How to defeat Cliff in Pokemon Go (January 2021) - Dexerto

How to defeat Cliff in Pokemon Go (January 2021)

Published: 4/Jan/2021 21:06

by Brent Koepp


As Pokemon Go celebrates 2021 with the Unova Challenge, Team Rocket will be continuing to cause trouble for Trainers. Here are the best counters to easily defeat Leader Cliff for January.

It’s a new year for Pokemon Go and to celebrate, Niantic is looking back to fifth generation titles Black and White to kick off 2021. Players tackling the Unova Challenge will still face off with Team Rocket.

Making his return this month is Leader Cliff and his Shadow Omanyte. Here is everything you need to know on how to take down his January team of ‘mon in no time at all.


Team Rocket Leader Cliff in Pokemon Go.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
The Team Rocket foe returns in January 2021.

Team Rocket Leader Cliff’s January Pokemon Go team

Not a lot has changed from previous months as Team Rocket’s lineup seems to be be fairly consistent going into 2021. Players will continue to see balloons in the sky that will either contain grunts or one of the three leaders.

For January, Cliff returns with his lineup of Shadow ‘mon which range from Water to Electric, as well as Dark types.  As per usual he will always start each match with Gen I’s Omanyte.

Trainers will have a range of six different characters that he can choose from. Below are the characters that you might face off this month:


  • Slot 1: Omanyte
  • Slot 2: Electivire (34%), Onix (34%), Machamp (32%)
  • Slot 3: Tyranitar (77%), Swampert (15%), Torterra (9%)
Screenshot of Shadow Omanyte in Pokemon Go.
Niantic / The Pokemon Company
Players will face off against Cliff’s Shadow Omanyte again in January.

Best Pokemon Go counters

Omanyte is mainly weak to Grass, Fighting, Ground, and Electric types. Its dual-typing makes it fairly weak against a wide variety of monsters. We recommend using a quick move like Vine Whip or Bullet Seed.

  • Omanyte: Shiftry, Lucario, Roserade, Chesnaught, Venusaur

Cliff’s second Pokemon is split between three choices, and each of them have an equal percentage of being picked. Thankfully, Electivire and Onix are both weakened by Ground moves. Machamp is weak to Fairy and Psychic.

  • Electivire/ Onix: Excadrill, Garchomp, Rhyperior
  • Machamp: Mewtwo, Xerneas, Lugia

The vast majority of battles will end with Tyranitar who is overall weak to Fighting, Fairy, and Ground types. It is possible to get Swampert & Torterra, although unlikely.


  • Tyranitar: Lucario, Breloom, Conkeldurr
  • Swampert: Roserade, Sceptile, Breloom, Venusaur
  • Torterra: Weavile, Glaceon, Mamoswine
Screenshot of Lucario battling in Pokemon anime.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
The popular Gen IV ‘mon is a strong contender against Team Rocket’s Cliff.

Given the majority of Cliff encounters will start with Omanyte and end with Tyranitar, Lucario is one of the best picks to face off against the Leader. The Gen IV character is strong against two of his potential ‘mon.

If you happen to lose to the Team Rocket boss, don’t worry. You can face off against him multiple times and even adjust your team. However, in most scenarios, his lineup is fairly predictable.