GO Battle League Season 3: Flying Cup, Ultra Premier and Move Changes

Battle Leagues Pokemon GO
Battle Leagues Pokemon GO

Hey Trainers,

With all the GO Fest hype in the air, it’s easy to forget that Season 2 of GO Battle League is coming to a close on Monday, July 27th 1pm PDT. Despite the long delay during Ultra League’s rotation, this season’s introduced the Premier Cup, where Metagross and Dragonite are kings, and buffed Drill Run, changed Wild Charge and Moonblast to be arguably better, and made Palkia relevant with the cheap charge move Aqua Tail. There’s of course more meta shifts throughout it’s run, but I don’t want to drag. Let’s get into Season 3, shall we?

Schedule

  • Great League – July 27th, 1pm PDT to August 10th, 1pm PDT
  • Ultra League + Ultra Premier Cup – August 10th, 1pm PDT to August 24th, 1pm PDT
  • Master League + Master Premier Cup – August 24th, 1pm PDT to September 7th, 1pm PDT
  • All Leagues and Master Premier Cup – September 7th, 1pm to September 14th, 1pm PDT
  • Season 4 starts September 14th, 1pm PDT.

What’s Staying

  • You will not have to walk to unlock battle sets.
  • You can battle Good or higher friends.
  • Pika Libre’s outfit will remain as a rank 7 reward.
  • The battle, win and rating requirements for each rank will stay the same.

What’s New in Season 3

You may have noticed something new in the schedule; Season 3 is introducing the much requested Ultra Premier cup! This is great for trainers that feel the tier was too bulk heavy, with Pokemon like Cresselia, Registeel, Articuno, Giratina-Altered, and Armoured Mewtwo being omnipresent in the tier. The power imbalance will likely be less extreme than Master Premier, where certain Pokemon were mandatory, due to the CP cap.

There’s also a tease of a Flying-type only cup! There’s not much to talk about other than that, like what tier it is, but it will be making an appearance during a future event, so keep an eye out!

The guaranteed rewards for this season will be different! See the list below:

  • Pidgeot at Rank 1
  • Galarian Zigzagoon at Rank 4
  • Galarian Farfetch’d at Rank 7
  • Rufflet at Rank 8
  • Scraggy at Rank 9
  • Pika Libre at Rank 10. There’ll also be a new pose and avatar costume at Rank 10!

There’s a handful of mechanic changes, such as the removal of the “battle until you win” feature. While it was meant to give you a chance to win at least 1 battle per set, many trainers saw it as the opposite of a victory lap, and mildly humiliating (at least that’s what my local PvP group had to say on the matter).
For the Premium track, the Rare Candy reward will be moved to 4 wins instead of 5. To balance this, you’ll receive 6 rare candy instead of 8.
The end of season rewards will include an Elite Charged TM this time.

Move Changes

Buffs

This is the good part! Everyone loves move buffs.

  • Drill Peck Flying went from 60 to 65 damage. This will make Zapdos quite a force to reckon with. The change applies to PvE too.
  • Brave Bird Flying got a significant increase, 90 to 130, but it also lowers the user’s defence 3 stages. This will give Skarmory a last chance attack when the shields are down, and will give Staraptor and Braviary something to work with. Blaziken and the still unevolvable Sirfetch’d will appreciate the coverage. The damage increase applies to PvE too.
  • Infestation Bug went from 11 to 12 energy gained. It already built up quite a lot, so this is impressive. Accelgor and Venomoth are notable STAB users, but the energy gain will be useful for Pokemon like Muk, Garbodor, Swalot, and more.
  • Hex Ghost went from 11 to 12 energy gained. This will help Drifblim, Froslass, Chandelure, Alolan Marowak and Mismagius massively. It builds the same amount of energy as Shadow Claw, so Pokemon like Gengar won’t get a lot of mileage out of it. The change applies to PvE too.
  • Powder Snow Ice went from 4 to 5 damage. Since it was previously such a small amount of damage, this could make the move pretty threatening. Piloswine, Mamoswine, Abomasnow, Froslass, Snow Castform, Sealeo and Beartic could be terrifying, and Alolan Sandslash is probably not as mad it lost out on Shadow Claw.
  • Blizzard Ice got an increase from 130 to 140 damage. It’s still an expensive move, but now it should be more worth it. Regice may become an interesting option

Nerfs

Nerf time. Love them or hate them, they help game balance, and these nerfs in particular seem particularly targeted.

  • Flash Cannon Steel costs more energy, going from 65 to 70. No prizes for guessing what this is attacking. Yep, poor Registeel. However, Skarmory and Ferrothorn got hurt in the crossfire. The energy cost increase is actually pretty minor, so it shouldn’t cause a lot of turbulence in the tier lists.
  • Focus Blast Fighting deals less damage, going from 150 to 140. Again, poor Registeel. Darkrai and Mewtwo also enjoyed this move in Master to deal with the oppressive Dialga, but that may be mildly harder. It’s still a hard hitter, so don’t despair if you invested in an Ultra League Registeel.
  • Moonblast Fairy now has less of a chance to debuff attack, going from 30% to 10%. This isn’t as bad as the other 2, but Cresselia is still probably a little sad about this.

Movepool Additions

Time for some neglected Pokemon to get a little love! There’s a handful of them this season.

  • Braviary got Close Combat Fighting, a somewhat reliable option to deal with Rock or Steel types that would wall it otherwise. The former especially, as Heat Wave is still bad.
  • Abomasnow got Weather Ball Ice, which along with the Powder Snow buff makes Abomasnow possibly the strongest Ice type in Great League, with Energy Ball covering water and rock types. It’s bound to be an oppressive force.
  • Pelliper got Weather Ball Water. It’s other moves are still pretty bad, and you can use Mantine instead, but hey.
  • Empoleon got the just buffed Drill Peck Flying, which is the coverage that Empoleon needed, really. It struggled with Grass types, and it can now make Fighting less of a safe switch. This will undoubtedly help Empoleon become more prevalent, which as a big Empoleon fan personally is great news.

In Closing

With the introduction of the new Ultra Premier cup, an upcoming Flying cup, numerous move buffs and additions, and the dethroning of the aptly named Registeel (regis means ‘of the king’ in latin), Season 3 is looking extremely interesting. It’ll be hard to say exactly how the meta will be in the future, but it will definitely be different. May you have many good battles, Trainers!

A simple guy who enjoys drinking coffee (to the point of addiction) and going for walks (to the point of exhaustion). I try my best to head out daily, but sometimes my insomnia gets the better of me and I end up sleeping until 4pm. I also love Piplup.