Pokémon Go: Xerneas Raid Guide

Pokémon Go Xerneas
(Image credit: Niantic)

The Legendary mascot of Pokémon X, Xerneas is returning to raids in Pokémon Go. Over a year has passed since players had a chance at this Legendary Pokémon and a lot has changed in that time. Fortunately, we here at iMore have everything you need to know to win this fight and add Xerneas to your roster.

Who is Xerneas in Pokémon Go?

Pokémon 716 Xerneas

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

The Legendary Generation VI Fairy type Pokémon Xerneas was the mascot of Pokémon X. It is one of three Legendary Pokémon from the Kalos region, found in the Team Flare Secret HQ. The Life Pokémon transformed itself into a tree and slept for a millenium before awakening to share its gift by using its horns, which glow in seven colors. It is tied to the Destruction Pokémon Yveltal, which steals life energy from everything around it.

As for Pokémon Go, Xerneas has incredible stats that would make it one of the most powerful Fairy types in the game. Unfortunately, its movepool leaves much to be desired. If Niantic were to give Xerneas even one Fairy type fast move, that would all change, but until then, at least players can Shiny hunt. And be sure to check out our best Pokémon Go accessories so you can be fully equipped when battling Xerneas raids!

Mega counters

Pokémon Go Mega Energy

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There are a handful of options for Mega Evolution when countering Xerneas, focusing on both of its weaknesses: Poison and Steel. 

Mega Gengar

Pokémon 094 Gengar Mega

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Mega Gengar is the best non-Shadow counter in this raid. As a Ghost and Poison type, it resists Fairy, Bug, Normal, and Fighting type damage, but takes increased damage from Psychic type moves. Lick and Sludge Bomb is the best moveset for Gengar in this fight.

Mega Beedrill

Pokémon 015 Beedrill Mega

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Mega Beedrill is another option for this raid, especially if you don't have the Mega Energy for Gengar. A Bug and Poison type, Mega Beedrill is resistant to Fairy, Fighting, and Bug type attacks, but weak to Psychic type damage. Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb is the ideal move set for this fight.

Mega Scizor

Pokémon 212 Scizor Mega

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If you're looking to mount a Steel based offensive, Mega Scizor is the best option to lead the team. This Steel and Bug type has no weaknesses Xerneas can exploit and it resists Fairy, Bug, Psychic, and Normal type damage. If you're bringing Mega Scizor to this fight, it should know Bullet Punch and Iron Head.

Mega Aggron

Pokémon 306 Aggron Mega

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Mega Aggron is another option for a Steel Mega. This pure Steel type takes super effective damage from Fighting type moves, but it resists Fairy, Psychic, Normal, and Bug type moves. Iron Tail and Heavy Slam are its best moves when going up against Xerneas.

Honorable mentions

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

Top counters

Xerneas is a pure Fairy type with access to Fairy, Normal, Electric, Bug, Fighting, and Psychic type moves. Its weaknesses include Poison and Steel types leaving room for a couple of winning strategies. 

Metagross

Pokémon 376 Metagross

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A pseudo-Legendary from the Hoenn region, Metagross is an excellent counter for Xerneas. As a Steel and Psychic type, Metagross takes reduced damage from Fairy, Normal, and Psychic type moves, and has no relevant weaknesses. It's also been featured in a number of events, including a Community Day and an Incense Day, so most players have a couple already powered up. Bullet Punch and Meteor Mash is the best move set; however, if you don't have the Community Day exclusive move or an Elite TM to spare, Flash Cannon can also work, but puts it on par with back up counters.

Nihilego

Pokémon 793 Nihilego

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Legendary Ultra Beast, Nihilego is another excellent choice for countering Xerneas. It's a Rock and Poison type, so it resists Fairy, Normal, and Bug type damage, but Psychic type moves hit extra hard. Thus far, Nihilego has only been available during limited Pokémon Go Fest 2022 events, so many players haven't even encountered one, but if you have it, Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb are the moves you want it to know.

Dialga

Pokémon 483 Dialga

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The Legendary mascot of Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond, Dialga is another great counter for Xerneas. As a Steel and Dragon type, it resists Bug, Psychic, Normal, and Electric type damage, but takes super effective damage from Fighting type moves. Dialga has had a few runs in raids, so chances are, you already have at least one. You'll want your Dialga to know Metal Claw and Iron Head for this fight.

Genesect

Pokémon 649 Genesect

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Extinct for 300 million years, Genesect was revived by Team Plasma scientists who also equipped it with a cannon and other technology. This Bug and Steel type will resist Fairy, Bug, Psychic, and Normal type attacks. Fortunately, Genesect has been available in raids many times, so most active players have at least one. You'll want your Genesect to know Metal Claw and Magnet Bomb when facing Xerneas.

Excadrill

Pokémon 530 Excadrill

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Unovan native Excadrill is another great option. As a Ground and Steel type, it takes reduced damage from Fairy, Normal, Bug, Psychic, and Electric type moves, while taking increased damage from Fighting type moves. Excadrill is incredibly common, with its first stage having been featured in numerous events. You'll want Metal Claw and Iron Head for your Excadrill's moves.

Roserade

Pokémon 407 Roserade

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Another great counter for Xerneas is the Sinnoh Stone evolution, Roserade. This Grass and Poison type Pokémon takes extra damage from Psychic type moves but is resistant to its Fighting, Electric, and Fairy type damage. Roserade has been featured in multiple events, including Community Day, so most active players have had the chance to add it to their roster. Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb are the ideal moves for this raid.

Gengar

Pokémon 094 Gengar

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Even if you don't have enough Mega Energy, Gengar is still a great counter for Xerneas. It's been in the game since day one, had a Community Day, is boosted during Halloween, and is a Mega Raid, so there's really no good reason not to have an entire team of Gengar in your roster. This Poison and Ghost type Pokémon is vulnerable to Psychic type damage, but takes reduced damage from Bug, Fairy, Normal, and Fighting type moves. Just like with Mega Gengar you'll want Lick and Sludge Bomb.

Jirachi

Pokémon 385 Jirachi

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

The Wish Pokémon Jirachi, originally introduced in Gen III, was the reward from the Field Research the Thousand-Year Slumber Field. As a Mythical Pokémon it's tough to get enough candy to power it up properly, but if you do, this Steel and Psychic type resists Fairy, Psychic, and Normal type damage, while having no weaknesses Xerneas can exploit. You'll want your Jirachi to know Charge Beam and Doom Desire.

Overqwil

Pokémon 904 Overqwil

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Fairly new to Pokémon Go, the Hisuian Overqwil is another option for the raid, if you're lucky enough to have one. Overqwil can only be obtained by evolving a Hisuian Qwilfish which were only available during a special event. It's a Dark and Poison type, so it has no relevant weaknesses and it resists Psychic type damage. If you're bringing Overqwil to this fight, it should know Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb.

Mewtwo

Pokémon 150 Mewtwo

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Last but not least, Gen I's Legendary Mewtwo is our final top counter. Mewtwo is a pure Psychic type, which means Bug type moves hit for super effective damage and it resists Psychic and Fighting type damage. Mewtwo has been available so many times that there's no good reason for active players not to have at least one by now. Confusion and Psystrike is the best moveset for Mewtwo in this fight.

Back ups

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:

  • Regigigas with Hidden Power (Steel) and Giga Impact
  • Ho-Oh with Steel Wing and Sacred Fire++
  • Scizor with Bullet Punch and Iron Head
  • Vileplume with Acid and Sludge Bomb
  • Heatran with Fire Spin and Iron Head
  • Victreebel with Acid and Sludge Bomb
  • Toxicroak with Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb
  • Kartana with Razor Leaf and Leaf Blade
  • Aggron with Iron Tail and Heavy Slam
  • Galarian Slowbro with Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb
  • Scolipede with Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb
  • Zacian (Hero of Many Battles) with Metal Claw and Iron Head
  • Dragonite with Steel Wing and Return
  • Zamazenta (Hero of Many Battles) with Metal Claw and Iron Head
  • Skuntank with Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb

Shadow Pokémon

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 Metagross with Bullet Punch and Meteor Mash
  • Shadow Scizor with Bullet Punch and Iron Head
  • Shadow Mewtwo with Confusion and Psystrike
  • Shadow Vileplume with Acid and Sludge Bomb
  • Shadow Victreebel with Acid and Sludge Bomb
  • Shadow Ho-Oh with Steel Wing and Brave Bird
  • Shadow Muk with Poison Jab and Gunk Shot
  • Shadow Skuntank with Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb
  • Shadow Venusaur with Vine Whip and Sludge Bomb
  • Shadow Aggron with Iron Tail and Heavy Slam
  • Shadow Dragonite with Steel Wing and Hurricane
  • Shadow Entei with Fire Fang and Iron Head

Note: Shadow Metagross outperforms every other Pokémon in the best counters list, including the Megas.

More details

Under the best conditions, two top level players can handle this raid alone. If you're lacking the best counters or lower level, you should aim for a raid party of four players.

Weather conditions that can impact this raid include:

  • Cloudy Weather will boost Xerneas's Fairy and Fighting type attacks as well as your Poison type counters.
  • Partially Cloudy Weather will boost its Normal type attacks.
  • Wind will boost its Psychic type attack.
  • Rain will boost its Bug type and Electric type attacks.
  • Snow will boost your Steel counters.

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

Xerneas 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!