PvP Evaluation of Halloween 2023 Shadow Pokémon

30 Min Read

Hiya once more, Pokéfriends! The most recent GO Rocket Takeover Occasion (the final for 2023?) has already begun for many all gamers, so we're already behind on having a look on the latest batch of Shadow Pokémon in PvP. So let's throw up our customary Backside Line Up Entrance after which simply dive proper in!


  • Shadow Lugia stays an intriguing Legendary choice, however the brand new Shadow Regigigas is a gigantic disappointment.
  • Haunter and Gengar, as with issues like Victreebel, are well-positioned to reap the benefits of the Shadow remedy, as they're already constructed round most injury earlier than falling. Shadow simply permits them to try this to a extra excessive diploma.
  • The dreaded Shadow Bastiodon is right here, however don't be TOO scared. It principally stays in the identical vary of effectiveness it already occupies, with the Shadow largely simply being a sidegrade.
  • Maybe probably the most thrilling factor to come back out of this batch is the one which was NOT introduced: Shadow Sneasler! The Shadow is an improve to various levels, and this additionally provides many their first alternative at operating Sneasler in Nice League!
  • The remaining are somewhat ho-hum. None are terribly worse than their non-Shadow variations, they only don't actually achieve sufficient floor to matter any greater than they do at present.

Alright, on to the detailed evaluation.

Shadow Regigigas: GIGGITY

Regigigas (Shadow)


I've led off previous Shadow occasion analyses with the brand new Shadow Regi, so we'll do the identical this time with REGIGIGAS. And it's going to be extraordinarily fast.

Shadow or not, Regigiggity has no use proper now in Nice or Extremely League, and I don't see it ever changing into related there it doesn't matter what Niantic does with its strikes. The OG Regi trio include massive costly cost strikes, however with Lock-On — actually the very best vitality producing quick transfer within the recreation — to energy them out and strain shields anyway. Regidrago falls away as a result of it has no respectable quick transfer, and now right here we see the identical with Gigas. It's caught with two unhealthy selections: Zen Headbutt and its pathetic 2.67 Injury Per Flip and a pair of.0 Power Per Flip (remember that 3.0 DPT/EPT is merely “common”), or Hidden Energy with its barely-better 3.0 DPT and a pair of.67 EPT. Yeah… it's a foul day when Hidden Energy is your finest quick transfer, however right here we're.

Not less than you'll be able to hope to roll for an excellent typing that method. Like, say, Ice-type, which is a improbable typing in Grasp League particularly. The truth is, it's concerning the ONLY quick transfer Regigigas has that makes it even halfway interesting in PvP. And sure, in the event you occur to get a hundo (or no less than near-hundo) Regigigas and it occurs to have Ice-type Hidden Energy, it's an improvement over non-Shadow, with new wins versus Dragonite and Yveltal (however a loss to Attraction Sylveon, for what that issues). However that's nonetheless lower than a 3rd of the core meta, and misses out on most of the largest names like Dialga, Groudon and Kyogre, Xerneas, Zacian, and lots of others.

Sadly I don't see a whole lot of future potential for huge enchancment, both. It can't study Lock-On in MSG, and actually the one different quick strikes it can study are Rock Smash, Mud Slap, and Deal with, none of which assist it. In different phrases, Regigiggity will at all times have a quick transfer downside, which suggests it'll at all times battle mightily to interrupt out in any significant method… particularly because the overwhelming majority of its present wins comes solely due to Ice injury from Hidden Energy. This can be a collector's piece solely… if even that.

Shadow Lugia: HACK A LUGIE 😮‍💨

Lugia (Shadow)


SHADOW LUGIA is decidedly not new (I analyzed it back in 2021!), and never even technically a part of this identical occasion. (It doesn't arrive in raids till Saturday.) However it IS completely price a recent take care of the gutting nerf to Sky Assault. Does Lugia nonetheless carry the sauce?

First, let me level again to my evaluation on this season's transfer rebalance, as I talked about Lugia there. Simply to plagiarize myself for a second and set the stage by repeating a bit from that article:

Extra of a Grasp League choice than something, previously within the Prime 5, and now exterior the Prime 20. Within the course of, [Lugia] drops Excadrill, Gyarados, Palkia, and Xerneas, and escapes with lower than half the HP it used to have in wins over Dragonite, Reshiram, Ho-Oh, Mewtwo, Ursaluna and others, nonetheless successful however by a MUCH smaller margin. I feel it'll nonetheless cling round, however for many who constructed it up in its heyday… you will have my sympathies. Your massive birb may be very unlucky collateral injury of an try to push Flyers down in Nice League for… causes?

Properly I'm comfortable to say that Lugia does get a little bit of its mojo again as a Shadow, even with the Sky Assault nerf. As in comparison with non-Shadow, you achieve Togekiss, Xerneas, Gyarados, Mewtwo, and even Metagross regardless of it resisting all of Lugia's injury. It's price noting, nevertheless, that Shadow and non-Shadow are a lot nearer in 0shield, and it's really non-Shadow that pulls fully ahead in 2v2 shielding.

And now into some thrilling non-Legendaries getting the Shadowfication (no, that's completely NOT a phrase I simply made up) remedy, beginning with maybe our most fun?

Shadow Haunter and Gengar: HAUNTED

Haunter (Shadow)


Gengar (Shadow)


I typically get questions like “are Shadow at all times higher?”, after which followups (after I say no) like “are Shadows with excessive Assault or excessive bulk often higher?” and the like. And sadly the most effective reply I may give even then is that “it relies upon”.

Typically, issues which can be already extremely reliant on excessive Assault and already lack in bulk do higher as Shadows — see Victreebel, and to an extent issues like Machamp and Dragonite — no less than in Nice League. Because the identify of their recreation is already piling on as a lot injury as potential earlier than their shaky frames succumbs to their wounds, slashing their bulk even additional is usually much less of a draw back than the upside they get with additional boosted Assault prowess. That is, after all, not at all times true, and the other with some bulkier ‘mons getting higher as Shadows can show to be the case as properly. But when there's one factor I've realized about evaluating issues as Shadows over time, it's that it's a persistently inconsistent research. Generally belongings you anticipate to exceed as Shadows simply don't, and issues that actually battle as non-Shadows immediately take off when Shadowfied. (These are very actual and by no means JRE-invented phrases, I swear.)

All that to say: I used to be not completely shocked when each HAUNTER and GENGAR confirmed enchancment once they underwent Shadowfication. They're the textbook definition of “glass cannons”, with Backside 5 bulk and complete stat product amongst issues which have any viability in any respect in PvP. (Severely, about the one belongings you may ever really see in PvP which can be worse off than Haunter particularly are Sharpedo and… uh… Rampardos? Yeah, even that could be a large attain.) You gained't see them typically in Open play, however each have made a reputation for themselves in varied Restricted metas and price a glance as Shadows.

Haunter has the enjoyable toy of Ice Punch that may be enjoyable in sure metas, however typically you're simply going to be going for the throat with the all-STAB, all-“Shadow” moveset: Claw/Punch/Ball. (Although Sludge Bomb could be a good different to Shadow Ball, relying on the meta… it ALSO will get STAB.) And whereas its win complete is decrease than you'd like, it does rip by way of some large meta names: Medicham, Shadow Swampert, Lanturn, Shadow Charizard, Venusaur, Steelix, Attraction Alolan Ninetales, DDeoxys, Froslass, and extra. With that record of wins, one might even justify bringing it to a Play!Pokémon event, in the event that they dared!

So I'm comfortable to report that Shadow Haunter is usually an improve. The all-Ghost version good points extra meta names — Swampert, Azumarill, Dewgong, Pelipper, and Registeel! — whereas giving up solely Water Gun Lanturn, Cofagrigus, and fellow Shadow Victreebel to do it. The lack of (one variant of) Lanturn stings, however have a look at these good points! That's positively a marked enchancment in efficient efficiency.

The good points are obvious for Sludge Bomb Shadow Haunter as properly, with good points that embody Spark Lanturn, Swampert, Vigoroth, Scrafty, Pelipper, and Cresselia, versus losses (as in comparison with non-Shadow of solely Shadow Victreebel and Cofagrigus (and once more, a lot of the time, who cares about these two?).

Instantly evaluating the 2 actual fast, the wins that Shadow Haunter with Shadow Ball will get versus Registeel and Dewgong are fully distinctive, and the win that Shadow with Sludge Bomb will get versus Scrafty is equally distinctive. Shadow with both Ball or Bomb overcomes Pelipper and Swampert, and non-Shadow with both nearer beat Cofagrigus and Shadow Victreebel.

Shadow Ball beats Cresselia, Spark Lanturn, and Steelix whether or not Shadow or not, and Sludge Bomb is alway in a position to beat Azumarill, Water Gun Lanturn, and Serperior, whether or not Haunter is Shadow or not.

However VERY lengthy story brief, each are higher off as Shadows. Not a strict improve, however most positively an improve.

Then there's Gengar, which is very similar to Haunter, dropping Steelix, however gaining Serperior, and holding all the opposite identical meta wins and losses. It too improves as a Shadow, although not fairly to the identical diploma as Haunter. New wins embody Azumarill, Swampert, Registeel, and Dewgong (similar to Haunter's good points), in addition to now beating Steelix. Nevertheless, it loses that win over Serperior, in addition to Wate Gun Lanturn, Shadow Vic, and Cofagrigus (once more, similar to Haunter).

The place Gengar stands out extra is the place Haunter dare not tread: Extremely League. Gengar is already a spicy option there, and it gets better as a Shadow, dropping solely Gliscor, and gaining Jellicent, Cofagrigus, Shadow Charizard, and Galarian Stunfisk! Not too shabby. It's additionally a fantastic choice if Ultra Premier ever returns.

So what's all of it imply, JRE? Haunter and Gengar are sneaky good, and solely higher as Shadows. Neither are a strict improve, however significantly for Haunter in Nice League and Gengar in Extremely League, they're scarier than they've ever been earlier than. Haunter in Nice League picks up some superior top-of-the-meta wins that add to an already underrated meta murderer résumé.

Shadow Bastiodon: ROCK AND OH NO!

Bastiodon (Shadow)


So Bastiodon is changing into Shadow-eligible.

…wait, Bastiodon is changing into Shadow-eligible?! Conceal the youngsters!

Absolutely ol' mister cumbersome flatface getting greater Assault is horrible for Nice League, proper? Properly, this might not be ALL doom and gloom….

Bastie is at present a menace in PvP, little question. The pure numbers don't inform the entire story, as there ARE methods to blow it out (most Fighters, Grounds, and Steels do the trick), but it surely does inform a big portion of the story: not solely does it smash by way of most issues weak to Rock injury (Flyers, Bugs, Ices, Fires), but it surely wins a ton of impartial matchups (together with versus different recognized tanks like Umbreon, Lickitung, Carbink, Azumarill, Cresselia and extra) and neutralizes issues that may usually be scary for Rock varieties (most Grasses and even most of the massive identify Waters). There are lots of gamers that like it… however even they are going to admit there are various, many extra gamers that HATE it and discover it unfun.

Properly I've some excellent news for each of these teams of gamers. Bastiodon IS situationally higher… however in the long run, I feel it's most honest to name it a mere sidegrade.

In the usual 1v1 shielding state of affairs, Shadow Bastie really takes a small step backwards, gaining a win over Shadow Victreebel however giving up extra widespread Grass varieties Venusaur and Serperior to take action, in addition to Cofagrigus. As with many cumbersome Pokémon, it will appear that Bastie has extra to lose by shedding a few of that bulk than it has to realize with its boosted Assault.

…no less than, in 1v1 shielding. Informed you Shadows will be persistently inconsistent!

In different even protect situations, Shadow Bastiodon really seems like a straight improve, with new wins over Serperior and Shadow Gligar in 0v0 shielding, and over Jellicent, Cofagrigus, and Shadow Gligar once more in 2v2 shielding. And people are each with NO new compensating losses.

And earlier than I go away this part on Bastie, I'd be remiss to not level out, as I at all times attempt to with Bastiodon evaluation, the viability of rarely-seen Flash Cannon as a substitute of Stone Edge, with the rationale that Smack Down already offers loads of Rock-type injury (making Edge considerably superfluous), and Flash Cannon will principally always win the mirror with no dropoff in efficiency. Generally you might need, say, Jellicent slip away (which resists each Flamethrower and Flash Cannon), however that's uncommon. Many instances in lots of metas, Flash Cannon is quietly an improve that no person considers. So give it some thought subsequent time you run your personal Bastie on the market… successful the mirror is a really good perk.

So what's all of it imply, JRE? Bastiodon is already lots annoying, and whereas it's situationally higher as a Shadow, general I'm going to label Shadow Bastiodon as only a sidegrade. An excellent one… an annoying one… however nonetheless simply another somewhat than a terrifying new monstrosity. You'll nonetheless see it the place you already did, and there are a handful of matchups to shake up your expectations a bit, however nothing too main. Bastiodon will carry on plodding alongside and stalling the sport because it at all times has. Sorry! (Or alternatively, to you bizarre Bastiodon stans… congratulations, I assume?)

Might as properly cowl fellow Smack Down consumer RHYPERIOR whereas we're right here. It options most prominently on the different finish of the PvP panorama, not in Nice League however all the way in which up in Grasp League. It's lousy without shields, however so long as it has at least one to cover behind, it's gotten fairly fascinating once more with the addition of Breaking Swipe and new wins that include it just like the Giratinas (and different Dragons like Reshiram and Zekrom), Ursaluna, Gyarados, and recapturing a win over Dragonite after ‘Nite obtained Superpower and turned the tables some time in the past. How the turn tables….

Anyway, how does Shadow Rhyperior fare? Preliminary seems present a promising sidegrade that drops Excadrill, Incarnate Landorus, and sadly Dragonite, however good points Mewtwo and Dialga, that are improbable pickups. Nevertheless, the unhealthy information begins to beat after that, with backwards slides in other even shield situations, together with now dropping Diagla in 2v2 shielding. I feel that general, your Grasp League Rhyperior prefers to carry onto all the majority it will probably get. That's a part of why it's taken off once more with the addition of opponent-Assault-nerfing Swipe, in spite of everything!

Now onto one thing extra worthy of its personal part header….

Shadow Sneasler: GESUNDHEIT!

Sneasler (Shadow)


Properly it's not typically that Niantic can genuinely shock anymore. I had a really sneaky suspicion we'd be getting SHADOW SNEASLER throughout this occasion due to a touch from what stays of the PokeMiners (thanks ceaselessly, boys 🫡), however to many its arrival comes as an entire shock. However boy oh boy, does it make the occasion far more fascinating.

Shadow Hisuian Sneasel was unintentionally launched in raids on August nineteenth, and whereas it was shortly eliminated (as per Niantic Rule #1 of bug repair precedence: No Enjoyable Allowed 🙃), many scooped it up anyway. Reasonably than retroactively eradicating it from folks's inventories, they merely banned it from GBL. Downside is that non-Shadow Hisuian Sneasel and Sneasler have been banned as properly, and have been this complete GBL season to date.

Properly hopefully that is Niantic righting that improper, and an unbanning is imminent, as a result of now Hisuian Sneasel is out for realz, obtainable from Preventing-type GO Rocket Grunts (no less than in the course of the present Takeover Occasion). Not solely is that this thrilling as a result of Sneasler particularly is fairly superior in PvP, however for a lot of, this can be their first Nice League Sneasler! Whereas it was briefly obtainable within the wild in the course of the Solstice Horizons occasion from June 16-25 this yr, usually it's solely obtainable in eggs and/or raids. Keep in mind that hatch/raid-level Hisuian Sneasel is at Stage 20, and a Stage 20 Sneasler simply doesn't match at 1500 or much less CP. (Even a 1-1-1 or 0-0-0 must be Stage 18.5!)

And I've even higher information: Shadow Sneasler appears to be all-around higher than regular Sneasler in Nice League. Take THAT, shenaniganers! (I'm simply making up every kind of phrases at present.) Potential new wins embody Venusaur, Protection Deoxys, Sableye, Diggersby, Lickitung, and Lanturn (with both Spark or Water Gun)! You do surrender a number of issues with Shadow Sneasler's diminished bulk (Powder Snow Alolan Ninetales, Alolan Sandslash, Shadow Victreebel, and typically Vigoroth), however general that is positively an enchancment.

Sneasler could be a fairly superior addition to Halloween Cup virtually precisely midway by way of its two-week 2023 stint too. It equally has tradeoffs, however can be once more an general benefit for Shadow over non-Shadow, with new wins of Tapu Fini, Tentacruel, Nidoqueen, Alolan Marowak, Sableye, Runerigus, Cofagrigus, and Charjabug, matched up towards far fewer new losses (Alolan Ninetales, Hisuian Qwilfish, Zweilous, Shadow Mawile, and Incineroar). However once more, after all, the actual win would be the capacity to make use of Sneasler in any respect.

(And sure, Shadow Hisuian Sneasel is a brand new factor too, clearly, however missing the Shadow Claw that Sneasler comes with, it's just not as exciting.)

I'll probably do a extra in-depth evaluation someday down the street, however as a teaser, sure, Shadow Sneasler is viable in Ultra League (although it's roughly a mere sidegrade there) and possibly even for a daring Master League participant (with Shadow including wins versus Swampert, Garchomp, Palkia, and Ursaluna). Spicy! 🌶

Now come ON, Niantic. Let's unban this factor and allow us to Snease to our hearts' delight! 🤧

So what's all of it imply, JRE? Shadow Haunter/Gengar are thrilling, however this may be THE largest winner of the occasion for PvPers. I'm excited… are you?

Shadow Chandelure, Whiscash, Excadrill and Rampardos: ISLAND OF MISFIT SHADOWS

The remainder of these are sadly both not very PvP related, don't enhance in any smart way as a Shadow, or most of the time, each. I nonetheless wish to assessment them briefly, simply in a faster bulletized record….

Chandelure (Shadow)


  • CHANDELURE has made some noise at instances in PvP. It isn't one thing you'll be able to anticipate to run into typically, and lots of instances once you do, you will have one thing in your lineup that may deal with it, or you'll be able to simply gang deal with it and reap the benefits of its Haunter-esque lack of bulk and snuff it out earlier than it runs roughshod over your total group. However it does at all times have that potential to wipe out a complete group. I'll spare you a ton of sims, however I DID run many, and can use the “belief me, bro” protection after I merely sum them up by saying that Shadow is a downgrade in Nice League (the place the slashed bulk and lack of a bait transfer like Haunter's Shadow Punch is simply an excessive amount of to beat), an enchancment in Extremely League (although still very iffy overall), and a really slight enchancment in Grasp League (good points Lugia and Ursaluna, however once more, still very iffy).

Litwick (Shadow)


  • I'm very comfortable to report, nevertheless, that that is a kind of uncommon instances the place it's the base kind, LITWICK, that stands to reap extra advantages. Shadow Litwick picks up three very key wins: Walrein (for Little Cups the place it's allowed), Galarian Stunfisk, and the cursed ruler of any Little format the place it seems: Bronzor. It is going to typically drop a Vulpix right here or there, however general, Litwick simply grew to become far more fascinating in Little League codecs, significantly with really good IVs (which provides on Obstagoon and typically Golbat too).

Whiscash (Shadow)


  • WHISCASH has fallen on somewhat exhausting instances, regardless of the buff to Mud Bomb. It's at all times performed second fiddle to Swampert, however now even Quagsire has surpassed it with the addition of its personal Mud Bombs and soon-to-be Aqua Tail after the subsequent Group Day. (Oh, how I look forward to that analysis subsequent week!) And so they each have Shadow variations too! Properly now Whiscash lastly will get to catch up a bit with its personal Shadow model lastly right here… however does it matter? Not that a lot, as ShadowCash does little or no to tell apart itself from regular Cash. There really ARE a good variety of variations — Shadow uniquely beats issues like Azumarill, Diggersby, Sableye, Vigoroth, Noctowl, and Swampert itself, whereas non-Shadow holds down Froslass, Charizard, CharmTales, Cofagrigus, and Shadow Swampert — but it surely largely comes out within the wash.

Excadrill (Shadow)


  • One I've already gotten questions on is EXCADRILL, because it's a preferred and disruptive option in Master League particularly. At first look, ShadowDrill seems like no less than a viable sidegrade, buying and selling away new losses to Gyarados, Yveltal, and Rayquaza to as a substitute now beat Snorlax, Ursaluna, and Melmetal. However that's in 1v1 shielding, and in different even protect situations, it loses floor. 2v2 shield drops Lugia and Ursaluna and good points solely Melmetal, and with shields down the drop is extreme: minus Altered Giratina, Lugia, Gyarados, Palkia, Rhyperior, and Garchomp, and plus solely Metagross and Reshiram. Going to must sadly name this a shaky sidegrade and even general downgrade in Grasp League. Nevertheless! In Nice League, of all locations, ShadowDrill seems like an general improve over non-Shadow, with new wins versus Venusaur, Umbreon, Sableye, and Registeel in 1v1 shielding, and (so as) Cresselia, Froslass, Water Gun Lanturn, Mandibuzz, Pelipper, Swampert, and Galarian Stunfisk with shields down! Clearly G-Fisk will reign because the supreme choice at any time when each can be found, but it surely's good to see that Shadow Excadrill can step up in metas the place it's obtainable and Stunfisk (a preferred spot ban goal) isn't.

Rampardos (Shadow)



Whereas I've been analyzing PvP metas and Pokémon for 5 years and practically 500 articles (this one right here is #496!), I'm most positively NOT the PvE skilled you're in search of. However my pal and colleague u/Teban54 is, and his superior PvE evaluation on these Shadows is out in your edification. In very brief abstract: Shadow Rhyperior and Shadow Rampardos change into your finest Rock-type raiders, Shadow Excadrill (using Scorching Sands) enters Shadow Garchomp territory in effectiveness, and Shadow Chandelure pulls up subsequent to Reshiram within the high tier of Fires (and turns into a high, however not THE high, choice amongst Ghost/Darkish raiders). Extremely suggest checking his evaluation out!

However for now, it's time to shut this evaluation out. Hopeful that it's a assist to you as you hunt and raid! Till subsequent time, you'll be able to at all times discover me on Twitter with common GO evaluation nuggets or Patreon.

Thanks for sticking with me, pricey readers, by way of now 4 hundred and ninety six evaluation articles. Nonetheless planning out #500, however subsequent up shall be an evaluation on the thrilling Wooper double hassle Group Day. Woo-hoo!

Keep protected on the market, Pokéfriends, and beware what lurks within the shadows! 🌑 Catch you subsequent time.

The submit PvP Evaluation of Halloween 2023 Shadow Pokémon appeared first on Pokémon GO Hub.

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