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The beginner’s guide to Pokémon Go: A FAQ on how to catch 'em all

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | July 14, 2016
Not sure which team to join? Don't know the difference between a regular Poké Ball and a Great Ball? And where do these Pokémon hang out? This guide is here to help.

The best team, in my unbiased opinion, is Team Instinct!

How do I claim a gym?

You can claim an empty gym by assigning one of your Pokémon to defend it. To do this, tap the gym on your map and tap the assign button in the lower left corner.

If a gym is currently occupied by an opposing team, you can claim it by battling its current defenders. You can take six Pokémon with you into battle. Each time you win a battle, the gym’s prestige will lower—when the gym’s prestige is at 0, the gym will open up and you can assign a Pokémon to defend it.

What is gym prestige?

Gym power is determined by prestige—the higher a gym’s prestige level, the harder it is for an opposing team to conquer it. Every time the gym’s defenders win a battle against an opposing team, the gym’s prestige level gets higher. And every time the gym’s defenders lose a battle against an opposing team, the gym’s prestige level lowers. If the gym’s prestige level is lowered to 0 (by multiple lost battles), the gym opens up and can be claimed by any team.

Gym prestige can be increased if friendly team members train their Pokémon at the gym (more on training below). As the gym’s prestige increases, more defense slots will open up, allowing more friendly team members to assign their Pokémon to defend the gym. (You can only assign one Pokémon to a gym.) Higher-level gyms have more slots—a Level 6 gym can have six defending Pokémon, while a Level 10 gym can have 10 defending Pokémon. With each gym level increase, the maximum prestige level also increases. So a Level 1 gym has a maximum prestige level of 2,000, but a Level 3 gym has a maximum prestige level of 8,000.

How does battling work?

To battle an unfriendly gym, walk up to the gym, tap it, and tap the battle button in the lower right corner. You will see six of your Pokémon pop up—you can swap Pokémon out by tapping them. You may not always want to take your strongest Pokémon into battle—some Pokémon types have advantages against others. Here’s a chart that shows you which Pokémon types are weak/strong against other types.

Once you’ve picked your team, tap Goto enter the battle. You have three moves at your disposal: Standard attack, special attack, and dodge. You’ll want to start off with standard attacks, which you can perform by tapping your enemy. You’ll also want to liberally use dodge, which you can do by swiping to the right or the left. Once you’ve performed enough standard attacks to power up your special attack (you can check this by looking at the blue bars underneath your name), tap and hold to perform your special attack. If you have multiple blue bars, you can perform this attack multiple times (assuming they’re charged).

 

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