Pokémon BDSP: Every Gym Leader Ranked By Difficulty
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The Sinnoh League has eight gym leaders, and while some are total pushovers, others pose a real challenge for any Pokémon trainer.
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As extremely faithful remakes of 2006’s Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl maintain Sinnoh’s eight Gym Leaders, replicating every detail about them to the tee. The Gyms supposedly increase in challenge as the player advances through the story, but things are trickier than they seem.
Some early Gym Leaders can be more troublesome because of a lack of available Pokémon, while the final ones can be walks in the parks with a full team of six. The Sinnoh League has several mighty opponents and a few total pushovers, providing a nice balance for first-time players and franchise veterans alike.
The first Gym Leader in any Pokémon game is usually the least challenging one, and Roark is no exception. A Rock-type specialist, he presides over Oreburgh City’s Gym and hands the Coal Badge to players who defeat him. He’s also Byron’s son, providing an extra layer of complexity to his character.
Rock-type Pokémon have a ton of weaknesses, making things considerably more manageable. Piplup and Turtwig players will have zero trouble dealing with Roark’s team of Geodude, Onix, and Cranidos, one of the most underrated Rock-type Pokémon. Chimchar players will have it more complicated, but the monkey learns Power-Up Punch at level 12 and evolves into Monferno at level 14, gaining the Fighting-type and receiving STAB boost.
Sinnoh’s second Gym Leader is Gardenia, one of the best Grass-type gym leaders in Pokémon. Sweet and joyful, Gardenia’s Gym is a maze of trees that’s more annoying than actually challenging. Gardenia lives in Eterna City and grants the Forest Badge to players who come out victorious.
In comparison to the previous Gym, Monferno players will have little to no trouble claiming victory. However, Prinplup and Grotle users shouldn’t fear, because Grass-types are also weak to Flying-type, and Sinnoh’s early routes have several worthy Flying-types. Starly pops up as early as Route 201, and Brilliant Diamond players can also find Honchkrow in Eterna Forest. Gardenia has three Pokémon: Cherubi, Turtwig, and Roserade. However, none is particularly tough to defeat.
6 Crasher Wake
Players arrive at Pastoria City in the middle of the game. The flamboyant Crasher Wake is the city’s Gym Leader, a Water-type specialist who gives the Fen Badge to those strong enough to defeat him. As it turns out, it doesn’t take a lot to do that.
Water-type Pokémon have two weaknesses: Electric and Grass. By this point in the game, most players will have their Pokémon at level 30 or higher, considering the Exp. Share, giving them a nice three to four-level advantage over Wake’s team. Furthermore, two of Wake’s Pokémon have four-times weaknesses: Gyarados to Electric and Quagsire to Grass. Sinnoh has two excellent options, Luxray and Roselia, that fit those types, so Wake becomes instantly more manageable. His last Pokémon, Floatzel, knows Ice Fang but has nothing against an Electric-type. Most players will have Luxray in their team, making this Gym everything but challenging.
After a particularly gruesome journey through Routes 216 and 217, players finally reach the northernmost point of the Sinnoh region, where Snowpoint City lies. The city’s Gym Leader is Candice, a somewhat bratty girl who gives the Icicle Badge to worthy opponents who best her in battle.
Ice might be one of the lamest types in Pokémon. Because it has so many weaknesses, it usually hinders any type it pairs up with, making things much worse. Candice’s team has one worrisome member, Sneasel, a Pokémon that can outspeed almost everything. Her heavy hitter, Abomasnow, also packs quite the punch, especially with the menacing move Earthquake. However, both Sneasel and Abomasnow are weak to life itself, with a whopping six and seven weaknesses respectively. On top of that, Sneasel is four-times weak to Fighting, while Abomasnow is four-times weak to Fire, giving players ample opportunity to OHKO them.
Veilstone City is a crucial stop in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. It houses Team Galactic’s Building, the regional department store, and Sinnoh’s only clothing store. It also houses the third Gym in the League, a Fighting-type dojo whose Leader, Maylene, gives the Cobble Badge.
Fighting-types are weak to Fairy, Flying, and Psychic Pokémon. The game’s early routes have at least one ideal Pokémon for each type, but Maylene’s team is no laughing matter, especially her secret weapon, Lucario, one of Sinnoh’s strongest non-legendary Pokémon. Her Machoke has ample coverage for Flying-types and at least one move for Psychic-types, and her Lucario is every Fairy-type’s worst nightmare. Monferno and Grotle users will probably OHKO Lucario if they outspeed it, but that’s a big if.
Canalave City sits at the westernmost point in Sinnoh. It is a port city that houses the library, the pier where ships sail to Newmoon, Fullmoon, and Iron Island, and the Steel-type Gym, led by Roark’s father, Byron. Players who defeat him receive the Mine Badge in return.
Steel might be the best type in the franchise, perhaps only bested by Fairy. It has only three weaknesses and resists a staggering 10 types, becoming quite problematic in battle. Unlike Volkner, Byron’s team is 100% Steel. Fire might seem like the way to go, but both Steelix and Bastiodon have the ability Sturdy and super effective STAB moves against Fire-types. A capable Fighting-type should take care of Steelix and Bastiodon, leaving the player’s Fire or Dark-type to deal with Bronzor.
Volkner is Sinnoh’s last Gym Leader, an Electric-type specialist based on Sunyshore City. He’s a jaded Trainer who lost his passion for battle due to a lack of worthy opponents. Whoever beats him gets to claim the Beacon Badge, thus making them candidates to challenge the Elite Four.
Electric-types can be tricky. They only have one weakness, Ground, and are only resisted by Dragon, Grass, and other Electric-types. However, Volkner is at a disadvantage because half his team isn’t even Electric. Octillery and Ambipom will fall to a decent Electric and Fighting-type, respectively, or even a strong-enough Electric and Fighting move. Raichu and Luxray, two of the strongest pure Electric-type Pokémon, will be the real challenge, mainly because they both have coverage for Ground. Garchomp users might also break a sweat considering Luxray knows Ice Fang. However, neither Raichu nor Luxray receives STAB from their Water and Ice moves, which does go a long way, particularly during a Gym battle.
Hearthome is Sinnoh’s largest and most populated city. It is home to numerous places of interest, like the Contest Hall, the Pokémon Fan Club, the Poffin House, and Amity Square. It’s also the location for the Ghost-type Gym, where the leader, Fantina, gives the Relic Badge to those who defeat her.
Fantina is one of the best Ghost-type specialists in Pokémon. The Ghost-type itself can be very challenging, as it is only weak to itself and Dark. By this point in the game, players might not have a Ghost or Dark-type, but their team should have at least one move of each. Still, Fantina’s arsenal of three Pokémon is surprisingly annoying in battle. Both Gengar and Mismagius will spam Confuse Ray, while Drifblim will use Will-O-Wisp. On top of that, Gengar and Mismagius have coverage for Dark-types, with their Dazzling Gleam wreaking havoc. Going into the fight, players should be cautious, or they might find themselves dealing with their first loss.