Pokémon Go Team Rocket Guide: Catching And Purifying Shadow Pokémon

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Shadow Pokémon appearing in Pokémon GO.
Shadow Pokémon appearing in Pokémon GO. Niantic

Team Rocket has arrived in Pokémon GO and it is clear they are up to no good. Making things even stranger is that these troublemakers are in possession of Shadow Pokémon that behave strangely and seem to be in pain. So what are these Shadow Pokémon, and what do you need to do about it?

In the lore, Shadow Pokémon are Pokémon that are being used for wrongful acts because they had the doors to their hearts shut artificially, a process created and carried out artificially. In order for them to do certain activities, they need to be purified. In Pokémon GO, Shadow Pokémon have a sort of dark aura behind them. While they are harder to level up and generally weaker compared to the Purified versions, their visuals are cool.

In the game, you only get to encounter these kinds of Pokémon upon meeting Team Rocket grunts. This means you need to first find the grunts. To do so, you look for a PokéStop that appears to "glitching." Team Rocket is nearby these PokéStops, but only for a limited time. You need to go the PokéStop and fight them. It is going to be a difficult fight, but once you beat them they go away and leave behind their Shadow Pokémon for you to capture.

Shadow Snorlax
Shadow Snorlax Queen B Twitter

So far, various Trainers have confirmed that Shadow Pokémon are limited to base evolution form. Thus there is no chance of catching a Shadow Charizard, for example. So far the Shadow Pokémon found include:

  • Bulbasaur
  • Ivysaur
  • Venusaur
  • Charmander
  • Charmeleon
  • Charizard
  • Squirtle
  • Wartortle
  • Blastoise
  • Rattata
  • Raticate
  • Zubat
  • Golbat
  • Snorlax
  • Dratini
  • Dragonair
  • Dragonite
  • Crobat
  • Mudkip
  • Marshtomp
  • Swampert

There may be other Pokémon not included on this list, so you may encounter new ones.

Now suppose you already caught your very own Shadow Pokémon. You have the choice to keep them that way or return them to normal by Purification. If you're after a collection, then it's obvious you need to keep a Shadow Pokémon copy or two as they can become valuable in the future.

Purifying Pokémon isn't just about returning them to normal, as these versions are stronger compared to their standard versions based on the notion that they are grateful for your assistance.

To purify a Shadow Pokémon, all you need to do is exchange a certain amount of Stardust and Candy from the Pokémon's information screen. Additional changes include in the Purified Pokémon are:

  • Base stats increased
  • Needs less Stardust and Candy to power up
  • Shadow Pokémon move Frustration is now replaced by strong Normal-type attack Return

A Troubling Situation

While gathering and purifying Shadow Pokémon is a good task by itself, it is also part of a new Team Rocket-themed Special Research quest line. It follows the story of Prof. Willow, Spark, Candela, and Blanche investigating Team Rocket. Dubbed "A Troubling Situation," this Special Research has four stages:

  • A Troubling Situation (1/4)
    • Evolve Two Pokemon
      • Task Reward: Murkrow encounter
    • Power Up Pokemon five Times
      • Task Reward: Sableye encounter
    • Completion Rewards:
      • 1,000 Stardust
      • 2×1,000 XP
  • A Troubling Situation (2/4)
    • Catch two Shadow Pokemon
      • Task Reward: Ekans encounter
    • Defeat three Team Go Rocket Grunts
      • Task Reward: Koffing encounter
    • Completion Rewards:
      • 2,000 Stardust
      • 2,000 XP
      • Five Golden Razz Berries
  • A Troubling Situation (3/4)
    • Purify Three Shadow Pokemon
      • Task Reward: 3,000 Stardust
    • Purify a Fire, Water or Grass Type Shadow Pokemon
      • Task Reward: 3,000 XP
    • Completion Rewards:
      • 2,000 Stardust
      • Five Silver Pinap Berries
      • One Rare Candy
  • A Troubling Situation (4/4)
    • Automatic Completion
      • Task Reward: 1,000 Stardust
    • Automatic Completion
      • Task Reward: 1,000 XP
    • Automatic Completion
      • Task Reward: 1,000 Stardust
    • Completion Rewards:
      • Three Rare Candy
      • One Fast TM
      • One Charge TM

Overall, Shadow Pokémon are a good addition to the game. It gives you the choice to keep one for collection purposes or purify one to have stronger versions.

Pokémon Go
A Flawed But Magnificent Experience
Pokémon Go has swept the country but is the mobile game worth an install? Despite its flaws, Pokémon Go really delivers the Pokemon-capture experience.
  • As Close To Living Pokémon Fantasy As It Gets
  • Active And Engaging Experience
  • Lots Of Mon And Events
  • Battles Aren't What Fans Expect
  • Very Grindy
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