How to Order Gym Defenders

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At this point of the game, the vast majority of players probably already know who the best gym defender is. Either by experience it in the battle on their own or by lists and infographics on the internet. We’re all aware that Blissey is completely broken, Chansey is best when it comes to motivation decay ratio, and that Slaking punishes hard non-dodging attackers. We’ll take a closer look on gym defending from a different perspective – the gym ordering.

Why hold onto a gym?

The main reason is of course to earn 50 coins. Secondary reason might be the Gym badge (whether or not it actually helps to recieve a EX pass). There are also players who enjoy defending the gym as long as possible with their stocked up Golden Razz Berries. And last but not least, there are raid rewards, closely tied to the number of Premier Balls and subsequently to holding the gym.

Best defenders and the Weather system

According to PokeBattler, the top 3 defenders for all kinds of Weather don’t change. It’s always Blissey, Snorlax and Chansey.

The best defender is in fact a Golden Razz Berry. While remote berry feeding is harder to organize in groups, it is much easier in person at the gym. The first “feeder” should be the one who’s connection allows to see the motivation going down the fastest. Also, don’t forget there is a limit of 30 minutes after 10 berries fed.

Why should ordering matter?

The problem with best defenders is that there’s at least 3-4 Normal types all lined up for a Fighting Machamp to be taken down. Things doesn’t get better with Lapras or Steelix, also weak to Fighting. So what if you place a counter Pokémon to the attacker in between?

The order of defenders

First of all, it’s important to note that there’s too many variables to consider so following recommendations would be a bit more generalized. People use many attackers and strategies to take gyms down. For the simplicity let’s assume that most people go to gyms with the pre-set party of Machamp.

Blissey should be the first one no matter the situation. It’s the tankiest Pokémon that can trigger the “low motivation” notification consistently. Next Pokémon selection depends on whether the attackers focus on the first defender or if they attack in waves. It would make sense to put the strongest Pokémon in front no matter the typing. However, switching between Normal and other types works pretty well for both situations.

Wave scenario

Next up after Blissey should be a hard counter to Machamp. Good choice might be Exeggutor, Slowbro/Slowking or Gardevoir. This forces the attacker to switch between Pokémon, if they’re set (which also takes some time). Third slot is there for Snorlax, another Pokémon from the top three. After that, PsychicSteel Metagross is not a bad choice. Steelix and Lapras are also weak to Fighting but they’re effective against other generalists. Slaking, despite Yawn, is a good staple in the list, but only with Play Rough. The 6th slot is set for Chansey as the anchor. It takes a good portion to defeat her, giving an extra time to prepare for feeding other Pokémon.

If the attacker uses Dragonite, Rayquaza or Tyranitar then Clefable would be a great choice. Milotic is also superb with Dragon Tail/Blizzard against Dragon type or with Waterfall/Surf against Tyranitar’s Rock typing. Vaporeon (against Tyranitar) and Dragonite (aginst dragons) deals a lot of damage too.

Slot Pokémon Replacement Fast Move Charge Move
1st Blissey none Zen Headbutt Dazzling Gleam
2nd Exeggutor Milotic, Slowbro/Slowking, Gardevoir, Clefable Confusion Psychic
3rd Snorlax none Zen Headbutt Body Slam/Heavy Slam
4th Metagross Steelix, Lapras, Dragonite Zen Headbutt Psychic/Flash Cannon
5th Slaking Vaporeon Yawn Play Rough
6th Chansey none Zen Headbutt Dazzling Gleam

A while back there was a report about a successful several hour long coordinated gym defending before a EX raid, that took place in Boston. The party consisted of Blissey, Vaporeon, Snorlax, Lapras, Steelix and Chansey, in that particular order. With the addition of generation 3 defenders you can perfect this party even further.

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Age 24, team Mystic level 40. Greetings from Olomouc, Czech Republic. Also, I didn't know it's that hard to come up with a (good) bio.

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