Whenever the Team Rocket Leaders get new Pokemon, you always get a cool little wave of excitement in nerdier places. The first little wave is discussing what Pokemon the Leaders now have, and whether they can be shiny. After that, discussion moves on to the Leaders’ teams and how to counter them. But once that dust settles, another question is asked. Can these teams be beaten with cheap alternatives and lower CP Pokemon?
The answer is normally yes. And it’s doable even with mediocre Pokemon.
Turns out, you don’t need much preparation at all.
With the current iteration of bosses, I decided to give this a go. I’ve been mostly fighting Arlo, because he gives up his Shadow Beldum and his lineup is somewhat easy. I went in with a 1499CP Poliwrath and, slowly but surely, I beat his entire team. The tactic was incredibly simple as well. All I did was farm up a bunch of charge attacks on the Beldum, and then spam a never-ending line of Power Up Punches on both Infernape and Scizor.
And that was basically it.
Of course, I did luck out a little. If Arlo’s lineup had been Gardevoir and Salamence, then I would have struggled. Gardevoir alone is insanely strong. And although my Poliwrath does have Ice Punch, Gardevoir would have killed it long before it would have had a chance to fight Salamence. But Poliwrath happily kept on Power Up Punching his foes until they died, and Arlo’s team barely had a chance to attack.
You can do better though.
Really, Poliwrath is a common strat. Another common Pokemon is Lucario, who also knows Power Up Punch. But there are plenty of Pokemon you can use and abuse to be able to beat the Team Rocket Leaders. Melmetal is a popular choice, since three of its moves charge up super fast. Rock Slide, Thunder Bolt and Super Power all charge insanely fast. You could also use Pokemon like Magnezone or Swampert with Muddy Water. As long as they have an attack that charges up super fast, you can try it.
You don’t even need Great League Pokemon! The most impressive fight I’ve seen uses Pokemon below 500CP! And this is all despite the fact that Shadow Pokemon are boosted to insanely high levels!
The trick is to stun-lock the enemy.
All you have to do is keep on throwing off fast-charging moves. The way that Team Rocket AI works is that their Pokemon won’t attack for a couple of seconds after charge attacks, switches or Pokemon dying. You can take advantage of this by constantly throwing charge attacks, so they at most only get one or two hits in.
There are other tricks you can use though. The biggest one is starting with the wrong Pokemon and immediately swapping to the one you want. This buys you a good couple of seconds to build up a charge attack. If anything, getting past the first Pokemon can actually be the hardest part. Not only are current Pokemon Carvanha and Aerodactyl heavy attackers, but they often get the first attack off. So getting those couple of extra seconds is very important.
Once you’ve managed to stun-lock the AI though, you’re basically all set. You just have to keep on throwing off attacks, and that’s it.
It’s just a flex.
Really, beating the Team Rocket Leaders with low CP Pokemon isn’t useful. It’s simply a cool thing to try out.