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Pokemon Go leader counters for Sierra, Arlo, and Cliff

How to take down the three Team Go Rocket leaders in February 2023

Artwork from Pokemon Go showing the new Team Rocket admins, Giovanni, and a group of shadow Pokemon Image: Niantic/The Pokémon Company

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 the Rocket leaders and take them down.

Below, we list out their parties and strategies that are effective for February 2023, as part of the Team Go Rocket Takeover event that activated as part of the “Cracking Voltage” event.


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

Team Go Rocket members can be found in hot air balloons flying above you or from glitchy, black PokéStops. Each time you defeat one, you’ll get a Mysterious Component. After you get 6 Mysterious Components, they’ll combine into a Rocket Radar, which allows you to find a random leader. 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 can have the following:

  • Beldum (steel/psychic)
  • Sharpedo (water/dark)
    Lapras (water/ice)
    Flygon (ground/dragon)
  • Houndoom (dark/fire)
    Alakazam (psychic)
    Shiftry (grass/dark)

Depending on what she has in her party, we recommend using ghost-, dark-, or fighting-type Pokémon. Sierra’s part is the most potentially diverse out of the three, which makes her harder to match up against with specific Pokémon types. If you figure out what she’s using, you may need a different type of Pokémon for each of her’s.

We recommend using the following, but make sure to pay attention to what Sierra’s using, as these aren’t effective against all of her available options:

  • Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch
  • Hydreigon with Bite and Brutal Swing
  • Darkrai with Snarl and Dark Pulse
  • Chandelure with Hex and Shadow Ball
  • Gengar with Lick and Shadow Ball

Team Go Rocket leader Arlo counters

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

Arlo can have the following:

  • Nidoran (poison)
  • Crobat (poison/flying)
    Steelix (steel/ground)
    Cradily (rock/grass)
  • Charizard (fire/flying)
    Scizor (bug/steel)
    Armaldo (rock/bug)

Most of Arlo’s party is weak against water- or fire-type moves, which we heavily recommend using. You can try out the following, but keep type advantages in mind and swap out accordingly:

  • Kyogre with Waterfall and Surf
  • Swampert with Water Gun and Hydro Cannon
  • Kingler with Bubble and Crabhammer
  • Reshiram with Fire Fang and Fusion Flare
  • Charizard with Fire Spin and Blast Burn

Team Go Rocket leader Cliff counters

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

Cliff can use any of the following:

  • Magnemite (electric/steel)
  • Venusaur (grass/poison)
    Omastar (rock/water)
    Pinsir (bug)
  • Sharpedo (water/dark)
    Tyranitar (rock/dark)
    Camerupt (fire/ground)

Cliff’s team is largely weak to either fire-, grass-, or water-type moves. You can use lots of the counters we recommended against the other two leaders against him, but again, you’ll need to check his party to make sure your counters are lined up, as he can have a pretty diverse party.

We recommend using any of the following:

  • Kyogre with Waterfall and Surf
  • Swampert with Water Gun and Hydro Cannon
  • Reshiram with Fire Fang and Fusion Flare
  • Charizard with Fire Spin and Blast Burn
  • Venusaur with Razor Leaf and Frenzy Plant
  • Torterra with Razor Leaf and Frenzy Plant

Team Go Rocket leader tips

If you’re struggling against the leaders, here’s 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.

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