09 Sep 2021 9:55 AM +00:00

Pokemon GO Giovanni Counters September 2021 - How To Beat The Team Rocket Leader, Shadow Zapdos & Shadow Ho-Oh

So you want to know how to defeat Giovanni in Pokémon GO? Well, you might want to give this guide a read first for all the tips and best counters to use when fighting the ultimate Team Go Rocket Leader. He's a tough cookie, but having the best Pokémon GO Giovanni counters to hand is absolutely necessary if you want to grab the win.

Once players have defeated Arlo, Cliff and Sierra, they'll be able to track down Giovanni using the Super Rocket Radar. It's not quite as easy as it sounds though, because the Super Rocket Radar also displays some Rocket Grunts disguised as Giovanni, too. You don't have to beat them in order to find them, but it's free Stardust so why not?

When you do eventually find Giovanni you'll want to know your best possible line-up to help you counter his strong Pokémon team. This is even more important if you want to get hold of the 12km Strange Eggs or complete the Inter-Egg-Sting Development Quest.

Need Help? Then keep reading for tips and counters on how to defeat Team Rocket Leader Giovanni. Counters, rewards, and how to even find the mafia boss - we've got you covered.

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Pokémon GO Team Rocket Guides - Counters To Beat ArloCounters To Beat Sierra | Counters To Beat Cliff | Counters To Beat Giovanni | Counters To Beat Jessie & James | Counters To Beat Team Rocket Grunts

Giovanni Has Disappeared in the Season of Mischief


Unfortunately, Niantic says in the Pokémon GO Season of Mischief announcement that Giovanni has disappeared, so you won't be able to battle him at the moment. But we fully expect him to be back later in the season - he loves a bit of mischief, after all. Perhaps he'll bring Shadow Lugia with him next time around?

Whatever happens, it pays to be ready. So get preparing your counters and powering up your Pokémon, because you're in for a fight.

Giovanni Rocket Leader Rewards

For every Team Go Rocket Leader you defeat you will earn plenty of rewards in return. Players get 5000 Stardust, and an assortment of items which includes Max Potions and Max Revives.

Players will also have the opportunity to catch a Legendary Shadow Pokémon. When defeating Giovanni players will have the chance to capture Shadow Ho-Oh.

If that wasn't enough of a reason to defeat Giovanni, it also helps count towards your Ultra Hero medal, which keeps track of how many times you defeat the head of Team Go Rocket. The more you level up this badge, the more Giovanni themed clothing you'll unlock for your avatar. You can see below how many wins you need per piece of clothing.

  • Shoes - Defeat Giovanni 5 times + Silver Badge Level
  • Pants - Defeat Giovanni 5 times + Silver Badge Level
  • Shirt - Defeat Giovanni 20 times + Gold Badge Level
  • Gloves - Defeat Giovanni 20 times + Gold Badge Level

Team Rocket Leader Giovanni Line-Up & Counters


Giovanni will always use Persian as his first Pokémon. For Giovanni's second Pokémon, he will either use Kangaskhan, Nidoking or Garchomp. For his Third Pokémon in September 2021, Giovanni will have Shadow Ho-Oh.

Now you know which Pokémon Giovanni will use, you just need to know how to beat them. The best way to do that is to use specific Pokémon to counter, so below you'll find a list of the best Pokémon to counter Giovanni and the most effective moves against each of his possible Pokémon, as of September 2021.

Persian Counters

Persian is only weak to Fighting-types. Here's a list of Pokémon and their moves that counter Persian.

  • Lucario - Counter (Fast Move) + Power-Up Punch or Aura Sphere (Charge Move)
  • Melmetal - Thunder Shock (Fast Move) + Thunderbolt (Charge Move)
  • Machamp - Counter ( Fast Move) + Cross Chop (Charge Move)
  • Rhyperior - Mud Slap (Fast Move) + Stone Edge (Charge Move)
  • Conkeldurr - Counter (Fast Move) + Dynamic Punch (Charge Move)

We love leading with Lucario in this encounter. While Persian can really pack a punch, once you've charged up a Power-Up Punch you can nearly stun-lock it and take out Giovanni's shields nice and early.

Kangaskhan Counters

Kangaskhan is weak to Fighting-types. Here's a list of Pokémon and their moves that counter Kangaskhan.

  • Lucario - Counter (Fast Move) + Power-Up Punch or Aura Sphere (Charge Move)
  • Machamp - Counter ( Fast Move) + Cross Chop (Charge Move)
  • Conkeldurr - Counter (Fast Move) + Dynamic Punch (Charge Move)

Just leave Lucario in if you see Kangaskhan come out, it's probably Giovanni's easiest Pokémon to defeat.

Nidoking Counters

Nidoking is to Ground, Ice, Psychic, and Water-types. Here's a list of Pokémon and their moves that counter Nidoking.

  • Swampert - Mud Shot (Fast Move) + Hydro Cannon (Charge Move)
  • Kyogre - Waterfall (Fast Move) + Surf (Charge Move)
  • Mewtwo - Psycho Cut (Fast Move) + Psystrike (Charge Move)
  • Garchomp - Mud Shot (Fast Move) + Earth Power (Charge Move)

Nidoking is weak to some pretty common Pokémon, so you should have one of these powered up nice and high.

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Garchomp Counters

Garchomp is weak to Fairy and Ice-types. Here's a list of Pokémon and their moves that counter Garchomp.

  • Togekiss - Charm (Fast Move) + Moonblast or Ancient Power (Charge Move)
  • Articuno - Ice Shard (Fast Move) + Icy Wind (Charge Move)
  • Gardevoir - Charm (Fast Move) + Psychic (Charge Move)
  • Dragonite - Dragon Breath (Fast Move) + Dragon Claw (Charge Move)

Garchomp is pretty easy to take down with big Fairy or Ice-types. Togekiss is, as usual, our pick of the bunch due to the incredible damage that Charm puts out. If you've got the Stardust and Candy for a second move, Ancient Power will come in handy against Ho-oh, too.

Pokemon GO Shadow Ho-Oh
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Shadow Ho-Oh is coming soon

Shadow Ho-Oh Counters

Shadow Ho-Oh is weak to Rock-type Pokémon first and foremost, with Electric and Water-type Pokémon good secondary back ups. Generally speaking though, build your team around a strong Rock-type.

Here's a list of Pokémon and their moves that are useful for countering Shadow Ho-Oh.

  • Rhyperior - Smack Down (Fast Attack) + Rock Wrecker (Charge Attack)
  • Rampardos - Smack Down (Fast Attack) + Rock Slide (Charge Attack)
  • Tyranitar - Smack Down (Fast Attack) + Stone Edge (Charge Attack)
  • Shadow Zapdos - Thunder Shock (Fast Attack) + Ancient Power (Charge Attack)
  • Aerodactyl - Rock Throw (Fast Attack) + Rock Slide (Charge Attack)
  • Landorus - Rock Throw (Fast Attack) + Rock Slide (Charge Attack)

Giovanni will have Shadow Ho-Oh in his grasp until Wednesday, September 1, 2021, at 12:00 local time. Hopefully, this guide helps you defeat and takedown Team Rocket Leader Giovanni in time.