With the recent Team Go Rocket event, I think it’s worth discussing purified Pokemon. Team Go Rocket have been capturing Pokemon and forcing them to become more powerful, turning them into shadowy forms of their previous selves. Apparently, this is actually quite painful. It’s so bad that Shadow Pokemon refuse to be traded and refuse to learn anything but Frustration. After all, I’d be pretty frustrated if I’d had my level forcibly raised, forced to fight some random kid and then abandoned.
Purification on the other hand is how you save these tortured beings. You sprinkle them with stardust, candy and love and they turn into beautiful butterflies. A purified Pokemon also gets +2 to all its IVs and costs 10% less stardust to power up and evolve. These were small benefits, but enough to make purified Pokemon desirable… briefly.
In February 2020, Shadow Pokemon got a massive buff!
All Shadow Pokemon were given a massive, massive buff. Any Shadow Pokemon now deals 20% more damage, at the cost of losing about 20% of their defense. They were also made far cheaper to power up. Shadow Pokemon used to cost 200% more to power up. Now they cost about 20-30% more stardust to power up.
This was a hit to the meta. Even massively powerful Pokemon like Rayquaza were now overtaken by Shadow Pokemon like Salamence. In a game where doing the most damage as fast as possible is the way you beat 99% of raid bosses, this massive 20% damage boost was absolutely amazing. And the 20% boost is so good that even a 0% Shadow Pokemon would be just as good or better than a normal or purified Pokemon.
The only downsides are the investment and Frustration. The candy costs and the irremovable move.
But these downsides can be bypassed!
There’s actually a really simple way to bypass Frustration on any Shadow Pokemon. Just give the Pokemon a second move. It’s very expensive to do. Very expensive. It cost me 90 candy and 90,000 stardust to do this to my 100% Shadow Tyranitar.
However, we’ve also had brief events where we could remove Frustration. There have been two very short events so far, both involving Team Rocket Takeovers. In these 3-hour events, you can just use a normal Charge TM to remove Frustration permanently.
As for candy and stardust? Well, you always get more candy and stardust eventually. Worst case scenario, you start walking your Pokemon and earn candies as you walk.
What about Purified Pokemon?
Well, no one cares about them. Sure, you could spend that stardust and candy to purify a Pokemon, but the IV stats it gains are not equal to the damage. And really, the other buff you get – reduced powering up and evolution costs – aren’t that great either.
There were supposed to be other benefits to purified Pokemon. They were supposed to deal more damage to Shadow Pokemon, but this was seemingly never implemented. In fact, your best bet in a fight against a Shadow Pokemon is another Shadow Pokemon! How is that even right?
How do we buff Purified Pokemon though?
Simply put, the buffs we have now aren’t enough. You just can’t complete against 20% more damage. Even if the damage against Shadow Pokemon was implemented, then Purified Pokemon would only really be good against Team Rocket fights.
Clearly, purification needs to 1. offer more benefits and 2. be cheaper.
Making purification cheaper would be a good place to start. After all, 5,000 stardust is equal to 50 Pokemon caught, and not everyone has tons of candy lying around. The 20,000 stardust and 20 candy needed for Legendaries is even steeper. When Articuno came out, I genuinely did not have 20 candy to purify it – that was the second Articuno I’d ever owned. At the very least, we should be able to purify Pokemon in an alternative method. Perhaps walking a Shadow Pokemon and having it as your buddy should reduce the purification costs over time.
The Purified move Return should also be stronger. It has some use in PvP, mainly as a coverage move for ghost-types, but that’s about it. By no means should Return be stronger than STAB moves, but its damage is somewhat mediocre, despite how fast it changes. Return should be good, but it’s too niche for most people to consider using.
The reduced stardust and candy costs could be a bit nicer as well, but you don’t want to intrude on lucky Pokemon now.
Purified Pokemon should have a small overall buff as well.
I think the only way Purified Pokemon could ever challenge Shadow Pokemon is if they had their own buff. That being said, I don’t think another flat buff would be the way to do it. How do you give a damage buff without giving a damage buff?
There is an alternative: Purified Pokemon could gain more defensive stats. Pokemon like Weavile are VERY strong but they are glass cannons – they die very quickly. Making them take more damage before dying would be a massive buff that works everywhere, while not stepping on the toes of Shadow Pokemon.
Seems like Purified Pokemon won’t be changing though.
Even with the +2 to all IVs, even with my buff suggestions, I still don’t think Purified Pokemon will ever be popular again. The simple fact is that +20% damage is absolutely massive. And, at the same time, it might just piss off people who have already invested a lot into Shadow Pokemon.
So for now, we’ll just have to not purify Pokemon, I guess.
If you’re curious about the more detailed stat side of things (including more number crunching), Gamepress has a good article on Shadow Pokemon.