Giovanni Battle Guide For Pokémon GO Players: November 2021

There has been a shakeup with the Team GO Rocket Boss Giovanni's line-up in Pokémon GO now live as of November 2021. Players can now encounter Shadow Lugia once defeating him, but some may have trouble with this powerful Legendary Pokémon. With this battle guide, you can build a team to defeat Giovanni and earn that coveted encounter.

Shadow Lugia in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Shadow Lugia in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

Giovanni's November 2021 line-up consists of:

  • Slot One: Persian
  • Slot Two: Kingler, Nidoking, Rhyperior
  • Slot Three: Lugia

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.
  • Kingler: Ludicolo with Grass-type moves, Leafeon, Zekrom.
  • Rhyperior: Machamp (Counter, Cross Chop), Lucario (Counter, Power-up Punch), or any other Fighting-type with a quick Charged Attack. Lucario will be weak to Ground-type moves but hopefully you will have used Power-up Punch enough on Persian that you can punch through it. Water-types like Swampert will do well, as will Grass-types like Leafeon.
  • Nidoking: Excadrill, Swampert, Garchomp.
  • Lugia: Rhyperior (Smack Down, Rock Wrecker), Rampardos (Smack Down, Rock Slide), Tyranitar (Bite, Crunch, Stone Edge). A crazy move would be to suit Lucario with Power-up Punch and Shadow Ball. Punch through the first two and then deliver a final Shadow Ball to Lugia. Be careful, though, as Lucario's Counter won't do damage and it will take damage from Lugia.

Based on the above counters, the ideal line-up here is: Swampert, Lucario, Tyranitar.


  • 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. Giovanni has moderate overlaps here, which the above team will exploit.
  • 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 Giovanni's first slot in your 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. 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… Giovanni has two shields. You want to choose 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. 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 that Tyranitar has Crunch. Lugia will be weak to both Rock-type and Dark-type moves from Tyranitar, but it's imperative to choose the attack that charges more quickly.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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