Ex-Raids, or exclusive raids, are invitation-only encounters in Pokémon Go that currently offer players around the world the chance to battle and catch the Legendary Pokémon, Mewtwo. After a debut in Japan, Pokémon Go put Ex-Raids into "field test" mode. That involved seemingly random invitations that frustrated and alienated players.

Now, Ex-Raids are out of field test mode and... are still frustrating and alienating players. (That's what happens when too much is left to random chance and some casual players are on their fourth Mewtwo while many hardcore players have yet to even have the chance at one.)

February 7, 2017: Pokémon Go once again updates Ex-Raid process.

Ex-Raids are probably the worst aspect of Pokémon Go right now. They're frustrating, devisive, and the criteria Pokémon Go previously announced — frequency of Raids and Gym badges — seem to be the exact opposite of what you need to score an invitation. (I finally got one after over a 1000 Raids and 30 Gold Gym badges by stopping Raids and Raiding only once at a Gym I'd never been to before. Sigh.)

So, once again, after a long period of silence, the system is being updated.

From Pokémon Go:

With the latest batch of EX Raid Battle invites, we implemented a few changes to improve Trainer and Gym selection. Unfortunately, a bug was introduced when these changes were made, and, as a result, some Trainers were invited to participate in an EX Raid Battle at a Gym they may not have visited in several months. This bug has already been resolved, and future invites will better represent how the updated invitation process is intended to function. Most importantly, Trainers will only receive an invitation if they've completed a Raid Battle at that Gym recently.

We've also made a couple changes that will impact the invitation process. First, we've made changes to the ways Gyms are selected. While EX Raid Battles will continue to take place in parks and at sponsored locations, the number of Gyms that meet the necessary criteria for an EX Raid Battle will increase. Additionally, the average number of Trainers invited per Gym will also rise, as we've made a few tweaks to the way they are selected. Thanks to these two changes, more Trainers will have the opportunity to engage with the EX Raid Battle feature.

The quality of EX Raid Battles at these locations should also improve. To start, Trainers with a higher level Gym Badge are now even more likely to receive an invitation for an EX Raid Battle at that location. Similarly, Trainers who complete more Raid Battles (at any location) the week before EX Raid Battle invitations are sent will now have a greater chance of being selected.

We appreciate the feedback many of you have shared over the past several weeks and apologize for any frustration the latest batch of invitations may have caused. We're constantly monitoring feedback shared on various social media and support channels, so please continue to share your thoughts on your preferred channel as we continue to fine-tune this feature.

Pokémon Go has destroyed any trust they previously enjoyed over Ex-Raids, so we can only believe this when we see the results. If people who Raid a lot and get a lot of Gold Badges finally start getting a representative number of invitations, and if those invitations somehow keep families and couples and teams together, then it could be a huge win.

If not, Pokémon Go should consider scrapping Ex-Raids entirely and coming up with something better.

December 25, 2017: Christmas Ex-Raids are upon us

Pokémon Go sent out an unprecedented number of Ex-Raid passes for December 25, 2017. Christmas Day, many had a hard or impossible time arranging to be there. Then, less than a week out, Pokémon Go began canceling the Ex-Raid passes at sponsored locations and Gyms that may not be accessible. People who had gone to the trouble of arranging to be there were, to put it bluntly, screwed.

But, for others, the Ex-Raids are still on — provided they can get enough players together to beat them.

If you're one of them, good luck. If you're Pokémon Go, fix this for real, would you please?

December 22, 2017: Pokémon Go canceling Christmas Ex-Raids at commercial locations

Many Pokémon Go players who received Ex-Raid passes for December 25, 2017, are discovering the passes have been canceled. It seems to primarily be happening for Ex-Raids scheduled at sponsored locations like Sprint and Starbucks stores in the U.S. but there have been international reports as well.

Pokémon Go is awarded two Premium Raid Passes and some Stardust to players who have had their Ex-Raid passes canceled but, frankly, this is now beyond terrible.

Not only were the Ex-Raids originally scheduled for a day that's hard to arrange for a large number of people, those who did change their Christmas plans now face the possibility of the Ex-Raid being canceled on them.

Unbelievable.

December 16, 2017: Pokémon Go Christmas Mewtwo miracle... or mistake?

On December 16, a larger than normal amount of Pokémon Go players received Ex-Raid passes for a larger than normal amount of Gyms.

For many, it will be their first chance to battle in an Ex-Raid. For others, it's yet one more in a growing number of frustrations, as they'll be traveling or busy on Christmas Day and unable to attend the Ex-Raid, or not everyone in the family got passes and now they have to deal with the fallout.

Hopefully, Pokémon Go can turn that sentiment around, and quickly.

What is Mewtwo?

Mewtwo is a Legendary Pokémon from Gen 1. It's also one of the best attackers in the game — even after Pokémon Go reduced (nerfed) its stats.

Here's the official Pokémon description:

Mewtwo is a Pokémon that was created by genetic manipulation. However, even though the scientific power of humans created this Pokémon's body, they failed to endow Mewtwo with a compassionate heart.

And the Bulbapedia entry:

Mewtwo is a Pokémon created by science. It is a bipedal, humanoid creature with some feline features. It is primarily gray with a long, purple tail. On top of its head are two short, blunt horns, and it has purple eyes. A tube extends from the back of its skull to the top of its spine, bypassing its neck. It has a defined chest and shoulders, which resemble a breastplate. The three digits on each hand and foot have spherical tips. Its tail is thick at the base, but thins before ending in a small bulb.

What are Ex-Raids?

Ex-Raids are short for Exclusive Raids and were meant to be a way for Pokémon Go to add greater depth and dimension to the Raid system.

Here's how Pokémon Go announced them:

Exclusive Raid Battles are similar to existing Raid Battles, with a few notable differences. Exclusive raids will periodically appear at Gyms around the world; however, unlike existing raids, Trainers will be invited to join an Exclusive Raid Battle. To receive an invitation to participate in an Exclusive Raid Battle, Trainers must have successfully completed a raid recently, by defeating the Raid Boss, at the Gym where the Exclusive Raid Battle will be taking place. The invitations will include advance warning of when the Exclusive Raid will take place, giving them ample time to coordinate with other Trainers before taking on the powerful Raid Boss.

Mewtwo was the first Ex-Raid and while Pokémon Go announced others would follow within weeks, some four months later, Mewtwo remains the only Ex-Raid in the game.

How do you know if you get an Ex-Raid pass?

If everything goes the way it should, you'll get notified about the Ex-Raid pass even if you're not in the game. It'll show up on your lock screen or in your notification center / shade.

If you miss the notification, or if you simply want to check or double check on whether or not you have a pass, you can find it in your Items alongside Free Raid Passes and Premium Raid Passes you may have in stock. Tap the Ex-Raid pass and you'll see the invitation.

You can also find it in your Gym Badges. Specifically, if you have any Ex-Raid invitations, they'll be indicated on the appropriate Gym. Tap the Gym and you'll see the invitation.

Currently, Pokémon Go seems be sending out one wave of Ex-Raid passes per week, but some weeks have gone by without any Ex-Raid passes being sent out. So, ugh. Yeah.

How do you get an Ex-Raid pass?

This is the worst part of Ex-Raids and one of the worst parts of Pokémon Go right now: No one knows. Some people have gotten half-a-dozen while most people have gotten none. Cheaters have gotten multiple passes while legit players, nothing. Casual, even one-off players have gotten passes while dedicated, hard-core players, zero.

Players have tried all sorts of things to "trigger" Ex-Raids, including coordinating efforts at a single Gym. So far, though, nothing has proven effective — at least not repeatedly.

Hasn't Pokémon Go promised to fix Ex-Raids?

They have. Though there currently hasn't been much if any sign of anything changing. Maybe it just takes a while?

From Pokémon Go wants to make things right:

We greatly appreciate all the feedback you've shared with us about the Raid Battle feature over the past few months. We've been carefully reviewing your feedback and will be making a few changes to the feature in response. These improvements will not require you to update your app, but they will impact your gameplay. Below are a few notes detailing the changes as well as a few comments from our development team:

EX Raid Battle changes

  • EX Raid Battles will take place most commonly at Gyms found in parks and sponsored locations.
  • Trainers with a high-level Gym Badge are more likely to be invited to EX Raid Battles taking place at that Gym.
  • Trainers who have completed a larger number of Raid Battles are more likely to be invited to EX Raid Battles.
  • EX Raid Battle start times now take into account popular Raid Battle times at that Gym.
  • Trainers invited to EX Raid Battles will receive an in-game notification if the EX Raid Battle is canceled.
  • Trainers will receive Stardust and Premium Raid Passes when an EX Raid Battle is canceled.

Developer Comments: Over the course of the EX Raid Battle field test, much of the feedback we received was focused around how Trainers are chosen to participate in EX Raid Battles. When the feature first entered field-testing, the system randomly selected a set of Trainers who were eligible for the EX Raid Battle. By taking Gym Badge level and total Raid Battles completed into account, we're able to give Trainers who actively engage with the Gym where the EX Raid Battle is taking place and those who have invested more time into the Raid Battle feature a better chance of being invited to participate.

We also wanted to address some feedback we received about the timing and locations of EX Raid Battles. First, we're taking popular Raid Battle times at the Gyms where the EX Raid Battle is taking place into account to help ensure many of the people who are invited will be able to participate. The reason we decided to have EX Raid Battles primarily take place at Gyms located in parks and at sponsored locations is to ensure the locations are easily accessible to Trainers in the area. Over time, we'll explore hosting EX Raid Battles at more locations, but we want to first make sure those locations are also easily accessible.

We think each of these changes will have a positive impact on Trainers around the world. With the implementation of these features, we'll be removing the field-test label and considering this the official launch of the EX Raid Battle feature. While the EX Raid Battle field test is coming to a close, we'll continue to monitor your feedback and look to make more improvements, as we do with all Pokémon GO features.

So far, though, so still broken.

How do you beat Mewtwo?

When you get your Ex-Raid invitation and you get ready to battle Mewtwo, here are the Pokémon you want on your team:

  1. Tyranitar with Bite + Crunch (Bite + Stone Edge is also ok.).
  2. Gyarados with Bite + Crunch (Bite + Hydro Pump is also ok.)
  3. Dragonite with Dragontail + Outrage (or anything, really.)
  4. Snorlax with Lick + Hyper Beam.
  5. Lugia with Dragon Tail + Sky Attack.

If you already have a Mewtwo, you can use it against other Mewtwo as well. Anything + Shadow Ball is best.

How do you catch Mewtwo?

Mewtwo has a higher catch rate than most other Legendary Raid bosses. But you still have to hit it, and you still have to have odds high enough to catch it.

In terms of hitting it, Mewtwo stands a bit further away than you might expect. So, throw with authority. In terms of catching it:

  1. ABC. Always be curving. Once you can nail Curve Ball every time, you'll get a 1.7x bonus every time.
  2. Max out your Psychic medal. It's an automatic 1.1x to 1.3x bonus to your catch, and every modifier matters.
  3. Play patient. Mewtwo, like any Raid boss, defends better than normal Pokémon, so wait until 3/4 of the way through their attack animation and then make your catch. You should hit just as the ring appears.
  4. Consistency counts. Aim for the smallest throw bonus you can nail every time. If that's Nice, it's nice. If that's Great or Excellent, even nicer. But better the bonus you get then one you miss, and every extra 1.3 to 2x counts.
  5. Go Golden: If you have Golden Razz Berries, use them. This is Mewtwo and the Golden Razz modifier, at 2.5x, is the best in the game.
  6. Keep hitting. Your chance to catch with any one Premier Ball is low but your chance to catch with multiple Premier Ball hits over multiple Raids becomes close to a statistical sure thing. So never give up!

What's the best Moveset for Mewtwo?

Once you catch your Mewtwo, if you have the Quick and Charge TMs to spare, here's the moveset you want:

  • Confusion + Shadow Ball.

Any Ex-Raid or Mewtwo questions?

We'll have to wait and see just how well and sincerely Pokémon Go has fixed Ex-Raids and how many dedicated players really get a shot at Mewtwo. In the meantime, if you have any questions, drop them in the comments below!

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