Pokemon GO Cliff counters & lineup in May 2024

Pokemon GO Cliff counters & lineup in May 2024
Images via Niantic | The Pokemon Company

Written by 

Ben Williams & Daniel Megarry

Last updated 

1st May 2024 16:54


Cliff can be as tough as you can expect of a Team Rocket Leader in Pokemon GO, requiring knowledge of his latest lineup and the best counters to win. 

Regularly bringing a new team of Shadow Pokemon, Cliff stands alongside Arlo, Sierra, Giovanni, and even some Rocket Grunts as one of the most challenging fights you can find in the game.

Below, not only will I take you through Cliff's latest lineup, but also the ideal team and movesets to defeat him as well. 

Cliff's current lineup in Pokemon GO

Cliff will always send out Machop first, but his second and third Pokemon could be one of three different options each. This adds an element of unpredictability to this boss battle, so having a varied team is important.

To kick things off, here are all of the Shadow Pokemon that Cliff can use in his current lineup: 

Pokemon #1 Pokemon #2 Pokemon #3
Machop Aerodactyl Tyranitar
  Kingdra Cradily
  Gallade Crobat

Cliff's lineup was last changed on March 27, 2024, during the World of Wonders: Taken Over event. If his team gets shaken up again in the future, I’ll keep this page updated with all the latest details on his current Pokemon.

Best counters to beat Cliff's Machop

Being a Fighting-type Pokemon, Cliff's Machop is vulnerable to Fairy, Flying, and Psychic-type attacks. This is a fairly weak opponent, but it's still worth targeting its weaknesses where possible.

Image of Machop in Pokemon GO on a team rocket background
Click to enlarge

Here are some of the best counters you can use to defeat Machop:

Pokemon Best Moveset
Mewtwo Confusion & Psystrike
Rayquaza Air Slash & Dragon Assault
Gardevoir Confusion & Psychic
Hoopa Confusion & Psychic
Lugia Extrasensory & Aeroblast
Alakazam Confusion & Psychic

Best counters for Cliff's second Pokemon

Cliff has three potential Pokemon he can use in the second phase of battle, making it a little harder to plan ahead. You could be up against Aerodactyl, Kingdra, or Gallade.

Aerodactyl, Gallade, & Kingdra in Cliff's team
Click to enlarge

Aerodactyl counters

Aerodactly is a Flying/Rock-type Pokemon, which means it's weak against Electric, Ice, Rock, Steel, and Water-type attacks. Cliff's Aerodactyl is infamously a very tough opponent, so definitely come prepared.

Here are some of the top counters to defeat Aerodactyl:

Pokemon Best Moveset
Xurkitree Spark & Discharge
Zekrom Charge Beam & Fusion Bolt
Kyogre Waterfall & Origin Pulse
Metagross Bullet Punch & Meteor Mash
Rampardos Smack Down & Rock Slide
Greninja Water Shuriken & Hydro Cannon

Kingdra counters

The Water/Dragon-type Kingdra only has two weaknesses in Pokemon GO: Dragon and Fairy-type attacks. Because Dragon-types are weak to other Dragon-types, you might be better off looking at Fairy-types here.

Here are some of the top counters to defeat Kingdra:

Pokemon Best Moveset
Dialga Dragon Breath & Draco Meteor
Xerneas Geomancy & Moonblast
Garchomp Dragon Tail & Outrage
Dragonite Dragon Tail & Outrage
Gardevoir Charm & Dazzling Gleam
Togekiss Charm & Dazzling Gleam

Gallade counters

As for Cliff's Gallade, this Psychic/Fighting-type Pokemon has a few weaknesses you can utilise: Flying, Ghost, and Fairy-type attacks. This gives you some crossover with Kingdra via Fairy-type attacks.

Here are some of the best counters to defeat Gallade:

Pokemon Best Moveset
Rayquaza Air Slash & Dragon Ascent
Hoopa Astonish & Shadow Ball
Chandelure Hex & Shadow Ball
Gengar Shadow Claw & Shadow Ball
Gardevoir Charm & Dazzling Gleam
Togekiss Charm & Dazzling Gleam

Best counters for Cliff's third Pokemon

Cliff's final team member can be either Tyranitar, Cradily, or Crobat. With a variety of weaknesses in this third and final phase of the battle, you might need to use some trial and error.

Cradily, Tyranitar & Crobat in Cliff's team
Click to enlarge

Tyranitar counters

Despite its high Attack stat, I think Cliff's Dark-and-Rock-type Tyranitar is one of the easiest to pick counters for with seven weaknesses: Fighting, Ground, Bug, Steel, Water, Grass, and Fairy-type attacks.

With a particular vulnerability to Fighting-type attacks, here are some of the top counters to defeat Tyranitar:

Pokemon Best Moveset
Buzzwole Counter & Superpower
Cobalion Double Kick & Sacred Sword
Machamp Counter & Dynamic Punch
Conkeldurr Counter & Dynamic Punch
Lucario Counter & Aura Sphere
Hariyama Counter & Dynamic Punch 

Cradily counters

As a Grass/Rock-type Pokemon, Cradily is vulnerable to Bug, Fighting, Ice, and Steel-type attacks. Be careful if you're using an Ice-type Pokemon, as Cradily can use Rock-type attacks which are very effective.

Here are some of the best counters to defeat Cradily:

Pokemon Best Moveset
 Buzzwole Counter & Superpower 
Lucario Counter & Aura Sphere 
Conkeldurr Counter & Dynamic Punch 
 Metagross Bullet Punch & Meteor Mash 
Galarian Darmanitan Ice Fang & Avalanche 
 Mamoswine Powder Snow & Avalanche 

Crobat counters

As an evolution of Cliff's first Pokemon, the Flying/Poison-type Crobat has the same weaknesses: Electric, Ice, Psychic, and Rock-type attacks. This means you can eliminate two birds with one stone.

Here are some of the top counters you can use to defeat Crobat:

Pokemon Best Moveset
Mewtwo Confusion & Psystrike
Terrakion Smack Down & Rock Slide
Alakazam Confusion & Psychic
Espeon Confusion & Psychic
Rampardos Smack Down & Rock Slide
Electivire Thunder Shock & Thunder

What is the best team to defeat Cliff in Pokemon GO?

One of the best teams you can use to defeat Cliff is Galarian Darmanitan, Xurkitree, and Gardevoir. These three Pokemon will provide you with coverage against all of Cliff's potential Pokemon, as long as you've powered them up high enough and taught them their optimal movesets.

Xurkitree, Galarian Darmanitan & Gardevoir in Pokemon GO
Click to enlarge

The most important thing when battling Cliff is to have a strong Ice-type Pokemon like Galarian Darmanitan or Mamoswine on your team. With one of these by your side, you'll be able to take down Aerodactyl, Cradily, and Crobat, giving it plenty of usability.

Up next, I'd recommend an Electric-type Pokemon like Xurkitree or Electivire that can provide extra assistance against Zubat, Aerodactyl, or Crobat. Finally, you'll want a Fairy-type Pokemon to take on Machop, in the first round, and Kingdra, Gallade, and Tyranitar if you end up facing off against them.

This is a good starting team, but if you find yourself struggling to defeat Cliff, it might be worth reworking it to suit the lineup he uses. For example, if Cliff sends out Zubat, Kingdra, and Tyranitar, you might be better off having an extra Fairy-type or a Dragon-type on your team.

You can battle Cliff as many times as you need to with a single Rocket Radar, so don't worry if you lose - simply shake up your team and try again!

How to find Cliff in Pokemon GO

Before you can find Cliff, you'll need to defeat six Team GO Rocket Grunts, who will each give you a single Mysterious Component. Once you've got six of these, they can be combined to form a Rocket Radar.

Your Rocket Radar should be equipped automatically, but if it's not, you can always do this manually from your Item bag. Tap on the Rocket Radar symbol on the map screen and it will locate nearby hideouts.

Cliff in Pokemon GO
Click to enlarge

It's not guaranteed that you'll encounter Cliff here (you could find Arlo or Sierra instead) but if that's the case, you can simply leave and find another Team GO Rocket hideout. From personal experience, I can say you'll definitely find him eventually.

And that's everything you need to know to defeat Team GO Rocket Leader Cliff in May 2024.

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Ben Williams
About the author
Ben Williams
Ben is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon. Alongside his BA (Hons) in Business Management is a wealth of gaming and entertainment writing experience, having previously occupied roles as a Copywriter in e-commerce at Overclockers and Guides & SEO Writer at GameByte and FragHero. When not whipping up guides and reviews, Ben’ll be off playing the latest Pokemon games, Overwatch 2, Spider-Man, The Witcher, and Final Fantasy - all before reading manga and listening to Ice Nine Kills.
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