Pokémon Go - Team Go Rocket Balloons explained, including spawn rates and how to find

Keep your eyes on the sky.

Team Go Rocket Hot Air Balloons can be spotted floating through the skies in Pokémon Go.

These balloons will allow you to battle the Team Go Rocket Grunts and, if you fulfil the requirements, either a Team Go Rocket Leader or, the head of the organisation himself, Giovanni.

It's also possible to find special Meowth balloons during certain events, allowing you to fight Jessie and James.

Team Go Rocket's invasion of Pokémon began with them occupying PokéStops with their dangerous Shadow Pokémon, which eventually led to trainers tracking down Giovanni in an attempt to save a legendary Shadow Pokémon from his clutches.

Like Remote Raiding, Team Go Rocket Hot Air Balloons are helping make Pokémon Go more accessible for players in rural areas and those who prefer to stay at home.

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Team Go Rocket Hot Air Balloons in Pokémon Go explained

Pokemon_Go_Rocket_Balloon

Team Go Rocket Hot Air Balloons are the latest attempt by the evil organisation to take over the world of Pokémon Go!

Flying high above the map, these hot air balloons act as roaming invaded PokéStops, allowing you to battle a Team Go Rocket Grunt and, if you defeat them, capture one of their Shadow Pokémon.

Since Team Go Rocket Hot Air Balloons have the ability to move, it may take some time for you to find one. If you're having trouble we recommend zooming the camera out to the maximum, so that you have the widest view of the surrounding area (especially the sky), and then keep an eye on the ground.

If a Team Go Rocket Hot Air Balloon is floating nearby, then a small circle shadow will appear on the map, indicating where it is in the sky.

Once you've found a Team Go Rocket Hot Air Balloon, interacting with it will allow you to battle a Team Go Rocket Grunt, giving you the chance to rescue their Shadow Pokémon.

Finally, it's important to note that if you have any large, floating, Pokémon buddies following, such as Rayquaza, these Pokémon may knock the balloon off course, making it harder for you to find.

RayRay giving no damn to Team Go Rocket's Balloons! from r/TheSilphRoad

Spawn rate for Team Go Rocket Hot Air Balloons in Pokémon Go explained

You have the chance to encounter a total of four Team Go Rocket Hot Air Balloons in Pokémon Go every day.

Each possible hot air balloon has its own dedicated period of the day when it could appear. These time frames are:

  • First hot air balloon - 00:00am to 5:59am
  • Second hot air balloon - 6am to 11:59am
  • Third hot air balloon - 12:00pm to 5:59pm
  • Fourth hot air balloon - 6pm to 11:59pm

Thank you to gildenilson from reddit for the help with this information.

Pokemon_Go_Rocket_Balloon_Large

How to battle a Team Go Rocket Leader in a Rocket Hot Air Balloon in Pokémon Go

To encounter a Team Go Rocket Leader in a Rocket Hot Air Balloon all you have to do is activate a completed Rocket Radar.

Once the Rocket Radar has been activated, you can select the balloon and there, rather than the regular Rocket Grunt, will be one of the evil organisations three leaders - Arlo, Cliff and Sierra.

It's important to note that the Team Leader that you encounter will be randomly selected, which means that, if you're looking for a specific leader, you might find yourself unlucky.

Still, if you have a Rocket Radar going spare, this is a great way to use it.


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.


How to battle Giovanni in a Rocket Hot Air Balloon in Pokémon Go

If you've been having trouble tracking down Giovanni at the invaded PokéStops, then the Rocket Hot Air Balloons are the solution to your problem.

All you have to do is equip the Super Rocket Radar once you see a hot air balloon and then select the hot air balloon in question. There, just like with the Team Go Rocket Leaders, you'll find Giovanni ready and waiting to battle you.

Now all you have to do is defeat him and hopefully catch the latest Shadow Legendary Pokémon.

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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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