Gym Leaders are the very crux of the Pokemon franchise. They are the owners of their own Pokemon Gyms in different cities across the 8 regions.
Trainers must journey across the world and beat the best if they want to earn those badges and become the Pokemon Champion.
The topic of the strongest Gym Leaders has been one of contention for the longest time. This is understandable, since every trainer/player chooses a different journey with different Starters.
But there are some Leaders who are just universal badasses. Here are the top 20 strongest Gym Leaders in Pokemon.
Note: This list does not contain Champions (like Cynthia, Iris, Wallace), or Elite 4 members, even those who were once Leaders and got promoted (like Koga).
We start off with the OG of the Pokemon franchise, our very own Brock. Brock is Pewter City Gym’s Gym Leader in Kanto’s Indigo League. He uses Rock type Pokemon – do I even need to mention Onix?
You were probably be fine if you picked Squirtle or Bulbasaur in Pokemon Red and Blue; but if you had a Charmander as a starter you probably really hate Brock. Brock gives the Boulder Badge to players that defeat him.
Misty is the first female Gym Leader to appear in the anime. She is the Water type Gym Leader of Cerulean City Gym and I’d say she’s slightly more difficult to overcome than Brock because of her Starmie.
Starmie who is fully evolved, has a Water-Psychic typing, and has some pretty sick moves, especially if you you’re playing Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green. But don’t give up, because after you defeat her, you get the Cascade Badge.
In Emerald, Flannery’s team is full of straight shooters. Without Marshtomp, you’re pretty much toast. If you didn’t have Mudkip as a starter, you could probably have gotten away with Tentacool with Bubble Beam.
Flannery is Lavaridge Town’s Gym Leader who uses only Fire type ‘mons. Most of them are Special Attackers, especially Torkoal who can fry you with Overheat. If you defeat her though, you get the Heat Badge in Hoenn.
Blaine is the second-last Gym Leader in Generation 1. He is the Gym Leader of Cinnabar Island Gym and fights with Fire type Pokemon, awarding the Volcano badge to those that overpower him.
I really wish he had a bigger role in the games. The guy actually created Mewtwo, for crying out loud.
In the anime, Ash’s Charizard takes on Blaine’s Magmar to stop the volcano from erupting; this is memorable because that’s one of the first times that Charizard becomes obedient towards Ash.
Clay, the Underground Boss, is the Gym Leader of Driftveil City Gym in Unova, the fifth gym to be challenged by the player. He uses Ground type Pokemon to battle and gives the Quake Badge upon defeat.
In the anime, Ash has to fight really hard to defeat his Krokorock, Palpatoad, and Excadrill.
In the games, a strong water, grass, and fighting type Pokemon can help you battle Clay. That Excadrill on Challenge or Set Mode though, is really hard – pun intended.
Morty, the Ecruteak City Gym Leader, is one of the tougher Leaders to beat, not just in Gen 2, but the entire franchise. If you do, you get the Fog Badge.
In Gold, Silver, and Crystal, his Gengar has Hypnosis plus Dream Eater which can prove to be pretty horrific if you’re not careful.
In Heart Gold and Soul Silver, you have to awaken the Legendary Beast Trio of Raikou, Entei, and Suicine by visiting the Burned Tower, before you can even challenge Morty. If that doesn’t prove his place on the list, I don’t know what will.
Korrina is a pretty famous Gym Leader, in the anime, as well as the core series. She’s one of the few Leaders to have Pokemon that can Mega Evolve.
In fact, she’s the only one with the title, Mega Evolution Successor – she gives you the Mega Ring and helps you attain Mega Evolution with her Lucario.
Korrina’s Hawlucha can really mess up your game – if you don’t have a Ghost type ‘mon on your team, it’s almost impossible to beat. Korrina gives the Rumble Badge when defeated.
Another Hoenn Gym Leader! Winona’s team is diverse with Flying dual types like Altaria, Skarmory, and Gyrados. Her purple appearance, and the design of Fortree City with all the treehouses was also really appealing.
Her team can be defeated without much effort – apart from the Altaria. Her Aerial Ace attack has perfect accuracy, and when you beat her, she gives it to you, along with the Feather Badge.
Steel type Gym Leader of Olivine City, Johto: it’s Jasmine! She’s tough mainly because she was introduced at the same time as the new Steel typing, and players were not expecting just how powerful Steel could be.
What with her Magnemites and Steelix, Jasmine can crush any player that underestimates her because of her gentle appearance.
But what’s great is that Jasmine actually is sweet and kind – she asks you to help her ailing Ampheros before she can give you the Mineral Badge.
Drayden is the final Gym Leader in Unova and specializes in Dragon type Pokemon, which makes him formidable as hell. He takes over Iris’s place in Black 2 and White 2 when she is promoted to Champion.
Back then, he was difficult to beat because the Fairy type, which is strong against Dragon, wasn’t introduced yet in Gen 5.
He has a lot of knowledge about the Legendary Tao Dragons, and is additionally the mayor of Opelucid City. He awards the Legend Badge to the player upon defeat.
10Tate and Liza
Tate and Liza are the Double Battling twins from the Hoenn region. They are both Gym Leaders of Mossdeep City and use Psychic type Pokemon. They are the only two Gym Leaders you go against in a Double Battle.
They are also the youngest Gym Leaders in the games, and give out the Mind Badge when they are defeated.
Their Solrock and Lunatone Pokemon duo comes with Sunny Day and Light Screen, that stand strong against Water moves.
They are also immune to Ground type Pokemon, so I’d say they’re well-built to face even the dreaded Hoenn Swampert, who is a Water-Ground type Pokemon. The twins are also known for using healing items.
9Blue and Giovanni
Okay, let me explain why these guys are so high up. Once upon a time, Giovanni sent chills down my spine – the twist of Giovanni being behind Team Rocket was too much to handle.
Though he was surprisingly easy to face in the games, he is one of the best/coolest/baddest characters in the anime and in Pokemon Origins.
As for Blue, well, there’s no one as iconic as him. He’s Red’s original rival, and takes over from Giovanni as Viridian City Gym’s Gym Leader.
He is unique in that he has no set type as a Gym Leader and uses various types of Pokemon during battle. His team is fully evolved and includes high-level beasts like Arcanine, Gyarados, Exeggutor, and even Alakazam.
Next we have yo’ daddy. Norman the Normal type Pokemon Gym Leader of Petalburg City, Hoenn, is the father of the protagonist-player in Ruby and Sapphire.
In the anime, Norman is basically Elite 4, and in the games, he can really kick ass with those Slakings. He actually gets more difficult every time Hoenn is revisited, and is possibly the hardest Leader to beat in that region.
You can defeat him with a good Fighting type, and I’ve found Grovyle can work well if you use consecutive hits. You get the Balance Badge from Norman once you prove yourself to him.
Fantina from Sinnoh is the Gym Leader in Hearthome City and holds the Relic Badge for the players that defeat her all female team of Ghost type ‘mons.
Fantina is not that hard to beat in Platinum, but she’s a real demon in Diamond and Pearl. She has a Mismagius that has incredibly high stats and a Gengar that is famously hard to get past.
In the Download Tournament, she actually sports the Legendary Ghost-Dragon type Giratina in its Origin Forme.
Volkner is the final Gym Leader in Sinnoh and possibly the toughest. He defeats Ash’s Torterra with his Electivire despite the type disadvantage. If you hadn’t guessed already, Volkner’s specialty is Electric Pokemon.
He’s so strong that he actually goes into depression because he keeps defeating trainers so easily. When you face him, he finally lightens up, but beating him is a whole other thing.
He is supposed to be equally powerful as the Elite 4 Flint. His team is strong as well as versatile, and unless you have some good Ground type Pokemon you’ll never get that Beacon Badge.
Another Electric type specialist on the list: Elesa is higher that Volker because of the awesome move, Volt Switch, introduced in Black and White.
Elesa’s two Emolgas, Zebstrika, and Flaffy can all use this deadly move. Her Flaffy also has Thunder Wave, which makes it almost impossible to beat.
Additionally, her story arc is also pretty cool – she’s the only female Electric type Gym Leader in the franchise. She’s also a supermodel, and runs her Nimbasa City Gym like an actual fashion runway. All in all, one of the most memorable Gym Leaders.
Raihan was recently introduced as a Gym Leader in Galar and is possibly the strongest in that region. Raihan is the final Gym Leader you challenge before you can enter the Champion Cup.
He’s tricky to beat because he doesn’t have a type specialty.
What’s unique is that he utilizes weather conditions like sunlight and storms to best his opponents. He has a diverse team of ‘mons, like Sandaconda, Gigalith, Duraludon, and Flygon.
3Valerie, Opal, and Bede
My rank #3 has 3 super Fairy type specialists. Valerie was the one who first introduced the OP Fairy typing to us in X and Y.
She could slay all your dragons without even messing even a strand of her long black hair. Her Mr. Mime, Sylveon, and Mawile can give even the most experienced players a hard time.
Opal and Bede are both characters from Galar, Opal being the oldest Gym Leader in the region, at the age of 88. Opal has a rare team of Fairy type Pokemon with Weezing, Mawile, Togekiss, and Alcremie.
Bede is her successor; he was previously a Psychic type specialist, but switched to Fairy after replacing Opal in Sword and Shield. Bede also has a Dynamax band that allows his team to use stronger moves.
2Whitney and Sabrina
Whitney is the Gym Leader on Goldenrod City in Johto and Sabrina is the Saffron City Gym Leader in Kanto.
Sabrina specializes in Psychic type ‘mons; her Yellow team consisted of Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam, all at Level 50. And she only gets stronger from there.
Whitney, on the other hand, has been considered one of the toughest Gym Leader for a long time. She specializes in Normal type Pokemon and her ace Militank has been the bane of many players.
However, I think beating her becomes much easier, once you actually grow up and play using strategy. Whitney did teach me a lot, especially the importance of type advantage.
Clair is the strongest Gym Leader in Pokemon. Clair is the “Blessed User of Dragon Pokemon”, and has been consistently hard to defeat no matter what team you play with.
All her Pokemon are high-leveled beasts, especially Kingdra and Dragonair, who hardly have any weaknesses.
Clair is most challenging because of her region – Dragon type moves are tough to find in Johto.
Also, at that point in the journey, you have almost no way to shoot down her ace, Kingdra, who can wipe out your team in no time. She literally ups the level of the game single-handedly.
I gotta give a mention to Olympia, the Gym Leader of Anistar City Gym in Kalos. She specializes in Psychic type Pokemon and can trap you in a loop with her and her disciples in another dimension.
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.
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