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I'm talking about attacking a rival team's gym.

Sometimes my whole army of Pokemon are allowed in the battle (that's awesome because they can take turn to fight until it times out of course). However, many times only 1 of my Pokemon is allowed which makes it almost impossible to take down gym.

Even stranger, the 1 Pokemon I was allowed to use in gym fight was not even the strongest one. So, how was it selected.

I've been trying to observe and figure out the pattern myself without success

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    Only one is allowed when you are training at a gym which must be an allied gym. otherwise when attacking an enemy gym you are allowed 6 – Aequitas Aug 20 '16 at 9:23
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In every gym battle, that you engage in, you can select the pokemon you wish to use. If some pokemon is first placed there and you wish to change it, just click on that pokemon and choose another.

If you attack enemy gym (not in your team/color) you will have 6 pokemon attacking (all can be changed) and even defeating any of the defender pokemon will lower the gyms prestige (to eventually unable the enemy pokemon to defend it and allowing you to set your own teams pokemon to defend it). If you go to a friendly gym (your team/color) you can't 'attack' but only 'train' with one pokemon at a time and gain prestige for your teams gym by at least defeating one pokemon. This on the other hand allows your team to put more pokemon defending it.

You will also gain personal xp for every fight where you manage to either boost your teams prestige or lower the enemy teams.

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