How to beat Raid Bosses in Pokémon Go: Best counters, movesets, and tips!

How do you beat the Pokémon Go Raid Battle Bosses like Snorlax and Tyranitar and claim your rewards? By finding their weaknesses and exploiting your strengths with this cheat-sheet!

Pokémon Go Raid Battle's are here and with them, Raid Bosses. These super high CV — 25,000 CP Dragonite, anyone? — hatch from Gyms and then take on all comers, in groups of up to 20, for an hour. If you can beat one you get rewards in the form of Golden Razz Berries, Quick and Charge TM, Rare Candy — and a chance to catch a regular-powered version of the Boss, similar to what you'd get by hatching it from an egg.

But some Gym bosses are really tough to beat. They start off relatively easy at Tier 1 and Tier 2, but Tier 3 and Tier 4 bosses can be nightmares. (Never mind Tier 5 — they may well prove Legendary).

So, how do you beat a Raid Boss?

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What are the best counters for Raid Bosses in Pokémon Go?

There are a lot of computer simulations and a lot of human experience behind the various Pokémon Go lists out there. I'm a level 40 players and I've participated in over 100 Battle Raids. My list is based on reading all the simulations, testing out the recommendations, and seeing what works for me in a variety of play styles — and under a variety of the bugs that occur in real-world Raid Battles.

What I've found is that, due to how hard Charge Moves from Raid Bosses are to dodge, and how glitchy the Pokémon Go servers are in general, that high DSP, ideally type-matched, but fragile Pokémon like Gengar or Scisor just don't last long enough to prove useful.

Also, because Stardust, Technical Machines (TM) and other resources are scarce, Pokémon that can be used against several Raid Bosses, like Rhydon and Golem are more efficient than unitaskers who're only useful against one, like Piloswine.

If you don't have these Pokémon, try to get them from Raid Battles. If you have them but don't have the right movesets, try to change them with TMs. If you absolutely can't get them or get enough of them, use Pokémon of the same type and similar movesets. It's not ideal but sometimes you have to dance with the Pokémon you have.

How do you beat a Tier 1 Raid Boss in Pokémon Go?

Tier 1 Raid Bosses are typically base-level or second evolution Pokémon and aren't at al overwhelming. Higher level players with higher power Pokémon should be able to take them solo. Still, know your counters:

Raid Boss Best counter Other counters
Magikarp Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
Bayleef Flareon or Charizard (Fire Spin + Overheat) Charizard, Arcanine (Flame Thrower)
Quilava Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Croconaw Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)

How do you beat a Tier 2 Raid Boss in Pokémon Go?

Tier 2 Raid Bosses are second evolutions, including evolutions of baby Pokémon and start to get tougher. Very high level players with very powerful counters can probably still take them solo but they're much easier with a friend.

Raid Boss Best counter Other counters
Muk Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Outrage)
Exeggutor Flareon or Charizard (Fire Spin + Overheat) Scizor or Pinsir (Fury Cutter + X-Scissor)
Weezing Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Outrage)
Electabuzz Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge)
Magmar Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)

How do you beat a Tier 3 Raid Boss in Pokémon Go?

Tier 3 is where it starts to get difficult. They're either third evolutions or Evee-lutions. If you face off against a Vaporeon with a bad moveset, a super high-level player with super powerful counters can still eek out a win. If you score a Machamp with Counter + Dynamic Punch, call a friend or two.

Raid Boss Best counter Other counters
Arcanine Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Alakazam Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Scizor or Pinsir (Fury Cutter + X-Scissor)
Machamp Alakazam or Espeon (Confusion + Future Sight Exeggutor (Confusion + Psychic)
Gengar Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Alakazam or Espeon (Confusion + Future Sight
Vaporeon Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
Jolteon Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge)
Flareon Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)

How do you beat a Tier 4 Raid Boss in Pokémon Go?

Here's where things get serious. Tier 4 Raid Bosses are tough. They're third evolutions of starters, dominators like Tyranitar or Rhydon, or singular powerhouses like Lapras or Snorlax. To beat them you'll need your best and most powerful Pokémon, and at least four to eight friends.

Raid Boss Best counter Other counters
Venusaur Flareon or Charizard (Fire Spin + Overheat) Charizard, Arcanine (Flame Thrower)
Charizard Golem or Rhydon (Mud Slap + Stone Edge) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Blastoise Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
Rhydon Vaporeon (Water Gun + Hydro Pump Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
Lapras Machamp (Counter + Dynamic Punch) Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt)
Snorlax Machamp (Counter + Dynamic Punch) Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Outrage)
Tyranitar Machamp (Counter + Dynamic Punch) Vaporeon (Water Gun + Hydro Pump

How do you beat a Tier 5 Raid Boss in Pokémon Go?

Tier 5 Gyms haven't been released yet but are generally expected to feature Legendary and Mythical Pokémon like the Legendary Birds, Mew, and Mewtwo. When we know what they are for sure, we'll post the best counters we can find. Speculatively:

Pokémon Type Best counter Other counters
Articuno Flying/Ice Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) Flareon (Fire Spin + Overheat) or Tyranitar (Stone Edge)
Moltres Flying/Fire Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) Rhydon (Mud Slap + Stone Edge) or Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Zapdos Flying/Electric Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) Lapras (Frost Breath + Ice Beam or Blizzard) or Tyranitar (Stone Edge)
Mewtwo Psychic Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Houndoom (Snarl + Foul Play)
Mew Psychic Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Houndoom (Snarl + Foul Play)
Raiku Electric Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge)
Entei Fire Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Suicune Water Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Exeggutor or Venusaur (Solar Beam)
Lugia Flying/Psychic Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Houndoom (Snarl + Foul Play) or Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt)
Ho-Oh Flying/Fire Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) Rhydon (Mud Slap + Stone Edge) or Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Celebi Grass/Psychic Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Flareon (Fire Spin + Overheat) or Scizor or Pinsir (Fury Cutter + X-Scissor)

Can you use Dragonite, Tyranitar, or any other generalist attackers?

While there's no silver bullet in Pokémon Go Raid Battles, there are some Pokémon that are so elite, powerful enough versions of them with the right movesets can be used to damage many of Bosses.

Some people find it even more efficient to use (and revive and heal) a few powerful generalists rather than a lot of less powerful but type-matched specialists.

Dragonite, for example, isn't the best counter for any of the current Raid Bosses, Dragonite is a good generalist counter against several of them.

  • Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Outrage): Bayleaf, Muk, Exeggutor, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Venusaur, and Snorlax.
  • Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Hurricane): Bayleaf, Muk, Exeggutor, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Machamp, Venusaur, and Snorlax

Tyranitar also has high base stats, is the best counter against Alakazam and Gengar, but also has greater vulnerabilities. Still Stone Edge helps it out against several other raid bosses:

  • Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge): Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Alakazam, Gengar, Charizard, and Snorlax.

Likewise, some Pokémon, such as Gengar and Alakazam, can do a lot of damage (DSP) but can't take a lot of damage, which means counting on them could get you killed before the battle ends. Other Pokémon, such as Blissey and Snorlax, can take a lot of damage (tanky) but can't dish it out as fast, which means you could run out of time before the beating the Boss.

Should you dodge during a Raid Battle? What's the best strategy?

In a perfect battle you want to fire off as many charge moves from each Pokémon as you can before they faint and leave the battle.

If you have tons of people playing at once or you're worried about running out of time, don't bother dodging just charge and fire those big moves!

If you have fewer people or are worried about running out of Pokémon, dodge the charge moves whenever you can but don't stop firing!

Any Pokémon Go Raid Boss beating questions?

If you have any questions about beating the Raid Boss in Pokémon Go, drop them in the comments below.