Top 15 Best Tank Pokémon You Need on Your Team (From All Gens)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Alright maggots, listen up cause we’re gonna lay some ground rules! (OK I’ll drop the military gimmick before it gets obnoxious)
Tank puns aside, we do have a few specifications before we dive into this list. First of all, no legendries. Otherwise, this list would be full of them.
Number two: no mega evolutions, Dynamax, or wormhole Pokémon, for the same reason as the legendries.
Lastly, this isn’t going to be a copy/paste of the highest base defense Pokémon in the series. I’m going to be taking multiple things into consideration that determine its viability in battle.
So typing, moveset, and overall base stats all come into play.
I’m also going to throw one or two curveball picks to add an extra bit of spice to the pot. If you have a problem with that, you know where to find me.
I never got to experience Bastiodon myself on account of being a Diamond player.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get a spot on the list.
This hard-headed wannabe dinosaur has a whopping 168 defense and 138 Sp. Defense, making it one of the bulkiest hybrid tanks around.
Aside from those stats, though, Bastiodon has very little in the way of battle application. The rest of its stats are lacking, and that includes its HP.
Shuckle is something of a living legend amongst the Pokémon community.
It’s the epitome of chill, being a little yellow noodle relaxing in its shell on tropical beaches. It’s honestly living out my retirement dreams.
Despite this, it’s actually got the highest base defense of any regular Pokémon in the series, and that includes legendaries.
It’s not just defense, either.
It has a matching Sp. Defense to match that base 230. Unfortunately, though, the rest of its stats are pitiful.
There are some tricky ways to turn Shuckle into a powerhouse. But those strategies aren’t very practical. There’s a reason Based Shuckle shares a PU spot with Bastiodon.
Cloyster is unique as a tank, on account of it having great potential as a sweeper or a wall breaker.
This is in no small part thanks to its access to moves like Spikes and Shell Smash.
However, where Cloyster should excel on paper, is in defense. It has a base defense of 180, which is pretty high. Especially for an old-school Pokémon.
It does have one giant weakness that prevents it from being a competitively viable wall, though:
Its ice typing.
Ice-types aren’t really seen in the competitive circuit. There are too many counters that can punch holes through and ice types defenses, regardless of how high a Pokémon’s stats are.
Cloyster earns a spot based on numbers alone; ironically enough, though, it might make a list about unlikely attackers.
Now Miltank earns its spot on different grounds to the majority of Pokémon we’re talking about here.
It only has a defense of 105, although it does have a surprisingly high speed of 100.
Having said that, the reason I’m including it is for one reason and one reason only: Whitney.
Cringe when you read that? We all remember the pain of playing through Gold and Silver and coming up against this brick wall.
For the level you’re at when you encounter this gym, you are not ready for the self-healing and damage absorption capabilities that Miltank brings to the table.
Sure, you’re not going to see this pink menace represented at the Championships anytime soon.
But the memory of Whitney’s gym is still fresh in the minds of many a survivor.
Metagross has some all-around good stats that make it viably competitive in any format, with the exception of Ubers.
A base defense of 130 and an attack of 135 means that you can build a Metagross to be either attack or defense based, whichever you prefer.
While far from the best steel type, Metagross does wonders as a hybrid in regular playthroughs of whatever generation you’re playing.
As it should, considering how long it’s going to take for you to catch its first evolution Beldum.
We’ve got better steel-type tanks further down on the list, but Metagross deserves a mention at the very least.
Snorlax should be your favorite thicc Pokémon boy.
If it isn’t, then you have very poor taste.
Despite my love for this OG, Snorlax hasn’t had a good run of it in recent years. Each generation seems to bring about rosters that knock Snorlax lower and lower down the tier totem pole.
But with an Sp. Defense and an attack of 110, Snorlax is still perfectly capable of holding its own. Not to mention a chunky HP stat of 160 to boot.
It has a place in lower format competitive teams thanks to its Curse builds, but unfortunately, that’s pretty much it nowadays. Still great for solo runs in whatever gen you’re playing.
Umbreon doesn’t look like it should be able to take a hit, but it can.
A base Sp. Defense of 130 and Defense of 110 guarantees this eveelution a spot in the lower levels of competition for years to come.
It has access to both Wish and Heal Bell, making it one of the best clerics in the game regardless of format.
It’s unfortunate that we don’t see much of it when the pros play.
Both Chansey and its evolution are going to make an appearance here, which may leave some of you scratching your heads.
There’s a good reason for both being considered viable, though, albeit at different levels of play.
Chansey, given that it hasn’t evolved, can make use of the Eviolite.
This niche held item gives Chansey a 1.5x boost to both its defense and Sp. defensive stats.
We’re not going to touch on defense, but the 1.5x bump to a base Sp. defense of 105 isn’t an insignificant amount. Especially when you consider Chansey’s ludicrous base HP of 250.
It’s not uncommon to see this glorified egg being put up against legendaries in the competitive arena, despite the rest of its stats being laughably bad.
If you play your cards right, Chansey can become an absolute world-beater at all levels of play.
Speaking of Chansey’s evolution, Blissey is superior to it in every way. If you disregard the potential that the Eviolite brings to the table.
Blissey’s stats are simply better, with an Sp. defense of 135 and an HP of 255. Like Chansey, it only has one weakness, too, which is massive in the grand scheme of things.
Which evolution of the Blissey line you prefer to use ultimately comes down to personal preference and confidence.
You can run a stronger Chansey, but then you’re pigeon-holed into using an Eviolite.
Blissey doesn’t have that restriction, giving you greater variety when it comes to playstyle.
We all know and love this Pokémon, no matter how many hours of your life you’ve wasted breeding genetically altered animals to pit against others in combat.
Tyranitar is typically built as an attacker. And that’s understandable given its base 134 attack.
However, it also has a defense of 110 and an Sp. Defense of 100.
Combine that with it being built perfectly for a Sandstorm team, and you can understand why so many people run a Tyranitar as one of their main mons’.
It’s got great STAB potential to complement those stats, too, making T-Tar one of the most powerful hybrid tanks in the Pokedex.
Now we’re getting into the big boys of the defensive game.
Despite not seeing play at the highest level, Steelix is has a solid typing that is backed up by an astronomical 200 base defense. It also has a mega evolution that boats the highest defense in the game, tied with Shuckle, obviously.
Its attacking potential isn’t anything to scoff at, either. Although you’re not going to be running a Steelix built for sweeping.
If all that wasn’t good enough, Steelix also gets access to Stealth Rock.
What else could you ask for in a tank?
You could ask for a giant metal bird with wings made from razor blades, but that would be weird.
Skarmory has a defensive stat of 140 and an attack of 80, both of which are lower than Steelix.
Despite this, Skarmory sees action at the very top of the Pokémon mountain, which is territory untouched by Steelix.
This is strictly because of Skarmory’s ability to set up. It has access to Toxic, Whirlwind, and spikes. All three of which are vital to a lot of team compositions.
There are better overall picks than Skarmory in the formats that it’s played in, but as I said, no legendries and no ultra-wormholes.
Avalugg is a niche pick, but it dominates that niche with force.
Boasting a defense of 184 and an attack of 117 is no small feat. Even if it gets outclassed at the top of the food chain.
Where this block of ice falls short is, of course, its typing.
The metagame hasn’t been ice friendly for a long time.
Despite that, Avalugg does have value at OU as a physical wall, and a powerful one at that.
Toxapex is relatively new to the game.
But it has made an impact on the meta comparable to world-beaters like Garchomp and Hydreigon, although for entirely different reasons.
Toxapex has a base defense of 152 and an Sp. Defense of 142. This alone would be enough to justify its spot here, but Toxapex goes one step further.
It has an unbelievable moveset that includes multiple heals, Haze, and Toxic Spikes. On top of that, poison/water is a great defensive typing that cements Toxapex as one of the greatest defensive picks for Pokémon at its highest level.
When Ferrothorn was first introduced back in the day, it shot to the very top of the competitive circuit.
It has stayed there ever since as one of the best hazard setters the game has ever seen.
A defense and Sp. Defense of 131 and 116 respectively put it at the mid-to-high tier of overall defense. But its typing and moveset are what push Ferrothorn over the edge.
Grass/steel is fantastic. Not to mention access to both Spikes and Stealth Rock, which is invaluable.
It can also learn Knock Off and Leech Seed to complement its entry hazard setting capabilities.
Ferrothorn regularly makes an appearance in the Master’s Division and will continue to do so for years to come. Great for solo runs in the main titles too, so really just a beast of a tank.