Pokémon Go Legendary Raids: How to prepare for Mew, Mewtwo, Birds, and more!

How do you beat Legendary Raids and Raid Bosses like Mew, Mewtwo, Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, Raiku, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Ho-Oh, and Celebi? Here's your guide!

When Pokémon Go launched Battle Raids as part of the game's big summer update, the expectation was that Legendary Raid Battles would soon follow and finally give players a chance to battle and even catch Mew, Mewtwo, Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, Raiku, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Ho-Oh, and Celebi.

Well, it looks like those expectations are about to be met!

How to beat regular Raid Bosses in Pokémon Go

What has Pokémon Go said about Legendary Raids?

From Pokémon Go:

These Trainers also played an integral role in revealing that Lugia would be the first Legendary Pokémon to enter the real world. In addition to Lugia, the number of Pokémon caught during Pokémon GO Fest by members of Team Instinct, Team Mystic, and Team Valor were tallied up, and, the winner was... Team Mystic! To celebrate this victory, Articuno will join Lugia in Raid Battles everywhere starting immediately. Don't worry, Team Instinct and Team Valor, the Legendary Pokémon Zapdos and Moltres will also make their way into the real world soon, so stay tuned for more information.

Yeah, they're here!

Will the other Legendaries be released soon too?

One at a time, it sounds like. Lugia and Articuno hit July 22. Moltres and Zapdos will follow shortly. Other Legendaries will come over the course of the rest of the year.

What are the best counters for Legendary Raid Battles in Pokémon Go? (Speculative)

There are a lot of lists out there and a lot of opinions on what it takes to make it on a list. I'm a level 40 players and I've participated in over 200 Battle Raids, including many Legendary Raids against Lugia and Articuno (I was at Go Fest Chicago). This list is informed not just from DSP or type-matching, but a lot of real world testing. 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 Pokémon like Gengar just don't last long enough to really take advantage of their high damage output. Same is, unfortunately, true for Golem. It can get shredded before getting off a single Stone Edge.

Also, because Stardust, Technical Machines (TM) and other resources are scarce, Pokémon that can be used against several Raid Bosses, like Tyrantiar, are better 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 the Legendary Raid Bosses in Pokémon Go?

Tyranitar is the hero in this list, especially against the Legendary Birds so getting one, making sure it has good moves, and then powering it up to around Level 30 will be paramount. Rhydon, just like in regular Raid Battles, is a heavy hitter in Legendary as well, especially against the Beasts. Golem, thanks to good stats and great typing can be great as well, provided you can successfully dodge a few Charge moves.

Pokémon Type Best counter Other counters
Articuno Flying/Ice Tyranitar (Stone Edge) Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) or Flareon (Fire Spin + Overheat)
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 Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge) Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake)
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)

Tyranitar

Beats Mew, Mewtwo, Lugia, hurts Celebi, Articuno, Zapdos, and Raiku

Tyranitar is the Godzilla of Pokémon Go but up until now has also been something of a mixed monster: super-high CP but super weak to Fighting and weak to water. With Legendary Raids, though, you get to put the monster first, and that means Tyranitar's huge stats and double Dark combo with Bite and Crunch punishing to Psychic types, including Mew and Mewtwo.

Many would point out Mew's lack of a Psychic quick move means Gengar is a more damaging counter. In my experience, though, thanks to hard-to-dodge charge moves and glitchy gameplay, Gengar often doesn't last long enough to deliver that damage. So, Tyranitar may just prove the best combination of damage and longevity in both Psychic battles. (Just avoid Focus Blast. Because, ouch.)

If you have Tyranitar with Bite and Stone Edge instead, you can round out Golem attackers in a fight against the Legendary Birds and even Beasts as well.

Evolve: 25 candies from Larvitar to Pupitar, 100 candies from Pupitar to Tyranitar. (But you're better off getting one from a Tier 4 Raid Battle and saving those candies to power it up.)

Best movesets: Bite + Crunch (against Mew and Mewtwo)

Secondary movesets: Bite + Stone Edge (Moltres, Zapdos, Articuno)


Golem

Beats Moltres, Ho-Oh, hurts Zapdos, decent against Articuna

Golem has always been a less powerful, harder to evolve, if less vulnerable, version of Rhydon. But thanks to its Rock-type fast move, it comes out of the shadows to be one of the best counters to the Legendary Birds. Like with Charizard, Golem resists Moltres' Fire- and Flying-type moves, and also dishes out double super effective damage with Rock Throw and Stone Edge. Against Zapdos, Golem double resists Electric and resists Flying moves, and deals out super effective damage. Even against Articuno, Golem resists flying and does double super effective damage... but takes super effective damage from Ice-type attacks.

With Mud Slap and Earthquake instead of Stone Edge, Golem can be used to round out a Rhydon army when taking on two of the Legendary Beats, Raiku and Entei.

Evolve: 25 candies from Geodude to Gravler, 100 candies from Graveler to Golem.

Best movesets: Rock Throw + Stone Edge (Moltres, Zapdos, Articuno)

Secondary movesets: Mud Slap + Earthquake (Raiku and Entei)


Rhydon

Beats Raiku, Entei, helps with Moltres

Rhydon keeps surprising. Last year it got a CP boost that put it among the top Gym squatters. This year, its type-matching and movesets makes it the most versatile Boss-beater in the game. That carries over to Legendaries as well.

Score Mud Slap and Earthquake and it's the best counter to Raiku and Entei. That's thanks to its Ground typing, and totally avoiding its otherwise double weaknesses to Water and Grass. Score Stone Edge, and you can help reinforce your Golems against Moltres too.

All this combines to make Rhydon not just the most versatile regular Raid Boss beater in the game, especially for Tier 1 through Tier 3, but a force to be reckoned with for Legendary as well.

Evolve: 50 candies from Rhyhorn to Rhydon

Best movesets: Mud Slap + Earthquake (Raiku, Entei)

Usable Movesets: Mud Slap + Stone Edge (Moltres)


What are the best movesets for the Legendary and Mythical Pokémon?

Even though Pokémon Go hasn't officially launched the Legendary and Mythical Pokémon yet, they've had at least placeholder movesets in the game for a while now. Whether or not those moves survive launch or get replaced with new — and in several cases, hopefully better — ones, we'll have to wait and see.

If the Legendary and Mythical movesets remain the same, here are the ones you'll want:

Pokémon Type Quick Move Change Move
Articuno Ice/Flying Frost Breath Blizzard
Zapdos Electric/Flying Charge Beam Thunder Bolt
Moltres Fire/Flying Fire Spin Overheat
Mewtwo Psychic Confusion Psychic
Mew Psychic Pound Solar Beam or Focus Blast
Raikou Electric Thunder Shock Wild Charge
Entei Fire Fire Spin Overheat
Sicune Water Extrasensory Hydro Hump
Lugia Psychic/Flying Extrasensory Future Sight
Ho-Oh Fire/Flying Extrasensory Fire Blast or Solar Beam
Celebi Grass/Psychic Confusion Dazzling Gleam

These are all attack-centric movesets, since those will be the ones that matter. Because...

Will you be able to put Legendary and Mythical Pokémon on Gyms?

No. Pokémon Go said that right up front:

While Legendary Pokémon will help them take on the toughest Raid Bosses and Gym Battles, they're not willing to leave their Trainer's side, so they can't be left to defend Gyms.

So, yeah, focus on offense.

Which Pokémon Go Legendary Raid Boss beaters are you considering?

If you have other Pokémon higher up on your Legendary Raid Battle counters list, let me know which ones and why!