Best Pokémon to Evolve, TM, and Power-up to beat Raid Bosses in Pokémon Go


Beats Tyranitar, Snorlax, Lapras

Machamp with Counter + Dynamic Punch was already a force to be reckoned with in Gyms and it’s every bit as devastating in Raids. Tyranitar-breaker, Snorlax-smasher, Lapras-crusher, and maybe one day, Blissey’s bane, the combination of Fighting-type and double Fighting moves earns it same-type bonus and double effective against Tyranitar, and makes it one of the few Pokémon that can also put a hurt on the big Normal types. Machamp isn’t a tank, so dodge the big charge moves when you can, and it doesn’t counter as many Bosses as Rydon, but it counters the most Tier 4 Bosses right now, and that makes it not just a Machamp but a Raid Champ as well.

Evolve: 25 candies from Machop to Machoke, 100 candies from Machoke to Machamp

Best movesets: Counter + Dynamic Punch

Usable movesets: Counter + Close Combat, Karate Chop + Cross Chop


Beats Quilava, Muk, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Arcanine, Flareon, Jolteon, and Charizard

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. It may not counter the Tier 4 Bosses like Machamp, but it counters the most Bosses. Score Mud Slap and Earthquake and it’s the best counter to Quilava, Muk, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Arcanine, Flareon, Jolteon, and Charizard. That’s thanks to its Ground typing, and Raid Battles totally avoiding its otherwise double weakness to Water and Grass.

Evolve: 50 candies from Rhyhorn to Rhydon

Best movesets: Mud Slap + Earthquake (against Quilava, Muk, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Jolteon, Flareon)

Usable Movesets: Mud Slap + Stone Edge (against Arcanine, Flareon, Charizard)


Beats Quilava, Muk, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Arcanine, Flareon, Jolteon, and Charizard

Golem has always been a less powerful, harder to evolve, if less vulnerable, version of Rhydon. That was enough to keep it off of Gyms under the old system but now it lets Golem go toe-to-hoof against many of the same Raid Bosses and, in the case of Fire- and Flying-type combos, match up even better. That’s good now for Charizard but it could be even better when the Legendary Raids come and Moltres makes an appearance. Either way, Golem is now a must-have to round out any Rhydon lineup.

Evolve: 25 candies from Geodude to Gravler, 100 candies from Graveler to Golem.

Best movesets: Mud Slap + Earthquake (Quilava, Muk, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Arcanine, Jolteon, potentially Zapados)

Usable Movesets: Rock Throw + Stone Edge (against Arcanine, Flareon, Charizard, potentially Moltres)


Beats Rhydon, Tyranitar, Charizard, Arcanine, Magmar, Flareon

Vaporeon has had its ups and downs in Pokémon Go but thanks to its tank-like endurance and high damage output its always managed to claim a high spot on every list. The same holds true for Raid Battles. Neither Rhydon nor Tyranitar can hold up against Vape’s Water Gun and Hydro Pump combo, and because attackers get to pick the matchups, you can totally avoid any big Grass-types that would otherwise do it harm. Vaporeon is even useful as backup against the Fire Bosses: Arcanine, Magmar, and Flareon.

Evolve: 25 candies from Eevee to Vaporeon. (Note: Split evolution).

Best movesets: Water Gun + Hydro Pump

Usable movesets: Water Gun + Aqua Tail


Beats Alakazam, Gengar, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Charizard, Snorlax

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 Raids, though, you get to put the monster first, and that means Tyranitar’s huge stats and Dark and Stone combo with Bite + Stone Edge can mix it up with Psychics, Poisons, and some Electrics, and Fires. With double Dark movesets, namely Bite with Crunch, Tyranitar can really put a pounding on Psychic types like Alakazam — and perhaps one day soon, Mew and Mewtwo as well.

Evolve: 25 candies from Larvitar to Pupitar, 100 candies from Pupitar to Tyranitar.

Best movesets: Bite + Stone Edge (against Alakazam, Gengar, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Charizard)

Usable movesets: Bite + Crunch (against Alakazam, Gengar, potentially Mew and Mewtwo)


Beats Muk, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Machamp, Venusaur, Snorlax, Bayleaf

Dragonite is and always will be a badass in Pokémon Go. So, even though it’s not the best counter to any of the current Raid Bosses, it’s a good counter to many of them. Since a lot of people collected and maxed out a lot of them, that makes Dragonite one of the best ways to round out any Battle Group and put a beating on a bunch of different bosses.

Evolve: 25 candies from Dratini to Dragonair, 100 candies from Dragonair to Dragonite

Best movesets: Dragon Tail + Outrage

Usable movesets: Dragon Tail + Hurricane (against Machamp)

Should you evolve first, or power up first?

Evolve first, power up second. It’s tempting to power up first, because instant gratification is instant, but it’ll cost you less Stardust in the long run to evolve and strategically power up only your best Raid Boss beaters.

Long story short, you never know what moveset you’re going to end up with until you evolve (see below). And even though you can get Technical Machines now and teach your Pokémon new moves, the better moves you get up front, the more you can save those TMs for the Pokémon that really need them.

So, get the evolution out of the way and then you’ll know exactly what you’re spending your precious Stardust and TMs on and can make a more informed decision.

Should you evolve and power up right away or wait for better Pokémon?

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