Giovanni Counters: Defeating the Team GO Rocket Boss In Pokémon GO

Currently, the only way to obtain Legendary Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon GO is to defeat the Team GO Rocket boss, Giovanni. Like the three Team GO Rocket leaders who work under him, Giovanni employs his shields, making him more difficult to defeat than standard Grunts. In this comprehensive Giovani Counters Guide, Bleeding Cool is here to help trainers take Pokémon GO's ultimate villain with the best counters… and catch a Shadow Suicune.

Giovanni is the Team GO Rocket boss. Credit: Niantic.
Giovanni is the Team GO Rocket boss. Credit: Niantic.

Finding Giovanni

Currently, the only way to find Giovanni is to obtain a Super Rocket Radar through Special Research. There is none currently active, so trainers must have already completed these tasks and unlocked the Radar to find Giovanni at the moment. Unlike the Team GO Rocket Leaders, which can be found easily using the Rocket Radar, sometimes Pokéstops that register on the Super Rocket Radar are "decoy" Grunts posing as Giovanni. Finding the boss can be a task unto itself, but if you can't find him at a Stop, turning on the Radar will ensure that the next Team GO Rocket balloon that drifts to you will have Giovanni on board.

Battling Giovanni

Currently, Giovani has three slots of Pokémon, with the following possibilities:

  • SLOT ONE: Persian
  • SLOT TWO: Dugtrio, Nidoking, Garchomp
  • SLOT THREE: Suicune

One thing that makes Giovanni easier to plan for than the Leaders is that his third slot will always have Suicune during this current Team GO Rocket phase, unlike Cliff, Sierra, and Arlo, whose third slot has three possibilities. Here is how you can prepare for every eventuality.

Giovanni is the Team GO Rocket boss. Credit: Niantic.
Giovanni is the Team GO Rocket boss. Credit: Niantic.

Slot #1: Persian

Persian is a Normal-type that will be weak to Fighting-types, but the Pokémon you intend to use against Persian should not be in your first slot. You want to start off by switching Pokémon immediately (*see below for why), so instead, your Slot #1 should have a Pokémon, which will become useful against Giovanni's Slot #3 Pokémon: Suicune. First, though, to defeat Persian, your team should be:

  • SLOT ONE: Zekrom (Charge Beam, Wild Charge) or Roselia (Grass Knot, Razor Leaf)
  • SLOT TWO: Lucario (Counter, Power-Up Punch)
  • SLOT THREE: This depends on what Pokémon is in Giovanni's #2 slot

Lucario's move of Power-Up Punch charges unbelievably fast, and, using the switch method which we will break down shortly, will take down both of Giovanni's shields and defeat Persian.

Slot #2: Dugtrio, Nidoking, Garchomp

Because Giovanni's second slot is the only wild card, plan your third slot accordingly. There is a chance that your Lucario could power through these Pokémon, but the best bet is to go in with a hard counter.

For Dugtrio, you'd look at a team of:

  • SLOT ONE: Zekrom (Charge Beam, Wild Charge) or Roselia (Grass Knot, Razor Leaf)
  • SLOT TWO: Lucario (Counter, Power-Up Punch)
  • SLOT THREE: Kyogre (Waterfall, Surf) or any strong Water-type

For Nidoking:

  • SLOT ONE: Zekrom (Charge Beam, Wild Charge) or Roselia (Grass Knot, Razor Leaf)
  • SLOT TWO: Lucario (Counter, Power-Up Punch)
  • SLOT THREE: Mewtwo (Confusion, Psystrike)

And finally, for Garchomp:

  • SLOT ONE: Zekrom (Charge Beam, Wild Charge) or Roselia (Grass Knot, Razor Leaf)
  • SLOT TWO: Lucario (Counter, Power-Up Punch)
  • SLOT THREE: Mamoswine (Powder Snow, Avalanche)

Slot #3: Suicune

Suicune is a pure Water-type so, as shown above, with the selection of Zekrom (Charge Beam, Wild Charge) or Roselia (Grass Knot, Razor Leaf), going in with an Electric-type or Grass-type with a quick, spammy Charged attack is the best bet. While Zekrom will hit harder, Roselia has the added bonus of being a good counter to Slot Two possibility Dugtrio.

Shadow Pokémon help

Use Team GO Rocket's own Pokémon against them. The Shadow boost, as we covered here, makes a huge difference. A Shadow Machamp, which has been treated with a Charged TM to have double Fighting-type moves, will cut through Giovanni's Persian with efficiency as well.

Switch as soon as the battle begins

The reason that switching as soon as the battle begins is recommended is that this method freezes up Team GO Rocket Grunts, Leaders, and the Boss for a very valuable beat. This allows a brief moment where you can deal damage and power up Charged attacks without taking any damage. This is essential to defeating these Leaders, who have incredibly powerful Shadow Pokémon that will be able to defeat a glass cannon Pokémon like Lucario without even using a Charged attack. Employ this method as soon as you begin the battle and then, if enough time elapses again later in the battle.

Don't miss our:

NEXT: Team GO Rocket is expected to have a switch-up in September, so stay tuned for new guides with the Team GO Rocket Leaders and Boss line-ups change.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.