Defeating Cliff In Pokémon GO: Rocket Leader Counters For Fall 2020

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.

Team GO Rocket Leader Cliff promotional image in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Team GO Rocket Leader Cliff promotional image in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

Cliff's line-up consists of:

  • Slot One: Omanyte
  • Slot Two: Machamp, Onix, Electivire
  • Slot Three: Tyranitar, Swampert, Torterra

Here are counters for each of his possible Pokémon:

  • Omanyte: Lucario (Counter, Power-Up Punch)
  • Machamp: Mewtwo (Confusion, Psystrike), Espeon (Confusion, Future Sight)
  • Onix: Lucario (Counter, Power-Up Punch), Machamp (any full Fighting-type moveset)
  • Electivire: Excadrill (Mud Slap, Earthquake), Groudon (Mud Shot, Earthquake)
  • Tyranitar: Lucario (Counter, Power-Up Punch), Machamp (any full Fighting-type moveset), Conkeldurr (Counter, Dynamic Punch, Stone Edge as the third move for coverage)
  • Swampert: Roserade (Razor Leaf, Grass Knot)
  • Torterra: Mamoswine (Powder Snow, Avalanche), Reshiram (Fire Fang, Overheat)

Based on this, a few great line-ups to use whenever fighting Cliff would be:

  • Line up #1: Reshiram, Excadrill, Lucario
  • Line up #2: Roserade, Mewtwo, Lucario
  • Line up #3: Conkeldurr, Mewtwo, Lucario

Line up #3 would be best here, as this offers great coverage while taking low damage.

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

  • Switch Out: Notice in the above-suggested line-ups 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 Omanyte in the 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.
  • 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 movesets, is to completely power up your Pokémon. It may take a lot of Stardust, but the difference between a maxed out counter and a lower-level counter may just win you the battle.
  • Fast Charged Attacks: You may have a Conkeldurr 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's shields can be taken down and real damage can be done.

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

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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