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Is it worth purifying Pokémon in Pokémon Go?

Some battles in Pokémon Go reward Shadow Pokémon. But should you purify Shadow Pokémon or leave them be?
shadow swampert in pokemon go
Credit: MobileBytesGG

Pokémon Go has continued to improve since it release in 2016. PvP battles that reward Shadow Pokémon have been a huge hit. But should you purify Shadow Pokémon or leave them be?

As it is with many things, the answer isn’t exactly straightforward. Every Pokémon (and Pokémon trainer!) is different. But, generally speaking, Shadow Pokémon do more damage.

That’s a big factor in deciding on what to do with your Shadow Pokémon, but it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.

For that, continue reading below. We’ll break down everything you need to know using our multiple years of experience with the game. From what a shadow Pokémon is to what advantages Purified Pokémon offer, we’ve got you covered.

What is a shadow Pokémon in Pokémon Go?

shadow charmander in pokemon go
Credit: MobileBytesGG

Ok, the first step in understanding purification is understanding what a shadow Pokémon is.

Essentially, a shadow Pokémon is one that has been corrupted by Team Rocket Grunts, Bosses, and Giovanni. After a battle with these bad guys, you’ll get the chance to catch a shadow Pokémon.

You can tell they are corrupted by the mysterious, dark aura that floats around them and by their red eyes.

Additionally, when in your Pokedex, Shadow Pokémon feature a purple flame icon to indicate they are an alternate version.

Shadow Pokémon bonuses and penalties

Now that you know about the basics, it’s time to learn about the bonuses (and negative effects) Shadow Pokémon receive in Pokémon Go.

Shadow Pokémon bonuses

shadow swampert in pvp in pokemon go
Credit: MobileBytesGG

The biggest perk these Pokémon receive is a huge 20% attack bonus. This bonus is so substantial that often a low Attack stat is offset by the Shadow bonus.

In fact, a Shadow Pokémon with 0 Attack has a higher attack than a non-Shadow with 15 Attack.

For both raids and PvP, this is a huge advantage. But it’s not all positive, and in fact, the penalties towards Shadow Pokémon are intense.

Shadow Pokémon penalties

stardust and candy costs for a shadow pokemon
Credit: MobileBytesGG

The penalties that Shadow Pokémon receive make it seem on the surface that you should always purify them.

This is due to multiple reasons. For one, Shadow Pokémon are stuck with the charged move Frustration. This move is practically useless.

You can, however, remove this move during special events throughout the year.

On top of Frustration, Shadow Pokémon also take 20% more damage than their non-Shadow counterparts. In PvP and Raids, this means that your Pokémon will spend less time on the field.

Finally, these Pokémon require 1.2x more Stardust and Candy to level up. This might not be a huge deal for low-level PvP ‘Mons, but can be extremely costly for level 40 and level 50 Raid Pokémon.

How to remove Frustration

As mentioned, you can only remove the Frustration move during certain Pokémon Go events.

You can check your News tab in-game to see learn about upcoming and ongoing events.

Then, when an event is live that allows for the removal of Frustration, taking the move off is straightforward.

Simply find the Pokémon you want to remove the move from and use a Charged TM to replace Frustration with another move.

What is a Purified Pokémon in Pokémon Go?

sableye in its purified form showing white glow
Credit: MobileBytesGG

On the other end of the spectrum are Purified Pokémon. These are Pokémon that were once Shadow, but have been converted.

You can note a Purified version by its white aura. In your Pokedex, they can also be identified by a light-blue symbol that resembles a snowflake.

Purified Pokémon bonuses

If you decide to purify a Shadow Pokémon, the benefits are actually quite nice. But, it’s important to remember that, ultimately, you are losing the best Shadow feature, the 20% attack bonus.

Purified Pokémon are cheaper to power up in terms of Stardust and Candy. They also lose the Frustration move and have it replaced with Return.

sableye return move on purified version
Credit: MobileBytesGG

Return is not a very good charged move, but it can easily be replaced with a normal Charged TM. Remember, Frustration requires a special event to remove.

Then, to add to the purified bonuses, Pokémon will have each of their Individual Values (IVs) ((Attack, Defense, and HP)) raised by two. Finally, CP is bumped up after purifying.

Purified Pokémon penalties

Ultimately, the biggest penalty is the loss of your 20% attack bonus found on Shadow Pokémon.

Past that, the negatives are non-existent. But, again, we can’t say this enough, that attack bonus is huge for Raids and PvP.

Should you purify Shadow Pokémon?

shadow swampert on main screen in-app
Credit: MobileBytesGG

Listen, we don’t want to tell you how to play Pokémon Go. Ultimately, that is up to you. But the benefits listed above are important for players that worry about things like PvP and Raid damage.

Pokémon like Shadow MewTwo, Shadow Swampert, and Shadow Charizard crush it in PvP and Raids. The attack bonus makes them absolute PokéMONSTERS.

On the flip side, interestingly enough, Purified Sableye is preferred in some PvP teams. But, admittedly, there’s a lot of confusing math with that.

Generally speaking, however, if you care about doing a ton of damage and don’t care about being a glass cannon, Shadow is the way to go.

How to purify Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon Go

Finally, we wanted to quickly touch on how to Purify your Shadow Pokémon.

This is important for two reasons. One, you may prefer Purified forms. And two, you’ll need to Purify a bunch of Pokémon at level 45 to reach the next level.

Time needed: 1 minute.

To purify a Pokémon, do this:

  1. Find the right Pokémon

    Look for the Shadow Pokémon you want to purify

  2. Select the Pokémon

    Then, scroll until you see the Purify option > Tap Purifypurify button on charmander pokemon go

  3. It’s purification time

    Confirm any prompts and watch as your Pokémon changespurify pokemon screen with confirmation prompt

That’s it, you’ve successfully purified a Pokémon. One important note here is that locking the Pokémon doesn’t protect it from accidentally being purified.

If you are worried about this, pay extra special attention when looking at valuable Pokémon.

Shadow Pokémon seem inconvenient, but can be great

At the end of the day, Shadow Pokémon are resource-heavy options that do a ton of damage. It’s up to you to decide if that damage is worth your precious Stardust and Candy.

Personally, we keep Shadow versions of Pokémon we know we’ll use in Raids and PvP. We don’t always power them up right away, however, and often slowly level them up so it doesn’t hurt our resources drastically.


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