With hundreds of Pokémon now available in-game and an ever-evolving list of new features and challenges, you may be wondering just how deep the Pokémon GO rabbit hole goes. EX Raids are arguably the ultimate experience for the game’s hardcore fans – an invitation-only raid series featuring the most difficult battles available.
An essential experience for anyone who wants to complete their Pokédex sooner rather than later, EX Raids are one of the more complex elements of Pokémon GO. Read our guide to find out how to get into the EX Raid lottery, where EX Raids are typically held and which Pokémon are currently featured in EX Raid battles.
Current EX Raid Boss: Regigigas (November 2019 to January 2020)
Pokémon GO’s Current EX Raid Boss is Regigigas. Regigigas' was remain the EX Raid Boss from November 18 2019 until January 7 2020. Regigigas remains available to anyone who paid for the premium research quest 'A Colossal Discovery' and has yet to complete the associated special research.
As a normal-type Pokémon, the best counters for Regigigas are going to be Fighting-type Pokémon such as Machamp, Hariyama and Blaziken with Fighting-type moves (Dynamic Punch, Focus Blast, Close Combat).
What are Pokémon GO’s EX Raids?
EX Raids are the game’s special, invite-only raids offering exclusive access to certain Pokémon many months before they are available to the wider player-base.
Raids occur at specific gyms, at a specific date and time. An invitation will get you an EX Raid Pass (and the ability to gift a second pass to a friend – see below).
EX Raid bosses are the game’s ultimate battle challenge – a large number of players will be needed to take the Pokémon down, so while just showing up for the hour of the raid is valid you may want to coordinate with your local Pokémon GO community.
How to Get an EX Raid Pass (Or, How to Improve Your Chances of Getting One)
When the location for an EX Raid is determined by Pokémon GO’s servers, EX Raid Passes are distributed to a selection of players who have recently defeated the raid boss at that gym.
Niantic acknowledges that the following best practices will increase your chances of receiving an EX Raid Pass:
- Most obviously, you should focus on completing high-level raids at EX Raid Gyms (see ‘Which Pokémon Gyms are EX Raid candidates?’ below for details on how to identify these gyms)
- Players with higher level Gym Badges at EX Raid Gyms are more likely to be invited to EX Raid Battles there (explained below)
- Complete multiple battles at the same EX Raid Gym to increase your chances of selection (if the EX Raid battle is held there)
- Raid in multiple EX Raid Gyms to increase the probability that a gym you frequent will be selected
What are Gym Badges?
Visiting gyms in the world of Pokémon GO earns you a badge for that gym, and every action you take there increases your badge level (basic, bronze, silver and gold). Holding higher tier badges for an EX Raid Gym will increase your EX Raid Pass selection odds – so make sure to attack and defend EX gyms and take part in raids there regularly.
How do I maximise my standard raid activity?
You can receive one free Raid Pass every day and a week’s worth of passes will go some way to increase your odds for EX Raid selection. However, bear in mind that some active players will spend Pokécoins on premium raid passes to increase their raid activity and gym coverage:
- Premium raid passes cost 100 Pokécoins
- Premium raid passes also feature in the limited time box bundles (typically 480 to 1480 Pokécoins)
- Earn 50 free Pokécoins per day by defending gyms or by purchasing them with real currency
Identifying Potential Pokémon GO EX Raid locations
Which Pokémon Gyms are EX Raid candidates?
Presumably conscious of the potential for disruption that a high-stakes EX Raid could cause for members of the public, the rule with EX Raid Gyms is that they are almost exclusively found in parks – or at least, anything within an area tagged as a park or similar on Openstreetmap.org, Pokémon GO’s primary geographical data source.
An exception to this rule are sponsored gyms – in certain locations, brands sponsor gyms and these locations can be EX Raid candidates.
You can see for yourself in-game whether a gym is an EX Raid candidate – as you can see in the screenshot above, a label is found in the upper right of the Gym’s page.
How Are EX Raid Venues Determined?
The exact parameters of how host gyms are determined aren’t known, but the game’s community has an idea of some of the factors at work. Pokémon Go Hub has a lengthy and technical article on the subject, but to summarise some of the most useful points:
- For EX Raid purposes, the world map is divided into squares between 0.76 to 1.59km2 big (a level 13 S2 cell)
- Only one EX Raid can happen per cell, per EX Raid wave
- An EX Raid gym must reach a minimum amount of raid activity (believed to be 20 unique players) to be a candidate venue for hosting the next wave in a cell
The takeaway here is that you’re better off raiding at EX Raid Gyms a good distance apart, rather than concentrating on lots of parks local to each other. However, with luck and randomness a key part of EX Raiding, your first step should be to check with your local Pokémon GO community to find the EX Raid Gyms they typically focus on/the Gyms they’ve had the most luck with.
EX Raid Cancellations
EX Raids can occasionally be cancelled based on server maintenance, changes to map tagging and other factors. If this happens, you will receive 5 raid passes and 50,000 stardust in compensation.
EX Raid Pass Schedule
EX Raid Passes are handed out up to eight days in advance of a scheduled raid. Though it can be speculated that EX raid scheduling is determined by when the majority of players have participated in standard raids, players ultimately do not have control over the day/time that their raid will be scheduled for.
If you are lucky enough to be selected to receive an EX pass, it could be during work/school hours, on any day of the week (though it won’t be at unsociable hours).
Because of the eight day wait for invitations and the lack of control over scheduling, keep in mind what you’ll be doing in a week to two weeks time before actively trying to get in the EX Raid lottery (i.e. don’t put more effort than normal into raiding if you’re going on holiday in a fortnight!).
Inviting a Friend to Your EX Raid
EX Raid Pass recipients can bring a +1 to an EX Raid:
- Tap on ‘Invite’ at the bottom of your invitation
- Select any other player who has achieved ‘Ultra Friend’ or ‘Best Friend’ status
Note that players are limited to one EX Raid invitation at a time – they must decline or wait until an EX Raid invitation expires before they can receive another.
EX Raid History and Previously Available EX Raid Pokémon
- September 2017: EX Raids were introduced to the game, featuring Mewtwo
- September 2018: Mewtwo replaced with Deoxys (Normal Forme)
- December 2018: Introduction of Deoxys (Attack Forme)
- March 2019: Introduction of Deoxys (Defence Forme)
- July 2019: Introduction of Deoxys (Speed Forme)
- October 2019: Deoxys (all Formes) replaced with Mewtwo (with Shadow Ball)
- November 2019: Mewtwo (Shadow Ball) replaced with Regigigas