Gym Defenders Tier List - Pokemon GO!

Gym Defenders Tier List

These Pokemon are elite defenders in essentially all situations, and carry favorable matchups against the widest possible range of attackers. If they have a weakness, it is exploitable only by a very small number of relatively rare Pokemon.



Gym Defenders Tier 1

These Pokemon are elite defenders in essentially all situations, and carry favorable matchups against the widest possible range of attackers. If they have a weakness, it is exploitable only by a very small number of relatively rare Pokemon.

Pokemon Pros and Cons Optimal Moveset

Snorlax
Pros
  • Consistently strong defense vs any attacker.
  • Strengthens any gym, regardless of region or defenders already present.
  • Presence deters attackers.
Cons
  • -

Lapras
Pros
  • Water/Ice typing is synergistic; powerful STAB Ice moves protect Water's weaknesses.
  • Matches up favorably against a huge array of popular attackers.
  • Elite base stats.
  • Incredibly direct Dragonite counter.
Cons
  • Arcanine can do relatively well against, but not crush, Lapras.

Dragonite
Pros
  • Very strong defender against Vaporeon.
  • Highest base stats of any Pokemon currently available.
  • Incredibly high CP adds a psychological deterrent.
  • Resistance to Fire, Water, and double resistance to Grass cover most of the popular attackers.
Cons
  • Double weakness to Ice leaves him highly vulnerable to Lapras and to a lesser extent Dewgong and Cloyster.

Gym Attackers Tier 1.5

These Pokemon are the best defenders of their type, and carry a similar number of favorable matchups as the Top Tiers. They defend well against many of the most common high-quality Pokemon. However, they either are less overwhelmingly dominant in their favorable matchups, or they have weaknesses that are exploitable by multiple species of more easily attained Pokemon.

Pokemon Pros and Cons Optimal Moveset

Slowbro
Pros
  • Typing is near-perfection for the current metagame; provides resistance to Fire and Water as well as access to STAB Psychic moves.
  • Psychic moves are resisted only by Psychic and Steel Pokemon in this generation.
  • Type-disadvantages vs Bug, Electric, Ghost, and Dark are EASILY overcome due to a lack of elite attackers of those types
  • Favorable matchup vs Vaporeon
Cons
  • Base stats are very good but not elite.
  • Though no Pokemon is a direct counter, Exeggutor with Solar Beam or Seed Bomb does well.

Poliwrath
Pros
  • Poliwrath matches up favorably against approximately as many Pokemon as the Tier 1 Pokemon do.
  • Bubble is awkward to dodge and is the strongest basic attack in the game.
  • Mathematically superior to Vaporeon on defense, also matches up favorably vs attacking Vaporeon.
  • Fighting type provides helpful resistance to Rock.
  • Ice Punch, though suboptimal in most matchups, is the best against Grass-type attackers who are likely to be used against Poliwrath.
Cons
  • Unfavorable matchups vs the big grass types, especially Venusaur and the relatively popular Exeggutor, keep him out of Tier 1.

Exeggutor
Pros
  • No Pokemon in the game is better against Vaporeon than Exeggutor
  • Did you catch that Exeggutor is the best available counter to Vaporeon?!
  • Grass moves are not necessary. (Who attacks into Exeggutor with a Pokemon weak to Grass?)
  • Confusion + Psychic provides immense STAB type-coverage, and punishes all attackers regardless of type (while still maintaining the favorable matchup vs Vaporeon).
Cons
  • Arcanine can do well against Exeggutors, especially ones with Solar Beam and Seed Bomb.

Wigglytuff
Pros
  • Normal/Fairy type is very consistent and impossible to efficiently exploit with an elite attacker.
  • Extremely CP-efficient defender.
  • Counters Dragonite.
  • Essentially nothing hard counters Wigglytuff.
  • Mini-Snorlax.
Cons
  • Low CP value may invite more attempts at your gym.
  • Soft-countered by Nidoqueen and Muk.

Vaporeon
Pros
  • Singlehandedly dictates the gym metagame due to raw popularity and ease to obtain.
  • Elite base stats and strong defensive typing.
  • Isn’t too bad at defending against Vaporeon.
  • Defends very well against anything that doesn’t type-counter it.
  • Strong psychological deterrent due to community’s perception.
Cons
  • Water Gun is a quite poor attack when considering Gym Defense AI.
  • Strongly countered by the big grasses: Exeggutor and Venusaur.
  • Strongly countered by Dragonite.
  • Soft-countered by Vileplume and Victreebel.
  • Everyone has practiced dodging Vaporeon's moves.

Gym Attackers Tier 2

These Pokemon are high-quality gym defenders with a plentiful array of favorable matchups. However, they are not as dominant as another Pokemon of their type, and/or they have well-known and readily available counters.

Pokemon Pros and Cons Optimal Moveset

Venusaur
Pros
  • Hard counters Waters including Vaporeon.
  • Hard counters the top Rock/Ground types Golem and Rhydon.
  • Efficient moveset and very good base stats handle most attackers that don’t type-counter Venusaur.
  • Sludge Bomb can be used for better type-coverage vs Venusaur's counters while still maintaining a favorable matchup vs Vaporeon.
  • Amazingly manages a favorable matchup vs Flareon.
Cons
  • Hard-countered by Dragonite and Charizard.
  • Soft-countered by Arcanine and Lapras.

Omastar
Pros
  • Fantastic typing matches up very well against multiple elite attackers.
  • Rock Slide’s long duration and low energy requirement allow Omastar to be STAB Rock Sliding almost non-stop during the fight.
  • Double-resists fire.
  • Counters Lapras.
  • Counters Dragonite.
Cons
  • Double-weakness to Grass leaves him punished by Exeggutor, Venusar, Vileplume, and Victreebel.
  • Low CP and highly-underrated community perception of Omastar may invite more attackers (though this is counterbalanced by the joy you will feel seeing attackers getting beaten back by Omastar)

Gym Attackers Tier 3

These Pokemon are solid gym defenders but they posses at least one critical flaw or broad weakness. They maintain the ability to optimally fill a defensive role in the right gym composition.

Pokemon Pros and Cons Optimal Moveset

Arcanine
Pros
  • Elite base stats featuring a monsterous attack value will crush absolutely any Pokemon that doesn’t resist Fire.
  • High CP may deter potential attackers.
  • No Grass Shall Pass.
Cons
  • Fire is a disastrous defensive typing in Pokemon Go.
  • Gets run over by Vaporeon and the other relevant Water Gun users such as Blastoise, Slowbro, Golduck, Omastar, etc.
  • Also countered by Rhydon, Golem, and Poliwrath.

Victreebel
Pros
  • See Venusaur, just ever so slightly weaker. Victreebel does exactly what Venusaur does just a little bit worse due to her lowered effective health. Victreebel packs more of a punch than Venusaur, but not quite enough to make up for the lowered tankiness.
  • Crushes Vaporeon.
  • Manages a barely positive matchup vs Flareon.
Cons
  • Hard-countered by Dragonite and Charizard.
  • Countered by Arcanine and Lapras

Vileplume
Pros
  • See Venusaur (minus the Sludge Bomb comment). Vileplume does exactly what Venusaur does just a little bit worse due to her lowered effective health that is not quite compensated strongly enough by her slightly increased attack stat.
  • Crushes Vaporeon.
  • Manages a barely positive matchup vs Flareon.
Cons
  • Hard-countered by Dragonite and Charizard.
  • Countered by Arcanine and Lapras.

Hypno
Pros
  • Benefits from the largely-unresisted STAB Confusion + Psychic combo.
  • No elite (or very good) attacker attacks Super-Effectively into Hypno.
Cons
  • Despite winning so many matchups, middling base stats prevent Hypno from dominating these attackers and preserving high health for the next attacking Pokemon.
  • Low CP and underwhelming community reputation may invite attackers.

Clefable
Pros
  • Pound, Zen Headbutt and Dazzling Gleam have consistent coverage over the relevant attackers and are rarely resisted.
  • Dazzling Gleam's long cooldown and low energy requirement let Clefable spam it almost constantly on defense.
  • Fairy typing is consistent and difficult to type counter with elite attackers in PoGo.
  • Relatively strong counter to Dragonite.
Cons
  • Base stats are good but not great.
  • Similarly to Hypno, does not utterly dominate many matchups due to neutral typing.

Gym Attackers Tier 4

These Pokemon are niche-fillers with at least one very important advantage or favorable matchup. They are only useful in situational gym compositions or in defending against particular higher-tier attackers. Their job is always done more optimally or in a less exploitable way by a different Pokemon in a higher tier.

ID Pokemon Max CP Att/Def/Sta Moveset
6
Charizard
2,602 212/182/156
89
Muk
2,603 180/188/210
55
Golduck
2,387 194/176/160
130
Gyarados
2,689 192/196/190
87
Dewgong
2,146 156/192/180
115
Kangaskhan
2,043 142/178/210

Gym Attackers Tier 5

These are Pokemon with some good matchups and base stats but have a poor typing or moveset that leaves them easily exploited by common attackers. They are still mentioned here as being generally worthwhile and superior to unlisted Pokemon.

ID Pokemon Max CP Att/Def/Sta Moveset
76
Golem
2,303 176/198/160
112
Rhydon
2,243 166/160/210
9
Blastoise
2,542 186/222/158
73
Tentacruel
2,220 170/196/160
31
Nidoqueen
2,485 184/190/180
34
Nidoking
2,475 204/170/162