XL Candy in Pokémon GO
XL Candy in Pokémon GO

The Candy XL system still sparks controversy to this day. In today’s article, we’ll go over the current ways available to obtain XL Rare Candies in Pokémon GO and we’ll see why more alternatives are needed in order to balance the metagame.

How to get XL Rare Candies in Pokémon GO

Believe it or not, although the Candy XL system was introduced almost 8 months ago, there is still no way to get XL Rare Candies outside of the Level 43, 45, 48 and 50 Challenges (Special Research) and the rewards from leveling up beyond level 40. Thus, it is a limited resource.

In fact, you can only collect a maximum of 31 XL Rare Candies as of now. You’re probably wondering if that’s a good amount or not. Well, let me tell you, that’s enough to level up your Pokémon from level 40… to level 41.5.


As you can see, it can be quite difficult to max out rare Pokémon or legendaries that haven’t been featured as raid bosses for a long time. Being able to obtain XL Rare Candies in the game would significantly remove the FOMO around this feature and would probably help balance the game a bit more. We’ll get to that later.

Why adding new sources for XL Rare Candies is necessary

There are several ways to obtain Candy XL. Walking, catching, trading and transferring Pokémon would give you a chance to obtain a Candy XL, but for certain Pokémon that’s probably not enough.

You probably see where this is going. Yes, cheaters abuse the system and use third-party apps and devices to boost the amount of distance walked so that they can get themselves more XL Candies and use a certain Pokémon in Master League, for example.

I’m not saying that a Level 50 Mewtwo ain’t legit, don’t get me wrong. It’s not okay to assume someone has cheated because they have a level 50 legendary, but in some occasions it can be pretty obvious and it hurts the integrity of the game.

Let’s do the math: building a L50 XL team (for PvE or Open ML)

The screenshots below were taken from one of PogoKieng‘s videos on YT. As you can see, the same person was using a shundo Level 51 Ho-Oh, a level 50 Mewtwo and a shundo level 47 Kyogre at the same time.

Multiple L50+ Pokémon in the same Open ML team. Source: PogoKieng

Case 1: Only walking, no regular candy to XL candy conversion

Let’s do the math. Powering up a L40 Pokémon to L50 costs 296 XL Candies and a bunch of stardust. Assuming a specific Pokémon hasn’t been in raids after the guaranteed-3-candy-XL-per-raid update (Mar 11, 2021), the only way to obtain XL Candies of a given Pokémon is via the buddy system (walking).

Let’s assume the most favourable scenario to farm XL candies through the buddy system: using Poffins every single day on a L40 buddy (in order to reduce the distance required to potentially get yourself an XL Candy).

To simplify the analysis, the following assumption will also be made: the player starts off with 0 XL candies of the species being analysed.


In case you didn’t know, high-level Pokémon have a greater chance of dropping an XL Candy, per the following study from TSR Research Group.

Considering the findings from that same study, it can be roughly estimated that there is a ~75% chance of getting an XL Candy if you’re walking a L40 Pokémon.

Now let’s focus on Legendary Pokémon.


If you’re the proud owner of the shundo Ho-Oh from the picture above, and you feed it a Poffin every single day, you’d have a ~75% chance of getting a Ho-Oh XL Candy every 10KM when your buddy is excited. In order to reach the 296 mark, you’d need to walk 2960 KM at the very least to get the XL candies required to max out your Ho-Oh.

But that’s not really realistic, probability-wise. Assuming the ~75% drop rate mentioned, you’d probably need ~3950 KM (almost 4000 KM!) to max out that Ho-Oh. And that’s just Ho-Oh alone.


CP4724 is Mewtwo’s max CP at L50, so yeah, that Mewtwo is also a hundo L50 legendary. Let’s assume you use all your 31 Rare Candy XL and, although Mewtwo has been in raids after XL candies were introduced (but before the guaranteed-XL-candy-per-raid update), the player starts off with 0 Mewtwo XL candies.

This would mean that the amount of distance needed to obtain the remaining XL candies is ~3540 KM.


And finally, a CP4488 Kyogre. This CP matches with the CP of a (s)hundo level 47 Kyogre, so there’s that. Powering up a Kyogre from L40 to L50 assuming no conversion from regular candy to XL candy would require 182 XL candies.

Kyogre was also featured as a raid boss “recently”, but also before the said update took place.

Following the same assumption that has been made throughout this first analysis, this would mean that the player needs to walk ~2430 KM to power up that Kyogre to L47, and ~3950 KM if the trainer wants to max it out all the way up to L50.

Pokémon GO Master League

If I didn’t miss anything, and considering the main assumptions made, the team featured in the image above would “cost” ~9920 KM (RNG-dependent) and a decent stack of Poffins. This is just insane.

Please do take into account that this number considers using Poffins or getting your buddy excited every single day when farming XL candies, a level 40 buddy and no conversion from regular candies to XL candies.

It is certainly possible that a given trainer does not start off with 0 XL candies, but it is also possible that not everyone uses Poffins or wants to grind to make their buddy excited, so consider that as a reference, averaged value.

Case 2: Converting regular candies to XL candies

At this point in time you are probably aware of the terrible conversion rate from regular candies to XL candies: 100 to 1. Although it might seem like a really bad idea to convert regular candies into XL candies, there are certain players that have done it because they don’t know what to do with their regular rare candies anymore. We are talking about whales (people who do an insane amount of raids).

Cumulative candy per level

The chart above was taken from my guide: Should you power up your Pokémon beyond Level 40?. As you can see, the amount of regular candy needed to power up a Pokémon beyond L40 via the XL Candy conversion route is pretty steep. But that hasn’t stopped some trainers from doing so.


I included this small section in the article to emphasise that although it might be possible that certain trainers cheat and abuse the Adventure Sync system via third-party apps and devices, not everyone’s on the same boat.

There are trainers who have spent hundreds and thousands of raid passes to power up their legit L50+ Pokémon. It’s not OK to assume someone is a cheater when there is a way to reach that goal without using unauthorised methods.

So please take that into consideration next time you’re tempted to assume your opponent is the 21st century Willy Fog, a cheater or something like that.

Case 3: The “easy” route, raiding

Ever since the last XL Candy update concerning raids, it is significantly easier to hoard XL candies for a given legendary raid boss. In fact, every legendary that you catch will give you at least 3 XL candies. If you’re lucky, you can even get 4 or 5, and even 6 in the best-case scenario!

This significantly reduces the amount of time and resources needed to power up a Pokémon to level 50, but still, you’d need to do close to 60 raids on average to max out a legendary Pokémon, including transfers.

Together we raid

60 raids in a month is still a lot, but doable if the raid boss is really worth it. However, events like the Rayquaza raid weekend set up a really bad precedent entirely based on FOMO.

You either spend 60 raid passes in two days, or you won’t get your L50 Rayquaza until it comes back in raids (if you have the time and resources to get the required amount of XL candies before a new legendary raid boss replaces it).

See where this is going? We need new ways to earn XL Rare Candies. It’s not meant to be easy, but it shouldn’t be entirely based on FOMO and monetisation either.

Furthermore, what happens with rare non-legendary Pokémon that never get featured during events? How are you supposed to grind Axew XL candies?

Even for some rare Pokémon such as Gible or Litwick, which have been featured during certain events, if you’re not able to play during such events due to work or any other cause, it’s impressive how much of a difference it makes when it comes to farming relevant resources.

Even if you play every single day, you certainly can’t miss a CD or a time-limited event if you want to grind XL candies or other valuable resources. It’s all about FOMO.

Potential solutions

The issue is pretty obvious but as always, let’s try to provide some constructive feedback.

Regarding PvE, it doesn’t really make any difference if a trainer uses L50+ Pokémon in a raid. In fact, it benefits everyone doing that raid because the raid boss will probably be taken down a bit faster.

However, XL Pokémon run rampant in PvP, especially in UL and Open ML. And this breaks the metagame. You can win without using XL Pokémon, sure, but sometimes it can be quite hard to keep up if you just don’t have the resources. The main issue here is not the fact that XL Pokémon are sometimes broken, but the fact that cheaters abuse the system and legit trainers often can’t keep up.

A potential solution to that problem? XL Rare Candies.

Can’t raid Giratina 80+ times during GO Fest to farm Giratina XL candies? No worries, you could potentially start hoarding XL Rare Candies and eventually you’d be able to build your XL Giratina the legit way, without needing to spend insane amounts of money during very limited time periods to farm XL Candies of a specific legendary raid boss.

No need to use third-party apps or devices either. It’s not about being lazy, it’s about achieving something without needing to participate in this monetization-heavy feature entirely based on FOMO.

Some potential sources of XL Rare Candies could be:

  • Raid rewards
  • (Special) Research
  • GO Battle League rewards
  • Adventure Sync rewards
  • Buddy gifts/souvenirs
  • Reward for powering up Pokémon
  • Mega-evolving
  • Raid Weekends with boosted XL chances
XL Rare Candy raid rewards

There are lots of ways to make this possible, they just need to flip the switch. If you have any other idea you would’ve included in the list, feel free to post it in the comments section!

Parting words

  • XL Rare Candies are needed to reduce FOMO and deter people from cheating/abusing the system
  • Powering up a Pokémon beyond L40 is very expensive, and by expensive I mean that you need to spend lots of IRL money during time-limited events such as raid weekends
  • Non-legit XL Pokémon can break the PvP metagame and can cause less-experienced battlers to give up and quit
  • No Pokémon GO resource should be limited. There needs to be a way to obtain XL Rare Candies outside of Special Research and level-up rewards. It doesn’t need to be easy, but there needs to be a way of doing so