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Pokemon GO Battle League Begins Rolling Out This Week

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Update 1/31/2020

We have received official confirmation that players will now be able to make progress towards their next 5 matches when walking even if they have already completed walking for their existing set, but have not yet fought all five matches. This is a great Quality of Life update, as it gives players more control over their personal timing for entering the Go Battle League.

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Niantic has finally pulled the trigger and made the first official announcement as to the release of the much anticipated Go Battle League, the big new feature to drop for Pokemon Go

What is Go Battle League?

For those unfamiliar, the abridged version is this: Go Battle League will be the first fully supported ranking and tournament system released for Pokemon Go PVP. It will pit players of (theoretically) similar skill against each other in a league-format for prizes!

So let's take a look at what we now know about the Go Battle League.

The League

In order to enter the Go Battle League, players will first need to gain access. This can be done in one of two ways:

  1. Walk 5km in order to unlock 5 battles. This can be completed up to three times per day, and distance beyond the initial 5km unlock will go towards the next pass unlock
  2. Purchase entry with Pokecoins. The ever-familiar Premium Raid Pass is going to change names to the Premium Battle Pass, meaning it can be used for raids or for the Go Battle League. Players will also be able to pay a not-yet-disclosed amount of Pokecoins to "finish" the 5km track towards your next set of natural passes.

Once you have your entry lined up, it's time to join the fight. The Go Battle league pre-season will be divided into parts, each lasting two weeks and focusing on a different league. The start dates for each league are outlined below.

Go Battle League: Pre-Season
League Format League Start League End
Pre-Season Start On System Release February 10, 2020, at 12:59 p.m. PST
Ultra League February 10, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PST February 24, 2020, at 12:59 p.m. PST
Master League February 24, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PST Monday, March 9, 2020, at 12:59 p.m. PST
Great League Monday, March 9, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PST Monday, March 23, 2020, at 12:59 p.m. PST (assumed)

The Pre-Season Opening

Once this system begins officially rolling out, it will be considered "pre-season". This means the following:

  • The system will begin rolling out to players based on level, with high-leveled players getting it first in order to test the system, server strain, etc.
  • In theory, all players within the final minimal-level will be given access to the Go Battle League during this period.
  • Players will be able to obtain ranks during this time, but those ranks will partly reset when the next season begins.
  • The opening format will be Great League: allowing Pokemon with a CP of 1500 or under to participate, so take a look at our Great League tier list for some ideas for how to get ready.

February 10: Ultra League Pre-Season

The Go Battle League will see its first league change on February 10, giving is our first structured look at the Ultra League.

  • The format is Ultra League: allowing for Pokemon with a CP cap of 2500 or lower. Take a look at our Ultra League tier list below to get ready!
  • Players will gain ranks based on the number of battles won during this period of time
  • Rewards will be given out based on the rank given during the league

February 24: Master League Pre-Season

Next we're going into the Master League: generally considered the league with the highest barrier to entry of all. Players that want to enter this league had better start getting their Pokemon ready, because this is going to be a wild ride!

  • The format is Master League, which has no CP limitations! Check our tier list below to get ready!
  • Players will gain ranks based on the number of battles won during this period of time
  • Rewards will be given out based on the rank given during the league

March 9: Great League Pre-Season Return

We'll finish off the pre-season with what seems to currently be considered the primer league of Pokemon Go PVP: the Great League. If a player is ready for PVP currently, chances are that this is the league.

  • The format is Great League: allowing for Pokemon with a CP cap of 1500 or lower. We've already posted the Great League tier list under pre-season above.
  • Players will gain ranks based on the number of battles won during this period of time
  • Rewards will be given out based on the rank given during the league

Beyond the Pre-Season

We don't know what will happen beyond pre-season, but it's likely that we'll see the beginning of season 1, with changes leveraged based on how everything went pre-season. 

League Rewards

While having a reason and way to play PVP beyond private formats such as Silph, Rocket battles, and private, personal fun is a bit of a reward in-and-of itself, the main reason for any event or feature is for in-game rewards, so it's time we take a look at what to expect! It's been confirmed that rewards earned will be based on your rank, so if you want to hit the jackpot, be prepared to do a lot of walking and battling moving forward.

These rewards are split into two categories: confirmed rewards, and datamined rewards. Confirmed rewards are rewards that we fairly well know that we'll be getting, as they've been confirmed by Niantic themselves. Datamined rewards, on the other hand, are rewards that players have discovered within the data of the game in connection to the Go Battle League. They're extremely likely, but may be more subject to change as time goes on.

Confirmed Rewards

Pika Libre

Pika Libre - Model from Pokken Tournament

The first big reward mentioned is a new special costumed-Pikachu: Pika Libre. This is a special variant of Pikachu that was first released in the main-series games Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby. In these games, it has access to the exclusive Fighting Type move Flying Press, which was found in Pokemon Go's data a few months ago, making it an extremely likely outcome for the release of this lucha-libre rodent!
 

Along with Pika Libre itself, we will also see Pika Libre-inspired avatar items!

Battle-Related Items

While we'll go into a bit more detail in the next secton, the following have all been confirmed as rewards for the Go Battle League:

  • Stardust
  • Rare Candy
  • TMs

With higher rank will come greater quantity and quality of reward, so get ready to walk!

Datamined Rewards

These ones come from our good friends at Pokeminers, who have detailed their findings in regards to the Go Battle League. While the data here is likely to remain moving forward, it's a bit more uncertain at this point due to a lack of official confirmation from Niantic.

Pokeminers has summed up their findings in this beautiful infographic, detailing rewards and ranks that have been discovered as of the posting of this article.

Infographic credit to Pokeminers, posted on their Official Discord by makateller.

To say the least, we have a lot to unpack here. The most obvious stand-out fact is the split between free and premium rewards, with premium sporting better and more rewards than free rewards, which will definitely put a bit more disparity between free and paid players for this feature. On the other hand, we're also seeing a number of rare Pokemon encounters for the league, some of which could be particularly exciting for many players!

Rank 1-3 Encounters

Rank 4-6, plus all previous encounters

Rank 7 and up, plus all previous encounters

Closing

This update is likely to be both resource-intensive and rewarding for players. Now is the time to begin getting ready and planning out your strategies for these leagues. Many of our resources could prove to be extremely useful in the coming weeks, as we not only highlight PVP usage, but ways that PVP and other systems overlap in order to make the most of your hard-earned dust and candy.

Here's hoping that the Go Battle League will be a huge success! Let us know what you think below!

Full Anouncement

Full Text

Trainers,

The GO Battle League is on its way! This week, the GO Battle League will start gradually becoming available to Trainers based on Trainer level. Game features are rolled out in this fashion in order to maintain stability. At launch, the first preseason of the GO Battle League will kick off. During preseason, we will continue to optimize and tune the feature so that Season 1 can be the best season that it can be!

What is preseason?

Preseason is a period of time before a season of competitive play begins. With your help, we will be able to optimize and balance the GO Battle League feature during this time. We will also be taking this time to learn about how the GO Battle League is being used in order to determine things like ideal length of seasons, rating thresholds for ranks, and more. In a previous blog post, we mentioned some details that have already been decided: Trainer Battles within the GO Battle League will rotate between the three leagues, you’ll be able to rank against your fellow Trainers, and you’ll earn rewards for ranking.

For the preseason, the GO Battle League will begin with the Great League, then move on to the Ultra League and the Master League. Leagues will rotate every two weeks. You can still rank during preseason, but your rank will be partially reset at the beginning of Season 1. You will still earn rewards for battling and winning, so this is a great time to practice and earn some cool rewards as well.

The GO Battle League’s preseason kicks off now with the Great League. The preseason will rotate formats to the Ultra League on Monday, February 10, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PST. The Master League will follow on Monday, February 24, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PST, with the Great League returning once again on Monday, March 9, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PST. Stay tuned for more details on when the preseason will end and Season 1 will begin.

GO Battle League rewards

We’d like to share some info about the rewards you’ll be receiving for taking part in the GO Battle League.

  • Rewards will be determined by rank and battles won. Trainers will be asked to walk five kilometers in order to earn entry into the GO Battle League and unlock five online matches, and this can be done up to three times a day. As you battle, you can receive a large amount of Stardust depending on your rank and how many of the five battles you win. More wins earn you more Stardust! You’ll also be able to earn important battle-related items (like Rare Candies and TMs) and exclusive Pokémon encounters!
  • Pikachu Libre and avatar items inspired by it will be GO Battle League rewards! Clad in a wrestling-themed costume, Pikachu Libre was first featured in Pokémon Omega Ruby, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, and Pokkén Tournament. It’ll be making its Pokémon GO debut as a Pokémon that can be encountered exclusively via participation in the GO Battle League. As you rise in the ranks during the preseason, you can also look forward to avatar items inspired by Pikachu Libre as exclusive rewards. Be sure to dress up with some of those items to show off your battling prowess, since only participants in the GO Battle League can obtain them!
  • Premium Raid Passes will soon be Premium Battle Passes. This pass might look familiar—it’s the Premium Raid Pass but with a new name! This pass can be used to enter Raid Battles or to enter the premium track in the GO Battle League. Trainers might find winning on the premium track even more rewarding! The Premium Battle Pass will allow you to receive better rewards each time you win, and it will also lower the number of wins needed to earn certain Pokémon encounters. Using a Premium Battle Pass does not affect your rank or rating—the only way to improve those is to win.
  • Use Battle Now to gain early access to the GO Battle League. Just finished your walk and realized you still have one kilometer left to walk before you can battle? The Battle Now feature gives you the ability to spend PokéCoins to enter the GO Battle League early. The cost decreases as you get closer to the five-kilometer goal. Note that you still need to walk at least two kilometers before you can use this option. There’s no substitute for getting out and walking! You can always walk the full distance to enter the GO Battle League without spending PokéCoins.

Make sure you’re subscribed to receive push notifications to find out when the GO Battle League will become available to everyone! In celebration of the release of GO Battle League, your first set of GO Battle League battles is on us, so you won’t need to walk five kilometers to try it out! Follow our social channels after the feature rolls out this week to stay updated as the preseason progresses, and share your favorite battle moments with #GOBattle.

Now, Trainers—let’s GO battle!

—The Pokémon GO team

About the Author(s)

Gamepress writer with a focus on theorycrafting and gameplay optimization. A Pokemon player since its inception, and a Pokemon Go player since day 1.

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