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Pokemon Go Team Rocket: Stops, battles, purified, shadow, and more explained

Pokemon Go Team Rocket Grunt
(Image credit: Niantic)

Pokemon Go Team Rocket invaded the hit mobile AR game last year (known in-game as Team Go Rocket) and took over millions of Pokestops all over the world. You can battle them in Pokemon Go and try to rescue the Pokemon they've captured, earn some rewards, and win the Pokestop back. Pokemon Go Team Rocket also has an accompanying quest called Pokemon Go Looming in the Shadows, so if you're looking for everything you need to know on Pokemon Go Team Rocket, you've come to the right place.

Pokemon Go Team Rocket Pokestops

(Image credit: Niantic)

The first thing you need to know is how to find Team Rocket in Pokemon Go. Essentially, they're invading Pokestops all around the world, but they're not particularly easy to find. On the map, look for any Pokestop that appears to be shaking or trembling, with a slightly darker shade of blue. You can spot them from afar, and when you get close enough to spin the stop, a Team Rocket Grunt will appear and confront you. Battle and defeat the Grunt, and you'll be given some Premier Balls - similar to how a raid works - in order to catch a Shadow Pokemon they've left behind.

Pokemon Go Shadow & Purified Pokemon

Pokemon Go Team Rocket: Shadow Pokemon in a gym

(Image credit: Niantic)

Shadow Pokemon are essentially corrupted versions of normal Pokemon that have the charge move Frustration, and significantly lower CP than usual. Above the option to evolve it and teach it a new move, Purify will be available. The cost for this is different depending on the Pokemon, but it usually only costs a few thousand stardust and a couple of candy. Purifying shadow Pokemon means that the resulting CP will be considerably higher, but of course they lose the badass purple smoke and red eyes. Find out more in our guide on how to purify shadow Pokemon in Pokemon Go and visit our Pokemon Go shadow Pokemon guide to see the complete list of shadow Pokemon in the game.

Other Pokemon Go Team Rocket information

Thanks to this Reddit post from user Hat_Function, there's a lot of other tidbits of information that will come in handy when trying to stop the scourge of Team Rocket.

  • Invaded Pokestops have a time limit of exactly 30 minutes
  • The shadow Pokemon at each invaded stop is the same for everyone
  • You need to be at least level eight to find invaded Pokestops
  • The Pokestop returns to normal after you complete the battle
  • Shadow Pokemon may be found as shiny - needs confirming because there has only been one report so far
  • Purifying a shadow Pokemon adds two points to each IV stat, so a 13/13/13 shadow Pokemon will be 100% when purified
  • Purification also increases the level of the Pokemon to 25
  • Shadow Pokemon can be traded and placed in gyms
  • You can't replace Frustration or Return with a TM
  • Purified Pokemon cost slightly less to evolve

The Pokemon Go Team Rocket invasion was only recently added to the game, so we'll continue to update this guide as we find out more. Until then, good luck stopping Team Rocket!

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One of the resident guide writers around these parts, give me a game and I will write every "how to" I possibly can or die trying. The youngest member of the GamesRadar team, I have an unhealthy addiction to Football Manager, shouting at the TV as Manchester United slowly descend from greatness, and playing Pokemon Go on the bus to and from the office.