Pokémon GO Battle League Season Three Announced For July 27

Pokémon GO Fest 2020 isn't the only major Pokémon GO event that Niantic is gearing up for this week. As Bleeding Cool previously reported, the second season of GO Battle League, the player-versus-player competition in the game, is drawing to a close. With the end of GBL Season Two, Niantic has released information on GO Battle League Season Three. Along with a brand new league added to the game, there are multiple interesting updates that the mobile developed announced for their ever-changing PVP system… including a way to encounter Galarian Pokémon. The new season will begin on July 27th, kicking off, as a season of GO Battle League always does, with Great League.

GO Battle League Season Three promo art. Credit: Niantic.
GO Battle League Season Three promo art. Credit: Niantic.

GO Battle League Season Three schedule

Niantic broke down their schedule for Season Two, but noted that the dates are tentative and subject to change. Season Two's dates were slightly altered when Niantic discovered a glitch in the game that players were exploiting in order to rise in the ranks, and Season One was also impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown. Here are the dates for the four returning leagues and the new addition of the Ultra League Premiere Cup:

The Great League will run from Monday, July 27, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. to Monday, August 10, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PDT (GMT −7).

The Ultra League and its Premier Cup will run from Monday, August 10, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. to Monday, August 24, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PDT (GMT −7). This Premier Cup will have a 2500 CP limit.

The Master League and its Premier Cup will run from Monday, August 24, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. to Monday, September 7, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PDT (GMT −7). This Premier Cup will have no CP limit.

All three leagues and the Premier Cup (no CP limit) will be available from Monday, September 7, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. to Monday, September 14, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PDT (GMT −7).

Season 4 will begin Monday, September 14, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PDT (GMT −7).

The addition of a Premiere Cup to the Ultra League system will make the game more competitive, considering how dominant Legendary Pokémon like Giratina and Cresselia are in the league. The Premiere Cup is a close of the league, but with Legendary Pokémon not allowed. This will shake the Ultra League meta in the best case scenario, but will also likely lead to players defaulting to the dominant Swampert, whose powerful Hydro Cannon charged attack is the bane of many players' existence.

No walking requirement

Niantic also announced aspects of the GO Battle League that won't be changing with this new season, including the removal of the walking requirement that existed in-game prior to the lockdown.

There will not be a walking requirement in order to battle in the GO Battle League.

The Friendship level requirement for battling remotely will remain at Good Friends throughout Season 3. Remember that you can scan another Trainer's QR code to battle them, no matter where they are.

The avatar items inspired by Pikachu Libre will continue to be rank 7 rewards.

The battles, wins, and ratings required to reach ranks will remain the same.

Niantic's consistency in adjusting their game, which was created to inspire people to get outside, has been admirable. They have since adapted to the challenge of keeping the game playable for those still quarantining as lockdowns are loosened for others. It remains to be seen if the lack of walking requirement will permanently be removed from GO Battle League, or if it will return at some point.

Changes coming to GBL

Niantic broke down the changes coming to GBL, in addition to another limited-time Cup that will be revealed during a future event:

More cups will be added! In addition to the Ultra League Premier Cup, we're introducing the Flying Cup, where only Flying-type Pokémon will be allowed! The Flying Cup will be available during an upcoming event—more details to come!

Based on Trainer feedback, we've decided to remove the Battle Until You Win feature for Season 3.

Your guaranteed reward encounters will be a bit different for Season 3. At each listed rank, you'll encounter these Pokémon:

Pidgeot starting at rank 1

Galarian Zigzagoon starting at rank 4

Galarian Farfetch'd starting at rank 7

Rufflet starting at rank 8

Scraggy starting at rank 9

Pikachu Libre starting at rank 10

If you reach rank 10, you'll earn a brand-new avatar pose and avatar item!

For the premium rewards track, you'll now earn Rare Candies after your fourth win. The number of Rare Candies rewarded will be reduced from eight to six.

Trainers who finish Season 3 at rank 7 or higher will receive an Elite Charged TM rather than an Elite Fast TM. Besides that change, end-of-season rewards will stay the same as in Season 2.

Pidgeot, Galarian Zigzagoon, and Galarian Farfetch'd are all new additions to GO Battle League. One of the top complaints that trainers make about Niantic's PVP system is that the rewards offer encounters with Pokémon that are common in the wild, such as Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott. After fighting and winning battles to earn a Pokémon encounter, such Pokémon have led to disappointment. While Niantic seem resistant to return Legendary and Mythical Pokémon to GBL as they had before, their introduction of the egg-only Galarians to the reward systems shows continued efforts to enrich the PVP experience for players. Niantic has also changed the way certain attacks will work in the GO Battle League, which Bleeding Cool will report on soon.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.