Box art - Pokémon GO

Pokemon Go Trainer Battles – Everything You Need to Know

After years of anticipation, it seems that Pokemon Go Trainer Battles are finally on their way to Niantic’s popular mobile title. Although Pokemon Go was never supposed to be a mainline Pokemon game, its lack of trainer battles marked it distinctly from other Pokemon titles. After Pokemon Go trading was added, it seemed certain that Pokemon Go trainer battles would be just around the corner. Now, they’re finally almost here. Here’s everything you need to know about Pokemon Go trainer battles, including how to battle trainers in Pokemon Go as well as when trainer battles are being added to Pokemon Go

How to Battle Trainers in Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go trainer battles were announced by Niantic in a tweet last week:

Although many people thought that the tweet—which was originally teased with just an exclamation point—was to do with paving the way for Leafeon and Glaceon, fans were delighted to see that the long-awaited trainer battles had finally been announced.

However, this time around trainer battles are a little different. Unlike the bug catchers and super nerds of mainline Pokemon games, Pokemon Go’s trainer battles will be almost exclusively fought against other players. There are some exceptions to this, but mostly you’ll only be able to battle other trainers who are nearby. Luckily, you can fight Ultra Friends and Best Friends anywhere and any time, so even if you’re hundreds of miles away from your friends, you can still prove that you’re the best there ever was.

On top of this, though, is a brand new function: Pokemon Go Trainer Battle Leagues.

What Are Pokemon Go Trainer Battle Leagues?

After the announcement of Pokemon Go Trainer Battles, Niantic carried out a poll in order to see if players wanted to learn more about the brand new feature. Unsurprisingly, the majority of fans said yes, which prompted Niantic to disclose the following:

Alongside the standard Pokemon Go Trainer Battles that can be fought against friends and nearby trainers, Niantic is launching a series of Trainer Battle Leagues. These Leagues all have different CP caps, as they are designed to be accessible as well as competitive. Even if you’re a newcomer to Pokemon Go, there will be a League for you.

All of the Trainer Battle Leagues will reward trainers with fantastic rewards such as Candy, Stardust, and even rare evolution stones. Here’s the full CP breakdown of all three Pokemon Go Trainer Battle Leagues:

Interestingly, when CP is capped, players will need to get creative if they want to win. The Master League meta will differ massively from the Great League one, as the different CP caps will necessitate the use of different kinds of Pokemon. For those familiar with Smogon, OU (overused) Pokemon tend to be completely different from UU (underused) ones, with the former being more powerful, but the latter requiring more innovation. Obviously, the strong Pokemon from OU aren’t legal in UU, so players need to be crafty with the Pokemon they have at their disposal.

Although many might be attracted to the Master Leagues, there’s no shame in fighting in the Great and Ultra Leagues. They’re not inferior—they’re just a little different. This is because they’re far more accessible, allowing players with less powerful Pokemon to compete in fair and fun competition. Also, it means that you can use your favorite Pokemon instead of your strongest ones. You’ve got a 1500 CP Pikachu? Give it a shot in the Great League!

Pokemon Go Trainer Battles – Everything Else So Far

In the run up to Pokemon Go Trainer Battles, Niantic is encouraging players to catch as many Pokemon as possible. The more Candy and Stardust you have, the more powerful your Pokemon will be. Also, the more types of Pokemon you have, the more versatile your squads can be. The Master League will see lots of Legendaries, but the Great and Ultra Leagues will be all about innovative team design. Choose your favorites and test their synergy.

Since then, though, Niantic has released even more information on Pokemon Go official Trainer Battles, this time in the form of a long-form breakdown of the new feature posted on the Pokemon Go website. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got you covered with a summary of all the best bits.

Niantic started the breakdown by telling players that they had been unknowingly warming up for this for quite some time. From catching and evolving Pokémon to taking on Raid Bosses and Gyms with incredibly powerful teams, players have been assembling their teams for over two years now. Finally, it’s time for Pokemon Go players to show each other what they’re made of. That’s why Pokemon Go Trainer Battles are on the way in the first place.

The report included the following:

Beginning this month, Trainer Battles will allow you to challenge a friend or another Trainer at any time! Challenge another Trainer using a Battle Code, assemble a team of three Pokémon, and see who comes out on top! When Trainer Battles are completed, both participants will receive great rewards, including a chance at rare Evolution items.

This confirms several important facts: even if you lose, you’ll get rewards for competing. This means that accessibility is Niantic’s main goal with the addition of Pokemon Go Trainer Battles. Also, the party-of-three mechanic means that trainers won’t have the option of using traditional 6-Pokemon parties. As a result, you’ll need to choose your type-synergy very carefully. Machamp, Rayquaza, and Tyranitar might seem like a great trio at first, but you didn’t even spot that Fairy weakness, did you? Dazzling Gleam Gardevoir will easily sweep you.

On top of this, there are new features being added to the Pokemon Go battle style. It still isn’t turn-based like a traditional Pokemon game, but it isn’t adding to its own real-time combat mechanics. Specifically, as well as having access to their Fast and Charged Attack Moves, your Pokemon will be able to learn an extra Charged Attack before entering a battle. All you need to do is spend Candy and Stardust on this brand new Charged Attack and you’ll have a drastically improved chance of winning. This will also directly affect the meta, as Pokemon will now be fighting with two Charged Attacks instead of one. There are interesting days ahead for Pokemon Go fans!

As always, timing is key to achieving victory in Pokemon Go. On top of attacking, paying attention to your opponent’s moves may allow you to deploy a Protect Shield that can protect your Pokemon from even critical damage. These are finite, though, so use them wisely!

Lastly, for those who are afraid that they’re not yet strong enough for even the Great League, Team Leaders Spark, Candela, and Blanche are keen to train with players in order to help them become a Pokemon Master. You’ll be able to train with the Team Leaders once a day every day, and you’ll even net some great rewards just from doing so!

So, that’s pretty much everything that Niantic has released so far. Get out there, catch as many Pokemon as you can, and build your Great, Ultra, and Master teams so that you’re ready to show what you’re made of when Pokemon Go Trainer Battles launch soon!