Pokemon Go Giovanni guide: How to defeat the Team Rocket boss

by Paul Cotton


After what seemed like forever, Giovanni has finally been thrusted into the Pokemon Go world, bringing with him arguably the hardest battle in the entire game. This guide looks at which Pokemon the Team Rocket boss man will use and their best counters.

He may be hard to beat, but doing so will open up the chance of capturing a Shadow legendary Pokemon. This presents an excellent opportunity to nab yourself a powerful Pokemon that will be level 25 and have an increased chance of high IVs.

This is in addition to other rewards such as 5,000 Stardust and a chance of getting the highly sought after Unova Stone. In short, it's well worth defeating him.


The elusive Team Rocket head was first introduced to the game in November, and at that time you could catch a Shadow Articuno as a reward for defeating him. Zapdos was introduced in December and you'll currently encounter a Shadow Moltres for defeating him.

In order to find Giovanni, you'll need to defeat several Team Rocket Grunts and each of their leaders - Arlo, Cliff and Sierra. Fortunately we have a separate guide for each of these: What type of Pokemon does each Team Rocket Grunt use and which Pokemon does Arlo, Cliff and Sierra use.

What Pokemon does Giovanni use?

With that said, it's important to know which pool of Pokemon he can use. After all when facing such powerful Pokemon, having a type advantage is paramount.

Here's the possible combination of Pokemon Giovanni can use (as of January 2020):

Pokemon 1 Pokemon 2 Pokemon 3
Persian Cloyster Articuno
Garchomp Zapdos
Kangaskhan Moltres



His first Pokemon is guaranteed to be Persian. This should come as no surprise as Meowth's evolution is synonymous with the Team Rocket boss.

Ordinarily, Persian wouldn't be considered too much of a threat. However, given its ultra high CP, even Giovanni's weakest Pokemon shouldn't be taken lightly. Its only weakness is fighting-types, so Lucario and Machamp are the best counters to it.

Machamp, or another strong fighting-type, is a must have when battling Giovanni...


One trick to use for Cloyster and Giovanni's other potential second layers - Garchomp and Kangaskhan - is to save your charge-move from the Persian fight to use immediately here. While Cloyster does have high defense stats, it is weak to fighting-types.

So, if you're lucky enough for Giovanni to use Cloyster, you can have a type advantage by using one Pokemon for his first two.



Once again, another Giovanni Pokemon weak against fighting-types. That makes starting out with the aforementioned Machamp or Lucario is a must. Hariyama and even Breloom are other alternatives for the intimidating normal-type.


Look no further than an ice-type Pokemon for Garchomp, it will deal 256% damage. The problem is you'll only if selecting an ice-type was a wise move once Giovanni selects his second Pokemon. Unfortunately an ice-type is the worst type to have if he selects Cloyster.

The dual dragon and ground-type Pokemon is also weak against fellow dragon-types, though. Dragonite is perhaps the safest selection here then because of its powerful base stats and array of dragon and flying-type moves.


Pokemon Company
Pokemon Company
Giovanni will always use one of Articuno, Zapdos or Moltres,,,


Giovanni can use one of the three famous bird legends for his final selection. Unsurprisingly all of them are super powerful and are difficult to take down.

However, all three of them have one particular weakness - rock-type moves. In fact both Articuno and Moltres have a double weakness to them which makes having a strong rock-type Pokemon (with rock-type moves) the best way to go.

It should be noted though, that rock-types are weak against ice-types, so if Giovanni does have an Articuno you could be in a bit of trouble. Aggron, Rhyperior and Tyranitar will each match up well with two of three, as long as they have rock-type moves ready to go.

There is no absolute best combination of Pokemon to use against Giovanni, as a lot of the battle will be down to the throw of a dice in the form of his selection. A fighting-type (or two) is a must, with a strong Pokemon with rock-type moves to finish. Which of the above you select however, is up to you. Stick with the above formula and you will defeat Giovanni sooner than later.