Explaining the Pokémon GO teams: Instinct, Valor and Mystic

Thomas Duff 12 July 2016


finder’s beginners' guide to Pokémon GO's Teams, Gyms and how to become a Pokémon master.

UPDATE 25/08/16: Niantic has revealed the character designs for each Pokémon GO team leader, Candela (Valor), Blanche (Mystic) and Spark (Instinct) at San Diego Comic-Con. Get an eye-load of them below.


Pokémon GO has become an overnight sensation and we thought we should provide a beginner’s guide to the available Teams, Gyms and how these two interact with each other.

Once a player reaches level five, Professor Willow will introduce the player to his three assistants, Spark, Blanche and Candela. Each of these assistants is the leader of a team, which leads players to one of the biggest decisions in their entire lives: which team they will join? These teams represent different ideologies and provide the player with an identity within the Pokémon GO community.


Team Mystic, which is led by Blanche, is represented by the legendary Pokémon, Articuno. Blanche studies Pokémon evolution and believes that they cannot lose with their utilisation of calm analysis. Team Instinct, which is lead by Spark, is represented by the legendary Pokémon, Zapdos. Spark believes that you can never lose if you trust your instincts. Team Valor, which is lead by Candela, is represented by the legendary Pokémon, Moltres. Candela favours training and true strength. Currently, these teams have no real effect on gameplay and instead, are used within the Gym mechanics.

poketeams (1)


Team Instinct Tee
Team Mystic Tee
Pokémon Sack Pack
Team Valor Tee

Joining a Gym

Once you have chosen your team, your real Pokémon adventure begins. You will be able to assign one of your captured Pokémon to an empty Gym, or to a Gym currently controlled by your team. Each player will only be able to pace one of their Pokémon at a Gym so your team will need to work together in order to create an unstoppable Gym. Players will need to remember that if you decide to station one of your Pokémon at a Gym, it will stay at that location until it is defeated by another trainer. Thankfully, if your Pokémon is defeated it will be returned to you.



Collecting Pokémon is fun, don’t get me wrong, but what will separate the Pokémon trainers and the Pokémon masters is defeating Gym leaders. Gyms function as a battle location for players. Each Gym has a number of Pokémon and trainers stationed at them. Depending on the overall level and prestige of the Gym, there will be more Pokémon and trainers defending that location. The higher the prestige level, the more difficult it will be for other teams to defeat the Gym.

Video game finder (13)

You can challenge a Gym using up to six Pokémon, which are sorted by strongest and most healthy.  Defeating a Gym will lower that Gym's prestige level, and after sequential defeats, the Gym will turn neutral and the attacking team will be able to take over.  If an opposing team attacks your Gym and against one of your Pokémon, you will be granted a defender bonus. This bonus can be redeemed every 20 hours from the store and rewards players with PokéCoins and Stardust. So far, this is the only way to earn PokéCoins.



If you reach a Gym that is controlled by your team, you will be able to train at that location. Training works the same way as challenging an opponent's Gym, though you will only be able to use one Pokémon to fight an assembled team. Training consists of battling each of the Pokémon at the friendly Gyms location. If you can defeat your own teams Pokémon, you will be rewarded with experience points and, arguably more important, increase the prestige of the Gym. Increasing a Gyms prestige will allow players to add one of their own Pokémon to the Gyms roster.  Training will increase your players overall level, but will not increase the level of your Pokémon.

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