Pokémon Go Battles: How to battle trainers and PvP rewards explained

Everything you need to know about Pokémon Go's Player vs Player - or PvP - 'Trainer Battles' mode.

Pokémon Go Battles are a much requested feature - this allows you to engage in PvP (or Player vs Player, a term popularised in other multiplayer games) against other people.

This, alongside trading from earlier in 2018, means Pokémon Go is finally starting to catch with one of core handheld games in their original goals - allowing players to directly compete and swap their various catches.

On this page:

How to battle and train in Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go battles are restricted to players who are Pokémon Go level 10 or above.

If you're just starting, it won't take too long to get there - and means you should have a range of creatures at your disposal to start battling.

Once you have reached level 10, there are two ways to battle others in Pokémon Go.

How to battle against other players in Pokémon Go

There are two ways of battling against others:

  • Locally: Open the 'Nearby' menu, which is at the bottom right corner of the map screen. This will give you a variety of Battle options. Trap the 'Challenge a Trainer' button and scan the QR code on another player's screen (also found in the same menu). You don't need to be Friends to battle locally.
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  • Distance: First, you need to be Ultra or Best Friends to battle another player at a distance. When you are ready, go to your Friends list, and find the player you want to battle. Press the Battle button, and they will receive a notification. If they accept, the battle begins.
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How to train against the computer in Pokémon Go

To particulate in Pokémon Go battles against the computer - also known as 'training' - then open the 'Nearby' menu, which is at the bottom right corner of the map screen. This will give you a variety of Battle options.

Along the top row is the roster of computer-controlled opponents - specifically the three leaders of Team Valor, Mystic and Instinct, allowing you to get in some practice and earn rewards.

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Here's a look at a battle against Blanche playing out:

How Pokémon Go Battles work

Here are the essentials of PvP battles:

  • PvP parties will compose of three Pokémon, compared to the six as seen in Raids and Gym Battles.
  • You will be able to swap between these three Pokémon mid-battle.
  • Though battles still aren't turn based like the main games, they work slightly differently than Gyms and Raids. They are still in real time, where you tap to inflict damage with Fast Moves, while Charge Moves have you swipe across the screen to catch 'orbs' as they appear - a little more involved that the tapping of Gym and Raid battles.
  • Additionally, Protect Shields allow you to defend against attacks. You can only use two of these for the entire battle, so choose your timing wisely - do you wait until you're against a more powerful foe before using them, or deploy them while you know what you're up against?
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  • There are three leagues - Great League, Ultra League and Master League, each having a CP cap for the Pokémon that can be used in them. The leagues mean it's not just your best Pokémon with the highest CP that will get use - with the lower leagues allowing lower CP creatures (often with unique moves) to shine, putting your full collection to the test. They are:
    • Great League - 1500 CP cap
    • Ultra League - 2500 CP cap
    • Master League - no CP cap
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Pokémon Go Battle rewards explained

Participating in Trainer Battles results in the following rewards, win or lose:

Note the above will only be rewarded once per day when training with the computer, or up to three times a day when facing other players. (Thanks to drelin530 on reddit for confirming the Sinnoh Stone drop rate.)

It was assumed these rewards would be equal to both participating players, but signs suggest that's not the case.

As well as the above, Trainer Battles will progress the long-dormant 'Ace Trainer' Medal.

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The first Ultra Bonus rewards are here, including the arrival of Raikou, Entei and Suicune in raids and Unown in Eggs. Elsewhere, after a summer teasing its arrival, the Jirachi quest is available to be completed. We soon have the first Gen 5 Pokémon to look forward to - until then, be sure to keep on top of Team Rocket Invasions and freeingShadow Pokémon, as well as catching monthly Field Research rewards.


What else you need to know about Pokémon Go Trainer Battles and PvP

As well as the above essentials, here are some extra details of interest:

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  • There is no 'leaderboard' support in game - leaving it to players to design and maintain their own outside of the game, which in theory will also allow for more flexibility and customisation.
  • The second Charge Move will be rolled out across all game modes - including Gyms and Raid battles - and will be taken from the creature's existing pool of moves.
  • Individual Charge Moves will recharge at different rates, providing some additional strategy than simply tapping and firing them off as soon as the move becomes available.
  • Adding the second charge move to a Pokémon costs Candy and Stardust - this aligns with the same values as buddy distances.
  • Challenges from players will result in notifications in-game.
  • Niantic is interested in expanding Trainer Battles with more mechanics in future - though nothing specific was confirmed, think along the lines of status effects, hidden powers, Mega Evolutions from the main games - as time goes on.
  • Additionally, Niantic has discussed the possibility of facing other computer-controlled adversaries in future. One of these is against Team Rocket Invasions, which debuted in the summer of 2019.
  • Child accounts cannot battle other players, but they can participate in battles against the computer.
  • Battles are timed, and if at the end of the battle there are still Pokémon remaining, then the winner is determined by the amount of Pokémon available, and if that's a tie, the amount of HP remaining.
  • Six versus six battles were originally tested, but Niantic found battles took too long for the more faster-paced combat Pokémon Go is known for.

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About the author

Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Guides Editor

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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