Back in 2021, Duolingo introduced legendary levels — the ultimate test of how well you know a skill.
However, with the introduction of the new learning path, legendary has undergone a couple of significant overhauls.
The guys at Duolingo have always enjoyed tweaking legendary, but they’ve done it so much in the last few months that it’s been hard to keep up!
But worry not. In this article, I’ve rolled up my sleeves and done my best to give you the most accurate explanation of the current state of legendary. I’ve also put together a little video so you can see how it currently looks on mobile.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll be an expert in all things legendary!
Let’s get into it!
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What are Legendary Level Challenges on Duolingo?
As of February 2023, legendary levels are different depending on which platform you’re using.
On mobile, legendary levels are described as “extra-hard challenges” that you can take to prove your proficiency in a level on your learning path.
Once you’ve completed a standard level, you’ll have the option to complete one of these one-off challenges.
If you’re a free member, the legendary level challenge will cost you 100 gems. If you’re a Super member, however, you’ll get to tackle legendary for free.
Back in the day, legendary levels used to be purple and were the very last level in a skill. For completing a legendary level, you would receive a purple crown.
However, with the introduction of the new learning path, this has all changed.
On mobile, getting a level to legendary will simply turn the level step gold.
Legendary is quite a bit different on desktop.
Instead of focusing on levels, legendary on desktop focuses on units.
They also have a different name – legendary trophies.
To unlock a legendary trophy, you need to complete the entire unit. Once you reach the end of the unit, you’ll have to tackle up to 8 legendary challenges.
In this way, it works out pretty much the same as on mobile – each unit has 8 levels so you still end up completing the same number of legendary challenges. The main difference is simply when you do them, and what you unlock.
Also, desktop is still rocking the traditional purple look. And to make things nice and confusing, non-legendary levels on desktop are gold!
Why, Duolingo? Just why?!
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How does legendary work?
Whether you’re on mobile or desktop, the legendary challenges themselves work in pretty much exactly the same way.
The challenges are divided into 2 sections with a checkpoint in the middle. Reach this checkpoint, and you will guarantee yourself at least 20 XP.
In this sense, legendary challenges are similar to timed challenges. The only difference is that there is no time limit, so you can take as much time as you like to answer your questions.
This is good, as legendary challenges can be pretty difficult. That’s because you don’t get any of the hints that you get in the usual lessons.
So if you don’t know the meaning of a word or sentence, you’re not able to tap the words to reveal their meanings.
To complete a legendary challenge, you need to complete the 2 sections. If you’re a Super member, this is pretty straightforward as you get unlimited lives. If you’re a free member, however, you will have to contend with the heart system.
Once you’ve completed a legendary challenge on mobile, the corresponding level step on your learning path will turn gold.
On desktop, you will move a step closer to unlocking the purple legendary unit trophy.
How used to work – the different styles
Duolingo have experimented with a number of different formats and styles for legendary over the last couple of years.
Even before the introduction of the learning path, it seemed as though they were making tweaks and changes on a weekly basis!
Before the new learning path, a typical legendary level would look like this.
Once you’d completed the first five levels of a skill on your tree, you’d then be able to go for legendary.
You’d usually have to complete as many as 4 challenges.
A typical challenge contained 20 questions and you needed to make fewer than 3 mistakes to advance to the next one.
The questions were basically the same as the ones you’d get in your usual lessons — except, just like today’s legendary challenges, you didn’t get any hints!
(Notice how the words aren’t underlined)
Once you got 10 questions correct, you’d guarantee yourself 20 XP.
But if you made three mistakes before hitting the 10, you wouldn’t earn any XP for your efforts 🙁
This is one of the major differences between the old legendary and the new legendary. Back in the day, even Super members were limited to just 3 lives, which made legendary a lot harder to complete.
If you managed to get 20 questions correct without making more than 2 mistakes, you’d earn at least 40 XP and advance to the next challenge.
Once you completed every challenge, your skill would turn purple!
The no-mistakes and timed formats
When Duolingo first launched legendary levels, they seemed to be undecided on how to make them harder than the normal levels.
They kept switching between a no-mistakes format and a timed format.
For old time’s sake, I think it’s worth going back over some of the stuff they experimented with!
The following example is a mash-up of two of the formats they tested.
You’ve probably worked this out already, but the main difference between the two was that, in the one format, you weren’t allowed to make mistakes; while in the other, you had to race against the clock.
Everything else — such as checkpoints, XP, number of challenges and no hints — were the same.
(Everything that follows is from the original article. Click here if you want to skip forward):
Whenever you boot up a Legendary Level, you’ll notice that you will have several challenges to complete. Most of the time you’ll have four but sometimes it can be three.
Each challenge is worth a maximum of 20 XP. If you get to the first checkpoint, which is reached when you get 10 questions correct, then you’re guaranteed to earn at least 10 XP. Fail to reach the first checkpoint, and you’ll be booted out of the challenge empty-handed.
As you can see, the exercises are pretty much exactly the same as the ones in the standard lessons. The most obvious difference being that the sentences aren’t underlined with the usual dots. This means that you can’t tap them for a translation, which really tests your knowledge of the skill.
Once you complete a challenge you’ll be able to move onto the next one. The good news is that once you’ve completed a challenge it serves as a sort of safety net, meaning you can’t fall any lower. So if you manage to complete the first challenge, but then you fail to complete the second challenge, you won’t be sent back to the beginning. Instead, you simply repeat the second challenge as many times as it takes until you complete it.
Once you have completed all of the required challenges, you will unlock the purple crown.
How much XP can you earn from a Legendary Level?
Completing a legendary level challenge is probably one of the best ways to earn XP.
If you manage to reach the first checkpoint in a challenge, you’ll earn at least 20 XP.
If you manage to complete the challenge, you’ll earn at least 40 XP.
Throw in a combo bonus, and you could earn as much as 45 XP for a completed challenge.
And if you whack on an XP boost, you could earn up to 90 XP for just one completed challenge!
Do you have to pay for legendary?
Unfortunately, if you want to tackle the legendary challenges, you will need to pay.
You will either need to sign up for Super Duolingo in order to receive unlimited legendary attempts. Or you will need to pay for each attempt individually with gems.
As above, each legendary attempt will set you back 100 gems. So if you’re planning on doing legendary challenges regularly, you will definitely want to consider signing up for Super Duolingo.
How many Legendary Levels are there?
This depends entirely on your language course, as each course on Duolingo has a different number of units and levels.
If you’re working through the French path, for instance, then you’ll have absolutely LOADS of legendary challenges to complete. This is because French is one of the most popular languages on Duolingo, and therefore has the most packs, units and levels.
If you’re working through the Polish path, however, then you won’t have as many to complete as there isn’t anywhere near as much content.
This is always changing though as Duolingo are regularly adding new content features to their courses.
When should you go for the Legendary?
There’s no right or wrong way of going about this. Once you complete a standard level, you’re more than welcome to go for legendary there and then.
Alternatively, you can continue to work through your path and unlock as many new levels as possible.
The latter tends to reflect how I approach my Duolingo courses.
I’ll generally press forward and complete the unit. Then I might play around in the personalised practice section, then come back to the path and press forward some more.
Once I get more comfortable in the language, I might then go back to some of the older units and get some of the levels to legendary.
However, if I’m really comfortable with the language and I’ve already completed the tree, then legendary challenges are pretty much all I do!
Take French for instance. I’ve had a very on-off relationship with French over the years, so I’ve still got loads of units to work through on the path. As such, I’m not really that focused on legendary. Instead, I focus more on ploughing through the path and expanding my comfort zone.
However, it’s a different story for my Italian path, which I completed a loooooong time ago. It’s nowhere near as big as the French tree either, so all I’m doing is going through my units and turning every level legendary.
This is the approach that works best for me. But, again, if you would prefer to absolutely nail your levels before progressing further, then don’t hesitate to tackle the legendary challenges there and then!
What is the point of legendary? Is it necessary?
This is a really common question and completely understandable.
After all, Duolingo expect you to either sign up for Super or part with 100 gems for each challenge.
Is this really worth it?
I’ll be honest — if you’re a free member and you have little interest in signing up for Super, then I’d have to say no.
This is because legendary doesn’t introduce any new content. It just makes your lessons a bit harder, testing your proficiency slightly more than the standard lessons.
Beyond this, the only other thing you’re getting is a different colour on your path.
It certainly isn’t the thing that convinced me to sign up for Super!
So if you’re a free member and you have to spend 100 gems every time, I’d personally recommend saving them for heart refills.
However, if you’re a Super member, you’ve completed a big chunk of your path and you want to keep going with your language, then legendary is a great way of stretching out your course.
This is where I’m at with Italian at the moment. I’ve completed the path and I’m trying to keep in practice for when I go to Italy. As such, going back through the path and getting everything to legendary is a pretty good exercise!
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