Pokémon Go: Nihilego raid guide

Pokemon Go Nihilego
Pokemon Go Nihilego (Image credit: Niantic)

Ultra Beast Nihilego is returning to raids in Pokémon Go. The Ultra Beasts have very limited availability and are pretty tough. Fortunately, we here at iMore have everything you need to know to beat them.

Who is Nihilego in Pokémon Go?

Pokemon 793 Nihilego

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UB-01 Symbiont, Nihilego is the first of the Ultra Beasts, a special class of Legendary Pokémon found only in Ultra Space. Very rarely, Ultra Wormholes will appear in the Alola region, providing people and Pokémon alike with the ability to cross between the Pokémon world and Ultra Space. Now the Ultra Beasts have made their way into Pokémon Go raids.

In terms of gameplay, Nihilego is one of the most powerful Poison types currently available. It is the only Pokémon of its type combination, Rock and Poison, and boasts very impressive stats. Plus, Nihilego raids have been very limited so far, so you won't want to skip this one. Be sure to check out our best Pokémon Go accessories while you're at it, so you can be fully equipped on your Pokémon Journey!

Mega counters

Pokémon Go Mega Energy

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There are a handful of options for Mega Evolution when countering Nihilego, focusing on its weaknesses: Ground, Psychic, Steel, and Water. However, only one Mega counter currently available performs as well as the top standard or Shadow counters, and it's not a Ground type, so currently Mega Evolution isn't critical for this raid.

Mega Alakazam

Pokémon 065 Alakazam Mega

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Mega Alakazam is the only Mega Pokémon currently available that can compete with any of the top counters, and even then, it's at the bottom of the list. More importantly, all of the top counters are Ground type, so it's unlikely to provide a Mega Boost unless you're coordinating with your raid party. Still, this pure Psychic type has no weaknesses Nihilego can exploit. Confusion and Psychic are the ideal moves for Alakazam here.

Mega Latios

Pokemon 381 Latios Mega

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Mega Latios is the next best choice against Nihilego. All the top counters are Ground types, so it probably won't be providing a same type Mega Boost to anyone of your raid party; however, as a Psychic and Dragon type, it has no weaknesses Nihilego can exploit. If you're going with Mega Latios, you'll want it to know Zen Headbutt and Psychic.

Mega Aerodactyl

Pokemon 142 Aerodactyl Mega

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Mega Aerodactyl is another solid choice for this raid, despite not being the right types. As a Flying and Rock type, it resists Poison and Normal type damage, but it takes increased damage from Rock type moves. It won't provide the same type Mega Boost for other counters, but Aerodactyl has access to both Steel and Ground type moves that make it perform well. Steel Wing and Earth Power are the moves you'll want if you're bringing Mega Aerodactyl to this fight.

Mega Kangaskhan

Pokemon 115 Kangaskhan Mega

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Mega Kangaskhan also performs really well against Nihilego, despite not having a type advantage. As a Normal type, it has no weaknesses relevant to this fight. Mud-Slap and Earthquake is the moveset you'll want your Mega Kangaskhan to know in this raid.

Honorable mentions

While they will not perform as well, the following Mega Evolved Pokémon can also work for this raid:

Top counters

Nihilego is a Rock and Poison type with access to Poison, Rock, and Normal type moves. Its weaknesses include Ground, Steel, Water, and Psychic type; however, Ground is a double weakness, so should be your first choice.

Excadrill

Pokemon 530 Excadrill

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The top performing Pokémon against Nihilego is Gen V's Excadrill. A Ground and Steel type, Excadrill resists Poison, Rock, and Normal type damage. It's also very obtainable, requiring only 50 Candy to fully evolve and having a common first stage that has been featured in events. If you're bringing Excadrill to this fight, Mud-Slap and Drill Run are its top moves in this fight.

Garchomp

Pokemon 445 Garchomp

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A pseudo-Legendary originally encountered in the Sinnoh region of Gen IV, Garchomp is a great choice for fighting Nihilego. As a Ground and Dragon type, it takes reduced damage from both Rock and Poison type moves. Its first stage, Gible has been featured in multiple events, including a Community Day, so most active players already have one or two Garchomp at their disposal. If you're bringing one to this fight, you'll want it to know Mud Shot and Earth Power; however, if you don't have the Community Day exclusive move or the Elite TM to spare, Earthquake is a good substitute.

Landorus (Therian)

Pokemon 645 Landorus Therian

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One of the Legendary Forces of Nature, Landorus (Therian) is another great choice for this fight. While either forme works, the Therian forme is the better option here. Both have had multiple runs in raids and share candy, making it easier to power up. As a Ground and Flying type, Landorus takes reduced damage from Poison type moves and Nihilego cannot take advantage of any of its weaknesses. Mud Shot and Earthquake are the moves you'll want your Landorus to know going up against Nihilego.

Rhyperior

Pokemon 464 Rhyperior

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The Sinnoh Stone evolution of Gen I's Rhydon, Rhyperior is a solid counter for Nihilego. This Ground and Rock type resists Poison, Rock, and Normal type damage. Rhyperior is the evolution of a common Gen I Pokémon and it's had the Community Day treatment, so most active players have had the chance to add it to their roster. Mud-Slap and Earthquake are the moves you'll want your Rhyperior to know for this fight.

Landorus (Incarnate)

Pokemon Landorus Incarnate

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While Therian forme Landorus is preferred, Landorus (Incarnate) is also a top counter for Nihilego. It's been in raids even more often than its Therian counterpart, so most active players have had the chance to catch plenty. It's also a Ground and Flying type, giving it resistance to Poison type damage. Mud Shot and Earth Power are the moves of choice for Incarnate Landorus in this raid.

Groudon

Pokemon 383 Groudon

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The Legendary mascot of Pokémon Ruby, Groudon is an obvious choice for countering Nihilego. It's a pure Ground type, so it resists both Rock and Poison type damage. Groudon has also been featured many, many times in Pokémon Go, so most active players have a couple already. If you're bringing Groudon to this fight, you'll want it to know Mud Shot and Earthquake.

Golurk

Pokemon 623 Golurk

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The Unovan native Golurk is another great counter for Nihilego. It's a Ghost and Ground type, so it resists Rock, Poison, and Normal type damage. Golurk and its first stage, Golett have been featured in events, eggs, and raids, so most active players have had the chance to catch and evolve it. Mud-Slap and Earth Power is the moveset you'll want your Golurk to know for this fight.

Rhydon

Pokemon 112 Rhydon

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While Rhyperior will perform much better, if you don't have the Sinnoh Stone or the candy to spare, Rhydon is also a top counter for Nihilego. It's also a Ground and Rock type, so it resists Poison, Rock, and Normal type damage, and it's incredibly easy to catch and evolve, seeing as it has been in the game since day one and was featured in many events. Mud-Slap and Earthquake are the moves you'll want your Rhydon to know for this fight.

Krookodile

Pokemon 553 Krookodile

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Originally encountered in the Unova region of Gen V, Krookodile is another great choice for this fight. It's a Ground and Dark type, so it resists Rock and Poison. Unfortunately, Krookodile can only be obtained via evolution and its first stage is only available in 12KM Strange Eggs rescued from the Leaders of Team GO Rocket, so many players don't even have one much less the candy to power it up. Still, if you have one, you'll want your Krookodile to know Mud-Slap and Earthquake when facing Nihilego.

Mamoswine

Pokemon 473 Mamoswine

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Last but not least is Gen IV's Mamoswine. This Ice and Ground type resists Poison type damage and it has no weaknesses Nihilego can exploit. Mamoswine has been featured in events, including Community Day and an Incense Day, so most active players have had the chance to catch and evolve this woolly mammoth Pokémon. If you're bringing Mamoswine along, you'll want Mud-Slap for its fast move and Bulldoze for its charged move.

Back up counters

Although most players will be able to make a team of the best counters, if you're finding a gap in your team, there are plenty of back ups who work well in larger groups. Just make sure you're dodging and any of the following could be a decent back up:

  • Donphan with Mud-Slap and Earthquake
  • Golem with Mud-Slap and Earthquake
  • Mewtwo with Confusion and Psystrike
  • Flygon with Mud Shot and Earth Power
  • Swampert with Mud Shot and Earthquake
  • Hoopa (Unbound) with Confusion and Psychic
  • Alolan Dugtrio with Mud-Slap and Earthquake
  • Metagross with Bullet Punch and Earthquake
  • Seismitoad with Mud Shot and Earth Power
  • Terrakion with Double Kick and Earthquake
  • Gastrodon with Mud-Slap and Earth Power
  • Hippowdon with Thunder Fang and Earth Power
  • Nidoking with Double Kick and Earth Power
  • Jirachi with Confusion and Doom Desire
  • Hoopa (Confined) with Confusion and Psychic
  • Ho-Oh with Hidden Power (Ground) and Earthquake
  • Ursaluna with Tackle and High Horsepower
  • Kyogre with Waterfall and Surf
  • Dialga with Metal Claw and Iron Head

Shadow counters

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 or with Elite TMs, it's possible to change their moves. If you happen to have any of the following Pokémon with the right moveset, they will work very well in this Raid:

  • Shadow Golurk with Mud-Slap and Earth Power
  • Shadow Golem with Mud-Slap and Earthquake
  • Shadow Mewtwo with Psycho Cut and Psystrike
  • Shadow Mamoswine with Mud-Slap and Bulldoze
  • Shadow Swampert with Mud Shot and Earthquake
  • Shadow Flygon with Mud Shot and Earth Power
  • Shadow Metagross with Bullet Punch and Earthquake
  • Shadow Alolan Dugtrio with Mud-Slap and Earthquake
  • Shadow Hippowdon with Thunder Fang and Earth Power
  • Shadow Nidoking with Fury Cutter and Earth Power
  • Shadow Ho-Oh with Hidden Power (Ground) and Earthquake
  • Shadow Latios with Zen Headbutt and Psychic
  • Shadow Ursaluna with Tackle and High Horsepower

Note: Shadow Golurk, Shadow Golem, Shadow Mewtwo, Shadow Mamoswine, and Shadow Swampert perform on par with the top counters.

More details

While it is technically possible to duo Nihilego, most players will need to have at least three. If you're lower level or lacking the best counters, you may need as many as six.

Weather conditions that can impact this raid include:

  • Partly Cloudy Weather will boost Nihilego's Rock type moves
  • Cloudy/Overcast weather will boost its Poison type moves
  • Sunny/Clear Weather will boost your Ground type counters
  • Snow will boost your Steel type counters
  • Windy Weather will boost your Psychic type counters
  • Rain will boost your Water type counters

Don't miss your chance to catch Nihilego in Pokémon Go!

Nihilego will only be available in raids for a limited time so you don't want to miss this chance to battle and catch one. Also, be sure to check out our other Pokémon Go Guides so you too can become a Pokémon Master!