Pokemon Rankings and Top List

Not sure what Pokemon are the best attackers and defenders currently? Need some insight on the best movesets? No problem, check the tables below and improve your gym game!

Tier 1

These Pokemon should have the highest possible priority if you are looking to invest dust to improve only your best attackers. They will tear through just about anything even if you don’t dodge at all, and have particularly strong matchups vs the most common defenders.

Tier 1 Rating Explanation
DragoniteDragonite Pros:

  • Very strong matchups across-the-board
  • Best counter to Vaporeon

Cons:

  • Weak to Lapras

Optimal Moveset

  • Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw
SnorlaxSnorlax Pros:

  • Has no bad matchups

Cons:

  • High potion usage

Optimal Moveset

  • Lick + Hyper Beam or Body Slam OR
  • Zen Headbutt + Hyper Beam
LaprasLapras Pros:

  • Generally powerful attacker

Cons:

  • Inefficient vs Fire Types
  • Somewhat high potion usage

Optimal Moveset

  • Frost Breath + Blizzard
ExeggutorExeggutor Pros:

  • Strong counter to Vaporeon
  • Extremely efficient when dodging

Cons:

  • Relatively weak vs Fire Types

Optimal Moveset

  • Zen Headbutt + Solar Beam

Tier 1.5

These Pokemon have some incredibly strong matchups, and in many ways are just as good as Pokemon in Tier 1. However, they have a notable flaw that leads them to a lowered general usability compared to Tier 1.

Tier 1.5 Rating Explanation
ArcanineArcanine Pros:

  • Crushes everything that doesn’t directly resist fire
  • Strong attacker into Lapras

Cons:

  • Many gym players keep Arcanine in mind when choosing a defender
  • Very weak to Vaporeon, the most common gym defender

Optimal Moveset

  • Fire Fang or Bite + Fire Blast
VaporeonVaporeon Pros:

  • Powerful metagame-defining attacker vs all who don’t resist water (and some who do)

Cons:

  • Weakness to the big 4 grasses: Exeggutor, Venusaur, Vileplume, Victreebel
  • Knowledgeable gym players focus on countering him
  • Somewhat high potion usage

Optimal Moveset

  • Water Gun + Hydro Pump or Aqua Tail

Tier 2

These Pokemon are best used when sniping particular counter-matchups, or they are quality overall-attacking Pokemon that simply perform slightly worse in simulations than the higher tiered Pokemon of their type. They also may be weaker if the user does not dodge at all.

Tier 2 Rating Explanation
VenusaurVenusaur Pros:

  • Hard counters Vaporeon and other waters
  • Hard counters rock/ground types

Cons:

  • Weak vs Arcanine and Dragonite

Optimal Moveset

  • Vine Whip + Solar Beam or Petal Blizzard
SlowbroSlowbro Pros:

  • Strong overall attacker with coverage provided by Psychic

Cons:

  • Weak vs the big grasses

Optimal Moveset

  • Water Gun + Psychic
VictreebelVictreebel Pros:

  • Hard counters Vaporeon and other waters
  • Incredibly efficient when dodging

Cons:

  • Weak vs Arcanine and Dragonite

Optimal Moveset

  • Razor Leaf + Solar Beam or Leaf Blade
BlastoiseBlastoise Pros:

  • Slightly weaker version of Vaporeon

Cons:

  • Slightly weaker version of Vaporeon

Optimal Moveset

  • Water Gun + Hydro Pump
GyaradosGyarados Pros:

  • If you managed to get a Dragon Breath + Dragon Pulse variant while it was available, it is a strong overall attacker as well as a decent Dragonite counter
  • Bite + Hydro Pump (best currently evolvable moveset) leaves Gyarados as just another strong attacker vs Pokemon that don’t resist water

Cons:

  • Electrics are good vs almost nothing except Gyarados. Don’t attack Electrics.

Optimal Moveset

  • Bite + Hydro Pump OR
  • Dragon Breath + Hydro Pump or Dragon Pulse
Muk
Muk
Pros:

  • Best available counter to Fairy Types
  • Very strong counter to Grass and Bug Types

Cons:

  • Weak to Ground and Psychics

Optimal Moveset

  • Poison Jab + Sludge Wave or Gunk Shot
NidoqueenNidoqueen Pros:

  • Earthquake moveset very powerful vs Fire, Electric, Poison, Rock, and Ghost
  • Sludge Wave moveset very powerful vs Fairy and Bug
  • No bad movesets

Cons:

  • Weak vs Vaporeon and other waters, as well as Exeggutor and other Psychics

Optimal Moveset

  • Bite + Earthquake OR
  • Poison Jab + Earthquake
Wigglytuff
Wigglytuff
Pros:

  • Overall consistent matchups
  • Low CP yields high prestige per win
  • Battles well vs Dragonite with Dragon Breath

Cons:

  • Doesn’t hit quite as hard as the rest of the tier
  • High potion usage

Optimal Moveset

  • Pound + Hyper Beam or Play Rough

Tier 1

These Pokemon are elite defenders in essentially all situations, and carry favorable matchups against the widest possible range of attackers. If they have a weakness, it is exploitable only by a very small number of relatively rare Pokemon.

Tier 1 Rating Explanation
SnorlaxSnorlax Pros:

  • Consistently strong defense vs any attacker.
  • Strengthens any gym, regardless of region or defenders already present.
  • Presence deters attackers.

Cons:

  • None.

Optimal Moveset

  • Zen Headbutt + Hyper Beam or Body Slam
LaprasLapras Pros:

  • Water/Ice typing is synergistic; powerful STAB Ice moves protect Water’s weaknesses.
  • Matches up favorably against a huge array of popular attackers.
  • Elite base stats.
  • Incredibly direct Dragonite counter.

Cons:

  • Arcanine can do relatively well against, but not crush, Lapras.

Optimal Moveset

  • Ice Shard + Blizzard or Ice Beam
DragoniteDragonite Pros:

  • Very strong defender against Vaporeon.
  • Highest base stats of any Pokemon currently available.
  • Incredibly high CP adds a psychological deterrent.
  • Resistance to Fire, Water, and double resistance to Grass cover most of the popular attackers.

Cons:

  • Double weakness to Ice leaves him highly vulnerable to Lapras and to a lesser extent Dewgong and Cloyster.

Optimal Moveset

  • Steel Wing + Dragon Pulse

Tier 1.5

These Pokemon are the best defenders of their type, and carry a similar number of favorable matchups as the Top Tiers. They defend well against many of the most common high-quality Pokemon. However, they either are less overwhelmingly dominant in their favorable matchups, or they have weaknesses that are exploitable by multiple species of more easily attained Pokemon.

Tier 1.5 Rating Explanation
SlowbroSlowbro Pros:

  • Typing is near-perfection for the current metagame; provides resistance to Fire and Water as well as access to STAB Psychic moves.
  • Psychic moves are resisted only by Psychic and Steel Pokemon in this generation.
  • Type-disadvantages vs Bug, Electric, Ghost, and Dark are EASILY overcome due to a lack of elite attackers of those types
  • Favorable matchup vs Vaporeon

Cons:

  • Base stats are very good but not elite.
  • Though no Pokemon is a direct counter, Exeggutor with Solar Beam or Seed Bomb does well.

Optimal Moveset

  • Confusion + Psychic
PoliwrathPoliwrath Pros:

  • Poliwrath matches up favorably against approximately as many Pokemon as the Tier 1 Pokemon do.
  • Bubble is awkward to dodge and is the strongest basic attack in the game.
  • Mathematically superior to Vaporeon on defense, also matches up favorably vs attacking Vaporeon.
  • Fighting type provides helpful resistance to Rock.
  • Ice Punch, though suboptimal in most matchups, is the best against Grass-type attackers who are likely to be used against Poliwrath.

Cons:

  • Unfavorable matchups vs the big grass types, especially Venusaur and the relatively popular Exeggutor, keep him out of Tier 1.

Optimal Moveset

  • Bubble + Ice Punch or Hydro Pump or Submission
ExeggutorExeggutor Pros:

  • No Pokemon in the game is better against Vaporeon than Exeggutor
  • Did you catch that Exeggutor is the best available counter to Vaporeon?!
  • Grass moves are not necessary. (Who attacks into Exeggutor with a Pokemon weak to Grass?)
  • Confusion + Psychic provides immense STAB type-coverage, and punishes all attackers regardless of type (while still maintaining the favorable matchup vs Vaporeon).

Cons:

  • Arcanine can do well against Exeggutors, especially ones with Solar Beam and Seed Bomb.

Optimal Moveset

  • Confusion + Psychic or Seed Bomb or Solar Beam (especially against Waters)
Wigglytuff
Wigglytuff
Pros:

  • Normal/Fairy type is very consistent and impossible to efficiently exploit with an elite attacker.
  • Extremely CP-efficient defender.
  • Counters Dragonite.
  • Essentially nothing hard counters Wigglytuff.
  • Mini-Snorlax.

Cons:

  • Low CP value may invite more attempts at your gym.
  • Soft-countered by Nidoqueen and Muk.

Optimal Moveset

  • Pound + Play Rough
Vaporeon
Vaporeon
Pros:

  • Singlehandedly dictates the gym metagame due to raw popularity and ease to obtain.
  • Elite base stats and strong defensive typing.
  • Isn’t too bad at defending against Vaporeon.
  • Defends very well against anything that doesn’t type-counter it.
  • Strong psychological deterrent due to community’s perception.

Cons:

  • Water Gun is a quite poor attack when considering Gym Defense AI.
  • Strongly countered by the big grasses: Exeggutor and Venusaur.
  • Strongly countered by Dragonite.
  • Soft-countered by Vileplume and Victreebel.
  • Everyone has practiced dodging Vaporeon’s moves.

Optimal Moveset

  • Water Gun + Water Pulse (Aqua Tail and Hydro Pump also serviceable)

Tier 2

These Pokemon are high-quality gym defenders with a plentiful array of favorable matchups. However, they are not as dominant as another Pokemon of their type, and/or they have well-known and readily available counters.

Tier 2 Rating Explanation
Venusaur
Venusaur
Pros:

  • Hard counters Waters including Vaporeon.
  • Hard counters the top Rock/Ground types Golem and Rhydon.
  • Efficient moveset and very good base stats handle most attackers that don’t type-counter Venusaur.
  • Sludge Bomb can be used for better type-coverage vs Venusaur’s counters while still maintaining a favorable matchup vs Vaporeon.
  • Amazingly manages a favorable matchup vs Flareon.

Cons:

  • Hard-countered by Dragonite and Charizard.
  • Soft-countered by Arcanine and Lapras.

Optimal Moveset

  • Razor Leaf + Sludge Bomb
Omastar
Omastar
Pros:

  • Fantastic typing matches up very well against multiple elite attackers.
  • Rock Slide’s long duration and low energy requirement allow Omastar to be STAB Rock Sliding almost non-stop during the fight.
  • Double-resists fire.
  • Counters Lapras !
  • Counters Dragonite !

Cons:

  • Double-weakness to Grass leaves him punished by Exeggutor, Venusar, Vileplume, and Victreebel.
  • Low CP and highly-underrated community perception of Omastar may invite more attackers (though this is counterbalanced by the joy you will feel seeing attackers getting beaten back by Omastar)

Optimal Moveset

  • Water Gun + Rock Slide

Tier 3

These Pokemon are solid gym defenders but they posses at least one critical flaw or broad weakness. They maintain the ability to optimally fill a defensive role in the right gym composition.

Tier 3 Rating Explanation
ArcanineArcanine Pros:

  • Elite base stats featuring a monsterous attack value will crush absolutely any Pokemon that doesn’t resist Fire.
  • High CP may deter potential attackers.
  • No Grass Shall Pass.

Cons:

  • Fire is a disastrous defensive typing in Pokemon Go.
  • Gets run over by Vaporeon and the other relevant Water Gun users such as Blastoise, Slowbro, Golduck, Omastar, etc.
  • Also countered by Rhydon, Golem, and Poliwrath.

Optimal Moveset

  • Fire Fang + Flamethrower
Victreebel
Victreebel
Pros:

  • See Venusaur, just ever so slightly weaker. Victreebel does exactly what Venusaur does just a little bit worse due to her lowered effective health. Victreebel packs more of a punch than Venusaur, but not quite enough to make up for the lowered tankiness.
  • Crushes Vaporeon.
  • Manages a barely positive matchup vs Flareon.

Cons:

  • Hard-countered by Dragonite and Charizard.
  • Countered by Arcanine and Lapras

Optimal Moveset

  • Razor Leaf + Sludge Bomb (or Leaf Blade or Solar Beam to all-in against Waters)
Vileplume
Vileplume
Pros:

  • See Venusaur (minus the Sludge Bomb comment). Vileplume does exactly what Venusaur does just a little bit worse due to her lowered effective health that is not quite compensated strongly enough by her slightly increased attack stat.
  • Crushes Vaporeon.
  • Manages a barely positive matchup vs Flareon.

Cons:

  • Hard-countered by Dragonite and Charizard.
  • Countered by Arcanine and Lapras.

Optimal Moveset

  • Razor Leaf + Petal Blizzard
Hypno
Hypno
Pros:

  • Benefits from the largely-unresisted STAB Confusion + Psychic combo.
  • No elite (or very good) attacker attacks Super-Effectively into Hypno.

Cons:

  • Despite winning so many matchups, middling base stats prevent Hypno from dominating these attackers and preserving high health for the next attacking Pokemon.
  • Low CP and underwhelming community reputation may invite attackers.

Optimal Moveset

  • Confusion + Psychic and Psyshock
Clefable
Clefable
Pros:

  • Pound, Zen Headbutt and Dazzling Gleam have consistent coverage over the relevant attackers and are rarely resisted.
  • Dazzling Gleam’s long cooldown and low energy requirement let Clefable spam it almost constantly on defense.
  • Fairy typing is consistent and difficult to type counter with elite attackers in PoGo.
  • Relatively strong counter to Dragonite

Cons:

  • Base stats are good but not great.
  • Similarly to Hypno, does not utterly dominate many matchups due to neutral typing.

Optimal Moveset

  • Pound or Zen Headbutt + Dazzling Gleam