It has been about 2 1/2 years since we received the GO Beyond update that brought us level 50, all the way back December of 2020. With it brought the addition of Candy XL, a means to power up your Pokémon beyond level 40. Since then, they have expanded the game so that Trainers level 31 and up can start to earn Candy XL. While you have likely found some Candy XL in your everyday play, I wanted to take a deep dive into what it takes to grind for the Candy XL required to take a Pokémon from level 40 to 50.
What is Candy XL?
As mentioned above, Candy XL is a new resource unlocked at Trainer Level 31. It allows Trainers to power up a Pokémon beyond the original limit of level 40. The number of Candy XL is specific to the species of Pokémon, similar to regular Candy. The number of Candy XL will appear next to the number of regular Candy upon earning your first Candy XL for that evolutionary line.
Candy XL are MUCH harder to come by than regular Pokémon Candy.
How to Earn Candy XL
There are a variety of ways to earn Candy XL throughout various activities. While most methods only offer chances for an XL drop, others are guaranteed. Below is a list of activities that can grant Candy XL:
|Catch a Pokémon||0-3 Candy XL – base rate (increased chance based on the level of the Pokémon – can be increased further with active mega evolution)
+1 for stage 1 evolution (guaranteed)
+2 for stage 2 evolution (guaranteed)
+3 for legendary Pokémon (guaranteed)
+3 for mythical Pokémon (guaranteed)
+1 for raid boss
|Trade a Pokémon||1 Candy XL (only guaranteed if the Pokémon being traded were caught 100km+ apart)|
|Hatch a Pokémon||2km Egg – average of 1 Candy XL
5km Egg – average of 3 Candy XL
7km Egg – average of 3 Candy XL
10km Egg – average of 4 Candy XL
12km Egg – average of 4 Candy XL
|Transfer a Pokémon||1 Candy XL|
|Exchange Candy||100 Candy = 1 Candy XL (guaranteed)|
|Earning Buddy Candy||1 Candy XL (chance increases based on buddy friendship level)|
|Evolve a Pokémon||1 Candy XL (chance increases with higher level Pokémon)|
|Feeding Gym Defenders||1 Candy XL (1 per berry, very low chance)|
|Rare Candy XL||1 Rare Candy XL = 1 Candy XL of the chose species|
As you can see, there are many different ways to earn Candy XL. You have more than likely used one of these methods and earned Candy XL without even trying. Now we’ll briefly dive into a few more numbers before moving on to some tips and tricks.
How Much Candy XL Do I Need?
In order to power up a Pokémon from level 40 to 50 you will need 296 Candy XL for your target species, as well as 250,000 Stardust. These numbers adjust for Purified and Shadow Pokémon (272 Candy XL and 225,000 Stardust for Purified, 360 Candy XL and 300,000 Stardust for Shadow).
As you can probably tell, powering up a Pokémon to level 50 is not cheap, even for veteran players.
Are Level 50 Pokémon Worth the Grind?
For a more in depth answer to this question, you can reference this article here, but the short answer is yes and no. A singular level 50 Pokémon is not going to dramatically increase the effectiveness of your roster. However, Pokémon are objectively stronger at level 50 than they are at level 40. It depends on your play style and the areas of the game you choose to focus on. Highly optimized PVP players, raid solo-ers, and players who just want to flex their strength are the ones who typically put in the time to grind for the copious amounts of required candy. This grind is not for everyone.
However, for those of you shooting for Trainer Level 50, there is a task that requires you to power up three different Pokémon to level 50 for the Trainer Level 47 tasks. Doing some of the grinding for this task prior to reaching level 47 could definitely save you some time in the long run.
Tips and Tricks for Candy XL Grind
Now that we’ve gotten the numbers out of the way, we can now dive into some tips and tricks to help optimize your Candy XL grind. This will be a compilation of strategies that I have picked up over time, learning from other Trainers and slowly increasing my roster of level 50 mons to several dozen over the past few years. As I have stated numerous times throughout this article, this is not for everyone. Some of these tips and tricks are heavily reliant on premium items and resources, and all of them take a significant amount of time. You have been warned.
Tip #1: DO NOT convert regular Candy to Candy XL
This is easily the least efficient method of maxing out your Pokémon. The conversion rate is objectively terrible. 1 to 100 candies may not seem too bad, but considering you need 296 candies to fully power up a single Pokémon, you are looking at 29,600 Candy for that specific species. For context, let’s use Pidgey as an example. It is a Pokémon that has been available since launch. I have been playing Pokémon GO near daily since its release in 2016. I have likely used several hundred Candies on evolutions, as it was one of the best ways to grind XP early on, and even taking this into account I am currently sitting on just over 10,000 Pidgey Candy. I would need to have almost tripled the amount of Candy I have earned from 7 years of playing just to power up a single Pokémon. Yikes. Every other method listed above will be a much more effective way of grinding for these Candy XL. If you have excess regular Candy and are only a couple XL’s away from maxing your target, then go for it. However, this should by no means be your primary method of earning Candy XL.
Tip #2: Catch EVERYTHING
This may seem a bit obvious, but it makes a difference. There is a base chance to earn Candy XL with every Pokémon caught. Over time this will add up. While some of these may not be species that you would ever want to power up, you never know what will be relevant, especially for PVP enjoyers (my level 50 hundo Wigglytuff can put in some good work in Ultra League). Regardless of whether or not you intend to power up a Bidoof to level 50, the real reward from these catches is the Stardust. This is one resource that you can never have enough of, regardless of what level of the game you are at. Powering up a Pokémon from level 40-50 alone takes 250,000 Stardust, but the max level you can catch a wild Pokémon is level 35 with a weather boost. If you are investing this many resources into a single Pokémon, it will likely be a high IV one from an egg or raid, which are caught at level 20. Taking a Pokémon from level 20 to 50 will cost you 475,000 Stardust. Yikes. Suddenly those Purrloin and Starly aren’t so useless anymore. If you’re hoping to max out your Pokémon as soon as possible, better start popping those Star Pieces now.
Tip #3: ***Trade, Then Transfer***
This is the single biggest way to reliably grind out Candy XL. When you trade a Pokémon to a friend, there is a chance to earn a Candy XL for the species that YOU trade away. This chance is increased the further away the two Pokémon were caught, and it is guaranteed for Pokémon caught 100KM or more apart. This means you can essentially choose which Pokémon to earn Candy XL for. In theory, it would only take 296 catches at most in order to earn the Candy XL required to max out the Pokémon of your choosing, likely even less with any XL’s that may be earned from wild catches, hatches, buddy candy, etc.
You are able to complete 100 regular trades every single day, costing 100 Stardust per trade. However, you earn a minimum of 100 Stardust per catch (more for evolved Pokémon, weather boost, etc.). If you’re able to trade with someone that plays in a different area than you, you can guarantee 100 Candy XL for the Pokémon of your choosing. I always make sure to fill up my storage with Pokémon I’m grinding Candy XL for whenever I travel home, as I can guarantee a Candy XL for each and every one when trading with my brother. Even if you can’t get the distance required for a guaranteed Candy XL, there is still a chance to receive one for every trade. Plus, you can then transfer the Pokémon received in the trade for a chance at even more Candy XL!
Additionally, event/season bonuses can make this even easier. As of the writing of this article, one of the season bonuses for the Season of Hidden Gems is a guaranteed Candy XL from trades, regardless of distance. A local friend and I have been fully capitalizing on this bonus, trading almost daily to earn Candy XL for anything that could potentially be meta relevant. Even if your friend is below level 31, you will sill receive a Candy XL for the Pokémon you are trading.
Trading also has the benefit of rerolling the IV’s of both traded Pokémon. When trading with a Best Friend, you have an improved IV floor as well as a chance of receiving a lucky Pokémon, or if you’re lucky, a lucky hundo! This can be extremely helpful if you’re still looking for the specific Pokémon you’re looking to invest your hard earned resources into.
Trading 100 Pokémon can be tedious, but this easily the most efficient method of grinding out Candy XL for your target Pokémon.
Tip #4: Capitalize on Events
It feels like we don’t go more than a week in Pokémon GO without some sort of event going on, which can be beneficial in multiple different ways when grinding for Candy XL. Events often bring spawns that are extremely uncommon outside of the event, making them prime candidates to save as trades for XL’s. Additionally the event bonuses may offer easier methods for earning Candy XL, such as increased transfer candy, increased hatch candy, etc. One of the newer event bonuses introduced offers increased Candy XL chances for Pokémon caught with nice, great, and excellent throws. Combined with the fast catch technique, this can rack up insane amounts of XL’s in a short period of time, provided that you can consistently land the more precise throws.
Events can be the key for earning Candy XL for some rare Pokémon. Be sure to stay up to date on Pokémon GO news in order to prepare for these prime farming events. I heard there’s this great website called Pokémon GO Hub that posts event overviews for every update to the game. Huh. Might be worth checking out?
Tip #5: Beyond Evolution – Mega Evolve!
Shout out to any other enjoyers of the XYZ season of the anime!
Mega Evolution can be an incredible tool for maximizing your Candy XL farming, whether it be through events, raids, or even your everyday play. While most players tend to focus on their insane damage increases for your entire raid party, they have a secondary feature that gets stronger the more times you mega-evolve a certain Pokémon. I’m of course referring to the catch bonuses for all Pokémon that share a type with your current mega evolution. In addition to a guaranteed boost to regular catch Candy, you also receive an increased chance of earning Candy XL at the higher mega levels, with a 10% boost at high level after mega-evolving 7 times, and a whopping 25% boost at max level after mega-evolving 30 times. These boosts stack with other bonuses, leading to some insane numbers when combined with events like Community Day. Ever since the rework to Mega Evolution, the mechanic has become much more accessible. While it still requires a good amount of stockpiled mega energy, the grind is worth it. The max level mega bonuses can dramatically increase your Candy XL yields.
Tip #6: Legendary Pokémon
Most of the tips listed above were listed with primarily standard Pokémon catches in mind. Legendary Pokémon are a whole different beast. When Candy XL were first introduced, the insane amount of raids required to take a legendary to level 50 had players rightfully outraged. As such, the game was updated to guarantee a minimum of 3 Candy XL when catching any legendary Pokémon. So uhh, a bit better? I guess? At least there is a finite, guaranteed number of legendary Pokémon caught (translation: raids completed) in order to max them out. Still, these equates to about 100 raids. Big yikes. Additionally, with the new remote raiding system, this grind has become even more difficult, especially for those without local communities to raid with. However, there are some ways to lessen this grind, albeit marginally.
Several of the previously mentioned tips can be used to help cut down on the amount of raids required to hit the 296 Candy XL. First off, Mega Evolution is essential. If your raid group is large enough, prioritize matching your mega with the type of the raid boss rather than the type best suited to counter the boss. In some cases, you may be able to hit both of these criteria, although it’s rare. For example, Primal Groudon would be the ideal mega to counter Registeel as a raid boss. However, Mega Steelix will still boost your teammates’ Ground attacks while also giving Registeel an increased chance of rewarding a Candy XL.
Additionally, legendary Pokémon can be traded with the same rate for Candy XL as any other Pokémon. This does require you to use your singular special trade for the day. Assuming that your trading partner already has the legendary registered to their Pokédex, this trade will cost you 800 Stardust with a Best Friend. Again, some pretty steep requirements, but worth it.
Both of these small optimizations may seem minor, but an XL here and there will ultimately save you raid passes in the future, and each of these optimizations are relatively free-to-play friendly.
Tip #7: Rare Candy XL
Oh boy. Time to address one of the most exclusive premium items. Previously, these rare commodities were only available as level-up rewards between levels 41 and 50. Now they’re an extremely rare drop from raids. This is the resource that is really your call. Personally, I haven’t spent a single one of these yet. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I can earn Candy XL for every regular Pokémon by trading/walking, and every legendary will eventually return as a raid boss. If I were to recommend you spend Rare Candy XL on anything, it would be a mythical Pokémon. Prior to the release of Rare Candy XL, legendary Trainer and Youtuber Brandon Tan showcased what is likely one of the most expensive Pokémon in the game: a level 50 Mew. You can check out his video below:
Needless to say, this is not possible for the vast majority of players. However, if you are looking to max out one of these mythical Pokémon, Rare Candy XL is the way to go. All of them have some degree of PVP/PVE viability at level 50. This is definitely not a goal for the faint of heart.
Which Pokémon Are Worth Powering Up?
Now that we’ve covered some key tips for maxing out your Pokémon to level 50, it’s time to choose your first target. I think it goes without saying that any Pokémon you’re going to put this many resources into had better be worth it. There are a few different routes you can take to choosing your targets, depending on which parts of the game you enjoy most. It could be a Pokémon that consistently tops the raid counters list, a beast in Master League PVP, a Pokémon capable of Mega Evolution, or a personal favorite that you want to bring up to its full potential. It’s really up to you. Personally, I try and choose Pokémon that fit all four criteria. Metagross is a personal favorite of mine. I snagged a hundo Beldum from research and knew I would be maxing it out. Meteor Mash makes it a beast in both raids and PVP, and it has a Mega Evolution that will top the Steel Pokémon charts once released. It was an easy choice.
As far as some recommendations go, there are a few which are perfect for those who may simply be trying to level up past 47 or are looking for a first pick that is slightly less intensive.
Easily some of the most recognizable Pokémon of each generation, the starters are an easy choice. They’re amongst the fan favorites, but they also carry varying degrees of viability with their signature moves of Frenzy Plant Grass, Hydro Cannon Water, or Blast Burn Fire. That combined with the fact that they have/will each receive their own Community Day events make them prime targets. Serperior was one of my three level 50 choices for my level 47 task, maxing out a hundo I stumbled across during Community Day. Additionally, each season has featured one trio of starters as the featured spawns, making them easily accessible for XL trades. Seeing as the other two Kalos starters have already been featured this year, it’s reasonable to assume that Froakie’s Community Day will be coming up soon. Greninja is easily one of the most popular Pokémon out there, so start leveling up your Water megas now!Froakie
Community Day Pokémon
Similarly to the starters, any other Community Day Pokémon are perfect targets for maxing out. Take Bewear, for example. It was introduced for the first time on its Community Day, meaning there was no way anyone had any Candy XL going into the event. I managed to easily rack up over 500 before even I even began trading to reroll IV’s. There have been plenty of high value, meta relevant targets featured in Community Day events, such as Axew just a few months ago. Keep your eye out for a rare target that might make a nice level 50 target.Axew
Whoa, wait a sec! A mythical??
Before you all start typing out an angry comment, hear me out. Yes, Meltan and Melmetal are extremely exclusive Pokémon, requiring external software to acquire. However, if you do have access to Pokémon HOME or one of the Let’s Go! games, these are actually some of the easiest Pokémon to obtain Candy XL for. As a mythical, every Meltan capture is guaranteed to grant you at least 3 Candy XL. Additionally, the Meltan Box isn’t affected by the same movement restrictions as normal Incense, meaning that you can farm these little guys from the comfort of your own home. Melmetal is a staple of Master League PVP, so maxing out out is definitely a worthy investment.Meltan
Saying that level 50 Pokémon are an extremely large investment would be an understatement. The sheer amount of resources that are poured into a single Pokémon may take weeks or even months to acquire. However, I can say from personal experience that the few level 50 Pokémon in my collection are some of my biggest points of pride in my time playing this game. Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you out if you’re looking to take on the challenge. Combining each of the methods listed will surely yield results. Happy hunting!