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
Kyogre 270 Waterfall / Hydro Pump
Machamp 234
  • Counter / Dynamic Punch
  • Karate Chop / Dynamic Punch
Mewtwo 300 Psycho Cut / Shadow Ball
Rayquaza 284 Dragon Tail / Outrage
Tyranitar 251
  • Smack Down / Stone Edge
  • Bite / Crunch
Groudon 270 Mud Shot / Solar Beam
Raikou 241 Thunder Shock / Wild Charge

Tier 2 Attacking Pokémon

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

Dragon Tail / Draco Meteor

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

Tier 3 Attacking Pokémon

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

Confusion / Future Sight

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

Shadow Claw / Shadow Ball

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

Counter / Focus Blast

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

Tier 4 Attacking Pokémon

Appearance Pokémon Optimal Attack Optimal Moves
Houndoom 224

Snarl / Foul Play

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

Tier 5 Attacking Pokémon

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

Razor Leaf / Leaf Blade

Poliwrath 182

Rock Smash / Dynamic Punch

Absol 246 Snarl / Dark Pulse
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
Chansey 500 176

Zen Headbutt / Dazzling Gleam

Blissey 510 229

Zen Headbutt / Dazzling Gleam

Alternate Defenders

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