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Niantic details Pokemon Go League season 5

Pokemon Go Battle League
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Niantic has released the full details for Pokemon Go Battle League season 5, which kicks off November 9 and runs until November 30. The shorter-than-usual season introduces a brand new progression system that ditches ratings in favor of counting how many battles you've completed or won.

A lot of stuff from Pokemon Go Battle League season 4 is returning for season 5, but there are some notable changes. For one, season 5 will feature all-new cups: The Little Cup, Kanto Cup, and Catch Cup. Per Niantic, here are the specific runtimes for each Go Battle League season 5 cup:

  • The Little Cup will run from Monday, November 9, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. to Monday, November 16, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PST (GMT −8). Only Pokémon that are able to evolve and have not evolved even once are eligible. The CP limit is 500.
  • The Kanto Cup will run from Monday, November 16, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. to Monday, November 23, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PST (GMT −8). Only Pokémon with a Pokédex number between #001 and #151 are eligible. The CP limit is 1,500.
  • The Catch Cup will run from Monday, November 23, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. to Monday, November 30, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PST (GMT −8). Only Pokémon that have been caught since the beginning of Season 5 are eligible. The CP limit is 1,500. Mythical Pokémon—such as Mew, Celebi, Jirachi, and Victini—are not eligible for the Catch Cup.

As for what's carrying over from season 4, Niantic still isn't requiring players to walk a number of steps to compete in GO Battle League season 5 due to the pandemic. Likewise, the Friendship level requirement for remote battles will stay at Good Friends. Pikachu Libre-inspired avatar items will stay as rank 7 rewards, and you'll still find Pikachu Libre once you've reached rank 10.

Go Battle League season 5 has a number of differences from season 4. Once you reach rank 7, Legendary Pokemon will start appearing on the Go Battle League rewards tracks. Throughout season 5, you'll encounter the same Legendary Pokemon appearing in five-star raids, but do note the rest of the Pokemon on the rewards tracks will be the same as the ones from season 4.

As noted before, the progression system is new, focusing on "effort rather than ratings." Without giving specifics, Niantic says you'll need to simply complete a certain number of battles to reach rank 2, while ranks 3 through 10 will require you to actually win the battles. It's also worth noting that the reward for reaching rank 7 or higher is now an Elite Charged TM rather than an Elite Fast TM.

Finally, there are some changes to attacks, including a new one entirely, coming to Pokemon Go with Battle League season 5. Here's the full list of changes:

  • Incinerate: This Fire-type Fast Attack will initially be available only to Rapidash originally discovered in the Kanto region, Typhlosion, Ho-Oh, Darmanitan originally discovered in the Unova region, and Chandelure.
  • Poison Sting: This Poison-type Fast Attack will now generate more energy, allowing Pokémon like Vespiquen, Drapion, and Whirlipede to use their Charged Attacks more frequently.
  • Flame Charge: This powerful Fire-type attack will now be teachable to Rapidash originally discovered in the Kanto region, Entei, Emboar, and Chandelure.

Before season 5 begins, do consult our guide to the best Pokemon Go Master League teams to maximize your chances of winning battles.

Jordan Gerblick

As GamesRadar's Arizona-based Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish. Probably drinking green tea.