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Believe it or not, there is more to Pokemon Go than capturing Pokemon. And by capturing a gym or Pokemon, we mean taking a Pokemon out of the wild and keeping it for your team. And by capturing a gym using those captured Pokemon, you take ownership of the gym with your designated team. And while there isn't any battling between you and your friends like in previous games, you can battle people for the ownership of gyms. We've put together some basic information to help you understand how a gym works in Pokemon Go, because it could prove to be very valuable.
First, you need to know that in order to even interact with a gym, you need to be at least a level 5. So if you aren't yet a level 5 and want to start capturing gyms, keep capturing those Pokemon and work your way up!
It's important to understand what a gym looks like on the map or where you can find one. Gyms are marked by certain landmarks in the area, and even some people have commented that their Pokemon Go gym was an actual gym in real life. For example, the gym nearest me is a little convenience store that sells liquor and cigarettes. There's no "kind" of landmark the gym will be, but it will always be tied to some landmark.
There are a few ways to tell the status of a gym. First of all, if the gym is gray and there isn't a Pokemon spinning around at the top guarding it, that means the gym hasn't been captured yet. It's not impossible to find a gym that hasn't been captured, sometimes it's just luck. So if it isn't captured, capture it immediately.
On the other hand, if the gym is either colored yellow, blue or red, that indicates what team currently has captured the gym. The Pokemon spinning above the gym are guarding it.
Now if you want to capture a gym and it wasn't previously unoccupied, there are a couple things you'll want to take note of before deciding to capture a gym. First, click on the gym and it will show you the user guarding the gym and what level their Pokemon is they are using. If that Pokemon's CP is higher than any of your Pokemon, you might want to avoid trying to fight it.
But what happens if you do try to fight it and you lose? I will usually only fight slightly higher Pokemon when I've got a ton of Potions or Revive elixirs, because your Pokemon never really dies, you just need to keep up on these potions to keep them alive. So fighting is really no harm, no foul.
So how does fighting work? When you agree to fight for a gym, you'll want to power up your top three Pokemon, and there's a reason I say that. Because when you win the gym, you have to pick a Pokemon to guard the gym and you cannot use the Pokemon you used to fight. So if you think you can use at least two Pokemon to battle the gym Pokemon, save that last Pokemon you powered up for guarding the gym.
During a fight, you can go through up to six Pokemon to try to take down the gym's Pokemon. But if you have to go through all six, you won't be able to use any of those six strongest Pokemon to guard your gym. Instead, you'll be stuck with weaker Pokemon to guard your gym.
During battle, you will face each of the Pokemon guarding the gym. You can tap your screen like crazy to send out hits, or when the blue bar at the top of your screen is full, you can hold your finger on the screen and watch another blue bar fill up, and that fires a stronger hit. Once you destroy the Pokemon, it will disappear.
Sometimes, if the level of the gym is high, like the gym by me is set at 12,000 and they have it at 10,000 out of that 12,000, you might have to fight the Pokemon who are guarding it multiple times. If you own a gym and you want to raise the level of the gym, you can "battle" your own gym against your own Pokemon to raise the level to its max, which is a form of training your Pokemon. This will make it more difficult for others to take your gym, having to fight the guarding Pokemon more than once. If you want to own a gym for the purpose of training, don't put your strongest Pokemon as the guard. Put a weaker Pokemon, so your higher-level Pokemon can train and gain XP and beat it easily.
The longer you are able to be in control of your gym and have it captured, the more Pokecoins you can collect, which can be used to be valuable items like incense (draws in Pokemon) and lucky eggs (raises experience points so you level faster). You get a bonus for every day you have a gym captured. And it's pretty difficult to hold a gym for more than a day, believe it or not.
If you find you're in a group of friends and you've just captured a gym, they can add their Pokemon to guard it. I passed a gym the other day that had 13 Pokemon guarding it. Yeah, good luck capturing that gym. That would mean if you want to capture it, you'd have to beat all 13 of those Pokemon, maybe multiple times.
You can see the gym capturing in action in the short video below.
Now, with this information in mind, you should go out hunting to try and capture your own Pokemon Go gym. Good luck!