Pokémon Go Arlo, Cliff, Sierra counters and Leader strategies

Everything you need to know about the Team Go Rocket Leaders in Pokémon Go.

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:

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.


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, along with some ideas about which Pokémon would work best as counters.

Arlo counters and line-up in Pokémon Go

Below you'll find the current possible line ups for battling Arlo in Pokémon Go. Remember - the first Pokémon is one that, if you defeat him, you'll be given the chance to catch, while the others are randomly selected:

First PokémonSecond PokémonThird Pokémon

It's a good idea to begin your battle against Arlo with a strong fire-type Pokémon, such as Darmanitan, Entei or Moltres, to quickly take care of Pineco, before switching to your chosen counter for Pokémon number two.

Keep in mind that this choice of fire-type Pokémon could also be useful if Arlo select Steelix or Scizor as second or third Pokémon retrospectively.

Arlo's second choice of Pokémon, however, is where this battle can get complicated and we highly suggest that you scout ahead to ensure that you make the right choice for this selection.

If Arlo chooses either Charizard or Steelix, we suggest fighting back with a strong ground-type Pokémon, such as Goudon, Garchomp or Rhyperior. If Blastoise is his Pokémon of choice, then you'll want to use either a grass or electric-type Pokémon. When it comes to grass-type Pokémon we recommend Roserade, Alolan Exeggustor or Tangrowth and, in the terms of best electric-type Pokémon, we suggest Raikou, Electivire or Zapdos.

Finally, for Alro's third Pokémon, it comes down to a choice between Mamoswine, if he picks either Salamance or Dragonite, or Goundon, if he chooses Scizor. When it comes to Scizor you could also use your choice of fire Pokémon for fighting Pineco if it has enough health to continue.

Cliff counters and line-up in Pokémon Go

Here are the possible line ups for Cliff in Pokémon Go, including the first Pokémon that will be the one you'll have the opportunity to catch if you defeat Cliff:

First PokémonSecond PokémonThird Pokémon

For the poison type Grimer, the best choice of counter is a psychic-type Pokémon, such as Mewtwo, Metagross or Latios. You can then continue using this psychic-type Pokémon if Cliff chooses to send out Machamp as his second Pokémon.

If he doesn't, then a strong ground-type Pokémon, such as Goundon, Garchomp or Rhyperior, will be able to counter both Omaster and Electivire.

Finally, in the third stage of the battle, is where your choice becomes complicated, because each of Cliff's options have very different counters.

For Swampert, you'll want a grass-type Pokémon such as Roserade, Alolan Exeggutor or Tangrowth.

Torterra you could choose a fire-type Pokémon, but we recommend actually using an ice-type to truely take advantage of its weaknesses, with either Weavile or Glaceon being a good choice.

Fighting-types are the way to go if you end up facing Tyranitar, with Lucario, Conkeldurr or Machamp being the best option.

Sierra counters and line-up in Pokémon Go

Below you'll find the current line up for Sierra in Pokémon, including the Shadow Pokémon you'll be given the opportunity to catch if you defeat her:

First PokémonSecond PokémonThird Pokémon

For countering Sierra's Lapras, you'll want to use either an electric or grass-type Pokémon. For grass-types this could be a Roserade, Alolan Exeggutor or Tangrowth, while for electric-types, we recommend Raikou, Electivire or Zapdos. You can continue using this choice if Sierra picks another Lapras as her second Pokémon and use one of the other recommendations as a backup if your first Pokémon faints.

If Sierra doesn't choose Lapras as her second Pokémon, then you can use a strong bug-type Pokémon to tackle either Sharpedo or Exeggutor. Our recommendations for this bug-type Pokémon are Pinsir, Scizor or Yanmega.

Finally, when it comes to Sierra's final choice of Pokémon, you can once again use a bug-type counter for both Shiftry and Alakazam or, if she chooses Houndoom, you go for a water-type Pokémon, with Kyogre, Swampert and Gyarados being great options.

It's Day Two of Pokémon Go Fest! Play the Rocket Straight to Victory quest, where you'll face Arlo, Cliff and Sierra, as well as Giovanni. You can also face Palkia and Dialga in raids, and get your hands on Rotom and Unown if you're a ticket holder. 2020 has otherwise seen several new features - such 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. You can currently compete in the Season 3 Great League and complete the Dragon Week Timed Research.

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.

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 Scyther, for Cliff a Shadow Meowth and Sierra's Sneasel.

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!

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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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