This article is a complete guide to Pokemon GO’s gym defense and best defenders in 2018. It focuses on the Gym aspect of the meta game, how to optimize the defense of a gym, how to order defenders, which defender covers which type and which move set should it have. It’s a long article, so be sure to bookmark it and come back when you need to deploy a defender. If you’re on mobile, remember that each table can be scrolled horizontally.
On this page
Main Series Gyms
In the main series games you travel around a region testing your skill and the strength of your Pokemon at gyms across the land. Once all 8 badges have been collected, the trainer is allowed to enter the Pokemon League to challenge the Elite Four, and finally your journey culminates with a battle against the Region Champion! Unfortunately the gym system in Pokemon Go is not as glamours when compared to the main series games.
Gyms in Pokemon Go
Gyms in Pokemon Go offer trainers valuable items to use on their adventures, as well a place to battle against rival teams Pokemon for control. If a trainer places their own Pokemon into a gym, they are rewarded with up to 50 Poke Coins, regardless of how many days they have been in the gym, when they return.
Gyms also function as a host location for Raid battles. If your team has control, you will receive the “Gym Control” bonus; 2 additional Premier Balls to be used in the Bonus Catch Encounter, where you have a chance to capture the defending Raid boss.
That being said, let’s now take a look at defending a gym. Gym defenders are typically selected based on having high defensive and stamina stats. Normal type Pokemon dominate this aspect of the meta, and with a single weakness, that’s no big surprise. In fact, the majority of the most popular gym defenders all share a common weakness to Fighting type Pokemon.
So that brings up the following question: What should i put in a gym to help defend and break up the common weakness?
There are 2 types of gyms to primarily focus on, Theme Gyms, and Type Coverage.
A theme gym is when a group of trainers decide to add defenders to all follow a specific style. A few examples of different theme gyms are babies, Eeveelutions, or a specific typing (Fire, Water, Grass, etc.) Although theme gyms are not the most meta worth strategy, they are a fun way for members of the Pokemon Go community to come together and show off some amazing ‘mon they have collected on their adventures.
Type Coverage gyms
These are gyms specifically intended to withstand assaults from rival teams. Building a type coverage gym comes down to selecting defenders that either deal Super Effective damage to popular Pokemon that dominate the overall meta scene (moveset), or provide coverage for the weakness of its prior defender (typing). Ultimately, a type coverage gym will need a combination of both moveset and typing to be successful.
Often times Pokemon have access to attack options that don’t specifically benefit from STAB, but happen to be Super Effective against that Pokemon’s weakness. An example of this is Blissey, a Normal type Pokemon, with a weakness to Fighting type attacks. Blissey has access to a Zen Headbutt , a Psychic Fast Attack, and Dazzling Gleam a Fairy Charge Attack, which are both excellent attacks against Fighting type Pokemon. By understanding the weaknesses of your Pokemon, you can select movesets to optimize their performance as gym defenders.
Typically, when adding a Pokemon to a gym you don’t know the moveset of your fellow defenders. Insulate your teams gym by adding Pokemon that are Super Effective against the prior defenders weakness. An example of this would be to add an Alakazam Psychic to a gym as a defender after a Blissey Normal. Alakazam will deal Super Effective Damage to an attacking teams Fighting type Pokemon that they used to defeat the Blissey. Additionally, keep in mind Pokemon with a common weakness. Tyranitar RockDark is weak to Fighting attacks, and is a poor option to add into a gym directly after Blissey.
Memorize the weakness table found here to ensure you are optimizing your gym defenses!
The following are some excellent Gym Defenders by type in the current meta based on overall stats and type coverage:
These 4 Pokemon account for the very top tier of gym defense, however, they all share a common weakness and should never be placed into a gym one after another.
Pokémon is Copyright Gamefreak, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company 2001-2016
All images and names owned and trademarked by Nintendo, Niantic, The Pokémon Company, and Gamefreak are property of their respective owners.