Remember a while back that I was lamenting about not being able to fight Team Rocket Grunts? Well, my problem has very suddenly been solved! Team Go Rocket have spent a lot of money investing in hot air balloons so they can attack us in person!
Yep, you can now fight Team Go Rocket on the Fly! Kinda.
It seems that, about four times a day, a Team Go Rocket balloon will hover across your screen and float around for a bit, allowing you to challenge a grunt to a fight. The Team Rocket balloon, similar to the one used by Jessie and James in the anime, will float around menacingly for a bit. You can tap on them to challenge whoever is inside it.
After that though, it’s your standard Team Rocket Grunt fight. With the same sort of Pokemon as well. Which means you’ll mostly be facing Sandshrews and Exeggcutors. But that’s fine. This is a way to fight Team Go Rocket without actually getting up off the sofa. It also means that people who live in the middle of nowhere will have a chance to actually complete the Team Rocket quests!
They don’t stick around forever though. The black, R-stamped balloon will float around for a bit and then float away after about 15-20 minutes. However, they do seem to spawn at specific times per day. According to the Silph Road subreddit, you’ll see a balloon as you open the game within various time windows, every 6 hours starting from midnight. This gives you a total of 4 Balloon Grunts a day.
You can fight Team Go Rocket Leaders and Giovanni too!
Yep, if you have a Rocket Radar, instead of seeing Grunts drift by on balloons, you’ll get one of the Team Go Rocket Leaders. Which leader you get is random, and the leader can change every six hours, but they’re all there. You can also get the same Leader twice, but with different Pokemon.
Giovanni and his Decoy Grunts can also be fought with the Super Rocket Radar.
The only problem is that the Leaders, Decoy Grunts and Giovanni all seem to get in the way of normal grunts spawning via balloons. If you want to fight a Grunt while you have the Rocket Radar or Super Rocket Radar equipped and a balloon has spawned, you’re out of luck and you have to wait for the next balloon.
Luckily, you can also unequip your Rocket Radar now.
Which is good, because I don’t want to use mine to fight Cliff. I’d much rather fight Sierra for a chance at a good Shadow Beldum. But I’m glad we have the option to do so now!
These balloons also mean you can more easily farm for Mysterious Components. Sure, you can only have one Rocket Radar at a time, but with four guaranteed Grunts a day, this is amazing! I’m relying on far, far less randomness to actually get battles in the first place.
And with more Grunts around, that means more shadow Pokemon. And since they’re more easily accessible now… perhaps this means we’ll have more Team Rocket plans in the future? Who knows?