Pokemon Go: What are Shadow Pokemon?

Image of Shadow Lugia

An infamous Pokémon organization invaded Pokémon Go in the newest patch. While Twitter hasn’t adequately addressed it yet, Team Rocket is crawling through Poké Stops, and just being general pests. With them, comes another exciting addition: Shadow Pokémon.

Long-time fans probably recognize this phrase. Shadow Pokémon were the core premise in Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. There may be some differences between the original Shadow Pokémon and the ones appearing in Pokémon Go, but for now, they seem to be roughly the same.

As Bulbapedia notes, collecting and purifying Shadow Pokémon was the main goal in Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD. We know from data miners that these Pokémon can be purified like in the older iterations, there’s even a badge for it. As with the older versions, these Pokémon have been changed through some unknown process. In the console games, it was by Team Cipher in the Orre region. That’s not the case here since we’re dealing with Team Rocket instead.

If you're looking for a tl;dr: They're visually different, have different, stronger stats, and different stardust and candy requirements. Now for more detail!

Shadow Pokémon differ in a variety of ways from normal Pokémon. Visually, you will not miss a Shadow Pokémon, with its fiery purple aura around it and the glaring red eyes. Below are some images, collected via data mining. 

Another thing we do know, again thanks to Bulbapedia, is in Colosseum, Shadow Pokémon had their own shiny variations, and they kept their shiny colors upon purification. However, in XD it was changed, preventing shiny Shadow Pokémon at all. Based on that, I would say it’s unlikely that we will see shiny Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon Go.

Other differences, the ones you’re probably here about are stat-based. Shadow Pokémon have their own stats, stardust requirements, and candy amounts. Some screenshots from Twitter suggest that they have triple the candy and stardust of normal Pokémon. If you’re like me and always low on stardust, you probably cringed just now. I doubt it will be free after purification, but let me have this dream.

As Aries states, this is another set collected from datamining ("Chrales" mentioned is a known Pokémon Go dataminer).

Stat wise, according to ComicBook.com, they are expected to have a “big stat boost” as well as learn some additional moves. Once purified, they will have other abilities.

You’re probably wondering why everyone and their Bulbasaur is using that Lugia picture, right? Shadow Lugia was the holy grail in the first installments. Naturally, we’re all hoping it makes a return in Pokémon Go.

Something that hasn't gotten a lot of publicity is purification. I mean Shadow Pokémon are so cool, but purifying them is part of their mechanic. We don't know a lot about the purification process yet, likely why no one talks about it. Colosseum and XD used several methods, including items, locations and just carrying the Shadow Pokémon in your party. Take not of that last one. Pokémon Go's buddy feature will probably play a key role in the purification process. 

On a final note, Pokémon Go Hub has a nice chart detailing the differences between Shadow and normal Pokémon. For the most part, it explains the differences seen in Colosseum and XD, but there is no doubt some of it will carry over to Pokémon Go.

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