March 2020's lineup, Special Research, and Shadow Pokémon have been extended through April to give players additional time to encounter Shadow Entei.
Now that Team Go Rocket is sending in more than just Grunts, defeating the villains of Pokémon Go takes more than just a handful of recommended Pokémon. Every month, you have a chance to battle your way through the three top ranked executives of Team Go Rocket, leading you to a battle with Giovanni, himself, and a Legendary Shadow Pokémon! Even well-seasoned players, like myself, have struggled against the Team Go Rocket Executives and Giovanni. Fortunately, we're here to walk you through exactly what you need to take on each of these big bads!
What is Team Go Rocket?
Team Go Rocket is the current incarnation of the first criminal organization from the original Pokémon games and show. Led by Giovanni, Team Rocket has always been lurking in the shadows of the Pokémon world, stealing any Pokémon they can get their hands on, along with all the Poké Balls and Pokémon related technology possible. They're the bad guys. Worse even, as Team Go Rocket, they've invaded the world of Pokémon Go along with Shadow Pokémon, formerly good Pokémon who have been corrupted through a crazy technique that leaves them in constant pain and forced to assist in Team Go Rocket's criminal endeavors.
How do I challenge the leaders?
While Team Go Rocket Grunts have been taking over Pokéstops since July 2019, beginning in November 2019, their leaders have joined the fight. By fighting six Grunts, you can collect Mysterious components, which can, in turn, be used to create a Rocket Radar. Once in possession of a Rocket Radar, you can track down Team Go Rocket Hideouts and challenge one of three Team Go Rocket Executives. These Executives are much stronger than the Grunts and actually know how to use their Shields, so prepare for a tough battle. Along with Special Research, if you defeat all three Team Go Rocket Executives, you can be rewarded with a Super Rocket Radar that will lead you to the Boss of Team Go Rocket, Giovanni! For more details on how to get to the Team Go Rocket Executives and Giovanni, check out our guide.
Cliff is the first of the Team Go Rocket Executives and their counterpart to Team Mystic's Leader Blanche. Cliff brings in a team of three Pokémon with the second and third being chosen from a pool of different strong Shadow Pokémon. Fortunately, you can battle an Executive as many times as it takes to beat them. So, if you lose the first time, take note of which Pokémon fill those second and third slots and plan your next attack accordingly.
Cliff's first Pokémon is currently Pinsir. Fire types work best here, such as Moltres, Blaziken, Chandelure, or Volcarona. Flying and Rock types can work here too, but Fire is going to be your best bet.
In his second slot, Ciff could send out Marowak. Marowak uses Ground and Fighting type moves and is weak against Water, Grass, and Ice. Gyarados or Tropius are ideal counters, but Venusaur or Torterra could work too.
- If he goes with Omastar, you'll want to exploit its double weakness against Grass types. If you brought a Tropius for Marowak, it will work here too, but you could also bring in Torterra, Venusaur, or Leafeon.
If Electivire is in Cliff's second slot, its only weakness is against Ground. Fortunately, there are still some great counters, including: Garchomp, Rhyperior, or Flygon.
For the third slot, Cliff may bring Tyranitar, in which case, your Fighting-types like Machamp, Lucario, or Heracross will serve you well. Water types like Swampert, Kyogre, or Kingler with Crabhammer can also work well.
- Swampert could be in Cliff's third slot, in which case Venusaur, Meganium, or Leafeon will do well, but you could also rely on a Torterra or Roserade.
- Torterra can also be Cliff's third Pokémon, in which case taking advantage of its double weakness to Ice with Articuno or Regice works well, or you can rely on Moltres if you brought that to take on Pinsir.
Going into your first attempt at Cliff, the safest choices you can make are Moltres, Venusaur, and either Rhyperior or Machamp. Neither is a surefire team, but you'll have something that can counter most every possible Pokémon he could bring out. Keep in mind, though, his Pokémon all have outrageous CP and might take multiple tries.
Much like her counterparts, Sierra's team choices make all the difference in what you should bring to fight her, and her Shadow Pokémon have ridiculous CP. Be prepared to fight her more than once.
For her second slot, she could go with Exeggutor which has a double weakness against Bug. It is also weak against Dark, Fire, and Ghost, Ice, Flying, and Poison. If your first Pokémon is still kicking, it will do well here. Otherwise, you want a Bug type, like Scizor, Volcarona, Pinsir, or Yanmega.
- If she goes with Lapras, you're going to want to focus on resisting its attacks. Your best bets for that are Dragon, Steel, or Ice types, such as Dialga, Melmetal, or Regice. You could also bring Machamp or Lucario as Lapras is weak against Fighting types.
Shiftry could be in Sierra's third slot, in which case you want to take advantage of its double weakness to Bug types. Yanmega or Volcarona do well here. Flying, Fairy, or Fire Types can also do well here, including Togekiss, Ho-oh, or Moltres.
- If Houndoom is her third choice, Water, Fighting, Ground, or Rock are all super effective. Tyranitar, Swampert, Poliwrath, or Machamp all do very well.
- If Sierra sends out Alakazam, Tyranitar, Hydreigon, or Darkrai all do really well in resisting Alakazam's attacks while taking advantage of its Ghost and Dark weaknesses.
So, for your first strike against Sierra, your best bet is Darkrai, Machamp, and Yanmega.
Another challenging Executive, Arlo can bring out a wide variety of Shadow Pokémon with crazy high CP. Expect to fight a second or third time before you get the right combination to defeat him.
In the second slot, Arlo could go with Charizard, which has a double weakness against Rock. Rhyperior, Regirock or Golem work well here, but you can also rely on an Electric type like Zapdos or a Water type, like Kyogre.
- If Arlo goes with Blastoise, Grass types are best. You can counter with Venusaur, Leafeon, Sceptile or Virizion.
If Steelix is Arlo's second choice, his move pool is hard to counter. Ground types like Rhyperior or Excadrill might be able to take Steelix, but a Fire type like Charizard, Heatran or Moltres could be useful here.
- For Dragonite or Salamence, you want to counter with an Ice type like Regice, Mamoswine, or a Mewtwo with Ice Beam, taking advantage of their double weakness. Another Dragon type, like Dialga could work too.
Going up against Arlo for the first time, your best odds are with a team of Moltres, Rhyperior, and Regice. However, if he chooses Blastoise, you'll probably need to try a second time with a Grass type in place of Rhyperior
The Founder of Team Go Rocket, Giovanni is the only one bringing in Legendary Shadow Pokémon. For the time being, however, his team is more limited than his Executives. His first Pokémon is always Persian and his last is currently Entei (although this usually changes each calendar month.)
- If his second Pokémon is Rhyperior, you'lll want to counter with a solid Water or Grass type, such as Kyogre, Torterra, Venusaur, Swampert, or Roserade.
If Steelix is Giovanni's second choice, his move pool is hard to counter. Your fighting types, like Machamp or Lucario might be able to take Steelix, if they're still around from Persian. However a Fire type like Charizard or Heatran could be useful here. You could also bring a Water type, like Kyogre.
Your best choices for the first team to tackle Giovanni are Rhyperior, Roserade, and Kyogre.
Team Go Rocket questions?
There you have it. Follow our guide, and you'll send Team Go Rocket blasting off again! Have any questions about fighting Team Go Rocket, Cliff, Sierra, Arlo, or Giovanni? Want to share your winning team? Drop us a comment below and check out our other Pokémon Go guides!
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