Pokémon Go Raid Battles were a new feature added to the game as part of a larger Gym Rework, way back in 2017.
Now available for the vast majority of players, Raids see players work together to take down powerful Pokémon named Raid Bosses - with exclusive rewards up for grabs - as well as the chance to finally catch those elusive Legendary Pokémon as you go.
You can also now also battle the Mega Evolutions of certain Pokémon in Mega Raids.
What's on this page:
- Pokémon Go Raid Hour explained: What date and time is Raid Hour?
- What is the Raid level requirement in Pokémon Go?
- What are Raid Battles, Raid Tiers, and how do Raids work?
- How to win Raids in Pokémon Go
- How to get more Premier Balls in Pokémon Go
- How Raid Passes and Raid rewards work in Pokémon Go
- Pokémon Go Raid Rewards explained
- Everything else you need to know about Raid Battles
Pokémon Go Raid Hour explained: What date and time is Raid Hour?
Each week, there is a weekly Pokémon Go Raid Hour with an increased number of Legendary Raids to complete, allowing you to schedule some dedicated battling time in the diary.
Unless stated, each Pokémon Go Raid Hour date is every Wednesday with a Raid Hour start time of 6pm to 7pm local time.
Note: Raid Hour was paused in early 2020 due to social distancing concerns with COVID-19, but with the arrival of Remote Raids, has returned as a regular fixture from May 2020.
All Gyms with no active raids or scheduled EX Raids will have an Egg appear just before it begins, which will all hatch into the currently available Legendary Pokémon, and be available for an hour.
Raid Hour is open to those with regular Raid Passes and Remote Raid Passes.
The exceptions to this appear to be when there Raid bosses change over on that day - as what we saw with Groudon and Armoured Mewtwo in July 2019 - likely to ensure each region has the same battle when it does occur.
What is the Raid level requirement in Pokémon Go?
Raid Battles are currently available in select Gyms for Trainers over level 5.
At the start of the Gym update the restriction was level 35, so the requirement has dropped significantly since their launch in 2017.
What are Raid Battles, Raid Tiers, and how do Raids work?
Raids see trainers team up with other nearby players to take down "extremely powerful Pokémon" known as Raid Bosses under a time limit. These can have a massive amount of CP, up to 10 times as powerful as regular creatures, requiring a group to stand a chance of winning.
Some Raid encounters will be easier than others. Each one is graded from one to five - one could be a Magikarp, four has you face off against many of the best Pokémon such as Tyranitar and Snorlax, and five takes you up against a Legendary.
Each Raid Boss fits into one of four tiers, one being the easiest and five the most challenging, with each tier being distinguished by egg colour. This also includes Mega Raids, which allow you to battle the Mega Evolutions of certain Pokémon and will reward you with Mega Energy.
Originally there were five raid tiers in Pokémon Go, but, with the introduction of Mega Evolution and Mega Raids, both the two-star and four-star raids were removed. Without effecting the difficulty, the rewards for two-star raids were merged with one-star raids and the same with four-star to three-star.
- Tier 1 - Pink Egg, can be completed alone.
- Tier 3 - Yellow Egg, requires a group of at least 2-4 players, depending on level.
- Tier 5 - Legendary, requires a large group of at least 4-8 players, depending on level. Each specific creature is only available for a short amount of time, as listed in our Legendary Pokémon page.
- Mega Raid - a battle against a Mega Evolution that rewards you with Mega Energy
Once you have completed the Raid, you can then catch the creature using Premier Balls. You only have a certain amount, so make every throw count!
Plus, there are invite-only Raids, named EX Raids, which see another type of very exclusive creature spawn. There are a number of hidden mechanics behind joining one, so visit the link to read more about it.
How to win Raids in Pokémon Go
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how Raid encounters work:
1) When a Raid is about to happen, an Egg will appear at the Gym with a countdown (this has now returned to the game after a period away during the initial wave of Legendaries).
2) After it hatches, the Gym will turn into a Raid, you will have one hour until the Boss disappears. Up to 20 players can form a group, though you can venture in with just a few of you if you like.
3) After spending a Raid Pass (see below) you will wait in a lobby, in which time you can change your team and other players can match make with you. You have to defeat the boss within five minutes. Like regular Gym fights, you can take six creatures in with you. If you aren't successful, you can retreat and use Potions and Revives on your team and try again as many times as you like until the hour is up without spending another pass.
4) If you are successful, you'll receive rewards and a chance to catch the creature using Premier Balls.
5) When the hour is up, all creatures originally assigned will return and the Gym will resume it's prior state.
If you want beat the above, remember that:
- Type effectiveness makes a huge difference, so aim to get good counters ready for tough battles. The above table has ideal counters you can use; Machamp, Golem and Gengar appear to be strong choices for a variety of battles. If you need these, then face against them in lower tiers and capture them for yourself!
- Though you can solo early tiers, or complete the hardest (non-legendary) tiers with just three players if you're good enough, the more players you have working with you, the better. Don't be afraid to buddy up!
- Be smart about whether you dodge or not, and know your own ability to do so, especially in tougher Raids - a great example for this is Golem against Articuno. Articuno does enough damage to normally one-shot a Golem with a Charge Attack, but Golems do some of the highest, if not the highest damage-per-second against them. So if you're capable of consistently predicting and dodging attacks, they're a great choice. But if you're anything less than perfect at it, you'll often be left further behind because of the time it takes to swap out defeated teams, and be left with a less-than-optimal selection to battle with, too.
How to get more Premier Balls in Pokémon Go
During the capture phase, you'll be given a number of Premier Balls, which are the only means to catch the creature. The number of Premier Balls you receive depend on a number of factors, but expect between about five and a dozen to play with:
- Defeating the boss (fixed at 5 balls)
- Damage inflicted (variable, maximum is 3 balls)
- Gym Control (variable, addition of 2 if controlled)
- Speed bonus - the faster the raid boss is defeated, the more rewards you receive
- Raiding with Friends (+1 to 4 depending on Friendship level)
It's important to note that if you're battling in a Mega Raid, the Speed Bonus will reward you with more Mega Energy rather than Premier Balls.
In short, having the Gym on your team and inflicting more damage will see you have a better chance. It's also worth remembering you can also use Berries during the encounter too, so stockpile those Golden Razz Berries - they may come in handy here for the tier 5 beasts.
If you run out of Premier Balls, the boss will flee.
Originally there was also a 'Team Contribution' element to the distribution of Premier Balls, with the Team, Mystic for example, that caused the most damage to the raid boss being rewarded with more Premier Balls. With the introduction of Mega Evolutions, however, this was replaced with the Speed Bonus.
How Raid Passes and Raid rewards work in Pokémon Go
Players can receive one free Raid Pass per day from spinning the Gym's photo disc (assuming you are high enough level to participate). You can 'bank' one of these free Passes if you don't use it until the next day to hold a maximum of two at one time.
If you want to Raid more than that in a single day, then Premium Raid Passes (for local participation) or Remote Raid Passes (for distant participation) must be purchased from the in-game shop for 100 PokeCoins each, or at a discount as part of a bundle.
As of January 2020, Premium Raid Passes also allow you to gain entry to the Go Battle League, which also provides premium rewards.
As well as these, there are also EX Raid Passes, which are rewarded to players who complete a standard Raid at the same gym an EX Raid will appear at soon after. These allow access to an EX Raid, which have even more elusive creatures to face off against, such as Mewtwo and Gen 3's Deoxys.
Pokémon Go Raid Rewards explained
Meanwhile, completing the battle can reward players with exclusive new items. You can get any item regardless of difficulty tier, but the higher you go the more you'll receive:
- Rare Candies - When used on a Pokémon, will turn into that Pokémon's Candy. One Rare Candy will equal one Candy for that creature.
- Golden Razz Berries - Greatly increase Pokémon capture rate in the wild, and can be used in Gyms to fully recover Motivation.
- TMs - Available in Fast and Charged varieties, these Technical Machines will permanently teach a new Fast Attack or Charge Attack respectively. It's essentially move re-rolling, ideal for a high powered creature with weak Moves. This is the most uncommon reward of the set.
- Mega Energy - Only from Mega Raids and allows you to Mega Evolve a specific Pokémon. If battled Mega Charizard, for example, you will recieve Mega Charizard Engery.
As well as the above, you'll receive 3000 Trainer XP for a standard Raid and a whopping 20,000 XP for Legendary Raids; Stardust whether you win or lose, plus 1000 Gym Badge XP, a chance at some standard Revives (which can still come in handy!) and Potions.
The Season of Heritage continues in 2022, along with the XP Challenge and a refreshed Go Battle League. The Power Plant event is currently running, allowing you to catch a Helioptile and evolve it into a Heliolisk using a Sun Stone. Ongoing are Arlo, Cliff, Sierra counters and Giovanni counters. The major updates in the previous year include a level cap increase, the introduction of XL Candy, boosts to some XP sources and the addition of Platinum Medals.
Everything else you need to know about Raid Battles
- While Gyms have you side with your chosen Team, Raid Battles are Team agnostic - meaning you'll be fighting with players from any side.
- The same Gym mechanics for fighting, Moves and Type differences will be the same during a Raid encounter, so use those to practice up for Raids if you're already not familiar.
- As well as an Egg appearing on the screen, you can also see which Raids are happening close by with your 'Nearby' radar (the same as the one that's currently available from the map screen, but on a different tab) or will receive a notification when one is happening. They happen pretty frequently, so don't worry if you miss out.
- Raid Battles debut a new social feature - Private Raid groups. These are described as a "customizable code system" that allow you to invite friends into a specific Raid group using a code composed of several symbols, rather than an alphanumeric password.
Private Raid groups are designed for when there's vast amount of people at a Gym when a Raid is about to take place, you can privately create your own group, saving spaces for friends rather than having strangers come in. Details on how players will create their own group is unknown.
- Up to 20 players can join an instanced lobby for a Raid - which is more than enough to take on most creatures, though you'll need half or close to the maximum to beat Legendaries, depending on who is in your group..
- If you look at the Raid Bosses at later tiers, the best counters are also other bosses you can face. As such, if you're struggling to beat the toughest creatures, fight their counters and capture them to help you out later.
- Though at launch you couldn't see who else was waiting to enter a Raid until you used a pass, a late August update now shows how many are ready to go before you enter. You can see how it looks at the end of this video by FuNKyShO on YouTube:
- Though you can only receive one free Raid Pass per day, you can technically spend two, with one carrying over from a previous day.
- Anecdotal evidence and our own experiences suggest the bosses you catch have a higher chance of strong IVs than those you catch normally, much like those you hatch from Eggs.
- That said, the stats of the bosses you catch aren't the same for every player. Someone could catch a Wonder, but someone else could get something with lower IVs, for example.
- Different raid bosses have different capture rates, according to The Silph Road Reddit, with Snorlax, Lapras and Rhydon at just 5%, and Legendaries at just 2%. Premier Balls, meanwhile, have the same low capture rate as regular PokéBalls. Good luck!
- It's also apparently possible to catch a Shiny from a Raid Boss.
- Raids appear to only take place during daylight hours local time, with the current times looking between 8am to 9pm. This also means any new Raids being introduced to the game will happen one day later in the UK than the US due to timezone differences, so bear that in mind with any announcements.
- Some players are recommending your restart the app before Raiding to help with lag issues, with claims it can make the difference between success and failure.
- Lucky Eggs increase the trainer XP rewards received from winning a Raid.
- Following a mid-July update, you can now spin the Gym photo disc once a Raid has ended.