"Pokemon GO" Team GO Rocket Invasions Guide

Updated on July 27, 2019
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Sigbog is an avid Level 40 "Pokémon GO" player and raider with lots of knowledge and experience to draw from.

Team GO Rocket Invasions Guide

Battling Team GO Rocket Grunts, capturing and purifying Shadow Pokemon, and more!
Battling Team GO Rocket Grunts, capturing and purifying Shadow Pokemon, and more!

What Are Team GO Rocket Invasions?

Team GO Rocket Invasions are Pokemon Go's way of introducing Team Rocket attacks to the game. Staring in the summer of 2019, Team Go Rocket squads may take over Pokestops. If you're close to an invaded Pokestop, it will be dark, have a Team Rocket "R" above it, and a Team Rocket Grunt standing nearby. If you are far away, the Pokestop will be darker and wiggle around a bit in a somewhat glitchy looking fashion. To clear an invaded Pokestop, you must battle and defeat Team Go Rocket to remove the invasion. A few things to note:

  • Invasions are random, throughout the day unrestricted by the raid time rules
  • Invasions last 30 minutes, but there is no timer indicating when it will expire
  • Pokemon used in Invasion battles are not automatically healed, and must be healed separately. Unfortunately it also appears that the recommendation formula for Invasion battles does not seem to consider health so it may recommend low health Pokemon.

Simply spin the Pokestop and you'll trigger a sequence with the Team GO Rocket grunt wherein you can battle them. The battle will be a Master League battle with no combat power limits. The grunt will bring shadow Pokemon into the match to fight with you. Thus far battles have been a little challenging at least. However, if you lose, you can re-match.

After defeating Team Go Rocket, you will have the chance to capture a Shadow Pokemon.

Team GO Rocket Invasions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
An invaded Pokestop with another one nearbyAn invaded Pokestop in the background
An invaded Pokestop with another one nearby
An invaded Pokestop with another one nearby
An invaded Pokestop in the background
An invaded Pokestop in the background

Capturing Shadow Pokemon

After defeating the Team GO Rocket grunt, you will have the opportunity to catch a Shadow Pokemon. Shadow Pokemon have a special purple flare and red eyes. Similar to a raid, you'll be granted a limited number of Pokeballs to attempt to catch the Shadow Pokemon. The number of balls you'll have is determined by:

  • 2 Balls by default just for winning
  • 1 Ball for each remaining Pokemon from your battle
  • 1 Bonus ball per "Hero" medal level
    Requires defeating 10, 100, and 1000 Team GO Rocket Grunts
  • 1 Bonus ball per "Purifier" medal
    Requires purifying 5, 50, and 500 Shadow Pokemon

You'll find that they have a significantly lower catch rate than a non-Shadow Pokemon of equivalent level (or at least they have dark orange or red circles), despite actually being quite low level themselves, so be cautious when attempting to catch them!

A few things to know about Shadow Pokemon:

  • They are all caught between level 1 and 10
  • They all know the normal type 3-bar charged move "Frustration"
    It's generally not a good move
  • They cannot be traded due to some of the effects of purifying Pokemon
  • You cannot use a Charge TM on a Shadow Pokemon
  • Shadow Pokemon are not tracked in the Pokedex

Shadow Ratatta

Currently Available Shadow Pokemon

As of July 2019, Niantic has made the following Pokemon available to capture as Shadow Pokemon from Team GO Rocket invasions:

  • Bulbasaur
  • Charmander
  • Dratini
  • Mudkip
  • Snorlax
  • Squirtle
  • Ratatta
  • Zubat

However, more are expected soon.

Purifying Shadow Pokemon

After capturing a Shadow Pokemon, you can then Purify it. Purifying a Pokemon costs a comparatively small bit of stardust and candy. Doing so will result in several changes to the Pokemon. This is what you need to know:

  • It will change from Shadow to Purified, with a new icon, and new visual effects, losing the shadowy purple flame and red eyes and instead gaining shiny white sparkle effects
  • The Pokemon will instantly go up to level 25 (or if you are below level 25, as high as your level)
  • The Pokemon will forget Frustration, and instead learn "Return", a stronger normal type 3-bar charged move
  • The Pokemon will gain +2 to each of it's individual values.
    NOTE: Your Pokemon cannot exceed the maximum 15 IV, so if your Pokemon has an IV of 13 or higher, it will just max out at 15.
  • Power up, evolution, and new attack unlock costs will be reduced by 10% for candy requirements and 20% for stardust requirements
  • You CAN use a Charge TM on a Purified Pokemon
  • Purified Pokemon are tracked in the Pokedex

Purified Ratatta

Why You Should Care

Purifying Shadow Pokemon is quite simply a cheaper way to build a strong Pokemon. Because they instantly shoot to level 25 after purification and then have a discount on everything else, it's incredibly cheap to build a raid-worthy Pokemon.

Beyond this, they'll gain +2 to each of their 3 IVs, making it much more accessible to get stronger Pokemon as well.

The downside is that you'll have to spend Charge TMs re-rolling the "Return" move to get something better for your Pokemon, but that's not a bad price to pay.

Tips & Strategies

  • You can filter your Pokebox by Shadow Pokemon by entering "shadow" in the search string, or "purified" in the search string for Purified Pokemon
  • Don't forget to heal your Pokemon! The team selection screen does not show Pokemon health so it's easy not to notice


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