Everything You Need To Know About Battles in Pokemon GO


Pokemon GO is everywhere, and whether you’re new to the phenomenon or want to start taking over tough gyms, this is the place to start your journey. Here you’ll find info on every aspect of Pokemon GO battles — from the basic mechanics to more advanced tips.

Don’t be intimidated by high level Pokemon or experienced trainers roaming around your neighborhood. Most trainers totally overlook basic components of Pokemon GO combat. It takes more than tapping to become a champion, and if you’re willing to learn, there are plenty of strategies to uncover that’ll super-charge your Pokemon battling and take your trainer to the next level.

Explore the wild world of Pokemon GO news on our anthology with articles and info from all over the internet.

More Pokemon GO tips, tricks, and FAQs:

Pokemon GO Battle Guide – Everything You Need to Know

The combat of Pokemon GO doesn’t quite match the main series — everything might appear completely unfamiliar, confusing, and hectic. Most players can get away with boosting their CP value and tapping rapidly, but there are more strategies to Pokemon GO.

Here you’ll find tips and tricks to reveal the best ways to go about gym battles, which Pokemon are the best in combat, why move types, and much more.

How to Find Pokemon Battles

The first major difference between the main series and Pokemon GO is where you’ll actually take part in Pokemon battles. Wild encounters don’t initiate battles, and (currently) there is no way to battle other trainers directly. The only place you’ll find Pokemon GO battles are at gyms.

It’s also important to note that all battles take place in real-time, so you better be prepared before going up against a tough gym.

  • Pokemon GO battles are never against other players. You fight an AI ‘ghost’ of an opponent — Pokemon type effectiveness comes into play here. Types all have strengths and weaknesses against other types; electricity is strong against water, water is strong against fire, fire is strong against grass, etc.


Gyms are huge towers on the GPS map screen, often color-coded to match whatever team is currently in control. Blue, Red, or Yellow — or gray if the gym is unclaimed. Unclaimed gyms are pretty rare, so if you do see one, we suggest you grab it! With how popular Pokemon GO is, they won’t be unclaimed for long.

When a battle is initiated, you tap to ‘attack’ or swipe to dodge. Dodging is an important strategy, and properly-timed dodges can change the course of a battle. The AI opponent isn’t smart enough to use tricks or strategies in combat — all they can do is attack.

If a Gym is held by an opponent team, you can choose to ‘attack’ the Pokemon placed there. Check the CP stat to see how strong the gym is. CP isn’t everything — the CP score of your Pokemon will help, but base stats will never change. Certain Pokemon will always be stronger than others, and their increased base strength will give you an edge of similarly-leveled CP Pokemon.

Learn all about gyms right here:

Let’s break down base stats and see which Pokemon are the best in their respective class.

Base Stats – Which Pokemon Are Strongest

Every Pokemon you find in the wild has a random CP rating, but their ‘base’ stats stay the same. Every species of Pokemon features a base statistic that scales up with their CP. There are three types of base stats; stamina, attack, and defense.

Check out the base stats of your Pokemon in the Pokedex, or check out this list below to see which Pokemon you’ll want to add to your roster.

NOTE: Mewtwo, Mew, Articuno, Moltres and Zapdos are not included in this list. Naturally, these legendary Pokemon feature the highest combined stats — Dragonite is 2nd, Snorlax is 5th, with Arcanine, Blastoise, and Vaporeon in 8-10th place. 

Top Ten Best – Combined Base Stats

  • Dragonite [Dragon / Flying Type]
    • Attack: 250
    • Defense: 212
    • Stamina: 182
  • Snorlax [Normal Type]
    • Attack: 180
    • Defense: 180
    • Stamina: 320
  • Lapras [ Water / Ice Type]
    • Attack: 186
    • Defense: 190
    • Stamina: 260
  • Arcanine [Fire Type]
    • Attack: 230
    • Defense: 180
    • Stamina: 180
  • Blastoise [Water Type]
    • Attack: 186
    • Defense: 222
    • Stamina: 158
  • Vaporeon [Water Type]
    • Attack: 186
    • Defense: 168
    • Stamina: 260
  • Exeggutor [Grass / Psychic Type]
    • Attack: 232
    • Defense: 164
    • Stamina: 190
  • Gyarados [Water / Flying Type]
    • Attack: 192
    • Defense: 196
    • Stamina: 190
  • Slowbro [Water / Psychic Type]
    • Attack: 184
    • Defense: 198
    • Stamina: 190
  • Venusaur [Grass / Poison Type]
    • Attack: 198
    • Defense: 200
    • Stamina: 160


Attack is the most important stat for battles — defeating your opponent fast is the most important part of any gym battle. Here are the top ten strongest base stat Pokemon.

Top Ten Best – Attack Base Stat

  • Dragonite [Dragon / Flying Type]
    • Attack: 250
  • Flareon [Fire Type]
    • Attack: 238
  • Exeggutor [Grass / Psychic Type]
    • Attack: 232
  • Arcanine [Fire Type]
    • Attack: 230
  • Victreebel [Grass / Poison Type]
    • Attack: 222
  • Charizard [Fire / Flying Type]
    • Attack: 212
  • Magmar [Fire Type]
    • Attack: 214
  • Nidoking [Poison / Ground Type]
    • Attack: 204
  • Gengar [Ghost / Poison Type]
    • Attack: 204
  • Vileplume [Grass / Poison Type]
    • Attack: 202

As you can see, each type of Pokemon has their own ‘type’ — let’s delve deeper into types.

Type Advantages – What Is Super Effective?

There are many different types of Pokemon, and all types have advantages or disadvantages in combat against other types. For instance, electric types are super-effective against water types, but water types have only normal-effectiveness against electric types.

Pokemon GO type advantages are a little different from other Pokemon titles. Check out this complete list of Pokemon GO type match-ups in the table below, created by Redditor zehipp0.

Green cells are super effective, while red cells are not very effective. White cells are normal effectiveness.

Try to match your Pokemon against types they’re strong against. For example, a water type will have an advantage in battle versus ground, rock, and fire types, but will be at a disadvantage versus electric or psychic types.

Determining which type you send into battle is one of the most important elements of the Pokemon series. Choose wisely!

Combat Tips & Tricks

You’ve done all the preparation — you’ve found a gym, you’ve captured some high base stat Pokemon, and you’ve picked out types with advantages in combat. Now it’s time to learn all the nitty-gritty details.

CP – Leveling Up Pokemon

To make Pokemon stronger, you’ll need to feed them Stardust / Candy. To get these items, you’ll need to transfer identical or duplicate Pokemon to the Professor, who rewards you with items to level-up your chosen Pokemon.

These items can also evolve Pokemon — right now, it doesn’t appear there is any disadvantage to leveling-up Pokemon earlier or later. All stats grow at the same rate, so go ahead and evolve those Pokemon as soon as possible.

Learn all about XP and how evolutions can help your trainer level here:

It’s also important to note the CP of wild Pokemon. The CP values are randomized, and higher CP Pokemon will appear as you gain more Trainer Levels. A higher trainer level will result in higher CP Pokemon in the wild.

When catching plenty of Pokemon, always keep the highest CP Pokemon — only transfer Pokemon with lower CP values. That way you’ll have an early leg-up with a stronger Pokemon.

The 3 Battle Gestures

There are three ways you can interact with the screen when you enter battle. These are:

  • Quick Attack
    • [Tap] to attack.
    • This is your most basic interaction. Your Pokemon will attack and build energy.
  • Special Attack
    • [Long Press] to launch a special attack.
    • The special attack requires energy. Use quick attacks to generate energy until the energy bar is filled.
    • These attacks take slightly longer to launch, so be prepared!
  • Dodge
    • [Swipe] left or right to dodge incoming attacks.
    • Dodging is useful for quick attacks, but especially important when you see an opponent winding up for a special attack.

How does Energy Work?

Energy is the resource required to use special attacks. On your Pokemon entry, you’ll see a list of ‘Moves’ — moves with blue bars are your special moves. These attacks use up energy — you can save up or expend up to four bars of energy, and certain special attacks will require the full amount to use.


To generate energy, use quick attacks until the blue bars under your Pokemon’s name are filled. Then tap and hold to launch your special attack. There’s something else important you’ll need to know about moves: all moves have their own types, and those types don’t always match your Pokemon type.

What’s Up With Move Types

Check your Pokemon’s moves to see which types of moves your Pokemon have. Just having a water type Pokemon won’t mean you’ll do more damage against a fire type — you’ll need to unleash water type moves for that ‘super effective’ bonus.

  • Described above, your energy is an important factor. Also make sure to check out your moves’ damage, as certain moves (and certain Pokemon) naturally use stronger moves. The stronger the better, although all moves have a different duration. Experiment with all your Pokemon and their moves to learn all about their duration.

The goal of any battle is to unleash the most moves (and dish out the most damage) in the least amount of time possible. MMO and DOTA players refer to this as DPS, or damage-per-second.

Match Your Pokemon Type and Move Type

A sure-fire way to increase your Pokemon’s DPS is by matching move types with Pokemon types. This damage bonus carries over from the main series of games, and it goes like this:

  • Pokemon gain a +25% damage bonus when using moves of their same type.
    • Example: Fire type moves are more powerful when used by Fire type Pokemon. Grass type moves are more powerful when used by Grass type Pokemon. Etc.

All Pokemon gain a variety of moves, and often their quick attack or special attack won’t match that species’ type.

In Conclusion

What does it take to become a Pokemon master and take over gyms? A combination of skills and preparation. Here are the basic facts we hope you’ll take away from this guide and use to your advantage out in the real world playing Pokemon GO.

  • Pokemon Battles are found at Occupied Gyms
    • Gym battles are fought against AI.
    • Check the CP value of a trainer before attempting a battle.
    • Pokemon battles occur in real-time and are not turn-based.
  • High Base Stats give your Pokemon an early advantage.
    • Dragonite is (currently) the Pokemon with the highest base stats.
    • Check the Pokedex to see which Pokemon have a higher base stat.
  • Higher CP Pokemon have an edge in combat.
    • Giving Candy / Stardust Earned By Transferring Duplicate Pokemon to the Professor
    • Higher CP Pokemon spawn in the wild depending on your Pokemon Trainer level.
  • There are three types of gestures during Pokemon battles.
    • Quick attacks are fast and build energy for special attacks.
    • Special attacks deplete your energy meter and take longer to initiate.
    • All attacks can be dodged with a swipe left or right.
  • Type Advantage can help you defeat higher CP Pokemon.
    • Moves have their own type attributes.
    • Pokemon that share the same type as their move gain a +25% damage boost.

That’s everything you absolutely need to know about battles in Pokemon GO. Now you’re ready to take on enemy gyms and earn extra coins / items with friends.

Have your own best teams and secret strategies? Let us know in the comments! 

Sources: [1], [2], [3]