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Prepare for trouble — and make it double. Team GO Rocket invasions are now available in mobile game Pokémon GO, bringing tons of new gameplay elements and features — including battles with Team GO Rocket Grunts and “Shadow Pokémon.” (Oooh!) Confused? No worries: Our handy guide should clear everything up for you.


What are Team GO Rocket invasions?


Team GO Rocket is explained as an off-shoot of Team Rocket from the mainline Pokémon games. These so-called “Team GO Rocket invasions” introduce brand-new game mechanics to Pokémon GO. Players can battle Team GO Rocket Grunts at “invaded” PokéStops and capture their Shadow Pokémon upon winning. These Shadow Pokémon start out weak, but after “purifying” them, they’ll receive a handful of boons like a higher level and additional IVs.

To get started with the process of battling Team GO Rocket and getting a Shadow Pokémon, you’ll first need to find a Team GO Rocket PokéStop.


What are Team GO Rocket PokéStops? How do I find them?


  • Team GO Rocket PokéStops are “invaded” PokéStops that show up as a darker shade of blue and have a spinning cube abovehead on the overworld map.
  • Team GO Rocket PokéStops are visible to all players Level 8 and above. 
  • They also have a hidden 30-minute timer on them, meaning that once that half-hour is up, the PokéStop will no longer be a Team GO Rocket PokéStop and will return to normal.
  • When getting in range of a Team GO Rocket PokéStop, it will turn black and a red Team GO Rocket “R” will appear above it.


(Source: Shacknews)


  • After interacting with the invaded PokéStop, a Team GO Rocket Grunt will appear on-screen and your team leader will warn you, “Trainer, some shadowy figures have been seen at PokéStops. Approach with caution and be ready for battle.”
  • After fighting the Team GO Rocket Grunt (see below for information about battles), the PokéStop will return to normal for you, although it will still be “invaded” for other players.

Only one battle can occur per Team GO Rocket PokéStop, but there’s no daily limit on the number of Team GO Rocket battles you can do.


How do Team GO Rocket battles work in Pokémon GO?




If you’re used to doing regular PvP (player-versus-player) battles in Pokémon GO, Team GO Rocket battles shouldn’t be totally unfamiliar to you. But just in case you aren’t used to them, here’s how Team GO Rocket battles work.

  • Team GO Rocket Grunts use a mono-Typed team comprised of Shadow Pokémon.
  • Battles are in a 3-versus-3 format (as opposed to the six Pokémon you can carry in Raid and Gym Battles).
    • For Great League players, Team GO Rocket Grunts carry two Pokémon of around 2,200 to 2,500 CP and a third of around 3,000 CP.
    • For Ultra League players, Team GO Rocket Grunts carry two Pokémon of around 3,300 to 3,500 CP and a third of around 4,500 CP.
  • Team GO Rocket Grunts carry Pokémon with boosted stats and CP values otherwise unobtainable in-game.
  • You’ll be able to swap between any of the three Pokémon in your party during the battle.
  • Team GO Rocket Grunts will give hints regarding what Pokémon they’re going to use. This makes it easy to plan your team ahead of the battle. Refer to the list of Shadow Pokémon available in the game below to get an idea of what Pokémon the Grunt will use.
    • If the Grunt says “Do you know how hot Pokémon fire breath can get?” before the battle, they’ll use a Fire-type.
    • If the Grunt says “Don’t tangle with us!” before the battle, they’ll use a Grass-type.
    • If the Grunt says “Normal does not mean weak!” before the battle, they’ll use a Normal-type.
    • If the Grunt says “Coiled and ready to strike!” before the battle, they’ll use a Poison-type.
    • If the Grunt says “The waters are treacherous!” before the battle, they’ll use a Water-type.
  • These battles aren’t turn-based like in the mainline series of Pokémon games — instead, they’re real-time, and to win, you’ll perform gestures on your touchscreen.
    • Tapping on your screen will inflict damage with “Fast Moves.”
    • Swiping across your screen to catch “orbs” as they appear will inflict “Charge Moves.”
    • There are also “Protect Shields,” which allow you to defend yourself against attacks. You’re limited to just two Protect Shields per battle.

Unlike regular PvP battles, your Pokémon won’t be healed automatically after the fight. As your prize for defeating the Team GO Rocket Grunt (good job!), you’ll get:

  • 500 Stardust.
  • Experience Points.
  • The chance to catch the Grunt’s Shadow Pokémon with a Premier Ball.

If you lost the battle, don’t worry about it! You can rematch the Team GO Rocket Grunt and try again. Next time, you’ll get it!


How do I catch a Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon GO?




After you’ve defeated that pesky Team GO Rocket Grunt, you’ll have the opportunity to catch a Shadow Pokémon. You’ll be given Premier Balls that are only usable during the Shadow Pokémon encounter. The number of Premier Balls you receive is based on:

  • How many of your Pokémon survived the Team GO Rocket battle.
  • Your “Purify” medal rank.
  • Your “Hero” medal rank.

“Purify” and “Hero” medals are newly-added to the game — keep scrolling for more information.

At the bare minimum, you’ll receive five Premier Balls if you won your Team Rocket battle without having any of your Pokémon faint.

Currently, only a few Pokémon are confirmed to have Shadow versions in Pokémon GO:

  • Bulbasaur (Grass/Poison-type)
  • Ivysaur (Grass/Poison-type)
  • Venusaur (Grass/Poison-type)
  • Charmander (Fire-type)
  • Charmeleon (Fire-type)
  • Charizard (Fire-type)
  • Squirtle (Fire/Flying-type)
  • Wartortle (Water-type)
  • Blastoise (Water-type)
  • Rattata (Normal-type)
  • Raticate (Normal-type)
  • Zubat (Poison/Flying-type)
  • Golbat (Poison/Flying-type)
  • Crobat (Poison/Flying-type)
  • Snorlax (Normal-type)

These Shadow Pokémon will appear at levels one through five (and six through ten if weather-boosted).

All Shadow Pokémon have a fixed Charge Move called “Frustration,” which will turn into “Return” once they’re purified.


How do I purify a Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon GO?




Shadow Pokémon can be purified for 2000 Stardust and 2 Candy. “Why should I purify a Shadow Pokémon, though?” you might ask. Well, because unpurified Shadow Pokémon are pretty awful on their own. By purifying them, you’ll:

  • Increase their IV values by +2.
  • Increase their level to Level 25.
  • Reduce the amount of Stardust and Candy needed to Power Up, Evolve, and learn a new attack to 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
  • Replace their “Frustration” move with “Return.”
  • Give them a special marker on the Pokémon storage screen.

Intriguing, right? To purify your Shadow Pokémon, all you need to do is hit the “Purify” button just above the “Power Up” button on the Shadow Pokémon’s status screen.

Both Shadow and Purified Pokémon can be traded, placed in Gyms, and mass transferred. They cannot be transferred to Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!


“Hero” and “Purifier” medals


Two new types of medals have been added to Pokémon GO, as well: “Hero” and “Purifier.”


Pokémon GO’s “Hero” medals



To obtain the “Hero” medal, you’ll need to defeat a certain number of Team GO Rocket Grunts. Like all other medals, there are bronze, silver, and gold variations.


  • To get a bronze “Hero” medal, defeat 10 Team GO Rocket Grunts.
  • To get a silver “Hero” medal, defeat 100 Team GO Rocket Grunts.
  • To get a gold “Hero” medal, defeat 1,000 Team GO Rocket Grunts.


Pokémon GO’s “Purifier” medals



To get the “Purifier” medal, you’ll need to purify a certain number of Shadow Pokémon. Like all other medals, there are bronze, silver, and gold variations.


  • To get a bronze “Purifier” medal, purify five Shadow Pokémon.
  • To get a silver “Purifier” medal, purify 50 Shadow Pokémon.
  • To get a gold “Purifier” medal, purify 500 Shadow Pokémon.



Well, that’s it for our guide to Pokémon GO’s Team GO Rocket invasions and Shadow Pokémon! Need any more help? Leave a comment below! Happy catching!


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Written by Daniel Dell-Cornejo

Daniel is an editor at Nintendo Wire. Always with his head in the clouds, he is never apart from his creative thoughts – a blessing for an aspiring fiction writer. As a journalist and lifelong gamer, he aims to provide readers with the very best in Nintendo coverage.