A new trailer for Pokémon Sword and Shield dropped today showcasing some new battle functions, and they’re likely to be game-changers for folks invested in competitive Pokémon battling. The biggest news from the trailer, though, was the introduction of a ranking ladder and competitive seasons similar to larger esports games like Overwatch.
The new game mode, entitled “Battle Stadium,” will replace the simpler “rating battles” featured in Pokémon Sun and Moon. The mode will feature a five-tier ranking ladder, assigning players the rank of Beginner, Poké Ball, Great Ball, Ultra Ball, or Master Ball. Players will climb the ranking ladder by earning rank points, which will be awarded whenever a player wins a battle. Trainers will then be matched with others of their tier, allowing players of similar skill to seek out match-ups that will give them a proper challenge, and presenting Trainers with ever-increasing battle difficulty as they work to climb the ranks.
Battle Stadium’s tiers look pretty traditional, but there are a few extra little details that will have an effect on how you play and rise through the ranks. For instance, players have the option between battling in one-on-one singles matches, or in the Gen-3 staple double battle format. Apparently, trainers will also receive rewards for meeting different conditions, such as battling multiple times in a row.
The trailer also went a bit more in-depth on Dynamaxing in general, revealing that Dynamaxed Pokémon can’t flinch and that Dynamaxed moves will have powerful secondary effects like raising stats of all Pokémon on one side of the field or causing powerful weather and stage effects that will further boost your team. New abilities and held items were also unveiled, such as the “Room Service” item that slows you down when Trick Room is active, and Corviknight’s hidden ability Mirror Armor, which reflects stat changes back at the opponent.
All in all, it looks like competitive battling will be taking a definite step forward in the 8th generation of Game Freak’s Massive hit series, so get ready to start breeding those perfect Pokémon, because things are about to get way more heated. For now, though, check out the new trailer below and stay excited for Pokémon Sword and Shield to release internationally on November 15th.