How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go: Best counters

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go: Best counters
(Image credit: Niantic)

Fans of the Pokémon franchise may have already encountered Giovanni once or twice in other games, but here we'll be discussing how to beat the Team Rocket Boss in Pokémon Go. So whether this is your first time facing the infamous Giovanni or if you're searching for tips for a rematch, we're here to help.

Below, we've prepared a guide on all the best Pokémon counters against Giovanni's line-up, including specific Pokémon suggestions, types, moves, and more. Keep in mind that since Giovanni is the biggest boss in Pokémon Go, he won't be the easiest to beat, so make sure that you're prepared for a challenge. 

It's also worth noting that only Trainers of Level 8 or above can face Team Go Rocket leaders, including Giovanni.

WARNING: Please take extreme caution when playing Pokémon Go and be aware of your surroundings, especially if you're using the app next to open roads, bicycle paths, and steep drops. 

Other Pokémon Go guides:

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go: Best counters quick guide

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Giovanni's Pokémon line-upRecommended Pokémon line-up
PersianFighting-type: Machamp/Lucario/Hitmonchan/Blaziken
KangaskhanFighting-type: Machamp/Lucario/Hitmonchan/Blaziken
NidokingWater-type: Empoleon/Kyogre; Psychic-type: Mewtwo/Alakazam
GarchompIce-type: Glaceon/Mamoswine/Articuno/Abomasnow
Ho-OhRock-type: Rhyperior/Tyranitar/Rampardos/Golem

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go: How to find Giovanni

Finding Giovanni in Pokémon Go is no simple task as it requires you to complete quite a few challenges before even attempting to locate the Team Go Rocket boss. First and foremost, you'll have to defeat other Team Go Rocket Leaders in order to have a go at the big bad wolf himself. 

Why? Well, if you want to face Giovanni, you won't be able to do so without completing the Special Research task, which involves beating the Leaders, Grunts, and other Team Go-Rocket challenges.

So let's start with locating Team Go Rocket Leaders, shall we? 

Locating Team GO Rocket Leaders

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go - find Giovanni

(Image credit: Niantic)

Every once in a while in Pokémon Go, you'll have the chance to battle Team Go Rocket Grunts, and whenever you defeat one, they will drop an item called the Mysterious Component. If you manage to collect six of these, you'll be able to combine them and craft a Rocket Radar. 

This handy item reveals the location of any Leader Hideouts that are in close proximity to you. Once you've equipped your Rocket Radar, tap the Rocket Radar button (located below the compass on the Map View) to view the Leader Hideout locations.

As shown in one of the screenshots above, the Leader Hideouts resemble regular PokéStops on the map. And once you're nearby, one of the Team Go Rocket Leaders will be standing right by the Leader Hideout.

Before you fight, keep in mind that Leaders are a lot tougher to beat than regular Team Go Rocket Grunts, so make sure that you line up your best Pokémon and that they're at full health before the fight. 

Once you've defeated a Leader, your Rocket Radar will disappear, so you will need to either purchase a new one from the Shop or locate and combine six more Mysterious Components in order to battle more Leaders. 

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go - Rocket leaders

(Image credit: Niantic)

Locating Giovanni

Now that you know how to locate the Team GO Rocket Leaders, it's time to complete the Special Research tasks, which should get you one step closer to battling Giovanni. 

To take a look at the Research tasks, first tap the binoculars icon, select the "Special" tab and find the "Looming in the Shadows" research task.

Keep in mind that the Giovanni Special Research quest can only be assigned to those who have already completed the "A Troubling Situation" research task.

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go - rocket radar

(Image credit: Niantic)

One of the steps in the Special Research will grant you a Super Rocket Radar device, which can be equipped right away. It won't take you directly to Giovanni's location; instead, but will display multiple fake Giovannis (disguised Grunts) as well as Giovanni's actual Hideout. 

You will need to tap each Hideout to see whether you're facing the real Giovanni. The good news is that you won't actually need to battle any of the fake ones to do so. 

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go: Best counters complete guide

Best Giovanni counters

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go - Best counters guide

(Image credit: Niantic)

Now that you've located the real Giovanni, prepare for trouble, because this battle is one of the hardest ones in the game. Beating Giovanni won't be easy, as not only will he have a strong Pokémon line-up, but he can also, similar to other trainers, use protect shields to absorb two of your charged attacks.

Giovanni's first choice for the fight will always be his beloved Persian, followed by one of these three Pokémon: Kangaskhan, Nidoking or Garchomp. 

Giovanni's third and final choice will be a legendary Pokémon called Ho-Oh (which recently replaced Suicune). 

Below, you'll find advice on all the best counters for all of Giovanni's Pokémon as well as suggestions on moves and attacks. 

Best Persian & Kangaskhan counters

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go - Persian counters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Since Persian is a Normal-type Pokémon, the best way to beat it is to bring a Fighting-type Pokémon, such as Machamp, Lucario, Hitmonchan or Blaziken. Persian typically uses Normal, Dark, Fairy and Rock move sets. 

Calling a Fighting-type Pokémon to this battle will also give you an opportunity to charge up your strongest Fighting-type charged attack for battles against other Pokémon towards the end.  

Kangaskhan will be one of the three Pokémon that Giovanni can send out as his second choice. It is a Normal-type Pokémon that can demonstrate a really powerful offence. 

Similar to Persian, Fighting-type Pokémon are the best counters as is the case with the majority of Normal-types. 

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Best Pokémon choiceTypeMoveset
MachampFighting Counter/Cross Chop
LucarioFighting/SteelCounter/Power-Up Punch
HitmonchanFighting Counter/Power-Up Punch
BlazikenFighting/FireCounter/Blaze Kick

Best Nidoking counters

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go - Nidoking counters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nidoking is a dual-type Poison and Ground Pokémon, and one of the three Pokémon that Giovanni can pick as his second choice for the battle. 

Nidoking's best attacks are Poison Jab and Earthquake. The best way forward is to bring either a Water or Psychic-type Pokémon, such as Empoleon, Kyogre, Mewtwo or Alakazam. 

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Best Pokémon choiceTypeMoveset
EmpoleonWater/SteelWaterfall/Hydro Cannon
Mewtwo PsychicConfusion/Psystrike

Best Garchomp counters

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go - Garchomp counters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Garchomp is the last of the three possible Pokémon that Giovanni may call as his second choice for the battle. 

This mighty Pokémon is dual Dragon and Ground-type, making it perfectly simple to counter with a strong Ice-type Pokémon, such as Articuno, Mamoswine, Glaceon or Abomasnow.

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Best Pokémon choiceTypeMoveset
GlaceonIceFrost Breath/Avalanche
Mamoswine Ice/GroundMud-Slap/Avalanche
ArticunoIce/FlyingFrost Breath/Ice Beam
AbomasnowIce/GrassPowder Snow/Weather Ball

Ho-Oh counters

How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon Go - Ho-oh counters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Last but certainly not least comes Ho-Oh, Giovanni's most powerful legendary Pokémon, as well as his last choice for the battle. 

Ho-Oh is a dual Fire and Flying-type Pokémon that is weak against strong Rock-type Pokémon such as Rhyperior, Tyranitar, Rampardos or Golem. 

Ready? Alright, it's time for you to show Giovanni who's the real Boss. 

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Best Pokémon choiceTypeMoveset
RhyperiorRock/GroundSmack Down/Rock Wrecker
TyranitarRock/DarkSmack Down/Stone Edge
RampardosRockSmack Down/Rock Slide
GolemRock/GroundRock Throw/Rock Blast
Denise Primbet
News Writer

Denise is a Life Reporter at Newsweek, covering everything lifestyle-related, including health, relationships, personal finance, beauty and more. She was formerly a news writer at Tom’s Guide, regularly producing stories on all things tech, gaming software/hardware, fitness, streaming, and more. Her published content ranges from short-form news articles to long-form pieces, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not playing horror games, she can be found exploring East London with her adorable puppy. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen.