Pokemon GO Donphan

Donphan is a great example of a good Pokémon with a mediocre movepool. It has a decent attack stat, great bulk and a Max CP over 3000, but great Pokémon require great moves to work in this game.

Pokémon Stats Max CP
DonphanDonphan Ground 214 214 180 3022

Donphan overview

Donphan has a decent attack stat of 214 and a good bulk. However, Donphan lacks good moves in its movepool. Being a Ground type, you would expect Donphan to have a dual Ground type moveset to take full advantage of the STAB bonus, but that is not the case.

It does not have access to any Ground type fast move, and the only Ground type charge move that it can learn is Earthquake, which is just an average-tier charge move.

The main reasons why it is meta-relevant are:

  • It is a decent ground type attacker in the game, despite lacking a ground type fast move
  • It offers good bulk too, which is always something important to consider
  • Play Rough as a charge move can be quite an interesting surprise for those Machamps used to sweep gyms

However, its main weaknesses should be mentioned too:

  • It lacks good moves. It does not have access to any ground type fast move and Earthquake is just an average charge move
  • There are plenty of meta-relevant attackers (such as Kyogre, Gyarados or Exeggutor) ready to destroy Donphan in a matter of seconds
  • Groudon, Rhydon, Golem and even Swampert are better Ground type attackers. All of them have dual Ground type movesets and offensive stats on par or better than Donphan. Groudon is miles ahead of every option available as of now
  • It has a high Max CP. Thus, expect its motivation to drop quite fast in gyms

Best Donphan movesets

 Role Quick move Charge move
Gym offense Counter fighting Earthquake ground
Gym defense Counter fighting Play Rough fairy
PvP (speculative) Counter fighting Play Rough fairy or Earthquake Ground

Best Donphan moves in Pokémon GO

The following Table compares the cycle DPS (with STAB) of every single moveset that Donphan is able to learn. Some movesets are more viable or commonly used than others. Keep in mind that some movesets might not top the DPS charts but could be good to use in certain scenarios. As an example, Play Rough is a good choice for gym defending purposes.

Donphan moves in Pokémon GO
Fast Move Charge Move Cycle DPS (STAB)
Counter Fighting Earthquake Ground 19.80
Counter Fighting Play Rough Fairy 19.35
Counter Fighting Heavy Slam Steel 18.77
Tackle Normal Earthquake Ground 17.94
Tackle Normal Play Rough Fairy 17.72
Tackle Normal Heavy Slam Steel 16.90

*Keep in mind that STAB cycle DPS calculations just compare the different movesets and they are not Pokémon-specific

  • Counter and Earthquake is its best moveset for offensive purposes. Keep in mind, though, that there are plenty of better Ground type attackers in the current metagame
  • Play Rough is a good alternative to use for defensive purposes. It is a surprise to gym sweepers such as Machamp, Dragonite or Rayquaza, which are weak to it. Furthermore, it is harder to dodge than Earthquake
  • Tackle and Heavy Slam are not beneficial in almost any scenario. TM these moves away as fast as you can if you are planning to use Donphan

Donphan counters in Pokémon GO

Supreme Counters

 Pokémon Fast move Charge move
KyogreKyogre Water Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
GyaradosGyarados Water Flying Waterfall Water Hydro Pump Water
VenusaurVenusaur Grass Poison Vine Whip Grass Frenzy Plant* Grass
ExeggutorExeggutor Grass Psychic Bullet Seed Grass Solar Beam Grass

* Legacy move

Donphan is an easy Pokémon to counter. It is weak to Water, Grass and Ice type attacks, and there are plenty of meta-relevant options ready to take it down. Right now, there is a lack of Ice type Pokémon with great offensive stats, as Jynx is the only one with an attack stat over 200. However, this might change in future generations.

Kyogre is the best Water type Pokémon in the game as of now. It has a massive attack stat of 270 and a great moveset to use against Donphan. It is by far the best option to counter it, but Gyarados can do the job too (and double resist potential Earthquakes) if you don’t have a Kyogre in your team. Keep in mind, though, that a level 27 Kyogre will deal the same DPS of a level 40 Gyarados, just to show how powerful Kyogre is.

Venusaur and Exeggutor are its best Grass type counters. They are great options as well but still a bit far from Kyogre. Exeggutor has a higher attack stat than Venusaur, but Venusaur’s moveset is more consistent and better overall. For an in-depth comparison of both Pokémon, check out this guide.

Other viable alternatives

 Pokémon Fast move Charge move
JynxJynx Ice Psychic Frost Breath Ice Avalanche Ice
ArticunoArticuno Ice Flying Frost Breath Ice Ice Beam or Blizzard Ice
SceptileSceptile Grass Bullet Seed Grass Leaf Blade Grass

Jynx is an example of a glass cannon that would perform well against Donphan. It has a great attack stat and it is able to learn the best ice type moveset in the game. Keep in mind, though, that it will take super effective damage from Donphan’s potential Heavy Slam.

Articuno is a good ice type counter too. It has less offensive power than Jynx but much greater Total Damage Output (TDO) due to its bulk. It also double resists Donphan’s potential Earthquake, which is something to consider.

Sceptile is another interesting Grass type counter. If it is able to fire off many charge moves, it will probably be a very good alternative to the grass type supreme counters listed above.

Weather influence

Weather Pros Cons
Sunny Boosts its Ground type moves Boosts super-effective Grass type moves
Partly Cloudy Boosts its Normal type moves
Cloudy Boosts its Fairy type moves
Rainy Boosts super-effective Water type moves
Snow Boosts its Steel type moves Boosts super-effective Ice type moves

Viability in raids

Donphan is not the best Ground type Pokémon to use in raids. The most important metric in raids is normally time to win, and thus Rhydon and especially Groudon are better options than Donphan. Keeping that in mind, here is a compilation of the raids in which it is a decent counter (or filler for your team), despite existing better options:

 Raid Boss Fast move to use Charge move to use
HoundoomHoundoom Dark Fire Counter Fighting Earthquake Ground
GolemGolem Rock Ground* Counter Fighting Earthquake Ground
RhydonRhydon Ground Rock* Counter Fighting Earthquake Ground
TyranitarTyranitar Rock Dark Counter Fighting Earthquake Ground
AggronAggron Steel Rock Counter Fighting Earthquake Ground
RaikouRaikou Electric* Counter Fighting Earthquake Ground
EnteiEntei Fire* Counter Fighting Earthquake Ground
RegirockRegirock Rock** Counter Fighting Earthquake Ground

*Legacy raid boss **Potential future raid boss


Donphan, the Armor Pokémon. With its strong tusks and tough skin, Donphan is known for its powerful Tackle attack. The length of Donphan’s tusks indicates its level.


 Pokémon Attacker Defender Generalist Overall Tier
DonphanDonphan Ground 3/5 3/5 2/5 3/5 III

Donphan is a decent ground type attacker in the game, despite lacking a ground type fast move. It offers good bulk too, which is always something important to consider, and Play Rough as a charge move can be quite an interesting surprise for those Machamps used to sweep gyms. However, Groudon and Rhydon outclass it as a ground type attacker and it is not a TOP-Tier Pokémon to use. If it gets access to a ground type fast move in the future, its viability might increase, but it will still be far from Groudon’s performance.