The Legendary Dog Raids — Raikou, Entei, and Suicune — have begun and the EX Raids for Mewtwo are on their way. Here's how to beat them all!

Pokémon Go Legendary Raids are in full effect. With the Legendary Birds Not only Mewtwo on his way Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, and Lugia behind us, we now enter the time of the Legendary Dogs: Raikou, Entei, and Suicune. They be rotating between the Americas, Europe/Africa, and Asia every month for the next three months. Meanwhile, EX Raids featuring Mewtwo are still on their way. (And who knows when Mew, Ho-Oh, and Celebi will follow?)

But, i order to catch a Legendary Pokémon, you have to beat them first. Here's how!

How to beat regular Raid Bosses in Pokémon Go

September 7, 2017: EX-Raid field tests, featuring Legendary Mewtwo Raid Boss, have begun!

EX-Raids have just been field-tested in Japan, Washington, and California. Participants, seemingly chosen at random, received EX-Raid passes 24-48 hours before the EX-Raid was scheduled to begin, and were given a 2-hour evening time window in which to show up and battle the Legendary Pokémon, Mewtwo.

So far, rewards seem to be the same as Tier 5 Legendary Raids like Raikou. Also, while the catch-rate for Mewtwo is 6%, well above the 3% for Legendary Birds and 2% for Legendary Beasts, both videos show players failing to catch and keep him.

Additional EX-Raid passes have now appeared for Japan, the Bay Area of California, and New York City. These passes, however, have given less than 24 hours notice and only a 1-hour time limit for the Raid itself.

There also seems to be no obvious pattern for who gets an EX-Raid invitation, other than they all raided recently at the Gym for which the pass is issued.

What has Pokémon Go said about Legendary Raids?

From Pokémon Go:

Over the last several weeks, we've heard so many incredible stories of Trainers teaming up together around the world to catch Pokémon GO's first Legendary Pokémon. We're excited to keep the legendary adventures going!

Starting August 31, the Legendary Pokémon Raikou, Entei, and Suicune will begin appearing in Pokémon GO. Trainers worldwide can look forward to battling these Pokémon together with friends in Raid Battles for the chance to catch the trio of Legendary Pokémon originally from the Johto region. Raikou, Entei, and Suicune will be traveling the world throughout the coming months. From August 31 to September 30, you can find these Legendary Pokémon in the following areas of the world:

  • Raikou, an Electric-type Legendary Pokémon, can be battled throughout the Americas.
  • Entei, a Fire-type Legendary Pokémon, can be battled throughout Europe and Africa.
  • Suicune, a Water-type Legendary Pokémon, can be battled throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

On September 30, all three of these Legendary Pokémon will move to a different location and will be available for Trainers to battle with friends until October 31. They will make their final stop in the last remaining location on October 31. Raikou, Entei, and Suicune will be available for this limited time period, so make sure to battle against them when they arrive at Gyms near you!

While these Legendary Pokémon are traveling the world, we'll also begin an EX Raid Battle (formerly Exclusive Raid Battle) field-testing phase at select Gyms before the feature is made available globally. We have collected some valuable early feedback on the new EX Raid Battle feature and will look to further test and hone the experience through the feedback of the dedicated global Trainer community. During the field test, we'll be making periodic adjustments to EX Raid eligibility requirements, frequency, times, locations, and durations with the goal of making the EX Raid Battle feature engaging, rewarding, and most importantly, fun for Trainers who regularly participate in Raid Battles.

The first EX Raid Passes will be sent out soon, and those invited will have an opportunity to try out the new system as early as September 6. Stay tuned for more updates as we launch the EX Raid Battle field test to more Gyms in the weeks ahead. We look forward to reading all your constructive feedback on our social media channels and encourage you to continue share your thoughts throughout the EX Raid Battle field test!

When did Legendary Raids start?

Lugia debuted immediately following Pokémon Go Fest Chicago on July 22 and was available through Thursday, August 31. Initially, the other Legendary Birds debuted as follows:

  • Articuno (Team Mystic) released on Saturday, July 22 and available through Monday, July 31.
  • Moltres (Team Valor) to be released on Monday, July 31 and available through Monday, August 7.
  • Zapdos (Team Instinct) to be released on Monday, August 7 and available through Monday, August 14.

Then, Pokémon Go re-released all three Legendary Birds on August 14 and let them run until August 31.

If you missed the Legendary Birds can you still get them?

Yes! Pokémon Go announced that the Legendary Birds would be ending on August 31 but, as of September 1, the Legendary Birds are still popping up in Raids.

Get them while you can!

What about Mewtwo? When will that Legendary be released?

Turns out, Mewtwo has already been released. At least for attendees at the Yokohama Stadiumevent in Japan. Mewtoo will be available at other Gyms around the world soon through a new invitation system called EX Raids (see above).

Raikou, Entei, and Suicune have already started, though?

They have! Raikou, Entei, and Suicune will be rotating through regions. Here's the schedule:

Month Raikou Entei Suicune
September Americas EU/Africa Asia Pac
October
November

In other words, you'll have a month to catch the first regional Legendary Dog, then it'll switch, and you'll have a month to catch the second one, then another switch and a final month to catch the third one.

It's possible Pokémon Go will then re-release the Legendary Dogs all together like they did with the Legendary Birds, but it's best not to take any chances. Catch your Legendary Dogs as soon as possible.

And Ho-Oh and the Mythicals, Mew and Celebi? Will they be released soon too?

Rumor has it Ho-Oh will be an EX Raid like Mewtwo, either overlapping or after. No word yet on Mew or Celebi.

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

There are a lot of lists out there and a lot of opinions on what it takes to make it on a list. I've tested various counters in over 300 Battle Raids, including over 100 Legendary Raids, and this is the list I've come to depend on.

What I've found during the course of many, many raids is that, due to how hard Charge Moves from Raid Bosses are to dodge, and how glitchy the Pokémon Go servers are in general, high DPS and perfect type matching aren't enough. For example, 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 after 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 typing and movesets. It's not ideal but sometimes you have to dance with the Pokémon you have.

Whatever you do, don't use Blissey. It's just too slow and you're always fighting the timer as much as you are the boss.

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. Golem, thanks to good stats and great typing can be great as well, provided you can successfully dodge a few Charge moves. Rhydon works well against some of the the Legendary Dogs as well.

Pokémon Type Best counter Other counters
Articuno Flying/Ice Tyranitar (Stone Edge) Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) or Flareon/Moltres (Fire Spin + Overheat)
Moltres Flying/Fire Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge) or Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Zapdos Flying/Electric Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) Tyranitar (Stone Edge) or Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Outrage)
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, Moltres, 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, death-loop infested 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 and last even longer 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, Zapdos, Ho-Oh, hurts Zapdos, decent against Articuna

Golem has always been a less powerful, harder to evolve, but less vulnerable version of Rhydon. Thanks to its Rock-type fast move, though, 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 Beasts, 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 and Zapdos 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!