Pokémon GO Giovanni Guide

How to defeat Team GO Rocket Boss Giovanni

Shadow Lugia Pokémon GO

A guide on how to defeat the Team GO Rocket boss Giovanni in Pokémon GO. This page describes how to find Giovanni, how to defeat him and which Pokémon are the best counters for Giovanni’s Pokémon.

In November 2021, Giovanni has returned, equipped with Shadow Lugia and a select few Shadow Pokémon. Our guide has been updated accordingly.

💡 Note: In Trainer Battles, counters need not always be Pokémon that do super-effective damage. We include Pokémon that are more viable to defeat Giovanni, rather than those who do maximum damage.

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Giovanni’s Pokémon Lineup

GO Rocket Leader Giovanni uses the following Pokémon: Persian as his first Pokémon,  Kingler, Nidoking or Rhyperior as his second Pokémon and Shadow Lugia as his final Pokemon.

Countering Giovanni’s Shadow Pokémon

Persian

Persian

Weak to Fighting, resist Ghost.

Persian uses Dark and Normal fast moves, and it uses Dark, Rock or Fairy charge moves. This combination makes Tyranitar, Terrakion and Machamp the best counters to Persian. Melmetal needs to have Super Power Fighting to be effective.

Recommended counters

Pokémon Fast move Charge move
Tyranitar Smack Down
  • Crunch
  • Stone Edge
Terrakion Smack Down
  • Rock Slide
  • Close Combat
Machamp Counter
  • Cross Chop
  • Rock Slide
Lucario Counter
  • Aura Sphere
  • Power-Up Punch
Conkeldurr Counter
  • Dynamic Punch
  • Stone Edge
Heracross Counter
  • Close Combat
  • Megahorn

Kingler

Kingler

Giovanni’s Shadow Kingler has two distinct weaknesses: Grass and Electric moves. Considering it’s wide move pool, we suggest going with a Torterra, Vileplume, Zapdos or Raikou, or something in the similar vein. Slight variations apply due to Kingler’s fast moves.

Recommended counters

Pokémon Moves
Torterra
  • Razor Leaf Grass
  • Frenzy Plant Grass
Zapdos
  • Thunder Shock Electric
  • Thunderbolt Electric
Vileplume
  • Razor Leaf Grass
  • Sludge Bomb Poison
  • Moonblast Fairy
Raikou
  • Volt Switch Electric
  • Wild Charge Electric
Magnezone
  • Spark Electric
  • Wild Charge Electric

Rhyperior

Rhyperior

Giovanni’s Shadow Rhyperior is 2x weak to Grass and Water moves, but also 1x weak to Ground, Fighting, Ice and Steel! We will use these weaknesses heavily to counter it, while also leaning in to Pokémon that take reduced damage from its fast moves.

Rhyperior’s pool of charge moves is pretty wide and scary, so it’s better to shield and defeat it before he has a chance to use it.

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Recommended counters

Pokémon Moves
Torterra
  • Razor Leaf Grass
  • Frenzy Plant Grass
Excadrill
  • Mud Shot Ground
  • Drill Run Ground
Kyogre
  • Waterfall Water
  • Surf Water
Swampert
  • Mud Shot Ground
  • Hydro Cannon Water
Cobalion
  • Metal Claw Steel
  • Sacred Sword Fighting

Wild pick: Empoleon with Waterfall and Hydro Cannon

Nidoking

Nidoking

Giovanni’s Shadow Nidoking is weak to Ground, Ice, Psychic and Water moves. This is nice, but beware of Iron Tail as fast move, as it decimates all Ground counters. In order to tackle that, we’re including some Water types as well.

Recommended counters

Pokémon Moves
Stunfisk
  • Mud Shot Ground
  • Earthquake Ground
Excadrill
  • Mud Shot Ground
  • Drill Run Ground
Kyogre
  • Waterfall Water
  • Surf Water
Empoleon
  • Waterfall Water
  • Hydro Cannon Water
Sandslash (Alola)
  • Powder Snow Ice
  • Ice Punch Ice

Wild pick: Rhyperior with Mud Slap and Surf

Lugia

Giovanni’s Shadow Lugia is weak to Dark, Electric, Ghost, Ice and Rock moves – but you probably want to stick with Electric and Rock, with an Ice counter thrown in the mix.

Recommended counters

Pokémon Moves
Raikou
  • Volt Switch Electric
  • Wild Charge Electric
Terrakion
  • Smack Down Rock
  • Rock Slide Rock
Magnezone
  • Volt Switch Electric
  • Wild Charge Electric
Tyranitar
  • Smack Down Rock
  • Stone Edge Rock
  • Crunch Rock
Sandslash (Alola)
  • Powder Snow Ice
  • Ice Punch Ice

Wild pick: Rhyperior with Mud Slap and Surf

How to find Giovanni

In order to find Giovanni, you need to complete a currently active Special Research. Depending on the time you played, this can vary. Once you complete a particular step of the special research, you will get a Super Rocket Radar. It works like a regular Rocket Radar, but it tracks Giovanni, not GO Rocket leaders.

The Super Rocket Radar doesn’t immediately lead you to Giovanni; it displays locations of both decoy Grunts disguised as Giovanni and Giovanni’s actual Hideout. You’ll need to approach each PokéStop and investigate yourself to find where Giovanni’s hiding.

You can receive Giovanni Special Research once per month. Currently, Giovanni has returned with Shadow Lugia and new Shadow Pokémon.

More Team GO Rocket Guides

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