The Pokémon GO Halloween 2021 event is finally here, and one of the most interesting event bonuses is the guaranteed Candy XL when walking with your buddy.

In case you are not familiar with the Candy XL mechanics, walking with your buddy does not always guarantee a Candy XL. In fact, according to this study published by The Silph Road’s Research Group the probability of getting one seems to be tied to the level of the Pokémon the player has as a buddy. Walking buddies at level 31 or higher seems to maximize the amount of Candy XL received, flooring at an ~80% rate.

This article is the PvE counterpart to the first article published: Best PvP candidates to farm Candy XL.

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Main criteria

Candidates will be rated on viability and rarity, sorted by Pokédex order.

Just to make things clear:

  • Viability: How relevant a Pokémon is in the current PvE meta. In some occasions, if the Pokémon is also good for Team GO Rocket and PvP purposes, its viability might get an additional .5 or 1.0 boost, being the PvE relevance of the specific Pokémon the most important aspect. Please, do not forget that gym defense is also a part of the PvE meta
  • Rarity: How difficult it is to farm those specific Candy XL. As a side note, legendary Pokémon are in fact rarer than non-legendary Pokémon, but their Candy XL can be farmed quite easily when they’re available in raids

1 km buddies

Pokémon on this list only require 1 km to get a Candy XL. Thus, their meta relevancy and rarity is often limited.

In fact, it was almost impossible to find decent candidates in this category, so stick to 3, 5 or 20km buddies if you can.

Pidgeot

Mega Pidgeot is the best non-shadow flying type attacker. However, flying type attackers are usually outclassed by other raid counters and probably only used vs. Virizion due to its double weakness to flying type moves. Furthermore, Pidgey is a very common spawn, so farming Pidgey Candy XL is not gonna be too difficult.

  • Viability: 4.5/10 (Mega)
  • Rarity: 0/10
Gyarados

Gyarados is a great raid attacker. It was already useful before its mega was released, but now it’s even better. Mega Gyarados can work both as a water & dark type attacker. As a water type attacker, it’s only outclassed by Mega Blastoise, and as a dark type attacker it’s only slightly worse than Mega Houndoom. However, as great as it may seem, it’s not the rarest spawn out there, so there are probably better candidates to walk as your buddy.

  • Viability: 7/10 (Mega)
  • Rarity: 1/10

3 km buddies

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It’s not only 5 and 20km buddies that are relevant. Some of the Pokémon listed below are pretty good in PvE and are often listed as top-tier raid counters.

Yet again, their rarity is often limited and as you can expect, 5 and 20 km buddies are usually better choices.

Venusaur

Mega Venusaur is the best grass type attacker in the game, at least until Mega Sceptile comes out. Bulbasaur is not exactly a rare spawn, though.

  • Viability: 7/10 (Mega)
  • Rarity: 1/10
Charizard

Mega Charizard Y is so powerful that it’s often listed as a top counter despite not dealing super effective damage. It just crushes every single one of its competitors. Charmander isn’t a rare spawn either.

  • Viability: 8/10 (Mega)
  • Rarity: 1/10
Blastoise

Mega Blastoise is also a fantastic raid attacker. Best water type attacker in the game until Mega Swampert or Primal Kyogre come out.

  • Viability: 7.5/10 (Mega)
  • Rarity: 1/10
Machamp

Shadow Machamp is the best fighting type attacker and overall one of the best Pokémon in the game. Can be used as a raid counter, gym sweeper, Team GO Rocket slayer and it even has play in PvP. As a non-shadow, it’s still pretty good. The only downside is its rarity, as Machop has had a Community Day, will probably be featured in the potential CD rerun in December and is not a rare spawn by any means.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: 0.5/10
Gengar

Regular Gengar is a good raid counter but a bit squishy. Mega Gengar, on the other hand, is just in a different tier PvE-wise. It has an insane attack stat and boosts other ghost type attackers in raids. Yet again, Gastly is not a rare spawn and there are tons of ways of farming Gastly Candy XL.

  • Viability: 8.5/10 (Mega)
  • Rarity: 1/10
Roserade

Roserade is not as powerful as it used to be. It’s unfortunately outclassed by plenty of shadows and Pokémon such as Mega Venusaur and Zarude. The fact that Roselia has had a Community Day doesn’t help either.

  • Viability: 4.5/10
  • Rarity: 0.5/10
Weavile

Very good dark type attacker as a shadow, but that’s about it.

  • Viability: 4/10
  • Rarity: 3.5/10
Magnezone

Outclassed by Zekrom (even as a shadow), Shadow Electivire/Zapdos/Raikou and Mega Manectric. It’s pretty useful vs. Blizzard Kyogre, though.

  • Viability: 3.5/10
  • Rarity: 1/10
Rhyperior

Rhyperior is a fantastic raid attacker thanks to its Community Day move, Rock Wrecker. In fact, it’s arguably the best non-shadow & non-mega rock type attacker in the game, and we all know how useful rock type attackers are in Pokémon GO. However, Rhyhorn isn’t a rare spawn during the Season of Mischief.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: 1/10
Tangrowth

Shadow Tangrowth is the 2nd best non-mega grass type attacker, only outclassed by Zarude. Probably not worth walking, imo.

  • Viability: 4.5/10
  • Rarity: 1.5/10
Togekiss

Togekiss is one of the best fairy type attackers and a top-tier gym defender, as well as one of the best Pokémon to use in Master League. Furthermore, the only way to farm Togekiss Candy XL is by hatching Togepi from eggs or walking it as a buddy, so it’s probably a very decent candidate to walk as your buddy.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: 6/10
Mamoswine

Shadow Mamoswine is the best ice type attacker as of now, and its non-shadow variant is still pretty good but slightly outclassed by Galarian Darmanitan. Swinub has already had 2 Spotlight Hours and is usually one of the common spawns during the yearly Christmas event, though.

  • Viability: 7.5/10
  • Rarity: 1/10
Excadrill

Great budget ground type attacker, but outclassed by Earth Power Garchomp, Landorus and Groudon. Can also be used in Master League as a great counter to Dialga. However, Drilbur has been featured in plenty of events, so it can’t be considered a rare spawn.

  • Viability: 6.5/10
  • Rarity: 1/10
Darmanitan Darmanitan (Galarian)

Unovan Darmanitan is one of the best fire type attackers in the game and Galarian Darmanitan is the best non-shadow ice type attacker as of now. Both Darumaka have been featured in events recently, so it’d probably be better to look for other choices. Keep in mind though that the Galarian Zen form might make some waves once it is released.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: 2.5/10

5km buddies

You can expect to see pretty good Pokémon on the list below, as 5km buddies are usually meta relevant. Pokémon such as Lucario, Salamence and Metagross are just some examples of the Pokémon you can expect.

1 and 3km distances are probably not large enough to justify using a Poffin or taking the time to get your buddy to excited state, but 5km is where you should probably start considering that, if you want to be extremely efficient.

Chansey Blissey

If you enjoy taking down gyms and defending them, Chansey should be one of your top priorities. Chansey is probably a top 3 gym defender in Pokémon GO as it has a significantly lower CP decay than Blissey due to its lower attack stat. It’s also a pretty rare Pokémon too, so I’d probably consider walking it for a while if I needed the Candy XL.

  • Viability: 6/10 (gym defense only)
  • Rarity: 7.5/10
Snorlax

Snorlax is a pretty decent gym defender, but not as relevant as it used to be. It’s not an extremely rare spawn, but not a common one either.

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  • Viability: 4/10 (gym defense only)
  • Rarity: 4.5/10
Dragonite

Dragonite is a great dragon type attacker and generalist, but it’s outclassed by several other dragons such as Salamence or Rayquaza. Its shadow variant though is amazing and only outclassed by shadow Outrage Salamence. However, Dratini has been featured in multiple events (including a spotlight hour and the Luminous Legends X event) and you probably have a decent amount of Candy XL. Not a top priority (in my opinion), but you can always use it in PvP too (with a different moveset), so I’d say that the investment is worth it, although there are plenty of rarer options.

  • Viability: 5.5/10
  • Rarity: 3/10
Tyranitar

Remember when Smack Down Tyranitar was first released? Unfortunately, plenty of rock type attackers have surpassed SD TTar’s performance as a rock type attacker, but shadow SD Tyranitar on the other hand is the best non-mega rock type attacker in the game as of now. Bite/Crunch Ttar can also be used as a dark type attacker but even its shadow variant gets outclassed by Mega Houndoom and Mega Gyarados. Larvitar is not the rarest spawn either and has been a research reward for a while, so I’d probably look for other options.

  • Viability: 5/10
  • Rarity: 3/10
Gardevoir

Gardevoir is arguably the best fairy type attacker in the game and a good gym defender. As you can expect, its shadow variant is even better. However, Ralts is a fairly common spawn in the wild.

  • Viability: 5/10
  • Rarity: 1.5/10
Salamence

Shadow Outrage Salamence is the best dragon type attacker in the game as of now. Its non-shadow variant is also very good and can compete with Rayquaza itself thanks to the 9% nerf. Bagon was also a featured spawn in the Luminous Legends X event but it wasn’t as common as Dratini. It’s a bit rarer, but not the one of the rarest spawns in the game.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: 4.5/10
Metagross

Metagross is the best steel type attacker in the game, and its shadow variant is just insane. It’s a pretty safe investment, at least until Zacian Crowned Sword comes out. Beldum isn’t too rare but not an insanely rare spawn either.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: 3/10
Rampardos

Rampardos is a top tier raid attacker, but a bit squishy nonetheless. Its rock type DPS is unmatched to date, but its lack of bulk holds it back in certain scenarios. Cranidos was a featured spawn during the Ultra Unlock Part I event not too long ago, though.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: 5.5/10
Garchomp

Earth Power Garchomp is the best non-shadow and non-mega ground type attacker in the game, and it triple resists electric type attacks. I’d probably consider walking it as my buddy, had Gible CD not happened this year.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: 2.5/10
Lucario

Lucario is probably one of the rarest Pokémon in the game, and a pretty useful one too! Thanks to Aura Sphere, its viability as a fighting type attacker skyrocketed and is sometimes regarded as the best non-shadow & non-mega fighting type attacker. Its Mega will be insane when it comes out, so it’s not a bad idea to start farming Candy XL. One of my top priorities, for sure.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: 8/10
Conkeldurr

Conkeldurr is also a fantastic fighting type attacker, only outclassed by shadow Machamp as of now. It deals less DPS than Lucario, but it’s not as squishy, so they’re more or less on the same level. Timburr might be a “common” 10km egg hatch and a “common” T1 raid boss, but even then farming Candy XL is not an easy task. I’d probably rank it pretty high in my list too.

  • Viability: 7.5/10
  • Rarity: 7/10
Chandelure

Litwick is also a pretty rare Pokémon, but it will probably have its own Community Day eventually. Chandelure is currently one of the best ghost and fire type attackers, so if you can’t wait and you really want to max it out, I’d say go ahead, but please keep in mind that its Community Day will come sooner or later.

  • Viability: 7.5/10
  • Rarity: 6/10 (potential CD target)
Haxorus

What’s an Axew? Seriously, Axew is one of the rarest Pokémon in the game as of now. Haxorus is a good dragon type attacker but its performance is nowhere near shadow Salamence’s. It’s also a pretty good pick in Master League Premier. By walking it you’ll also get some regular candies, so it’s not that bad of a choice I guess. It’s also a potential CD target, but who knows when its CD will come.

  • Viability: 5/10
  • Rarity: 10/10 (potential CD target)
Hydreigon

Hydreigon is not as powerful as you may think. It’s main use in PvE is as a dark type attacker and even then, it more or less performs as good as regular Bite/Crunch TTar. Things might change in the future though, as Deino is a potential CD target too.

  • Viability: 4/10
  • Rarity: 9/10 (potential CD target)

20km buddies

To wrap it up we have the 20km buddies.

If you were planning to walk a 20km buddy, you may want to consider using Poffins or getting your buddies excited to maximize your rewards, as it really makes the difference this time around.

Personally, I wouldn’t walk 20km buddies as it takes too long to just get 1 XL Candy. The minimum amount of Candy XL you get once you catch a T5 raid boss is 3, so the best way of farming Legendary Candy XL is by raiding.

Zapdos

Thunder Shock Zapdos is a good electric type attacker, but it’s unfortunately outclassed by plenty of Pokémon, such as shadow Electrivire/Raikou/Zapdos, Mega Manectric and Zekrom.

  • Viability: 6/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Moltres

Sky Attack shadow Moltres is the best flying type attacker in the game, and its non-shadow variant ranks only a bit below. Unfortunately, flying type attackers aren’t really that useful in the metagame. As a fire type attacker, it was dethroned a while ago by Reshiram, Darmanitan and of course Mega Charizard Y.

  • Viability: 6.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Mewtwo

Mewtwo is one of the best Pokémon in the game, period. It’s a fantastic raid attacker, a great gym sweeper and to no surprise, a good Pokémon to use in PvP. In fact, shadow Mewtwo is usually considered the best Pokémon in the game.

  • Viability: 9.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Raikou

Raikou is also a pretty good electric type attacker, but also outclassed by the same Pokémon as Zapdos. As a shadow though, it’s the best electric type attacker in the game.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Entei

Shadow Entei is one of the best fire type attackers in the game, only outclassed by the fire type megas. If it gets access to Sacred Fire, it could shake up the fire type attacking meta. Unfortunately, it needs to be shadow to compete with the top-tier fire type attackers.

  • Viability: 6/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Kyogre

Kyogre is the best non-mega & non-shadow water type attacker, and it has a Primal Reversion form coming in the future. It also has an excellent signature move (Origin Pulse), but it’s not available as of now.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Groudon

Groudon is one of the best non-mega & non-shadow ground type attackers, slightly outclassed by Landorus-T and Earth Power Garchomp. It also has a primal reversion coming in the future, with an excellent signature move (Precipice Blades), not available as of now. Furthermore, it’s a meta-defining Pokémon in Master League, but you’ll need to teach it Fire Punch (legacy move).

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Rayquaza

Rayquaza is the best non-mega & non-shadow dragon type attacker in the game, and it has a signature move in the main series games named Dragon Ascent (which is a flying type move, btw). It will be able to mega evolve in the future, and its mega will be crazy good.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Dialga

Dialga is a good dragon type attacker, especially in certain scenarios such as vs. dragon type raid bosses rocking dragon type nukes such as Draco Meteor. It’s not as dominant as in PvP, but a great investment overall regardless. It has a signature in the main series games named Roar of Time, so who knows how good it’ll become in PvE once Dialga gets access to it.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Palkia

Palkia is one of the best dragon type attackers, only outclassed by Rayquaza, shadow dragons and dragon type megas. It can also learn a signature move in the main series games named Spacial Rend, which is not available yet in Pokémon GO. Palkia hits pretty hard, but one of its main drawbacks is the fact that it takes too long to fire off a Draco Meteor, which is often an unreliable charge move.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Heatran

Heatran definitely got the shaft when Niantic decided to nerf it by giving it Fire Blast, but it has potential to improve in the future thanks to its signature move, Magma Storm. As of now, it’s outclassed by Moltres, Entei, Darmanitan, strong shadow fire types, Reshiram and the insanely powerful Mega Charizard Y.

  • Viability: 4.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Giratina (Origin)

Giratina-O is probably the best non-mega & non-shadow ghost type attacker, and it could become even better in the future thanks to its signature move, Shadow Force. Psychic type raid bosses are pretty common, so having a couple of Giratina-O powered up is a great strat.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Darkrai

Darkrai is the best non-mega and non-shadow dark type attacker, also pretty useful against psychic type raid bosses. Dark Void (its signature move in the main series games) might be able to push it to the next level, if it ever gets released.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Terrakion

Terrakion is slightly better than Smack Down Tyranitar, but it’s not as good as Rock Wrecker Rhyperior or Rampardos.

  • Viability: 5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Thundurus (Therian)

Thundurus-Therian has the highest non-mega & non-shadow electric type DPS in the game. Overall, it’s slightly outclassed by Zekrom but still one of the best electric type attackers in the raid meta. Thundurus-T can learn Thunder Shock AND Wild Charge in the main series games, so there’s still room for improvement.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Reshiram

Reshiram is the best non-mega & non-shadow fire type attacker in the game. It can learn two signature moves in the main series games: Fusion Flare and Blue Flare.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Zekrom

Zekrom is the best non-mega & non-shadow electric type attacker, and it can also learn two signature moves in the main series games: Fusion Bolt and Bolt Strike.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Landorus (Therian)

Landorus-T is one of the best ground type attackers in the game, only slightly outclassed by Earth Power Garchomp and the ground type megas. Unfortunately it was nerfed just before its release in Pokémon GO, so it has potential to be even better in the future (as it can learn better moves, at least PvE-wise).

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Genesect (Normal)

Best non-shadow bug type attacker, but bug type moves are so underwhelming that I wouldn’t even recommend powering one up.

  • Viability: 5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Yveltal

Yveltal is one of the best dark type attackers in the game. Not as powerful as Darkrai or the dark type megas, but a good attacker regardless.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Zacian (Hero)

Zacian is a pseudo-fairy type attacker, and a pretty good one! I wouldn’t recommend powering one up for PvE purposes only, but if you end up doing it, I would recommend trying it out in Master League too.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Zarude

And the last pick is Zarude, the new best non-shadow and non-mega grass type attacker in the game.

  • Viability: 7.5/10
  • Rarity: Mythical

Conclusions and final verdict

The list above is huge, so you’re probably looking for the tl;dr. Here is my final shortlist:

And it’s a wrap! Did you enjoy the guide? Do you think we’ve missed anything? Please, let us know in the comments section down below or on Twitter.

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