What Shadows May Come: A Wishlist of Shadow Pokemon for PvE

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Article by NordicThunder

Everyone loves a rocket event. New Shadows. New leader teams. New shiny Shadows all your friends can get in like half the attempts…sorry what were we talking about again?

The most interesting part of Rocket events are the new possibilities, in both PvP and PvE created by new never before possible Shadows.  The recent drop of new Shadows was…underwhelming. As I sat reading the GamePress group chat, being sad about what could have been, who but Giovanni (THE Giovanni) knocked on my door. 

Knock knock

He said he was sick of us noobs on our phones complaining about every new Shadow release on social media: “Don’t you know that Twitter is for starting Silph factions beef and bragging about your mapped hundos?”

He had a point. 

“Anyways” he continued “if you online geniuses think you’re SO SMART, I’ll tell you what; I’ll let you design one round of new Shadows. One team of six. I snap my fingers, it happens. What do you say?”

There were some rules:

1: These would be Pokemon for PvE only, not PvP

Giovanni said that if we wanted new Shadows for raids and for “losing to his grunts” he was all for it, but I couldn’t have anything for PvP. He said that he was simply too afraid of messing with Michael to do anything that could affect the GBL experience. 

Pretty simple. This means we focus on raids, rockets and, to a lesser degree, gyms. Removes some fun possibilities (rip Shadow Azu), but leaves a lot to work with.

2: Only one Legendary

Giovanni said that he can't just give us six new Shadow legendaries. Apparently there are acquisition costs, lots of forms to fill out, and an issue with release pacing. Six legendaries could take a year or more to roll out. So he said I can have one legendary at most. 

Again pretty simple. One legendary. Make it count. 

3: Have to be existing Pokémon

He told me that even though is the almighty Giovanni, he can’t give us Shadow versions of Pokémon that aren't in the game yet. He wouldn’t even know what moves they should have. He also points out that this rule gives me a better excuse to write an updated version of this article in a year or so. Smart man. 

Giovanni may not be very humble, but he does make a good point. Even datamined movesets are subject to change. Shadow Nihilego might have seemed like a decent idea until we saw it arrive with Pound and Acid. Let’s stick with mons and moves currently in the game. 

4. One team of 6

So first take, I rattled off two sets of Pokémon, one for raids and one for Rockets. Giovanni scolded me!

Giovanni said that I had a lot of nerve asking for 12 new Shadows. He said that he was very busy taking over the world and that I am lucky he would even give me six new Shadows. “Don’t get greedy.”

Ok, so one team of 6 Pokémon that has to cover raids AND Rockets. This might actually make things tough.

While raids can be beaten by focused around Fast OR Charge Moves, fast and safe Rocket clears heavily favor Fast Move move damage. The optimal way to clear a grunt is often to farm down the first two Pokémon and then (sometimes involving a switch somewhere to pause the grunt) one shot shot the third Pokémon with a Charge Move. Given that this team of six has to cover both Rockets and raid, we will tend to favor Fast Move damage with good charge moves over energy generation. Think Victrebell over Venusaur. 

There were a couple more rules/limitations I had for myself to make this process less stressful. 

5 Dont worry too much about Megas 

In most cases a Mega will be the best raid counter for a given raid boss, but I won’t let that cloud my choices. You can only have one Mega at a time, so you still want/need other good mons for raid teams. Also, no one wants to be constantly changing their active Mega for Rockets, so it’s best to have good counters that don’t need to be Megaed to be good. 

6 Don’t worry about future proofing

Future proofing is almost impossible in this game. You can plan as carefully as you want, but there will usually be something better down the road. There’s no reason to not pick a Shadow because something better COULD be released with the right moves years down the line. 

7 DPS with a touch of TDO

One of the main trade offs in PvE is DPS (Damage per Second, often favoring glass cannons) vs TDO (Total Damage Output, often favoring tankier mons)

I tend to go for as fast of clears as I can consistently manage. This leads me to favor DPS over TDO (within reason!). Also the point of Shadows is more damage, so for this list I mostly took DPS into account. That being said, the GamePress Comprehensive DPS/TDO Sheet has a cool metric, DPS^3*TDO, which weighs DPS very heavily while still factoring in TDO a little. I take this into consideration for some choices but it usually doesn’t change much. 

With these rules in mind, let’s check out what 6 new Shadows I asked Giovanni for. 

Enter the Shadows


I’m gonna level with you: this entry is my entire reason and motivation for writing this article. I am manifesting this Shadow until it becomes reality. 

This Shadow mon would be a premier choice for so many PvE situations. Raids where Rock is double super effective like Moltres and Arti? YEP

Fire types in general? YEP

This would be such a good raid attacker that, at least in terms of DPS, when attacking an Alolan Marowak Shadow Rampardos would keep up with the SSSSS tier attacker that is Mega freaking Gengar.

Rampardos is already really good for rocket grunts, but the Shadow would be even better.  Flying grunt clears would be easier and faster. Equipped with Flamethrower (in addition to Rock Slide of course) Bug grunt clears would become trivial. It would also be great against Fire grunts when the Camerupt line isn’t in the pool. Right now, the one thing that hold Ramparados back even a little bit is that sometimes the second/bigger mon doesn’t die fast enough to Fast Move and sometimes Rock Slide just doesn’t hit the third Pokémon quiteeeee hard enough. The Shadow damage bonus fixes both of these problems. 

Please Giovanni. I’m begging you. Make this reality. How many Pokémon do I need to purify to make this happen?


When people think about PvE they don’t really think about Grass types. Not a lot of bosses call specifically for Grass type attackers and when the attacker pool overlaps with other types (cough Electric cough) those other types tend to have far superior choices. 

Shadow Rose would look to change that narrative. 

Checking its raid viability: best against doubly weak mons like Rhydon? Check 

What about against bosses only once weak to Grass like Ground or Water type bosses?

Like Groudon

Not bad at all

And Kyogre

Ok. Electric types might be overtuned 

As for Rockets, Shadow Rose would become the best Shadow for most Water grunts. Razor Leaf is what you want for grunts and the extra CP and access to Leaf Storm would make Rose a better Razor Leafer than Victrebell. Ground grunts would be a little iffier as something like Kyogre would probably be safer for farming Mud Slappers, but depending on the rotation (like right now when Ground+Rock types are prevalent), Shadow Roserade could still be the best choice.  

So you're probably reading this entry and thinking that it doesn’t sound THAT useful. What you may be missing in Roserades value lies in its secondary typing, Poison. 

Shadow Roserade with Posion Jab + Sludge Bomb immediately becomes the best attacker for double weak to Posion bosses like Tapu Bulu

and becomes a top tier attacker against Fairy types like Xerneas.

This would also be a huge boon against Fairy type grunts. The current best choice for those is Metagross and often enough a Snubbull/Granbull with a Dark type Fast Move will make things awkward. Shadow Roserade bypasses this problem and becomes the best thing for beating Fairy grunts. 

Grass types aren’t that useful against the most common gym defenders (Azumaril? Hello?) but Roserade would certainly delete any Water, Rock or Ground types that dare to defend your local gyms.

Add in the fact a prior community day means a lot of people would be able to build Shadow Roserade to level 50, and I think this would be an incredibly useful Shadow for everyone. My apologies to HangPJs and his team of maxed out Shadow Vic. 


This is the entry on this list most dedicated to versatility, accessibility and value. 

Make no mistake, Shadow Rhyperior with Mud Slap and Earthquake would immediately become the best Ground type attacker for raids until Mega Garchomp comes out. But how useful is that? Well, Shadow Rhyperior would be the best non Mega against Electric type bosses like Mega Manetric and the doubly weak to Ground Heatran. 

The bummer for this Rhyperior is that it often loses out when it overlaps with attackers of other types. Steel types like Registeel? The fighters and Fire types are better. Rock types? Fighters and Shadow Metagross are better. Shadow Mud Slap Rhyperior quickly becomes relegated to only being used against Electrics and Heatran. That being said, there is a lot of value in being a very good, if not the best, attacker against so many different types. 

But there’s more to this Rhy-story. 

Rhyperior has access to Smackdown and the Community Day move Rock Wrecker. While it would be worse than a theoretical Shadow Rampardos, it would be better than basically any non Mega as a Rock type attacker.  

Shadow Mewtwo probably remains the best general option against Poison grunts, but Shadow Rhyperior would be a close and more sturdy second choice. Rhyperior is already a great choice against Electric and Stunky based Dark grunts, so Shadow Rhyperior would be a neat and simple upgrade for those situations. 

What really gets me excited about the idea of Shadow Rhyperior is the versatility and consolidation of resources. Someone who is still working on their collection or maybe missed out on past grunts would be able to make a team of 6 Shadow Rhyperior and be set for so many different situations. Equipped with Earthquake and Rock Wrecker, a simple fastTM converts your Articuno wrecking ball into a Heatran demolisher. The ability to do this without spending any extra dust or candy would be a great thing for the player base. Let’s make it happen Gio!


I know what you’re thinking. We already have Shadow Machamp, a mind bogglingly strong PvE mon that takes down Blisseys with the greatest of ease and punches Registeel into oblivion. How dare you try to replace this pillar of PvE power? 

You don’t have to sell me on the virtues of Shadow Champ. It was my first level 50 Pokémon. But to me, Shadow Lucario would represent a significant upgrade. Aura Sphere is better than Dynamic Punch and experienced Rocket grinders already know how powerful Power Up Punch can be as a low energy move that ramps and pauses Rockets, allowing you to unleash a barrage of boosted counters on a frozen target. 

Shadow Lucario would so good in raids that in addition to completely beating out Machamp, it can beat Mega Charizard and kind of keep up with the eventual Mega Lucario in terms of DPS

Basically, if anything doesn’t like being punched (Dialga, Regirock, Regigigas etc), Shadow Lucario would immediately slot in as a top class attacker. 

I can’t stress enough how awesome and versatile Shadow Lucario with Counter PuP and Aura Sphere would be as a Rocket beater. Dark grunts, Steel Grunts, Normal Grunts, and Ice Grunts would all cower in the presence of. Power Up Punch is incredibly useful for pausing and drawing shields against Rocket team leaders. Shadow Lucario would be the most impactful Rocket beater on this list. 

Shadow Lucario would also be the most impactful gym attacker on this list and in the game. Blissey? No problem. Slaking? More like gets dunked-king. Imagine any situation where you already use a Machamp (which let’s be honest is a lot) and Lucario is probably better. 

Sadly, this is probably the least accessible mon on this list in terms of XL candy. Unless you have a “fast paced work environment” and hatch a ton of eggs, you probably don’t have a lot of Riolu XL candy. Hopefully this will become less of a gap over time, but the returns of level 40 Shadow Lucario would still be great. 

Lucario is already a show fan favorite, and releasing it as a Shadow (with so many uses that they’re hard to keep track of) would quickly make it a PGO player base favorite too. The only people who might not like it would be the people constantly having their Blisseys kicked out of gyms. 


The somehow hidden boss of this list. Full disclosure, I did this entry without Brutal Swing at first (a brutal mistake I know) and you know what? It was still really good. Without its really good Community Day move that is a vast upgrade over its old moveset it was still really good. That should give you some idea as to what I’m about to say. 

It would be amazing against Ghost and Physic types, which are both very important types to be ready for. Plenty of important bosses and future Mega raids fall into this category: Mewtwo, Mega Mewtwo, Mega Ghosts etc. 

Things weak to Dark are usually also weak to Ghost, this means that Dark types are often competing with the many amazing Ghosts, like Mega Gengar, for a spot in the team. 

This is where adding in Brutal Swing mattered.

Here it is against non Megas for Mewtwo raids:

A sizeable amount ahead in DPs, and look at that DPS^3*TDO difference!

It also resists 4 of boss Mewtwo’s charge moves, so it’s a pretty safe choice. 

We see a similar story when looking at non Mega choices gainst a random Ghost raid, say maybe the future boss Mega Banette.

To put into some context how insanely good Shadow Hydriegon would be in these situations, let’s put Megas back in the pool, rerun the sim and see how it fares. 

Let that sink in. Shadow Hydreigon would be better than almost every Mega that will ever come to the game. Insane value. Insane longevity. 

Sadly, Hydriegon wouldn’t be that great of a Dragon type attacker. There are just too many other better, Shadow, dragons to use and Brutal Swing doesn’t help there. But it’s not like it would be terrible in that role.

In addition to being an incredible raid attacker against Psychic and Ghost type raid bosses, Shadow Hydriegon would become a great choice against Ghost and Psychic type grunts.

Shadow Hydreigon would be nice for taking out Wobuffet in gyms. Gengar is better for this, but maybe you don’t have one handy or don’t want to mess around with switching something else in to take out the other defenders like Chansey and Slaking. Limited use but good at what it does. 

While not as versatile as other Pokémon on this list like Lucario or Rhyperior, what would make Shadow Hydreigon special is how insanely good it is at what it doesn’t. It would virtually invalidate most other Shadow Ghosts/Darks and many future Megas. A Shadow that only does a couple things, but does them so well that it’s basically futureproof (a dangerous and rare word in PGO!) would be a great addition for players of both hardcore and more general play styles.

Honorable Mentions

Before I reveal the final selection, let’s quickly go over a few Shadows that didn’t quite make the final cut:


Gengar seems like it should be an obvious inclusion. Take a strong attacker, make it do more damage. EZ. But for Gengar, the Shadow damage bonus is a little too much of a good thing. It's pretty common knowledge that while Gengar hits raid bosses hard, it faints super quickly. Shadow Gengar would crank this problem to 11. Yes it’s DPS would be insane, but it would gain so quickly that it would miss out on charge moves and actually have a lower TDO than regular Gengar. Dark and Ghost types often overlap as attackers, so I avoided this squishy problem and just went with the three headed Dragon. 


Shadow Kyogre would be insane. Of course it would. It would be the best Water attacker in the game until Mega Swampert and Primal Kyogre are released. This is where the one Legendary rule made things interesting. I went with Reshiram over Kyogre for two reasons: 1) I don’t think Kyogre is as great an improvement over other waters as Reshiram is over other fires and 2) reason 1 is especially true for rockets where you often rely on a single counter. You don’t get unlimited Shadow Legendaries so they act more like mythicals/Megas. I think a single Shadow Resh would do more for PvE than a single Shadow Kyogre would. 


    Another casualty of the one Legendary rule. While Shadow Zekrom would be the best Electric type raid attacker for sure, its Electric fast move of choice, Charge Beam, is pretty bad against Rockets. This list covers both raids and Rockets, so even though it would be REALLY good at the thing it does well, failing half the assignment costs Zekrom a spot on the list. 

    Either Darmanitan

      Would suffer from the same “too much of a good thing”’ syndrome that Shadow Gengar would. Incredible DPS, but just way too squishy. In practice you would probably faint before getting enough Overheats off to really benefit from the added power. 


      Shadow Togekiss would definitely be an upgrade, but not enough to really matter. Still lower DPS than Shadow Garde. Still worse than attackers of other types against Dragons, Darks, and Fighters. You would want this against specifically Hydreigon and some Dark grunts. Too little of an impact. 


      My legendary of choice. Fire doesn’t have a lot of good Fast Move pressure choices. You really want Fire Fang for that and the only non Mega Fire type with Fire Fang that comes close to matching Reshiram's attack power is Darmanitan. The problem is that Darmanitan gets knocked out by a stiff breeze. There’s a need in both raids and Rockets for a stronger Fire Fanger and Shadow Reshiram is ready to answer the call. 

      It compares really well to non Megas against Steel type bosses like Registeel

      People love trying to solo Genesect, and Shadow Resh would be their new best friend! 

      Reshiram is already a pretty good Rocket beater, but is often benched in favor of a Smackdown user or Moltres. I think the Shadow damage bonus would push it over the top, being the new counter of choice against Grass and Bug grunts. Being able to reliably Fire Fang down Pokemon 1 and 2 and then one shot whatever is in the back with Overheat would lead to fast consistent Rocket clears. 


      So there it is. My team of 6 new Shadows: Rampardos, Roserade, Rhyperior, Lucario, Hydregion and Reshiram. 

      Giovanni approves. He thinks these new Shadows will “give us a chance” against his grunts and leaders going forward. Ok. Whatever you say.

      Giovanni is very busy and needs to get this over with. He asks me to confirm the team. I tell him I’m happy with my picks and think these would be really good for the player base. 

      Giovanni says we’re good to go and snaps his fingers. 

      Shadow DEINO

      I wake up. 

      It was all a dream. 

      Oh well. Time to go make Shadow Luxray work. 

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