Everything you need to know about Pokémon Go: Looming in the Shadows

Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket
Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket (Image credit: Niantic)

After weeks of build-up, the Looming Shadows update went live globally on November 7, 2019. This update introduced a new Special Research as well as a game mechanic to Pokémon Go, and we're here to walk you through completing this research!

As of July 7, 2020, Team GO Rocket hot air balloons now spawn on the map like Pokémon encounters. These hot air balloons operate in the same way as invaded PokéStops, allowing players to challenge Team GO Rocket Grunts, Executives, and even Giovanni himself, all without the need to travel to PokéStops.

What is Team GO Rocket anyway?

Based on the original antagonists of Pokémon, Team Rocket is an infamous criminal organization led by Giovanni. The group seeks to steal valuable Pokémon and force those Pokémon to further Giovanni's endeavors. In Pokémon Go, the group is much the same, known as Team GO Rocket. Basically, they're the bad guys who've been missing from the game since day one. They're here now, and once a month, you can complete a Special Research to take on their leader, Giovanni and potentially rescue a Legendary Shadow Pokémon from him.

Can I start right away?

Probably but, unlike some other Special Research lines, players must complete another Special Research to begin Looming in the Shadows. If you haven't completed A Troubling Situation, you'll have to finish that one first. Fortunately, A Troubling Situation is pretty quick, and we have a guide that will walk you through it fast.

Originally, another Special Research line was added each month, but as of March, 2020, Niantic stopped releasing monthly research in response to the global pandemic. Players can complete previous month's Special Research lines if they were behind, but new monthly Special Research won't be added before September, 2020.

You must also be at least Level eight to begin this Special Research.

Looming in the Shadows Special Research

Once you've completed A Troubling Situation, you can begin Looming in the Shadows by simply clicking on the Research icon (the bubble with a pair of binoculars) in the bottom-right corner of your screen.

Pokemon Go Special Research Looming in the Shadows

Pokemon Go Special Research Looming in the Shadows (Image credit: iMore/ Casian Holly)

Step One

  1. Spin ten Pokéstops for 500 XP.
  2. Defeat three Team GO Rocket Grunts for 500 XP.
  3. Catch one Shadow Pokémon for 500 XP.

Completion rewards: 500 Stardust, ten Poké Balls, and ten Razzberries

Step Two

  1. Spin a PokéStop five days in a row for 750 XP.
  2. Purify 15 Shadow Pokémon for 750 XP.
  3. Win five raids for 750 XP.

Completion rewards: 1,000 Stardust, three Hyper Potions, and three Revives

Step Three

Pokemon Go Team Rocket Mysterious Component (Image credit: Niantic)
  1. Use six super effective Charged Attacks in Gym Battles for 1,000 XP.
  2. Win three Great League Trainer Battles against another Trainer for 1,000 XP.
  3. Defeat six Go Rocket Grunts for 1,000 XP.

Completion rewards: 1,500 Stardust, 15 Great Balls, and five Pinap Berries

Step Four

Pokemon Go Rocket Radar (Image credit: Niantic)
  1. Defeat Team GO Rocket Leader Arlo for 1,250 XP.
  2. Defeat Team GO Rocket Leader Cliff for 1,250 XP.
  3. Defeat Team GO Rocket Leader Sierra for 1,250 XP.

Completion rewards: 2,000 Stardust, one Super Rocket Radar, and three Golden Razz Berries

Step Five

Pokemon Go Super Rocket Radar (Image credit: Niantic)
  1. Find the Team GO Rocket Boss for 2,500 Stardust.
  2. Battle the Team GO Rocket Boss for 1,500 XP.
  3. Defeat the Team GO Rocket Boss for three Silver Pinap Berries.

Completion rewards: 3,000 Stardust, one Charged TM, and one Fast TM

Step Six

  1. Autocompleted for 2,000 XP.
  2. Autocompleted for 2,000 XP.
  3. Autocompleted for 2,000 XP.

Completion rewards: three Max Revives, 20 Ultra Balls, and three Rare Candies

Casian Holly has been writing about gaming at iMore since 2019, but their real passion is Pokémon. From the games to the anime, cards and toys, they eat, sleep, and breathe all things Pokémon. You can check out their many Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield guides and coverage here on iMore.

1 Comment
  • So if I'm reading this right it is impossible to get the Looming in the Shadows research now? So I can't fight Giovanni because it's not possible to attain a Super Rocket Radar? I just came back to the game at the end of May and last played in 2016 so I completed the Troubling situation questline and haven't gotten anything else Team Rocket related.