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Pokémon Sword and Shield guide: How to beat the Pokémon League

The champion battle is actually quite tough, if you’re not prepared

The stadium in Wyndon, where the Pokémon League is held in Pokémon Sword and Shield Game Freak/The Pokémon Company via Polygon
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

Pokémon Sword and Shield’s version of the Elite Four is different than what you normally have in Pokémon games.

Instead of battling four consistent trainers back-to-back, you’ll first face off against your rivals to qualify for the competition. After this, you’ll be pit against a select assortment of the gym leaders you battled previously. (They’re after the Champion title, as well.) After beating them in a bracket format, you’ll go against the champion.

Note that you will be healed between battles, as you’ll return to a waiting room. While in the waiting room, you cannot access your PC or swap out your Pokémon, so make sure you’re running a balanced party. I used Bewear, Quagsire, Tsareena, Morpeko, Cinderace, and Togekiss, though the Champion battle still made me work for my title.

To make sure you’ll be properly prepared, check out the opponents’ teams below.

Qualifier battles

A Quagsire battles Marnie’s Morpeko Game Freak/The Pokémon Company via Polygon


Marnie will Gigantamax her Grimmsnarl once it gets thrown onto the field.

  1. Liepard, level 47, dark
  2. Scrafty, level 47, dark/fighting
  3. Toxicroak, level 47, poison/fighting
  4. Morpeko, level 48, electric/dark
  5. Grimmsnarl, level 49, fairy/dark


Hop’s final Pokémon will differ based on what starter you picked, but not by much. His final Pokémon will be the fully evolved version of what he picked, and he will Dynamax it.

  1. Dubwool, level 48, normal
  2. Snorlax, level 48, normal
  3. Corviknight, level 48, flying/steel
  4. Pincurchin, level 47, electric
  5. Rillaboom/Inteleon/Cinderace, level 49, grass/water/fire

Bracket stage battles

A Cinderace gets ready to take on Raihan’s Duraludon Game Freak/The Pokémon Company via Polygon

For the first run, you will go against Nessa, Raihan, and Bea or Allister, depending on your version. However, before you can take them on, you’ll be pit against a surprise challenger: Bede. He’s now a fairy-type expert, after training under Opal’s wing, so is party is a bit different than what you’ve been battling against before.

As expected, each of these trainers Gigantamax their final Pokémon. Check out their parties below.

Bede’s party

  1. Mawile, level 51, fairy/steel
  2. Gardevoir, level 51, fairy/psychic
  3. Rapidash, level 52, fairy
  4. Hatterene, level 53, fairy/psychic

Nessa’s party

Note that Golisopod has Emergency Exit, which means it’ll swap out with something else in Nessa’s party when you get it below half health.

  1. Golisopod, level 51, water/bug
  2. Pelipper, level 51, water/flying
  3. Seaking, level 52, water
  4. Barraskewda, level 52, water
  5. Drednaw, level 53, water/rock

Bea’s party (Sword)

  1. Hawlucha, level 52, fighting/flying
  2. Falinks, level 53, fighting
  3. Grapploct, level 52, fighting
  4. Sirfetch’d, level 52, fighting
  5. Machamp, level 54, fighting

Allister’s party (Shield)

  1. Dusknoir, level 52, ghost
  2. Chandelure, level 52, ghost/fire
  3. Cursola, level 53, ghost
  4. Polteageist, level 53, ghost
  5. Gengar, level 54, ghost/poison

Raihan’s party

Be warned that Goodra will set up Thunder to have 100% accuracy by using Rain Dance and it’ll hit pretty hard. Plan to one-hit K.O. it or use something that’s resistant against electric-type moves.

  1. Torkoal, level 53, fire
  2. Goodra, level 54, dragon
  3. Turtonator, level 54, fire/dragon
  4. Flygon, level 54, dragon/ground
  5. Duraludon, level 55, steel/dragon

Champion battle

A Quagsire tries to take on Leon’s Gigantamax Charizard. This was the last time Slurpee the Quagsire was seen before dying. Game Freak/The Pokémon Company via Polygon

Leon can actually be pretty tough. He’s about 10 levels higher than anyone in the bracket stage, so you’ll have to make sure you passed the previous battles easily or he might trip you up. He will Gigantamax his Charizard and it does pack a punch. Don’t expect to one-hit K.O. it using any water-type Pokémon, as he’ll use the grass-type Dynamax move. When not in Gigantamax form, the move is Solar Beam, so if you plan on using a water-type, I’d recommend waiting for his Gigantamax to wear off.

His party changes depending on what starter Pokémon you picked, so he could run any of the following teams:

If you picked Scorbunny ...

  1. Aegislash, level 62, steel/ghost
  2. Dragapult, level 62, dragon/ghost
  3. Haxorus, level 63, dragon
  4. Mr. Rime, level 64, ice/psychic
  5. Inteleon, level 64, water
  6. Charizard, level 65, fire

If you picked Sobble ...

  1. Aegislash, level 62, steel/ghost
  2. Dragapult, level 62, dragon/ghost
  3. Haxorus, level 63, dragon
  4. Rhyperior, level 64, ground/rock
  5. Rillaboom, level 64, grass
  6. Charizard, level 65, fire

If you picked Grookey ...

  1. Aegislash, level 62, steel/ghost
  2. Dragapult, level 62, dragon/ghost
  3. Haxorus, level 63, dragon
  4. Seismitoad, level 64, water/ground
  5. Cinderace, level 64, fire
  6. Charizard, level 65, fire

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