The Pokémon Go Battle League is finally here. Now you can battle other Trainers, friends and strangers alike, to move up the ranks, and win amazing prizes. The first official season is well underway, but it's not too late to join in the fun!
Preseason and Seasons
Right now, the Pokémon Go Battle League has just wrapped up the first season, which ran from March 13, 2020, through May 11. Season two officially began on Monday, May 11, and is scheduled to run until Monday, July 13.
Great, Ultra, or Master League
The Go Battle League is divided into three different Leagues: Great, Ultra, and Master League. These are set up the same as Trainer battles and Team Leader Training before with CP caps. The Great allows for Pokémon up to 1,500 CP, the Ultra League allows for Pokémon up to 2,500 CP, and the Master League has no CP limits. Each League is featured for three weeks before rotating to the next League. This means you can usually only participate in one League at a time, but during the Season, you have the opportunity to participate in all three Leagues. However, all three leagues are also available during a final week, in which players can choose any league they wish to battle.
There will also be a Premier Cup beginning in season two. This special competition will run during the final four weeks of the season. Players entering the Premier Cup will not have CP restrictions, but cannot use Legendary or Mythical Pokémon.
How to enter the Go Battle League
The Pokémon Go Battle League has its own icon on the main menu screen now. Just click Battle, and you're in. Any player can enter and complete their first five Battles for free. After completing those first five Battles, however, things get a little more complicated.
Earning Go Battle League Sets
Until further notice, walking will not be required to unlock Battle Sets
Battles in the Pokémon Go Battle League come in five Battle increments called Go Battle League Sets. The first of these Sets is free, but each Set after that has to be earned and/or purchased. To earn a Go Battle League Set, you need to walk five KM, but you also have the option of paying Poké Coins to speed this up. Even if you pay to Battle early, you still need to walk at least 2 KM, so players who sink lots of money into the game will still have to work for their Battle Sets.
Players can earn up to five Sets each day. However, each Set requires walking another 5 KM, so participation really requires keeping active and playing a lot. You can see your progress towards earning your next Set in the Battle Menu, and the app also notifies you when you've earned another Set.
As of April 8, 2020, players who lose all 5 of their battles in a set will be able to continue battling up to 15 battles until they win a battle.
Basic or Premium Rewards
For players who have the extra Poké Coins (or have a healthy stash of Premium Battle Passes - previously known as Premium Raid Passes,) there is an option to earn better Rewards for winning Battles. At the beginning of each Pokémon Go Battle League Set, you can select between Basic and Premium Rewards. These Rewards include Berries, Stardust, TMs, and Pokémon Encounters.
The Pokémon you can encounter do not change between Premium and Basic, but they do get better as you rank up. Your first encounters for certain Ranks are guaranteed. Metagross is your first guaranteed encounter, Stunfisk at rank four, Rufflet at rank eight, Scraggy at rank nine, and Pikachu Libre at Rank Ten.
As mentioned, Pikachu Libre is a guaranteed encounter once you reach Rank Ten. For those who aren't familiar, Pikachu Libre is a special Cosplay Pikachu from Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. She is dressed like a Lucha Libre wrestler and knows the Fighting Type move Flying Press, one of the strongest moves to come to Pokémon Go. While Pikachu Libre will be available at lower Ranks in future seasons, for this season, you must reach Rank Ten to get her. Rank Ten also rewards players with an Avatar Pose and Avatar Items inspired by the Hoenn League Champion, Steven.
Limited time Legendary and Mythical Encounter
For a limited time, Pokémon Go has made certain Legendary and Mythical Pokémon available as rare encounters from Rank Four:
- Darkrai from March 6, 2020, to March 9.
- Altered Forme Giratina from March 13, 2020, to March 16.
- Cobalion from March 17, 2020, to March 23.
- Lugia from March 24, 2020, to March 3.
- Thundurus for all other time periods until further notice.
Battles within the Go Battle League are set up the same way as Trainer Battles and Team Leader Training Battles. You select three Pokémon and will be matched up with another Trainer at random. The Battle begins with your first Pokémon against your opponent's first Pokémon, and until a Pokémon is sent out, neither Trainer knows what the other has brought with them. If you're lucky, the Pokémon you've chosen will have a Type advantage, or at least not be weak against the other Trainer's choice. There are definitely some Pokémon better suited for these Battles than others, but there isn't a single Pokémon that cannot be countered, so there's a fair bit of luck involved in winning these matches.
To learn more about which Pokémon you should focus on for the Pokémon Go Battle League, see our Pokémon Go Battle League Prep Guide.
Like other Battles within Pokémon Go, you'll mostly be using your Fast Move until you've built up your Charged Move, which will involve hitting several bubbles on the screen to determine how strong it hits. Each Trainer will have two Shields they can deploy against any Charged Move, but dodging isn't really an option like it is in Raids. Whichever Trainer's Pokémon faint first loses. The winner will move up in Rank, as well as get an increase to their Matchmaking Rating. The loser won't lose Rank, but in higher Ranks, you can lose points in your Rating.
Moving up Rank and Rating
Speaking of Rank and Rating, the way that you increase your Rank and Rating varies depending on your current Rank. If you're in Rank One, every Battle you play will increase your Rank - even if you lose! Once you reach Rank Two, losing Battles won't cost you anything, but only winning Battles will increase your Rank. Once you hit Rank Seven, you'll be able to see your Matchmaking Rating. This Rating is the number used to pair you up with other Trainers. To increase your Rank above Seven, you need to increase that Rating, and you only do that by winning. Losing Battles still won't lower your Rank, but it will reduce your Rating, so too many losses prevent you from increasing Rank, even when you win. The highest Rank is Rank Ten. You can keep Battling after Rank Ten and still increase your Rating, but once you've hit Rank Ten, you're there until the season ends.
For those who have noticed that Nearby Battles and Team Leader Battles are no longer where they used to be, don't worry. You can still battle your friends in PVP Battles, and you can still Train against the Team Leaders: Blanche, Candela, and Spark. Once inside the Battle Menu, swipe down to the bottom, and you'll find your QR Code, along with a button to Scan a Battle Code for a Nearby Battle and Training options with each of the Team Leaders. You can also still Battle your Ultra and Best Friends from their profiles in your Friend List. These PVP and NPC Battles are a great way to practice for the real deal and still grant rewards all their own. However, your Rank and Rating won't be impacted by any of these Battles, and you won't get the Go Battle League Rewards from them either.
Another thing you can do to prepare for your next Battle is set Parties. Pokémon Go allows you to set up multiple Parties for each League (as well as for Gyms and Raids.) This lets you pick out specific Pokémon ahead of time. When you go to Battle in the League, your chosen Party will be there waiting for you so you won't have to wade through your hundreds of Pokémon to find the specific Tyranitar you want to bring. This is especially useful for players who have multiple of the same type of Pokémon for different purposes.
- The first preseason ran from January 29, 2020, through March 13, 2020.
- The first season ran from March 13, 2020, through May 11, 2020.
Do you have any questions about the Pokémon Go Battle League? Have any tips for your fellow Trainers? Drop them in the comments below, and be sure to check out our Complete Pokédex, as well as our many other Pokémon Go Guides so you too can be a Pokémon Master!
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