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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 January 2022 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.

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 April 2022 with the arrival of the Silent Schemes quest.

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
ExeggcuteAlolan ExeggutorGardevoir
DragoniteScizor
SalamanceSteelix

Arlo's line-up in the first two rounds has one common weakness - ice - so bring the likes of Mamoswine, Weavile, Glaceon or another strong ice type to take out Exeggcute then either Alolan Exeggutor, Dragonite or Salamance with ease.

As for the final encounter, things are a little more tricky - two of the possible encounters (Scizor and Steelix) have a common weakness - fire - while the other, Gardevoir, is weak against ghost, steel and poison types.

This means if you pack your team with an ice-type, fire-type and either one of those aforementioned three against Gardevoir, you should be set.

Cliff counters and line-up in Pokémon Go

Below you'll find the current line up for Arlo in Pokémon, as of April 2022 with the arrival of the Silent Schemes quest.

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
CuboneElectivireCharizard
LuxraySwampert
OmastarTyranitar

Thanks for some shared weaknesses, you can bring three Pokémon with you and cover all bases with what Cliff has to offer.

Let's start with the first and third encounters, which allows you to double up effectively. Cubone, as a ground type, has a weakness to grass and water. Bringing a team with both of these (perhaps Venusaur or Roserade for grass and Kyogre or Gyarados for water) means you'll also be able to take on any of the final possible encounters- with Charizard and Tyranitar susceptible to water and Swampert to grass.

As for the second encounter, you'll be facing Electivire, Luxray or Omastar. The good news is you'll need a ground type here - think Groudon, Garchomp or Rhyperior - and no matter which it is, they will all fall pretty quickly.

In summary - start with either your grass or water type of choice, switch to ground for the second encounter, then based on what you come up against last, maybe pull out your starting Pokémon or switch to that remaining type you have on standby.

Sierra counters and line-up in Pokémon Go

Below you'll find the current line up for Arlo in Pokémon, as of April 2022 with the arrival of the Silent Schemes quest.

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
DrowzeeBlazikenHoundoom
LaprasNidoqueen
SharpedoShiftry

Out of all three leaders, Sierra has become the most complicated to plan for. This sees her return to form as being the most difficult leader to approach, after the last refresh simplified her difficulty thanks to multiple common overlaps.

First, Drowsee has three weaknesses - ghost, dark or bug. Our pick of the bunch is bug (such as Pinsir or Yanmega) which allows you to use it against Sharpedo in second and Shiftry in third.

If either of those don't come up, then water and rock types filling out the rest of your team will cover the remaining possibilities. Specifically, you're looking at water for Blaziken in second and Houndoom or Nidoqueen in third, or rock for Lapras in second or Houndoom in third.

In summary, it's possible your bug could be effective against all three encounters here if luck is on your side, but if you bring water and rock types as well, then you'll be covered no matter what.


New to the game is a long overdue Mega Evolution update, which has arrived alongside the A Mega Moment research. May 2022 in Pokémon Go includes the Water Festival, which celebrates the release of Dewpider and Araquanid. Tapu Fini has also been released alongside A Poni Adventure - the last Alola region-themed special research quest. Currently both the Ultra League and Element Cup are running in the Go Battle League. Elsewhere, we've recently seen the release of more Gen 7 Pokémon as part of the Season of Alola. The first details surrounding Go Fest 2022 have also been announced, including the event date.


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 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!

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About the Author

Matthew Reynolds avatar

Matthew Reynolds

Managing Editor

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.

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