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Attackers Tier List

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Attackers Tier List

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Flavor of the Month - April 2019

The Ghost-Dragon Giratina is back from the Distortion World this month, with a twist. After a weekend of Altered Forme raids, its Origin Forme will join us in Raid Battles for the first time. Both are weak to Dragon, Ghost, Ice, Dark, and Fairy-type Pokemon including our last 4 Legendary raid bosses. Dragon and Ghost-types offer the highest DPS though Giratina can hit them back with the same type of moves. Against Deoxys Defense Forme, you’ll also want Dark and Ghost-type counters.

Tier List Pokemon with Relevant Moves

(NOTE: These Pokemon have additional moves unlisted on our Attackers Tier List that are Super Effective against the current Tier 5 Legendary. While these moves are suboptimal for the listed Pokemon, these moves put them on par with the other Flavors of the Month.)

Tier List Overview

The Pokemon Company declared a yearlong celebration of legendary Pokemon for 2018, and it seems clear the Tier 5 raid train will continue to chug along. A rotating cast of legendary raid bosses can cause big changes in a list of what’s considered a “best” attacker at any one time. In this update to the Attacker Tier List, we’re accounting for Tier 5 raid boss rotations by having a 2-part list:

  1. A list of "core" top attackers with good matchups against many gym defenders and raid bosses, and
  2. A rotating group of counters for current [Tier 5] raid bosses ("flavors of the month") that are not featured in the core list

We anticipate that the “core” attackers on this list will be highly used in Raid battles throughout. Due to their strong fundamentals, they'll be good investments, even though their relative positions may shift over time as new Pokemon and new moves are unveiled.

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

Tier List

Tier 1

Tier 1.5

Tier 2

Tier 3

Tier 4

Tier 1

Tier 1 Pokemon are supreme species whose high Attack, great moves, and advantageous typing make them consistently superior attackers. These are amazing generalists and some of the safest investments with regards to future Pokemon.

Optimal sets:

  • Counter or Karate Chop (legacy) + Dynamic Punch

Great sets:

  • Counter + Close Combat or Cross Chop

Comments:

Machamp is the best Fighting attacker in the game: 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.

Optimal sets:

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

Great sets:

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

Comments:

Shadow Ball's neutral coverage coupled with Mewtwo's huge Attack makes it the 2nd best generalist. For those with a glut of Charged TMs who are using non-EX Mewtwo, they can leverage Mewtwo's current charged moves to best suit the occasion.

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Outrage


Great sets:

  • Air Slash + Aerial Ace


Comments:

Rayquaza's neutral DPS is the highest in the game, meaning it is always a great combatant. It rarely hits for effective damage, but Dragon moves are seldom resisted. Rayquaza is also a top Flying attacker with its double Flying moveset.

Tier 1.5

Tier 1.5 Pokemon are as strong as Tier 1 but are not as unanimously useful. They likely will also be the best at what they do in the coming generations.

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 top-notch, making it a standout among Psychic and Ghost counters. Its durability was awful and 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.

Optimal sets:

  • Fire Spin + Overheat or Sky Attack (legacy)

Comments:

Moltres is the top Fire attacker in the game, exercising double resistances to Grass and Bug. It can make use of its legacy Sky Attack, which provides utility against Fighting-types and is overall better against neutral targets.

Optimal sets:

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

Comments:

A double resistance to Psychic, high Attack stat, great bulk, and Dark and Rock coverage render Tyranitar a continual great investment. Though there are Rock and Dark attackers with higher DPS on the horizon, Tyranitar stands tall with big leads in HP and Defense.

Optimal sets:

  • Bullet Punch + Meteor Mash (legacy)

Great sets:

  • Zen Headbutt + Meteor Mash (legacy)

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 the game's third best generalist, a top counter to Ice, Rock, and Fairy, and a great choice for mashing through gyms.

Optimal sets:

  • Waterfall + Hydro Pump


Comments:

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

Optimal sets:

  • Powder Snow + Avalanche

  • Mud Slap + Bulldoze


Comments:

Mamoswine has arrived and with it, the top Ice-type DPS is finally in the game. Sporting decent bulk and the highest Atk stat among all Ice-types, Mamoswine is also a great Ground-type attacker. Ice-types dominance over Dragon-types is what puts Mamo in a high tier, and the less useful Ground-type moveset is icing on the cake. 

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.

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Dragon Pulse

  • Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball


Comments:

Giratina-O's amazing moveset change pre-release makes it a top choice for taking down Psychic and Ghost-type Pokemon. With damage a little lower than legacy Gengar but more than twice the TDO, this version of Giratina also isn't useless as a Dragon-type counter as well. 

Tier 2

Tier 2 Pokemon are frequently top attackers in many matchups and will likely be relevant for generations to come, but they aren't as dominant as Tier 1 Pokemon.

Optimal sets:

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

Great sets:

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

Comments:

The descent of Rayquaza created debate on the future on Dragonite. It's obsolete, they say! But make no mistake, 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.

Optimal sets:

  • Thunder Shock + Wild Charge

Comments:

Electric’s favorable type coverage, Raikou's good bulk and damage output, and the frequent appearance of Water-types on best defender lists make Raikou a top attacker choice.

Optimal sets:

  • Bullet Seed + Frenzy Plant


Comments:

Sceptile's Community Day has come and it has risen to the top of the Grass-type DPS charts. Although, Roserade and Breloom's unexpected Grass Knot additions make it somewhat obsolete.

Optimal sets:

  • Counter + Dynamic Punch

  • Bullet Seed + Grass Knot (legacy)


Comments:

Breloom always slightly 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.

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Draco Meteor


Comments:

Salamence has a higher Attack and more peak DPS than Dragonite, but it’s hampered by Draco Meteor's 1 bar nature, sometimes leading to wasted energy and DPS. It can flex as a Fire or Water attacker, which is its boon over Dragonite.

Optimal sets:

  • Mud Shot + Earthquake


Great sets:

  • Mud Shot + Solar Beam


Comments:

Groudon is the best Ground-type attacker, but is also a great "Grass"-type attacker with Solar Beam. Ground-type moves aren't so great, which is why Groudon doesn't find itself higher.

Optimal sets:

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

Comments:

Roserade was nominally the highest DPS Grass attacker in the game 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.

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.

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 really a matter of preference.

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Draco Meteor


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.

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Draco Meteor


Comments:

Palkia's not-so-great moves allow it to compete with the good Dragon-types like Dragonite and Salamence. Unfortunately, it can't touch Rayquaza's DPS. It would be a great Water attacker, if it had a Water fast move.

Tier 3

Tier 3 Pokemon earn their place in raid and gym teams, but they're not the cream of the crop. Expect them to remain competitive in the future, though maybe obsoleted.

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 compared to its competition is reliability and better staying power.

Optimal sets:

  • Fire Spin + Blast Burn (legacy)

Comments

Charizard lived in Flareon's shadow until its Community Day came along, before which it was projected to be better than Moltres. A last minute Blast Burn nerf quelled its ambitions, but it's a top Fire attacker that doesn't need Rare Candy.

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.

Optimal sets:

  • Waterfall + Hydro Pump

Great sets:

  • Dragon Tail (legacy) + Outrage

Comments:

Gyarados plays second fiddle to Kyogre as a Water attacker, but it's not dependent on Rare Candy. It has Dragon and Dark movesets that are usable but subpar. Gyarados's Flying typing helps vs. Ground but hurts vs. Rock.

Optimal sets:

  • Waterfall + Hydro Cannon (legacy)

Comments:

With its exclusive move Hydro Cannon, Feraligatr is now the top non-legendary Water attacker, featuring slightly less DPS than Kyogre. Gyarados is not obsolete, though, as its Flying typing provides large advantages in some matchups.

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.

Optimal sets:

  • Confusion or Psycho Cut + Future Sight

Great sets:

  • Confusion or Psycho Cut + Shadow Ball

Comments:

Alakazam is still a viable attacker with a high DPS, but its niche has shrunk given competition from Espeon. For the people that have it, EX Mewtwo is strictly better.

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw

Great sets:

  • Dragon Breath + Solar Beam
  • 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 Dragon-types. He can run Psychic and Grass sets that are viable in solo raids, but there are better options.

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.

Optimal sets:

  • Ice Shard + Avalanche
  • Feint Attack + Foul Play

Comments:

For the time being, Weavile is the highest DPS Ice and Dark attacker in the game, which sounds great. Practically, as a Dark attacker, Gengar and Tyranitar are better in some way, and Weavile's Ice dominance will decline throughout Gen 4.

Tier 4

Tier 4 Pokemon have usable niches, but at this point there are better options. They are often second best or backup options.

Optimal sets:

  • Confusion (legacy) or Bullet Seed + Solar Beam

Great sets:

  • Confusion (legacy) or Extrasensory + Psychic

Comments:

Exeggutor’s versatile role as both an elite Grass attacker and a strong Psychic attacker keep it on the list. As time goes by, it faces more and more competition on both fronts.

Optimal sets:

  • Bullet Seed + Solar Beam

Great sets:

  • Dragon Tail + Dragon Pulse

Comments:

Alolan Exeggutor's Grass / Dragon typing gives it a double resistance to Water and neutrality to Fire. Alolan Exeggutor does better in those matchups. As a Dragon attacker, it's outclassed by everything above it, but it can do in a pinch. 

Optimal sets:

  • Fire Spin + Overheat

Great sets:

  • Fire Spin + Flamethrower

Comments:

When faced with a tough raid boss weak to Fire, Flareon faithfully follows its trainer to battle - no legendary raids, no research breakthroughs, and no Community Day shenanigans required.

Optimal sets:

  • Confusion or Zen Headbutt + Future Sight

Great sets:

  • Confusion + Psybeam

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 Alakazam, Gardevoir, and Mewtwo.

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.

Optimal sets:

  • Spark + Wild Charge

Comments

Disregarding how difficult it is to obtain, Luxray is a great Electric attacker. Its bulk isn't near the legendary Raikou or even Zapdos, however.

Optimal sets:

  • Vine Whip + Solar Beam

Comments

Tangrowth is one of those Pokemon that wishes it had its pre-evolution's moves. Why can't a mass of vines learn Power Whip? Anyway, the Grass attacker market is saturated, and Tangrowth's strength is its bulk, not DPS.