GO Hub Guide to Team GO Rocket Battles


In the world of Pokémon GO, Team GO Rocket poses a significant threat to the peace and harmony of the Pokémon universe. These sinister trainers, with their shadow Pokémon, are always up to no good. As a Pokémon Trainer, it’s your duty to stand up against them in thrilling Team GO Rocket battles. This article aims to provide beginners with a comprehensive guide on how Team GO Rocket battles work, helping you prepare, strategize, and emerge victorious against these nefarious foes.

Understanding Team GO Rocket

Team GO Rocket is an infamous group of trainers known for their dark intentions. You can identify them by the eerie black and red “R” logo. They can be encountered at PokéStops that have been taken over by them. Approach the discoloured PokéStops and prepare yourself for a battle. There are also 4 chances a day for them to show up in balloons, which is advantageous if you do not have access to a Pokéstop nearby. These times are between 12 am and 6 am, 6 am and 12 pm, 12 pm and 6 pm, 6 pm and 12 am. Tapping the balloon will start the dialogue from the Team GO Rocket member. There are different members of Team GO Rocket that you can encounter:

Male and female Team Go Rocket grunts


The easiest Team GO rocket battles, Grunts will not put up shields to defend against your charged attacks. Defeat 6 Grunts to assemble a rocket radar from mysterious components earnt from the battles.

From left to right - Cliff, Sierra and Arlo


When you have a Rocket Radar equipped, this will track down the hideouts of Team GO Rocket leaders. These battles are harder, as they will put up shields and have diverse teams in terms of typing. Check out these guides (Arlo, Sierra, Cliff) to form your teams against leaders.

Team GO Rocket boss Giovanni


Giovanni can be found by equipping a Super Rocket Radar, usually gained from defeating all three leaders for research during GO Rocket events.

Building Your Team

To counter Team GO Rocket, you need a strong team of Pokémon. You’ll want to select Pokémon with types advantageous against the common Team GO Rocket lineups, such as Fighting types against Normal types. You can press and hold a Pokémon on the select team page to see their attack types. If you are battling a grunt, their phrase will let you know what type their team will be built up of. Use this guide to recognise the phrases and choose the most effective type to counter them.

Battle Mechanics

Team GO Rocket battles differ from regular gym battles. Each trainer from Team GO Rocket typically has three Pokémon, and you must defeat all three to emerge victorious. The battles are turn-based, where you choose your Pokémon’s moves while the AI controls the opposing team.

Shadow Pokémon

From left to right - shadow Vulpix, shadow Exeggutor and shadow Omanstar

During Team GO Rocket battles, you’ll notice that the enemy Pokémon have a purple shadowy aura. These are called Shadow Pokémon. They have enhanced stats but are under the control of Team GO Rocket. Defeating a Team GO Rocket Grunt allows you to rescue the shadow Pokémon and add it to your collection. Certain shadow Pokemon can be shiny, see this guide to find out which ones you should keep an eye out for.

Should I Purify my Shadow Pokémon?

Shadow Pokémon can be purified later, which will increase their IVs by 2 points to each stat and increasing the Pokémon to level 25. Meaning IVs of 13/13/13 would be 15/15/15 (100% when purified) and the CP would be much higher. However, shadow Pokemon are strong due to their enhanced stats, so it is a strategic choice whether to do this or not. 

It is to be noted that shadow Pokémon have the charged attack ‘frustration’, a normal type attack which deals only 12 points of damage. It cannot be unlearned with a TM until you’ve purified the shadow Pokémon, except during special Team GO Rocket events. Keep your eye out for these events, and save your charged TMs to get shadow Pokémon with effective charged attacks.

Charged Attacks and Shields

Both you and the Team GO Rocket rivals can use Charged Attacks during battles. A Charged Attack deals significant damage and requires charging up by using Fast Attacks. Fast attacks can be dealt by simply tapping the screen when in battle. It’s crucial to keep an eye on your Pokémon’s Charged Attack meter (the coloured circle in the bottom middle of the screen) and strategically unleash them to deal maximum damage. Additionally, you and your opponents have access to 2 shields, which can be used to block Charged Attacks. Use shields wisely to protect your Pokémon from potentially devastating hits.

How to see your Pokémon’s Attacks

Pokemon Storage

In your Pokémon storage you can see each Pokémon’s attacks by clicking on a Pokémon and scrolling down to ‘trainer battles’ tab. The top attack is its fast attack and the bottom is the charged attack. The symbol to the left shows the type of the attack. Remember to choose Pokémon with attack types that are effective against what you will be battling. Generally, the lower the number to the right of the attacks, the quicker they are. However, this does mean they deal less damage.

Selecting your Team

If you press and hold over a Pokémon when you are selecting your team, the Pokémon’s type, HP and its attacks will show. This allows you to choose your team on the go.

Changing Your Pokémon’s Attacks

You can change your Pokémon’s charged attack by clicking ‘new attack’, this costs stardust and candy. If you use this method, it is better to change the attack before you evolve a Pokémon, as it is cheaper.

Another way to change the attack is by using TMs. A Charged TM will change the Pokémon’s charged attack to a random one in its move pool, whereas an Elite Charged TM allows you to choose. The same system goes for Fast TMs, but these change the Pokémon’s fast attack.

Tips for Charged Attacks and Shields

  • When you swap out a Pokémon, the opponent doesn’t deal damage to you for a couple of seconds. This means you can get some quick attacks in for ‘free’.
  • If your opponent releases a charged attack and your Pokémon is at low health, save your shield for later, when it could be used to protect a team member with more health.
  • At the top of the screen, you can see how many Pokémon and shields you and your opponent have left.
  • It is beneficial to have a Pokémon with a Charged attack that is quick (low number), to get your opponent’s shields down.

Rewards and Progression

Winning these battles grants you various rewards. These can include Stardust, items, and even the chance to catch rare Shadow Pokémon.

As mentioned earlier, defeating a Grunt will reward you with a mysterious component, 6 of which will assemble to form a rocket radar which is used to locate Cliff, Sierra and Arlo.

Another notable reward is shadow shards, 4 of which can be combined into Purified gems which are used to counter a raid boss’ enraged state in Shadow Raids. The amount of shards you receive depends on the GO Rocket member you are battling.


Team GO Rocket battles in Pokémon GO provide an exciting and challenging gameplay experience. By understanding the mechanics, building a strong team, and strategizing against the villains, you can emerge victorious and save the Pokémon world from their dark intentions. So gear up, Trainers, and prepare to take down these enemies in epic battles filled with rewards and excitement!

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Hey! I'm phrixu, a Pokemon GO player from the UK. I am dedicated to making Pokemon GO as accessible as possible, to the whole community!

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