Pokemon GO, the augmented reality competitive spin-off for iOS and Android devices, is rapidly unlocking across the globe. Everyone wants to be a Gym Leader — seriously who doesn’t? If you want to earn that lofty position in your community, we’ve got the info you’ll need to get started right.
Developed by Niantic, this free-to-play Pokemon allows budding trainers everywhere to capture and battle with critters caught in the real world. It’s augmented reality — Pokemon appear through your device camera or on GPS, appearing in specified locations — water-type hang out near water, etc.
Everyone joins one of three teams; red, blue or yellow. What team you select changes which gyms you’ll want to target, and there are only so many gyms spread across your area. Learn all the steps required to become a Gym Leader, and see what the deal is with gyms in Pokemon GO with our quick-and-dirty AR guide.
What Are Gyms? The Basics
Gyms are unique locations marked on your GPS where Pokemon trainers can battle to see who is the very best. These Gyms are usually located in a common location — a frequented public place like a park, a fountain, or a statue. Gyms are denoted by tall towers on the map so they’re easy to spot.
See that red tower thing? That’s a gym.
Depending on the color of the tower, the gym is controlled by one of the three teams (Red, Blue, or Yellow) or it has not yet been claimed. Unclaimed gyms are gray, and if you see one, it’s a pretty good idea to pounce before someone else gets the same idea.
- While getting started in Pokemon GO, you’ll get the option to join one of the three teams; Red, Blue, or Yellow. The teams don’t matter, but depending on if you want to play along with or against friends, make sure to choose your team wisely!
Gyms serve one more cool purpose — you can train Pokemon at friendly gyms!
What’s the Deal With CP & Prestige?
Once a gym is claimed by a team, the gym’s Prestige Level determines how many Trainers and their Pokemon can be assigned to the gym to protect it. While you’re away, if a Trainer from an opposing team challenges your Gym, the assigned Pokemon will fight — one at a time — until the enemy Trainer is defeated. (Or they all lose horribly…)
Pokemon battle in order based on their Combat Points. Basically, the more Combat Points you have, the better your team of Pokemon are in battle.
- Raise your Combat Points (CP) by transferring duplicate captured Pokemon to the Professor. In exchange, you’ll get Candy, Stardust, or other items. Feeding Pokemon these items will increase their CP.
Pokemon GO wristbands make capturing Pokemon on-the-go easier. [Image Source: 1]
Strong gyms have a high Prestige Level. You get more Prestige for winning Gym battles, and lose Prestige after a defeat. Once a Gym’s Prestige Level hits 0, the Gym will revert to gray (Unclaimed) and can be taken for your team, or an opponent’s team.
As you lower the Prestige Level, Trainers will be ejected from the assigned roster — the lowest CP Pokemon Trainers will get kicked first, and they’re also the first trainers you’ll face, slowly moving up to higher CP opponents. The Trainer with the highest CP is special. Let’s talk about that.
Here’s How You Become a Gym Leader
The Trainer with the highest CP level Pokemon is the Gym Leader. The Gym Leader gains a crown symbol by their account name, and will remain Gym Leader as long as the combined CP level of their Pokemon is highest in their gym.
Here’s everything you need to know about becoming a Gym Leader:
- A Gym Leader is crowned when their Pokemon’s CP level is highest in their team’s gym.
- To become Gym Leader of an opposing team’s gym, find a tower icon on your GPS map (Blue, Red, Yellow) — and challenge the tower.
- The gym’s CP level can be viewed before attacking, giving you an idea of how your team stacks-up. Only a powerful team with a high CP level will defeat a strong gym. Be prepared!
- Attack an opposing gym and defeat their weakest CP trainers to lower the gym’s total prestige. Even if you can’t beat a whole gym, you can still harass them and help your color-coded team out.
- The lowest CP trainers will always be your first opponents. As you defeat trainers, you’ll methodically move up the ladder — you’ll exit the gym after each trainer battle. Re-enter to continue dueling.
- Lowering the gym prestige level will force assigned trainers to exit at particular prestige benchmarks. Once the prestige is depleted and set at 0, the gym will turn gray (Unclaimed) and can be captured by your team.
- Even if you captured a gym, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll be Gym Leader. Keep your Pokemon team trained and keep that CP level high if you want to retain the position!
Are you excited to become a Gym Leader? Don’t care about the competitive stuff, and just want to wander the country-side collecting Pokemon? Let us know your thoughts on Pokemon GO in the comments section.