If you want to catch the best Pokémon in Pokémon Go, you’re going to have to participate in 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 five different tiers of Pokémon Go raids, with the highest providing 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.
Everything you need to know about 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)
Raid hour is a weekly event that increases the number of legendary raids available between 18:00 and 19:00 in your local time zone. Provided your nearby gym doesn’t currently have an active raid or EX raid scheduled during this time, a legendary raid will trigger for this hour.
While raid hour was temporarily cancelled due to Covid-19, it’s now back, and you can use remote raid passes to participate.
Ex raids have been cancelled until further notice due to Covid-19.
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.
Due to lockdown measures many of us are facing right now to help limit the spread of Covid-19, Niantic has made some pretty fundamental changes to the way that Pokémon Go works. You can check out a full breakdown of those changes in our how to play Pokémon Go at home guide.
Here’s a breakdown of how, exactly, these changes have affected raids:
- Raid hour was temporarily cancelled but made a return in May 2020
- EX raids have been cancelled until further notice
- The distance from which you can interact with gyms has been temporarily doubled, which allows you to fight raid bosses from much further away.