Pokémon Go Giovanni counters, line-up and rewards explained

Giovanni, the leader of Team Go Rocket, has arrived in Pokémon Go.

Giovanni, the boss of Team Go Rocket, can be fought in Pokémon Go.

If you're powerful enough to defeat him, you'll receive some great rewards, including the opportunity to capture a legendary Shadow Pokémon, such as Shadow Articuno.

With the release of the Team Go Rocket Leaders and the Special Research story-line A Troubling Situation, it was only a matter of time till Giovanni revealed himself.

Note: Between May and September 2020, there will be no new Team Rocket research quests, meaning no new Giovanni encounters either. If you still have a quest active, that will be still be available - but don't expect a new quest to replace it once completed.

On this page:

How to find Giovanni in Pokémon Go

If you want to battle Giovanni in Pokémon Go, then you need to complete the following pages:

Pokemon_Go_Giovaani_5
  1. First, you must complete the Special Research story-line, A Troubling Situation to unlock the latest Giovanni Special Research quest. A Challenging Development, for example, was the Giovanni Special Research quest for December 2019. (Note: Niantic will not release any new quests between May and September 2020.)
  2. Next, reach and complete the fourth step of your current Giovanni Special Research task, which will ask you to defeat each Team Go Rocket Leader Arlo, Cliff and Sierra once.
  3. Completing the fourth step of Looming in the Shadows will reward you with the Super Rocket Radar.

Now that you have the Super Rocket Radar, you can use it to hunt down the leader of Team Go Rocket himself - Giovanni.

The Super Rocket Radar works in a very similar fashion to the Rocket Radars you create by collecting Mysterious Components.

Pokemon_Go_A_Challenge_Develops

Access your Bag via the main menu and then scroll down till you find the Super Rocket Radar in your inventory. Here you can equip and unequip the Super Rocket Radar whenever you like.

The Super Rocket Radar, however, doesn't just display the location of Giovanni's hideout. A number of Grunts disguised as Giovanni will also appear on the radar, all hoping to prevent you from finding their boss.

You'll have to work your way through these disguised Grunts, until you find the actual PokéStop Giovanni is hiding out in.

Giovanni counters in Pokémon Go

Once you find Giovanni, prepare yourself for a fight. His Pokémon are a lot stronger than the previous Team Go Rocket Leaders you've fought, so make sure your team is just as powerful.

Giovanni's choice of legendary Shadow Pokémon and second party member rotate every month, meaning you will often find yourself battling different Pokémon.

During Pokémon Go Fest 2020, where you'll face Giovanni as part of the Rocket Straight to Victory quest, he has the following line-up:

First PokémonSecond PokémonThird Pokémon
Persian Dugtrio Suicune
Nidoking
Garchomp

Persian is weak to fighting, so having a Lucario, Conkeldurr or Machamp are your best bets here.

When it comes to fighting either Dugtrio, Nidoking or Garchamp, you'll want to ensure that you have a strong ice-type Pokémon in your team, because not only do ice-type Pokémon have a major advantage over ground-types, which all three Pokémon are, but they also deal substantial damage to dragon-type Pokémon, which means you can easily take care of Garchomp.

Mamoswine, Weavile and Glaceon are all great ice-type choices, with Mamoswine having the bonus of also being a ground-type Pokémon.

Finally, the battle will end with the legendary water-type Pokémon, Suicune, which is weak to both grass and electric-type Pokémon. This gives you an amount of choice when it comes to selecting which Pokémon you wish to use against it and the decision purely comes down to your personal choice.

If you prefer grass-type Pokémon, then Roserade, Alolan Exeggutor or Tangrowth. If you, however, like to use electric-types, then Raikou, Electivire or Zapdos are all excellent choices for fighting Suicune.

pokemon_go_giovanni_5

As with the Leaders Arlo, Cliff and Sierra, when it comes to building a team to fight Giovanni, try to use a Pokémon that will have an advantage over two Pokémon in his team. This will allow you to the use the same Pokémon twice, keeping your choice for the Legendary Shadow Pokémon safe from harm until it's needed.

It's also important to remember that, like the previous Team Go Rocket Leaders, Giovanni has two Protect Shields at his disposal.

Ideally, you'll want him to use them to protect his Persian, allowing you to easily attack his second choice of Pokémon. To achieve this, start with a Pokémon that has a Charged move that can be quickly charged.

Pokemon_Go_Giovaani_2
Pokemon_Go_Giovaani_4
Be prepared for his powerful Pokémon.

How often can you fight Giovanni in Pokémon Go?

Pokemon_Go_Giovaani_6

Every calendar month, you'll receive a new Giovanni Special Research task, which will become available at midnight on the first day of every month.

(Note: Between May and September 2020, there will be no new Team Rocket research quests, meaning no new Giovanni encounters either. If you still have a quest active, that will be still be available - but don't expect a new quest to replace it once completed.)

This means that you have the ability to battle Giovanni once a month, with the possibility of being able to catch a different legendary Shadow Pokémon.

This means that if you've completed Looming in the Shadows in November 2019, you could start A Challenging Development straight away at the beginning of December 2019.

If you finished Looming in the Shadows, however, in a month other than November 2019, then you will automatically skip to that month's Giovanni Special Research quest, unable to complete any of the other quests that came in-between.


2020 has seen several new features in Pokémon Go - Mega Evolutions, the A Mega Discovery Special Research, the arrival of Rocket Balloons, the Go Battle League, Remote Raids and the trade evolution feature. Pokemon Go also sees regular events - including weekly Spotlight Hour, monthly Field Research rewards and Pokémon Go Community Day.


Rewards for defeating Giovanni in Pokémon Go

You will receive a variety of rewards for defeating Giovanni. This includes 5000 Stardust and a variety of healing items, such as Max Potions and Max Revives. There's also a chance that you'll receive a Unova Stone.

Best of all, however, you'll be given the opportunity to catch a Legendary Shadow Pokémon.

Every month brings a new Shadow Legendary Pokémon. This means that, if there's a particular Shadow Legendary Pokémon you want to add to your collection, then you must complete the Team Go Rocket Special Research quest for that month.

Completing The Take-Over Continues in January 2020, for example, would reward you with Shadow Moltres, but, if you completed the same story-line in another month, you'll find yourself facing a different Shadow Legendary Pokémon.

Here are the Shadow Legendary Pokémon Giovanni has had in his team:

Giovanni Shadow Legendary Pokémon so far:

  • Shadow Articuno - November 2019
  • Shadow Zapdos - December 2019
  • Shadow Moltres- January 2020
  • Shadow Raikou - February 2020
  • Shadow Entei - March 2020
  • No quest - April 2020 to June 2020
  • Shadow Suicune - July 2020 (as part of the Go Fest Weekly Challenge: Battle celebrations)
  • No quest - August 2020

Defeating Giovanni will also help you level up the Ultra Hero medal, which records how many times you've defeated the boss of Team Go Rocket.

Thanks to Chrales from Twitter, we know what this clothing looks like:

As you level up the Ultra Hero medal, you'll unlock a variety of Giovanni themed clothing for your avatar to wear.

Here are the clothing items and medal ranks each piece unlocks at:

  • Shoes - Silver Badge Level (Defeat Giovanni 5 times)
  • Pants - Silver Badge Level (Defeat Giovanni 5 times)
  • Shirt - Gold Badge Level (Defeat Giovanni 20 times)
  • Gloves - Gold Badge Level (Defeat Giovanni 20 times)

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About the author

Lottie Lynn

Lottie Lynn

Guides Writer

Lottie Lynn is Eurogamer's guides writer. She likes exploring new games and still has nightmares about the moon from Majora's Mask.

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