‘Pokémon Go’ Tips: How to Join a Team (Instinct, Mystic & Valor)

Players can use Incense Items to attract Pokemon go their location. (Niantic/IGN)

Upon reaching level 5, Pokemon Go players unlock the ability to join one of three teams. (Niantic/IGN)

If you’re familiar at all with the Pokémon Go online community, you’ve probably seen players divided into three teams: Team Instinct (Yellow), Team Mystic (Blue) and Team Valor (Red). So you may be a bit confused when you start the game and receive absolutely no hint about how you can join one of those teams for yourself. How do you do that?

Well, first you need to wait until you reach level 5. You will have to play the game without being affiliated with a team for your first four levels, so just get out there, catch Pokémon, and visit Poké Stops for a bit.

Once you level up to level 5, you’ll be ready to pick a side! But the game still doesn’t present you with the option right away. Follow these steps to join a team:

  1. Visit a gym. These can be found at real world locations, generally at major landmarks. You’ll notice them in the distance: they’re those big towers stretching up into the sky which often have a Pokemon at the top. For an incomplete list of gyms around the world, check out this map.
  2. Tap the gym on your screen.
  3. A cutscene will commence in which Professor Willow explains the concept of joining a team and presents you with your three options: Instinct, Mystic or Valor.
  4. Decide which team best suits you. You can pick whichever one’s philosophy is most appealing, or perhaps just which of the three colors you like best. The team you’re on doesn’t actually affect the gameplay that much; it just means that from now on, you’ll be fighting on behalf of that group. For more information about the differences between the three teams, check out our complete rundown.
  5. Once the cutscene is over, tap the team you wish to join.
  6. Hit the check mark at the bottom right of the screen.
  7. Hit OK.

And that’s about it! Now you have become an official member of one of the three factions, and from now on when you claim a gym, you do so on behalf of your team. If you’re on Team Mystic and you claim a gym in your city, for example, every fellow gamer that visits this gym will see that it’s blue and was claimed by a Mystic player. If they’re on Valor or Instinct, they can now attempt to take it over on behalf of their team.

Being a member of a team has some other benefits as well; you can place a Pokémon at an ally gym in order to receive a daily coin bonus, and those coins are used to buy items from the shop. For more information about how to get this coin bonus, check out our rundown here.

And if you’d like to join forces with your fellow players on the Internet, check out the social media pages for Team Instinct, Team Mystic and Team Valor, and perhaps grab one of the group’s various wallpapers.