What makes Dragonite so Special in Pokémon GO?


Hi Trainers!

The Dratini Community Day Classic is upon us! Niantic’s introduction of the CD Classic events is welcome for many reasons: those who missed the CD, those who are looking for a shundo, and those who are looking to farm XL candies. With Dragonite being a staple in the meta and a reliable choice for both PvE and PvP, it is easy to see why people are so excited about this event.

But even after years since its debut in the game and a wholesome list of other Dragon types that have surpassed it, Dragonite is still one of the most coveted Pokémon in the game. Since I have written articles on Dragonite Meta Analysis and Superpower Dragonite in the Master League in the past, and my GO Hub colleagues and friends JRE and Teban would probably come up with up-to-date analyses, I decided to shed light on what makes Dragonite and its CD Classic worthy investments. 

Let’s begin!

Stats and Match-ups

Dragonite Dragon Flying
Max CP at Level 40 3792 | Max CP at Level 50 4287
ATK 263 DEF 198 HP 209
Weak to Strong Against
Ice Dragon Fairy Rock Dragon Bug Fighting Grass


Being the OG pseudo legendary Pokémon, Dragonite has great stats all across the board. A good ATK stat complemented with appreciable bulk makes Dragonite a powerhouse.

Comparison with Salamence

While its Gen 3 Dragon/Flying pseudo legendary cousin Salamence is oriented towards a higher ATK, Dnite is bulkier. Moreover, a newly caught high IV Dragonite won’t need an Elite Charged TM to learn Outrage (unlike Salamence). 

Also, while Salamence is arguably better in PvE due to higher DPS, Dragonite isn’t far behind. The icing on the cake is the fact that Dragonite is viable in PvP while Salamence is not. At best, Mence is a spice pick. 


Now we are getting to the interesting bits! Dragonite’s biggest USP is its fantastic movepool. 

Dragonite learns the following moves in Pokémon Go:

Fast Moves Charged Moves
  • Dragon Breath Dragon
  • Dragon Tail Dragon
  • Steel Wing Steel
  • Outrage Dragon
  • Dragon Claw Dragon
  • Draco Meteor* Dragon
  • Dragon Pulse* Dragon
  • Hurricane Flying
  • Hyper Beam Normal
  • Superpower Fighting

*denotes a legacy move

Get a load of that stacked movepool! It literally learns all the Dragon moves possible (not counting signature moves of course) and a few other moves that establish Dnite as a formidable threat in PvP. 

  • It learns Dragon Tail and Dragon Breath, two extremely viable moves for Dnite. While Dragon Tail shells out more damage than Dragon Breath, the latter has a lower cooldown. You can honestly go with either but you might find Breath smoother to use and Tail more intense.
  • Dragon Claw is bread and butter for Dnite. As simple as that.
  • Hurricane is a powerful STAB move but it’s pretty expensive energy-wise. However, Hurricane is Dragonite’s only reliable shot against Fairy types.
  • Superpower is the latest move to be added to Dragonite’s arsenal. Despite lacking STAB and coming with an ATK and DEF debuff, it is cheap energy-wise and offers excellent coverage.
  • Another note on Superpower… it lets Dragonite pose a threat to the omnipresent Steel types in the PvP meta. Not to mention, it is an affirmative reply to the Rock and Ice types that it is weak to.


Apart from the fact that Dragonite has been available since Gen 1 in the game, there have been numerous events such as Spotlight Hours, an entire Research devoted to the Dratini line, as a raid boss, etc., Dragonite has arguably been the most accessible Dragon type and meta relevant mon. So almost everyone has a good Dragonite in their arsenal which they would like to build upon. This brings us to the next very important parameter…

XL lvl 50 Dragonite FTW

Dragonite is undoubtedly one of the best Pokémon, in general, to take to lvl 50. Being one of the most dominating mons in the Master League and a formidable Dragon type in raids, a completely maxed out Dnite is an asset to anyone. Go full steam ahead with a Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw and Superpower Dragonite, and start winning more ML battles than you previously had!

Shadow Dragonite

While Dragonite may not have a mega evolution, its Shadow form is pretty powerful and a welcome addition to both PvP and PvE.

Lore and popularity

  • It’s part of the first ever Dragon types
  • It’s the pioneering pseudo legendary
  • It’s even loved by trainers who are into competitive (Smogon, VGC)
  • Adorable and cuddly!
  • Ash has a Dragonite in his Pokémon Journeys team

What’s not to love about Dragonite?

Future proof

Just because a Pokémon is outclassed, doesn’t mean that it’s bad. In fact, if you consider Dragonite purely as a Dragon type, it is somewhat of a hybrid between Salamence and Garchomp. And no matter how many powerful dragons we have in the future, Dragonite will ALWAYS find a place in the meta. 

All the best on getting the Dragonite you want, trainers!

Author & tags

My name is Niladri Sarkar. A Team Valor Trainer, I'm a Pokémon Battle Mechanics Specialist & a Dragon Master on Smogon's Pokémon Showdown where I particularly excel with Dragon types and Weather teams in Ubers / OU. I love to apply my vast knowledge and experience to the ever changing meta of Pokémon Go, specialising in DPS/TDO math, movesets, the Master League and Dragon types. Garchomp is my best Pokémon pal through and through.

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