The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (2022)

The driving force behind nearly every Pokémon game is advancing through the Pokémon League, starting with the Gyms and ending with the Elite Four. While some games adjust terminology and layout, the basic formula is the same: battle through a set of powerful Leaders until the title Champion crown can be claimed.

However, not all Gym Leaders can compete on the same footing. Some are purposefully easy to allow new players the same satisfaction as a veteran, while others have intentionally constructed teams that will give the player's Pokémon a run for their money. Gym Leaders may be a step below the Elite Four, but they are nonetheless some of the most powerful trainers a Pokémon player will battle on their quest to become the Champion.

Updated July 24, 2022 by Declan Lowthian: Pokémon has no shortage of powerful Gym Leaders. We've updated this list with some more of the strongest challengers Pokémon trainers will need to battle throughout their journey.

12 Raihan Fights With The Power Of Storms And Dragons

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (1)

Raihan is Sword and Shield's final Gym Leader, specializing in Dragon types. As the last stop before players reach the Champion Cup, Raihan is a true force to be reckoned with. Dragon-types are statistically some of the strongest Pokémon, so it's no wonder he's a tough fight.

Raihan also makes great use of Pokémon's weather mechanics. His Gigalith will summon a sand storm when it first appears, which will boost its Special Defense and start chipping away at the opposing team. None of Raihan's Pokémon take damage from the sandstorm, and his Sandaconda can help give the storm a second life with its Sand Spit ability.

11 Valerie Made Great Use Of The Then-New Fairy Typing

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (2)

The Kalos region introduced the Fairy type in Pokémon X and Y. Many of these Pokémon are cute in appearance, but that exterior hides some extremely strong battle potential. With statistically the highest Special Defense and full immunity to Dragons, Fairy types can easily sweep the field.

Valerie's team included a mix of new and old Pokémon. Her Mawile's Steel-typing gave it some powerful defenses, while Mr. Mime could set up both Light Screen and Reflect before delivering a powerful Psychic. Anyone not packing a Poison-type or a Steel-type of their own was sure to have a hard time standing up against Valerie's team of Fairy-types.

(Video) Ranking EVERY Pokémon Gym Leader From Worst to Best

10 Wallace Is So Strong That He Goes On To Become Champion

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (3)

Though he goes on to become the Hoenn Champion in Pokémon Emerald, Wallace's first appearance was as the Sootopolis Gym Leader in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. His powerful team of five Pokémon is full of synergistic and powerful moves.

In his original appearance, two of Wallace's Pokémon have Swift Swim, boosting their speed if rain is active. His Whiscash can set that up with a Rain Dance, as well as strike back with a powerful Earthquake. Wallace appears several other times in the Pokémon series, and he just gets stronger.

9 Tate And Liza Prove Two Heads Are Better Than One

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (4)

Tate and Liza, the psychic twins of Mossdeep, are the only tandem Gym Leaders in the entire Pokémon franchise. They fight together, making great use of the double battles that debuted in Generation III. While their team in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire consists solely of a Solrock and a Lunatone, their Emerald team features the addition of a Claydol and a Xatu.

Psychic-type Pokémon are extremely powerful, and Tate and Liza make great use of both their offensive and defensive capabilities. In addition to every team member knowing the powerful Psychic move, Tate and Liza's Xatu and Solrock both know Sunny Day, which can power up Solrock's Solar Beam.

8 Norman's Slaking Is Incredible

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (5)
(Video) Best and Worst Pokémon Gym Leaders

Hoenn was full of powerful Gym Leaders, but Norman and his Slaking were a cut above the rest. Even with the ability Truant, which makes it loaf around every other turn, Slaking hits like a tank.

Coupled with the obnoxious fact it can use the move Yawn to put its opponent to sleep, Norman's signature Pokémon is a force to be reckoned with. Keeping a strong, speedy Fighting-type in the party is absolutely necessary for anyone looking to progress past Hoenn's fifth gym.

7 Clair Has Type Coverage For All Situations

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (6)

Dragon-type Pokémon are often reserved for the Elite Four or even the Champion. But Blackthorn City's Gym Leader Clair makes potent use of them in the main Johto League. Clair's team in Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal is made up of three Dragonairs, plus a Kingdra.

Each of Clair's Dragonites knows Slam, Thunderwave, and Dragon Breath, plus one extra coverage move like Surf, Thunderbolt, and Ice Beam. This gives her a ton of options for dealing with opposing Pokémon, meaning almost any opposing team will have a hard time taking her on.

6 Jasmine Demonstrates The Power Of The Steel Type

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (7)

Jasmine made her debut in Pokémon Gold and Silver alongside her signature Steel-ypes. With high defense, few weaknesses, and full immunity to Poison-types, Steel types are the true defensive powerhouses of the Pokémon world. There is a reason why most Steel trainers after her are all in the Elite Four.

Jasmine does a great job introducing players to the brand new Steel-type. While a Ground-type move will do a great job of taking down her two Magnemites, anything else will have a hard time making it through. When rematched in HeartGold and SoulSilver, Jasmine packs a full team of six, including the extremely powerful Metagross and even the starter Pokémon Empoleon.

(Video) RANKING POKEMON GYM LEADERS! Who is Your Top Gym Leaders!?

5 Whitney And Her Miltank Are Nearly Unstoppable

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (8)

While her signature Clefairy has since lost its Normal typing in favor of Fairy, Whitney was the original Normal-type Gym Leader back in Generation II. Her Miltank's Rollout is the stuff of legends among Pokémon fans, able to take down almost anything the player can muster at such a low level.

In her rematch in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Whitney packs a full team of six. Pokémon like Girafarig and Bibarel give her a ton of type coverage, while her Miltank is boosted to an incredible level 58. Whiteney is living proof that Normal-type Pokémon can be just as strong as any other.

4 Koga Is The Strongest Poison-Type Gym Leader

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (9)

Poison has always been a dangerous type in Pokémon, and it all started with the ninja Koga. His gym itself is difficult enough as is, with invisible walls forcing the player to feel around for pathways. Then there's the fact that Poison-types are masters of status effects, slowly adding extra damage throughout the battle rather than landing any hard hits.

Koga himself goes on to become part of the Elite Four in Pokémon Gold and Silver, showing just how much he was holding back as a Gym Leader. His daughter Janine is a worthy successor, but nobody can quite top the Poisonous Ninja Master.

3 Brock Hits The Player Before They're Ready

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (10)
(Video) Ranking the Kanto Gym Leaders Weakest to Strongest

Brock earns a seat among the most powerful Pokémon Gym Leaders not due to his sheer power but due to his place in the Gym Challenge order. As the first Gym Leader players face in Kanto, Brock is there before most players have a chance to build up a full team.

Many of the earliest Pokémon a player gets will be either Bug or Flying types, which will fall before Brock's Rock-type attacks. Brock will also hit for extra damage against anyone who chose Charmander in Red or Blue, or against anyone playing a game with Pikachu as the starter.

2 Sabrina Is A Master Of A Broken Type

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (11)

Psychic types have always been powerful in Pokémon, but this has never been more true than in Generation I. Thanks to a combination of unbalanced design and a glitch in the type interactions, Psychic types were only resisted by each other and had only a weakness to Bug types in the first Pokémon games.

Sabrina is one of the later Gym Leaders Pokémon players will face in the Kanto region, and her team is extremely impressive. In addition to three powerful Psychic-types, she has a Venomoth in reserve to surprise anyone looking to take advantage of the Psychic type's only weakness.

1 Blue Goes From Rival To Gym Leader

The 12 Toughest Gym Leaders In Pokémon, Ranked (12)

Though he starts life as the player's rival in the original Pokémon games, Blue goes on to take over Giovanni's position as the leader of the Viridian City Gym in the Johto region games. Like his run as a rival, Blue doesn't focus on a single type and instead has a fully rounded team fit for a Pokémon Champion.

Blue's team consists of such powerhouses as Alakazam, Gyrados, and Arcanine. He can summon three different weather effects, letting him adapt to any situation. Subsequent rematches with Blue in future games see him adding other powerful Pokémon like Machamp, Tyranitar, and even Mega Charizard.

(Video) Ranking the Sword and Shield Gym Leaders Worst To Best

NEXT: All 18 Pokémon Types, Ranked By Strength


How many gym leaders are Galar? ›

There are 8 Gyms in the Galar region. The leader of some Gyms differs depending on whether Pokemon Sword or Pokemon Shield is being played.

How many gym leaders are there in total? ›

Pokémon Puzzle series

The eight Kanto Gym Leaders are part of the list of available characters.

Who is the 8th Gym Leader in Pokémon sword? ›

The eighth gym is found in Hammerlocke and is run by Leon's rival, Raihan.

Who is the coolest Gym Leader? ›

Pokémon: 10 Best Gym Leaders, According to Ranker
  • 8 Marnie.
  • 7 Koga.
  • 6 Skyla.
  • 5 Nessa.
  • 4 Misty.
  • 3 Blue.
  • 2 Elesa.
  • 1 Sabrina.
Apr 20, 2022

Is blue the strongest Gym Leader? ›

1 Blue (Gen II)

His teams almost always pose a challenge in-game as well with Blue serving as one of the franchise's hardest final bosses. As the series progressively gets less difficult with each installment, it's likely Blue will remain the single strongest Gym Leader in the series.

How old is BEA Sword? ›

Allister: 13, Bea: 15, I think Allister's easily the youngest Gym leader, further contributing to his anxieties.

How old is Leon Pokémon? ›

Leon is known far and wide for taking part in the Gym Challenge at the tender age of 10 years old-and even more so for claiming victory in the Champion Cup on his first attempt.

Was peony a champion? ›

Not only was Peony a Steel-Type Gym Leader, but he was also Champion once. He became a Gym Leader once his talents were finally recognized. He was such a good Pokémon trainer that he managed to win the Galar League and become Champion.

Does ash become a Gym Leader? ›

Over the past 22 years, Ash Ketchum has fought countless Pokemon gym leaders, fled from Godzilla-sized Pokemon robots, and even been turned to stone and brought back to life by Pikachu's tears -- but finally, he's achieved what few thought possible. Ash Ketchum has finally become a Pokemon League Champion.

Is Misty a Gym Leader? ›

In the video games. In the video games Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed & LeafGreen, Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, and Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, Misty is the Gym Leader of Cerulean City. She specializes in Water-type Pokémon.

Who is the youngest Pokemon gym leader? ›

Iris appears in both the Pokemon Black and White game franchises although she is only the gym leader in White as the youngest gym leader being a 10 year old in the fifth gen.

What is the best Pokémon to beat Leon? ›

Best Pokemon Type For Leon Battle

This includes Aegislash, Dragapult, Mr. Rime, and Haxorus. Bring along Pokemon with Dark or Fairy moves to take down his team!

What level is Raihans? ›

Recommended Level: 46 - 48

It is recommended to level your Pokemon to at least level 46. Ideally, you would level your Pokemon to level 48 to make quick work of Raihan's team! Check Out the Exp Farm & Leveling Guide Here!

Who is the strongest Gym Leader in Kanto? ›

Sabrina has become easier to defeat over the years, but she's still the title-holder for the hardest Kanto gym leader, without question.

Who are the strongest Pokémon trainers? ›

Leon is canonly the most powerful Pokemon Trainer in the anime right now. He's ranked number 1 in the World Coronation Series and has been undefeated for a long time now. Considering other trainers such as Cynthia and Steven have never been number one, it's safe to assume that none of them have ever beaten Leon yet.

Is volkner the strongest Gym Leader? ›

Volkner is stated to be equally as strong as flint(they were childhood rivals??) And constantly says he will challenge the League. Idk where Drayden is but he is said to be the Strongest gym leader in Unova, and Iris becomes champion too.

Who is the strongest Pokémon? ›

Arceus is, without a doubt, the most powerful Legendary Pokémon. This Normal type Mythical Pokémon is the creator of the universe and thus the closest that the Pokémon world has to a god. When it hatched from its egg, Arceus brought with it time, space, and antimatter in the form of the Creation Trio.

Who is the strongest Gym Leader in Johto? ›

Clair is not just the strongest Gym Leader in Johto, but the strongest Gym Leader period. She is the final Gym Leader the player faces in the region and is vicious as hell during battle.

Which Pokemon game is the hardest? ›

The absolute hardest Pokemon game has to be Pokemon Platinum, and it earns this title with all the polish that the original Sinnoh games sorely lacked.

Is Bea Black? ›

Hachima Kikou would conclude their article by offering up several defenses for Bea's appearance, such as the fact that Bea is not black but rather deeply tan, that Bea's darker appearance is seen within a closed Pokemon Gym, and that in Pokemon: Twilight Wings, Bea's skin is being highlighted by bright sunlight due to ...

Is Bea Ash's rival? ›

Bea is a character appearing in Pokémon Journeys: The Series. She is Ash's main rival in the series, working towards the same goal as him.

Are Bea and Allister siblings? ›

A series of one shots focusing around Bea and her adoptive brother Allister. They're not perfect and don't always get along (what siblings do?), but they try their best with one another and work towards understanding.

Does Leon beat Ash? ›

Ash WILL BEAT Leon In The MASTERS 8 & APPEAR ... - YouTube

How old is Ash Ketchum now? ›

Ash Ketchum's Age

This age has been confirmed in almost every iteration of the Pokémon anime, and no matter which series he's in, Ash is always 10 years old.

What is Leon's Charizard Moveset? ›

Leon's Charizard (Japanese: ダンデのリザードン Dande's Lizardon) is Leon's main battling Pokémon in the anime, games, and the Pokémon Adventures manga.
Moves used.
MoveFirst Used In
FlamethrowerFlash of the Titans!
Air Slash †Flash of the Titans!
Fire SpinFlash of the Titans!
Thunder PunchFlash of the Titans!
20 more rows

Who is Peony's daughter? ›

Peony has an odd relationship with his daughter Peonia. While he very much cares for her, he has an extremely boisterous personality and insists on taking her along in adventures, though as it currently stands, Peonia does not have interest in Peony's "adven-tours" and wishes to do things her own way.

Who was the Galar champion before Leon? ›

3 Lose Against: Mustard

Mustard was a previous champion of Galar, but it wasn't Leon who dethroned him. Mustard was champion much longer prior, holding onto the title for a long time before Chairman Rose requested him to take part in a rigged battle to give him a victory after a series of losses.

Who was the champion before blue? ›

The Pokemon Adventures manga confirmed that Oak was a Champion in the past, and it's mentioned in the games that he was once a rival of Agatha, who is one of the strongest trainers in the region.

Why is Ash still 10 years old? ›

According to the eternal youth theory, like in many cartoons, the characters never age and are trapped at the age of their first appearance. This also suggests that the show has a floating timeline. This is the explanation given in the Poké mailbag for why Ash is still ten.

Is Ash Ketchum cheating? ›

Ash Ketchum might be your childhood hero and the best there ever was, but he was also a cheater. He definitely didn't win any these battles fairly. Ash Ketchum is the iconic hero of the Pokémon anime series, but he's not always as squeaky clean and innocent as you'd expect.

Who is Ash Ketchum's dad? ›

English. An unnamed man is the father of Ash Ketchum and husband to Delia Ketchum from the Pokémon Anime series.

Does Ash like Dawn? ›

Dawn. Hailing from Twinleaf Town, Dawn is a close friend of Ash Ketchum. Although she never confirmed her love for him, her actions revealed that she held a special emotion for Ash. The two often used to annoy each other that always resulted in a friendly fight between the two.

Does Ash like Misty or Serena? ›

Ash shows Serena more affection and consideration than he has past travel companions throughout the series.

Who will marry Misty in Pokémon? ›

Ash defeats Rudy in battle, and before they all depart, Rudy asks Misty to stay on the Island with him. She refuses, and continues her journey with Ash. That is what happened in the English dub. In the original Japanese version of the episode, Rudy asked the 1o year old Misty to marry him.

Who is the oldest Pokemon trainer? ›

AZ is the oldest known human in the history of Pokémon, games or otherwise. Despite being classified as a Pokémon Trainer, AZ is the only character in the core series who does not have an official Pokémon League title to use the Gym Leader battle theme. AZ may be depicted in paintings within Parfum Palace.

Is there a dark type gym leader? ›

The seventh gym leader in Pokémon Sword and Shield is Piers, a dark-type user in the city of Spikemuth.

Is Iris a gym leader? ›

Iris (Japanese: アイリス Iris) is a Dragon-type Trainer. She was one of the Gym Leaders of Opelucid City's Gym, known officially as the Opelucid Gym, giving out the Legend Badge, in Pokémon White. Two years later, in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, she is the Champion of the Unova region's Pokémon League.

Who is the youngest Gym Leader in Pokémon Shield? ›

6 Roxie: 13-Years-Old

She is not the only musician/Gym Leader (as we got Piers in Sword and Shield), but she is certainly the youngest to have both those titles.

What level is Leon's Charizard? ›

Trainers and Battles
Champion LeonAegislash Rillaboom / Cinderace / Inteleon Haxorus Seismitoad Dragapult Charizard (Gigantamax)Lv.62 Lv.64 Lv.63 Lv.64 Lv.62 Lv.65
Jan 13, 2020

What is Leon's Charizard weak against? ›

Charizard is weak to Water, Electric, and especially Rock attacks. Careful! Leon expects you to pick a Water type to douse his Charizard so he came prepared with a Grass move to counter your pick. If you don't take out Charizard in your first G-Max Move, he'll retaliate with the Grass move!

What happens if you don't catch Eternatus? ›

It is impossible for you to catch him in this battle. You are meant to defeat Eternatus. After defeating him once, Eternatus will kick off what appears to be a Max Raid battle. You'll find that your Pokémon are unable to attack it for a few turns.

Is Raihan black? ›

He first appeared first in the videogame Pokémon Sword and Shield, 2019. Raihan is a young man with a tall and slim build. He has black hair, dark brown skin, and light blue eyes.

Is Piers a guy or girl Pokémon? ›

Appearance. Piers is a slim, tired-looking young man with pallid skin. His droopy eyes are cyan-colored and he wears blue-gray eyeshadow around them.

Is Raihan British? ›

Raihan (Japanese: キバナ Kibana) is the Gym Leader of Hammerlocke's Gym, known officially as Hammerlocke Stadium. He specializes in Dragon-type Pokémon. He gives the Dragon Badge to Trainers who defeat him. He's also well-known for utilizing weather tactics in his battles.

Which Pokemon game is the hardest? ›

The absolute hardest Pokemon game has to be Pokemon Platinum, and it earns this title with all the polish that the original Sinnoh games sorely lacked.

Who is the hardest Gym Leader in hoenn? ›

Who is the hardest Hoenn Gym Leader?
  • Roxanne 5 votes — 2%
  • Brawly 25 votes — 9%
  • Wattson 26 votes — 9%
  • Flannery 7 votes — 2%
  • Norman 53 votes — 18%
  • Winona 22 votes — 8%
  • Tate & Liza 131 votes — 45%
  • Wallace/Juan 19 votes — 7%
Jun 14, 2012

Who is the strongest Gym Leader in Johto? ›

Clair is not just the strongest Gym Leader in Johto, but the strongest Gym Leader period. She is the final Gym Leader the player faces in the region and is vicious as hell during battle.

Who is the strongest Gym Leader in Kanto? ›

Sabrina has become easier to defeat over the years, but she's still the title-holder for the hardest Kanto gym leader, without question.


1. Ranking all the Johto Gym Leaders from Easiest to Hardest
2. Who Are the Worst Gym Leaders at Every Rank?
(Emperor Cubone)
3. Top 10 Strongest Pokemon Owned by Gym Leaders
4. Ranking Gym Leaders and Trial Captains
5. The Strongest Gym Leaders & Elite Four Members for Pokemon Challenges! (feat. R9beats)
(Christian Pokemon Champion)
6. Pro Nuzlocker Ranks The Hardest Elite Four Members
(Pokémon Challenges)

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