The March 2020 lineup, Special Search, and Shadow Pokémon have been extended until April to give players more time to meet Shadow Entei.
Now that Team Go Rocket sends more than growls, defeating the bad guys from Pokémon Go takes more than a handful of recommended Pokémon. Each month, you have a chance to make your way through the three top executives of Team Go Rocket, leading you to a battle with Giovanni, himself and a Legendary Shadow Pokémon! Even seasoned players like me have struggled against the leaders of Team Go Rocket and Giovanni. Fortunately, we’re here to explain exactly what you need to tackle each of these big problems!
What is Team Go Rocket?
Team Go Rocket is the current embodiment of the first criminal organization of the original Pokémon games and shows. Led by Giovanni, Team Rocket has always been hidden in the shadows of the Pokémon world, stealing all the Pokémon they can get their hands on, as well as all the Poké Balls and technology related to possible Pokémon. These are the bad guys. Worse yet, as Team Go Rocket, they invaded the world of Pokémon Go with Shadow Pokémon, formerly good Pokémon who have been corrupted by a mad technique that leaves them in constant pain and forced to help in criminal efforts from Team Go Rocket.
How to challenge the leaders?
While Team Go Rocket Grunts has taken over Pokéstops since July 2019, from November 2019, their leaders have joined the fight. By fighting six grunts, you can collect mysterious components, which in turn can be used to create a rocket radar. Once in possession of a Rocket Radar, you can find Team Go Rocket Hideouts and challenge one of the three Team Go Rocket Executives. These frames are much stronger than the Grunts and really know how to use their shields, so prepare for a tough battle. In addition to the special search, if you beat the three executives of Team Go Rocket, you can be rewarded with a Super Rocket Radar that will take you to the boss of Team Go Rocket, Giovanni! For more details on how to get to the leaders of Team Go Rocket and Giovanni, see our guide.
Cliff is the first of Team Go Rocket Executives and their counterpart to the White Chef of Team Mystic. Cliff uses a team of three Pokémon, the second and third being chosen from a group of different strong Shadow Pokémon. Fortunately, you can fight an Executive as many times as you need to beat it. So if you lose the first time, note which Pokémon fill these second and third slots and plan your next attack accordingly.
Cliff’s first Pokémon is currently Pinsir. Fire types work best here, like Moltres, Blaziken, Chandelure or Volcarona. Flight and rock types can also work here, but fire will be your best bet.
In his second lunge, Ciff could send Marowak. Marowak uses Ground and Combat movements and is weak against water, grass and ice. Gyarados or Tropius are ideal counters, but Venusaur or Torterra could also work.
- If it goes with Omastar, you will want to exploit its double weakness against the types of grass. If you brought a Tropius for Marowak, it will work here too, but you can also bring Torterra, Venusaur or Leafeon.
If Electivire is in the second location of Cliff, its only weakness is against Ground. Fortunately, there are still good counters, including: Garchomp, Rhyperior or Flygon.
For the third location, Cliff can bring Tyranitar, in which case your combat 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 location, in which case Venusaur, Meganium or Leafeon would do well, but you could also count on a Torterra or Roserade.
- Torterra can also be Cliff’s third Pokémon, in which case taking advantage of its double weakness for Ice with Articuno or Regice works well, or you can count on Moltres if you brought that to face Pinsir.
On your first attempt at Cliff, the safest choices you can make are Moltres, Venusaur and Rhyperior or Machamp. No more than an infallible team, but you will have something that will counter most of the possible Pokémon it could bring out. Keep in mind, however, that its Pokémon all have outrageous CPs and can take multiple tries.
Just like its counterparts, Sierra’s team choices make all the difference in what you need to bring to fight it, and its Shadow Pokémon have a ridiculous PC. Be prepared to fight it more than once.
The first Pokémon from Sierra, Beldum is weak for Dark, Fire, Ghost and Ground, giving you many options. The best counters here are Flareon, Blaziken, Entei or Darkrai.
For second place, she could go with Exeggutor who has a double weakness against Bug. It is also weak against darkness, fire and ghosts, ice, theft and poison. If your first Pokémon still kicks, it will do the trick here. Otherwise, you want some type of bug, like Scizor, Volcarona, Pinsir or Yanmega.
- If she goes with Lapras, you’ll want to focus on resisting her attacks. Your best bets for this are the Dragon, Steel or Ice types, such as Dialga, Melmetal or Regice. You can also bring Machamp or Lucario because Lapras is weak against combat types.
Sharpedo has several weaknesses, including Bug, Electric, Fairy, Fighting and Grass. Good counters here include Machamp, Raikou, Zapdos or Lucario.
Shiftry could be in Sierra’s third location, in which case you want to take advantage of its double weakness for bug types. Yanmega or Volcarona do well here. The types of flight, fairy or fire can also do well here, including Togekiss, Ho-oh or Moltres.
- If Houndoom is his third choice, water, fighting, soil or rock are all super efficient. Tyranitar, Swampert, Poliwrath or Machamp are doing very well.
- If Sierra sends Alakazam, Tyranitar, Hydreigon or Darkrai, all of them very successfully resist 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 difficult setting, 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 it.
Currently, Arlo’s first Pokémon is still Mawile. Your best bets here are types of fire, like Chandelure, Darmanitan, Moltres, Volcarona or Blaziken.
In the second slot, Arlo could go with Charizard, who has a double weakness against Rock. Rhyperior, Regirock or Golem work well here, but you can also count on an electric type like Zapdos or a water type like Kyogre.
- If Arlo goes with Blastoise, the types of grass are the best. You can counter with Venusaur, Leafeon, Sceptile or Virizion.
If Steelix is Arlo’s second choice, his supply of shots is difficult to counter. Soil types like Rhyperior or Excadrill might be able to take Steelix, but a type of fire like Charizard, Heatran or Moltres might be useful here.
For his third Pokémon, if Arlo goes with Scizor, you should counter with Fire type Pokémon, like Moltres, Heatran, Charizard or Blaziken.
- For Dragonite or Salamence, you want to counter with a type of ice like Regice, Mamoswine or a Mewtwo with Ice Beam, taking advantage of their double weakness. Another type of Dragon, like Dialga, could also work.
When facing Arlo for the first time, your best chances are with a team of Moltres, Rhyperior and Regice. However, if he chooses Blastoise, you will probably have to try a Grass type a second time instead of Rhyperior
Founder of Team Go Rocket, Giovanni is the only one to have introduced Legendary Shadow Pokémon. At the moment, however, his team is more limited than his executives. Its first Pokémon is still Persian and its latest is currently Entei (although this usually changes every calendar month.)
Giovanni’s first Pokémon is Persian. The best Pokémon to counter Persian are Machamp, Conkeldurr, Lucario, Melmetal or Rhyperior.
For his second Pokémon, Giovanni could bring Kingler. Pokémon like Torterra, Roserade, Venusaur, Palkia or Giratina (Origin Forme) are the best markers here.
- If its second Pokémon is Rhyperior, you will want to counter it with a solid type of water or grass, such as Kyogre, Torterra, Venusaur, Swampert or Roserade.
If Steelix is Giovanni’s second choice, his reserve of shots is difficult to counter. Your fighting types, like Machamp or Lucario, might be able to take Steelix, if they’re still around the Persian. However, a type of fire like Charizard or Heatran could be useful here. You can also bring a type of water, like Kyogre.
For March and April 2020, Giovanni’s third Pokémon is Entei. The best Pokémon to counter are Kyogre, Kingler, Rampardos, Tyranitar or Rhyperior.
Your best choices for the first team to face Giovanni are Rhyperior, Roserade and Kyogre.
Questions about the Go Rocket team?
Here. Follow our guide and you will send Team Go Rocket again to explode! Do you have questions about fighting Team Go Rocket, Cliff, Sierra, Arlo or Giovanni? Want to share your winning team? Send us a comment below and check out our other Pokémon Go guides!