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Best Pokémon Go movesets for attack and defense — Updated for Raids

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Best Pokémon Go movesets for attack and defense — Updated for Raids

What are the best movesets for Tyranitar, Dragonite, Snorlax, Rhydon, Gyarados, Blissey, Vapereon, Machamp, and other high-powered Pokémon? Here's your updated list!

While it may seem like Combat Power (CP) or stats (IV) are the most important factors in Pokémon Go, movesets play an incredibly important role as well. That's the combination of the quick move and charge move your Pokémon uses in Gym battles.

The wonderful, terrible thing about movesets is that they're utterly random. If you catch or hatch a Snorlax, that's it. But if you evolve a Tryanitar, Dragonite, Gyarados, Blissey, etc. they're determined utterly at random when you hit the evolve button. That means your perfect IV Dragonair can become a less-than-ideal Dragonite with just one roll of the server-side dive.

The good news is that, with the introdcution of Technical Machines (TMs), you can now re-roll your old, terrible movesets and try for new, great ones.

How do you change movesets in Pokémon Go? With Technical Machines (TM)!

But how do you know which movesets will help your Pokémon decimate Gyms and which will make every fight a drag? Here's the newly updated list!


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What are the 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/Defense) in Pokémon Go as the game stands today, here it is. (For more details and alternate movesets, keep reading below).

  1. Tyranitar: Bite with Crunch / Iron Tail with Crunch
  2. Dragonite: Dragon Tail with Outrage.
  3. Snorlax: Zen Headbutt with Hyper Beam. (Legacy: Zen Headbutt with Body Slam)
  4. Rhydon: Mud Slap with Stone Edge.
  5. Gyarados: Dragon Tail with Hydro Pump or Outrage.
  6. Blissey: Zen Headbutt Hyper Beam / Pound with Dazzling Gleam (or, seriously, anything).
  7. Vaporeon: Water Gun with Hydro Pump / Water Gun with Aqua Tail.
  8. Donphan: Counter with Earthquake / Counter with Rough Play.
  9. Espeon: Confusion with Future Sight / Confusion or Zen Headbutt with Psybeam.
  10. Heracross: Counter with Close Combat / Struggle Bug with Close Combat
  11. Golem: Rock Throw with Stone Edge.
  12. Exeggutor: Extrasensory with Solar Beam.
  13. Flareon: Fire Spin with Overheat / Fire Sping with Flame Thrower
  14. Machamp: Counter with Dynamic Punch.
  15. Alakazam: Psycho Cut or Confusion with Future Sight / Confusion with Shadow Ball (Legacy: Dazzling Gleam).
  16. Arcanine: Fire Fang with Fire Blast / Snarl with Fire Blast
  17. Scizor: Bullet Punch with Iron Head
  18. Pinser: Bug Bite with X-Scissor / Rock Smash with Scissor 19: Usaring: Counter with Hyper Beam
  19. Jolteon: Thunder Shock with Thunderbolt / Volt Switch with Discharge or Thunderbolt.
  20. Feraligatr: Water Gun with Hydro Pump / Water Gun with Ice Beam
  21. Muk: Poison Jab with Gunk Shot
  22. Amphoros: Charge Beam with Zap Cannon / Volt Switch with Zap Cannon
  23. Kingler: Bubble with Water Pulse
  24. Charizard: Fire Sping with Overheat
  25. Typhlosion: Ember with Overheat 27: Omastar: Water Gun with Rock Blast (Legacy: Rock Throw with Rock Slide)
  26. Gengar: Hex with Shadowball (Legacy: Shadow Claw with Shadow Ball) / Hex with Sludge Bomb (Legacy: Shadow Claw with Sludge Bomb)
  27. Aerodactyl: Steel Wing with Hyper Beam / Steel Wing with Ancient Power
  28. Lapras: Frost Breath with Blizzard / (Legacy: Ice Shard with Ice Beam).

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

What if you don't have the best movesets?

Movesets are like the lottery. Whether you catch, hatch, or evolve, you never know what you're going to get. Some Pokémon have upwards of six or more moveset combinations, some amazingly good, others terrible.

If you have an ideal moveset, it's great. You'll do the most damage in the least amount of time while maintaining the best ability to dodge. If you don't, not all is lost. You could still have the same type of moves, only less damaging or slower.

For example, Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch is one of the best attackers in the game. Machamp with Counter and Close Combat, though, is a fairly close second. Dragon Tail Outrage is the best for Dragonite, but Dragon Tail Hurricane isn't far behind.

New with the June 2017 Raid Battle system, you can even get Technical Machines to change your movesets. Two of the possible rewards for beating Raid Bosses are Quick TM and Fast TM, which can be used to change Quick Moves and Charge Moves respectively.

How do you change movesets in Pokémon Go? With Technical Machines (TM)!

What are the best Pokémon Go movesets for Tyranitar?

Tyranitar once soared to the top of Gyms, even higher than Dragonite, based on its matchless CP. Now that any CP over 3000 is actively punished in Gyms, Tyranitar and it's severe weakness to Fighting moves has made it less of a defender and more of an attacker. You can still put a 2999 or lower CP Tyranitar in a Gym, but you really want to max out double Dark Tyranitar to take out Psychics in Raid Battles. Including, one day, Mew and Mewtwo.

  • Attack: Bite with Crunch. Same type attack bonus (STAB) and super-effective against Psychics gives Crunch the double-dark win.
  • Defense: Iron Tail with Crunch. Outputs more damage, more quickly, even in bad matchups.

  • Counter: Machamp with Counter Dynamic Punch. Goes through Tyranitar like Bruce Lee through a wooden board.


What are the best Pokémon Go movesets for Dragonite?

High CP now hurts Dragonite on Gym defense, thanks to the new system that punishes anything over 3000. A 2999 Dragonite or lower Dragonite can still fill a Gym slot but its loss of position and its double weakness to Ice moves has pushed it into an attacking role where it remains the best generalist in the game.

  • Attack: Dragon Tail with Outrage or Hurricane. Dragon Tail does a lot of damage fast, Outrage just does a lot of damage, and Hurricane is just fast. (Legacy: Dragon Breath with Dragon Claw.)
  • Defense: Dragon Tail with Outrage. Same as above. Damage. Damage. Damage.

  • Counter: Lapras with Frost Breath and Blizzard. Ice is a Dragonite's worst enemy.


What are the best Pokémon Go movesets for Snorlax?

Snorlax isn't just a tank. It's mega-tank and that hasn't changed with the update. For defense, though, you now need Snorlax under 3000 CP or you can literally see them draining away. Even CP-hobbled, Snorlax can take a beating while dishing out damage and that means anyone who goes up against one is in for a tough battle.

  • Attack: Zen Headbutt with Hyper Beam. Not fast but punishing, especially againt it's main counter, Machamp.
  • Defense: Zen Headbutt with Hyper Beam. Super tough combo. (Legacy: Zen Headbutt with Body Slam, which is harder to dodge.)

  • Counter: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch. Otherwise through anything tough at it, including Tyranitar, or anything that does a ton of damage, like Alakazam.


What are the 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. And now that's come back to bite it in the horn with the mid-2016 update that punishes high CP in Gyms. Especially given Rhydon's glass snout against Water and Grass moves. It can still sit in Gyms, sure, but now the primary use for a maxed out Rhydon is as an attacker against Fire and even Lightning Raid Bosses.

  • Attack: Mud Slap with Stone Edge. Not the fastest but useful againt Charizard, Arcanine, Flareon, and Jolteon.
  • 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 Exeggutor with anything and Solar Beam. They're plentiful and powerful.


What are the 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. Of course, now that the new Gym system drains high CP Pokemon super-fast, that's more curse than blessing. Especially with Lightning being its double kryptonite. You can still put them in Gyms, especially if you have a red Shiny you want to show off, but otherwise have fun with them as an attacker when you need something serviceable to round out your Battle Team. (Yeah, I'm sad about this as well, especially since it 400 Magikarp candy to evolve.)

  • Attack: Dragon Tail with Hydro Pump or Outrage. Fast and powerful.
  • Defense: Dragon Tail with Hydro Pump or Outrage. Dragon Tail packs more of a wallop than the old bite, Hydro Pump is still a cannon, and Outrage lets it go full-Dragon (if only it had STAB...).

  • Counter: Jolteon or Amphoros. Take water, add a spark, watch it sizzle.


What are the best Pokémon Go moveset for Blissey?

Blissey is a tank's tank. A mega-tank. With MASSIVE amounts of HP. Thanks to the new Gym system, you no longer have Blissey running out the timer to look forward to/worry about, but its sheer defensive capability means if you have one under 3000 CP, it's still the best Pokémon to fill a Gym slot. (Just get in first because you can only have one per Gym now.) On offense, Blissey can likewise last, but that can mean running out of time against a Raid Boss.

  • Attack: Pound with Hyper Beam. It can take a while but you'll get through anything.
  • Defense: Zen Headbutt or Pound with Dazzling Gleam. Dazzling Gleam is harder to dodge than Hyper Beam, making Blissey even more frustrating. But really, any Blissey moveset works on defense.

  • Counter: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch. Dragonite with Dragon Tail and Outrage. Tyranitar with Bite and Stone Edge. Exeggutor with Extrasensory (legacy: Confusion) and Solar Beam.


What are the 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. Since it can only barely get to 3000 CP, there's even a chance your maxed out Vape is still viable in the new system. While it's still double weak against Grass, it also still got a lot of power behind it. That's even more true on attack, where it can hurt the Fire type Raid Bosses and blast into Tyranitar.

  • Attack: Water Gun with Hydro Pump. Fast jab, devastating uppercut.
  • Defense: Water Gun with Aqua Tail. Also fast and frequent enough it can force more dodging — or damage.

  • Counter: Exeggutor with Extrasensory (Legacy: Zen Headbutt) and Solar Beam. (I also like Jolteon because it multitasks against Gyarados.)


What are the best Pokémon Go movesets for Machamp?

Machamp is the Blissey-breaker. The Snorlax-crusher. Tyranitar's Bane. With one early 2017 update, Pokémon Go plucked Machamp out of the also-rans and gave it a moveset that redefined the meta. With the new, sub-3000 Gym reality, you can use Machamp on defense. But it'd be a waste. Not only does an attack Machamp do serious damage to Snorlax, Blissey, and even Lapras, it does devastating damage to Tyranitar... if it has the right moveset:

  • Attack: Counter with Dynamic Punch. It hurts many of the big defenders and devastates Tyranitar.
  • Defense: Counter with Dynamic Punch. But you shouldn't be defending with Machamp anyway.

  • Counter: Espeon, Alakazam, or Exeggutor — anything Psychic and tough, really. It's so opposite-of-a-tank that you can run over it with any high-powered attacker with the possible exception of a weak Tyranitar.


What are the best Pokémon Go movesets for Lapras?

Lapras... what a life! The late 2016 update skyrocketed other Pokémon ahead of it on the CP charts, and the early 2017 update sent Lapras tumbling down. Now, the mid-2017 update has made under 3000 CP the new sweet-spot for Lapras, and it's back in the game. Of course, Lapras still one thing best — knocks out Dragonites... if it has the right moves.

  • Attack: Frost Breath with Blizzard. You get STAB and you get to shred Dragonite.
  • Defense: Frost Breath with Blizzard or Hydro Pump. The former annoys Dragonite, the latter surprises people not expecting a Vaporeon-style defender. Once. (Legacy: Ice Shard with Blizzard or Ice Beam.)

  • Counter: Tyranitar or Machamp. If you want variety, Flareon or Arcanine with Fire Fang and Fire Blast. They've been weakened but they still burn.


What are the best Pokémon Go movesets for Jolteon?

Thanks to the new, sub-3000 Gym system, Jolteon can be used in defense if you really want to. Where Jolteon still excels, though, is on attack. Against Water types, including Raid Bosses. It may note be as critically important in an era where Gyarados, which it best counters, don't sit aplenty in every Gyms, but it'll still help take out a Vaporeon or Blastoise in a Raid.

  • Attack: Thundershock and Thunderbolt. It absolutely electrocutes Gyarados.
  • Defense: Volt Switch with Thunderbolt or Discharge. Not that anyone should be defending with Jolteon given the current game mechanics.

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


What are the best Pokémon Go movesets for Exeggutor?

Exeggutor is back, baby! Knocked out of Gyms by the CP rebalance at the end of 2016, the new CP cap in mid-2017 has given its defense game new life. On top of that, its combination of Solar Beam and toughness make for a lethal attacker against many of the toughest defenders in Gyms, even Blissey. But wait, there's more: It'll hurt any Raid Boss that's weak against Grass, including Rhydon and Blastoise, and those weak against Psychic, including Machamp.

  • Attack: Extra Sensory (legacy: Confusion or Zen Headbutt) and Solar Beam. Solar Beam. It brings down the power of the sun.
  • Defense: Extra Sensory with Solar Beam (legacy: Confusion with Seed Bomb). But the CP just isn't there for it to be a real defender.

  • Counter: Dragonite with Dragon Tail and Outrage. Also, Flareon or Charizard with Fire Spin and Overheat.


How about that cheat sheet again?

  1. Tyranitar: Bite with Crunch / Iron Tail with Crunch
  2. Dragonite: Dragon Tail with Outrage.
  3. Snorlax: Zen Headbutt with Hyper Beam. (Legacy: Zen Headbutt with Body Slam)
  4. Rhydon: Mud Slap with Stone Edge.
  5. Gyarados: Dragon Tail with Hydro Pump or Outrage.
  6. Blissey: Zen Headbutt Hyper Beam / Pound with Dazzling Gleam (or, seriously, anything).
  7. Vaporeon: Water Gun with Hydro Pump / Water Gun with Aqua Tail.
  8. Donphan: Counter with Earthquake / Counter with Rough Play.
  9. Espeon: Confusion with Future Sight / Confusion or Zen Headbutt with Psybeam.
  10. Heracross: Counter with Close Combat / Struggle Bug with Close Combat
  11. Golem: Rock Throw with Stone Edge.
  12. Exeggutor: Extrasensory with Solar Beam.
  13. Flareon: Fire Spin with Overheat / Fire Sping with Flame Thrower
  14. Machamp: Counter with Dynamic Punch.
  15. Alakazam: Psycho Cut or Confusion with Future Sight / Confusion with Shadow Ball (Legacy: Dazzling Gleam).
  16. Arcanine: Fire Fang with Fire Blast / Snarl with Fire Blast
  17. Scizor: Bullet Punch with Iron Head
  18. Pinser: Bug Bite with X-Scissor / Rock Smash with Scissor 19: Usaring: Counter with Hyper Beam
  19. Jolteon: Thunder Shock with Thunderbolt / Volt Switch with Discharge or Thunderbolt.
  20. Feraligatr: Water Gun with Hydro Pump / Water Gun with Ice Beam
  21. Muk: Poison Jab with Gunk Shot
  22. Amphoros: Charge Beam with Zap Cannon / Volt Switch with Zap Cannon
  23. Kingler: Bubble with Water Pulse
  24. Charizard: Fire Sping with Overheat
  25. Typhlosion: Ember with Overheat 27: Omastar: Water Gun with Rock Blast (Legacy: Rock Throw with Rock Slide)
  26. Gengar: Hex with Shadowball (Legacy: Shadow Claw with Shadow Ball) / Hex with Sludge Bomb (Legacy: Shadow Claw with Sludge Bomb)
  27. Aerodactyl: Steel Wing with Hyper Beam / Steel Wing with Ancient Power
  28. Lapras: Frost Breath with Blizzard / (Legacy: Ice Shard with Ice Beam).

Your best Pokémon Go movesets?

These are the best Pokémon Go movesets I've seen for the toughest Pokémon and best counters currently in the game. If you have a favorite, then let me know what it is and what moveset you is best for it!

Updated June 2017 Pokémon Go has changed the way Gyms work, added Raid Battels and Raid Bosses, and introduced Technical Machines (TM) that let you re-roll movesets. Yeah, it's a whole new game and the list has been updated to reflect it!

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