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Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket GiovanniSource: Niantic

Team Go Rocket is back for December and this time Giovanni has captured the Legendary bird Zapdos. By completing the Special Research A Challenging Development, you can defeat Giovanni, rescue Shadow Zapdos, and Purify the Legendary Electric type.

What is Team Go Rocket anyway?

Based on the original antagonists 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.

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Can I start right away?

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

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

A Challenging Development

Once you've completed A Troubling Situation and Looming in the Shadows, you will find A Challenging Development in your list of Special Research quests. Like Looming in the Shadows, this Special Research is split up into six steps of three tasks each.

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, 10 Razz Berries

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 Pokemon Go Team Rocket Mysterious Component
  2. Win three Great League Trainer Battles 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

Step Four

  1. Defeat Team Go Rocket Leader Arlo for 1,250 XP Pokemon Go Rocket Radar
  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

Step Five

  1. Find the Team Go Rocket Boss for 2,500 Stardust Pokemon Go Super Rocket Radar
  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

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. For a more in depth dive into the possible counters for the Leaders of Team Go Rocket, see our guide.

Cliff

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.

Sierra

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.

Arlo

Pokemon Go Team 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.

Giovanni

Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket GiovanniSource: Niantic

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
  • Zapdos

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 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 A Challenging Development?

Do you have any questions about the Special Research, A Challenging Development 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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