'Pokémon Go' Battle Guide: Basics and How to Challenge Friends

The Pokémon Go Battle feature is finally live allowing for trainers near and far to fight one another using their own Pokémon.

While battling in Pokémon games are common, the way Pokémon Go implements battling is a bit different than what long-time fans of the series and of the mobile game may be used to.

Niantic divulged some information on how to set up battles and how to actually duke it out with your Pokémon, but after a few moments in the new feature we've put together this beginner's guide to the basics of Pokémon Go battling and how to set up matches with friends and strangers.

pokemon go battles
Battles are a new feature in 'Pokemon Go' Niantic


Pokémon Go makes it easy to battle friends anywhere in the world. Follow these steps to get your battling on with those on your friends list.

  • Go to your trainer's page and tap the friends tab
  • On the bottom of the trainer's page, there should be an icon for "battle" in between Send Gift and Trade.
  • Select "battle" and then choose your League.
  • Once the League is accepted, select your party of three Pokémon. Note: If your inventory is full, you won't receive any rewards for battling.
  • After your party is selected, Pokémon Go will send an invite to the friend to accept. You can always back out by tapping the icon in the top left corner.
Pokemon go Battle Icon small
Tap the "battle" icon to challenge a friend Screenshot/Newsgeek


Like facing friends, training with leaders and battling nearby trainers is relatively easy. Here's how to train with the three Team Leaders and battle strangers:

  • Tap the "Nearby" menu on the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • Tap the "Battle" section to see the three Team Leaders and your own personal QR code.
  • To train with a Leader, simply tap on either Blanche, Candela or Spark and select "train." Select your team and you'll battle one of the Leaders.
  • To challenge a nearby trainer, tap the QR code to make it larger for the trainer to scan on their device. This code will expire after some time, but will reload a new one in time.
  • If you want to scan the QR code, simply press "Challenge Trainer" and Pokémon Go will open up the camera on your device to scan their code.
Pokemon Go Battle Train
Scan the QR code to challenge nearby trainers Screenshot/NewsGeek


Now that you've selected your team of three and have your opponent, it's time to battle. The basics of battling other players in Pokémon Go are rather simple. Like in Gym or Raid battles, Pokémon can use their Quick move by tapping the screen. Continue tapping and attacking to build up your Pokémon's Charged attack, which is signified by the symbol on the bottom of the screen.

Once the attack is filled, it's ready to go. Tap the move and you'll be sent to another scene where you'll need to continuously tap the circle to make your Charged attack as strong as possible. During this scene, however, you are still taking damage but you will let your attack off even if your health goes to zero. The Pokémon will simply faint afterwards.

The new battle feature also introduces a second Charged attack for Pokémon. By spending a certain amount of Stardust and candy (each amount is Pokémon-specific) you'll gain access to this second move. It's a great way to add more coverage to your Pokémon's attacks and can be changed using a TM.

Now that you understand the offensive side of battling it's time to play defensive. First off, you can switch Pokémon during battle. The first switch can happen instantaneous but afterwards the switch mechanic needs to recharge. The switch button is located on the bottom right corner of your screen.

While attacking is similar to Gym and Raid Battles, in PVP there isn't any dodging by simply swiping your finger across the screen. For the battle feature, shields are implemented as defensive measures. Each trainer gets two shields and can only be used when an opponent's Pokémon is readying their Charged attack. The game will prompt the trainer to activate a shield or not. This is where the strategy comes into play. Do you take the hit to conserve your shields for later on in the battle or save your Pokémon?

Protect_Shield_EN pokemon go trainer battle
Deploy a shield to protect from attacks Niantic

After each battle you can ask for a rematch, which will allow bring you back to your Pokémon team screen so trainers can select different Pokémon. Also, your Pokémon will be fully healed after the battle so no recovery items necessary.

Be sure to train with the three Team Leaders to get the hang of battling in Pokémon Go. There you'll learn when and when not to use shields as well as test out how strong your Pokémon team is.

What do you think of the new battle feature in Pokémon Go ? Let us know in the comments section below.