Pokémon Go has its own version of the notorious Team Rocket, called Team Go Rocket. In this Pokémon Go guide, we’ll break down how to find leaders Sierra, Cliff, and Arlo and take them down.

Below, we list their parties and strategies as it stands in January 2024, with the most recent changes following the the Team Go Rocket Takeover event that activated alongside the arrival of the “Taken Treasures” event in January.

How to find leaders Sierra, Cliff, and Arlo in Pokémon Go

Team Go Rocket leaders can be found in black PokéStops or hot air balloons flying above you with a Rocket Radar equipped.

To get a Rocket Radar, you must get six Mysterious Components, with one regular Go Team Rocket encounter rewarding one Mysterious Component each.

With the Rocket Radar equipped, you will then encounter a leader at random. The three leaders are Sierra, Arlo, and Cliff.

Some Timed Research and Team Go Rocket Special Research tasks require you to beat all three leaders. Completing the Team Go Rocket Special Research will reward you with a Super Rocket Radar, allowing you to find the boss, Giovanni. Beating Giovanni will net you a Legendary Shadow Pokémon.

Team Go Rocket leader Sierra counters

A woman in a white uniform with the Team Rocket Logo stands in the middle of a data screen

Image: Niantic

Sierra’s team is:

  • Tentacool (water/poison)
  • Sableye (dark/ghost)
    Milotic (water)
    Honchkrow (dark/flying)
  • Houndoom (dark/fire)
    Alakazam (psychic)
    Victreebel (grass/poison)

Though coming in to scope out her team first is recommended, if you come equipped with electric- and fighting-types, that will help a ton. Her party is pretty diverse, so you may also want to sprinkle in psychic-, ground-, and rock-type moves as well, depending on what she’s running. Notably, Sableye is only weak against fairy-type moves, so you’ll want to either bring a Pokémon that knows fairy moves or you’ll want to brute force it.

We recommend using the following:

  • Raikou with Thunder Shock and Wild Charge
  • Magnezone with Spark and Wild Charge
  • Lucario with Counter and Aura Sphere
  • Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch
  • Mewtwo with Confusion and Psystrike
  • Garchomp with Mud Shot and Earth Power
  • Rampardos with Smack Down and Rockslide

Team Go Rocket leader Arlo counters

Team Rocket leader Arlo stands in purple fog, readying to battle

Image: Niantic

Arlo’s team is:

  • Bagon (dragon)
  • Golurk (ground/ghost)
    Hypno (psychic)
    Charizard (fire/flying)
  • Dragonite (dragon/flying)
    Salamence (dragon/flying)
    Scizor (bug/steel)

If you come with ice-, dragon-, and rock-type moves, you’ll take down most of Arlo’s party.

We recommend using any of the following:

  • Galarian Darmanitan with Ice Fang and Avalanche
  • Mamoswine with Powder Snow and Avalanche
  • Rayquaza with Dragon Tail and Outrage
  • Palkia with Dragon Tail and Draco Meteor
  • Rampardos with Smack Down and Rockslide
  • Rhyperior with Smack Down and Rock Wrecker

Team Go Rocket leader Cliff counters

Cliff from Team Rocket stands in purple smog, ready to throw a Poké Ball

Image: Niantic

Cliff’s team is:

  • Zubat (poison/flying)
  • Gallade (psychic/fighting)
    Aerodactyl (rock/flying)
    Kingdra (water/dragon)
  • Tyranitar (rock/dark)
    Cradily (rock/grass)
    Crobat (poison/flying)

Cliff’s potential parties are especially weak against ice-, rock-, steel-, electric-, and fairy-type moves.

We recommend using a mix of the following:

  • Galarian Darmanitan with Ice Fang and Avalanche
  • Mamoswine with Powder Snow and Avalanche
  • Rampardos with Smack Down and Rockslide
  • Metagross with Bullet Punch and Meteor Mash
  • Zekrom with Charge Beam and Wild Charge
  • Togekiss with Charm and Dazzling Gleam

Team Go Rocket leader tips

If you’re struggling against the leaders, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • They will use their shields on the first two Charge Attacks you use. Using a Pokémon that can charge and use Charge Attacks quickly will help you get rid of their shields, allowing you to freely damage them.
  • You should be prepared for the first Pokémon you use to get knocked out. If you use a Pokémon that gets through shields easily, that’s fine, but your other Pokémon will need to have decent type advantages to defeat any remaining Pokémon.
  • Remember, you can attempt the battle many times using one Rocket Radar, so you can queue up your strongest Pokémon just to see what the leader is carrying. If you defeat them on the first try, great! If not, you can swap your party around for some type-effective counters.
  • The team leaders have high CP Pokémon, so you should definitely be using the highest CP Pokémon you have if you’re struggling.
  • Facing Leaders is an efficient way of earning Shadow Shards for Purified Gems, with each battle rewarding three Shards.

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