Anime Listicles Pokémon

Strongest Pokemon Gym Leader in Each Region

There are 8 regions in the core series Poke-verse (9, if you count the Hisui region from the upcoming Pokemon Legends: Arceus game). Each region stars a set of 8 Gym Leaders who the player/trainer must face, not necessarily in ascending order of difficulty.

When you defeat a Gym Leader, they reward you with a Technical Machine (TM), which is a new move that you can teach your Pokemon. They also give you a unique badge that will help you compete in the Pokemon League.

Collecting the minimum required number of badges from a region allows you to challenge the Elite 4 from that region.

I recently wrote a list of the Top 20 Gym Leaders who are pretty much close to being Elite 4 themselves. But who cuts it to make the A-list? Here are the most powerful Gym Leaders from each of the 8 regions.

1. Kanto: Sabrina – “The Master of Psychic Pokémon!”

Gym – Saffron City

Badge given – Marsh Badge

Move given – TM46: Psywave (Gen 1), TM04: Calm Mind (Gen 3), TM33: Calm Mind (Gen 7)

Type Specialty – Psychic

Sabrina is the strongest Gym Leader in Kanto. She actually makes it to the top 3 strongest Gym Leaders in the franchise, and she’s not even the final Gym Leader you face in the region.

What makes her stand out is the fact that when you challenge her in Red and Blue, Dark type Pokemon had not yet been introduced. This gave her an insane advantage because her team consisted of Psychic and Ghost type Pokemon.

Strongest Pokemon Gym Leader in Each Region
Sabrina(Abra, Kadabra, Alakazam, Mr. Mime, Metagross and Exeggutor) | Source: Fandom

In Yellow, she had Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam, all at Level 50; now if that isn’t unfair, I don’t know what is. She goes on to acquire a Mr. Mime, Metagross, Exeggutor, and Sigilyph in the later generations, that slay you with their almost unbeatable moves.

The other Gym Leaders in Kanto include: Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge, Erika, Koga, Blaine, Giovanni, and Blue. Blue is a close second for me, a) because of his souped-up team, and b) because he’s an absolute legend.

2. Johto: Clair – “The Blessed User of Dragon Pokémon”

Gym – Blackthorn City

Badge given – Rising Badge

Move given – TM24: Dragon Breath (Gen 2), TM59: Dragon Pulse (Gen 4)

Type Specialty – Dragon

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.

Strongest Pokemon Gym Leader in Each Region
Clair(Kingdra, Dragonite, Altaria, Salamence, Druddigon, and Garchomp) | Source: Fandom

Like Sabrina, Clair has the advantage of the region over the player: when you encounter her in Johto, you haven’t had the opportunity to gather Dragon-type‘ mons or moves.

Dragon is already a crazy strong typing, and without any beasts to battle her Kingdra, you have no chance at all.

Although you also have Whitney in Johto, who is a solid contender for strongest Gym Leader, Clair takes the cake with her high-level team of dragons. In Black 2 and White 2, her Johto Gym Leader Tournament team consists of Kingdra, Dragonite, Altaria, Salamence, Druddigon, and Garchomp, all at level 50. Talk about overpowered!

The other Gym Leaders in Johto include: Falkner, Bugsy, Whitney, Morty, Chuck, Jasmine, and Pryce. I want to give a shout-out to Bugsy, who was surprisingly difficult when I played the game for the first time.

3. Hoenn: Norman – “A man in pursuit of power!”

Gym – Petalburg City

Badge given – Balance Badge

Move given – TM42: Façade (Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald), TM67: Retaliate (Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire)

Type Specialty – Normal

Though Hoenn has the deadly, double battling twins, Tate and Liza, Norman emerges as the strongest Gym Leader in the region, solely because of his Slaking.

The twins Solrock and Lunatone have really high resistance, but Norman’s Slaking’s recovery rate is almost instantaneous.

Strongest Pokemon Gym Leader in Each Region
Norman( Slakings ,Linoone ) | Source: Fandom

You could out-level Norman’s Slakings and yet do no damage because of their abilities. Norman’s Linoone from Emerald is also pretty strong, but his Slakings are just plain tanks.

The coolest part about Norman is that he’s the player character’s father. This storyline really excited me as a kid, because you’re basically trying to challenge and beat your dad.

The other Gym Leaders in Hoenn include: Roxanne, Brawly, Wattson, Flannery, Winona, Tate and Liza, and Wallace. Wallace was also obviously scary tough ‘cos he’s the Champion of Hoenn.

4. Sinnoh: Volkner – “The Shining, Shocking Star”

Gym – Sunyshore City

Badge given – Beacon Badge

Move given – TM57: Charge Beam

Type Specialty – Electric

Volkner is the final Gym Leader you challenge in Diamond and Pearl. He’s also the strongest Leader in Sinnoh.

When you start off in Diamond, you basically have no counter against his Electric-type Pokemon, especially if you don’t choose Turtwig as a Starter.

Strongest Pokemon Gym Leader in Each Region
Volkner(Jolteon, Electivire, Flareon, and Magmortar) | Source: Fandom

Even if you do have some Ground-type ‘mons, you need Earthquake to defend yourself against his high-level Raichu and Luxray. In Platinum, Volkner’s team is joined by Jolteon and a Level 50 Electivire, whose Thunder Punch has a 100% accuracy.

In Platinum, he also goes into a double battle team up with Flint, who is part of the Sinnoh Elite 4. They use a combination of Electric and Fire-type Pokemon (Jolteon, Electivire, Flareon, and Magmortar) to basically fry you.

The other Gym Leaders in Sinnoh include: Roark, Gardenia, Maylene, Crasher Wake, Fantina, Byron, and Candice. I know a lot of people find Gardenia (with her Roserade), and Maylene (with her Lucario) difficult, but for me, after Volkner, it has to be Fantina because most of her team has Special Attack.

5. Unova: Elesa – “The Shining Beauty”

Gym – Nimbasa City

Badge given – Bolt Badge

Move given – TM72: Volt Switch

Type Specialty – Electric

This electric supermodel is quite the destructive force with her twin Emolgas and their Volt Switch move. This, along with her Zebstrika, makes Elesa the strongest Gym Leader in Black and White and in the entire Unova region.

I bet everyone has lost to Elesa at least once. Once you get a Ground-type Pokemon like a Sandile or teach your Pokemon to resist Electric attacks, you might stand a chance. But apart from that, those damned Emolgas seem like they don’t have any weaknesses.

Strongest Pokemon Gym Leader in Each Region
Elesa (Emolga, Zebstrika) | Source: Fandom

Most players go for Oshawott or Scraggy but Emolga’s Aerial Ace would most definitely sweep them. Your best bet is to spam moves like Shock Waves and Flame Charge (if you don’t have solid Ground/Rock moves) and hope for the best.

Elesa’s team in Challenge Mode is next level because Emolga and Zebstrika simply out-speed any ‘mon you have.

The other Gym Leaders in Unova include Cheren, Cilan, Chili, Cress, Roxie, Lenora, Burgh, Clay, Skyla, Brycen, Iris, Drayden, and Marlon. Iris and Drayden with their Dragon type are very strong too, but after Elesa, it’s gotta be Lenora, who’s a total hard-ass.

6. Kalos: Valerie – “The maiden from a land with history.”

Gym – Laverre City

Badge given – Fairy Badge

Move given – TM99: Dazzling Gleam

Type Specialty – Fair

Kalos is known to be the easiest region with battles that are surprisingly not challenging at all, despite it being the sixth region of the franchise.

The exception to this is Valerie with her new Fairy typing that could slay all your Dragon-type‘ mons. This makes Valerie an easy winner in the strongest Gym Leader, Kalos category.

Strongest Pokemon Gym Leader in Each Region
Valerie | Source: Fandom

Battles with Valerie are not just difficult but also time-consuming. Mr. Mime keeps putting up barriers while Sylveon has a great defense.

The best way to trump Fairy is Poison. Even though Fairy types are weak against Steel as well, Valerie has a Mawile, which is a Steel-Fairy type Pokemon that can counter your moves with its Iron Defense.

The other Gym Leaders in Kalos include: Viola, Grant, Korrina, Ramos, Clemont, Olympia, and Wulfric.

7. Alola: Acerola

Generation 7 featured Trial Captains instead of Gym Leaders. There are some players that preferred the change, but most kind of missed the fun of traditional Gym Battles.

In Pokemon Sun and Moon, you had to battle the Trial Captains (equivalent to Gym Leaders), then defeat the 4 Island Kahunas, who are chosen by the guardian deities (the regional form of the Alola Pokemon) found on each of the 4 islands.

Strongest Pokemon Gym Leader in Each Region
Acerola | Source: Fandom

Ultimately, the Elite 4 can be challenged, and then the player can battle the founder of the Pokemon League – Kukui, to become the Alola League Champion.

Players must face the 7 Trial Captains, and the Totem Pokemon (a variant Pokemon) at the end of every trial. The strongest Trial Captain is Acerola, who is also a member of the Alola Elite 4.

She specializes in Ghost-type ‘mons, and her ace, a Level 55 Palossand, can use its Z-move to totally destroy you. In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Acerola’s Palossand hits Level 57.

8. Galar: Tie between Opal – “The master of a fantastic theater!”, and Raihan – “The tamer of dragons!”

  • Opal

Gym – Ballonlea

Badge given – Fairy Badge

Move given – None

Type Specialty – Fairy

  • Raihan

Gym – Hammerlocke

Badge given – Dragon Badge

Move given – None

Type Specialty – Dragon

Sword and Shield probably has the hardest Gym Leaders yet, with Raihan and Opal being the strongest Galarian Gym Leaders.

The game expects you to know which Pokemon type is strong/weak against the other; it also features the Dynamax and Gigantamax phenomena that make the Pokemon of Galar extra difficult to overcome.

Strongest Pokemon Gym Leader in Each Region
Opal And Raihan | Source: Fandom

Raihan wins the popular vote for the most powerful Gym Leader. His rival is Leon – the Champion of the Galar region and utilizes the weather to his advantage during battles.

Although Raihan has a mad powerful set of pure Dragon types in his team, he also has some Fire, Rock, and Ground Pokemon, along with the Dragon dual typings.

His Sandaconda and Duraludon are absolute tanks and Raihan in a Double Battle is formidable. But otherwise, Opal was tougher than Raihan, because of her quiz questions. Unless you’re playing with Bulbapedia open, you’re almost always going to answer incorrectly.

Also, Opal is easy to underestimate due to her appearance – the woman is 88, and doesn’t look like someone who can sweep her Gym floor with you and your team. Her Gigantamax Vanilla Cream/Strawberry Sweet Alcremie is not a desert you wanna have, trust me.

The other Gym Leaders in Galar include: Milo, Nessa, Kabu, Allister, Bea, Bede, Gordie, Melony, Piers, and Marnie.

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About Pokémon

Pokémon was first released in 1996 and is set up in a world where humans catch monsters and store them in pocket-sized poke-balls.

They are creatures with an affinity to certain elements and some superhuman abilities related to that element.

Revolving around a teenage boy Ash Ketchum, Pokémon takes us through his journey to becoming the most accomplished Pokémon trainer the world has ever seen.

Originally Written By Epic Dope

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Vansh Gulati

Vansh Gulati

Meet our very own Hinata Shoyo! - There is no anime or manga that he’s not aware of. Also the go-to guy for all things Epic at EML. He’s on a journey to discover life one bottle of sake at a time!
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