How to battle in Pokémon GO

Thomas Duff 18 July 2016

Video game finder (4)

Our guide to battling gym trainers in Pokémon GO.

Sure, collecting Pokémon is fun. After all, “Gotta Catch’em All” is the tagline for the series. However, Pokémon also means something else for many. It means pitting your strongest Pokémon against one another to determine who truly is a Pokémon master. On the surface, Pokémon GO seems as though all it wants you to do is catch Pokémon, but that is not the case. It wants you to go battle and we at finder are here to tell you how that works.


First the basics: you have to reach level five and join a team. If you want some help understanding how teams and gyms function, we have an article that discusses those topics in great detail.

Battles are still based on a paper, scissors, rock formula

On your journey, you will come across many different gyms. These gyms will be defended by multiple Pokémon and their trainers. Before deciding to take on the gym, players should first investigate their opponent. By tapping on the gym, you can view each Pokémon that is defending the location and view how many Combat Points (CP) they have. A Pokemon with higher CP means that it will be tougher to defeat. Battles are still based on a paper, scissors, rock formula. Water Pokémon are weak against electricity, while fire Pokémon are weak against water. Investigating which Pokémon are defending a gym allows you to plan your attack and choose the best Pokémon to tackle different opponents. Otherwise, you may find yourself at a disadvantage.


Battling in Pokémon GO is completely different compared to the mainline Pokémon series of games. Turn-based battles are gone and instead, Pokémon GO utilises the touch screen. Also, players are unable to choose attacks and use items mid-battle. A Pokémon’s attack is determined by their move-set, which is shown in the Pokémon’s description, and items can only be used after the battle is over. Tapping on the screen will make your Pokémon attack your opponent with their basic attack. There is no recharge for these attacks and battles sometimes devolve into the player furiously tapping the screen.

Hold the screen for a moment to trigger your special attack

Below your Pokémon’s health is a blue box. This is your special attack. The special attack box slowly builds up with each successful basic attack landed by your Pokémon. Once full, players must tap and hold the screen for a moment to trigger your special attack. These attacks deal extra damage and can quickly change the tide of battle. Each special attack consumes one blue box.

Be aware, using a special attack is time consuming and allows your opponent 2 to 3 seconds of free shots.

Pokémon type strengths and weaknesses

Another thing to factor in when taking on a gym is Pokémon type strengths and weaknesses. You can seriously shoot yourself going into a battle against a Charmeleon with an Ivysaur, or turn the tide if you pit a water type against a fire type. Here is a guide to every Pokémon strength and weakness.

st leonards gym

Once you defeat a Pokémon at a Gym, you will immediately face the next one in the lineup. You can either choose to keep using your current Pokémon, or switch to one that can better handle your latest opponent. Winning Gym battles rewards you with extra experience points and lowers the gym's prestige level. Even if you do not defeat all of the Pokémon at the Gym, you can still lower a locations effectiveness by lowering the gym's prestige level.

You now have the knowledge needed to become the next Pokémon master. Battles are simple but still as engaging as the original Pokémon games. Good luck on your adventure and have fun. To keep up with the latest Pokémon GO news, tips and tricks visit Finder. Go Team Valor!

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