In a surprising move announced yesterday, Niantic has reverted their decision on the new switching mechanic in Pokemon GO’s Trainer Battles, marking the return of the old “damageable-while-switching” mechanic. As outlined in a blog post update, the new mechanic didn’t feel intuitive and strategic.

Here’s what Niantic wrote on their official blog post:

July 11, 2019 UPDATE: In an effort to improve your competitive experience, the new switching Pokémon mechanic has been removed from Trainer Battles. We strive to make Trainer Battles intuitive and strategic, and we do not feel this change has met that bar.

While the original implementation had unintended behavior, we’ve been impressed at the depth of gameplay created by real-time switching against incoming attacks. We still plan on fixing what we consider polish issues of Pokémon being able to attack and be attacked during switching animations. Moving forward, we also plan on more deliberately supporting the emergent strategy that has come from the old switching behavior.

Rather than retaining the new behavior, until we can better support this mechanic we’ve decided the best experience would be to return to the previous game rules. We appreciate the community’s passion and dedication to Trainer Battles. Stay tuned for more updates as we work to provide a competitive and fun battle experience. We will continue to keep your feedback in mind for future releases.


Players were quick to praise Niantic for their response, as the community wasn’t pleased with the initial release of the new switching mechanic. The new mechanic would pause the battle while the switch takes place and your Pokemon was not able to take or deal damage in the process. However, some bugs were introduced with it, such as buffs and debuffs clearing out during the switching process, as spotted by sp3n1337:

If you want more details on what happened when the new mechanic was introduced, a video by BattleHero has a solid, albeit rant ridden, video overview: