Leveling in Pokémon Go is one of the most important mechanics in the game. But with higher levels comes tougher objectives. In November 2020, the level cap was increased from 40 to 50, and the way leveling up those last 10 levels changed too.
For reference, I’ve been playing Pokémon Go casually since the day it launched in 2016 and I feel like I’ve been sitting at Level 37 since about that time. So how are so many players already at the new cap of 50? Whether you’re new to the game or have been playing since Day 1 and are gearing up for Pokémon Go Fest this weekend, here’s a guide to leveling up.
How to level up from 1 to 40
Leveling from 1-40 is fairly simple: Use Lucky Eggs, catch Pokémon, compete in raids, send gifts to friends and battle.
Basically anything you do in the game will reward you with XP, but there are some things that grant better XP than others, and for less effort.
Popping a Lucky Egg can increase that XP, but save those for when you plan on doing a bunch of raids in a row, or when you plan on evolving a ton of Pokémon for the maximum use of your Lucky Eggs.
Lucky Eggs will grant double XP for 30 minutes and are sometimes given as rewards, but most of the time you’ll have to acquire them through the shop. It costs 80 PokéCoins for one and 500 PokéCoins for eight Lucky Eggs. In real world money, that equals about $5.00 for eight Lucky Eggs, since 550 PokéCoins costs $4.99 in the shop.
Using a Lucky Egg during a double XP event will grant you even more rewards. The XP bonus stacks, so instead of a 2X reward, players will get 4X the XP. Double XP events have been decreasing in number, but they are often implemented as part of a Pokémon spotlight or raid hour, so save your eggs for those weekly happenings.
Making friends is one of the best ways to earn XP in the game, although it isn’t one of the fastest. The process takes 90 days of interactions with your friend to complete and involves sending each other gifts or participating in raids together.
It might take a while but becoming best friends with someone gives some of the best XP in the game. Don’t forget to pop a Lucky Egg when you’re about to hit Best Friends for a sweet 200,000 XP!
Tier 5 raids are one of the best ways to level in the game as well. Each successful raid grants 10,000 XP. Weekly Raid Hours make it easy to do raid after raid and grant a lot of XP at once.
Read more: Is New Pokémon Snap worth the $60 price tag?
Find a group of five or so players that will participate every week in raids. My friends and I have a Discord server dedicated to a few players who will reliably raid. Check your local Facebook Pokémon Go group for friends, since many will have Discords or group chats dedicated to raiding.
One of the most reliable ways to farm XP is to hoard a bunch of Pokémon and then evolve them all at once when under the effects of a Lucky Egg. This method of gaining XP has been around for a long time and is the tried and true way to get a fair bit of XP with minimum effort.
Each evolution grants 500 XP, with a bonus 500 XP if the Pokémon you evolved into isn’t already in your Pokédex. Evolving Pokémon one after the other will grant a fair bit of XP if you have enough candies and enough Pokémon to evolve for a half hour.
There is also a very handy chart from eurogamer that lays out every action in the game and how much XP you can get from it, which will be helpful when figuring out which route to take in leveling from 1-40.
How to level up from 40 to 50
Levels 41-50 are a bit trickier than 1-40 because players must complete tasks in addition to a mountain of XP per level. Below is a breakdown of each level and what trainers will have to do in order to level up.
XP needed: 6 million
- Power up a Legendary Pokémon 20 times
- Win 30 raids
- Catch 200 Pokémon in a single day
- Earn 5 gold medals
Tips: The hardest task here is the 200 Pokémon caught in a single day. Not only do you need over 200 Pokéballs to be able to catch said Pokémon, but the number itself is quite large for one day. Make use of one of the monthly Community Days and go to an area where a lot of Pokémon are spawning, and as long as you have the Pokéballs for it, catching 200 in one day shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Make sure you have your incense ready to go before Community Day starts to attract even more Pokémon.
XP needed: 7 million
- Evolve Eevee into each of its unique evolutions
- Use items to evolve Pokémon 15 times
- Make 3 excellent throws
- Use 200 berries to help catch Pokémon
Tips: Nothing too crazy here. This one might take you a bit of time since evolving Eevees usually involves walking around with them as your buddy. Here’s a handy guide on how to get each Eeveelution.
XP needed: 9 million
- Earn 100,000 Stardust
- Use 200 super effective Charged Attacks
- Catch 5 Legendary Pokémon
- Earn 5 Platinum medals
Tips: Using 200 super effective Charged Attacks may take a bit of time, but so will 9 million XP. Raiding and participating in player battles will be the quickest way to achieve that task. Even better, find yourself a friend who will coordinate some battles with you to make it go faster. Use Star Pieces to gain 50% more Stardust for 30 minutes.
XP needed: 11 million
- Win 30 Trainer Battles in the Great League
- Win 30 Trainer Battles in the Ultra League
- Win 30 Trainer Battles in the Master League
- Battle in the Battle League 20 times
Tips: These tasks will just come down to a little bit of luck, and some strategy. Equipping versatile teams of Pokémon with good attack moves will help make this one a little easier. Here’s a guide that will help you pick the Pokémon to keep in your arsenal, and tips on winning Trainer Battles.
XP needed: 13 million
- Defeat 100 Team Rocket Grunts
- Purify 100 Shadow Pokémon
- Defeat a Team Rocket Leader 50 times
- Earn 10 Platinum Medals
Tips: Luckily there are usually balloons with Rocket Grunts in them, which means you don’t have to go far to battle them. Save up your Rocket Radars and read up on each Rocket Leader to come up with a team that will be successful.
XP needed: 15.5 million
- Complete 100 Field Research tasks
- Take a snapshot of a Pokémon 7 days in a row
- Make 50 excellent throws
- Hatch 30 eggs
Tips: There isn’t anything too difficult here. Research tasks can be easily done and replenished by spinning PokéStops, and 50 excellent throws might be frustrating, but it won’t take up that much time. The only hang up here is hatching 30 eggs. This might be an easy task for someone who doesn’t mind spending money on the game, but for those who don’t like to pay to play, hatching 30 eggs might take some time with only one free incubator to work with.
XP needed: 18 million
- Win 30 raids using a team of all unique Pokémon species
- Win a three-star raid using only Pokémon with 1,500 CP or less
- Power up three Pokémon to their max CP
- Earn 20 Platinum Medals
Tips: The first task might be a little confusing, but what it means is that you have to win 30 raids using different types of Pokémon. Make sure you don’t have two of the same type in your party, and you should be good to go. Also, it doesn’t specify which raid players must complete, so even a one-star raid can achieve this goal.
XP needed: 21 million
- Receive 20 Souvenirs from your buddy Pokémon
- Earn 300 hearts with your buddy
- Walk 200 km with your buddy
- Walk 25 km in a week eight times
Tips: This set of tasks will have you up and moving with your buddy. Earning 300 hearts will come with time -- just spend each day feeding your buddy and walking with them. Make sure to keep your phone with you at all times, since the 25 km in a week goal must be done eight times, making this level take a minimum of eight weeks to complete.
XP needed: 25 million
- Make 10 trades with Pokémon caught at least 300 km apart
- Obtain 50 Lucky Pokémon in trades
- Send 500 gifts to friends
- Earn 35 Platinum medals
Tips: This level will be easier to attain if you have a lot of friends from different places. Have a friend who recently went on vacation? Make sure you trade 10 Pokémon when you get back for that 300 km trade task. Make sure you’re sending gifts to friends every day and you’ll hit Lucky Friends with them in no time, which will help you get 50 Lucky Pokémon. In this tier, 35 Platinum medals will prove difficult since a lot of them require massive amounts of tasks such as 50,000 Pokémon caught, 50,000 PokéStops spun or 2,500 eggs hatched.
XP needed: 30 million
- Make 999 excellent throws
- Catch a Legendary Pokémon in your next five Legendary Pokémon encounters
- Defeat a Team Go Rocket Leader three times using only Pokémon with 2,500 CP or less
- Reach Rank 10 in the Go Battle League
Tips: This tier is bound to frustrate some players, since catching five Legendary Pokémon in succession might prove difficult. Legendary Pokémon are the hardest Pokémon in the game to catch, and there are a finite amount of Pokéballs to throw at it before it runs, so this one is just going to come down to throwing skill and a little bit of luck.
Lead image credit: Niantic