As trainers challenge Team GO Rocket Grunts and collect Mysterious Components, they will eventually unlock the opportunity to challenge the powerful Team GO Rocket Leaders. Beating these trainers requires a bit of extra strategy since they have two Protect Shields, meaning they will always block the first two Charged Attacks you throw out in a battle.
While they may be a step below Giovanni, these villainous opponents are still much harder to beat than the typical Team GO Rocket Grunt. Here’s an overview of the best counters and weaknesses to keep in mind when facing Pokémon GO Leader Cliff.
While Pokémon GO Leader Cliff will always have three Pokémon when you face him, the exact line-up will not be the same every time. The only consistent part of his team is his lead, which is always a Shadow Magnemite. It may have Spark or Thunder Shock as its Fast Attack. Meanwhile, its Charged Attack could be Discharge, Magnet Bomb, Thunderbolt or Frustration.
Cliff will pick one Shadow Pokémon from a pool of three options for his second slot. He will then pick one Shadow Pokémon from another pool of three options for his final slot. These Pokémon will be randomly assigned a Fast Attack and a Charged Attack from their possible learnset. However, their exact movesets are unpredictable. As a result, trainers need to be prepared for every possibility.
Here are all of the Pokémon Cliff can use in his second and third slots and the moves they can potentially use:
- Second slot
- Fast – Razor Leaf or Vine Whip
- Charged – Sludge Bomb, Petal Blizzard, Solar Beam or Frustration
- Fast – Rock Smash, Bug Bite or Fury Cutter
- Charged – Vise Grip, X-Scissor, Close Combat, Superpower or Frustration
- Fast – Mud Shot or Water Gun
- Charged – Ancient Power, Hydro Pump, Rock Blast or Frustration
- Third slot
- Fast – Bite or Iron Tail
- Charged – Fire Blast, Crunch, Stone Edge or Frustration
- Fast – Bite or Waterfall
- Charged – Hydro Pump, Crunch, Poison Fang or Frustration
- Fast – Ember, Rock Smash or Incinerate
- Charged – Earthquake, Overheat, Solar Beam, Earth Power or Frustration
Pokémon GO Leader Cliff counters and weaknesses
The Magnemite that Pokémon GO Leader cliff leads with is his easiest Pokémon to counter since it has a double weakness to Ground. Therian Forme Landorus can rack up energy against quickly using Mud Shot while still doing a good amount of damage.
For this fight Landorus should run Bulldoze rather than the stronger option, Earthquake, because Bulldoze requires less energy per second to use. Since the first two Charged Attacks of the fight will be shielded, it is important to get those attacks off quickly rather than charging up for a strong move.
Importantly, Landorus also matches up well into Tyranitar and Camerupt. It can also do decently well against Venusaur and Omastar. As a result, there is a good chance that you can use Therian Forme Landorus successfully against more than one of Cliff’s Pokémon.
Hitmonchan has the best match-up spread against Cliff’s second round of Pokémon, making it the ideal pick for your second team member. As a pure Fighting-type, it is not weak to any attack the three Pokémon can learn. Meanwhile, it can carry Fire Punch to hit the Venusaur and Pinsir super effectively, and either Close Combat or Power-Up Punch to hit the Omastar super effectively. Hitmonchan’s preferred Fast Attack is Counter.
Finally, Tapu Fini is a solid option for your final team member. As a Water/Fairy-type, it can hit all three of Cliff’s third-slot Pokémon for super effective damage with its same-type attack bonus moves. Tapu Fini should run Water Gun as its Fast Attack. For its Charged Attacks, it counters Sharpedo with Moonblast, and Tyranitar and Camerupt with Hydro Pump.
It’s worth keeping in mind that Cliff can potentially hit Tapu Fini for super effective damage if he ends up using a Sharpedo with Poison Fang or a Camerupt with Solar Beam. As a result, you should try to save your Protect Shields for the last phase of the fight, since Tapu Fini might need them more than Landorus or Hitmonchan.
About the Author
Dylan Tate is an alumnus of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.