 Attacking Pokémon

Appearance Pokémon Optimal Attack Optimal Moves
42
Shiftry 200 Razor Leaf / Leaf Blade
43
Arcanine 227
  • Snarl / Wild Charge
  • Bite / Wild Charge
44
Ursaring 236 Counter / Close Combat
45
Piloswine 181
  • Ice Shard / Avalanche
  • Powder Snow / Avalanche
46
Milotic 192 Waterfall / Surf
47
Banette 218 Shadow Claw / Shadow Ball
48
Victreebel 207

Razor Leaf / Leaf Blade

49
Poliwrath 182

Rock Smash / Dynamic Punch

50
Absol 246 Snarl / Dark Pulse
51
Rhydon 222 Mud Slap / Earthquake

Pokémon GO - Best Pokémon For Defending

We're not going to organise defensive Pokémon into tiers, as the way we see it there are two best options and then a few alternatives. Let's take a look at it.

Best Defenders

Appearance Pokémon Optimal Stamina Optimal Defence Optimal Moves
52
Chansey 500 176

Zen Headbutt / Dazzling Gleam

53
Blissey 510 229

Zen Headbutt / Dazzling Gleam

Alternate Defenders

Appearance Pokémon Optimal Stamina Optimal Defence Optimal Moves
46
Milotic 190 242
  • Dragon Tail / Blizzard
  • Dragon Tail / Surf
54
Snorlax 320 190
  • Zen Headbutt / Body Slam
  • Zen Headbutt / Heavy Slam
55
Slaking 273 183 Yawn / Play Rough
56
Lapras 260 180
  • Ice Shard / Ice Beam
  • Ice Shard / Hydro Pump
57
Donphan 180 214 Counter / Play Rough
58
Steelix 150 333
  • Iron Tail / Crunch
  • Dragon Tail / Crunch
9
Dragonite 182 201 Dragon Tail / Dragon Claw
18
Metagross 160 247 Zen Headbutt / Flash Cannon
61
Lanturn 250 146
  • Charge Beam / Thunderbolt
  • Charge Beam / Hydro Pump
62
Clefable 190 171 Zen Headbutt / Dazzling Gleam
40
Venusaur 160 198 Razor Leaf / Sludge Bomb
16
Exeggutor 190 158 Confusion / Seed Bomb
21
Gardevoir 136 220
  • Confusion / Dazzling Gleam
  • Confusion / Shadow Ball