Completely Giving Up On The Pokemon Go Battle League

I mentioned a while back that there was now a ranked battle league in Pokemon Go. I thought it was cool back then. But now? It sucks. To the point that I have given up on it completely. It’s just not worth your time or your Premium Passes. Why? There’s loads of reasons why!

Weirdly Small Metas

Despite there being so many Pokemon, there’s already a massive, established meta. If you don’t have the meta-relevant Pokemon, you’re going to struggle. Or you’re going to spend a lot of stardust powering Pokemon up.

It’s not too awful in the Great League, since there’s a lot of Pokemon available under 1500CP. No Legendary Pokemon either. But the costs to power things up and give Pokemon second charge moves always increases. In the Master League, you’re almost expected to have Legendaries with multiple moves. That cost 100,000 stardust and 100 candy each. That’s not always feasible for the average player.

This isn’t too bad now that you can play in any league you want, but the problem is still there. Especially if you want to play Master League. Rewards are currently the same but that might change in the future…

Good Rewards are Almost Impossible to Obtain

You need 4 wins out of 5 to be able to get a decent reward in the form of a Pokemon encounter. Two out of 5 wins if you gamble with a Premium Raid Pass. If you’re playing with the free pass though, an 80% win rate is a HUGE ask for the average player. And that’s out of 5 games, meaning that losing 2 games means you have to finish any remaining games and then start from zero again.

Sure, you can currently get Legendary Pokemon from the 4-win Pokemon encounter, but you’re not… guaranteed one. Your first encounter is a guaranteed Snorlax, your second is a Scraggy. After that, it’s anyone’s guess what you can get. So even if you push through and win those matches, you could be rewarded with anything from a Tornadus to a shiny Giratina (or whatever the weekend raid boss is)… to a Tepig.

The stardust reward is pretty good, but the real meat of the rewards comes from the encounters, but good luck getting them… especially since…


I’ve heard nothing but complaints about bugs. The most notorious is the Weak Connection bug, which can do… literally anything. The words Weak Connection will appear and just interrupt whatever you are doing. Here’s a list of just some of the things I’ve seen posted on r/theSilphRoad, one of the main research hubs for Pokemon Go:

  • Being unable to attack
  • Being unable to use charge attacks
  • Having massive delays between attacks
  • Charge moves not charging up properly
  • The inability to switch Pokemon
  • Enemy Pokemon taking no damage
  • Enemy Pokemon somehow getting a third shield when you’re only supposed to have two

That’s also on top of general instability and bugs with the game. There are times where you can’t switch Pokemon at all. Sometimes the Switch Pokemon menu pops up at random. Occasionally your game just crashes. Crashes seem pretty common in the Go Battle League, as is being unable to connect entirely.

But for me, the last straw was losing a 7 game win streak, through no fault of my own. I was doing a battle, I was doing great and then… Nothing. I’d killed two of their Pokemon. They had no shields left. Yet I was suddenly doing no damage at all. I was furiously tapping, begging my Gligar to do literally anything. But nope. My Gligar slowly died, followed by my other two Pokemon, all of them unable to do anything.

A guaranteed victory turned into an unearned loss. If I’d been beaten fair and square, I would have shrugged and tried again, but it’s clear as day that skill is only part of the equation if you want to win.

This is not fun at all!

The problem with the Go Battle League is that it’s mostly luck. Not just luck in hoping you picked and started with the right Pokemon, but luck in hoping that the game actually works. And luck is no way to determine ranks and rewards!


Editor’s note: In season 2, the encounter was shifted to the 3rd win instead of the 4th, and the guaranteed Pokemon have changed. But all the legendaries and good rewards have also been removed from the pool, so you’ll mostly just get Skarmory or Gen5 Starters. And the Metagross is useless because it can’t learn Meteor Mash, and you’d have to spend 75,000 Stardust or an Elite TM to allow it to do so in the future.


Also known as Doctor Retvik Von Schreibtviel, Medic writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Medic has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

13 thoughts on “Completely Giving Up On The Pokemon Go Battle League

  • April 2, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Absolutely agree.. and honestly, it kinda blows my mind that this isn’t something that people are talking about more? Like, why are people just okay with this? This is a MAJOR flaw in the game – one that could very well be costing people actual, real-life money in cases where people are buying raid passes.. just to have them unfairly wasted from a loss that was due to Niantic and their shit programming, coupled with their obvious lack of concern for actually fixing the problem.

    After all, the more passes people have to buy, the better! So really, in their eyes, its a feature, not a bug. Yeahhh just keep buying more passes and try, TRY AGAIN! Nah. I’m over this stupid pvp garbage. Just a sad money-grab for the whales and cheaters to feel good about their undeserved wins. I’d like to see them introduce a league where Giratina isn’t allowed.. Then MAYBE it might actually be interested again with a little variation, god forbid.

    Right now, its just predictable and boring at best.. Frustrating and complete bullshit at worst. So really, not seeing the appeal anymore.

    Glad someone else is fine with calling it out for what it is and refusing to get wrapped up in the lifeless meta struggle that PvP has turned into. Sad they had to kill a part of the game with so much potential.

    • April 3, 2020 at 8:27 am

      The even weirder thing is that people are just going along with it. They’re happily spending tons of premium passes on this game, despite how buggy it is. Even on places like the Silph Road, everyone somewhat dismisses these things.

      It’s even more painful now that there’s no way to raid for many players right now. So this is the ONLY way to get legendaries.

  • May 23, 2020 at 2:22 am

    I was hoping the lag would be fixed by season 2. The season delay did nothing. Niantic has done literally nothing to address these lag issues. Getting destroyed by lag during battle is so rage inducing that i accidently damaged my phone due to anger. I use to look forward to pvp on pokemon go but now it just feels like playing russian roulette and seeing which game out of 3 I will be force disconnected from the game or the game crashes. Another rage inducing problem is charge moves not going off due to lag. The bubble is full but it wont fire. Niantic needs to switch to a turn based battle system if they cant spend the money to get better servers. If this doesnt resolve soon I am going to quit this frustrating game.

    • May 23, 2020 at 10:38 am

      For now, I think just ignore PvP. It’s not worth it, especially since they changed the rewards. Sure, you get an encounter at 3 wins rather than 4, but the encounter is 1. not a legendary and 2. normally something kinda crap.

  • May 31, 2020 at 4:57 am

    niantic bunch of faggots

  • June 5, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    Fuck this piece of shit fucking faggot shit

    • June 6, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      Might be worth taking a break from the GBL if it’s making you angry.

  • July 14, 2020 at 5:45 am

    It makes everyone angry because all of the things in this post are 1000% true. Im Rank 9 in all 3 leagues.

    The whole thing is a glorified rock-paper-scissors in the first place, then you add the lag and all the other bullshit not working, not to mention exploits galore. All of this happens to this very day on just about every 5 set match.

    I have spent soooo much dust and money getting all the top guys you could imagine. I have maxed garchomp with double moves, maxed kyogre with double moves, 96dialga with double moves, 96 zekrom with double moves, 98 Gira-A with double moves, 98iv togekiss with double moves, 98iv Lugia with double moves.

    It doesn’t matter. My Rank went from 2700 to 2200 in a few days this last ML. Lol trust me I don’t suck that bad.

    Dialga and Giratina Origin Niantic just absolutely refuses to ever bring back and you cant win without them, so ML is just about broken.

    Great! i’ll just bring in perfect counters to Dialga and Gira and I am all set.

    …then your next 15 matches you wont see a Gira-O or Dialga

    Then they add Fire Punch to Groudon awesome! Except Groudon I powered up last season, and now they make Fire Punch an elite TM. Lol they can go fuck themselves I wont be spending a dime.

    The only solution is the obvious one – go back turn based battling like every single other Pokemon game every made.

    • July 14, 2020 at 7:10 am

      The strangest thing is, I genuinely don’t think they even CAN use turn-based combat. All the moves and rules and combat and everything have to be done by the Pokemon Company’s specifications. It’s why we can’t evolve party hat Charmanders and why Jessie and James look so weird.

  • July 14, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    On top of everything else wrong getting a pokemon encounter reward and throwing almost your entire inventory of balls to catch a crap pokemon. No way to abandon the reward/pokemon

  • July 16, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    I’m still having the issues even after the so called updated PvP deal they have done Weak connection then lose the match when your up by 1 or 2 Pokémon

    There’s something still wrong with the game I’m leaving it until it’s turn base or good buy Niantic thanks for ruining Pokémon And supporting cheaters or at least making it so people will want to cheat

    • July 16, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      Weak Connection sucks, it can even happen in PvE battles.

      • July 22, 2020 at 7:59 am

        Yup. This pretty much sums everything up.

        1. There’s no team preview so you can’t tell what your opponent will bring. That causes an awkward dynamic in which you either start good, and have an advantage, start bad and be at a disadvantage or a neutral start with no advantage nor disadvantage. First instance of luck = reward

        2. The battles have a lot of bugs. I have lost far too many games where my opponent pulls a third shield out of his/her a$$, or I press the charge move too many times for no avail, or my charge move does 0 damage, or the game freezes, or my Pokémon swap doesn’t happen… bad luck = no reward

        3. Some rewards are PvP exclusive. You’re not gonna find a rufflet or scraggy in the wild. So if you want those Pokémon, better buckle up for a rough ride. Lapras, Snorlax, and gen 5 starters are in the wild, so Idk why you can’t find the other ones as well.

        4. PvP is not for everyone. You really have to be up to date with the changes in meta, you have to know the Potential Moveset of your opponents’ Pokémon, how long does each charge move take to fill up. Not everyone has that amount of time to put into the game.

        5. The game is unfair to new players. I am a somewhat new player. Started playing since the game launch. But stopped playing for 2 years because I got bored of it. I recently picked it up again. My first legendary was a Terrakion from 3 months ago. I can’t play the master league and Ultra league because I don’t have strong enough Pokémon to win. I mostly stick with Great League. Pokémon are easier to max at 1500CP they go easier on my stardust and candy. Still, I see lots of registeels and Altarias in the league. I don’t have any of my own because I missed the regi raids and it takes a lot of candies to evolve a swablu. I only play with the mons I have at my disposal, but there’s too much I can do with them. I get countered a lot.

        In the end I believe the system is way too broken, and may not have a fix. There’s always gonna be something that will end up costing us games.


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