Battle Parties are a new feature slipped into the major December update that brought the Gen III era. These battle parties can help optimize the way players raid.
Battle parties can be created in the menu to the left of your Pokemon list. You can create up to five different parties at a time. Once created, you can find them in the gym select screen or in the raid lobby by swiping to the right.
Battle parties are officially in beta and are currently stored only on your device. This means that uninstalling the app, clearing app data, or switching to another device will clear your battle parties.
Battle parties are designed to save you time. In the raid lobby, it’s much faster to switch over to a pre-set team than it is to pick your Pokemon one by one from your list. This can be very helpful if you join the lobby late and only have a few seconds to pick your team.
More importantly, battle parties can be a huge asset if you faint out of a raid. Prior to battle parties, it was generally considered unviable to spend time picking new Pokemon after you faint. In order to save time, people were told to “just go back in with whatever.” As you might have noticed, the Pokemon that the game selects for you are typically not good choices for raids. Instead of using your ideal counters, you’d jump back in with a half-dead Ho-Oh. This leads to the damage output in the second half of a raid dropping like a rock. Many raids have failed due to this despite starting off strong in the first half.
This is why battle parties change the game entirely. Now you can place the Pokemon you want to use for a second round in a preset party, making them accessible in just a few seconds. When you dive back into battle, you’re doing so with Pokemon that you know are at least decent. This group of Pokemon you use after your first team has fainted is the “B Team.”
Alternatively, some players with fast phones and plenty of Max Revives may choose to create one “A Team” party and quickly revive them when they wipe out so they can be reused for the second round. This is useful if your best six attackers are much stronger than your other options.
Properly used battle parties can help shave almost a minute off of raid times compared to using the auto-selected team. It’s especially useful for trainers who raid in small groups. Preparing a second team of Machamp can be the difference between failing and completing a two-man Tyranitar raid.
With a preset B team, trainers should worry less about wiping out and more about damage output in order to maximize their rewards. In addition, now that you no longer lose your damage bonus from rejoining, “anchor” Pokemon with high survivability are not required. Considering survivability is still useful to ensure that your charge moves go off, but high DPS is always the priority.
If you are planning to make teams to use against a certain strong raid boss like the current legendary, keep in mind that the best counters will vary depending on the moveset of the boss, especially the charge move. For example, trainers planning to use Vaporeon against Groudon should keep in mind that Vaporeon does poorly against Solar Beam. Similarly, if you plan to use Dragonite against Kyogre, make sure you don’t bring it in against Blizzard. It is recommend to create multiple battle parties to prepare for each charge move, or at least edit your party in the lobby as needed. (Remember that any edits to your battle party wherever you make them are saved, so changing your party in the lobby is a permanent change.)
For your “B Team,” you want to optimize for speed as much as possible to make up for the time you spent going back through the lobby menus. Your B team should include counters listed with high DPS. This is the time to use Gengar, Alakazam, and other glass cannons. If you do find yourself fainting out of your B team, then you’ve probably gone too glassy, and should try to use Pokemon with a little more survivability in your first or second teams.
Your B team shouldn’t have any Pokemon that you plan to use in your “A team.” Make sure you aren’t trying to put in the same Pokemon twice, unless you plan to revive them quickly.
While many trainers tend to focus on countering the current legendary, the ability to have up to 5 battle parties gives you room for more options! You can of course create any party you want to have, but here are a few popular ideas:
- Your favorite gym attackers: Many trainers find themselves picking the same Dragonite, Tyranitar, or Machamp for almost every gym they come across. Save yourself time in the gym lobby and set your most-used attackers in a party of their own. This can be especially helpful if you’re trying to take down a gym as quickly as possible and don’t want to spend time picking your attackers. A team of strong attackers can also function as an emergency B (or C) Team for raids in a pinch.
- Grind “Battles Won” on a Pokemon: The “Battles Won” statistic seen on a Pokemon in a gym is increased every time you take that Pokemon into battle, even if you don’t actually use it. If you stick your Magikarp at the end of your gym attacker battle party and bring it with you every time you attack a gym, before long that Magikarp will have “won” hundreds of battles! Then you can put it in a gym and show it off for the world to see.
Battle parties are ordered so that the last one you create at the bottom of the list is the first one that comes up in the lobby. There is currently no way to change the order of your parties. Deleting a party and creating a new one may not send the new one to the bottom, which seems to be a glitch. To keep your parties in the right order, one way is to create all five parties and then edit them as needed, instead of deleting them. This way you can keep track of what order they’re in.
When organizing your teams, it’s usually helpful to have your B Teams for raids at the bottom of the list (added last), so you can swipe to them as quickly as possible during a raid. You can also put gym attackers at the bottom to make taking gyms down as quick as possible. Your raid A-teams can stay at the top since you usually have two or so minutes to pick your Pokemon for a raid anyway.
If you put a Pokemon in a gym that was in one of your parties, it’ll be removed from the party and you will have to add it back yourself. It’s good to avoid putting your favorite gym defenders into your battle parties.
An advanced-level tip to speeding up your raid time is to "run" from the battle just before your sixth Pokemon faints. Leaving the battle this way avoids the "All your Pokemon have fainted" message and takes you back to the lobby in less time. For very close raids, this is a good way to smooth the transition from the A Team to the B team.