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.

Ex-Raids used to be one of the most frustrating aspects of Pokémon Go, with results that seemed the opposite of Pokémon Go's stated criteria and a target that was deceptively hard to hit at times.

Now, Pokémon Go has largely fixed the issues. There are more Ex-Raid eligible Gyms and more passes for more people who Raid at them. And Mewtwo's target has been adjusted, making the Legendary Pokémon easier to hit than ever.

It's still not perfect but it's a big improvement. So, if and when you get your pass, here's what to do!

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.

Rumor has it Lugia was supposed to be the first Ex-Raid, launched at Pokémon Go Fest Chicago in July of 2017. But, that event was a bust, and so Lugia got released for everyone. Taking its place as the first Ex-Raid, then, was Mewtwo.

And, while Pokémon Go originally announced others would follow within weeks, some nine 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, alternating between Gyms. So, if a Gym has an Ex-Raid one week, it goes dormant the next, and then activates again the week after next.

How do you get an Ex-Raid pass?

Raid at an Ex-Raid eligible Gym. There's a lot of arcane geo-science behind it, involving Google's global cell grid system. But, suffice it to say, find your local Raid groups, chat with them, and learn all the Gyms in your area that host Ex-Raids. Then Raid at those Gyms as often as you can.

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. Rayquaza or Dragonite with Dragon Tail + 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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