Pokémon Go can be as simple or complex as you make it. For those that really care about the details, you can find out the individual values (IVs) of your Pokémon. But if you want to beat raid bosses on your own, earn the maximum damage bonus or maximise the time spent defending gyms you need to understand movesets.
That maxed-out Blissey is a wonderful gym defender, but if it has the wrong moves, it might not be as effective as you’d like. Similarly, you can have an army of Machamps or Tyranitars for attacking gyms, but their moveset will determine how much damage they deal.
You’ll find the moveset on a Pokémon’s card:
The top one – Zen Headbutt – is the Fast Attack, and the bottom one – Psychic – is the Charged Attack. You can use the latter only when the Pokémon’s energy bar has filled up. Some Charged Attacks have multi-part bars, which means they can be used sooner than single-bar attack moves. Psychic is a single-bar attack.
The same Pokémon can have different moves, and if you discover yours has a less-than-optimal movset you can change the Fast and Charged move individually using
Technical Machines, which are rewards you may receive for successfully completing raids.
What’s the best moveset for a Pokémon?
Below, you’ll find the ‘best’ movesets for the top Pokémon you’ll actually want to use for attacking and defending.
Sometimes there is a clear winner, but for certain Pokémon the best moveset will depend upon whether you intend to use it to attack gyms (or raid bosses) or defend gyms.
There are also many other factors to consider, including the type of the Pokémon and the type you’re battling, whether a move benefits from STAB (same-type attack bonus) and even the current weather. Plus, now that the Friends system has been introduced, your Pokémon become stronger attackers if you battle in a raid with your friends.
Even things such as your play style can influence your choice, as some movesets are better if you play cautiously and dodge attacks, while others can be better if you prefer to go all out and attack constantly without worrying about the number of revives and potions you’ll need to use afterwards.
A quick word on STAB: this makes a move more powerful if the move type matches the Pokémon type. So a Dragonite with the moves Dragon Tail (quick) and Outrage (charge) both benefit from STAB as they are all Dragon type.
Should I just pick the moveset with the highest DPS?
DPS – damage per second – is a useful starting point. It’s calculated by taking into account the damage dealt by a move along with the cool-down period before it can be used again.
There are lots of other more subtle factors, which are either considered or omitted by DPS calculators, but the figures are useful nonetheless.
You can find out the DPS for a move by looking it up online or – more conveniently – in a companion app such as Poke Genie or Calcy IV. These are both ‘safe’ as they don’t need your login details, and won’t get you banned.
Poke Genie is available for
Calcy IV only works on Android.
These tools are especially handy as they can tell you the alternatives available if you use a Technical Machine to change a move, as well as legacy moves which are no longer available.
Using Poke Genie is more time-consuming than Calcy IV because it requires you to take screenshots of each Pokémon before it can analyse it. But unlike Calcy IV, it has a built-in Battle Simulator which can tell you which six attackers to pick for any given raid boss, and can even take weather, the raid boss’ moveset and friends into account.
Best Pokemon Go Movesets
Without further ado, here are the best movesets for popular attackers and defenders. They’re provided here for quick reference for those who just want to know whether to keep existing moves, or if they should roll the dice with a TM and try for a new one.
Note that you cannot choose which move you want: a Technical Machine will pick from the available pool at random.
Also, if there’s more than one ideal moveset, just make sure that you have multiple of the same Pokémon with different movesets.
Best attack movesets
Bite (or Smack Down)
Crunch (or Stone Edge)
Best defence movesets
What’s the best moveset for Mew?
You can have but one Mew in your collection, but it can have moves of every type. Combined, these factors make it very difficult to choose. Mew isn’t a particularly powerful attacker, though, so arguably it isn’t hugely important to have the ‘best’ moveset for it.
Plus, as there are such a variety of moves, you might use up a lot of your precious TMs trying to get a specific one.
If you just want us to recommend a moveset, try Rock Smash and Focus Blast, as this is optimal against the Blisseys you’ll find in your local gyms.
What’s the best moveset for Celebi?
- Confusion & Dazzling Gleam
If you don’t have one already, you’ll soon have your one and only Celebi in your Pokédex. Its best moveset – currently – is Confusion and Dazzling Gleam.
That’s because it’s a Psychic / Grass type, but has no available Grass moves (neither fast nor charge) to benefit from the STAB boost.