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In Showdown's "Watch a Battle" section, I've noticed some unrated battles (which don't affect the ladder) available. I know that custom battles against specified players are unrated, but is there a way to play an unrated battle against other random players?

Thank you in advance.

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Do you mean other than challenging players directly? There is no other way bar unrated random battles, which has it's own ladder (and therefore doesn't affect the other random battle ladder).
(sorry, I thought my wording might have ben a bit unclear)
What I'm looking for is a way to battle random players in like OU or UU that won't affect the ladder.  Are all unrated battles just players directly challenging other players, or is there a way to get a random, unrated matchup?

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Showdown doesn't have a built-in function that allows you to play unrated battles in any tier of your choosing. Smogon's main tiers like OU and UU only have one ladder, where the battle results will be scaled on your ELO, GXE and other measures. There exists no ladder for any game that allows you to play unrated, except Random Battles. You can play those without ratings by selecting "Unrated Random Battle" from the format menu, as seen here.

However, Showdown's account system and (non-existent) policies regarding them mean you can basically replicate the effect of playing without results. Just sign out of your account and make a new one, and play battles on that account. The battles will be scaled, but your main account's rankings won't be affected. There's a strong culture for this on Showdown; plenty of people like to play on "testing alts" before they're confident in a team for laddering. The main difference here compared to a truly random system is that you'll always play against people with a similar ranking to your current account -- though the unranked ladder wouldn't be very competitive in the first place. Anyone who is serious would play ranked games instead.

Basically, there's no way to get a truly random opponent (ie. completely ignoring rating parameters and prescribed matchups), but you can get pretty close by making a new account and playing on that one.

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If you click the down arrow under the Format section by Teambuilder, it should provide you a drop down list. The second battle under 'SM Singles' is an 'Unrated Random Battle'

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