The Pokémon Go Battle League takes Pokémon Go's Battle system - which until 2020 allowed friends or local players to complete against one another - and make it into a competitive, worldwide matchmade league anyone can compete in.
The Go Battle League has a structure - placing players into Ranks that reset every Season.
Like Raids, it also has paid and free participation, with different Go Battle League rewards accordingly.
On this page:
Update (February 3rd): The Go Battle League is now available to all players above level 10 - with the walking distance reduced and total number of battles available per day also increased.
How the Pokémon Go Battle League works, from Ranks to Seasons
There are many components to how the Pokémon Go Battle League works, but here it is at a glance:
- The Pokémon Go Battle League takes place over the course of a Season, and will rotate through all three existing Leagues which cap Pokémon by their CP - the Great League (1500 CP), Ultra League (2500 CP) and Master League (any CP) - every two weeks.
- Pokémon Go Battle League will first launch with a 'pre-season', where Niantic will fine tune the Go Battle League as its gradually rolled out to players - essentially making it a beta for the first proper Season debut. Ranking is still possible, but ranks will "partially reset" when a season properly launches.
- Participating increases your Pokémon Go Battle League Rank, starting with Rank 1 and ending with Rank 10. Each Rank has a different requirement to progress - whether it's playing a set number of matches or winning - and once you reach a Rank, you cannot drop below it until the Season ends.
- There is also an additional 'battle rating' that increases when you win and drops when you lose. Though this exists outside of the Rank system, you are required to progress past certain thresholds to progress the last three Ranks. It also gives you an additional metric to complete against (with your friends, or even yourself) once you reach Rank 10 within a Season.
- To participate in the Go Battle League, you must first walk 3km to gain entry, with your progress displayed in the Battle screen. This has a few requirements worth noting: each charge gives you 5 matches, and you can 'bank' a charge, meaning you can walk to build up another. You play a maximum of three sets (15) battles per day.
- Additionally, provided you've walked a set distance, you can pay PokéCoins to fast track the recharge, with the cost reducing the closer to 3km you are.
- For the five matches you play within a set, you can receive rewards, which are displayed on screen in a 'free' and 'premium' track, the latter you can enter by using a Premium Battle Pass (which will replace the Premium Raid Pass, and allow you to enter either activity). Note once you have entered a run of battles, you cannot change track partway through.
- There are also additional rewards you earn when you level up a rank, and more at the end of the season.
- Niantic has said it will tweak and change things over time. For example, at launch you needed to walk 5km per charge, and could only participate in three sets per day (instead of five).
Thanks to martycochrane on reddit for helping with some of the above information.
Pokémon Go Battle League Season dates and Go Battle League level requirement
At launch, Pokémon Go Battle League will be rolled out gradually to players by level, starting on January 28th, from level 40, then decreasing over time. Go Battle League is now available to all players from level 10.
When you finally get access, you won't have to walk a full 3km to start playing - it will come fully charged for your first go.
Pokémon Go Battle League's first season will be a 'pre-season' - a beta of sorts before the first proper Season begins - allowing Niantic to test the new feature.
- Pre-season Great League dates: January 28th to February 10th
- Pre-season Ultra League dates: February 10th to February 24th
- Pre-season Master League dates: February 24th to March 9th
Leagues will all change over on Pokémon Go's usual reset time at 1pm PST / 9pm UK time.
As with full seasons, ranking is enabled for the pre-season, but ranks will "partially reset" when Season 1 (which has yet to be given a release date) launches.
Pokémon Go Battle League rules and battle restrictions
Go Battle League battles seem to behave the same as a standard Battle against a Friend or someone locally, but there are some competitive-orientated rules and restrictions to make things fair:
- Each time you enter the Go Battle League, you will play a 'set' of five matches.
- There is a limit to how many Go League Battles you can participate in per day, whether free or paid, at five sets (or 25 battles) per day.
- You can only use one of each Pokémon species in your Battle team in a contest.
- As per game-wide Battle rule changes, if Pokémon use Charged Attacks at the same time, the Pokémon with the highest Attack stat will go first. If they are the same, one Pokémon chosen at random will go first.
- Switching between Pokémon will reset any changes made to Attack or Defence, such as buffs or debuffs from moves made during battle.
- Early leaks suggested as well as the one species per team and CP cap per League limit, that certain Pokémon will be available at certain ranks, with more available the higher you climb - though at launch this doesn't appear to be the case.
Thanks to martycochrane on reddit for helping with some of the above information.
Pokémon Go Battle League Rank requirements
Go Battle League has you progress through 10 Ranks per Season. Each Rank requires a different objective for you to progress, and each Rank also has its own set of rewards. First, let's look at Rank progression:
Pokémon Go Battle League Ranks list
- Go Battle League Rank 1 - Already unlocked
- Go Battle League Rank 2 - Win or lose 5 Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 3 - Win or lose 5 Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 4 - Win or lose 5 Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 5 - Win 5 Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 6 - Win 7 Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 7 - Win 10 Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 8 - Have a Go League Battle rating of 1800
- Go Battle League Rank 9 - Have a Go League Battle rating of 2100
- Go Battle League Rank 10 - Have a Go League Battle rating of 2700
In short - Ranks 2-4 require match completions, Ranks 5-7 require match wins, and Ranks 8-10 require you to increase your Battle League rating.
Pokémon Go Battle League rewards
There are multiple types of reward in the Go Battle League - but the ones to be most aware of are set wins and Pokémon Encounters.
All the following are likely to change season-to-season, and at the time of writing, the following Pokémon Go Battle League rewards are true for the pre-season.
Go League set win rewards
Each set contains five matches, and you earn more rewards for each subsequent win, allowing you to win a total of five rewards if you win every match.
Before you play, you can either earn basic (free) rewards or use a Premium Pass to earn a different set of rewards. These are usually more of the same reward types, or will see the order shuffled so it's easier to get certain rewards.
You can see what the rewards in both the basic and premium sets are before you begin, so you can make the call of whether you want to spend a Premium Pass or not (after all, winning isn't guaranteed!).
Possible rewards in both tracks include:
- Charged TMs
- Mystery Item (either a Sinnoh Stone, Charged TMs or Silver Pinap Berry - thanks to oAbuttre on reddit for confirming these)
- Rare Candy
- Pokémon Encounter
Go League Pokémon Encounters work
Pokémon Encounters are the same regardless of whether you go for the free or premium reward track, but differ according to your Rank.
The higher the rank, the wider the pool of possible encounters gets, with more rare creatures available. These are as follows (thanks to lewymd on reddit for confirming these):
- Ranks 1-3: Snorlax, Machop, Tepig, Snivy, Oshawatt
- Ranks 4-6: Previous Pokémon Encounters, plus Scraggy, Skamory, Meditite
- Ranks 7-10: Previous Pokémon Encounters, plus Lapras, Litwick, Deino, Shieldon, Larvitar
Additionally, your first Pokémon Encounter will always be Snorlax, while the first Pokémon Encounter from Rank 4 will always be Scraggy.
If you don't get a Pokémon Encounter at either of these Ranks, don't fret - you'll just encounter them the next time you earn an Encounter reward. (And if you didn't get Snorlax by Rank 4, you still encounter that first before next getting Scraggy.)
Other Pokémon Go Battle League rewards
There are other rewards given for participating in the Pokémon Go Battle League:
- You'll earn Stardust when completing a set of matches, whether you rank up or not
- There are undisclosed end-of-season rewards, which is likely to be determined by your end-of-season rank
As well as the above, Niantic has teased the following rewards for participating in the Pokémon Go Battle League:
- A Pikachu Libre form encounter - sometime in Go Battle League Season 1
- Pikachu Libre-inspired Avatar items - reach Rank 7 in the Go Battle League preseason (thanks TheVps on reddit for confirming)
Final note on this page - with the Go Battle League only just going live, some details may change - but thanks to datamines, we already have a good idea of how the Go Battle League is structured, the many restrictions, and the rewards you get for participating.