"Pokémon Go" Raid Boss Guide

Updated on August 6, 2020
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Sigbog is an avid Level 40 "Pokémon GO" player and raider with lots of knowledge and experience to draw from.

Introduction to "Pokémon Go" Raids

With hundreds of raids under my belt, I've noticed many things a lot of newcomers don't know, and sadly often times other people in the raid group don't tell them! So I decided I'd share many of the things I learned to help people get the most out of their raiding. Raiding is the only way to get the coolest Pokémon, it's the best way to progress in terms of experience and valuable items, and of course, it's also just a fun activity. Knowing how to maximize everything in raids lets you nail more Legendary or Mythical Pokémon, get more candy, TMs, and golden razz berries, do raids faster, save potions and revives, and form a powerful team!

I'll use a Mewtwo raid as an example and cover strategies, multipliers, catch rates, IVs, and more! However with Deoxys now as an EX raid, many of the same things will apply. Even most of the same Pokémon you would use against Mewtwo are also used against Deoxys! Feel free to check out my Deoxys Raid Guide if that's what you're up against, but this guide will contain all sorts of specific and valuable information on what to do for any raid.

The Basics

  1. Do your daily raid! You get 1 free raid pass a day. However, you can actually CLAIM one free raid pass a day. This means you can be sitting on a free pass, do a raid, then claim a new pass and do a 2nd raid in one day! Of course you won't be able to claim another pass for at least 24 hours but this can let you make the most out of your time.
  2. Raids are the best single source of rewards. Lots of experience(10k for one legendary raid!), golden razz berries, rare candy, charged and fast move tm... It's the most important thing to focus on to progress! Even if you don't want a 9th Regirock, the raid rewards alone are well worth it.
  3. You can find public discord servers in your area to locate a group that's raiding. People often call out nearby raids and try to arrange a group. However, they're often pretty disorganized so communicate clearly, set times, set flexibility, and let people know if you're going to be late!
  4. You get bonus balls if your color owns the gym, and if your color does the most damage. That means after the egg spawns, but before the raid is open, be sure to take over the gym to maximize your balls. Also, if you have enough people to beat the raid, split up into color groups so everyone can get the bonus balls.
  5. Raiding with friends grants you several raid bonuses including bonus balls and bonus damage, and they increase with friend level. It can easily be the make of break of a successful raid or a successful catch. Unfortunately, the bonuses don't stack so you really only need 1 friend but you might as well bring as many as you can just to make it easier and have fun.
  6. Raids do count as friend progress. Doing a raid with a friend will increment your friend level for the day, so if you don't want to send a gift or can't for some reason, do a raid with a friend!

Friend Raid Bonuses

You get bonus damage and extra balls when you do "Pokémon Go" raids with friends.
You get bonus damage and extra balls when you do "Pokémon Go" raids with friends.

Fighting the Raid

  1. It's generally better to build a custom team for the raid than take the recommended team. Recommended does factor in both the type of raid boss as well as the type of their specific moves, which means it will optimize for using the fewest potions and revives. However, to optimize for dps and time, you should build a team that is purely focused on the raid bosses defensive typing. Use public raid boss tools to check for the best boss counters (like Poké Battler). In the case of Mewtwo, it is best to use Mewtwo (ironically), Tyranitar, and Gengar. Metagross and Houndoom are also good options. You'll want to make sure your Mewtwo is using Psycho Cut / Shadowball, and your Tyranitar is using Bite / Crunch for maximum DPS.
  2. On a similar note, offensive oriented teams are only very effective if they are able to get their charged moves off. If your Pokémon is fairly weak and dies before using a big charged move, it may be best to power it up or remove it. Similarly, you may find that Pokémon with short charge bars, while technically lower dps, maybe actually dish out more damage. They can more regularly use their move, and there will be less 'wasted charge' when they die.

Powerful Pokémon for a Mewtwo or Deoxys Raid

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Metagross with Bullet Punch and Meteor MashGengar with Shadow Claw and Shadow BallMewtwo with Psycho Cut and Shadow BallHoundoom with Snarl and Foul PlayTyranitar with Bite and CrunchKyogre with Waterfall and Hydro PumpAlolan Muk with Bite and Dark Pulse
Metagross with Bullet Punch and Meteor Mash
Metagross with Bullet Punch and Meteor Mash
Gengar with Shadow Claw and Shadow Ball
Gengar with Shadow Claw and Shadow Ball
Mewtwo with Psycho Cut and Shadow Ball
Mewtwo with Psycho Cut and Shadow Ball
Houndoom with Snarl and Foul Play
Houndoom with Snarl and Foul Play
Tyranitar with Bite and Crunch
Tyranitar with Bite and Crunch
Kyogre with Waterfall and Hydro Pump
Kyogre with Waterfall and Hydro Pump
Alolan Muk with Bite and Dark Pulse
Alolan Muk with Bite and Dark Pulse

Catching the Boss

  1. Use a golden razz berry for 2.5x catch rate (or whatever berry you want to) It's worth nothing that if you have a silver pinap berry, the catch rate bonus is 1.8x, which is quite strong, but not as good as a golden razz berry. However, it does give you double candy, so if you're confident in your throwing and have lots of balls to spare, it may be worth using on key raid bosses.
  2. Put your finger on the screen and wait until the colored circle is a size you think you can hit.
  3. Take your finger off the screen, this will preserve the size of the colored circle until you put your finger back on.
  4. Wait until the boss uses an attack. In the case of Mewtwo, it's fairly slow. There is a brief delay when his arm returns to his side after an attack where he is still uncatchable, so check out some videos to know what to expect before you try and catch him yourself.
  5. Near the end of the attack, curve and throw your Pokéball so that it hits in the colored circle right when the attack is up.Take note a curve shot adds a 1.7x catch multiplier and hitting inside the colored circle adds up to a 2x multiplier for the smallest excellent shot!
  6. Win

Note: If the boss jumps or attacks the colored circle will reset so you'll have to position it again!

"Pokémon Go" Berry Types
"Pokémon Go" Berry Types
Catching a Mewtwo
Catching a Mewtwo

Stack Multipliers for a Much Higher Catch Rate!

Mewtwo Catch Rate
+ Curve Shot
+ Golden Razz Berry
+ Great Throw
+ Gold Medal

Evaluate Your Catch

When you catch the boss, you can appraise them to determine their individual values (referred to as IVs). These are bonus stats to your Pokémon that can range from 0-15 per stat (stamina, defense, attack) and are often communicated in a range at 0% to 100%. A Pokémon's base stats plus their IVs will determine how much CP they can get. A Pokémon will have roughly a 15% higher maximum CP if they have perfect IVs versus 0 IVs.

A boss's catch CP will indicate loosely where their IVs could be so it's useful to know what a raid bosses max catch CP is.

For example, a Mewtwo's maximum catch cp for a level 20 raid is 2275 so anything 2250 or higher is great! It's also important to note that the impact to your Pokémon's performance between the worse IVs and the highest IVs is not too significant, but it's still fun to chase the highest numbers! To keep track of IVs, it's common to custom edit the Pokémon's name and add the numbers, such as I've done in the screenshot below.

Using the appraisal option in game will give you a rough idea of a Pokémon's IVs but it is a little tricky. You'll have to translate what your team leader says to figure it out, and often times it doesn't give you the entire picture. Take a look at the chart below to track what your team leader says compared to what stats your Pokémon has:

IV Evaluation Chart

A list of possible statements from each team leader and their corresponding stats.
A list of possible statements from each team leader and their corresponding stats.

Other Options for Finding IVs

You can check other web pages or IV calculators to figure this out per Pokémon. A quick Google will let you find many, but my favorite is from Pokémon Go Info.

There are apps that you can install on your phone that help you do this as well. On iOS it can be tricky due to developer limitations, however Android has many. They scan Pokémon information on your screen and use that to calculate their IVs, easily letting you check a Pokémon without having to manually enter any stats.

Note: There used to be apps that would scrub through your actual account data, this has since been prevented by Niantic and was always a little risky. A screen scanner is safe, and your best remaining option!

Check for the Right Moveset

This one can also be a little bit tricky, but a Pokémon's performance will vary dramatically based on the move set it has. Different moves have different dps (damage per second), different charge rates for charged moves, and different types. Also, Pokémon benefit from STAB (same type attack bonus) where Pokémon who use moves that are the same type as themselves will do bonus damage.

There are also many moves that are considered 'in meta' or valuable based on what is currently going on in the game. For example, fighting moves are generally in meta because Blissey is so incredibly strong in defending gyms and fighting moves are strong against Blissey. Similar idea with current Legendary Raids.

Be sure to look up the ideal move set for your catch, I personally like to use Pokémon Go Gamepress. In the case of Mewtwo, generally the best moveset is Psycho Cut and Shadow Ball. However, those moves are now 'legacy' or no longer available, so Confusion and Psychic is the current best move set. Those are both Psychic moves, and Mewtwo is a Psychic Pokémon, so you can expect to dominate in situations where Psychic is strong such as facing fighting or poison Pokémon.

If you don't have the best move sets and the move sets you do get don't seem useful to you, you can re-roll them. Use a Fast TM to change a Pokémon's fast move, or a Charged TM to change their charged move. These are fairly rare but do drop in raids, so yet another great reason to do raids whenever you can.

If you have excess Fast TMs or Charged TMs, it may be worth taking a look at your Pokémon teams to see some of them need re-rolling too, especially if they're fairly good in the meta such as Tyranitar, Golem, Rayquaza, Dragonite, Ho-Oh, etc. Optimizing your team can be the difference between completing a raid and failing one!


I hope these tips have helped you. If I'm missing something please leave a comment and I'll be happy to add more in!


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