Team GO Rocket Resource Page

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Team GO Rocket is a derivative of "Team Rocket" (which is what we will call them from this point forward), the criminal organization that was a central antagonist of the first two generations of the Pokemon main series. In Pokemon Go, Team Rocket is a villainous organization that takes over Pokestops to drain their resources, transforms Pokemon into Shadow Pokemon, and causes other mischief in the game's storyline. They are frequently encountered, and are a core gameplay mechanic that can be split into several categories.

Team Rocket Grunts

Team Rocket Grunts are the basic NPCs that make up the Team Rocket content in Pokemon Go. They come in both Male and Female variants, and they almost always stick with one specific type of Pokemon, which can be discerned by the text that is shown pre-battle. The different statements and what types they each represent are highlighted in the Rocket List below. Only select Pokemon owned by Grunts can be captured by the player in their shiny formes.

Team Rocket Grunts take over Pokestops in the overworld for a limited period of time. These Pokestops are easily recognized from a distance by their erratic twitching and darker color. When approached, they will appear black and a Team Rocket grunt will be standing next to them.

When engaged, the player will fight the Team Rocket grunt in a typical 3v3 Trainer Battle format. The Rocket Grunt's Pokemon and moves will be randomized from a set pool and will be the same for all players once established. The Rocket Grunt (and Rocket Leaders/Giovanni) will use Shadow Pokemon. However, these are not typical Shadow Pokemon that the player can use that have increased attack/decreased defense. Instead, these Shadow Pokemon have an all-around increase in stats, making them far more difficult to defeat than their basic counterparts.

While these battles follow normal Trainer Battle rules, Rocket Grunts and all other PvP NPCs such as the Leaders and Giovanni have one unique quirk that can be exploited by the player. At specific points in the battle, they will cease attacking for approximately 2 seconds, giving the player the chance to attack with impunity. They will stop attacking under the following scenarios:

  • When they or the player uses a Charge Move
  • When they or the player have a Pokemon faint/a new Pokemon enter the fight
  • When the player switches Pokemon

With proper timing and movesets, these windows can provide the player with ample chance to deal damage/build up energy, and can even be used to virtually shut down the opposition if Charged Moves are used frequently enough.

After defeating a Team Rocket Grunt, the player will have a chance to capture one of the Shadow Pokemon that he/she was using. The player will generally have access to the first Shadow Pokemon that the Rocket was using, but occasionally the second Pokemon will be available. The player will also receive a "Mysterious Component".

If the player collects a total of six of these items, they will be able to make a "Rocket Radar" and search for the Team Rocket Leaders, which will be discussed in the following section.

Team Rocket Leaders

The three Team Rocket Leaders, Cliff, Sierra, and Arlo, act as bosses of sort for players who seek out Team Rocket grunts. After collecting a total of six Mysterious Components, the player is able to create a "Rocket Radar", with which they are able to encounter/scan for the Rocket Leaders.

Each of the three Leaders only drop a single Shadow Pokemon species during a given rotation, with each leader assigned a different Shadow Pokemon that the player may capture after the fight. The Shadow Pokemon dropped by the Leaders have the potential to be shiny.

Once a Rocket Radar has been obtained, players will be able to encounter the Team Rocket Leaders at Pokestops that do not appear to be under invasion until the player draws close. They can also spawn via the Rocket Balloon, which will be discussed in a following section of this guide.

Rocket Radars can be deactivated and stored, though grunts will no longer drop Mysterious Components if the player already owns a Rocket Radar. They are also obtainable via select events and through the Pokecoin shop.

When a Team Rocket Leader is defeated, he/she will grant the player with the opportunity to capture his/her Shadow Pokemon that was used first, will give the player a 12km "Strange Egg" that can be held in bonus storage if the player has room, and the player's Rocket Radar will be consumed.

The Team Rocket Boss: Giovanni

Giovanni is one of the most prolific villains in the Pokemon franchise, and the primary antagonist of Pokemon Go. Giovanni is only fightable under a specific set of conditions, generally at the end of a Special Research line, and can only be encountered when the player obtains a Super Rocket Radar.

Giovanni has, to date, always made use of a Shadow Legendary Pokemon that the player can capture after defeating him. The Shadow Pokemon that the player can capture depends purely on the status of the game, and not when the Super Radar was obtained. Players can deactivate their Super Radars and store them for use when another Shadow Legendary Pokemon becomes available if so desired.

When searching for Giovanni, it's also possible to encounter "Decoys". These are grunts with unique lineups that will pose as Giovanni until the Rocket Stop is checked. Fighting them does not consume a Super Rocket Radar.

The Team Rocket Balloon

Introduced in July 2020, the Team Rocket Balloon is a special feature that appears on the map regardless of the player's current location at set times throughout the day.

The Team Rocket Balloon. Note the round shadow on the ground, which will signify its presence even if the player has their camera zoomed in too far to see the balloon itself.

The Team Rocket Balloon delivers one encounter with a Rocket Grunt, a Rocket Leader if the player has a complete and active Rocket Radar, or Giovanni himself if the player has an active Super Rocket Radar, to the player at specific times during the day.

Encounter Number Encounter Time
1 12:00 a.m. local time
2 6:00 a.m. local time
3 12:00 p.m. local time
4 6:00 p.m. local time

Note that if you're after a spawn time and open your game for the first time during that time period, the balloon will always spawn immediately. For example: if a player opens the game for the first time at 11:50 a.m, then the balloon that was set to spawn at 6:00 a.m. will immediately spawn, and a new balloon will spawn at 12:00 p.m. as scheduled. The game will not allow two balloons to be on the map at the same time, and the first will automatically leave if this happens.

Once spawned, the balloon will remain on the map for roughly 20 minutes, following the player the entire time. The Team Rocket member may be challenged at the player's leisure during this time period. If you close/reopen the game during its spawn time, the exact same balloon will reappear automatically so long as it hasn't expired.

If a radar is equipped when a balloon spawns and then unequipped while the balloon carrying a Rocket Leader or Giovanni is still on the field, the balloon will despawn.

Some events will cause Rocket Balloons to appear far on the field far more frequently.

The Meowth Balloon

While the common black balloon with a red "R" logo is the balloon that most players will see most frequently, it's also possible to encounter a balloon with a distinctive Meowth shape to it.

The Meowth Balloon brings two Rockets at once: Jessie and James from the anime series.

Jessie & James are unique in that they are fought in tandem, meaning it's possible to obtain two Rocket Radar pieces from a single balloon, and they always have the same Pokemon during a given period of time with no variance. It's also worth noting that Shadow Pokemon captured from Jessie and James can be shiny in a manner similar to the Rocket Leaders.

Currently Available Rockets

Below is a list of Rockets and what Shadow Pokemon can be earned by defeating them. Note that this list changes from time to time, so be sure to check back.

Shadow Pokemon that can be captured after defeating a given Rocket are marked with an asterisk (*).

Rocket Grunts

Normal Rocket: Male

“Normal does not mean weak.”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Bidoof* Shadow Bidoof* Shadow Bidoof*

Grass Rocket: Male

“Don't tangle with us!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Tangela* Shadow Gloom* Shadow Vileplume
Shadow Oddish* Shadow Tangela* Shadow Victreebel
Shadow Hoppip* Shadow Gloom* Shadow Shiftry

Fire Rocket: Female

“Do you know how hot Pokémon fire breath can get?”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Vulpix* Shadow Ninetales* Shadow Ninetales
Shadow Houndour* Shadow Magmar* Shadow Arcanine
Shadow Magmar* Shadow Houndoom* Shadow Charmeleon

Water Rocket: Female

“These waters are treacherous!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Poliwag* Shadow Marshtomp Shadow Poliwrath
Shadow Spheal* Shadow Quagsire Shadow Politoed
Shadow Horsea*

Water Rocket: Male

“These waters are treacherous!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Magikarp* Magikarp Magikarp

Electric Rocket: Female

“Get ready to be shocked!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Electrike* Shadow Flaafy Shadow Ampharos
Shadow Electabuzz* Shadow Electabuzz Shadow Electabuzz
Shadow Mareep*

Bug Rocket: Male

“Go, my super bug Pokémon!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Skorupi* Shadow Scizor Shadow Scizor
Shadow Anorith* Shadow Pinsir Shadow Scyther
Shadow Shuckle* Shadow Venomoth Shadow Beedrill

Poison Rocket: Female

“Coiled and ready to strike!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Nidoran♀* Shadow Nidorina Shadow Weezing
Shadow Nidoran♂* Shadow Nidorino Shadow Muk
Shadow Skorupi* Shadow Nidorina

Flying Rocket: Female

“Battle against my Flying-type Pokémon!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Zubat* Shadow Staravia Shadow Gyarados
Shadow Starly* Shadow Golbat Shadow Crobat
Shadow Dragonite

Psychic Rocket: Male

“Are you scared of psychics that use unseen power?”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Exeggcute* Shadow Kadabra Shadow Exeggutor
Shadow Slowpoke* Shadow Drowzee Shadow Hypno
Shadow Wobbuffet* Shadow Kirlia

Fighting Rocket: Female

“This buff physique isn't just for show!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Machop* Shadow Machoke Shadow Hariyama
Shadow Makuhita* Shadow Hitmonlee
Shadow Hitmonchan

Dark Rocket: Female

“Wherever there is light, there is also shadow.”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Murkrow* Shadow Mightyena* Shadow Cacturne
Shadow Poochyena* Shadow Sableye* Shadow Shiftry

Rock Rocket: Male

“Let's rock and roll!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Aron* Shadow Lairon* Shadow Pupitar
Shadow Nosepass* Shadow Larvitar* Shadow Tyranitar
Shadow Pupitar*

Ground Rocket: Male

“You'll be defeated into the ground!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Swinub* Shadow Pupitar Shadow Gliscor
Shadow Diglett* Shadow Vibrava Shadow Flygon
Shadow Marowak

Ice Rocket: Female

“You're gonna be frozen in your tracks.”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Spheal* Shadow Cloyster* Shadow Cloyster
Shadow Snover* Shadow Sealeo* Shadow Abomasnow
Shadow Swinub* Shadow Lapras

Ghost Rocket: Female


First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Shuppet* Shadow Dusclops Shadow Dusknoir
Shadow Misdreavus* Shadow Banette Shadow Banette
Shadow Duskull* Shadow Sableye

Dragon Rocket: Female

“ROAR! ...How'd that sound?”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Dratini* Shadow Dragonair Shadow Dragonite
Shadow Flygon Shadow Dragonair
Shadow Gyarados

Fairy Rocket: Female

“Check out my cute Pokemon!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Snubbull* Shadow Snubbull Shadow Granbull
Shadow Granbull

Elite Rocket: Female

“Don't bother - I've already won!"

"Get ready to be defeated!"

"Winning is for winners!”

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Snorlax* Shadow Snorlax Shadow Snorlax
Shadow Poliwrath Shadow Gyarados
Shadow Gardevoir Shadow Dragonite

Jessie & James


First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Pinsir* Shadow Koffing Shadow Grimer


First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Scyther* Shadow Ekans Shadow Stantler

Rocket Leaders

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Seedot* Shadow Kingler Shadow Torterra
Shadow Hariyama Shadow Sharpedo
Shadow Poliwrath Shadow Tyranitar
First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Sneasel* Shadow Gliscor Shadow Houndoom
Shadow Ampharos Shadow Drapion
Shdow Granbull Shadow Kingdra
First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Venonat* Shadow Manectric Shadow Vileplume
Shadow Crobat Shadow Scizor
Shadow Ursaring Shadow Magnezone

Rocket Leader: Giovanni

First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Persian* Shadow Kangaskhan Shadow Moltres
Giovanni Decoy Grunt
First Pokemon Second Pokemon Third Pokemon
Shadow Bellsprout* Shadow Weepinbell Shadow Snorlax
Shadow Raticate Shadow Raticate