"Pokemon Go" Gym Guide

Updated on February 3, 2019
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Sigbog is an avid Level 40 "Pokémon GO" player and raider with lots of knowledge and experience to draw from.

Gym Guide

Gym Team Ownership

Fighting at gyms is the primary, and really one of the only, ways that different teams compete with each other. Gyms can be taken over by teams, filled with defenders, and the defending team will gain benefits from doing so. Opposing teams can fight the defending Pokemon at the gyms to take them out and take control for themselves.

The benefits of owning a gym include earning Pokecoins, more items, and extra balls in raids.

A quick TLDR of Gyms can be found at the bottom.

Gym Controlled by Team Mystic

Fighting at Gyms

When you find a gym owned by another team, you can choose to fight it. When within close range (Pokestop spinning distance) you can view the gym and what enemy Pokemon are in it. At which point you can choose to fight them. You will fight each of the Pokemon in the gym one after the other until you've beaten them all.

Each defeated Pokemon will lose ~30% of its combat power, and after 3 losses, will lose all of its combat power and be knocked out of the gym.

This means if you are facing a full combat power defending team of 6, you will have to fight through them 3 times for 18 total battles. However, each will get easier.

It is generally wiser to fight the Pokemon one at a time by fleeing after the first battle and re-entering to fight that same Pokemon 3 times over and knock them out. This allows you to always use the best counter for the battle at hand and gives people fewer opportunities to use berries to restore their combat power.

Defending Gyms

After taking down a gym, you must defend it! After defeating a gym, it will become neutral and anyone who participated in taking it down can place a Pokemon in it. In the case people of the other 2 colors take it down, the first one who puts a Pokemon in the gym will claim it for their color.

There are several restrictions on what Pokemon you can put in gyms:

  • You cannot put Legendary or Mythical Pokemon in gyms
  • You cannot repeat a Pokemon in a gym (Though different evolutions of the same line are okay)
  • You cannot put more than 1 Pokemon in a gym
  • Pokemon enter gyms slightly below their maximum combat power

Your team also cannot place more than 6 Pokemon in a gym at the same time.

When defending gyms, Pokemon will have their CP count degrade over time, making them easier for opponents to take them out. If the Pokemon has greater than ~2300 maximum CP, it will degrade faster, so it is generally wise to avoid it.

  • 2300+ CP degrade at 10% CP per hour
  • Below 2300 CP degrade at a rate decreasing down to 1% CP per hour for a Pokemon with only a few hundred combat power.

The general strategy is to pick Pokemon that will last the longest rather than the ones that are most threatening. This is generally to discourage people from taking over the gym because it will take too long. Top defenders are:

  • Blissey
  • Chansey
  • Snorlax
  • Ursaring
  • Slaking

Generally you'll want to use Pokemon with high HP.

Feeding Berries at Gyms

To increase their CP as it degrades or as people attempt to take your Pokemon out, you can feed them berries. Feeding a Pokemon a berry will slightly restore its CP, grant you 20 Stardust, and a small chance (~1%) at granting a candy for that specific Pokemon.

Furthermore, you can feed berries to Pokemon at a gym while you're there as well as remotely if one of your Pokemon is in the gym. However, when feeding remotely you will have a significantly reduced impact on CP.

However, a Golden Razz Berry will restore 100% of missing CP in any scenario, so if you have extra and really want to defend a gym, that's the way to go!

To prevent feeding from having too much of an impact, you can only feed a Pokemon 10 berries per 30 minutes while defending a gym. Furthermore, a player cannot feed more than 10 Pokemon per 30 minutes as well. Additional, each incremental berry feeding will have a smaller impact on the defender's combat power, starting at about 12% combat power restoration and reducing down to 1%. Nanab Berries restore slightly more than Pinap and Razz Berries.

Earning PokeCoins from Gyms

Earning PokeCoins from gyms is the only way to get coins without having to pay for them. You earn coins by having a Pokemon defending a gym for a period of time. After defending and upon returning to you, your Pokemon will bring along with it the coins it earned from defending.

  • You will receive 1 PokeCoin for every 10 minutes your Pokemon defended a gym
  • You can earn 50 PokeCoins every day (Roughly 50 cents), which requires 8 hours and 20 minutes of defending time.
  • This limit cannot be broken even if using multiple Pokemon in multiple gyms, or having a gym defended for multiple days. (In other words, if your Pokemon defended a gym for 3 days straight, it will still only bring back 50 PokeCoins)

This is critical to fully understand as it is your only source of PokeCoins in the game. Ideally, you regularly spread your Pokemon around multiple gyms where they will not likely stay for multiple days straight but will last for enough time to be worth the effort.

Raiding at Gyms

During the daytime, raids can spawn at gyms. Raids are big PvE fights where a single trainer, or often multiple, team up to take down a Pokemon to earn a chance to catch it.

For more information on raiding at gyms, check out my full guide.

Gym Badges

Upon interacting with a new gym, a trainer will earn its gym badge. This badge will then go a list of gym badges found in the player profile along with a neat map showing where in the world all of your gym badges come from.

You can also level up this badge to Bronze, Silver, and Gold. This will unlock special perks including bonus experience when spinning a gym disc as well as bonus items.

In order to level up your gym badge, you will need to consistently do activities at the gym such as raiding, attacking, defending, or feeding berries.

Gym Badge Screenshots

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Earning Items at Gyms

While not originally the case, you can now earn items from gyms. When visiting a gym, you'll see a disc that looks similar to Pokestop in the top left. Tap it and then you'll be able to spin it just as you would a Pokestop. The amount of items earned will vary depending on a few factors:

  • Default: 2-3 items
  • If your team owns the gyms: 1-2 additional items
  • Bronze badge: 1 additional item
  • Silver badge: 2 additional items
  • Gold badge: 3 additional items

Furthermore, gym rewards tend to skew towards combat items such as potions and revives more than regular Pokestops.

Lastly, a Pokemon Go Plus will spin a gym's disc, though this was initially not the case when gym discs were first introduced.

TLDR - Fighting at Gyms

  1. Fight Pokemon in opposing gyms one at a time by fleeing after battle until you take it over.
  2. Defend it with high HP, slow to knock out, Pokemon that ideally has less than 2300 combat power.
  3. Feed them berries, particularly Golden Razz Berries, to maintain their combat power.
  4. Try to control gyms for a total of 8 hours a day to earn the maximum of 50 Pokecoins per day.
  5. Spin gyms your team controls for extra items and earn more extra items if you've earned higher gym badges at that specific gym
  6. Do raids at Gyms your team controls for extra balls and to level up your gym badge.

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