Typing Review: An Overview of Dragon Types for Raids in Pokemon Go

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If any type represents the Raid Meta in Pokemon Go, it has to be Dragon. This is the type that has some of the most overtly powerful Pokemon in the game and is often one of the first types that new players will try to build for thanks to the fact that literally every generation beyond Generation 2 has at least one Legendary Dragon. This was the original "generalist" type, and has long been one of the defining types in Pokemon Go. But in reality, how does it fare now, and what can we expect from the future? We have some very powerful Pokemon upcoming, so let's take a look as we review the Dragon Type and its impact on the raid meta.

The State of the Type

The current top Dragon Type attackers in the game are already outlined in our Best Attackers by Type list, linked above, so we recommend that you take a look at that to get a better list-breakdown, but these are the current candidates that we'll be working with in this article:

Dragon is one of the premier DPS types in the game, with a maximum projected DPS that's near the absolute top of the charts, and a very firm grip on the upper echelon of what we see now. This near-supremacy is due to two major factors:

  1. As stated, every generation post-2 has at least one Dragon Type Legend, meaning the average stats on Dragon as a type tend to be very high.
  2. Dragon is blessed with some of the best Shadows in the game, with Shadow Salamence and Shadow Dragonite in particular both standing head-and-shoulders above most of the competition in other types.

These factors together mean that if you're fighting a Dragon, then chances are that a Dragon is going to be your optimal counter despite themselves being weak to their own STAB moves. The main time when this isn't the case is when another type is double-effective, and given the fact that Dragon is only weak to Dragon, Ice, and Fairy, it stands to reason that Ice and Fairy stand as the two main competition types. 

A good Dragon Type team can help bring in a lot of powerful Pokemon for any trainer that chooses to make the investment, and several top dragons can also moonlight in their secondary types for more damage, such as Zekrom, Reshiram, and Garchomp, giving even more value to building a Dragon team.

The one area where Dragons turn out to be a bit lacking at the moment is in terms of their Mega Evolutions. While it's true that Pokemon like Mega Salamence and Mega Latios put out great numbers in-and-of themselves, they don't quite have the "wow" factor that other hugely powerful Mega Evolutions bring to their types, like Mega Gardevoir for Fairy or Mega Gengar for Ghost. This "problem" is set to be rectified in the future, but we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

Dragon Type Moves

As of the publishing of this article, we currently have access to 9 different Dragon Type attacks, divided into 3 Fast Moves and 6 Charged Moves.

Fast Moves Charged Moves
Dragon Tail Outrage
Dragon Breath Breaking Swipe
Hidden Power (Dragon) Draco Meteor
Dragon Claw
Dragon Pulse

The Good Moves

We only have two real Dragon Type Fast Moves to pick from at the moment, and the better of the two is definitely Dragon Tail. While a little slow, this move sports high base power that and solid energy generation, meaning it will almost always out-perform the competition.

For Charged Moves, we have a few that are definitely worth considering. At the top of the list, we have a bit of a war between Outrage and Breaking Swipe. The former has stronger average performance on paper due to its sheer power, but the latter is incredibly easy to use due to its stupid-short damage window, making it extremely easy to dodge with while only sacrificing minimal damage, possibly even out-damaging Outrage in select scenarios. In the end, these two moves are both legitimately great, and each one has its advantages. Moving down, we come to Draco Meteor. This is a bit of a divisive move due to the fact that, once again, on paper it's the strongest Dragon Type move, but in practice its high energy cost and long attack window mean that it will tend to fall behind Outrage and Breaking Swipe in terms of actual performance. Of course, using Outrage and Draco Meteor together is also an option worth considering. Overall, Draco Meteor is generally an acceptable-but-not-ideal move on Dragons that have enough attack and bulk to properly utilize it.

The Bad Moves

Dragon Breath has the short end of the stick among the two Dragon Type Fast Moves. It's not objectively bad, but it is definitely weaker than Dragon Tail. However, it's also worth mentioning that it's substantially easier to dodge with Dragon Breath, which can be very important when you're using a Dragon that's facing down Dragon Type moves, so maybe it doesn't actually deserve to be in this section of the list after all? Well, the DPS loss from Dragon Tail to Dragon Breath is note-worthy, so it's going to stay down here for now. And what about Hidden Power (Dragon)? Well, it's the weakest move in the lot and it's randomly-chosen, so it's hardly even a move worth talking about, truth be told.

Dragon Claw would have just barely made the cut as a "good" move not too long ago due to its decent power and ease of use, but then Breaking Swipe showed up and decided to be everything that Dragon Claw ever wanted to be and more, so it instead starts our section of "bad" Dragon Type Charged Moves. It's not genuinely bad in truth, and is best described as serviceable due to the fact that Dragons like Mega Latios and Mega Charizard X can make use of it to varying degrees of success, but both of these Pokemon would prefer using basically any of the Charged Moves in the "good" section over Dragon Claw, as it falls behind the big-three enough to head up this section. After Dragon Claw, Dragon Pulse is basically a worse version of Outrage, while Twister is just all-around not worth using.

The Future of Dragon Types

Currently Unreleased Dragon-Type Pokemon

Currently Unreleased Dragon-Type Moves

  • Clanging Scales*
    • Kommo-O
  • Clangorous Soul
    • Kommo-O
  • Core Enforcer*
    • Zygarde 10%, Zygarde 50%, Zygarde Complete
  • Dragon Dance
  • Dragon Darts*
    • Dragapult
  • Dragon Energy*
    • Regidrago
  • Dragon Hammer**
    • Alolan Exeggutor
  • Dragon Rage
  • Dragon Rush
  • Dual Chop
  • Dynamax Cannon*
    • Eternatus
  • Eternabeam* 
    • Eternatus
  • Glaive Rush*
    • Baxcalibur 
  • Judgment*
    • Arceus
  • Multi-Attack*
    • Silvally
  • Order Up*
    • Dondozo (Water Type)
  • Roar of Time*
    • Dialga, Dialga - Origin Forme
  • Scale Shot 
  • Spacial Rend
    • Palkia, Palkia - Origin Forme

*: Signature Move
**: Formerly a Signature Move

The Non-Threats

Aside from the Pokemon that aren't fully evolved, we can rule out Hisuian Goodra, Zygarde 10%, Silvally, Turtonator, Drampa, Flapple, Appletun, Dracozolt, Dracovish, Duraludon, Cyclizar, Tatsugiri, and Walking Wake due to their low Attack, lack of movest-potential, mix of the two, or simply how high the Dragon Type bar has already been set. Either way, these are Pokemon that generally don't have much potential to succeed in this very competitive Meta.

After the obvious "throw away" Pokemon on the list, we come to a few that may have had some potential on the surface, but didn't manage to live up the hype when you look at what they have the potential to actually be. Starting the Pokemon that don't quite make the cut, we have Miraidon and Koraidon. These are genuinely powerful Pokemon in their own right, but the fact that they have relatively low Attack and no Dragon Type Signature Moves means that they almost definitely won't be useful for dealing Dragon Type damage when they finally drop. Expect more on them when we cover Electric and Fighting Types, respectively. Next is Naganadel, who is out-performed by basic Salamence even if given its best possible moveset, meaning it's not going to make waves here. Finally, while it's already been released, it's worth mentioning that Regidrago has its own signature Dragon Type move, but it would have to be unbelievably strong for that little walking ball to actually make waves in raids.

And while Eternamax Eternatus shows up on the list above, we will not be looking at it here as it's pretty unrealistic to expect that we'll ever have direct access to this absolute monster.

The Possible Threats

Pokemon in this section have varying degrees of potential viability for the future, but we can't feel comfortable saying that these outcomes are "likely" at this time. This may be due to how far away their release is likely to be, the likelihood of a moveset going their way, or in some cases the fact that our theorycrafted moveset is admittedly a bit too crazy to realistically consider. Regardless, these are all theoretically possible outcomes for these Pokemon, so they're worth mentioning.

  • Current Moveset: Dragon Tail + Dragon Pulse
  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage

The "big-bad" Legend of Generation 8, Eternatus casts a potentially imposing shadow over the Dragon Type meta. It has a great Attack stat and a potentially great moveset, although it's not currently set to actually get that ideal moveset as-is.

The factor that helps Eternatus stand out on this list is really the fact that it has two Signature Moves, meaning Niantic has 2 chances to give it the power that it deserves. The IDEAL way to go about doing this would be to make Dynamax Cannon a Fast Move and Eternabeam a Charged Move, but chances are we won't see that happen. Regardless, Eternatus has some very real potential!

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage/Breaking Swipe
  • Current Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage

The pseudo-Legend of Generation 8, this Dragon/Ghost Type Pokemon has blazingly high Speed in the main series, which generally translates very poorly in Pokemon Go. Well, despite all of that, Dragapult actually is pretty decent in Pokemon Go, sporting a solid Attack stat and an ideal moveset currently datamined. If it continues on this path, then it's set to be a bit weaker than Salamence, which is a decent place to sit. However, its potential goes even farther than that, as this Pseudo-Legendary Pokemon has a Dragon Type Signature Move by the name of Dragon Darts, meaning it could be boosted to greater heights pretty easily if Niantic wanted to give it special treatment.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage/Breaking Swipe
  • Current Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage
  • Potential Unused Moves: Dragon Dance, Scale Shot, Clanging Scales, Clangorus Soul,

The pseudo-Legend of Generation 7, Kommo-O is a pseudo-legendary Pokemon with a bit of a disappointing stat-line, but two Signature Moves to draw from: Clanging Scales and Clangorus Soul. While it's not likely to make huge waves, it definitely has potential!

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage/Breaking Swipe
  • Potential Unused Moves: Dragon Rush, Scale Shot, Dragon Dance, Glaive Rush

Objectively speaking, Baxcalibur doesn't have a whole lot of Potential in the Raid meta. Despite getting access to the ideal moveset, its Attack is too low to make real waves. It's on this part of the list only because, much like Dragapult, it has its own Dragon Type Signature Move: Glaive Rush. The problem here is the fact that Glaive Rush would have to be massively powerful to put Baxcalibur on the map, so it's not a super-likely candidate for becoming a big threat in the future, but it could be great if given a strong Glaive Rush and the Shadow Treatment in the future.

Of course, we have seen underwhelming Pokemon suddenly take a place near the top of our raid charts after an unexpected move update before....

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage
  • Potential Unused Moves: Dragon Dance, Judgment

This one is a bit rocky for Arceus. It's got pretty low Attack, especially when compared to the potential titans outlined in this article, so its Dragon Type variant is pretty much guaranteed to be a hard-pass. However, if it's given a really, really strong move in Judgment, it might have the potential to be worth considering here. Pretty iffy, but it's worth at least mentioning on this part of the list.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage/Breaking Swipe
  • Potential Unused Moves: Dragon Rush, Dragon Dance, Scale Shot

Fresh off the Dark Type article, Roaring Moon is here again... and oh boy it's in even worse shape this time around. In terms of Raid viability, Roaring Moon is a downgrade to its future relative, Salamence, due to its lower Attack stat. In truth, it's only on this portion of this list for one very odd reason:

In general, Signature Moves are assigned to individual Pokemon or Pokemon families and either kept reserved to those Pokemon or later distributed out to others. Roaring Moon... is a big backwards, in that regard. The Dragon Type move Scale Shot was introduced in Generation 8, where it had fairly decent distribution among various Pokemon that could learn it. Well, fast forward to Generation 9, the current generation, and for some reason Roaring Moon is the only Pokemon currently available in the game that can learn Scale Shot. So this makes it something of a reverse-signature move? It's weird, and it likely won't continue to work like this as Pokemon Home opens up and Pokemon from Sword and Shield can make their way to Paldea, but at this unique moment in time it is possible for Roaring Moon to get its own super-strong pseudo-signature move! 

Of course it's also worth mentioning that Brutal Swing was never the signature move of Hydreigon and it was made very strong to buff that pseudo Legend, so just maybe Niantic will go out of their way to make this Paradox Pokemon good?

The odds aren't great, but time will tell....

  • Best Possible Moveset: Psycho Cut + Outrage
  • Potential Unused Moves: Dragon Dance

Ultra Necrozma's Attack stat is downright frightening, standing as the 3rd strongest Dragon Type Pokemon in the game after Mega Rayquaza and Mega Garchomp. It could very well take the meta by storm... if it had a Dragon Type Fast Move! Yup, in order to work as a Dragon Type, Ultra Necrozma will have to rely on a high-energy-generation Fast Move or a Fast Move that the target is weak to alongside Dragon Type moves. This obviously hampers Ultra Necrozma's viability, and leaves us hoping that we may see Dragon Dance released as a Dragon Type Fast Move someday.

Of course, then we come to a bit of a problem that needs to be discussed. First, we have the issue of Ultra Necrozma starting out as a fusion Pokemon similar to Kyurem Black/White: this dragon of light is derived from base-form Necrozma fusing with Lunala or Solgaleo. And once that fusion takes place, the resulting Dawn Wings/Dusk Mane Necrozma has to undergo a process similar to Mega Evolution in order to take on its Ultra forme. It's very hard to say how Niantic will actually handle Ultra Necrozma, but the potential still exists.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage/Breaking Swipe
  • Potential Unused Moves: Dragon Dance, Scale Shot, Core Enforcer

This one is admittedly a big stretch. Zygarde has a pretty low Attack stat, and it set to drop really low on the Dragon DPS chart despite its stellar moveset. Its ONE AND ONLY shot at the big-leagues is if its signature move, Core Enforcer, is objectively and entirely broken. This is possible due to Zygarde's status as a big-bad Legend, but the story doesn't quite end there.

Zygarde - Complete is probably the saddest case on this list. Zygarde's HP stat goes through the roof When taking this forme, which has the unfortunate side-effect of raising its CP over 4,000 at Lv.40, meaning it suffers from the dreaded Niantic Nerf and is even weaker than 50% Zygarde in terms of its Attack stat. Unless Niantic makes an exception and forgives Zygarde - Complete of its high base CP, which is not very likely due to just how stupidly bulky this thing becomes, it's going to take ten tons of condensed power into one attack to make it worth considering.

The odds here are pretty danged slim, but at least they exist.

The Likely Threats

These are the Pokemon that are established in one way or another, and have real potential for growth given existing game precedent. Pokemon in this section can range from potentially top-tier to somewhat mediocre, but they are all reasonably possible at some point in the future. Pokemon in this section will generally be here due to having access to a Signature move or a better on-type moveset that's established in Pokemon Go in their main series movepool, meaning Niantic could "fix" them at literally any time using reasonable methods that we've already seen utilized in the past. 

No, this section will not consider the potential of new "+" and/or "++" variants to existing moves.

  • Current Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage/Breaking Swipe
  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage/Breaking Swipe
  • Potential Unused Moves: Dragon Dance, Scale Shot

It's inevitable.

Mega Rayquaza is set to be the master Mega Evolution of the Dragon Type, sitting atop the Meta from its Sky-High throne. It has the best possible moveset at its disposal and a lot of power behind it, so it's set to be one of the absolute must-have Mega Evolutions when it drops.

It's worth mentioning Mega Rayquaza is also pretty special in the main series story, as it's the only Pokemon capable of Mega Evolution without a Mega Stone. All that it needs in the main games is to know its signature move, Dragon Ascent (it's a Flying Type move, so don't get too excited yet). It's also considered the assumed progenitor of Mega Evolution, so it could receive special treatment like the Primals.

Time will tell, but Mega Rayquaza will rule the skies either way.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage / Breaking Swipe
  • Current Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage
  • Potential Unused Moves: Dragon Rush, Dragon Rage, Dual Chop

Mega Garchomp was set to be a strong contender for best Ground Type Mega Evolution... and then Primal Groudon happened. Well, it's still good over there, but we'll talk about that another day. For now, it's also set to be the new best Dragon Type Mega Evolution after Mega Rayquaza, and its competitive DPS/higher TDO/different sub-typing means that it may have situations where it actually out-performs the Sky King! Definitely a Mega to keep an eye on!

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage
  • Current Moveset (Kyurem Black): Dragon Tail + Outrage
  • Current Moveset (Kyurem White): Dragon Breath + Draco Meteor

We've waited for these monsters for a very long time.

With stats that perfectly mirror one-another, Kyurem Black and Kyurem White have the potential to rival the monster that is Shadow Salamence in terms of their sheer power with a higher TDO to boot when their Ice sub-typing doesn't get in the way. They are tremendous threats that will very likely dominate the non-Mega Dragon Meta on their release. 

However, it seems that one of them is going to end up eclipsing the other. Kyurem Black, the Kyurem fusion brought about with the help of Zekrom, is currently set to be given the outright ideal Dragon Tail/Ourtage set, while Kyurem White, who fuses with Reshiram to gain its extreme power, is set to only have access to Dragon Breath and Draco Meteor. It seems that ideals are set to beat out the truth in this case.

The one issue with these tyrants is the fact that we don't really know how "Fusion Pokemon" will work in Go. Will we be forced to fuse them ourselves? Will they be their own Pokemon? Will we be able to fuse/unfuse them at will? Will there be limits as to how many we're allowed to have? Time will tell!

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage / Breaking Swipe
  • Current Moveset: Dragon Breath + Draco Meteor
  • Potential Unused Moves: Roar of Time

Dialga has long been seen as the TDO Dragon of choice; the Dragon that isn't weak to Dragon Type movesets. And it's always had some very real potential, being held back only by its sub-par moveset. Ah, but this is another Pokemon that may yet live up to that potential, as it has a signature Dragon Type move known as Roar of Time! Given a boost with this move, Dialga could see even more utility than it has now, and could be a genuinely great overall pick.

Dialga also has an Origin Forme similar to Giratina, but it loses a bit of Attack when attaining that forme, so it doesn't help here. Origin Forme Dialga is still good, but not as good as its base.

We'll PROBABLY see Roar of Time and possibly Origin Forme Dialga at Go Tour: Sinnoh which will take place next February if the pattern set by the past few years holds true.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage / Breaking Swipe
  • Current Moveset: Dragon Tail + Draco Meteor
  • Potential Unused Moves: Spacial Rend

Palkia is a bit overlooked, but in truth it has some very real potential as a Dragon Type attacker. If given its ideal moveset, its performance will rise significantly, and that's not even the full story for this Reality-warping dragon. The future is bright for Palkia as it has its own Dragon Type Signature Move to look forward to, Spacial Rend. If given good stats, Palkia could genuinely be a great Dragon Type attacker, and we still aren't done! In Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Palkia was given a brand new Origin Forme which, despite how odd it appears, raises this classical Dragon's attack even higher! Admittedly it's a very small boost, but a boost it is nonetheless!

Another reason to be hopeful for Go Tour: Sinnoh!

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage / Breaking Swipe
  • Current Moveset: Dragon Breath + Draco Meteor

While known to be on a par with Dialga but with a worse sub-typing for raids, Reshiram actually has stats that are identical to Zekrom, meaning it could potentially match the Blazking Black Dragon, or even surpass it if given access to Dragon Tail.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage / Breaking Swipe
  • Current Moveset: Dragon Breath + Outrage

Whatever Reshiram can do as a Dragon Type, Zekrom can do too!

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Breath + Outrage / Breaking Swipe
  • Current Moveset: Fury Cutter + Dragon Claw
  • Potential Unused Moves: Dual Chop, Dragon Dance, Scale Shot

It's pretty easy to forget that Mega Sceptile is actually a Dragon, especially considering how good it is as a Grass Type. But it does have access to a good Dragon Type moveset that would put it around Mega Latios in terms of DPS if Niantic ever went all-out for it. Its TDO would be lower, but its Grass sub-typing may give it scenarios where it's actually the better option.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Dragon Tail + Outrage 
  • Current Moveset: Charge Beam / Volt Switch + Dragon Pulse
  • Potential Unused Moves: -

That's right, even Mega Ampharos has potential. While a bit of a downgrade from Mega Latios in terms of DPS, its TDO is fairly close and its Electric sub-typing could come in handy for specific raids.

The Looming Shadows

The top Shadows to watch out for are the potential Shadows of the existing Legendary Dragons. Shadow Rayquaza would be the single most meta-upsetting release, with other monsters like Shadow Palkia, Shadow Zekrom, or Shadow Dialga causing some shifts as well. Heck, even lesser legendary Dragons could become pretty viable with a Shadow Boost; take Shadow Reshiram or Shadow Kyurem for example. And no, we're not going to even think about Shadow Kyurem White/Black, as that would just be silly with how absurdly strong they would be. A few non-Legendary Dragons could also see new viability with a Shadow Boost, with the stand-out options being Shadow Haxorus, Shadow Garchomp, or Shadow Kommo-o if it were given access to a powerful Signature move.

The Gigantamax Factor

While not extremely likely, it's possible that Niantic could release the Dynamax/Gigantamax system first introduced in Generation 8/Galar into Pokemon Go. For those unaware, this system turns Pokemon giant, gives them new/overpowering moves, and grants a tremendous HP boost while active. And while the release of this feature isn't super likely, we thought it best to at least list the possible candidates with unique formes just to cover all bases, so these are all of the Dragon Type Pokemon with a Gigantamax forme:

Verdict for the Future

Dragon is, without a doubt, one of the best types in Pokemon Go, and it's set to age like fine wine as more and more powerful Dragon Types enter the meta and redefine what "power" means when it comes to raids. We've very likely got a long way to go until we get everything outlined in this article, but hopefully it will be very worth the wait!

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About the Author(s)

Gamepress Pokemon Go site lead with a focus on theorycrafting and gameplay optimization and a background in business management and freelance writing.  A bit of a hermit, but also an outdoors enthusiast who loves cycling and hiking. Long-time Gamepress fan who is very proud to be a part of the team.