Media Essays: All the Pokémon Champions Ranked: Part 1
Updated: Feb 5
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!!
2022 is over and 2023 has officially begun. 2022 was...quite a year to put it mildly. But we don't need to dwell on that anymore. We're now in 2023 and here's hoping it'll be a better year than the last one.
For now, we're starting off this year on a high note with an essay about one of my favourite things in the world: Pokémon. So what are we covering this time in regards to this franchise? I thought it'd be interesting to rank all the Pokémon Champions we've had over the years from Worst to Best. Pokémon Champions serve as the final boss in a Pokémon game and are usually the most challenging trainers we have to face as a result. Some Champions are challenging, some are pushovers, some are memorable, some are forgettable. But which ones are at the bottom and which ones reign supreme for the Champions they are? That's what we're here for. I'll be ranking all the Champions we've had in the games and maybe offering tips on how to make them more challenging. If your favourite Champion doesn't rank very high, please don't take it out on me. This list is mostly opinion based so don't take it too personally, OK?
I'm the Media Man and let's celebrate the New Year as I rank all the Pokémon Champions from Worst to Best...
As of this post, the most recent Champion of the bunch. How she does fare up? BADLY, THAT'S HOW!!!
So why is Geeta at the bottom of the list? Not only does she have a bland personality, but her team quite frankly just plain sucks. She uses Espartha, Gogoat, Avalugg, Veluza, Kingambit and her ace is a Glimmora that terastallizes into a pure Rock-type. This team is so badly structured that I and several others have noticed that any Fire/Ghost type Pokémon like Ceruledge or Skeledirge could beat five out of six Pokémon by themselves! I can so easily imagine Hilbert or Hilda from the Unova region coming in and sweeping her with Chandelure! And some of these Pokemon aren't even Champion worthy. Like what Champion EVER includes a Gogoat or an Avalugg on their teams? Those are Pokémon we players use in a casual playthrough, not a friggin' Champion! Worse still, her Gogoat's moveset includes NO type-coverage! Like...why? Gogoat can learn Brick Break, Earthquake and Rock Slide to cover all of its weaknesses yet it doesn't know either of those moves! For a Champion who's "incapable of holding back", it sure feels like she's holding back with these bone-headed decisions...
Her team is not only poorly structured, but it's misused as well. She uses Glimmora as her ace and terastallizes it into a pure Rock-type. That's already a big mistake given Rock has so many weaknesses whereas Poison only has two so she should terastallize it into a Poison type. Also Glimmora has the Toxic Debris ability which sets up Toxic Spikes whenever it's hit...and yet she uses it last instead of first. You see the problem here? And worst of all, she has a Kingambit with the Supreme Overlord ability...and yet she DOESN'T use it last when it would benefit more from its ability by going last since Supreme Overlord increases its attack by the number of Pokémon in her party that have fainted. Her ace should've been a Kingambit that terastallizes into a pure Steel-type to lose its double Fighting weakness to just a single Fighting weakness. Starting with Glimmora and ending with Kingambit would've helped her team immensely.
Had I made the Scarlet and Violet games, her team would include Glimmora (which goes first), Elektross (a Pokémon with no weaknesses to throw people off and knows Dragon Tail to deal with bad match-ups), Cyclizer with Shed Tail, Palafin with Flip Turn, Ceruledge with Bitter Blade to drain HP and Kingambit ends up as her true ace as I mentioned earlier. This team would give her a hit-and-switch style of battling to throw people off, would cover more types and require a wider variety to beat and would overall just be a way stronger team than what she got! As is, Geeta sadly holds the crown for the worst Champion in Pokémon history.
La Primera is the prime example of how NOT to be a Champion boss battle...
I doubt anyone will be that surprised to see Trace so near the bottom. Heck, until Geeta existed, he WAS at the bottom! But nope, Geeta's so bad that even Trace is more Champion worthy by comparison. But that's still not saying much.
Trace is the Champion battle for the Let's Go games with his ace being a Raichu or a Jolteon depending which one you're playing. His team consists of a Mega Evolving Pidgeot, Vileplume, Slowbro, Marowak, Rapidash and for Let's Go Pikachu! players, Jolteon whereas Let's Go Eevee! players will face Raichu. Out of the two teams, he's Let's Go Eevee! team is slightly better due to Raichu being more useful than Jolteon thanks to a better moveset and an actually useable Physical Attack stat. But his team is still pretty meh overall and not particularly Champion worthy. Pidgeot's as vanilla as they come (even though I love Pidgeot), Rapidash is too frail, Marowak's not the tankiest mon ever and both his aces can be felled by a single Earthquake. Vileplume's pretty well-rounded stat wise, Slowbro's always been pretty tricky to battle and his Pidgeot being able to Mega Evolve is pretty cool but ultimately pales compared to the player when they can go in with Mega Evolving Kanto Starters.
What's worse about this loser is that his team all have only THREE moves each when you face him. Yes! THREE MOVES!!! What the hell Trace?! Did you spend too much time at the Move Deleter's house on your way to the Indigo Plateau? Blue is looking at you and laughing mockingly at how much you suck! What's even dumber is that when you rematch him, his team all have four moves with those extra moves making them all a little better such as Pidgeot with U-turn to escape a bad match up, Marowak with Thunder Punch to cover Water types, Rapidash with Drill Run to cover Rock types, Slowbro with Blizzard for extra coverage, Vileplume with Dazzling Gleam and his Raichu gains Brick Break while Jolteon gains Shadow Ball. Even then, his team still feels a little too easy to beat and his aces extra moves aren't particularly the best. Like how much better would it be if his Raichu's fourth move was Surf or Grass Knot to cover Ground types? Or what if Jolteon had the Weather Ball and Rain Dance combo to do the same thing? He'd at least be more challenging if that was the case.
For me, I'd have made it so his team consists of Jolteon/Raichu, Marowak and Pidgeot still but the other three are replaced by the Kanto Starters and he Mega Evolves Charizard into Mega Charizard X. THAT would've been a real Champion battle and an actual challenge! But no, the Let's Go games had to be even easier in order to let in newcomers so even the Champion battle has to be too easy to beat.
Trace should've traced the part where whoever he's tracing over was an actual challenging Champion battle...
I also doubt anyone's going to be that surprised that Diantha's so low on the list. She's unanimously agreed to be one of the weakest Champions after all and if it wasn't for Geeta and Trace, she'd be considered THE weakest.
As is, even with those two being objectively worse, Diantha's still not very good. Her team consists of Hawlucha, Tyrantrum, Aurorus, Goodra, Gourgeist and a Mega Evolving Gardevoir. Now on paper, this team sounds promising and these are some legitimately powerful mons to have. But having them all on the same team...then you start to see the problems here. A large chunk of this team is weak to Ice-types (Although Tyrantrum and Hawlucha can cover those with their secondary typings) and half of her team, including her ace, are weak to Steel types too. Most of these mons like the Fossil Pokémon, Goodra and Gourgeist are also pretty slow so chances are you'll be knocking them out before she can even use them. She does have some useful moves in there like Hawlucha's Swords Dance, Aurorus having both Reflect and Light Screen and her Goodra can cover its Ice weakness with Fire Blast but they will only get her so far. Her Gardevoir is especially no threat in how despite Mega Evolving, it still falls in a single hit to a non-Mega Evolved Aggron with Iron Tail (that's how I beat her in my run). I mean it doesn't even have any Steel-type coverage! Come on Diantha, your Goodra knows Focus Blast so why not teach it to Gardevoir too? Yes its accuracy sucks but any type coverage is preferable to none!
Her team also don't have particularly useful abilities either. Her Tyrantrum knows Strong Jaw...and only knows ONE move to make use of it when Rock Head would be more useful to abuse the power of Head Smash with. Her Gourgeist has the Pickup ability...PICKUP!!!! What Champion Pokémon Trainer ever uses a Pokémon with PICKUP?! Frisk or Insomnia would've been more useful. Her Goodra knows Sap Sipper when it would've benefitted more from Gooey to slow down opponents that attack it, her Aurorus knows Refrigerate despite there being no Normal moves to make use of it and her Gardevoir gains the Pixelate ability when it Mega Evolves...and again can make no use of it because it has no Normal moves. The ONLY Pokémon she has that has a useful ability is Hawlucha's Limber which prevents paralysis. Seriously, even GEETA'S team have more useful abilities than Diantha's team does, and she's so incompetent she can't even use said abilities correctly! Diantha's team just flatout has useless abilities that won't help her any!
To improve her team, I'd get rid of the Fossil Pokémon and Gourgeist and replace them with a Pangoro with the Iron Fist ability, a Diggersby with Huge Power and an Alakazam with Magic Guard. Her Goodra will have Gooey as its ability and her Mega Gardevoir would cover its Steel weakness with Focus Blast. Not only would less of her team be weak to Ice and Steel types respectively, but she could cover more types with these Pokémon and put up more of a fight, especially if they all have type coverage moves among them.
As is, Diantha shows that she's better off as an actress than a Pokémon trainer...
You guys might find it weird that Alder's ranked higher than the last three as he's also considered a really easy Champion, but I put him above Diantha and Trace because he's still more of a challenge than they are. Also he's one of only three Champions in the entire series to EVER win a match against me. Yes really, I have the dishonour of losing to this guy. You may feel free to mock me. =P
In my defence, I went into his boss fight expecting him to be easy because everybody else said so and ended up getting hit in the face with reality when it turned out his Volcarona's pretty powerful. My Samurott couldn't take it down quick enough because of its high Special Defence and thus it Quiver Danced enough times to sweep my entire team. The next time, I went in with a Darumaka with Rock Slide and as anyone can tell you, Volcarona's the kind of Pokémon where you defeat it by throwing a rock at its head. XD So bottom line, this guy's ONLY challenging if you don't have any Rock-types or at least any Pokémon with Rock attacks. Outside of Volcarona, the rest of his team is...not very impressive. He uses Accelgor, Druddigon, Bouffalant, Escavalier and...groan...Vanilluxe. YEs people, he uses the infamous Ice Cream Pokémon. What Pokémon Champion EVER uses Vanilluxe?! There are way better Ice types he could've used like Beartic and the rest of his team could be way stronger than being mostly Bug types. Bouffalant and Druddigon are decent enough but not the best Pokémon for a Champion team and his Volcarona is the only real threat he has, yet again it can be easily dealt with by throwing a rock at it! And his Volcarona doesn't even cover its Rock-type weakness! Wouldn't giving it Giga Drain instead of Hyper Beam have been a better idea? At least Rock types wouldn't just kill it stone dead (no pun intended).
So with this guy, you have a team where half of it is weak to Fire or Rock-types and the only decent mons he has are Volcarona, Druddigon and Bouffalant. How would I improve this boss battle? Simple. His team he uses in the Pokémon World Tournament in Black 2 and White 2 SHOULD have been his overall team for his boss battle! In that team, he uses Volcarona, Braviary, Conkeldurr, Chandelure, Reuniclus and Krookodile. Not only is that a more varied team but it has a lot more powerhouses and would be more of a challenge than his actual team. As is, he's stuck with a team where it's easy to see how N managed to beat him and he makes N and Ghetsis look more Champion worthy by comparison.
Alder may be one of the few Champions to ever beat me, but that still doesn't make him a particularly good one. He's the kind of guy in where how you beat him can be summed up as so:
"And then I threw a rock at him!" - YouTube
Much like how Lance went from Elite Four member to Champion, Wallace went from a Gym Leader to a Champion. And how is he as a Champion? Eh...not great shall we say?
I'll confess that I haven't actually played Pokémon Emerald yet and so Wallace is the only Champion on this list I've not actually battled yet. But looking at his team? I doubt I'll struggle too much. Wallace is the Champion of Hoenn in Pokémon Emerald and yet his team still feels like a team a Gym Leader would use, not a Champion. He's still a Water-based trainer with his team consisting of Wailord, Tentacruel, Ludicolo, Whiscash, Gyarados and Milotic. Looking at this team, I don't think I'd find it that hard really. I bet I could go into this battle with some really strong Electric or Grass-types (or both) and sweep him easily. Any player who choses Sceptile as their starter will especially have an easy time with him. However, his team is clearly built to handle its weaknesses for his Gyarados knows Earthquake to shoo off Electric types and his Milotic and Wailord can cover their Grass weaknesses with Ice attacks. So while I think just bringing a Sceptile and a Manectric to his battle will be enough, I imagine it won't be ridiculously straight forward and will require you to think carefully on how you battle him. There's also the fact that Milotic is a bulky Pokémon so you're gonna have a tough time with it regardless of who uses it. The fact it holds a Sitrus Berry and knows Recover will especially make it annoying to deal with.
Still, what would I do to make this guy more challenging as a Champion and less like a glorified Gym Leader? For starters, make his team more varied instead of just using Water types. I'd let him keep Milotic and Gyarados and maybe fill the rest of his team with other strong Pokémon like Exploud, Torkoal (to throw off people trying to sweep him with Grass-types), Gardevoir and maybe a Regice to catch players off guard by using a Legendary. That team I feel would be more challenging than just a team of Water-types with a few secondary typings to diversify them a bit.
If I ever get the chance to play Pokémon Emerald and fight this guy, I'll probably change his position or leave it as it is. For now, it's not that impressive and his team feels like it'll be too easy to handle due to it being nothing but Water-types. I'm sure I'd wash this guy away if I ever battle him.
It might seem weird I'm including her since Geeta's the Champion we have to have in Scarlet and Violet and thus the ACTUAL Champion you have to beat to win the game but Nemona is the actual final boss of the Victory Road storyline, which technically makes her the ACTUAL Champion you have to fight to beat the game rather than Geeta. Also she's superior to Geeta in every way so that helps.
As is, I still don't think Nemona's very challenging. Her Champion team, while WAY better and more diverse than Geeta's, is still pretty weak for what's supposed to be a Champion trainer. She uses Lycanroc, Goodra, Dudunsparce, Orthworm, Pawmot and the starter that's weak to your own. The ONLY good mons she uses here are Lycanroc, Goodra and Pawmot. Dudunsparce is expectedly worthless as an evolution to a useless Pokémon like Dunsparce and Orthworm hasn't got the bulk to be a challenge, plus we already have experience in fighting it by dealing with the Titan Orthworm so it feels silly to let us fight it again. I also hate how she picks the starter that's weak to ours. This girl calls herself a Champion trainer and yet she does that? And despite the fact the starter she picks has a type-advantage over our secondary types (i.e. Meowscarada's half Dark type beats Skeledirge's half Ghost type), she terastallizes her starter into its primary typing so it STILL has a weakness to our starter! Wouldn't it be more clever of her to terastallize it into its secondary typing to throw us off our game a bit? Like say her Mewoscarada becomes a pure Dark-type to stop Skeledirge uses from burning it alive with a Fire attack or her Skeledirge becomes a pure Ghost-type so Quaquaval's Fighting moves are still useless and it can't sweep it with Water attacks. Instead, it feels like GameFreak didn't want to make her too hard and thus they didn't make her very challenging. In-universe, I get that she's still holding back but it still makes no sense to have her as the final boss of the Victory Road storyline and she's still pretty easy.
So how would I improve her? For starters, I'd make her use Hisuian Goodra instead of regular Goodra to surprise players and also give her the stronger version of Goodra. Orthworm and Dudunsparce would be gone entirely and her starter would terastallize into its secondary typing to throw players off their game. But to make her even MORE challenging, I'd give her a team based on what I imagine was the team she used to become the Champion ranked trainer she is today. That team would be Fighting Tauros, Salamence, Armarouge, Florges, Zangoose and Azumarill. Not only is this a more Champion worthy team, but it would be a lot more challenging to face and each of her mons would cover their weaknesses and have beneficial abilities to make them even stronger.
Still, Nemona is a better final boss than Geeta but she still feels like she's being held back from her full potential. I want to see the Nemona that became a Champion, not the Nemona that's holding back for our sake because she's so nice like that. Maybe if Scarlet and Violet gets any DLC, we might see the more powerful side of Nemona...
Continued in Part 2