Team Rocket has blasted off and their introduction to Pokémon GO is live right now.

With trainer battles, trading, and other features, Pokémon GO is starting to resemble the outlines of the mainline Pokémon games more and more every day. The newest addition of Team Rocket has added to the feeling of Pokémon GO being a full-fledged title like never before.

In this incarnation, Team Rocket is called Team GO Rocket, and instead of stealing Pokémon, they’re….corrupting PokeStops! Info is still scarce, as not everyone has had a chance to fight, but here’s everything we know so far:

What’s new with Team Go Rocket?

Updated July 23, 2019: Team Rocket on pause

As of right now, the Team GO Rocket is on hold. It seems that it introduced a bug that made the Rocket Pokéstops only appear at each Pokéstop once. So if you were unlucky enough to be 5 minutes behind a person playing you wouldn’t be able to ever see them spawn. Not ideal at all.

No timespan on this current outage but hopefully it won’t take them long to put everything back up. When you introduce a big change to a living game, bad things can happen. I’m sure Niantic is working hard to fix this as soon as possible.

What are Team GO Rocket Invasions?

Team GO Rocket Invasions is a new feature in Pokémon GO that, for the first time, allows you to effectively battle an NPC trainer in-game and receive a reward. At the moment, not many confirmed details are known, but some excellent Reddit people who have the event have been providing details.

How do I encounter a Team GO Rocket Invasion?

Team GO Rocket use your normal Pokéstops but change them to be easily identifiable. They have a unique blue cube floating above it and as you get nearer the Pokéstop it turns in to a dark gray version with a red R hovering above it. As you get closer one of the members of team rocket will appear and tapping on them will initiate the battle!

How does an invasion work?

When you tap on the member of Team GO Rocket — called a Grunt in-game, making me think that there may be a raid battle with the heads of Team GO Rocket — you enter a trainer battle like the ones you are used to seeing against friends. These battles normally have two different Pokémon of the same type, so make sure you have a selection of battle parties with different types to counteract this.

You also get to use the new special attack system where you try to collect the tokens as they fall through the frame. This powers up your attack making it more potent. The Pokémon that you fight have been corrupted by Team GO Rocket and appear with a dark cloud around it and scary glowing eyes! Once you defeat them in combat you will get a chance to catch one.

You get Raid Pokéballs based on your performance so you can catch the Shadow Pokémon, and if you are lucky enough to defeat it you get to keep it in your Pokédex as a unique Pokémon. So if you are a collector like me, you will need to keep at least one of each of these new Pokémon instead of evolving them up or purifying them out.

What is “purifying?” Pokémon?

Purifying your Pokémon changes them from their shadow state and teaches them a new attack called Return. It also increases their IV score slightly and increases their level to 25. If you use your Pokémon in a lot of combat then purifying them seems like the way to go.

Purifying does cost candy and Stardust though so it may not be cost-effective if you play casually, plus, the Shadow Pokémon look so cool! You can also make purified and Shadow Pokémon lucky by trading them, though do count as a special trade if the other person doesn’t have one.

When can I find Team GO Rocket Invasions in Pokémon GO?

The Team GO Rocket invasion is live now, and you should start seeing the funny colored Pokéstops in local area soon!

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