We already knew the wrestling persona of the Electric-type mascot, Pikachu Libre, was coming to Pokémon Go. But now, Niantic has confirmed the special version of Pikachu will only be available to players who compete in the first season of the Pokémon Go Battle League.
This league is currently in its pre-season right now, but players can still rank up for different rewards and battle until everything is soft reset with some bug fixes at the start of the first official season.
The Battle League is the popular app’s first shot at truly pushing PvP battles within its core player base as it will incorporate a fully ranked battle system that will rotate between three different formats each two weeks. Those formats are all based on Combat Points capping out to keep the playing field somewhat even, which divides them into Great League (1500 CP,) Ultra League (2500 CP,) and Master League (any CP.)
If you are battling your way through the pre-season, you can earn items for you Trainer avatar inspired by Pikachu Libre that can only be earned through the Battle League rewards system. This points to more special Pokémon being added in as PvP incentives in later seasons as timed exclusive items usually push people to play other game modes.
The only requirement to battle in the Go Battle League is walking five kilometers in order to earn entry, which will unlock the ability to play five matches. This exchange can happen up to three time per day, meaning a player can play a maximum of five ranked matches each day on a single account.
Players will earn Stardust, battle-related items, and exclusive Pokémon encounters, like Pikachu Libre for competing in matches.
As a result of the Battle League coming soon, Premium Raid Passes will soon become Premium Battle Passes, which essentially just means you will earn better rewards and lower the number of wins needed to earn certain Pokémon encounters. It won’t affect a player’s rank or rating, so it is not a pay-to-win system.
You will also be able to use PokéCoins to enter Go Battle League matches early if you don’t want to walk the required five kilometers. However, you will still need to walk at least two kilometers before you can use this option and the price decreases the closer you are to the full distance.
There is no set date for when the Pokémon Go Battle League’s first season will actually begin as the pre-season is set to run through Mar. 9 when the test run cycles back to the Great League again. More information will be available in the coming weeks, but expect it to begin sometime in March.