Dear Niantic, Let Legendaries Defend Gyms

Since Legendary Pokemon were first released in Pokemon Go they have not been allowed to defend gyms.  But why?  And more importantly, why not?


When the first Legendaries in Pokemon Go, Lugia and Articuno, were first released at Go Fest in Chicago in July of 2017 it was announced that they would not be able to be placed in gyms.  And we were given the flimsiest of reasons, “While Legendary Pokémon will help them take on the toughest Raid Bosses and Gym Battles, they’re not willing to leave their Trainer’s side, so they can’t be left to defend Gyms.”  And nothing more has been said on the subject since.  But what’s the real reason?  And do those possible reasons really hold water?  Let’s take a closer look.

Possible Reason:  To Keep the Prestige and Mystique of the Legendaries

Part of what makes Legendary Pokemon so appealing is that they are very rare, powerful and one of a kind.  But if they were allowed to be placed in gyms, they would be seen everywhere, destroying that perception.

Why That Doesn’t Make Sense

Legendary Pokemon are so readily available that literally every active trainer I know (and I know a lot) have several of each and every Legendary.  Most trainers I know actually transfer Legendaries with lower IVs/ CP because we don’t have space in storage for all the Legendaries we have.  And these are legit trainers, not spoofers or bots.  Just everyday trainers.  So the prestige of the Legendaries is already beyond broken.

Possible  Reason:  Legendaries Are Too Powerful

Legendaries are among the most powerful of Pokemon.  Not only in their particular Pokemon types, but in some cases, overall.  If they are allowed to defend gyms, gyms will become impossibly hard, causing stagnation of gyms.

Why That Doesn’t Make Sense

For starters, the new gym system makes everything basically useless.  Even the most OP defenders in the old system like Blissey, Snorlax, or Dragonite, can now be toppled by just about anything in anyone’s Pokedex.   Proper countering is no longer a thing for trainers, you can now wreck an entire gym with… whatever that game happens to suggest.  The motivation system and the new gym mechanics have made gyms way too easy.  So even if a gym were to be stacked with Mewtwo, Groudon, Kyogre, Raikou, etc, it would still be able to defeated quite easily, by almost any trainer.  ESPECIALLY WHEN ALMOST EVERY TRAINER HAS THE EXACT SAME POKEMON AT THEIR DISPOSAL.

Possible Reason:  They Would Be All We Would See In Gyms

In the old gym system we saw a lot of the same Pokemon that ruled the meta at the time; Blissey, Snorlax, Dragonite, Tyranitar, Vaporeon…  If Legendaries were allowed, that’s all we would see in the current gym system.

Why That Doesn’t Make Sense

How most trainers choose what to place in gyms is based on several factors; CP, stamina stat, defense stat, pride and usefulness.

CP – While many Legendary Pokemon can have very high CP when maxed out, it’s very hard to get them there.  The candy and dust to get them to that point can be very hard to acquire.  Personally, out of my ‘top 12’, only 3 of those are Legendaries.  Most of my most powerful Pokemon are Dragonites, Tyranitars and Slaking.  All of which are allowed as gym defenders.  While several of the Legendary Pokemon can have a high max CP, most trainers don’t have the resources to get them all to that point.


Stamina – The most important stat for most trainers now is stamina (health).  A high stamina stat is the best way to ensure that your Pokemon will defend a gym long enough to get you your daily coins and work your way up to a gold gym badge.  High stamina makes battling a Pokemon out of a gym that much harder and time consuming for your opponents.  That’s why Blissey, Snorlax, and Chansey are so popular as gym defenders.  And of the current Legendaries available, only Entei ranks in the top of the stamina stat list, at #11.  Any trainers looking to increase their chances of staying in a gym as long as possible will not be placing their  Legendaries.


Defense – Defense, while not as important as stamina, is another important stat many trainers look at.  And of the top 12 defense rankings, only 5 are Legendaries.  Thus increasing the pool of choices for trainers to pick from.


Pride – Anymore, with the current gym system where nothing you place will last long, a lot of trainers will place whatever Pokemon they are most proud of in order to show off something they have accomplished.  Something new, rare, or something with good IVs they have powered up.  So that could be anything.  Why place a boring ol’ Moltres when you just evolved Milotic, Ludicolo, or Flygon?  In a world where everyone has several of every Legendary, what’s the fun in showing off your Suicine?

Usefulness –  I travel a lot for my work.  And I have been to several cities where a lot of trainers place whatever fodder they just caught into gyms.  Pidgeys, weedles, sentrets… they place… whatever.  Their thinking is, ‘This will come back soon, get me my coins, and I can just transfer it instead of revive it. Saving me revives, potions, and time.  The gym system is so easy, this pidgey is just as useful as any Blissey right now.’  This is the complete opposite kind of thinking from the community I play in, but I can see their point.  And as long as trainers like this are out there playing, we will be seeing all kinds of Pokemon in gyms.

For all of the above reasons we have been seeing, and will continue to see, a great variety of Pokemon placed in gyms. Even if Legendaries are allowed.

So what’s the deal?  What’s the hold up?  Why are we pumping so much hard earned stardust and candy into Pokemon we can only attack with?  I, personally, think it’s time for a change.  Niantic need to re-evaluate their stance and FREE OUR LEGENDARIES!

So what do you think?  Is Niantic right in barring Legendaries from gyms?  Do you know any other reason they might not be allowed?  Does that reason make sense to you?  Let me know in the comment below or wherever you found this article!



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