How to get the most from Pokemon tier lists

GamePress puts enormous effort into developing rankings and we hope they can be useful to the community. While we try to make our lists representative for most battlers and meta-games, we want to caution readers who blindly follow everything on the lists. This page is meant to highlight some things you may want to keep in mind to get the most from our rankings.

Metagame Factors

GamePress researcher gakushan conducted a study on gym diversity which can be found here based on data from trainer zanillamilla. One finding of this study is that the Pokemon in gyms vary by location. Level 10 gyms in San Francisco had an average of 6.1 Dragonites per gym while level 10 gyms in Santa Clara had an average of 2.6 Dragonites per gym. This means that a good Dragonite counter like Lapras would be far more important in San Francisco than Santa Clara. These two counties are approximately an hour apart when driving so we expect even more variation when comparing locations across the globe.

Play Style

GamePress tests matchups in a variety of attacker dodging scenarios. All are considered in the rankings and we value both time efficiency and HP remaining in matchups. This may not be representative of all players though. Some players may be in locations where Pokestops are plentiful but gym turnover is high, thus favoring a ‘dodge nothing’ play style. Others may be in an opposite situation and prefer dodging both quick moves and charge moves. These differences in play style and preference for time or potion efficiency can affect which Pokemon is best to use. For example, against Blissey, Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch will win the fastest but Tyranitar will win with a greater percentage of its health remaining.


Many people who dodge moves prefer using a fast quick move even though it is not quantitatively better on average. For example, in most matchups where Dragonite dodges charge moves but not quick moves, Dragon Tail outperforms Dragon Breath. But missing a dodge is frustrating so many players prefer Dragon Breath. Even though on average, you would expect to finish battles with slightly lower health and win a few seconds slower, using Dragon Breath tends to be more fun. A similar logic applies to defenders with charge moves that are hard to dodge. We give a little leeway to rating cutoffs for dodgability since these factors can lead to more player mistakes or make players change their dodge behavior which isn't captured in simulations.

Understanding the Lists

Our gym attackers and gym defenders tier lists are widely popular. For these lists, we put rating explanations for each of the Pokemon. Make sure you read these and consider how they apply to your local meta-game and play style. The fact that a Dragonite on defense is countered by Lapras may mean very little in places where most players do not have a high quality Lapras but be a bigger problem in coastal cities with known Lapras spawn points. This also applies to our move ratings on Pokemon pages.

One question we get often is how a lower tiered Pokemon with its best moveset compares to a higher tiered Pokemon with a subpar moveset. These Pokemon are likely used for different purposes so comparisons do not always make sense. However, an approximation you can use is to consider each letter worth a fraction of a tier. For example, if a Pokemon is one full tier above another one, its D moveset probably performs similarly to the lower Pokemon’s A moveset. Any Dragonite should be a better attacker than Pokemon not on our attacker list but the best Vaporeon is marginally better than a Dragonite with Steel Wing. While this generalization can be helpful, we strongly recommend trainers to consider each situation and not apply it too broadly. You can find out more about our rating system from this page.

Another list that many people like on our site is the highest DPS by type. Damage per second is easy for most people to understand but there are a few things to keep in mind. This list does not account for energy gain due to health lost and thus, underweights charge moves relative to real life battles. We also assume neutral damage against a defender with 100 defense which is not what most attackers will be facing. Finally, these rankings only compare Pokemon in the attacker position since defensive AI leads to different DPS numbers. Nevertheless, this list is not a bad place for people to start getting familiar with what attackers are good in the game.

Remember that while we think our tier lists are very good, the best trainers will make adjustments to form strategies for themselves!

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