Of Pokémon Gyms and Teams

This is yet another addition to our blog series on Pokémon Go in Fairfax County Public Libraries. Search up the tag “pokemongo” to look for more!

In our last post, we talked about PokéStops and the exciting addition that they bring to the game. Now, we will discuss the other new twist on the old that Go developers have implemented into this recent phenomenon: Gyms and Teams!

When a player reaches Level 5, he or she is given the option to join one of the three teams: Instinct, Mystic, and Valor.



There aren’t any real differences between these three teams—besides their characterizations (Instinct being fun, carefree; Mystic being intelligent, cool-headed; Valor being fiery, powerful), there are no special benefits to joining any.

(Some would argue that certain teams are better than others due to there being more players in one—often it’s Mystic, or Team Blue, that people claim to be the greatest in numbers. However, it should be duly noted that the “power” constantly shifts between the three teams in different areas, so there’s no guarantee of this.)

(The author would also like to encourage any upcoming players to join Valor, or Team Red! It’s the best one and you won’t regret your decision!)

So what’s the point of joining a team?

Besides basic team pride (#TeamRed5Ever), there is a purpose for becoming a member of one of these teams.

There are things in the game called “Gyms.” You might have noticed them around on your map—they’re tall and looming and they often feature one scary Pokémon and some color.


Gyms are a concept taken from the original Pokémon games—a player can take their Pokémon and battle other trainers at these gyms, earning XP and other benefits. In Go, Gyms are held by a certain team—this is why most Gyms have a certain color beacon. (If they don’t, move over and claim it!) Gym leaders are the trainers of the highest-level Pokémon in that area—their Pokémon is the one featured at the top of the Gym tower. If your team holds a Gym, you can offer up help by stationing one of your Pokémon there and reinforce the strength of that Gym.


The strength of your hold on a Gym is determined by your reputation. Reputation can be increased or decreased, depending on the number of battles your Gym has won/lost. The higher the reputation, the higher level your Gym is. Higher-level Gyms can hold more “reinforcement” Pokémon and are thus harder for other teams to battle and defeat. We will discuss the mechanics of “battles” in a later post.


  • You can battle a friendly gym! When you win a battle, instead of pulling down its reputation, you actually help the Gym raise it!
  • You can attack an enemy Gym with other team-members—as another feature that complements Pokémon Go’s purpose to make video game more interactive and social, groups of a similar team often come together to attack at once. This is especially effective when the enemy Gym leader and company are higher-level.
  • Some Fairfax County Public Libraries are also Gyms:
    Herndon, Centreville, Chantilly, KingsPark, Kingstowne, Martha Washington and Lorton.



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