Pokemon

Pokemon GO Battle League guide - How to play, rewards, rankings, more

by Paul Cotton
Pokemon Company

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Pokemon GO Battle League is finally here. The new PvP battling mode will allow trainers to earn rewards and ascend the league's ranks. Here's everything you need to know.

The new PvP mode enables trainers to compete with one another from across the world. With that, Pokemon Go appears to be morphing from just a simple pick up and play title to something with more of a competitive feel to it.

How to play GO Battle League

Presuming Niantic have given you access to GO Battle League, which will depend on your trainer level, you can access it through the main Pokemon Go screen.

Pokemon Go Battle League
@PokemonGoApp
Battling is about to get a lot more intense in Pokemon Go...

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Firstly, tap the Main Menu button (PokeBall) and then tap the "Battle" icon. From there you can choose whether to battle for basic rewards (free) or premium rewards which comes in the form of the new Premium Battle Pass.

It's important to note that the Premium Battle Pass has now replaced the Premium Raid Pass and can be used for both GO Battle League and Raid Battles. It still costs 100 PokeCoins to purchase.

GO Battle League Set

To play you will need a GO Battle League Set. This is unlocked by walking 5km at a maximum of three a day.

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The reasoning for this is currently unknown but it is probably nothing more than to keep the battles important and limit the rewards. It's either that or Niantic wants us all to keep fit!

You can also cut short the 5km you need to walk but this will cost you some hard-earned PokeCoins. This option will only become available when you have walked 2km and the cost of getting the GO Battle League set will decrease the closer you are to 5km.

Rewards

Rewards in both the free and premium variety will vary between the following:

  • Charge TM
  • Mystery Item
  • Pokemon Encounter
  • Rare Candy
  • Stardust

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The Pokemon you can encounter as a reward depend on your ranking. Naturally the higher your rank, the rarer the species you can find.

  • Rank 1-3: **Snorlax, Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott, *Machop
  • Rank 4-6: **Scraggy, *Meditite, *Skarmory
  • Rank 7-10: *Lapras, *Larvitar, Shieldon, Litwick, Deino

*Potential shiny | **Guaranteed encounter upon reaching that rank

For clarification, you can also encounter any of the Pokemon from a lower rank. For example, if you're Rank 7 you can encounter any of the Pokemon from 1-6.

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Pokemon Go Battle League Ranks Encounters
@OrangeHeart2018
What you need to do to climb the ranks in GO Battle League and what Pokemon you can encounter...

Ranks

The Pokemon GO Battle League works on a ranking system from levels 1 to 10. You can climb the ranks in a given season but cannot fall.

Your rating is separate from your rank and is determined by wins and losses in battles. Unlike your ranking, your rating can decrease in a season. Your rating won't be visible until you hit Rank 7.

You will need to achieve the following to rise through the ranks (via OrangeHeart2018):

  • Rank 1: Starting rank
  • Rank 2: Complete 5 battles
  • Rank 3: Complete 5 additional battles (10 in total)
  • Rank 4: Complete 5 additional battles (15 in total)
  • Rank 5: Win 5 battles after reaching Rank 4
  • Rank 6: Win 7 additional battles (12 in total)
  • Rank 7: Win 10 additional battles (22 in total)
  • Rank 8: Reach a battle rating of 1,800+
  • Rank 9: Reach a battle rating of 2,100+
  • Rank 10: Reach a battle rating of 2,700+

What team should you use?

The mode is still brand new, and even unavailable for some as of writing, so there are more questions than answers at this point. Trainers will be still be learning the intricacies of how the mode works and if there is a template team to use.

As there is such an array of Pokemon that trainers can use, having a set Pokemon to counter that will be difficult, if not impossible. This is in contrast to battles with various Team Rocket members where you can predict what species they will use, and therefore have suitable counters ready.

It's worth noting you cannot use two of the same species in any given battle.

Battle League schedule

The beginning of Season 1 has yet to be announced so, for now, you are essentially playing a beta of the new mode. Ranks will be partially reset when the preseason period comes to an end - more details about this haven't been given as of writing.

The preseason schedule is as follows:

  • Great League: Kick off
  • Ultra League: Monday, February 10
  • Master League: Monday, February 24
  • Great League: Monday, March 9

Presumably, Niantic are tentatively eyeing a March 21 start for Season 1 but we'll need to wait for confirmation on this. For now, though, enjoy the Pokemon Go competition and familiarize yourselves with how it works - it looks like competitive battles are here to stay!