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Pokemon Go Team Go RocketSource: Niantic

After weeks of build up, the Looming Shadows update went live globally on November 7, 2019. This update introduced a new Special Research, as well as a new game mechanic to Pokémon Go and we're here to walk you through completing this research!

What is Team Go Rocket anyway?

Based on the original antognists of Pokémon, Team Rocket is an infamous criminal organization led by Giovanni. The group seeks to steal valuable Pokémon and force those Pokémon to further Giovanni's endeavors. In Pokémon Go, the group is much the same, known as Team Go Rocket. Basically, they're the bad guys who've been missing from the game since day one. They're here now and once a month, you can complete a Special Research to take on their leader, Giovanni and potentially rescue a Legendary Shadow Pokémon from him.

Can I start right away?

Probably but, unlike some of the other Special Research, players must complete another Special Research to even begin Looming in the Shadows. If you haven't completed A Troubling Situation, you'll have to finish that one first. Fortunately, A Troubling Situation is pretty quick and we have a guide that will walk you through it fast.

Even if you haven't completed A Troubling Situation, you're not too far behind. Looming in the Shadows requires a minimum of five days to complete so no one is going to be finishing just yet.

You must also be at least Level eight to being this Special Research.

Looming in the Shadows Special Research

Once you've completed A Troubling Situation, you can begin Looming in the Shadows by simply clicking on the Research icon (the bubble with a pair of binoculars) at the bottom right corner of your screen.

Pokemon Go Special Research Looming in the ShadowsSource: iMore/ Casian Holly

Step One

  1. Spin 10 Pokéstops for 500 XP
  2. Defeat 3 Team Go Rocket Grunts for 500 XP
  3. Catch 1 Shadow Pokémon for 500 XP

Completion rewards: 500 Stardust, 10 Poké Balls and 10 Razzberries

Step Two

  1. Spin a PokéStop 5 days in a row for 750 XP
  2. Purify 15 Shadow Pokémon for 750 XP
  3. Win 5 raids for 750 XP

Completion rewards: 1,000 Stardust, 3 Hyper Potions, and 3 Revives

Step Three

  1. Use six super effective Carged Atacks in Gym Bttles for 1,000 XP
  2. Win three Great League Trainer Bttles against another Trainer for 1,000 XP
  3. Defeat six Go Rocket Grunts for 1,000 XP

Completion rewards: 1,500 Stardust, 15 Great Balls, and five Pinap Berries

Pokemon Go Team Rocket Mysterious ComponentSource: Niantic

Step Four

  1. Defeat Team Go Rocket Leader Arlo for 1,250 XP
  2. Defeat Team Go Rocket Leader Cliff for 1,250 XP
  3. Defeat Team Go Rocket Leader Sierra for 1,250 XP

Completion rewards: 2,000 Stardust, 1 Super Rocket Radar, and three Golden Razz Berries

Pokemon Go Rocket RadarSource: Niantic

Step Five

  1. Find the Team Go Rocket Boss for 2,500 Stardust
  2. Battle the Team Go Rocket Boss for 1,500 XP
  3. Defeat the Team Go Rocket Boss for three Silver Pinap Berries

Completion rewards: 3,000 Stardust, one Charged TM, and 1 Fast TM

Pokemon Go Super Rocket RadarSource: Niantic

Step Six

  1. Autocompleted for 2,000 XP
  2. Autocompleted for 2,000 XP
  3. Autocompleted for 2,000 XP

Completion rewards: three Max Revives, 20 Ultra Balls, and three Rare Candies

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The Leaders of Team Go Rocket

Part of the Looming Shadows update has added a new feature to Pokémon Go: Team Go Rocket Hideouts. By assembling Rocket Radars, players can track down Team Go Rocket Hideouts where they can challenge the Leaders of Team Go Rocket. In addition to completing Special Research, defeating Team Go Rocket Leaders come with plenty of potential rewards including:

  • Max Revive
  • Revive
  • Max Potion
  • Unova Stone
  • Sinnoh Stone
  • Encounter with Shadow Pokémon that have the potential to be shiny (Meowth, Sneasal, and possibly more)

While a Rocket Radar is necessary to find the Team Go Rocket Hideouts, once a player has completed their first, additional Rocket Radars will be able to be crafted or purchased for Pokécoins from the Pokémon Shop. Once equipped, the Hideouts will be visible on the map and can be challenged in the same way that players challenge the Team Go Rocket Grunts but the Leaders are much stronger and use their shields. Don't worry if you don't beat the Team Go Rocket Leader the first time. You can heal your Pokémon, power them up and try again until you are able to defeat them.


Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket CliffSource: Niantic

The first of the Team Go Rocket Executives, Cliff can bring the following Shadow Pokémon into battle:

  • Meowth
  • Snorlax
  • Tyranitar
  • Sandslash
  • Infernape
  • Flygon
  • Torterra

The best counters for going up against Cliff are Machamp, Mamoswine, and Mewtwo.


Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket SierraSource: Niantic

The second of the Team Go Rocket Executives, Sierra can bring the following Shadow Pokémon into battle:

  • Sneasal
  • Hypno
  • Alakazam
  • Lapras
  • Houndoom
  • Sableye
  • Gardevoir

The best counters for going up against Sierra are Machamp, Giratina (Origin forme), and Gardevoir.


Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket ArloSource: Niantic

The third of the Team Go Rocket Executives and former friend of Team Valor's Candela, Arlo can bring the following Shadow Pokémon into battle:

  • Scyther
  • Magnezone
  • Scizor
  • Crobat
  • Dragonite
  • Gyarados
  • Charizard

The best counters for going up against Arlo are Tyranitar, Entei, and Mamoswine.


The Boss of Team Go Rocket himself, Giovanni can bring Legendary Shadow Pokémon into battle. Currently, Articuno is in his third slot but promotional videos and images suggest that he will eventually have all three of the Gen 1 Legendary birds. Given that he can be challenged once per calendar month, it seems like his Legendary Shadow Pokémon may rotate much like Research Breakthrough encounters. His current lineup includes:

  • Persian
  • Dugtrio, Nidoking, or Rhydon
  • Articuno

The best Pokémon to counter Giovanni are Tyranitar, Golem, and Rhyperior.

Unlike the other Leaders of Team Go Rocket, Giovanni can only be found using the Super Rocket Radar. This can be obtained by completing Looming in the Shadows Special Research once per calendar month. The Super Rocket Radar will lead players to a number of potential encounters but many of those encounters will be decoys, as opposed to Giovanni himself. Keep trying and eventually you will find the real Team Go Rocket Boss!

Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket BalloonSource: Niantic

Any questions about Looming in the Shadows?

Do you have any questions about the Looming in the Shadows Special Research or taking on the Leaders of Team Go Rocket? Drop us a comment below and be sure to check out our other Pokémon Guides!

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