Pokemon GO is a numbers game when you get down to it. CP values represent your Pokemon’s overall strength, made up of Attack, Defense, and Stamina. But things like type advantages, STAB (same-type attack bonus), and weather boosts bring an extra dynamic to the calculation. This makes CP values less of an indicator of strength and more of a rough guideline.
Succeeding in Pokemon GO means catching and building up some staple Pokemon — the kinds you can use to battle ever more powerful critters hiding in raids. For new and novice players, this means catching intermediaries out in the wild to take on low-tier raids. Then you use those to tackle more difficult challenges. Tagging along in community groups can speed things along, but solo progression is where the challenge lies.
In this newly updated Pokemon GO guide, we’re going to outline the best Pokemon for the job, and the intermediaries new players should catch in the meantime. Let’s take a look!
Mewtwo – Best Generalist Attacker
We’re specifically talking about Shadow Ball Mewtwo. The first EX Raid Pokemon the game ever saw, Mewtwo occasionally comes back to reassert its position as the best general attacker in the game — as long as it comes equipped with Shadow Ball or Psystrike.
Mewtwo can have Ice Beam, Flamethrower, or Thunderbolt to extend its usefulness across the board, but either Shadow Ball or Psystrike Mewtwo is strong enough to be a top choice in just about any raid out there. If you can get a Mewtwo, get a Mewtwo. Heck, get as many as you can! A full team of these will see you far.
Rayquaza – Best Legendary Counter
Here’s another Pokemon you’ll see high on any raid counter list (whether it has a type advantage or not). Rayquaza is the second best generalist in Pokemon GO — a category that’s dominated by like-minded Dragon-types below it.
Rayquaza is strong and fast enough to deal massive chunks of damage to just about any Pokemon. It can quickly get overwhelmed by the Ice-type attackers we typically use to best it in a raid, thanks to its 4x weakness, but it won’t struggle to melt them before it goes down. Rayquaza can be depended on to crush almost any popular raid. If you get one of these early, you’ll be well on your way to soloing some staple raids.
Tyranitar – Best Counter For Meta Raids
The undisputed kind of Mewtwo raids, there’s a reason Tyranitar hides behind four-star raids throughout most of the year. With Smack Down locked to a previous Community Day, Tyranitar likely won’t be your answer to Flying-type Legendary raids anymore, but its Bite/Crunch combo is still one of the most efficient answers to… just about any Psychic-type Pokemon you come across. Mewtwo won’t stand a chance against it in a group setting. Tyranitar can also turn any Ghost-types (like Gengar) into goo in seconds.
Metagross – Best Steel / Intermediary Raid Counter
It took Metagross a Community Day pass to truly shine with Meteor Mash: a move it can no longer naturally learn in Pokemon GO. With it, this creature becomes a generalist almost on par with Rayquaza and Metwo. If you have one or can trade for one, certainly do so! And if you have one from back in the day, make sure you keep it!
But even without Meteor Mash, Metagross’ stats make for a tank with enough staying power to deal some great damage. Psychic as a charge move turns it into one of the best Psychic-type attackers in the game. A Bullet Punch / Flash Cannon combo, on the other hand, can make use of Metagross Steel typing once more to become a clear answer to Rock, Ice, and Fairy-type Pokemon — two of which are types you want to bag to catch more Rayquaza whenever it shows up next.
Raikou – Great Electric-Type Generalist
Once we hit Gen 2, box legendaries made us question the overall usefulness of “trio” Pokemon like the legendary birds and dogs. That’with good reason. Still, of all the dogs, Raikou managed to stand above the rest as a worthwhile Electric-type Pokemon to have on standby. Its single typing makes it a far risky take than Zapdos, and access to Wild Charge boosting its overall DPS above the former Electric ruler of the roost. With Thunder Shock and Wild Charge, Raikou is king.
That being said, Raikou won’t see much action as you accumulate more Pokemon from this list. It will certainly help you defeat and catch a few other legendaries: like Kyogre, Suicune, and the many Flying-types available, though. Raikou can also deal decent generalist damage to anything that doesn’t resist it.
- Alolan Raichu
Machamp – Best T3 Raid Capture
One of my personal favorite times in Pokemon GO, thus far, was training to reliably solo this machine. Machamp has a fast flurry of Fighting-type attacks that can beat down a large amount of Pokemon. It’s even a prime counter against the legendary Darkrai! Due to its availability in three-star raids, building up a team of these isn’t too difficult with the right Psychic-type Pokemon to deal with it, either.
Once you have them, most gym defenders won’t stand a chance and GO Rocket grunts with Snorlax won’t mean much. Machamp will also serve you well in any Tyranitar raids you need to build yourself up a Mewtwo. To build yourself up to this, find yourself an Alakazam, a few Espeons, or some common Flying-types like Noctowl, Staraptor, and Pidgeot.
Rampardos – Best Raw DPS Machine
A relative newcomer to the game, Rampardos rocked in with standout DPS not just among Rock-types, but all Pokemon in Pokemon GO. Just like Mewtwo and Rayquaza, Rampardos can deal a significant amount of damage in most battles. Just don’t expect it to outlive either one! It could easily slide in as an alternative to Tyranitar, due to its natural access to a Smack Down / Rock Slide combo, but that exclusivity and monstrous attack stat affords Rampardos its own spot on the list.
It’s not easy to come by, but Rampardos can fight (and beat) the best of them.
Chandelure – Best New Attacker
The newest entry to the list comes in the form of… a sentient chandelier. Gone are the days of Blast Burn Charizard and Moltres being staple Fire-type attackers. Chandelure can also rival Giratina and Gengar in the Ghost department. With access to a powerful set of moves on both sides of the coin, Chandelure won’t only fill a slot on your lacking teams; it will stand at the top of either one in most cases! Its non-reliance on legacy moves and everyday availability (outside of a Unova Stone) makes it an easier catch than the competition, too.
Mamoswine – Best Dragon Counter
One of the best uses of any Sinnoh Stone you come across, Mamoswine was the Rayquaza counter we needed back in the early Gen 3 days. Piloswine, its previous form, is a common sight in Tier 3 raids (where Machamp will easily best it), as Swinub (base) is always out in the wild. This makes Mamoswine fairly easy to amass if you keep on top of PVP battles for extra Sinnoh Stones.
Powder Snow and Avalanche are the moves you want, in order for Mamoswine to be the prime Dragon counter it’s destined to be. However, Mud Slap and Bulldoze work on Electric-type raids. It won’t stand up against many of the types its Ground attacks would usually beat, due to the weaknesses of Ice, though. That’s why it’s best reserved as an answer to the many powerful Dragons you encounter in top-tier raids!
Roserade – The New Grass/Poison King
Roserade isn’t necessarily something for every player to set their sights on. Yet it’s a relatively easy catch with its base form (Roselia) being a common spawn. Roserade stands atop the podium for a few reasons. It’s a top-tier Grass attacker and one of the best Poison-types in the game. Neither type sees a ton of use in raids, but it will go far against Water, Rock, and even Fairy-type battles going forward. Most Grass-type Pokemon (notably starters) rely on Community Day exclusive moves to shine. Now that they’re gone, any player looking to catch up will want a Roserade or two on their side.
- Alolan Exeggutor