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Strongest trainers in the anime

Jan 31, 2009
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Who are the strongest trainers in the anime? I only want to limit this to trainers who we have seen with at least 6 pokemon. Therefore, someone like Cynthia wouldn't qualify since we have only seen her Garchomp and Glaceon. Agatha, Flint, Loreli/Prima, Bruno, Drake (hoenn elite four), and other members of the elite four wouldn't qualify since we don't know what their full teams look like.

For me, its a tie between Brandon and Alain. Brandon has three Regi's as well as powerful pokemon like Duscloops, Solrock and Ninjask. I would like to see a proper six on six battle of Brandon vs Ash. I could see it being a very tough battle for Ash. However, if Ash were to use his best pokemon from all reigions, i think he may be able to prevail.

Alain has that absurdly overpowered Charizard. It also helps that he has two fully evolved pseudo legendaries and three other fairly strong pokemon. If Ash could find a way to get past that overpowered Charizard, i could see Ash beating him in a six on six battle.

Paul would be third for me. Yes, Ash beat him. But Paul did not use his Torterra, Magmortar, Ursaring etc. If Paul used his best six pokemon, it would take Ash's best overall team (using pokemon from different regions) to beat him.

My overall rankings:

  1. Brandon
  2. Alain
  3. Paul
  4. Tyson
  5. Gary
  6. Drake (Orange islands)
  7. Sawyer
Hear me roar!
Jul 16, 2010
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The strongest trainer without a doubt is Champion Cynthia. I'd also include the likes of Steven Stone, Brandon, Professor Kukui, and Paul.
May 21, 2019
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Cynthia's probably the strongest trainer that we've seen onscreen followed by Alain and then Brandon. Then comes Paul, Kukui, Steven and Diantha.
Avatar of Shadows
Sep 29, 2006
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The champions of their respective regions would be the strongest trainers. As for others' I'd have to say, Brandon, Paul, Alain, Ash (I'm going by both Sinnoh and Kalos.)
Active Member
Sep 1, 2019
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Your 6 Pokemon rule doesn't make much sense to me. The reason no one's seen the rest of Cynthia's Pokemon is because no one has been strong enough to make it that far. But between the 7 you selected:

  1. Alain - Ash was unable to beat him even at his strongest.
  2. Sawyer - Ash was barely able to beat him at his strongest
  3. Brandon - Again Ash barely manged to defeat, but his team wasn't nearly as strong as it was in XY. I put him above Paul because I don't think Ash wouldn't have been able to defeat all 3 Reggies either.
  4. Paul - Nearly equal to Ash in DP, but Ash got stronger in XY, at least with Greninja.
  5. Gary - Ash beat him, but needed to use his strongest Pokemon. Gary has also improved since Jhoto and even beat Ash before DP.
  6. Tyson - Ash lost to, but with a pretty under powered team. If he used the same Pokemon he used against Gary, he surely would have won.
  7. Drake - What? Anyone could beat drake.
Although I would put Tobias above any of the 7. To be fair though, he's the only trainer we've seen that exclusively uses legendaries. And I suppose I'm just assuming the rest of his team are equally strong as Darkrai/Latios.

Edit: I guess we'll have to add Kukui to the list too. I'd slot him above Gary, but he's not as methodical and competitive as Paul.
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Feb 21, 2019
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Not counting Champions and E4s
  1. Lysandre (it was an 8v2 and Lysandre still lasted incredibly long)
  2. Ash (best team)
  3. Alain
  4. Tobias/Kukui
  5. Sawyer/Remo
  6. Paul
Jun 24, 2017
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Alain's definitely the strongest non-E4 character that we've seen throughout the whole series imo. I would've said Ash since he's accomplished a lot and has many powerful Pokemon, but his inconsistency is what puts him lower than Alain on my tier of trainers.
Dec 14, 2008
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I wouldn't call someone equal in power to Satoshi as one of the "strongest."
Aug 10, 2019
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Does this list also include Deux Ex Machinas? Because if not, then Alain and Tobias should be instantly deleted.