Giovanni Lineup and Counters (March 2024)

Discover Giovanni's latest Shadow Pokémon lineup, learn the most effective counter strategies, and choose the best team for victory. Find out how to locate Giovanni, understand the rewards for defeating him, and troubleshoot common issues with Team GO Rocket Special Research.

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Master the challenge of defeating Giovanni in Pokémon GO this March 2024. Discover Giovanni’s latest Shadow Pokémon lineup, learn the most effective counter strategies, and choose the best team for victory. Find out how to locate Giovanni, understand the rewards for defeating him, and troubleshoot common issues with Team GO Rocket Special Research

As the notorious Team GO Rocket Boss in Pokémon GO, Giovanni commands the relentless Team GO Rocket Leaders Arlo, Cliff, and Sierra. Don’t miss our comprehensive Grunts Lineups and Counters Guide to get Shadow Fragments!

Giovanni’s Pokémon Lineup and Effective Counters Team Rocket icon

Rocket Boss Giovanni is currently using the following Shadow Pokémon:

  • Giovanni’s Current Pokémon Line-Up: Giovanni’s team includes Shadow Pokémon such as Persian, Nidoking, Garchomp, Rhyperior and the elusive Shadow Kyogre.
  • Best Team to Use: The recommended team to face Giovanni consists of Machamp (or another strong Fighting-type like Lucario), Swampert, or Galarian Darmanitan, and Kartana or Xurkitree. These Pokémon are chosen for their effectiveness against Giovanni’s line-up, with Machamp and Lucario being particularly useful against Persian and getting Gio’s shields burnt quickly. Swampert and Galarian Darmanitan are strong against Nidoking and Garchomp, with Swampert also being strong against Rhyperior. End your team with a Kartana or Xurkitree depending on what you have powered up for the ideal counter against Kyogre.
  • How to find Giovanni: In order to find Giovanni, you need to complete the Seasonal Timeless Travels Research.

Optimal Team Selection for Battling Giovanni Team Rocket icon

One of the best Teams you can use against Team GO Rocket Giovanni in Pokémon GO is Machamp, Swampert, and Kartana.

  • Machamp/Lucario – or any other strong Fighting-type – is a great choice against Giovanni, as  Persian is weak to Fighting-type moves, and you more or less want a Fighting-type on your team.
  • Swampert is an amazing Water and Ground-type that will help counter Persian, and do strong damage against Nidoking, but also can surprise against Garchomp. A combination of Ground-type fast move and Hydro Cannon as charge move is amazing.
  • Kartana is a strong choice to defeat Giovanni’s Kyogre. It is a glass cannon, so does need to be powered up. Can be replaced with Xurkitree, or another powerful grass/electric type.

💡 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. Defeating Giovanni rewards 4× Shadow Shards.

Comprehensive Counters for Giovanni’s Pokémon

  • Persian: Use strong Fighting or Steel-type Pokémon like Machamp, Lucario, Melmetal, or Dialga.
  • Nidoking and Rhyperior: Effective counters include Ground and Water types like Rhyperior, Kyogre, Swampert, and Greninja.
  • Garchomp: Ice types are most effective, along with Dragon and Fairy types like Togekiss, Sylveon, and Dialga.
  • Kyogre: Use Electric or Grass types like Kartana, Raikou, Roserade, and Electivire.

Strategies for Defeating Persian in Giovanni’s Team

Persian (Shadow)

Persian is a Normal-type Pokémon, weak to Fighting type moves. It takes reduced damage from Ghost type moves and has a wide move pool variety. Best counters are strong Fighters, but also Steel-typed Pokémon like Melmetal and Dialga.

Persian Counters
Pokémon Moves
Terrakion Double Kick, Sacred Sword, Rock Slide
Tyranitar Smack Down, Brutal Swing, Stone Edge
Lucario Counter, Power-Up Punch, Shadow Ball
Machamp Counter, Close Combat, Stone Edge
Melmetal Thunder Shock, Double Iron Bash, Superpower
Dialga Dragon Breath, Iron Head, Draco Meteor

Open with a strong Pokémon that can burn Giovanni’s shields efficiently – the aim is at least one. Since we are always facing Persian, we strongly recommend going with a strong Fighting type.

Effective Counters for Giovanni’s Second Pokémon

Follow up with a Pokémon that is super effective against Giovanni’s pick, but be careful who you are against. Nidoking is weak to Ground and Water, Rhyperior is weak to Grass and Water, and Garchomp is double weak to Ice, so there’s quite a lot of variety.

Nidoking Counters

Nidoking (Shadow)

Nidoking is a Poison and Ground-type Pokémon. It is weak to Ground, Ice, Psychic, and Water type moves. It takes reduced damage from Bug, Fairy, Fighting, Rock, Electric, and Poison type moves.

Nidoking Counters
Pokémon Moves
Rhyperior Mud Slap, Rock Wrecker, Surf
Kyogre Waterfall, Surf, Origin Pulse
Swampert Mud Shot, Hydro Cannon, Earthquake
Mamoswine Powder Snow, Avalanche, High Horsepower
Excadrill Mud Shot, Rock Slide, Drill Run
Dialga Dragon Breath, Iron Head, Draco Meteor

Rhyperior Counters

Rhyperior (Shadow)

Rhyperior is a Ground and Rock-type Pokémon. It is weak to Ice Water Ground Fighting Steel and Grass type moves. It takes reduced damage from Fire, Electric, Poison, Flying, Normal and Rock-type moves.

Rhyperior Counters
Pokémon Moves
Kyogre Waterfall, Surf, Origin Pulse
Swampert Mud Shot, Hydro Cannon, Earthquake
Roserade Magical Leaf, Grass Knots
Greninja Water Shuriken, Hydro Cannon, Surf
Samurott Waterfall, Hydro Cannon, Razor Shell

Garchomp Counters

Garchomp (Shadow)

Garchomp is a Dragon and Ground-type Pokémon. It is double weak to Ice, and weak to Dragon and Fairy type moves. It takes reduced damage from Fire, Poison, Rock, and Electric type moves.

Garchomp Counters
Pokémon Moves
Togekiss Charm, Ancient Power, Aura Sphere
Sylveon Charm, Moonblast, Psyshock
Dialga Dragon Breath, Iron Head, Draco Meteor
Palkia Dragon Breath, Aqua Tail, Draco Meteor
Gyarados Dragon Breath, Aqua Tail, Crunch

Best Choices to Defeat Giovanni’s Kyogre

Kyogre (Shadow)

Finish your Giovanni encounter by dealing large amounts of super effective damage to Kyogre. Kyogre is a Water-type Pokémon. It is weak to Grass and Electric-type moves. It takes reduced damage from Fire, Ice, Steel and Water type moves.

Pokémon Moves
Kartana Razor Leaf, Leaf Blade
Xurkitree Thunder Shock, Discharge
Zekrom Charge Beam, Fusion Bolt
Raikou Thunder Shock, Wild Charge
Electivire Thunder Shock, Wild Charge
Roserade Magical Leaf, Grass Knot

Rewards for Victory: What You Earn for Defeating Giovanni

In order to find Giovanni, you need to complete a currently active Team GO Rocket Special Research. Depending on the time you played, this can vary. Currently, Giovanni has returned with Shadow Kyogre as part of the Taken Treasures Event, and the Special Research quest is called the Timeless Travels Special Research.

Once you complete the fourth step of the current Rocket 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 rematch if you lose, and your Super Rocket Radar will be consumed if you win.

Locating Giovanni: A Step-by-Step Guide

Giovanni Pokemon GO
Giovanni Pokemon GO

Trainers who manage to defeat Giovanni will receive selection of rare reward bundles, including the chance to get a Legendary Shadow Pokémon.

  • Trainers receive 5,000 Stardust for defeating Giovanni
  • Defeating Giovanni (when available) rewards three item bundles including Max Potions or Max Revives
  • Trainers have the opportunity to catch the Legendary Shadow Pokémon used by Giovanni at the moment of defeating him. 
  • Giovanni does not drop Strange Eggs as a reward, regardless of open egg inventory slots.

Reward bundles


Stardust icon 5000× Stardust

Random drop of three of these (can stack)

  • Revive icon 4× Revive
  • Max Revive icon 4× Max Revive
  • Hyper Potion icon 4× Hyper Potion
  • Max Potion icon 4× Max Potion
  • Unova Stone icon 1× Unova Stone

Defeating Team GO Rocket Boss Giovanni yields three item bundles, each of which has an equal chance of containing 4 Max Potions or 4 Max Revives. As an example, a typical reward drop might contain 8 Max Potions and 4 Max Revives.

Troubleshooting: Why You Might Not Have the Latest Team GO Rocket Special Research

Giovanni and Shadow Mewtwo

Every single time there is a new Rocket Takeover event, we get a bunch of readers wondering why they haven’t received the new Special Research to go along with it (yet).

The most likely explanation is: You still have an unfinished Team GO Rocket research in your (right) Special Research tab.

If you have any of these Special Research stories, and you have progressed beyond the first page of it, you need to finish it, before you can receive any new Team GO Rocket Special Research:

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Zeroghan started the Hub in July 2016 and hasn't had much sleep since. A lover of all things Pokémon, web development, and writing.

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