Cliff Battle Guide For Pokémon GO Players: November 2021

There has been a shakeup with the Team GO Rocket Leaders' line-ups in Pokémon GO now live as of November 2021. Not only do they have different teams, but the potentially Shiny Shadow Pokémon that you can encounter after defeating them has also changed. With this battle guide, you can build a team to defeat Team GO Rocket Leader Arlo and earn an encounter with a Shiny-capable Shadow Grimer.

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

Here is a breakdown of Cliff's team and possible counters. This time, to help our readers build their own teams from a diverse selection of possible Pokémon, I will suggest multiple counters for every possible Pokémon he will throw out. These are based not only on type effectivity but also shared weaknesses of other species on these teams and the speed of your counter Pokémon's attacks, which we'll get to below.


  • Grimer: Excadrill, Swampert (using Ground-type moves for damage and Hydro Cannon to kill the shields), Mewtwo.


  • Venusaur: Mewtwo, Reshiram, Chandelure
  • Crobat: Mewtwo, Zekrom, Rampardos
  • Machamp: Mewtwo, Espeon, Sylveon


  • Tyranitar: Lucario, Machamp, Swampert
  • Charizard: Rampardos, Swampert, Tyranitar
  • Arcanine: Rampardos, Swampert, Tyranitar


  • Swampert, Lucario, Mewtwo


  • When building a team before you know the exact line-up of Slots Two and Three, aim for general overlapping weaknesses that the options will have. Of all of the Leaders right now, Cliff has by far the most amount of overlapping weaknesses, which will make the above-suggested team a sure win for almost any combination.
  • Switch Out: Don't put your counter to the first Pokémon in your first slot. Instead, start the battle with the "Switch Out" method. Put your counter to Cliff's first slot in your 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.
  • Get the Shields Down: Keep in mind… Cliff has two shields. You want to choose a Pokémon that will be able to charge up their Charged Attacks quickly so that Cliff's shields can be taken down and real damage can be done. The faster the attacks, especially with your first choice, the better off you will be. Be sure Swampert has Hydro Cannon, Lucario has Power-up Punch, and Mewtwo has Psystrike. All super quick!

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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