Tier 3 Raid Guides
Introduction and overview
The raid mechanic introduced one of the few challenges available to trainers in Pokemon GO: soloing tier 3 raids.
Soloing a tier 3 raid requires knowledge of which Pokemon to use and how to best use them in battle. A trainer’s goals will vary based on their trainer level and accessibility to in-game resources. This guide is intended to help players of all levels and in all environments.
General strategic advice
If you’re about to take on your first tier 3 solo, here are some helpful rules of thumb.
Use the empty lobby trick to gain time
This trick skips the GO animation when the raid begins, bringing you directly into battle. Usually you can start ~3 seconds earlier than usual, even more on older phones. See our article to learn how to do the trick.
In general, dodge charged moves only
Dodging fast moves costs too much time to be viable. When a guide says that a Pokemon is reliant on dodging, it means dodging charge moves only.
Avoid wiping out with your first team
Wiping out brings up the “all your Pokemon have fainted” screen. If you don’t have a second team to rejoin the battle, you’ll have to revive the first team or use the recommended team.
If you’re the only player in battle, leaving battle causes the raid boss to regain a little HP. This can cost you enough time to ruin a solo attempt. If you’re way ahead, re-entry may be viable.
Dodge less if you’re barely timing out
Pokemon gain energy from taking damage. Therefore, tanking charged moves may let you use your own charged move sooner, increasing DPS. Dodging itself costs about 0.5 s.
Why solo a tier 3 raid when legendaries exist?
Tier 3 raids yield fewer rewards compared to optimized tier 5 legendary raids: the item bundles are both smaller and lower in quantity, and the XP yield is 60% less.
Consider those times when you camp out at a legendary raid, waiting 30 minutes for enough players to show up - or worse, you wait only for them to flake. This depends on where you are and how well-connected you are to local players, but the point is that the independence from soloing tier 3 raids is a great boon.
As one of the few challenges remaining in Pokemon GO, tier 3 solos can inject excitement into a game made stale by casual-friendly changes to the gym system.
Finally, many tier 3 bosses are excellent attackers in their own right, so getting opportunities to catch them is a bonus.
Optimize your hardware
Blame Niantic for this one. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that a lower-end phone will impair your ability to solo tier 3 raids. Easy solos may take more time and hard solos may be outright impossible. Consider these factors when planning a solo:
iOS > Android, generally speaking. While Android performance has improved in recent updates, playing on iOS will give the player a few seconds extra to work with.
Low system RAM will cost time. Pokemon GO encounters frequent lag on 2 GB RAM phones, whereas 4 GB RAM will yield a smoother experience. Restart Pokemon GO prior to each solo attempt and kill all unnecessary background apps.
Keep the phone cool. Pokemon GO is notorious for rapidly heating up phones, and phones perform worse when hot.
Optimize your Pokemon: damage breakpoints
Due to Pokemon GO’s damage formula, damage done is rounded down to the nearest integer. Because fast moves do small amounts of damage, they get rounded down to the same number until a Pokemon reaches a certain attack stat in a particular matchup, where it jumps up +1. This is called a damage breakpoint.
Fast move damage breakpoints are important because they represent thresholds where a single power up yields a 5% or more increase in DPS. Power ups beyond a Pokemon’s highest damage breakpoint have little benefit. The two big conclusions to be drawn from this are:
Powering up to the highest breakpoint achieves nearly 100% of a Pokemon's maximum DPS
Declining to power up beyond the highest breakpoint saves up to 10,000 stardust / power up
Damage breakpoints depend on the attacker species, attack IV, fast move, weather (and other damage multipliers), and the raid boss. GamePress offers an on-site calculator and an off-site spreadsheet to help find damage breakpoints.
celandro’s Pokebattler website is great for assessing your readiness to solo tier 3 raids. It can provide the theoretical best counters and recommend the best attackers from your Pokemon box. The website can be daunting to first-time users. Check out RyanSwag's YouTube video guide for using Pokebattler to help solo tier 3 raids.