Best Pokémon Go tips and tricks for August 2020

Team Go Rocket: Surrender now or prepare to fight!

Pokémon Go Team Go Rocket

Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket (Image credit: Niantic)

Always trying to bring in new features, Pokémon Go now has Team Go Rocket Grunts causing all sorts of trouble and corrupting poor Pokémon into Shadow Pokémon! Fortunately for players, this gives the chance to fight Team Go Rocket in 3 on 3 battles. If you win, not only will you get more experience and items, but you also have the chance to catch a Shadow Pokémon that you can later purify, boosting its stats a lot!

Team Go Rocket Grunts take over individual Pokestops at random. These stops will look a little different from the usual stop and, when approached, will turn black, with a grunt showing up beside. Spin these stops to start an encounter with the grunt and pick your best three Pokémon to battle. The Grunt will give you a clue as to what Pokémon they're bringing into battle, but don't worry if you lose. You can always rechallenge them.

The hints for the grunt's team include:

  • Coiled and ready to strike! (Zubat, Golbat, Venonat, Venomoth, Grimer, and Muk) Best Counters Tyranitar, Groudon, Raikou, and Rhyperior
  • Normal doesn't mean weak (Ratatta, Raticate, Snorlax, and Zubat) Best Counters Machamp, Breloom, Hariyama, and Tyranitar
  • ROAR!... how does that sound? (Dratini, Dragonair, Dragonite, Flygon, and Gyrados) Best Counters Mamoswine, Glaceon, Weavile, Magnezone, and Raikou
  • These waters are treacherous (Magikarp, Gyarados, Psyduck, Poliwag, Poliwhirl, Poliwrath, and Politoed) Best Counters Alolan Exeggutor, Sceptile, Leafeon, Tangrowth, Raikou, and Magnezone
  • Don't tangle with us (Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, Turtwig, Gloom, Vileplume, Cacnea, Cacturne, Seedot, and Shiftry) Best Counters Moltres, Charizard, and Entei
  • My bird Pokémon wants to battle you (Dragonite, Gyrados, Zubat, Golbat, Crobat, and Scyther) Best Counters Tyranitar, Mamoswine, Raikou, and Magnezone
  • Do you know how hot Pokémon fire breath can get? (Charmander, Charmeleon, Houndour, Houndoom, Magmar, and Arcanine) Best Counters Tyranitar, Kyogre, and Vaporeon
  • Go, my super bug Pokémon! (Weedle, Kakuna, Beedrill, Venonat, Venomoth, Scyther, and Scizor) Best Counters Charizard, Moltres, and Chandelure
  • You'll be defeated into the ground! (Cubone, Marowak, Trapinch, Vibrava, Flygon, and Larvitar) Best Counters Gyarados and Exeggcutor
  • Are you scared of psychics that use unseen power? (Drowzee, Hypno, Abra, Alakazam, Ralts, and Kirlia) Best Counters Tyranitar, Weaville, and Houndoom
  • Let's rock and roll! (Larvitar, Pupitar, and Tyranitar) Best Counters Machamp, Hariyama, Breloom, Blaziken, Toxicroak, and Emboar
  • Ke… ke… ke… ke… ke… ke… (Sableye, Shuppet, Banette, Duskull, Dusclops, and Dusknoir)
    Best Counters Darkraki, Weavile, Gengar, and Tyranitar
  • This buff physique isn't just for show! (Hitmonchan)
    Alakazam, Mewtwo, and Moltres
  • Get ready to be shocked! (Electabuzz, Mareep, Flaaffy, and Ampharos)
    Best Counters Groudon, Rhyperior, and Excadrill
  • Don't bother, I've already won / Get ready to be defeated! / Winning is for winners (Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Squirtle, Wartortle, Blastoise, Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, Venasaur) or (Lapras, Snorlax, Gyarados, Poliwrath, Dragonite, and Gardevoir)
    Best Counters The hardest to counter, be prepared to potentially have to fight this one a second or even third time
    In the rare case of a triple Snorlax: Tyranitar, Dialga, Metagross, Dragonite, Lucario, and Ursaring

Taking on Team GO Rocket

What is "Purifying?" Pokémon?

Pokémon Go purify shadow Pokémon

Source: iMore/ Rene Ritchie (Image credit: Source: iMore/ Rene Ritchie)

Purifying your Pokémon changes them from their Shadow state and teaches them a new attack called Return. It also increases their IV scores and level quite a bit. While Purifying every Shadow Pokémon you rescue is not necessary (and if you're limited on Stardust and/or Candy, it can be an outright waste,) there are achievements and Research tasks that rely on Purifying Pokémon. If you purify enough, you will also get additional Premier Balls to capture more Shadow Pokémon.

Keep in mind, the costs for Purifying Shadow Pokémon varies based on the species. Some of the more common species, such as Rattata and Zubat, only cost 1,000 Stardust, while some of the rarer Pokémon can cost up to 5,000 Stardust. If you need to complete a Research task that requires several purifications, you might want to hold off until you have several of the cheap ones. On the other hand, if you're not trying to complete any achievements or Research, you may want to focus on purifying only the rarer Shadow Pokémon with good IVs.

Note: Shadow Pokémon got a huge rebalance recently that makes them perfect glass cannons. This rebalance and the introduction of Legendary Shadow Pokémon mean that the very best Pokémon in the game are Shadow Pokémon and so certain species should never be purified. If you have one of the following, don't purify it:

  • Shadow Mewtwo currently the most powerful Pokémon in all of Go!
  • Shadow Metagross
  • Shadow Salamence
  • Shadow Machamp
  • Shadow Swampert
  • Shadow Dragonite
  • Shadow Raikou
  • Shadow Weavile
  • Shadow Tyranitar
  • Shadow Moltres
  • Shadow Zapdos
  • Shadow Electivire
  • Shadow Magnezone
  • Shadow Entei

Every Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon Go.

The Leaders of Team Go Rocket

In addition to fighting Grunts, and rescuing and Purifying Shadow Pokémon, you can also track down Team Go Rocket Hideouts where you will be able to battle the Team Go Rocket Executives: Cliff, Sierra, and Arlo. These three are much tougher to beat than any of the Grunts, but the rewards for beating them are much greater too. Once a month, you can even complete Special Research to challenge the boss of Team Go Rocket himself: Giovanni. Just getting to Giovanni gives all sorts of XP and rewards but beating him also gives you the chance to catch a Legendary Shadow Pokémon. This chance resets once per calendar month so be sure not to miss out!

How to take on the leaders of Team Go Rocket, now with Jesse and James!

Your best Pokémon Go tips and tricks?

Have you tried out these tips and tricks? Have some of your own that aren't included? Let us know in the comments 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!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.