Cliff Battle Guide For Pokémon GO Players: February 2021

The Team GO Rocket Leaders of Pokémon GO have new Shadow Pokémon on their teams. Here is everything you need to know about Team GO Rocket Leader Cliff, including his entire line-up, the best counters, and which of his Pokémon you can catch Shiny.

Cliff in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Cliff in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

Cliff's current line-up in Pokémon GO consists of:

  • Slot One: Aerodactyl
  • Slot Two: Gallade, Cradily, Slowking
  • Slot Three: Dusknoir, Mamoswine, Tyranitar

This time around, Cliff is going to be by far the hardest to defeat. He's the new "Double Lapras Sierra" here thanks to him leading with Aerodactyl, which is quote strong. Counters for each of his possible Pokémon include:

  • Aerodactyl: Swampert! Melmetal works too, but Swampert (Water Gun, Hydro Cannon) is the way. I'm currently running a Shadow Swampert to hit harder. Rock types will do damage but will also take immense damage from  Aerodactyl.
  • Gallade: Shadow Mewtwo (Psycho Cut, Shadow Ball), Chandelure (Hex, Shadow Ball)
  • Cradily: Lucario (Counter, Aurasphere), Metagross (Bullet Punch, Meteor Mash)
  • Slowking: Darkrai (Snarl, Dark Pulse), Chandelure (Hex, Shadow Ball)
  • Dusknoir: Chandelure (Hex, Shadow Ball), Darkrai (Snarl, Dark Pulse)
  • Mamoswine: Lucario (Counter, Power-up Punch), Conkeldurr (Counter, Dynamic Punch)
  • Tyranitar: Lucario (Counter, Aurasphere), Conkeldurr (Counter, Dynamic Punch)

Now, picking a team to go against these Rockets can be difficult but, thankfully, Cliff's Pokémon have a lot of shared weaknesses with the exception of Aerodactyl. You'll want your counters to have a Ghost or Dark-type and a Fighting-type to handle his heavy hitters. The absolute biggest priority is speed for Charged Attacks, which is why Lucario, Swampert, Scizor, and Melmetal get such use in these battles.

I recommend:

  • Chandelure (Hex, Shadow Ball), Swampert (Water Gun, Hydro Cannon), Lucario (Counter, Power-up Punch)

If you are able to unlock third moves, you can create coverage against the Ghosts and Psychics by adding Shadow Ball to Lucario. However, Aura Sphere is an elite Fighting-type move that Lucario also gets, so only create a Shadow Ball Lucario if you also have a good Aura Sphere Lucario with Power-Up Punch.

Finally, three tips that are essential to keep in mind when fighting Team GO Rocket Leaders. These tips can be used when fighting Grunts as well.

  • Switch Out: Notice in the above-suggested line-up that the Pokémon in Slot One is not the ideal counter for Cliff's Slot One Shadow. This is because you must start the battle with the "Switch Out" method. Put your counter to Cliff's Aerodactyl in the second or third slot and, as soon as the battle begins, switch to that Pokémon. This switch will freeze Cliff up for a moment, allowing you to deal damage without taking damage. He will freeze after every switch and also after every Charged Attack. Utilizing this freeze is essential to defeating these powerful Shadows.
  • Power Up: Shadow Pokémon are incredibly powerful and will hit harder than most. Your best bet, beyond going in with top counters with their ideal move sets, is to completely power up your Pokémon. It may take a lot of Stardust, but the difference between a maxed out (to Level 40 of course, I know Candy XL is rare!) counter and a lower-level counter may just win you the battle.
  • Get the Shields Down: You may have another Pokémon that you prefer to your Lucario as a Fighting-type, but keep in mind… Cliff has two shields. You want, first and foremost, a Pokémon that will be able to charge up their Charged Attacks quickly so that Cliff shields can be taken down and real damage can be done.

Cliff's current Pokémon that can be caught as a Shiny Shadow is Aerodactyl. The rate of Shiny Shadow Pokémon has not yet been determined by researchers.

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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