Should you power up your Pokémon beyond Level 40?

Pokemon GO Stardust
Pokemon GO Stardust

Powering up a Pokémon beyond level 40 is VERY expensive, so you’re probably wondering whether or not it’s worth spending your valuable resources to get your already maxed out Pokémon to level 50. In this guide, I will try to answer that question with several examples.

Don’t forget that we also published a Guide to Power Up costs in Pokémon GO a few days ago!

Power Up costs from Level 40 to Level 50

Powering up a level 40 Pokémon to level 50 costs 250k stardust and 296 Candy XL. To put this into perspective, it’s almost the same amount of stardust needed to power up a Pokémon from level 1 to 40.

Let’s say you have 100 maxed out L40 Pokémon right now. Powering them all to level 50 (assuming you have the XL candies needed) would cost you 25 MILLION stardust. Insane, right?

I plotted the resources needed to power up a Pokémon from level 1 to 50 so that you can see the shape of the curve. Let’s start with the cumulative stardust per Pokémon level:

Cumulative stardust per level

As you can see, more than 500k stardust to fully max out a level 1 Pokémon.

Now, let’s see what happens with the candies required to max out a Pokémon:

Cumulative candy per level (assuming 100 candies –> 1 Candy XL)

This plot tells us one thing: DO NOT convert your regular candy to Candy XL!!! The system was designed this way on purpose, so avoid making that mistake. Not even Brandon Tan has 30000 Mewtwo candies, so don’t convert your candy with this method! You should be able to get Candy XL via other methods, take a look at our XL Candy guide if you want to know more.

Pokémon stats beyond Level 40

Alright, we’ve seen the costs, but what happens to the Pokémon stats? Is a level 50 Pokémon really that strong if we compare it to a level 40 one?

I don’t want to go into much detail about the math involved. To sum up, there is a value in the GAME_MASTER file called CPM (Combat Power Multiplier), which is used to compute the effective values of ATK, DEF, STA and CP at each level. So as the Pokémon level increases, so does the CPM and thus the Pokémon stats and CP. We have a CP Mechanics guide with some examples if you want to know a bit more.

Alright, now that we know how the CPM affects the Pokémon stats, we can understand the following chart:

CPM per level

Remember all these flashy Youtuber thumbnails telling you NOT to power up beyond level 30? Look at the chart above and you’ll see why. As you have probably seen already, when you power up a Pokémon beyond level 30, its stats do not increase as much. You’ll see (for example) +52 CP when you press the power up button to power up your Dragonite and +25 CP when you power it up from level 35 to 35.5.

Why is that? You may ask. If you look at the chart above, you’ll see that the slope of the curve past level 30 is less pronounced, so the stats (and thus, the CP) do not increase as much (but the cost does, though). Well, the same happens from level 40 to level 50, as you can see. But that doesn’t answer the question… We’ll get there, no worries.

Take a look at the following CPM values:

  • CPM @ level 40: 0.7903000116
  • CPM @ level 50: 0.8403000236 (6.32671% increase)

So are level 50 Pokémon just 6.33% better than level 40 Pokémon? Not really. Think that CPM multiplies each stat (ATK, DEF, STA). So how about analysing the stat product (ATK*DEF*STA) instead? If we consider that specific metric, 1.0632671^3 = 1.2, thus indicating that level 50 Pokémon have a stat product roughly 20% larger than level 40 ones. That makes more sense, doesn’t it? Will you be powering up your Pokémon to level 50? Let us know in the comments section!

Problem: Legendary Pokémon and XL candies

There are some problems and limitations with the Candy XL system. In fact, Niantic is well aware of it per the following tweet:

Maxing out Pokémon that hatch from eggs, spawn in the wild or can be obtained via other methods should not be an issue in the long run. However, maxing out legendary Pokémon will definitely be an issue concerning many players.

How are you gonna get 296 Mewtwo XL Candies if Mewtwo is not in raids? Let’s give them time to think about this and hopefully they can come up with a solution that suits us all.

Will the raid boss difficulty be increased in the future?

That’s actually a good question! Our Pokémon can be maxed out beyond level 40 now, so will raid bosses eventually get stronger too? We’ll have to wait and see, but this doesn’t look likely in the near future. We better be prepared if that happens though!

Lugia Raid Boss

One way of doing this could be to increase the HP value (à la Darkrai (first release) or T6 Mewtwo), and another one would be to increase the actual stats (by using a larger CPM, kinda similar to what happens with the teams of the Team Leaders in Trainer Battles, which also got stronger!).

Should you  power up for PvP?

If you visit PvPoke on a regular basis, you have probably noticed that the leaderboards now look a bit different. Yes, some Pokémon that weren’t able to reach the CP cap now appear in the leaderboards (example: Galarian Stunfisk in the Ultra League) and some others who already appeared just got better because of the extra push they can now get to maximize their stat product below the CP cap (example: Medicham in Great League).

Will these changes shake up the meta completely? Not really. Bar some exceptions like the ones I mentioned, don’t expect very significant changes to happen. Yes, some Pokémon got better and the meta will change a bit, but not enough to discard all your previous investments. Don’t even think that they are now worthless! Your previous Azu is still very good in Great League, don’t panic!

As a rule of thumb, I’d say that if your Pokémon maxed out right below the CP cap (example: Sableye), then a level 40+ one MIGHT flip some matchups thanks to the extra push in stats that allows it to maximize the stat product a bit more. As you can imagine, this won’t happen very often, so don’t worry too much!

GO Battle League

There are some very specific cases where some Pokémon can flip some matchups if they’re powered up to levels beyond level 40, so I’d only consider powering up Pokémon to these levels for PvP purposes if the increase in terms of performance is good enough to justify the investment.

I’ll give you some examples:

Best Pokémon to power up beyond L40 for Great and Ultra League

And no, I’m not telling you to max all of them out. If you’re curious how a specific one performs and if it flips a key matchup now that it’s able to be pushed to higher levels, I’d recommend checking out PvPoke’s leaderboards and analysing its performance vs. the meta.

In fact, the Pokémon listed in the Table above have been sorted in terms of performance according to such rankings. As always, full credit to PvPoke!

Kieng also has some very interesting videos where he discusses which Pokémon are worth powering up beyond level 40 for the different leagues, I’d say it’s worth a watch! ?

PvP Master League

Master League is a completely different topic. In Season 6, we’ll be able to compete in two different Master League formats: Regular (no CP limit) and Master League Classic (max. Pokémon level: 40).

In Master League you always want to have the highest IVs & level. It looks like you’ll be able to compete in both leagues this season, so I wouldn’t stress too much for now, we’ll see if Master League Classic is just a temporary concept or if it returns every season. If you want to compete in regular Master League though, be prepared to face level 40+ Pokémon.

Does this mean that we actually need to have a level 40 version and a level 50 one of the same Pokémon to be prepared for all situations? We’ll see!

I think there’s no need to list the best candidates in a Table, you can just consider the best Pokémon in open Master League and the L50 meta won’t be very different. There might be some very specific breakpoints and bulkpoints here and there but… don’t stress too much about it.

Parting words

And that’s it! What do you think of the power up costs and the new levels? Will you be maxing out your Pokémon? I really want to max out all of them but I don’t want to run out of stardust! Let us know in the comments section or tag me on Twitter!

As always, here’s some constructive feedback:

  • We need a Stardust rework, just like the one we had for EXP. Maxing out a Pokémon to level 50 is too expensive for non-hardcore players, and something needs to be done. Can you imagine how much stardust is needed to max out a shadow Pokémon? It’s actually insane
  • Having more Stardust Events would be nice, too!
  • Oh, I almost forgot to answer the main question of this article. My answer would be yes, but only in some cases. Does your level 50 Pokémon flip a key matchup in PvP? Go for it. Does it reach a very important breakpoint in PvE? Go for it. Is the Pokémon really special for you? Go for it. If you expected to max out all the level 40 Pokémon in your collection, you’re probably aware now that this isn’t looking like a viable option in the near future

See you in the next one, trainers! ?

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