Team GO Rocket Leader Guide: Defeating Cliff

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First Pokemon

Always leads with Meowth

(Scratch/Bite) + (Foul Play/Dark Pulse/Night Slash)

  • Machamp: Counter + Cross Chop* OR Dynamic Punch and Rock Slide
  • Lucario: Counter + Power-Up Punch and Close Combat (Or Shadow Ball)
  • Blaziken: Counter + Blaze Kick and Blast Burn
  • Poliwrath: Mud Shot* + Power-Up Punch and Dynamic Punch

Lucario is likely the best pick here due to resisting both fast moves, but the others work as well. Note that, in this slot, you are probably safe with only one charged move, since you're primarily focused on breaking shields and making use of Stun Time.

Second Pokemon


(Mud Shot/Metal Claw) + (Bulldoze/Earthquake/Rock Tomb)

  • Gyarados: Waterfall + Crunch and Hydro Pump
  • Lugia: Dragon Tail + Sky Attack and Hydro Pump
  • Swampert: Mud Shot + Hydro Cannon and Earthquake

Gyarados is the safest choice here, double resisting Mud Shot and resisting Metal Claw. Its general utility means you might even have one kicking around already! Lugia is better against Mud Shot, and Swampert is better against Metal Claw. Note that Swampert uses Mud Shot over Water Gun to more easily stunlock the Sandslash! Dialga (DB/IH) and Vaporeon (WG/AT) can perform well against Metal Claw variants, but are overall riskier.


(Lick/Zen Headbutt) + (Heavy Slam/Earthquake/Hyper Beam/Outrage/Skull Bash)

  • Tyranitar: Smack Down* + Crunch and Stone Edge
  • Machamp: Cross Chop and Dynamic Punch
  • Darkrai: Snarl + Focus Blast and Dark Pulse

Tyranitar and Darkrai are the safest choices here, resisting both fast moves. Machamp hits hard and can stunlock well, but doesn’t resist Lick and takes scary amounts of damage from Zen Headbutt.


(Dragon Tail/Mud Shot) + (Dragon Claw/Earthquake/Stone Edge)

  • Gyarados: Dragon Breath* + Crunch and Hydro Pump
  • Togekiss: Charm + Ancient Power and Flamethrower
  • Mamoswine: Powder Snow + Avalanche
  • Poliwrath: Mud Shot* or Bubble + Ice Punch

Mamo’s probably the one you already have, and is totally fine, though the lack of resistances can be scary. Poliwrath (especially with Legacy Mud Shot) can pump out crazy efficient damage with Ice Punch too.

Third Pokemon


(Bite/Iron Tail) + (Stone Edge/Crunch/Fire Blast)

  • Togekiss: Charm + Ancient Power
  • Machamp: Counter + Cross Chop and Dynamic Punch
  • Lucario: Counter + Power-Up Punch and Close Combat
  • Swampert: Mud Shot + Hydro Cannon
  • Poliwrath: Bubble + Power-Up Punch and Dynamic Punch

Note: Togekiss struggles against Iron Tail sets. Poliwrath is likely the safest choice, resisting both fast moves. 


(Bite/Razor Leaf) + (Earthquake/Stone Edge/Solar Beam)

  • 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.


(Fire Spin/Rock Smash) + Solar Beam/Flamethrower/Close Combat)

  • Lugia: Extrasensory + Sky Attack
  • Moltres: Wing Attack + Sky Attack
  • Togekiss: Air Slash + Aerial Ace
  • Swampert: Mud Shot + Hydro Cannon
  • Giratina-Altered: Shadow Claw + Dragon Claw and Ancient Power

Moltres and Gira-A are the most consistent here, resisting both Fire Spin and Rock Smash.

Yourcalcprof's Lineup

Open with Lucario and spam Power-Up Punch on Meowth to break both shields and farm for energy until Meowth goes down. 

Continue using Lucario against Snorlax (consider switching from Power-Up Punch to Close Combat after the fourth use) and close with Poliwrath if needed; switch to Moltres for handling Sandslash; use Poliwrath to Ice Punch Flygon.

Use either Lucario or Poliwrath (DP) to handle Tyranitar; use Moltres for Infernape. If the final counter is Torterra with Razor Leaf (you’ll know right away if Poliwrath is in), use Moltres. Against Bite, an Ice Punch from Poliwrath should do the trick.

About the Author(s)

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