Why people like shadows in GBL when they are so bad?

I was wondering what are everyone thought on shadows pokemons in pvp. Imo they are really bad, but I still see people using them. I understand that for ex shadow victreebel can be used as a bodyguard for registeel to murder any mudboi that would be switched in, but I don’t get why you would do a shadow team, which I found particularly weak.
For example, I recently battled against a full shadow team that looked like it was made to hard counter my team but I beat it easily anyways:
I lead with altaria, they lead with shadow gardevoir. I switch to forretress, they switch to shadow mawile with fire fang/power up punch. Obviously I got destroyed with double weakness, but still have time to use one of their shield. After I die I put on my quadsire. Once their mawile is out, they put on shadow victreebel, which once again destroys me, but not before I make them use their last shield. Finally, I easily finish the victreebel with altaria, and have a sky attack ready that kills the gardevoir before it can make any damage.

So my questions are: how is it possible to win such a bad matchup? Because shadows are really bad? And if so, why do people keep using them?

Pure shadow teams are rare and I don’t see that many people use more than one shadow. Plus your victory was not overwhelming, right? Could be that with one energy less you lost. Also when switching is bad you might lose as well. But yes overall pure shadow teams are not that great, but this is why they are rarely used, right? Also they are fun to use. At least for me it was when I used it beginning last season, even though I lost ;)
Shadow machamp is brutal btw.

They just love playing rock paper scissor and try to just slice through shield play, since most shadows output incredible fast move damage.

I wouldn’t say shadows or shadow teams are bad in particular, there is a strategy behind it. But yeah sometimes it plays out like… a joke

Yeah they are probably fun, and might be effective in some particular cases but it’s wierd to be able to win even with a team made of hard counters to my pokies… and my victory margin was quite large, since my altaria had ~70% hp left, so could take 4/5 charm before dying probably.
I think it mostly shows why bulk is important and why coverage is key


Until recently, a SINGLE Shadow, yes a SINGLE one can cost me my win without fail.

Bulk and swiftness, resistances and coverage are for sure the keys. Swift shadows are critical. Such as machamp or leaf blade victrebeel, some use also shadow Zapdos . Charm users usually don’t have fast charged move, this is why they are not 1st class sometimes. Probably a shadow granbull would be critical in UL

Faeries get resisted a LOT in Great League, don’t forget that.

It’s just my opinion, maybe my teams hold themselves quite well against shadow, but I don’t remember a time recently where I lost because of a shadow, usually it’s the opposite, I’m happy to see a shadow in the other team because it’seasier for me to win… for instance I fear more a lead with crefable than shadow gardevoir

I’ve never used a full Shadow team but I have used Shadow Zapdos and it is far from bad.

I find Shadow Teams harder than standard one. I use not so bulky mon, but with fast charge moves like Galvantula, Froslass. Only whiscash is bit tankier.

Today i lost all 4 games vs pure shadows. and used only 1 shield at all/

1st: Lead Galvantula , they Shadow Houndoom. Switch to Whiscash( because cant to Froslas). Counter switch to Victreebel. Game over.

2nd Lead Galvantula, they Mawile with FF. again switch Whiscash, they Ivysaur. Game over. This time i was able to see last mon. It was Gardevoir but 1 Charm deleted me.

3rd: This time lead whiscash, they Grotle. Switch to Froslass, they Houndoom. Last one was shadow magneton.

4th:Whiscash vs Gardevoir. Died, burn 2 shields. Finished with Galvantula, lost 1 shield, but had barely any HP. Gloom comes, i killed with Avalanche, but had like 50% HP. Shadow Sableye last one, havent reached my move, but maybe it wont one shit him anyway.

I Prefer fight regular teams, that i can reach multiples charges on my own, before going down.

Some people like a themed team. :man_shrugging:

Shadows do tend to be very squishy and the ones that work best (Gardevoir, Victreebell, etc.) rely on hard-hitting fast moves to negate shields. What gets me though is when I’ve saved a shield for the last 'mon and…its a Shadow 'mon. Razor Leaf/Charm/Confusion/etc. doesn’t care about shields and its GG for me. :stuck_out_tongue: But otherwise I am rarely threatened by a Shadow team, the margin for victory is very narrow for them. Seems the best Shadow’mon are ones with High attack, low defense, hi HP (to balance out the Shadow effect) and high DPT fast moves.

Problem is that your thin mons are not THAT fast. Discharge and avalanche are 45 and you only have 4-chargers. Houndoom is faster, shadow machamp is faster. Against Mawile I would not switch when leading Galvantula cause they shield. Then you have switch AND shield advantage. In any case at least one team member should be really tanky. Or two slight tanks like whiscash.

But really, 4 shadow teams in one day? That’s really a big coincidence. Had one in 50 fights.
@captpepperjack - or those with very fast charged moves. You mostly shield vs shadows and two burnt shields are worth something.

I run 2 full shadow teams. They’re hella fun. Most people go for tankier 'mons, such as Azumarill and the like, which makes the matches last, IMHO, a loooooooong time. With my shadow teams, either I crumble right away or I completely steamroll my opponent. The important thing is that either way happens really quickly and shifts the pace of the battle.

I have run into a few people who run 2 tanks and a shadow pokemon, and I think to myself, don’t be wishy-washy about this. Commit to it. Go full shadow and terrify your opponent.


That’s a very interesting way to look at it that I hadn’t thought about and it makes a lot of sense. Easier to get your 5 sets in as well.


I’ve had two or three times this season alone where someone is playing shadow victrybell and they instant quit to skarmory lead.

Shadows can be good. Some mons benefit from trading damage for bulk. It’s usually the ones that were already pretty glassy.

The all shadow team seems like a fun way to try to just quickly get through your sets if you don’t have the time. Might build it but my only victribell has garbage stats.

Yes, this so much.

I have an UL squad of double legacy shadow Lapras, shadow Machamp, shadow HC Swampert. It is a load of fun. Lap is quite bulky for a shadow, and the other two just put out an awesome amount of damage. It’s very, very far away from “bad.”

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Shadow teams are super tricky and risky because of having practically no defense, but the swag factor to them is off the charts.

Oh yeah! I saw a Mew, Jirachi, Victini team. very fun to battle!


I’ve tried 5 sets with that thing yesterday and got an 11 win streak, using Skarmory to bait out the potential bird killer (usually Gunfisk or even worse, Bastiodon). I am so in love with it