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Hardest Gym Leaders and battles


Canada Connoisseur
Throughout the Pokémon series of games, there are some Gym Leaders who are not pushovers. How many times have you thought victory was within your reach, only to get blacked out by a powerful move from the Gym Leader's Pokémon?

Here are some of the most infamous Gym Leaders that have given us all pain and frustration:

  • Brock (Yellow) - If you ever played Yellow, you'll know why. The first Gym in Kanto is a Rock-type gym, and you only have an Electric type, which can't do anything because Geodude and Onix are also part Ground. Brock was only really hard if you only had Pikachu; luckily, you could catch either of the two Nidorans and level them up to learn Double Kick, which'll pummel Brock's rocks in no time. Charmander can also learn Metal Claw to deal with this Gym, but only in FR/LG.
  • Sabrina (R/B/Y) - She was a nightmare in Gen 1 (quite literally) due to her overpowered Alakazam, and Psychic types being so broken in this generation. Dark types weren't discovered yet, and Ghost types were useless against her team, despite what the gym guides say otherwise. Luckily, this was fixed in Gen 2.
  • Whitney - Probably the one that gives most Pokémon players bad memories. She says she's new to Pokémon, but for a newbie, she's surprisingly tough. Her Miltank gets the most flack for her notorious Attract-Stomp-Milk Drink-Rollout strategy, but Clefairy can be a threat as well with Metronome, which chooses a random move. Most of you probably laughed when she started crying after you defeated her, after all the hell she put you through.
  • Clair - Her Kingdra can be a pain with its Smokescreen (which reduces your accuracy) and Hydro Pump. This was also before the Fairy type was discovered, which meant Kingdra's only weakness was Dragon, so unless you caught the shiny Gyarados at the Lake of Rage or found a Dratini in the Dragon's Den, you pretty much had to use pure power. In my playthrough of HG/SS, I had to rely on my Umbreon's Faint Attack to keep hitting Kingdra, as it kept using Smokescreen. It really was a drag, but I eventually won in the end.
  • Norman - Just because he's your dad (at least in Hoenn) doesn't mean he's tough. His Slaking may have Truant (which means it loafs around every two turns), but it can strike hard if you're not prepared. He isn't quite on Whitney's level of notoriety, but Norman gains my respect for him being both a loving father and a tough Gym Leader.
  • Lenora (B/W) - Why is it always the Normal Gym Leaders who trip us all up? Like Whitney, Lenora comes pretty early in the game, but her Herdier and Watchog both pack Retaliate. Because you may have most likely defeated Herdier midway in the battle, Watchog is almost guaranteed to use Retaliate on its first turn, which doubles its 70 base power to 140 - and this is only the second gym! Watchog also has Hypnosis to put your Pokémon to sleep, and Crunch which can reduce your Defense, leaving you even more vulnerable to Retaliate.
  • Cheren (B2/W2) - A similar situation to Lenora. Even though his Lillipup hasn't yet evolved, if it gets a few Work Ups on it, you're in trouble. Also, the only Fighting-type available at this point of the game is Riolu, which only has a 5% chance of appearing at the Floccesy Ranch, and it doesn't learn Force Palm until level 15. I mostly used my Tepig for this battle, using Flame Charge's Speed boost to my advantage.
Have you found any other Gym Leaders hard? Share your experiences!


Love when the mods can’t do their jobs properly
I found Brawly to be somewhat difficult in my first run of Emerald because his Pokèmon would always do over half of mine’s HP & mine would never hit hard enough (coming from someone who always use the regional bird so I had Taillow)

Candice but because her Froslass kept getting crits + had maxed evasion with Snow Cloak and this was where I got rid of Aerial Ace on my Staraptor (not like it would’ve helped that much)

Lenora for the same reason mentioned above. I usually catch Blitzle, Pidove, & Tympole around this part of the game and it’s basically my Pignite & Pansage versus the Gym as I’m trying to catch the other 3 up

Drayden because I had no super effective moves

Grant had a surprisingly strong duo of Fossils especially for that part of the game


The toughest gym battle I ever had the most trouble with was against Grant. But I was playing a nuzlocke and I basically had no random encounters that weren't weak to rock. Tyrunt got through almost my entire team before Braxien could revenge kill it.

Lenora and Whitney were fairly tough too. Normal isn't such an easy type to deal with since they have few weakneses and a lot of pokemon that evolve early in the game. Its not like bug or rock where there are ton of pokemon around who can just sweep straight through them.
Justy from Colosseum was pretty tough with a slightly overleveled team when you first get the chance to battle him and a solid sand/stall strat. But he isn't even a real gym leader, so who cares?

In pokemon stadium I had trouble with a few gym leaders, partly due to the game blatantly cheating every now and then. I've never really enjoyed 3v3 either.
I especially remember Giovanni's Moltres causing me some stress after it kept dodging hits and then putting me straight back into Gen I's Fire Spin. But somehow his gengar didn't seem to miss any hypnosis...
You also really needed RNJesus on your side to get through Janine in Stadium 2. Her whole strategy was toxic + Confusion + attraction + Baton Passing evasion got old very quickly. I had to plan carefully to not be haxed to death...
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Canada Connoisseur
Grant had a surprisingly strong duo of Fossils especially for that part of the game
Yeah, his Tyrunt especially can hit hard with Bite and Crunch. I had a bit of trouble with him, especially as I chose Fennekin, and I think my Squirtle wasn't evolved at the time. My cousin realised Steel wasn't resistant to Dark anymore when his Honedge got knocked out by Tyrunt's Bite in his playthrough of Y.

A similar situation happened to me in Platinum, where my team got single-handedly wiped out by Roark's Cranidos and its Headbutt, which is a very powerful move for just the first gym. Even with my newly-caught Psyduck (now a Golduck), it took me two tries to defeat him.

Lenora for the same reason mentioned above. I usually catch Blitzle, Pidove, & Tympole around this part of the game and it’s basically my Pignite & Pansage versus the Gym as I’m trying to catch the other 3 up
Speaking of Pansage, the Striaton triplets can be hard if you didn't get the elemental monkey from the Dreamyard. Even with Pansage (I chose Tepig and fought Cress), Work Up can be deadly for that point of the game.

Claire was the first one that came to my mind. This was before Fairy, so the only thing her Kingdra was week to was Dragon. Not to mention grinding in that game was a pain in the derrière.
If Johto got Let's Go-style remakes, it would make Clair a lot easier, now that Fairy types are a thing. Though I don't think Johto will get another remake for quite a long time, as HG/SS are still playable.


Canada Connoisseur
Another hard one was Clair on Gold because of her Kingdra's annoying movepool, which also applies for Elite 4 Koga's Muk (welcome, evasion moves). For Unova, I remember Elite 4 Shauntal to be tough.
Koga and Shauntal aren’t really Gym Leaders, though Koga used to be before Janine took over.


Call of Fate
Whitney gave me trouble in Crystal, mostly because there were no good Fighting attacks back then. In the remakes, though, Heracross destroyed both Clefairy and Miltank with Brick Break.
Juan in Emerald was hard, too, although it was Kingdra with Double Team who was tough.
Gardenia's Roserade is quite fast and hits hard with Magical Leaf, even if it is resisted. Fantina is challenging because of Confuse Ray. Crasher Wake's Floatzel is quick and knows Ice Fang, which counters Grass-types.
Lenora, because her Watchog has Hypnosis and Retaliate, which is devastating when used after you have taken down Herdier.


Canada Connoisseur
Crasher Wake's Floatzel is quick and knows Ice Fang, which counters Grass-types.
So does Volkner’s Luxray. My Garchomp, a female, almost fell for his strategy when I went up against him. Double weakness to Ice isn’t fun. :mad:


Canada Connoisseur
Can me include Totem Battles? Don’t discriminate!

Because Totem Togedemaru was a pain in the ass due to its ally Pokemon having things like Tormet while Togedemaru itself being very fast thanks to Tailwind.
I guess they kind of count, since Trial Captains are like Alola’s version of Gym Leaders. In my case, it’d be Totem Wishiwashi and Mimikyu. The former is just surprisingly strong for that point of the game with its Schooling Form, while the latter has Disguise, which renders anything you try to use on the first turn useless.

Don’t forget Totem Lurantis as well. It’s mostly not Lurantis that worries you, it’s its allies. Castform can especially make it hard when it uses Sunny Day, which means Lurantis’ Solar Blade can hit without charging up. It does make Fire moves stronger, however, so it’s a bit of a double-edged sword on their side.

Im replaying BW2 and Unova's GYM leaders r so tough omg.. Especially the Dragon leader
I think B2/W2’s Gyms are a little easier than they were in B/W, but Cheren notably tripped me up a little because my Riolu (now Lucario) didn’t have any attacking Fighting moves yet.


Veteran member
After playing Crystal, I can safely say that dealing with Morty's Gengar was an absolute nightmare.


Canada Connoisseur
Misty in Gen I. But that's mostly because I started with Charmander...
She’s not that hard if you caught Pikachu in the Viridian Forest.


Gesshin Powered
Clair: This is mostly due to Kingdra who is only weak to Dragon since Fairy-types did not exist back in Gen 4. Add to that levelling up Pokemon in Johto is pretty hard thanks to its awful curve unless you are fielding four or less main battlers.

If you are including Totem Pokemon, Totem Mimikyu. Ghost and Fairy STAB moves scores at least neutral damage on everything in Alola obtainable at this point and has Disguise to tank whatever offensive move you use for one time (bar Mold Breaker users). Oh, and it has a Lum Berry so you can’t cripple it with a status condition turn one.
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Canada Connoisseur
Clair's awful. Her Kingdra alone is Satan but then you gotta beat her Dragonairs too.
Juan for the same reason in Emerald, although I’ve never really played that game. It was only because I saw Chuggaconroy’s Emerald playthrough on YouTube, and the Kingdra gave him absolute hell with its constant Yawns and Rests.


Canada Connoisseur
Falkner if you chose Chikorita over the other two is fairly difficult.
It’s easier in HG/SS, because you can catch Mareep just outside Violet City. I did, and now it’s an Ampharos.