How to beat Blissey, Tyranitar, Dragonite, Vaporeon and take down Pokémon Go Gyms fast!

How do you counter Tyranitar, Dragonite, Snorlax, Rhydon, Gyarados, Blissey, Vapereon, Lapras, and all the top defenders in Pokémon Go? Here's your answer!

Updated April 2017: We've done a ton of testing, as have others, and it's resulted in quite a few updates to the top Pokémon counters list!

The Gym Game in Pokémon Go has become all about Combat Power (CP). More often than not, players with train up their most powerful Pokémon in hopes they can place them as high on a Gym as possible so they'll stay there as long as possible. That means Tyranitar, Dragonite, Snorlax, Rhydon, Gyarados, Blissey, Vapereon — the Pokémon that can all reach over 3000 CP — are by far the most common defenders in the game. So, how do you counter their attacks, beat them, and get them off the Gyms?

Note: These are my picks for the best counters to the Pokémon you're likely to find on Gyms controlled by opposing teams. I've prioritized it based on the most common Pokémon you're likely to find there and given enormous preference to multi-taskers over single taskers, which saves on resources, and older, more likely to be leveled up Pokémon over new upstarts. Other lists will likely be very different. As will lists for prestiging Gyms controlled by your own team, which is very different.


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Best counters in Pokémon Go cheat sheet

If all you want is a quick reference for the absolute best counters so you can beat for the most powerful Pokémon in the game today, here it is! (For more details and alternate counters, keep reading below).

  1. Tyranitar: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch.
  2. Dragonite: Lapras with Frost Breath and Blizzard.
  3. Snorlax: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch.
  4. Rhydon: Vaporeon with Water Gun and Hydro Pump.
  5. Gyarados: Jolteon with Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt.
  6. Blissey: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch.
  7. Vaporeon: Jolteon with Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt.

Again, many Pokémon have several strong counters, so keep reading for more!

How do you beat Tyranitar in Pokémon Go? Machamp!

Tyranitar is the Godzilla of Pokémon Go Gen 2. It's got the highest potential CP outside the Legendary and Mythical Pokémon, and that puts it at the very top of Gyms. It's dark and rock type, however, makes it weak against bug, grass, fairy, ground, steel, and water types. Its formidable strength cancels a lot of that out, but it doesn't cancel out this — Tyranitar is double weak against fighter types.

  • Best counter: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch. Goes through Tyranitar like a Jaeger through a Kaiju.

  • Other options: Any other fighter with double fighter-type movesets, which gives them same type attack bonus (stab) and takes advantage of Tyranitar's double weakness. That includes Machamp with lesser, legacy movesets, Haracross (if it's in your region). Vaporeon, given its power and Tyranitar's single weakness to water, is a good fallback as well, with Poliwrath following behind.


How do you beat Dragonite in Pokémon Go? Lapras!

Dragonite has a max CP second only to Tyranitar in the current landscape. It's also been around much longer, meaning more people have them and have them powered up. And that means, by now, they can be found on almost any Gym — sometimes it feels like every Gym! It's dragon and flying type makes it weak against rock, fairy, ground and, surprisingly, dragon. But it's a double weakness to ice types that's Dragonite's undoing.

  • Best counter: Lapras with frost breath and blizzard. Despite it's recent reduction in CP, it's still a tank and its ice attacks really put the freeze on Dragonite.

  • Other options: Any other ice type with ice moves can serve you against Dragonite, thanks to same type attack bonus (STAB) and double weakness. Especially Jynx, but in a pinch Cloyster and Piloswine as well. Other than ice-types, Dragonite-on-Dragonite is counter-intuitively your best option, also Tyranitar with stone edge can beast its way through.


How do you beat Snorlax in Pokémon Go? Rhydon!

Snorlax isn't the absolute wall Blissey is but with higher potential CP, it can sit higher in Gyms. It's also been around since Gen 1, which means more people have more Snorlax at higher levels. It's also got no double weaknesses, just a single weakness against fighter-types. All of that combines to make Snorlax not only tough to beat but time-intensive.

  • Best counter: Machamp with counter and dynamic punch, of course.

  • Other options: Not surprisingly, other Machamps and Heracross with double fighting-type moves. Dragonite and Tyranitar can power their way through as well. Personally, I also like Rhydon. It's common enough and has high enough stats and damage that it can go toe-to-toe and, as long as you dodge charge moves, come out on top. And it saves the fighter types for Blissey.


How do you beat Rhydon in Pokémon Go? Vaporeon!

Rhydon received a significant boost in late 2016, with Pokémon Go's updated formula boosting its potential up above 3000 CP. That's made it much more popular in Gyms. Ground and rock type, Rhydon is weak against ground, steel, fight, and ice-type moves, and double weak against grass types. It's the additional double weakness against water types that really hurts, Rhydon, though, given how powerful and ubiquitous water types are in the current game.

  • Best counter: Vaporeon with water gun and hydro pump. It's a devastating jab with a killer uppercut that puts Rhydon down fast.

  • Other options: Any water or grass Pokémon with same type attack bonus (stab) will hurt Rhydon. That includes Lapras with hydro pump and Exeggutor, Victreebel, and Vileplume with solar beam. Because Rhydon is also weak against fighting, Machamp is also a damaging option.


How do you beat Gyarados in Pokémon Go? Jolteon!

Gyarados, the great water dragon-that-isn't-technically-a-dragon, has seen its CP buffed to the point that it's now frequently placed on top of Gyms in hopes of staying high and lasting long. Both flying and water type, it's weak to rock but double weak to electric. Electric isn't exactly well represented in the current game, but it's represented well enough to give Gyarados some serious problems.

  • Best counter: Jolteon with Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt.

    • Other options: Other Jolteon still do exceedingly well, as does Amphoros with volt switch and zap cannon. Any other electric type also works, especially Magneton. Tyranitar, Snorlax, and Dragonite can also all power their way through.


How do you beat Blissey in Pokémon Go? Machamp!

Blissey is a wall. A giant pink wall with HP so high most Pokémon can't come close to beating it, much less before time runs out. That makes it the uber-defender, and an incredible pain in the game to counter. This super-mon's only kryptonite is fighter-types. And, if you've been reading down, you know what that means.

  • Best counter: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch. Again, it doesn't do as much damage and needs to do more of it than against Tyranitar or Snorlax, so you'll have to dodge charge moves or double up on Machamps, but you'll get it done.

  • Other options: Other fighter-types with double fighter-type movesets, which gives them same type attack bonus (stab). That includes Machamp with lesser, legacy movesets, and even Haracross (if it's in your region). Tyranitar can beast its way past Blissey, as can Dragonite, especially with dragon tail and outrage. Perhaps surprisingly, Exeggutor, Flareon, and even Rhydon can either do enough damage or last long enough to take out Blissey as well.


How do you beat Vaporeon in Pokémon Go? Jolteon!

Vaporeon is ubiquitous in most areas and, thanks to its high CP and punishing movesets, it's an equal opportunity attacker and defender. That means you're certain to encounter them on Gyms. A lot. Water type, Vaporeon is weak to electric and grass types.

  • Best counter: Venusaur, the biggest, baddest of the grass types is still the best counter.

  • Other options: Victreebel is also a good grass-type option and even Exeggutor in a pinch. Non-grass options start with Jolteon and, of course, Dragonite and Tyranitar. The first is faster, the others, tankier.


How do you counter other Pokémon in Pokémon Go?

The above are the most common Gym defenders you'll find in Pokémon Go right now. But they're by no means the only ones. There are technically better defenders in the Pokédex who simply don't have the CP to last very long on Gyms, leading to far fewer people placing them. There are also the completely random Pokémon that often get dumped on Gyms by drive-bys and spoofers simply trying to get their 10 Gyms and collect their defenders' bonus as quickly as possible. The lower-power Pokémon are easy to steamroll — and a fun way to try out your favorite Pokémon. The more powerful and more proficient, however, require some consideration.

How does type works in Pokémon Go?

Every Pokémon has a type or two. Every move has a type as well. Those types have advantages and weaknesses over and against other types. When Pokémon are the same type as their move or movesets, they also get a same type attack bonus (stab). If a Pokémon has double types, it can also have a double weakness.

If your Pokémon is strong against another type, it takes 0.8x the damage. If it's weak, 1.25x the damage. Double weak, 1.56x. In a perfect world, when you fight a defender, you want to use an attacker that both resists its attacks and inflicts attacks against which its double weak. The world isn't perfect, though, so other factors like combat power (CP), hit points (HP), availability, utility (multi-tasking), whether or not you play a dodging game, and other factors also play a role.

In other words, Machamp with counter and dynamic punch is the best counter to Snorlax, but since that moveset is brand new, many people won't have it. And since Machamp is more valuable against Tyranitar and Blissey, saving it and using Rhydon, which has no type advantage but is strong enough to outlast Snorlax, might be the smarter play.

All that being said, type is important to understand. Here are the basics:

  • Bug types: Fire types, flying types and rock types are strong against bug types. Fire types are especially good because bug moves are not very effective against them.

  • Dark types: Fighting types, bug types, and fairy types are strong against dark types. Fighting types and fairy types are the best because dark types are not very effective against them.

  • Dragon types: Fairy types, ice types, and, strangely, dragon types are strong against dragon types in Pokémon Go. Fairy types also resist Dragon moves.

  • Electric types: Ground types are strong against electric types. Ground types also resist electric types.

  • Fairy types: Poison types and steel types are strong against fairy types. Both poison and steel types also resist electric type moves.

  • Flying types: There are no pure flying types in Pokémon Go, so you'll need to consider what the primary type is in addition to flying to figure out the best counters. Bug/flying is double weak against rock. Dragon/flying is double weak against ice. Fire/flying is double weak against rock. Ice/flying is double weak against rock. Water/flying is double weak against electric. Grass/flying is double weak against ice. Ground/Flying is double weak against ice.

  • Fighting types: Flying types, psychic types, and fairy types are strong against fighting types. Both psychic and fairy types are resistant to fighting type moves, and any combination of psychic, fairy, and flying is super resistant.

  • Fire types: Water types, rock types, and ground types are good against fire types. Water types have the edge due to their relative power levels and toughness in in Pokémon Go.

  • Ghost types: Dark types and, counter-intuitively, other ghost types are strong against ghost types. Dark types also resist ghost type moves.

  • Grass types: Fire types, ice types, poison types, flying types, and bug types are all strong against grass types. They're also resistant.

  • Ground types: Water types, grass types, and ice types are strong against ground types. Grass types are especially good because they resist ground type moves.

  • Ice types: There are no pure ice types in Pokémon Go so, you'll need to consider what the primary type is in addition to ice to figure out the best counters. Ice/dark are double weak against fighter types.

  • Normal types: Fighting types are about all that are strong against normal types.

  • Poison types: Ground types and psychic types are strong against poison types.

  • Rock types: Fighting types, grass types, water types, steel types, and ground types are all strong against rock types. Fighter types, ground types, and steel types have the edge, thanks to resistance.

  • Steel types: There are no pure steel types in Pokémon Go so, you'll need to consider what the primary type is in addition to steel to figure out the best counters. Bug/steel are double weak against fire types. Grass/steel are double weak against fire. Steel/electric are double weak against ground.

  • Water types: Electric and grass types are both strong against water.

What are all the double weaknesses in Pokémon Go?

If you need a quick reference for which Pokémon take extra damage (1.56x) from which types of moves, here it is!

  • Heracross (bug/fighting) are double weak against flying.
  • Butterfree, Ledian, Ledyba, Scyther, and Yanma (bug/flying) are double weak against rock.
  • Paras and Parasect (bug/grass) are double weak against fire and flying.
  • Forretress and Scizor (bug/steel) are double weak against fire.
  • Sneasel (dark/ice) are double weak against fighter type.
  • Tyranitar (dark/rock) are double weak against fighter type.
  • Dragonite (dragon/flying) are double weak against ice.
  • Marcargo (fire/rock) are double weak against ground and water.
  • Charizard (flying/fire) are double weak against rock.
  • Gyarados and Mantine (flying/water) are double weak against electric.
  • Hoppip, Skiploom, and Jumpluff (grass/flying) are double weak against ice.
  • Exeggcute and Exeggutor (grass/psychic) are double weak against bug.
  • Gilgar (ground/flying) are double weak against ice.
  • Geodude, Graveler, Golem, Larvitar, Pupitar, Onix, Rhyhorn, and Rhydon (ground/rock) are double weak against water.
  • Wooper and Quagsire (ground/water) are double weak against grass.
  • Corsola, Kabuto, Kabutops, Omanyte, Omastar (rock/water) are double weak against grass.
  • Magnemite and Magneton (steel/electric) are double weak against ground.

How about an extended cheat sheet?

You got it!

  1. Tyranitar: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch.
  2. Dragonite: Lapras with Frost Breath and Blizzard.
  3. Snorlax: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch.
  4. Rhydon: Vaporeon with Water Gun and Hydro Pump.
  5. Gyarados: Jolteon with Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt.
  6. Blissey: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch.
  7. Vaporeon: Jolteon with Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt.
  8. Donphan: Vaporeon with Water Gun and Hydro Pump.
  9. Espeon: Tyranitar with Bite and Crunch.
  10. Heracross: Flareon with Firespin and Overheat. (Double weak against Charizard, if you have one with the same moveset.)
  11. Golem: Vaporeon with Water Gun and Hydro Pump.
  12. Exegguter: Flareon with Firespin and Overheat.
  13. Flareon: Vaporeon with Water Gun and Hydro Pump.
  14. Machamp: Espeon with Confusion and Future SIght.
  15. Lapras: Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch.

This list will be expanded to a top 20 or 30 with the next update.

Your best Pokémon Go counters?

These are the best Pokémon Go counters I've seen for the most frequent Gym defenders, based on the current dominance of CP in the sorting order. I also favored multi-taskers over single-taskers, and older and thus more common Pokémon over the newer upstarts. Your mileage may very much vary! If you have better or more counters, let me know!

If you want to delve more deeply into the subject, I'd also recommend: