In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.
Champions in "Pokémon"
Fought immediately after battling the Elite Four, Pokémon champions serve as the final bosses of their games, the pinnacle of all Pokémon masters. Once you defeat one, you enter into the Hall of Fame and unlock post-game content to explore.
But defeating a champion won't be easy, and they come in many shapes and sizes, some focusing on a specific Pokémon type, others carrying well-balanced teams. Excluding your own player characters (who eventually all become champion) and judging based on their original champion battles, these are the ten strongest Pokémon champions!
Without spoiling too much, you won't fight Alder the first time you beat the Elite Four in Unova, but you can face him in subsequent Elite Four runs. Because of this, his team is especially high level, but a few shortcomings hold him back.
For one, he doesn't equip any held items. But more than that, his team has some pitiful defensive typings, including several Bug Pokémon and one Ice (which is great on offense but terrible on defense). This means that despite his high levels, a few good Rock and Fire attacks will do him in.
Originally the final member of the Elite Four in Kanto, Lance is promoted to champion by Red in his absence during the Johto games. Lance wields a fearsome team of dragons with high stat totals, and since this was before Fairy, they didn't have as many weaknesses.
That said, his multiple Dragonite suffer a quadruple weakness to Ice, making them easy pickings as you have at least one Ice attack. Use Electric or Rock for his Charizard and Gyarados, and he'll fall before long.
Region: Unova (Black 2 and White 2)
Like Wallace, Iris was promoted from gym leader to champion in her generation's update. Fortunately for her, this was right before Fairy debuted, so Dragon-types still had few weaknesses, and while she has a bit of a vulnerability to Ice, it's not nearly as bad as Lance since none of her team are quadruple weak to it.
Plus, three of her Pokémon aren't dragons at all, a few have held items, and all employ a wide range of attacks, giving her good elemental coverage and letting her type-trump your own team if you're not careful.
Region: Hoenn (Emerald version)
Originally a gym leader in Ruby and Sapphire, Wallace was upgraded to champion by the time of Emerald. Wallace's team are all at least partially Water, but he cleverly uses other types to reduce their elemental weaknesses to Grass and Electric. He's also got some tricky moves up his sleeve, like weather-manipulating Rain Dance, badly-poisoning Toxic, or evasion-increasing Double Team.
Like other champions, Wallace will use Full Restore healing items if his team's HP gets low, so he can be a challenge if you don't finish him off quickly. That said, except for his Whiscash (who is part Ground), a good Electric sweeper can carry you through most of the fight.
Perhaps the biggest challenge about facing original champion Blue is how unexpected it was; after facing the Elite Four back-to-back without healing, we find out we're not done yet. Blue's team varies slightly based on which starter you chose, but he'll always have a wide variety of types, meaning you can't just bulldoze through him with one element.
Blue also wields an Alakazam and (unless you began with Squirtle) Exeggutor, both of which are Psychic, easily the best type before Dark and Steel balanced it. His one weakness is a lackluster move pool, with some attacks (Leer, Roar, Tail Whip, etc.) being rather weak for a champion .
Leon doesn't specialize in any one type, but he does repeat a few, favoring Ghost, Fire, and Dragon. Still, it's a diverse squad, and when he sends out Charizard, he'll Gigantamax it for even more power.
Overall, Leon's a fierce champion, only marred by a lack of any held items and the occasional questionable move (Quick Attack on Cinderace?).
Few types repeat in Cynthia's group, meaning you'll need many elemental attacks to out-type her. Throw in high levels and you've got a challenging and versatile opponent. Her Garchomp is brutally strong if you're not careful, but as a Dragon/Ground Pokémon, it suffers the classic quad weakness to Ice.
Perhaps the most criminally underrated champion, Diantha wields a well-balanced team with no glaring weaknesses. Their movesets are diverse, emphasizing raw power, their levels are high, and Gardevoir will mega evolve into Mega Gardevoir, wielding a devastating Special Attack stat.
Hoenn's original champion emphasizes the Steel type, arguably the best defensive element in the game. This was especially true back in generation 3 when it also resisted Dark and Ghost, and his team's dual elemental types make it difficult for Steel's few weaknesses to slip through.
Making matters even harder, Steven's squad wields tricky movesets, carrying some raw damage moves, but also several indirect techniques that play for the long game, like Toxic, Spikes, Light Screen, and Confuse Ray. His only failing is having slightly lower levels than most champions, but to be fair, this usually determined by the length of the game, not the champion's power.
Red is an exception to our no-protagonist rule due to his canon appearances in future games. In Gold and Silver, he's not technically serving as champion (having bestowed the role to Lance), but he's the strongest opponent in the game, bearing a ridiculously-high level team with a nice elemental spread.
Plus, he's also the champion of Pokémon Stadium 2, Of all today's bosses, this might be the toughest, as Red wields a strong team fully outfitted with held items, and the game forces you to have equal-level Pokémon as your opponents, so you can't simply out-level him.
Other Bosses in Pokémon
Today we examined champions based on their original champion battles, but remember that they usually adjust their teams and movesets in later appearances, often compensating for past weaknesses.
Some games, like Pokémon Colosseum, have final bosses that aren't technically champions but still big threats, and you might face other tests in your post-game explorations, so always stay alert. But for now, as we await Nintendo's next Pokémon champion, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on April 21, 2020:
Thank you! Have you ever challenged the Battle Frontier in Pokémon Emerald? Definitely one of the hardest trials in all Pokémon history, much more than any champion battle.
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on April 21, 2020:
Excellent article, Jeremy! I've been feeling super nostalgic for Pokemon lately. All I've been playing is Animal Crossing, but I'm itching to go on another Pokemon adventure. I know Sword and Shield came out just a few months ago, but I hope they're working on a new title and more powerful champions will follow.