Imagine you're a Pokémon happily minding your own business and doing ... um, pocket monster things, when Team Go Rocket decides it wants to turn you against all that is right and good in the world. Now stop imagining, because that's exactly what's been going on in Pokémon Go since Team Go Rocket invaded the game in the summer of 2019. Setting up shop at Pokèstops all over the map, Team Go Rocket has stolen some of the items at each one, daring you to defeat its shadow Pokémon to stop them. Luckily for them, you can capture shadow Pokémon after battling them and even set them free from the dark side, as it were.

Let's dive more in-depth on what shadow Pokémon are and which ones you can find in-game.

What exactly are shadow Pokémon?

Shadow Pokémon have fallen under the sway of Team Go Rocket, and it's not hard to tell them apart from their normal counterparts as they have a purple aura around them and completely red eyes. If that's not enough of a hint that's something amiss, I don't know what is.

How can you capture shadow Pokémon?

You can only capture shadow Pokemon by defeating Team Go Rocket in battle first. Once you've found a Team Rocket Pokèstop, you'll have to defeat a team of three shadow Pokémon with your own team of three. It's sometimes an easy task and sometimes not, depending on the strength of your opposition, which can vary.

If you're victorious, you'll get a chance to capture one of the shadow Pokémon with special items called Premier Balls. You'll receive five Premier Balls for defeating Team Go Rocket with no fainted Pokémon and less if you lose some in battle, though that number can also be boosted with continuing success against Team Go Rocket. The actual capture process is similar to what you experience when trying to capture a raid boss, and with a limited supply of Premier Balls, you need to make every throw count.

What do you do with shadow Pokémon after you catch them?

Well, you could keep them as is. They definitely look cool, and let's face it; shadow Rattata is a lot better than regular old Rattata (and Pokémon with evolutions can be evolved into those shadow forms as well). The problem is that shadow Pokémon are actually weaker than they could be if you purify them.

All it takes to purify a shadow Pokémon is 2000 Stardust and two of the correct type of Candy. You'll find the option to purify in the profile screen right above the options to power up or evolve:

Purified Pokémon get an immediate increase to level 25 and boosted IV values, as well as a special charge move called Return, so there's no compelling reason to leave them in their shadow forms except, as noted, if you just want to keep that way for aesthetics.

Can you list all the shadow Pokémon in Pokémon Go right now?

Sure can. Some new arrivals have since joined the initial wave of shadow Pokémon to hit the game, and it seems likely that Niantic will continue to expand the list of monsters to fall under the thrall of Team Go Rocket going forward.

For now, here's who you can expect to find after battling at Team Go Rocket-controlled Pokèstops, in alphabetical order:

  • Abra
  • Blastoise
  • Bulbasaur
  • Charizard
  • Charmander
  • Charmeleon
  • Crobat
  • Cubone
  • Dragonair
  • Dragonite
  • Dratini
  • Drowzee
  • Gallade
  • Gardevoir
  • Gloom
  • Golbat
  • Grimer
  • Growlithe
  • Gyarados
  • Hitmonchan
  • Houndoom
  • Houndour
  • Hypno
  • Ivysaur
  • Kirlia
  • Larvitar
  • Magikarp
  • Marowak
  • Marshtomp
  • Mudkip
  • Muk
  • Oddish
  • Politoed
  • Poliwag
  • Poliwhirl
  • Poliwrath
  • Psyduck
  • Ralts
  • Raticate
  • Rattata
  • Scizor
  • Scyther
  • Snorlax
  • Squirtle
  • Swampert
  • Turtwig
  • Venomoth
  • Venonat
  • Venusaur
  • Wartortle
  • Zubat

Got more questions about shadow Pokémon?

We're all ears! Please let us know what else you need to know in the comments section below, and we'll do our best to keep you up to speed.

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