Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver boss battle guide

The trick for all the boss and Gym battles is to be prepared. Make sure you’re stocked up on potions and remember to get your Pokemon to hold any Special Items or Berries you’ve picked up along the way – they’re often the difference between success or failure. Note in each of our entries where we've suggested the ‘Average Team Level’ – it’s a good indication of what level your team should be trained to.

Go here for our Starting Strategy Guide and here for our Hidden Secrets Guide.


Violet Gym
Gym Leader:

Pokemon: Pidgey (Level 9) Pidgeotto (Lv 13)
Your average team level: Lv 15
Tactics: If you picked Cyndaquil you’ll have an easy ride here (it should really have evolved into Quilava by now). With the other starter Pokemon, as long as you’ve grinded your levels to around Lv 14/15, Falkner’s rubbish twin birds should fall easily.

Azalea Gym
Gym Leader:

Pokemon: Kakuna (Lv 15) Metapod (Lv 15) Scyther (Lv 17)
Your average team level: Lv 18
Tactics: Scyther is the main threat here – so target its weakness to Fire. If you picked up a Geodude from the Dark Cave you’ll find that his rock-based attacks are very handy here.

Goldenrod Gym
Gym Leader:

Pokemon: Clefairy (Lv 17) Milktank (Lv 19)
Your average team level: Lv 20
Tactics: Watch for Clefairy’s Charm as it will prevent you from attacking. The biggest threat is Milktank, whose Rollout and Stomp attacks can take you out pretty quickly. Her low Sp. Def however, makes her susceptible to your Special Attacks.

Ecruteak Gym
Gym Leader:

Pokemon: Haunter (Lv 21) Gastly (Lv 21) Haunter Lv 23) Gengar (Lv 25)
Your average team level: Lv 26
Tactics: Normal and ground attacks are useless here – so focus on your specials. Curse will be used often and will give decent damage each time so potions are advisable. We found Spinarak’s Night Shade useful here.

Cianwood Gym
Gym Leader:

Pokemon: Primeape (Lv 29) Poliwrath (Lv 31)
Your average team level: Lv 30
Tactics: Hopefully, you’ll have picked up and evolved a Flaffy along the way. Now’s the time to use it – mainly for that Leve 31 Poliwrath. Primeape will be susceptible to Flying and Psychic attacks.

Olivine Gym
Gym Leader:

Pokemon: Magnemite (Lv 30) Magnemite (Lv 30) Steelix (Lv 35)
Your average team level: Lv 34
Tactics: Magnemites are easy takedowns using Ground or Fire moves. Steelix’s defence is high, though, so use a decent Water, Fire of Electric Pokemon.

Mahogany Gym
Gym Leader:

Pokemon: Seel (Lv 30) Dewgong (Lv 32) Piloswine (Lv 34)
Your average team level: Lv 36
Tactics: Start with an Electric-type to get through Seel and Dewgong nice and quick before switching to a decent Grass, Water or Fire type to finish him.

Blackthorn Gym
Gym Leader:

Pokemon: Gyarados (Lv 38) Dragonair (Lv 38) Dragonair (Lv 38) Kingdra (Lv 41)
Your average team level: Lv 45
Tactics: Open with an Electric-type to take care of Gyara. Whip out your Red Gyara from the Lake of Rage (you DID get it right?) and spam its Ice Fang to get the better of the Dragonairs. Kingdra’s resistant to virtually everything – so strong Normal moves are best.

The Elite Four

Pokemon: Xatu (Lv 40) Slowbro (Lv 41) Junx (Lv 41) Exeggutor (Lv 41) Xatu (Lv 42)
Tactics: Dark or Ghost types are a great bet in this battle as you can use them to take down every single one of Will’s Pokemon with relative ease.

The Elite Four

Pokemon: Ariados (Lv 40) Forretress (Lv 43) Muk (Lv 42) Venomoth (Lv 41) Crobat (Lv 44)
Tactics: For a ‘one type fits all solution’ use Steel types for the win. If you have Steelix (and you should) this is your best bet. If not, use Fire for Ariados, Water or Electric for Forretress, Ground and Psychic for Muk, Fire again for Venemoth and Electric or Psychic for Crobat.

The Elite Four

Pokemon: Hitmontop (Lv 42) Hitmonlee (Lv 42) Hitmonchan (Lv 42) Onix (Lv 43) Machamp (Lv 46)
Tactics: Flying and Psychic types are great for this battle – and will frustrate Bruno’s fighting types, even its tough Machamp. Onix is an easy target for Water and Ice attacks.

The Elite Four

Pokemon: Umbreon (Lv 42) Vileplume (Lv 42) Murkrow (Lv 44) Gengar (Lv 45) Houndoom (Lv 47)
Tactics: We took down Umbreon using Bug attacks and Murkrow using Electric specials while our starter’s (now a Typhlosion) Fire attacks took care of Vileplume easily. Psychic is the way to go with Gengar; Ground or Rock attacks should be used to defeat her Houndoom.

Johto Champion

Pokemon: Gyarados (Lv 46) Charizard (Lv 48) Aerodactyl (Lv 48) Dragonite (Lv 49) Dragonite (Lv 49) Dragonite (Lv 50)
Tactics: Ice attacks will take care of the three Dragonites easily. We used our Lake of Rage Gyarados – though the Thunder Dragonite was a sticking point. His Gyarados is easily taken out with Electric attacks, as is Aerodactyle. Charizard is susceptible to Rock attacks.

Check the next page for the Kanto leaders.




  • NeoKef - April 2, 2010 6:41 p.m.

    Wow, I don't remember having to level up that high to beat these guys. Hopefully the only problem will be the grind I need to do between the 7th and 8th gym leader.
  • gangjute8 - April 2, 2010 6:43 p.m.

    Love the new design for the Gym leaders, especially Brock. Anyway, good guide. I'll have to use this sometime.
  • MediocreDinosaur - April 2, 2010 6:52 p.m.

  • loonyman978 - April 2, 2010 6:55 p.m.

    Yikes, you only need to be level 42 to start the elite four?!! Im usually 95 plus. But thats only because I ONLY use the starter pokemon in fights. You can beat the entire game with four pokemon, using only one for battles and the rest for Hms
  • onewingedantista - April 2, 2010 7:36 p.m.

    @loonyman978: Your INSANE! @Brett: Whitney is a pushover if you trade for the Machop on lvl 5 of the goldenrod Mart.
  • TrigunGunner - April 2, 2010 7:42 p.m.

    The new Gym Leader designs are awesome!!
  • Cyberninja - April 2, 2010 9:22 p.m.

    i am badass enough to beat morty using only my normal pokemon all you have to do is use foresight and normal moves will be good enough to beat him.
  • hrvt_moon_fan - April 3, 2010 3:26 a.m.

    First. Who is Janine??? second...I LOVE Misty's new look. It'd be better if she still had the red suspenders tho.
  • noofer7 - April 3, 2010 12:34 p.m.

    @MediocreDinosaur Calm down dude. What's wrong with Brock being white? He's always been white.
  • Amatarasu - April 3, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    so you suggjest we change out pokemon randomly JUST for gym battles? also i hate how they absoloutly screw you with wild and trainer pokemon they are all 10 lvls less than the gym ones, forcing you to grind wiled pokemons
  • mubobi7593 - April 4, 2010 12:26 a.m.

    "Water or Electric for Forretress" >_> ...why not exploit its x4 weakness to fire? It IS a bug/steel after all...
  • TheotherRed - April 4, 2010 2:08 a.m.

    Hah Red was reasonably easy but only becouse I traded over my origonal team from pearl (Infernape,Garchomp,Abomasnow,Machamp,Luxray, Nidoking) which are all Lvl 100 and being that theyre the ones like the most it seemed fitting they should be given the legendary ribbon (you can only fight him once as far as I know).
  • big rudy - April 4, 2010 4:16 a.m.

    Sorry guys, but this guide really wasn't helpful for me. I could have figured all this stuff out before I even looked at the gym leader. And you said to use an electric type on steelix, steelix is a ground type.
  • theschwartzb - April 4, 2010 4:40 p.m.

    When the hell was Brock black? I always thought he just had a good tan.
  • legory - April 4, 2010 5:14 p.m.

    I beat Red with level 60 Pokemon. Damn, that was a hard 2 hours of full restores and revives.
  • Amatarasu - April 4, 2010 5:41 p.m.

    also, why the hell is blue the leader of viridian? wtf! were is giovani! Giovani! boss!, team rocket is back! were here!
  • Crabhand - April 4, 2010 7:39 p.m.

    In Gold/Silver Giovanni is replaced with Blue, since Team Rocket was kind of exposed in Red/Blue/Yellow.
  • McSpermie - April 5, 2010 4:04 a.m.

    I don't understand why all these people leave these condescending comments about how much better they are than you whenever you post something about pokemon (aka mubobi/big rudy). Good article none the less.
  • Doctalen - April 5, 2010 4:10 a.m.

    Why does your team have to be lvl 45 for the elite four? From what I remember from the originals silver and gold versions I got through them with 35-42ish lvl pokemon. About Red, DO NOT USE FULL HEALS, they are wasteful and useless. Use full restores they are the best medicine around. Recaptcha: by owned Is that appropriate or ironic?
  • McSpermie - April 5, 2010 5:49 a.m.

    @Doctalen They made the Elite Four a little more difficult, but you should make it through with lv.40-45 pokemon. On a side note I agree with you about full heals but full restores can be expensive...

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