Players are abusing a cheating method in Pokémon Sword and Shield Rank Battles that prevents them from losing Rank Points.
Pressing the power button right before the results are finalized sends the Switch into sleep mode. Upon powering on the device again, the game prompts that the player has disconnected from the match. Both parties will not gain or lose any Rank Points, effectively sending both players back to a state before the battle even occurred.
A Japanese player Ka_Cr_He uploaded a video demonstrating the exploit.
A user named Theorymon posted the bug on a forum, explaining that it “massively impacts competitive Pokémon.” Theorymon also posted the disconnection message a player on the receiving end will see should their opponents execute the exploit properly.
Sword and Shield previously had to deal with hackers putting unreleased Pokémon into Max Raids. There are even Twitch channels like OaksLab that allows players to generate any Pokémon they want through a fully automated process.
The disconnecting exploit undoubtedly compromises the competitive integrity of Rank Battles in Sword and Shield, serving as a get out of jail free card. Unfortunately, online games have dealt with this sort of disconnect bugs for practically forever.
Hopefully, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company are able to release a fix for this sooner rather than later so players can get back to climbing the ladder instead of fending off cheaters.