Reworking the Gym Meta

USER GUIDE | written by Chateranga on July 8 2017

Gym Battles Update

By now everyone has discussed the multiple problems with the gym rework, and in most cases you are either the high level grinder who received hundreds of coins and thousands of stardust per week, or you are on the team that is in the minority for your area and never even bothered with gyms but now are enjoying them, with a slim few who could still care less. In either conversation the main flaw of the current system is that you want your gym defender to come back to you, instead of holding a gym.

In making gyms “easier” to defeat, the idea of trying to hold a gym longer would allow for a more competitive environment for the higher level players, while still including the lower level player base. However, some players believe it is impossible to hold gyms now, so there has been almost no discussions about a new gym meta. This guide will discuss a possible new strategy for gym defense in the event that Niantic changes the current mechanic to reward us for holding gyms longer.

This strategy will work in the current environment but Niantic needs to provide a reason to defend a gym. A common suggestion is 50 Stardust per hour, in which you remove the “Coin” argument but still provide an incentive to fight over gyms, in either case this strategy will provide more collaboration in the community

Building the right “Type” of Gym

In the past the Top Defenders were mostly based around high CP. However, with the changes to “Type Effectiveness” defenders like Dragonite, Tyranitar, Rhydon, Golem, Exeggutor, and Gyarados are no longer the best choices and are actually punished for having CP over 3000. With the Type Effectiveness buff, even defenders like Blissey and Snorlax fall quickly to double fighting movesets. This is why most players seem frustrated with the new system because the defenders they powered up now feel useless. Most players have one or two Pokemon to counter these previous guardians of level 10 gyms and even low level players can easily defeat a gym with these defenders.

The solution to creating a solid gym in this new system takes the same coordination that has been demonstrated during Raids over the past few weeks. A true team effort is now required if you want to have a gym that challenges players not yet level 30 but still adds value to the players who worked so hard to grind strong Pokemon in the past. The strategy is to build a gym around a single Type.

Example: “Normal” Type Gym

Defender Type Fast Move Charge Move Approx. CP
Blissey Normal Zen Headbutt Dazzling Gleam 2900
Snorlax Normal Zen Headbutt Body Slam 2900
Tauros Normal Zen Headbutt Horn Attack 2000
Porygon2 Normal Hidden Power(Psychic) Hyper Beam 2200
Ursaring Normal Counter Play Rough 2400
Wigglytuff Normal/Fairy Feint Attack Play Rough 1700

First, remember the golden rule of gym defense “All Gyms can be Defeated”, the main strategy is to make players use resources (Revives, Potions, Overall Time to Attack) when attacking. In the current meta most players have a counter for each known defender, however few players have multiple counters. For example, a player may have two or three Machamps but the vast majority do not have six. When you stack a gym of one type of Pokemon you force players to either attack a single defender and back out (time consuming) or use attackers that are not straight counters, in either case it creates a much stronger gym. Even players of higher levels will have a more in depth battle as many Pokemon have counter moves to their counter picks. The above example shows how Normal types have Psychic and Fairy moves that are Super effective against Fighting types, one of the only weaknesses to Normal types.

Example: “Water” Type Gym

Defender Type Fast Move Charge Move Approx. CP
Blastoise Water Water Gun Ice Beam 2000
Politoed Water Bubble Blizzard 2000
Slowbro Water/Psychic Confusion Ice Beam 2100
Slowking Water/Psychic Confusion Fire Blast 2100
Kingdra Water/Dragon Water  Gun Outrage 2000
Lanturn Water/Electric Charge Beam Thunderbolt 1800

In this example the Primary type is Water, however the mixed types provide additional defensive benefits and were mid tier defenders before the gym rework. Another mention should be made to the CP values, these Pokemon are overall decent defenders and will not lose their motivation quickly.

For this strategy to work players should identify the main type of gym defenders before placing a Pokemon in the gym and try to match that type to the best of their abilities. The different movesets can be stronger to counter picks but building a gym with a single type mindset is more important than the moveset of a defender.

Gyms will always fall, the main meta has always been to make the attackers use the most resources possible!

The Importance of Community and Coordination

The concepts in this article came from community members showing off their “Theme” gyms, like an Eevee gym (Eevee and all its evolutions in a gym) or Starter gyms. (Starter Pokemon and their evolutions) These gyms demonstrated how the community could work together to build sophisticated gyms. The Raid system has provided players with the need to coordinate more and as a community more players are meeting each other to play the game together. This new gym meta builds on the collaboration concept and relies on your teammates to understand what to place in a gym as a defender.

I understand that most layers will say, “What is the point?” as they want their defenders to be returned for coins. However, the current gym mechanics also demands coordination and community involvement as we need to suggest solutions to fix the poor mechanic of not being rewarded for holding gyms, like receiving a set amount of stardust for holding a gym, anything that makes it more competitive or worthwhile to battle over gyms. In any event, building a gym by types is a much better solution than just throwing random Pokemon in a gym, and provides a nostalgic feeling to all us fans that remember battling through type gyms in the hand held versions of the game.