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

The Team GO Rocket Boss of Pokémon GO has new Shadow Pokémon on his teams. Here is everything you need to know about Team GO Rocket Boss Giovanni, including his entire line-up, the best counters, and how to catch his Shadow Mewtwo.

Team GO Rocket Boss Giovanni promotional image in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Team GO Rocket Boss Giovanni promotional image in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

Giovanni's line-up is more consistent than the Leaders, as both his first and third slot will always be the same in each rotation. His current line-up consists of:

  • Slot One: Persian
  • Slot Two: Nidoking, Kangaskan, Garchomp
  • Slot Three: Mewtwo

Here are counters for each of his possible Pokémon:

  • Persian: Lucario (Counter, Power-up Punch, Shadow Ball… you'll see why later for the third move)
  • Nidoking: Mewtwo (Confusion, Psytrike), Swampert (Water Gun, Hydro Cannon)
  • Kangaskan: Lucario (Counter, Power-up Punch), Conkeldurr (Counter, Dynamic Punch)
  • Garchomp: Galarian Darmanitan (Ice Fang, Avalanche), Mamoswine (Powder Snow, Avalanche)
  • Mewtwo: Tyranitar (Bite, Crunch), Hydreigon (Bite, Dark Pulse), Giratina Origin (Shadow Claw, Shadow Ball), or if your Lucario is still going, hit Mewtwo with Shadow Ball and K.O. Giovanni's entire team with one Pokémon

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

  • Line up #1: Tyranitar, Conkeldurr, Lucario
  • Line up #2: Hydreigon, Swampert, Lucario
  • Line up #3: Giratina Origin, Mamoswine, Lucario
  • God-tier Line Up: Shadow Mewtwo (Confusion, Shadow Ball), Hydreigon (Bite, Dark Pulse, Dragon Pulse), Lucario (Counter, Power-up Punch, Shadow Ball)

Shadow Mewto wasn't mentioned in the counters because of its rarity. You had to attend GO Fest 2020 to get one prior to this current Giovanni battle. However, if you have that… you essentially need that and Lucario. The Hydreigon is just a little extra buddy hanging out to watch the fight.

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 Giovanni's Slot One Shadow. This is because you must start the battle with the "Switch Out" method. Put your counter to Giovanni's Persian in the third slot and, as soon as the battle begins, switch to that Pokémon. This switch will freeze Giovanni 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… Giovanni has two shields. You want, first and foremost, a Pokémon that will be able to charge up their Charged Attacks quickly so that Giovanni's shields can be taken down and real damage can be done.

Shadow Mewtwo will be the encounter and is not currently available as a Shiny.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.