The Gym battles. A staple for any Pokemon trainer whether you played on the original Nintendo Gameboy, are still going strong on the 3DS or are getting your real life trainer on with Pokemon Go. To train up your Pokemon in order to overcome these sparse challenges is one of the many aspirations of any serious Pokemon trainer and Pokemon Go is no exception.
When Can You Engage A Gym?
Pokemon Go will unlock the gym portion of the game once you reach level 5 at which point you will also be able to choose a team from either Mystic, Valor or Instinct. They each have different ideologies and colours so if you like to focus on a Pokemon’s power level with the exclusion of all else or just like the colour red, then maybe Valor is for you (Mystic all the way).
-Team Mystic – Led by Blanche believes that you cannot lose with the study and utilisation of Pokemon evolution and the adaptation of calm analysis in Pokemon battles.
-Team Valor – Led by Candela believes that the true path to victory is with power and strength on your side.
-Team Instinct – Led by Spark believes that you can never lose if you just trust your instincts and go with your gut feelings.
Features of a Pokemon Go Gym
The main feature of the Gyms in Pokemon Go is firstly the team who controls it. The Gym will be a particular colour based on whether Valor (Red), Mystic (Blue) or Instinct (Yellow) holds dominion over that specific territory. If however you are lucky enough to come across a gym that is a dull grey in colouration, this means that no team controls that gym and it is ripe for the taking.
When you click on and open up a Gym regardless of team, it will show you several key features the first being the lowest level Pokemon that is placed in the Gym. If there are more than Pokemon, you can see them and their Combat Power (CP) levels by swiping left. The highest CP Pokemon will become the Gym leader like my Exeggutor and I are in the above picture. The Gym leader is identified by the Crown Symbol and the smaller white dots next to it represent the amount of support Pokemon that can be placed in the Gym to aid in its defence. These white dots are also influenced by the gyms prestige level.
Prestige level is essentially an experience based levelling system that increases the strength of your teams Pokemon gym or decreases the strength of a rivals. On the gym page, the EXP bar is underneath the photo of the gyms location, Eg. 6000/8000 on the above photo. Once a particular team takes a gym, they and others of the same team can battle against it, by way of the punching glove button on the bottom right. Even if those members of your particular team lose they will still contribute Prestige Points to that particular gym. When your gym reaches the threshold of points needed, (once again 8000 for the above gym), you will gain a new level, an additional white circle for another Pokemon to be added which increases the defence of the gym and the experience required for the next level up will get even higher. This works in the inverse as well, with rival teams decreasing the gym’s prestige points by battling the Pokemon within and achieving victory. This will eventually drop your gym’s level, pushing out the lowest level Pokemon and making it a little easier for your rivals to continue to press the attack. Once a gym’s prestige is reduced to zero at the lowest level, it becomes greyed out and can be claimed by another team.
When you wish to place a Pokemon inside a friendly or greyed out gym, you go to bottom of the gym’s page and tap on Add Pokemon (or the more commonly known + symbol) and then select a Pokemon to be placed inside. This will give that particular Pokemon in your inventory a special symbol meaning that it cannot be used. If the gym you are helping to defend is defeated entirely, your Pokemon will be returned to you. Make sure to heal them up with some revives and potions.
In order to have the most success with the Pokemon Go gyms it may be better to have a group of likeminded individuals (read : friends) who are all on the same team, claim a gym and each assist to make it as strong as possible because a level 7 gym with 7 strong Pokemon is a lot harder to defeat than a level 1 gym with just your solo Pokemon. If that doesn’t work for you, lets hope there are a lot of players in your area who chose the same team as you.
Now lets get down to the fun stuff – battling. Battling is a lot more simplified than in the original Pokemon games. It is no longer turn based and instead results in a crazy tap fest where you will tap on the screen in order to attack the opposing Pokemon. Attacks in Pokemon Go are separated into two spheres – normal and special. Normal attacks are those that come about by just tapping the screen while special attacks can be used by holding the screen when the meter underneath your Pokemon’s name is full. Be sure to take into account the type of your Pokemon and the Pokemon you are going up against. It can be very risky to utilise a Fire Type against a Water Type.
The third and final battle mechanic and help overcome that slightly. Dodging can be achieved by swiping left or right on the screen and requires precise timing to get right. If you manage to dodge successfully you will get a brief few seconds to push the counter attack which can be incredibly valuable, especially if you hold a lower CP than the opposing Pokemon or are a weaker type. The link below can help you with typing if you are unfamiliar with the mechanic.
There are additional rewards for managing to hold onto gyms besides from bragging rights (I was a gym leader and it was the proudest achievement of my life…no, I kid). These rewards make it even more important to have a strong team placed in a gym. When you place a Pokemon in a gym and your team holds that gym for more than 21 hours, you will be eligible for a Defenders Bonus. This can be found in the Pokemon Shop at the top right hand corner. Once the 21 hours of your undisputed reign is over you can collect your reward which consists of 500 Stardust and 10 Pokecoins. The Pokecoins are essentially free money as the only other way to get these valuable coins is to pay for them with real money. The Defender Bonus stacks up to 10 times so if you hold 10 gyms you will be able to gain 5000 Stardust and 100 Pokecoins every 21 hours so train up your Pokemon and get them into some gyms…it can only help and its fun.
Now this hasn’t been confirmed at this point but each of the teams within the Pokemon Go game (Mystic, Valor and Instinct) is associated with a different legendary bird Pokemon from the Johto region. Team Instinct is connected to Zapdos, the Electric Type, Team Mystic is integrated with Articuno the Ice Type and Team Valor is aligned with Moltres, the Fire Type. Players of the early game will acknowledge and remember the power of these three legendary birds and it may be that whatever team you pick will give you access to one of these three legendaries. In the Gameboy and DS versions of Pokemon, it is often the case that whatever game you choose will provide you with one specific legendary Pokemon out of two or even three (Rayquaza from Pokemon Emerald, Groudon from Pokemon Ruby and Kyogre from Pokemon Sapphire), so why not let it be the case with Pokemon Go. Seeming as how we are missing the very first legendary Pokemon from our Pokedex’s it could be the case that in the hopefully near future an update will arrive that will allow us to catch our teams aligned Pokemon.