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Pokemon Go best gym defenders, best gym attackers
Attacking and defending gym's is the staple of competitive play in Pokémon Go, especially given the new, more generous Pokécoin rewards since the June 23rd 2017 update. Due to the shere number of Pokémon in the game and with more undoubtedly on the way it's hard to know which mon is best for which and thats before we even start looking at the movesets. At the time of writing this guide Pokémon Go has been out nearly a year and mon's from both of the first generations have been fully released into Pogo's wilds.

This is a basic guide on who are the best gym defenders and best gym attackers in Pokemon Go; some mon's may have great HP and Defence ratings where others might be incredible damage dealers. Learning which mon's to use in which situations will help you not only take over gyms efficiently but also give you a better chance of holding onto them for longer thus gaining more Pokécoins. More Pokécoins = more premium items to help you level and get more rare and powerful Pokémon = even more gym dominance, so lets get started.

Quick menu: Ideal Defenders / Accessible, Strong Defenders / Ideal Attackers / Accessible, Strong Attackers

The best gym defenders in Pokémon Go

This list of gym defenders is updated to include the Gen II update and ranks from very best defender to lesser defenders; although every mon we mention can be more than viable in terms of gym defence:-

Top 4 ideal defenders
If RNG was no object, and we could just decide what Pokémon we had access to, you'd pretty much just be using these four (if you were creative enough to not just use an army of Blissey).

Blissey Blissey
The colossus of gym defence. Her shere amount of HP and the fact she's a normal type Pokémon with very little in the way of weaknesses can make this a nightmare to oust from gym's. The ideal moveset for defence being Zen Headbutt and Dazzling Gleam. I recall a local gym by me with 4 of these at near 3k CP prior to the gym update, needless to say they held that gym for a seriously long time. Same old Valor, always cheating. ;-) You're best off countering this with Machamp, as fighting types are strong against normal - even then victory is far from assured.
143 Snorlax Snorlax
The undisputed heavyweight champion of gym defence, Gen I's Snorlax reigned supreme as an unmatched defender until Gen II weighed in with Blissey. Even now Snorlax and his normal type and formidable HP are extremely difficult to knock over within the time limit. He also puts out some good damage. His ideal moveset is Zen Headbutt coupled with Body Slam or Hyper Beam but to be honest no Snorlax is a bad Snorlax. Like Blissey, the best way to counter Snorlax is witha Machamp or other strong fighting type with Fighting moves.
248 Tyranitar Tyranitar
Gen II also bought in Tyranitar, another big hitter on the gym circuit. Tyranitar whilst it doesn't have the staying power of the Blissey's or Snorlax of this world does have a better than average 200 HP base stamina, 212 base defence and can dish our some serious damage to anyone trying to wrestle him out of a gym. His best defencive moveset is Iron Tail and Crunch. Very weak against fighting types and fairly weak against grass types, ground types, steel types, water types, bug types and fairy types.
 149 Dragonite Dragonite
Another strong choice is Dragonite who, like Tyranitar is a good allrounder. This mon dishes out powerful damage to attackers and boasts a formidible defence rating of 201 coupled with above average base stamina at 182.  Dragon Tail and Outrage are a particularly good pair of moves for defence. Dragonite has very few weaknesses though it's very weak against Ice Types (Cloyster, Lapras for example) and it's also quite weak against Fairy Types, Rock Types and other Dragon types. I have beaten 3k CP~ Dragonite's with a 2k CP Jynx (Fairy) of reasonable stats quite comfortably on numerous occasions so thats a counter to bare in mind if your enemy is stacking Dragonite's.

Other strong defenders of note
For those of us who don't have Snorlax', Tyranitar's, Blissey's and Dragonite's falling into our laps here are some more realistic and easier to obtain gym defenders who are still forces to be reckoned with on the gym circuit.

112 Rhydon Rhydon
Rhydon puts out strong damage and stands up pretty well especially given it's very high relative max CP. Rhydon boasts a strong 206 defence rating and 210 base stamina with an enviable max CP of 3300. Though it is unfortunately plagued by a couple of double weaknesses in the forms of Grass Types and Water types and also doesn't perform particularly well against Ice, Fighting, Ground and Steel moves it's still a better than average defender. Rhydon's ideal moveset for defence is Mud Slap and Stone Edge.
130 Gyarados Gyarados
Like Rhydon Gyrados has a better than average defence rating at 197 base, better than average stamina at 190 and an intimidating max CP of 3281. The main bane of this otherwise strong mon is it's terrible weakness against Electric attacks, it's also not too good against Rock types. Dragon Tail is THE best move for defence with Gyrados as barely anyone is reistant to it; Outrage and Hydro Pump are also OK.
131 Lapras Lapras
Despite it's base stats taking a pasting around the Gen II update Lapras remains a well rounded gym defender with better a better than average defence of 190 and better than average stamina of 260 meaning it can outlast most other Pokémon in battle. It's also got a Max CP of 2980. The move set of your Lapras will largely decide what it's strong against, double ice moves will mean it's good at keeping the Dragonite's out, but will fall short in battle against Tyranitar, where Hydro Pump will fail to stop the Dragonite. It seems sort of wrong to me that a Lapras has a lower max CP than a Vaporeon etc but oh well. Weak against Electric, Grass, Fighting and Rock types. Strong against Ice and Water.
091 Cloyster Cloyster
Cloyster is fairly tanky and can stand up against punishment for longer than most other Pokémon in a battle. It's stamina sits at only 100 which isn't particularly high, however it's defence is a near unmatched 323, the highest in Gen I and only surpassed by Steelix in Gen II. Ideal moveset for defence: Ice Shard and Avalanche. It's a good Dragonite deterrent too as Dragonite is weak against Ice. Cloyster is weak only against Electric, Grass, Fighting and Rock.
208 Steelix Steelix
For much the same reasons as Cloyster, Steelix gets an honourable mention here. It's base stamina is 150 and it's defence rating is the current best in the game overall at 333. Ideal defencive move set: Iron Tail and Heavy Slam. Weak only against Fighting, Fire, Ground and Water. And basically strong against everything else. Steelix will do your local gym proud in most situations. Steelix can really slow down enemy Dragonites is only surpassed in staying power by Blissey, it's also really good against Tyranitar.
134 Vaporeon Vaporeon
A good readily available defender in most areas with an excellent max CP of 3157. When the trainer is level 30 or above Vaporeon can have higher CP than Blissey. It's 260 base stamina and 177 base defence make Vaporeon a stronger than average mon to run down the timer for attackers on your gym. Vaporeon has pretty powerful charge moves which unfortunately can be dodged by a half decent attacker, reducing it's effectiveness. The good news is this mon is only weak against Electric and Grass types. It's strong against Fire, Ice, Steel and Water and neutral with everything else. I would recommend Water Gun and Aqua tail as the best defencive moveset.
202 Wobbuffett Wobbuffet
This ones a bit of a token gesture as Wobbuffet features a bit of a meagre 106 defence which his made up for somewhat by it's impressive 380 Stamina. It's rather unfortunate that its max CP is only 1024 but it's still a good bit of bulk to throw behind your gym if you have nothing else available.

The best gym attackers in Pokémon Go

Ideal world best attackers
These are the mon's you'd have on the front line to hit enemy gyms with if RNG was no object and you could have any mons you liked with the best stats and fully powered up.

Blissey Blissey
Armed with Pound and Hyper Beam (best offencive moveset) and a modest 129 base attack stat Blissey's shere huge HP will allow her to tank through most enemy gym's without much trouble, especially if you are good at avoiding charge attacks. Though against other Blissey's or Snorlax you probably don't want to use her - unless you WANT to be attacking the gym all day that is. The optimal choice for those who can't be bothered to exploit type strengths and weaknesses and just want to faceroll through gyms (gradually).
149 Dragonite Dragonite
Dragon Tail and Outrage or Dragon Breath and Dragon Claw are best for attacks. It's simply got massive DPS output and very few mons are resistant to it's attacks. It's base attack stat of 263 is unsurpassed at the moment, even if we include datamined stats of the Legendary birds! And it's max CP is really high at 3581. Steelix and Lapras (with Ice moves) are probably the only two real deterrents to a Dragonite on attack.
103 Exeggutor Exeggutor
Extrasensory and Solar Beam are the optimal dps moveset and coupled with a formidable base attack stat of 233 Exeggutor packs quite a punch on attack. Exeggutor is hampered by one main thing in real endgame areas with lots of high mon's, it's max CP is only 2916; this isn't much of a problem in most places at the moment though - just in that parralel universe where everyone is level 40 with maxed out mons. Weak against bug, flying, fire, ice, poison, dark and ghost but strong against electric, grass, ground, water, fighting and psychic. If played to it's strengths Exeggutor is a must have in your attack team.
248 Tyranitar Tyranitar
Bite coupled with Stone Edge or Crunch is the ideal moveset for DPS output. Tyranitar is the big boy attacker of Gen II and sports a mean 251 attack base coupled with a huge max CP of 3670. It's pretty good at ousting Snorlax and Espeon from their gyms. Tyranitar is very weak against fighting, weak against grass, ground, steel, water, bug and fairy but strong against Flying, Fire, normal (cough Blissey), Poison, Dark, Ghost and Psychic types.
143 Snorlax Snorlax
Lick and Hyper Beam are the best DPS moves for a Snorlax being used on offence. He is weak against only fighting types and like Blissey can basically tank his way through a vast majority of matchups. His attack base stat of 190 makes him mediocre at tearing down enemies, there are more time efficient mons to use for attack but on the other hand if you've got Max Potion's available then attacking regularly with Snorlax will make very effective use of them.

Realistic best attackers if you aren't lucky with ultra rare spawns.
These are the most accessible primary attackers of key importance, based on attacking gyms with 'strong, semi optimised setups' and the strongest defenders.

134 Vaporeon Vaporeon
Water Gun and Hydro Pump make up the best moveset for this mon in most situations. It wipes out enemy Rhydon and Golem rapidly it's also strong against Tyranitar. Vaporeon is only weak against Electric and Grass types and is strong against Fire, Ice, Steel and Water types. It has a high CP ceiling at 3157 and remains a viable attacker at any level.
068 Machamp Machamp
Counter and Dynamic Punch or Close Combat are optimal dps moves for attack, and taking into account Machamp's strong base attack of 234 that leaves him packing a punch quite literally. There are very very few mon's who can match Machamp's usefulness when it comes to bringing down Blissey and Snorlax. Machamp is a must have if you are taking on decent gyms. A Machamp of similar CP to a Blissey won't necessarily win but will bring Blissey so low you are no longer running the risk of running out of time. Notable weaknesses include: Fairy, Flying and Psychic types where Machamp will put on a good show against Bug, Dark and Rock types.
135 Jolteon Jolteon
Thunder Shock and Thunder Bolt is the best move combo for dps. Jolteon has a good base attack at 232 and modest max CP at 2730. A quick and easy solution for putting down a defending Gyarados or Vaporeon. It's only weakness of note is against Ground types and it's strong against other Electric types, Flying types and Steel types.
124 Jynx Jynx
Frost Breath with Avalanche or Draining Kiss are the best movesets, it has a base attack of 223. Jynx is a great antidote to oust Dragonite's defending gyms. Jynx is hampered somewhat by a lower than average Max CP of 2512 but I wouldn't let this put you off too much, a 2k CP Jynx can make quick work of a 3k CP Dragonite if you dodge it's charge attack. Overall Jynx is weak against Fire, Rock, Steel, Bug, Dark and Ghost types and strong against Ice and Psychic types. Use Jynx just to bring down defending Dragonite's and then sub her out against others.
214 Heracross Heracross
Counter and Close Combat as the optimal moveset and a strong 234 base attack stat makes this mon a very viable attacker. It's a region specific but if you happen to live in Latin America, South Florida or Texas Heracross is another excellent option to help bring down defending Blisseys and Snorlax' with it's fighting type moves. It can be used in combination with or instead of Machamp. It has equal attack power and similar movesets to Machamp and a max CP of 2938 keeping it viable right up to endgame. Heracross is very weak against Flying, Fire, Fairy and Psychic but is strong against Fighting, Grass, Ground, Bug and Dark types.

It goes without saying that other strong situational attackers have been omitted from this list such as Alakazam, Gengar, Lapras, Charizard, Espeon and Flareon which have great DPS but might not commonly be useful based on attacking gyms with the current 'best' defenders. But here are their honourable mentions and optimal movesets.

  • Lapras with Frost Breath and Blizzard or Ice Beam.
  • Espeon with Zen Headbutt or Confusion and Future Sight.
  • Flareon with Fire Spin and Overheat.
  • Alakazam with Psycho Cut or Confusion and Future Sight.
  • Charizard with Fire Spin and Overheat.
  • Gengar with Shadow Claw and Shadow Ball.

In my own experience and the opinions/responses I got from people I asked across Twitter, Google+ and other players I know IRL these are the main ones worth mentioning. Should I have missed anything feel free to give me some abuse on Twitter.

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