The driving force of each version of Pokémon advances throughout the Pokémon League, beginning with Gyms and ending with the Elite Four. While some games adjust the terminology and layout, the basic formula is still there. Fight against a group of powerful leaders until you can claim the champion crown.

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However, not all gym leaders are created equal. Some are deliberately easy to allow new players the same satisfaction as a veteran, while others have well-built teams with great move sets. Sometimes a leader throws a new TM that knocks down opponents and some bring new battle types or styles to the table to send the trainer spinning.

10 Dragon-type leader Galar Raihan

Pokémon Journeys Raihan Battle Close-up

Raihan is Sword and shieldUltimate gym leader, specializing in dragon types. Being the last stop before the player enters the Champions Cup, he is already prepared to be a force. To top it all, dragons are statistically some of the strongest Pokémon, and it’s no wonder it’s a tough fight. Something he has that no other dragon leader does in the series? A ruthless use of the effects of the weather. Don’t try to change them either, it will just snap them back and take a selfie while doing it.

9 Valerie, fairy-type leader of Kalos

Valerie, Kalos Gym Leader

The Kalos region introduced the type of fairies in Pokemon X and Y while it’s also filled to the brim with Dark and Dragon types. Looking at all the curious pink Pokémon for the first time has unsuspecting trainers taken aback when they turn out to be powerhouses. With statistically higher Special Defense and total immunity to Dragons, Fairy types can sweep the field. Valerie was the gym that made or broke such a love affair, depending on the team she was up against. No other fairy trainer has come close to her on such shocking difficulty.

8 Hoenn Ice-Type Leader Wallace

Pokémon Ice Leader Wallace

Hoenn’s eighth gym leader turned champion, Wallace made sure it was a tough fight. While the fire-type is generally super effective against his signature ice, not a single member of his team is just one of them. The closest is his Sealeo (Wailren in Black 2 and White 2 World Tournament) that remains secondary in the water. However, each member of his team is full of ice-type attacks.

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Tour his puzzle gym with a Fire-Type perk and be amazed at how quickly he clears the field. Even your gym replacement in EmeraldJuan is nothing compared to Wallace himself.

7 Hoenn Tate and Liza’s psychic-type leaders

Pokemon Tate and Liza

The only group of leaders who run a gym at the same time are Tate and Liza, psychic twins from Mossdeep City. They fight together, demanding a double battle from their opponents. These two-on-two battles can be brutal for the unprepared and inexperienced. They sure have become a lot more common in more modern games, but they are still relatively uncommon for more casual gamers. His psychic types are specifically designed to work together in the double battle style, with moves that actively assist his ally and hinder his opponent. Don’t go in without a multi-hit attack or some really strong type buffs.

6 Norman, Hoenn’s Normal Guy Leader

Pokémon Norman with Slaking

Hoenn was full of powerful gym leaders, but Norman was baffled by his Slaking. Even with the Truant ability, which makes him loaf every other turns, Slaking hits like a tank. Along with the unpleasant fact that he can use the Yawn move to put his opponent to sleep, Norman’s signature Pokémon is a force to be reckoned with. Maintaining a strong and fast type of fighting in the group is absolutely necessary to counteract the fact that this Pokémon can and will wipe its face with the unprepared.

5 Johto Steel-Type Lead Jasmine

Pokemon Gym Leader Jasmine Steel

Jasmine made her debut in Pokémon Gold and Silver along with its characteristic types of steel. With high defense, few weaknesses, and complete immunity, Steel Types are built like armored trucks with heavy hits to match. There’s a reason most Steel trainers after her are all Elite Four, and it’s entirely due to her toughness. Since he debuted at the same time as a new guy, he caught many unsuspecting players off guard with how strong the typing was. Many others could have followed suit, but Jasmine did it first.

4 Jhoto Normal-Type Leader Whitney

Pokemon Whitney and Miltank

Despite the fact that in more recent games part of his team has turned to Fairy, in its original version Gold and silver games she was the Normal-Type Gym Leader. The launch of his Miltank has brought even the most seasoned gamers to tears, a nightmare in its own right. The rest of his gym is a piece of cake compared to the happy pink cow, so rivals must be ready to take him down before he really starts rolling. Otherwise, Whitney’s spinning cow will mercilessly knock out entire Pokémon teams.

3 Poison-type Kanto Leader Koga

Pokémon Origins Koga Weezing

Poison has always been a dangerous guy, and it all started with the ninja Koga. His gym itself is tough enough as it is, with invisible walls that force the player to search for paths. Then there’s the fact that poison types are masters of status debuffs that are more interested in slowly adding additional damage throughout battle than any heavy hit.

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Koga himself became part of the Elite Four in Gold and silver, showing how much he was holding back as a leader. His daughter Janine is no match for the havoc she can wreak on her rivals.

two Sabrina, Kanto’s psychic-type leader

Pokémon Psychic Leader Sabrina

Having numerous costume and appearance changes in the game doesn’t change the fact that Sabrina has always been incredibly powerful. She specializes in psychic types, which tend to include ghost types as well. When he first debuted in Red and blue his Pokémon only had themselves as a weakness. Once the dark types were introduced a generation later, it gained a few more weaknesses. Even so, putting a guy on himself as a weakness in an area where psychics were hard to come by was just a cruel choice from the developers, leading to an incredibly difficult fight in the first generation.

1 Kanto Rock-Type Leader Brock

Pokemon Brock with Dugtrio

The original gym leader himself: Brock. Often also seen in the anime with Ash Ketchum, Pewter City’s Rock / Ground gym leader starts the Kanto Indigo League rock solid. Tough or immune to two of the original series’ four headlines, Brock forced players to go to extremes on the first few routes, or barely slipped away in victory. Even in later games, when Metal Claw exists, he fights en masse to let everyone know how tough the League is going to be.

NEXT: The Leaders Of The Pokémon X Gym, Ranked By Difficulty

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