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:
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.
- 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. (Update: Until April 13th, 2020, you no longer need to walk or use PokéCoins to charge Go Battle League. So fight away!)
- 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.
Pokémon Go Battle League Season dates and Go Battle League level requirement
With the 'pre-season' for Pokémon Go Battle League coming to a close, the dates for Go Battle League Season 1 have been announced.
- Season 1 Great League dates: March 13th to March 27th
- Season 1 Ultra League dates: March 27th to April 10th
- Season 1 Master League dates: April 10th to April 24th
- Season 1 All Leagues available: April 24th to May 1st
Each League will change over at Pokémon Go's usual reset time of 1pm PST / 9pm UK time.
Season 2 will then begin on Friday, 1st May.
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.
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 a certain number of Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 3 - Win a certain number of Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 4 - Win a certain number of Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 5 - Win a certain number of Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 6 - Win a certain number of Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 7 - Win a certain number of Go League Battles
- Go Battle League Rank 8 - Have a Go League Battle rating of 2000
- Go Battle League Rank 9 - Have a Go League Battle rating of 2500
- Go Battle League Rank 10 - Have a Go League Battle rating of 3000
In short - Ranks 2-7 require match wins and Ranks 8-10 require you to increase your Battle League rating.
Pokémon Go in 2020 continues to add new features, such the arrival of the Go Battle League - which is currently highlighting the Master League - and soon, Clone Pokémon. We've also recently had the Buddy Adventure feature, which introduces a variety of perks - including finding Souvenirs - as well as a new trade evolution feature. 2019 saw the release of the first Gen 5 Pokémon, along with new regional exclusive Pokémon, Egg charts, and the introduction of the Unova Stone. Pokemon Go also sees regular events - including weekly Spotlight Hour and Mystery Bonus evenings, monthly Field Research rewards and Pokémon Go Community Day, plus a new Giovanni counters quest - the latest being The Shadowy Threat Grows. There is also an upcoming paid in-game event, A Drive for Discovery.
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:
- Ranks 1-3: Metagross, Tepig, Snivy, Oshawatt
- Ranks 4-6: Previous Pokémon Encounters, plus Beldum, Scraggy, Skamory
- Ranks 7-10: Previous Pokémon Encounters, plus Rufflet, Lapras, Litwick, Deino, Shieldon, Larvitar
- Rank 10: Pikachu Libre
Additionally, your first Pokémon Encounter will always be Metagross, while the first Pokémon Encounter from Rank 4 will always be Beldum. Scraggy, however, will appear more frequently throughout Season 1 Pokémon Encounter.
Pikachu Libre will appear at a lower rank in later seasons, so don't worry if you don't reach Rank 10 this time round.
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 Metagross by Rank 4, you still encounter that first before next getting Beldum.)
Other Pokémon Go Battle League rewards
Just like during the pre-season, you will earn Stardust after completing a set of matches, whether you rank up or not. Unlike the pre-season, however, we already have an idea about what some of the end of season and Rank 10 rewards are going to be.
Aside from Pikachu Libre, if you manage to reach Rank 10 in Season 1 you'll be rewarded with avatar items and a new pose inspired Steven Stone.
Steven was the Champion of the Hoenn Pokémon League in Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. He specialised in steel-type Pokémon, which is probably why both Beldum and Metagross are included in this Season's Pokémon encounter rewards.
Finally if your rank as Rank 7 or above by the end of Season 1, you'll receive an Elite Charged TM.