Pokémon Go Battle: Beginners Guide

What Is A Pokémon Go Battle?cropped-pokemon-go-logo.jpg

A large portion of the in-game dynamics of Pokémon Go have been borrowed from classic role-playing games (RPGs). These include the focus on character development, the ‘open-world’ format of exploration and the focus on battling and collection of items. However, not all the features of the new smash-hit game take cues from earlier RPGs. The most notable of all is the Pokémon Go battle itself.

In a typical RPG (and in the previous editions of Pokémon games) battling is done by taking turns. It is less an exercise of precise skill and timing, as is the case with ‘beat ’em up’ or classic fighting titles such a Street Fighter or Soul Calibre, and more a tactical game of exploitation and strategy. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your opinion of RPG fight dynamics), this is no longer the case in Pokémon Go. Gone is the turn based strategy battle which favors the thoughtful combatant. Replacing it is something more akin to a classic fighting game. Players are required to perform offensive and defensive moves in a real-time battle scenario. These moves are performed with various swipes and taps on the screen and the action is of a faster pace than the format it replaces.


Once you get to level 5, you can decide to pit your accumulated creatures against others at a Pokémon gym. Battling has several perks during the game. These include PokéCoins, experience points and, of course, glory. If you’re even a little confused about Pokémon Go battles, the following article should really help you out.


Find a Pokémon Gym

The Pokémon map clearly indicates where gyms are located. They are the tallest landmarks visible. Just like the PokéStops, tapping on them will reveal where they are located in the real world. However, to engage in a Pokémon Go battle, you have to be in the immediate vicinity of a gym.

Before a trainer reaches level 5, a visit to the gym will not be terribly exciting. Professor Willow will simply ask you to return once you have gained some more experience. Once a player achieves level 5, the professor will ask them to select a team to join. The available teams are: Mystic (blue), Instinct (yellow) and Valor (red). The main aim of a Pokémon Go battle is to gain control of a gym for your team. After you have control of gym, you will have to defend it from rival teams.


Neutral gyms

Neutral gyms can be claimed by any of the teams. They are represented on the map with a grey color. To claim the gym, simply tap the grey gym on the map when you are close to it. You will be given the option to station a Pokémon at the gym. Leaving a Pokémon at the gym will claim it for your team and make it into a ‘friendly gym’.


Friendly Gymspokemon go gym

Players can use friendly gyms to train at. By training you will gain experience points for yourself and also strengthen the gym from enemy attacks. Gyms have a ‘prestige’ level attached to them. The higher the prestige level of a gym, the more Pokémon your team can assign to it. This makes the gym tougher to conquer by the opposition. Gyms range from level 2 to level 10. Pokémon stationed at a gym are ordered according to their combat points. The Pokémon with the lowest CP will be the first to battle at a gym and the Pokémon with the the highest CP will be the gym’s last line of defense.

If the gym is not currently full, you can station one of your own Pokémon there. This will make it tougher to overthrow by the enemy. If the gym is full you can train at the gym until its prestige level rises enough to allow another Pokémon to be stationed there.

When training at a gym you will only be allowed to use one of your Pokémon vs the entire gym roster. This is different to battling at an enemy gym where trainers can use a full team of six Pokémon.


Enemy Gyms

Enemy gyms are those gyms occupied by opposing teams. If you approach a gym that is colored differently to your own team, you can chose to battle at it. By successfully defeating all the Pokémon stationed at a gym you will lower its prestige level. If you successfully lower the gym’s prestige right down past level 2 it will become neutral. You will then be able to capture it for your own team.

Unlike training at friendly gyms, Pokémon trainers can use a full team of six Pokémon to battle a gym occupied by the enemy. Winning battles will reduce the gym’s prestige and also gain XP for your avatar.


How to Fight

Pokémon Go battles are conducted using three different moves. These moves are quick attacks, charge attacks and dodges. The quick attack is the most basic form of attack and is the one that players will use most frequently. This attack is performed by simply tapping the opposing Pokémon during the battle phase of the game.

The other form of attack that a player can use is the charge attack. Charge attacks are not always available and require the player to successfully land several quick attacks before they are successfully able to deploy the more powerful move. The meter in the top left of the battle screen shows when a charge attack is ready for use. When the small pill shaped boxes are full (lighter shade of blue), the attack is charged. By pressing and holding the opponents Pokémon for a second or two you will initiate the charge attack. This attack is much more powerful than the quick attack and can mean the difference between victory and defeat in battle.

The final move that can be used during fights is the dodge. This is a defensive option and is performed by swiping left and right in time with your opponent’s attacks. Onscreen text informs players that they have successfully utilized a dodge attack. Dodge attacks are a crucial part of the dynamics of battling and a player who gets good at performing them will be a powerful battler indeed.


Here is a tutorial video on how to dodge in a Pokemon Go Battle:

Getting Knocked Out

During battles, if either player’s Pokémon reaches zero hit points (HP) they will be knocked out. If the Pokémon in question is your own, it will be replaced with the next one in your team. Likewise, if the injured Pokémon belongs to the enemy, then the next Pokémon  stationed at the gym will be sent in to fight. Neither you or your enemy can heal Pokémon during a battle. Once your team is completely knocked out you will have reawaken them with Revives outside of battle. This also applies if you are victorious in battle and a good trainer will always ensure their Pokémon have the maximum HP as soon as they leave the battle arena. If you need to restore HP but not reawaken a knocked out Pokémon then one of the various Potions in the game should be used.



Here is a short video of a Pokemon Go Battle in Germany. It should provide a visual representation of the above points:



You can buy a toy Pokemon Battle arena on Amazon.com



Read more Pokemon Go Tips and Tricks Here


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Check out Pokemon Go items at Amazon.com







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