Cliff, one of the three Team Rocket leaders you can battle in Pokémon Go, is typically available for you to battle in the game. To encounter him, you need to have defeated six Team Rocket grunts and acquired their mysterious components to create a Team Rocket hideout locator. You’ll be able to see them on the map before you battle them.
Typically at the start of every month, Cliff, and the other Team Rocket leaders, have their Pokémon rosters swapped out for new shadow Pokémon for trainers to rescue. However, following COVID-19, these events were placed on hold, and have not appeared much throughout 2020, but are making a return in 2021. As of the start of January 2021, Cliff’s overall choices have not changed, but this might alter as January continues. It’s likely we’ll see Team Rocket return in February 2021, and right now, Cliff still has the same Pokémon he used later in 2020.
The first Pokémon Cliff will use against you is Omanyte a Rock and Water-type. It’s weak to Electric, Fighting, and Ground-type moves, but it’s especially weak to Grass-type attacks. You want to use something in the middle to take it down, so Torterra, Tangrowth, Alola Exeggutor, Mega Venusaur, or Leafeon are all good options.
You will face one of these three options:
- Omastar a Rock and Water-type
- Electivire an Electric-type
- Machamp a Fighting-type
The variety of choices makes Cliff a difficult fight. You may want to use Pokémon, such as Metagross, Alakazam, Gallade, Exeggutor, Torterra, or Venusaur. Exeggutor might be the best option because it can have a Grass-type fast attack and a Psychic-type charge to use against Machamp. Preparing to fight a Machamp might be a better choice because many options to counter a Machamp work fine against Omastar and Electivire. They won’t be great, but they can get the job done.
These are the final choices Cliff may use against you:
- Tyranitar a Dark and Rock-type
- Torterra a Grass and Ground-type
- Swampert a Water and Ground-type
Swampert is a nasty fight, being only weak to Grass-type Pokémon, but that might be your saving grace. While Torterra is not weak to Grass-types, both Swampert and Tyranitar are, making it the best option to use during this fight. You want to consider picking Venusaur, Exeggutor, Maganium, Vilplume, Victreebel, Shiftry, Tangrowth, Torterra, or Alola Exeggutor. Any of these options will prove useful at this stage of the battle.
Cliff’s fighting pattern becomes a bit muddled when fighting his second choice, but his first and third Pokémon choices should prove no problem for trainers who are prepared. You want to make sure you reserve your shields for the second fight, but if you need to ensure your first Pokémon is safe, it’s a good bet.