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How One Guy Take Down a Level 10 Gym in Pokemon GO

High level gyms in Pokemon Go are tough to beat especially when you want to conquer it alone. With friends, yeah, you got some chance of toppling it down since this is one purpose of Pokemon Go, to work in teams so that you can conquer together to be the very best. However, for this one Redditor and Pokemon Go trainer, things can be handled alone.

This is posted by chessc, Pokemon Go trainer by day, Redditor by night, or the other way around, whichever is applicable. Other than this post, he also has other astonishing adventures playing the mobile app so this is why people notice his posts. The quality of his write ups is good that people start to follow him on Reddit.

How was it done?

You can read the full story below but here's a quick summary to make it short and simple: A report is also posted by Otaku Art following the same adventure. The technique was to gradually lower the gym level, not tackle it in one setting. chessc first beat an Arcanine with a Vaporeon, lowering the gym prestige to 37500. After that, he took down a couple of Dragonites with a Lapras. When he came back from work, the gym was now at level 9 bearing 7 Dragonites and 2 Snorlax. He attacked this time with Lapras, Gyarados, Vaporeon and Dragonite which would pair great with the defenders. The gym was dismantled with ease.

The gym is now down to level 7, and this time Arcanines were used to grind down the Lapras and Snorlax. Come level 6, then level 5 - which is now beatable by levels 25 and up, he didn't finish off the gym due to other priorities but when he came back one morning the gym is now occupied by another team and now only at level 2.

Full Story (Original Post here):

TLDR: when taking on a Dragonite stacked Level 10 gym, you may need some Dragonite soft counters for when you're running low on Laprases. Vaporeon and Golduck (Ice Beam) are suprisingly effective match-ups against Steel Wing Dragonites. First half of post is a battle journal. Dragonite match-up tables at the end.

Back-Story

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I commute to work by catching the train, and then walking another 25 minutes. Since the arrival of Pokemon Go, this has become one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. Catching Pokemon, and stopping for the odd gym battle on my walk to work. The city gyms are high traffic and have all been high turnover, rarely getting past level 3. But almost over-night, they've all been bubble stratted and gone level 10. After walking past these level 10 gyms for a week, I decided I could no longer stand it. I was going to take one of them down.

The First Skirmish

I left home early, giving myself 20 minutes to have a first crack at a level 10 gym. The defenders were in the range cp2400-3000: Snorlax, Arcanine, Dragonite, Dragonite, Dragonite, Dragonite, Snorlax, Snorlax, Dragonite, Dragonite - in that order. My immediate aim was to take it down it down a couple of levels, and finish the job after work. It was pointless to just kick out the Snorlax, as Arcanine is too easy to train against. So I had to get it to at least level 8. At first I thought, take it down 500 prestige at a time. But it was taking too long. My Vaporeon's health bar had barely moved after taking down Arcanine, so I continued the fight against the first Dragonite. It was a Steel-Wing, which Vaporeon resists. By dodging most of the Dragon Pulses, Vaporeon beat the first Dragonite. My first discovery of the day: Vaporeon is a soft counter to Steel-Wing Dragonite. I used my Lapras to kill off another 2 Dragonites. Now I was taking down 2000 prestige per battle session. I left the gym at 37500 prestige, hoping someone would finish the job I started, but fearing it would be rebuilt to level 10 when I came back.

The Main Battle

When I came back after work, the gym was back at Level 9. An extra Dragonite had been added. There were now 7 Dragonites, and 2 Snorlaxes. Potions weren't a problem, but only about 40 minutes. I wanted to take down as much prestige per battle session. I looked at my attacking line-up and realised it was obsolete. In the current highest-CP-stays-in-the-gym-the-longest-game Dragonite dominated gyms will become the new normal. Dragonite resists Water, Fire, Grass and Electric, Bug, Ground and Fighting. It's only weaknesses are Ice, Fairy and Dragon. I was lacking in strong counters. The attackers I used were:
  • Lapras (Frost Breath/Blizzard, cp2450) - obviously the MVP - but it was 1 against 7. Lapras needed some team-mates. The plan to use Lapras to maximum effect was match Lapras against the Dragon Breath Dragonites - thereby extracting a triple type advantage - and find other match-ups for the Steel-Wings.
  • Gyarados (Dragon Breath/Dragon Pulse, cp2005) - resists steel and is super-effective against Dragonite
  • Vaporeon (Water Gun/Hydro Pump, cp2213) - despite being "not very effective" against Dragon, it also resists Steel Wing. Water Gun/Hydro Pump is one of the highest DPS movesets in the game, and the quickness of Water Gun makes it easier to dodge.
  • Dragonite (Dragon Breath/Dragon Pulse, cp2947) - is super-effective against Dragonite, and is type neutral to Steel Wing.
I also had avaialable a Dewgong, Clefable and Cloyster - but decided that mine were all too low CP against Dragonites of this size.

The defending order was: 3 Steel Wing Dragonites, 2 Dragon Breath Dragonites, 2 Snorlaxes, then another Dragon Breath and another Steel Wing Dragonite. I soon kicked out the bottom Dragonite. Then I wore down the gym prestige 2000 points at a time - using Vaporeon and Gyarados against the first two Steel Wing Dragonties, then ripping through the Dragon Breaths with Lapras.

After getting the gym down to level 7, I decided it was time to go for the 1500 prestige bonus. I used Arcanines to grind down the Snorlaxes, Lapras continued to take down 2 Dragon Breaths, and then brought my Dragonite into play as the third Steel Wing match-up. Victory! The gym was soon down to level 6, and I knew I'd broken it. But I now was running out of time to catch my train. I bet the gym one more time and left it at Level 5 / 14500 prestige. Now well within range of any level 25+ player with a spare 10-15 minutes to finish the job. It was the eve of a holiday long weekend, and fully expected this to happen.

And sure enough, when I went past the gym this morning, it was gone. Now a Level 2 gym of an opposing team.

The Payoff

Catching Pidgeys may be a much more efficient way to get XP, but taking down a level 10 gym, and battle testing your Pokemons is immensely satisfying. And bringing down a stagnant level 10 gym puts it back in play. I now plan to take down one level 10 gym per week. Am now just 6 battles shy of the Battle Girl gold badge.

Post Battle Analysis: Dragonite Match-ups

The tables below show the remaining health for various attackers versus Steel Wing and Dragon Breath Dragonites. The charge move for both tables is Dragon Pulse (probably should have used Dragon Claw, but it doesn't have a big impact on the results.) All Pokemons are at Level 25. Tables were calculated using /u/Molestazn's simluator (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10iiJVarSlM2WNw5HBsHszvuC3IZp2FO_9jgS-g8820U/copy) based on /u/Professor_Kukui's data. Simulation assumes buffered attacks (i.e. no input delay).

Versus Dragonite(Steel Wing/Dragon Pulse)
POKEMON
FAST MOVE
CHARGE MOVE
CP
SPAM
DODGE CA
DODGE ALL
Lapras
Frost Breath
Blizzard
2129
45.3
66.4
77.8
Dragonite
Dragon Breath
Dragon Claw
2500
30.0
61.9
77.1
Dewgong
Frost Breath
Blizzard
1532
22.0
37.7
66.5
Snorlax
Lick
Hyper Beam
2223
15.3
50.1
77.7
Golduck
Water Gun
Ice Beam
1704
7.3
43.5
59.6
Vaporeon
Water Gun
Hydro Pump
2011
-3.5
45.7
71.7
Slowbro
Water Gun
Ice Beam
1855
-11.3
46.6
68.0
Gyarados
Dragon Breath
Dragon Pulse
1920
-12.8
45.1
66.5
Blastoise
Bite
Ice Beam
1815
-17.3
44.0
72.4
Cloyster
Frost Breath
Blizzard
1466
-22.3
28.0
66.3
Clefable
Pound
Moonblast
1712
-26.4
19.3
60.5
Wigglytuff
Pound
Hyper Beam
1555
-40.1
9.3
57.7
Versus Dragonite(Dragon Breath/Dragon Pulse)
POKEMON
FAST MOVE
CHARGE MOVE
CP
SPAM
DODGE CA
DODGE ALL
Lapras
Frost Breath
Blizzard
2129
54.1
75.7
80.2
Dewgong
Frost Breath
Blizzard
1532
34.4
51.4
70.4
Dragonite
Dragon Breath
Dragon Claw
2500
33.2
65.2
81.2
Snorlax
Lick
Hyper Beam
2223
24.5
60.5
80.8
Vaporeon
Water Gun
Hydro Pump
2011
14.0
50.5
78.7
Golduck
Water Gun
Ice Beam
1704
12.6
36.5
65.2
Gyarados
Dragon Breath
Dragon Pulse
1920
10.7
53.4
75.6
Clefable
Pound
Moonblast
1712
4.2
48.1
73.4
Blastoise
Bite
Ice Beam
1815
1.6
46.6
73.0
Wigglytuff
Pound
Hyper Beam
1555
-0.2
49.0
76.3
Cloyster
Frost Breath
Blizzard
1466
-3.2
47.4
54.2
Slowbro
Water Gun
Ice Beam
1855
-5.0
52.9
73.0

The non-surprise is Lapras' unrivalled status as the Dragonite Destroyer. Although the table only shows Frost Breath/Blizzard - any combination of Frost Breath/Ice Shard and Blizzard/Ice Beam is comparably effective (Dragon Pulse is signficantly worse though.) Dewgong also lives up to its billing as the "poor man's Lapras". Somewhat surprising is that Dragonite is that second best match-up against Dragonite. The biggest surprise is how well Vaporeon and Golduck (with Icebeam) perform. Both outperform Clefable, Wigglytuff and Cloyster - which are frequently suggested Dragonite counters. Especially against Steel Wing, fairies are a poor match-up.

Grinding while battling

Pidgey farming may work well when it comes to leveling up fast but toppling a level 10 gym is much more satisfying and at the same time gives you a lot of XP. You don't even need to bring it down in one sitting, you just need to plan ahead and be consistent with properly pairing up with gym defenders. Talking about beating gyms alone, here's another one from YouTube: