Giovanni has new Pokémon in his party, and not just Shadow Ho-Oh. His middle slot can now be Cloyster, Machamp, or Golem which isn't something I'm seeing reported anywhere or covered in other counter guides. Here is everything you need to know about Team GO Rocket's Giovanni in Pokémon GO, including his entire line-up for June 2021, the best counters, and other tips.
Giovanni's June 2021 line-up consists of:
- Slot One: Persian
- Slot Two: Golem, Machamp, or Cloyster
- Slot Three: Ho-Oh
Here are some top suggested counters for each of the boss's possible Pokémon:
- Persian: Lucario (Counter, Power-up Punch), Machamp (Counter, Cross Chop), or any other Fighting-type with a quick Charged Attack
- Cloyster: Lucario (Counter, Power-up Punch), Machamp (Counter, Cross Chop), or any other Fighting-type with a quick Charged Attack
- Machamp: Mewtwo (Confusion, Psystrike) is the overall best Psychic-type by a huge stretch. Other options would be Espeon with Psychic-type moves or Sylveon with Fairy-type moves. Machamp shares fewer weaknesses here, so I'd include Mewtwo if Machamp is Giovanni's second slot hitter, as it will work as a general counter to anything due to its power.
- Golem: Swampert (Water Gun, Hydro Cannon) due to its power, speed, and functionality against Ho-Oh. Your best bet is to charge up Swampert with Golem to deliver a final Hydro Cannon to Ho-Oh. Other Water-types like Kyogre or Kingler will do fine but lack the mixture of speed and power that Swampert delivers.
- Ho-Oh: Rhyperior (Smack Down, Rock Wrecker), Rampardos (Smack Down, Rock Slide), Swampert (Water Gun, Hydro Cannon)
Based on the above counters, the ideal line-up here is:
- Swampert, Lucario, Rhyperior
If you don't have one of them, replacing one with Mewtwo is a strong option as well.
Finally, three tips 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 second or 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 another species 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. Lucario can take down those shields while Power-up Punch will also charge up its Fast Attack.
Giovanni's current Pokémon that can be caught as a Shadow Legendary is Ho-Oh.