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Pokemon Go Giovanni counters - how to beat the Team Go Rocket Boss

How to beat Giovanni in Pokemon Go
(Image credit: Niantic)

The best Pokemon Go Giovanni counters will help with a new wave of battles against Pokemon GO’s Giovanni. The Team GO Rocket boss is the toughest PVE battle in the entire mobile game, but preparing your team with the best counters, a little bit of luck, will prove useful in your pursuit of defeating Giovanni. While Giovanni continues to use Ho-Oh as his final Legendary Pokemon in Pokemon Go, his team has shifted a bit that trainers will want to prepare accordingly. Whether you’re taking on Giovanni for the first time or for the hundredth, here’s a guide of the best counters for this current iteration of the Rocket Boss’ team in Pokemon GO. 

If you're still stuck on the Team Go Rocket leaders, take a look at the following three guides to help you defeat them:

Pokemon Go Team Rocket | Pokemon Go Mysterious Components | How to purify shadow Pokemon in Pokemon Go | Pokemon Go A Troubling Situation | Pokemon Go Looming in the Shadows | Pokemon Go Rocket Straight to Victory | Pokemon Go The Higher They Fly

How to find Giovanni

How to find Giovanni in Pokemon Go

How to beat Giovanni in Pokemon Go

(Image credit: Niantic)

The first thing you need to do on the quest to beat Giovanni in Pokemon Go is complete the first four stages of the Pokemon Go Looming in the Shadows research. You know the Rocket Radar you've been using to find the Rocket Grunts in the buildup to this point? Yeah, now you've got a Super Rocket Radar! This nifty tool works in the same way as the normal Rocket Radar, except it will show you the location of Giovanni.

Kind of. In a last ditch attempt to thwart your plans, there'll be plenty of disguised Rocket Grunts located at various stops. To uncover their disguises, you thankfully don't have to defeat them all; simply spin each stop to find the real Giovanni.

How to beat Giovanni

How to beat Giovanni in Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go Giovanni counters

(Image credit: Niantic)

When you find Giovanni, as we mentioned before, you're faced with one of the hardest fights in the game. Just like the three Team Rocket leaders (Cliff, Sierra, and Arlo), Giovanni can use protect shields, which means that along with having stronger Pokemon, he'll absorb up to two of your charged attacks. While Giovanni always starts with Persian, he can use one of three different Pokemon for his second choice, followed by  his Legendary Pokemon. Here are the best counters for all the Pokemon Giovanni can use, including the optimal movesets:

Pokemon Go Giovanni counters

  1. Persian
  2. Kangaskhan/Nidoking/Garchomp
  3. Ho-Oh

Persian counters

Persian is a Normal-type beast that can use any of the following moves type: Normal, Dark, Fairy, and Rock. Of course, Fighting-type moves are the best here, but since Persian is the weakest of the three Pokemon you face, it can be a good opportunity to charge up your strongest Pokemon's charge move ready for the final Pokemon at the end of the battle. Charge it up then switch to one of the following to get Persian outta there.

PokemonMoveset
LucarioCounter/Power-Up Punch
MachampCounter/Cross Chop
BlazikenCounter/Blaze Kick
PoliwrathMud Shot/Power-Up Punch

 Machamp  counters

After you get past Persian, Giovanni will bring out one of three Pokemon. This time around, the Fighting-type Pokemon Machamp is an option for the Team GO Rocket boss. 

Being a Fighting-type, Machamp is weak to only Psychic, Fairy and Flying-type attacks. Thankfully, there are plenty of powerful Psychic types that trainers can take into battle against it. If you don’t have any of these Legendaries, there are other options like Togekiss that you can select. Here are our best counters for Machamp in Pokemon GO:

PokemonMoveset
MewtwoConfusion and Psychic/Psystrike
AlakazamConfusion and Futuresight
EspeonConfusion and Futuresight
RayquazaAir Slash and Aerial Ace

 Golem counters 

Golem is the second option Giovanni may choose for this second Pokemon and while the Rock and Ground-type from the Kanto region is strong like Machamp, it has a lot more weaknesses. Golem is weak to Water, Grass, Steel, Ground, Fighting and Ice-type attacks. Water and Grass-type attacks are four times effective against Golem so trainers should bring as many Pokemon that use those moves as possible.

Here are some great options to counter Golem when you go up against Giovanni:

PokemonMoveset
KyogreWaterfall and Hydro Pump
FeraligatrWaterfall and Hydro Cannon
RoseradeRazor Leaf and Grass Knot
BreloomRazor Leaf and Grass Knot

 Cloyster counters 

Giovanni’s final option for his second Pokemon is Cloyster. The Water and Ice-type Pokemon has good defenses, but if you bring enough Pokemon that use the following types you should be ok: Electric, Grass, Fighting and Rock-type attacks. 

There are plenty of great attackers from the above types that will be helpful against Cloyster, however, be wary of bringing Grass types as Cloyster’s Ice-type attacks are strong against them. Many Rock types also have a Ground secondary typing making them weak to Ice-type moves and four times weak to Water-type attacks. 

With that said, here are some great counters to go up against Giovanni’s Cloyster:

PokemonMoveset
LucarioCounter and Aura Sphere
Mega VenusaurRazor Leaf and Frenzy Plant
Conkeldurr Counter and Dynamic Punch
MachampCounter and Dynamic Punch

Ho-Oh counters

Ho-Oh is the legendary Giovanni is rocking at the moment, so Rock-type moves are largely the way forward once again – Flying-type legendaries have a lot in common. So whip out your strongest Rhyperior or Tyranitar to bring some pain into Giovanni's life.

PokemonMoveset
RhyperiorSmack Down/Rock Wrecker
GolemRock Throw/Rock Blast
TyranitarSmack Down/Stone Edge
TerrakionSmack Down/Rock Slide

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I'm currently a GamesRadar guide contributor with a specialty in everything Pokemon GO. If you've wanted to know the best way to take down a Rayquaza, there's a good chance you read one of my guides. I previously have written for IBT Media, Newsweek and Screen Rant. I'm a huge fighting game fan and everything Pokemon, but I've grown to love RPGs.