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Pokemon Sword and Shield Gym Leaders: Who they are and how to beat them all

(Image credit: Nintendo)

If you want to be the best, like no-one ever was, you're going to have to take down eight Pokemon Sword and Shield Gym Leaders that lie in the way of you and the 'Unbeatable' Champion Leon. The Gym Challenge will see you work your way through them earning medals, as is the Pokemon norm, and then you'll be into the semi-finals and finals before you prove that Leon isn't quite as unbeatable as he thinks he is. So you don't go into each Stadium totally blind, we've put together a guide to all the Pokemon Sword and Shield Gym Leaders, and who the Pokemon in their party are, what the Gym Mission will be, and a few tips on what to pack in your own party if you want to be super effective. 

**Warning, this guide contains spoilers for gym leaders, their Pokemon, the gym missions and more so if you want to go in fresh, please click away now!**

(Image credit: Nintendo)

1. Turffield Gym

Leader: Milo
Type: Grass

(Image credit: Nintendo)

As you'd expect from a Grass Gym, all the trainers and Gym Leader Milo are armed with Grass Type Pokemon. Before you enter the stadium you'll need to arm yourself with a Fire Type Pokemon, which is handy if you've chosen Scorbunny as your Starter. However, Grass Types are also weak to Fire, Flying, Ice, Poison, and Bug Type Pokemon, so bear that in mind before you head inside.

Gym Mission: Wooloo herding. Yes, you read that right. You'll need to herd a flock of 20 Wooloo through a number of obstacles, avoiding distracting Yampers, and occasionally battling unavoidable Gym Trainers, all of which are armed with Grass Type Pokemon. 

Grass Gym Leader Milo:

Gossifluer - Lv. 19
Type
: Grass
Weakness: Fire, Flying, Ice, Poison, and Bug
Will it Dynamax?: No

Eldegoss - Lv. 20
Type
: Grass
Weakness: Fire, Flying, Ice, Poison, and Bug
Will it Dynamax?: Yes

Rewards: Can catch Pokemon up to Lv. 25, train Pokemon up to Lv. 30, TM10 Magical Leaf, and the Grass Uniform. 

2. Hulbury Gym

Leader: Nessa
Type: Water

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Water Gym is second on your Gym Challenge journey, meaning you'll need to come prepared with a Grass, or Electric Type in your party in order to pack super effective moves against Nessa's crew, and the Gym Trainers you'll battle along the way. The Hulbury Gym is probably the most traditional Gym Challenge you'll face in Pokemon Sword and Shield, with a puzzle to solve before you face Nessa herself.

Gym Mission: Making your way to Nessa involves using Switches to direct the flow of water falling from different coloured pipes. Along the way you'll fight Gym Trainers armed with Water Type Pokemon. 

You'll need to move through the Gym, and press the switches in this order:

Area 1: Red. Yellow. Red
Area 2: Yellow. Red
Area 3: Yellow (down the steps past the trainer). Red. Blue. You'll then be able to go down the yellow steps and up to Nessa. 

Water Gym Leader Nessa
Goldeen - Lv. 20
Type:
Water
Weakness: Electric, Grass
Will it Dynamax?: No

Arrokuda - Lv. 23
Type:
Water
Weakness: Electric, Grass
Will it Dynamax?: No

Drednaw - Lv. 24
Type
: Water / Rock
Weakness: Electric, Grass, Fighting, Ground
Will it Dynamax?: Yes

Rewards: Can catch Pokemon up to Lv. 30, train Pokemon up to Lv. 35, TM36 Whirpool, and the Water Uniform. 

3. Motostoke Gym

Leader: Kabu
Type: Fire

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Fire Gym is headed up by Kabu, and although it's located in Motostoke, you won't be able to challenge him until Gym Number 3 in your Gym Challenge journey. If you've chosen Sobble as your starter, this is your time to shine as to take down the Fire Type Gym residents, you'll need a Pokemon with Water, Ground or Rock Type moves. 

Gym Mission: In order to face Kabu, you'll have to earn five points by either defeating wild Pokemon, or catching them. Defeating them earns you one point, while catching them gets you two. However, for each wild Pokemon battle, you'll be paired with a Gym Trainer. So if you want to a) catch these rare Pokemon and b) earn the most points, you'd do well to just fling out a Great Ball as soon as the battle starts. We found all catch attempts were successful first time, meaning you'll earn yourself a Vulpix, Litwick and the new Sizzlipede as part of your rewards. 

Fire Gym Leader Kabu

Ninetales - Lv. 25
Type:
Fire
Weakness: Water, Rock, Ground
Will it Dynamax?: No

Arcanine - Lv. 25
Type:
Fire
Weakness: Water, Rock, Ground
Will it Dynamax?: No

Centiskorch - Lv. 27
Type
: Fire / Bug
Weakness: Water, Rock, Ground
Will it Dynamax?: Yes

Rewards: Can catch Pokemon up to Lv. 35, train Pokemon up to Lv. 40, TM38 Will-O-Wisp, and the Fire Uniform

4. Stow-on-Side Gym in Pokemon Shield

Leader: Allister
Type: Ghost

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Taking on the Ghost Gym is partly great fun, and partly a test of your skills thus far. In order to take on the Ghost Type Gym you'll need to make sure you've got Pokemon with Dark, Steel or Ghost Type moves. Allister's crew are going to be tough otherwise as Ghost Type Pokemon can be tricky to attack.

Gym Mission: Possibly the most fun of all the Gym Missions in Pokemon Sword and Shield, the Ghost Gym will ask you to ride in a cup-shaped car, spinning the joystick left or right to move in those directions, avoiding obstacles and using glowing green hands to boost you up where necessary. It's fairly straightforward to move through, although there are some Gym Trainer battles to complete between sections of track. 

Ghost Gym Leader Allister

Galarian Yamask - Lv. 34
Type
: Ground / Ghost
Weakness: Dark, Steel, Water
Will it Dynamax?: No

Galarian Corsola aka Cursola - Lv. 35
Type
: Ghost
Weakness: Dark, Ghost
Will it Dynamax?: No

Mimikyu - Lv. 34
Type:
Ghost
Weakness: Ghost, Steel
Will it Dynamax?: No

Gengar - Lv. 36
Type:
Ghost
Weakness: Ghost, Dark, Psychic
Will it Dynamax?: Yes

Rewards: Can catch Pokemon up to Lv. 40, train Pokemon up to Lv. 45, TM77 Hex, and the Ghost Uniform. 

4. Stow-on-Side Gym in Pokemon Sword

Leader: Bea
Type: Fighting

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Gym Mission: The Gym Mission for Stow-on-Side is quite similar across both the Pokemon Sword and Shield Gym Leaders. In Pokemon Sword, you need to slide down a slope, moving left and right by rotating the control stick, and using various punching gloves to move yourself around even more. 

Fighting Gym Leader Bea

Hitmontop - Lv. 34
Type:
Fighting
Weakness: Psychic, Flying, Fairy
Will it Dynamax?: No

Pangoro - Lv. 34
Type: Fighting / Dark
Weakness: Psychic, Flying, Fairy
Will it Dynamax?: No

Sirfetch'd - Lv. 35
Type:
Fighting
Weakness: Psychic, Flying, Fairy
Will it Dynamax?: No

Machamp - Lv. 36
Type:
Fighting
Weakness: Psychic, Flying, Fairy
Will it Dynamax?: Yes

5. Ballonlea Gym

Leader: Opal
Type: Fairy

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Opal's clearly one of the best characters in the entirety of Pokemon Sword and Shield, and therefore makes her Gym a little different to the rest. Technically it simply takes the form of a straightforward series of Gym Battles, but with a twist. It's a Fairy Type Gym though, so you'll need to go in with Psychic, or Poison Type Pokemon moves if possible. However, because Fairy Types are usually twinned with another type, you might want to pay close attention to what Pokemon Opal has in her party before you hit the stadium. 

Gym Mission: In between battling Fairy Gym Trainers, you're also auditioning to be the next Fairy Gym Leader – Opal's 88 after all – meaning you'll be answering questions about the Gym, Opal, and Fairy Type Pokemon. The questions and correct answers are as follows:

Do you know about Fairy type's weakness?

a) Poison Type (correct)

b) Steel Type 

What was the previous Trainer's name?

What do I eat for breakfast every morning?

**Questions continue during main Gym battle**

Do you know my nickname?

What is my favorite color?

How old am I?

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Fairy Gym Leader Opal

Galarian Weezing - Lv. 36
Type:
Poison / Fairy
Weakness: Psychic, Steel
Will it Dynamax?: No

Mawile - Lv. 36
Type:
Fairy, Steel
Weakness: Ground, Fire
Will it Dynamax?: No

Togekiss - Lv. 37
Type:
Fairy / Flying
Weakness: Electric, Rock, Ice, Poison, Steel
Will it Dynamax?: No

Alcremie - Lv. 38
Type:
Fairy
Weakness: Dark, Poison, Steel
Will it Dynamax?: Yes

Rewards: Can catch Pokemon up to Lv. 45, train Pokemon up to Lv. 50, TM87 Draining Kiss, and the Fairy Uniform. 

6. Circhester Gym in Pokemon Shield

Leader: Melony
Type: Ice

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Like Nessa's Water Gym back in Tuffield, Melody's Ice Gym is a slightly more traditional Pokemon Gym. You'll need to work your way through an area where the floor will collapse beneath your feet with any false steps, using a detector that'll tell you when you're close to a big ol' hole. There are Gym Trainers en route, all armed with Ice Type Pokemon, so make sure you've got some Fighting, Steel, Rock or Fire Type Pokemon with you. 

Gym Mission: As we mentioned before, the Ice Gym Mission is all about navigating a trecherous floor. You've got a handy detector with you, but here's a little walkthrough for you, talking as if the playing field is on a grid. 

Area 1: Go forward two - right three until you hit the rock - up three - left three - up three into the platform - fight the Gym Trainer - exit left off the platform - go left three - up three or until you're one line from the top - go right until you hit the rock - exit the area

Area 2: Go forward five - head left until you hit the rock - go up two - left one - up until you hit the rock - right one - move onto the platform - battle the Gym Trainer - exit the platform at the top but don't go up further than one tile - move right one or two until you're one tile from the next platform on your right - go up one - move right onto the next platform - battle the gym Trainer - exit the platform on the right - go up until you're parallel with the trainer on your left - go right all the way to the wall - go up until you hit the rock - go left until you hit the rock - go up one - move left until you can step onto the platform at the top

Area 3: Enter the area in the left lane - go up three - left two - up one - left one - up until you hit the rock - right one - move up onto the platform - go all the way up the platform - battle the trainer at the top - exit the platform on the right below the trainer - go right until you hit the wall - go up three - left two - up one - left one - up two - left one - up two - right one - up until you reach the platform - exit either left or right - go up and around the blocks until you get to the platform.

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Ice Gym Leader Melony

Frosmoth - Lv. 40
Type
: Ice / Bug
Weakness: Fire
Will it Dynamax?: No

Darmanitan - Lv. 40
Type:
Ice
Weakness: Fighting, Steel, Fire, Rock
Will it Dynamax?: No

Eiscue - Lv. 41
Type:
Ice
Weakness: Fighting, Steel, Fire, Rock
Will it Dynamax?: No

Lapras - Lv. 42
Type
: Water / Ice
Weakness: Electric, Rock, Fighting, Grass
Will it Dynamax?: Yes

Rewards: Can catch Pokemon up to Lv. 50, train Pokemon up to Lv. 60, TM27 Icy Wind, and an Ice Uniform. 

6. Circhester Gym in Pokemon Sword

Leader: Gordie
Type: Rock

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Geordie's Rock Gym takes the same form as Melony's Gym, but with a sand and stone theme rather than ice. where you'll still need to work your way through an area with a collapsible floor. You'll get a little help from a detector that'll tell you when you're close to a section of the floor that's unstable, but there are Gym Trainers to face too, all armed with Rock Type Pokemon, so make sure you've got some Ground, Fighting, Grass, Ice or Steel Type Pokemon with you. 

Gym Mission: Here's a little walkthrough for you to get you through the Rock Type Gym Mission, talking as if the playing field is on a grid. 

Area 1: Go forward two - right three until you hit the rock - up three - left three - up three into the platform - fight the Gym Trainer - exit left off the platform - go left three - up three or until you're one line from the top - go right until you hit the rock - exit the area

Area 2: Go forward five - head left until you hit the rock - go up two - left one - up until you hit the rock - right one - move onto the platform - battle the Gym Trainer - exit the platform at the top but don't go up further than one tile - move right one or two until you're one tile from the next platform on your right - go up one - move right onto the next platform - battle the gym Trainer - exit the platform on the right - go up until you're parallel with the trainer on your left - go right all the way to the wall - go up until you hit the rock - go left until you hit the rock - go up one - move left until you can step onto the platform at the top

Area 3: Enter the area in the left lane - go up three - left two - up one - left one - up until you hit the rock - right one - move up onto the platform - go all the way up the platform - battle the trainer at the top - exit the platform on the right below the trainer - go right until you hit the wall - go up three - left two - up one - left one - up two - left one - up two - right one - up until you reach the platform - exit either left or right - go up and around the blocks until you get to the platform.

Rock Gym Leader Gordie

Barbaracle - Lv. 40
Type: Rock / Water
Weakness: Electric, Grass, Fighting, Ground
Will it Dynamax?: No

Shuckle - Lv. 40
Type: Bug / Rock
Weakness: Water, Bug, Steel
Will it Dynamax?: No

Stonjourner - Lv. 41
Type: Rock
Weakness: Ground, Fighting, Grass, Ice
Will it Dynamax?: No

Coalossal - Lv. 42
Type: Rock / Fire
Weakness: Water, Fighting, Ground
Will it Dynamax?: Yes

Rewards: Can catch Pokemon up to Lv. 50, train Pokemon up to Lv. 60, TM48 Rock Tomb, and a Rock Uniform. 

7. Spikemuth Gym

Leader: Piers
Type: Dark

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Spikemuth is on lockdown, so it's up to Marnie to sneak you in the back way to battle her brother Piers, the Spikemuth Gym Leader. You should go in with Flying, Fighting and Fairy Type Pokemon to battle against his army of darkness. 

Gym Mission: Because Spikemuth is off limits at the moment, the Gym Mission involves defeating a load of Team Yell members – often Gym Trainers in disguise – moving through the back alleys and even coming across a Detective Pikachu reference or two. No puzzles, tricks or quizzes here, just a test of battling stamina. 

Dark Gym Leader Piers

Scrafty - Lv. 44
Type:
Fighting / Dark
Weakness: Fighting, Flying, Fairy
Will it Dynamax?: No

Malamar - Lv. 45
Type:
Psychic / Dark
Weakness: Bug, Fairy
Will it Dynamax?: No

Galarian Obstagoon - Lv. 46
Type:
Dark / Normal
Weakness: Fighting, Fairy
Will it Dynamax?: No

Skuntank - Lv. 45
Type:
Poison / Dark
Weakness: Ground
Will it Dynamax?: No

Rewards: Can catch Pokemon up to Lv. 55, train Pokemon up to Lv. 70, TM27 Icy Wind, and a Dark Uniform.

8. Hammerlocke Gym

Leader: Raihan
Type: Dragon

(Image credit: Nintendo)

You'll have been through Hammerlocke many times before you can eventually battle its Gym Leader, Raihan. He's the Dragon Gym Leader, and the final hurdle in the Gym Challenge – before the semi-finals and finals that is. His team is tough, so you'll want to arm yourself with a range of Pokemon to try and undercut the type combinations his team offers. But, where possible, have a Fairy, Rock, or Ice Type move up your sleeve to hit the Dragon Type's weaknesses. The entire Gym Battle is themed around double battles too, so you'll need to be, well, doubly prepared, and he'll use the weather against you where possible.

Gym Mission: One last semi-straightforward mission to round out the Gym Challenge. All you've got to do is defeat three Gym Trainers in double battles, which means thinking about your pairings before you head into each battle. The Gym Trainers are as follows:

1. Gym Trainer Sebastian
Pelipper (Water / Flying Type) and Sliggoo (Dragon Type)

2. Gym Trainer Camilla
Turtonator (Fire / Dragon Type) and Ninetales (Fire Type)

3. Gym Trainer Aria
Hakamo-o (Dragon / Fighting Type) and Abomasnow (Grass / Ice Type)

Dragon Gym Leader Raihan

PAIR ONE

1. Flygon - Lv. 47
Type:
Ground / Dragon
Weakness: Ice, Fairy, Dragon
Will it Dynamax?: No

2. Gigalith - Lv. 46
Type:
Rock
Weakness: Water, Grass, Fighting, Ground, Steel
Will it Dynamax?: No

PAIR TWO
1. Sandaconda - Lv. 46
Type:
Ground
Weakness: Flying, Bug, Grass
Will it Dynamax?: No

2. Duraludon - Lv. 48
Type:
Steel / Dragon
Weakness: Ice, Fairy
Will it Dynamax?: Yes

Rewards: Can catch and train Pokemon of any level, TM99 Breaking Swipe, and a Dragon Uniform. 

Pokemon Sword and Shield badges

(Image credit: Nintendo)

All the Pokemon Sword and Shield badges eventually fit together to make a glorious coin-like structure, which you can view on the League Card section of the menu. Unfortunately you can't shine it like you could in old games, but I would pay serious money to have one in real life. 

Turn to page two for our guide to the Pokemon and trainers you'll face in the semi-finals, finals and the Champion.

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