Pokemon Go Raids January 2019 - What are they and how do you beat them?

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When Pokemon Go launched back in the summer of 2016, it took the world by storm for a few months. The game was still fairly barebones at the time though, as catching pocket monsters and battling in gyms were the only two core mechanics. In June 2017 though, almost a year on from the release, Pokemon Go raids were introduced.

Pokemon Go Raids are a way for players to come together and co-operate in taking down a mammoth-sized Pokemon, called a raid boss. Raid bosses can range from being incredibly easy to defeat, such as the level one or two raids, or they can require five or more players to take them out. Don't bother trying to take out a level five raid boss by yourself; even if you've hit the maximum level in-game and you have an army of strong Pokemon, you'll be brushed aside if you try to be a lone hero.

If you want to be the absolute very best, you'll need to start playing in raids because they often have unique Pokemon unobtainable from anywhere else, including Pokemon Go legendaries. This means that you cannot complete your Pokemon Go Pokedex without partaking and teaming up with other players.

How to do a Pokemon Go raid

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 tips

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 and two 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 four and five raids, you need to enlist the help of a few buddies. These raids can range from 20,000 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 which is covered below.

Pokemon Go raid pool for January 2019

The Pokemon available in raids regularly change, though there's no set date for the shift. Here are the 18 Pokemon raid bosses currently available in January 2019:

Level one Pokemon Go raid pool - January 2019

  • Buizel (Water)
  • Magikarp (Water)
  • Makuhita (Fighting)
  • Shinx (Electric)
  • Wailmer (Water)

Level two Pokemon Go raid pool - January 2019

  • Breloom (Grass/Fighting)
  • Croconaw (Water)
  • Mawile (Fairy/Steel)
  • Sandslash (Ground)

Level three Pokemon Go raid pool - January 2019

  • Donphan (Ground)
  • Machamp (Fighting)
  • Alolan Raichu (Electric/Psychic)
  • Sharpedo (Dark/Water)
  • Starmie (Psychic/Water)

Level four Pokemon Go raid pool - January 2019

  • Golem (Ground/Rock)
  • Alolan Marowak (Fire/Ghost)
  • Rhydon (Ground/Rock)
  • Tyranitar (Dark/Rock)

Level five Pokemon Go raid pool - January 2019

  • Heatran (Fire/Steel)

Pokemon Go Heatran raid counters - January 2019

When facing off against Heatran, you want Pokemon with the Mud Shot/Earthquake moveset. Groudon is the absolute best counter Pokemon you can have, even if it's not a particularly powerful one. If you don't have six Groudons to fight with, include some Rhyperior.

Still not got a full party of six? Rhydon is much easier to obtain than Rhyperior, and following that, Swampert and Golem are two decent counters. All of the ideal counters use Mud Shot/Earthquake, so use some Fast & Charged TMs if you haven't got them.

As for the weather, the ideal weather to fight Heatran in is Cloudy. This will boost your attacks and not boost Heatran's, so you can get some serious extra firepower behind your hits. Failing that, fighting Heatran when it's Sunny/Clear or when it's Raining will boost both yours and Heatran's attacks. Just don't fight it in the Snow or Partly Cloudy weather, because it will only boost your opponent.

Pokemon Go Ex-Raids January 2019 - Deoxys Attack Forme

If you've been playing Pokemon Go for a while, you may have also stumbled upon an Ex-Raid, or even obtained an Ex-Raid Pass for yourself. These are exclusive raids which only happen at a designated time each week, and they are your only shot at catching Deoxys (Attack Forme).

To obtain an Ex-Raid Pass, you need to be invited. This is essentially random, though there are ways you can increase your chances. Firstly, you need to make sure you're taking part in normal raids at Ex-Raid eligible gyms. You'll know if a gym is Ex-Raid eligible because a small icon will appear in the top right-hand corner. If you're struggling to find one, they tend to only be found in parks or as sponsored gyms.

You can also have a better chance at an Ex-Raid Pass if you have a gold gym badge at the respective gym, which can be earned by simply battling in the gym frequently. You can check all of your gym badges by navigating to your profile, then scrolling down to the list above your medals. Sort them by points and voila! Any gold gym badges you have will be at the top.

It's rumoured that having players on your friends list that have received Ex-Raid invites will increase your chances, though it's not been confirmed by Niantic (the developers of Pokemon Go).

Pokemon Go Deoxys Attack Forme Ex-Raid counters - January 2019

Deoxys Attack Forme is actually much easier to fight than the previous Ex-Raid boss, Mewtwo. While its attack power is the highest out of any Pokemon with a staggering 414, it only has 46 defence which makes it the fourth lowest in the game.

This actually means that as long as you have enough Pokemon to keep re-entering the Ex-Raid with, Deoxys Attack Forme can be beaten with just a few people despite the high boss CP. The ideal counter is Tyranitar with Bite/Crunch, which a lot of players have since it has been a level four raid boss for so long.

You can also fill out your team with a Mewtwo or two that know Psycho Cut/Shadow Ball, and Weavile with Feint Attack/Foul Play. Honchkrow and Houndoom are another two good options, both with Snarl as their fast attack move and Dark Pulse and Foul Play respectively for the charge moves.

How to catch a raid boss in Pokemon Go

When you've finally defeated the raid boss and completed the raid, you'll be thrown into the familiar catching screen like with any other wild Pokemon. The only difference is that you can't use your Ultra Balls to increase your chances; you're limited to a number of Premier Balls, which is determined by how prominent your team (Valor/Mystic/Instinct) was during the raid.

The main trick to catching raid bosses is to use Golden Razz Berries, since these significantly decrease the chance of the Pokemon escaping when it's in the Premier Ball. Since the movement of raid bosses can often be erratic, you may be tempted to use Nanab Berries, but this isn't advised because the Pokemon will likely just escape when you get it in the ball.

You need to try and time your throw of the ball to land as soon as the raid boss finishes the dodge animation. Practice doing this on some other Pokemon before your raid, because the attack animation for every Pokemon in the game always lasts for two seconds exactly. The capture ring is also guaranteed to re-appear for at least 0.6 seconds, so as long as you can time your throws to land in that window then the raid boss can't bat them away.

When you're competent at landing these throws, start adding curve to your throws for an increased catch chance. Combined with the benefits of a Nice/Great/Excellent throw, you'll assemble a roster of strong legendary Pokemon in no time.