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How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon GO

Team GO Rocket's fearsome leader, Giovanni, can be a challenge for many Trainers but can be defeated with the right Pokémon line-up.
How to beat Giovanni in Pokémon GO
Team GO Rocket’s leader Giovanni is back in Pokémon GO posing a new challenge to Trainers brave enough to challenge him and his Shadow Lugia. Arriving during the Festival of Lights event last November, this fearsome Trainer brought along equally challenging opponents Trainers have yet to face.

As Team GO Rocket will be continuing their presence in 2022 with a forthcoming event starting on 24th January, now is the right time to challenge Giovanni with the right counter line-up. In this guide, we’ll outline how Trainers can prepare for battle against the fearsome Team GO Rocket leader, including his current line-up, best Pokemon counters and the best team to use.

Beating Giovanni in Pokémon GO

Trainers will need to have their best battle-ready Pokémon and their counters levelled up to counter Giovanni and his Shadow Lugia. Additionally, you’ll need to know what line-up he likely uses and bring a team that can exploit his roster’s weaknesses.

pokemon go giovanni pokemon go giovanni current line-up
Giovanni can be quite challenging to face but with the right line-up, Trainers can counter his Pokémon with ease. (Picture: Niantic / The Pokémon Company)

As Giovanni uses his Lugia in the third phase, handling his Pokemon in the first two phases should be relatively easy to overcome. Giovanni will likely bring into battle the following line-up:

  • Phase 1: Persian
  • Phase 2: Kingler / Rhyperior / Nidoking
  • Phase 3: Shadow Lugia

The best Giovanni Pokémon counters/phases

His first Pokémon, Persian, is weak to Fighting-type Pokémon, so any would be suitable for this first encounter. However, five Pokémon would be best utilised with their Fast and Charged Moves to consider.

pokemon go giovanni pokemon go giovanni phase 1 pokemon go giovanni phase 1 persian
Use a Fighting-type Pokémon to easily take down Giovanni's Persian. (Picture: TV Tokyo)
  • Lucario: Counter (Fast Move), Aura Sphere (Charged Move)
  • Melmetal: Thunder Shock (Fast Move), Thunderbolt (Charged Move)
  • Machamp: Counter (Fast Move), Cross Chop (Charged Move)
  • Rhyperior: Mud Slap (Fast Move), Stone Edge (Charged Move)
  • Conkeldurr: Counter (Fast Move), Dynamic Punch (Charged Move)

Next is tackling his Kingler / Rhyperior / Nidoking line-up. Kingler and Rhyperior can quickly be taken care of with the same roster, which makes this battle much easier to face. This also means Trainers stand a high chance of bringing a new Pokémon to the field once Giovanni brings out Nidoking.

  • Thundurus (Therian Form): Volt Switch (Fast Move), Thunderbolt (Charged Move)
  • Zarude: Vine Whip (Fast Move), Power Whip (Charged Move)
  • Roserade: Razor Leaf (Fast Move), Solar Beam / Grass Knot (Charged Move)
  • Raikou: Volt Switch (Fast Move), Wild Charge (Charged Move)
pokemon go giovanni pokemon go giovanni phase 2 pokemon go giovanni phase 2 nidoking
Nidoking is weak to Ground, Water, Psychic and Ice-type Pokémon. (Picture: Niantic / The Pokémon Company)

If Giovanni brings out Nidoking, you’ll want to have Ground, Water, Psychic and Ice-type Pokémon for this battle. As some of these Pokemon are relatively common to find, they should have no problem neutralising Nidoking’s attacks before their Shadow Lugia encounter.

  • Swampert: Mud Shot (fast Move), Hydro Cannon (Charged Move)
  • Kyogre: Waterfall (Fast Move), Surf (Charged Move)
  • Mewtwo: Psycho Cut (Fast Move), Psystrike (Charged Move)
  • Garchomp: Mud Shot (Fast Move), Earth Power (Charged Move)

Lastly, we arrive at Shadow Lugia encounter for which it is weak to Rock, Ghost, Electric, Ice and Dark-type Pokémon. Using a Fighting and ground type Pokémon won’t serve Trainers well in this battle, especially as Lugia packs quite the punch.

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Giovanni will bring out his Shadow Lugia in the final phase of the match. (Picture: Niantic / The Pokémon Company)

Bulky counters will benefit Trainers; however, it will come at the cost of losing HP rapidly and low Defense stats if you know which Pokemon to use. Having one or two Legendary Pokémon should help mitigate this problem to bolster Shadow Lugia’s counters.

  • Zacian: Snarl (Fast Move), Wild Charge (Charged Move)
  • Rhyperior: Smack Down (Fast Move), Rock Wrecker (Charged Move)
  • Magnezone: Volt Switch (Fast Move), Wild Charge (Charged Move)
  • Melmetal: Thunder Shock (Fast Move), Rock Slide (Charged Move)
  • Yveltal: Snarl (Fast Move), Dark Pulse (Charged Move)

It’s important to note that Rhyperior and Melmetal have been mentioned in previous counters, so it would be wise not to use them unless Shadow Lugia has been worn down significantly by other Pokémon. If the Pokémon is used in the first phase of this battle, it can be brought into battle against Shadow Lugia.

The best team line-up to use

Ultimately, the team you take to battle with should base on the Trainers’ playstyle. With a variety of Pokémon recommended to bring onto the battlefield, Trainers can only bring the three best Pokémon.

  • Phase 1: Machomp
  • Phase 2: Kyogre
  • Phase 3: Magnezone
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Use these Pokémon to counter Giovanni in battle. (Picture: Niantic / The Pokémon Company)

Machomp should easily take care of Persian and can be used much later in the battle. Kyogre’s dual abilities should be effective against Kingler, Rhyperior or Nidoking. Magnezone is an excellent counter to Shadow Lugia, and if your Machomp is still in good health, the Pokémon can defeat Shadow Lugia.

If Trainers cannot defeat Giovanni on their first try, you can request a rematch with him immediately. This can provide a chance for Trainers to change up their battle strategies and employ the best counters to exploit Giovanni’s weaknesses to defeat him.

Featured image courtesy of Niantic / The Pokémon Company