Pokémon veterans know well the Pokémon Gym Challenge, in which you must defeat eight type-based Gym Leaders to gain access to the game's ultimate challenge: The Elite Four. But Pokémon Let's Go! has shaken things up a bit in a number of ways: some of the Gym teams are different, you have different Pokémon available to you to fight them, and now with Fairy, Dark, and Steel-types at play, some previously simple fights have grown more complex.
If you're struggling with any of Kanto's eight Gym Leaders, I've provided team ideas to help you defeat each one. Go get em, champ-in-the-making!
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As the first gym leader you'll encounter, Brock is one of the toughest simply by virtue of the limited pool of Pokémon you can select from to battle him with. Brock trains Rock-type Pokémon (though they're both dual Rock/Ground-types), meaning you'll need to bring Grass or Water Pokémon with you to face him. In fact, you won't even be allowed in the Gym without one or the other!
It's unlikely you'll have a Water-type this early in the game, meaning you're limited to the Grass-types in Viridian Forest. I highly recommend at least one of the following, if not both, at level 10 or higher to ensure your safety in a battle against Brock. Your starter Pokémon, be it Pikachu or Eevee, will be largely useless:
- Oddish or Bellsprout (Version exclusives): Whichever you get should know Absorb or Vine Whip, respectively, when you capture it which is Super Effective against both Brock's Pokémon. Both evolve at level 21, but that shouldn't be necessary for this fight.
- Bulbasaur: Bulbasaur is insanely rare in Viridian Forest and can only be found by chaining Catch Combos to high levels. However, if you can find one, it's an even sturdier choice against Brock.
- Nidoran: In a pinch, Nidoran male or female can learn Double Kick, which is Super Effective against Rock-types.
By the time you reach Misty, you've also had a bit more time to collect a wider arsenal of Pokémon, but honestly, you won't need anything different against her. Misty's Water-types are weak against the Grass-type you hopefully used against Brock, and if you started with Pikachu you'll have another advantage as well.
Just be aware that both her Psyduck and her Starmie know Psychic-type moves, which can devastate a dual-Grass/Poison Pokémon like Gloom or Ivysaur. Ideally, you'll be able to one-shot both of them with a powerful Grass-type move, but have a backup plan just in case.
- Gloom/Weepinbell: If you used an Oddish or Bellsprout against Brock, its evolution will be just as effective against Misty, and you should have even more powerful moves to bring against her this time.
- Ivysaur: Again, if you brought a Bulbasaur to see Brock, its evolution is a fantastic choice to take down Misty.
- Pikachu: Whether you started with a Pika partner or caught one by this point in the game, Pikachu can do devastating damage to Misty's team and won't have to worry about stray Psychic blasts.
Remember those great Water, Grass, and Electric Pokémon you trained up for the last two gyms? Forget 'em here. Lt. Surge uses Electric-type Pokémon that will make fighting with any of those three difficult. Fortunately, their easy weakness of Ground and Rock-types are readily available nearby if you didn't manage to snag any from Mt. Moon earlier.
It's also worth noting that Surge's Magnemite keeps its Electric/Steel-typing despite having no Steel-type moves, so Fire-type moves can help in a pinch against it alone.
- Geodude, Onix, or Sandslash: Either of the strong Rock-type Pokémon from Mt. Moon will make short work of Surge. Let's Go! Pikachu players can also pick up a Sandshrew outside Mt. Moon that will learn Dig on its own, or you can teach Dig to either of the Rock-types.
- Diglett, Dugtrio: If none of the above sounds appealing, head into the nearby Diglett Cave and catch yourself a Diglett. Digletts know Dig and will much later learn powerful attacks like Earthquake, making one a great addition to your team.
- Charmeleon or Growlithe: If you're training the Charmander given to you by the gentleman north of Cerulean or a Growlithe you caught outside Vermillion, you can use it without fear against Magnemite. These Fire-types will do great at the next Gym, so it doesn't hurt to train them early.
The next Gym Leader you'll face is Erika, a Grass-type trainer who once again brings some pesky dual-typing that can make your day harder if you're not prepared. Two out of three of her team members are Grass/Poison Pokémon, meaning Bug-type Pokémon aren't recommended here. In addition, her Vileplume knows Moonblast, a Fairy-type move that may catch you by surprise.
Fortunately, Grass-types are otherwise easy to deal with by using several Pokémon you probably already have been training.
*Charmeleon, Growlithe, Ponyta, or Vulpix: You have lots of options for Fire-type Pokémon at this point in the game. Bust out your favorite and Flamethrower her entire team down with ease. *Pidgeotto, Fearow: If you're somehow not raising a Fire-type at this stage, either of the evolved Flying-type Pokémon will also prove an effective ally against Erika
That stealthy Poison-typing Erika was using? Yeah, Koga brings it in full force. His team of Poison Pokémon are fortunately easy enough to deal with using the same team you used for Lt. Surge. Hope you've been keeping those Ground-types leveled up!
- Dugtrio, Sandslash, Onix, Graveler/Golem: Ground-type Pokémon love this fight. Do be aware that pure Ground-type moves won't work against Koga's Golbat, as it's a Flying-type, but a solid Rock-type move (which all of these should be able to learn) will bring it down.
- Pikachu: If you're playing Let's Go! Pikachu, your Pika companion can be used safely against Golbat to mess with its Flying-type.
- Charizard, Arcanine, Rapidash, or Ninetales: If you're still raising a Fire-type, you can bring it against Venomoth's Bug-typing.
Though not the final Gym Leader, Sabrina is the most difficult to defeat by virtue of her type of choice: Psychic. Psychic Pokémon have few weaknesses, only going down to Ghost-types, Dark, and other Psychics. Bringing a Psychic-type is a bit of a dangerous gamble here. You can find Ghosts aplenty in Lavender Town, but Gastly and its line are Ghost/Poison-types, meaning they don't end up being strong against Psychic. Dark-types, meanwhile, are rare and hard to get.
If you're not willing to go out of your way to find either of the three types above, I recommend bringing the strongest of anything you have that isn't weak to Psychic. Your starting Partner can be a valuable asset in this fight if it's over-leveled and knows strong moves. Otherwise, here are a few helpful companions that will let you get by.
- Alolan Raticate: Though Dark-types are rare in Kanto, there's one you can get early on. You can trade a Rattata to a woman in the Cerulean City Pokémon Center for an Alolan Rattata, which is a Dark-type Pokémon and will learn strong moves like Crunch. If you got this Pokémon and have been training it, it can devastate Sabrina's team.
- Magneton: Magnemite can be found at the Power Plant and are Electric/Steel-types. Their Steel-type moves are one of the few things that will put the hurt on Sabrina's Mr. Mime, which is a Fairy/Psychic Pokémon, and its Electric attacks will also hurt her Slowbro.
- Charizard, Arcanine, Rapidash, Ninetales: Have I mentioned it's great to train Fire-type Pokémon in this game? Jinx, a Psychic/Ice-type, will fall with a solid Flamethrower from any of these.
After that nightmare of a Sabrina fight, Blaine is about as cut-and-dry as they come. He trains Fire-type Pokémon, which all know almost exclusively Fire-type moves and with no pesky dual-type nonsense. Bring your strongest Water and Ground-types for this match, and go to town.
- Blastoise, Lapras, or whatever Water-type you're training: You haven't really needed them yet, but now's a good time to train up a Water-type for your team if you haven't already. Lapras can be gotten for free at Silph Co, and you should have received a Squirtle long ago from Officer Jenny in Vermillion.
- Sandslash, Dugtrio, or whatever Ground-type you're training: It's hard to go wrong here. Dig, Earthquake, and Magnitude will end the battle almost instantly.
I don't want to say Giovanni is a cakewalk, but I will say he's no Sabrina. Giovanni uses Ground-type Pokémon, and if you've followed any of the other recommendations so far, you already have the team to beat him. Though his team does have some dual-typing, none of them are deadly combinations against what I'm telling you to bring.
- Blastoise, Lapras, any other Water-type: Just like with Blaine, a well-positioned Hydro Pump or Surf will make short of every member of his team.
- Vileplume, Venusaur, any other Grass-type: Be cautioned that Grass-type moves won't be as effective on Nidoqueen or Nidoking, but are a great choice to fight Dugtrio and Rhydon.
Still need help?
Stuck on a specific Gym fight? Let me know who is giving you trouble in the comments and I'll try to help!
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