In my opinion, if someone plans to use the XL as an all-in-one multi-effects in order to do everything, then it makes more sense to get it instead of an HX Stomp + a MIDI controller. The XL wouldn’t require any MIDI programming, MID cables and any dedicated power source. Also, it’s footswitches are touch sensitive and color coded, which really helps with the HX interface and looks really nice. In fact, the XL would be massively compelling if Line 6 had increased the DSP power in this unit, but well… it is what it is.
Having that said, I think that a rig that consists just in a MC8 paired with a regular HX Stomp is still more powerfull than just the XL.
In my case, I’ve already have a do-it-all rig consisting of a MC8 + HX Stomp + Dunlop DVP4 expression pedal, and I’ve configured a bank on my MC8 so I can have:
A: Preset Down
B: Snapshot 1
C: Snapshot 2
D: Snapshot 3
E: Preset Up
F: Tap Tempo
G: FS4 (release) / Enter Looper: Toggle page + engage the looper mode on the MC8 (long press).
H: FS5 (release) / Tuner (long press)
E: Snapshot Up
F: Snapshot Down
G: Exit Looper: Toggle page + disengage the looper mode on the MC8 (long press).
H: Undo / Redo
I run my HX Stomp always on Stomp Mode, with the FS1, FS2 and FS3 assigned to inumerous parameters and blocks, and use the expression pedal to have some additional fun.
That way I can use the Stomp Mode with all 5 footswiches available plus an expression pedal, and always having direct access to all 3 snapshots, direct access to scrolling presets up and down, plus dedicated tap tempo and tuner switches. I even have full access to an eventual looper block that I may add to my effects chain, and with 5 dedicated switches for stop, play, record, overdub and undo/redo functions.
Everything at the same time, without having to change modes or views on the HX Stomp.
So, as you can see, it really is much more powerfull than the XL, but it’s much bigger and much more expensive.
If I had the chance to choose between the XL and this MC8+HX Stomp combo back in the day, I think I would have got the XL, just for the simplicity and the price.
But, of course: as soon as you start to add other MIDI capable pedals to the pedalboard, then the XL will inevitably fall short and the MC8+HX Stomp combo will be vastly superior.