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How to beat Sierra in Pokémon Go: Best counters

How to beat Sierra in Pokémon Go
(Image credit: Niantic)

Beating Sierra in Pokémon Go is far from the easiest task in the game. Sierra is one of the most challenging Team GO Rocket Leaders, and by defeating her, along with Arlo and Cliff, you will get one step closer to challenging the game’s main boss, Giovanni. So whether you’re here because you’re facing Sierra for the first time, or if you're searching for tips for a rematch, we've got you covered. 

Below, we've prepared a guide on all the best Pokémon counters against Sierra’s line-up, including specific Pokémon suggestions, types, moves and more. Make sure that you're prepared for a challenge as Sierra is not your average Team Go Rocket Grunt. Beating her is well worth it too since you will receive a Strange 12km Pokémon Egg as well as 1000XP in doing so. 

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

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 Sierra in Pokémon Go: Best counters quick guide

Sierra's possible Pokémon line-upRecommended Pokémon line-up
SneaselFighting-type: Lucario/Machamp/Blaziken/Hitmonchan
GliscorIce-type: Mamoswine/Glaceon/Articuno/Abomasnow
GranbullSteel-type: Aggron/Metagross; Poison-type: Slowbro/Drapion
AmpharosGround-type: Garchomp/Landorus/Groudon/Excadrill
KingdraFairy-type: Granbull/Rapidash (Galarian); Dragon-type: Garchomp/Dragonite
HoundoomFighting-type: Lucario/Machamp; Water-type: Empoleon/Kyogre
DrapionGround-type: Garchomp/Rhyperior/Golem/Groudon

How to beat Sierra in Pokémon Go

Locating Team GO Rocket Leaders

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 below, 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 Sierra - locating Team Go Rocket Leaders

(Image credit: Niantic)

Locating Sierra

Now that you've got your Rocket Radar, Sierra has a chance to appear on your map, as will the other two Team Rocket GoLeaders, Cliff and Arlo. The good news is that beating Sierra won't be the most challenging part of the game, especially when you compare her to her boss, the infamous Giovanni. 

Defeating Sierra is one of the main steps toward completing the "Looming in the Shadows" quest, which in the end leads you to Giovanni. Beating him should grant you 1000 XP.

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

Ready? Alright, now let's talk strategy. 

How to beat Sierra in Pokémon Go

(Image credit: Niantic)

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

Best Sierra counters

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

One thing to note, however, is that the game is regularly updated and Sierra's Pokémon line-up may change fairly frequently, but we've prepared a complete guide according to the latest info available. 

Similar to other Pokemon trainers, Sierra uses three Pokémon in her Trainer battle. However, her possible line-up includes up to seven different Pokémon, and only her first choice is the one that stays consistent. By being aware of the remaining six Pokémon, you won't be taken by surprise. 

As of July 2021, Sierra's first choice for the fight will always be her Sneasel, followed by one of these three Pokémon: Gliscor, Granbull or Ampharos. 

Sierra's third and final choice will be either a Kingdra, Houndoom or Drapion. 

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

Best Sneasel counters

How to beat Sierra in Pokémon Go - Sneasel counters

(Image credit: Niantic)

Sneasel will be up first in Sierra's Trainer battle line-up. Since Sneasel is a dual Dark/Ice-type Pokémon, the best way to beat it is to bring a Fighting-type such as Machamp, Lucario, Hitmonchan or Blaziken. Careful though — this Pokémon may be small, but it hides several powerful attacks such as Feint Attack and Avalanche.

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

Best Gliscor counters

How to beat Sierra in Pokémon Go - Gliscor counters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Gliscor will be one of the three Pokémon that Sierra may send out as her second choice. It is a dual Ground/Flying-type Pokémon that has several powerful attacks such as Wing Attack and Earthquake. The good news is that Gliscor is incredibly weak against Ice-type moves, so we recommend bringing either a Mamoswine, Glaceon, Articuno or Abomasnow. Please don't feel discouraged if you don't have either of the above, just make sure to add your strongest Ice-type Pokemon and you should be sorted.

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

Best Granbull counters

How to beat Sierra in Pokémon Go - Granbull counters

(Image credit: Niantic)

Granbull is a Fairy-type Pokémon and one of the three Pokemon that Sierra may pick as her second choice for the battle.

Its best attacks are Charm and Play Rough. The best way forward is to bring either a Steel or a Poison-type Pokémon to the battle. We recommend picking Pokemon from the likes of Aggron, Metagross, Slowbro (Galarian) and Drapion — all fairly strong counters against Granbull. 

Best Pokémon choiceTypeMoveset
AggronSteel/RockIron Tail/Heavy Slam
MetagrossSteel/PsychicBullet Punch/Meteor Mash
Slowbro - GalarianPoison/PsychicPoison Jab/Confusion
DrapionPoison/Dark Bite/Sludge Bomb

Best Ampharos & Drapion counters

How to beat Sierra in Pokémon Go - Ampharos & Drapion counters

(Image credit: Niantic)

The last of Sierra's second three potential Pokémon is Ampharos, an Electric-type Pokémon that is weak against Ground moves. Therefore, for this battle, we're advising you to bring one of Garchomp, Landorus, Groudon or Excadrill. No worries if you don't have those specific Pokémon, feel free to pick the strongest Ground-type Pokémon from your inventory, provided they have Ground-type moves for you to use. 

Drapion is one of the last three Pokémon that Sierra may pick for the battle. It is a dual Poison/Dark-type Pokémon that is particularly weak against Ground-type moves. Similar to Ampharos, we're recommending that you bring either of the Pokémon listed below. 

Best Pokémon choiceTypeMoveset
GarchompDragon/GroundDragon Tail/Outrage
LandorusGround/Flying Extrasensory/Earth Power
GroudonGroundDragon Tail/Earthquake
ExcadrillSteel/GroundMud-Slap/Earthquake

Kingdra counters

How to beat Sierra in Pokémon Go - Kingdra counters

(Image credit: Niantic)

Kingdra is a dual Water/Dragon-type Pokémon that Sierra may pick as her third choice for the battle. This Pokemon brings one of the most powerful movesets, including Dragon Breath and Outrage. 

Similar to other Water/Dragon-type Pokémon, Kingdra is weak against Fairy and Dragon moves. We recommend you bring one of the following Pokémon: Granbull, Rapidash (Galarian), Garchomp or Dragonite. 

Best Pokémon choiceTypeMoveset
GranbullFairyCharm/Play Rough
Rapidash - GalarianPsychic/FairyPsycho Cut/Play Rough
GarchompDragon/GroundDragon Tail/Outrage
DragoniteDragon/FlyingDragon Tail/Draco Meteor

Best Houndoom counters

How to beat Sierra in Pokémon Go - Houndoom counters

(Image credit: Niantic)

Since Houndoom is a dual Dark/Fire-type Pokémon, bringing either Fighting or a Water-type Pokémon to the battle will help you emerge as the winner. Ground and Rock-type Pokémon also useful too, so don't feel restricted to just Fighting and Water-types. 

For that battle, we advise picking either a Lucario, Machamp (both Fighting-type), Empoleon or Kyogre (both Water-type). Again, this is just a suggestion, so feel free to use other Pokémon of the same types. Careful though, as Houndoom may use one of its most powerful movesets: Fire Fang and Foul Play.

By using the Pokémon and moves we recommend, you should be able to beat Sierra and get one step closer to fighting Giovanni.

Best Pokémon choiceTypeMoveset
LucarioFighting/SteelCounter/Power-Up Punch
MachampFightingCounter/Cross Chop
EmpoleonWater/SteelWaterfall/Hydro Cannon
KyogreWaterWaterfall/Surf
Denise Primbet

Denise is a news writer at Tom’s Guide covering all things tech, gaming software/hardware, streaming, and more. She regularly produces short-form news articles as well as long-form content, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not live-streaming horror games on Twitch, she can be found exploring East London while playing Pokemon Go. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen. You can reach her at denise.primbet@futurenet.com.