Does the Candy XL system need a rework?

XL Candy in Pokémon GO
XL Candy in Pokémon GO

The GO Beyond update brought us plenty of new challenges, one of them being the fact that we can now power up our Pokémon to level 50.

However, the mechanics involved didn’t avoid controversy and many players have been actively tweeting and sharing their feedback with Niantic expecting a rework of the current system.

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Powering up a Pokémon from level 40 to level 50 will not only require a massive amount of stardust but also a significant amount of Candy XL. And well, Candy XL can be quite hard to get…


Candy XL mechanics

Candy XL can be obtained through different methods:

  1. Catching Pokémon
  2. Hatching eggs
  3. Transferring Pokémon
  4. Converting regular candy (100 regular candies –> 1 Candy XL)
  5. Trading*

Catching strats

According to a study from TheSilphRoad Research Group, the average Candy XL per catch seems to increase almost linearly starting at level 15. This means that catching a level 35 wild Pokémon will almost guarantee a Candy XL upon catch, whereas low-level Pokémon will rarely drop any Candy XL.

Thus, the best strategy to farm Candy XL from a certain Pokémon is to grind when that Pokémon is weather boosted, in order to increase the chance of it dropping Candy XL when you catch it.

The trading controversy

When the Candy XL system was first released, trainers found that it was possible to see whether or not you were getting a Candy XL from a trade before completing the trade. Thus, the only thing you had to do is to find what combination of Pokémon would get you a Candy XL before you actually completed the trade. This was flagged as abuse by Niantic and they decided to disable the possibility to get Candy XL from trades. This was published 2 months ago, and we’re still waiting for an update.

Why does the Candy XL system need a rework?

Alright, let’s face it. The system is clearly flawed, and I’ll try to explain why.

1. Legendaries

As if farming 296 Candy XL from a non-legendary species wasn’t hard enough, wait until you see how difficult it is to get 296 Candy XL from a specific legendary.

CookedArt and BrandonTan are probably two of the most active raiders in the world. The following tweets will make you see how difficult it is to power up a legendary Pokémon from level 40 to level 50.

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As you can see, CookedArt did 538 Groudon raids and 505 Kyogre raids (1043 total) and he still fell short of the required 296 Candy XL to power up a legendary from level 40 to level 50. This is brutal. Let’s take a look at BrandonTan’s numbers:

He did a total of 817 raids (409 Kyogre and 408 Groudon) and he managed to get 222 Kyogre Candy XL and 221 Groudon Candy XL. Thus, he also fell short of the required amount.

I don’t think I need to add anything else, this is just terrible. Rare Candy XL need to be included in the raid rewards or else we won’t be able to max out our legendaries in our lifetime.

2. GO Battle League

Have you played in the Ultra League this season? Unfortunately, it’s becoming Great League XL. Take a look at the rankings according to PvPoke:

Ultra League and Ultra League PC rankings. Full credit to PvPoke

8/12 (~67%) of the TOP 12 Pokémon in Ultra League and Ultra League PC are XL Pokémon. This is a nightmare for trainers that can’t farm their candies.

Some of the Pokémon listed can be relatively easy to find in the wild, but things like Galarian Stunfisk that can only be hatched from eggs as of now are insanely difficult to power up to level 50 and make it even harder for newer players to catch up and compete.

On the other hand, spoofers and whales rejoice and have an unfair advantage. Things aren’t too different in Great League, where 50% (6/12) of the TOP 12 Pokémon are XL Pokémon.

Once all leagues became available at the end of the first half of Season 6, Master League Classic was disabled. I tried to play in regular Master League and the first team I faced had a level 45+ Dialga and a level 50 Garchomp. How is that even possible?

Just to give you an idea of how difficult it is to power up a level 40 Dialga to level 45+, the only way to get Dialga Candy XL is by converting regular candies and by using Rare Candy XL from the level up rewards. It probably took that trainer thousands of rare candies to power it up, which is something that plenty of us can’t do.

3. Conversion rate

The following graph was taken from my Should you power up your Pokémon beyond level 40 article.

Cumulative candy per level

Can you see how difficult it is to level up a Pokémon from level 40 to level 50 just by converting regular candies to Candy XL? Who has 30.000 spare candies of a given species and wants to get rid of them all just to power up a Pokémon to level 50?

I know, I know. The conversion route should be a last resort. But 2+ months in, this is one of the only ways we have to get Candy XL.

4. Level up rewards

In case you didn’t know, FleeceKing was the first player to reach level 50 in the world. And you might think that the level up rewards paid off, right?

Level 50 level up rewards. Credit: FleeceKing (Twitch)

You’d be wrong, as he only got 2 Rare Candy XL. Just 2. Just to give you an example, powering up a Pokémon from level 40 to level 40.5 takes 10 Candy XL. What does that mean? Well, the amount of Rare Candy XL obtained once he hit level 50 will allow him to get 1/5 of the first power up beyond level 40. That’s just ridiculous.

5. Earning Candy XL with the buddy system

We know from one of the latest datamines that Candy XL will be obtainable from the buddy system. However, it is yet unclear how the exact mechanics will work.

Even if you can get a Candy XL at the same rate you get a regular one by walking your buddy, it still won’t be enough. Let’s say you’re walking a legendary Pokémon as your buddy, then you’d need almost 6.000km to obtain 296 Candy XL, perhaps a little less if you manage to get your buddy excited, but still probably over 3-4k km will be needed.

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Parting words

And that’s it! Do you agree with the statements made in the article? How has your experience with Candy XL been since the system was released? Let us know what you think in the comments section down below!

I sincerely hope that the Candy XL system gets reworked in the near future. Otherwise, these mechanics will end up discouraging the new players and will create an even more unbalanced meta.

If you don’t agree with how the current system works, you can also share your constructive feedback with Niantic on their social media accounts, key word being constructive.

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