Pokemon GO is the biggest mobile game of all time and one of the best features are the various gyms scattered about the world. These gyms can be incredibly difficult to control for long periods at a time, due to the sheer amount if players trying to take over the area for their faction. Though capturing a gym has some serious benefits as you can earn coins to help buy various items in the shop. If you’re Pokemon lasts 20 hours without being dethroned you will earn 10 in-game coins, so picking the ones to maximize your defense is key.
When picking defense Pokemon we decided to cover a variety of different types, since not everyone will have access to certain ones. However, if you do come across any of the Pokemon listed here we suggest you drop everything and go hunting for them if you are serious about taking gyms. These are 20 Pokemon in Pokemon GO that truly dominate on defense and should be your first picks when selecting ones to help.
When putting this list together we wanted to look at it as if all of the Pokemon have equal CP across the board. While this won’t always be the case, it’s important for the sake of balancing these choices. Some of these Pokemon may not be the best for actually attacking a gym, but are certainly the best choices for defense. Yes, team composition does play a factor, but if you are looking to take over gyms consider training up a few of these Pokemon.
While they may appear cuter and cuddly, this Pokemon can seriously hold down the fort when needed. Thanks to to it being a fairy type, Clefable is really only weak to steel and poison based attacks. Given those are fairly rare or weak typings, you won’t have to worry too much about big critical hits. Which in a Pokemon GO gym battle, can easily mean the difference between a victory and a loss.
Hypno is a powerful psychic type Pokemon that can do some damage with moves such as Zen Headbutt and Psychic. Much like Clefable he is another Pokemon with fairly small counter typing, especially since the pool of Pokemon is currently quite small. If you are having trouble control a gym once you beat it, consider grinding out a bunch of Drowzee’s to get one.
Slowbro may not be the best Pokemon on the attack, but their defense is incredibly impressive. Despite the rarity of this Pokemon, its ability to take a considerable amount of punishment before fainting can easily win you a battle. Since most of these gym fights in Pokemon GO come down to wars of attrition, being able to outlast the opponent is important.
Admit it, some of you forgot that this Pokemon completely existed. While they may have a fair amount of types that they’re weak too, his balance of attack and defense make them a solid choice. Sure it won’t be able to tank as many hits as say a Slowbrow or Snorlax, but it’s a good choice if you want to add a Pokemon onto a gym’s roster.
Golduck may seem like a weak choice given the plethora of electric types, but some of the moves it can learn are really powerful. Ice beam jumps to the top of the list as it’s a hard hitting move that can easily drain the health of an opponent quicker. While we can’t recommend you use them to defend a gym by themselves, Golduck makes a great addition to any team.
Magmar is one of only two fire types that made it onto our list and for good reason. While everyone may love Charizard, this Pokemon is incredibly deadly if you get the right roll for his abilities. As one who can do a ton of damage and soak up a lot of hits, Magmar is a great choice if you are looking to help round out a gym team. Just be careful due to the sheer amount of powerful Vaporeons running around.
Gyarados is a glass cannon Pokemon as its typing makes them easily killed by a fair amount of common Pokemon. It can output an insane amount of damage in Pokemon GO, but due to the weakness to both electricity and rock (two fairly common types), you will need to rely on overpowering the enemy. Try to have Gyarados early on in a gym battle as he can easily weaken a Pokemon team before the later battles.
Exeggutor is a wonderful Pokemon to round off a gym with, as he can make an intimidating final battle for players in Pokemon GO. It has a strong defense and his psychic type moves can cause some serious havoc against anyone’s team. If your gym is in desperate need of a good finisher, Exeggutor is a fantastic way to tell opposing teams they came to the wrong neighborhood.
Gengar is powerful for two reasons. One, the Pokemon is really only weak to types and those are fairly rare to find currently. The second is it can cause some absolute mayhem on an attacking trainer with a really powerful set of special attacks. Though he is one of the “squishiest” on this list, Gengar is a Pokemon that should be respected if you come across one.
One of the two most common defenders, Vaporeon is a great addition to any team’s gym. While you may see this one a lot now, Vaporeon is always a welcome addition due to the speed and attack power of this evolved form. If there’s already a Vaporeon in your gym, try to add a different Pokemon instead of a second Vaporeon. The last thing you need is one electric Pokemon to just steam roll through your lineup.
Speaking of electric Pokemon, Jolteon is a great defender for the sheer reason that a lot of good attackers are water or flying types. Try to only add a Jolteon to an already established gym roster, as a single Jolteon is easily countered. However, due to the great typing match they can have, it makes them a valuable ally in Pokemon GO.
By far my favorite Pokemon in the game, Kadabra can be a great defender to start of a gym’s roster. Kadabra’s great mix of special attacks and defense can make them a difficult one to put down if it’s not out CP’d. Given their main weaknesses are Bug and Ghost, it’s rare you will fight a Pokemon that can easily deal critical damage to them. While they aren’t the best defenders around, Kadabra can make a great opener or mid gym battle Pokemon.
The only original starter Pokemon on this list, Blastoise is an amazing Pokemon to cap off a gym team with. They are powerhouse Pokemon that can deal some serious damage in Pokemon GO’s battle system. Even though they can be easily countered, the defense offered can be too much for some Pokemon to overcome. Try to make this the last in your line up or way later to maximize the sheer brick wall that this tortoise can be.
If you managed to get the right Aerodactyl they can be an absolute nightmare to fight against. While the effectiveness of this creature is hit and miss, a good team composition can really benefit from an Aerodactyl. Try to not pair this one with water or other flying types as they can be easily put down by electric types. However, if your gym team is sporting a diverse roster, consider adding Aerodactyl as well – Even if its a slightly weaker CP than the others.
The last electric Pokemon on our list, Electabuzz is a great way to knock those pesky Pigeyots and Vaporeons out of the battle. Though he may not be the best for defense at first glance, in the current roster of Pokemon it can do some serious work. Given the high number of people trying to obtain flying and water Pokemon early in, Electabuzz can act as a good gatekeeper to any gym in Pokemon GO.
Is anyone surprised that this monster of a Pokemon is on our list? Dragonite is exceedingly rare and absurdly powerful for both attack and defense. He can fit nicely into almost any team composition and slot on the roster, so there is rarely a reason to not add him. Seriously if you have one and it’s not in a gym, you really need to go find a spot for this one. Dragonite can wipe teams all by itself if leveled correctly.
We are calling this the sleeper hit Pokemon for defense thanks to the great balance between power and survivability. Omastar is a surprisingly good Pokemon, even with it having some fairly common counters. Though if you have to choose only one fossil Pokemon, we still recommend going with Aerodactyl. tyll.
Arcanine is a great fire Pokemon that has both solid speed and defense in Pokemon GO. With moves such as Bulldoze, one can easily take down an attacking roster with little effort. While he is weak to water, the Fire typing can still be quite good against players who try to take your gym outside of the usually common roster. Just make sure Arcanine isn’t the only Pokemon defending or you may not be holding that area for long.
Yeah we’re sure that no one is terribly surprised to see this big oaf on our list, but there’s a good reason for that. Snorlax is a massive wall that can easily hold off entire groups by himself with little aid or items. Snorlax should always be the last Pokemon on your gym’s team because they can take huge advantage of already damaged or hurting Pokemon. Snorlax is a giant wall with only one Pokemon matching his defense and more.
Lapras is literally the best Pokemon currently available to players thanks to the sheer amount of power and defense it has. If you obtain a Lapras put it work and level it up as fast as possible. Lapras is stupidly good currently in Pokemon GO and is capable of holding off an entire gym by itself. Even when paired against types that it should be weak against, Lapras does surprisingly well. It doesn’t matter the team composition or where in the line up it falls, if you have a good Lapras, add it to the roster as soon as you can!
Collin is a Senior Staff Writer for Twinfinite and is a lover of all things horror. When he's not healing his teammates in Overwatch, raiding in Destiny, making poor choices in Dark Souls, or praying for a new Ape Escape you can find him writing for Twinfinite.net and Nerd Much.com.