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Silph Study: #025


PvP Rewards: Drop Rates Demystified

PvP Rewards study banner

The Silph Research Group has put on its fighting gloves! Since the release of player vs. player battles in Pokémon GO, our researchers have fought over 25,000 battles in a controlled study to determine the distribution of rewards from Trainer and Team Leader Battles. That’s a lot of Pokémon fainted for Science, folks! We are now ready to share our key observations from this endeavor. Let’s dive in!

Key Findings

  • Trainer Battle drop rates
  • Team Leader Battle drop rates
  • Number of reward bundles per battle
  • Factors that don’t affect rewards

Trainer Battles

Travelers have the opportunity to receive rewards from Trainer Battles up to three times per day. Initially, only Stardust and Sinnoh Stones were available as potential rewards, but Rare Candy, Charged TMs, and Fast TMs were later added. Like many rewards in the world of GO, items and Stardust are distributed in bundles, that is, a set amount of Stardust or multiple of an item. For both Trainer and Team Leader Battles, all item bundles contain a single item, while the amount of Stardust in a bundle may vary.

The bundles that are currently available have been active since February 25, 2019. The drop rates for Trainer Battles are as shown in the following table, along with the expected fractional drop rates.1

Rewards Observed drop rate Approximate proportion
67.23% 2/3
15.08% 3/20
14.73% 3/20

2.00% 1/50

0.97% 1/100


Team Leader Battles

Rewards from Team Leader Battles are even more strictly limited than Trainer Battle rewards and only available once per day. Travelers may choose to challenge any of the three Team Leaders (Candela, Spark, and Blanche) to a battle in one of the three League options (Great, Ultra, and Master). These decisions determine the Pokémon that you will battle, but how might they affect the rewards you receive?

The Research Group investigated a number of different factors that might influence battle rewards (see Potential Influencing Factors for more detail) and found that two factors influence rewards when fighting Team Leaders: Outcome and League.

  • Losses against a Team Leader always award the 300 Stardust bundles and never award item bundles.
  • Wins against a Team Leader can award bundles of Stardust and items.
  • Winning stronger Leagues yields larger Stardust bundles and is more likely to reward non-Stardust bundles – namely Rare Candies and Sinnoh Stones.

The current drop rates for Team Leader Battle wins are shown in the following table, with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Even though there was sufficient data to demonstrate the difference between the Leagues, more data will be needed to tease out the exact rates, particularly for TMs.

Rewards Great League
(95% CI)
Ultra League
(95% CI)
Master League
(95% CI)




Number of item bundles per battle

In addition to the different types of bundles you can receive from a Trainer or Team Leader Battle, the number of bundles is also variable. Battles can award either one or two reward bundles. One reward bundle is awarded 90% of the time and two bundles are awarded 10% of the time for both Trainer and Team Leader Battles, regardless of the outcome or the League.2

Losses against Team Leaders can also award two bundles, but they will only contain 300 Stardust each.

Potential Influencing Factors

In addition to the factors detailed above that did influence rewards, the Silph Research Group also found many factors that had no effect on either the type or number of reward bundles received:

  • Win/Loss in Trainer Battles
  • League in Trainer Battles
  • Whether the battle is started from the Friends List vs. QR code
  • Choice of Team Leader in Team Leader Battles
  • Ace Trainer medal level
  • League medal level
  • Pokémon remaining at the end of a battle

Parting Words

PvP has been one of the more rapidly-changing features of the game in the past few months, and one of the best sources of Sinnoh Stones to date. Might we see more rewards added to the pool in the coming months? Only time will tell, but the Silph Research Group will stand ready to battle for science!

1 Only two special events have changed rewards. On Swinub Community Day (February 16/17, 2019), Niantic altered Team Leader rewards to award five guaranteed Sinnoh Stones per day. And during the Battle Showdown (March 5 to March 12, 2019), Niantic changed daily rewards so players could get rewards from up to 5 Trainer battles and 3 Team Leader battles per day. The Rare Candy drop rate during the Showdown was also boosted to approximately 50% for all Trainer battles and all wins against Team Leaders.

2 One traveler reported that they received three bundles from a Trainer Battle. In the 25,000 battles recorded as part of this study, there wasn’t a single battle that rewarded three bundles. It’s possible that extra bundles are displayed when there are connectivity issues and rewards are stacked from multiple battles.