Sierra Counters: Defeating Team GO Rocket Leaders In Pokémon GO

Currently, the only way to obtain Shiny Shadow Pokémon in Pokémon GO is to defeat one of the three Team GO Rocket Leaders: Sierra, Arlo, and Cliff. These three leaders, unlike Team GO Rocket Grunts, employ their shields, making them more difficult to defeat.  In this comprehensive Sierra Battle Guide, Bleeding Cool is here to help trainers take on this villainous leader with the best counters… and potentially catch a Shiny Shadow Lapras.

Sierra Counters, no matter what Pokémon she has. Credit: Niantic.
Sierra Counters, no matter what Pokémon she has. Credit: Niantic.

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

  • SLOT ONE: Lapras
  • SLOT TWO: Exeggutor, Lapras, Sharpedo
  • SLOT THREE: Shiftry, Houndoom, Alakazam

Of these six possible Pokémon, all but two are weak to Fighting-types. Here are three possible scenarios, along with the best counters to use against each Pokémon.

Scenario #1: Lapras, Lapras/Sharpedo, Shiftry/Houndoom

This scenario features a line-up of Pokémon entirely week to Fighting-types. Your best bets are to go in with the following team:

  • SLOT ONE: Conkeldurr (Counter, Dynamic Punch)
  • SLOT TWO: Lucario (Counter, Power-Up Punch)
  • SLOT THREE: Machamp (Counter, Close Combat)

As soon as the battle begins, switch directly to Lucario and spam Lapras with Power-Up Punches. This Charged move doesn't hit very hard, but it increased the power of Lucario's Fast attack and will quickly take down Sierra's shields. With these three Pokémon maxed out, any combination of moves from Sierra's Pokémon will fall short against your team.

Scenario #2: An Exeggutor in the middle

An Exeggutor in the middle of Lapras and either Shiftry or Houndoom at the end complicates things. Instead of three fighting types, you will want to go into the battle with a Bug-type or Fire-type to defeat this Grass/Psychic-type. The best choice would be Bug-types, as Exeggutor will be double-weak to those.

  • SLOT ONE: Scizor (Fury Cutter, X-Scissor)
  • SLOT TWO: Lucario (Counter, Power-Up Punch)
  • SLOT THREE: Conkeldurr (Counter, Dynamic Punch)

This plan all but guarantees that Exeggutor will take our your Lucario, but that's okay. Lucario's purpose in this is to take out Sierra's shields while also defeating Lapras.

Sierra Counters, no matter what Pokémon she has. Credit: Niantic.
Sierra Counters, no matter what Pokémon she has. Credit: Niantic.

Scenario #3: An Alakazam at the end

There are a few different possibilities here. It depends if there is an Exeggutor in the middle, or a Lapras/Sharpedo. Here's a breakdown for each one. First, if the second Pokémon is Lapras/Sharpedo and the third is Alakazam:

  • SLOT ONE: Alakazam (Counter, Shadow Ball)
  • SLOT TWO: Lucario (Counter, Power-Up Punch)
  • SLOT THREE: Conkeldurr (Counter, Dynamic Punch)

In this situation, and only this one, hit Lapras with three to four taps before switching to Lucario. This will see Alakazam take significant damage, but it will deal damage to Lapras with its Community Day, Fighting-type move of Counter while also charging up the Ghost-type Shadow Ball. Switch to Lucario and continue with the Power-Up Punch plan. Then, when Alakazam is shown in the final slot, release your own Alakazam and deal a Shadow Ball, which will in almost every situation take Sierra's Alakazam out in one hit.

If Sierra has Alakazam at the end but an Exeggutor in the middle, replace Conkeldurr with a Fire-type. The very best option is a Chandelure with Fire Spin as its Fast attack, and Shadow Ball as its Charged. This way, if the Exeggutor is defeated with energy left on your Chandelure, it will be able to hit Sierra's Alakazam with a Shadow Ball.

Switch as soon as the battle begins

The reason that switching as soon as the battle begins is recommended is because 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.

Defeating Sierra currently leads to an encounter with Shadow Lapras, which can be Shiny.

NEXT: Arlo counters.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.