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It seems that in a high level Pokemon Go gym (level 8+) the bottom-most Pokemon are the most important -- because if an attacker can only take down one or two Pokemon, then the Gym's prestige is only lowered by 500-1000. For high level gyms, you need to lower the prestige by 10-12,000 to even kick out 1 Pokemon, thus it's unlikely that an attacker is going to attack 10-20 times to take out the bottom Pokemon, and then do it again for the second bottom Pokemon and so on.

Doesn't this make them more important than the other, higher Pokemon in the Gym?

The bottom Pokemon are also the first to be kicked out, if the prestige of the gym is lowered to a certain level. There might be higher CP Pokemon in that gym with really bad moveset, but those movesets do not really matter, because the attacker probably won't get to the top or second Pokemon that easily -- if the attacker can battle them, that means the gym may be at a lower level, such as 4 or 5, and the gym is easily taken down any way.

(One example is, if there is a Gyarados with bad IV and bad CP, but with Dragon Pulse or Hydro Pump, at the bottom of the gym, then it can defend the gym really well. Versus, a Gyarados with good IVs/CP, but with bad charge move: Twister, and at the middle rank inside the gym. it can stay at the gym longer, because it can't be kicked out that easily, but at the same time, it really cannot defend the gym that well (Twister is only 1/3 of the Damage Per Second compared to Hydro Pump with STAB considered)).

So is this true? Are the bottom-most Pokemon in a high-level Gym the most important ones?

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    There's a ton of text here for what seems to be a very simple question: "Are Pokemon in gyms always evicted in order from lowest CP to highest?" I'd strongly recommend editing your question to be much shorter. It's already attracted 3 close votes from people who aren't quite sure what the question is at all. – Chris Hayes Oct 7 '16 at 22:47
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    @ChrisHayes that's not what's being asked. The question is asking if the lower level defenders are more important than the stronger defenders in a high level gym. – Aequitas Oct 7 '16 at 23:10
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    @Aequitas In that case the need for editing is even more than I thought, because I read the question a number of times before leaving that comment and still didn't find the actual question being asked. – Chris Hayes Oct 7 '16 at 23:54
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    I'm having trouble finding a question here, this seems more like a discussion point. – VanBuzzKill Oct 8 '16 at 1:32
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    @VanBuzzKill i agree it's more of a discussion question atm. Essentially the question is: "Are the lower CP pokemon more important for defending a gym" – Aequitas Oct 9 '16 at 1:48
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I had never really thought about this, but yes you are probably correct in that the lowest cp Pokemon are more important when defending a high level gym. As you pointed out it's unlikely that a single person with a team of 6 will be able to defeat all 10 defenders.

You can then think about it in terms of how much prestige each Pokemon will be defending. The bottom three Pokemon will each be defending for 10,000 prestige (ie. 30k prestige before kicking out three pokemon). In comparison to the top three that will only be defending for a total of 8,000 prestige. So this means that the bottom Pokemon will have to be defeated more times and are thus more important.

The fact that there is a huge bonus (either 1.5k or 2k according to this question) for defeating all the defenders with a single team compounds on the fact that the lower defenders will be able to survive more since it's unlikely all ten will be defeated by a single team.

It's common to defeat a single Pokemon at a time (for -500 prestige each time). If the gym was level 1, you would only have to defeat it once to lower the gym to level 0. If the gym was level 10, you would have to defeat the last defender 20 times before lowering it to level 9 (24 times if the 52k prestige bug has not been fixed yet).

So yes, the lowest cp Pokemon are the most important when defending a high level gym as they will need to be defeated the most times. So it's way better to have all mediumly high CP Pokemon defending instead of a few really high ones and a few really weak ones.

And since the lower CP pokemon are more important it is doubly important to ensure that are stronger in combat. This means, as you've alluded to, the moveset is more important on these lower defenders. As the moveset will make them stronger, without increasing CP, stronger moves and moves with STAB will make them do more damage without more CP.

Also since CP scales more with attack than defense and stamina, Pokemon with low attack and high defense and stamina will likely be stronger gym defenders for the same (or less) CP.

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Indeed, you fight them in order of CP from weakest to strongest, and the low CP ones are kicked out when a slot is lost. This is so that the strongest Pokémon always stays, while the weaker ones are akin to expendable Grunts in a way.

  • but the strongest (the one with highest CP), might actually have a really bad moveset... while the lowest CP one might have a really good moveset – nopole Oct 7 '16 at 22:38
  • True, but the game only takes into account CP - which I'd say is a bit of a downside. – Auro Oct 7 '16 at 22:43

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