5 Pokemon that Every Trainer Must Have!

USER GUIDE | Submitted by SeanTr0n

Below is a list of the Pokemon that I consider to be essential for a Pokemon Go trainer to have in order to handle most of the situations that they could encounter. For this list, I am considering in game situations related to Gyms and Player vs. Player (PvP) combat (once it’s released).

This will obviously vary somewhat by the region the trainer lives in, but hopefully it will be mostly universal.

1. Water-Type Counter

Simply looking at a list of the Pokemon with the highest Maximum CP in the game shows that anyone looking to build an elite team should be able to Water type Pokemon (9 of the top 30 Pokemon are at least partially Water-type, the next most popular type is Rock, with 5 Pokemon that are all dual types).vaporeon needs to be nerfed

Beyond simply looking at the CP values, many Water Pokemon have access to and get STAB bonus for some of the best moves in the game, particularly Water Gun. To make it even worst, the best Water Pokemon, Vaporeon, is so easily obtainable in most areas that almost every trainer has multiple strong Vaporeons.


STAB stands for Same Type Attack Bonus and improves same type attacks in Gym and PvP.

Therefore, every team must have a way of dealing with these powerful water-types. Water type Pokemon are weak to Grass and Electric attacks and Water attacks are resisted by Water, Grass, and Dragon type Pokemon. This indicates that Grass Pokemon are the most efficient Water-Type counters.

Unfortunately, the most powerful Grass Pokemon, Exeggutor, can’t learn a Grass Type quick move, so its efficiency as a Water-Type counter is lowered significantly (however, the Physic quick moves make Exeggutor a much better generalist). As a result, the second most powerful Grass Pokemon, Venusaur, becomes the most efficient way to take down Water Pokemon. Dragonite can also take down most water types with ease, but that is primarily due to his massive base stats, so Dragonite isn’t very efficient in situations when CP should be limited.

Unfortunately, Venusaur and Dragonite can be difficult to come by for many trainers, so some alternatives are: Exeggutor and Vileplume.

Dragonite Counter

No surprise here. Any trainer that doesn’t have a way of dealing with Gen 1’s most powerful monster doesn’t have a complete team. Dragonite is weak to Fairy, Rock, Dragon, and Ice (x2). Ice Pokemon are the best place to look to counter Dragonite, not only because it is a double weakness, but because there are simply not powerful enough Rock quick moves or Fairy Pokemon to scare this monster and anything that gets STAB on a Dragon attack will be weak to Dragnoite’s Dragon Attacks.

When looking at Ice Pokemon, the cream of the crop is Lapras, so basically, get a Lapras if you can. Not only is Lapras a great Dragonite-slayer, but she is also one of the tankiest monsters in the game without any good counters. If you can’t get a Lapras, Cloyster is the next best. This category is a must-have to be a gym-master because Dragonites are popular in gyms, but, in a PVP battle, you will be able to survive by skipping this section if you know that your opponent doesn’t have a Dragonite.

The BIG Gun

The perfect Big Gun is a Pokemon that has high attack power, sufficient tankiness, and attacks that are powerful and not widely resisted. Dragonite fits this bill perfectly, but if this Dragon eludes you, viable substitutes are Gyarados, Rhydon, Exeggutor, Arcanine, Alakazam, and Gengar.

The Big Gun is the monster you can turn to when you just need to dish out a lot of damage (like to those pesky Snorlaxes).

The Tank

The perfect Tank is a Pokemon with massive tankiness, sufficient attack power, and no major weak spots. Snorlax and Lapras are the best tanks in the game right now, but if you haven’t been able to get one of these big guys, then Vaporeon is a substitute that you are sure to have, although it is not quite as good.

The Tank is a great defender for gym battles and can be used to absorb the attack power of your opponents’ Big Gun(s) in PVP battles.

Gyarados Counter

Gyarados, like Dragonite, is a powerful Pokemon with such a unique type that it must be considered separately. Because Gyarados is part Flying-type, it is not weak to Grass attacks like other Water types are, so the Water-counters mentioned above won’t be able to handle this beast very well. However, Gyarados second type also makes it doubly weak to Electric types.

Therefore, Jolteon (the only Electric type currently worth considering) becomes a viable option. Luckily for us, Jolteon is easy to obtain, because there are no substitutes that are nearly as efficient for this category.


To apply these rules, below are some 6-Pokemon teams that I would pick for certain situations.

If I could only have 6 Pokemon in Pokemon Go, this would be my team:

  • Dragonite (The Big Gun)
  • Lapras (The Dragonite Counter)
  • Snorlax (The Tank)
  • Jolteon (The Gyarados Counter)
  • Exeggutor (Water-Type Counter, chosen over Venusaur because it is a better generalist)
  • Vaporeon (Jack-of-all trades, could be a back up for any categories and provides good type diversity)

If I was choosing a team for a PVP Battle, this might be my team: (my strategy here was to drop the Gyarados counter because Jolteon isn’t really useful for anything else. If my opponent did have a Gyarados, I would use my Gyarados to negate it).

  • Dragonite (The Big Gun)
  • Lapras (The Dragonite Counter)
  • Vaporeon (Jack-of-all trades, could be a back up for any categories and provides good type diversity)
  • Snorlax (The Tank)
  • Gyarados (Gyarados-Counter Substitute)
  • Exeggutor (Water-Type Counter, chosen over Venusaur because it is a better generalist)

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