You’ve played Pokémon GO, and you’ve been confused. The game is addictive and fun, but it hardly explains itself. The confusion tends to be worst those who haven’t played previous Pokémon games, and it’s particular bewildering during gym fights. After reaching level 5, many players wander into a gym and pick a fight simply using their 6 highest-powered Pokémon, the game’s default. The experience can be frustrating and bewildering because A) the attacking and defending Pokémon’s types are enormous factors, and B) the actual battle mechanics are barely explained. The following visualization should help with A) and afterward I’ll recommend articles that speak to B).
The above will render differently on a laptop, tablet, or cell phone, and I would recommend that you use it first on laptop to customize it to reflect the best Pokémon you own, then refer to it via cell when you are out and about playing the game. As noted inside this visualization explain, there are four steps here.
1) Choose your best Pokémon. Open up the dropdown menu, click All twice to clear selections, then select the 6-10 best in your Pokédex. If you are still new to the game, you may notice that the full Pokédex is not available in the menus here. The reason for that ultra-common, unevolved Pokémon like Pidgey, Rattata, and the like shouldn’t be used for attacking gyms, and thus my data source didn’t bother to include their attacking stats. If none of your Pokémon are listed in the dropdown, then use gyms as an opportunity to get used to dodging, but focus most of your playing time on capturing critters and leveling up your trainer.
2) Select the Pokémon you’re facing or click on the Pokémon types. If you know the defender’s type, that will probably be faster. Usually gyms will have at least three defenders, and you will attack them with six. In that situation I would recommend making your first two good matchups vs. the first defender, your third and fourth solid opponents for the second defender, etc.
3) Check the chart to see who’s best vs. different types. You could skip step 2 and simply memorize the major strengths and weaknesses of you best critters in this chart. This chart could also be used to help you decide what to do with duplicate Pokémon that have different Fast and/or Special attacks. For example, in the following you can quickly see that a Dragonite with Dragon Breath is superior to one with Steel Wing and Dragon Claw is its ultimate Special move. Meanwhile, the best Blastoise have Water Gun for their Fast attack, but after that the Special attacks don’t make much difference (because Water Gun has a higher damage rate than any of the Special moves can).
4) Save your changes. You can access charts that reflect your changes on laptop or cell and it will render in a way that work well on that type of screen by default. The approach that works best for me is to select my Pokémon in Step 1) on my laptop, then click Share and copy the Link under Current View. To improve performance on cell phones, add the clause “&:showVizHome=no” at the end of the URL. By default Tableau, the software I created this in presents visualizations inside of a site that includes links to various other things, while “&:showVizHome=no” will let your browser render only the relevant chart, which is particularly useful on cell phone screens.
You can also go further once you have a Pokémon or two you’re fully happy with by clicking on the Fast &/or Special moves they don’t have and choosing Exclude. If you copy your Current View URL after taking this step, you’ll only see your Pokémon’s relevant moveset going forward.
I hope you find this resource as useful as I am, but it only scratches the surface of options available to you that Pokémon GO doesn’t explain very clearly on its own. Here are a few articles and videos that I’ve found useful, in no particular order:
– How to crush your opponents in Pokémon Go gym battles. Daily Dot’s article that brought this data source to my attention.
– r/TheSilphRoad. The subreddit that the data set comes from. Lots of topics garner a lot of discussion here.
– Silph Road’s Youtube Channel. There are a ton of video guides to various Pokémon GO right now, but I find this channel to be among the most useful, and while they don’t have a lot of clips yet, unlike others their vids tends to be brief, focused, and useful.
– Subreddit discussion on dodging. A good guide to battle mechanics, in particular dodging, for after you’ve used my charts to select the best attacking matchups.