Team GO Rocket Invasion: Shadow Pokemon Guide, Tips, and Tricks

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Shadow Pokemon are an interesting feature recently added to Pokemon GO. Taking down and capturing Shadow Pokemon is pretty straightforward. But what does it mean for the game?

Finding and Catching Shadow Pokemon

Finding a Team Rocket PokeStop can be quite difficult. Just remember to keep your eye out for any PokeStop that might exhibit some "glitchy" behavior. 

The blue cube above each PokeStop will fade to black and twitch if there's a Team Rocket takeover happening there. 

Team Rocket takeovers are on a 30-minute timer, with no indication of how much time there is left. 

There doesn't seem to be a pattern that has been discovered yet regarding how PokeStops are targeted for the invasion.

At the PokeStop

Once you approach the PokeStop, you'll see the avatar of a Team GO Rocket Grunt! They'll have a little quip before starting a Master League trainer battle. You'll have an auto-suggested team to take down the Grunt, and their team can include 3 of the following:

The Grunt's Pokemon lineup will be the same across accounts, as well as the reward. 

After the battle, you'll get a chance to catch one of their Pokemon. This means the only available Pokemon to catch are: 

The number of balls you receive is determined by your performance in the battle.

You get 2 balls by default for defeating the Grunt. 

You get 1 ball for each of your Pokemon that haven't fainted during the battle.

You get 0 - 2 bonus balls for your Purifier and Hero medals. 

You'll have a chance to catch the Pokemon after. Caught Pokemon is based on the first Pokemon used by the Team Rocket Grunt. 

Purifying Shadow Pokemon

The Shadow Pokemon caught will be a random level between 1 and 5(6 to 10 with weather boost), with random IVs. It will know the charge move Frustration by default. This charge move is not lost upon evolution.

When a Pokemon is purified, which costs 2,000 Stardust and 2 Candy for base Pokemon(5,000 and 5 for 1st and 2nd stage evolutions), they get automatically raised up to level 25.  (If your Shadow Pokemon is above level 25, its level won't be changed).

Purified Pokemon cost 10% less to power up(Stardust AND Candy), and have a 20% cost reduction for a 2nd charge move. 

Purification Info & Return

When Purified, each of a Pokémon’s IVs are increased by 2. This means no 0/15/15 PvP dream for Great and Ultra League, but that’s not the most meaningful thing.

What does matter is this: Purified Pokémon cost 10% less dust and 10% less candy to power up, AND second moves cost 20% less dust and candy. For Pokémon like Rattata/Raticate which only have a second move cost of 10,000 dust and 25 candy, that’s not super meaningful, But for the 75,000 dust/75 candy Pokémon like Dragonite and Gardevoir, it can really start to matter! Also, Purified Pokémon are automatically set to a minimum level of 25, which can block certain species out of Great League!

The other big thing is Return, a new move exclusive to Purified Pokémon!



As a 35 damage, 3 bar Normal-type move isn’t...good. It’s more or less worthless, actually. Don’t stress here at all.


In PvP, Return is a 50 power, 40 energy Normal-type charged move. Honestly? This isn’t super exciting as statlines go. Ice Punch, Thunder Punch, and Fire Punch (which are considered “just passable”) are 55 power for the same 40 energy cost. While, in the future, some more interesting Pokémon may gain access to Return, for now there’s really no need to stress about it!

Other Tips and Tricks

  • Team Rocket invasions can happen any time of the day, not restricted by raid hours
  • Frustration CANNOT be TMed, bur Return CAN.
  • Only Purified Pokemon can be traded and can become lucky, however, they do count for special trades and a new form.
  • Shadow Pokemon CANNOT be traded.
  • Shadow/Purified Pokemon can be mass transferred
  • Pokemon are NOT automatically healed after a battle like in PvP
  • Unlimited battles per day, but only 1 per invasion
  • 500 Stardust rewarded per Invasion battle

Should I Purify My Shadow Pokemon?

Purified Pokemon don't grant too many benefits over Shadow Pokemon. They cost much less to power up(10% less Candy and Stardust, 20% less for 2nd charge move), and they gain +2 IVs in each category, but otherwise, there is no advantage to purifying one. Return is a bad move for any of the currently available Shadow Pokemon besides Snorlax, who is an awful choice for raids and gyms. There is a small niche for it in PvP Ultra or Master League.

Dratini is also a good choice due to the lowered cost to get it powered up, but requiring a Charged TM for Return is an issue for some players.

About the Author(s)

David Teraoka is the news editor for GamePress News. He has been a contributor, manager, and editor for GamePress since 2017. Vinyl collector and lover of all games. From HI.