Attackers Tier List

Attackers Tier List

Tier List Overview

Niantic’s June and July 2017 updates to Pokemon GO brought about 2 major changes to the metagame: gym mechanics were completely overhauled, and raid battles made their first ever appearance in the game. These 2 changes were a seismic shift to the game's reward structure, leaving players to re-evaluate their priorities for powering up Pokemon.

The new reward structure devalues the importance of having optimal gym attackers and emphasizes performance in raids, which yield exclusive items such as Rare Candy and TMs in addition to a chance to capture highly sought after species. This iteration of the tier list reflects that paradigm shift.

Matchup data obtained via Pokebattler simulation were used to create this attacker tier list. Attackers were ranked based on several qualities, in roughly decreasing order of importance:

  • Ability to successfully solo tier 3 raid bosses
  • Ability to maximize damage output vs. tier 4 and 5 raid bosses
  • Performance vs. tier 2 raid bosses
  • Performance vs. common and optimal gym defenders

Each attacker's tier placement approximately represents its yield on stardust investment. For example, powering up a Golem would be useful in many more scenarios than powering up a Gyarados, so Golem is in a higher tier.

Movesets are categorized as "optimal" or "great." A great moveset, in this author's opinion, is not worth spending a TM on to change unless the player doesn't have any better candidates to use a TM on.

Niantic recently revealed (as of June 26, 2017) the imminent release of Moltres and Zapdos, so this tier list takes them into account as raid bosses. However, since they are not yet obtainable, we will not place them on the tier list until they are made available. Stay tuned!

Attackers Tier List
Attackers Tier List
S Tier

These Pokemon are by far the superior attackers in the current metagame. With the exception of Machamp, they have numerous favorable raid matchups and tend to be near optimal in those matchups.

Optimal sets:

  • Bite + Crunch or Stone Edge

Comments:

  • High DPS is complemented by good bulk and double resistance to psychic
  • An anticipated optimal attacker for legendary Pokemon raids
Best Raid Matchups:
Exeggutor
Magmar
Arcanine
Alakazam
Gengar
Charizard
Articuno
Zapdos
Moltres
Lugia

Optimal sets:

  • Dragon Tail or Dragon Breath + Outrage or Hurricane

Great sets:

  • Dragon Tail or Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw

Comments:

  • Superior DPS despite changes to STAB and effective multipliers
Best Raid Matchups:
Muk
Weezing
Electabuzz
Alakazam
Machamp
Gengar
Jolteon
Venusaur
Snorlax
Zapdos
Moltres

Optimal sets:

  • Rock Throw + Stone Edge or Rock Blast
  • Mud Slap or Mud Shot + Earthquake

Great sets:

  • Mud Slap or Mud Shot + Stone Edge

Comments:

  • A flexible rock- and ground-type attacker with a useful niche
  • An anticipated optimal attacker for legendary Pokemon raids
Best Raid Matchups:
Muk
Weezing
Electabuzz
Magmar
Arcanine
Gengar
Jolteon
Flareon
Charizard
Articuno
Zapdos
Moltres

Optimal sets:

  • Counter or Karate Chop + Dynamic Punch

Great sets:

  • Counter + Close Combat or Cross Chop

Comments:

  • An exceptionally high DPS attacker vs. many of the bulkiest gym defenders
Best Raid Matchups:
Electabuzz
Lapras
Snorlax
Tyranitar

Optimal sets:

  • Rock Throw + Rock Slide or Rock Blast

Great sets:

  • Rock Throw + Hydro Pump

Comments:

  • Requires legacy move Rock Throw to be an optimal attacker
  • An anticipated optimal attacker for legendary Pokemon raids
Best Raid Matchups:
Magmar
Arcanine
Flareon
Charizard
Lapras
Articuno
Moltres
Lugia
A Tier

Compared to the Pokemon in S tier, these attackers have fewer optimal matchups, but they are still great investments. Some species are essential attackers that cover S tier's gaps.

Optimal sets:

  • Mud Slap + Earthquake

Great sets:

  • Mud Slap + Stone Edge

Comments:

  • A reliable attacker with good bulk and coveted offensive typing
  • Ground-type attacks suffer from having suboptimal DPS
Best Raid Matchups:
Muk
Weezing
Electabuzz
Magmar
Arcanine
Gengar
Jolteon
Zapdos

Optimal sets:

  • Water Gun + Hydro Pump or Aqua Tail

Comments:

  • Has exceptional bulk to complement high water-type DPS
Best Raid Matchups:
Magmar
Arcanine
Flareon
Charizard
Rhydon
Moltres

Optimal sets:

  • Confusion or Zen Headbutt + Future Sight

Great sets:

  • Confusion + Psybeam
Best Raid Matchups:
Muk
Weezing
Electabuzz
Machamp
Gengar
Venusaur

Optimal sets:

  • Confusion, Extrasensory or Bullet Seed + Solar Beam

Great sets:

  • Confusion or Extrasensory + Psychic
  • Zen Headbutt + Solar Beam

Comments:

  • A flexible grass- and psychic-type attacker with many usable movesets
Best Raid Matchups:
Electabuzz
Machamp
Vaporeon
Jolteon
Venusaur
Blastoise
Rhydon

Optimal sets:

  • Confusion or Psycho Cut + Future Sight

Great sets:

  • Confusion or Psycho Cut + Shadow Ball

Comments:

  • A great attacker option to sweep through weakened gyms
  • Dodge-reliant for maximum effectiveness due to poor bulk
Best Raid Matchups:
Muk
Weezing
Electabuzz
Machamp
Gengar
Venusaur
Snorlax
B Tier

Many of the Pokemon in this tier are valuable in a handful of raid boss counter-matchups.

Optimal sets:

  • Extrasensory + Future Sight

Great sets:

  • Extrasensory + Sky Attack

Comments:

  • A great anchor to solo Machamp and Gengar raids by virtue of massive bulk
Best Raid Matchups:
Muk
Weezing
Machamp
Gengar
Venusaur

Optimal sets:

  • Counter + Close Combat

Comments:

  • Has STAB and type advantage vs. many of the bulkier gym defenders
Best Raid Matchups:
Lapras
Snorlax
Tyranitar

Optimal sets:

  • Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt

Great sets:

  • Thunder Shock + Discharge
Best Raid Matchups:
Vaporeon
Charizard
Blastoise
Lapras
Lugia

Optimal sets:

  • Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball

Great sets:

  • Hex + Shadow Ball

Comments:

  • Requires legacy move Shadow Claw to be an optimal attacker
  • Dodge-reliant to maximize effectiveness due to poor bulk
Best Raid Matchups:
Muk
Exeggutor
Weezing
Electabuzz
Alakazam
Machamp
Gengar
Jolteon
Lugia

Optimal sets:

  • Snarl + Foul Play

Great sets:

  • Snarl + Crunch
Best Raid Matchups:
Exeggutor
Alakazam
Gengar
Lugia
C Tier

Pokemon in this tier have a fairly limited number of niche roles, but they perform well in those roles.

Optimal sets:

  • Bite + Hydro Pump

Great sets:

  • Dragon Tail or Dragon Breath + Hydro Pump
  • Bite + Crunch
Best Raid Matchups:
Magmar
Gengar
Rhydon
Lugia

Optimal sets:

  • Fire Spin + Overheat

Great sets:

  • Fire Spin + Flamethrower or Fire Blast
Best Raid Matchups:
Exeggutor
Electabuzz
Venusaur
Articuno

Optimal sets:

  • Fury Cutter + X-Scissor
Best Raid Matchups:
Exeggutor
Alakazam

Optimal sets:

  • Bug Bite + X-Scissor

Great sets:

  • Fury Cutter + X-Scissor
Best Raid Matchups:
Exeggutor
Alakazam

Optimal sets:

  • Vine Whip or Razor Leaf + Solar Beam

Great sets:

  • Vine Whip or Razor Leaf + Petal Blizzard
Best Raid Matchups:
Vaporeon
Blastoise
Rhydon

Optimal sets:

  • Frost Breath or Confusion + Avalanche or Psyshock
Best Raid Matchups:
Muk
Weezing
Machamp
Venusaur
Lugia

Optimal sets:

  • Rock Smash + Dynamic Punch

Great sets:

  • Bubble + Dynamic Punch
Best Raid Matchups:
Rhydon
Snorlax
Tyranitar

Optimal sets:

  • Razor Leaf + Solar Beam

Great sets:

  • Razor Leaf + Petal Blizzard
Best Raid Matchups:
Vaporeon
Blastoise
Rhydon

Optimal sets:

  • Razor Leaf + Solar Beam or Leaf Blade
Best Raid Matchups:
Vaporeon
Blastoise
Rhydon
Honorable Mentions

You're usually better off powering up something else, but Pokemon in this section are perfectly usable.

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