'Pokémon Go' Best Attackers: Updated tier list reveals the top Pokémon to choose

'Pokémon Go' Best Attackers: Updated tier list reveals the top Pokémon to choose
Source: AP
Source: AP

We might still be a ways away from a gym update in Pokémon Go, but that hasn't stopped people from continuing to debate about the best gym attackers and best move sets in the interim. Whether you're just now reaching the point of starting gym battles for PokéCoins or you're an old hand looking to get a leg up on the competition, you'll want to take note of the latest "best attacker" rankings from GamePress.

The gaming-analysis site recently released an updated list of Pokémon Go's best attackers. Here's what you need to know.

Pokémon Go best attackers list: Tiers 1 and 1.5

According to GamePress, the game's top two attackers are still Gen 2's Blissey and Gen 1's Dragonite. The latter continues to sit at the top of the list because few things can resist its dragon-type moves — plus, it has the damage-per-second stats to quickly end most fights. Dragonite has a disadvantage only against Steelix and Lapras.

Blissey, whom players have long understood to be a powerhouse, tanks her way through most matches with little difficulty. Her only real issue is how long it takes her to win fights as opposed to other, more efficient attackers. It can also be tough to keep Blissey topped off if you've yet to unlock max potions and max revives.

Tier 1.5 includes three Pokémon: Tyranitar, Vaporeon and a relative newcomer in Gen 1's Machamp, the final evolution of Machop. Tyranitar and Vaporeon are in tier 1.5 because although they tend to have strong matchups, they also have clear and easily obtainable bad matchups that can be used to counter them. Machamp, by extension, is extremely weak outside its good matches, which include Tyranitar and Lapras. It also defeats Blissey and Snorlax in the shortest amount of time, making Machamp extremely handy in the current meta despite its flaws.

Pokémon Go best attackers list: Tiers 2 and 2.5

Tier 2 begins with Pokémon who have a "better" version of themselves already available in tiers 1 and 1.5. Snorlax essentially functions as a prestige Blissey. It has the same strengths and weaknesses but isn't quite as strong as its tier 1 counterpart. Similarly, Heracross is a weaker Machamp.

The remainder of tier 2 is taken up by Pokémon with specific uses as counter Pokémon, but are otherwise less advantageous. Exeggutor is probably the best of the bunch, since it's a good counter to Vaporeon and has a strong general move set and high damage per second. Jolteon, Eevee's electric-type evolution, is optimized for fighting Gyarados and Vaporeon. Lapras should be your go-to for fighting Dragonite, since dragon-type Pokémon are weak against ice. Lapras can also tank through most fights otherwise — just not as well as Snorlax and Blissey.

Tier 2.5, in GamePress's words, consists entirely of "glass cannons," Pokémon who need a lot of dodging to do well:

• Espeon
• Flareon
• Alakazam
• Charizard
• Gengar

Pokémon Go best attackers list: Tier 3+

Pokémon who aren't in any of the above lists are relegated to tier 3, which isn't as exhaustive as the other lists. In GamePress's words, "Pokémon perform pretty similarly" within their matchups from this point forward. The below Pokémon have strong matchups, but none of them have the overall strength of the preceding tiers. Some of the highest-ranked tier 3 Pokémon are as follows:

• Tangela
• Cloyster
• Jynx
• Venusaur
• Feraligatr
• Gyarados
• Rhydon
• Golem
• Scizor
• Magneton
• Ampharos
• Ursaring
• Arcanine
• Houndoom

Pokémon Go best attackers list: The importance of optimal move sets

If you've been reading the GamePress coverage, you might be noticing a lot of the higher-tier Pokémon have "optimal movesets" that provide them with advantages in matchups or as general attackers. The issue is you have no control over what moves your Pokémon gets when evolving. With most of the Pokémon on this list being second or third evolutions, it means you're investing a significant amount of candy into a Pokémon just to see if it might have an optimal moveset. So unless you're lucky enough to have a steady supply of Dratinis where you live, it's not feasible to wait for an "optimal move set" Dragonite.

The Silph Road in particular warns against valuing "optimal movesets" too highly, since they're oftentimes based on incredibly granular calculations that are unlikely to come up in most combats.

For instance, user jeff_the_weatherman noted that in regards to Exeggutor rankings, "Zen Headbutt is basically the same move, except it generates slightly less energy, so Extrasensory will allow you to fire off slightly more frequent solar beams, making it slightly superior." 

The rankings usually amount to hypothetical matchups. With enough potions and revives, you can grind through just about any defender you want.

In general, it's good to use these rankings as a general guide, but the randomness of Pokémon Go's Pokémon attainability makes it difficult to game the system for the most optimal builds. We recommend not worrying to much about it, and focusing on the high-tier Pokémon you like the most.

More Pokémon Go news, updates, tips and tricks

Check out Mic's Pokémon Go guides on how to get stardust, how to determine how long it will take you to reach level 40, the kind of Pokémon you get from 10-kilometer eggs, how to create new PokéStops, how to maximize your chances of catching Pokémon and how PokéStops distribute Pokémon eggs. Also check out how to catch Gen 2 baby Pokémon, our analysis of post-balance update Chansey and Rhydon and everything you need to know about finding the long-awaited Pokémon Ditto.

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Alex Borkowski

Alex Borkowski is a tech writer from Chicago covering gaming for Mic. He can be reached at aborkowski@mic.com.

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