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Pokémon GO Shadow Raids: How To Play, Purified Gems And More

Trainers can finally challenge Team GO Rocket's Shadow Pokémon in a new Raid encounter, Shadow Raids, coming soon to Pokémon GO.
Pokémon GO Shadow Raids: How To Play, Purified Gems And More

Transmissions have gone live as the eerie presence of Team GO Rocket resurfaces, and they have some nefarious plans in store for Trainers. As this is the Season of Rising Heroes, Trainers have been battle-ready to accept any challenge, including from Team GO Rocket, but will they be ready for a brand new challenge?

Niantic will be debuting Shadow Raids, a new raid encounter for Trainers specifically to challenge Shadow Raid Bosses with the help of a new Raid item. This guide details everything about Shadow Raids, including how they work and when they will start in Pokémon GO.

15th August 2023 Update: We've updated this guide to reflect that Shadow Raids are returning to Pokémon GO during the Noxious Swamp event starting 19th August 2023 for the Season of Hidden Gems. The original article continues below.

What Are Pokémon GO's Shadow Raids?

pokemon go raids guide shadow raids team go rocket gyms takeover balloons
Team GO Rocket will take over various Gyms and place their Pokémon as Raid Bosses in the all-new Shadow Raids. (Picture: Niantic / The Pokémon Company)

Shadow Raids are a new type of Raid encounter. Trainers can test their Pokémon against Team GO Rocket's Shadow Pokémon. According to Niantic, the debut of Shadow Raids will form part of an upcoming event beginning on 22nd May 2023, which will conclude the end of the Season of Rising Heroes on 1st June 2023.

As expected, this upcoming event will see Team GO Rocket reemerging for another takeover as several of their members will be taking over Gyms, with their Shadow Pokémon of all Raid tiers placed to defend it. Going head-to-head with these Shadow Raid Bosses provides an opportunity to catch Shadow Pokémon if they successfully defeat them at Team GO Rocket-controlled Gyms.

While only a certain number of Gyms will be controlled by Team GO Rocket, the remaining Gyms can still host Raid events by their respective Gym leaders and Pokémon. The Gyms, however, hosting Shadow Raids will feature three and five-star Shadow Raid Bosses who will become "enraged" during the battle and have their attack and defense increased, but it can be mitigated using Purified Gems.

What Are Purified Gems In Pokémon GO?

Niantic detailed that Shadow Raid Bosses can be "subdued" using a new in-game item called Purified Gems. These gems can be combined using Shadow Shards, fragments that Team GO Rocket Grunts, as well as Leaders Arlo, Cliff, and Sierra, could drop.

pokemon go raids guide shadow raids team go rocket shadow pokemon shadow raid bosses purified gems shadow shards
Trainers can collect Shadow Shards to form Purified Gems, with the help of Professor Willow, which can be used to weaken Shadow Raid Bosses. (Picture: Twitter / Pokémon GO)

Professor Willow will gain a new device, the Shard Refiner, which can be used to form Purified Gems from these Shadow Shards. Nevertheless, Purified Gems have additional benefits besides overpowering Shadow Raid Bosses when used in Shadow Raid encounters.

Using a Purified Gem against a Shadow Raid Boss can lower their ATK and DEF stats but only temporarily, allowing Trainers the opportunity for their Pokémon to use their Fast or Charged Attacks. Purified Gems can be used more than once during a Shadow Raid encounter, but if used simultaneously, the Purified Gem's effects can stack.

If enough Purified Gems are used, this eventually sees the Shadow Pokémon "subdued" before leaving its "enraged" state, which can give you a chance to defeat it. Trainers will not be allowed to use Remote Raid Passes to participate in Shadow Raids, and while it will reward you with valuable items after defeating the Shadow Raid Boss; however, it won't award you with a team bonus for Premier Balls, according to the developer.