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.

But this time you won’t have to worry about that, as the Candy XL will be guaranteed during the Halloween event. If you haven’t decided what buddy you will be walking yet, this article will hopefully help you. So let’s get right into the analysis!

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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 PvP meta where the XL variant of that Pokémon would be used. In some occasions, if the Pokémon is also good for Team GO Rocket and PvE purposes, its viability might get an additional .5 or 1.0 boost, being the PvP relevance of the specific Pokémon the most important aspect
  • 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.

Unless you really need any of them for a team you were planning to use in an upcoming cup or meta, I’d strongly recommend walking 3, 5 or 20km buddies instead.

Clefable

Clefable is one of the best charmers in the Ultra League meta and a good gym defender. It is indeed a decent candidate but probably not a top priority as it has been featured in plenty of events. Unless you really need it now, there are better Pokémon to consider.

  • Viability: 4.5/10
  • Rarity: 2.5/10
Wormadam (Trash)

Wormadam (Trash) is a great Pokémon to use in the upcoming Halloween Cup. The optimum IV spread is 0/13/15 (level 44.5), so a few XLs are needed. If you were planning to build a team around Trashdam and don’t have the XLs needed, walking it as your buddy might be a decent choice.

  • Viability: 2.5/10
  • Rarity: 3/10
Scolipede

Scolipede is not a meta-shaking Pokémon by any means, but it can be used in the Ultra League as a spice pick to catch some of your opponents off guard. It’s not a top priority, but if you’re a player who loves to run spice, you will need the XLs to push Scolipede to level 47.5.

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  • Viability: 1.5/10
  • Rarity: 1/10
Diggersby

XL Diggersby (or mini-Groudon, as some like to call it) is a good Pokémon to use in Great League. Bunnelby is a VERY common spawn, so I wouldn’t really recommend walking it unless you desperately need it now.

  • Viability: 4.5/10
  • Rarity: 0/10
Talonflame

XL Talonflame is a meta-defining Pokémon in Ultra League when played correctly, and it also has play in Great League. However, Fletchling already had a Community Day, will probably be featured in December’s potential CD rerun and is by no means a rare spawn. Not a top priority, that’s for sure.

  • Viability: 6/10
  • Rarity: 0/10
Greedent

Greedent has pretty good stats for PvP and it also got blessed with a very spammy moveset. XL Greedent is without a doubt one of the best Pokémon to use in open Ultra League, where it usually functions as a safe swap. Skwovet is not exactly a rare spawn so unless you really need an XL Greedent for UL, I’d probably choose a different buddy.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: 2/10

3 km buddies

This is where things start to get interesting.

Some of the Pokémon that will be listed below are pretty dominant in certain aspects of the game, so you might want to at least consider walking them.

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

Nidoqueen

Nidoqueen and Shadow Nidoqueen are VERY good Pokémon to use in Great and Ultra League. Nidoran-F is by no means a rare spawn and can be hatched from eggs, but if you’re a few XLs short of powering it up for UL, you might want to consider walking it for a while.

  • Viability: 6.5/10
  • Rarity: 0.5/10
Ninetales (Alola)

Alolan Ninetales is still a fantastic Pokémon to use in Great and Ultra League. If you plan to build one for UL, you might need to power it up all the way to level 50. Vulpix is a common spawn for some but a very rare one for others. If you need the candies and you don’t usually see Vulpix in the wild, I’d perhaps consider walking it for a while.

  • Viability: 5.5/10
  • Rarity: 2.5/10
Hypno

Hypno is not a bad pick in Ultra League, but far from being a top-tier Pokémon. Given the amount of Candy XL needed to power one up, I’d probably invest in other options. For those who enjoy running spice, XL Hypno is an option to consider.

  • Viability: 3/10
  • Rarity: 2/10
Lickitung

Lickitung is probably one of the best choices. It’s pretty much non-existent in the wild and it can’t be hatched from eggs. Regarding its performance in PvP, XL Lickitung with Lick, Body Slam (legacy) and Power Whip is one of the best safe swaps in the Great League.

  • Viability: 6.5/10
  • Rarity: 8/10
Azumarill

There’s no need to say how good Azumarill is in PvP. Non-XL Azu was already pretty bulky and threatening in GL but now it can be even tankier when pushed to level 45 or 45.5. Keep in mind that Marill already had a spotlight hour and has been featured in plenty of events, so it’d probably be better to consider other options.

  • Viability: 9/10
  • Rarity: 1.5/10
Politoed

Politoed is a very solid pick in Ultra League. You will need plenty of Candy XL to power it up but Poliwag isn’t the rarest Pokémon out there so I’d probably prioritize other options first.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: 1.5/10
Wobbuffet

Purified XL Wobbuffet is one of the bulkiest Pokémon in Great League. It can be used in certain metas quite effectively, but it’s a pretty boring Pokémon to use as games take forever.

  • Viability: 4/10
  • Rarity: 6/10
Swampert

XL Swampert has some play in open Master League, but that’s about it. Swampert is a fantastic Pokémon in Great and Ultra League, but you won’t need Candy XL to use it in these metas.

  • Viability: 2/10
  • Rarity: 2/10
Pelipper

Spicy (and very expensive) UL pick and not nearly as good as in Great League.

  • Viability: 1/10
  • Rarity: 3/10
Shiftry

XL Shiftry is a pretty dangerous Pokémon in Ultra League. It can’t take many hits, but will probably threaten your opponent’s back line as they probably won’t be expecting it.

  • Viability: 3/10
  • Rarity: 2.5/10
Medicham

XL Medicham is one of the best Pokémon in Great League. Meditite has been featured in several events and can be hatched from eggs, though. If Meditite was a bit rarer, it’d be one of the best options to walk during the yearly Halloween event.

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  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: 1/10
Abomasnow

One of the best Pokémon in Ultra League, especially as shadow. It’s not the rarest Pokémon, though. Snover also had its own Spotlight Hour and is usually a common spawn during the Christmas event.

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

XL Togekiss is one of the best Pokémon in open Master League, and it can also be used as one of the best gym defenders in the game. Togetic is an insanely rare spawn and the only way to farm candies is by hatching Togepi.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: 7/10
Scrafty

Another top-tier choice. The only way to obtain Scraggy Candy XL is by hatching 12km eggs and catching Scraggy in certain time-limited events such as Incense Days. Definitely one of the rarest Pokémon of the game, and a pretty good one to use in Great and especially Ultra League!

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: 8/10
Cofagrigus

Cofagrigus received a significant buff this season. It’s a very good Pokémon in Great and Ultra League, but Trevenant seems to be better according to early simulations prior to its official release. I’d probably hold off, for now.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: 7/10
Jellicent

Very good in Great League and a force to reckon in UL too! Not the rarest Pokémon to find in the wild, though, so unless you really need one now I’d probably put it in the low priority bracket.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: 2/10
Galvantula

Pretty menacing Pokémon, to say the least. Started as a meme in pre-season and ended up being pretty good thanks to Lunge. Joltik spawns are fairly common in Rainy weather, so I’d probably walk other Pokémon.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: 3/10
Ferrothorn

Ferrothorn is a great Pokémon. It’s the kind of Pokémon you don’t want to see in a game as it usually functions as a core breaker. Ferroseed spawns in the wild but it’s far from being a common spawn. It’s indeed a great choice to walk and farm Candy XL.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: 5/10
Dragalge

Dragalge is also happy with the Dragon Tail buff. People started using it as a fun spicy pick but its popularity rose pretty quickly. I guess we can consider it meta now (?). Skrelp is not the rarest Pokémon in the game but it isn’t a common spawn either.

  • Viability: 6/10
  • Rarity: 3/10
Perrserker

Perrserker is a great Pokémon to use in Ultra League. However, Meowth Candy XL is by no means a scarce resource (especially after its Spotlight Hour).

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

5km buddies

You can expect to see pretty good Pokémon on the list below, as 5km buddies are usually meta relevant. Pokémon such as Sableye, Bastiodon and Stunfisk 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

Those who have played the Little Jungle Cup know what facing a Chansey means. XL Chansey maxes out close to 1500 CP and has an insane stat product and bulk. It’s not the rarest spawn in the game but outside of certain events and some event-related raid battles and quests, it’s pretty hard to find in the wild. No need to mention how good of a gym defender it is.

  • Viability: 5/10
  • Rarity: 6/10
Snorlax

Snorlax is also quite bulky, and works pretty well as a safe swap. It used to be Giratina’s worst nightmare in Master League, but its popularity has decreased in the last seasons. Now that XL Giratina has been made more accessible, XL Snorlax might stonk up in open ML too. Snorlax is not as rare as it used to be back when Pokémon GO was released, but it’s not a common spawn by any means.

  • Viability: 4.5/10
  • Rarity: 4.5/10
Dragonite

XL Dragonite is a very good Pokémon to use in open Master League. 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 as a raid attacker too, so I’d say that the investment is worth it, although there are plenty of rarer options.

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

Umbreon is a meta-defining Pokémon in Ultra League, and can also perform quite well in Great League. I wouldn’t consider it a top priority though, since Eevee CD happened this year, Eevee is a common spawn and you probably have enough Candy XL by now.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: 0/10
Skarmory

XL Skarmory is a pretty difficult Pokémon to get and use in Ultra League. It’s actually quite good, but farming Skarmory Candy XL is not easy. Not a bad candidate to walk as your buddy.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: 5/10
Sableye

Sableye is easily a top 3 priority for this event. It used to be one of the “common” spawns every single year during the Halloween event, but this year Niantic unfortunately decided to make it only available in raids (at least that’s what they said in the official announcement). Sableye is one of the best safe swaps in the Great League and its XL variant outperforms the non-XL one. Farming Sableye Candy XL has been a nightmare, so Sableye would probably be one of my main candidates to walk during this event.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: 6.5/10
Metagross

XL Metagross is a pretty decent core breaker to use in open ML, and can also function as a great raid attacker without needing to change its moveset. Not a meta shaking Pokémon in open ML, so I’d probably go with other options first.

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

Like it or not, XL Bastiodon is a beast in Great League. When using Bastiodon, you either win hard or lose hard, so be prepared for both. If you didn’t manage to farm enough Candy XL during the Ultra Unlock Part I event, Bastiodon is a great candidate to walk as your buddy, as it outperforms its non-XL counterpart and Shieldon is a pretty rare spawn.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: 7/10
Pachirisu

I know, I know… Pachirisu is a regional Pokémon. It’s somewhat of a spice pick (and a very expensive one, too!), but a very useful Pokémon to use in Great League. In case you didn’t know, PvPoke ranks it #38 in GL.

  • Viability: 6.5/10
  • Rarity: 9/10
Drifblim

Drifloon is not a rare spawn by any means, but a decent candidate to consider if it doesn’t spawn during the Halloween event (it’s missing in NIA’s official blog post) and you’re only missing a few Candy XL. Pretty good in both GL and UL.

  • Viability: 6.5/10
  • Rarity: 1/10
Drapion

XL Drapion is a pretty good Pokémon in Ultra League and plenty of trainers don’t really know its matchups and how to counter it. You may be surprised, by its shadow variant ranks #34 in open UL according to PvPoke.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: 2/10
Conkeldurr

Conkeldurr is arguably the best fighting type in open Master League, and a pretty rare Pokémon too. Not a top priority Pokémon, but if you’re missing a few regular candies too, it’s an option to consider!

  • Viability: 5/10
  • Rarity: 7/10
Stunfisk (Galarian)

Another top priority candidate. Galarian Stunfisk is so good that it dominates both the Great League and the Ultra League alike. If you’re missing Stunfisk Candy XL, walking a Stunfisk as your buddy should be one of your main priorities.

  • Viability: 9.5/10
  • Rarity: 7/10
Mandibuzz

And last (but NOT least!), Mandibuzz. Mandibuzz is another fantastic choice to walk as your buddy, as the only way of farming Vullaby Candy XL is by hatching 12km eggs and walking with your buddy. Mandibuzz is one of the only Pokémon capable of surviving an insane Sky Attack –> Aerial Ace nerf and STILL be good in both GL and UL.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: 8/10

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.

Mewtwo

Mewtwo is one of the best Pokémon in the game, period. It’s a great raid attacker, a fantastic gym sweeper and to no surprise, a good Pokémon to use in PvP. XL Mewtwo is so versatile that it can be used as a safe swap, lead and closer. Running Psystrike is a must, and the 2nd charge move really depends on what role you want it to fulfil. I’d recommend running Focus Blast (lead/closer/safe swap) or Ice Beam (safe swap).

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Lugia

Lugia has the highest stat product in (open) Master League and is pretty happy about the Dragon Tail buff. It’s insanely tanky, and can work pretty well as a safe swap.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Ho-Oh

XL Ho-Oh is a very dangerous Pokémon. The combination of Incinerate + Brave Bird is deadly in the right hands, so you better be prepared to time your moves correctly if you don’t want to end up getting destroyed.

  • Viability: 7.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Registeel

Registeel used to be the king of GL and UL in the first seasons. It used to be so dominant that it received not one but two nerfs at the same time. You might be thinking that this was enough to dethrone it… but you’d be wrong! XL Registeel is in fact a beast in Ultra League, and a great candidate to consider walking if you need the candies.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Kyogre

XL Kyogre is pretty good in open ML, but probably not a meta defining Pokémon. It has great synergy with (BB) Dialga and Togekiss, and worst case scenario, you can always use it as a water type raid attacker.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Groudon

XL Groudon is a fantastic open ML pick and a great raid attacker. You’ll never have too many Groudon Candy XL.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Deoxys (Defense)

Deoxys-Defense is a fantastic Pokémon in GL and UL. It’s insanely tanky, and can outbulk most of its opponents. If you’re missing a few XLs, DD is a very decent candidate to consider walking as your buddy.

  • Viability: 7.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Dialga

Do I really need to describe Dialga? BB Dialga is arguably the king of Master League, a great Team GO Rocket counter and a very decent raid attacker. It’s in fact one of the safest investments in this game. If you want to use it in open ML and you’re missing a few XLs, walking it as your buddy could be a good choice (assuming it’s not gonna be in raids for a while). If you raided it hard the last time it was in raids, you probably have enough XLs to max it out.

  • Viability: 9/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Giratina (Altered) Giratina (Origin)

Giratina is the current raid boss, so I’d probably hold off for now. Both Altered and Origin perform pretty well in open ML so if you’re missing a few Candy XL when open ML returns, then walking it as your buddy might not be a bad idea.

  • Viability: 8/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Zekrom

Zekrom is a very decent pick in open ML and hasn’t been in raids for a while. It’s probably not a top tier candidate, but not a bad choice at all.

  • Viability: 7/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Yveltal

Yveltal was one of the S8 MVPs, but this season it hasn’t been as common due to the rise of Zacian. I’d probably consider other choices, but choosing Yveltal is not really a mistake.

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

Let’s face it: we all underestimated sausage doggo. Zacian is hands down the MVP of Season 9, and most of us (myself included) didn’t raid it enough when it was in raids. It probably won’t be in raids for a while, so if you want to use it once open ML comes back, I’d say go ahead and walk it as your buddy.

  • Viability: 8.5/10
  • Rarity: Legendary
Zarude

And the last pick is Zarude, the only relevant grass type attacker in Master League. If you want to know how it performs in PvP, feel free to check out this wonderful guide written by JRE47. Is it a top tier candidate to walk as your buddy though? I’d say no.

  • Viability: 6.5/10
  • Rarity: Mythical

Conclusions and final verdict

The list above is huge, so you’re probably looking for the tl;dr. Well, worry not! Here is the 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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