Best Pokémon Go movesets for attack and defense

What are the best for Dragonite, Snorlax, Rhydon, Gyrados, Vapereon, and other high-powered Pokémon? Here’s your list!

While it may seem like Combat Power (CP) or stats (IV) are the most important factors in Pokémon Go, when it comes down to it, everything pales by comparison to . That’s the combination of the quick move and charge move used in Gym battles. They’re generated randomly when you evolve and they can turn your high CP, perfect IV Pokémon into a champion… or a dud. Nothing is as exhilarating or as heartbreaking as the moment your first see your newly evolved Pokémon’s moveset. Get a bad one and it’s time to start over. Get a good one and it’s time to power up.

Here’s a list of the most popular Pokémon used in Gyms today — based on the current game mechanics (meta) that make high CP dominant — and the best movesets for each one!


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Best Pokémon Go movesets cheat sheet

If all you want is a quick reference for the absolute best moveset for the most powerful Pokémon (CP) in their most efficient roles (Attack/) in Pokémon Go as the game stands today, here it is. (For more details and alternate movesets, keep reading below).

Dragonite: Dragon Breath with Dragon Claw (Attack).Snorlax: Zen Headbutt with Hyper Beam (Attack/).Rhydon: Mud Slap with Stone Edge (Attack/Defense).Gyarados: Bite with Hydro Pump (Attack).Vaporeon: Water Gun with Hydro Pump (Attack).Lapras: Ice Shard with Blizzard (Defense).Exeggutor: Zen Headbutt with Solar Beam (Attack).Alakazam: Psycho Cut with Psychic (Attack).Jolteon: Thunder Shock with Thunder or Thunderbolt (Attack).Omastar: Water Gun with Hydro Pump (Attack).Gengar: Shadow Claw with Sludge Bomb (Attack).Venusaur: Vine Whip with Solar Beam or Petal Blizzard (Defense).Golem: Mud Slap with Stone Edge (Attack/Defense).Flareon: Ember with Fire Blast (Attack).Machamp: Karate Chop with Cross Chop (Attack).Arcanine: Fire Fang with Fire Blast (Attack).Pinsir: Fury Cutter with X-Scissor (Attack). Muk: Poison Jab with Gunk Shot or Sludge Wave (Attack).Kingler: Metal Claw with Water Pulse (Attack/Defense).Charizard: Wing Attack with Fire Blast (Attack).Aerodactyl: Bite with Hyper Beam (Attack).Kabutops: Mud Shot with Stone Edge (Attack).Jynx: Frost Breath with Ice Punch (Attack).Slowbro: Confusion with Psychic (Defense).Cloyster: Frost Breath with Blizzard (Attack).Poliwrath: Bubble with Hydro Pump (Attack/Defense).Starmie: Water Gun with Hydro Pump (Attack).Blastoise: Water Gun with Hydro Pump (Attack).Tangela: Vine Whip with Solar Beam (Attack).Chansey: Pound with Hyper Beam (Attack).

Again, many Pokémon have several ideal movesets, so keep reading for more!

Best Pokémon Go movesets for Dragonite

Dragonite has the highest CP in Pokémon Go Gen 1 — until Mewtwo is released, at least! — and that makes it a monster for both attack and defense. (Glass jaw double weakness to Ice moves not withstanding.) To really maximize Dragonite’s potential, though, these are the best movesets:

Attack: Dragon Breath with Dragon Claw. They’re fast, they’re damaging, and they give you STAB.

Defense: Steel Wing with Dragon Pulse. A combo that’s punishing and damaging on Gyms.

Counter: Cloyster or Lapras with Frost Breath and Blizzard. Ice is a Dragonite’s worst enemy.

Best Pokémon Go movesets for Snorlax

Snorlax isn’t just a tank. It’s mega-tank. It can take a beating, can dish out huge amounts of damage, and has no hard counters. Anyone who goes up against a Snorlax is in for a tough battle. That said, some Snorlax are tougher than others. The best movesets are:

Attack: Lick with Body Slam or Hyper Beam. Lick and Body Slam are a super-fast combo while Hyper Beam is devastating.Attack: Zen Headbutt with Hyper Beam. Not as fast but punishing.

Defense: Zen Headbutt with Hyper Beam or Body Slam. Super tough combo while Body Slam is harder to dodge.

Counter: Rhydon with Mud Slap and Stone Edge or Earthquake. But only barely.

Best Pokémon Go movesets for Rhydon

Rhydon received a significant boost in late 2016, with Pokémon Go’s updated formula boosting its potential up above 3000 CP. That’s made it much more popular in Gyms, as has its singular ability to soft counter Snorlax. (Only slightly offset by a double weakness to water and grass.) Here are Rhydon’s best movesets:

Attack: Mud Slap with Stone Edge or Earthquake. Not the fastest but the only Pokémon that has an edge against Snorlax.

Defense: Mud Slap with Stone Edge. Still not the fastest but lots of damage, especially against those who don’t dodge.

Counter: Vaporeon with Water Gun and Hydro Pump or Aqua Tail. They’re plentiful and powerful.

Best Pokémon Go movesets for Gyarados

Gyarados is much more powerful now than it was when Pokémon Go launched, the updated formula shooting it up over 3000 CP. Because Gym position is CP based, that’s made Gyarados a common tenant. (On the negative side, it’s double weak against electric.) It takes 400 Magikarp candy to evolve but, once you do, here are the movesets you want:

Attack: Bite with Hydro Pump. Fast and powerful.

Defense: Bite with Dragon Breath. It’s not ideal but it’s the best defensive moveset a new Gyarados still has available in the game.

Counter: Jolteon with Thunder Shock and Thunder or Thunderbolt. Take water, add a spark, watch it sizzle.

Note: Prior to a mid-2016 update, Gyarados could get Dragon Breath as a quick move. That’s no longer possible but, if you have it with Dragon Pulse or Hydro Bump, it’s also a good attack set and, when paired with the former, also good on defense.

Best Pokémon Go movesets for Vaporeon

Eevee are so common in some areas that almost everyone has access to a high-level Vaporeon or several. It can get to 3000 CP, though barely, but at any significant combat power, it’s a force to be reckoned with. (Even if it’s weak against grass.) Because it’s a split evolution (Rainer trick aside), you won’t always get a Vaporeon, and because it has a lot of possible combos, you won’t always get the best moveset, but these are the ones you want to get:

Attack: Water Gun with Hydro Pump or Aqua Tail. Fast and either devastating or easily doubled-up.

Defense: Water Gun with Water Pulse. Also fast and frequent enough it can force more dodging — or damage.

Counter: Exeggutor with Zen Headbutt and Solar Beam. (I also like Jolteon because it’s also killer against Gyarados.)

Best Pokémon Go movesets for Lapras

Lapras is super-tough, even if it isn’t what it used to be. The late 2016 update skyrocketed other Pokémon ahead of it on the CP charts. But Lapras has an ace-in-the-whole. It’s ice attacks make it a hard counter to the otherwise unassailable Dragonite. It may not be as efficient in that regard as a Cloyster but it’s tougher, and that means it’ll be positioned higher as a defender.

Attack: Frost Breath with Blizzard. You get STAB and you get to shred Dragonite.

Defense: Ice Shard with Blizzard or Ice Beam. So. Much. Ice.’

Counter: Arcanine with Fire Fang and Fire Blast. It’s been weakened but it still burns.

Best Pokémon Go moveset for Exeggutor

Exeggutor has also had its edge taken off by the late 2016 update, though it can still edge over 2900 CP if it has every stat in its favor. Because Gyms are sorted by CP, that’s reduced its popularity as a defender… but not its power. (Even if it is weak against Dragonite and fire types.) That means Exeggutor can still play its role when it has the best movesets:

Attack: Zen Headbutt with Psychic or Solar Beam. Mind powers aren’t well resisted and massive lasers from the sky just hurt.

Defense: Confusion with Psychic or Seed Bomb. Same as above. The top attackers aren’t exactly mental titans.

Counters: Dragonite. It’s tree-stompingly powerful.

Best Pokémon Go moveset for Alakazam

Alakazam was a huge beneficiary of the late 2016 update, effectively becoming the most damaging Pokémon in the game. It can dish out more damage faster than anything else in Gen 1 and few if any common Gym defenders are in any position to resist Alakazam’s physic onslaught. The only things holding it back are sub-2900 max CP and profound lack of HP. In other words, Alakazam can dish it out but can’t really take it. Still, if you’re an artful dodger, here are the ideal movesets:

Attack: Psycho Cut with Psychic. It’s currently the highest damage per second assault in the game.

Defense: Confusion with Psychic. Its low HP make this a best of the worst scenario, though.

Counter: Weak against Bug and Ghost types but any strong Pokémon, including Dragonite and Snorlax, can steamroll through.

Best Pokémon Go moveset for Slowbro

Slowbro has seen better days. Where once it was common on Gyms, since the late 2016 update it’s all but disappeared. That’s due to its CP being significantly lowered, the CP of other, lesser defenders, getting buffed, and how low that now leaves Slowbro on Gyms. Still, for those nostalgic for the good old days and not worried about the new sub-2500 CP cap, here are the best movesets:

Attack: Water Gun with Psychic. Though not an ideal attacker, those are as ideal as it gets.

Defense: Confusion with Psychic. Does damage and very few resist it.

Counter: Exeggutor with Solar Beam or Seed Bomb. Charged Grass beats Slowbro.

Best Pokémon Go moveset for Jolteon

Jolteon normally doesn’t make these types of lists. Thanks to the late 2016 update, though, it’s become more powerful. Add that to the double damage it does against the extremely common — on Gyms! — Gyarados and Jolteon more than earns its place. It’ll even go paw-to-paw against Vaporeon now.

Attack: Thundershock with Thunder or Thuderbolt. Electric isn’t strong in Pokémon Go Gen 1 but these are strong enough.

Defense: Thundershock with Thunderbolt or Discharge. Not a powerful defender so these are best for a bad situation.

Counter: Rhydon with Mud Slap and Earthquake. It’s not just a monster but it takes advantage of Jolteon’s weakness to Ground types.

Best Pokémon Go moveset for Chansey

Consider Chansey a bonus entry. Its staggering amount of HP mean it can be put on a Gym as a way to stall if not time out attackers and prestigers alike. In Gen 2, Chansey will gain an evolution into Blissey and, thanks to the Pokémon Go Valentine’s event, both Chansey and Chansey Candy are more plentiful than ever.

Because it’s such a big, pin wall, it’s a total jerk move to put Chansey on a low-level gym but people are people, so it makes the list.

Attack: Pound with Hyper Beam. Not that many would want to use it.

Defense: Pound with Hyper Beam. But it’s the HP that really does the defending.

Counter: Alakazam with Psycho Cut and Psychic. It’s the damage per second that help, just dodge the Hyper Beam.

Your best Pokémon Go movesets?

These are the best Pokémon Go movesets I’ve seen for the most frequent Gym attackers and defenders, based on the current dominance of CP in the sorting order. But that’s by no means every Pokémon. If you have a favorite, CP-be damned, then let me know what it is and what moveset you is best for it!

If you want to delve more deeply into the subject, I’d also recommend:

The Silph Road: Research and Reddit.GamePress: Attackers Tier List and Defenders Tier List

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