The most frequently asked question and only major decision you’ll have to make whilst playing Pokemon GO (Free) is ‘what team should I join?’. Your decision, whether that is Blue for Mystic, Red for Valor or Yellow for Instinct, will come to define and mould your experience of playing Pokemon GO, and also cannot be changed after the fateful choice has been made at level five. Owing to the importance of such a decision, make sure before you finally have to make that life-changing selection you are fully prepared, and will not pick a Pokemon team that you will later come to regret. Here are the pivotal steps to ensure you choose the team that truly suits you.
1. Find out what team your friends are in
This is perhaps the most important point, as the people you play Pokemon GO with will greatly affect your experience with the game. There is nothing like going out with a group of friends and, as a team, tackling gyms and putting down lures to attract rare Pokemon, especially if you all share a common allegiance to Valor, Mystic or Instinct. Conversely, choosing a faction at odds with the majority of your companions will almost certainly lead to alienation and anarchy, as you will forever be working with the enemy. If you want to be an outsider or become a lone Pokemon wanderer then disregard this – but a common alliance with the people you will spend hours walking around with catching Rattatas with will definitely improve your time with Pokemon GO.
2. Scout out your local area to see what teams dominate the gyms
Gyms change hands all the time – I cannot remember how many times I have risked the wellbeing of my Hypno to take down some Mystic or Valor punks that dominate the gyms in my local town, just for them to be taken back within minutes. Therefore, don’t put too much leverage on who owns the gyms in your area – however, it can prove a rough indicator of what teams are most popular where you live, or show the strongest Pokemon trainers that live near you. Therefore, either join the dominant sides for ultimate Pokemon GO bragging rights, or take a leaf from the British train of thought and ally yourself with the underdogs to start the resistance movement. Kotaku recently did a poll regarding the support for the factions, so also give this a look if the degree of popularity is a big factor for you. Team Mystic is apparently the most popular, with Instinct trailing behind – however, this could be wildly dependent on area or even the country that you live in.
3. Choose your favourite legendary bird – Articuno, Zapdos or Moltres
While for many, choosing a Pokemon GO team may be little more than red, blue or yellow, there is significantly more depth to this choice. Each team is represented by one of the Generation 1 legendary birds – Articuno is Ice/Flying type, Zapdos Electric/Flying and Moltres Fire/Flying. If you’re unfamiliar with these Pokemon, take a look at them all and decide which one appeals the most to you. Otherwise, with the possibility of these creatures being released into the game in the future – perhaps exclusively to each specific team – definitely evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each legendary bird before making your team decision. From a type coverage perspective, Zapdos (and therefore Instinct) is super effective against both other birds with its electric typing, while both Moltres and Articuno are only super effective against one of their other counterparts. Furthermore, on the Pokemon metagame, Zapdos is in the top tier of OU, with Moltres three tiers below in BL2 and Articuno actually in the bottom tier of PU because of its weak typing. If you’re considering the most powerful legendary, Instinct is the best choice, however fans of the fire or ice types may also consider Valor and Mystic respectively.
4. Read the descriptions of the characteristics and traits of each team
While being relatively superficial owing to how many people must be in each team by now, every group in Pokemon GO does have a leader and a description of their apparent qualities, and so if the above three points have not swayed you, this could be what pushes you off the fence. Team Instinct, led by Spark, is driven by trusting instincts and intuitions – essentially relying on your gut feeling and belief in your Pokemon’s individual strengths. Blanche, the leader of Team Mystic, preaches how wisdom is paramount in their team’s thinking and through analysis and calculations they will come out superior. Finally, the red Team Valor led by Candela is focused on the true strength and power of their Pokemon and raising the strongest team possible. In a nutshell, Team Valor is focused on power, battling and winning, Mystic on science and intelligence while Instinct on trust and belief. If any of these strike a particular chord with you, feel free to choose them, however as far as we know there are no benefits based on these traits that you may receive in any team.
5. Join me in Team Instinct
If my eternal love and respect are the biggest factors influencing your Pokemon GO team joining decisions, then I strongly recommend Instinct! However, TouchArcade Towers is greatly split amongst all three teams, and celebrities embracing the game across the world may also share an allegiance with Valor or Mystic, so perhaps search for their accounts on Twitter and see who your hero has aligned with. Conversely, if you hold any grudges against people you know or dislike any specific famous people, finding their faction and choosing an opposing one could be an interesting, if vindictive, option.
6. Use a random number generator
If all else fails, let someone choose your team for you to remove any responsibility of the decision from you. Who knows – in future updates, Niantic may even let you change your team. Beyond the allegiance elements of the game and gym battling, there is virtually no discernible difference between the teams, so don’t let that decision ruin your Pokemon catching fun!
If you have already chosen your team in Pokemon GO, or this post has helped you make up your mind, please let us know whether you are Instinct, Valor or Mystic in our Strawpoll (the link is below) – it will be great to see who the TouchArcade community has swayed towards! Regardless of faction, best of luck to everyone in becoming the very best, like no one ever was!
Vote in the official TouchArcade Pokemon GO team poll here: Link