Pokemon GO Guide: The Best Gym Defenders By Tier

Best Gym Defenders

Below, you will find an incredibly useful list of 5 tiers of Pokemon, that serve as the best Gym defenders Gen 1 of Pokemon GO has to offer. Special thanks to Gamepress.gg for compiling this data!

For the best Gym Attackers check out Best Gym Attackers By Tier.

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.

Tier 1
#143 Snorlax
• Consistently strong defense vs any attacker.
• Strengthens any gym, regardless of region or defenders already present.
• Presence deters attackers.
• None.
Optimal Moveset
• Zen Headbutt + Hyper Beam or Body Slam
#131 Lapras
• 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.
• Arcanine can do relatively well against, but not crush, Lapras.
Optimal Moveset
• Ice Shard + Blizzard or Ice Beam
#149 Dragonite
• 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.
• Double weakness to Ice leaves him highly vulnerable to Lapras and to a lesser extent Dewgong and Cloyster.
Optimal Moveset
• Steel Wing + Dragon Pulse

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.

Tier 1.5Explanation
#080 Slowbro
• 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
• Base stats are very good but not elite.
• Though no Pokemon is a direct counter, Exeggutor with Solar Beam or - • Seed Bomb does well.
Optimal Moveset
• Confusion + Psychic (or Water Pulse)
#062 Poliwrath
• 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.
• Unfavorable matchups vs the big grass types, especially Venusaur and the relatively popular Exeggutor, keep him out of Tier 1.
Optimal Moveset
• Bubble or Ice Punch + Hydro Pump or Submission
#103 Exeggutor
• 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).
• Arcanine can do well against Exeggutors, especially ones with Solar Beam and Seed Bomb.
Optimal Moveset
• Confusion + Psychic or Seed Bomb (or Solar Beam fine too, especially against Waters)
#040 Wigglytuff
• 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.
• Low CP value may invite more attempts at your gym.
- Soft-countered by Nidoqueen and Muk.
Optimal Moveset
• Pound or Feint Attack (based on the type matchup) + Play Rough (Hyper Beam and Dazzling Gleam are good as well)
#134 Vaporeon
• Single-handedly 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.
• 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.
Optimal Moveset
• Water Gun + Water Pulse (Aqua Tail and Hydro Pump also serviceable)

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