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Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League: How To Unlock And Pause Ranked Play

Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League: How To Unlock And Pause Ranked Play
Images via Nintendo

Written by 

Dylan Tate

Posted 

5th May 2022 13:40

The Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League is the highest level of competition that players can attain in the latest instalment of the iconic Wii Sports franchise. Whether you’re honing old skills in returning sports like tennis and bowling or learning the ropes in new additions to Nintendo Switch Sports like football and volleyball, this ranked mode presents a goal that every hardcore Nintendo fan can aspire to. Here’s everything you need to know about unlocking and playing in the Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League.

Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League Breakdown

The Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League is effectively this game’s equivalent to Elite Smash in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As a result, it is a mode in online play that allows players to take part in high-level ranked competition.

While just about anyone can make their way into the Pro League initially, only the best of the best will be able to make their way to the very top of the pecking order. Upon entering the Pro League, players will be able to move up and down the following ranks:

  • E
  • E+
  • D-
  • D
  • D+
  • C-
  • C
  • C+
  • B-
  • B
  • B+
  • A

Although everyone who has unlocked the Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League can boast the title of “Certified Pro,” only the best of the best will be able to claw their way up to the coveted A rank. Nevertheless, the game’s skill-based matchmaking system means that players should generally be matched up against players of a similar rank, meaning they can typically expect close matches no matter which rank they end up falling into.

How To Unlock Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League

The text that appears when you unlock the Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League, designating you as a "Certified Pro."

Despite what the “Certified Pro” designation might suggest, unlocking the Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League is actually not necessarily a matter of skill. Instead, it is more so a matter of investing time into playing each of the games Nintendo Switch Sports has to offer.

In order to unlock the Pro League for a given sport, the player simply has to play 10 online matches in that specific sport. It does not seem to matter whether those matches result in a win or a loss, as the game does not appear to track results and assign a rank until a player is already in the Pro League. As a result, even players who are not yet experts in a given sport can still access the game’s ranked mode simply by spending enough time playing that sport.

 

Like Elite Smash in Smash Ultimate, where players must access ranked play one character at a time, unlocking the Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League for one sport does not do so for every sport at once. For this reason, true Nintendo Switch Sports experts will have to spend time grinding every single sport in order to unlock each individual Pro League. Currently, the game features six sports: tennis, bowling, chambara, football, volleyball, and badminton. A seventh sport, golf, will make its way to the game as downloadable content in Fall 2022.

Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League: How To Pause

An explanation of the ranking system in the Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League.

Undoubtedly, constantly grinding to raise one’s rank could be a stressful experience. Fortunately, players who decide they want a more casual gameplay experience will have the option to pause the Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League without suffering any negative repercussions.

To put a hold on your competitive experience, simply find the “Options” button on the main menu. From there, go to “User Settings,” select “Pro Leagues,” and switch sports from “Play Pro” to “Pause Pro” as you see fit. There are no penalties for pausing a Pro League, as this toggle simply allows you to play a sport online without gaining or losing points. Thus, matches will not affect a player’s rank while a Pro League is paused.

Just as players have to unlock Pro Leagues for different sports separately, they have the option to toggle unlocked Pro Leagues separately. As a result, if a player wants to play other sports casually while focusing all of their competitive energy on one sport, they have the option to pause the Pro Leagues for every sport except for the one they are focusing on. These Pro Leagues can then be turned back on at any point if the player decides they want to return to ranked competition in that sport.

Should You Play Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League Online Or Offline?

A Sportsmate playing football in the Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League.

Since the core idea of the Nintendo Switch Sports Pro League is competing against others in order to jockey for a higher rank, there is no way to participate in a Pro League in offline play. Thus, players interested in this mode will need to have a Nintendo Switch Online membership.

While this particular feature is off limits for offline-only players, the game as a whole can still be played without an online subscription. The offline Nintendo Switch Sports Trial Mode still provides players with the chance to practice any sport against CPU opponents and even earn points that can go toward acquiring unlockable cosmetics.

 

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