There's nothing more exciting and at the same time, frustrating, than the new greyed out 'BATTLE' button in the top right-hand corner of the Pokemon Go menu screen. As Niantic slowly rolls out the Go Battle League feature (and occasionally puts a pause on it) all we can do is fantasise about what's to come.
Pokemon Go Battle League will finally give long-time Pokefans what they've dreamed since the early Pokemon games, to be able to battle other real-life trainers from all around the world.
Whilst Go does have a battle feature, the players are limited to a 100km distance between each other and would have to have reached a friendship level that requires gifting one another, on a daily basis, for weeks.
In a blog post covering the upcoming Go Battle League, Niantic said "At launch, the first preseason of the GO Battle League will kick-off. During preseason, we will continue to optimise and tune the feature so that Season 1 can be the best season that it can be!"
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Preseason is a period of time before a season of competitive play begins. 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 the 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.
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.
Rewards will be determined by rank and battles won. Trainers will be asked to walk five kilometres 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 realised you still have one kilometre 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-kilometre goal. Note that you still need to walk at least two kilometres 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.