Why Shadow Pokémon Are So Powerful In Pokémon GO

They're at the very top of the counters of every Raid Guide… but what is it that makes Shadow Pokémon so powerful in Pokémon GO? This simple guide will break down what Shadow Boost is, how it impacts your Pokémon, and whether or not Purification is worth it. Let's go.

Shadow Snorlax in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Shadow Snorlax in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

What is Shadow Boost in Pokémon GO?

Shadow Boost is a feature added to Shadow Pokémon that boosts their attack and cuts their defense. All Shadow Pokémon have this. This is a bit of a give-or-take feature with certain species and isn't always viable for PVP. For example, a non-Shadow Metagross outranks Shadow Metagross in the meta for Master League in the GO Battle League. However, Shadow Metagross outranks non-Shadow Metagross by far as a raid counter in every situation. Here's why.

How Does Shadow Boost Impact Pokémon

Okay, so… IVs matter. IVs just don't matter as much as you've been made to think.

A Pokémon always comes with certain base stats. This is why, for example, a 100% Sentret has no chance against a 0% Dialga. At its base, without any help from IVs, Dialga is naturally stronger… because of its base stats. IVs add points to the base stats. Shadow Boost increases the base stats by 20%, which is a lot more than IVs add. This is why a 0% Shadow Mewtwo will outclass a 100% non-Shadow Mewtwo. Mewtwo's base Attack stats are high, and rather than adding to it with high IVs, Shadow Boost multiplies it.

Now, here is why the cut to defense doesn't matter much for raids in Pokémon GO. Raid bosses deal damage quickly. Generally, in PVP, you want a Pokémon that can tank a few hits and stay in battle. Raids are quicker. You don't need a tank. You need a Pokémon to throw out as much damage as possible while you're in the raid, and that is why Shadow Pokémon are ranked so high. Their DPS (Damage Per Second) times their TDO (Total Damage Output), the equation that most counters calculators use, is off the charts.

Is Purification Worth the Stardust Cost?

No. Unless its for a task, there is virtually no reason to Purify a Pokémon if you intend to use it in battle. Purification just makes the Pokémon the regular, standard version of that species with a little fog added. It increases all of the IVs by two points each, and that is attractive to some as it can make an almost perfect Shadow Aerodactyl, for example, into a 100% Aerodactyl… which will no longer be nearly as powerful of a raid counter without that Shadow Boost.

Good luck raiding with your Shadow Pokémon, fellow trainers, and we will keep you up-to-date on the next event that will allow us to remove the Charged Attack of Frustration from these.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.