Ash has come up with some savage battle strategies over the years to overcome obstacles and defeat tough opponents.
Despite all his naivety, inexperience, and questionable decision-making at times, Ash has on many occasions also used his head to think outside the box and adapt to certain situations.
While it sometimes requires you to lose first, to learn from your mistakes and eventually succeed, there is no denying that these strategies, along with your love for your Pokémon and your sheer will to win, create some compelling moments in the anime.
10 Glalie’s Ice Pillar Pinball strategy helped defeat Grant’s Charizard
In the final qualifying round for the Hoenn Pokémon League, Ash takes on Clark, leading Glalie and Grovyle to take on Charizard and Quilava. In a curious move, Ash makes Glalie block Charizard’s Flamethrower by using Ice Beam on the ground to make pillars of ice.
Charizard slams Glalie against the pillars and all seems to be lost, until Ash tells Glalie to keep bouncing and maintain momentum before using speed to launch a devastating Headbutt to end the battle.
9 Thunder Armor helped Pikachu and Swellow defeat Tate and Liza
When facing Mossdeep’s gym leaders, Tate and Liza, in a double battle, Ash is frustrated that Pikachu’s Rays are being sent back to them by Lunatone’s Light Screen. Ash then resorts to a questionable strategy of making Pikachu use Thunder on both him and Swellow.
Swellow and Pikachu apparently absorb the energy of thunder and this gives them ‘Thunder Armor’, allowing them to charge through Solrock and Lunatone’s attacks and land a decisive blow, winning Ash the match. Surely this strategy shouldn’t have worked within the Pokémon realms, but the fact that he tried it and it worked is undeniably impressive.
8 Dodging Roark’s attacks and getting closer worked like a treat
Following Ash’s initial defeat to Roark and his Rock Pokémon, Ash’s strategy in the rematch is as simple as having his Pokémon dodge in a spinning motion each time Roark gets his Pokémon to charge up close with physical attacks.
Pikachu does it with Onix, Aipom with Geodude and finally Turtwig with Rampardos. Each time, Ash’s Pokémon only have to deal with the initial barrage of attacks, then dodge the physical attack and attack, ultimately granting Ash victory.
7 Froakie and Pikachu found counters for Rock Tomb and Draco Meteor
At the Cyllage City Gym, Ash devises a plan to counter Grant’s favorite move, Rock Tomb. Ash makes Froakie use his training and climb the Onix Rock Tomb, allowing him to zoom in for a finishing blow.
When Grant takes out Tyrant, the same escalation strategy from Rock Tomb is not as effective the second time around and Froakie is defeated. However, Pikachu can use this strategy on Tyrant’s Draco Meteor, climbing up it and finishing it off with Iron Tail.
6 Gladion let his guard down and Ash improvised
When Ash faces off against his old rival Gladion in the Alola Pokémon League Final, he knows that Gladion’s Silvally is a mysterious and formidable opponent. Ash makes Pikachu use Electro Web, but Silvally easily dodges it. Gladion begins to get overconfident, but when Pikachu Quick Attack overtakes Silvally, she realizes there is a plan in place.
Pikachu uses one of its electrical nets to return it towards Silvally with the speed and momentum of Quick Attack, allowing Pikachu to hit an unstoppable iron tail to defeat Silvally.
5 Grovyle froze the battlefield to stop Walrein’s hit-and-hide strategy
In the Hoenn Pokémon League, Ash takes on Katie, whose meticulous planning and strategy is too much for Ash in the early stages. After a change, he ends up being Katie’s Walrein against Ash’s Grovyle.
Katie has ground attacks from Walrein and then hides in the water. This prompts Ash to order Grovyle to trick Walrein into freezing the water, which means he can no longer hide. This turns the tide of battle and Ash is ultimately victorious.
4 Snorlax defied expectations and flew
In the Ruby and sapphire series, Ash faces Greta in their second match in Battle Arena. When taking on Hariyama and Medicham, Ash opts to use Snorlax in a curious move, Fighting being generally super effective against normal guys.
As the battle draws to a close, Ash has Snorlax use Rest while frozen to give him a second wind. Greta still has Medicham Focus Punch Snorlax, but just as the battle seems to be over, Ash tells Snorlax to aim a Hyper Beam at the ground. Surprise everyone, this propels Snorlax into the air, dodging Medicham’s attack and giving him the advantage to use a full-power Body Slam to win.
3 Whitney’s unstoppable Miltank was stopped
When Ash initially confronts Whitney, leader of the Goldenrod City gym, he is completely humiliated by a Pokémon, Miltank. The Cow Pokémon uses Rollout and literally rolls over the entire team of Ash or Cyndaquil, Totodile, and Pikachu.
Ash is forced to think about how to deal with the power and momentum of Miltank and his Rollout and implements a strategy in the rematch. Cyndaquil eliminates Nidorina and Clefairy from Whitney as she did before, but falls to Miltank. Ash gets Totodile to apply a squirt gun to the ground and creates trenches. He then switches to Pikachu, who uses the trenches to dodge Rollout and get under Miltank, jumping up and landing a finishing blow once his Rollout momentum ends.
two Olympia’s future vision strategy was finally countered by Ash
Ash’s Gym’s battle with Olympia is a very interesting affair in terms of observing, learning, and strategizing on the spot. Olympia uses two abilities Meowstic with Prankster and Keen Eye, allowing her support moves to take precedence and making it difficult for opponents to dodge attacks, respectively.
Olympia makes his Meowstic use Helping Hand-Assist Future Sight multiple times. Ash’s Talonflame and Frogadier get hit by these the first few times, but Ash gets Pikachu to count and announce when the Future Sight attack is coming. This and improvising for Talonflame to use the Steel Wing physical attack to overcome Light Screen’s special defense, help the duo deal damage and launch the Meowstic into their own Future Sight attack to win.
1 Ash developed a new strategy to counter Gengar’s hypnosis
When Ash confronts the leader of the Hearthome gym in Sinnoh, Fantina, he knows he needs to find a counter to Gengar’s hypnosis. He sends Buizel out and when Gengar finally uses hypnosis, he makes Buizel put his plan in motion.
Buizel spins on his back while using the Water Gun, creating water whips to keep Hypnosis at bay and prevent Gengar from using his usual erratic move. It eventually leads to Ash being victorious. Despite initially poking fun at the technique, Ash’s rival Paul applies it with his Gastrodon, proving that other coaches recognize it as a legitimate strategy.
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