The first season of Pokémon Go’s Go Battle League, the mobile game’s player-versus-player mode, gets going next week, Niantic announced Thursday. Players who reached rank 4 during the game’s “preseason” of beta testing and balancing will get a reward to start the season.
Officially, Go Battle League season 1 begins Friday, March 13, at 1 p.m. PDT. When it launches, the Great League will play from the season kickoff until Friday, March 27. That will be followed by the Ultra League, until April 10; then the Master League until April 24; and finally, all three leagues will be playing from Friday, April 24, to Friday, May 1. The league start/stop times are all 1 p.m. PDT. Season 2 begins May 1, Niantic said.
The Great, Ultra, and Master Leagues are available to close out the preseason from now until March 13, with Darkrai as a rare reward encounter this weekend. Darkrai will be available from Friday, March 6, at 8 a.m. to Monday, March 9, at 10 p.m. (user’s local time). Once season 1 begins, Altered Forme Giratina will be the rare reward encounter over its first weekend, from 8 a.m. Friday, March 13, to 10 p.m. Monday, March 16 (again, user’s local time).
Players who reach rank 4 during the preseason will get a Premium Battle Pass with the rest of their end-of-preseason awards. When the first season begins, Niantic says players will notice adjustments to the league’s rewards, with ranks 2 and 3 requiring a set number of victories to pass to the next rank. Previously, rank advancement was gated beginning at rank 4.
The encounter rewards are also changing for season 1; Niantic spelled out that structure, plus a couple of special events over the next two weeks, in a note to the community.