If you want to catch the best Pokémon, you’re going to have to participate in Pokémon Go raids. These are difficult events that pit you against a variety of your favourite monsters alongside your friends, providing you with a bunch of rewards if you succeed. You’ll also get a chance to catch the monster you fought, which makes it a great method of tracking down more elusive monsters.
Raids take place at gyms, and require you to have a raid pass, which you can get once per day by visiting a gym, to participate. There are different tiers of Pokémon Go raids, with the highest giving you with a chance to receive a legendary Pokémon.
If you find raids intimidating, or simply want a bit more information before you start digging into them, we’ve put together this guide for you. We’ll break down everything you need to know about gyms, including the different types, how you can participate, and what you can expect as rewards, in the guide below. By the time you’ve finished reading it, you’ll be a raid master. You can also find out more information about your favourite mobile game by checking out our Pokémon Go news, Pokémon Go event, and Pokémon Go update guides.
Everything you need to know about Pokémon Go raids:
Niantic has revealed the March five-star and mega raid schedule. The following Pokémon will be available:
- Incarnate Forme Landorus will appear in five-star raids from March 1 at 08:00. to March 6 at 08:00 local time
- Incarnate Forme Tornadus will appear in five-star raids from March 6 at 08:00 to March 11 at 08:00 local time
- Incarnate Forme Thundurus will appear in five-star raids from March 11 at 08:00 to March 16 at 10:00 local time
- Therian Forme Thundurus will appear in five-star raids from March 16 at 10:00 to March 30 at 10:00 local time
- Therian Forme Tornadus will appear in five-star raids from March 30 at 10:00 local time
- Mega Blastoise, Mega Pidgeot, and Mega Ampharos will appear in Mega Raids from March 1 at 08:00 to March 16, at 10:00 local time
- Mega Houndoom, Mega Abomasnow, and a surprise Mega-Evolved Pokémon will appear in Mega Raids starting March 16, at 10:00 local time
Every Wednesday in March a Raid Hour event will run from 18:00 to 19:00 local time. Raid Hours feature the Pokémon appearing in five-star raids that week. A bonus Raid Hour will also take place on March 15 from 18:00 to 19:00 local time.
To close out the Pokémon Day weekend festivities, a Kanto-themed raid day will take place on February 28 from 11:00 to 14:00 local time. Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres will appear in five-star raids. If you’re lucky, you may even encounter a shiny.
Niantic has revealed the February five-star and mega raid schedule. The following Pokémon will be available:
- Entei will appear in five-star raids from January 16, 2021, at 10:00 to January 31 at 10:00 local time
- Raikou will appear in five-star raids from January 31 10:00 to February 4 at 10:00 local time
- Suicune will appear in five-star raids from February 4 at 10:00 to February 9 at 10:00 local time
- Latias and Latios will appear in five-star raids from February 9 at 10:00 to February 20 at 09:00 local time
- Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, and Mewtwo will appear in five-star raids from February 20 at 09:00 to March 1 at 08:00 local time
- Mega Venusaur, Mega Ampharos, and Mega Houndoom will appear in mega raids from January 19 to February 9 at 10:00 local time
- Mega Pidgeot, Mega Ampharos, and a surprise Mega-Evolved Pokémon will appear in mega raids from February 9 at 10:00 to February 20 at 09:00 local time
- Mega Venusaur, Mega Charizard X, Mega Charizard Y, and Mega Blastoise will appear in mega raids from February 20 to March 1.
Each week will also have a raid hour on Wednesday at 18:00 local time, featuring the Pokémon currently active in five-star raids.
On December 3, Niantic released a trailer announcing that more PokéBalls will be available from PokéStops for the holiday period. However, the final frame of this video shows new Pokémon from the Kalos region.
As you can see, Xerneas, Yveltal, and Zygarde are clearly coming to the game soon, as every other Pokémon in the shot is available now. As the video has a holiday theme, we expect them to appear soon.
The likelihood is that they will be available in raids, like most other Legendary Pokémon, but we’ll update this page with all the information when we know for sure.
Now, we’ll answer a bunch of questions you may have regarding Pokémon Go raids.
Raids are multiplayer events in Pokémon Go that challenge you to battle powerful monsters in exchange for exclusive rewards. Each raid has a tier from one to five, with the lowest tiers being easiest and the highest being the most difficult. You can battle easier raids alone, but you’ll need to work with the community to participate in the tougher raids.
Here’s how to start and complete a raid in steps:
- To initiate a raid, you’ll need a raid pass, which you can get from a gym once per day
- Next, find a gym with an egg above it and wait until the timer counts down
- Visit the gym when the timer has come to an end and you’ll be able to face the raid boss
- The raid boss is a Pokémon with much higher CP than usual, and you have an hour to form a team and beat it
- You can participate in raids solo or join a group of up to 20 other players
- Once you’re happy with your group, initiate the raid and you’ll have five minutes in total to defeat the boss
- You can bring up to six Pokémon into the battle with you, just like in a usual gym battle
- If you fail the boss fight, you can try again as many times as you’d like until the hour is up, and it won’t cost you another raid pass
- If you’re successful, you’ll receive a bunch of rewards and a chance to catch it using premier balls, which are exclusive to raids
Premier balls are exclusive to raids, and are the sole type of Poké ball that you can use to try and capture the raid boss if you successfully defeat it. You can’t collect premier balls using the ordinary means, and will instead earn a set number depending on the following factors:
- Defeat the boss: five premier balls
- Damage: up to three premier balls
- Gym: up to two if you control gym
- Team contribution: you gain extra premier balls depending on the damage your team, as a whole, inflicts
- Friends: Raid with a friend to receive up to four extra premier balls
So, as you can see, it’s possible to earn a fair number of extra balls by paying attention to the above.
Even with the maximum possible number of premier balls at your disposal, you’re still not guaranteed to catch the Pokémon; especially if it’s a legendary at tier five. If you want to significantly increase your chances, you’re going to need to use a golden razz berry.
Fortunately, golden razz berries are a reward for defeating raid bosses in the first place, so if you raid often you should have plenty on you to increase the chances of capturing the boss.
Here’s a round-up of other things you can do to increase your chances of catching a difficult raid boss:
- Throw a curveball by spinning the Poké ball before you throw it
- Get an excellent throw by landing the Poké ball within the circle when it’s small
- Get medals for the type of Pokémon you’re aiming to catch
Aside from the chance to catch a really powerful Pokémon, you also get several other rewards for successfully completing a raid:
- Golden razz berry
- Fast TM
- Charged TM
- Rare candy
- 3,000 XP (standard raids)
- 20,000 (legendary raids)
EX raids are a special type of raid only available to those who have received an invite. To participate in an EX raid, you’ll need an aptly-titled EX raid pass, which you can get as a random reward for completing a large number of raids.
EX raids differ from usual raids in that you’ll face a much more powerful Pokémon, and will need to bring a heck of a lot of friends along to the fight. As a reward, you’ll get the chance to add one of the rarest Pokémon to your collection.
Here’s a list of Pokémon that have appeared in an EX raid so far:
To increase your chances of getting an EX raid pass, you can follow these steps:
- Participate in raids often
- Tackle raids in gyms that are eligible for EX raids (you can check if your nearby gym is eligible by interacting with it and looking at the top right of your phone screen)
- Get a gold gym badge at an EX raid gym
Once you have an EX raid pass, an EX raid will be scheduled at a nearby eligible gym. You can then invite your friends in Pokémon Go to join you from the EX raid pass screen. Only ultra and best friends can join you on an EX raid.
The remote raid pass is a brand new item that allows you to raid from the comfort of your home. Niantic has introduced it with a Pokécoin bundle, which provides three for a single Pokécoin, and they’re also available to purchase in the shop individually.
Here’s how the raid remote pass works in Pokémon Go:
- Remote raid passes are a new premium item that cost 100 Pokécoins ($0.99/£0.79) individually (the price will increase at a later date), or as a pack of three for 250 Pokécoins
- A new Pokécoin bundle has been made available that provides three passes for a single Pokécoin
- You can only hold a limited number of remote raid passes at a time
- Once you’ve purchased one, you can participate in any raids that appear on your nearby screen remotely
- Twenty trainers can participate in the same raid battle, though there’s a limit to the number of remote raiders (Niantic hasn’t confirmed an exact number yet)
- Raids performed remotely still count towards research tasks and achievement medals
Niantic has also detailed a number of upcoming changes that will follow after the remote raid pass launches:
- The attack power of remote raiders will be reduced at a later time
- Those participating in person will see an increase in attack power
- The number of trainers that can participate remotely will be adjusted (it’s not clear if this will be increased or decreased; we’d expect the latter)
If you’d like to learn more, we’ve been keeping a rolling list of every single Pokémon Go update that you can read to learn about all of the recent changes to the game.