What are Shadow Raids in Pokémon Go and how do they work?

Prepare your most powerful Pokémon for a new challenge.

Image via Niantic

Team Go Rocket is increasing its nefarious presence in Pokémon Go, and this time they’re taking it a step further than simply corrupting PokéStops—they’re heading to the Gyms.

Niantic announced on May 18 that Shadow Raids will soon be coming to the mobile game, giving players access to a new challenge with new rewards and new Shadow Pokémon to save. Like with Elite Raids, Shadow Raids will not be available all the time, rather they will be exclusive to certain event durations.

There will also be new mechanics introduced to this Raid type, such as the addition of new items that impact players in battle as well as ways for the Raid bosses to become even more powerful as the battle progresses. As of now, these mechanics are exclusive to Shadow Raids and will not appear in other Raid types.

Notably, not every Gym will be corrupted by Team Go Rocket, meaning that the regular Raid rotation will continue for players to indulge in should they not want to take part in Shadow Raids. 

Here’s everything we know about Shadow Raids in Pokémon Go, which are expected to be a challenge for all players—regardless of their experience.

Shadow Raids in Pokémon Go explained

Shadow Raids are a new exclusive Raid type coming to Pokémon Go to celebrate the end of the Season of Rising Heroes, in which players have learned more about the relationships between the team leaders and the Team Go Rocket leaders over the past several months. They will only appear for a limited duration and will allow players to fight together in an attempt to take down and capture powerful Shadow Pokémon from the clutches of Team Go Rocket.

These Raids will come in three-star and five-star iterations, and can only be joined if players are at the Gyms in person—Remote Raid Passes will not allow players to join these Raids. Attacking these Shadow Raid bosses will cause them to become more powerful over time, though with the use of Purified Gems, which can be forged with Shadow Shards collected through Team Go Rocket grunts, players can reduce the power of the Raid bosses for a short duration.

The effect of the Purified Gems can be stacked with each participant’s usage, and if a certain amount of them are used simultaneously, the Shadow Pokémon will have its power boost completely nullified.

Shadow Raids will only be accessible for a limited time and do not require any special Raid passes to take part in, with the exception of Remote Raid Passes. It is currently unclear when these Raids will return after their first iteration concludes.

About the author
Ethan Garcia

Ethan Garcia is a freelance writer for Dot Esports, having been part of the company for three years. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Magazine Journalism from Syracuse University and specializes particularly in coverage of League of Legends, various Nintendo IPs, and beyond.