So you just took over a gym and now need to figure out which Pokemon to use to defend it? Well, we’re here to solve that problem for you. Gamepress recently did a blog post where they detailed simulation of gym battles and divided the best Pokemon (from best to worst) to use in defending a gym into 6 tiers. We’ve decided to mention the best ones here so you can choose wisely next time the opponent team plans to rush your gym. You won’t be caught off guard again after you read our list of best Pokemon for Pokemon GO gym battles.

pokemon go gym battles
via webjunkiesblog

“This unique, first-of-its-kind tier list combines our best mathematical understanding of gym defense AI and simulated matchups with a real-world metagame analysis. Pokemon are weighted not only by how many different kinds of Pokemon they beat, but also by the relative frequency of the attackers they can expect to face. In this we have taken after the traditional method of tier list ratings for fighting games: a bad matchup vs. a never-seen character means much less than a bad matchup against the most-used character in tournament play.”

Pokemon GO gym battles – Tier 1

These are the best defenders and have good matchups against most of the attackers. Their weaknesses can mostly be exploited by rare Pokemon and since very few have them so you wouldn’t have to worry about them much.

PokemonProsConsOptimal Moveset
SnorlaxConsistently strong defense vs any attacker.
Strengthens any gym, regardless of region or defenders already present.
Presence deters attackers.
NoneZen Headbutt + Hyper Beam or Body Slam
LaprasWater/Ice typing is synergistic; powerful STAB Ice moves protect Water's weaknesses.
Matches up favorably against a huge array of popular attackers.
Elite base stats.
Incredibly direct Dragonite counter.
Arcanine can do relatively well against, but not crush, Lapras.Ice Shard + Blizzard or Ice Beam
DragoniteVery strong defender against Vaporeon.
Highest base stats of any Pokemon currently available.
Incredibly high CP adds a psychological deterrent.
Resistance to Fire, Water, and double resistance to Grass cover most of the popular attackers.
Double weakness to Ice leaves him highly vulnerable to Lapras and to a lesser extent Dewgong and Cloyster.Steel Wing + Dragon Pulse

Tier 1.5

These are less favorable in their matchups or have weaknesses easily exploited by more Pokemon, as compared to Tier 1. We’ve listed some here.

PokemonProsConsOptimal Moveset
SlowbroTyping is near-perfection for the current metagame; provides resistance to Fire and Water as well as access to STAB Psychic moves.
Psychic moves are resisted only by Psychic and Steel Pokemon in this generation.
Type-disadvantages vs Bug, Electric, Ghost, and Dark are EASILY overcome due to a lack of elite attackers of those types
Favorable matchup vs Vaporeon
Base stats are very good but not elite.
Though no Pokemon is a direct counter, Exeggutor with Solar Beam or Seed Bomb does well.
Confusion + Psychic (or Water Pulse)
ExeggutorNo Pokemon in the game is better against Vaporeon than Exeggutor
Did you catch that Exeggutor is the best available counter to Vaporeon?!
Grass moves are not necessary. (Who attacks into Exeggutor with a Pokemon weak to Grass?)
Confusion + Psychic provides immense STAB type-coverage, and punishes all attackers regardless of type (while still maintaining the favorable matchup vs Vaporeon).
Arcanine can do well against Exeggutors, especially ones with Solar Beam and Seed Bomb.Confusion + Psychic or Seed Bomb (or Solar Beam fine too, especially against Waters)
VaporeonSinglehandedly dictates the gym metagame due to raw popularity and ease to obtain.
Elite base stats and strong defensive typing.
Isn’t too bad at defending against Vaporeon.
Defends very well against anything that doesn’t type-counter it.
Strong psychological deterrent due to community’s perception.
Water Gun is a quite poor attack when considering Gym Defense AI.
Strongly countered by the big grasses: Exeggutor and Venusaur.
Strongly countered by Dragonite.
Soft-countered by Vileplume and Victreebel.
Everyone has practiced dodging Vaporeon's moves.
Water Gun + Water Pulse (Aqua Tail and Hydro Pump also serviceable)

Tier 2

PokemonProsConsOptimal Moveset
VenusaurHard counters Waters including Vaporeon.
Hard counters the top Rock/Ground types Golem and Rhydon.
Efficient moveset and very good base stats handle most attackers that don’t type-counter Venusaur.
Sludge Bomb can be used for better type-coverage vs Venusaur's counters while still maintaining a favorable matchup vs Vaporeon.
Amazingly manages a favorable matchup vs Flareon.

Hard-countered by Dragonite and Charizard.
Soft-countered by Arcanine and Lapras.
Razor Leaf + Sludge Bomb or Petal Blizzard or Solar Beam.
OmastarFantastic typing matches up very well against multiple elite attackers.
Rock Slide’s long duration and low energy requirement allow Omastar to be STAB Rock Sliding almost non-stop during the fight.
Double-resists fire.
Counters Lapras !
Counters Dragonite !
Double-weakness to Grass leaves him punished by Exeggutor, Venusar, Vileplume, and Victreebel.
Low CP and highly-underrated community perception of Omastar may invite more attackers (though this is counterbalanced by the joy you will feel seeing attackers getting beaten back by Omastar)
Water Gun + Rock Slide

Tier 3

PokemonProsConsOptimal Moveset
ArcanineElite base stats featuring a monsterous attack value will crush absolutely any Pokemon that doesn’t resist Fire.
High CP may deter potential attackers.
No Grass Shall Pass.
Fire is a disastrous defensive typing in Pokemon Go.
Gets run over by Vaporeon and the other relevant Water Gun users such as Blastoise, Slowbro, Golduck, Omastar, etc.
Also countered by Rhydon, Golem, and Poliwrath.
Fire Fang + Flamethrower
HypnoBenefits from the largely-unresisted STAB Confusion + Psychic combo.
No elite (or very good) attacker attacks Super-Effectively into Hypno.
Despite winning so many matchups, middling base stats prevent Hypno from dominating these attackers and preserving high health for the next attacking Pokemon.
Low CP and underwhelming community reputation may invite attackers.
Confusion + Psychic and Psyshock
ClefablePound, Zen Headbutt and Dazzling Gleam have consistent coverage over the relevant attackers and are rarely resisted.
Dazzling Gleam's long cooldown and low energy requirement let Clefable spam it almost constantly on defense.
Fairy typing is consistent and difficult to type counter with elite attackers in PoGo.
Relatively strong counter to Dragonite
Base stats are good but not great.
Similarly to Hypno, does not utterly dominate many matchups due to neutral typing.
Pound or Zen Headbutt + Dazzling Gleam

Tier 4

These are only useful in situational gym compositions or in defending against particular higher-tier attackers. 

PokemonOptimal Moveset
CharizardWing Attack + Ember
MulkGunk Shot + Sludge Wave
GolduckWater Gun + Confusion

Tier 5

These have a poor typing or moveset that leaves them easily exploited by common attackers. 

PokemonOptimal Moveset
Golemmud slap + earthquake
Nidoqueenpoison jab + earthquake
Blastoisehydro pump + flash cannon

You can read the full list here. What Pokemon do you mostly use when defending a gym? Let us know in the comments. We’ll keep you updated about more Pokemon GO tips and tricks. Stay tuned to MobiPicker.


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