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Pokemon GO: 15 of the best gym defenders

Taking Pokemon GO gyms is one of the cornerstones of gameplay and earning rewards. However, going to the gym is only the beginning, as you now have to leave your Pokémon behind to guard the gym for you. In highly populated areas, there’s a good chance your gym will be taken out from under you right before you get your rewards.

Related: Pokemon Go: The best PvP Pokemon

Leaving the best Pokémon behind for the job will help ensure that your hard-earned gym stays under your team’s command for longer. Here are the best Pokemon you need to be ready to leave the role of defender of your gyms.

Updated by Joshua Leeds on February 5th, 2023: Pokemon GO information is constantly changing with new additions to the Pokedex. Gyms are always difficult to defend, offense will have a huge advantage in play at that moment, and you will often be unaware when a gym is under attack. While a Gym is hard to defend, this Pokemon will make that even more possible.


15 steelex

Steelix is ​​a Steel and Ground Pokémon, and the Steel types always make a decent choice as Defenders for the Gym. While there are few species so effective on Earth, their steel typing gives them an impressive defense against many others, greatly reducing damage from almost all types.

Steelix has incredibly high defense, and actually takes a small amount of damage before negating a type match. Steelix is ​​best when using Iron Tail and either Heavy Slam or Earthquake. The Heavy Slam will grant the additional damage of the same type to Steelix, but the Earthquake is an incredibly powerful move that will knock out most of what it hits.

14 Venusor

Venasaur is a great all-in-one Pokemon that you’re trying to do. It offers decently well-rounded stats and match type with just a few counters. While the best thing about Venasaur is its attack, it also has a high defense and stamina that should help eliminate other attacking Pokémon while it stands its ground.

Vensaur is best on defense when using the Razor Leaf and Frenzy Plant, which give him the same type of damage bonus. Another good option is Solar Beam, as it may be easier to catch and deliver the bounty, while also eliminating anything that hits it.

Melmetal and Meltan stand next to each other

Just like Steelix, Melmetal excels in its defensive capabilities by only being a Steel-type Pokémon. Despite being only a Solid type, Melmetal also uses Electrokinesis and is the only Legendary Pokemon that can be left in gyms to defend against.

Being legendary means that Melmetal has high stats across the board, which makes it difficult to take down and deal a lot of damage. Melmetal is quite flexible in the best defensive combo and comes down to personal preference for his charged offense. With his fast attack being Thunder Shock, he will get a damage bonus from using the Thunderbolt, but almost all of his charged attacks are useful for defense, and branching out is very effective as well.

12 Tyrant

Pokémon Tyranitar

Tyranitar is a rock and dark type, which makes fighting very effective against him, but few others. Tyranitar’s best stat is attack but he has high stamina and defense to keep him up enough to get past a few attacking Pokémon first.

Tyranitar is best when using Smack Down as a fast attack and Stone Edge as a charged attack. These are very powerful moves that excel with Tyranitar’s already high attack and additional damage of the same type.

Pokemon Metagross in the anime

Metagross has good defensive stats and higher attack. Metagross is usually a very difficult enemy to eliminate. The higher attack stat helps him slash the enemy while also surviving incoming damage.

Metagross is best for defending with Zen Headbutt as a fast attack. This has a higher base attack than the other option, and it pairs well with Psychic as a charged attack. Since his types are Steel and Psychic, there is a much larger list of normal types that deal less damage than normal to him.

10 Repair

Pokemon Repairer Fighting

Rhyperior has a higher defense and is usually more difficult to take down. Her type affinity makes her vulnerable to more attack types than normal, but she takes no damage from a non-super effective move. Rhyperior also comes with a surprisingly high attack to match his high defense.

Rhyperior is best when used with Mud-Slap as his fast attack. Its charged attack can be chosen between Earthquake or Rock Wrecker – depending on preference or desire to branch out to be highly effective against other species.

9 Dragonite

Pokemon Dragonite in the anime

Unless your enemy uses an Ice-type Pokemon, Dragonite is a great attacker and a great defender. While he doesn’t have a noteworthy defense, his high attack allows him to finish off an enemy before he can do the same.

Dragonite is best used in defense by using the dragon’s tail as his swift attack. The Dragon Tail has one of the highest base damage for a fast attack, making it ideal for a defender. Rage is his best offensive ability, and his low charge time will help him quickly charge and use while defending.

8 gyarados

Shiny Pokemon Gyarados

Gyarados is a jack of all trades in this game. It’s perfect to use when you go to the gym and perfect to leave behind for guarding. His offense is high, but not spectacular – but he’s close enough to be good on defense.

Related: How to get more XP and level up quickly in Pokemon GO

It is best used with waterfall in defense. His high base damage, mixed with some weaknesses, gives him a few counters that he can’t finish first. Outrage is also his best charging attack, dealing high damage and quickly recharging.

7 tojikes

Togekiss flying in the air

Togekiss is a Flying and Fairy at the same time, which means that nothing is too effective for her. A very large percentage of higher tier Pokémon are either dragons or use dragon-type moves, which means the fantasy type is an ideal defense.

Togekiss is well-rounded but specializes in being a bit tanky. Togekiss is best when used with Charm and Dazzling Gleam, and it will almost require enemies to break away from their powerful dragon types to take the gym.

6 snorlax

Pokémon Snorlax sitting

Snorlax is just plain kind. With this said, it is only countered by combat-type attacks, which are used less frequently on higher level squads. Snorlax has high stamina and defense. Adding a strong health combo makes it an investment of time to beat.

Snorlax is best when used with Zen Headbutt as his fast attack and Hyper Beam as his charged attack. Snorlax will not deal any damage to the monster on defense, but his long life will allow him to greatly harm and annoy the enemy.

5 dreamflame

Drifblim floating on a tree

Drifblim excels thanks to its typing, getting very high and effective hits from some Pokemon or next to none from others. While this all-or-nothing tactic will often fail, sometimes this is the best you can ask for with gym defense, as you’ll never know confrontation.

Drifblim has an incredibly high stamina, which makes it extremely difficult to take down. Drifblim is also best when using Hex for its fast attack and Shadow Ball for its charged attack. While its main attraction is its stamina, it also has enough attack to frustrate, attack and last longer than most other defenders.

4 Wobbuffet

Pokemon Wobbuffet salute

Wobbuffet may not look like much from the outside, and low CP will only help you get past it. Wobbuffet doesn’t have an outstanding attack or defense, but it does have an amazing health pool. Wobbuffet won’t be able to do much more than just sit and tank damage, but it will absolutely excel at it.

Related: Pokemon GO: The best gym attackers

Wobbuffet is best when using Charm for a quick attack. It is best to face certain types of dragons that will attack your gym. Her best charged move is Mirror Coat, and while this will do some damage, it won’t be huge.

3 milotik

Pokémon Milotik in the evolution screen

Miotic is just a watery kind, and nothing gives it doubly effective. While it has 2 types of weaknesses, it has a total of 4 types that deal less damage to it. This makes him a great defensive option, which is only enhanced by his strong offensive and defensive stats.

Milotic is best when using Waterfall for high amounts of fast attack damage. Pairing this with Hyper Beam will have Milotic standing in multiplayer battles. Milotic also has a good HP pool, which makes it more difficult to sweep attackers.

2 lift

Pokemon Go Shiny Slacking

Even in the main Pokémon game, Slacking was a not-so-fun monster to fight. Since he is just an ordinary type, only fighting can deal him much damage. Although it may also appear to not do much damage, this is just a short-term ploy that gives the attacker false hope.

Slaking comes with a huge healing pool and shockingly high attack stats. While his fast Yawn attack does no damage, his charged attack usually kills the enemy. A solid option is Play-Rough, which allows him to attack a lot, or Hyper Beam, which usually knocks out any enemy that attacks your gym.

1 Blessy

Pokemon GO Pleases screensaver

If you actively play Pokemon GO, or have seen Blissey in almost every gym for the past two years. Just like the other tanks, Blissey is a normal type and is only weak for combat types. Blissey has a massive health pool and the highest stamina in the game.

Blissey will take almost no damage from the attackers and return large sums. Blissey is best when using the Zen Headbutt for high amounts of fast damage. Adding Dazzling Gleam as a charged attack makes it even more deadly to any enemy, especially dragon types.

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