A guide on how to counter Team GO Rocket Grunts in Pokémon GO. Includes Pokémon lineups for all Grunt fights. Updated for January 2022. Team GO Rocket Grunts can be quite difficult without proper counters, especially if you’re using a mono typed team and get countered.

We recommend reading through each encounter in details and understanding how the game assembles Team Rocket Pokémon teams.

Coiled and ready to strike!

Possible encounters feature Poison type Pokémon.

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Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Nidoran (M) Weezing Muk
Zubat Nidorino Weezing

 

Best counters: Mud-Slap Rhyperior / Mamoswine / Excadrill / Groudon / Dragon Tail Garchomp 

Grunts that taunt Coiled prefer to use Poison types, especially the Nidoran family line. You will commonly fight Nidoran, Nidorino, and Muk and Weezing. Our recommended team for this Grunt encounter are Ground types for Nidoran, Muk, and Weezing. Zubat isn’t weak to ground, but shouldn’t give you any issues regardless.

Catchable Pokémon in this encounter are Nidoran (M), Nidorino/a, and Zubat.

If you don’t have the ground types listed above, just go in with your best ground type Pokémon or Pokémon with ground type attacks and you should win pretty easily.


Normal doesn’t mean weak.

Possible encounters feature Normal type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Whismur Loudred Bibarel
Exploud

 

Best counters: Machamp, Breloom, and Power-Up Punch Lucario

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Grunts that use this taunt line will primarily use Normal type Pokémon: Bibarel and Whismur family lines.

Catchable Pokémon in this encounter include Whismur and Loudred.

Recommended Pokemon for this encounter is Machamp (or your strongest counter user), with Lucario and Breloom being great options. All of these Pokémon take super-effective damage from Fighting moves, so you will only need your best fighting types here.


ROAR! … How’d that sound?

Possible encounters feature Dragon type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Dratini

 

Best counter: Mamoswine, Glaceon, Walrein, Gardevoir, Togekiss, Dragonite and Dragon Tail Garchomp

Grunts using this taunt will have Dragon type Pokémon. Currently, they will most likely use a Dratini and the rest of the roster is to be seen. But rest assured that they would be Dragon types and as such, using Ice and Fairy type mons is your safe bet.

Catchable Pokémon is Dratini


These waters are treacherous

Possible encounters feature Water type Pokémon. The following encounters are from the female grunt encounter.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Totodile Croconaw Blastoise
Squirtle Shellder Feraligatr

 

Best counters: Alolan Exeggutor, Sceptile, Venusaur, Roserade, Raikou, Magnezone

Grunts using this taunt will use Water types. In this line-up, there are no Water/Ground types so you are free to bring your Electric types. We suggest using Grass or Electric type counters like Alolan Exeggutor, Sceptile, Venusaur, Roserade, Raikou, Magnezone, Electivire or Zapdos.

Catchable in this encounter are Totodile, Squirtle or Croconaw.


Don’t tangle with us!

Possible encounters feature Grass type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Chikorita Bayleef Venusaur
Bulbasaur

 

Best counter: Moltres, Charizard, Entei, Talonflame

Grunts that boast this taunt use Grass type Pokémon, with a wide variety of grass family lines. This encounter is easily defeated if you have Moltres, Charizard, Entei, Talonflame or even a Heatran. Fire types are the best option, with Fire/Flying being the best.

Catchable in this encounter are Chikorita, Bulbasaur or Bayleef


Battle against my Flying-type Pokémon!

Possible encounters feature Flying type Pokémon.

 

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Starly Golbat Staraptor
Murkrow Staravia Crobat

 

Best counter: Smack Down Tyranitar, Rhyperior, Magnezone, Raikous

Grunts using this taunt use a combination of Flying type Pokémon that includes the Zubat and Starly family, along with Murkrow. The Rock types are best because they will resist Normal and Poison type attacks.

Catchable in this encounter is Starly or Murkrow.


Do you know how hot Pokémon fire breath can get?

Possible encounters feature Fire type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Cyndaquil Quilava Charizard
Charmander

 

Best counter: Smack Down Tyranitar, Rhyperior, Kyogre, Swampert, Mud Shot Garchomp

Grunts using this taunt will use Fire type Pokémon. Charmander and Cyndaquil families are in every fight. Bring your best Rock, Ground, and Water types. It’s advised to use Water types like Kyogre or Swampert, Rock types like Smack Down Tyranitar and Ground types like Mud Shot Garchomp as they resist fire type attacks.

Catchable in this encounter are Cyndaquil, Charmander or Quilava.


Go, my super bug Pokémon!

Grunts using this taunt use Bug type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Venomoth Skorupi Pinsir
Weedle Beedrill Forretress
Scizor

 

Best counter: Fire types and best flying types

Charizard / Moltres with Fire type moves resists most moves from all Pokémon and deal 2x  Super Effective Damage to Scizor and Forretress. mostly from the Venonat, Scyther and Weedle evolution lines. Bug types are easily defeated by Fire and Flying types, but fire types have the advantage against Bug/Steel Pokémon.

Catchable in this encounter is Venomoth or Weedle.


You’ll be defeated into the ground!

Grunts using this taunt use Ground type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Sandshrew Hippopotas Hippowdon
Hippopotas Sandslash

 

Best counters: Ice, grass, and water types

Using mons like Kyogre, Mmaoswine, Walrein, Venusaur etc serves the purpose.

Catchable in this encounter are Sandshrew, Hippopotas or Sandslash.


Are you scared of psychics that use unseen power?

Grunts using this taunt will use Psychic type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Ralts Metang Alakazam
Abra Hypno

 

Top counters: Tyranitar, Weavile, Houndoom, Darkrai, Hydreigon or Giratina (Origin).

This grunt uses Pokémon that can be easily taken down by using Dark or Ghost mons. Giratina (Origin) is particularly incredible in taking out the entire roster on its own.

Catchable in this encounter are Ralts, Abra or Metang.


Let’s rock and roll!

Grunts boasting this taunt will use Rock type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Larvitar Lileep Pupitar
Tyranitar

 

Counters: Machamp, Lucario, Swampert, Kyogre, Mud Shot Garchomp

Grunts using this taunt will use Pokémon from the Larvitar family line, which are all easily defeated by Machamp or other Fighting types. You will also encounter Lileep, which is again easily defeated by a strong Fighting type.

Catchable in this encounter is Larvitar.


Ke… ke… ke… ke… ke… ke…

Grunts using this taunt will use Ghost type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Misdreavus Sableye Sableye
Sableye Shuppet Banette

 

Top counters: Darkrai, Weavile, Gengar, Tyranitar, Sylveon, Gardevoir

Grunts in this encounter can be a little tricky because of Sableye. With its only weakness being Fairy type attacks, you will want to bring a Sylveon, Gardevoir, or Togekiss with you along with your best Dark types. Ghost attacks are hard-hitting and might defeat a couple in your team.

Catchable in this encounter is Sableye or Misdreavus.


This buff physique isn’t just for show!

Possible encounters feature Fighting type Pokémon.

 

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Hitmonchan Machop Hitmonchan
Hitmonlee Makuhita Hitmonlee

Counters: Alakazam, Gardevoir, and Mewtwo.

Grunts using this taunt will use strong fighters like Hitmonchan and hard hitting Hariyama. Make it easier by using Psychic, Fairy and Flying type Pokémon. We have listed the best psychic types because they are most likely to be powered up, but you can bring your best of any of the 3 types listed above. All of them resist Fighting type attacks.

Catchable in this encounter is Hitmonchan or Hitmonlee.


You’re gonna be frozen in your tracks.

Possible encounters feature Ice type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Swinub Snover Lapras
Spheal Abomasnow

 

Counters: Strong fighters and fire or electric friends.

Grunts using this taunt will use Ice type Pokémon. Easily defeated by using [Fighting] or Rock type attacks. Lapras can be trickier for your rock types. You can bring an Electric type in the back just in case. Also, Fire types are extremely good against the Snover family line and Arcanine features Wild Charge which could prove useful against Lapras. This encounter could prove tricky so bring a variety to deal with your possible options.

Catchable in this encounter is Spheal or Swinub.


Wherever there is light, there is also shadow.

Possible encounters feature Dark type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Houndour Nuzleaf Sharpedo
Poochyena Sableye Shiftry
Cacturne

 

Counters: Sylveon, Gardevoir, Togekiss, Machamp, Lucario

Grunts using this taunt will use Dark type Pokémon. So both Fighting and Fairy types counter all of these grunts’ Pokémon. It should be easy enough to bring a full fairy team to decimate this unsuspecting grunt. You can also bring strong Bug types to deal double damage to the Dark/Grass types.

Catchable in this encounter are Poochyena, Houndour, Sableye or Nuzleaf.


Get ready to be shocked!

Possible encounters feature Electric type Pokémon.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Voltorb Voltorb Electrode
Electrode

 

Counters: Garchomp, Groudon and other strong Ground types.

Grunts using this taunt will use Electric type Pokémon and will feature the Voltob family exclusively. Garchomp’s triple resistance to Electric type attacks makes it a solo cakewalk.

Catchable in this encounter is Voltorb or Electrode.


Don’t bother – I’ve already won. / Get ready to be defeated! / Winning is for winners

Female grunt

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Snorlax Gardevoir Dragonite
Poliwrath Gyarados

 

Counters: Machamp,  Lucario, Metagross, Magnezone, Electivire

This encounter is significantly challenging this time around. Snorlax is always tough and Fighting types like Machamp or Lucario are the way to go. Bring a Metagross to deal with Gardevoir which is also solid into Snorlax. Having an Electric type like Magnezone or Electivure (with added Ice Punch) can also help you arrest the incoming Dragonite or Gyarados in the last slot.

If you defeat the female grunt, then you will have the opportunity to catch Snorlax at the end.

Male Grunt

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Chikorita Bayleef Meganium
Cyndaquil Quilava Shiftry
Totodile Croconaw Feraligatr

 

Each of the counters for the Johto starter families includes powerful Fire type for the Chikorita family, Ground or Rock types for the Cyndaquil family, and Electric or Grass types for the Totodile family.


Check out my cute Pokémon!

Grunts using this taunt will have Fairy types counters.

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Snubbull Snubbull Granbull
Ralts Kirlia Kirlia

 

Counters: Best Steel and Poison types

With only the Snubbull and Ralts families to deal with, take your best poison and steel types. Metagross with Bullet Punch and Meteor Mash, Roserade with poison moves, or Dialga with steel moves will all make light work of this encounter.

Catchable at the end of this encounter is Snubbull or Ralts.

Author Tips and Go Rocket Take Down Lineup

3kkology here, updating this guide for everyone to use to take down Go Rocket invasions. I wanted to provide my dedicated Go Rocket team that I use for efficiency when taking down large invasion of Go Rocket grunts.

It can be annoying to look at this guide for every grunt and remember what Pokémon is best for each encounter. This is the team that I use for every Go Rocket encounter and it has yet to fail me. Feel free to copy and try for yourself.

Pokémon Fast Move Charge Moves
Rhyperior
  • Mud-slap
  • Rock Wrecker
  • Surf
Charizard
  • Fire Spin
  • Blast Burn
  • Dragon Claw
Lucario
  • Counter
  • Shadow Ball
  • Power-up Punch

The lead is Rhyperior. Lucario Power-up Punch is very powerful because of the delay in attacking by grunt Pokémon after using charge moves. Charizard is great for similar reason because of Dragon Claw and the fire type attacks over good coverage. You can really limit the amount of fast moves the Go Rocket grunt can get off. This team is very well rounded for all grunt encounters. With a lack of Gyarados and Dragonites in this round of grunt encounters, this team is great against all grunts.

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Grunt mechanics

Grunts will randomly select one 1 Pokémon from each of the 3 columns (#1 – 3) to build a team. Before starting the Team Rocket Battle encounter in Pokémon GO, the Grunt will taunt you. We use this taunt line to figure out which type of Pokémon he / she will use in the fight.

Team Rocket Grunts do not use shields, which gives you an additional edge in these battles. You should shield against every Charge move they use (the charged attack the Shadow Pokémon use in battle is not Frustration, but a regular move from their move pool).

Every Pokémon that faints on your team reduces the number of Premier Balls you will get for the Shadow Pokémon catch encounter. It’s in your best interest to switch low HP Pokémon before they faint. There is a slight delay in Rocket Grunts attacking after charge moves are used or Pokémon are switched, which you can take advantage of to make your victory that much easier.

Your Pokémon are not automatically healed after the battle. If you lose, you can re-match and the Grunt will have the same Pokémon again. There’s no penalty for rejoining.

You can walk away from the Poke Stop once the encounter starts. There’s no distance limit on how far you can move (or at least we never reached it). We tested this up to almost 500 meters (0.31 miles).

These taunts indicate the strongest Pokémon you will face, not the one you can catch. The Team Rocket grunt gives hints on the type of their third Pokémon. You will always be catching either the first or the second Pokémon that they used

Credits and thank you

We wish to say thank you to everyone that contributed their data to our Team Rocket Battles research project. This guide is made possible solely on the merit of the data you provided! Thank you! If you want to join our Discord server, please do so, we are planning to hold more research projects in near future. 

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I am an environmental scientist from Sacramento, CA. I was given my first Charmander Pokemon card by a friend in the 4th grade in 1999 and was hooked ever since. I was ranked Ace trainer in season 1 of Silph League's world rankings for PvP.