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.

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.

Theme Gyms

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.

Moveset

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.

Typing

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:

Normal

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.

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Blissey 3219 129 229 510 Zen Headbutt Dazzling Gleam Fighting Ghost Fighting
Chansey 1469 60 176 500 Zen Headbutt Dazzling Gleam Fighting Ghost Fighting
Snorlax 3355 190 190 320 Zen Headbutt Heavy Slam Fighting Ghost Fighting
Slaking 4548 290 183 273 Yawn Play Rough Fighting Ghost Fighting

Fire

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Arcanine 2839 227 166 180 Snarl Wild Charge Water Flying Bug Fire Grass Fairy Steel Ice Water Rock Ground

Water

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Vaporeon 3157 205 177 290 Water Gun Aqua Tail Fire Rock Ground Fire Steel Water Ice Grass Electric
Milotic 2967 192 242 190 Dragon Tail Blizzard Dragon Fire Steel Water Ice Grass Electric
Wailord 2258 175 87 340 Zen Headbutt Blizzard Fighting Dragon Fire Steel Water Ice Grass Electric
Quagsire 1929 152 152 190 Water Gun Sludge Bomb Fire Rock Ground Fairy Electric Fire Rock Poison Steel Grass

Grass

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Venusaur 2568 198 198 160 Razor Leaf Sludge Bomb Grass Fairy Water Electric Grass Fairy Fighting Water Fire Flying Ice Psychic
Exeggutor 2916 233 158 190 Extrasensory Seed Bomb Fighting Ground Rock  Water Electric Grass Ground Fighting Psychic Water Bug Fire Dark Flying Poison Ghost Ice

Electric

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Ampharos 2695 211 172 180 Volt Switch Focus Blast Water Flying Normal Rock Electric Flying Steel Ground

Ice

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Lapras 2603 165 180 260 Ice Shard Surf Grass Rock Ground Fire Dragon Ice Water Electric Grass Rock Fighting
Cloyster 2475 186 323 100 Ice Shard Avalanche Grass Dragon Ice Water Electric Grass Rock Fighting
Walrein 2606 182 176 220 Waterfall Blizzard Grass Rock Ground Fire Dragon Ice Water Electric Grass Rock Fighting

Fighting

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Machamp 2889 234 162 180 Counter Dynamic Punch Normal Dark Rock Bug Rock Dark Fairy Flying Psychic
Hariyama 2765 209 114 288 Counter Dynamic Punch Normal Dark Rock Bug Rock Dark Fairy Flying Psychic

Poison

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Muk 2709 190 184 210 Infestation Dark Pulse Psychic Grass Fairy Bug Grass Fairy Poison Fighting Ground Psychic
Swalot 1872 140 159 200 Infestation Ice Beam Psychic Grass Dragon Bug Grass Fairy Poison Fighting Ground Psychic

Ground

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Rhydon 3300 222 206 210 Mud Slap Stone Edge Flying Electric Ground Fire Electric Fire Normal Rock Flying Poison Grass Ground Steel Fighting Ice Water
Flygon 2458 205 168 160 Dragon Tail Dragon Claw Dragon Electric Fire Rock Poison Fairy Dragon Ice

Flying

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Dragonite 3581 263 201 182 Dragon Tail Hurricane Bug Grass Fighting Bug Fire Grass Ground Fighting Water Rock Fairy Ice
Aerodactyl 2608 221 164 160 Steel Wing Ancient Power Fire Rock Flying Bug Fire Normal Flying Ground Poison Electric Rock Steel Ice Water

Psychic

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Metagross 3637 257 247 160 Zen Headbutt Psychic Fighting Poison Grass Normal Rock Fighting Flying Poison Steel Dragon Ice Psychic Fire Bug Dark Ground Ghost
Alakazam 2887 271 194 110 Confusion Shadow Ball Fighting Psychic Poison Fighting Psychic Bug Ghost Dark
Espeon 3000 261 194 130 Confusion Psybeam Fighting Poison Fighting Psychic Bug Ghost Dark

Rock

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Golem 2916 211 229 160 Rock Throw Rock Blast Fire Flying Electric Fire Normal Rock Flying Poison Grass Ground Steel Fighting Ice Water

Ghost

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Gengar  2619 261 156 120 Hex Sludge Bomb Psychic Fairy Bug Grass Normal Fairy Poison Fighting Dark Ground Ghost Psychic

Dark

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Tyranitar 3670 251 212 200 Iron Tail Crunch Psychic Dragon Fire Normal Dark Flying Poison Psychic Bug Grass Fairy Ground Steel Fighting Water
Houndoom 2529 224 159 150 Snarl Crunch Psychic Fire Grass Dark Steel Ghost Ice Psychic Rock Ground Fighting Water
Umbreon 2052 126 250 190 Snarl Foul Play Psychic Dark Ghost Psychic Bug Fighting Fairy

Dragon

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Dragonite 3581 263 201 182 Dragon Tail Outrage Dragon Bug Fire Grass Ground Fighting Water Rock Fairy Dragon Ice
Salamence 3532 277 168 190 Dragon Tail Hydro Pump Dragon Fire Rock Ground Bug Fire Grass Ground Fighting Water Rock Fairy Dragon Ice

Fairy

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Gardevoir 2964 237 220 136 Confusion Dazzling Gleam Fighting Dragon Fighting Dragon Psychic Ghost Poison Steel

Steel

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Metagross 3637 257 247 160 Zen Headbutt Flash Cannon Rock Fairy Poison Fighting Poison Grass Normal Rock Fighting Flying Poison Steel Dragon Ice Psychic Fire Bug  Dark Ground Ghost
Aggron  3004 198 314 140 Iron Tail Heavy Slam Rock Fairy Dragon Bug Normal Rock Fairy Flying Poison Dragon Ice Psychic Ground Fighting Water
Steelix  2439 148 333 150 Dragon Tail Crunch Psychic Dragon Fairy Bug Electric Normal Rock Fairy Flying Poison Steel Dragon Psychic Fire Ground Fighting Water

Bug

Pokemon Max CP Atk Def Sta Fast Attack Charge Attack Coverage Resistance Weakness
Scizor 2801 236 191 140 Fury Cutter X-Scissor Psychic Grass Bug Grass Normal Fairy Poison Steel Dragon Ice Psychic Fire
Pinsir 2770 238 197 130 Rock Smash Submission Rock Dark Normal Grass Ground Fighting Fire Rock Flying
Heracross 2938 234 189 160 Struggle Bug Close Combat Grass Rock Dark Normal Bug Grass Dark Ground Fighting Fire Fairy Flying Psychic