Raid Battle Guide

Learn all there is to know about Raid Battles in Pokémon GO, along with some tips on winning!

If you’ve been keeping an eye on recent Pokémon GO news, you’ll know that the Gyms have been revamped. Part of the changes have included a new addition called Raid Battles. Here we present the basics, as well as some hints and tips about this new feature!

What are Raid Battles?

Raid Battles occur at Gyms between players and a Boss Pokémon who has taken it over. These Pokémon have far higher CP than usual. If you and your fellow Trainers are successful, you’ll be rewarded with special items and a chance at catching that Pokémon. Up to 20 people can join a Raid at any one time, regardless of which team they belong to.

Your typical Gym will likely host a raid battle two or three times a day. An Egg will appear on the Gym two hours before it hatches into the Raid Boss. After it hatches, you have one hour to defeat the boss. During this battling time, the regular Gym defense system is inaccessible until the hour passes. (That means that if you take over a Gym right before a Raid Battle starts, you’ll get a full free hour of defender bonuses!)

Furthermore, Raid Bosses are guaranteed to have good Individual Values (IVs) for their stats! Like with Pokémon hatched from Eggs, the minimum IV a stat can be is 10 (out of the range of 0 – 15). This means the worst possible Raid Boss stat spread you can expect is 10/10/10 (Stamina/Attack/Defence).

In order to participate in Raids, you need a Raid Pass. You can acquire one per day from spinning any Gym’s PokéStop, but you cannot hold more than one (however you can use more than one a day!). You can purchase Premium Raid Passes from the in-game store for 100 coins. These stack and are one-use only.

Raid Levels

The mightest of Magikarp.

There are five levels of difficulty to Raid Battles. You can view this by viewing the Gym that a Raid battle will happen at, even if it is currently in Egg form. Currently, only the first four levels of difficulty are available. The fifth difficulty is believed to be reserved for Legendary Pokémon battles.

1 and 2 level Raids appear as pink Eggs, while 3 and 4 level Raids have yellow Eggs. The current possible opponents, general CP range and our recommendations for group size for taking on these bosses (this varies based on the strength of your attacking Pokémon as well as their movesets) are below:

  • 1 star: Magikarp, Bayleef, Quilava, Croconaw
    CP range: ~1,000 – 5,000
    Minimum trainers advised: 1
  • 2 star: Muk, Weezing, Exeggutor, Electabuzz, Magmar
    CP range: ~12,000 – 14,000
    Minimum trainers advised: 1-2
  • 3 star: Machamp, Gengar, Vaporeon, Flareon, Jolteon, Arcanine, Alakazam
    CP range: ~18,000 – 23,000
    Minimum trainers advised: 2-3
  • 4 star: Lapras, Tyranitar, Rhydon, Snorlax, Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise
    CP range: ~22,000 – 35,000
    Minimum trainers advised: 4-6
  • 5 star: Legendaries (not yet accessible)

The higher the rating, the harder the battle will be! However, you will get more rewards for beating higher difficulties. You are also more likely to obtain rarer rewards such as TMs for successful higher level Raid Battles.

Joining a Raid Battle

Raid Battles occur randomly at any gym across the world. If you are near a raid battle, the game will notify you and show where to go. Currently, all players who can access Gyms (level 5 and above) can participate in these battles. Due to the massively strong and high CP Pokémon, it is definitely worth grouping up. Up to 20 people can participate in a battle at a time!

It doesn’t matter what team you are either! Work together with others and take out these tough challenges. You can wait for more people before a Raid starts, and even set up private rooms. By creating rooms, you choose who can join you in this fight, or make it public. To only give certain people access, you will need to use the automatically generated password for the room you create (displayed in the top right of the lobby page) and make sure your friends know it to join.

Battling tips

With the difficulty of these battles varying, it’s always good to have a variety of Pokémon. If you have multiples of one type, it can be very helpful for certain Raids. For any bosses with a *4 weakness to one type, be sure to bring that type of attack! For example, Fighting moves against a Tyranitar are essential. This will help you win much more easily because you would do way more damage.

Due to the buff to super-effective moves, the likes of Machamp, Poliwrath, Rhydon and Golem are reliable choices for multiple Raid Bosses right now. Do note however that it is necessary to make use of Super Effective moves. For example, a Rhydon attacking a Jolteon without Ground-type attacks will be less useful. Check out the following recommendations below for a handy guide on who to bring against the Tier 3 and 4 bosses.

Place emphasis on using Pokémon that can deal lots of damage – especially through super-effective moves – over those that are better at surviving hits. The time limit for Raid Bosses is not generous, and so timing out is a very real danger.

Grouping up with friends and using strategies like this can also be very helpful as one. There’s power in numbers, so be sure to not go into these battles alone! Remember – most Tier 3 and all Tier 4 battles require more than just yourself.


Being successful in Raid Battles means you can be rewarded with certain unique items that can’t be obtained in any other way. You can get more items for defeating higher Tier Raid Bosses.

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Premier Balls – These are exclusive to Raid Battles, and have the same capture rate as Poké Balls, like the main games. You usually get around 10 or more from a battle.

Rare Candies – These candies are useful for when you’re trying to level up or evolve your Pokémon. It will turn into a specific Pokémon’s candy when it is used.

Golden Razz Berries – These Berries greatly increase a wild Pokémon capture rate when used. They may also be used to fully recover a Pokémon’s motivation levels. They can be used on Raid Bosses and are best saved for them.

Technical Machines – These are available in the Fast and Charged variety. They permanently teach a Pokémon a new Fast Attack or Charge Attack. They are recommended to be used on powerful Pokémon with weak moves. TMs are the rarest reward of all.

Catching the Raid Boss

After beating a Raid Boss, you get a chance to capture a lower CP version of it. They are very strong, so if you’re lucky you can get a great Pokémon! Raid Bosses appear at level 20, even if your Trainer level is lower.

In terms of Poké Balls, you can only use the Premier Balls earned from beating the Raid Boss! This means you’ll have to be careful not to waste any that you throw. Try to time it during the attack or jump animations of the Raid Boss Pokémon, so that it’ll strike when the animation ends and before they can repeat or jump out of the way. Curve Balls and landing a Nice/Great/Excellent Bonus will help too.

Luckily, you are also able to use Berries. Razz Berries may help the catch rate slightly, while Nanab Berries will calm down the Raid Boss and lower the chance of it moving to disrupt your throws. Golden Razz Berries are best saved up for strong Raid Bosses too, so stock up on them! However, Raid Bosses will not flee until you run out of Premier Balls, so don’t prioritize Razz Berries just for that reason.

Legendary Raid Bosses?

The Raid Egg for Legendary Pokémon!

While currently unreleased, there have been reports from Niantic employees talking about Legendary Pokémon in GO. Supposedly one plan is that trainers who are active in Raid Battles will be rewarded with a Legendary Raid Pass which can be used to challenge Gyms with Legendary Pokémon serving as the Raid Boss.

Data has already been found in the game showing evidence for this Legendary Raid Pass as well as a Legendary Raid Egg. It is not yet known when exactly these will be implemented, nor what limits or requirements will be involved with Legendary Pokémon – or even what ones we can expect right away! It is a safe assumption however that these will be Level 5 Raid Battles.

Raid Battles are a fun addition which allows players to challenge a boss and have a chance at catching a powerful Pokémon, along with some item rewards. We’ll update as changes are made to Raid Battles, including potential new Raid Bosses. (For example, Dragonite was shown to be a Raid Boss in promotion images.)

Do you have your own tips about Raid Battles? Let us know in the comments!

Co-written by bobandbill, Radiating, and Z25.
Edited by Achromatic and wolf.
Screenshots courtesy of Achromatic.