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Rank the Pokemon Leagues


Superancient Member
For me,

Sinnoh > Hoenn > Alola > Kalos > Johto > Kanto > Unova

Now I'll break it down:

Everything was done right here. Ash knew many of his opponents before the league, the battles were good with distinct battle styles, we got the culmination of Ash v. Paul and we got to see Ash take down some legends. After showing he'd stand no chance against the Sinnoh Elite Four and Sinnoh Battle Frontier, this was a decent way for him to go out.

Hoenn is an underrated series because it had a lot of 6v6 action, and Ash was using a regional team for the first time, losing to the eventual league winner Tyson. Watching Hoenn, you got the feeling that if Ash used his top Pokemon from Johto alongside his Hoenn team, he could have won. It was definitely the most "feel good" of Ash's Pokemon League losses, but it wasn't even the big event of AG - that was the Kanto Battle Frontier.

Alola didn't really have any glaring flaws. There was no filler, no Team Rocket interruptions and we got to see almost every match start to finish. The only skipped battle was James v. Gladion. There was also only a single double KO in Alola, during the finals - unlike other double KOs, it actually made sense because of a rebounded Z-Move. Most other double KOs happen unexpectedly because their purpose is to shorten 6v6 battles or set up deus ex machinas, like Corphish v. Swalot. So while the teams were small. This league was packed with emotion and character moments that stands out from the crowd.

So Alola is very competently written, but falls short due to unspectacular trainers and short 1v1 battles. The exhibition match will be cool, but that doesn't change my perception of what we've already seen.

Carried by only a single 4v4 battle VS Sawyer. Yes, it's basically a 4v4, because from the moment Pikachu is recalled, we have two double KO's in a row, and Pikachu is sent out again. Those double KO's amounted to filler. However, Ash v. Sawyer is legitimately one of the best battles in the series, perhaps #2 behind Ash v. Paul.

If not for that high, Kalos is mediocre. It had filler, skipped battles and the finals/semis made Ash's team outside of Pikachu and Greninja look bad. It's also ridiculous that Sawyer and Alain could stack their teams with fully evolved Pokemon in such a short time. That's not "epic", it's bad writing.

I have mixed feelings about this. Ash v. Gary is obviously great, but Ash v. Harrison is terrible. It was a shameless plug for the next series of Pokemon games and everyone knew it. In-universe, it doesn't make sense that Charizard could take out half of Gary's team but choke to a Pokemon it has a double type advantage against. It makes Gary look like a chump.

Two fun (although simple) battles v. Mandi and Jeanette, and a memorable if disappointing ending. Unfortunately, Kanto is filled with filler and doesn't reach the spectacle highs of other leagues. But the emotion leading up to the league and after Ash loses is reminiscent of Alola.

Obviously the worst of the leagues, with only a single good battle v. Stephan that became a meme due to Zebstrika's moveset. Ash v. Cameron was stupid, obnoxious and taunting. Trip lost to an arsepull and didn't deserve such poor treatment, even if his character arc was essentially over. Ash didn't use his ace against Krookodile. Disliked Pokemon like Oshawott and Unfezant choke at the worst possible moments.

Best Wishes up to this point had been fun and loose. We had just had the Junior Cup a few episodes earlier which was better than the Kanto and Johto Leagues. Then the anime hits this iceberg, and promptly sinks, giving us another Johto-like stretch of uninteresting filler.
Kalos > DP > Hoenn >= Johto >= Kanto > Alola > BW

DP is very overrated. Especially when it comes to battles, see:
DP in regards to direction is a total mess. The Ash v Paul match is fabulous narrative wise. But holy f*ck, animation and direction wise? It's godawful. I don't know how people can watch them again and not ask yourself, did this really need to be that long? Did they really need to cut back to Dawn and Brock for more than 10 seconds? How many more panning shots?

Some of what I saw in DP's battles trying to look back at them

1. The incredible amounts of stock footage/lack of sakuga animation
2. One Piece pacing at times between moves
3. Direction of scenes in question are just :confused:

This applies to most of all matches pre-XY. Also applies to Alola. But Sinnoh might have honestly been the strongest narratively. I don’t remember too much of the Johto and Hoenn leagues unfortunately
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Well-Known Member
Even though I am die hard Sinnoh lover I think the Johto league was excellent. Ash vs Gary and Harrison were very intense and enjoyable battles with epic outcome. We expected Ash not to win the Johto league and him making it to the quarter-finals was a good goal progress in his career.

The Sinnoh league was also brillant but Tobias kinda ruined it for me. He was a cheap plot device to kick Ash out of the league at the last minute and we got to see all of Ash's battles in the league just like in the Johto league. He should have won the Sinnoh league, he deserved it so badly. Ash vs Paul was ****ing awesome still remains as the greatest battle in the anime imo.

Hoenn was good, I liked it a lot. Kalos was decent but lack of preliminary battles wasn't good, it was also hella rushed and not to mention we got clickbaited that Ash would win the league and he ended up as runner-up instead.

BW, Indigo and Alola are the worst leagues so far. Didn't like them at all so I'd go with Johto=Sinnoh>Hoenn>Kalos>Unova>Indigo>Alola.


Give up on yourself and you give up on the world
Sinnoh>Kalos>Johto>Hoenn>Alola (may get on Hoenn tier if the MR fight goes right)>Unova>Kanto
Kalos>Sinnoh (IMO Ash vs Paul is the best fight in the anime, but Kalos has both Ash vs Sawyer AND Ash vs Alain)>Johto>Hoenn=Alola>Unova>Kanto


Standby for Battle!
1.Lily of the Valley Conference (Sinnoh)
2.Ever Grande Conference (Hoenn)
3.Silver Conference (Johto)
4.Lumiose Conference (Kalos)

5.Vertress Conference (Unova)
6.Manalo Conference (Alola)

7.Indigo Plataeu Conference (Kanto)
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Humans are tools
I dont get where this idiotic notion of ash cannot challenge sinnoh BF comes from when he can conquer kanto BF, besides if ash gave palmer's ace a run for his money with his average grotle i would say palmer is even weaker than brandon who gave ash a battle of his lifetime. Then i saw this thread was made by one of the blind DP circlejerker who think DP series is superior in every way to toher series.

As for the leagues- Sinnoh>Johto=Kalos>Hoenn>Alola>>>>Unnova>Kanto


Haikiri, Keeper Of The Gates Precarious
Johto/Hoenn > Kalos >= Alola > Kanto > Unova > Sinnoh.

Johto: Culmination of Ash vs Gary
Hoenn: Large number of 6v6 battles
Kalos: Great action in the few battles we got
Alola: Get to see every battle of the tournament
Kanto: First 4 rounds are fun, 5th round is basically "let's screw Ash over"
Unova: Really, a 5v6 now? At least let him lose to a full team
Sinnoh: Nando and Conway are good battles, Tobias is too over-the-top to actually hate, ruined by 3-episode bore fest


Well-Known Member
I'd say in terms of writing quality: Sinnoh > Kalos >>>>>>>> Hoenn >>> Johto >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Unova > Kanto > Alola.

People often say that DP had the best battles, but really, it just had the best battle that so amazing that the rest of the League quality was made irrelevant. There is a difference. Ash vs Paul was, IMO, easily the best battle in the anime by several miles. Even compared to some of my favourite battles, Ash vs Paul was just in a different class because of how it was set up across the series. Yet when you look at the rest of the Sinnoh League, with a slight exception of Ash vs Tobias, none really stand out as all that amazing. The Nando and Conway fights were pretty average at best, and even Paul vs Barry didn't do much other than show off a 3-0 sweep that literally everyone expected. I'd still argue that Ash vs Paul single-handedly defined the Sinnoh League's quality given how much set-up there across DP, and that it was so good of a battle that it alone makes the Sinnoh League better than the other Leagues.

Kalos was my second favourite League, even if it had a few glaring flaws with it, most damningly the Ash vs Astrid battle whereby Astrid's Mega Absol went from being E4-level against Alain to being weak enough that Ash's Hawlucha can defeat it. Sawyer vs Tierno was about average, but given Paul vs Barry and that it had nothing to do with Ash, I had a very low bar. Ash vs Sawyer was IMO easily the second best League battle in the series, and gave a different type of rivalry than the "Ash always loses to main rival until the League" cliche that happened with Gary, Paul and Trip. I hated how the anime always portrayed Ash as an underdog when he was basically never an true underdog aside from the Tobias battle, so I liked how for once it showed Ash is the highly-experienced dream crusher whereas Sawyer was actually the underdog.

Hoenn is third best even despite the fact that Ash vs Katie was the only good battle at that league, given that said battle was far better than the entirety of the Johto League. Ash vs Morrison was one of the worst league battles of all time, and Ash vs Tyson wasn't pretty bad. Why do I say this about Ash vs Tyson? Because the people who unironically think Hoenn had the best and most challenging league also forget that not only is that just false, but the Tyson battle was basically a one-episode full battle given the way Glalie vs Sceptile was done. It doesn't help that Meowth was literally about to fall over unable to battle if Pikachu didn't drop first, heavily suggesting that Ash was basically Tyson's equal, and that Tyson's semifinal and final opponents were very likely to be weaker than Ash.

Johto is easily the most overrated, circlejerked League of all time on the forums based on OS nostalgia. Its just an average league, yet people often forget the sheer number of OHKOs during the Gary battle and to a lesser extent, the Harrison battle. Even the Harrison fight was shameless promotion of Gen 3, whereas at least Ash's later losses had nothing to do with marketing anything from an upcoming generation (Meowth, Latios, Lucario, and Charizard were actually Pokemon from prior generations to their league's region). People watched Charizard's performance against Gary with rose-tinted lens, like a small child distracted by pretty lights, and failed to realise that the Johto League from a writing perspective wasn't even half as good as you thought. The only Leagues that the Johto League actually outclasses are the Unova, Kanto, and Alola leagues and that is because those three leagues were straight-up terrible. Being an average league isn't a high bar at all.

Unova had Ash get swept by 6-4 by an idiot using only 5 Pokemon, and handled Trip so terribly that his battle with Ash was a 1v1 in the first round. Even the Alola League, as garbage and illegitimate as it is, at least had the decency to give Ash and Gladion a 3v3 battle. Ash got one with Stephan, so the fact the main rival was beat in a 1v1 is pretty pathetic.

Kanto was an absolute joke league where Pokemon were considered unable to battle if they fell asleep or if the trainer switched Pokemon mid-battle, and absurdly did a 180 on Ritchie's character by introducing him as a guy who swept everyone prior to Ash 3-0 using the same three Pokemon, then nerfing Ritchie and his team so that Ash's injured team can even compete. People who say that Ash should have beat Ritchie probably just forgot how Ritchie was set-up as a top-tier competitor in the first place; it was like basically Ash vs Astrid but arguably worse since Ash vs Ritchie did a 180 on something that was set up a few episodes prior.

I don't even need to say my view on Alola. Its not even worthy of being considered an actual League given how low-tier everyone at said League was. I maintain that with the exception of the semi-finalists and Hau, nobody in the Alola League would be capable of beating an average gym leader without Z-Moves or Megas (let alone the competent gym leaders). Half of the top 16 was literally just Ash, Kiawe, the 4 weak companions, Jessie and James. Anyone who thinks the Alola League is on-par with any of the past leagues or even the Orange Islands in terms of legitimacy has likely never seen any of the past leagues, or just hates XY so much that they blind themselves to how bad SM was. Especially since by having Ash win the League while also using Melmetal to severely weaken Silvally, it just reinforces the idea that Ash won't be winning the Galar League or any future leagues unless he uses a Legendary Pokemon.
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[...] absurdly did a 180 on Ritchie's character by introducing him as a guy who swept everyone prior to Ash 3-0 using the same three Pokemon, then nerfing Ritchie and his team so that Ash's injured team can even compete. People who say that Ash should have beat Ritchie probably just forgot how Ritchie was set-up as a top-tier competitor in the first place; it was like basically Ash vs Astrid but arguably worse since Ash vs Ritchie did a 180 on something that was set up a few episodes prior.

Idk about ranking but I enjoyed Hoenn League the most, lots of 6v6 battles and Ash mostly faced trainers he didn't battle prior, helped make the League feel "bigger".
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Silver Soul
Sinnoh > Kalos > Johto > Hoenn > Kanto > Unova > Alola


Lover of underrated characters
Sinnoh > Hoenn > Johto > Orange > Kanto > Unova > Alola > Kalos