Since the Update that gave us Team Rocket encounters, Shadow Pokémon have become a thing.

Aside from looking cool, and the option to "Purify" them (which leads to a badge, making the capture encounters easier?), and the excessive costs to buy a "new attack", what is the point of keeping a Shadow Pokémon?

  • The badge you get for purifying Pokémon doesn't necessarily make the capture easier. It provides you with additional premiere balls for more chances to capture – Wondercricket Sep 19 '19 at 15:34
  • In the handheld games Return and Frustration do more or less damage based on your friendship. Recently data that would add pokemon friendship level was found in the game (can't find a source). – Pureferret Sep 19 '19 at 16:03

There isn't one, unless it fits one of the typical min-max desired attributes:

  • Has high IVs
  • Has desired moves

Other than that, there's no point in keeping them as they are also fodder Pokemon, or if you intend to at some point mass-purify them.

Just a note: Fodder shadow is more valuable than regular fodder Pokemon as they have lower costs when upgraded using candy (like Lucky Pokemon) once you purify them, so if moves and IVs aren't your goal: That's a reason to keep them (ie. a shadow Bulbasaur with bad IVs versus a regular Bulbasaur with also bad IVs)

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    Your point about lower costs is not true, Shadow Pokemon cost more to power up - Purified Pokemon have the reduction, but it isn't as much as a Lucky. – MattR Sep 19 '19 at 7:58
  • @MattR I believe he's referring to candy costs, not stardust costs: "they have lower costs when upgraded using candy"; which is true. The easiest comparison is evolutions. A regular Bulbasaur would take 25 candies to evolve, but a shadow/purified Bulbasaur only uses 20. – Ben Oct 2 '19 at 2:13

The additional benefits apart from those you said are, and general benefits non-specific to Shadow Pokemon as per Aytimothy, are:

  • Collection. In a similar vein as to how people enjoy having different forms of other Pokemon, including all the Pikachus, one can have a collection of all the different Shadow Pokemon and/or their purified variants. Lucky Purified Pokemon can be obtained. Shadow and Purified status are also shown in Pokemon deposited in gyms.
  • Purified Pokemon require less stardust and candy to level up.
  • The move Return, only available upon purifying. It is a good normal-type move offensively in PvE but not PvP. In fact, it is the charge move with the highest damage based on time and energy for Snorlax in PvE! It can serve as an additional coverage move for PvP, such as Umbreon, giving it a move that isn’t Dark-type for better coverage against Pokémon that resist Dark-types.

I'm ignoring Frustation as a reason since that move is terrible both in PvE and PvP.

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  • Dragonair can use Return instead of Wrap for PvP purposes in case it's up against something that would resist its usual charged move, but with the increase in damage and energy I'm not sure if it's lost some of the usefulness that choice brought. Return really was best for shield pressure before its update. – Kadima Jan 17 at 18:36
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    I added an Umbreon example. I think that’s a better example since Umbreon is otherwise limited to Dark-type attacks, and it was suggested on Pokémon Go GamePress. – MBorg Jan 17 at 22:58

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