Our tier 4 raid guides assume that participating trainers are best friends with each other for a 10% damage bonus.
As a general rule, Pokemon should be 2.5 levels higher for each level of friendship below best friends. For example, if a guide suggests using level 30 Machamp, then level 35 Machamp are recommended if the trainers are only great friends.
Current Tier 4 Raid Guides
Legacy Tier 4 Raid Guides
|Poliwrath Duo Raid Guide||Very Hard|
|Snorlax Duo Raid Guide||Very Hard|
|Houndoom Duo Raid Guide||Hard|
|Golem Duo Raid Guide||Hard|
|Typhlosion Duo Raid Guide||Hard|
|Shiftry Solo Raid Guide||Hard|
|Togetic Duo Raid Guide||Hard|
|Aggron Duo Raid Guide||Hard|
|Gengar Duo Raid Guide||Intermediate|
|Rhydon Duo Raid Guide||Intermediate|
|Ursaring Duo Raid Guide||Intermediate|
|Alolan Exeggutor Duo Raid Guide||Easy|
|Walrein Duo Raid Guide||Very Hard|
Introduction and overview
By now, soloing tier 3 raids has become a mundane task for experienced players. The next frontier is 2-manning tier 4 raids. Previously, only a handful of tier 4 raids could be reliably 2-manned. However, weather and friendship have pushed all tier 4 raids into 2-man territory, which opens up a whole ‘nother realm of challenges.
Tier 4 bosses have a higher CpM than tier 3 bosses in addition to 2.5x HP. Many require the weather to be on the players’ side for 2-manning to be feasible at all, but some are easy enough for lower leveled players with less optimized teams to attempt in possibly favorable weather.
This guide is intended to help players of all levels and in all locales from rural to urban, though the reality is some of the tougher bosses require two very strong players with high level teams.
General strategic advice
If you’re about to take on your first tier 4 duo, here are some helpful rules of thumb.
Use the empty lobby trick to gain time
This trick skips the GO animation when the raid begins, bringing you directly into battle. Usually you can start ~3 seconds earlier than usual, even more on older phones. See our article to learn how to do the trick.
Dodge charged moves only, if at all
Dodging fast moves costs too much time to be viable. When a guide says that a Pokemon is reliant on dodging, it means dodging charged moves only. Against the toughest tier 4 bosses, dodging is almost not viable at all.
How to avoid triggering the dodge glitch
When a Pokemon dodges an attack that would KO it if undodged, the client and server often disagree on whether the Pokemon really faints. The Pokemon will visually disappear and no longer be able to use charged moves. This doesn’t occur in solo raids. This glitch appears to have been mostly fixed as of May 2019.
Don't leave the battle at the same time
If both combatants retreat to the lobby at the same time (e.g., to revive their team), the raid boss often regains some HP when they rejoin the fight. This can make a duo attempt impossible. It’s not known why this happens - the client and server probably disagree on the amount of damage done.
When battling a raid boss against whom both combatants will likely have to rejoin the fight, stagger your lobbying to prevent boss HP regain. Player A can retreat to the lobby after 2-3 Pokemon faint, while player B waits until after player A rejoins to retreat to the lobby.
Minimize time required to re-enter battle
Some tier 4 bosses require more than one team of 6 Pokemon. Time spent leaving and re-entering battle is lost DPS. Use these tricks to rejoin the fray faster:
Leave battle before wiping out to avoid the “all your Pokemon have fainted” screen.
Use an “A team” battle party if you plan to revive and re-enter with your main team.
Use a “B team” battle party if you only need a little bit of damage.
Delete all Potions and Super Potions in order to use Max Revives without scrolling.
Why duo a tier 4 raid when legendaries exist?
Tier 4 raids offer slightly more rewards than tier 3. If you’re often part of the minority team, it's not uncommon to get more reward bundles from a tier 4 duo than a tier 5 large legendary raid. (Legendary raids provide more XP, though.)
The easiest of the available tier 4 raids give you the potential for a shiny (Absol) or a meta relevant Pokemon (Tyranitar). Even if a level 20 or level 25 Tyranitar doesn’t excite you, the potential for 20 candy might!
Solos are fun and come with a sense of satisfaction, but it is also wonderful to share that accomplishment with a friend! Whether optimizing your teams together or actually fighting the battle, duos provide a wonderful opportunity to play the game with others.
Optimize your hardware
Blame Niantic for this one. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that a lower-end phone will impair your ability to duo tier 4 raids. Easy raids may take more time and hard raids may be outright impossible. Consider these factors when planning a duo:
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.
Optimize your Pokemon: damage breakpoints
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 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 a Pokemon's maximum DPS
Declining to power up beyond the highest breakpoint saves up to 10,000 stardust / power up
Damage breakpoints depend on the attacker species, attack IV, fast move, weather (and other damage multipliers), and the raid boss. GamePress offers an on-site calculator and an off-site spreadsheet to help you find damage breakpoints.
celandro’s Pokebattler website is useful for picking the best potential counters in extreme weather or specific weather conditions. However, GamePress’s GoBattleSim (GBS) can be more versatile for duos. In addition to understanding if you and your teammate have strong enough lineups to beat a boss while attacking together, you can also use GBS to figure out your optimal order.
In addition, GBS is a fantastic way to determine if you will need to re-enter a battle. For example, when battling a Bite + Crunch Tyranitar with level 30 Machamp, your teams will faint and you will need to re-enter the battle sometimes. GBS shows this will happen a large percentage of the time; however, if you add a Hariyama to the end of both lineups, you will need to re-enter much less frequently while still being able to do enough damage to win.