With each passing day, Pokemon GO is nearing Gen 3's debut. While we don’t have a confirmed release date for the new Pokemon, it is highly speculated they’ll be joining us between December and February. While the advent of the new generation is exciting, it also makes many trainers cautious of which Pokemon to invest stardust in as they could be replaced by newer ones. Through observation of calculated base stats, simulation data, and historical knowledge of what can change between generation changes, we here at GamePress will offer insight on the matter.
These Pokemon are not only good now but will be the best in their roles in Gen 3.
Throughout the generations of the console games, Tyranitar is one of few Pokemon that have only gotten better with age. Unlike most Pokemon in this article, no one comes close to even threatening this tyrant of Dark-type DPS in Gen 3. In fact, Tyranitar will likely remain uncontested as the supreme Dark-type DPS Pokemon until late Gen 6 once the legendary God of Destruction Yveltal is released; provided of course that Tyranitar doesn’t get its mega evolution by then.
If you want more information on just how ridiculous and powerful Tyranitar is in Pokemon GO, check out this appreciation post on reddit.
The safety in powering up Mewtwo should be self evident, but in case you were uncertain, yes, your investments in Mewtwo will be safe throughout Gen 3 and likely for many generations to come (especially if they add in mega evolutions down the line). Deoxys may come in near the end of Gen 3 to threaten Mewtwo’s supremacy as the top DPS Psychic-type Pokemon, but looking at the base stats on its normal form, Deoxys might be too fragile to rate (and this is all assuming that Niantic doesn’t spot nerf Deoxys’s massive attack stat).
We are lumping these two together because they both compete with each other as the best Electric-type attacker in Pokemon GO. Raikou is currently in the lead with only having 1 weakness and access to the powerful charge move Wild Charge. Zapdos is still in the running with a higher attack stat and several key resistances. Movesets have potential to be rebalanced and tweaked, so while Thundershock and Wild Charge are hot on Raikou, that may not always be the case. Over the generations, which one is number 1 may change, but throughout Gen 3 neither will be number 3.
Less safe, but very useful
These Pokemon are very good options to invest in right now, but come Gen 3 they may have their roles replaced by better options. Emphasis on may.
With the threat of Salamence and 3 Legendary Dragon-type Pokemon, Dragonite has much more to worry about compared to other Pokemon on this list. That said, advising players to cut their losses and no longer power up Dragonite would be disingenuous. Even if Salamence outpaces Dragonite in Dragon-type damage, your current and future investments in Dragonite will likely not be a waste.
Dragonite is currently a top counter to all four tier 5 raids and nearly all raids in general. While Mewtwo currently competes with Dragonite as the best neutral-DPS gym attacker, Dragonite can handle nearly everything Focus Blast and Shadow Ball Mewtwo can with just one moveset. So while Salamence has 14 more base attack and has the potential to be slightly better than Dragonite, Dragonite is still one of the best options in the game right now and will likely continue to be in Gen 3.
As far as the Legendary Dragon-type Pokemon are concerned, they will likely come much later in the game (it took us a year to get Gen 1 Legendaries) and when they do, only Rayquaza is likely to replace Dragonite or Salamence. Latias lacks the attack stat and Latios has similar restrictions as Salamence, having its ability to compete based solely on its moveset.
With the addition of Dynamic Punch in Gen 2, Machamp ascended from zero to hero in Pokemon GO, becoming the definitive answer to the heaviest gym defenders (Blissey, Snorlax, Chansey, Steelix, and Lapras). In fact, its potent Fighting-type DPS has arguably shaped the gym defense meta around its usage, bringing Fighting-type resisting Pokemon with heavily exploitable weaknesses up in value (Dragonite, Gyarados, and the Slowdudes). While the inclusion of Focus Blast Mewtwo has shaken its role as the number 1 Blissey counter, Machamp is essential to easily completing and potentially duoing Tyranitar raids. At this time in Pokemon GO, there are very few Pokemon that we can recommend powering up rather than Machamp, but Gen 3 threatens to bring new rivals.
First and foremost, Blaziken crashes into the scene sporting a base 240 attack stat. While its bulk isn’t as noteworthy, Blaziken does sport a Fire secondary-typing which allows it to take neutral damage from Blissey’s Dazzling Gleam, resist Heavy Slam, and resist Lapras’ Ice-type attacks. While its moveset isn’t certain, considering its mix of Fighting and Fire-type DPS, Blaziken is in a very solid position to take over Machamp’s role as a gym attacker.
Next in line we have Hariyama. While Hariyama doesn’t appear to pose an immediate threat to Machamp with a paltry base 209 attack stat, its 288 stamina and 114 defense suggest it could become the Vaporeon of Fighting-type Pokemon, soaking in all sorts of damage and spitting out charge moves in rapid succession. Like Blaziken however, Hariyama’s viability over Machamp isn’t certain and will likely be contingent on its movepool.
Breloom is also a high attack stat Fighting-type attacker, but we feel it is a bit too fragile to really threaten Machamp; especially when compared to Blaziken and Hariyama.
While these threats to Machamp do exist, Machamp could very easily maintain its position or even rise above where it currently is in the meta come Gen 3. With this in mind, along with its performance in the current meta, it is still highly advisable to power up Machamp. With Focus Blast Mewtwo and the Gen 3 threats, perhaps only consider powering up 2–4 rather than a full team of 6.
The biggest threats to our Rock-type attackers come Gen 3 aren’t Gen 3 Pokemon, they’re Pokemon we already have potentially getting Rock-type quick moves! While Armaldo and Aggron step to the plate as fierce Rock-type attackers, neither contest Golem and Omastar’s seats as the Rock-type MVPs more than Rhydon and Tyranitar do. As with Machamp, it is still advisable to work on having 2–3 for the current raids, but come Gen 3, Tyranitar, Rhydon, Aerodactyl, Kabutops, Armaldo, and Aggron could all easily replace them depending on how movesets change.
In fact, even without a Rock-type quick move, Tyranitar is already on their heels. If you have a 15 attack IV Tyranitar and are level 39 or 40, using either the 3 device or airplane mode exploits, powering up Tyranitar to true level 40 puts it on par with or slightly above both Omastar and Golem for Entei raids. Imagine if Tyranitar had a Rock-type quick move to begin with. Right? And here you thought Dark-type DPS was all it had going for it.
When it comes to taking on Raikou raids, no one is doing it better than Rhydon. With the powerful Steel-types coming in from Gen 3, the most anticipated two taking neutral damage from either Fighting or Fire, Rhydon may even see a rise in value. That is of course unless Swampert, Donphan, or Flygon get better Ground-type movesets!
While neither have nearly the base attack that Rhydon does, all three sport advantages in their typing. Swampert’s Water secondary-typing allows it to resist the new Steel-type Pokemon’s attacks rather than take super effective damage from them. Donphan, being pure Ground-type, takes neutral damage from the Steel-types while maintaining its 2x, immunity tier resistance to Electric-type damage. Speaking of resistance to Electric-types, Flygon goes above and beyond, sporting a 3x resistance with its Dragon secondary-typing!
This doesn’t knock Rhydon out of the races entirely, however. Rhydon is still a huge asset to Raikou and Entei raids, as well as Arcanine solos. While it does have some stiff competition come Gen 3, it still maintains much higher base stats (most importantly its attack). In the event Rhydon does fall from grace on the Ground side of the meta, there is also the possibility of it picking up pace on the Rock side, provided it gets a Rock-type quick move. As with the previous Pokemon in this section, Rhydon is still a sound investment.
Safe, but not as useful
These Pokemon likely won’t be replaced in Gen 3, but it is relatively inadvisable to spend stardust on more than one or two of them to begin with. These Pokemon have unique roles that aren’t covered as well by other Pokemon and are definitely worth powering up, just not as worth the stardust as Dragonite, Tyranitar, or Mewtwo, for example.
Lugia currently has three things going for it right now which heavily suggest powering up 1 or 2 of them: Its propensity to make Machamp raids easy, its total damage output against Focus Blast Mewtwo raids, and its massive bulk making it a solid, item efficent, gym attacker. You would think that this would make Lugia as valuable as Dragonite, but all three of these scenarios only call for using 1–2 Lugia rather than a whole fleet. If you aren’t interested in using Lugia for any of these scenarios, then you don’t really want to power up any.
Will Lugia’s niche be replaced in Gen 3? It isn’t likely. Despite having similar designs, the Lati twins only pack a single resistance to Fighting-type damage (being Dragon/Psychic-type rather than Flying/Pyschic-type) and have significantly less bulk.
Each of these Pokemon are best at what they do and will likely continue to be the best through Gen 3. Gengar will be the best Ghost-type attacker, Scizor and Pinsir compete as the best Bug-type attackers, Gyarados holds a niche as an alternative Dark-type DPS that resists Fighting-type attacks, Vaporeon is the best Water-type attacker (until Kyogre shows up), Entei and Moltres compete as the best Fire-type attackers, and Exeggutor only has Sceptile to worry about as a Grass-type attacker.
While all of these Pokemon do what they do better than any other Pokemon, they are also relatively limited in what they can do. For this reason, even though their roles are likely not going to be replaced in Gen 3, there isn’t really a huge call for powering them up over the above options right now. For example, Exeggutor is extremely useful for Suicune raids, as is Raikou, Zapdos, and Dragonite. Do you want multiple powered up Exeggutor for Suicune? Perhaps if you don’t have enough Raikou, Zapdos, and Dragonite.
An Ice-type recession
While they likely won’t be replaced in their roles come Gen 3, it is currently inadvisable to power up Articuno, Jynx, Cloyster, Piloswine, or Lapras (all relatively tied for “best” as Ice-type attackers). Ice-type attackers had use in the Gen 1 meta, mowing down Dragonite heavy gyms with impunity. In the Gen 2 meta, you’re better off just using Dragonite to beat Dragonite, should Dragonite even appear in a gym to begin with.
While Gen 3 brings in Salamence, Latios, Latias, and Rayquaza as potential new raid bosses, other Pokemon will likely handle these raids more reliably. Latios and Latias are Dragon/Psychic-type Pokemon, making Tyranitar, Mewtwo, the Steel/Psychic-type Pokemon Metagross, and the Psychic/Fairy-type Pokemon Gardevoir more potent counters. While simulation data on Dragonite raids suggest that Ice-types will have the advantage against the Dragon/Flying-type Dragons, our current simulations don’t account for the strongest Fairy-type come Gen 3, Gardevoir.
If you have already invested heavily in Ice-type Pokemon, they will still likely find niche roles as Ice-type attackers in the future, so no need to concern yourself there. If you currently don’t have an Ice-type powered up, there are many better options out there for the dust.
While there are times where having a fully powered-up gym defender will prove useful, such as for active gym defense before a raid or discouraging attackers for a few hours (or minutes depending on your local meta), the current game punishes powering up gym defenders right now more than it rewards it. On top of that, there is no telling how Niantic may change the gym system in the future. For these reasons, it is advised to power up attackers rather than defenders. If there are any defenders to really invest stardust into, it would for sure be Blissey, Snorlax, and Chansey above all others.
While having 6 of the best attackers for each raid is ideal, it is useful to know how many of these large stardust investments will hold out in the next metagame. While Gen 3 is bringing many new faces to both the offensive and defensive meta, it doesn’t appear many of our current Pokemon will outright be replaced. Even if some Pokemon appear to be on thin ice (or an entire type of Pokemon altogether), we really won’t know until Gen 3 drops.
Also, all of these predictions assume Pokemon GO will maintain the same stat calculations and battle system. If Gen 3 brings held items, abilities, or more Legendary restrictions with it, nearly everything would be at risk. If Gen 3 puts restrictions on having same species Pokemon as attackers, then each and every extra one you have powered up could be a waste. These interventions don’t even have to wait for Gen 3, they could happen at anytime. For this reason, above all else, it is mindful to only power up what you need to complete the current objectives in the game. There is no sense in preemptively powering up a Pokemon you might need down the line when you can hold off on spending the stardust until later. So before you work on maxing out your next Tyranitar, for example, take a hard look at your roster and ask yourself what another maxed out Tyranitar will do for you currently in the game.