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Team GO Rocket Leader Guide: Defeating Cliff

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First Pokemon

  • Fast Move: Bug Bite, Rock Smash, Fury Cutter
  • Charged Moves: Close Combat, Vise Grip, X-Scissor, Superpower

Counters

  • Moltres: Wing Attack + Sky Attack OR Ancient Power
  • Zapdos: Thunder Shock + Drill Peck OR Ancient Power
  • Giratina-Altered: Shadow Claw + Ancient Power
  • Giratina-Origin: Shadow Claw + Ominous Wind
  • Dragonite: Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw
  • Charizard: Fire Spin + Blast Burn
  • Entei: Fire Spin + Flamethrower

Flying- and Ghost-types resist all of Pinsir’s fast moves, making them top picks here. Fires take neutral from Rock Smash, but resist the other two. Moltres and Charizard are top picks given that they double resist bug moves, though they are squishy, and may struggle to break shields. Giratina-Origin is a solid pick, though it may struggle to break shields without Ominous Wind, and to deal too much damage without Shadow Ball.
 

Second Pokemon

Potential Pokemon 1

  • Fast Move: Mud Slap/Rock Smash
  • Charged Move: Bone Club/Dig/Earthquake

Counters

  • Gyarados (Waterfall + Crunch/Hydro Pump)
  • Lugia (Extrasensory + Waterfall)
  • Dragonite (Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw)
  • Swampert (Mud Shot + Hydro Cannon)
  • Kyogre (Waterfall + Surf)
  • Venusaur (Vine Whip + Frenzy Plant)
  • Leafeon (Razor Leaf + Leaf Blade)

Any Grass-, Water-, or Ice-type damage is good here. However, Gyarados is king, resisting Rock Smash and double resisting Mud Slap while swinging back with super effective Waterfalls and Hydro Pumps.

Potential Pokemon 2

  • Fast Move: Thunder Shock, Low Kick
  • Charged Move: Thunder Punch, Wild Charge, Thunder, Ice Punch

Counters

  • Swampert: Mud Shot + Earthquake OR Hydro Cannon
  • Groudon: Mud Shot + Earthquake
  • Garchomp: Mud Shot + Earthquake
  • Rhydon/Rhyperior: Mud Slap + Earthquake
  • Gliscor: Fury Cutter + Earthquake
  • Giratina-Origin: Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball

Counters vary a lot depending on whether or not you want to try to tank an Ice Punch. Note that Swampert’s the only mon here that doesn’t take at least single super effective damage from it (with Gliscor and Garchomp taking double SE damage). 

Potential Pokemon 3

Fast Move: Mud Shot, Water Gun

Charged Move:Ancient Power, Rock Blast, Hydro Pump

Counters

  • Torterra: Razor Leaf + Frenzy Plant
  • Abomasnow: Razor Leaf + Whatever
  • Ludicolo: Razor Leaf + Whatever
  • Venusaur: Razor Leaf OR Vine Whip + Frenzy Plant
  • Roserade: Razor Leaf + Whatever
  • Machamp: Counter + Cross Chop OR Dynamic Punch
  • Raikou: Thunder Shock OR Volt Switch + Wild Charge
  • Leafeon: Razor Leaf + Leaf Blade

Grass, basically. With a really brutal double weakness, you can’t really do better than just throwing Razor Leaf at it. That said, if you don’t have a high level razor leafer, Machamp or Raikou can do a solid job.

Third Pokemon

Potential Pokemon 1

Counters

  • Lucario (Counter + Power-Up Punch)
  • Poliwrath (Mud Shot + Dynamic Punch)
  • Machamp (Counter + Cross Chop or Dynamic Punch)
  • Swampert (Mud Shot + Hydro Cannon)

Fighting-type damage is the best pick here, and Lucario’s king among kings, resisting both fast moves and hitting incredibly hard. Poliwrath, if you have one at high level, fills a similar role, but lacks Counter.

Potential Pokemon 2

Fast Moves: Mud Shot/Water Gun

Charged Moves: Surf/Muddy Water/Sludge Wave/Earthquake

Counters

  • Venusaur (Vine Whip + Frenzy Plant)
  • Meganium (Vine Whip + Frenzy Plant)
  • Leafeon (Razor Leaf + Leaf Blade)
  • Shiftry (Snarl OR Razor Leaf + Leaf Blade)

Like with Omastar before it, super weak to Grass. Grass it down.

Potential Pokemon 3

Fast Moves: Bite/Razor Leaf

Charged Moves: Earthquake/Stone Edge/Solar Beam/Sand Tomb

Counters

  • Dialga: Dragon Breath + Iron Head and Draco Meteor
  • Heatran: Fire Spin + Iron Head 
  • Blaziken: Fire Spin OR Counter + Blaze Kick and Blast Burn
  • Togekiss: Air Slash (or Hidden Power Ice) + Aerial Ace and Flamethrower

Blaziken is consistently strong but squishy. Counter and Fire Spin are both reasonable options. Picking up Sand Tomb in the December update doesn't meaningfully alter how you enter the fight, but it does make it scarier.

About the Author(s)

Tyler is a contributing writer for GamePress, primarily focusing on Trainer Battle content. Fan of dogs and fighting games.