Do Pokémon GO Teams Really Matter Anymore

The value of Pokémon GO teams has shifted over the years, to the point where choosing between Mystic, Valor, and Instinct no longer feels very important. What once seemed like a hugely important decision, back when Niantic released the game in 2016, has shifted as the game has evolved. The culture of the Pokémon GO scene has left the distinction between the groups uncertain and possibly irrelevant.

Fans took their teams in Pokémon GO quite seriously at first. Despite there being little context to game back in 2016, players would live by the patch of their selected team. It would be hard not to see cars with a team Valor sticker driving by on the highway at the time, and playing the game with friends meant arguing whether Instinct or Mystic was the best Pokémon GO team because of Zapdos and Aritcuno.


Related: Cliff, Sierra, & Arlo: Who Pokémon GO’s Team Rocket Leaders Are

One would think such sentiments would only grow deeper, but things began to change as the despair around Pokémon GO changes thinned out the player base and left it with mostly longtime players, leaving teams more or less irrelevant. Players don’t care who they go into a raid battle with – they only hope that they and their fellow players are successful. This has left the purpose of teams, and the high price point for switching between them, in the air, in turn undermining the little competitive appeal that Pokémon GO has left.

Teams Should Matter More Now Than Ever In Pokémon GO

The truth is that even though Pokémon GO players are putting less and less value into teams, they are probably more important now than they have ever been. Pokémon GO has introduced more pay-to-win mechanics into its meta over the years, such as Mega Evolutions. While Pokémon GO is still largely a free game, some players may feel as if they need to start saving coins for raids, and the only way to do so without paying are gyms. Gyms in Pokémon GO rely entirely on the success and prominence of one’s team in one’s area. This should, in turn, make teams much more valuable to players, as a player’s team is the only thing that can help them earn in-game currency without spending real money. However, there has instead been an inverse effect in which players will value whoever they can rely upon to battle with in a raid more than their actual team.

Pokémon GO has also introduced more and more team events over the years that pit Mystic, Valor, and Instinct against one another. In doing so, Niantic places an inherent value in Pokémon GO‘s team system. Even if players only passively participate in these competitions by playing the game, they contribute to their team’s cause and give themselves the opportunity to win prizes while harming the chances other teams. Players still do not seem to mind, though, as they tend to focus on growing levels and collecting rare Pokémon through raids and special events more than anything else. Plus, the failures of new game modes like the Battle League has only encouraged them to ignore features they don’t care for.

While the rivalries between Mystic, Valor, and Instinct were exciting at first, there is nothing wrong with the Pokémon GO community choosing not to invest too much value into their teams. After all, dividing a longstanding community along superficial lines only serves its demise. Playing together without worrying about who belongs to which team is healthier for players and the game in the long run.

Next: Pokémon GO Just Keeps Getting Worse

Leave a Comment