In the battle to be the very best like no one ever was, Pokémon Go’s Team Instinct hasn’t exactly risen to the top of the pack, but its members are a tight-knit, fiercely devoted group. In the free-to-play mobile game, after players reach level 5, they are asked to ally themselves with one of three Pokémon Go teams: Instinct, Mystic or Valor. They must now go around the real word and capture gyms for their team.
Little actually distinguishes the teams from one another, although each one carries with it a vague set of beliefs. But all over the Internet, players have firmly planted themselves on one side or another, and the competitiveness has become quite brutal. For the most part, though, this is all rooted in fun, and no real anger is behind the various groups lobbing insults at one another.
Here’s everything you need to know about Pokémon Go‘s Team Instinct.
1. Their Leader is Spark
Each of the three teams has its own leader, and for Instinct, that leader is Spark.
Not a whole lot is known about Spark as a character, but we do finally know what he looks like thanks to Niantic’s Comic Con panel. When the game first launched, all players had of Spark was a silhouette, but Niantic recently revealed what his face: Spark is the only male of the three leaders, and he wears a yellow hoodie and has spiked hair.
As soon as the look of Spark was revealed, everyone immediately began making fun of him, as he certainly stood out among the three leaders.
Still, Team Instinct trainers are devoted to Spark, and many have created some pretty awesome pieces of art of him. Check out our roundup of the best creations below:
2. They Believe in Trust & Intuition
In his introduction, Spark says that he believes Pokémon are creatures with excellent intuition, and he speculates that the secret to this intuition is related to the way that they hatch. Finally, he says that we will never lose if we trust in our instincts, hence the group’s name.
Those drawn to Team Instinct’s philosophy like the fact that it represents belief in oneself, perhaps adding a bit of faith or destiny into the mix for good measure.
For comparison, Team Mystic is defined by wisdom, science, and tranquility, while Team Valor is defined by strength, power, and perseverance.
That being said, not all players on Team Instinct picked it because they subscribe to Spark’s philosophy. Some do so just because yellow is their favorite color, because the first Pokémon game they played was Pokémon Yellow, or because they’re a fan of Zapdos, the team’s bird.
3. They Are the Least Popular Team
For whatever reason, Team Instinct seems to be significantly less popular than the other two groups, with Team Mystic having the most members and with Team Valor coming in second place. That’s true in the online community, at least; your mileage may vary depending on where exactly you’re playing the game.
In a recent Kotaku poll of 100,000 gamers, only 23 percent said they had chosen Team Instinct. For comparison, 29 percent of players chose Team Valor, while 37 percent chose Team Mystic. (9 percent of respondents said they were not playing the game at all.)
Many are drawn to Team Instinct because of its underdog vibe; Mystic is the overwhelming favorite in the Pokémon Go online community, and Valor is not far behind, but Instinct perhaps has the greatest sense of camaraderie due to its intimate nature.
4. They’re Fine Letting Mystic & Valor Fight Among Themselves
Being the least popular team isn’t all bad for Instinct, though. As the group’s social media posts and memes have made clear, they’re perfectly comfortable allowing Mystic and Valor to fight among themselves, leaving room for Instinct to quietly make progress and sneak up on their competitors while they’re distracted.
A pro-Instinct meme says that the team is strategic, noting that Instinct gyms often pop up quickly and without warning.
Still, it can be pretty overwhelming for them. Many players find themselves picking Instinct because they like Zapdos or because the idea of following one’s beliefs sounds vaguely appealing, only to go explore their city and discover that literally every single gym within sight has been claimed by Team Mystic or Team Valor.
5. They & Team Mystic Are United in Their Hatred for Valor
There is one thing that ties together Team Mystic and Team Instinct, though. They both have something of a respect for one another and are united in their mutual hatred of Team Valor.
That’s in part because Team Valor’s players have gained a reputation for being extremely aggressive, going after opponents fiercely and making use of tactics like claiming gyms late at night when everyone else is sleeping.
On social media, Mystic and Instinct will occasionally rib each other, but for the most part, their hatred is focused entirely on Valor.