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Rank the leagues

LilligantLewis

Bonnie stan
@GarchompChain's post stating that the Kalos League was a Unova-level League caught my attention in @Power Up's Kalos League Final thread, and rather than expanding on it there and going off topic, it gave me the idea to just make a straight up rank the leagues thread. You can include Orange if you want, but you don't have to, and people who only started watching the anime at some point in the middle and haven't seen all the leagues yet, you can just include the ones you've seen. The criteria are purely up to you. I expect a lot of vastly different rankings lol.

For me:

7. Unova League
This league barely felt like a league to me. It felt like a glorified Don Battle/WTJC. Something BW gets praised for a lot is all the tournament arcs, and I liked them too, but it feels like with how they got used to writing those with all 1on1 battles, they couldn't step it up for the league. How much of a joke is it that Ash faces his main rival in their final battle in just a 1v1? Don't even get me started on the Axew filler. And this is the only league besides Indigo to feature NO actual 6on6 battles. (Although I'm starting to wonder whether Alola will join it) (Cameron was 6on5). Furthermore, letting Ash lose to a buffoon who only brings 5, gets a DEM evolution, that too to a LUCARIO, just absolutely horrible writing

6. Indigo League
I want to say up front that despite this being #6 and Unova being #7, they are miles and miles apart for me. The Indigo League is closer to my #1 (Hoenn) than it is to my #7 (Unova) despite being #6. That's how much I hated the Unova League. lol.

I liked that the first four prelim rounds introduced the concept of the different types of battlefields, something that's remained in leagues since, I liked Mandi and Jeanette Fisher, I liked that a Pokémon that many kids would perceive to be weak, Bellsprout, was portrayed as strong, I liked the Krabby call-up and the Kingler evolution, which started the great tradition (sadly less frequent recently) of Ash calling up reserves for the league. I liked the plot twist of Ash and Gary not meeting each other, so I really liked a lot of things about this league, but absolutely hated the Ritchie battle, forcing this league to the low end of the totem pole for me.

5. Orange League
Obviously this is only one battle, which is why it's overall low on my ranking, 5 out of 7, but still above the Indigo League mainly because it has a better ending, not only because Ash won, but also just because I disliked the Ritchie ending as I said above.

I will talk about things I liked though: I liked the fact that it was the first 6on6 battle in the history of the show, I liked that Ash used a unique 6-team combo that included some Pokémon who otherwise didn't get much battles in the show, either before or after this league, such as Tauros and Lapras. I liked that Drake used Ditto, one of the rare times I can remember it being used competitively, outside of as a gimmick in a filler, in this show. I loved that Drake's Dragonite had ten moves and Ash still took it down, and I believe it's still the most moves any Pokémon in the anime has ever used in one battle. I also liked the unique gyms in the Orange Islands, even though that's not part of the league itself, and as a side note I sometimes wonder whether GameFreak got the idea of Alolan trials from the Orange gyms since there are 4 islands and the trials are unique tasks not always battling, just like the Orange gyms.

4. Johto League
I can't find too much to complain about about this league, so the only reason it's below 3 other ones is because I liked those 3 even better, I guess!!

Once again just like Indigo I liked that they showed the prelims, and I liked the unique format with the groups of 3, the points system, and the tie! And btw speaking of showing the prelims, I hate that starting with Sinnoh they stopped showing prelims, which is one of the reasons Sinnoh and Kalos both finish below Hoenn for me, but I'll get to that later.

Obviously the Ash vs. Gary 6on6 is epic, I just wish the flashback with the split Poké Ball was something that had been shown before, because it kinda came out of nowhere. The BLAZIKEN reveal was unreal.

3. Kalos League
The reason this finishes below Sinnoh and Hoenn for me is that full battles only start at the semifinals, which is a joke, and Hawlucha beating a Mega is suddenly treated like no big deal and not even properly shown, despite Megas being a big deal for 125 episodes before this. Furthermore, Ash vs. Astrid is not fully shown, and this is a separate point from the Mega Absol point (despite being the same battle) because for me here the bigger issue is that since Katie at the Hoenn League (another reason Hoenn is #1 for me), they haven't shown Ash battling a girl at a league. Even when he actually had a female rival (Bianca) in Unova, they made her Cameron-fodder to hype up the worst league rival in franchise history.

Obviously the Ash vs. Sawyer and Ash vs. Alain battles were great which is why this finishes really high at #3, but the paragraph above is why it finishes below the other 2

2. Sinnoh League
Overall a great league, the fact that four recurring characters all show up at the league, Conway, Nando, Barry, and Paul, instead of having a bunch of random characters like a lot of leagues do, is great as well. And I even liked the Tobias battle and that Ash took down a Darkrai and Latios. Absolutely incredible. The main thing I dislike about this league is that prelims weren't shown. At the time, I also remember being frustrated that full battles only started at the quarterfinals, after Hoenn had been incredible with starting them at the Top 32. I felt cheated out of seeing longer full battles in Ash vs. Conway and Paul vs. Barry. Looking back now, I feel thankful they even started at the quarterfinals considering that Kalos didn't even start full battles until the semifinals. I'm guessing we'll never again even come close to approaching Hoenn's amazingness of starting full battles at Top 32.

1. Hoenn League
Prelims are shown, prelims are double battles, it's the only league to feature any kind of battling besides single battles. Full battles start at Top 32, the earliest of any league, and Ash has 3 full battles, the most of any league, and Ash has a full battle against a girl, the only time in franchise history.
 

shoz999

Back when Tigers used to smoke.
Too lazy. List text-sized unreadable reasons later. Maybe Unova when I see it. Quick run-down.

6. Hoenn League - Nothing happens. Unlike other well-crafted leagues, this kind of just felt like a Pokemon League for the sake of a Pokemon League.
5. Johto League - Oh yeah. Gary was a thing. Looks elsewhere. WOW! A BLAZIKEN!
4. Orange League - Wait a minute Drake... LANCE! IS THAT YOU!
3. Sinnoh League - Never really about the rivalry, was about Infernape in the end.
2. Indigo League - Ash lost the league. Many kids mind's were blown.
1. Kalos League - Ash is in the finals. Many of those kids-turned-adults mind's were blown.

If I were to rank it battle-wise on hi-quality Pokemon standards it would be...

5. Everything else - eh.
4. Johto League - The 6v6 fight against Gary was boring to be honest. The only amazing thing was Charizard vs. Blastoise. After that was Ash vs. Harrison. Even though he was a last-minute rival, he strangely felt like he had more character than Gary ever did, weird. Also his battle against Ash is definitely the best battle of the Johto League. Not only do we see clever tactics at display, we see a couple of Hoenn Pokemon mixed with Johto favorites at work here. It really feels like a farewell message to those who enjoyed Gen 2.
3. Orange League - The real first Pokemon League battle where Ash's limits are pushed to the test.
2. Sinnoh League - A lot of competitive tactics are at work here mixed with Ash's unorthodox tactics. Even though it's nowhere close it really does remind you of how Pokemon Adventures handles it's battles.
1. Kalos League - Was straight to the point to the battles that most Pokemon fans wanted to see. Every blow felt amazing, every dodge felt real and every strategy they made was exciting. Focusing on quality and not dragging it down with quantity, this was amazing and masterfully done. The only league that comes close to Kalos's way of handling the league, straight-to-the-point, focusing on the battles people want to see and skipping a large amount of unnecessary and random last-minute trainers, is the Sinnoh League.
 
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ash&charizardfan

Humans are tools
My list is something like this-
7 Indigo league
6 Unnova League
5 Orange League (Best battle in whole OS even better than ash vs gary)
4 johto League
3,2 Hoenn/Kalos League
1 Sinnoh League

Both hoenn and kalos league is tied t me since hoen had many battles from top 32 it was full 6 vs 6 match, and it has some good matches whereas kalos league was a rush job, not only they should have given more ash battles especially vs mega absol trainer or even that altaria guy but it still had 2 of 3 best matches in this anime's history which were better than anything hoenn league offered.
 

Akkipeddi

White Yaksha
For me its Sinnoh>Kalos>Johto>Hoenn>Unova> Kanto

Sinnoh is the undisputed best, since we had battles vs Nando and Conway (where some of his less used reserves managed to star), Paul vs Barry was decent, and of course, the heavyweight clash of Ash vs Paul. Ash vs Tobias did sour the league a bit, but overall, this was hands down the best league.

Kalos's main issue was of course skipping the initial rounds, and not seeing Hawlucha actually beating Mega Absol in a proper battle. But the remaining battles, such as Sawyer vs Tierno, and the major Ash battles (which I rank as the two best battles in Pokémon alongside Ash vs Paul) pulled the league up in a big way.

I actually liked the Johto League a lot since there were prelims, and we got the first ever heavy stakes clash battle (Ash vs Gary). Sure, when compared to battles of today (basically DP and XY), this battle doesn't seem that impressive, but back in the day, this battle was hype, and we finally got to see Ash beat Gary and send him into retirement as a trainer. Ash vs Harisson was a great battle as well, especially Charizard vs Blaziken, which was a real nail biter.

I'm personally not the biggest fan of the Hoenn League tbh. It was a perfect example of quantity not being the same as quality, since eventhough this league had many battles, I found most of them to be pretty average. Ash vs Morrison was a steaming pile of garbage, and Ash vs Tyson was pretty meh to me, and definitely doesn't come close to Ash vs Harrison, Ash vs Tobias or Ash vs Alain.

Now we come to garbage territory. What an utter sham the Unova League was. Seriously, ending the main rivalry of the series in a 1 vs 1, which Pikachu won by plot hax? And I don't want to talk about Ash vs Cameron cause that says enough.

Lastly, the Indigo league (if we can even call it a league). Kingler getting plot hax was cool I guess, but Ash vs Ritchie is an embarrassment. However, I actually got more pissed off at Ash vs Cameron than Ash vs Ritchie, since the latter was crucial for Ash to grow and learn from his loss, while the Cameron defeat was just dire writing.
 

MidnightMelody

Hopeful for Gen 8
From best to worse I'd say

Hoenn
Johto
Kanto
Sinnoh
Kalos
Unova
 

PokemonBattleFanatic-

Standby for Battle!
1.Lily of the Valley Conference (Sinnoh League)
-Paul vs Ash
-Ash vs Conway
-Paul vs Barry
-Ash vs Nando
-Ash vs Tobias

2.Ever Grande Conference (Hoenn League)
-Ash vs Katie
-Ash vs Tyson
-Ash vs Morrison
-Ash vs Clark
-Ash vs Dominick
-Morrison vs Gavin

3.Silver Conference (Johto League)
-Ash vs Harrison
-Ash vs Gary
-Ash vs Jackson
-Ash vs Macy

4.Lumiose Conference (Kalos League)
-Ash vs Alain
-Ash vs Sawyer
-Sawyer vs Tierno

5.Vertress Conference (Unova League)
-Ash vs Stephan
-Cameron vs Bianca

6.Indigo Plateau Conference (Kanto League)
N/A
 

Ignition

That damn smile
From best to worst:
Sinnoh>Kalos>Hoenn>Johto>Unova>Kanto

Sinnoh had the best balance of reserves fighting alongside the regional team, the GOAT battle of AshvsPaul, the best dream crusher, a good introductory episode that "introduced" Ash's old Pokémon and Cyndaquil's long awaited evolution, and actual in game strategies like Trick Room, Power Trick, and Sleep Talk.

Kalos had 2 great battles (quality over quantity, kids), the best animation & artstyle yet, and some intense music. Personally wasn't that much of a fan of Ash vs Alain but Ash vs Sawyer was one of the best in the entire anime. Also didn't like how they skipped a lot of battles.
 

Tsukuyomi56

Gesshin Powered
In order from best to worst:

1. Hoenn
2. Sinnoh
3. Kalos
4. Johto
5. Kanto
6. Unova
 

LilligantLewis

Bonnie stan

GarchompChain

Well-Known Member
@LilligantLewis Nice topic! I will respond to your comment about the Kalos league here then.

Although the last two battles were great, they don't make up for the fact that we saw Ash only win one complete battle. That's a series low.

It was rushed, they even wasted time for a random battle against a Furfrou. (Talking about unneccesary battles, right @shoz999 ;)) Only a win for Ash could have saved it. The animators being irritated shows this as well.

So my ranking would be:

1. Sinnoh
Best full battle in the show and the use of reserves.

2. Hoenn
Three full battles!

3. Johto
Reserves and the climax of the rivalrt with Gary.

4. (Orange)
First full battle and Pikachu being a boss.

5. Kanto
Good battles on the themed battle fields.

6. Kalos
Rushed.

7. Unova
Obviously...

You also talk about Sinnoh and Kalos not showing prelims. Are we even sure there were any? (I think the trainer with a Heatran was an error)

I always thought it showed that getting 8 badges was a real accomplishment. It makes more sense than having 200 or more contestants if you think about it. The league is held every year.
 
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Apslup

Feelin' Fine.
6. Hoenn League
5. Unova League
4. Indigo League
3. Orange League
2. Johto League
1. Kalos/Sinnoh League
 

LilligantLewis

Bonnie stan
You also talk about Sinnoh and Kalos not showing prelims. Are we even sure there were any? (I think the trainer with a Heatran was an error)

I always thought it showed that getting 8 badges was a real accomplishment. It makes more sense than having 200 or more contestants if you think about it. The league is held every year.
Yeah, I guess, but 64 seems ridiculously small (Sinnoh) especially considering that Volkner was just giving out badges.

6. Hoenn League
5. Unova League
4. Indigo League
3. Orange League
2. Johto League
1. Kalos/Sinnoh League
What makes Hoenn the worst for you, even lower than Unova?
 

LilligantLewis

Bonnie stan
That's true. And I would have liked more battles as well. I would prefer a 10 episode league!
Yes exactly but what Kalos showed me is that we're never getting that. For Ash to make it to the FINAL should easily have been at least 10 episodes if not more -- the further Ash makes it into a league, the more episodes that league should be, and yet, starting in Sinnoh what they've shown me is that they'll pretty much make every league 6-8 episodes regardless of how far Ash gets, just by uselessly skipping stuff.
 

ash&charizardfan

Humans are tools
That's true. And I would have liked more battles as well. I would prefer a 10 episode league!
Even sinnoh and hoenn league weren't there for 10 episodes then how can kalos league which was a rush job due to time constraints could be more than 7 episodes, more like instead of unnecessary MCX vs MCY and sawyer vs tierno we should have gotten ash's early rund matches.
 

LilligantLewis

Bonnie stan
Even sinnoh and hoenn league weren't there for 10 episodes then how can kalos league which was a rush job due to time constraints could be more than 7 episodes, more like instead of unnecessary MCX vs MCY and sawyer vs tierno we should have gotten ash's early rund matches.
The Sinnoh League was also a rush job, and the Hoenn League was only not a rush job because Ash didn't make it as far as he did in the Sinnoh and Kalos Leagues. The further Ash makes it, the longer the league should be.
 

ash&charizardfan

Humans are tools
The Sinnoh League was also a rush job, and the Hoenn League was only not a rush job because Ash didn't make it as far as he did in the Sinnoh and Kalos Leagues. The further Ash makes it, the longer the league should be.
Sinnoh wasn't that much of a rush job since all other plots like TG and dawn's contest arc were all finished whereas kalos league was a build up to the more important TF arc which was the finale of the series, as for longer series i doubt they are gonna do that since it is already decided that he is losing the league so they only choose to show important matches.
 

LilligantLewis

Bonnie stan
Sinnoh wasn't that much of a rush job since all other plots like TG and dawn's contest arc were all finished whereas kalos league was a build up to the more important TF arc which was the finale of the series, as for longer series i doubt they are gonna do that since it is already decided that he is losing the league so they only choose to show important matches.
Sinnoh was a rush job because they skipped prelims, and Mr. Goodshow didn't even get a speaking role.
 

PokemonBattleFanatic-

Standby for Battle!
For the Sinnoh League it wouldn't have hurt to include more on screen battles,especially with Paul seeing how he swept a trainer 3-0 prior to facing Barry who also got swept by him.If it did happen I'm pretty sure his other pokemon like Torterra,Honchkrow,Weavile,Nidoking would have made some appearances at the league.
 
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