Pokémon The Top 10 Johto League Champions Pokémon Battles Ranked - pokemonwe.com (2023)

Pokémon The Top 10 Johto League Champions Pokémon Battles Ranked

Season 4 of the Pokemon anime, Johto League Champions featured Ash in a ton of great battles. Here’s the 10 best including his clash with Gary.

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Based on the second generation of the eponymous games, Gold & Silver, the Pokémon anime’s Johto saga (released as three seasons in the west: The Johto Journeys, Johto League Champions, and Master Quest) featured Ash Ketchum and co. traveling through the titular region in search of new friends to make, new Pokémon to catch, and new battles to win.

While the season struggled in some respects, particularly pacing, adherence to repetitive formula and side-lining of Ash’s traveling companions, Brock and Misty, it made up for such failings on the battlefront, with some of the most climactic, dynamic, and all-around memorable battles being fought. Let’s review some of the very best from the Johto Saga’s 157-episode run.

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10 Ash VS Casey

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The Johto Saga’s 2nd episode, “A Double Trouble Header,” saw a lopsided yet memorable battle. Rookie trainer Casey, having started her journey as a Pokémon trainer merely days prior, challenges Ash after he insults her favorite baseball team one too many times. In what was supposed to be a 3-on-3 battle, Casey uses her starter, Chikorita, alongside her freshly caught Pidgey and Rattatta.

Ash tears through the newbie trainer’s team using just Charizard. While certainly not the most high-stakes battle Ash has ever fought, this battle turns the tables for a protagonist so perpetually stuck in the role of the underdog and served as a signal that, in Johto, Ash wasn’t going to be quite as naïve or incompetent as he’d been in Seasons past.

9 Ash VS Miki

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In the early season episode, “Hot Matches,” Ash and his friends met Miki, a trainer seeking out battles with Fire-Type Pokémon in order to train her Skarmory to overcome its disadvantage to Fire-Types. After soundly defeating Brock’s Vulpix, Ash sends out Cyndaquil, where it struggles before Team Rocket’s intervention forces an early end to the match.

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Ash and Cyndaquil train together, with Cyndaquil learning how to ignite the flame spines on its back at will, and together the two finally end the Armor Bird Pokémon’s winning streak. While Miki and Skarmory proved to be one-off characters, this battle was a turning point for Ash’s Cyndaquil; having previously struggled in battle, from this point on Cyndaquil would become of the main battlers of Ash’s Johto team.

8 Ash VS Shingo

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In “Wired For Battle,” Ash meets Shingo, a trainer who believes he can predict Pokémon battle outcomes via data analysis. To prove him wrong, Ash battles him with Heracross while Shingo uses Scizor. Despite Scizor’s greater speed, Heracross is able to endure a barrage of Quick Attacks and Metal Claws before ending the battle with a powerful Horn Attack.

The battle stands out for its dynamic animation, with the clashes between Heracross and Scizor having a mano-a-mano physicality. Furthermore, the battle serves as a moment in the limelight for Heracross; having done little battling up to this and destined to be shipped off to Professor Oak’s laboratory a few episodes later, it was nice for the Single Horn Pokémon to get a moment in the spotlight before its comeback in the Johto League.

7 Ash VS Jasmine

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Johto’s sixth Gym, located at Olivine City and led by the Steel-type trainer Jasmine, was one of the most exciting gym battles of the Johto saga. In this two-on-two battle, Pikachu manages to defeat Jasmine’s Magnemite before being knocked out by the gym leader’s Steelix, leaving the outcome dependent on Cyndaquil; while the Fire-Type has an elemental advantage, in terms of size-and-strength the match-up is akin to David vs Goliath, advantage Steelix.

Of course, much like how the biblical tale ended, Cyndaquil manages its Flamethrower ignites Steelix’s own Sandstorm attack, engulfing Steelix and knocking it out. With this win, Cyndaquil solidified its place on Ash’s team and put its trainer one step closer to the Johto League.

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6 Ash VS Macy

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In the second round of the Johto League, Ash faced off against Fire-Type specialist Macy. After Totodile and Phanpy fell, Ash chose his returned Squirtle, who managed to overcome type-disadvantage to defeat Macy’s secret weapon Electabuzz then knocked out her powerful Quilava with a Hydro Pump.

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Seeing Squirtle back in action after a nearly 120-episode long absence, and pulling off such a triumphant victory nonetheless, made this a memorable bout for long-time fans.

5 Ash VS Jackson

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Following his battle with Macy, Ash’s next Johto League opponent was New Bark Town native Vincent. However, the trainer’s goofy attitude hid a worthy opponent, for after Pikachu defeated his Azumarill, Jackson chose a Shiny Magneton.

The Steel/Electric-Type defeated Pikachu then Cyndaquil before falling to Bulbasaur. This left the final duel of the round to be fought by Bulbasaur and Jackson’s starter Meganium; the two proved equally matched and equally stubborn, eventually falling simultaneously and ending the match in a draw, though Ash having accumulated a greater amount of points meant he moved onto the finals instead of Jackson.

4 Ash VS Misty

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When Ash and Misty both entered into the Water-Type themed Whirl Cup contest, it was almost inevitable the two would meet each other in battle. And so they did, with Misty using Poliwhirl and (inadvertently) Psyduck against Ash’s Totodile and Kingler.

While Ash and Misty had battled before at the Cerulean gym, that battle was inconclusive due to Team Rocket’s interruption, so this new battle proved a chance to settle old scores. Poliwhirl was able to overcome Totodile before falling to Kingler, at which point Psyduck lept from its Pokeball onto the battlefield. When all seemed lost for Misty, Psyduck unleashed a powerful Psychic attack that defeated Kingler, winning the battle for the aspiring Water Master. While Misty was defeated in the next Whirl Cup round by a trainer named Trinity, her victory over Ash was a shining moment for her in a season where she was otherwise underutilized.

3 Ash VS Harrison

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His quarter-final battle with Harrison may have been as far as Ash went in the Johto League, but what a spectacular finish it was. The full six-on-six battle contained numerous memorable bouts, from Harrison’s Hypno use of Dream Eater on Ash’s Snorlax backfiring to Ash’s Bayleef creatively using Vine Whip to seal shut the mouth of Harrison’s Houndoom, preventing it from using Fire attacks, the battle ultimately came down to Ash’s Charizard vs Harrison’s Blaziken.

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The two fully evolved Fire-Types engaged in a prolonged battle, but ultimately Blaziken hung on just a little bit longer and prevailed. It was a pyrrhic victory, however, for Blaziken sustained such damage it was unable to battle the next day in the Semi-Finals, costing Harrison his subsequent match. While Ash’s Top 8 finish wasn’t what he or fans had been hoping for, the encounter with Harrison and Blaziken inspired a journey to the Hoenn region, where Ash had plenty more adventures to come.

2 Ash VS Clair

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The final Gym battle of the Johto Saga, Ash vs Dragon-Type specialist Clair of Blackthorn city, was also its most memorable. Calling on some old partners for his toughest gym battle yet, Ash’s Charizard and Snorlax fought alongside Pikachu against Clair’s Kingdra, Gyarados, and Dragonair, with the battle, ultimately coming down to Charizard vs Dragonair.

The battlefield’s water covering provided protection for the aquatic Dragonair, but Charizard’s barrage of Flamethrowers eventually induced evaporation, and a combination of Fire Spin with Seismic Toss won the battle and the Rising Badge for Ash.

1 Ash VS Gary

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Could it have been anything else? The first-ever full six-on-six battle between these two rivals was a confrontation 270-episodes in the making. While Gary’s team had the edge in terms of raw power, Ash and his Pokémon’s shared determination and some unconventional strategies enabled our hero to hold his own. When all seemed lost, Ash chose his secret weapon: Charizard, who easily defeated Gary’s Scizor and Golem before facing his Blastoise.

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Although Blastoise had the Type-Advantage, Ash and Charizard repeated their strategy from Blackthorn city and used Flamethrower to melt the battlefield, trapping Blastoise and leaving it vulnerable to Charizard’s Seismic Toss, a move that won the day for Ash. With this victory, Ash proved how far he’d come as a trainer, to his rival, his friends, and most of all, the fans.

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