How to beat Raid Bosses in Pokémon Go: Best counters, movesets, and tips!

How do you beat the Pokémon Go Raid Battle Bosses like Mewtwo, Entei, or Tyranitar and claim your rewards? With this cheat-sheet!

Pokémon Go Raid Battle's are here and with them, Raid Bosses. These super high CV — 35,000 CP Tyranitar, anyone? — take over Gyms and then take on all comers, in groups of up to 20, for an hour at a time. If you can beat one you get rewards in the form of Golden Razz Berries, Quick and Charge TM, Rare Candy — and a chance to catch a regular-powered version of the Boss, similar to what you'd get by hatching it from an egg.

But some Gym bosses are really tough to beat. They start off relatively easy at Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3, but Tier 4 and Tier 5 bosses can be nightmares. Legendary nightmares even!

So, how do you beat a Raid Boss?

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What are the best counters for Raid Bosses in Pokémon Go?

There are a lot of computer simulations and a lot of human experience behind the various Pokémon Go lists out there. I'm a level 40 player and I've participated in over 700 Battle Raids, including over 500 Legendary Raid Battles. My list is based on looking over all the simulations, testing out the recommendations, and seeing what works for me in a variety of play styles — and under a variety of the bugs that occur in real-world Raid Battles.

What I've found is that, due to how hard Charge Moves from Raid Bosses are to dodge, and how glitchy the Pokémon Go servers are in general, that high DSP, ideally type-matched, but fragile Pokémon like Gengar or Scizor just don't last long enough to prove useful.

Also, because Stardust, Technical Machines (TM) and other resources are scarce, Pokémon that can be used against several Raid Bosses, like Tyranitar and Golem are more efficient than unitaskers who're only useful against one, like Piloswine.

If you don't have these Pokémon, try to get them from Raid Battles. For example, getting Alakazam will help you get Machamp will help you get Tyranitar, which will help you get the Legendaries.

If you have them but don't have the right movesets, try to change them with TMs. If you absolutely can't get them or get enough of them, use Pokémon of the same type and similar movesets. It's not ideal but sometimes you have to dance with the Pokémon you have.

How do you beat a Tier 1 Raid Boss in Pokémon Go?

Tier 1 Raid Bosses are typically base-level or second evolution Pokémon and aren't at al overwhelming. Higher level players with higher power Pokémon should be able to take them solo. Still, know your counters:

Raid Boss Best counter Other counters
Magikarp Zapdos (Charge Beam + Zap Cannon) or Raikou (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) or Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
Bayleef Moltres, Entei, or Flareon (Fire Spin + Overheat) Lugia (Extrasensory + Future Sight)
Quilava Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Rhydon (Mud Slap + Stone Edge) or Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Croconaw Zapdos (Charge Beam + Zap Cannon) or Raikou (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) or Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)

How do you beat a Tier 2 Raid Boss in Pokémon Go?

Tier 2 Raid Bosses are second evolutions, including evolutions of baby Pokémon and start to get tougher. Very high level players with very powerful counters can probably still take them solo but they're much easier with a friend.

Raid Boss Best counter Other counters
Muk Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Lugia (Extrasensory + Future Sight)
Exeggutor Moltres, Entei, or Flareon (Fire Spin + Overheat) Scizor or Pinsir (Fury Cutter + X-Scissor)
Weezing Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Lugia (Extrasensory + Future Sight)
Electabuzz Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge)
Magmar Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)

How do you beat a Tier 3 Raid Boss in Pokémon Go?

Tier 3 is where it starts to get difficult. They're either third evolutions or Evee-lutions. If you face off against a Vaporeon with a bad moveset, a super high-level player with super powerful counters can still eek out a win. If you score a Machamp with Counter + Dynamic Punch, call a friend or two.

Raid Boss Best counter Other counters
Arcanine Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Alakazam Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge) Scizor or Pinsir (Fury Cutter + X-Scissor)
Machamp Alakazam, Espeon (Confusion + Future Sight), or Lugia (Extrasensory + Future Sight) Moltres (Fire Spin + Overheat)
Gengar Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Lugia (Extrasensory + Future Sight
Vaporeon Zapdos (Charge Beam + Zap Cannon) or Raikou (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) or Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
Jolteon Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge)
Flareon Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)

How do you beat a Tier 4 Raid Boss in Pokémon Go?

Here's where things get serious. Tier 4 Raid Bosses are tough. They're third evolutions of starters, dominators like Tyranitar or Rhydon, or singular powerhouses like Lapras or Snorlax. To beat them you'll need your best and most powerful Pokémon, and at least four to eight friends.

Raid Boss Best counter Other counters
Venusaur Moltres, Entei, or Flareon (Fire Spin + Overheat) Lugia (Extrasensory + Future Sight)
Charizard Golem or Rhydon (Mud Slap + Stone Edge) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Blastoise Zapdos (Charge Beam + Zap Cannon) or Raikou (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) or Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
Rhydon Vaporeon (Water Gun + Hydro Pump Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
Lapras Machamp (Counter + Dynamic Punch) Zapdos (Charge Beam + Zap Cannon) or Raikou (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) )
Snorlax Machamp (Counter + Dynamic Punch) Moltres (Fire Spin + Overheat)
Tyranitar Machamp (Counter + Dynamic Punch) Vaporeon (Water Gun + Hydro Pump

How do you beat a Tier 5 Raid Boss in Pokémon Go?

Tier 5 Raids have so far consisted of the Legendary Birds, Moltres, Zapdos, and Articuno, and their leader, Lugia, and currently the Legendary Beasts, Raikou, Entei, and Suikune, plus a brief period of Mewtwo. And, as you'd expect, they're extra tough to take down. But not incredibly so.

Pokémon Best counter Other counters
Articuno Moltres, Entei, or Flareon (Fire Spin + Overheat) Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge)
Moltres Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge) or Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Zapdos Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) Tyranitar (Stone Edge) or Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Outrage)
Mewtwo Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Lugia (Sky Attack)
Mew Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Gengar (Shadow Ball)
Raiku Rhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge)
Entei (Mud Slap + Stone Edge) Vaporeon (Hydro Pump) or Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge)
Suicune Zapdos (Charge Beam + Zap Cannon) or Raikou (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) or Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
Lugia Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Zapdos (Charge Beam + Zap Cannon) or Raikou (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt)
Ho-Oh Zapdos (Charge Beam + Zap Cannon) or Raikou (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) or Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
Celebi Tyranitar (Bite + Crunch) Moltres (Fire Spin + Overheat) or Scizor or Pinsir (Fury Cutter + X-Scissor)

Can you use Dragonite, Mewtwo, or any other generalist attackers?

While there's no silver bullet in Pokémon Go Raid Battles, there are some Pokémon that are so elite, powerful enough versions of them with the right movesets can be used to damage many of Bosses.

Some people find it even more efficient to use (and revive and heal) a few powerful generalists rather than a lot of less powerful but type-matched specialists.

Mewtwo, if you're lucky enough to have one, can do amazing damage with Shadow Ball or Focus Blast. Likewise, Dragonite with Outrage or Hurricane can do a lot of damage.

Should you dodge during a Raid Battle? What's the best strategy?

In a perfect battle, you want to fire off as many charge moves from each Pokémon as you can before they faint and leave the battle.

If you have tons of people playing at once or you're worried about running out of time, don't bother dodging just charge and fire those big moves!

If you have fewer people or are worried about running out of Pokémon, dodge the charge moves whenever you can but don't stop firing!

Any Pokémon Go Raid Boss beating questions?

If you have any questions about beating the Raid Boss in Pokémon Go, drop them in the comments below.