It's hard to believe that GO Batte League debuted in Pokémon GO just a little over a year ago. In that time, we have seen seven seasons of varying length run, changing the landscape of PVP battles in the game in major ways. Pokémon GO has shown dedication to keeping GO Battle League dynamic not only in the structure of these seasons and the way its rewards function, but also in the leagues and cups available. The current GO Battle League Season Seven, for instance, runs alongside the Season of Legends, which dictates the overarching set of spawns and events in Pokémon GO and will continue through May 2021. Season Seven has added new and unique cups to GO Battle League, but there is a major flaw in the way it is done that has turned some would-be PVP lovers off. Let's take a look at what's going on here.
Niantic's problem with GO Battle League is simple. Rather than adding options, they're testing new options while taking away what they had led players to believe is standard. For quite some time now, both the Ultra League and Master League have run with concurrent Premier Cups which operated with the same CP limitation but removed Legendaries and Mythical. This allowed two versions of each league to operate with entirely different metas. It was even more essential for Master League, which has no CP limit and a meta composed mostly of Legendary Pokémon. In GO Battle League Season Seven, Ultra League Premier Cup returns… but Master League Premier Cup is missing.
Now, the reason that Master League Premier is missing is that Niantic has introduced a new version of Master League in Pokémon GO: Master League Classic. The difference between the various Master Leagues is small in theory but makes quite the impact. Here's what we're looking at.
- Master League: No CP limit.
- Master League Premier Cup: No CP limit. Mythicals and Legendaries are banned.
- Master League Classic: No CP limit, but Pokémon powered up beyond Level 40 cannot be used.
The truth is, Master League and Master League Classic aren't different enough yet because Candy XL has only been in the game for a short period of time. In the future, they will be wildly different, with Master League Classic almost functioning as a glorified Ultra League once players have had enough time to power up their big hitters for Master League standard. However, as of now, we are robbed of Master League Premier Cup, which is the cup that actually allows for a more interesting meta. Where Niantic misses here is that they are investing in the long-term change of Candy XL while undercutting the players who have been using and loving Master League Premier Cup since its introduction. There is no shortage of players using GO Battle League, so there is no real reason for Niantic to not include Classic and Premier Cups for all three of their leagues in Pokémon GO. Niantic has a bad habit of nerfing rewards and other aspects of the game while introducing new material, which I believe is a global problem in the game rather than PVP-specific. Hopefully, as we cycle through more seasons of the game, we will see not only new content, but stability.