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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 in Pokémon Go 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! It's also a good idea to know what the current Grunt lineups and counters are.

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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.

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.

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

In March 2024, the following Shadow Pokémon were added to Pokémon Go as part of the World of Wonders: Taken Over event:

  • Pidgey (can evolve into Shadow Pidgeotto and Pidgeot)
  • Groudon
  • Darumaka (can evolve into Shadow Darmanitan)
  • Gothita (can evolve into Shadow Gothorita and Gothitelle)
  • Solosis (can evolve into Shadow Duosion and Reuniclus)

In January 2024, the following Shadow Pokémon were added to Pokémon Go as part of the Taken Treasures event:

Image credit: Niantic
  • Corphish (can evolve into Shadow Crawdaunt)
  • Snorunt (can evolve into Shadow Glalie or Shadow Froslass)
  • Kyogre
  • Chimchar (can evolve into Shadow Monferno and Shadow Infernape)
  • Piplup (can evolve into Shadow Prinplup and Shadow Empoleon)
  • Croagunk (can evolve into Shadow Toxicroak)
  • Dwebble (can evolve into Shadow Crustle)
  • Ferroseed (can evolve into Shadow Ferrothorn)

In October 2023, the below Shadow Pokémon were added to Pokémon Go as part of the Team Go Rocket Takeover running during the Halloween Part 2 2023 event:

Image credit: Niantic
  • Gastly (can be evolved into Shadow Haunter and Shadow Gengar)
  • Rhyhorn (can be evolved into Shadow Rhydon and Shadow Rhyperior)
  • Barboach (can be evolved into Shadow Whiscash)
  • Cranidos (can be evolved into Shadow Rampardos)
  • Shieldon (can be evolved into Shadow Bastiodon)
  • Regigigas
  • Drilbur (can be evolved into Shadow Excadrill)
  • Litwick (can be evolved into Shadow Lampent and Shadow Chandelure)

In June 2023, the following Shadow Pokémon were added to Pokémon Go as part of the Team Rocket Takeover occuring during the Solstice Horizons event:

  • Alolan Geodude (can be evolved into Shaodw Alolan Graveler and Shadow Alolan Golem)
  • Ledyba (can be evolved into Shadow Ledian)
  • Hitmontop
  • Regirock
  • Glameow (can be evolved into Shadow Purugly)
  • Gible (can be evolved into Shadow Gabite and Shadow Garchomp)

In March 2023, as part of the Let's Go event, the following Shadow Pokémon were added to Pokémon Go:

  • Alolan Grimer (can be evolved into Shadow Alolan Muk)
  • Phanpy (can be evolved into Shadow Donphan)
  • Treecko (can be evolved into Shadow Grovyle and Shadow Sceptile)
  • Torchic (can be evolved into Shadow Combusken and Shadow Blaziken)
  • Regice
  • Drifloon (can be evolved into Shadow Drifblim)

Another batch of Shadow Pokémon were released in February 2023 as part of a Team Go Rocket Takeover in Pokémon Go:

  • Alolan Vulpix (can be evolved into Shadow Alolan Ninetales)
  • Spoink (can be evolved into Shadow Grumpig)
  • Registeel
  • Blitzle (can be evolved into Shadow Zebstrika)
  • Joltik (can be evolved into Shadow Galvantula)

In November 2022, another Team Go Rocket Takeover happened in Pokémon Go and brought these Shadow Pokémon to the game:

  • Alolan Diglett (can be evolved into Shadow Alolan Dugtrio)
  • Onix (can be evolved into Shadow Steelix)
  • Natu (can be evolved into Shadow Xatu)
  • Wailmer (can be evolved into Shadow Wailord)
  • Golett (can be evolved into Shadow Golurk)

Shadow Ursaluna was released as part of the November 2022 Community Day.

The following Pokémon had their Shadow versions released as part of the Battle Weekend on Saturday, 9th July:

  • Geodude (can be evolved into Shadow Graveler and Golen)
  • Latios
  • Shinx (can be evolved into Shadow Luxio and Luxray)
  • Patrat (can be evolved into Shadow Watchog)
  • Purrloin (can be evolved into Shadow Liepard)
  • Ducklett (can be evolved into Shadow Swanna)
  • Foongus (can be evolved into Amoonguss)

On Wednesday, 25th May, the Shadow version of Alolan Marowak was released as part of the Alola to Alola event.

On Saturday, 16th April, the Shadow version of Alolan Exeggutor was released as part of the An Egg-citing Surprise mini-event, which, itself, was part of the Spring into Spring 2022 event.

On Sunday, 3rd April, the following Shadow Pokémon were released into Pokémon Go:

  • Alolan Rattata (can be evolved into Shadow Alolan Raticate)
  • Alolan Sandshrew (can be evolved into Shadow Alolan Sandslash)
  • Alolan Exeggutor
  • Sudowoodo
  • Girafarig
  • Numel (can be evolved into Shadow Camerupt)
  • Latias

On 24th January, 2022, the following Shadow Pokémon were introduced into Pokémon Go:

  • Voltorb (can be evolved into Shadow Electrode)
  • Chikorita (can be evolved into Shadow Bayleef and Meganium)
  • Cyndaquil (can be evolved into Shadow Quilava and Typhlosion)
  • Totodile (can be evolved into Shadow Croconaw and Feraligatr)
  • Whismur (can be evolved into Shadow Loudred and Exploud)
  • Hippopotas (can be evolved into Shadow Hippowdon)

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)

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:

  • 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 and the ones which have been released so far are:

  • Articuno
  • Zapdos
  • Moltres
  • Mewtwo
  • Raikou
  • Entei
  • Suicune
  • Lugia
  • Ho-Oh
  • Latias
  • Latios
  • Registeel
  • Regice
  • Regirock
  • Regigigas

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:

  • 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:

  • 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

Now you know which Shadow Pokémon have been released in Pokémon Go, the question becomes which Shadow Pokémon can you currently catch? This is because Shadow Pokémon can only be obtained by defeating them in Shadow Raids or through Team Rocket battle - be it with a Grunt, a Team Rocket Leader or Giovanni himself. It's also important to note that these lineups all reguarly rotate, so the Shadow Pokémon you're searching for might not be currently available.

For this reason, it's a good idea to visit our Team Rocket Grunt counters and lineup guide. There you'll be able to find all of the current lineups for the Grunts you can face at PokéStops or from Rocket Balloons and, in doing so, give you a good idea of which Shadow Pokémon you can currently catch from their fights.

Image credit: Niantic

Remember, while the Shadow Pokémon you have a chance of catching from the majority of Rocket battles will be the first one you face, Giovanni will always offer you the chance to catch a Shadow Legendary Pokémon. This Pokémon will always be the third member of his party and you must complete a Team Rocket-related special research quest to face him. The Shadow Legendary you have a chance of catching might also be different from when the quest released depending on when you complete it. (For example: If he had a Shadow Lugia when the quest was first released but you complete it when Giovanni has Shadow Zapdos, you'll find yourself catching a Shadow Zapdos.)

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.

Pokémon Go Shadow Pokémon list coming soon

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, 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):

  • Krabby (Gen 1)
  • Kingler (Gen 1)
  • Kangaskhan (Gen 1)

The Shared Skies Season is here! Go Fest 2024 may have been and gone, but you can still play around with the Fusion mechanic. Meanwhile, ticket holders can finish Go Fest 2024: A Shadowy Caper and The Dusk Settles. Don't forget to try out Routes, Gift Exchange and Party Play while you're hunting down rare Pokémon, fighting in the Go Battle League or competing in PokéStop Showcases.

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?

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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