How to spot a Team GO Rocket PokéStop in Pokémon GO

Team Go Rocket banner
Team Go Rocket banner (Image credit: Niantic)

Team GO Rocket are taking over PokéStops in Pokémon Go, giving Trainers around the world the chance to battle their powerful Shadow Pokémon. Do you have what it takes to track down these invaded PokéStops and put an end to Team GO Rocket's schemes?

How to find a Team GO Rocket PokéStop

While Team GO Rocket can invade any PokéStop, it seems to be pretty random. Fortunately, they're not all that difficult to spot, even from a distance:

  1. Find a PokéStop in Pokémon GO.
  2. Look at the top of the cube that indicates a PokéStop is there. These are usually a light blue color.
  3. If the top is twitching and dark blue Team GO Rocket has invaded that PokéStop.

Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket stop 1 (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Walk closer to the PokéStop.

Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket stop 3 (Image credit: iMore)
  1. The cube will turn completely black with an "R" above it and a Team GO Rocket Grunt will appear, standing next to the stop.
  2. Spin the PokéStop to get engage the Grunt.

Note: Once you've beaten enough Grunts, you can build a Rocket Radar. Equipping this item lets you find Team GO Rocekt Executives instead of Grunts.

Team GO Rocket aerial attacks?!

Team Go Rocket Balloon Grunt (Image credit: iMore)

As of July 7, 2020, Team GO Rocket has taken to the skies. Now, Team GO Rocket hot air balloons will spawn randomly on the map, just like Pokémon. These encounters work almost identically to Team GO Rocket PokéStop Invasions.

  • Without a Rocket Radar, you will encounter Grunts.
  • With a normal Rocket Radar equipped, you will encounter one of the Team GO Rocket Executives.
  • With a Super Rocket Radar equipped, you will have the chance to encounter Giovanni, himself.

The line ups for Shadow Pokémon are the same as if you encountered Team GO Rocket at a PokéStop. If you don't beat the Executive or Giovanni, your Radar will remain intact until you are able to defeat the Team GO Rocket leader.

What kind of Pokémon will Team GO Rocket have

The Pokémon carried by each Grunt is different. Pay close attention to the wording before the fight to get an idea of what the strongest Pokémon you will need to prepare for. Team Go Rocket Grunts will give you hints about the types of Pokémon they will bring to battle:

  • Coiled and ready to strike! (Zubat, Golbat, Venonat, Venomoth, Grimer, and Muk)
    Best Counters Tyranitar, Groudon, Terrakion, Rampardos, Mewtwo, and Rhyperior.
  • Normal doesn't mean weak (Porygon, Porygon2, Porygon-Z, and Snorlax)
    Best Counters Lucario, Konkeldurr, Machamp, Breloom, and Hariyama.
  • ROAR!... how does that sound? (Dratini, Dragonair, Dragonite, Flygon, and Gyrados)
    Best Counters Rayquaza, Mamoswine, Glaceon, Weavile, and Raikou.
  • These waters are treacherous (Magikarp, Gyarados, Mudkip, Psyduck, Golduck, Poliwag, Poliwhirl, Poliwrath, and Politoed)
    Best Counters Alolan Exeggutor, Sceptile, Leafeon, Tangrowth, Raikou, and Magnezone.
  • Don't tangle with us (Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, Oddish, Gloom, Vileplume, Bellsprout, Weepinbel, Victreebel, and Shiftry)
    Best Counters Moltres, Charizard, Chandelure, Reshiram, and Entei.
  • Battle against my Flying-type Pokémon (Dragonite, Gyrados, Zubat, Golbat, Crobat, and Scyther)
    Best Counters Tyranitar, Mamoswine, Raikou, Magnezone, Zapdos, and Zekrom.
  • Do you know how hot Pokémon fire breath can get? (Growlithe, Charmeleon, Houndour, Houndoom, Magmar, and Arcanine)
    Best Counters Tyranitar, Rhyperior, Kyogre, and Vaporeon.
  • Go, my super bug Pokémon! (Weedle, Kakuna, Beedrill, Venonat, Venomoth, Scyther, and Scizor)
    Best Counters Charizard, Moltres, Rehisram, Chandelure, Tyranitar, and Rhyperior.
  • You'll be defeated into the ground! (Sandshrew, Marowak, Pupitar, Trapinch, Vibrava, Flygon, and Larvitar)
    Best Counters Gyarados, Kyogre, Exeggcutor, Mamoswine, and Glaceon.
  • Are you scared of psychics that use unseen power? (Drowzee, Hypno, Abra, Kadabra, Wobuffet, Ralts, and Kirlia)
    Best Counters Darkrai, Tyranitar, Weaville, Houndoom, Giratina, Scizor, Chandelure, and Pinsir.
  • Let's rock and roll! (Larvitar, Pupitar, and Tyranitar)
    Best Counters Lucario, Konkeldurr, Machamp, Hariyama, Kyogre, Groudon, and Dialga.
  • Ke… ke… ke… ke… ke… ke… (Sableye, Shuppet, Banette, Duskull, Dusclops, and Dusknoir)
    Best Counters Darkraki, Weavile, Giratina, and Tyranitar.
  • This buff physique isn't just for show! (Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee)
    Alakazam, Mewtwo, Gardevoir, Espeon, and Lugia.
  • Get ready to be shocked! (Magnemite, Magneton, Electabuzz, Mareep, Flaaffy, and Ampharos)
    Best Counters Groudon, Rhyperior, Excadrill, Garchomp, Flygon, and Swampert.
  • Don't bother, I've already won / Get ready to be defeated! / Winning is for winners (Charizard, Blastoise, and Venasaur), or (Lapras), or (Snorlax)
    Best Counters In case of the Kanto Starters, you'll want a counter for each (Fire, Flying, Psychic, or Ice for Venusaur, Rock or Water for Charizard, and Grass or Electric for Blastois)
    Best Counters For Lapras, Lucario, Konkeldurr, Machamp, Raikou, Electivire, or Magnezone.
    Best Counters In the rare case of a triple Snorlax: Machamp, Metagross, Lucario, and Blaziken.

For more details, see our Team GO Rocket Invasion Guide.

Why fight Team GO Rocket?

Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket Shadow Beldum (Image credit: iMore)

Obviously, you can get a Shadow Pokémon if you catch it after the battle. Shadow Pokémon have much higher attack than their non-Shadow counterparts, but much lower defense. They make excellent glass cannons, and are even the best counters for some Raids. Battling Team GO Rocket Grunts is also necessary to gain Mysterious Components, which, in turn, can be used to track down the Executives of Team GO Rocket. Defeating the Team GO Rocket Executives have even greater rewards, including Unova and Sinnoh Stones. Defeating the Executives is also necessary to challenge Giovanni, who brings Legendary Shadow Pokémon to battle.

Team GO Rocket Take Overs

While finding lots of Team GO Rocket PokéStops can be a challenge, every now and then, Pokémon Go has Team GO Rocket Take Overs, in which virtually all PokéStops is claimed by Team GO Rocket Grunts and Team GO Rocket Leaders are more plentiful. The last Team GO Rocket Take Over was November 24, 2019 from 11 AM to 1 PM local time.


Do you have any questions about finding Team GO Rocket PokéStops or challenging Team GO Rocket? Want to show off your latest Shadow Pokémon? Drop us a comment below, and be sure to check out our Complete Pokédex, as well as our many other Pokémon Go guides so you too can become a Pokémon Master!

Alex Huebner

Alex has been working with iMore as a Freelance Gaming Writer for three years. You can also find a few articles of hers on Android Central and Windows Central. She regularly covers Nintendo Switch games and accessories as well as iOS game apps. In addition to the Nintendo Switch, you may also find her playing on the PlayStation and PC. When she doesn’t have a controller in hand she likes to spend her time with her husband, son, and dogs, exploring new places, or hiding away with a book (or comic book). A few of her favorite games include the Zelda franchise, Little Nightmares, and Animal Crossing.