Pokémon: Who Is the Strongest Champion?

Across eight generations of Pokémon games, there have been many iconic trainers, rivals and regional Champions for players to strive towards defeating. Each Pokémon League Champion is notable in their own way, either due to their presentation or how infamously difficult they are to battle. While some of these Champions have some truly well-built teams, others are known for having one particularly powerful Pokémon.

Answering the question of which Champion is actually the best trainer comes down to lots of factors, but breaking down the teams they challenge the player with is a good way to measure their strength. The core Pokémon series has 13 different Champions who train a wide variety of different Pokémon, though there are a couple of distinct candidates for the title of strongest.

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Sinnoh Champion Cynthia Has a Well-Balanced Team

Cynthia from Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum is often called one of the most difficult Champions of the series. Her team doesn't use any specific Pokémon type and instead features a well-balanced group of six Pokémon that wouldn't look out of place on the competitive scene. Some highlights include her tanky Spiritomb, her hard-hitting Lucario and her infamous Garchomp.

Something that helps Cynthia stand out from other Pokémon League champions is that her team is remarkably well-balanced from a stat perspective. That means that a challenger would have to consider every single member of her team and almost predict who she's going to send out when so that they can have the right Pokémon out to counter them. Cynthia's team certainly puts a lot of pressure on her challengers, making it pretty clear how she's received her reputation as a tough Pokémon Champion.

Steven Stone's Pokémon Team Is About More Than Just Defense

Another Champion who is often considered among the franchise's strongest is Hoenn Champion Steven Stone. Steven's team from Pokémon Emerald is often considered to be his strongest. While it isn't the team the player goes up against when he's Champion in Ruby and Sapphire, it's almost identical aside from the levels. Steven's defense-heavy team of Rock, Ground and Steel types is one of the best type-focused teams in any Pokémon game.

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While defense is clearly the highlight stat from Steven's team, almost all of his Pokémon has some sort of trick up their sleeve. Steven's Skarmory is capable of out-speeding nearly anything thrown at it, and his Aggron's attack stat is the stuff of nightmares. Assumptions are dangerous when it comes to Steven since many of his Pokémon end up being far more dangerous than they initially seem. A great example of Steven's unpredictability is that his Rock/Steel-type Aggron knowns the moves Dragon Claw and SolarBeam.

Sword and Shield's Champion Leon Should Not Be Underestimated

While Cynthia and Steven are the two player most often focus on when discussing the strongest Champions, there is a case to be made for the game's latest Champion: Leon of the Galar region. Despite criticisms of Sword and Shield including concerns that the game is too easy, Leon's team is actually pretty powerful. This is in part because he actually changes his team based on the starter Pokémon the player chooses, meaning he's one of the only Champions to actually take his opponent's Pokémon into consideration.

Other Champions focus on creating powerful teams that can take on any trainer, but Leon uniquely focuses on countering his specific opponents, a strategy that makes him a formidable candidate for the title of Strongest Champion. Outside of that, Leon has a pretty solid variety of Pokémon on his team that's highlighted by his signature Pokémon Charizard, which is actually capable of Gigantamaxing.

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Iris' Team Is Full of Dragon-Type Pokémon at Their Most Powerful

The last candidate for strongest champion is Iris from Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. Many consider these games to be the toughest in the series, and it's easy to see why when looking at the Unova League's Champion. While there is an emphasis on Dragon types, Iris covers her bases by only having two Pokémon types that she doesn't resist, being Fighting and Steel. Plus, she's fought in the last games before the Fairy-type was introduced to balance out Dragons, which at this point were only weak to Ice and themselves.

The highlights of Iris' team are without a doubt her Hydreigon and Haxorus. While Hydreigon covers a wide amount of its own weaknesses, Haxorus' attack stat is a living nightmare to battle against. The rest of her team is equally as tough, though those two are often brought up whenever fans talk about Iris as Champion.

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Who Is the Strongest Pokémon League Champion?

While other Champions are also tough, Cynthia remains the series' strongest one yet. Cynthia has an amazing team composition that's immensely difficult to beat, even when comparing it to other champion teams. Steven and Iris probably stand the best chance against Cynthia, but they lack direct counters to some of her hardest-hitting Pokémon. Leon, sadly, doesn't really stand a chance despite his unique strategy. He only seems comfortable enough to swap two Pokémon, and it'd take a lot more than that to counter Cynthia.

While it may seem obvious that Cynthia is the strongest Pokémon Champion, it's worth noting just how close a fight between Cynthia and the other champions would be. Steven and Cynthia counter each other at nearly every point, and Iris' heavy-hitters would be able to give Cynthia's Garchomp a tough time. However, when it comes to covering weaknesses and sheer stat distribution, Cynthia's team wins over all the rest.

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About The Author
Jacob Creswell (442 Articles Published)

A writer for CBR since September 2020, Jacob Creswell is a life long writer and gamer. Has written for both local and global publications. Lover of Animal Crossing, Undertale, Team Fortress 2, and a little professional wrestling on the side. Often can be found doing way more research than needed for his video game theories. Can also be found on his Twitter, @Creaology98

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