Top 10 Cheating Gym Leaders/Elite Four Members in "Pokémon"

Updated on April 21, 2020
Jeremy Gill profile image

In between Pokémon journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.

Illegal Pokémon Moves

Most Trainers we encounter throughout our Pokémon adventures are honest, law-abiding citizens bound by the same statutes we are, meaning their Pokémon can only learn certain attacks after reaching the proper levels. Yet not everyone plays by the rules, and we're not even talking about crime syndicates like Team Rocket, but official Gym Leaders and Elite Four members.

What does it say about the Pokémon universe when ten individuals in positions of power brandish hacks honest folk can't mimic? Admittedly, many of their faults come in future encounters or rematches, but facts are facts: these guys cheat with movesets that wouldn't normally be possible. So, which Trainers are hiding skeletons in their closet? These are the ten foulest Gym Leaders and Elite Four members in Pokémon!

Gym Leader Viola
Gym Leader Viola

10. Viola

First Appearance: Generation 6

Type: Bug

In her first rematch of the Battle Chateau, Kalos Gym Leader Viola wields a level 40 Masquerain who knows Air Slash—which isn't learned in X and Y until level 48. Prior evolution Surskuit can't learn it through breeding either.

But don't call shenanigans just yet—through a stroke of luck, Masquerain learns Air Slash at level 38 in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (which were released later but share the same generation), meaning you can trade over Masquerains who legally possess the move at level 40. You're off the hook, for now, Viola, but we're watching you

Gym Leader Janine
Gym Leader Janine

9. Janine

First Appearance: Generation 2

Type: Poison

After Koga is promoted to the Johto Elite Four, his daughter Janine takes over the Fuchsia City arena. Despite controlling a later gym, Janine's Pokémon are the lowest-leveled of any Kanto leader in the Generation 2 games—perhaps prompting her to even the odds with whatever means possible.

Then again, her cheat actually appears in the Type Expert and World Leader tournaments of Black 2/White 2. Here, she wields a Crobat who knows both Hypnosis and Brave Bird. Now, it would be possible for Crobat to learn one of these attacks through breeding, but no single partner can transfer both—you'll never live up to your father with underhanded tactics like this, Janine.

Elite Four member Sidney
Elite Four member Sidney

8. Sidney

First Appearance: Generation 3

Type: Dark

It's bad enough for Gym Leaders to bend the rules, let alone Elite Four members (although Sidney does look pretty shady). His Shiftry knows Extrasensory at level 48, which wasn't possible in Generation 3. That said, it's a minor issue, as he's only one level behind, learning it at level 49.

Once again, Alpha Ruby and Omega Sapphire save the day, as in these remakes, prior evolution Nuzleaf can learn the attack at level 36. Still, for several generations, Sidney's team was slightly gaming the system—try updating your background checks, Sinnoh League.

Gym Leader Byron
Gym Leader Byron

7. Byron

First Appearance: Generation 4

Type: Steel

Both Byron and his son Roark serve as Gym Leaders in Sinnoh; thankfully, the apple fell far from the tree. Like Janine, Byron's hacks arise in his Black 2/White 2 battles, where his Aggron has both Head Smash and Dragon Rush.

Once again, Aggron could learn either move through breeding but not both at the same time, as no one partner could transfer the pair. Try not to show off for the international crowd next time, Byron.

Gym Leader Wulfric
Gym Leader Wulfric

6. Wulfric

First Appearance: Generation 6

Type: Ice

Another mistake appearing in Kalos's Battle Chateau, in your first rematch, Wulfric's Cryogonal has Confuse Ray at level 40 despite not learning it until level 45. A five-level head start is nothing to sneer at, and as a genderless Pokémon, Cryogonal can't breed (which could have potentially saved this error).

Gym Leader Burgh
Gym Leader Burgh

5. Burgh

First Appearance: Generation 5

Type: Bug

Black 2 and White 2 strike again. In the Unova Leaders Tournament, Burgh's Accelgor has both Guard Split and Spikes. You know the drill by now—it could legally possess one but not both of these moves through breeding. Geez, all these insect-related Gym Leader errors are starting to Bug me.

Gym Leader Norman
Gym Leader Norman

4. Norman

First Appearance: Generation 3

Type: Normal

Norman is unique for not just his role as a Gym Leader, but also as the Generation 3 protagonist's dad. But you'll find better father figures elsewhere—his Linoone in Emerald has Slash at level 29 despite not being able to learn it until level 41!

That's not a forgivable oversight of a few levels, but a massive mistake spanning 12. I'm not saying Slash is the best attack in the world, but its high critical-hit ratio, accuracy, and STAB (same-type attack bonus) on Linoone make it a decent threat when you're only around level 30.

Gym Leader Pryce
Gym Leader Pryce

3. Pryce

First Appearance: Generation 2

Type: Ice

Evidently, even venerable Gym Leaders like Johto's Pryce give in to temptation (or just programming errors). His appearance in Pokémon Stadium 2 shows him wield a Tentacruel with both Mirror Coat and Reflect, and in the main Generation 2 games, his Piloswine knows Fury Attack.

Tentacruel's issue is that it could only legally possess one of these moves (learning Mirror Coat as an egg move in Generation 2 and Reflect as a TM in Generation 1); Piloswine's problem is that it doesn't learn Fury Attack until level 33, and Pryce's is only level 31. Sorry to expose your cheats, but that's the Pryce you pay.

Gym Leader Winona
Gym Leader Winona

2. Winona

First Appearance: Generation 3

Type: Flying

In her initial Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald bouts, Winona's signature Altaria knows Dragon Dance at level 33 despite not being able to attain it until level 40. Frustrating, but in the remakes of Generation 3, Altaria can learn it at level 30, so it's no longer an issue.

But don't forgive her just yet—her Black 2 and White 2 downloadable appearance in "The Battle Between Legendary Pokémon" reveals her Tropius, who has both Leaf Blade and Curse. Yet again, breeding could only yield one of these moves at once. Teach Winona a lesson by taking down her two rotten birds with one potent stone (Rock Pokémon). Ice also works well.

Elite Four member Lance
Elite Four member Lance

1. Lance

First Appearance: Generation 1

Type: Dragon

As an Elite Four member in Generation 1 and the actual champion in Generation 2, you'd expect Lance to play by the rules, but in both his initial appearances, he's wielding illegal Pokémon. Most famously, his Dragonite in Red and Blue knows Barrier despite being unable to learn the move at any level.

This error is corrected in Gold and Silver—only to be replaced by his Aerodactyl having Rock Slide illegally. In future generations, Aerodactyl can learn it, but at that point, it was completely unavailable on the prehistoric Pokémon. You'd expect better from perhaps the most renowned Elite Four member of all time.

Which Trainer (despite their cheats) do you prefer?

See results

What Causes Pokémon Mistakes?

While it's annoying to confront opponents who wield early-level attacks or move combinations that shouldn't be possible, today's oversights aren't game-breaking. After all, several are fixed in later generations, and even those that aren't usually involve mediocre moves that shouldn't prove too troublesome.

It's even possible (albeit unlikely) that some of these "mistakes" were intentional, letting the Gym Leaders stand out. After all, it wouldn't be the first time we've encountered impossible attacks on game-legal Pokémon; remember Surf and Fly on event Pikachu? Whatever the reason, none of these techniques should greatly hinder you, and as we eagerly await Nintendo's next batch of game-bending scoundrels, vote for your favorite character and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!

© 2018 Jeremy Gill


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