Shadow Pokemon GO And The Best Pokemon Potential

Today we're going to have a look at why you should avoid the obvious in Pokemon GO for Team GO Rocket Pokemon. If you're attempting to complete research, attain a goal, or some other third oddity in the game, by all means, Purify all your Pokemon. But if you're seeking the most rare Pokemon in Pokemon GO, or you like Pokemon that WIN in Raids, keep your Shadows!

The bonuses, compared

If you have a Shadow Pokemon, you get 1.2x attack in both Pokemon Raids and Player VS Player interactions. If you see a Shadow Pokemon in a Team Rocket situation in Pokemon GO that you have the opportunity to capture, DO IT! Never skip this opportunity, as there are always at least one positive outcome, and zero negative!

Either you've got a Shadow Pokemon that you can Purify to achieve a goal in the game, OR, you can keep a Shadow Pokemon. A Shadow Pokemon is more powerful than its Purified counterpart in Pokemon Raids and PvP.

Purify a Pokemon and said Pokemon will get +2 IVs (Attack, Defense, HP,) for said Pokemon's stats. That delivers an approximately 1 to 2% more powerful Pokemon overall.

If you've got a Shadow Pokemon, you'll get a 20% increase to attack. What's more, the added points to IVs given by Purification does not raise the Pokemon's power over it's given max of 15 (for Strength, anyway). The Shadow Pokemon bonus in PvP and Raids is x1.2, which means that if said Pokemon has maxed-out strength, it could (potentially) go above and beyond its most powerful form!

NOTE: The original version of the image above was created by artist CICROS and was posted to DeviantArt back on Halloween, 2016!

Which Shadow Pokemon is best?

The Best Pokemon in Pokemon GO is whatever Pokemon you've got on your team – the Pokemon that has just the right set of moves, strengths, types, and speed to beat your opponent's Pokemon. Even the most powerful Pokemon in the game can be beaten under the right set of circumstances.

But given the confirmation of the 1.2x attack, the implications of which we've been reminded of again and again over the past half-year – there should be no question.

Big Shadow Pokemon in Pokemon GO are not only some of the most difficult-to-attain Pokemon in the game, they're up there with the most rare.

You can still get a Shadow Pokemon that has very low statistics. You can go ahead and purify those Pokemon. But the big Shadow Pokemon – those are the ones you want to keep in the dark!

How to catch Shadow Pokémon

Shadow Pokémon never show up in the wild. You can only find them after defeating a Team GO Rocket Grunt or Leader, or Giovanni himself. Therefore, you can only catch a Shadow Pokémon after (or if) you defeat one of them.

Unlike normal Pokémon, Shadow Pokémon follow Raid Bonus Challenge reward rules. After you defeat a Team GO Rocket member, "Pokémon GO" gives you an opportunity to catch one of the Pokémon they used in battle, usually their weakest. You can only use a limited number of Premier Balls, which is determined by how well you did in battle (i.e., how many of your Pokémon fainted), how many Team GO Rocket Grunts you have defeated, and how many Shadow Pokémon you have purified. As with Raid Bonus Challenge Pokémon, once you run out of Premier Balls, the Shadow Pokémon runs away, so keep a steady hand.

Since Shadow Pokémon are violent by nature, they attack far more frequently than wild Pokémon, so try to time your throws to connect just after they are done attacking; you only have so many Premier Balls, so don't waste them. Or you can just give the Shadow Pokémon a Nanab Berry. That should slow them down.

How to find Shadow Legendary Pokémon

Team GO Rocket members use a fairly limited pool of Shadow Pokémon. Granted, Niantic adds to this list every now and then, but unless the company rotates the available Pokémon, Team GO Rocket members generally use the same select creatures. This design choice makes hunting for certain Shadow Pokémon difficult, especially legendaries.

Currently, only Giovanni commands Legendary Pokémon in combat. Every other Team GO Rocket member uses more common creatures; even Team GO Rocket Leaders only get comparatively weaker (but still pretty powerful) choices like Salamence, Tyranitar, and Snorlax. Sure, these Shadow Pokémon will chew up your team and spit them out if you don't come prepared, but they're not quite on the level of Giovanni's Shadow Mewtwo or Shadow Lugia.

Unfortunately, knowing where to find Shadow Legendary Pokémon doesn't make acquiring them any easier. Giovanni only shows up for certain events, but since these are tied to Special Research tasks, you don't have to worry about FOMO. Basically, you have to beat enough Team GO Rocket Grunts to acquire a Rocket Radar and then defeat one Team GO Rocket Boss. Then repeat the process with the other two Bosses to receive a special Rocket Radar that tracks down Giovanni. But even then, finding him isn't easy since he employs lowly Team GO Rocket Grunts as decoys. Once you do find Giovanni, though, you still have to overcome his team.

Should You Purify a Shiny Shadow Pokémon?

All players desire shiny Pokémon. Who wants a plain old blue Gyarados when you can have a savage red one? Unfortunately, the odds of even finding a shiny are extremely low — about 1 in 500. If you do catch a shiny, whether or not you should purify it is another issue.

Most Shadow Pokémon are shiny-locked. In other words, "Pokémon GO" is programmed to not spawn any shiny Shadow Pokémon, with a few exceptions. The bonus challenge for defeating Team GO Rocket Leaders or Jessie and James might spawn a shiny. Furthermore, any Shadow Pokémon that Grunts share with stronger Team Rocket GO members can potentially show up as a shiny.

Purifying a shiny Shadow Pokemon is completely your choice. Shadow Pokémon receive a 1.2x bonus to attack, whereas a Purified one will exchange that modifier for a few bonus IVs that don't provide as large a bonus. But as a tradeoff, Shadow Pokémon take more damage, are harder to level up, and can't unlearn Frustration outside of certain events. Meanwhile, Purified Pokémon don't have any defense penalties, can learn new moves any time you want, and are easier to level up. But, since higher attack power is generally a more desired trait, you shouldn't purify your shiny Shadow Pokémon. You probably shouldn't purify your other Shadow Pokémon, either, but again, that's up to you.

Can you trade Shadow Pokémon?

Trading is half the fun of a "Pokémon" game. In the mainline entries, players are encouraged to swap creatures between versions to complete their Pokédexs. In "Pokémon GO," meanwhile, trading is how you obtain region-exclusive Pokémon and reroll IV stats. Given a Shadow Pokémon's attack bonus, the ability to increase their base attack sounds priceless, but it isn't meant to be.

Players are mostly free to trade as many Pokémon as they wish, so long as they have enough Stardust. However, "Pokémon GO" doesn't let players trade certain Pokémon, including Mythical, Buddy, and Shadow Pokémon. Obviously, this prevents players from trying to give Shadow Pokémon better stats, but more importantly, it precludes the possibility of turning a Shadow Pokémon into a Lucky one, which would negate the higher Stardust cost of leveling.

While you can't trade Shadow Pokémon, "Pokémon GO" doesn't prevent players from swapping Purified Pokémon. This compromise lets gamers exchange the spoils of Team GO Rocket victories, but that's a cold comfort since you can't receive a Pokémon with a 1.2x attack bonus or give one to a friend. Furthermore, Purified Pokémon fall under what the game calls Special Trades, which are limited to once a day, at least at first. If two players increase their in-game friendship, they can trade more Purified Pokémon and every other one covered by Special Trade rules.

The rarest Shadow Pokémon

Since you can't encounter Shadow Pokémon in the wild, you can't gauge their rarity by the usual metrics. Though, it's possible to make an educated guess.

As with all Pokémon in "Pokémon GO," what is and isn't rare varies from player to player. Some can make an entire team out of shinies with perfect stats (colloquially called "shundos"), while others have yet to find a single shiny. The same applies to Shadow Pokémon. Some gamers have had trouble encountering Shadow Electabuzz, while others can't seem to bump into Shadow Weedle. The only truly "rare" Shadow Pokémon are the legendaries since every player only gets one shot to catch each, and even when they do succeed, gamers can't encounter another one until Niantic brings them back. So far, only Shadow Mewtwo has received that honor.

Since Shadow Pokémon are built on a rotating schedule, one that was rare previously could easily return in droves. Anyone looking for a specific Shadow Pokémon should pay attention to the latest game updates, as Niantic always announces which Shadow Pokémon are coming to the game. Plus, when fighting Team GO Rocket Grunts, don't skip their dialogue since they always have a tell. For instance, if you need a Shadow Magikarp, focus on Grunts who talk about "treacherous water."

How to beat a Shadow Snorlax

For the most part, Shadow Pokémon are easy to defeat. They pack a punch with their 1.2x attack power, but they are glass cannons since they also have 0.83x defense. Usually, a powerful Pokémon that takes advantage of elemental resistances and weaknesses can handle most Shadow Pokémon, but Shadow Snorlax is a huge roadblock for many players.

Under normal circumstances, Snorlax is an absolute unit. This chubby contender sports a ton of health and defense with attack power to match, and thanks to a 1.2x strength bonus, Shadow Snorlax can melt through most Pokémon, including Fighting-types that are normally super-effective against it. A lowered defense might make most Shadow Pokémon fragile, but vanilla Snorlax is so tanky this debuff doesn't do much. If you want to defeat a Shadow Snorlax in "Pokémon GO," you will need to defeat it at its own defense game.

While battling a Shadow Snorlax, mind the moves Lick and Zen Headbutt. Shadow Snorlax also can use Body Slam, Heavy Slam, and Hyper Beam, but "Pokémon GO" lets you block these charged attacks (if you have enough shields). Since Lick and Zen Headbutt are Ghost and Psychic-type moves, respectively, you should use Pokémon that are resistant to one or both of these attacks. These include Tyranitar, Weavile, Ursaring, and Metagross. If you can get a Tyranitar with Smack Down or Ursaring (or Ursaluna) with Counter, Rock Smash, or Close Combat, even better.

The strongest Shadow Pokémon for raids

Shadow Pokémon in raids can be a risky gamble. Thanks to their attack bonuses, even the weakest of Shadow Pokémon tend to out-DPS hundos, but since that strength comes at the cost of defense, you have to be extra mindful of elemental weaknesses. One super-effective charged attack can easily knock out a Shadow Pokémon before it gets to deal any serious damage, thus wasting a slot and the items necessary to revive it. But don't let a little risk scare you off of Shadow Pokémon.

As a general rule, the stronger the Pokémon, the stronger its Shadow counterpart, so powerful attackers make for the best raid lineups. These include legendaries such as Mewtwo, Raikou, and Moltres, as well as pseudo-legendaries like Metagross, Salamence, and Dragonite. Even Pokémon like Machamp, Mamoswine, Electivire, and Hariyama make for good Shadow raiders due to their explosive attack stats.

Again, note the importance of type advantages. Shadow Mamoswine might technically be weaker than Shadow Mewtwo, but if you're going up against, say, a Yveltal, Mamoswine's Ice-type attacks are more effective against Yveltal's part Flying-typing, and Mamoswine isn't vulnerable to Yveltal's Dark-type moves, unlike Mewtwo. Sure, if you don't have any Shadow Pokémon with type advantages, you can always use them to brute force a Raid Battle, but never underestimate the power of an attack that deals 2x or even 4x damage.

Where did Shadow Pokémon come from?

The 'Pokémon" franchise has lived for almost 30 years, no main entry has ever included a Shadow Pokémon, and it isn't Niantic's invention.

Shadow Pokémon first appeared in "Pokémon Colosseum" and then in "Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness." As in "Pokémon GO," they are Pokémon that have been transformed into living weapons and only exist to fight. Players can capture them and purify Shadow Pokémon to change them back to normal.

Shadow Pokémon in "Pokémon Colosseum" and "XD: Gale of Darkness" are different beasts from those in "Pokémon GO." Shadow Pokémon in "Colosseum" and "XD: Gale of Darkness" are a challenge to use since, if left unchecked, they can and will attack Trainers. Meanwhile, in "Pokémon GO," Shadow Pokémon comprise a good chunk of the game's Raid meta. Moreover, while Team GO Rocket uses Shadow Pokémon in "Pokémon GO," the process of turning Pokémon into Shadow Pokémon was invented by Team Cipher in "Colosseum" and "XD: Gale of Darkness."

While most Shadow Pokémon are immediately identifiable by their dark, misty auras, "Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness" features a flagship monster, Shadow Lugia. Unlike other Shadow Pokémon, this creature lacks an aura but instead sports an inverse color scheme that makes it look like a photo negative. As for Shadow Mewtwo in "Pokken Tournament," it's a Shadow Pokémon in name only.