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Attackers Tier List

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Tier List Overview

The Attackers Tier List aims to tackle the question of where best to spend your resources (Stardust, Rare Candy, and TMs). A rotating cast of legendary Raid Bosses can greatly influence one's perception of the “best” attacker at any given time. The Attackers Tier List highlights the best Pokemon in the game, divided into two distinct sections.

  1. A rotating "Flavor of the Month" with counters not featured in the core list for current [Tier 5] Raid Bosses
  2. A core list of top attackers with good matchups against many Gym defenders and past / future Raid Bosses

While the top attackers may fluctuate with additions of new Pokemon and moves into the game, we anticipate entries on this core list to be highly used in Raid and Gym battles. All trainers should feel confident in powering up and adding these Pokemon to their team.

A number of these Pokemon are legendaries or require exclusive movesets, but if you’re looking to find more accessible attackers, you can check out our Best Attacker by Type: Non-Legendary list.

The best Pokemon to power up will always be the ones immediately useful, so pay attention to Raid Boss rotations! The Flavor of the Month spotlights Pokemon currently useful who aren't on the tier list. They can provide nice alternatives for those without the superior species on the tier list.

Flavor of the Month - October 2019

Giratina - Altered Forme once again leaves the Distortion World in order to terrify the raid scene with its otherworldly presence. Being a Ghost/Dragon type, Dark, Dragon, Ghost, Fairy, and Ice types are particularly effective in putting this reality-altering force down for the count.

Pokemon listed as Flavor of the Month are noted for their viability against the current Tier 5 boss(es). Pokemon listed in Tiers 1-4 will typically be better future investments, though this section provides additional options.

Tier 1

Tier 1 Pokemon are supreme species whose high Attack, great moves, and beneficial typing make them consistently superior attackers. Because of their strength and meta relevance, this group are the best use of resources for PvE in Pokemon GO and make up the core to any well-prepared account.

Machamp

Optimal sets:

  • Counter or Karate Chop (legacy) + Dynamic Punch

Great sets:

  • Counter + Close Combat or Cross Chop

Comments:

Machamp is the game's best Fighting attacker: a type effective against the bulkiest gym defenders, especially Blissey. Not only is it an essential gym attacker, but many Tier 4 raid bosses can be dismantled by Machamp.

Rayquaza

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Outrage


Great sets:

  • Air Slash + Aerial Ace


Comments:

Rayquaza reigns as the king of the Dragons. Dragon moves are seldom resisted, and a large fraction of legendary Pokemon are part Dragon type. It's also a great Flying attacker with its double Flying moveset.

Rampardos

Optimal sets:

  • Smack Down + Rock Slide


Comments:

Rampardos joins Mewtwo and Rayquaza in the echelon of Pokemon with huge Attack stats. With both Smack Down and Rock Slide, it embarrasses Tyranitar and Rhyperior as Rock attackers. It's the most potent attacker into anything weak to Rock, only hampered by bulk comparable to Gengar.

Chandelure

Optimal Sets:

  • Fire Spin + Overheat
  • Hex + Shadow Ball

Comments:

Chandelure does double duty as a Ghost / Fire type. It's essentially even with Giratina-O and Gengar on the Ghost end, while its Fire DPS outpaces Moltres. Chandelure is powerful and versatile, but looking at the rest of the Gen 5 newcomers, don't expect its top position to last.

Tier 1.5

Tier 1.5 Pokemon are among the best, but either they have a slightly less relevant typing, or they are slightly weaker than a Tier 1 attacker. Tier 1.5 Pokemon remain an essential part of any trainer's roster now and for future generations.

Mewtwo

Optimal sets:

  • Confusion + Psystrike (legacy)
  • Psycho Cut or Confusion + Shadow Ball (legacy)

Great sets:

  • Confusion + Psychic
  • Psycho Cut + Ice Beam
  • Psycho Cut + Thunderbolt

Comments:

Mewtwo's massive Attack stat means that it excels at whatever it does. It's the game's top Psychic attacker, which doesn't mean much on its own, but it also ranks among the great Ice, Electric, and Ghost (EX versions only) attackers.

Salamence

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Outrage (legacy)


Great sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Draco Meteor


Comments:

Salamence has higher Attack than Dragonite, and now that it has Outrage too, it's definitively the better Dragon by a narrow margin. Draco Meteor is still pretty good, and ambitious raiders can put both on the same Salamence for extra DPS.

Metagross

Optimal sets:

  • Bullet Punch + Meteor Mash (legacy)

Great sets:

  • Zen Headbutt + Psychic

Comments:

Metagross had the stats and typing to eke its way into the tier list, but it didn't have the moves - until Meteor Mash. It's now an excellent generalist, a top counter to Ice, Rock, and Fairy, and a great choice for mashing through gyms.

Kyogre

Optimal sets:

  • Waterfall + Hydro Pump


Comments:

In specialist matchups, Kyogre is ridiculously far ahead of its competition. Its high Water DPS is complemented by excellent bulk. Expect to keep seeing Kyogre as a top counter to targets weak to Water.

Optimal sets:

  • Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball


Great sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Dragon Pulse

Comments:

Giratina-O's moveset change pre-release rocketed it to the top for countering Psychic and Ghost Pokemon. Don't be fooled by its unimpressive Attack stat - it has more than twice the TDO of legacy Gengar and wins DPS in some matchups.

Tier 2

Like Tier 1.5 was to Tier 1, Tier 2 Pokemon are a small step down in terms of power or meta relevance, but don't let this designation hold you back from powering them up - they are still among the best.

Gengar

Optimal sets:

  • Shadow Claw (legacy) or Lick (legacy) + Shadow Ball

Great sets:

  • Shadow Claw (legacy) or Lick (legacy) + Sludge Bomb
  • Hex or Sucker Punch + Shadow Ball

Comments:

Gengar's DPS is a standout among Psychic and Ghost counters. Its durability was awful and its DPS used to hinge on the legacy Shadow Claw. Changes in late 2018 gave Gengar access to Lick and 25% more bulk, catapulting its viability as a top attacker.

Kingler

Optimal sets:

  • Bubble + Crabhammer

Comments:

It's Crabhammer time! Kingler finds the spotlight after 3 long years with a generous implementation of its signature move. It features slightly higher DPS than Kyogre, but Kyogre's tankiness is usually more valuable.

Raikou

Optimal sets:

  • Thunder Shock + Wild Charge

Great sets:

  • Thunder Shock + Shadow Ball

Comments:

Electric’s favorable type coverage, Raikou's good bulk and damage output, and the frequent appearance of Water types on gym defense make Raikou a top attacker choice. The Shadow Ball set is not bad, but you're better off using a Ghost specialist.

Electivire

Optimal sets:

  • Thunder Shock + Wild Charge


Comments:

Players are quick to write off Raikou as obsolete, with Electivire claiming the Electric DPS throne. But this DPS lead is insignificant, and Raikou is way more durable. It's a matter of preference.

Mamoswine

Optimal sets:

  • Powder Snow + Avalanche


Great sets:

  • Mud Slap + Bulldoze

Comments:

Mamoswine bucked the trend of Ice mediocrity, possessing decent bulk and the highest Attack stat among all Ice types. It's a solid Ground attacker in a pinch, but Ice's offensive coverage is what really puts Mamoswine among the game's top raiders.

Tier 2.5

Tier 2.5 is the lowest tier to still feature top attackers of certain types; they just tend to be less meta relevant in the grand scheme of things. Other entries have niches that render them competitive against top attackers on occasion.

Moltres

Optimal sets:

  • Fire Spin + Overheat
  • Wing Attack + Sky Attack (legacy)

Comments:

Moltres is the top Fire and Flying attacker in the game, achieving effective damage against 5 types. Its only drawback is that Fire and Flying don't cover many Tier 5 bosses.

Dialga

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Breath + Draco Meteor


Great sets:

  • Metal Claw + Iron Head

Comments:

Dialga's TDO against Dragon-type foes makes it a top counter for most legendary bosses. Draco Meteor holds it back, but its unique ability to take neutral damage from Dragon-types is unrivaled.

Palkia

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Draco Meteor


Comments:

Palkia competes with the good Dragon-types like Dragonite and Salamence. Unfortunately, it can't touch Rayquaza's DPS. It would've been a great Water attacker if it had a Water fast move.

Roserade

Optimal sets:

  • Razor Leaf + Grass Knot
  • Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb

Comments:

Roserade was nominally the game's top DPS Grass attacker with Solar Beam, but it later secured that title with the more reliable Grass Knot. It's also the best Poison attacker, for what that's worth.

Excadrill

Optimal Sets:

Mud Slap + Drill Run


Comments:

Drill Run Excadrill brings a sliver of respectability to the Ground type in GO, but it still falls behind attackers of other types without a clear weather boost. Its DPS is notably higher than Groudon and Garchomp.

Tier 3

Tier 3 Pokemon are almost always outclassed by one or more Pokemon in a higher tier, but they're still quite powerful.

Dragonite

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail or Dragon Breath (legacy) + Outrage or Draco Meteor (legacy)

Great sets:

  • Dragon Tail or Dragon Breath (legacy) + Dragon Claw (legacy)

Comments:

With great Dragons trickling onto the tier list, is Dragonite obsolete? Dragonite is still a fantastic attacker, as it doesn't require Rare Candy to power up. Historically, it has been far easier to obtain than the other Dragons on this tier list.

Tyranitar

Optimal sets:

  • Smack Down (legacy) + Stone Edge
  • Bite + Crunch

Comments:

A double Psychic resistance, high all around stats, and Rock and Dark coverage render Tyranitar a tier list mainstay. Though there are now Rock and Dark attackers with higher DPS, Tyranitar stands tall with leads in HP and Defense.

Blaziken

Optimal sets:

  • Fire Spin + Blast Burn (legacy)

Great sets:

  • Counter + Focus Blast
  • Fire Spin + Blaze Kick

Comments:

Blaziken was always decent, but it really gained relevance when it acquired Blast Burn. It battles with Moltres for the title of the superior fire bird, but usually falls short due to lower bulk. Blaziken has a usable Fighting set, but Machamp is just better.

Swampert

Optimal sets:

  • Water Gun + Hydro Cannon (legacy)

Comments:

Swampert's solid stats are backed up by the insane power of Hydro Cannon. It's truly Kyogre-lite, with the added benefit of a Ground typing that adds Electric, Rock, and Poison resistances.

Breloom

Optimal sets:

  • Counter + Dynamic Punch

Great sets:

  • Bullet Seed + Grass Knot (legacy)

Comments:

Breloom always out-DPS'd Machamp, but it was so frail that it had no real advantage. After the November 2018 stat recalculation, Breloom is sometimes the superior option! The addition of Grass Knot to Breloom's movepool also allows it to function as a Grass (heh) cannon. It's a little worse than Sceptile in this function, though.

Garchomp

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Outrage

Great sets:

  • Mud Shot + Earthquake

Comments:

As is, Garchomp does the same job as a handful of other Pokemon, with minor tradeoffs. It's a slightly worse Groudon with better resistances, or it's one of many top tier Dragons in GO.

Tier 3.5

Tier 3.5 Pokemon, in general, are similar to their Tier 3 relatives, with slightly less meta relevance or sheer power.

Zapdos

Optimal sets:

  • Thunder Shock (legacy) + Thunderbolt

Great sets:

  • Charge Beam  + Thunderbolt

Comments:

Zapdos's higher Attack compared to Raikou is more than offset by a worse charged move. Zapdos isn't bad, but it's difficult to justify spending Rare Candy on it when Raikou could get it instead. Thunder Shock closes that gap by a lot, but Zapdos is still not as bulky.

Latios

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw

Great sets:

  • Zen Headbutt + Psychic

Comments:

Latios is good at many things, but doesn't excel. Dragon Claw makes him a user-friendly generalist, but his DPS falls short of the superior Dragons. He can run a solid set, too.

Groudon

Optimal sets:

  • Mud Shot + Earthquake


Comments:

Groudon is a great Ground-type attacker, but Ground-type moves aren't so great, which is why Groudon doesn't find itself higher. Excadrill has made Groudon less valuable.

Weavile

Optimal sets:

  • Ice Shard + Avalanche
  • Snarl + Foul Play

Comments:

Few Pokemon in GO can claim to excel at multiple roles, and Weavile is one of them. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the top DPS in either Ice or Dark (or Ghost), and it's frailer than the top options, thus relegating it to this part of the tier list.

Magnezone

Optimal sets:

  • Spark or Charge Beam + Wild Charge

Comments:

Though not quite matching the DPS of Raikou or Electivire, Magnezone stands out in matchups where it can leverage one of its 12 resistances. It's the only top counter to Water, for example, that resists Blizzard.

Hydreigon

Optimal Sets:

Bite + Dark Pulse


Comments:

Hydreigon slightly outclasses Tyranitar as a Dark attacker, but falls short of the big-name Ghosts and Dragons. It's a good Pokemon, but it didn't make much of a splash on release.

Tier 4

Tier 4 Pokemon are often backup choices. You may find that Tier 4 options save you resources from investing fully into specific teams. Using these Pokemon means you're pulling your weight, though they might require help from higher tier options or an additional trainer. That said, powered up Tier 4 Pokemon will outperform unpowered top tier options.

Venusaur

Optimal sets:

  • Vine Whip + Frenzy Plant (legacy)

Comments

Community Day Venusaur is one of the best Grass attackers in GO, though Roserade has dethroned it after gaining access to Grass Knot. Venusaur's strength is its reliability and better staying power.

Charizard

Optimal sets:

  • Fire Spin + Blast Burn (legacy)

Comments

Charizard lived in Flareon's shadow until its Community Day came along. It's functionally a strictly worse Moltres, but it's a top Fire attacker that doesn't need Rare Candy.

Alakazam

Optimal sets:

  • Confusion or Psycho Cut + Psychic (legacy)

Great sets:

  • Confusion or Psycho Cut + Future Sight
  • Confusion or Psycho Cut + Shadow Ball

Comments:

Alakazam is still a viable attacker with a high DPS, but its niche has virtually disappeared since the release of Psystrike Mewtwo, which puts Alakazam to shame. Still, Alakazam is a worthwhile budget attacker.

Gyarados

Optimal sets:

  • Waterfall + Hydro Pump

Great sets:

  • Dragon Tail (legacy) + Outrage

Comments:

Gyarados is just a good Water attacker not dependent on Rare Candy or Community Day windows. Its Dragon and Dark movesets are usable but subpar. Gyarados's Flying typing helps vs. Ground but hurts vs. Rock.

Feraligatr

Optimal sets:

  • Waterfall + Hydro Cannon (legacy)

Comments:

With its exclusive move Hydro Cannon, Feraligatr lived in the spotlight for a short 6 months before Swampert came along and did everything better.

Espeon

Optimal sets:

  • Confusion + Psychic

Great sets:

  • Confusion + Future Sight
  • Zen Headbutt + Psychic

Comments:

Espeon’s high Attack stat and good movesets make it a great Psychic attacker, useful in the enduring Machamp raid. Its boon is how easy it is to obtain compared to its competitors.

Entei

Optimal sets:

  • Fire Spin or Fire Fang + Overheat

Great sets:

  • Fire Spin or Fire Fang + Flamethrower

Comments:

Entei does less DPS than Moltres, but its bulk allows it to do much more TDO. It also has a viable 2 bar charge move with Flamethrower, which is better for gym attacking.

Sceptile

Optimal sets:

  • Bullet Seed + Frenzy Plant (legacy)


Comments:

Sceptile's Community Day was its time to shine, but the fanfare was muted by the prior addition of Grass Knot to Roserade and Breloom's movesets. It's still near the top of the Grass DPS rankings, though.

Gardevoir

Optimal sets:

  • Charm + Dazzling Gleam

Great sets:

  • Confusion + Psychic

Comments:

Gardevoir was one of many run of the mill Machamp counters before it gained Charm and the buff to Psychic. Now it's also a great counter to Dragon types, although it needs the weather to be cloudy and / or the target to be using Dragon type moves in order to shine.

Hariyama

Optimal sets:

  • Counter + Dynamic Punch


Great sets:

  • Counter + Close Combat


Comments:

Though it loses to Machamp in both DPS and TDO after the November 2018 stat recalculation, Hariyama is a great backup option for Fighting-type damage.

Torterra

Optimal sets:

  • Razor Leaf + Frenzy Plant (legacy)

Comments

Torterra with its Community Day move is comparable to Venusaur. It has better stats but a worse Fast Move, and its defensive typing can hurt more than help.

Honchkrow

Optimal sets:

  • Peck + Sky Attack

Great sets:

  • Snarl + Dark Pulse


Comments:

After gaining Sky Attack, Honchkrow can finally live up to its hype. It's a top attacker into types weak to Flying, though they are less represented in the raid roster. It's a decent Dark attacker, but it's strictly worse than Weavile.

Rhyperior

Optimal sets:

  • Smack Down + Stone Edge
  • Mud Slap + Earthquake

Comments:

Remember when Rhydon was on the attacker tier list? Rhydon remembered, so it evolved and returned with a vengeance. Thankfully it acquired Smack Down, otherwise it would be less notable.

Glaceon

Optimal sets:

  • Frost Breath or Ice Shard + Avalanche

Great sets:

  • Frost Breath or Ice Shard + Ice Beam

Comments:

Glaceon is on par with Weavile as an Ice attacker, putting out nearly as much DPS with significantly better bulk. Like its fellow Eeveelutions, it's overall more accessible than its competition.