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Pokemon Go best Pokemon to use in gyms, raids, PvP and more

Pokemon Go best Pokemon
(Image credit: Niantic)

The best Pokemon in Pokemon Go will be a subjective list to some degree, dependent on a trainer’s particular situation. Whether they are looking to take down a powerful Legendary Pokemon in a Raid, defeat Giovanni or rise the ranks in the GO Battle League, there are plenty of options to take the mantle of “best Pokemon” in Pokemon Go.

In Pokemon Go, not only do base stats determine a Pokemon’s power, but whether they can Mega Evolve or even have a Shadow form should be taken into account. So if you’re looking for a general list of the “best” Pokemon in Pokemon Go, here are some notable greats. 

Best attackers in Pokemon Go

1. Mewtwo  (preferably Shadow) 

Pokemon Go best Pokemon

(Image credit: Niantic)

Mewtwo would make the list for the strongest attacker in just about any Pokemon game, but in Pokemon Go the Gen 1 Legendary is especially powerful. With access to so many different attacks as well as having access to its Shadow form, where its power is boosted even further, there’s no question that Mewtwo should be used in any battle it’s allowed in. 

2. Metagross (preferably Shadow) 

Pokemon Go Premier Cup best team:

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

These three are bunched together because they are the three third generation legendaries, and they are all top quality attackers.

If you're yet to nab yourself a Mewtwo in an ex-raid, then Rayquaza is the next-best legendary Pokemon you can use. Dragon-type moves are exceptionally powerful and Rayquaza is the strongest of the bunch, with moves like Outrage and Dragon Tail. Just watch out for the Ice-type moves that will deal 4x damage.

Kyogre is the best Water-type attacker you can get thanks to powerful moves like Waterfall and Hydro Pump, which makes it the best Pokemon to takedown any Fire- or Ground-type foes. Groudon, on the other hand, can use Dragon-, Ground-, Grass-, and Fire-type moves, making it extremely versatile.

3. Mega Gengar 

Pokemon Go Mega Gengar Counters

(Image credit: Niantic)

It’s now time to talk about a Mega Pokemon. Mega Gengar has the distinction of being the only Ghost-type Mega so far in the game and that gives it the ability to hit incredibly strong. It has great neutral coverage with moves like Focus Blast to deal with Dark types, and having access to Ghost moves like Lick/Shadow Claw and Shadow Ball make it the best Ghost-type attacker even against Pokemon that aren't weak to those moves.

 4. Machamp (preferably Shadow) 

Pokemon go registeel raid

(Image credit: Niantic)

Fighting-types traditionally have offensive-based stats and Lucario is arguably the strongest Fighting-type, which makes it perfect for raw damage. Just don't throw it out against any Psychic- or Flying-types.

 5. Dragonite or Salamence (preferably Shadow) 

Pokemon Go Premier Cup best team:

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

When the Larvitar evolutionary chain was introduced to the game, this gargantuan beast was the Pokemon to have alongside Dragonite. Now, it's not quite as impressive, but Tyranitar is still one of the strongest non-legendary Pokemon in the game, especially with a max CP of 3,800+. With its moveset, you can spec for either Dark- or Rock-type moves — or both.

Best defenders in Pokemon Go

Note: You cannot place legendary or mythical Pokemon inside gyms, so they have been excluded for this list. 

1. Blissey

Pokemon Go best Pokemon

(Image credit: Niantic)

Over to the defending side of things now and there is no better Pokemon to leave in a gym than Blissey. It may not have the highest CP, but if you have a fully powered up Blissey it will have the most HP out of any Pokemon in the game and is a serious pain to defeat in gyms. It's just an absolute nuisance to take out, especially when it's at full power. Plus despite being Normal-type, it can learn moves to deal with Fighting-type opposers like Psychic. Also, Chansey can put up an almost as effective defense if you're yet to evolve one into Blissey yet.

2. Slaking

Pokemon Go slaking

(Image credit: Niantic)

Introducing the highest CP 'mon in the game: Slaking! This lazy oaf can have up to 233 HP which almost puts it inside the top 10, plus it has some decent attacking stats. Unfortunately it is another Normal-type, but Slaking can defend gyms like never before when coupled with some other bulky Pokemon.

3. Metagross

Pokemon Go metagross

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Metagross is one Pokemon that could arguably go on both lists, because it is excellent on the offensive too, but thanks to it's Steel-type nature, it's more effective defending gyms. It also works as a brilliant counter to Fighting-type Pokemon like Lucario and Machamp, which are frequent counters to the aforementioned Blissey and Slaking.

4. Togekiss 

Pokemon Go Master League best Pokemon:

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Togekiss has great natural bulk and its Fairy typing makes it a pain to take down. It also has access to Charm as a Fast Attack, dealing at least neutral damage to anything that’s not a Poison, Fire or Steel-type. Putting Togekiss in a Gym with other high HP ‘mon like Blissey will really wear down any potential attackers. 

5. Snorlax

Pokemon Go Master League best Pokemon:

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Not got a Chansey or Blissey? Snorlax is the one for you, because this sleepy giant is a great alternative. Snorlax's attack stat outperforms Blissey by far, while it has the same defence, plus it has a significantly higher max CP. And it's a first generation Pokemon that has been more common than Chansey or Blissey, so it's a great shout for lower level players.

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Ford James
Ford James

Give me a game and I will write every "how to" I possibly can or die trying. When I'm not knee-deep in a game to write guides on, you'll find me hurtling round the track in F1, flinging balls on my phone in Pokemon Go, pretending to know what I'm doing in Football Manager, or clicking on heads in Valorant.

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