A competitive stage (Japanese: ランキングステージRanking Stage) is a type of special stage in Pokémon Shuffle where the player battles a Pokémon with infinite HP to earn as high a score as possible, which is ranked against other players' scores. (On the 3DS, a player's score is ranked against players in their region; on mobile, it is ranked against all players.) Once the event period ends, the player will receive prizes based on their rank. These stages feature Mega-Evolved Pokémon and prizes may include the Pokémon's Mega Stone. The cost per play is Heart ×1.
Competitive stages are move-limited stages. Before playing a competitive stage or checking the leaderboard, the player must agree to connect to the Internet. Once a connection is confirmed, the player may select Pokémon and items as usual. On the Ranking screen, which is unique to this type of stage, players can view their personal high score, current placement, and information on the five players currently on top of the leaderboard (in their region on 3DS), including the Pokémon used to acquire their score. From version 1.3 (3DS)/1.6 (Mobile) onwards, this screen was adjusted to include the Pokémon the player used to achieve their current score, the score cutoffs for each prize tier, and which prize tier (called "class") the player is currently in.
Though the main prize is a Mega Stone (or equivalent prize if the player has already obtained that specific Mega Stone), items like Mega Speedups and Raise Max Levels are also available, with larger amount offered to higher tiers of scoring.
For the game's end-of-service period, competitive stages rotate on a consistent 24-week schedule, with one running each odd-numbered week, and each lasting for one week.
As of March 31, 2023 at 6:00 AM UTC, the 3DS version's servers have been shut down, so competitive stages can no longer be played on that version. Due to this, any Mega Stones exclusively obtainable through competitive stages can no longer be obtained. This affects 10 Mega Stones: Alakazite, Banettite, Beedrillite, Cameruptite, Garchompite, Gyaradosite, Houndoominite, Manectite, Pinsirite, and Steelixite. The Gardevoirite and Charizardite X can be obtained through Trainer rank rewards instead, thus those two are still accessible.
During the game's live service period, numerous competitions were held in time-limited and move-limited formats. In the end-of-service events, only the move-limited format is available.
Prizes would be awarded to set amounts of players rather than a percentage - for example, the top 10,000 players instead of the top 10%. Starting in 2018 and continuing into the end-of-service events, prizes would be awarded based on percentile ranking instead.
Certain competitive stages would feature Pokémon who were not Mega Evolved - in these cases, a Skill Swapper would be offered instead of a Mega Stone. However, in the end-of-service events, only Mega Evolved Pokémon appear.
In cases where a player would receive a Mega Stone they already had, an alternate prize would be offered, such as Jewels, Mega Speedups, or Level Ups. As time went on and leading into the end-of-service events, the alternate prizes unified as Level Ups.
Most Mega Stones that appeared in competitions were initially exclusive to the format, though several became available through other means over time, such as main stages, Mission Cards, or Trainer rank.
Players are put into a class, based on their score compared to all participating players. At the end of the event period, a player will receive the prizes associated with their final class rating.
If a player receives a Mega Stone that they already have, it is converted into Level Up ×1 instead.
To account for score calculation, Competitive stages end 1 hour earlier than other stages, at 5:00 AM UTC instead of 6:00 AM UTC.
Players can receive their prizes by checking in during the week following a competition's conclusion. However, if players wait longer than a week to check in, then their prizes will be forfeit.
(Mega Stone), Mega Speedup ×5, Raise Max Level ×15
(Mega Stone), Mega Speedup ×4, Raise Max Level ×10