Pokémon Go Team Change item explained: Which team is the best to join between Valor, Mystic and Instinct?

How the Team Change Item 'Team Medallion' will work in Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go Teams are a core part of Gyms and Raids, and almost three years after the game first launched, it is possible to change them thanks to a Team Change Item named the Team Medallion.

Deciding which team to go with is an important decision - unlike changing your name or Trainer appearance, which is cosmetic only - it allows you to work with others to hold onto gyms, earning you valuable in-game currency Pokémon Go Coins, and gives you a boost during capturing creatures after Raid battles.

On this page:

How to choose and change teams in Pokémon Go?

There are two methods of choosing your Pokémon Go team between Valor, Mystic and Instinct.

You're prompted to join a Pokémon Go team once your Trainer reaches Level 5 and you tap on a nearby Gym. At this point, you'll be introduced to the three teams and leaders, and after making a choice, that's the team you are aligned with.

For almost three years, this choice was permanent, but thanks to an Team Change item named the Team Medallion, it's now possible to do it later on too - with some caveats.

pokemon_go_team_medallion

How does the team change item Team Medallion work?

Here's everything we about the Team Medallion team change item:

  • The Team Medallion is something that you buy from the in-game shop, costing 1,000 Pokémon Go Coins.
  • Its official description reads: "A unique coin that enables a Trainer to change teams. A Team Medallion can only be purchased from the shop once per 365 days."
  • As the description says, you can buy - and as a result, use - the Team Medallion once a year, meaning though a team change is now possible, it's still a decision you have to stick with for a significant period of time.
  • You don't have to use it right away - it'll sit in your inventory until you're ready.
  • The coin is emblazoned with the three Gen 1 Legendary creatures that represent all three teams.
  • After you change, any Pokémon that was in a gym will still be there. But there are two caveats - they won't give you Pokémon Go Coins when they return, and you can't go battle them now you're part of a different team!
  • If you use the Team Medallion on your own team, it won't consume it. (Thanks Frankinbot on reddit for testing this!)

Now we know how it works, once you have a choice in front of you, then, which team do you go for?

What does your choice of Pokémon Go team do, and which is the best team?

The only notable impact Pokémon Go Teams have on the game involve the Gyms and Raids. In Gyms, you fight on behalf of your team to take and hold the Gym with your own Pokémon, and other team members can join in the attack or defense. They also chat to you when you do CP Appraisals of your Pokemon, and while all three have their own phrases, each will grade them in the same way.

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Holding a Gym for a period of time grants you PokéCoins, the in-game currency that lets you buy a variety of bonuses that would normally cost you real money. Likewise, you also get some slightly better rewards for spinning the discs above any Gym owned by your team.

Perhaps more importantly, there are some extra Premier Balls for catching Raid Pokémon that appear above a Gym owned by your team - so if you can see an Egg countdown signalling the start of a Raid, change it to your colour for an advantage! Similarly, if it's your colour, try and defend it by feeding the creatures there Berries to stop it changing before the Raid begins.

That is otherwise about it - Gyms and Raids is where Teams really come into play. When Pokémon Go first launched, it was speculated by players that since a Legendary Bird was tied to each of the Teams as a mascot - Zapdos for Instinct, Articuno for Mystic, and Moltres for Valor - along with a relatively obvious clue to Teams' significance in the Team leaders' names Spark, Blanche, and Candela, it was assumed their availability would be based on your specific team.

That is not the case - so don't expect any advantage or bonuses in this regard with your choice of team.

With all this in mind - which Pokémon Go team should you choose?

Which Pokémon Go Team should you choose out of Valor, Mystic and Instinct?

That's a hard one to answer, as all three teams have no specific inherent advantages.

A Teams' success seems to fall mostly on the one with the most players in any given area, and that in turn affects in-game bonuses with holding Gyms and battling in Raids.

According to an Adobe Marketing Blog, the game saw Mystic as most popular to begin with. At the time of writing over two years on, antidotally Mystic (blue) and Valor (red) are the most popular choices to choose from, with Instinct (yellow) widely seen as the underdog.

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Team Mystic appeared to be out in front at first, according to an Adobe Marketing Blog.

The best advice we have is that you join the same team as your friends and local community. If you can, discover who they are - participating in Community Day events will often see everyone playing at once for a short period of time every month, but simply observing the behaviour of gyms over a period of time to see who is most dominant will also work without having the need to interact with anyone, if you prefer.

If you do have close friends who you are able to play with in the same physical space, then being on the same side means you can group up to take down Gyms - or defend them - and help your team earn bonus Premier Balls from Raids, too, which aside from all the potential benefits is just a fun, neat social feature used by the game.


November features a string of events, the first of which is Super effective week. We've recently seen the first Gen 5 Pokémon arrive - these include new regional exclusive Pokémon, Egg charts, and the introduction of the Unova Stone. Elsewhere this year we've also seen new Adventure Sync rewards, a Jirachi quest, Team Rocket Invasions and freeing Shadow Pokémon, as well as monthly Field Research rewards. Complete the Looming in the Shadows special research quest line to fight against the invading Team Go Rocket Leaders and Giovanni! Finally, Niantic Wayfarer has been released worldwide.


Pokémon Go Teams Valor, Mystic, and Instinct - and their leaders

If you are still undecided, then maybe taking a closer look at each of their personalities and personal philosophy on Pokémon might help, as first revealed at 2016 San Diego Comic-Con.

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Team Instinct - Yellow - Zapdos

Team Instinct - who presumably drew inspiration for their name from one of the teams on The Apprentice - are lead by a chap named Spark. Here's what he has to say:

Pokémon are creatures with excellent intuition. I bet the secret to their intuition is related to how they're hatched. Come and join my team. You never lose when you trust your instinct!

Team Mystic - Blue - Articuno

Team Mystic are led by Blanche, who has this to say:

The wisdom of Pokémon is immeasurably deep. I'm researching why it is that they evolve. My team? With our calm analysis of every situation, we can't lose!

Team Valor - Red - Moltres

Headed up by Candela, Team Valor are apparently all about Pokémon's strength:

Pokémon are stronger than humans, and they're warmhearted, too! I'm researching ways to enhance Pokémon's natural power in the pursuit of true strength. There's no doubt that the Pokémon our team have trained are the strongest in battle!

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About the author

Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Guides Editor

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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