Max CP 3500
- Highest base stats and CP of any Pokemon currently available.
- Resistances to fire and water in addition to double resistance to grass cover many popular attackers.
- Double weakness to Ice leaves him highly vulnerable to Lapras.
Dragonite (with Steel Wing) are defensive superstars and here’s why: Steel Wing is one of the strongest basic attacks in the game, Dragonite has the best base stats of any currently released Pokemon, and the dragon/flying typing is defensively strong in PoGO except one major weakness. Ice is doubly super-effective against Dragonite, which allows for a glaring counter in Lapras and lesser counters in Dewgong and Cloyster. Dewgong is a lesser threat due to having significantly lower base stats than Lapras, but Dewgong can learn the same optimal moves and has the same typing as Lapras. (The problem is just how much higher Dragonite’s CP gets than Dewgong – same story for Cloyster).
High-tier rock-types would be a weakness worth mentioning if not for the fact that Steel Wing protects Dragonite by attacking the rock/ground powerhouses Rhydon and Golem for super-effective damage anyway! Dragon Breath + Dragon Pulse/Hydro Pump Gyarados occupies a niche against Steel Wing Dragonite due to utilizing super-effective dragon-type moves without being a dragon himself while at the same time resisting Steel Wing damage. Wigglytuff and to a lesser extent Clefable can be a thorn in Dragonite’s side from the fairy-type angle, though Steel Wing also hits them for super-effective damage and Dragonite has much higher base stats.
This is how Dragonite defense works: unstoppable power, monstrous base stats, and praying that the attacker doesn’t have a Lapras. The only Pokemon that can match Dragonite without preying on a type advantage is Lick + Hyper Beam or Body Slam Snorlax.
Despite its exploitable ice-type weakness, Dragonite commonly finds its place in gyms by virtue of its high max CP, which players take advantage of in the hopes of claiming higher slots in a gym.
(It is worth noting that when Articuno is introduced into the game, Dragonite will have yet another top-tier hard counter. Depending on how Articuno is distributed – for example, if everybody gets an Articuno – this dynamic alone could knock Dragonite into a lower tier. But today is not that day. Today, Dragonite rules the roost of any area devoid of Laprases.)