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Best Pokémon to Evolve, TM, and Power-up to beat Raid Bosses in Pokémon GoSource: iMore/Rene Ritchie

Whether you're battling in Pokémon Go Raids, fighting off the Leaders of Team Go Rocket, vying for a top rank in the Pokémon Go Battle League, or just trying to take over your local gym, having the best Pokémon with the best movesets is how you win in Pokémon Go.

To get the best Pokémon, you have to catch, hatch, or evolve them. To get the best movesets, you'll need luck and Technical Machines (TM). To power them up, you'll need Stardust and Candy. Below are our top picks for Pokémon Go and be sure to check out our best Pokémon Go accessories, so you can be fully equipped on your Pokémon Journey!

What are the best Pokémon in Pokémon Go?

Although every Pokémon has weaknesses, some Pokémon have higher potential stats, access to better moves, or even just more advantageous typings. These are some of the best in the game, excluding Mega Evolutions and Shadow Pokémon, which are highlighted later on.

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Pokémon Fast Charge Type
Rampardos Smack Down Rock Slide Rock
Lucario Counter Aura Sphere Fighting/Steel
Rhyperior Smack Down Rock Wrecker* Rock/Ground
Reshiram Fire Fang Overheat Dragon/Fire
Zekrom Charge Beam or Dragon Breath Wild Charge or Outrage Dragon/Electric
Rayquaza Dragon Tail Outrage Dragon/Flying
Chandelure Fire Spin or Hex Overheat or Shadow Ball Fire/Ghost
Mewtwo** Psycho Cut or Confusion Psystrike* or Shadow Ball* Psychic
Salamence Dragon Tail Outrage* Dragon/Flying
Kyogre Waterfall Surf Water
Darkrai Snarl Shadow Ball or Shadow Pulse Dark
Giratina (Origin) Shadow Claw Shadow Ball Ghost/Dragon
Conkeldurr Counter Dynamic Punch Fighting
Metagross Bullet Punch Meteor Mash* Steel/Psychic
Machamp Counter Dynamic Punch Fighting
Gengar Shadow Claw or Lick* Shadow Ball Ghost/Poison
Raikou Thunder Shock Wild Charge Electric
Mamoswine Powder Snow Avalanche Ice/Ground
Palkia Dragon Tail Draco Meteor Water/Dragon
Garchomp Dragon Tail or Mud Shot Outrage or Earthquake Dragon/Ground
Galarian Darmanitan Ice Fang Avalanche Ice
Kingler Bubble Crabhammer Water
Electivire Thunder Shock Wild Charge Electric
Moltres Fire Spin or Wing Attack Overheat or Sky Attack* Fire/Flying
Dialga Dragon Breath Draco Meteor Steel/Dragon
Roserade Razor Leaf or Poison Jab Grass Knot or Sludge Bomb Grass/Poison
Swampert Water Gun Hydro Cannon* Water/Ground
Terrakion Smack Down Rock Slide Rock/Fighting
Dragonite Dragon Breath Outrage or Draco Meteor* Dragon/Flying
Entei Fire Fang Overheat Fire
Blaziken Fire Spin Blast Burn* Fire/Fighting
Zapdos Thunder Shock* Thunderbolt Electric/Flying
Haxorus Dragon Tail Dragon Claw Dragon
Excadrill Mud Slap Drill Run or Earthquake Ground/Steel
Groudon Mud Shot Earthquake Ground
Weavile Ice Shard or Snarl Avalanche or Foul Play Ice/Dark
Unovan Darmanitan Fire Fang Overheat Fire
Hydreigon Bite Dark Pulse Dark/Dragon
Tyranitar Smack Down* or Bite Stone Edge or Crunch Rock/Dark
Gardevoir Charm Dazzling Gleam Fairy/Psychic
Feraligatr Waterfall Hydro Cannon* Water
Hariyama Counter Dynamic Punch Fighting
Latios Dragon Breath or Zen Headbutt Dragon Claw or Psychic Dragon/Psychic
Empoleon Waterfall Hydro Cannon* Steel/Water
Magnezone Spark Wild Charge Steel/Electric
Tangrowth Vine Whip Power Whip Grass
Heatran Fire Spin Flamethrower Fire/Steel
Landorus Mud Shot Earth Power Ground/Flying
Venusaur Vine Whip Frenzy Plant* Grass/Poison
Genesect Fury Cutter X Scissor Bug/Steel
Genesect (Burn Drive) Fury Cutter X-Scissor Steel/Bug
Charizard*** Fire Spin Blast Burn* Fire/Flying
Kyurem Dragon Breath Draco Meteor Dragon/Ice
Glaceon Frost Breath or Ice Shard Avalanche Ice
Togekiss Charm Dazzling Gleam Fairy/Flying
Honchkrow Peck Sky Attack Dark/Flying
Torterra Razor Leaf Frenzy Plant* Grass/Ground
Breloom Counter Dynamic Punch Grass/Fighting
Sceptile Bullet Seed Frenzy Plant* Grass
Espeon Confusion Psychic Psychic
Gyarados Waterfall Hydro Pump Water/Flying
Alakazam Confusion or Psycho Cut Psychic* Psychic
  • Legacy Moves are indicated by an asterisk.
  • Note on Mewtwo: Mewtwo's greatest strength is the wide variety in its movepool. Mewtwo can excel as with Ice Beam, Flamethrower, and Thunderbolt in special cases.
  • Note on Charizard: As one of a select few whose type changes with Mega Evolution, if you plan on Mega Evolving your Charizard to Mega Charizard X, you would be better off with its Dragon type moveset (Dragon Breath and Dragon Claw).

Shadow Pokémon?

Pokemon Go Shadow PokemonSource: Niantic

The rebalance of Shadow Pokémon rescued from Team GO Rocket make them excellent glass cannons. Not only are their stats boosted, but during special events, it's possible to change their moves with TMs. Once you get your Shadow Pokémon to learn a Charged move other than Frustration, you can use TMs to continue changing until your get the moveset you want. You can also use Elite TMs to choose the move from any that species could ever learn. The following Shadow Pokémon are worth putting your resources into:

Pokémon Fast Charge Type
Shadow Mewtwo Confusion or Psycho Cut Psystrike* or Shadow Ball* Psychic
Shadow Metagross Bullet Punch Meteor Mash* Steel/Psychic
Shadow Salamence Dragon Tail Outrage Dragon/Flying
Shadow Machamp Counter Dynamic Punch Fighting
Shadow Raikou Thunder Shock Wild Charge Electric
Shadow Dragonite Dragon Breath Outrage Dragon/Flying
Shadow Weavile Snarl or Ice Shard Foul Play or Avalanche Ice/Dark
Shadow Tyranitar Smack Down or Bite Stone Edge or Crunch Dark/Rock
Shadow Moltres Fire Spin or Wing Attack Overheat or Sky Attack* Fire/Flying
Shadow Swampert Water Gun Hydro Cannon* Ground/Water
Shadow Zapdos Thunder Shock* Thunderbolt Electric/Flying
Shadow Magnezone Spark Wild Charge Electric/Steel
Shadow Electivire Thunder Shock Wild Charge Electric
Shadow Venusaur Vine Whip Frenzy Plant* Grass/Poison
Shadow Torterra Razor Leaf Frenzy Plant* Grass/Ground
Shadow Gyarados Waterfall Hydro Pump Water/Flying
Shadow Entei Fire Fang Overheat Fire
Shadow Charizard Fire Spin Blast Burn* Fire/Flying
Shadow Alakazam Confusion or Psycho Cut Psychic* Psychic
Shadow Exeggutor Confusion* or Bullet Seed Solar Beam Grass/Psychic
Shadow Gardevoir Charm or Confusion Dazzling Gleam or Psychic Fairy/Psychic
Shadow Gallade Confusion Psychic Grass/Psychic
Shadow Banette Shadow Claw Shadow Ball Ghost
Shadow Shiftry Razor Leaf Leaf Blade Dark/Grass
Shadow Magmortar Fire Spin Fire Blast or Fire Punch Fire
Shadow Arcanine Fire Fang Flamethrower Fire
Shadow Mismagius Hex or Sucker Punch Shadow Ball Ghost
Shadow Houndoom Fire Fang or Snarl Flamethrower or Foul Play Dark/Fire
Shadow Victreebel Razor Leaf Leaf Blade Grass/Poison
Shadow Abomasnow Powder Snow Weather Ball Grass/Ice
  • Note: Shadow Mewtwo is game breakingly strong. It outclasses every other Pokémon, including other Shadow Pokémon and even Mega Pokémon. This combined with Mewtwo's wide variety of moves mean that it has several potential movesets that would still put it above and beyond other Pokémon. While Psystrike and Shadow Ball are Mewtwo's best moves, it can also make for a powerful Ice, Fire, or Electric attacker without requiring the use of an Elite TM. It's also worth investing the Candy and Stardust into giving a second Charged move.

Mega Pokémon?

Pokemon Go Mega Evolution LaunchSource: Niantic

On August 27, 2020, Mega Evolution finally arrived in Pokémon. Mega Evolved Pokémon get a big stat boost and they boost the attacks of other Pokémon in Raids, in particular those of the same type. Not every Mega Evolved Pokémon has been released, but here's what Pokémon Go has so far:

Pokémon Fast Charge Type
Mega Venusaur Vine Whip Frenzy Plant* Grass/Poison
Mega Charizard X Dragon Breath* Dragon Claw Dragon/Fire
Mega Charizard Y Fire Spin Blast Burn* Fire Flying
Mega Blastoise Water Gun Hydro Cannon* Water
Mega Beedrill Poison Jab or Bug Bite* Sludge Bomb or X-Scissor Bug/Poison
Mega Pidgeot Wing Attack* Brave Bird Normal/Flying
Mega Gengar Shadow Claw or Lick* Shadow Ball Ghost/Poison
Mega Houndoom Snarl Foul Play Dark/Fire
Mega Abomasnow Powder Snow or Razor Leaf Weather Ball Grass/Ice

Although we won't know until they are released just how great some of the other Mega Pokémon will be, here are the rest of the Pokémon with Mega Evolutions and just how great we predict they will be:

  • Alakazam - this Psychic type from Gen I retains its typing and is readily available. It certainly won't compare to Mega Mewtwo X or Mega Mewtwo Y, but it will be much more accessible, and with Trade Evolution, it can be cheap to evolve.
  • Slowbro - a Water and Psychic type from Gen I, Slowbro retains its typing and is readily accessible. It probably won't compare to Mega Alakazam, but it's cheaper to evolve sans Trade Evolution, leaving more Candy for powering up.
  • Kangaskhan - a Normal type from Gen I, Kangaskan retains its typing, which alone makes it marginally less useful. Additionally, as a Regional Exclusive, most players outside of Australia and New Zealand cannot readily catch this Pokémon.
  • Pinsir - a common enough Gen I Pokémon with no evolution, Pinsir changes from Bug to Bug and Flying. The ease of catching and powering up Pinsir, leaves a lot of potential for this Mega Pokémon.
  • Gyarados - already a powerful Pokémon, Gyarados changes from Water and Flying to Water and Dark. Add to that Magikarp's Community Day and other events, and you've got a lot of potential here.
  • Aerodactyl - a Gen I fossil Pokémon, Aerodactyl is a Rock and Flying type which retains its typing. It's been featured in a number of events and has no evolutions, leaving tons of Candy for powering up.
  • Mewtwo* - easily one of the most powerful Pokémon, Mewtwo and Shadow Mewtwo already top the tier lists. Adding the stat boosts from Mega Evolution alone, Mega Mewtwo is going to redefine the Meta; however, it is one of the only Pokémon with two Mega Evolutions, one pure Psychic and the other Psychic and Fighting.
  • Ampharos - the final evolution of Gen II's Mareep, Ampharos changes from pure Electric to Electric and Dragon. Mareep has been featured in a number of events, including a Community Day, so it's readily accessible too. This is definitely one worth investing in.
  • Steelix - the evolution of Gen I's Onix, Steelix is pretty easy to get. It's a Steel and Ground type that retains its typing, giving it a whopping ten resistances. The boosted stats it will get from Mega Evolution give Mega Steelix strong potential.
  • Scizor - a Bug and Steel type evolution of Gen I's Scyther, Mega Scizor retains its typing, leaving it with only one weakness and several resistances. It's readily accessible and with the Mega stat boost, provides a great alternative to the Mythical Genesect.
  • Heracross - originally encounters in Gen II, Heracross is a Bug and Fighting type that should be easy to catch and power up; however, as a Regional Exclusive, many players cannot encounter Heracross at all. Still, if you have it, it's got significant potential.
  • Tyranitar - having spent considerable time at the top of the tier list, Tyranitar is outclassed now, but that could certainly change with a Mega stat boost. Add to that how readily accessible Tyranitar is and you've got strong potential here.
  • Sceptile - the final evolution of the Gen III Grass type starter, Sceptile changes from pure Grass to Grass and Dragon. As a starter, it's had a Community Day, as well as a number of events, so most players have plenty of Candy for powering it up.
  • Blaziken - the Fire and Fighting type final evolution of Gen III's Fire starter, Blaziken has been on banned lists in a number of competitions because it's just that powerful. This is a Mega Pokémon with huge potential.
  • Swampert - the Water and Ground type final evolution of Gen III's Water starter, Swampert and Shadow Swampert are already great Pokémon, so the Mega stat boost is going to make it even better.
  • Gardevoir - as a Psychic and Fairy type, Gardevoir has very little competition when it comes to Fairy type damage in Pokémon Go. Even with Psychic type moves, both Gardevoir and Shadow Gardevoir often find their way into best counter lists. Expect that Mega Gardevoir will be extremely useful.
  • Sableye - a Dark and Ghost type that retains its typing, Sableye doesn't have much use in Pokémon Go, but its Mega Evolution could change that. Either way, it's readily available and has no evolutions, leaving tons of Candy for powering up.
  • Mawile - a Steel and Fairy type with no evolutions, Mawile retains its typing when it Mega Evolves. Mawile has a whopping 11 resistances to only two weaknesses. It's readily available and, even if it weren't so useful, Mega Mawile is one of the coolest looking Pokémon around.
  • Aggron - Mega Evolution changes Aggron from Steel and Rock to pure Steel, granting it 11 resistances to only three weaknesses. In the core games, Mega Aggron has an ability that reduces super effective damage, but Pokémon Go doesn't incorporate abilities. As the lack of abilities has already weakened Mega Venusaur, it is unlikely that Mega Aggron will get this particular benefit, but it is still likely to be a very valuable Pokémon to have.
  • Medicham - a Fighting and Psychic type, Medicham isn't particularly useful in Pokémon Go. As a Mega Pokémon, it may be more useful, but it won't compare to Mega Mewtwo X. It will be a little easier to catch and power up though.
  • Manectric - a pure Electric type, Manectric retains its typing with Mega Evolution. It's also a two stage Pokémon with its first stage being quite common. However, the Mega stat boost alone probably won't be enough to make Mega Manectric a top rec for much.
  • Sharpedo - a Water and Dark type, Sharpedo is easy to get and power up, and has some uses in Pokémon Go as is. It probably won't be beating Mega Gyarados for top counters, but it does have potential for when you run out of Mega Gyarados Energy.
  • Camerupt - a Fire and Ground type, Camerupt is readily accessible but not particularly useful. Its Mega Evolution might have a few more uses, but once Primal Groudon is introduced, Mega Camerupt is unlikely to compare.
  • Altaria - the costly evolution of Swablu, Altaria changes from Dragon and Flying to Dragon and Fairy, cutting back its weaknesses and giving it more resistances. The only thing really holding Altaria back is that it requires 400 Swablu Candy to evolve, and unlike Gyarados, Swablu hasn't seen the same abundance as Magikarp.
  • Banette - a pure Ghost type with no evolutions, Banette and Shadow Banette are already fairly useful in Pokémon Go. The Mega stat boost will make Mega Banette even more valuable.
  • Absol - the Dark type Absol isn't the most useful as is, but the Mega stat boost could change that. It retains its typing and has no evolutions, leaving tons of Candy for powering up too.
  • Glalie - one of two evolutions of Snorunt, Glalie is a pure Ice type that maintains its typing with Mega Evolution. It's easier to evolve than Froslass, but not overly useful.
  • Salamence - while this Dragon and Flying type pseudo-Legendary isn't quite as common as Dragonite, it is pretty close and stronger too. Mega Salamence is certain to make a number of tier lists and counter Raid recommendations. It won't match Mega Rayquaza, but it is going to be much easier to obtain.
  • Metagross - Metagross and Shadow Metagross are Steel and Psychic type pseudo-Legendary Pokémon that are already incredibly powerful and useful. In fact, Shadow Metagross falls only slightly behind Shadow Mewtwo for best Pokémon in the game. Mega Metagross, especially with Meteor Mash, is certainly going to be one of the best Megas in the game.
  • Latias - one of a Legendary pair of Dragon and Psychic types, Latias isn't quite as valuable in the meta as Latios, as her Attack and Defense stats are swapped. While players are likely to want her for their Pokédex, Latios is going to be more useful.
  • Latios - the more useful of the Psychic and Dragon type twins, Latios has considerably more attack power. As a Legendary, though, he's not super accessible.
  • Rayquaza - the top Dragon type in Pokémon Go (and Pokémon in general,) Rayquaza's Mega Evolution is almost certainly going to be a game changer. This Flying and Dragon type isn't nearly as easy to come by as Dragonite or even Salamence, but it is so much stronger.
  • Lopunny - while Normal type Pokémon aren't super useful in Pokémon Go, Lopunny changes from Normal to Normal and Fighting with its Mega Evolution, given it the potential to be a bit more useful.
  • Garchomp - a Ground and Dragon type pseudo-Legendary, Garchomp is already super useful. Its first stage, Gible isn't terribly common, but has been featured in Events, including a Community Day, so most players have had a chance at getting lots of them. Plan to prioritize this Mega Raid.
  • Lucario - one of the best non-Shadow Pokémon in the game, Lucario is a powerful Steel and Fighting type that you should already be prioritizing. Unfortunately, the most reliable way to get its first stage, Riolu, is 10KM Fitness Eggs. Given the difficulty in earning those Eggs, there are many players who still don't have Lucario. Its Mega Evolution is going to be a game changer though, so definitely plan on prioritizing Mega Lucario Raids.
  • Gallade - although Gallade isn't quite as useful as Ralts' other final evolution, Gardevoir, as a Psychic and Fighting type, Mega Gallade has potential. It's not quite as common as Medicham, but infinitely more common than Mewtwo.
  • Audino - a relatively uncommon Pokémon, Audino changes from Normal to Normal and Fairy type with its Mega Evolution. Audino isn't useful right now, but with the Mega stat boost and addition of Fairy typing, Mega Audino could have potential.
  • Diancie - a Mythical Pokémon from Gen VI, Diancie hasn't even been introduced to Pokémon Go yet. However, as as Rock and Fairy type with considerable use in the core games, its Mega Evolution is bound to be worth the effort it will undoubtedly take to evolve. The fact that it is one of my favorite Pokémon overall is far from the only reason I'm so excited to see it introduced.
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Great... but how do you get enough Candy to evolve?

To evolve you need Candy. A lot of it. The amount you need starts small but grows as you get to higher levels. Candy also has to match the Pokéman family you want to evolve or power up. So you need Geodude Candy to evolve to Graveler and Golem, and you need more Geodude Candy to power up Golem as well.

  • Three Candies per base-level Pokémon caught in the wild.
  • Fire Candies per second-level Pokémon caught in the wild.
  • Ten Candies per third-level Pokémon caught in the wild.
  • One Candy per Pokémon transferred to the Professor.
  • Five to 15 Candies per 2 KM Egg hatched.
  • Ten to 21 Candies per 5 KM Egg hatched.
  • 16 to 32 Candies per 10 KM Egg hatched.
  • One Candy per Buddy distance walked.
  • Six Candies per base-level Pokémon caught in the wild while using a Pinap Berry.
  • Ten Candies per second-level Pokémon caught in the wild while using a Pinap Berry.
  • 20 Candies per third-level Pokémon caught in the wild while using a Pinap Berry.

How do you know which specific Pokémon to evolve?

Pokemon Go AppraisalsSource: iMore/Casian Holly

If a Pokémon is particularly rare you might not have much choice as to which one you evolve. If you live in a place where Eevee spawn every few minutes, though, deciding which one(s) to evolve can be trickier. That's where Appraisals come in.

How to Appraise your Pokémon in Pokémon Go!

Appraisals are how Pokémon Go surfaces the hidden IV stats of the game. All Pokémon have these three stats: stamina, attack, and defense. You can get a good idea of where your Pokémon ranks by having your Team Leader appraise your Pokémon. Ideally, you want to evolve the Pokémon with the best appraisal. Those will be the ones with the highest stats and, eventually, the highest CP.

Appraisals used to be a lot more complicated but now, your Team Leader will rate your

How do you get TMs in Pokémon Go?

You get Technical Machines — both Fast TMs and Charged TMs — by beating Raid Bosses and completing Research. Each time you complete a Raid or Research, you get rewards. The higher level the raid — from one to four normally, five for special events — the more rewards you get and the more likely it is you'll get one or more technical machines. For Research, each task specifies what Rewards you'll get.

More recently, Niantic introduced Elite TMs. These also come in Fast and Charged, but unlike normal TMs, Elite TMs let you pick any move you want for your Pokémon from any move that Pokémon species has ever been able to learn. This means Elite TMs can give your Pokémon a legacy move. In general, Elite TMs are very limited. They are occasionally included in Community Day bundles or similar limited event purchases.

How do you get enough Stardust to power up your Pokémon?

To power up you need more Candy but you also need Stardust. Stardust is generic. You can use any Stardust you got from any source on any Pokémon you want. The amount you need starts small but grows as you get to higher levels. So, how do you get as much Candy and Stardust as possible to power up as much as possible?

  • 100 Stardust per base-level Pokémon caught in the wild.
  • 300 Stardust per second-level Pokémon caught in the wild.
  • 500 Stardust per third-level Pokémon caught in the wild.
  • 500-1500 Stardust per 2 KM Egg hatched.
  • 1000-2100 Stardust per 5KM Egg hatched.
  • 1600-3200 Stardust per 10 KM Egg hatched.

To evolve a Dratini into Dragonair and Dragonite takes 125 Dratini Candy. To power up a Dragonite to over 3000 CP could take another 70 Dratini Candy and 80,000 Stardust or more.

So, catch, hatch, walk, and claim as much Candy and Stardust as you can.

Any questions about the Pokémon you absolutely need to evolve, TM, and power-up for Raids?

Do you have any questions about which Pokémon to prioritize powering up, evolving, and using TMs on? Got any tips for your fellow Trainers? Drop them in the comments below and be sure to check out our Best Portable Battery Packs so your phone stays charged on the journey to becoming a Pokémon Master!

Pokemon Go

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Pokemon Go Banner Source: Niantic

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