Team GO Rocket Leader Giovanni

How to Beat Giovanni in Pokémon GO

Have you already defeated Giovanni in Pokémon Go?

Fans of older Pokémon games will probably understand how frustrating it is to fight Giovanni, the Team Rocket leader. Whether you played older versions like Gold and Silver or newer ones like Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Giovanni will be the feared Team Rocket big boss with powerful Pokémon.

In Pokémon Go, he is still the final boss to face after defeating all Team GO Rocket leaders at least once. However, it’s not as easy as just walking up to a Rocket hideout and challenging him. You will need a special type of item to find his location on the map. Even then, the location can be a decoy meant to trick you.

If you want to learn the best way to find and defeat the famous Team GO Rocket leader, check out our quick guide below.


An image of the Team GO Rocket Leader Giovanni in Pokémon GO.

Giovanni is the Team Rocket and Team GO Rocket in all the Pokémon series and video games. In the Pokémon Go reiteration of the criminal organization, Team GO Rocket is made up of many Grunts, three designated Leaders, and Giovanni as the founder and supreme leader.

Defeating Giovanni in Pokémon Go is one of the toughest tasks to accomplish in the game. Fortunately, it also has a massive upside. Once you beat him, you will earn 5,000 Stardust, a lot of Potions, Revives, and a chance to get the very rare Unova Stone. You will then be able to find and catch whatever Shadow Legendary Pokémon Giovanni used against you during the battle.

You will also earn the Ultra Hero medal for defeating Giovanni.

Finding Giovanni

An image of the Super Rocket Radar used to find Giovanni in Pokémon GO.

Like we previously mentioned, you can’t just walk up to Giovanni. You will need a special item called the Super Rocket Radar to find him. Players can only get it as a reward for completing Team GO Rocket Special Research. You will also have to defeat all three of the Team GO Rocket Leaders before you unlock the Special Research task.

To locate the three Team GO Rocket Leaders, you also need an item called the Rocket Radar. You just have to defeat a few Team GO Rocket Grunts and combine six Mysterious Components you took from them. Use the Rocket Radar to locate the hideout of the three Leaders on the map.

After you have defeated the three Team GO Rocket Leaders and acquired the Super Rocket Radar, start looking for Giovanni. Equip the Super Rocket Radar and Giovanni will eventually show up riding in a hot air balloon. Tap on it to engage in a trainer battle with him. Unfortunately, Giovanni may not always be who you think he is.

Sometimes Team GO Rocket Decoy Grunts will pretend to be Giovanni and hang out in some PokéStops. This will appear on your map as the Team GO Rocket Boss’s hideout until you actually investigate it.

How to Defeat Giovanni in Pokémon Go

An image of the Rocket Boss Giovanni in Pokémon GO.

Giovanni’s team of Pokémon can rotate from time to time, but he will always have one Shadow Legendary Pokémon present. This is updated about once a month or after special in-game events.

His current party is composed of a Shadow Persian as his first Pokémon, Shadow Ho-Oh as his third, and a rotating second Pokémon between Shadow Garchomp, Shadow Kangaskhan, and Shadow Nidoking. The second Pokémon rotation is completely random, so make sure you have the correct type of Pokémon to take on any of the three.

Giovanni is one of the strongest trainers you can battle in the game, so remember to bring your Pokémon with the highest Combat Power.

Shadow Persian

An image of the Shadow Persian owned by Giovanni in Pokémon GO.

Persian is weak against Fighting-type Pokémon and moves, so try to get one with Counter, Dynamic Punch, Low Kick, or Focus Blast. Some of the Pokémon you can use against Persian are Lucario, Machamp, Blaziken, or Mega Lopunny.

Shadow Persian is much stronger than you would expect, so make sure to use all your strongest moves. This is also Giovanni’s signature Pokémon from both the series and video games.

Shadow Garchomp

An image of Shadow Garchomp.

Garchomp is a Dragon and Ground-type Pokémon, so it is weak against Dragon, Fairy, and especially Ice-type moves. Some of the best moves against Giovanni’s Shadow Garchomp are Ice Beam, Ice Fang, Avalanche, Frost Breath, and Blizzard.

Try to get a Mamoswine, Glaceon, or Weavile to counter this Pokémon. If you are an experienced player, you may even have a Mewtwo or Articuno, which are very strong against Shadow Garchomp.

Shadow Kangaskhan

An image of Shadow Kangaskhan in Pokémon GO.

Just like Persian, Shadow Kangaskhan is weak against Fighting-type Pokémon. You can just use the same Pokémon you used against Persian to defeat Kangaskhan. In case your first Pokémon fainted, you can use Revive to bring it back.

If you want to be extra safe, you can bring two Fighting-type Pokémon like Lucario, Hariyama, or Machamp. Make sure they have moves that are super effective against Kangaskhan. Counter, Dynamic Punch, and Close Combat are always good ones to have.

Shadow Nidoking

An image of Shadow Nidoking.

As a Ground and Poison-type Pokémon, Shadow Nidoking is extra vulnerable against Psychic, Ground, Water, and Ice-type abilities. Nidoking and Kangaskhan are both weak against Ice-type Pokémon, so you can improve your odds of beating Giovanni by bringing one.

With a strong Ice-type Pokémon like Mamoswine, Articuno, or Mega Abomasnow, you will have an advantage over 2-out-of-3 of Giovanni’s possible second Pokémon. You can also settle for a Mewtwo, Kyogre, or Mega Blastoise against Shadow Nidoking.

Shadow Ho-Oh

An image of Shadow Ho-Oh.

Ho-Oh is the Shadow Legendary Pokémon that Giovanni will use against you. It is also his third and strongest Pokémon.

Pokémon Go replaced Giovanni’s Shadow Mewtwo with Shadow Ho-Oh beginning in 2021. As one of the most popular Pokémon of all time, a lot of players will want to defeat Giovanni just for the opportunity to catch Ho-Oh.

It is a Flying and Fire-type Pokémon, so it is weak against Electric, Water, and Rock-type moves. Your best option will be Rampardos, but other Rock-type Pokémon will be effective as well. Tyranitar, Aerodactyl, and Omastar are all good ones to use.

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