Shadow Pokemon have changed the Pokemon Go meta

Paul Cot
Pokemon Company

It looks like the changes made to Shadow Pokemon has completely changed the Pokemon Go meta, much to the disappointment of long-term trainers.

In a somewhat of the blue announcement on March 3, Niantic confirmed that Shadow Pokemon have gotten stronger – a lot stronger. Specifically, their damage output will increase by 20%, with the damage they receive also increasing by the same amount.

On paper this may not look like a massive change but it is. There are many different types of Pokemon Go player from those who just want to ‘catch ’em all’, shiny hunt and then those who want the strongest roster possible.

Shadow Pokemon Go New Meta
Pokemon Company
Out of nowhere, Shadow Pokemon have become the new Pokemon Go meta…

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Shadow Pokemon now too strong?

The change has upset trainers who have put a lot of effort into the current Pokemon Go meta, only to see it completely changed in one update. Sideline96 is one player who detailed how they felt about the current situation.

Up until now, they have focused on getting the six best attackers of each type and getting them to the maximum Level 40. This is essentially the go to strategy of all players who want the strongest and most rounded team possible.

With the new change in play, though, the strongest attackers from each type are now Shadow Pokemon. This has effectively made all the current strongest Pokemon second fiddle to Shadow ‘mons.

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“I do not like that they make my whole electric Team (100% Zapdos, 100% Electivire, 91% Shiny Raikou, 96% Magnezone) ‘obsolete’ within one day,” Sideline96 explained. It’s hard not to have sympathy given many trainers know how hard it is to put together a team as strong as that – and that’s for just one type!

They also made the salient point that not only does DPS significantly increase but TDO actually stays the same, too, despite the increase in damage it takes. This means it’s pretty irrefutable that Shadow Pokemon are better.

Doesn’t the meta always change?

Some of you may be saying that the meta always evolves, and while that is true the point here is that it has changed too much in just one update. “Power creep” was also discussed which is the phenomenon of newer content being the strongest.

This is natural to some degree as players need to be incentivized to want the latest content, which is often new varieties of species in the case of Pokemon Go. This also means newer players are able to compete with older ones.

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In short, power creep is actually good for the game’s developers and trainers alike but when it is this sudden questions about fairness are correctly raised.

No Incentive Raid Battles
If Shadow Pokemon are now strong, has the incentive to do Raid Battles been lessened?

No incentive to do Raids?

It’s no secret that Raid Battles are a big part of Pokemon Go. Niantic want players to participate in them as much as possible, especially they use a Premium Raid Pass.

However, if Raid Battles now reward species that aren’t part of the meta, what’s the point? Even five-star Raid Bosses are now beaten by Shadow Pokemon in the meta.

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Granted, this theory only applies to trainers who are strictly interested in building the strongest team possible, but the point still stands. Unfortunately it seems to have made a lot of Pokemon, frankly, useless. “I will never evolve and power up a normal Pokemon anymore and I don’t need a top attackers team anymore which leads to me having no in-game goal.” Sideline96 claimed.

It seems Niantic may have shot themselves in the foot on this one. With the initial reaction seemingly so negative, this change could lessened or even reversed.

We’ll have to wait and see whether Shadow Pokemon do indeed remain the new meta in Pokemon Go. A lot of the more experienced trainers will be hoping not.