The Role of Shadow Garchomp in the Pokémon GO Meta

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Garchomp (Shadow) DragonGround

Does this music ring a bell? It has given many a trainer PTSD for years now.

And the reason?

In the Shadows of the Meta…

Looms the mighty Land Shark Dragon

There is no escaping the ferocity of this monster

You will succumb to its Draconic Jaws

Trainers, it’s finally here!

One of the most awaited Shadow Pokémon in the game… a Pokémon that has carved a niche for itself in both the PvP and PvE meta in being a ruthless, flexible, and powerful mon: Garchomp.

Shadow Garchomp has undoubtedly been one of the most anticipated debuts in the game, and with Garchomp itself functioning like a Swiss army knife, speculation is rife on how the Shadow treatment would benefit this pseudo legendary. 

With that in mind, we will delve into understanding why Garchomp is so promising as a Shadow Pokémon, how Shadow Garchomp performs in PvP and PvE, its relevance as a Dragon type and as a Ground type, show comparisons with Shadow Salamence and Shadow Mamoswine, find out how close it is to Mega Garchomp, and finally, understand just how Shadow Garchomp can impact the meta. 

We will talk about all of this and more in this detailed analysis of Garchomp going into Shadow mode! So let’s begin!

Garchomp, Shadow Mode

Shadow Pokémon, by essence, have their ATK boosted by 20% whilst compromising the same percentage in their DEF. It is worth noting that Garchomp is naturally bulky and as such, has considerable overall improvement with the Shadow treatment.

With an ATK stat of 261, Shadow Garchomp deals a lot of damage in general. So the Shadow boost takes its damaging prowess goes to another level altogether. Higher, cutting-edge ATK and decent bulk even after the Shadow hit? Yes, please! 

Let’s find out more!

Shadow Garchomp vs. Garchomp (PvE)


As mentioned, Garchomp has an ATK stat of 261 in Pokémon GO.

AND… it gets a 20% boost to its ATK in its shadow form. In other words, its ATK increases by 1.2x

A 0 ATK Shadow Chomp will have [261 (base ATK) + 0 (ATK IV)][1.2 (Shadow boost)] = 313.2 ATK

A 100 IV regular Chomp will have [261 (base ATK) + 15 (ATK IV)] = 276 ATK

A 15 ATK Shadow Chomp will have [261 (base ATK) + 15 (ATK IV)][1.2 (Shadow boost)] = 331.2 ATK

So, on average:

  • A 0 ATK Shadow Garchomp deals 13.47% more damage than a regular Garchomp
  • A 15 ATK Shadow Garchomp deals 20% more damage than a regular Garchomp (obviously)
  • A 15 ATK Shadow Garchomp deals 6.53% more damage than a 0 ATK Shadow Garchomp


Garchomp has a DEF stat of 193 in Pokémon GO.

Shadow Garchomp gets a 20% nerf to its DEF stat in this form. In other words, its DEF is multiplied by 0.80x

A 0 DEF Shadow Chomp will have [193 (base DEF) + 0 (DEF IV)][0.8 (Shadow nerf)] = 134.4 DEF

A 100 IV regular Chomp will have [193 (base DEF) + 15 (DEFIV)] = 208 DEF

A 15 DEF Shadow Chomp will have [193 (base DEF) + 15 (DEFIV)][0.8 (Shadow nerf)] = 166.4 DEF

So, on average:

  • A 0 DEF Shadow Garchomp takes 25.76% more damage than a regular Garchomp
  • A 15 DEF Shadow Garchomp takes 20% more damage than a regular Garchomp (obviously)
  • A 0 DEF Shadow Garchomp takes 5.76% more damage than a 15 DEF Shadow Garchomp

What does this say?

Needless to say, a Shadow Grachomp of any IV gains a considerable boost to its ATK. Add the fact that Garchomp still has moderately fine DEF after the Shadow treatment, it ends up benefitting pretty well from it. As such, Shadow Garchomp is a good upgrade over regular Garchomp in PvE while having lower yet passable bulk to function as a threat to the meta.

The X-Factor: Garchomp’s HP + Shadow Stats

HP is a very important parameter for Garchomp in general because the magnitude is quite high, at 239. This means Garchomp is theoretically meant to last longer in a battle. This is akin to a vehicle having good suspension.

Couple this with Garchomp’s high ATK and DEF, and you see why Shadow Garchomp functions like an all-rounder, having a clear edge over Shadow Salamence (Dragon) and Shadow Mamoswine (Ground.

Salamence 277 168 216
Garchomp 261 193 239
Mamoswine 247 146 242


If you consider these three alone:


Salamence is the highest while Mamoswine takes 3rd place, being 30 points behind Mence. Garchomp has a respectable amount.


Garchomp has the highest, with Salamence and Mamsoswine in the lower bracket.


While Mamoswine has the highest, it’s hardly higher than Garchomp’s HP. In fact, Mamoswine’s DEF is similar to a Shadow Garchomp’s. Salamence’s DEF is in a lower bracket. 

What does this say?

The following can be interpreted:

  • Garchomp has the best stats overall. Even with the Shadow treatment, it’s still bulky due to its acceptable DEF and high HP. The ATK of a Shadow Chomp, is, obviously astronomical 
  • Shadow Salamence and Shadow Mamoswine suffer a lot from the DEF nerf because they already have decent values at best
  • Shadow Garchomp and Shadow Mamoswine can pull double duty as they excel in both their typing. Shadow Salamence, on the other hand, excels in a monotonous role, that of a Dragon attacker. With Outrage and Draco Meteor, it can be dangerous as long as it can pull off a Draco Meteor as well.

Shadow Garchomp vs. Shadow Salamence and Shadow Mamoswine

My colleague from GOHub, Teban54, has come up with a fantastic analysis of Shadow Garchomp in PvE, and how it compares to its peers. To summarize:

  1. Shadow Salamence definitely hits harder and dishes out higher DPS. But unlike Shadow Garchomp, it doesn’t like the Shadow treatment much. More often than not, the DEF nerf makes it unable to tank blows and not last long in a battle. Shadow Garchomp is more or less an all-rounder that situationally does better than Shadow Salamence.
  2. Shadow Mamoswine offers excellent utility and takes a big hit due to its low bulk. So Shadow Garchomp does edge out Shadow Mamosmine, both as a Ground type as well as an anti-Dragon specialist.

What does this mean?

  • Shadow Garchomp is the #1 non-mega Ground attacker, beating Shadow Mamoswine as well as Precipice Blades Groudon.
  • Shadow Garchomp joins the top echelon of best non-mega Dragon attackers, being more reliable than Shadow Salamence overall and being clearly better than Shadow Dragonite.

Shadow Garchomp vs. Mega Garchomp

If regular Garchomp is a shark in the water… then Shadow Grachomp is a rogue shark. 

But if Shadow Garchomp is a rogue shark… then Mega Garchomp is, well, ‘Mega’lodon!

For the uninitiated, if you thought Shadow Salamence was powerful, wait till you meet Mega Garchomp.

Here’s Mega Garchomp’s stats:

Garchomp (Mega) DragonGround
Max CP at lvl 40 5424 | Max CP at lvl 50 6132
ATK 339 DEF 222 HP 239
Weak to Strong Against
Dragon Fairy Ice Dragon Fire Electric Rock Poison Steel


Mega Garchomp has stats and performance beaten only by the likes of Mega Rayquaza and Primal Groudon. It’s a literal monster, and even a perfect Shadow Garchomp’s ATK of 331.2 is lower than Mega Garchomp’s 339

Not to mention, Mega Chomp’s DEF is 33.41% more than that of a perfect Shadow Garchomp’s!

Mega Garchomp is cooking!

So should you purify Shadow Garchomp?

No really. It goes without saying that Shadow Garchomp is one of the best Shadow Pokémon in the game. In fact, it’s exemplary of how a Shadow Pokémon should function!

It is wise to have Mega Garchomp and Shadow Garchomp as a part of your Dragon or Ground line-up. Not to mention, it takes a single Fast TM and access to two charged moves to switch a Garchomp from a Dragon to a Ground attacker, and vice versa.

That brings me to another noteworthy point:

Should you give an Elite Charged TM to Shadow Garchomp for Earth Power?

To put it into perspective, it is neither a necessity nor a compulsion, but it is surely a good thing to do.

Shadow Garchomp without Earth Power and with Earthquake is still a very good Ground type attacker. And if you already have a high-level Primal Groudon and/or Shadow Mamowine to salvage, Earthquake Shadow Chomp will serve you well. After all, Mud Shot’s energy gains are very resourceful for a Shadow mon. 

But if you have an Elite Charged TM to spare, you can feel free to go ahead with it and give Earth Power to your brand new Shadow Garchomp. You surely won’t regret it.

Shadow Garchomp in the Master League? 

Unfortunately, Shadow Garchomp’s lower bulk and the lack of a damage-dealing and inexpensive charged move hurts it. As such, Shadow Chomp is technically a downgrade over regular Garchomp in the ML meta.

Sand Tomb is resourceful but lacks power and is not threatening enough in itself. If Garchomp has access to something like Dragon Claw or Breaking Swipe, it would be great. In fact, Breaking Swipe Garchomp in any form would break the meta. Dragon Claw would also be a welcome upgrade. 

But Garchomp currently can’t learn Breaking Swipe in the MSG, but Dragon Claw is a possibility, and even with this move, Shadow Garchomp is an upgrade! Till then, we will have to be content with regular Garchomp just how it is currently, and it’s good!

Using Shadow Garchomp in the Master League 

If you are still willing to give Shadow Garchomp a shot in Master League, go ahead with Dragon Tail + Sand Tomb and [Outrage/Earthquake/Earth Power]. This takes advantage of the high damage output of Dragon Tail from Shadow Garchomp and makes Sand Tomb a dangerous prospect.


Shadow Garchomp has undoubtedly been one of the most awaited Shadows in the game. With its flexibility, power, utility, and resourcefulness, this beast is sure to make its mark in the meta.

It propels itself straight to the top of the mountain, both as a Dragon and a Ground type. While there are ‘better’ options, Shadow Garchomp will remain a good Pokémon to use!

So let’s try to get ourselves a Shadow Gible with desired IVs and create a sonic boom in the meta!

All the best, trainers!


Author & tags

My name is Niladri Sarkar. A Team Valor Trainer, I'm a Pokémon Battle Mechanics Specialist & a Dragon Master on Smogon's Pokémon Showdown where I particularly excel with Dragon types and Weather teams in Ubers / OU. I love to apply my vast knowledge and experience to the ever changing meta of Pokémon Go, specialising in DPS/TDO math, movesets, the Master League and Dragon types. Garchomp is my best Pokémon pal through and through.

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