Pokémon Go Raid Battles: How to find 'em, fight 'em, and win!

Pokémon Go has unleashed its second major update and a big part of it is Battle Raids! In Battle Raids, Gyms get taken over by an Egg and a timer starts counting down. When the timer reaches zero, the Egg hatches, and the Raid Boss appears. Raid Bosses are ranked from Tiers 1 to 5, each one tougher and more powerful the last — and sometime soon they might even be Legendary…!

You and a team of up to 20 battle the Raid Boss and, if you win, you get a chance at Rare Candy that can be used on any Pokémon, Technical Machines that can re-roll movesets, and Golden Razz Berries that can make Pokémon even easier to catch.

Then you get a chance to catch the Raid Boss — at least a lower-powered, level 20 version of it.

But before you can do any of this, you have to join a Raid and get battling!

September 8, 2017: Raid Boss Eggs are back!

Pokémon Go Raid Battles originally launched with a Raid Boss Egg that would count down for two hours, hatch, and then be ready to battle for an hour. Following Pokémon Go Fest Chicago, the Raid Boss Eggs were removed and Raid Bosses would simply show up, ready to fight for two hours.

Now, coinciding with the launch of EX Raids, the Raid Boss Eggs are back. This time, at least so far, they count down for an hour and then are ready to battle for an hour.

That affects gameplay in a few ways, and not necessarily for the better:

  1. Gyms can now be battled for control before the Raid begins. Since Gym control awards an additional 2 premiere balls, there's lots of incentive to do that. Unfortunately, it may take the community-building aspect away from Raids and turn teams against each other, which was a huge negative under the old Gym system.
  2. There's less time to battle the Raid Boss again. While Eggs were gone, if a Raid Boss appeared, you could battle it immediately. Now you may have to wait up to an hour before you can battle, and that might not fit your schedule. Also, you could battle up to 90 minutes later. Now you have to make sure you're there within the hour. Again, that might not fit your schedule. Also, if you used to try to fit in multiple successive Raids, now Eggs will get in your way, reducing the amount you can do.

Pokémon Go may continue to tweak the Raid Battle system as the game rolls out Ex Raids. Fingers crossed it's for the better.

September 7, 2017: EX-Raid field tests, featuring Legendary Mewtwo Raid Boss, have begun!

EX-Raids have just been field-tested in Japan, Washington, and California. Participants, seemingly chosen at random, received EX-Raid passes 24-48 hours before the EX-Raid was scheduled to begin, and were given a 2-hour evening time window in which to show up and battle the Legendary Pokémon, Mewtwo.

So far, rewards seem to be the same as Tier 5 Legendary Raids like Raikou. Also, while the catch-rate for Mewtwo is 6%, well above the 3% for Legendary Birds and 2% for Legendary Beasts, both videos show players failing to catch and keep him.

Additional EX-Raid passes have now appeared for Japan, the Bay Area of California, and New York City. These passes, however, have given less than 24 hours notice and only a 1-hour time limit for the Raid itself.

There also seems to be no obvious pattern for who gets an EX-Raid invitation, other than they all raided recently at the Gym for which the pass is issued.

August 31, 2017: The Legendary Birds are going away. Long live the Legendary Beasts!

Pokémon Go has announced that the Legendary Birds, Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos, along with Lugia, will be leaving the game on August 31 to make way for the Legendary Dogs, Raikou, Suicune, and Entei.

The Legendary Beasts will each be exclusive to a different region — Americas, Europe and Africa, and Asia Pacific — for the month of September, then cycle regions through October and November, before finishing on November 30.

Raikou is starting in the Americas, Entei in Europe and Africa, and Suicune in Asia Pacific this month. No word yet on which goes where after the switch.

The Legendary Beasts are all Tier 5 Raids, of course, just like the Legendary Beasts were.

August 17, 2017: The Secrets of Pokémon Go Raid rewards revealed!

When you beat a Raid Boss in Pokémon Go, you're rewarded with revives, potions (as of August 17), rare candy, golden razz berries, and fast and charge TMs. But how many of each you get has remained a mystery — until now.

After documenting almost 3000 raids, The Silph Road has figured out the mechanics of raid rewards:

You've likely already noticed that Raid reward items are often given out in multiples of the same item.Raid rewards are allotted in 'item groupings' that we call reward bundles. (For example, in level 5 Raids, REVIVES are given out in bundles of five.)


The number of REWARD BUNDLES obtained from a Raid is completely determined by the Raid level and the number of PREMIER BALLS.

In other words, the better you do in raids, the more Premiere Balls you're awarded — and the more item bundles. The exact type and quantity is still randomized, but more will always be more.

Read the whole research note for the details.

TL;DR: How do you join Raid Battles in Pokémon Go?

  1. Find a Raid near you through a notification or checking the Nearby tab.
  2. Join Facebook, Discord, or other local Raid discussion groups to help plan and meet up.
  3. Go to a Gym with a Raid taking place.
  4. Spin Photo Disc on the Gym to get your daily Free Raid Pass or, if you've already used it, buy a Premium Raid Pass at the Poké Shop.
  5. Wait for the Raid Boss Egg to hatch, if applicable.
  6. Tap on the Gym and tap Battle to start.
  7. Pick your team of Pokémon to fight the Raid Boss.
  8. Battle the Raid Boss and do as much damage as you can as fast as you can.
  9. If you lose, jump back in immediately and keep battling. You can keep going in the same match until the 3 minute battle timer ends, and you can start new matches as often as you need to before the 60 minute Raid timer ends.
  10. If you win, use the Premier Balls and Golden Razz Berries you get as rewards to try and catch the Raid Boss.
  11. Go find your next raid!

What did Pokémon Go say about Raid Battles?

Pokemon Go Raids

Pokemon Go Raids (Image credit: Niantic)

Here's the official announcement from Pokémon Go:

All around the world, you'll soon be able to participate in the new Raid Battle feature at Gyms. A Raid Battle is a cooperative gameplay experience that encourages you to work with other Trainers to defeat an extremely powerful Pokémon known as the Raid Boss. Before a Raid Battle begins, a large Egg will appear atop the Gym. When the countdown above the Egg reaches zero, the Raid Boss will be revealed.Before you can battle the Raid Boss, you'll need a Raid Pass. You can get one free Raid Pass per day by visiting a Gym, but you can only hold one at a time. You can also get Premium Raid Passes from the in-game shop. Upon using your pass to join the battle, you and up to 20 other Trainers work together to defeat the Raid Boss. If you successfully defeat the Raid Boss within the three-minute time limit, you'll have the chance to catch an extra powerful Pokémon of your own!After defeating a Raid Boss, you'll receive a collection of rewards, including some new items obtained only by defeating a Raid Boss: Rare Candies, Golden Razz Berries, and two types of Technical Machines—Fast and Charged. A Rare Candy is a mysterious candy that, when used on a Pokémon, turns into that Pokémon's Candy. Golden Razz Berries will greatly increase your chances of catching a Pokémon you encounter in the wild and can also be given to a Pokémon assigned to a Gym to fully recover its motivation meter. Technical Machines are items you can use to permanently teach a Pokémon a new Fast Attack or Charged Attack.

At what level can you start joining Raid Battles?

Currently, any Pokémon Go player that's level 5 or over can take part in Raid Battles. (It started at level 35 when Raid Battles first rolled out, then quickly dropped to level 30, level 25, level 20, and now all the way down to level 5.)

When can you Raid? Do Raids take place all the time?

Update: Pokémon Go changed Raid timing starting July 22, 2016. They now start 2 hours earlier and end an hour earlier.

Raids currently take place during daytime hours:

  • Raids start around 5 a.m. local time
  • Raids end around 8 p.m. local time

What that means is the first Raid Boss appears around 5 a.m. and stays active for 2 hours. The last Raid Boss appears around 6 p.m. and stays active for 2 hours.

No Raids at night? Why not?

No Raids at night. Pokémon Go hasn't said why but it's likely the company wants to avoid players making noise, violating any curfews in place at parks or public areas, trespassing, getting injured, or any of the other problems they could face if rushing to a Raid at night.

It's unfortunate for people who are busy during the day and prefer to play at night, or people who live in places that are prohibitively hot during the day and cooler at night.

But, for now at least, daylight is when you can Raid.

Where can you Raid?

Raids take place at your local Gyms. When a Raid is going to take place, the top of the Gym spawns an Egg and a 2 hour countdown timer. When the Egg hatches, you can begin your Raid.

How do you find out about Raids?

There are a few ways to find out about Raids in your area:

  • As soon as a Raid Egg spawns, an in-game notification will tell you a Raid is coming up in your area.
  • While the Raid Boss is there, you can see the Raid in a new Raid tab in the Nearby pop up.
  • Facebook groups and chat groups exist in most areas where other local players alert each other and coordinate for Raids — look for them and join them!

Once you find a Raid near you, go to it! Just like Gym Battles, you have to physically be at the Gym to take part in a Raid Battle.

What should you do to prepare for a Pokémon Go Battle Raid?

Either before you leave for a Raid, while you're walking over, here's what you should do;

  • Revive and potion any Pokémon that need it and you want to use for the Raid.
  • Spin the Photo Disc at the Gym to get extra items.
  • Feed berries to Pokémon on friendly Gyms to earn Stardust and, every once and a while, Candy.
  • Battle Pokémon on rival Gyms to take control and earn bonuses after the Raid.

You can also use the time to coordinate with other players so you have enough people on hand to battle the Raid Boss.

Are there different levels of Raids?

There are five different levels, called Tiers, to Raids, indicated by the number of Raid medals (they look like Rhydon heads) that appear above the Raid Egg or Raid Boss.

  • Tier 1: Easy Raids. Even intermediate players can try them by themselves.
  • Tier 2: Standard Raids. A couple intermediate or one advanced player can handle them.
  • Tier 3: Hard Raids. A few intermediate or a couple advanced players can take them on. A few of them, like Machamp, Gengar, and Alakazam can be done solo.
  • Tier 4: Very hard Raids. 8-12 or so intermediate or 4-8 advanced players are needed to attempt them.
  • Tier 5: Legendary Raids. 10 or intermediate or 5 or more advanced players are recommended.

Each Tier has its own set of Raid Bosses, each tougher than the Tier before.

What are the Tier 1 Raid Bosses?

Currently Magikarp and the Gen 2 starters. You gotta figure Pikachu has to be rotated in at some point, though.

  • Magikarp (Water) - 1,165
  • Bayleaf (Grass) - 4,375
  • Quilava (Fire) - 5,085
  • Croconaw (Water) - 5,207

What are theTier 2 Raid Bosses?

The second of two-stage evolutions round out this tier. Ninetails has also been shown off as a Raid Boss by Pokémon Go in marketing material but hasn't shown up yet.

  • Muk (Poison) - 12,269
  • Exeggutor (Grass/Psychic) - 13,839
  • Weezing (Poison) - 12,318
  • Electabuzz (Electric) - 12,390
  • Magmar (Fire) - 12,718

What are the Tier 3 Raid Bosses?

Here we get the more powerful two-stage evolutions and some of the three-stages.

  • Arcanine (Fire) - 17,832
  • Alakazam (Psychic) - 22,646
  • Machamp (Fighting) - 18,144
  • Gengar (Ghost/Poison) - 19,768
  • Vaporeon (Water) - 16,696
  • Jolteon (Electric) - 19,883
  • Flareon (Fire) - 21,155

What are the Tier 4 Raid Bosses?

The third stage evolutions of the Gen 1 starters, unique Pokémon, and Godzilla itself. Pokémon Go marketing material has also shown Dragonite as a Tier 4 Boss but no one has reported seeing it in the wild yet.

  • Venusaur (Grass) - 26, 921
  • Charizard (Fire/Flying) - 28,485
  • Blastoise (Water) - 24,162
  • Rhydon (Earth/Rock) - 30,512
  • Lapras (Water/Ice) - 21,768
  • Snorlax (Normal) - 25,419
  • Tyranitar (Dark/Rock) - 34,707

What are the Tier 5 Raid Bosses?

Tier 5 Raids Bosses included:

  • Lugio (Psychic/Flying) - 2056
  • Articuno (Ice/Flying) - 1676 (Ended on July 31, 2017)
  • Moltres (Fire/Flying) - 1870 (Ended on August 7, 2017)
  • Zapdos (Electric/Flying) - 1902

Have there been Raid Bosses at special events?

There have!

Raid Bosses at Pokémon Go Fest Chicago included:

  • Pikachu

Raid Bosses at Pokémon Go Pikachu Outbreak Yokohama included:

  • Pikachu (Tier 4)
  • Houndoom (Tier 4)
  • Wobuffet (Tier 4)
  • Piloswine (Tier 4)
  • Usaring (Tier 4)
  • Dragonite (Tier 4)

What's a Raid Pass?

A Raid Pass is like a ticket to a Raid. There are two kinds so far, and you get each one in a different way.

  1. Free Raid Pass. You get one a day, the first time you spin the photo disc on a Gym during the day.
  2. Premium Raid Pass. You can buy additional Raid Passes from the Poké Shop for 100 coins (Roughly $1) each.

How do you get a Free Raid Pass?

You get your Free Raid Pass the first time you spin the photo disc on a Gym.

  1. Get close to a Gym.
  2. Tap on the Gym.
  3. Tap on the Disc button.
  4. Spin the Disc.
  5. Claim your **Free Raid Pass*.

Can you get or keep more than one Free Raid Pass?

Sadly, no. You can only have one Free Raid Pass at a time and you keep it until you use it.

If you use your Free Raid Pass the same day you get it, you have to wait until the next day to use it. If you have a Free Raid Pass from a a previous day that you haven't used yet, you can use it and then spin and get another one for that day, and use it as well, but then you'd still have to wait until the next day for another one.

You can, however, buy as many Premium Raid Passes as you want.

How do you buy a Premium Raid Passes?

You can get as many premium Raid Passes as you like from the Poké Shop. They cost 100 Poké Coins, or roughly $1.00 a pass.

  1. Tap the Menu button at the bottom (looks like a Poké Ball).
  2. Tap the Shop button in the middle (looks like a shopping bag).
  3. Tap on Premium Raid Pass.
  4. Tap on Exchange to buy.
  5. Tap on Exit to leave.

If you try to join a Raid and you're out of Raid passes, Pokémon Go will offer you a Premium Raid Pass for purchase. The process is the same, you simply skip straight to the purchase.

And yes, it would be great if Pokémon Go offered discounted bundles of Raid Passes the way it does for Balls, Incense, and Lucky Eggs.

How do you start a Raid Battle in Pokémon Go?

Once the Raid Boss has appeared:

  1. Tap the Gym.
  2. Tap Battle or Private Group.
  3. Tap on your **Raid Pass*.

If you don't have a Free or Premium Raid Pass available, Pokémon Go will let your buy one right there and then, because money.

What's the difference between Battle and Private Group?

Up to 20 people at a time can join the public group at a Raid by tapping Battle. If you prefer to team up only with specific other players or friends — or lock out spoofers — you can start a Private Group.

How do you create and join a Private Group?

It's easy:

  1. Tap on Private Group.
  2. Tap on Create Code.

The code is represented by a series of 3 easy to recognize Pokémon, for example, Bulbasaur, Bulbasaur, Squirtle. Tell everyone you want to team up with the code. Then have them:

  1. Tap on Private Group.
  2. Enter the Code.

How do you get a different or custom code for a Private Raid?

Unfortunately, you can't choose your own code for a Private Raid. What you can do, though, is:

  • Have everyone present create a Private Group.
  • Pick one of the groups.
  • Have everyone else drop out and join that group.

What do you do once you've entered the Raid?

As soon as you've begun the Raid, you'll be placed in the lobby and a 120 second (2 minute) timer will begin counting down. That's so that other people can join. The public group has its own code, just like Private Groups, so if you remember it, you can give it to anyone who shows up a little late.

While you're in the lobby, you can choose your Battle Team, or the roster of 6 Pokémon you want to use to take on the Raid Boss. It's just like choosing a Battle Team to fight a Gym, but you only have to match up against the one Raid Boss, not the up to 6 other Pokémon that might be in a Gym.

You can also look at the profiles of other raiders and even revive or heal any Pokémon that might need it.

Warning: Going to the Item page to revive and heal Pokémon currently resets your Battle Team to the default (i.e. usually terrible) one selected by the system. Sometimes it doesn't show you the reset and you only see it's been reset when you start the battle, which is annoying at best and failure-causing at worst. It's a bug and it needs to be fixed.

What if you joined late and the countdown is too low for you to pick a proper Battle Team?

If you join a Raid Battle where the 120 second countdown timer is already below 30 seconds, even 10 seconds, you won't have time to pick a perfect Battle Team… maybe not even a single well-matched Pokémon. In that situation, you have two choices:

  1. Go with the default Battle Team Pokémon Go presents you with, which can be decent or terrible, but is seldom if ever good.
  2. Ask everyone else to leave the Raid so you can all join together again with the full timer.

If there are a lot more people than you really need for a given Raid, you can just join with what the game gives you and tough it out.

If you're very few, you're better off asking everyone else to jump back out and then restarting together.

How do you leave a Raid once you're already in the lobby?

You can leave the Raid lobby at any time:

  1. Tap the Quit button in the top left.
  2. Tap the Exit button at the bottom middle (looks like an X).

Make sure you exit all the way out until you're standing outside the Gym again. Otherwise you risk joining the same countdown as before and with even less time to prepare.

When it doubt, switch to a Private Group.

How do you pick Pokémon for your Battle Team?

You pick Pokémon to battle a Raid Boss the same way you pick them to battle a Gym.

  1. Tap the Pokémon you want to swap out of your lineup.
  2. Browse or search for the Pokémon you want to swap into your lineup.
  3. Repeat until you have exactly the Battle Team you want.

Which Pokémon should you pick to fight the Raid Boss?

Each Raid Boss has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Here are the best counters currently in the game:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
TierRaid BossBest counterOther counters
1MagikarpJolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt)Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
1BayleefFlareon or Charizard (Fire Spin + Overheat)Charizard, Arcanine (Flame Thrower)
1QuilavaRhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake)Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
1CroconawJolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt)Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
2MukRhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake)Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Outrage)
2ExeggutorScizor or Pinsir (Fury Cutter + X-Scissor)Flareon or Charizard (Fire Spin + Overheat)
2WeezingRhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake)Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Outrage)
2ElectabuzzRhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake)Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge)
2MagmarRhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake)Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
3ArcanineRhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake)Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
3AlakazamTyranitar (Bite + Crunch)Scizor or Pinsir (Fury Cutter + X-Scissor)
3MachampAlakazam or Espeon (Confusion + Future SightExeggutor (Confusion + Psychic)
3GengarTyranitar (Bite + Crunch)Alakazam or Espeon (Confusion + Future Sight
3VaporeonJolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt)Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
3JolteonRhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake)Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge)
3FlareonRhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake)Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
4VenusaurFlareon or Charizard (Fire Spin + Overheat)Charizard, Arcanine (Flame Thrower)
4CharizardGolem or Rhydon (Mud Slap + Stone Edge)Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
4BlastoiseJolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt)Exeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
4RhydonVaporeon (Water Gun + Hydro PumpExeggutor, Venusaur, or Victreebel (Solar Beam)
4LaprasMachamp (Counter + Dynamic Punch)Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt)
4SnorlaxMachamp (Counter + Dynamic Punch)Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Outrage)
4TyranitarMachamp (Counter + Dynamic Punch)Vaporeon (Water Gun + Hydro Pump
5ArticunoFlying/IceTyranitar (Stone Edge) | Golem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) or Flareon (Fire Spin + Overheat)
5MoltresFlying/FireGolem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) | Tyranitar (Bite + Stone Edge) or Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
5ZapdosFlying/ElectricGolem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) | Tyranitar (Stone Edge) or Dragonite (Dragon Tail + Outrage)
5MewtwoPsychicTyranitar (Bite + Crunch) | Houndoom (Snarl + Foul Play)
5MewPsychicTyranitar (Bite + Crunch) | Houndoom (Snarl + Foul Play)
5RaikuElectricRhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) | Dragonite (Anything)
5EnteiFireRhydon or Golem (Mud Slap + Earthquake) | Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
5SuicuneWaterJolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt) | Exeggutor or Venusaur (Solar Beam)
5LugiaFlying/PsychicTyranitar (Bite + Crunch) | Houndoom (Snarl + Foul Play) or Jolteon (Thunder Shock + Thunderbolt)
5Ho-OhFlying/FireGolem (Rock Throw + Stone Edge) | Rhydon (Mud Slap + Stone Edge) or Vaporeon (Hydro Pump)
5CelebiGrass/PsychicTyranitar (Bite + Crunch) | Flareon (Fire Spin + Overheat) or Scizor or Pinsir (Fury Cutter + X-Scissor)

Tyranitar and Dragonite, by virtue of their stats, are the best general purpose counters if you need to round out your lineup. Just avoid matches against their direct counters — Lapras for Dragonite, Machamp and Vaporeon for Tyranitar, etc.

If you don't have the ideal counters, choose Pokémon of similar types with similar moves.

Should you use Blissey? The game keeps choosing Blissey!

No. Blissey, like Chansey and Snorlax, is a great defender but does damage in a Raid only slightly better than an angry Pidgey. You'll survive but you'll likely time out. Pick a Snorlax if you have to over a Blissey. But pick a good counter over both whenever possible.

Can you use Ditto in a Raid and get 20,000 CP for the battle?

Alas, you cannot. Ditto will spike up to the normal, even exception CP for a Pokémon of the Raid Bosses' type, but not to the silly high levels of the Boss itself. For example, a Ditto facing a Tyranitar Boss might morph to 3,000 CP, but not to 35,000 CP.

And since it's still a Ditto, it won't last long. So, better to pick a real counter.

How do you revive or heal from the Raid lobby?

While you can technically do this, right now there's a horrible bug that resets your Battle Team if you try to revive or heal using the Item page from the lobby. If you really have to use it — you entered the Battle Raid before healing your best Pokémon — do it right away before you pick your Battle Team. Otherwise you may get the default (i.e. terrible) system selected Battle Team when the Raid starts.

  1. Tap the Item button at the top left.
  2. Tap on the Review or Potion you want to use.
  3. Tap on the Pokémon you want to use it on.
  4. Repeat until you've revived or healed every Pokémon that needs it.
  5. Tap Exit to go back to the lobby and the Raid.

The countdown will continue as you revive and heal, and the Raid will start no matter what. So be speedy.

How do you see trainer profiles from the Raid lobby?

If you've picked your Battle Team and you're bored — or just curious — you can check out the trainer profile for anyone else who's with you in the lobby.

  1. Swipe to the trainer you want to see.
  2. Tap on the trainer avatar.
  3. Check out the stats.
  4. Tap Exit to go back to the lobby and the Raid.

The countdown timer continues as you look at profiles and the Raid will start when it hits zero no matter what, so browse at your leisure but be ready to battle.

What are Raid Battles like? How do you fight?

Raid Battles are mechanically the same as any Gym battle:

  1. Tap to use your Pokémon's Fast Attack.
  2. Touch and hold to use your Pokémon's Charge Attack — once the bar is full.
  3. Swipe left or right to dodge Boss attacks.

Right now Raid Battles are glitchy, so it's not uncommon for you to fire a Charge Attack, see your charge bar empty, see it refill, then see it empty again.

Likewise, it's not uncommon for you to dodge, take damage anyway, then see the damage disappear.

Pokémon Go's servers simply aren't keeping up with all the action right now so things look weird but hopefully that'll be fixed soon.

Should you dodge during a Raid Battle? What's the best strategy?

In a perfect battle you want to fire off as many charge moves from each Pokémon as you can before they faint and leave the battle.

If you have tons of people playing at once or you're worried about running out of time, don't bother dodging just charge and fire those big moves!

If you have fewer people or are worried about running out of Pokémon, dodge the charge moves whenever you can but don't stop firing!

Raid Boss charge moves are hard to dodge!

Tell me about it! There's no tell-tale flash like there is in Gym Battles. All you have to go by is the body language of the Raid Boss.

Can you swap Pokémon during a Raid Battle?

Absolutely. Same as you swap them during a Gym battle.

  1. Tap the swap button at the bottom right.
  2. Tap the Pokémon you want to switch to from your Battle Team.

Pokémon Go's servers are a little goofy right now as they struggle to keep up with all the action taking place in Raid Battles. So, sometimes you'll swap only to see your Pokémon swap back then swap out again. Usually it only happens once. If it keeps happening, hit the swap button again, then the exit button. That should stop it.

If all your Pokémon faint during a Raid Battle, is it over?

No. As long as the timer hasn't run out, you can rejoin the Raid Battle with another Battle Team and keep trying.

Because the time limits are so short (3 minutes) and the Raid Boss has likely been significantly reduced, just go with whatever the game gives you to save time and get in more damage.

But won't you lose your damage bonus if all your Pokémon faint?

You will! So, instead of waiting, when you get to your last Pokémon, run away, reheal, and then jump back in on your own instead.

What happens if you can't defeat the Raid Boss before the counter runs out? Do you lose your Raid Pass?

Nope! One Raid Pass is good for the 120 minute duration of the Raid. You can fight as many Raid Battles as you want until you either win or the 120 minute Raid ends and the Gym reverts to its normal state.

That gives you the opportunity to try out a different Battle Team or try to get more people to show up and help, if you need them.

But if you still can't defeat the Raid Boss after the 120 minute Raid, then you lose your Raid Pass, right?

Right. Once the 120 minute Raid ends and the Gym reverts back to normal, your Raid Pass is gone. So, it's good incentive to win!

Do you get XP for winning a Raid?

Sure do:

  • 3,000 XP for a Tier 1 to Tier 4 Raid.
  • 10,000 XP for a Tier 5 Raid.

What else do you get for beating a Raid Boss?

In addition to bragging rights, you also get a number of items as rewards. The higher the Raid Tier, the more rewards, so you might only get two or three items for a Tier 1, but over a dozen for a Tier 2.

  • Revives: Usually many. Too many, in fact.
  • Rare Candy: Usable on any Pokémon.
  • Fast TM: Let you change the Fast Move on a Pokémon.
  • Charge TM: Let you change the Charge Move on a Pokémon.
  • Golden Razz Berries: Improve your odds of catching a Pokémon.
  • Premiere Balls: What you use to try to catch the Raid Boss.

So far, Revives have had the highest drop rates by far and TMs the lowest. You can get additional Premiere Balls for things like the Gym being under your team's control and doing the most damage.

How to change your Pokémon's movesets with Technical Machines

Why is the Raid Boss you get to catch powered down? Why can't you catch the 35,000 CP Tyranitar?

You wouldn't be able to catch the 35,0000 CP Tyranitar!

So, Pokémon Go lets you try and catch a level 20 version of the Raid Boss, with stats similar to those you'd get from hatching an egg. (75-100 IV)

Are Premiere Balls like Ultra Balls?

Sadly no. They're like regular Poké Balls with no catch bonus at all.

Can you switch to Great Balls or Ultra Balls to catch the Raid Boss?

Also no. Premiere Balls is all you get. But, you can use berries.

What do the berries do again?

  • Nanab Berry: Reduces how much the Pokémon moves around, making it easier to hit.
  • Pinap Berry: Doubles the candy you get if you successfully catch the Pokémon.
  • Razz Berry: Increases the catch rate by 1.5x. So, a 10% chance would become a 15% chance.
  • Golden Razz Berry: Increases the catch rate by 2.5x. So, a 10% chance would become a 25% chance.

Since you should have between a half dozen and a dozen Premiere Balls, it's worth trying at least one with a Pinab for extra candy. Then you can go Golden Razz Berry if you want the best chance possible to catch the Raid Boss.

How hard are Raid Bosses to catch?

Hard! They move more, defend better, and have a lower catch rate than the typical Pokémon you find in the wild.

Here's what GamePress lists at the base catch rates for Raid Bosses, as well as what those change to with Razz Berry and Golden Razz Berry modifiers.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
TierRaid BossCatch Rate

You also get bonuses for any medals you might have, and potential bonuses if you hit a nice, great, or excellent throw, and if you hit a curve ball. So, for example, if you use a Golden Razz Berry, have the Normal-type gold medal, use a curve ball, and get an excellent throw, your odds of catching a Snorlax become:

  • 5% x 2.5 x 1.3 x 1.7 x 1.85 = 51.1%

How catch rates work in Pokémon Go

So, how do you catch the Raid Boss?

Raid Bosses are really hard to catch, so you probably won't catch every one you face. To increase your odds, though:

  1. ABC. Always be curving. Once you can nail Curve Ball every time, you'll get a 1.7x bonus every time.
  2. Max out your medals. Some are easier to get than others but once you get them, it's an automatic 1.1x to 1.3x bonus to your catch.
  3. Play patient. Raid bosses defend better than normal Pokémon, so wait until 3/4 of the way through their attack animation and then make your catch. You should hit just as the ring appears.
  4. Consistency counts. Aim for the smallest throw bonus you can nail every time. If that's Nice, it's nice. If that's Great or Excellent, even nicer. But better the bonus you get then one you miss, and every extra 1.3 to 2x counts.
  5. Go Golden: You'll get Golden Razz Berries every time you win a raid, so don't be afraid to use them. They're a 2.5x bonus and can make a big difference.
  6. Keep hitting. Your chance to catch with any one Premier Ball is low but your chance to catch with multiple Premier Ball hits over multiple Raids becomes close to a statistical sure thing. So never give up!

Where are the Golden Razz Berries hiding?

Off screen, weirdly. You need to pull up the Berry selector and then swipe from left to right to access Golden Razz Berries. It'd be great if Pokémon Go added some visual hint that gold lurked just to the left...

Can you get a Critical Catch on a Raid Boss?

You can! One shot, instant catch.

Can Raid Bosses flee?

Not in the traditional sense. Instead, you can keep trying to catch the Raid Boss as long as you have Premier Balls remaining. If it escapes the ball, it won't flee. But, if you run out of Premier Balls before you catch it, it will flee.

If you have Premier Balls left over after you catch the Raid Boss, do you get to keep them for the next Raid Boss?

Alas, no. Any unused Premier Balls disappear after you catch the Raid Boss.

How good are the Raid Bosses? Are they highly appraised?

The Raid Bosses you catch are equivalent to the Pokémon you hatch from eggs: Level 20 with stats somewhere between 75% and 100%.

Any Pokémon Go Raid Battle questions?

If you have any questions about Raid Battles, or any questions you want to share, drop them in the comments below!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.