A quick guide on In-game known issues and How to deal with them
Welcome, Judges! When it comes to PVP, and games in general, there are always various bugs and issues that pop up, and as Judges, it’s best to stay on top of the glitches so that you know what to do when some pesky bug pops up! To that end, the Silph Arena Legislation Team actively monitors both the Niantic GO Battle League Known Issues as well as the General Pokémon GO Known Issues, and will do their best to provide regular updates and rulings on how to handle said issues as they change over the course of the season. This document will serve as a guide to bridge the gap and help our fellow Tournament Officials to approach disputes with a better understanding of what specific situations may or may not be grounds for a rematch for the Arena.
If you believe you found a new bug or issue that is neither addressed here nor in Niantic’s known issues page please feel free to share your findings by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or through The Silph Arena Discord Server.
Technical issues are grouped by topic. Each issue will be accompanied by a quick description of the problem and a small video to improve your detection skill. Moreover, game mechanics will be quickly explained when they can be confused with real issues. The whole picture is completed by an Official Arena Stance on whether a rematch is warranted.
Rules Reminder! Before a rematch takes place, the opponent who did NOT request the rematch will have the option to select if both competitors will use the same three Pokémon as the original game or use the same lead Pokémon while allowing the back two Pokémon to change.
Each case must be contextualized and you, as a Tournament Official, must put your effort to figure out if the issue made an impact on the game outcome. This is not an easy task in many cases. But fret not, The Arena Team is always here to help!
Enough with the talk, let’s dive in!
Click on the link of the issue you’re having to learn more about the Official Arena Stance:
Current State of the Game
|Issue description||Official Arena Stance|
|One-turn desync||No rematch|
|Charge-Move Activation Priority Inconsistency||No rematch|
|Issue description||Official Arena Stance|
|Game freezes||May be grounds for a rematch|
|Visual lag||May be grounds for a rematch|
|Graphic glitches||No rematch|
|Mini-game failure||May be grounds for a rematch|
|Shielding issues||May be grounds for a rematch|
|Fast move duration inconsistency||No rematch|
|Graphical-assets lag||May be grounds for a rematch|
|Issue description||Official Arena Stance|
|Buttons disappear||May be grounds for a rematch|
|Charge Move buttons not updating||May be grounds for a rematch|
|Pokémon GO stopped working||May be grounds for a rematch|
|Pokémon GO suddenly closes||No rematch|
|Initial matchup delays||May be grounds for a rematch*|
|Unresponsive screen||May be grounds for a rematch|
|Switch bugs||May be grounds for a rematch|
|Device compatibility issue (iOS)||No rematch|
|White Screen Error||Follow Arena Rules 2.5|
*A rematch must be granted if specific in-game behavior is followed by the Competitor.
Section 1: Current State of the Game
This is a list of technical issues and nuisances that are currently part of the game. They will NOT BE GROUNDS FOR A REMATCH, no matter how significant the incident affected gameplay.
One-Turn Desync and Desync-related Unresponsiveness
One-Turn desync after a Charge Move
- Desync definition: When a battle starts both Competitors’ game clients should be perfectly synchronized, starting Fast Moves at the same initial turn and making the battle run as intended. This synchronization may be lost either by hardware issues, connection issues, or a combination of both (specially when the conditions are substantially different within both game clients) causing one client to be ahead or behind by one turn, at most. This situation is called a “desync”.
- Issue description: Starting from Game version 0.241.0/1.127, synchronization is established again when the battle re-starts after a Charge Move or a Force Swap. In these two occasions, an extra 1-turn pause may affect gameplay for a Competitor after a Pokémon is sent into battle due to a faint (Force Swap) or after a Charge Move. The game will not respond during that short span of time. Therefore, desync can still happen at this moment but on fewer occasions (see additional notes for further insight).
- Official Arena Stance: One-turn desync and their related unresponsiveness happening during the game cannot be grounds for a rematch as with other current state of the game issues.
- Official Arena Stance for Late-Game Scenarios: Late-game events of this issue where the one-turn desync causes a Competitor that would win the Charge Move Priority (CMP) not to launch a Charge Attack that would undoubtedly faint the last Pokémon in the opposing team may be grounds for a rematch. Attack (ATK) stat ranges of both involved species must not cross each other, as no hidden information such as IVs can be requested to Competitors.
Don’t get deceived!
- Events that lead to effects similar to 1 turn de-synced Fast Moves (e.g. in-between Fast-Move micro-lag or delays during the initial matchup) may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on their significance on the battle outcome. Although desync may be considered as a very specific case of 1 turn lag that falls into the current state of the game it’s not the same in-game issue (check out Section 2).
- If 2 or more turns are lost by a single player, that may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on the circumstances of the battle, since it may be considered as lag (check out Section 2).
- Swapping takes 1 turn to complete. This may be confused with the desync issue but it’s how the game is intended to work.
- What was once known as Fast-Move Denials (failure to register Fast-Move usage when the opponent’s Pokémon activates a simultaneous Charge Move) and Charge-Move Refunds (failure to register Charge-Move activation when the opponent switches simultaneously) cannot happen in current versions of the game. Situations that may be confused with these are all related to desync and therefore not grounds for a rematch.
- The game may fix the desync issue at any point of the battle.
Two different examples (Stutter and Freeze) of Framedrops during a Charge Move Mini-Game. One affected the outcome of the Mini-Game while the other did not.
- Issue description: The game client is not being able to keep up with the course of the game because of hardware limitations and/or issues. These framedrops may make it look as if the game worked “slower” or may freeze it for a few seconds altogether. In addition, this stutter may cause the game not to send the command to the server in time causing a desync-like effect. This issue is predominant in the Android-version of the game.
- Official Arena Stance: Framedrops and its effects cannot be grounds for a rematch as with other current state-of-the-game issues. As this is a hardware-related issue, Competitors should take preventive measures to mitigate its effects.
Don’t get deceived!
- Though similar, this issue is different to Visual Lag (Section 2) and it can be differentiated as in the prior the game only drops frames and does not take any other measure such as the speed-up after the event seen in the latter.
- Though it may affect the ability for a player to swipe, this issue is different to Mini-Game Issues (Section 2) as this may happen at any point of the game and it does not specifically affect how the mini-game works.
- Game Freezes (Section 2) is a different situation than this one, the game does not freeze but it just drops frames for what it usually is either a fraction-of-a-second or a few seconds.
Charge-Move Activation Priority Inconsistency
Charged Moves activated a turn before a Fast Move ends are intended to take priority over the Fast-Move damage. This video shows the mechanic working as intended; Skuntank completes 4 Poison Jabs (8 turns) and starts a new one. Castform completes 3 Hexes after 9 turns. Damage of the 5th Poison Jab would be applied at the beginning of turn 10, at the same time as the opponent activates their Charge Move. The Charge Move activates before the Fast-Move damage is applied (which would have fainted the Castform). However in the current state of the game this is still notably inconsistent and frequently the Fast-Move damage takes priority.
- Issue description: Charge Move initiated on the same turn of a Fast-Move damage-application turn will not take priority over the damage resolution of said Fast Move. This priority is inconsistent, especially when said Fast Move would faint the receiving Pokémon..
- Official Arena Stance: Charge-Move activation priority inconsistency cannot be grounds for a rematch as with other current state-of-the-game issues.
- Fast Move damage will often take priority in the current state of the game. That’s why, as an example, 1-turn fast move damage is generally applied before an opponent’s Charge Move (triggered simultaneously).
Section 2: Lag-Related and Abnormal Behavior Issues
Lag is known as a single or several connection errors that happen during the game and which affect gameplay. These connection errors might be accompanied by the “Weak Connection” prompt, the “Loading Poké Ball” on the upper left screen, or no visual sign at all. Moreover, the visuals “Weak Connection” and the top left “Loading Poké Ball” do not always mean that an active lag is occurring.
“Weak Connection” plus “Loading Poké Ball” visuals.
So, now what? Tournament Officials should try to focus on whether a one-sided advantage was gained by extra energy gain, or unnecessary damage. Generally speaking, anything that caused a disadvantage for the player that wasn’t caused by the player’s skill, action, or decision making or a Current State of the Game issue.
All issues that can be associated to this section MUST be analyzed taking into account the involved player’s intentions, proven ONLY by visible taps on the screen or audible evidence (external microphone activated) aiming at fast attacking/switching/throwing a Charge Move/shielding.
Player is unable to continue
Pokémon Fast Moves are slowed down
- Issue description: The game slows down or stops responding to a single user‘s input (taps) while the other player continues the battle. This is detectable when the number of Fast-Move animations and damage dealt/turns passed do not match.
- Official Arena Stance: This may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on the circumstances of the battle, only if it can be confirmed by the audio/video evidence that the player was actually tapping the screen.
- Fast-Move damage is always registered at the beginning of its last turn, indicating move completion.
- One-sided freezing issues are not limited to the ones presented above.
An example of Visual Lag
- Issue description: Game seems to freeze for a short amount of time but when it resumes as normal, players did not lose out on energy or damage.
- Official Arena Stance: Even if in most cases a rematch may not be issued as no advantage is taken by any Competitor, this bug may be determined to be grounds for a rematch if it’s clear by the circumstances of the battle that that short mutual lag affected the way a game was played. Here are some examples of cases where a rematch decision usually has higher probability, so this is not an exhaustive list.
Example 1: A Pokémon faints by cumulated Fast Move damage and said Pokémon could have been able to reach their Charge Move, affecting the outcome of the match.
Example 2: The cumulated undue Fast Move damage is so much that it affects late-game matchups, therefore the outcome.
Example 3: Visual Lag affecting the chronological order of Charge Moves.
Graphic Glitches and Incorrect Asset/Move
Glitch during a Charge Move
Player continuously throwing a Poké Ball
Fly me to the moon
A Wigglytuff being displayed as a Shiftry.
- Issue description: Several graphic-only issues that can be seen in battle. These malfunctions may happen, though not limited to, when a Trainer switches to another Pokémon just as their first one faints.
- Official Arena Stance: While these bugs are certainly annoying, they do not affect gameplay, and thus are not grounds for a rematch. In the case of a wrong Pokémon asset or move, the information regarding the name, CP, and typing of the correct Pokémon is still available at the top of the screen and Charge Move type/damage/effect will be the correct one.
Mini-game not being shown
Wrong mini-game damage output
- Issue description: The Charge Attack Mini-game is not working as it is intended.
- Official Arena Stance: This error is caused by a server sync where the game does not send or issue the Mini-game results properly. Because of this, it may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on its significance on the battle outcome.
Shield being used without tapping it
Shield not being used even if tapping
- Issue description: There are three main shielding issues:
- Player uses the shield and the game shows its animation but the Charge Move damage still lands;
- Player does not use a shield but the game applies it regardless;
- A connection issue after or during a Charge Move mini-game causes the damage not to be registered.
- Official Arena Stance: This error is probably caused by a connection problem where the server does not properly manage input of shield usage or does not return the correct damage to be applied. This may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on the circumstances of the battle.
- Issue description: There are three main shielding issues:
Don’t get deceived!
- Damage is not registered only visually when the opponent’s Pokémon is switched out right away after the opponent’s Pokémon Charge Move. Damage is still dealt in that case though, therefore it’s not to be considered as Mini-game failure.
- General information: switching has the highest in-game priority!
- When trying to see if a shield was used or not pay attention to the shield icon. When tapped it fades away slowly and when the “do not use” button is pressed it abruptly disappears. Furthermore, shields used will deploy into an animation if given enough time before the end of the Charge Move Mini-game.
Delay in switch animation and asset loading after a swap
- Issue description: The game does not update the graphic assets promptly, generally, when a Charge Move and a swap activate simultaneously. This malfunction causes that the switch animation may be either skipped or delayed right after the last completed Charge move and visual assets not updating with the addition of no typing information visible in the upper right screen.
- Official Arena Stance: Gameplay can be affected slightly or heavily, given that proper matchup information is not given to one player which may cause a player to make shielding decisions based on incorrect information. Because of this, it may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on the circumstances of the battle.
Fast-Move Duration Inconsistency
Damage landing on the switched-in Pokémon.
- Issue description: The game does not apply Fast-Move damage consistently at the beginning of the last turn of said movement. Fast Moves will sometimes take longer than expected to perform. This may be noticeable when the Competitors are using Fast Moves with different turn duration and switching is involved.
- Official Arena Stance: Fast-Move duration inconsistency may be grounds for a rematch depending on the circumstances of the battle.
Charge Move and Switch buttons disappear
Buttons disappear during the battle
- Issue description: During the game, the Charge Move and Switch buttons disappear, rendering the trainer unable to attack or take any actions in battle.
- Official Arena Stance: Niantic is currently investigating this issue. This may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on the circumstances of the battle given its rarity.
Charge Move buttons not updating
Charizard’s Charge Moves are shown instead of Umberon’s. In addition, they do not update with Umbreon’s Fast Moves.
- Issue description: The Charge Move buttons stop updating after a Pokémon gets sent into battle either by a quick swap or a faint. The Charge Move buttons will not only show the Charge Moves of the Pokémon that was either switched-out or fainted, but they will not be usable nor collect energy.
- Official Arena Stance: This issue may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on the circumstances of the battle given its rarity.
- Other visual bugs have been seen whenever this issue happens. Refreshing Game Data (found in the “Advanced Settings” menu) and Downloading All Assets may help lowering the chances of encountering this issue.
Pokémon GO stopped working
Game interruption in-between Fast Moves
- Issue description: The game encounters an issue and stops working correctly, showing the user a window with the error.
- Official Arena Stance: This is an error caused by the app itself as it is shown by the error window, this may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on its effect on the battle. Referees should try to focus more on its significance on the outcome than on the symptom (the disrupting prompt) and figure out the real impact on the battle.
Pokémon Go Suddenly Closes
Pokémon GO app suddenly closes
- Issue description: The app suddenly closes forcing the player to reopen the game.
- Official Arena Stance: This problem cannot be grounds for a rematch since it’s generally due to low RAM, overheating or an Operating System function that forcibly closes high consumption apps. Competitors must guarantee that their smartphone conditions allow Pokémon GO to run properly.
Initial Matchup Delays
One-sided one-turn delay at the beginning of a battle
- Issue description: 1-turn Fast-Move delay that can randomly occur at the very beginning of a game. This issue becomes more evident when a same-turn Fast Move is used by both Pokémon.
- Official Arena Stance: Given their potential impact on the game outcome, these delay situations may be grounds for a rematch. A rematch must be granted if the involved Competitor PROMPTLY QUITS the game right after the delay occurs. If the Competitor continues playing (uses a Charge Move, triggers a Switch, lets the first Pokémon faint) or stops triggering Fast Moves without exiting the game, a rematch cannot be granted as the Competitor implicitly accepts to continue, knowing that the issue occurred.
- In this specific case, exiting the game should be done immediately.
- If the Initial Matchup Delay did not occur the involved Competitor will receive a loss (the diary result will stand) as in every situation where the Competitor exits the battle and a rematch is not granted.
- Note: in case you had previous experience with this technical issue, it was considered not grounds for rematch in the past.
- Issue description: The game stops responding to a single user‘s input (taps) while the other player continues the battle. The screen becomes unresponsive and taps are not visible.
- Official Arena Stance: This may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on the circumstances of the battle; only if it can be confirmed by other visual and/or audible proof that the player was actually tapping the screen. Said evidence must be audio evidence and/or having the “Show Touches” option activated and seen in the recording.
Switch Screen Bug
- Issue descriptions:
- The switch menu cannot be closed until a Switch is triggered, a Charge Move is thrown, or simply a certain period of time elapses;
- The switch overlay may also not appear correctly when a Pokemon faints;
- The incorrect Pokémon is switched in, when actually tapping on the other one.
- Official Arena Stance: These issues may be determined to be grounds for a rematch depending on the circumstances of the battle.
- Issue descriptions:
Device Compatibility Issue (iOS)
Compatibility issue on iOS devices
- Issue description: An incompatibility prompt appears during a game on iOS devices, when internal memory is full. This can be due to screen recording apps that slowly consume residual memory while playing. iOS Competitors must always be aware of their current memory status and possibly free up an adequate amount of memory space before starting a match.
- Official Arena Stance: This issue cannot be grounds for a rematch since it can be triggered (willingly or not) by the Competitor. Competitors must guarantee that their smartphone conditions allow Pokémon GO to run properly.
White-Screen error from the point of view of the Opponent.
- Issue description: When a competitor quits a battle or gets errored out right before entering the match, their opponent may still see the battle starting, followed by an immediate “Your opponent has quit the battle” message. Additionally, a random Pokémon may be displayed instead of the errored competitor`s chosen lead.
- Official Arena Stance: This issue is specifically regulated by Arena Rules 2.5. If the game displays a random Pokémon as a lead instead of the competitor designated lead of choice, both competitors will have the option to choose new Battle Parties and/or leads, as the actual lead Pokémon was not revealed in the battle.
Rules Reminder: 2.5 START OF A BATTLE
A battle officially begins when the first Pokémon has been visually revealed in the Pokémon GO™ Battle. If the Battle is cancelled, either by a Competitor or by technical malfunction, before the first Pokémon of either Competitor is revealed on screen, both Competitors have the option to choose new Battle Parties. If there is doubt as to whether the Battle was cancelled before the first Pokémon of either Competitor was revealed on screen, video evidence must be provided by the claiming Competitor as proof. A new Battle Party may be the same as the originally selected, partially different or totally different.
If one opponent gains any knowledge of hidden information (as defined in Section 2.6 Hidden Information) or their opponent’s Pokémon, they are obligated to inform their opponent of what they saw or heard and their own lead Pokémon so that both Competitors enter the battle with the same information. The battle must then be replayed using the same lead, but Competitors may change the two remaining Pokémon in their Battle Party if they so wish.
Section 3: Game Mechanics
This section is aimed at defining a few cases where game mechanics are confused with Lag related issues and/or other technical issues.
Switch not being triggered during Confusion turns
- Issue description: Player tries to switch their Pokémon or use a Charge Move but the action is not registered, as the Fast-Move animation is still going on and Fast-Move turn(s) have not yet completed.
- Official Arena Stance: The fact that a player will not be able to switch their Pokémon or use their Charge Move during a Fast-Move animation is not a bug but the way the game is intended to work. Therefore, it is not grounds for a rematch.
Alomomola leaks a Waterfall when the opponent’s Milotic uses a Charge Move
- Issue description: A single Fast Move lands when the opponent’s Pokémon uses a Charge Move.
- Official Arena Stance: Fast Move Leaking has been fixed in version 0.241.0. Trainers should be able to consistently start a Fast Move at the same time as a Charge Move.
- Sneaked Fast Move energy gain is not slightly delayed after the opponent’s Pokémon Charge Move anymore.
- Quickly pressing on the Charge Move icon won’t result in a Fast Move being triggered instead (Overtapping).
Section 4: One-time rematchable
Connection and device stability can be tricky to guarantee during the whole match. This is why lag attributed to the individual player’s device or connection, and not to a bug listed elsewhere on this list—or simultaneous lag-related bugs on this list—may be grounds for a rematch, but only once during the tournament . After that, the Competitor must change their device/provide a better connection or accept future results as they are. We strive to maintain a level playing field for all competitors, but we must also be respectful of everyone’s time and effort. Permitting an individual to repeatedly hold up a tournament due to the shortcomings of their own device or connection is unfair to the other competitors that have brought the tools required to battle effectively.
Several freezes happening during the battle
- Issue description: Multiple Lag-related or Abnormal behavior issues (Section 2) in the same battle preventing a smooth gameplay.
- Official Arena Stance: This problem may be grounds for a rematch, depending on the circumstances of the battle, but only once per tournament. Competitors must guarantee the best smartphone and connection conditions to not slow down the tournament.
It must be noted that a rematch will never be granted, even once, if any of the following user-based issues occur:
- mid-game call;
- phone turning off because of a dead battery;
- notifications from external apps disrupting gameplay.
Turning on the “Do Not Disturb” mode, connection checking, phone charging before the battle, keeping it cold before the start of the battle, and closing all non-essential apps during the battle are useful tips to avoid these situations.
Section 5: Out-of-Date Issues
These issues are currently very rare or simply have been solved with previous game updates. Nonetheless, they can occur in future game releases as previous issues have come back with new patches. This non-comprehensive list is to aid Tournament Officials in these very peculiar scenarios.
Switch Timer Bug
Switch timer countdown not working as intended
- Issue description: Visual bug where the timer does not work, and therefore the player needs to mentally count the seconds until they will be able to switch their Pokémon, as tapping the button beforehand might end in losing Fast Moves.
- Official Arena Stance: Niantic has advised not to update to version 0.197.0, which had this bug. If it were to come back as a state-of-the-game issue it wouldn’t be grounds for a rematch.
Buffs/Debuffs Not Being Cleared
Buff on Poliwrath not being cleared
- Issue description: Status buffs and debuffs not being cleared if a competitor returns the buffed/debuffed Pokémon to the field after one of their Pokémon faint.
- Official Arena Stance: If it were to come back as a state-of-the-game issue it wouldn’t be grounds for a rematch.
Hidden Power visual bug
Game not showing the “Super Effective!” prompt.
- Issue description: The game shows wrong type-advantage information, or does not show any at all, regarding the effectiveness of the Fast-Move “Hidden Power”.
- Official Arena Stance: Though certainly annoying, this is a purely graphical bug as those that can be seen in Section 2 given that the damage issued by said Fast Move is correct. If it were to come back as a state-of-the-game issue it would not be grounds for a rematch.
In the video Gallade has the higher attack stat.
- Issue description: The game gives the Charge Move priority to the wrong player. Charge Move priority should be given to the Pokémon with the higher attack stat.
- Official Arena Stance: While this was a current State of the Game technical error for a long time, this issue has since been addressed and fixed by Niantic so a CMP Error should not occur. Since it can be IV dependent or easily confused with False CMP Ties this issue cannot be grounds for a rematch.
- Most “CMP Errors” are False CMP Ties. This happens when it seems like the system is giving the Charge Move priority to the wrong player but there is no CMP Tie at all. In these cases, the False CMP Tie might be caused by lag, desync or simply attacks that last for different durations.
- Shadow Pokémon attack boost is not considered for the calculation of the higher attacks stat, and neither are buffs/debuffs.
- There used to be a specific CMP Error where it would always grant the priority to the switched-in Pokémon; this has been patched in recent Pokémon Go versions.
All the issues described above must be followed by Tournament Officials. However, Competitors should always try to reach a peaceful and mutually fair agreement first, independently from stances reported here in this document. When an escalation occurs, Tournament Officials should try to have at least three officials involved in a dispute and must follow what’s described herein. The decision of the majority should be enforced, in order to provide the best and most objective solution to the problem.
If you feel a staff decision warrants appeal, all evidence including video evidence, screenshots of conversations with both Tournament Officials and Rival, and useful information should be submitted via the Report Misconduct form to be reviewed by the Arena Infractions Team. Competitors or Tournament Officials who have questions or wish to receive assistance in applying current rematch rules can reach out to the Silph Arena Team on the Arena Official Discord (Support, rules-and-protocols section).
Note that the Known Issues Guidelines apply to ranked Arena Tournaments and their Officials. Special Tournaments such as Silph Arena Factions, Continentals, World Championships, among others may differ in terms of ruleset and stances, due to the higher level of adjudication.
Last Update: 2023/01/31, 15:00 (UTC)
- Further clarified “One-turn desync and desync-related unresponsiveness”.
- Re-added “Charge Move Activation Priority Inconsistency” in “Section 1: Current State of the Game”.