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Pokemon Go gyms are a huge part of gameplay, and give trainers somewhat of a goal for their Pokemon. When you are looking to take your Pokemon Go game to the next level, understanding gym mechanics goes a long way. If you are looking for a game guide, or help attacking Pokemon Go gyms, or even defending one take a look at any of our Pokemon Go guides.

Previous Pokemon games had complex battle gameplay, that sadly is missing from Pokemon Go. When you assign a Pokemon to defend any gym, you won’t be able to control them further. This means that you cannot control them in combat, which is why understanding gym mechanics can help you keep gyms far longer than before.

Gym Mechanics Guide

Basics of Pokemon Go gym mechanics

Attacking Gyms vs Training Gyms – There are some serious fundamental differences when it comes to either aspect of gym mechanics. When you are attacking a gym, you can bring six of your best Pokemon to wage battle. You can combine CP and Pokemon type to craft the ultimate game plan. Training gyms limits you to just one Pokemon however.

Training gym mechanics – When you level up or train a gym, the gym gains prestige. Accumulating enough prestige allows you to place more Pokemon in the gym. How much prestige and experience you gain largely depends on the defending Pokemon CP and your attacking Pokemon CP.

Gym Mechanics Attacking Training
Each defeated Pokémon -500 prestige If attacker CP > defender CP:
+[310 * D/A – 55] prestige
(+100 prestige minimum)If defender CP >= attacker CP:
+[500 * D/A] prestige
(+1000 prestige maximum)
Each defeated Pokémon 100 XP If attacker CP > defender CP:
[31 * D/A – 5] XP
(10 XP minimum)If defender CP >= attacker CP:
[50 * D/A] XP
(100 XP maximum)

When you attack a gym with six Pokemon, not only do you have more Pokemon to wage battle with, but you get extra experience for a full clear. Fully clearing a Pokemon Go gym gives you 1000 experience, and lowers prestige by 1500 points. Because you have your choice of six combatants, over time you can chip away at even the strongest Pokemon defenders.

Are Pokemon Go Gym Bans real?

Attacker vs Defender gym mechanics – When you are battling in Pokemon Go, attackers and defenders have very different mechanics. When you are defending a Pokemon gym, you are limited by the Pokemon Go AI. There’s two different ways in which your Pokemon react depending on whether or not you are attacking or defending.

When Attacking

  • You can attack with up to 20 trainers at one time
  • You have six Pokemon to attack with
  • 100 total energy capacity
  • Energy gained per hit points loss -2 HP = +1 energy
  • .5 second cooldown when dodging

When Defending 

  • Maximum hit points are doubled
  • 200 total energy capacity
  • Energy gained per hit points loss -2 HP = +1 energy

The fundamental differences in gym mechanics means that attackers do more damage, but defenders can absorb more damage. Most of the time defenders could possibly use more charge moves over a single round in battle. In theory it could lead to extremely effective and potentially dangerous special moves when defending.

This is why picking the best gym defenders depending on charge move could mean the difference between holding a gym and losing one.

Dodging gym mechanics

When attacking a gym, your Pokemon can also dodge incoming attacks. When you successfully dodge, the damage dealt is reduced by 75%. To calculate dodged damage, use this calculation below

Dodged damage = Floor(0.25 * Damage) (minimum of 1).

In order to dodge, you’ll need to time the defending Pokemon attack. Swipe left or right to dodge attacks during the yellow flash of an incoming attack. In order to dodge successfully, you’ll need to swipe between 200-400 milliseconds after the yellow flash.

For this reason the gym mechanics in Pokemon Go heavily favor the attacking team. There’s a few reasons why attackers gain the upper hand in Pokemon Go battle.

  • Attacking Pokemon can deal a higher output of DPS versus defending Pokemon
  • Attacking Pokemon can dodge
  • You can switch attacking Pokemon to take advantage of Pokemon type

In order to take your Pokemon gym game to the next level, you’ll need to carefully balance the differences in Pokemon Go defenders and their attacks.