Pokémon Go Leader counters: Arlo, Cliff, Sierra counters and strategies in Pokémon Go

How to defeat the three Team Go Rocket Leaders in Pokémon Go with the November 2021 line-up refresh.

Team Go Rocket Leaders invade PokéStops in Pokémon Go alongside the Team Go Rocket Grunts.

It's up to you to hunt down Arlo, Cliff and Sierra by collecting Mysterious Components and a Rocket Radar.

Defeating them gives you a unique Shadow encouter, and might even give you the chance to catch a shiny Shadow Pokémon.

Facing all three in a quest is also the route to a battle against Giovanni himself.

On this page:

Getting and hatching a Strange Red Egg in Pokémon Go

Team Go Rocket Leaders and strategies explained in Pokémon Go

In Team Rocket quests, if you want to face Giovanni, then you must defeat his three Team Go Rocket leaders.

pokemon_go_leaders

This requires you collect Mysterious Components from Grunts, forming a Rocket Radar, then using it to locate a Rocket Leader. The choice given to you is random, so if you are after a specific Leader, keep checking until the one you need appears.

These will be tough battles, and so a brute force strategy will not always work. Instead, consider the following strategies:

  • Since you need to lean on countering with types, it's best to go in with a prepared team with strong counters.
  • A Leader's line-up will be somewhat unique for that encounter - it's made of a small selection of creatures - so you can't exactly be sure which Pokémon you'll be facing. You might have to face them once to learn their line-up, then change yours to react to it.
  • Leaders will use their two shields for your first two Charge moves, every time. Ideally, this means your lead Pokémon must be strong enough to survive long enough to deliver two Charged moves, and do so as fast as possible, so you can then dealing out damage properly. For example, Melmetal is a good candidate for this.
  • The good news is you can face a Leader as many times as you like, so feel free to experiment!

Ultimately, Victory depends on your ability to create a team that takes advantage of as many of the Team Rocket Go Leader's team's weaknesses as possible, so having a wide roster of Pokémon available will help you form flexible teams.

Below you'll find the current possible lineups for each Team Go Rocket Leader (thanks to Silph Road for revealing these) along with some ideas about which Pokémon would work best as counters.

Pokémon Go Mysterious Components Gameplay - How to create a Rocket Radar

Arlo counters and line-up in Pokémon Go

Below you'll find the current line up for Arlo in Pokémon, as of November 2021 and the conclusion of the Misunderstood Mischief research.

Remember - the first Pokémon is one that, if you defeat them, you'll be given the chance to catch, while the others are randomly selected from a pool of three:

First PokémonSecond PokémonThird Pokémon
GligarCradilyGardevoir
LaprasScizor
MawileSnorlax

Arlo has gone from being one of the easiest Leaders to plan for to one of the more unpredictable, with heavy hitters Lapras and Snorlax amongst his possible line-up.

Out of the gate with Gligar - which always comes first - you'll want a water or an ice type. We recommend ice (Articuno, Mamoswine or Weavile are good picks) as it can also help you take down Cradily if they are come up next.

A strong fighting type is pretty much essential here - for either Cradily or Lapras, and also Snorlax if they appear last - so having Lucario, Conkeldurr or Machamp are recommended.

Pokemon_Go_Arlo_s_Face

Additionally, a fire type (Entei, Moltres or Darmanitan) to take on Mawile and / or Scizor is recommended, especially as Scizor's dual steel / bug type will go down in seconds against any flame-based attacks.

The only outlier with little weakness overlap is Gardevoir, who can appear last with their Poison, Ghost and Steel weaknesses. It's worth attempting Arlo first to see if Gardevoir comes up, then adjusting to your line-up accordingly - but with the most weakness possibilities, gives you plenty of options to round off your team with.

Cliff counters and line-up in Pokémon Go

Below you'll find the current line up for Cliff in Pokémon, as of November 2021 and the conclusion of the Misunderstood Mischief research.

Remember - the first Pokémon is one that, if you defeat them, you'll be given the chance to catch, while the others are randomly selected from a pool of three:

First PokémonSecond PokémonThird Pokémon
GrimerCrobatArcanine
MachampCharizard
VenusaurTyranitar

Cliff, out of all the Leaders in the November 2021 line-up refresh, has the most straightforward set of counters thanks to some strong weakness overlaps.

You want to focus on two types - Psychic and Water. Psychic will take down guaranteed opener Grimer, and is also strong against whatever comes next out of Crobat, Machamp or Venusaur thanks to their poison or fighting typing. Our picks for a strong psychic is Mewtwo, but Metagross, Alakazam, Latios or Gardevoir will also do nicely.

Pokemon_Go_Rocket_Leader_Cliff

For the last in the line-up, Arcanine, Charizard and Tyranitar will struggle against a water typing. Kyogre, Swampert, Gyarados or any strong water type in your possession is what you need here.

That's just two types to cover all three - but if you want to be extra safe, then a rock type - which can be effective against Crobat in second, or Arcanine and Charizard in third - is a nice backup option, with Tyranitar, Rampardos or Terrakion as good choices.

Sierra counters and line-up in Pokémon Go

Below you'll find the current line up for Sierra in Pokémon, as of November 2021 and the conclusion of the Misunderstood Mischief research.

Remember - the first Pokémon is one that, if you defeat them, you'll be given the chance to catch, while the others are randomly selected from a pool of three:

First PokémonSecond PokémonThird Pokémon
Nidoran ♀BeedrillHoundoom
VileplumeMarowak
SlowbroNidoqueen

Unlike previous line-ups for Sierra, she now has a couple of weakness overlaps in her team - helping you plan ahead a little more effectively.

For the opening Nidoran ♀, ground or psychic will do well here. The latter will also help you with Beedrill and Vileplume if they show up next - so having a Mewtwo or Metagross up front might be a good place to start.

Slowbro is the odd one out of the entire line up and might cause you the most issue in terms of counter overlap - but having a strong dark type (Darkrai, Tyranitar) or grass type (Roserade, Tangrowth) here will work great.

Pokemon_Go_Sierra_s_Face

Finally, you'll come up against Houndroom, Marowak or Nidoqueen. Water types can help you with all three here - so having a Kyrogre, Swampert or Gyrados to round off your team is recommended.

That said, if you started with a psychic, then that can help you with Nidoqueen as well if they appear last - assuming they survive that long. Otherwise, a good ice type (Mamoswine, Weavile or Glaceon could work) can take on both Nidoqueen or Marowak effectively.


The Season of Heritage continues in 2022, along with the XP Challenge and a refreshed Go Battle League. Ongoing are Arlo, Cliff, Sierra counters and Giovanni counters. The major updates in the previous year include a level cap increase, the introduction of XL Candy, boosts to some XP sources and the addition of Platinum Medals.


Team Go Rocket Leader rewards in Pokémon Go

Defeating a Team Go Rocket Leader will grant you a number of rewards.

For every Team Go Rocket Leader, you'll receive 1,000 Stardust, and two of the following items:

Thank you to skewtr from reddit with the help with this information.

Pokemon_Go_Rocket_Leader_Sierra
Sierra - one of the Team Go Rocket Leaders.

You will also have the opportunity to catch one of the Team Go Rocket Leader's Shadow Pokémon. For Arlo this will be his Shadow Beldum, for Cliff a Shadow Aerodactyl and Sierra's Shadow Carvanha.

Best of all, there's a chance that these Shadow Pokémon could be shiny.

To catch these Shadow Pokémon, you'll receive a base number of 5 Premier Balls. Bonus Poké Balls will be rewarded depending on a number of factors:

  • How many of your Pokémon survive the Trainer Battle
  • Your Purify Pokémon (Purifier) medal rank
  • Your Defeat Team Rocket (Hero) medal rank

Good luck hunting down those evil Team Go Rocket leaders!

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (1)

About the author

Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Associate Editor  |  Crazyreyn

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

Related

You may also enjoy...

Supporters only

Comments (1)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments
Order
Threading
Eurogamer.net

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch
Explore our store