Duolingo leagues are definitely one of Duolingo’s biggest and most exciting features.
They add a competitive and motivational edge to your language learning experience, which can push you even harder to complete your daily lessons.
But what exactly is a Duolingo league? How many leagues are there? What’s so special about the Diamond league? Are people cheating? What’s the best strategy for winning? And does your Duolingo league really matter?
All will be revealed — let’s get into it!
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What are Duolingo Leagues?
A Duolingo league is basically a weekly leaderboard containing 30 random users from across all platforms, including IOS, Android and desktop.
Users that finish 2nd or 3rd will also receive some gems (albeit a smaller amount) and get promoted.
The promotion zone covers the top 10 finishers (except in the Obsidian league, where it only covers the top 5) so although 4th through to 10th won’t receive any gems, they will get promoted to the next league.
11th through to 25th will remain in their current league for another week.
Anyone who finishes 26th or lower — in what is known as the Demotion Zone — will be relegated to the previous league.
Follow me on Duolingo!
Up for some friendly competition? Then be sure to follow me on Duolingo!
My username is DCiiieee 🙂
(If the link doesn’t work then just type my username into the ‘Search for friends’ bar on the app)
How many leagues are there in Duolingo?
There are currently 10 leagues in Duolingo.
When the league system first launched there were only 5, with another batch of 5 being added in a subsequent update.
The leagues are the same across all language courses. So whether you’re learning Spanish or Hawaiian, you’ll compete in the same 10 leagues as everyone else.
All Duolingo leagues in order
From bottom to top — with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest — the 10 Duolingo leagues are:
Bronze is the starter league. From there, the goal is to work your way up through the leagues all the way up to Diamond — Duolingo’s top league.
Duolingo Diamond League
The Diamond league is Duolingo’s top league and differs to the other leagues in a couple of ways.
Only 3 users can be relegated and there are no promotions (as there’s nowhere else to go!).
Diamond is usually the most competitive of the 10 leagues. Although only 3 users can be relegated, you have to be on your A-game to stay in the league for another week.
XP totals are usually really high—often in the thousands—so you may need to do more lessons than usual to avoid getting demoted back to the Obsidian league.
Winning the Diamond league is even harder. I’ve been using Duolingo every day for over 6 years and I’ve only won it once!
And what do you get if you win the Diamond league? A swanky achievement, some gems and a pat on the back from the owl.
After that, the league resets, and you have to do it all over again (if you can muster the energy!).
the diamond tournament
Back in November 2021, Duolingo added an extra incentive to Diamond league participants.
Those who finished in the top 10 of the Diamond league would qualify for the Diamond Tournament.
The guys at Duolingo decided to remove it a short time later… but now it’s BACK!
The Diamond Tournament is basically just another rung on the league ladder. It’s a three-week competition in which you have to finish in the top 10 each week.
For every week you finish in the top 10 you earn a piece of the Diamond. And if you got all three pieces you win!
When Duolingo first released the Diamond Tournament, didn’t last very long. Probably only a couple of months tops.
Some of the scores were crazyyyyyy high and I think it put a lot of people off trying.
But now it looks like it’s back for the foreseeable future.
Duolingo bots — are people cheating?
Because some of the XP totals — especially in the Diamond league and tournament — are so crazy high, it gets people wondering whether some users are cheating.
All too often (and this isn’t just limited to the Diamond league) there are users that top the leaderboards with seemingly impossible XP totals.
These are often accumulated in short periods of time by profiles that haven’t used Duolingo for that long.
While I don’t think this has been definitively proven, it seems likely that some users are using dodgy algorithms to hack their way up the leaderboards.
For sure these are some pretty high totals. Certainly wayyyyy higher than I’ve ever managed!
However, it doesn’t necessarily confirm they’re cheating.
In fact, as we’ll see later in the article, there are ways you can hit these numbers — so long as you’re strategic (and you have a lot of time on your hands!).
How to get out of Duolingo leagues
If you find the leagues annoying, or you’re just not that competitive, then you might want to opt-out.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut way of doing this yet.
But there is a workaround.
To get out of Duolingo leagues, you will need to make your Duolingo profile private.
To do this, simply head over to the Duolingo website, hover over your profile picture and click Settings.
On the next page, click Privacy Settings, then uncheck the box that says “Make my profile public” and click SAVE CHANGES.
Be aware though that this won’t just get rid of the leagues — it will also make it impossible for other learners to find or follow you!
How to win your Duolingo league
If you’re desperate to win your league then you’ll definitely want to consider some of these tips.
These tips won’t guarantee you victory, but they’ll definitely improve your chances.
Naturally you’re going to have an easier time winning the bronze league than the diamond, but in any case these tips will give you a fighting chance regardless of which league you’re in.
wait to join your league
If you want to win your league, the first step is to… wait.
You may think that you need to come out the blocks charging.
But actually you’re much better off holding back and biding your time.
Duolingo places you in a league once you’ve completed your first lesson of the week.
If you complete your first lesson first thing on a Monday, then guess what? You’re going to be placed in a league with other early birds.
In my experience, these guys are more likely to be the hardened Duolingo users. These are the guys that will show up on Duolingo every day and pour hours and hours of their time into completing lessons and racking up XP.
Make no mistake — if you want to win your league, then you don’t want to be competing with these guys, even if you’re an industrious learner yourself!
Instead, you want to wait it out and give yourself a better chance of being grouped with the more casual learners (like me!).
These are the guys that only usually complete a few lessons a day, so won’t be earning crazy high XP totals.
This ensures you won’t need to be earning tens of thousands of XP to come out on top.
If you’re a streak freak, you probably won’t want to wait too long to join because you won’t want to lose your streak.
In which case, I’d recommend waiting until the last few hours of Monday (or pop on a Streak Freeze if you’re not bothered about the purity of your streak).
XP Boosts are absolutely essential in the battle for top spot.
These handy little power-ups double the amount of XP you can earn in a lesson for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
There are currently 3 easy ways you can earn them (check out the video below) so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got one active for the majority of your lessons.
Timed Challenges are pretty much essential if you want to win your Duolingo league.
Lightning Round and Match Madness give you the chance to earn up to 40 XP every couple of minutes.
Better still, if you do them with an XP Boost active, that becomes 80 XP every couple of minutes!
You can see how easy this is in the video below.
You’ll want to do at least a couple of these a day depending on how intense your league is. They’ll help your comprehension speed loads as well!
perfect lesson boost
Perfect Lesson Boosts don’t ordinarily add a lot of XP to your lesson totals.
But, when used with an XP Boost, you stand to earn an extra 20 XP per lesson.
They’re available from the Duolingo shop, cost 100 gems and last for 15 minutes.
As the name suggests, you only get the boost if you complete your lesson perfectly. So you’ll want to use them when you’re super confident with the skills you’re looking to work on.
Legendary Levels are up there with timed challenges when it comes to earning lots of XP quickly.
However, if you’re in a position where you can attempt them, they’re probably the best means of conquering your Duolingo league.
If you go about them in the right way, you stand to earn as much as 110 XP for every completed challenge. If you know your stuff, you could probably get this done in under a few minutes every time.
harder lesson, double xp
Every now and then as you’re working through your couse, you’ll get the option to do a harder lesson for double XP.
It’s not something you can spontaneously activate but you usually get the option every few lessons.
They usually cost 20 gems and give you the chance to earn twice the amount of XP in your lesson.
The base amount is usually 10 XP so this will give you the chance to earn 20.
If you can spare the gems and you don’t mind cranking up the difficulty, you’ll want to accept these challenges every time they pop up.
When it comes to Duolingo, I’m really not that competitive. As I’ll explain later, I’m really not that bothered about the leagues — I’m more interested in learning my languages!
I know many of you are. So using the tips above, I’ve devised this simple strategy that will give you a solid chance of coming out on top of your Duolingo league.
Wait as long as you can before completing your first lesson.
Ideally, hold back until 11pm on Monday night.
You won’t get the Early Bird XP Boost, but hopefully you will get placed in a less competitive league.
This should ensure you won’t need to earn some of the crazy high XP totals we saw earlier!
tuesday to friday
Feel free to jump on Duolingo as early as you want.
In fact, the earlier the better, so you can bag yourself the Early Bird XP Boost.
You won’t get this until 6pm, so you’ll want to pencil in an evening session as well.
Once you’ve done this, focus on unlocking a crown in one of the skills on your lesson tree. This will activate a 15-minute XP Boost.
You’ll then want to dive into a timed challenge (either Lightning Round or Match Madness) and keep bashing them out until your XP Boost has expired.
Continue unlocking crowns and doing timed challenges for as long as you desire.
saturday to sunday
Again, try to jump on Duolingo as early as possible (before 12pm) so you bag yourself the Early Bird boost.
Then go about unlocking your first crown of the day.
However, instead of jumping into a timed challenge, you’ll instead want to head over to the shop and activate a Perfect Lesson Boost (if available).
Then head over to your lesson tree and dive in to a legendary level. You’ll want to line these up through the week so you have as many to complete on the weekend as possible.
If you manage to complete a tier in a legendary level flawlessly, you’ll earn as much as 110 XP (assuming you’ve got an XP Boost and Perfect Lesson Boost active).
I recommend legendary levels instead of timed challenges on the weekend, as the weekend timed challenge (XP Ramp Up) is nowhere near as effective XP-wise as the weekday ones.
Does your Duolingo league matter?
Look, even though I’m not that competitive on Duolingo, I like the leagues.
I mean, it makes sense. Duolingo’s not just a language learning app. It’s also a game.
So why not have some weekly leaderboards?
I see a lot of people making a massive deal out of their leagues.
They get annoyed because someone they’re never going to meet managed to earn a few more XP than them, denying them victory in a league that — let’s be honest — doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
The most important thing on Duolingo — the thing that brings us all to Duolingo in the first place — is learning languages. Everything else is secondary.
Remember that — and consider some of the following as well:
xp is flawed
The league system encourages you to focus on earning as much XP as possible. This would be fine if more XP equalled more progress in your target language.
But it doesn’t.
As it is, the easiest and quickest way to earn XP is to take shortcuts.
Notice how the tips above do absolutely nothing to help you in your language.
When your focus becomes XP, you naturally gravitate towards things that will give you as much as possible in as little time as possible.
That means sticking to the easy skills in your course, rinsing timed challenges every couple of minutes, and doing nothing to move forward with your language.
XP, as we’ve seen, doesn’t correspond to proficiency. Someone with 10,000 XP in French could be lightyears ahead of someone with 100,000 — IF the person with 100,000 spent all their time gaming the system.
some users have an unfair advantage
Another reason you probably shouldn’t worry about your Duolingo league is that many have an unfair advantage.
What is that you might ask?
We’ve already covered it — XP power-ups.
John could do 10 Spanish lessons without any power-ups active. With perfect combo bonuses he earns a total of 150 XP.
Sophie does the same 10 Spanish lessons with perfect combo bonuses. However, she has an XP Boost and a Perfect Lesson Boost active. That means that while John was earning 15 XP per lesson, Sophie was earning 50.
Same lessons, same amount of time.
John has 150. Sophie has 500.
You can say that’s smart. And, sure, it’s part of the game.
But Sophie hasn’t learnt anything more than John, yet she comes out 350 XP ahead.
And it doesn’t end there.
Duolingo doesn’t award more XP to those who complete the harder lessons in a course.
Sure, you get the ‘harder lesson for double XP’ thing that pops up every so often.
But I’m talking about the skills in units 9 and 10 of a course. The hard stuff.
The skills that take longer to complete, not just because they’re harder than the stuff in the early units, but because the questions can be so much longer.
There’s no compensation for this XP-wise. Those coasting in the early skills or rinsing timed challenges will almost always come out on top of those who are trying to make progress in their course.
And then there’s the premium membership. No ads. No hearts.
This not only speeds up the lessons but also allows premium users to keep ploughing on — even after making 5 or more mistakes.
The bottom line — the leagues simply aren’t an accurate reflection of the thing that matters most on Duolingo: learning a language.
pressure and burn-out
It’s a tiring old business trying to win (or even stay in) your Duolingo league, particularly in the higher ones. The XP totals are often astronomical.
So when your league becomes a priority, this can put enormous pressure on you to rack up huge XP totals in a short amount of time.
This is exhausting and unsustainable in most cases. If you begin to associate Duolingo with fatigue, then, over time, you’ll be less inclined to show up and complete your lessons.
And if you want to learn a language, this ain’t good.
Sadly, I see this happen all the time: users racking up loads of XP for a few weeks, and then disappearing, never to be seen again.
This is what happens when the need to be the best overtakes the desire to learn a language.
what i prefer instead
When it comes to Duolingo success, the most important thing (for me at least) is to not lose sight of why you started using it in the first place.
I can pretty much guarantee you didn’t sign up because of the league system. Most likely you signed up because you wanted to learn a language.
So focus on that, and nothing more. It’s easy to get caught up in the gamification of Duolingo, thinking that there’s a correlation between those who finish top of their leagues and their ability in their target languages.
But as we’ve just seen, it’s rarely this clear-cut.
My advice is to take the league system lightly. Don’t prioritise it. Simply see it as a bit of fun that adds to your motivation.
In my experience, it’s better to focus on other things.
On Duolingo, I believe your crowns and your streak should be your main focus. Collecting crowns shows you’re progressing in your target language, and a solid streak shows you’re developing a strong language-learning habit.
And don’t forget that fluency in your target language will depend as much on what you do away from Duolingo as what you do on it.
A quality VPN, such as NordVPN, will open the doors to an almost endless supply of movies and TV shows in your target language.
And LingQ will help you turn your favourite content — such as books, blog posts, song lyrics and even Netflix shows — into your most effective lessons, taking your reading and listening proficiency to the next level.
It’s here that the learning takes place — not at the top of your Duolingo league. Don’t forget that!
Have your say!
The league system is definitely a massive part of Duolingo.
But what do you think of it?
Does it motivate you to do your daily lessons?
Has it helped you progress in your target language?
Are there any changes you’d like Duolingo to make?
What are your thoughts on the ‘cheating’ debate?
Let me know in the comments!