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Pokémon Go guide: Best movesets and attackers

What should you be focusing on powering up?

Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

Pokémon Go has hundreds of Pokémon, with more being added frequently. Because of this, deciding which Pokémon to power up can be a daunting task. In this Pokémon Go guide, we’ll list out and explain which Pokémon you should power up to use in gyms and raids as attackers.

Pokémon Go attackers and strength

The strongest Pokémon change frequently, since new Pokémon join the game constantly. While Kyogre may be on top for a while, it will only be replaced in time by some other water-type. This doesn’t make Kyogre a bad investment. It’ll still stay strong even with updates, but it just won’t be the strongest. We’ve listed some fairly evergreen Pokémon to train and other patterns in Pokémon that make good training candidates.

For the intense trainers looking for a constantly updated guide of the best Pokémon, GamePress has a well updated and organized list. (We also combined our own info with that to provide information in this guide.) Our list also does not list Mega Evolved Pokémon, as you can only have one at a time, and they’re all quite strong in their respective type.

While we do list lots of powerful Pokémon, you don’t necessarily need any of them. You can take gyms down as long as you’re persistent and you keep battling it. Your Pokémon in raids don’t particularly matter if you have a big enough group to raid with, either.

Here are some Pokémon and archetypes to look out for when powering up attackers:

Starter Pokémon with Community Day moves

The first nine Pokémon listed in a region’s Pokédex are starter Pokémon, because you typically receive one of them at the beginning. Not all of these are super powerful, but each one typically gets a Community Day event, giving it access to a very strong move. Grass-type starter Pokémon learn Frenzy Plant, fire-type starter Pokémon learn Blast Burn, and water-type starter Pokémon learn Hydro Cannon. With these moves, starter Pokémon become very good attackers.

Examples of these Pokémon include:

  • Swampert with Water Gun and Hydro Cannon
  • Blaziken with Fire Spin and Blast Burn
  • Feraligatr with Waterfall and Hydro Cannon
  • Venusaur with Vine Whip and Frenzy Plant
  • Charizard with Fire Spin and Blast Burn

Pseudo-legendary Pokémon

Each region also has a pseudo-legendary Pokémon or two. These Pokémon are not Legendary, but their stats are so high that they rival Legendary Pokémon. They’re so ridiculously strong that they’re definitely worth powering up. Having several of them are excellent together as they use their respective Community Day moves. Each of these Pokémon get a Community Day eventually, so even if they’re hard to find, there will be a day where they spawn in high numbers.

These Pokémon include:

  • Dragonite with Dragon Tail and Outrage
  • Tyranitar with Smack Down and Stone Edge OR Bite and Crunch
  • Metagross with Bullet Punch and Meteor Mash
  • Salamence with Dragon Tail and Outrage
  • Garchomp with Dragon Tail and Outrage OR Mud Shot and Earth Power
  • Hydreigon with Bite and Dark Pulse
  • Goodra with Dragon Breath and Draco Meteor
  • Kommo-o (not yet added in game)
  • Dragapult (not yet added in game)

Legendary Pokémon

A hand holds up an iPhone with Rayquaza’s Pokémon Go stat screen Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

Legendary Pokémon are only available in raids or special events, but they’re often worth powering up. Most of them are powerful (but not all of them).

Powering up Legendary Pokémon requires lots of candy, meaning that you’ll either need to do a ton of raids for the respective Pokémon or use lots of Rare Candy. Either way, you’ll need to be selective with your resources.

These are some of the strongest Legendary Pokémon:

  • Mewtwo with Confusion and Psystrike
  • Rayquaza with Dragon Tail and Outrage
  • Darkrai with Snarl and Shadow Ball or Dark Pulse
  • Kyogre with Waterfall and Surf
  • Origin Forme Giratina with Shadow Claw and Shadow Ball
  • Zekrom with Charge Beam and Wild Charge
  • Reshiram with Fire Fang and Overheat

Shadow Pokémon

Casual players won’t want to invest in Shadow Pokémon, as they require more Stardust to power up. However, Shadow versions of Pokémon make them much stronger. A Shadow version of any of the Pokémon we listed above is essentially the best of the best.

Not every Legendary Pokémon can be a Shadow Pokémon, but even Legendary Pokémon who don’t normally do high damage will shoot up the list of top attackers if you have their Shadow version.

The only way to catch Shadow Pokémon is by taking down Team Go Rocket members and Giovanni.

Examples of powerful Shadow Pokémon include:

  • Shadow Mewtwo with Confusion and Psystrike or Psycho Cut and Shadow Ball
  • Shadow Metagross with Bullet Punch and Meteor Mash
  • Shadow Machamp with Counter and Karate Chop or Dynamic Punch
  • Shadow Salamence with Dragon Tail and Outrage
  • Shadow Raikou with Thunder Shock and Wild Charge
  • Shadow Moltres with Fire Spin and Overheat OR Wing Attack and Sky Attack