How Pokemon Go raids work and tips for completing them

pokemon go raids
(Image credit: Niantic)

Pokemon Go Raids are some of the most important and fun parts of the game.Not only is the Raid feature the best way to cooperate with friends or other players, it’s also the only way to catch certain Legendary Pokemon and achieve Mega Evolution in Pokemon Go

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. While veteran trainers will know exactly everything about the Pokemon Go Raid feature there are some newcomers or returning players who may want to brush up on the basics and learn about everything new that’s been added to the feature in the years since the game’s release. 

In this handy guide, we’ll go over the nitty gritty of what exactly Pokemon Go Raids are, how they work and what to expect. We’ll also breakdown the different Raids that trainers will encounter and even how to team-up with a friend from the other side of the world. 

Without further ado, here’s everything Pokemon Go trainers need to know about the Raid system.

How to join a Pokemon Go raid

(Image: © Niantic)

Have you noticed towers with Eggs spinning over them in the Pokemon Go overworld? Well, those are Raids. 

Raids are when Gyms become home to a Pokemon that trainers can battle and capture. These Eggs will appear periodically and are accompanied by a timer. When the timer reaches zero, the Egg will hatch and reveal which Pokemon is there.

Trainers can find Raids nearby when pressing the nearby function in the bottom right corner and tapping the Raid section. The level/difficulty of the Raid will be determined by the number of symbols near the Egg in this section or by its color. Level 1 Raids, which are the most common and easiest to defeat, have pink-colored Eggs appearing over Raids. Level 3 Raids have yellow Eggs while Level 5 Raids have purple Eggs with white stripes. Mega Eggs are beige and red in color and pop up as often as Level 5 Raids.

There are also Level 4 Raids that occur only for a few hours after certain Community Day events have ended. These Raids will usually house a member of the spotlight Pokemon’s evolutionary line. Defeating a Level 4 Raid will cause the spotlight Pokemon to spawn frequently in that area for a short amount of time. 

Of course, this is a recent development for Pokemon Go so we recommend checking our dedicated Community Day guides to learn about these specific Raids. 

To participate in the Pokemon Go Raid, trainers simply have to be at the respective gym within 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.

There are also Pokemon Go Remote Raid Passes that allow for trainers to enter any Raid even if they are in a different country. Trainers can pick up these special Raid Passes for 100 coins in the in-game shop or pick up three Remote Raid Passes for 250 coins.

Inviting friends to a Raid is pretty easy. Trainers just need to follow the below steps:

How to invite friends to a Pokemon Go Raid

Pokemon Go raids

(Image credit: Niantic)
  1. Join a public or private Raid Lobby.
  2. Tap the Invite Friends button on the right side of the screen. 
  3. Select the friends you would like to invite to the raid (up to 5), then tap “Invite Friends.” Keep in mind that there is a limit to how many Trainers can join a Raid Battle remotely, and this limit applies to invited friends as well. While you can only invite up to 5 friends at a time, after a short cooldown period you can invite more friends to the same lobby if you’d like.  
  4. Once you’ve sent your invitations, recipients will receive a notification that they’ve been invited to a Raid Battle. Invited friends can join the Raid Battle even if you have to leave the lobby yourself. However, if you are the only Trainer in the Raid Lobby and you leave the lobby before anyone else joins (invited friend or otherwise), invited friends will no longer be able to join the lobby with your invitation. 

How to accept a Pokemon Go Raid invite

  1. When invited to a Raid Battle, you’ll either receive an in-game notification (if you have the app open) or push notification (if the app is running in the background or closed). However, you’ll only receive push notifications if the “Raid Invitations” setting is toggled on in your Settings menu.
  2. You can tap the in-game notification to directly access the Raid Battle to which you’re invited. Tapping a push notification will open the Pokémon GO app, after which you can tap the active raid invitation from the “Nearby” menu. 
  3. Once you’ve accessed the Raid screen, you can join the lobby by tapping the “Battle” button. You’ll need to use a Remote Raid Pass if you are not within an interactable distance of the Gym or a Battle Pass if you are within an interactable distance.
  4. Note: If the Raid Lobby is already full or the lobby is already hosting the maximum number of Trainers raiding remotely, you won’t be able to join.
  5. The invitation will disappear after the Raid Battle has started if you never joined the Raid Lobby. However, if you successfully start the Raid Battle through an invitation but encounter an error and are unable to complete the battle, the invitation will remain in the “Nearby” menu, allowing you to rejoin as long as the Raid Battle is ongoing and up to a few minutes after the Raid Battle is over so you can still encounter and catch the Raid Boss.

What are Mega Raids in Pokemon Go?

Mega Raids are a bit different than the other Raids we discussed in the above sections. While these Pokemon only house Mega-evolved Pokemon, trainers are unable to catch them in their Mega Forms.

In other words, if you take on a Mega Charizard once it’s defeated the capture screen will have you attempt to catch a normal Charizard. Where the benefits of completing Mega Raids come in is through the Mega Energy obtained. These currency is the only way to Mega Evolve your Pokemon. And while there are other methods of obtaining it, defeating Mega Raids is the quickest way to do so.

You can learn more about Mega Raids and Pokemon Go Mega Energy in our guide. 

What are Elite Raids in Pokemon Go?

Elite Raids in Pokemon Go are a relatively new addition to the game.

These Raids, as the name suggests, are for Elite Trainers who are prepared for a battle. These Raids only appear for a limited time and their frequency is still in question.

Again, we recommend following our guides to know when the next Elite Raid is going to be. 

But the good thing is, that Elite Raid Eggs give trainers a heads up for when they’ll appear. These Eggs take 24 hours to hatch and once they are hatched, the Raid Boss will appear for just 30 minutes so be sure to gather your friends and make it to the location of the Raid in time. 

We also recommend preparing your team ahead of time. Pokemon Go will inform trainers which Pokemon will appear in these Elite Raids so you’ll have plenty of time to get your squad together. 

However, in Niantic’s latest attempt to get players to go outside and interact with others, Epic Raids can only be entered in person. That means Remote Raids will not work in these Raids. 

Trainers can learn more about Pokemon Go Elite Raids in our guide.

 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

 Pokemon Go raid tips 

pokemon go raids

(Image credit: Niantic)

Pokemon Go Raids can be difficult depending on the level of the Raid. Level 1 Raids are very easy and can be solo’d by any trainer as long as they know their type matchups. 

Level 3 Raids can get a bit tricky. Because of the timed nature of Raids, trainers who wish to take on the Raid solo may not have a problem taking out these Pokemon as long as they deliver enough damage before time runs out. If you can get one or two friends/strangers to help, these Raids can be easy.

Level 5 and Mega Raids are where the difficulty comes in and where many trainers are needed to take it down. 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!

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Phillip Martinez

I'm currently a GamesRadar guide contributor with a specialty in everything Pokemon GO. If you've wanted to know the best way to take down a Rayquaza, there's a good chance you read one of my guides. I previously have written for IBT Media, Newsweek and Screen Rant. I'm a huge fighting game fan and everything Pokemon, but I've grown to love RPGs.