The idea of any Pokemon battle is to win, right? Well, apparently not. Trainers are losing their Pokemon Go GO Battle League (GBL) matches on purpose and they have a very good reason for doing so.
For some players the allure of the GBL rewards outweighs winning. Now, it would be make sense for rewards to be given to players who win and that's exactly how it's set up.
So, why would players be intentionally losing? The reason is to get themselves into a position where it is easier to win.
Rank Tanking remains
GBL Matchmaking matches you against players of a similar ability based on rank and rating. Up until you reach rank 7 you will be matched with trainers of the same rank.
This changes once you reach rank 8, though, as at that point you will be given a rating. As you can't drop your rank in a given season, from rank 8 to 10 you will always be matched with trainers of a similar rating.
It makes sense that less experienced trainers, and therefore easier opponents, are found between ranks 1 to 7 then. After all, getting to rank 8 isn't difficult - all you need to do is win 27 matches in total.
So, once you get to the 'matchmaking based on rating' point, winning will become much harder. The only way to give yourself easier matches is to minimize your rating and in some cases, where trainers have built up a higher rating, lose several on purpose.
With GO Battle League not requiring you to walk 3km in between sets, due to the current global health situation, losing a lot of battles and quickly isn't too difficult. This is far from in-keeping with how much Pokemon games should be played but a lot of players are competing for the rewards - and apparently the rewards only.
Lose to get rewards?
Rewards are distributed based on how many battles you win in a given set (five battles). These range from Stardust, items and most appealingly of all encounters with rare Pokemon.
Under the 'basic rewards' selection, you can earn an encounter with a rare Pokemon by winning four of five battles. This is by no means easy but is certainly do-able.
Winning those four battles is obviously a lot easier when against poorer quality opponents. So, it becomes more understandable why trainers are losing - or 'Rank Tanking'.
These encounters have included Darkrai, Giratina and most recently Cobalion - so there is massive incentive to get those four wins. Landorus is also coming to as a reward for those above rank 4 soon. While the system remains as it is, losing on purpose in GBL may be a common theme.
Hopefully, Niantic think of a better way to distribute the rewards so that trainers do their best to win at all times but also get fairly rewarded. It's tricky but the current system is obviously not working.