How to beat Pokémon Go Gyms: The new redesigned gyms and Raid Battles are coming
Pokémon has over 65 million monthly players. With over 750 million downloads to date, it isn’t surprising to see Niantic, the makers of the game, looking to bring new features to the most popular mobile game the world has seen.
On 19 June, the company announced a complete redesign of its gyms and the inclusion of Raid Battles, a new cooperative feature that’ll be rolled out in the upcoming weeks. This will mark the biggest update that Pokémon Go has ever seen.
For the uninitiated, Pokémon Gyms are, usually, located at points of interest across Pokémon Go’s map. While nowhere near as common as a Poké Stop, if you can think of a major landmark in a village, town or city, there’s likely to be a Pokémon Gym there.
You can think of Gyms as a collaborative, multiplayer tower defence game. Once you reach level 5 and pick between Team Mystic, Valor or Instinct, you can take part in battling and capturing Gyms. Currently, it’s not known why taking gyms is so important to the overall game. On an individual level, though, you not only get to lord your superiority over others, but you also snag some neat bonuses in the process (which we’ll come onto in a moment).
Below I’ll outline the new features that are coming out soon.
Redesigned Pokémon Go Gyms
Gyms are being completely redesigned and for good reason. In the community today, a lot of players are growing increasingly frustrated at seeing a multitude of identical Pokemon in a gym, such as a Snorlax, Blissey, Vaporeon, Tyranitar, Gyarados, Rhydon and a Dragonite.
The new gym mechanics are radically different from the old (current) system that Niantic use. Since launch, gyms haven’t changed much, in fact, the biggest changes to gyms have been the Pokémon that reside inside them; from the attacking power of a Vaporeon to the Lapras nerf. You can see a video of how gym battles were on this YouTube video. Fundamentally, its mechanics haven’t changed, till now.
The new redesigned gyms bring the following:
- You can now acquire items directly from a gym like you would at a Poke Stop.
- You’ll no longer be able to prestige a gym.
- Opposing teams will battle Pokémon in the same order that they were assigned.
- There are now only six permanent slots in a gym. Each of the assigned Pokémon has to be unique.
- Pokémon now have a motivation meter. Once depleted the Pokémon will leave the gym. You can keep Pokémon motivated by feeding it berries.
- You’ll earn a badge for the gyms you own. You can level up your badge by giving berries, collecting items from the spinning disk and battling. Subsequently, by increasing the level of your gym badge, you’ll be entitled to bonus items and rewards.
The new gym is a positive step forward and might bring back players to the game. This much-needed redesign is seen by many in the community as a breath of fresh air.
Due to this large update, Niantic has disabled all Gyms. They will return, once the new redesigned gyms are rolled out to players around the world.
Below, you can see leaked footage of the new gym mechanics:
Raid Battles in the UK: What are Pokémon Raid Battles?
The new Raid Battles are a brand new feature to Pokémon Go. The cooperative mode involves fighting a very powerful Pokémon also known as a Raid Boss, which will be present at a gym.
Prior to battling the Raid Boss, all the assigned Pokémon will be returned to their trainers, at which point a very large golden egg will appear atop of the gym. These raids will be shown in a ‘Nearby’ menu (much like Pokémon currently are), and will appear under a dedicated Raid tab. Here, you’ll see the number of players currently in a Raid or the amount of time you’ll have to wait for other players to join the Raid.
It currently seems that a maximum of twenty trainers can simultaneously attack a Raid Boss. The best part is that you can be on opposing teams and attack a Raid boss together, so no matter if you’re on Valor, Mystic or Instinct, you can all work together to defeat it.
The Raid boss will be an ultra strong Pokémon. Pictured above, is a 25,346CP Tyranitar and a 22,646CP Alakazam. Yes, you read those numbers right! But, given there will be over twenty trainers fighting at the same time, it should make Raids a socially enjoyable experience.
You can only battle a Raid Boss if you have a Raid Pass. This can be attained by visiting a gym. Only one pass can be held at a time, however, you’ll be able to purchase Premium Raid Passes through the in-game shop by using Poke Coins.
If you successfully defeat a Raid Boss within five minutes, you’ll be granted the chance to catch an ultra powerful Pokémon of your own. Nothing has been revealed about the rare Pokémon just yet, but some are speculating legendaries, such as Zapdos.
New items will also feature as a reward for defeating the Raid Boss. These new items include a Rare Candy, that when used on a Pokémon, turns into that Pokémon’s Candy. Golden Razz Berries are aimed at fully recovering your deflated Pokémon’s motivation meter (from losing too many Pokémon battles in a gym), but can also be used to increase your chances of catching any Pokémon in the wild. Finally, Technical machines will be used to permanently teach your current Pokémon a new Fast Attack or Charged Attack, which means changing your Pokémon’s move sets.
These items might completely change the way the game is played. The update will be rolled out to certain players as a beta, which means only a select few will be able to see it at certain gym locations. Once it has been successfully rolled out and patched, it’ll filter down to every Pokémon Go players around the world.
How to beat Pokémon Go Gym
The information found below is now outdated, as Niantic has temporarily disabled gym. I’ve kept the information below as it might still apply to the redesigned gyms. Once the new gym system is released, I’ll be sure to update this article.
1. Know the basics of Pokémon Gym battling
Now that you’re able to wade into Gyms, it pays to know how Pokémon battling works. First up, you have to be within proximity to the gym you want to fight – this usually means you can’t attack it from across the road either.
Once you’re in and you’ve picked your ideal team (which I’ll explain further in the next step), it’s time to send someone else’s Pokémon packing.
There are three key things to remember when entering into a Pokémon Gym battle:
- You have a team of 6 at your disposal, so switch between them when one isn’t faring so well.
- Keep your eye on the blue bar underneath your Pokémon’s health. This is for your special attacks.
- You need to take out all Pokémon in a Gym to win.
Thankfully, the actual art of battle is incredibly simple and can be boiled down into four memorable points:
- Tapping the screen issues a standard attack.
- Swiping left and right, at the correct moment, dodges an enemy attack.
- Holding down on the screen activates your Pokémon’s special attack – provided you have enough power for it.
- Pokémon defending a gym will attack around every 1.5 seconds, so use that knowledge to your advantage.
Beyond that, it’s all about knowing the ins and outs of what makes an effective Pokémon team.
2. Pick the best Pokémon team for the job
Knowing how to fight in a gym is one thing, but making sure you’ve got the right team for the job is something else entirely.
When facing off against a rival gym, you can bring a team of six different Pokémon into battle. You can also team up with three other friends and work together to take down a gym. That means, a rival gym’s defending Pokémon has to face off against a potential 24 attacking Pokémon. Nasty.
However, if it’s just you going up against a tough set of Gym Pokémon, it pays to make sure you’re throwing out your strongest team which, given the recent Gen 2 update, now includes Umbreon and Espeon. Your strongest team doesn’t necessarily mean your highest CP Pokémon, but Pokémon you can use to play against the weaknesses of your opponents.
For instance, water-type Pokémon are strong against fire-type Pokémon, and flying-type Pokémon can take on grass-types with ease. Fed up of seeing Hypno dominating Gyms? Go at it with a dark, ghost or fighting-type Pokémon to deal significant damage and avoid its powerful psychic attacks.
3. Here’s how to fully clear a rival Gym out
Fought a rival gym and won, but it seemingly hasn’t been cleaned out back to neutral? In fact, there are more Pokémon left to fight? Worry not – while that can occasionally be a glitch, usually it’s just because the Gym had one more level than you initially realised.
Pokémon Gyms are built in multiple levels. A level 1 Gym will have just one Pokémon in it to defeat, while a level 2 will have two to defeat, 3 will have three and so on. To claim these higher-level gyms, you’ll have to clear out every level, knocking it back down to neutral. So, for a level 3 gym you’ll have to face off against six Pokémon. A level 10 Gym means taking out a whopping ten Pokémon before you can claim it as your own.
Thankfully, Pokémon Go does let you revive and heal any broken/fainted Pokémon once you successfully clear out each level.
4. Watch for Pokémon Go Gym snipers when claiming a Gym
One thing to watch out for when entering the rough-and-tumble world of Pokémon Go Gym battles are Gym snipers.
Essentially, these bottom-feeding scumbags wait until a Pokémon Gym battle is over and the Gym has become neutral to swoop in and claim it as their own. This works because there are a couple of seconds between you winning a gym and you being able to back out of menus and claim the gym for your own.
These silent killers of hope strike from the shadows, and can’t be seen on your phone, so if you’re playing in a busy area, keep your wits about you. If you’re playing where there are few other people nearby, however, try to restrain yourself from trying to hunt them down.
5. Be smart with the Pokémon you leave behind
When claiming a Gym for your respective team, be smart about the Pokémon you leave behind to defend it. In all honesty, leaving anything under 2,000 CP in a busy area means you’re guaranteed to be dethroned within an hour or so. You also don’t want to leave behind your most powerful beast as you can’t use a defending Pokémon in battle and, trust me, you’ll want to keep your strongest critter for attacking purposes.
The ideal Pokémon to leave at a Gym is a strong duplicate of one you already have (thus you won’t miss its abilities), and one that is well-rounded enough to hold its own. Ideally, you only need it to be the strongest Pokémon at the Gym for a little while, as other friendly team members will come along and bolster the Gym with their stronger Pokémon.
6. Battle friendly Gyms to make them stronger
If you want to make your team-owned Gyms stronger, and thus harder for a rival team to claim, you can battle it to buff its stats. These training sessions are represented by a boxing glove in the bottom-right corner of your screen once you’ve tapped on a friendly Gym. Here you’ll only be able to battle with one Pokémon instead of the six you can use against rival Gyms.
Don’t worry about having to heal your Pokémon after a battle: no damage is sustained during training, but you can gain experience and give your Gym a boost in its prestige level. Knock its prestige up another stage and you’ll open up a slot for you to leave one of your Pokémon behind.
7. Use low-CP Pokémon to gain more prestige at friendly Gyms
If you want to be a real team player, you’ll want to level up friendly gyms quickly to ensure they stay strong against an onslaught of rival team players. Reddit user SneakyKs discovered the best way to do this: use low-CP Pokémon.
Yes, that’s right. It may sound absurd, but going up against a friendly Gym with a 100+ CP Weedle and (somehow) winning against a level 1000+ CP Snorlax will grant your team an absolute tonne of Gym prestige. In reality, you’re more likely to win by using a 700 CP whatever against a 1,000+ CP opponent. SneakyKs explains the maths behind how he worked this handy tip out, but it’s completely over my head.
8. Leave a Pokémon behind at a Gym to gain Poké Coins and Stardust
Short on Stardust or don’t fancy paying money for those ever-so-valuable Poké Coins? Well, leaving a Pokémon behind at a gym will give you both 500 Stardust and 10 Poké Coins. Yes, that’s right, you’re rewarded for leaving Pokémon behind at a gym, and you can claim said reward from the Pokémon Go shop every 21 hours. The maximum you can claim at any one time is ten, but if you’re able to hold more than ten Gyms at a time, then props to you, you deserve all of those coins.