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Pokemon Go raids: How raids work and tips for completing them

Pokemon Go Raids

Pokemon Go raids are necessary if you want to complete your Pokedex. While some of the lower tier raids in Pokemon Go contain Pokemon that can be caught in the wild, you'll be able to catch them more reliably from raids, and there are a lot of legendary Pokemon that are exclusive to raids. The problem is that level five raids are impossible to beat by yourself. We've got everything you need to know about Pokemon Go raids here including how they work, raid times, tips for beating them, and more.

What are Pokemon Go raids?

(Image credit: Niantic)

- Special boss battles that take place at gyms
- An egg will hatch after an hour countdown
- Raid boss is available to battle for 45 minutes
- Three levels of difficulty
- Harder the raid, the more trainers are needed to beat it
- Earn XP, special items, and rare Pokemon for winning
- Remote Raid Pass allows you to join from afar
- Invite up to five friends to raid with you
- You must be level five or above to partake in raids

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Pokemon Go has been around since the summer of 2016 and while raids weren't available right away, they've been in the game for a while now so most players have experience partaking in the odd raid or two. 

Pokemon Go raids

(Image credit: Niantic)

If you haven't done any Pokemon Go raids yet and you're not even sure what they are, fear not. Raid bosses in Pokemon Go are essentially oversized regular Pokemon that you can team up with friends to take down. Some of them are easy to defeat, but for others, you'll need to bring along a group of pals to even stand a chance.

Pokemon Go raid bosses can be the only way to obtain certain Pokemon in Pokemon Go, so even if you don't partake in them frequently, it's useful to know how they work if the opportunity arises. 

How to do a Pokemon Go raid

Pokemon Go raids

(Image credit: Niantic)

Pokemon Go raids are found exclusively at gyms, which are the much taller Pokestops you'll see in towns and cities. No matter which team has control of a gym, anyone can partake in a raid when it appears, indicated by a coloured egg on top. This will be accompanied by a timer, counting down from one hour, so Pokemon Go communities have enough preparation time to get players together to take it down.

Tapping on the egg icon in the corner, while looking at the gym, will reveal how difficult it is. The amount of monster faces above the egg represents the level of the gym, as does the colour. Level one and two raids will always be pink, level three and four raids are yellow, while level five raids are purple with white stripes.

To do the Pokemon Go raid, you simply have to be at the respective gym within the 45 minutes after the egg hatches. As long as you have a Raid Pass - which is given out for free once per day at your first Gym PokeStop spin of the day - you can have a shot at taking down the raid boss. If you want to do more than one raid per day, you can pick up Premium Raid Passes from the in-game store for 100 coins apiece.

Pokemon Go raid times

Pokemon Go raids

(Image credit: Niantic)

Generally speaking, Pokemon Go raid times are completely random. There's no way of knowing when an egg will appear above a specific gym, nor what Pokemon will hatch, but there are a couple of guidelines.

Pokemon Go raid eggs will only spawn between 5:30am and 7:45pm local time. This means the time raid bosses will be available is 6:30am to 9:30pm, once an egg has hatched. This is because Niantic doesn't want players roaming the streets in the middle of the night, for obvious reasons. You can however join remote raids in different timezones, provided you have a friend that can invite you and you have a Remote Raid Pass.

Every Wednesday, from 6pm to 7pm local time, will be Raid Hour. This is when most, if not all, gyms in the vicinity will spawn level five raids with whichever legendary Pokemon is in eggs at the time. This changes frequently, so make sure you check the in-game news section for details on the latest legendary raid boss switch.

Pokemon Go raid tips

Pokemon Go Raids

(Image credit: Getty Images / Portland Press Herald)

If you see a level five raid but you don't have at least a few other players to tackle it with, forget it. Solo players can stick to level one raids reliably, as these raid bosses will rarely put up much of a fight. They have low health and as long as you've surpassed around level 20, you'll be able to defeat them with ease by yourself.

Level three raids are where things start to get tricky, and if you're playing solo you'll need to consider preparing some counters to the Pokemon raid boss you'll be fighting. If there's a few of you fighting together though, then you shouldn't have much of an issue, especially if you've all reached level 30 or higher.

For the level five raids, you need to enlist the help of a few buddies. These raids can range from around 30,000 boss CP to 50,000, and you will not be able to complete them solo. This is where you'll be able to catch legendary Pokemon and other exclusives, depending on which Pokemon are in the current raid pool.

Make sure you stock up on potions and learn the counters for whichever Pokemon Go raid boss you're up against, so you can create your party appropriately. If you don't have any strong counters, go for some all round versatile beasts; Tyranitar and Dragonite are two good examples. Best of luck!

One of the resident guide writers around these parts, give me a game and I will write every "how to" I possibly can or die trying. The youngest member of the GamesRadar team, I have an unhealthy addiction to Football Manager, shouting at the TV as Manchester United slowly descend from greatness, and playing Pokemon Go on the bus to and from the office.