Shadow Pokémon are only available after defeating a Team Rocket Grunt on a PokéStop near you or from a Team Rocket Balloon, which normally appear on your Pokémon GO map every 6 hours starting midnight. Shadow Pokémon are used for maleficent purposes, most commonly by Team GO Rocket.
Shadow Pokémon can be caught and purified, which turn into Purified versions of normal Pokémon which learn the exclusive charge move Return. Each Shadow Pokémon knows a charge move upon capture called Frustration, which cannot be removed with a Charge TM or Elite Charge TM, except during Team GO Rocket Takeover Events.
- Shadow Pokémon caught from Team Rocket Grunts or Team Rocket Leaders don’t have an IV floor. However, there is enough evidence showing that Shadow Mewtwo caught from defeating Giovanni has an IV floor of 6/6/6, which wasn’t the case for past Shadow Legendaries. It is unclear at this time if this change is permanent.
- Shadow Pokémon cannot be traded. Purified Pokémon can be traded, but it counts as a Special Trade.
- Shadow Pokémon cost 20% more candy and stardust to power up and unlock the second charge move than their normal forms.
- Shadow Pokémon have a 20% boost to their Attack stats in both PvP and PvE (raids and gym battles) at the cost of a 20% decrease to their Defense stats. In PvE, this results in Shadow Pokémon being much stronger than their normal versions, since the huge increase in damage outweighs the lower bulk. It’s a lot more complicated in PvP, but usually Shadow Pokémon are better than their normal forms.
- Shadow Pokémon are level 8 without weather boost and level 13 with weather boost.
- When purified, Shadow Pokemon get +2 to every IV. The max IV for each stat is still 15.
- Purified Pokemon are always level 25.
- Purified Pokemon receive a 10% discount for Stardust and Candy to power up, evolve and unlock the second charge move.
Catching Shadow Pokémon
Wondering how to get Shadow Pokémon in Pokemon GO? Worry not, all you have to do is to find a Team Rocket PokéStop or Balloon and defeat the Team Rocket Grunt in a Trainer Battle.
After winning a Team Rocket battle, you will be awarded with XP, 500 stardust and a chance to catch one of the Shadow Pokémon that Team GO Rocket left behind. In order to catch the Shadow Pokémon, each player is granted a number of Premier Balls which are only usable for the Shadow Pokémon Encounter. The number of Premier Balls received is based on how many of your Pokémon survive the battle, your Purify Pokémon Medal rank, and your Defeat Team Rocket Medal rank.
At the beginning, you will get 5 Premier Balls if you win the battle with no fainted Pokémon. Catching Shadow versions of regular Pokémon is similar to catching a raid boss, but you get way less Premier Balls.
Purifying Shadow Pokémon
Shadow Pokémon have various candy and stardust costs to purify depending on the Pokémon itself. Common Shadow Pokémon such as Rattata, Weedle and Zubat are the cheapest, only costing 1,000 stardust and 1 candy to purify. Shadow Legendary Pokémon are the most expensive, costing 20,000 stardust and 20 candies to purify. Purifying a Shadow Pokémon will do the following:
- Increase the Pokémon’s IV values by +2 (guaranteed)
- Increase the Pokémon’s level to level 25 (guaranteed)
- Replace Frustration with Return, a 3-bar Normal type charge move
Purifying a Shadow Pokémon will also make it stronger and reduce the amount of Stardust and Candy required to Power Up, Evolve, or learn a new attack. Purified Pokemon have a special marker in the Pokemon storage screen, but they can be mass transferred, so be careful when selecting Pokemon for transfer.
Shadow and Purified Pokémon IV values
Shadow Pokémon are caught at level 8 with a randomized set of IV values. They can be weather boosted, just as normal Pokémon and raid bosses. Weather boosted Shadow Pokémon are at level 13.
As we mentioned above, Purified Pokémon get a +2 increase in each IV value. As a result, a Shadow Pokémon with 13 / 13 / 13 IVs is guaranteed to become a 100% Purified Pokémon. Weather boosted Shadow Pokémon get their minimum IVs increased to 4/4/4 which increases the chance of getting a better Purified Pokémon.
NOTE: If your Shadow Pokémon has 14 IV, once purified it will have 15 IV in that stat. This is a special case where +2 IVs is applied, but cuts of at 15.
Learn more about Shadow Pokémon Lore
Shadow Pokémon were first introduced in Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. They are Pokémon that are being used for wrongful acts because they had the doors to their hearts shut artificially. Liam has a wonderful in-depth article that covers the whole history and role of Shadow Pokémon in the main series games, which we suggest reading if you’re a lore buff (click on Shadow Mewtwo to start reading):