Pokémon Go Shadow Pokémon counters, how to beat Shadow Snorlax and how Purified Pokémon work

What we know about Shadow and Purified Pokémon in Pokémon Go.

Shadow Pokémon, and Team Go Rocket, can now be found in Pokémon Go.

Originating from the Gamecube spin-off games - Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness - Shadow Pokémon have had their hearts corrupted by evil. It's your job to rescue and then purify these Pokémon, making them far stronger in the process.

You can catch Shadow Pokémon by defeating Team Go Rocket at the PokéStops they have invaded, so keep an eye out for any suspicious looking PokéStops!

On this page:

Update (July 25th): Shadow Pokémon have seen a few nerfs since release - specifically lowering their capture rate, and no longer becoming tradable (Purified Pokémon, however, still are).

How to catch Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon Go

Shadow Pokémon are creatures whose hearts have been corrupted by Team Go Rocket. You can tell you've got a Shadow Pokémon on your hands from its mean, red-eyed, expression and ominous purple aura.

Pokemon_Go_Catching_a_Shadow_Pokemon
That's one angry Rattata!

As well as looking different, it'll behave differently too. Shadow Pokémon have the charge move Frustration, while the Candy and Stardust cost to power it up are tripled.

So - how do you solve a a problem like a Shadow Pokémon?

The answer - purify them, and having a Purified Pokémon offers a number of benefits that make the process worthwhile.

More on that further in the article, but first - how do you get a Shadow Pokémon?

You do this by defeating the Team Go Rocket that have invaded your local PokéStops.

Once you have defeated a Team Go Rocket, they will abandon their Shadow Pokémon, allowing you to capture it in a similar way to how you capture defeated Raid Bosses.

Check out our guide on Team Go Rocket for all the information you could ever want on this villainous team, but, for now, it's time to purify your new Shadow Pokémon.

How to purify Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon Go

Now that you've rescued a Shadow Pokémon from Team Go Rocket, it's time to purify it.

First, you'll want to find your chosen Shadow Pokémon in your Pokémon storage. Shadow Pokémon have a purple flame next to their picture, like how Shiny Pokémon have a set of silver stars.

Once you've picked a Shadow Pokémon, you'll discover that there is a new option available above 'Power Up' and 'Evolve' (if this Pokémon can evolve) - Purify.

Purifying a Shadow Pokémon will cost a specific amount of Stardust and Candy depending on which Pokémon you want to Purify and how strong it is. A Squirtle, for example, will need 2,000 Stardust and 2 Squirtle Candy to be purified, while a Blastoise will require 5,000 Stardust and 5 Squirtle Candy.

Select 'Purify' and then 'Yes' on the confirmation window to watch a cutscene of your Pokémon being cleansed of the evil that has invaded its heart, leaving you with a newly purified Pokémon.

Pokemon_Go_Shadow_Charmander
Pokemon_Go_Purified_Charmander
Charmander's CP, and other stats, have increased after being purified.

Pokémon Go Purified Pokémon benefits

Purified Pokémon have a number of perks that set them apart from other Pokémon, which include:

  • The Candy cost for powering up or evolving the Pokémon will decrease by 10%.
  • The Stardust cost to powering up or teaching the Pokémon a secondary move will decrease by 10%.
  • The Purified Pokémon will learn Return - a 3 bar Normal type move, which is great for Normal type Pokémon.
  • IVs will be increased by 2 in every stat - Attack, Defence, HP.
  • Finally, a Purified Pokemon's level will increase - the cap on this increase is level 25.

Thank you to ControvT from reddit for the help with this information.

Purified Pokémon will have a blue star next to them in your Pokémon storage.

Due to the Candy cost, it's worth catching non-Shadow Pokémon as you play, so that you will be able to quickly purify Shadow Pokémon after you catch them. This will help you build up a strong collection of new Pokémon and level up your Purifier medal.

Below you'll find a complete list of all the currently released Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon Go - it will help you plan out your new catching regime!

Pokémon Go Shadow Pokémon currently available

On May, 18th, 2021, the following Shadow Pokémon were introduced as part of the Luminous Legends Y event:

  • Tangela (can be evolved into Shadow Tangrowth)
  • Horsea (can be evolved into Shadow Seadra and Kingdra)
  • Snubbull (can be evolved into Shadow Snubbull)
  • Poochyena (can be evolved into Shadow Mightyena)
  • Makuhita (can be evolved into Shadow Hariyama)
  • Electrike (can be evolved into Shadow Manectric)
  • Starly (can be evolved into Shadow Staravia and Staraptor)
  • Skorupi (can be be evolved into Shadow Drapion)
Pokemon_Feb_2021_Shadow_Pokemon

On April, 1st, 2021, the Shadow versions of Aipom and, in turn, Ambipom were introduced.

On February, 2nd, 2021, the following Shadow Pokémon were introduced:

  • Swinub (can be evolved into Shadow Piloswine and Mamoswine)
  • Nosepass
  • Aron (can be evolved into Shadow Lairon and Aggron)
  • Spheal (can be evolved into Shadow Sealeo and Walrein)
  • Lileep (can be evolved into Shadow Cradily)
  • Anorith (can be evolved into Shadow Armaldo)

On December, 10th 2020, the following Shadow Pokémon were introduced:

  • Wooper (can be evolved into Shadow Quagsire)
  • Teddiursa (can be evolved into Shadow Ursaring)

On October, 12th 2020, the following Shadow Pokémon were introduced:

  • Diglett (can be evolved into Shadow Dugtrio)
  • Slowpoke (can be evolved into Shadow Slowbro or Slowking)
  • Shellder (can be evolved into Shadow Cloyster)
  • Aerodactyl
  • Hoppip (can be evolved into Shadow Skiploom and Jumpluff)
  • Skarmory

As part of Rocket Straight to Victory research quest, part of the Pokémon Go Fest 2020 celebrations on the July, 26th 2020, the following Shadow Pokémon were released:

  • Mewtwo

On July, 10th 2020, the following Shadow Pokémon were introduced alongside the first appearance of Jessie and James in Pokémon Go:

  • Ekans (can be evolved into Shadow Arbok)
  • Nidoran - female (can be evolved into Shadow Nidorina and Nidoqueen)
  • Nidoran - male (can be evolved into Shadow Nidorino and Nidoking)
  • Machop (can be evolved into Shadow Machoke and Machamp)
  • Koffing (can be evolved into Shadow Weezing)
  • Pineco (can be evolved into Shadow Forretress)
  • Gligar (can be evolved into Shadow Gliscor)
  • Shuckle
  • Stunky (can be evolved into Shadow Skuntank)

On February 4th 2020, the following Shadow Pokémon were introduced:

Pokemon_Go_Shadow_Vulpix
  • Vulpix (can be evolved into Shadow Ninetails)
  • Exeggcute (can be evolved into Shadow Exeggutor)
  • Pinsir
  • Omanyte (can be evolved into Shadow Omastar)
  • Misdreavus (can be evolved into Shadow Mismagius)
  • Mawile
  • Carvanha (can be evolved into Shadow Sharpedo)
  • Beldum (can be evolved into Shadow Metang and Metagross)

A variety of Legendary Shadow Pokémon have also be introduced as rewards for defeating Giovanni. Currently, a new Shadow Legendary Pokémon is released every month and so far this includes:

  • Articuno
  • Zapdos
  • Moltres
  • Raikou
  • Entei
  • Suicune

On December 24th 2019, the following Shadow Pokémon were introduced as part of the 2019 Christmas event:

  • Delibird
  • Stantler
  • Absol
  • Bagon (can be found in Shadow Shelgon and Salamence)
  • Snover (can be evolved into Shadow Abomasnow)

On November 7th 2019, the following Shadow Pokémon were introduced to the game:

Pokemon_Shadow_Bellsprout
  • Sandshrew (can be evolved into Shadow Sandslash)
  • Bellsprout (can be evolved into Shadow Weepinbell and Victreebel)
  • Magnemite (can be evolved into Shadow Magneton and Magnezone)
  • Hitmonlee
  • Porygon (can be evolved into Shadow Porygon2 and Porygon-Z)
  • Wobbuffet

There have also been some changes to the previous Shadow Pokémon roster, with certain Shadow Pokémon now only being available from defeating Team Go Rocket Leaders.

These Pokémon are:

  • Meowth (can be evolved into Shadow Persian) - found by defeating Cliff
  • Scyther (can be evolved into Shadow Scizor) - found by defeating Arlo
  • Sneasel (can be evolved into Shadow Weavile) - found by defeating Sierra

There's also a chance that you will encounter a shiny version of these three Shadow Pokémon.

On October 17th 2019, the following Shadow Pokémon were introduced to the game:

pokemon_go_shadow_pokemon_6
  • Weedle (can be evolved into Shadow Kakuna and Beedrill)
  • Electabuzz (can be evolved into Shadow Electivire)
  • Magmar (can be evolved into Shadow Magmortar)
  • Lapras
  • Mareep (can be evolved into Shadow Flaaffy and Ampharos)
  • Seedot (can be evolved into Shadow Nuzleaf and Shiftry)
  • Sableye
  • Trapinch (can be evolved into Shadow Vibrava and Flygon)
  • Cacnea (can be evolved into Shadow Cacturne)
  • Shuppet (can be evolved into Shadow Banette)
  • Duskull (can be evolved into Shadow Dusclops and Dusknoir)

The Shadow Pokémon that were already available from the introduction of Shadow Pokémon into Pokémon Go:

  • Bulbasaur (can be evolved into Shadow Ivysaur and Venusaur)
  • Charmander (can be evolved in Shadow Charmeleon and Charizard)
  • Squirtle (can be evolved in Shadow Wartortle and Blastoise)
  • Rattata (can be evolved into Shadow Raticate)
  • Snorlax
  • Zubat (can be evolved into Shadow Golbat and Crobat)
  • Oddish (can be evolved into Shadow Gloom, Vileplume or Bellossom)
  • Gloom
  • Vileplume
  • Venonat (can be evolved into Shadow Venomoth)
  • Psyduck (can be evolved into Shadow Golduck)
  • Growlithe (can be evolved into Shadow Arcanine)
  • Poliwag (can be evolved into Shadow Poliwhirl, Poliwarth or Politoed)
  • Abra (can be evolved into Shadow Kadabra and Alakazam)
  • Grimer (can be evolved into Shadow Muk)
  • Drowzee (can be evolved into Shadow Hypno)
  • Cubone (can be evolved into Shadow Marowak)
  • Scyther
  • Magikarp (can be evolved into Shadow Gyarados)
  • Hitmonchan
  • Dratini (can be evolved into Shadow Dragonair and Dragonite)
  • Houndour (can be evolved into Shadow Houdoom)
  • Larvitar (can be evolved into Shadow Pupitar and Tyranitar)
  • Mudkip (can be evolved into Shadow Marshtomp and Swampert)
  • Ralts (can be evolved into Shadow Kirlia and Gardevoir or Gallade)
  • Turtwig (can be evolved into Shadow Gortle and Torterra)

Thank you to Exycosh05 from reddit for the help with this information.

Pokémon Go Shadow Pokémon counters

Shadow Pokémon are finally here, but which ones can you currently catch?

Below you'll find a list of all the currently available Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon Go. We've also included the counters to help you defeat each Shadow Pokémon and the Team Go Rocket phrases, which hint at what Shadow Pokémon you'll be facing.

Team Go Rocket PharsePokémon TypePokémonCounter
Don't tangle with us! Grass / Poison Bulbasaur / Ivysaur / Venusaur Fire, e.g. Charizard, Entei
Do you know how hot Pokémon fire breath can get? Fire (and Flying) Charmander / Charmeleon / Charizard Water, e.g. Gyarados, Kyogre
These waters are treacherous! Water Squirtle / Wartortle / Blastoise Grass, e.g. Venusaur, Alolan Exeggutor
Normal doesn't mean weak. Normal Rattata / Raticate / Snorlax Steel, e.g. Metagross, Aggron
Coiled and ready to strike! Poison / Flying Zubat / Golbat / Crobat Dark, e.g. Tyranitar, or Steel, e.g. Metagross
These waters are treacherous! Water (and Fighting) Poliwag / Poliwhirl / Poliwrath / Politoed Electric, e.g. Raikou, Zapdos
Coiled and ready to strike! Poison Grimer / Muk Ground, e.g. Groudon, Rhyperior
Are you scared of physics that use useen power? Psychic Drowzee / Hypno Dark, e.g. Tyranitar, Weavile
You'll be defeated into the ground! Ground Cubone / Marowak Grass, e.g. Breloom, Alolan Exeggutor
Go my super bug Pokémon! Bug / Flying (and Steel) Scyther / Scizor Rock, e.g. Tyranitar
These waters are treacherous! Water (and Flying) Magikarp / Gyarados Electric, e.g. Raikou, Zapdos
ROAR!...How'd that sound? Dragon (and Flying) Dratini / Dragonair / Dragonite Steel, e.g. Metagross, Melmetal
Wherever is a light, there is also shadow. Dark / Fire Houndour / Houndoom Water, e.g. Gyarados, Kyogre
These waters are treacherous! Water (and Ground) Mudkip / Marshtomp / Swampert Grass, e.g. Venusaur, Alolan Exeggutor
Check out my cute Pokémon! Psychic / Fariy (and Fighting) Ralts / Kirlia / Gardevoir / Gallade Steel, e.g. Metagross, Scizor
Don't bother, I've already won. Unknown Random Encounter See above depending on rival team
Winning is for winners. Unknown Random Encounter See above depending on rival team
Get ready to be defeated! Unknown Random Encounter See above depending on rival team

How to defeat Shadow Snorlax in Pokémon Go

Turns out the only thing harder than waking Snorlax up is defeating a Shadow Snorlax in battle.

Currently, Shadow Snorlax is one of the hardest Shadow Pokémon available in Pokémon Go.

Thanks to the evil infecting Shadow Snorlax, it has the ability to use fast Ghost and Psychic type moves as well as charged Normal, Ground and Steel moves. This means that Shadow Snorlax can't be defeated by the Pokémon, such as Machamp, that would easily knock out a Normal type Pokémon.

Here is a list of Pokémon, and the moves they can use, that would make an ideal team to take down a Shadow Snorlax or two:

  • Tyranitar - Ideal Moves: Smash Down / Crunch
  • Ursaring - Ideal Moves: Counter / Close Combat
  • Lucario - Ideal Moves: Counter / Power-Up Punch
  • Weavile - Ideal Moves: Ice Shard / Avalanche
  • Dragonite - Ideal Moves: Dragon Breath / Dragon Claw
  • Metagross - Ideal Moves: Bullet Punch / Meteor Mash

If you've been lucky with the Legendaries, you could also call on them for help:

  • Lugia - Ideal Moves:Extrasensory / Sky Attack
  • Latios - Ideal Moves: Dragon Breath / Dragon Claw
  • Dialga - Ideal Moves: Dragon Breath / Dragon Claw
  • Palkia - Ideal Moves: Dragon Breath / Dragon Meteor
  • Heatran - Ideal Moves: Fire Spin / Stone Edge

Don't forget to use your shields to block any of Shadow Snorlax's charged moves!

Thank you to celandro from reddit for the help with this information.

Pokemon_Go_Shadow_Pokemon_Research

Pokémon Go Shadow Pokémon list coming soon, including Shadow Lugia

There are a fair few Pokémon that can have a Shadow version, though aside a handful, are exclusively from the first generation.

It's unknown whether all of the following will be available in the game when the Purification mechanic releases, but at the very least, the following are in the game files and should appear at some point (thanks to martycochrane on reddit for helping with the following):

  • Geodude (Gen 1)
  • Graveler (Gen 1)
  • Golem (Gen 1)
  • Krabby (Gen 1)
  • Kingler (Gen 1)
  • Rhyhorn (Gen 1)
  • Rhydon (Gen 1)
  • Kangaskhan (Gen 1)
  • Murkrow (Gen 2)
  • Chimchar (Gen 4)
  • Monferno (Gen 4)
  • Infernape (Gen 4)
  • Honchkrow (Gen 4)
  • Gible (Gen 4)
  • Gabite (Gen 4)
  • Garchomp (Gen 4)
  • Hippopotas (Gen 4)
  • Hippowdon (Gen 4)
  • Rhyperior (Gen 4)
pokemon_go_shadow_pokemon_1
Shadow Mewtwo

In the spin-offs, there are far more Shadow Pokémon that what's listed here - well over a hundred - which also include the Legendary Birds Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, as well as Lugia.

Pokkén Tournament also introduced Shadow Mewtwo - and it'll be interesting to see whether the list of Pokémon Go Shadow creatures will be expanded over time.

Elsewhere, it was also technically possible to get Shiny Shadow Pokémon - though it was mostly through a glitch that was later corrected with Pokémon XD.

Chances are Pokémon Go's Shadow Pokemon won't be shiny as a result, but here's a look at someone going through the process in Pokémon Coliseum if you're interested:


This week sees the arrival of the Season of Heritage and a refreshed Go Battle League. Ongoing are Arlo, Cliff, Sierra counters and Giovanni counters. Other major updates in the past year include a level cap increase, the introduction of XL Candy, boosts to some XP sources and the addition of Platinum Medals.


Other things to know about Shadow and Purified Pokémon in Pokémon Go

Here is some interesting information about Shadow and Purified Pokémon that didn't quite fit into the above sections. Take a look so you can take full advantage of the Shadow and Purified Pokémon update:

What is the history of Shadow Pokémon?

pokemon_go_shadow_pokemon
Shadow Lugia (Image credit: Imgur)

Set in the desert region of Orre, Colosseum and XD follow our heroes fight against Team Snagem and Team Cipher. These crime organisations have joined forces to steal Pokémon from their trainers and corrupt them into Shadow Pokémon. This includes the Legendary Dogs in Colosseum and, in XD, Lugia.

While Shadow Pokémon are more powerful than regular Pokémon, the corruption infecting them eventually causes them to turn on their teammates. The only way to save Shadow Pokémon from this corruption is purify them.

Purification return the Shadow Pokémon to normal, while also increasing their stats.

Shadow Pokémon joined Pokémon Go alongside Team Go Rocket. The evil organisation are using the Shadow Pokémon to help them invade PokéStops.

Team Go Rocket's arrival was first teased after Pokémon Go Fest at Chicago in 2019. After the Fest had ended festival goers discovered that Grunts had photobombed the pictures they had taken with Pokémon Go's AR photo mode.

This photobombing continued at Pokémon Go Fest in Dortmund later than year. A Team Go Rocket hot air balloon was even spotted floating in the sky above the festival.

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About the author

Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Associate Editor  |  Crazyreyn

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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