The raid mechanic introduced one of the few challenges available to trainers in Pokemon GO: soloing tier 3 raids. Of the 7 available tier 3 raid bosses, 5 can be comfortably defeated with a lone trainer using an optimized team.
Soloing a tier 3 raid requires knowledge of which Pokemon to use and how to best use them in battle to maximize their contribution. A trainer’s goals will also vary based on their trainer level and accessibility to in-game resources. This guide is intended to help players of all levels and in all environments.
November 4, 2017 raid roster update
Of the 7 original tier 3 raid bosses, 4 were phased out on November 4, 2017 and replaced with 4 newcomers.
Tier 3 raids yield fewer rewards compared to optimized tier 5 legendary raids: the item bundles are both smaller and lower in quantity, and the XP yield is 60% lower. However, tier 3 rewards are a big step up from tier 2 rewards.
Consider those times when you camp out at a legendary raid, waiting 30 minutes for enough players to show up - or worse, you wait only for them to flake. This depends on where you are and how well-connected you are to local players, but the point is that the independence from soloing tier 3 raids is a great boon.
As one of the few challenges remaining in Pokemon GO, soloing tier 3 raids can inject some excitement into a game made stale by casual-friendly mechanics changes to the gym system.
Finally, many tier 3 bosses are excellent attackers in their own right, so getting opportunities to catch them is a bonus.
Blame Niantic for this one. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that a lower-end phone will impair your ability to solo tier 3 raids. It will increase the minimum requirements for soloing easy raids and may render soloing hard raids impossible. Here are several big factors to consider when planning or executing a solo:
iOS > Android, generally speaking. While Android performance has improved in recent updates, playing on iOS will give the player a few seconds extra to work with.
Low system RAM will cost time. Pokemon GO encounters frequent lag on 2 GB RAM phones, whereas 4 GB RAM will yield a smoother experience. Restart Pokemon GO prior to each solo attempt and kill all unnecessary background apps.
Keep the phone cool. Pokemon GO is notorious for rapidly heating up phones, and phones perform worse when hot.
Due to Pokemon GO’s damage formula, damage done is rounded down to the nearest integer. Because fast moves do small amounts of damage, they tend to get rounded down to the same number… until a Pokemon reaches a certain attack stat in a particular matchup, where it jumps up +1. This is called a damage breakpoint.
Fast move damage breakpoints are important because they represent thresholds where a single power up yields a 5% or more increase in DPS. Power ups beyond a Pokemon’s highest damage breakpoint have little benefit. The two big conclusions to be drawn from this are:
Powering up to the highest breakpoint achieves nearly 100% of maximum DPS
Declining power ups after the highest breakpoint saves myriad stardust with minimal penalty, avoiding costs up to 10,000 stardust per power up
It is critical to note that damage breakpoints depend on the attacker species, attack IV, fast move, and the raid boss. Tools exist to calculate damage breakpoints. Here is an easy-to-use Google Spreadsheet that I created:
celandro’s Pokebattler website is great for assessing your readiness to solo tier 3 raids. It provides the theoretical best counters and also recommends your best attackers once entered into your Pokemon box. The website can be daunting to first-time users. RyanSwag made a YouTube video guide for using Pokebattler to help solo tier 3 raids: