From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
- This article is about the property of Pokémon. For the Trainer Level in Pokémon GO, see Experience → Pokémon GO.
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The level (Japanese: レベル level) is a measurement of how strong a Pokémon currently is. It is portrayed differently in the anime, games, manga, and Pokémon Trading Card Game.
In the games
In the core series
In the Pokémon games, a Pokémon's level is determined by how much experience it has. A Pokémon's level will range from 1 to 100. When a Pokémon gains a level, its stats increase by a small amount. Depending on the exact level, it may also learn a new move or evolve. Opponent's levels may be viewed in-battle, and players may see their own Pokémon's levels in-battle, in the PC or by using the menu.
Using a Rare Candy will increase a Pokémon's level by 1 (and increase its experience accordingly).
When a Pokémon levels up, it becomes more friendly. This way, Pokémon that evolve by friendship may eventually evolve by training.
In Generation IV, during battle, if a Pokémon almost has enough experience to level up, its Poké Ball will shake in the player's team summary.
In Generation I, if a Pokémon gains enough experience to gain more than one level, it will grow straight to the new level, and is unable to learn any move learned at a skipped level. In Generation II, the active Pokémon grows level by level, whereas switched out Pokémon grow straight to the new level (but are able to learn any moves regardless). From Generation III onwards, all Pokémon grow level by level.
In the Pokémon games, the level cap is level 100. When a Pokémon has reached level 100, it cannot gain any more experience or level up. Due to this, level 100 Pokémon cannot evolve in any way which requires leveling up.
In Generations III and IV only, when a Pokémon has reached level 100, even if it has not gained maximum EVs, it cannot continue gaining EVs through battle (except Deoxys). Vitamins can still be used to raise EVs. In Generations I and II as well as from Generation V onwards, EVs can be gained even by level 100 Pokémon (although the Box trick is required in Generations I and II for the stats to update).
By exploiting the old man glitch in Generation I, a Pokémon can be acquired at a level higher than 100. Also in Generation I, any Pokémon can also be raised to a level above 100 via the Pokémon merge glitch; however, Pokémon in the Slow experience group need to be merged with a glitch Pokémon who requires even more experience at level 100. These Pokémon can continue to be leveled up with Rare Candies until level 255. Whenever a Pokémon over level 100 gains any experience, its level will revert to 100. If a Rare Candy is used on a level 255 Pokémon, it will revert to level 0 due to an overflow.
In Generations I and II, Pokémon were not legitimately available at a level below 2. This could be related to the fact that in Generations I and II, Pokémon in the Medium Slow experience group had a negative experience value at level 1, causing them to level up instantly to level 100 if they were to gain less than 54 experience points in battle (a high possibility on the games' early routes). Instead, Pokémon on the games' earliest routes were found level 2 or level 3, and starter Pokémon are given out at level 5. Likewise, Pokémon hatch from Pokémon Eggs at level 5.
From Generation III onwards, experience required to level up is taken from a lookup table, rather than by using a programmed equation as in Generations I and II; in Generation III, however, Pokémon still hatch from Eggs at level 5, and no wild Pokémon can be found at a level below 2. From Generation IV onwards, Pokémon hatch from Eggs at level 1 and some Pokémon are available in the wild at level 1 (however, starter Pokémon are still received at level 5).
Through some unique circumstances, it is possible to have Pokémon at a lower level than they are usually available via evolution. Underleveled Pokémon appeared as early as Red and Green, with level 4-6 Kakuna and Metapod available in Viridian Forest. Kakuna and Metapod cannot be obtained by evolution until level 7.
Prior to Generation V, Pokémon obtained in in-game trades are always the same level as the one being traded away, so many underleveled Pokémon can be obtained through in-game trades. For example, in Red and Blue and FireRed and LeafGreen, it is possible to obtain an Electrode as low as level 3, even though the species evolves from Voltorb only at level 30 or above. This Electrode can be obtained by catching a Pikachu in Viridian Forest at level 3, evolving it with the Thunderstone, and trading it on Cinnabar Island.
Some non-player character Trainers use underleveled Pokémon in battle. For example, Lance has three underleveled Dragonite in Generations II and IV, with one being at level 50 and two at level 49 in HeartGold and SoulSilver (Dragonite does not evolve naturally from Dragonair until level 55). Many other in-game Trainers, such as Mars and Jupiter, also possess underleveled Pokémon.
An application of the Pomeg glitch in Emerald makes it possible to evolve a Pokémon while it is still inside an Egg, allowing any such evolved forms to be obtained at level 5. In Generation IV, this particular exploit of the Pomeg glitch was fixed; the Pomeg glitch was removed entirely in Generation V.
- Main article: Obedience
Outsider Pokémon (Pokémon obtained via trade or event distribution) occasionally disobey the player's commands if they are above a certain level. The Badges the player owns determine the maximum level outsider Pokémon can be before there is a possibility for them to disobey. Not owning the region's second Badge means that no traded Pokémon whose level is above 10 (level 20 in Generation VI) will obey the player; if the player has the region's eighth Badge, Pokémon will always obey.
In the spin-off games
In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series
In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, level functions similarly to the core series. Like in the core series, each Pokémon's level, ranging from 1 to 100, depends on how much experience it has. When a Pokémon gains a level, its stats increase slightly and it may try to learn a new move. The moves that can be learned by each Pokémon, and the exact levels they will try to learn them, are the same as contemporaneous core series games. In order for some Pokémon to evolve, a minimum level is also required. However, evolution does not occur automatically, requiring access to specific places instead.
A number of dungeons across the series temporarily set the team's levels to 1 or 5 when entered. Their levels are restored to normal once the dungeon is exited.
A Joy Seed or Golden Banana can be used to increase a Pokémon's level. A Doom Seed can be used to decrease a Pokémon's level.
In Pokémon Shuffle
Each Pokémon in Pokémon Shuffle has a level, which increases when it gains enough experience. As a Pokémon's level increases, its Attack power increases as well, with how much it increases per level determined by the Pokémon's Attack power at level 1. All Pokémon begin at level 1, with a maximum level of 10. However, Raise Max Level Enhancements are able to increase this cap for specific Pokémon, potentially up to level 20.
In the anime
The concept of levels of Pokémon is not as detailed, nor as frequently mentioned, in the anime. The first time levels were referred to was briefly by Meowth during the second episode when he said Ash's Pikachu was "powerful beyond its evolutionary level."
It was later mentioned more obviously by students at the Academy in The School of Hard Knocks. One of them was able to quote the levels at which Pidgey and the rest of its family evolve and learn certain moves, and another stated that Pikachu should be at least level 25. However, the main characters and their Pokémon remain seemingly oblivious to the idea.
Misty mentions levels in Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden where she says "That Rhyhorn must be at a high level!" referring to a Hiker's Rhyhorn's formidable strength as it uses Take Down on Ash's Bulbasaur, severely injuring it.
In Fighting Ire with Fire!, Brock mentions Barry's Empoleon has leveled up a ton since last seeing it, referring to how its battle against a Mothim went. In Dealing with a Fierce Double Ditto Drama!, when teaching Narissa, Brock says "Now let's level you up. And the only way to do that is to get experience from battling." These mentions confirm the ability to inflict damage on certain Pokémon becomes easier when a Pokémon grows a level.
In Enter The Dragonite, when Ash chose Bulbasaur to battle Drake's Electabuzz, Tracey reminded Ash that level had to be taken into account as well as type despite Grass Pokemon being strong against Electric types. After Bulbasaur was defeated, Drake comments that Ash's Charizard is on a higher level than he thought, as it was able to withstand a series of Electric attacks from Electabuzz.
In Roll On, Pokémon!, Ash's Pokédex mentions that the length a Donphan's tusks indicates its level, allowing Brock to deduce that the short-tusked Donphan they encountered was a young and low-level one.
Brock mentions in Doin' What Comes Natu-rally! that moves become more powerful as a Pokémon's level is raised; and Ash adds that the best way to raise levels is by battling. Despite this, Ash's most used Pokémon, Pikachu, doesn't show signs of being at a higher level than any other Pokémon. After appearing in more than 700 episodes, and battling in most of them, its level would be expected to be very high; however, at the start of each series of the anime, it either has as hard a time defeating other Trainers' Pokémon as his more recently-obtained Pokémon do or outright loses against them, an example being Trip's recently-obtained Snivy (although in these cases Pikachu's power levels may have been affected by factors such as an illness prior to Ash arriving in Hoenn requiring most of his electric power to be drained away, or an encounter with Zekrom temporarily draining Pikachu's electric power after arriving in Unova).
During a quiz in Will the Real Oak Please Stand Up?, DJ Mary asks Professor Oak and James (disguised as Professor Oak) what move Slowbro learns on level 46. When James fails to know the answer, he says that he has Amnesia. For his luck, however, Amnesia was the correct answer.
In Queen of the Serpentine!, Brock comments how Lucy's Milotic is at a high level after it defeated Ash's Donphan with a single hit.
Dawn's Piplup also shows that the anime does not strictly follow the games' system. In its debut episode, it used Bide, a move Piplup normally does not learn until level 18, by which point it would be showing signs of evolution (which did not happen until Stopped in the Name of Love!). However, when Ash's Staraptor evolved into its final state in Pursuing a Lofty Goal!, it immediately learned Close Combat, just like it would in the game if it evolved at level 34. Therefore, level up moves can generally be learned at any time in the anime.
In the two Mystery Dungeon specials, levels are mentioned, but not explained. This may mean that Pokémon themselves understand the concept of levels in the anime but humans do not.
In the manga
The concept of levels appears to be present within some manga (but not all of them).
In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga
The concept of levels appears rarely in the The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga; however, in Pikachu's Excellent Adventure, Samurai specifically mentions level 99 Slowpoke and Magikarp which can be found in the Hidden Village.
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
At the end of every volume, or starting from Volume 15, at the end of certain rounds, the current levels of at least one of the main characters' Pokémon are given in a Pokédex or Adventure Map section.
The level mechanic appears in the plot twice. In the FireRed & LeafGreen chapter, Orm's black Pokédex was able to deduce the power of Yellow's Pokémon in terms of level; Yellow then used her own mysterious power to sharply raise her team members' levels. In the Emerald chapter, Emerald found out that the Sceptile he used during his Battle Factory challenge, and later smuggled out, was able to survive an opposing Glalie's Sheer Cold; Sceptile was Level 51, even though Emerald's challenge was in the Level 50, Single Battle mode, meaning that the rest of the rental Pokémon were Level 50.
In the Pokémon Gotta Catch 'Em All manga
The concept of levels seems to exist in Pokémon Gotta Catch 'Em All, as in Catch Bellsprout!, Shu comments that the Bellsprout he is battling against is at a higher level than his Ponyta.
- Before Generation IV, it was impossible to get a Pokémon at level 1 without the aid of a glitch or cheating device. The lowest level Pokémon would be at level 2 in the wild, and Eggs would hatch at level 5. In Generation IV, however, Eggs are hatched at level 1, Regigigas and Magikarp can be caught at level 1 in Pokémon Platinum, and Dialga, Palkia, or Giratina can be obtained at level 1 in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver.
- In Generation I, it is possible to encounter and catch Pokémon at levels over 100 through the old man glitch, and encounter them in glitch Trainers' parties through the Mew glitch.
In other languages