18 Oct 2021 10:35 AM +00:00

Pokémon GO Cliff Counters October 2021: How To Beat Team Rocket Leader, Best Pokémon To Use, Weaknesses And More

So you want to know how to defeat Cliff in Pokémon GO? Cliff counters change on a regular basis, so there's no shame in looking up a guide to explain what Pokémon he currently uses and the best way to beat them. This guide will give you all the tips and best counters to use when fighting this Team Go Rocket Leader during Pokémon GO's Season of Mischief, which begins on September 1.

To encounter any Team Rocket Leader, you have to defeat six Rocket Grunts. You find the Grunts at black PokéStops or dropping from the sky in hot air balloons marked with the iconic 'R' logo. Defeat six of them to earn Mysterious Components, which combine into a Rocket Radar. The radar will lead you to one of the elusive Rocket Leaders.

However, the Rocket Leaders are more difficult to defeat than their Grunt counterparts, boasting better lineups and higher levels. However, the rewards are also far greater, as you get the chance to encounter a Shadow shiny Pokémon if you defeat them. Shadow Pokémon are great for tackling Pokémon GO's raid bosses and in PvP, so it's worth your while battling Grunts and Leaders to build the best teams.


Even then, a leader's lineup is randomly selected out of a small selection of possible Pokémon. Therefore, it's important to know the Pokémon GO Cliff counters and perfect your strategies for every possible encounter to maximise your chances of beating him. Whether or not the Rocket Leaders will be changing up their line-ups soon is up in the air - although leaks and bugs have pointed towards their new Pokémon - but it's worth checking your counters just in case.

This is even more important if you want to get hold of the 12km Strange Eggs or complete the A Seven-Colored Shadow quest.

Here's how to defeat Team Rocket Leader Cliff: counters, rewards best Pokémon to use, and everything else!

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Cliff Rocket Leader Rewards

For every Team Go Rocket Leader you defeat you will earn plenty of rewards in return. Players get 1,000 Stardust, and two of the following items when they defeat a Team Go Rocket Leader:

  • 1 Strange 12km egg (if you don't have inventory space, it will be sent to the extra egg storage)
  • 1 Max Revive
  • 1 Revive
  • 1 Max Potion
  • 1 Unova Stone
  • 1 Sinnoh Stone

Players will also have the opportunity to catch a Team Go Rocket Leader Shadow Pokémon. When defeating Cliff players will have the chance to capture Shadow Seedot, but how easy it is will largely depend on how well you perform in your battle with Cliff. Shadow Seedot can also be shiny.

As a rule of thumb, players get 5 Premier Balls to capture the shadow Pokémon, with extra bonus balls added depending on:

  1. How many Pokémon survive the Cliff trainer battle
  2. Your individual 'purify Pokémon' medal rank (Purifier)
  3. Your individual 'defeat Team Rocket' medal rank (Hero)

READ MORE: Here's which Pokémon are in Pokémon GO Spotlight Hours this month

Team Rocket Leader Cliff Line-Up & Counters

Cliff now uses Shadow Seedot as his first Pokémon. Cliff’s second Pokémon will either be Shadow Kingler, Shadow Hariyama, or Shadow Poliwrath. Finally, for Cliff’s third Pokémon he will choose to use either Shadow Tyranitar, Shadow Sharpedo, or Shadow Torterra.

Now you know which Pokémon he'll 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 and the most effective moves against each of Cliff's possible Pokémon, as of October 2021.

Seedot Counters

Shadow Seedot is weak to pretty much anything. But if want to really blast it, then opt for Bug-types, Fire-types, Flying-types, Ice-types, or Poison-types.

  • Crobat - Air Stash (Fast Move) + Air Cutter or Sludge Bomb (Charge Move)
  • Charizard - Fire Spin or Air Slash (Fast Move) + Blast Burn (Charge Move)
  • Shadow Moltres - Fire Spin (Fast Move) + Sky Attack or Overheat (Charge Move)

Despite the fact it isn't super-effective, we like leading with Lucario and getting two early Power-Up Punches off to use up Cliff's shields. Then you're in a good place to take out his other Pokémon, many of which are weak to Lucario.

Kingler Counters

Shadow Kingler is weak to Grass or Electric types. Here's a list of Pokémon and their moves that counter Kingler.

  • Thundurus - Volt Switch (Fast Move) + Thunderbolt (Charge Move)
  • Torterra - Razor Leaf (Fast Move) + Frenzy Plant (Charge Move)
  • Vileplume - Razor Leaf (Fast Move) + Petal Blizzard or Sludge Bomb (Charge Move)
  • Zekrom - Dragon Breath (Fast Move) + Wild Charge (Charge Move)
  • Magnezone - Spark (Fast Move) + Wild Charge (Charge Move)

Grass or Electric types are excellent choices for tackling Cliff, as they are super effective on Kingler, Poliwrath, and Sharpedo. While Legendary Pokémon are the best Electric-types, Magnezone is an effective cheaper option if you don't have the candy.

Hariyama Counters

Shadow Hariyama is weak against Flying, Psychic, and Fairy-type moves. Here's a list of Pokémon and their moves that counter Hariyama.

  • Clefable - Charm (Fast Move) + Moonblast or Meteor Mash (Charge Move)
  • Gardevoir - Charm (Fast Move) + Synchronoise or Shadow Ball (Charge Move)
  • Sylveon - Charm (Fast Move) + Moonblast (Charge Move)
  • Togekiss - Charm (Fast Move) + Moonblast (Charge Move)
  • Victini - Confusion (Fast Move) + Psychic (Charge Move)

We'd plump for Togekiss as your Hariyama counter, because it also deals with Poliwrath, Sharpedo, and Tyranitar. Building your Rocket Leader counter teams is about being as efficient as possible, and Togekiss will shred three potential Pokémon that Cliff might bring.

Poliwrath Counters

Shadow Poliwrath is weak against Electric, Fairy, Flying, Grass, or Psychic-types. Here's a list of Pokémon and their moves that counter Poliwrath.

  • Gardevoir - Charm (Fast Move) + Synchronoise (Charge Move)
  • Togekiss - Charm (Fast Move) + Moonblast (Charge Move)
  • Venusaur - Vine Whip (Fast Move) + Frenzy Plant (Charge Move)
  • Vileplume - Razor Leaf (Fast Move) + Moonblast or Sludge Bomb (Charge Move)

We'd just keep Togekiss in if Poliwrath appears to be honest. Charm will wreck it so you can save your Charge Moves for Cliff's final Pokémon. If you don't have a powered-up Togekiss though, picking a powerful Grass-type like Venusaur should see you through - provided Poliwrath isn't packing Ice Punch.

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Tyranitar Counters

Shadow Tyranitar is weak to Fighting, Fairy, Ground, Bug, Steel, Water and Grass-type moves. Here's a list of Pokémon and their moves that counter Tyranitar.

  • Machamp - Counter (Fast Move) + Dynamic Punch (Charge Move
  • Conkeldurr - Counter ( Fast Move) + Dynamic Punch (Charge Move)
  • Lucario - Counter (Fast Move) + Aura Sphere or Power-Up Punch (Charge Move)
  • Breloom - Counter (Fast Move) + Dynamic Punch (Charge Move)
  • Sirfetch’d - Counter (Fast Move) + Close Combat (Charge Move)

Tyranitar is especially weak to Fighting-type Pokémon, which is exactly why we'd bring in Lucario to burn Cliff's shields. Despite being shielded, Power-up Punches will buff your Counter and shred through Tyranitar's defences in no time. Tyranitar has a lot of other weaknesses, but we'd target Fighting-types for the added damage boost.

Sharpedo Counters

Shadow Sharpedo is weak to quite a few different Pokémon types, so anything from the Fairy, Bug, Electric, Grass, or Fighting types stands a good chance. Knowing this, maybe opt for similar choices as Tyranitar or Torterra to hedge your bets. Here's a list of some Pokémon we might use to counter Sharpedo.

  • Machamp - Counter (Fast Move) + Dynamic Punch (Charge Move
  • Conkeldurr - Counter ( Fast Move) + Dynamic Punch (Charge Move)
  • Lucario - Counter (Fast Move) + Power-Up Punch or Aura Sphere (Charge Move)
  • Genesect - Fury Cutter (Fast Move) + Magnet Bomb or X-Scissor (Charge Move)

Are you seeing a pattern here? Yep, pick those Fighting-types again. While a Zekrom or Thundurus would do well, they are walled by Torterra which could come out.

Torterra Counters

Shadow Torterra is weak to Bug, Fire, Flying, and Ice-type moves. Here's a list of Pokémon and their moves that counter Torterra.

  • Ho-Oh - Incinerate (Fast Move) + Brave Bird or Earthquake (Charge Move)
  • Reshiram - Dragon Breath (Fast Move) + Crunch or Overheat (Charge Move)
  • Mamoswine - Powder Snow (Fast Move) + Avalanche or Bulldoze (Charge Move)
  • Articuno - Ice Shard (Fast Move) + Icy Wind or Hurricane (Charge Move)

We'd opt for the Ice-types here, as they are 2.56x effective on Torterra, as opposed to the other super-effective types which only boost your damage by 1.75x. Articuno also performs well in the Hariyama matchup, so that might be the best pick - if the most expensive.

Hopefully, this helps you defeat and takedown Team Go Rocket Leader Cliff.