Game Guides

Pokemon Go Guide: How do Gyms Work

by Kyle Hanson


Pokemon Go is easily the most popular game in the world right now. Players are running around catching Pokemon everywhere they can. But there’s more to the game than just finding and catching Pokemon. Gyms are the big gameplay mechanic that takes your experience to the next level, with teams vying over control of any major landmark in town. But they’re a bit confusing to figure out, and the game doesn’t explain them much. So, we’re here to answer the question of how do gyms work in Pokemon Go.

We’ve actually already put together a lot of info on gyms, including how to take them over and how to defend them from other teams. These will really give you the specifics on strategy and what to do once you have the basic idea of how do gyms work figured out. Keep reading here to get those basics, then head over when you’re ready to dive in deeper.

So, Pokemon Go gyms, how do they work? Well it’s actually very different from how they work in the regular games. Here, you aren’t taking on a fellow trainer, so much as the Pokemon themselves. The ones in the gym were put there by the team who owns it (see how to join a team here). Once in control of a gym the prestige becomes the big thing.

Once a Pokemon Go gym is taken over it should be at level 2, meaning two Pokemon can be placed here to defend it. If you are on the same team that owns it, say Team Valor (red), then you can add one of your own Pokemon to it if there is a free space. If not then you’ll have to raise the prestige of the gym by training the Pokemon that are in there.

To do this you select the training button on the bottom right, when viewing the gym information. You can choose only a single Pokemon to battle. Each one of the Pokemon you defeat is worth 100XP for the gym, unless your Pokemon is lower CP, in which case you’ll earn 500XP for the gym.

A good strategy is to use a Pokemon with lower CP than the first one you will face, but make sure it has a type advantage (so water vs. fire, etc.). Beat it and then back out by tapping the button in the bottom right, and earn a quick 500XP. Back on the gym’s info page you should see the prestige level in the top left. If you crossed over to the next level you can add a Pokemon to the gym. Otherwise you’ll have to keep at it.

But this is just if your team already owns it. If another team owns it, then you have to do the opposite. You need to lower the prestige of the gym until it hits zero. To do this you battle once again, but you can bring a team of six Pokemon with you this time. Even if you defeat all the Pokemon stationed at the Pokemon Go gym, you’ll have to fight it a few times, if it is a high enough level. Beat them over and over, watching the prestige level drop, and eventually it will be clear.

Be sure to pop your Pokemon in as soon as possible, as any passing trainer can put their’s in instead, possibly locking you out. You’ll then be the gym leader, until someone puts a more powerful Pokemon in instead. If you want some free Pokecoins, you can always go to the shop and click the shield in the top right to cash out on your gyms. You earn 500 Stardust and 10 Pokecoins for each that has your Pokemon in it, but you can only cash out once every 21 hours.

Once your Pokemon are in the gym they will stay there as long as the gym level allows them to. If, for example, you have a Pokemon in the third spot for the gym and it is dropped to level 2, then your Pokemon will be ejected and you’ll have to heal them up.

And that’s about it for how do gyms work in Pokemon Go. If anything is still confusing you please let us know in the comments.

- This article was updated on:March 8th, 2018

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