The Crackling Voltage event is coming to Pokémon GO on January 27th, and with it comes a bonus Rocket Takeover event, which will take place between February 1st through February 5th. During this event, you will be able to free your currently trapped Shadow Pokémon from their Frustration using a Charged TM. There will also be new Shadow Pokémon released, some of which could make a big splash in Trainer Battles. The new releases are Alolan Vulpix, Joltik, Blitzle, Spoink, and the Iron Pokémon itself, Registeel! How do these new additions stack up? Read below to find out!



The coveted top prize of this new batch is arguably Alolan Ninetales. The recent nerf to Charm lowered the damage output of Charm A9, arguably the top Charm user in GL and UL. The shadow boost will bump that damage back up in a way that will make all tap tap aficionados grin. With the shadow boost, Alolan Ninetales now does slightly more damage than the pre-nerf non-shadow did, albeit at the cost of less defense. It falls short of the sheer damage output of Shadow Granbull, but having the ability to tank at least some hits alongside a 35 energy Charged Attack are both advantages that likely make Shadow A9 the new Charmer of choice, as much as that role has lost its luster in general lately.



In Great League, Charm A9 has a mixed bag of gains and drops in the 0-0 and 1-1, but in the 2-2 it is nothing but improvement. It is able to two shield tap tap its way past even some of the bulkiest GL mons, a list which now includes Cresselia, Deoxys Defense, Drapion, and Lanturn (all of which could outlast non-shadow A9). 

Gains in GL:

  • Azumarill 0-0
  • Noctowl 0-0
  • Vigoroth 0-0
  • Lickitung 1-1
  • Toxicroak 1-1
  • Shadow Walrein 1-1
  • Cresselia 2-2
  • Deoxys Defense 2-2
  • Drapion 2-2
  • Lanturn 2-2


Drops in GL:

  • Pelipper 0-0
  • Trevenant 0-0
  • Shadow Walrein 0-0
  • Azumarill 1-1
  • Froslass 1-1
  • Walrein 1-1


In Ultra League, Charm A9 has a similar story to Great League, as it sees its greatest improvements when both shields are invested. In the 2-2, it now adds Cresselia, Drapion, Snorlax, Swampert, and Trevenant to the win column, at a slight cost of Dubwool and Shadow Snorlax. It does now have a bait-dependent loss in the 1S to Gliscor, which is kind of embarrassing for an Ice-type, although it redeems itself over its non-shadow counterpart by winning the 0-0 with Pidgeot.


Powder Snow

Powder Snow A9 is another potential way to make use of the shadow bonus, and the heir apparent to the throne of the best Great League Ice type spammer of choice after the Icicle Spear nerf drove Walrein to extinction. While it will have to compete for this role against Shadow Abomasnow, not being weak to either Fighting or Flying while resisting Dark massively skews the calculus in its direction, even if it comes at the cost of not hard walling Swampert and Lanturn. With this in mind, here are Shadow Alolan Ninetales' notable gains and drops in GL compared to its non-shadow variant:


Gains in GL:

  • Froslass 0-0
  • Shadow Nidoqueen 0-0
  • Venusaur 0-0
  • Vigoroth 0-0
  • Walrein 0-0
  • Cofagrigus 1-1
  • Lickitung 1-1 and 2-2
  • Skarmory 1-1
  • Toxicroak 1-1
  • Shadow Walrein 1-1 and 2-2
  • Water Gun Lanturn 2-2
  • Pelipper 2-2
  • Swampert 2-2


Drops in GL:

  • Pelipper 0-0
  • Sableye 0-0
  • Swampert 0-0
  • Shadow Walrein 0-0
  • Froslass 1-1
  • Scrafty 1-1
  • Vigoroth 1-1
  • Obstagoon 1-1
  • Shadow Swampert 2-2


The story in Ultra League is very similar, with a bunch of notable trade-offs. We won't get into listing any of those like we just did for GL, but instead will suggest doing a matrix sim comparison on PvPoke to see what differences there are, but the gist is this: Neither variant is substantially better than the other, and shadow's different spread of wins is likely to catch many players used to the normal A9 off guard, so there's no reason not to go hard on finding a good one.


Viability of Return on Alolan Ninetales?

We checked Return on Powder Snow Alolan Ninetales as a potential replacement for Dazzling Gleam, and the results were thoroughly unimpressive. The only major wins gained in Great League was Venusaur 0S and the only win gained in Ultra League was Talonflame 0-0. We will admit the Talonflame win is pretty interesting and might be some useful tech. However, this version of Return A9 loses a variety of scenarios to Sableye in GL, Scrafty in GL and UL, and Obstagoon in GL and UL, and all of those feel too embarrassing to accept from a Fairy-type.


Great League

Few open Great League Shadow additions can compare to Alolan Ninetales', but Galvantula is nothing if not a close second.

As much as "Shadow Galvantula" sounds like a synonym for a particularly wet tissue, the angry spider's performance is nothing to scoff at, not in the slightest. In fact, there are quite a few matchups where it comes out ahead of its regular self, and it can even be considered a slight upgrade overall. In no small part it's due to how most Galvantula matchups play out- three Volt Switches, shielded Lunge, three more Volt Switches, Lunge or Discharge. Whether the extra shadow damage is enough to make Shadow Galv's second charged move lethal, and whether it can survive long enough to throw it, are usually the deciding factors between the shadow being an upgrade in that particular matchup or not- and in quite a few cases, the latter factor isn't an issue.

With Nidoqueen having been banished back to the Shadow Realm of Khan Academy Basic Counting as a punishment for its many sins, Galvantula has its best chance in quite a while at making a glorious return back to the open Great League spotlight, and for that, its Shadow variant is rather helpful in more than one matchup. It's definitely not a panacea however- in context of purely open Great League, its gains are still on the smaller side, and don't address the omnipresent thorns of Galarian Stunfisk or (especially Shadow) Swampert.

Probably the largest gain is barely winning the 1-1 shield scenario vs. Trevenant thanks to extra oomph on Lunge. This only barely leaves you alive however, and won't work if Galvantula has any amount of chip damage on it. Additionally, this win requires hitting an attack breakpoint, though it's not a hard to get one. The specific magic values are 135.76 attack vs R1 Trev, (only R1 Shadow Galv and a couple other very high stat product spreads miss it, all others incl. R2 hit it), and 137.29 attack vs highest Defense Trev (many very high spreads that still hit it, such as R10).

Other open Great League relevant swings in Shadow Galvantula's favor are:

  • Sableye in 1-1 (CMP reliant)
  • Venusaur in 1-1
  • Cofagrigus in 1-1
  • Registeel in 0-0
  • Abomasnow in 0-0
  • Araquanid in 0-0 (once that matchup matters again)
  • Much better Noctowl in 0-0 (it doesn't get a Sky Attack off)


Swings to Shadow Galvantula's detriment include:

  • Abomasnow in 2-2
  • Can't win vs. Medicham or Lanturn in 1-1 the way very high rank regular Galvantula can
  • Shadow Abomasnow in 1-1
  • Shadow Walrein in 1-1
  • Shadow Jumpluff in 1-1


These are some nice improvements, but with Galvantula being as shield hungry as ever, it's hard to imagine it ever being a mon of choice on the biggest stage. Thankfully, that's far from the only places where Galvantula has seen consistent use, the spood having lived most of the past couple years in the cozy realm of limited formats, where its new Shadow flavoring is no less appetizing.

A few of its new limited scenario wins include:

  • Shadow Machamp in 2-2
  • Tackle Miltank in 2-2 w/ the same IV spread as the Trevenant one mentioned above
  • Meganium in 1-1 (IV reliant)
  • Buzzwole in 1-1
  • High rank Vigoroth in 1-1
  • Alolan Muk (both fast moves) in 1-1
  • Forretress in 1-1
  • Aurorus in 1-1
  • Hypno (all movesets) in 1-1 
  • Shadow Meganium in 0-0
  • Escavalier in 0-0
  • Shadow Skuntank in 0-0
  • Toxicroak in 0-0
  • Zweilous in 0-0
  • Heracross in 0-0
  • Shadow Hypno (as long as it doesn't have Fire Punch) in 0-0


Its new losses on the other hand:

  • Shadow Drapion, Skuntank, Snarl Alolan Muk in 2-2
  • Wild Charge / Surf Mew in 2-2
  • Ariados in 2-2
  • Both Raichu (basically all movesets) in 2-2
  • Alolan Sandslash (both fast moves) in 2-2
  • Bullet Seed Greedent in 2-2
  • Whiscash in 1-1
  • Shadow Machamp in 1-1
  • Shadow Drapion, Hisuian Qwilfish, Overqwil in 1-1
  • Hex Jellicent in 1-1
  • Samurott in 1-1 and 0-0
  • Ferrothorn in 1-1 and 0-0
  • Deoxys Defense (all movesets) in 0-0


It will depend wildly on the format which of the two options is better, but the important point to note is that both are a very real consideration, and as such, if you're planning to take a stab at limited formats at all, a good Shadow Galvantula will be a must. The swings versus Escavalier, Zweilous, and Vigoroth in particular are especially noteworthy, and the next time this bunch finds itself in a meta together, and they will, Shadow Galvantula might just become the arthropod of choice for the entire format.

Ultra League

In Ultra League, the story for Shadow Galvantula is quite similar to what you see in Great League, though here in particular many of its losses are now in 2-2 shield scenarios, which is comparatively beneficial, letting its user not waste shields in an unwinnable matchup, throw as many Lunges as it can, before coming in with something better suited for the matchup. On the flip side, its biggest gains are in the shields down scenario, the newfound power of illicit Team Rocket-sourced substances letting it knockout a variety of targets before they can return the favor. Here is a list of some of the biggest gains and drops at the UL level:



  • Shadow Machamp 0-0
  • Venusaur 0-0
  • Walrein 0-0
  • Pidgeot 0-0
  • Scrafty 0-0
  • Talonflame 0-0
  • Tapu Fini 0-0
  • Mandibuzz 1-1
  • Pidgeot 1-1
  • Wing Attack Charizard 2-2



  • Mandibuzz 0-0
  • Drapion 1-1
  • Talonflame 1-1
  • Umbreon 1-1
  • Venusaur 1-1
  • Dubwool 2-2
  • Greedent 2-2
  • Scrafty 2-2
  • Venusaur 2-2
  • Virizion 2-2


Hopefully the list above can help you decide if Shadow Galvantula is worth it. If you do decide you want one, you will need a perfect IV spread of 15/15/15 (or close enough approximation), 356 Candy XL, and over 650,000 stardust. That might sound like a lot of resources, but many trainers have spent stardust on pursuits such as Drifloon, Weepinbell, and Bonsly, so spilling resources for a Shadow Galvantula isn't too tall of a task for some of the more hardcore trainers.


Viability of Return on Galvantula?

Galvantula does not have the bulk you would typically want to make good use of Return. It also doesn't solve any of its most pressing issues, such as Galarian Stunfisk and Giratina Altered. That being said, there are a few matchup pickups that the standard Discharge/Lunge set on regular Galvantula cannot obtain, such as Venusaur 1-1 in GL. There are also a large number of drops, such as Noctowl 1-1 in GL. There isn't anything out there that is likely to move the needle away from the standard set, but knowledge is power and there may be some week in a flexible format, such as Silph Arena Factions, where picking up the right matchup swings something in your favor.


How does Registeel look as a shadow? When you consider its playstyle with near zero fast attack pressure combined with high power moves, you'd think that Registeel won't benefit much from the shadow bonus, with the only exception being situations where one Zap Cannon or Focus Blast is not enough to KO without the shadow bonus, but gets pushed to a knockout with the shadow bonus. 

You'd be correct.


Great League

At the Great League level, there is not much benefit to running a shadow. The amount you gain is significantly outweighed by the losses, including absolutely embarrassing ones such as Altaria. The non-shadow can lower Dragon Breath damage from 2 to 1 after just one Zap Cannon debuff, but the shadow does not achieve this, and as such stands a good chance at losing both the 1S and 2S to the puffy cloud dragon. Its list of changed matchups is... rather pathetic. 


  • Toxicroak 0S
  • Sableye 1S
  • Shadow Victreebel 1S and 2S



  • Deoxys Defense 0S
  • Froslass 0S
  • Alolan Marowak 0S
  • Shadow Nidoqueen 0S
  • Sableye 0S and 2S
  • Altaria 1S and 2S
  • Lanturn 1S
  • Obstagoon 1S
  • Scrafty 1S
  • Umbreon 1S and 2S
  • Venusaur 1S
  • Shadow Walrein 2S


Ultra League

At the Ultra League level, Shadow Registeel is not the same level of embarrassing as it was in Great League, but it's still a downgrade in most circumstances compared to its regular variant everyone and their alt have by now, and with how expensive it is to build, it's doubly not worth it.  Dropping Talonflame 1S is a huge loss that can't be understated, even if it's partially offset by gaining Talonflame 0S- which non shadow can already get very low.



  • Talonflame 0S
  • Scrafty 1S
  • Gliscor 2S
  • Shadow Snorlax 2S



  • Poliwrath 0S
  • Scrafty 0S
  • Shadow Snorlax 0S
  • Venusaur 0S
  • Dragon Breath Giratina Altered 1S and 2S
  • Snorlax 1S and 2S
  • Talonflame 1S
  • Cofagrigus 2S
  • Deoxys Defense 2S
  • Drapion 2S
  • Nidoqueen 2S


Master League

In Open Master League, Shadow Registeel drops a record of 4-29 in 1S against the PvPoke meta. It drops Dialga, a crucial matchup that non shadow Registeel can win, due to losing a Dragon Breath bulkpoint. Oh the humanity! Registeel is already a meme pick in ML, and Shadow Registeel is somehow even more meme due to being significantly worse.


Viability of Return on Registeel?

Return Registeel is surprisingly usable. At 70 energy, it is tied with Flash Cannon as its fastest charged attack. However, similar to Flash Cannon, we would expect this option to take a backseat to Focus Blast + Zap Cannon 99% of the time. Fighting + Electric coverage is quite wide, being resisted only by the likes of Nidoqueen and Gliscor. Normal + Fighting leaves Registeel helpless against Ghosts, while Normal + Electric leaves Registeel with major Galarian Stunfisk issues. Return is certainly an option, and should be an improvement over the already niche Hyper Beam. However, this is likely strictly for those times in Factions where Return gives just what you need. Running a Return Registeel is an opportunity cost as you need to purify a Shadow Registeel to get one, losing your access to a Shadow Registeel in the process. We would suggest just running Flash Cannon or Hyper Beam instead when you want to stray away from the standard set (Return will be less of a surprise anyways as the act of being purified gives away the secret). Return on Registeel is also only a real consideration for Ultra League purposes, as Registeel needs to be under Level 25 for Great League and as such won't purify under the Great League cap.


Alright we're done talking about the good Pokémon, time to dive into the gutter. Zebstrika is already one of the less impressive Wild Chargers normally, having to rely on Spark instead of the superior Thunder Shock and not even having a bait move, with Flame Charge being more so coverage than proper bait. The author only built hers for Prismatic cup way back when, and regretted it basically immediately. And lemme tell you- the shadow variant is even worse. Much worse. 

Zebstrika's main issue was already surviving the 24 turns needed to get to double Wild Charge, and Shadow only makes that harder, much harder- for every new matchup it barely squeaks out, usually by CMP, it loses three more. There's already zero reason to run even normal Zebstrika as is outside of janky formats where it's the only usable Wild Charger, and Shadow makes the playing field stacked against it even harder. Zebras deserved better, there's no way to salvage this ugly thing in the slightest.

...or is there?

While current Zebstrika is doomed to suck, there is one move it could get that would simultaneously be a welcome upgrade for it, while also making it stand out more from its glassy mono-electric brethren. I'm talking, of course, about the recently added Double Kick- a more than appropriate fit for this very funky horse, letting it act as a decent check to Steels in combination with Flame Charge, while also preserving its ability to Wild Charge when needed. In that hopefully not too unrealistic scenario, would cyber rabies help the mighty kickin' power zebra at all?

No. It'd still be almost a straight downgrade. Just bin the thing.


Do you want to use a Pokémon that is a straight downgrade from Shadow Hypno in almost every possible way? No? Thought so. There is also the consideration of Spoink in Little Cup. Using the powerful Splash as its fast attack, it goes from an 0-39 record to an 0-39 record with the shadow bonus. If you switch to the more conventional (but much less fun) Zen Headbutt, the records are 2-37 for the non shadow and 4-35 for the shadow. Shadow boost is doubling the win column. Powerful stuff! 


With the new incoming batch of Shadow Pokémon, you will want to secure Shadow Alolan Ninetales and Shadow Galvantula, each of which shows promise as swinging particular matchups in your favor. Shadow Registeel looks a bit disappointing, so it probably is not worth sinking all of your Super Rocket Radars into securing a good one. Shadow Zebstrika and Shadow Grumpig are mostly meme picks. They are worth collecting in case they ever get a moveset update, but even then their overall potential is limited.