One of the most popular aspects of Pokémon is the Pokémon games. Being able to compose your own team of 6 pocket monsters to take down team rocket, the élite four, every trainer and legendary Pokémon, but most importantly gym leaders. We all have had our fair share of tough Pokémon battles, but there are some gym leaders that just stood out and left us with haunting memories of what falls short of torture. We have decided to give a list of gym leaders that we have found to be the toughest gym leaders up to generation 3. Enjoy!

5. Sabrina, Pokémon Red/Yellow/Blue


There is a reason why Sabrina makes this list, in the early gen 1 games there wasn’t a difference of special attack or defense. Since both special attack and defense was listed as the same stat, special, her Pokémon were tough to bring down. Offering strong special psychic attacks to the challengers, with a high special defense based on a technicality, Sabrina sits firmly at number 5.

4. Flannery, Emerald/Ruby/Sapphire


Scorching her place at number 4, Flannery. She was the fire gym leader in generation 3, and she shown no mercy with her lethal combination of Sunny Day and fire attacks. What makes her particularly difficult enough to land at number four is her Torkoal. Sunny Day + Overheat = Water Pokémon faint.

Her set up was perfect with Torkoal. Overheat lowers the user’s special attack greatly, but she had a white herb held by her Torkoal which prevents stat lowering for one turn. Leaving her Torkoal to set ablaze to your team before unleashing his body slams to finish you off.

3. Claire, Silver/Gold/Crystal


Claire was the 8th gym leader in gen 2, she took on challengers with her team of what was once the toughest type of Pokémon, dragon. However, the fact that she uses dragon type Pokémon isn’t what makes her tough, seeing as how you can take out over half of her team with ice punch and thunder.

What makes her tough is her final Pokémon. Kingdra was a beast of a Pokémon that was typed to the point that it had one weakness, dragon. Dragon Pokémon aren’t available until after you manage to get past this powerhouse. To top it off, her Kingdra held a Sitrus Berry which restored a great portion of health that you worked so hard to knock down.

2. Whitney, Silver/Gold/Crystal


Speaking of gen 2, and yes everyone knew she would be here, at number 2 we talk about the root of all our childhood nerd rage. Whitney’s Miltank. This Pokémon is the reason for several broken handhelds, even in the later games of SoulSilver and HeartGold she offers a fair challenge.

The combination of attract and rollout offered an unstoppable force. Backed up by milk drink, and a lack of fighting types to this point, she steam rolls us and sits pretty at number 2.

1. Tate & Liza, Emerald/Ruby/Sapphire


Since gen 3 introduced double battles, you knew you would have to face a gym leader under the same rules. Tate & Liza offer up a dynamic duo of psychic type Pokémon that are cross classed to prevent you from one hitting them into submission.

Their Lunatone and Solrock haunt the memories of many trainers who spent a lot of time trying to quickly level up to our speed and hit hard enough to wipe them out with surf and other moves that play off their weaknesses.

That wraps it up for our top 5 toughest gym leaders up to gen 3. Please bare in mind that this list is compiled of our opinions and many people found them to be the most challenging battles in the series.

If you found other gym leaders to be challenging, we would like to know! Let us know who your most feared gym leader is and why, and as always thank you for reading.