Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Gym Leaders Ranked

Every generation of "Pokémon" games has content that adds to the lore of the world. While new Pokémon to add to the Pokédex are fun, there's nothing like a new round of gym leaders to excite fans. These colorful characters each have their own personality and style, as well as their own set of challenges for players. Ash Ketchum beat a surprising number of gym leaders in his quest to become a Pokémon master, but gamers don't have the luxury of choosing. Pokémon trainers embarking on their Treasure Hunt in Paldea will eventually have to face off against all 8 gym leaders in order to win their badges and earn the right to take on the Elite 4.

While gamers can technically beat gyms in "Scarlet" and "Violet" in any order, gym leaders don't scale with player experience. There's little chance gamers can journey out into Paldea with their starter Pokémon and easily take on gym leaders using a team of Level 50 monsters. However, even if difficulty is linear, coolness is something that has to be judged on a different scale. This list ranks the gym leaders of "Pokémon Scarlet" and "Violet" based on how interesting and, well, cool they are within the "Pokémon" mythos. Each gym leader has a full team, a Gym Test, and an aesthetic to consider. Here are the "Scarlet" and "Violet" gym leaders, ranked. Think you can take them on and earn all 8 gym badges?

8. Brassius - Grass Type

Brassius might not be the easiest gym leader to beat, but he's definitely the creepiest. This brooding artist resides in Artazon, where he challenges Pokémon trainers to battle. Artazon itself has a focus on nature and art, and it seems like the whole town practices some craft or another. However, it's unclear at first what type of art Brassius makes, but he definitely talks a big game about finding his muse and being creative. For all that talk, though, his team of Pokémon leaves something to be desired.

The Verdant Virtuoso has a Grass-type team with three Pokémon: Petilil, Smolive, and Sudowoodo – the last of which he'll Terrastallize. Brassius says that he considers battles a sort of art form, but the collaboration trainers make with him might feel one-sided.

It turns out, according to information on the official "Scarlet" and "Violet" website, that Brassius is actually a sculptor, and his most popular work, ominously titled "Surrendering Sunflora," sits in the middle of Artazon. It shows a group of Sunflora somberly admitting defeat – something no trainer worth their salt will have to do with this weird gym leader.

7. Katy - Bug Type

Katy is a humble gym leader who favors Bug type Pokémon. Being a gym leader isn't her day job, though. Instead, she runs a bakery called Patesserie Soapberry, inviting the protagonist to come have a bite anytime. Fighting Katy doesn't feel like anything personal, and since the Cortondo gym is one of the first challenges many players will tackle on their journey, that's just fine. Her endearing, gentle demeanor serves to highlight some of the bigger themes of "Scarlet" and "Violet," like unity and friendship.

Of course, Katy has a roster of Pokémon to wield against players. She uses Nymble, Tarountula, and Teddiursa in her initial lineup, and she'll Terrastallize Teddiursa to transform its type into Bug. Her strongest Pokémon is only Level 15, so players should be able to build an opposing team relatively early in the game, winning their first gym badge and a fistful of cash to help them on their Treasure Hunt.

Katy feels like the mom of the gym leaders, and she seems to have a rational head on her shoulders. While she views her team with pride, winning isn't the only thing on her mind. She's just as interested in running her business and mastering the art of great baking in addition to being a Pokémon master.

6. Kofu - Water Type

When players first meet Kofu, the Surging Chef, he's running off to the market in search of the rarest ingredients to use in his cooking. However, he forgets his wallet before he dashes away. If players can deliver the wallet, they can consider the Gym Test finished. The unconventional quest takes players across a treacherous desert, which houses a Titan Pokémon in addition to other, less mythic threats. Kofu is grateful for the player's delivery, and in turn teaches players how to handle haggling at the market in order to get the best goods. After a crucial life lesson, players are free to take on Kofu at his gym for a Water-type filled match.

None of Kofu's Pokémon are huge surprises. A Veluza, Wugtrio, and Crabominable make up his trio and present little threat to players who can match Kofu's Level 29-30 monsters. Kofu is goodnatured, and happy to help players on their gym quest. He also has a fun Gym Test and interesting character design, with two sets of eyebrows inexplicably waggling at the top of his head. However, he doesn't rank higher on this list for a very specific reason: His team doesn't really make sense.

As one Redditor pointed out, Kofu could be perfect, if it wasn't for his weird choice of Pokémon. He's a sushi chef who, for some reason, didn't choose to employ the sushi-themed Pokémon introduced in "Scarlet" and "Violet," Dondozo and Tatsugiri. Kofu may go with the flow, but his team makes him a bit of a wipeout.

5. Ryme - Ghost Type

Montenevera's gym leader, Ryme, serves two important functions in "Scarlet" and "Violet." First and foremost, she teaches players how to participate in a double battle, where two Pokémon are on the field at one time. While this style of battling isn't frequently used in the game, it's a good skill to know, and it requires a different sort of strategy than using one Pokémon at a time. In some double battles, Pokémon can interact with each other in special ways, but just learning how to manage two monsters on the field at once is a valuable enough lesson for Ryme to teach players. Using Banette, Mimikyu, Houndstone, and Toxtricity, Ryme gives players the double battle of a lifetime, throwing them straight into the deep end in their first double battle experience.

The second thing Ryme does, and does well, is rap. Okay, maybe she's not going to win any awards for her bars, but Ryme's rhyming lines and taunts help set the mood for her gym. The showdown is staged like a concert, with eager fans crowding around the stage to get a view of the action. When Ryme's design leaked ahead of "Scarlet" and "Violet," gamers rejoiced at the gym leader, calling her "MC Mom" and "Ghostmane Grandma." It's true that Ryme's character model resembles many older women in the game, but her shapely braids and tracksuit are a style all her own. It's clear that Ryme kicks it oldschool, both in her Pokémon strategy and her style, but there's nothing wrong with learning from the greats that paved the way.

4. Tulip - Psychic Type

The Psychic type gym leader, Tulip, resides in Alfornada, and her Gym Test is one of the strangest available in "Scarlet" and "Violet." Tulip has perfected the Emotional Spectrum Practice, a vague form of exercise that combines mimicking another trainer's emotions and then battling. Yeah, it might not make much sense in-world, but that doesn't matter because Tulip has reached a level of fame where she doesn't have to make sense. Much like Gwyneth Paltrow, Tulip has created her own beauty empire. After players are introduced to her ESP exercises in the Alfornada Gym Test, Tulip agrees to meet with them – right after she gets off an important phone call with her business partner.

Tulip is a gracious host, more or less, but it's clear that her beauty brand keeps her busy most of the time. Much like the other gym trainers in Paldea, running the gym isn't her full time gig. Tulip's team is full of Psychic-type staples, including Fairigraph, Gardevoir, Espathra, and Florges, whose Tera type is psychic. A few appropriately leveled Bug or Dark type Pokémon are enough to take her team down.

Tulip's character design is definitely interesting, and her profession of beauty influencer and boss babe makes her stand out to some gamers. One Redditor commented, "Whoever designs the Psychic gym leaders never misses," praising Tulip's clear aesthetic and cool demeanor. While Tulip isn't the most boring gym leader on this list, her nonsensical Gym Test definitely knocks her down a few levels.

3. Iono - Electric Type

Fans had a big reaction to Iono, one of the first gym leaders to be officially revealed in "Scarlet" and "Violet" marketing. Gamers mostly adored Iono's pastel streamer design, which fits well with her emphasis on Electric-type Pokémon. Her personality goes a long way, and quickly shot her up the ranks on this list, making her one of the more memorable gym leaders. Iono's Gym Test also makes an impression on players, as it requires them to impress Iono's streaming audience, responding to her jokes and participating in a wild "I Spy" type game live on camera.

For her gym battle, Iono brings four supercharged Pokémon into battle: Wattrel, Bellibolt, Luxio, and Mismagius, whose Tera Type is electric. Iono's arena is likely grander than any players have encountered at that point in the game, and her entire gym feels like its connected to the wider world of Paldea in a significant way. After all, Iono is famous, and many characters mention her before players lay eyes on the streamer.

Some Poké-fans observed that Spain has a huge presence on streaming sites like Twitch, so it's only appropriate that one of Paldea's gym leaders be a livestreamer. Paldea may not be like Spain exactly, but it's close enough that Iono's connection to streaming culture in the country resonated with gamers. Everyone wasn't pleased with Iono's design, though, and some argued that she looked out of place amongst other gym leaders and characters. Overall, Iono's cute design and adorable personality make her a standout amongst the other gym leaders, even if some gamers don't want to smash that like and subscribe button after battling her.

2. Larry - Normal Type

Larry is just a guy. He's a Pokémon trainer and gym leader, but he doesn't make a big deal about it, and it's a much smaller drain on his time than his boring office job. Larry is Normal. His Pokémon are Normal, too. The Medali gym challenges players with a Gym Test, where they must find out a secret dish at a local restaurant. However, each challenger looking to take on the gym leader has a single clue to the dish's specifics, so players have to participate in some battles to parse out the secret recipe. At the end of all that work is Larry, who's just some dude, apparently. He sits at the bar in his crumpled suit and tie, briefcase at his side. He's enjoying a meal, but he stops to take on gym challengers before popping back into work, or worse yet, confronting his boss.

Larry's totally Normal team is what you might expect. He begins with Komala and Dundunsparce before unleashing a Staraptor with a Normal Tera Type. The fight is challenging, but not too difficult. It turns out Larry is saving his fiercest Pokémon for later.

Gamers felt that Larry was almost perfect, paying specific attention to his office worker aesthetic. One commenter on Reddit said that Larry might be "a stand-in for the developers" who felt tired of working so hard at their day job. Another gamer compared Larry to "American Psycho," rewriting the opening monologue from his perspective. While it's entirely possible Larry is hiding a deep dark secret, he seems to embrace what it means to be Normal type, doing his best to blend in with the crowd and use his strengths well.

1. Grusha - Ice Type

Grusha ruffled a lot of feathers when he was introduced. Many gamers felt confused about Grusha's gender when he was first revealed. One Redditor claimed that many Japanese fans had to use the English language version of certain sites to find out if Grusha was a man or woman. In fact, according to Kotaku, many gamers were confused about Grusha's gender, with some even drawing lewd fanart before finding out Grusha was a man. Regardless of Grusha's gender, it's clear that his gym is one of the most fun and cinematic challenges in "Scarlet" and "Violet."

The Glaseado gym is at the top of a high mountain, covered in snow and sparsely populated. Getting there is a challenge for many, and the hike is definitely a scenic, anticipation building journey. Grusha's Gym Test also stands out. Since Grusha used to be a professional snowboarder, he asks players to maneuver down the mountain on the back of their legendary Pokémon, passing through a series of gates on the way. While the Test isn't hard, per se, it's a change of pace, which is welcome at the late stage many players will challenge Grusha.

As for his team, Grusha's Pokémon are what one might expect. As an Ice type gym leader, Grusha sends out Frosmoth, Beartic, Cetitan, and Altaria, choosing to Terrastallize Altaria into an Ice type. All of Grusha's Pokémon hover around Level 50, making them a hearty challenge for any Pokémon trainer. However, the challenge is only part of Grusha's appeal. His cool guy aesthetic and rad past life as a snowboarder rocket him to the top of Paldea's peaks, and to the top of this list.