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Pokémon Go Battle League Season 18 release date, changes, plus Season 18 rank rewards, dates and rules

Everything you need to know about the matchmade competitive league.

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.

Following the release of Season 6 in November 2020, the Go Battle League underwent a number of significant changes - increasing the number of ranks to 24 with the highest ranks being marked by special names (Ace, Veteran, Expert, Legend), new rewards and an increased length.

Despite these changes, the overall structure of the Go Battle League in Pokémon Go has remained the same - players are still placed Ranks that reset at the end of every Season.

Like Raids, it also has paid and free participation, with different Go Battle League rewards accordingly.

On this page:

Watch as battle Guzzlord - one of the Ultra Beasts in Pokémon GoWatch on YouTube

How the Pokémon Go Battle League works, from Ranks to Seasons

There are many components to how the Pokémon Go Battle League works, with a number of changes being introduced in Season 6 alongside the Season of Celebration, 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. There are bonus leagues introduced in new seasons, but those three will feature in every season.
  • From Season 6 onwards, the number of Pokémon Go Battle League Ranks increased to 24. The ranks still have a number of different progression requirements; climbing from Rank 1 to Rank 20 requires you to partake and win a number of battles, while Rank 21 to Rank 24, each with it's own unique title, requires you to reach a certain rating. During the current Interlude season, however, the rankings have been capped at 20.
  • Your '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 four Ranks. It also gives you an additional metric to complete against (with your friends, or even yourself) once you reach Rank 24 within a Season.
  • 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 Pass. 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.
Cover image for YouTube videoPokémon Go PvP gameplay: Distance battle against an Ultra Friend

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 six sets (or 30 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 Season 18 dates explained

Season 18 of the Go Battle League is running throughout World of Wonders in Pokémon Go. During this season, you'll be able to compete in a selection of special cups and all three leagues - Great, Ultra and Master.

The Leagues will rotate on a weekly basis, aside from one week towards the end of May, with regular special cup changes. The only exception is when all three Leagues are running simultaneously and, during this time, no special cup will be available.

It's important to remember that these dates are subject to change and we'll keep this page updated with any changes which occur.

The Go Battle League Season 18 begins on Friday, 1st March at 9pm UK time / 1pm PST and ends on Saturday, 1st June.

Here are all the dates, including the Go Battle Days, for the Go Battle League Season 18:

  • Great League and Electric Cup: Great League Edition dates - 1st March to 8th March
  • Ultra League and Spring Cup: Great League Edition dates - 8th March to 15th March
  • Master League and Spring Cup: Great League Edition dates - 15th March to 22nd March
  • Great League, Ultra League and Master League dates - 22nd March to 29th March
  • Great League and Ultra Premier dates - 29th March to 5th April
  • 2024 Pokémon Europe International Championships Bonus dates - 3rd April to 7th April
  • Ultra League and Jungle Cup: Great League Edition dates - 5th April to 12th April
  • Master League and Jungle Cup: Great League Edition dates - 12th April to 19th April
  • Great League, Ultra League and Master League dates - 19th April to 26th April
  • Great League and Master Premier dates - 26th April to 3rd May
  • Ultra League and Great League Remix dates - 3rd May to 10th May
  • Go Battle Weekend: World of Wonders dates - 4th May to 5th May
  • Master League and Great League Remix dates - 10th May to 17th May
  • Catch Cup: Little Edition and Catch Cup: Great League Edition dates - 17th May to 24th May
  • Great, Ultra and Master League dates - 24th May to 31st May

You'll receive quadruple Stardust for win rewards, but not end-of-set rewards, between the following dates:

  • 15th March to 29th March
  • 12th April to 26th April
  • 10th May to 31st May

Go Battle League Season 18 events in Pokémon Go

There are three Go Battle League event running throughout Season 18 in Pokémon Go.

First off, there will be a free Go Battle League-themed timed researh quest available in the in-game shop. Each step of the quest tracks your victories during World of Wonders and you'll be rewarded for every 100 wins you earn. Alongside Stardust and useful items, you'll earn an Elite Fast TM at 400 wins and an Elite Charged TM at 500 wins.

Alongside this the 2024 Pokémon Europe International Championships Bonus will be running from Wednesday 3rd April at 12am (local time) to Sunday 7th April at 11:59pm (local time). You can partake in the Great League and Ultra Premier League until Friday 5th April before the Go Battle League switches to the Ultra League and Jungle Cup: Great League Edition on that day.

This bonus sees the maximum number of battle sets you can compete in every day will also be increased to 10, meaning you can partake in 50 battles per day.

The second event is Go Battle Weekend: World of Wonders, which is running on Saturday 4th May at 12am (local time) to Sunday 5th May at 11:59pm (local time).

During this event, the number of battle sets you can complete will be increased to 20, meaning you can complete 100 battles throughout this day. Both the Ultra League and Great League Remix will be live throughout this weekend.

You will receive quadruple Stardust from the win rewards during this event, but this doesn't include the end-of-set rewards. Not to forget about the free timed research quest which will give you the chance to earn the Hala-Style shoes.

Pokémon Go Battle League Rank requirements

Go Battle League has you progress through 24 Ranks per Season. This number was increased from 10 on November 30th 2020, alongside the release of Season 6 of the Go Battle League and the Season of Celebrations.

Each Rank requires a different objective for you to progress, and each one also has it's own set of rewards.

From Season 6 onwards, you'll need to participate and win a number of battles to progress from Rank 1 to Rank 20.

Certain ranks will be easier to overcome than others, because they will only require you to complete one set of battles to progress. This means that, even if you only win one battle out of five, you'll still progress to the next rank.

The Ranks that only require you to complete one battle set are - Rank 5, Rank 10, Rank 15 and Rank 19.

If you wish to climb from Rank 21 to Rank 24, however, you need to obtain a certain rating by remaining undefeated for a certain number of matches.

Each Rank from 21 to 24 also has it's own specific title - Ace, Veteran, Expert and Legend - which not only helps you identify which rating you need to achieve, but gives you some good bragging rights too.

Below you can find which title has been assigned to each rank, alongside the rating you'll need to progress to that specific rank:

  • Rank 21 - Ace - 2,000 rating
  • Rank 22 - Veteran - 2,500 rating
  • Rank 23 - Expert - 2,750 rating
  • Rank 24 - Legend - 3,000 rating

The World of Wonders season has come to Pokémon Go, giving you the chance to catch Poipole. Don't forget to try out Routes, Gift Exchange and Party Play while you're hunting down rare Pokémon, fighting in the Go Battle League or competing in PokéStop Showcases.

Pokémon Go Battle League item rewards

As you climb through each Season's in the Go Battle League, you'll find yourself being rewarded in a number of way. This includes set win rewards, Pokémon encounters and rewards for progressing to new a Rank.

The specifics of rewards, especially the Pokémon encounters, tend to change from season to season, so it's always a good idea to read through this section at the beginning of each season, so that you know what's waiting for you.

Rank rewards

Rank rewards are, as the name suggests, the rewards you receive for progressing to a new rank in the Go Battle League. These rewards often include useful items, like Potions, and Stardust.

Under the ranking system from Season 6 onwards, a number of ranks now only require you to complete one set of battles, be it win or lose, for you to progress to the next rank. These ranks have also been given specific reward tracks, which means you're guaranteed a certain type of reward for completing them.

Below you can find these special ranks and the type of rewards you'll receive for completing them:

  • Rank 5 - Mystery items
  • Rank 10 - Stardust
  • Rank 15 - Rare Candies
  • Rank 19 - Pokémon encounters and an Elite Fast TM

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:

  • Stardust
  • Charged TMs
  • Mystery Item (either a Sinnoh Stone, Charged TMs, Golden Razz Berry or Silver Pinap Berry
  • Rare Candy
  • Pokémon Encounter (some suaranteed at certain ranks)
  • When you hit certain ranks - Avatar items, such Pikachu Libre and character-inspired clothing and avatar pose exclusive to that season

Pokémon Go Battle League Season 18 encounter rewards

Pokémon encounters are the same regardless of whether you go for the free or premium reward track, but differ according to your Rank. If your playing the free reward track, then you're guaranteed a Pokémon encounter after three wins, but, if you're on premium, then you only need one win to earn your encounter.

The higher the rank, the wider the pool of possible encounters gets, with more rare creatures available. Here are the Pokémon encounter rewards which have been currently announced for the Interlude Season:

RankGuaranteed Pokémon encounterPokémon added to encounter pool
6PoliwrathFrillish (Male)
11NoneAlolan Marowak
20NoneCurrent five-star raid boss
Ace RankDeinoGoomy
Veteran RankGoomyDeino
Expert RankJangmo-oJangmo-o
Legend RankPikachu LibreNo new Pokémon

If you reach rank 20, you're also guaranteed an encounter with the legendary Pokémon which is in five-star raids at the time you reach the Pokémon encounter reward.

Guaranteed Pokémon encounters will always occur, even if you don't earn enough wins on that encounter specific rank. This means if you haven't had your encounter with Primeape by the time you reach Rank 6 and then earn an encounter, you'll have to face these Pokémon before Poliwrath.

Once you've caught Primeape, you'll be able to catch Poliwrath during your next Pokémon encounter and this is the same all the guaranteed Pokémon encounters.

Other Pokémon Go Battle League rewards

The exclusive clothing for Season 18 is inspired by Hala - the kahuna of Melemele Island from Pokémon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. He's also the grandfather for your rival, Hau.

This clothing set consists of four pieces, one being a new animated pose, and you can earn each piece by reaching a specific Rank in the Go Battle League. The expection to this, however, are the Hala-Style Shoes which can be earned by completing the timed research quest available during the Go Battle Weekend: World of Wonders event.

Below you'll find which pieces of the Hala-themed clothing set are earned at each Rank:

  • Ace Rank - Hala-Style Shoes
  • Veteran Rank - Hala-Style Pants
  • Expert Rank - Hala-Style Shirt
  • Legend Rank - Hala-Style Pose
Image credit: Niantic

Finally, by reaching Rank 19, you'll earn an Elite Charged TM and, when Season 17 ends, you'll also receive an Elite Fast TM.

Remember - your ranking will reset at the end of every season, so, if a certain reward has caught your eye, make sure you get it this season or else you risk missing it!