Best Gym Leaders in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, Ranked

Where does your favorite Gym Leader sit?

by Kara Phillips

Despite its separate storylines, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet pay homage to its traditional gameplay through the eight Gym Leaders across the region. As you and your Pokemon grow in your adventure, you’ll face each Gym Leader and master your strengths, all while creating bonds and memories with each. Although the lack of level scaling within the game means you follow a set-in-place path while facing them, you may struggle more with a specific type than the level, making each experience with them unique.

Every Gym Leader in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, Ranked

When ranking every Gym Leader you meet during your adventure in Paldea, a lot more plays into it than just your opponent’s strength. While they may present a challenge, and some Gym Leaders are significantly more powerful than others, there’s much more to consider regarding where they rank. Since Gym Leaders are a marker in your journey to measure your strength, they need to be memorable alongside strong. Since Scarlet and Violet have injected more personality into their characters than we have seen in any other Pokemon game, personality plays a huge part.

You will be asked several times what you think of the Gym Leaders you meet, whether that’s before you enter the Elite 4 or when speaking to Geeta once the credits have rolled, so you need to think about who you struggled against and who you enjoyed being around most of all. However, each player’s opinions are bound to differ. The list below ranks every Gym Leader within Paldea, so read on to discover where your favorite sits.

8. Katy


Katy is one of the first Gym Leaders you will come across depending on which direction you travel out of Mesagoza. Because of this, she doesn’t have the strongest party, and by the time you face the Elite 4, you may have forgotten the battle. Unfortunately, despite her sweet character design, she’s undeniably the Gym Leader with the least personality. The Olive Roll is a fun introduction to her battle, and being able to replay is entertaining for Players lost of things to do. It’s a shame that the Baker aspect of her personality wasn’t reflected through her party slightly more, with Pokemon like Dachsbun available, who would be a perfect addition.

7. Kofu


Kofu’s Gym Battle feels more challenging than others you may face along your adventure due to having to face a bodyguard-like trainer beforehand, but if you’ve spent any time leveling your Pokemon outside of the central storyline, it’ll be a breeze. The introduction to the auction house in Porto Marinada is fun, especially since you’ll come back here time and time again to buy sandwich ingredients in bulk and potentially secure a Rotom Catalog if you’re lucky, but the battle itself doesn’t have much substance. There’s not a sense of challenge or trial beforehand either, which is one of the reasons it just feels like another trainer battle.

6. Brassius


Similarly to Katy, Brassius is one of the first Gym Leaders players will likely face as they exit Mesagoza for the first time, so he isn’t particularly challenging. If you picked Fuecoco as your starter Pokemon, you’d breeze through this battle without feeling a scratch. Brassius is slightly more memorable than Katy because he was shown before the game’s release, so we had more time to remember who he was and look forward to battling him. The challenge to locate the Sunflora before the Gym Battle was a fun way to explore

5. Tulip


Tulip is one of the final Gym Leaders you will find yourself facing during Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, so she’s a fierce competition and has a recognizable character design and nonchalant personality to remember. The QTEs you must master before coming face to face with her is entertaining, and it’s fun to see your trainer alongside your active Pokemon preparing your battle face. So even though Tulip isn’t a Gym Leader you’d immediately think of when listing them off, she’s one of the most powerful you’ll face, which makes her pretty memorable alongside being one of the best.

4. Ryme


While you make the journey to face Grusha, there’s a high chance that you’ll stumble across Ryme without realizing it, but the impression you’re left with will ensure you’re happy you did. If there’s one thing that makes Ryme one of the best Gym Leaders, it’s the thoughtful craft of her personality and rap battles and the refreshing dual battle rather than just another regurgitation of the 1v1 formula. It’s something different, and even if you go in with a ghost of your own and don’t feel much of a challenge, it’s still an entertaining battle.

3. Grusha


Similarly to Brassius, players were introduced to Grusha before the game’s release, but a lot was left unanswered. In a way, it feels like the story of Grusha leaves a lot of questions unanswered and has left many Trainers wishing we had a little more time with him. Of course, this leaves a lot of space for a potential DLC involving the character, but it feeds into the mystery of who exactly he is. The battle you have is fierce, and there’s no denying that Grusha hosts one of the most brutal Gym Battles you’ll participate in.

2. Iono


Iono’s Gym Battle and general character perfectly reflect the Streaming side of gaming. Her dialogue is hilarious and true to what she represents, and involving the battle as a way to promote her work is inventive and unexpected. Even the marketing leading up to her debut in the game felt appropriate and entertaining, and there’s never been a more appropriate time to include a Streaming-inspired Gym Leader. Not to mention, her party is harsh to fight against, and this battle may have you repeating yourself more than you’d like to admit.

1. Larry


Larry is arguably one of the best Gym Leaders to be introduced into the franchise, primarily because of how mundane and aggressively everyday he is. Compared to the brightly colored characters you meet across Gyms, Team Star, and the Academy, Larry is far from what you’d expect, which is why he is the best. Even his party reflects how normal he is, but that doesn’t mean they won’t pack a punch. You’ll encounter this Gym Leader outside of his traditional Gym as well, so you should always be on your a-game, even though he may look like your average Joe.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available on Nintendo Switch.

- This article was updated on December 1st, 2022

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