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Pokémon Go Giovanni counters, current 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 Latios.

Along with Leaders Arlo, Cliff and Sierra, you'll be facing him as part of the latest special Research story-line Field Notes: Team Go Rocket in July 2022, so now's a good time to brush up on Giovanni counters.

On this page:

Battling and evolving the latest Mega Evolution, Mega Aggron, in Pokémon Go.

How to find Giovanni in Pokémon Go

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

  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. (The latest returned in July 2022 with Field Notes: Team Go Rocket.)
  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 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.

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.

In July 2022, Giovanni was updated with the following line-up:

First PokémonSecond PokémonThird Pokémon

Persian will always come up first and is weak against fighting, so having a Lucario, Conkeldurr or Machamp are your best bets here.

Since Giovanni's second choice can be one of three Pokémon, you may need to scout ahead to ensure your team can defeat it.

Fighting-type Pokémon won't serve you well against Nidoking up next, you should switch to a Ground or preferably psychic-type to exploit one of its main weaknesses. Mewtwo is a great choice here.

Mewtwo is also an excellent choice for battling Machamp, which is weak against psychic, flying and fairy-type Pokémon. If you don't have a strong Mewtwo, however, then Togekiss - a fairy-type Pokémon - or Moltres - a fire and flying-type - are both great choice.

If, however, you find yourself fighting Rhyperior, then we highly recommend choosing either a grass or water-type Pokémon. This is because Rhyperior is especially weak to both of these types, so a strong Kyogre or Gyarados for water-types or Tapu Bulu or Roserade for grass-type Pokémon will help you defeat it.

For the final encounter, you'll be up against Latios. Thankfully, we have a wide spread of weaknesses - ghost, ice, dragon, dark, fairy or bug - so come with your most powerful of these, ideally a legendary, to take them down. If you're stuck for inspiration, our favourite Latios counters include Gengar, Dragonite, Tyranitar, Gardevoir, Rayquaza and Togekiss.

Be prepared for his powerful Pokémon.

That should cover you for this encounter. In terms of best practices, 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 (Nidoking). To achieve this, start with a Pokémon that has a Charged move that can be quickly charged.

How often can you fight Giovanni in Pokémon Go?

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.

This will give you a Super Rocket Radar, giving a reliable way of battling Giovanni at least once a month, with the possibility of being able to catch a different legendary Shadow Pokémon.

For example, 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.

As well as from monthly quests, as long as you have a Super Rocket Radar in your inventory, you can fight Giovanni at any time. It has been a reward in several additional quests, so they might be worth saving until a month where the Shadow Pokémon reward available is one you want to stock up on.

Currently live is the Fashion Week event, and along with it the debut of Mareanie and Toxapex. Recently, we've seen the arrival of Season of Light and special research quest A Cosmic Companion. Elsewhere, be sure to use Daily Adventure Incense for the chance of encountering Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres. There's also a new special research quest - A Mysterious Incense. Finally - don't forget about the new Prime Gaming rewards every fortnight.

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 and March 2021
  • Shadow Zapdos - December 2019, April and June 2021
  • Shadow Moltres- January 2020 and May 2021
  • Shadow Raikou - February 2020
  • Shadow Entei - March to July 2020
  • Shadow Suicune - July 2020 (as part of the Go Fest Battle celebrations) and from July to October 2020
  • Shadow Mewtwo - October 2020
  • Shadow Ho-Oh - June 2021
  • Shadow Lugia - November 2021
  • Shadow Latias - April 2022
  • Shadow Latios - July 2022

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)

About the Author

Lottie Lynn avatar

Lottie Lynn

Guides Editor

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


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