This Pokemon GO complete Looming in the Shadows Research guide tells you how to face Giovanni, beat Team Rocket Leaders, and more.

Pokemon GO Looming in the Shadows Guide: Giovanni, Leaders, Mysterious Components

This Pokemon GO complete Looming in the Shadows Research guide tells you how to face Giovanni, beat Team Rocket Leaders, and more.

The latest Special Research task for Pokemon GO is Looming in the Shadows, which follows on from the recent quest, A Troubling Situation, that introduced Team GO Rocket. Now you have the chance to take on Giovanni himself. 

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Looming in the Shadows is built around Team GO Rocket and ups the challenge by introducing stronger Shadow Pokemon, Team GO Rocket Leaders, and the chance to capture legendary Shadow Pokemon.

This Pokemon Go guide will tell you everything you need to know about Looming in the Shadows, including how to start it, how to complete each quest step, how to get mysterious fragments, and what you need to do to find Giovanni. 

Let’s get started. 

Pokemon Go: How to Start Looming in the Shadows

You won’t actually see Looming in the Shadows in your Special Research tasks unless you’ve completed A Troubling Situation. If you haven’t done that, go ahead and get it taken care of so you can get started with this latest quest.

Pokemon Go: Looming in the Shadows Quests

Looming in the Shadows is split up into six quests. Each quest has individual tasks to complete. You’re rewarded with items for completing each task and the overall step. Here’s each one, as well as the tasks you need to do to complete them. 

Looming in the Shadows Step 1

The first step in Looming in the Shadows involves three tasks.

Task Reward
Spin 10 PokeStops 500 XP
Defeat 5 Team GO Rocket Grunts 500 XP
Purify 1 Shadow Pokemon 500 XP

If you don’t know how to purify Shadow ‘mon, check out our Pokemon Purification guide for more info.

The overall reward for completing Step 1 of Looming in the Shadows is 500 Stardust, 10 PokeBalls, and 10 Razz Berries. You’ll need the Razz Berries for catching Shadow Pokemon and eventually catching a legendary Shadow Pokemon.

Looming in the Shadows: Step 2

Step 2 is a bit different because it takes five IRL days to finish.

Task Reward
Spin a PokeStop 5 days in a row 750 XP
Purify 15 Shadow Pokemon 750 XP
Win 5 Raids 750 XP

For tips and tricks on how to win raids, check out our Raid guide for some quick strategies. The overall reward for Step 2 is 1,000 Stardust, 3 Hyper Potions, and 3 Revives.

Looming in the Shadows: Step 3


Task Reward
Use 6 super-effective Charged attacks in Gym battles 1000 XP
Win 3 Great League Trainer battles against another Trainer 1000 XP
Defeat 6 Team GO Rocket Grunts 1000 XP


 The overall reward for completing step 3 is 1,500 Stardust, 15 Great Balls, and 5 Pinap Berries

Looming in the Shadows: Step 4


Task Reward
Defeat Team GO Rocket Leader Arlo 1,250 XP
Defeat Team GO Rocket Leader Cliff 1,250 XP
Defeat Team GO Rocket Leader Sierra 1,250 XP


 The overall reward for clearing step 4 is 2,000 Stardust, 3 Golden Razz Berries, and the Rocket Radar needed to find Giovanni

Looming in the Shadows: Step 5
Task Reward
Find the Team GO Rocket Boss 2,500 Stardust
Battle the Team GO Rocket Boss 1,500 XP
Defeat the Team GO Rocket Boss 3 Wepar Berries

 The overall rewards for completing Step 5 are 3,000 Stardust, 1 Fast TM, and 1 Charged TM.

Looming in the Shadows: Step 6

Everything in Step 6 is listed as complete, and you get a total of:

  • 6,000 XP
  • 3 Max Revives
  • 20 Ultra Balls
  • 3 Rare Candies

Pokemon Go: Team GO Rocket Leader Battles

While you wait for those five days to pass, you can still work your way toward fighting the Team GO Rocket Leaders: Cliff, Sierra, and Arlo.

To do that, you’ll need to gather six Mysterious Components so you can form the Rocket Radar. 

How to Get Mysterious Components in Pokemon GO

Gathering up those Mysterious Components is fairly simple. You’ll just need to battle Rocket Grunts.

It seems like getting a Mysterious Component drop is random, but on the plus side, defeating Grunts is required for the Special Research, and it gives you a chance to catch (and Purify) Shadow Pokemon.

How to Find Team GO Rocket Leaders

After you gather 6 Mysterious Components, you’ll be able to build the Rocket Radar. Use the Rocket Radar to change the map overlay and pinpoint where a GO Rocket Leader is.

PokeStops with a Leader will have the Rocket “R” logo over them, and you’ll be able to actually see the Leader as you approach the PokeStop. Leader Hideouts vanish at 10 p.m. and re-appear at 6 a.m. the next day.

You can always roam around and see if there are any other Rocket-invaded PokeStops, though it’s not certain right now if the Leaders are locked to individual players until they spawn again the next day.

Keep in mind, however, that you won’t be able to collect any more Mysterious Components until you complete a Leader battle and lose your Rocket Radar.

Pokemon Go: Team GO Rocket Leaders Battles

Courtesy of Reddit user u/skewtr, here’s what to expect for every Team GO Rocket Leader, including the Shadow Pokemon they’ll have. All GO Rocket Leaders have the same starting Pokemon, plus two others that could each be one of three different Shadow Pokemon.

Leaders are like Grunts, but more difficult. Their Pokemon have significantly higher CP values. They also have two Protect Shields that negate your first two charged attacks. Force the Leader to use these Shields on their first Shadow Pokemon, which is always the weakest of the team.

Winning gets you 1,000 Stardust and the following:

  • 2 Revives
  • 2 Max Potions
  • 2 Hyper Potions
  • 2 Max Revive
  • 2 Sinnoh Stones
  • 2 Unova Stones
Leader Cliff Team Lineup and Shadow Pokemon
Battle Position Pokemon
First Shadow Pokemon Meowth
Second Shadow Pokemon Sandslash, Snorlax, Flygon
Third Shadow Pokemon Tyranitar, Infernape, Torterra


Leader Sierra Team Lineup and Shadow Pokemon
Battle Position Pokemon
First Shadow Pokemon Sneasel
Second Shadow Pokemon Hypno, Lapras, Sableye
Third Shadow Pokemon Alakazam, Gardevoir, Houndoom


Leader Arlo Team Lineup and Shadow Pokemon
Battle Position Pokemon
First Shadow Pokemon Scyther
Second Shadow Pokemon Gyrados, Magnezone, Crobat
Third Shadow Pokemon Charizard, Dragonite, Scizor


Pokemon Go: Looming in the Shadows Giovanni Battle

Right now, it doesn’t appear that you need to complete the entirety of Looming in the Shadows to challenge Team GO Rocket Leaders. However, it’s looking like you will need to complete the quest, defeat all three Leaders, and battle Grunts to get the Super Rocket Radar that lets you track down Giovanni.

Pokemon GO Giovanni Battle

Here’s Giovanni’s Pokemon GO roster:

Battle Position Pokemon
First Shadow Pokemon Persian
Second Shadow Pokemon Dugtrio, Rhydon, Hippowdon
Third Shadow Pokemon Articuno


Once you defeat Giovanni, you’ll get the chance to catch a legendary Shadow Pokemon — the one in his roster.

Right now, only Shadow Articuno is available. However, Niantic has said the Giovanni Special Research will renew once per month each month, meaning you can take on the Rocket Boss again next month. Presumably, his lineup will include Shadow Moltres and Shadow Zapdos as well, giving you the chance to catch all three legendary Shadow Pokemon shown off in the event trailer.

For more tips, tricks, and strategies, be sure to check out our other Pokemon Go guides

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Josh Broadwell
Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.