Pokemon GO Giovanni: How to Beat & Best Counters

pokemon go giovanni


The leaders of Team GO Rocket are now live in Pokemon GO, according to a new blog post from Niantic.

As you progress through the “Looming in the Shadows” Special Research quest, or any other quest that features Team GO Rocket, you’ll defeat all three Team GO Rocket Leaders and get a chance to take on the big boss himself, Giovanni. Here’s how to find and beat Giovanni in Pokemon GO.

How to Find Giovanni

Before you can take on Giovanni, you need to have progressed to step four of the six step Looming in the Shadows Special Research quest (or similar quest). This step will task you with defeating each of the three Team GO Rocket Leaders: Cliff, Sierra and Arlo.

According to a blog post from Niantic, Team GO Rocket Grunts may now drop Mysterious Components when defeated. Assemble six of those to make Rocket Radars that can be used to sniff out the three Team GO Rocket Leaders and battle them. Once you craft one, you can equip or unequip it from your bag. Tap the Rocket Radar button below the compass to activate the Rocket Radar. Using the Rocket Radar reveals all the Leader Hideouts in range, according to Niantic’s support website. They resemble regular PokeStops until you get within range of them, at which point the Team GO Rocket Leader will appear next to the PokeStop. Be careful as Leaders are more powerful than the average Grunt. If you lose a battle against the Leader, you can challenge them again until the Leader Hideout disappears from the map. Once you defeat them, the Rocket Radar breaks.

Even though players with Rocket Radars are the only ones able to detect hideouts for the leaders, they can still collaborate since hideouts appear to players in the same places, according to the blog post. After you create your first Rocket Radar, the items will then be available to purchase from the in-game shop with PokeCoins, according to Niantic’s support website. Only players level eight and above can get Mysterious Components and take on the Leaders, according to the website.

According to Pokemon Go Hub, bosses are only available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

After you beat all three leaders and completed step four of Looming in the Shadows, you’ll earn a Super Rocket Radar which will help you locate and fight Giovanni. The Super Rocket Radar is equipped and unequipped just like the regular Rocket Radars. Once you activate it, you won’t located Giovanni right away. His location will be displayed along with a bunch of Grunts disguised as Giovanni. You need to spin each PokeStop to find where Giovanni is hiding, according to the support website.

Update (July 7, 2020): Giovanni can now appear in Team GO Rocket Balloons that appear occasionally in the overworld. You have to have a Super Rocket Radar equipped for that to happen, though.

Best Counters for Fighting Giovanni (Update: October 12, 2020)

Pokemon 1
Persian (Normal) – Machamp, Conkeldurr, Cobalion, Heracross, Virizion

Pokemon 2
Nidoking (Poison/Ground) – Groudon, Garchomp, Kyogre, Swampert, Rhyperior, Mewtwo, Mew, Mamoswine, Glaceon
Kangashkan (Normal) – Machamp, Lucario, Conkeldurr
Garchomp (Dragon/Ground) – Mamoswine, Glaceon, Mewtwo (w/ Ice Beam), Regice, Articuno, Togekiss, Zekrom, Reshiram, Dialga

Pokemon 3
Mewtwo – Giratina, Darkrai, Scizor

Below is the team composition we recommend for the initial fight. If you get defeated, you can retry with a new team that will be more optimized since you know what Pokemon Sierra is actually using and so know what counters to use.


Use Machamp to take down Persian while burning Giovanni’s shields with Cross Chop. Mamoswine will deal with all three of the potential ground-types Giovanni can use as his second Pokemon – especially Garchomp. Be sure the ground-type is eliminated before you bring out Raikou to take on Suicune.

Tips for Defeating Giovanni

Unlike standard Team GO Rocket Grunts, Giovanni can use shields. Giovanni will use up one of their shields every time you use a Charge Move, so it’s good to have a Pokemon with a Charge Move that has a low energy requirement – such as Machamp with Cross Chop – so you can burn through their shields quickly and hit their later Pokemon hard with a stronger Charge Move with a higher energy requirement.

According to a set of tips from user Paraprosdokian7 and LanAkou, the Pokemon used by Team GO Rocket Leaders have souped up attack stats. That means that it’s not only important to use Pokemon that can deal super effective damage but ones that can resist their attacks. You can bait the leaders into using up all their shields quickly if you use fast charging Charge Moves constantly in the beginning. That way your more powerful Charge Moves can hit the opponent without a hitch. If you can kill a Pokemon easily with Fast Moves, save up your Charge Moves for the next Pokemon they send out especially if that Pokemon isn’t weak to your Fast Moves. Click on the links on each user for more info.

Once you defeat Giovanni, collect the rewards in the Special Research quest to end it. You’ll also be able to catch Shadow Suicune right after you beat Giovanni.

Best Counters for Fighting Giovanni (Pokemon GO Fest 2020)

You’ll need to defeat Giovanni as part of day two of GO Fest 2020’s Special Research quest. Here’s the lineup for Pokemon GO Fest 2020, according to Niantic.

Pokemon 1

  • Persian (Normal) – Machamp, Conkeldurr, Hariyama, Cobalion

    Pokemon 2

  • Sandslash (Ground) – Kyogre, Swampert, Palkia, Gyarados, Mamoswine, Glaceon, Articuno, Tangrowth, Virizion

    Pokemon 3

  • Shadow Mewtwo – Giratina (Origin or Altered), Tyranitar, Hydreigon, Darkrai, Scizor, Escavalier, Genesect, Pinsir
  • Below is the team composition we recommend for the initial fight.

    Machamp – Counter & Cross Chop
    Kyogre – Waterfall & Surf
    Giratina (Origin) – Shadow Claw & Shadow Ball

    Shadow Mewtwo is going to be incredibly tough, so make sure you have your final counter nice and healthy so you can take it on.

    Don’t purify Shadow Mewtwo; it actually performs better than its non-shadow counterpart. It just requires some investment, including an Elite Charged TM for Psystrike. Here’s a full analysis of Shadow Mewtwo from The Silph Road Subreddit.

    Best Counters for Fighting Giovanni (Original: November 10, 2020)

    Here are all the Pokemon Giovanni is known to use according to reports. We also included the best counters to use against them:

    Pokemon 1
    Persian – Machamp, Breloom, Hariyama, Lucario

    Pokemon 2
    Ninoking – Excadrill, Mamoswine, Groudon, Garchomp, Articuno, Mewtwo (w/ Ice Beam or Psychic/Psystrike)
    Dugtrio – Mewtwo (w/ Ice Beam), Mamoswine, Kyogre, Kingler (w/ Crabhammer), Gyarados, Roserade, Sceptile
    Rhydon – Kyogre, Kingler (w/ Crabhammer), Gyarados, Roserade, Sceptile, Venusaur, Machamp, Groudon, Metagross, Dialga, Lucario, Excadrill, Mamoswine, Mewtwo (w/ Ice Beam)

    Pokemon 3
    Articuno – Rampardos, Tyranitar, Metagross, Dialga, Lucario, Chandelure, Moltres, Heatran, Entei, Excadrill, Raikou, Electivire

    In keeping with the tradition of the Pokemon games, Giovanni uses mostly ground-type Pokemon. That makes most of his team vulnerable to ground-type weaknesses like water, grass and ice. However, we don’t anticipate Giovanni going down without a fight. He also has a few Pokemon weak to steel, but keep in mind that steel-types are weak to ground.

    Here’s the team composition we recommend:
    Lucario with Counter and Power-Up Punch + Flash Cannon or Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch
    Mewtwo with Psycho Cut and Ice Beam or Mamoswine with Powder Snow and Avalanche
    Rampardos with Smack Down and Rock Slide or Heatran with Fire Spin and Stone Edge/Fire Blast

    Both Lucario and Machamp will make quick work of Persian as well as Rhydon if you’re lucky. Mewtwo with Ice Beam will decimate all three of Giovanni’s ground-type Pokemon. As for Articuno, Heatran has the highest TDO out of all of Articuno’s possible counters, according to calculations on GamePress. However, any Pokemon that can resist Articuno’s attacks while dealing super effective damage, preferably with rock-type moves since Articuno has a double weakness against them, would be a good choice. You’re welcome to make your own team, of course.

    Defeating Giovanni will give you the chance to catch a Shadow Articuno, which you can then purify to have a very strong ice-type Pokemon on your team.

    See also:

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