Team Go Rocket appear in Pokémon Go as part of Invasions, bringing the addition of Shadow Pokémon with them.
The arrival of Team Go Rocket was first teased after Pokémon Go Fest at Chicago in 2019, with Grunts started appearing in the photos festival goers had taken with Pokémon Go's AR photo mode.
Then, at Pokémon Go Fest in Dortmund later that year, not only did the photobombing Grunts return, but a Team Go Rocket hot air balloon floated through the sky.
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Update (July 25th) - Team Rocket are back in the game after a two-day absence following their debut on Monday 23rd, and with it, comes new A Troubling Situation quest. Along the way, we're seen a few tweaks to Shadow Pokémon - specifically a lower catch rate and more aggressive behaviour during the catch phase.
How to find Team Rocket in Pokémon Go
First of all, you need to be Trainer Level 8 and above for Team Rocket to appear in your game.
Team Rocket appear at PokéStops that have been Invaded. These PokéStops appear different to regular ones - with a slight darker appearance that twitches erratically.
Can't see any Team Rocket PokéStops? They are rare, at least on the feature's debut.
Early reports suggest they only appear for 30 minutes at a time without warning (thanks meier-andersen on reddit for confirming).
As such, it's worth regularly keeping an eye on your map view for any suspicious looking PokéStops. These Team Rocket PokéStops should appear for all other players in the vicinity, so if you're part of a WhatsApp group or Discord, be sure to share their arrival with others.
When you get close enough, the Team Rocket logo will appear above the PokéStops, as well as a Team Rocket Grunt that's housed there.
How Team Go Rocket Invasions and Team Rocket battles work in Pokémon Go
Interacting with Team Rocket PokéStops works as follows:
- Team Go Rocket will invade a PokéStop for 30 minutes at a time.
- Approach the PokéStop, and you'll be able to battle the Grunt by tapping them in a Trainer Battle.
- If you defeat the Team Rocket Grunt's team of Shadow Pokémon, the Grunt will abandon one of them.
- You'll have the opportunity to catch this Shadow Pokémon.
- If caught, you get to keep the Shadow Pokémon, and can then Purify them.
Battling Team Go Rocket is similar to Trainer Battles, and each Team Go Rocket Grunt will be assigned a Pokémon type. You'll know this ahead of time in their choice of dialogue. For example:
- "These waters are treacherous!" - Water-type encounter
- "Do you know how hot Pokemon fire breath can get?" - Fire-type encounter
- "Don't tangle with us!" - Grass-type encounter
Meanwhile, catching Shadow Pokémon works in a similar way to Raids, with a limited number of Premier Balls at your disposal for you to use.
Pokémon Go Team Go Rocket rewards
With the battle over, you'll be given 500 Stardust, as well as the opportunity to catch the Shadow Pokémon.
The Shadow Pokémon is first one you fought as part of your Grunt encounter.
To catch the creature, you'll receive a base number of Premier Balls (5) and then bonus PokéBalls will be rewarded on a number of factors:
- How many of your Pokémon survive the Trainer Battle
- Your Purify Pokémon medal rank
- Your Defeat Team Rocket medal rank
The catch rate is the equivalent of those during raids (a change made a couple of days after the feature launched) so if you're struggling, getting those extra medal rank will help.
If you run out of balls, then you'll have to defeat the Grunt again for another chance at catching the Shadow Pokémon.
Once you have the Pokémon, it'll be added to your collection, and has a number of different stat and move differences. Our Shadow Pokémon and how to Purify Shadow Pokémon them page explains everything you need to know about this process.
Prepared for trouble ? pic.twitter.com/Ze13ct9OZT— Tom @ Gamescom (@tomphillipsEG) July 22, 2019
After a summer teasing its arrival, the Jirachi quest is here! Coming soon is a variety of Ultra Bonus rewards too, including Unown and regional exclusives in Eggs, Deoxys and Mewtwo in raids, and the arrival of the first Gen 5 Pokémon! Until then, be sure to keep on top of Team Rocket Invasions and freeingShadow Pokémon, as well as catching monthly Field Research.
What else you need to know about Team Go Rocket and Invasions in Pokémon Go
Above are the essentials of how Invasions and Team Rocket work in the game, but there are lots of other smaller details to note:
Encountering Team Rocket in Pokémon Go
- Though you can only fight the Team Rocket Grunt once at a specific PokéStop, there is no limit to the number of Grunts you can fight in a day.
- There is no restriction on how close Team Rocket PokéStop encounters can be - with reports showing PokéStops next to each other can have Grunts spawn there. Keep your eyes peeled - you might get lucky!
- Unlike Raid encounters, there is no limit to the time of day Team Rocket encounters can spawn, and so can appear in the night and early hours.
- If you back out of the Grunt encounter, it will disappear, according to early reports. It's unknown whether this is a bug or intended, but if you plan to fight, make sure you commit to it!
Team Rocket Medals
- Two new medals are available as part of the Team Go Rocket update, which track the following stats. The higher their tiers, the more Premier Balls you'll then receive during the Shadow Pokémon catching phase:
- Purifier: Purify [X amount of] Shadow Pokémon.
- Hero: Defeat [X amount of] Team Go Rocket Grunts.
What else is coming soon to the Team Rocket and Invasions feature in Pokémon Go?
- Dataminers (such as Kelven91 on reddit) have uncovered two quests - which will be released alongside the Team Go Rocket Invasion update at some point, joining Jump-Start Research and the other Special Research Tasks. These will be named:
- Battle Team Rocket
- Purify Pokémon
- Finally, the datamines also revealed something named the Route Marker. The name of this item suggests it'll mark a route on the in-game map, and could be used in conjunction with the introduction of Team Go Rocket PokeStops. Beyond that, that's all we know!