Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl: How To Defeat All Gym Leader Rematches

Quick Links

  • How To Unlock Gym Leader Rematches
  • How To Initiate Rematches With Gym Leaders
  • What To Expect In Gym Leader Rematches
  • Roark's Rematch
  • Gardenia's Rematch
  • Maylene's Rematch
  • Crasher Wake's Rematch
  • Fantina's Rematch
  • Byron's Rematch
  • Candice's Rematch
  • Volkner's Rematch

One of the best things about Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl is that it doesn't always go easy on you. That's not to say it's unfairly difficult, per se – it's simply a step up from what modern Pokemon games tend to toss at us. Several of Sinnoh's Gym Leaders are ready and able to tear through unprepared teams over the course of the main story.

And yet, it's after the main story that these self-same Gym Leaders get serious. Pokemon BDSP's post-game has plenty to offer, like scouring the Grand Underground for a wealth of returning critters, but players seeking some seriously challenging fights are going to want to unlock Gym Leader rematches as soon as possible.

We'll show you how to do just that. We'll then get into the nitty-gritty, telling you what to expect from the not one but two tiers of boosted Gym Leader teams – consider your original matches mere warm-ups on the road to definitive victories.

How To Unlock Gym Leader Rematches

Like so many other aspects of Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl's post-game, the most important step toward unlocking Gym Leader rematches involves obtaining the National Dex from Professor Rowan.

This cannot be accomplished until after becoming Sinnoh League Champion, but you can complete the lion's share of the work beforehand. The National Dex, you see, merely mandates that players see, not catch, one of every Pokemon in the Sinnoh Dex. The vast majority of this can be accomplished merely by challenging every trainer in the region.

The one real trick here is that you'll need to revisit Celestic Town and speak with Cynthia's grandmother in order to "see" the box legendary you didn't encounter in your version of the game. She's got a nice little picture of the Pokemon awaiting your perusal.

How To Initiate Rematches With Gym Leaders

So, you've gotten your hands on the National Dex. But how exactly do we let those Gym Leaders know we're rearing and ready to see their powered-up Pokemon?

As it happens, Roark, the first Gym Leader in the game, illustrates his sixth sense (or something) by emerging from the Grand Underground just to let the player know that he and every other member of the roster can now be rematched by visiting their respective gyms again.

That's all there is to it. Time to start flying from city to city, healing and switching up your party along the way. Think of it as a Sinnoh reunion tour.

What To Expect In Gym Leader Rematches

Never let yourself be lulled into a false sense of security. Every Pokemon on the Gym Leaders' rosters sports perfect EVs and flawless IVs. Their move pools are also designed to be deadly. Some of what you're about to see is clearly based upon real-world Pokemon Championship matches.

A lot of this is going to boil down to whether or not you're properly leveled for the ensuing chaos, but that doesn't mean there aren't a few things you can do to maximize your chances of success. We've included some tips for each bout.

Roark's Rematch

PokemonMove PoolAbilityStrategy
Level 68 TyranitarCrunch Stone Edge Roar Stealth RockSand StreamTyranitar goes down fast against any Fighting-type moves with a base power of 60 or above. Take advantage of this immediately – this thing hits hard.
Level 66 AerodactylStone Edge Roar Roost Stealth RockUnnerveWater, Ice, and (ironically) Rock-type moves can make short work of it.
Level 70 ArmaldoStone Edge Earthquake Brine X-ScissorSwift SwimThose self-same Water and Rock moves will remain vital here.
Level 68 ProbopassFlash Cannon Discharge Power Gem Body PressSand ForceIts Defense stat is impeccable, but its 4x weakness to Fighting and Ground will be its undoing. Take note that it can't be brought down in one hit thanks to its Focus Sash.
Level 64 RelicanthHead SmashRock HeadThat's no typo; Relicanth really does have just the one move. That's because it's equipped with a Choice Band that boosts that one move's power considerably. Use a Pokemon that resists this and you're set.
Level 72 RampardosStone Edge Zen Headbutt Iron Tail Head SmashSheer ForceOnce again, Water and Fighting are your best options, but Water is preferable if possible. Zen Headbutt's base 80 power, coupled with Rampardos' substantial Attack stat, is going to do a number on most Fighting-types.

Gardenia's Rematch

PokemonMove PoolAbilityStrategy
Level 66 JumpluffGiga Drain Leech Seed Sleep Powder Sunny DayChlorophyllSunny Day boosts Fire-type moves, so treat this as an unintended gift for as long as it's in effect.
Level 70 SunfloraSolar BeamSolar PowerAnother Choice Scarf wearer. Solar Power will boost Solar Beam's power a fair bit, too, so get that Fire-type attack in pronto.
Level 69 CherrimSolar Beam Petal Blizzard Growth Sunny DayFlower GiftOnce again, Gardenia will spam Sunny Day here. Flower Gift gives Cherim a dangerous stat boost, so Ice-type Pokemon may be preferable in this case.
Level 68 BreloomFocus Punch Leech Seed Substitute SporePoison HealBreloom's held item is a Toxic Orb, which inflicts heavy Poison status on the poor thing, but its Poison Heal ability turns damage into healing instead. It will undoubtedly make itself difficult to take down with Substitute. Keep pecking away.
Level 68 TorterraWood Hammer Earthquake Stone Edge Iron TailOvergrowThis thing's a menace. Earthquake and Stone Edge are going to hurt almost anything you send out. It's seriously weak to Ice-type moves, so get an Ice Beam in immediately.
Level 72 RoseradeSolar Beam Sludge Bomb Grassy Terrain Sunny DayNatural CureGardenia loves to switch Roserade in and out if the player inflicts a negative status on it; Natural Cure heals Roserade upon exit. Instead, go all-in with moves like Flamethrower.

Maylene's Rematch

PokemonMove PoolAbilityStrategy
Level 64 HitmontopClose Combat Stone Edge Brick Break Sucker PunchIntimidateRight off the bat, Maylene's Hitmontop will lower your initial Pokemon's Attack with Intimidate, so start the fight with something that thrives on Special Attack instead.
Level 66 BreloomMach Punch Bullet Seed Rock Tomb Force PalmTechnicianIt's more or less a slightly weaker variant of the Breloom you just fought via Gardenia. Not a big deal.
Level 68 HeracrossClose Combat Stone Edge Megahorn FacadeGutsHeracross' held item is a Flame Orb, which burns it in battle. Guts takes that status effect and gives Heracross a huge Attack stat increase. With such a boost, Close Combat can OHKO similarly-leveled Psychic Pokemon. Take Heracross down with a Flying-type move immediately before it turns the tables on you.
Level 70 InfernapeFlare Blitz Close Combat Acrobatics OverheatBlazeInfernape's a monster, as any Chimchar-chooser at the start of Pokemon BDSP will know. It's a good idea to have Reflect up to reduce the damage from physical moves before Maylene sends it out. Douse Infernape with special-based Water moves.
Level 72 MedichamZen Headbutt High Jump Kick Fire Punch Thunder PunchPure PowerWith such a wide arsenal of typing in its move pool, Medicham can nuke a lot of Pokemon with relative ease. Don't use a Flying-type here; rely instead on a rarer Fairy-type Pokemon Gardevoir or Togekiss if available.
Level 74 LucarioAura Sphere Flash Cannon Water Pulse Vacuum WaveJustifiedJustified's not a big deal seeing as you probably won't be starting your assault with a Dark-type move, anyway. Remember that despite its partial Fighting-based typing, Lucario is weak to Fighting moves.

Crasher Wake's Rematch

PokemonMove PoolAbilityStrategy
Level 68 PolitoedSurf Ice Beam Focus Blast Perish SongDrizzleElectric-type moves will be, predictably, handy for much of this fight. But you'll want to shoot one off on your very first turn with a Pokemon that's speedier than 70 in base power (which isn't exactly uncommon). Wake enjoys setting up Perish Song on his own first turn to force players into switching out afterward.
Level 68 KingdraHydro Pump Ice Beam Dragon Pulse RestSwift SwimKingdra's got the durability to stick around for an uncomfortably long time if you aren't ready for it with a Fairy or Dragon move.
Level 68 LudicoloHydro Pump Energy Ball Teeter Dance SubstituteSwift SwimLudicolo is fast and sharp, and Teeter Dance will inflict Confuse with 100 percent accuracy. Not good. Slam it with something from the Poison, Bug, or Flying types, and do so with as speedy a Pokemon as you've got.
Level 70 HuntailAqua Tail Ice Fang Crunch Shell SmashSwift SwimThere's no good reason not to electrocute this thing with Thunderbolt or Thunder, quickly ending its reign.
Level 70 GyaradosAqua Tail Earthquake Stone Edge Dragon DanceIntimidateWake will almost certainly pull off a Dragon Dance and chain that offensive boost to a highly deadly Earthquake if left unchecked. Thankfully, Gyarados is even weaker to Electric-type moves than Huntail. Zap it posthaste.
Level 72 FloatzelAqua Tail Brick Break Ice Fang CrunchSwift SwimFloatzel's base speed is 115, so you may have no choice but to endure a couple of attacks. It comes equipped with a Life Orb, too, which gives all of its attacks a 30 percent uptick at the cost of some HP every turn. Help Floatzel on its self-inflicted way to the grave with yet another Electric attack.

Fantina's Rematch

PokemonMove PoolAbilityStrategy
Level 68 DrifblimPsychic Shadow Ball Thunderbolt Strength SapFlare BoostDrifblim's got that Flame Orb strategy that Heracross used, so its Special Attack will skyrocket. On the flip side, Drifblim's base stats are kind of terrible, so "skyrocket" is a relative term. If you have a Pokemon that knows Hex, Drifblim's Burn status will double Hex's attack power. It's weak to Ghost-type moves, so a single shot should do it.
Level 65 BanetteShadow Sneak Sucker Punch Trick SnatchCursed BodyBanette is a fairly standard-issue Ghost Pokemon. Use Dark moves and call it a day.
Level 70 DusknoirShadow Sneak Earthquake Confuse Ray Will-O-WispPressureEarthquake can hit pretty hard despite Dusknoir lacking innate Ground-type STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus). But Fantina will often focus on Confuse Ray and Will-O-Wisp. Bring something hardy with a decent Dark-type attack like Crunch.
Level 70 MismagiusShadow Ball Dazzling Gleam Energy Ball Mystical FireLevitateSend out a Fire-type Pokemon for sure. This will help prevent Mystical Fire from threatening you. Mismagius Defense is half as high as its Special Defense, so a move like Flare Blitz will be fatal.
Level 72 FroslassFrost Breath Hex Will-O-Wisp Destiny BondCursed BodyDestiny Bond links your Pokemon to Froslass in the sense that if Froslass goes down, yours does as well. Don't let it go to your head – in a pinch, just have a Pokemon that's less prime against Fantina be the one to deliver the finishing blow. Fire attacks remain stellar here, and physical/special are both valid options.
Level 72 GengarSludge Bomb Focus Blast Hex ToxicCursed BodyOf all Fantina's Pokemon, Gengar tends to hit the hardest. Its Toxic move will quickly prove to be a pain in the rear, but Sludge Bomb will spell doom for anything you send out that isn't strong against Poison-type attacks. Ground, Psychic, and Ghost attacks are your best bets here.

Byron's Rematch

PokemonMove PoolAbilityStrategy
Level 69 SkarmorySteel Wing Stealth Rock Iron Defense TauntSturdyCome at Skarmory with a Fire-type barrage, preferably Special-based as its Defense stat is high. Flamethrower works well.
Level 69 SteelixEarthquake Crunch Iron Tail Ice FangSheer ForceWe're not sure what Byron thinks he's doing sending out a Steelix with Ice Fang, seeing as its typing stops Grass moves from being super-effective. That said, Earthquake will do a ton of damage to your Fire Pokemon… unless they're immune to Ground damage like, say, Moltres or Ho-Oh.
Level 70 MagnezoneThunderbolt Flash Cannon Light Screen RoarTorrentGround moves will melt this thing to scrap since Magnezone, somewhat amusingly, does not have the Levitate ability.
Level 70 EmpoleonHydro Pump Flash Cannon Roar Ice BeamTorrentElectric is your safest bet here. Thunderbolt should get rid of Empoleon in two or three turns tops, which is a good thing indeed, because it's an excellent special-based sweeper that will tear your team to shreds if given the chance.
Level 71 AggronHead SmashRock HeadThis is Roark's Relicanth all over again. Bring someone with a very high Defense stat if you can. If that someone is Ground or Fighting in type, all the better.
Level 72 BastiodonMetal Burst Heavy Slam Stealth Rock RoarSturdyByron really loves to spam Roar with several of his Pokemon, and it's never more frustrating than with Bastiodon. It's a tank, with a Sturdy ability that ensures you can't OHKO it, followed by a likelihood of setting up Stealth Rock and using Roar to whittle everyone down. Bring that same Pokemon you used against Aggron and be prepared to heal if it keeps getting tossed out.

Candice's Rematch

PokemonMove PoolAbilityStrategy
Level 68 AbomasnowWood Hammer Ice Punch Earthquake Aurora VeilSnow WarningThere's a good chance you have a Fire Pokemon at this point in the game. Either Infernape or Magmortar can take care of Abomasnow with ease. Of course, Earthquake is ever a conundrum for Fire-types; but Speed is hardly Abomasnow's best stat, so act fast and move forward.
Level 70 JynxBlizzard Focus Blast Sweet Kiss Lovely KissDry SkinJynx's Defense is terrible. Go to town with one of the aforementioned Pokemon (or really, any solid Fire-type), and don't worry about Infernape being part Fighting-type. Jynx can't actually use any Psychic-type moves here, funnily enough.
Level 68 MamoswineEarthquake Stone Edge Ice Shard Double TeamSnow CloakIt's old hat at this point in your Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Gym Leader rematches, but Earthquake and Stone Edge continue to be a problem. Mamoswine's secret weapon, however, is Double Team. If Candice can use this a few times, the hulking behemoth of a Pokemon will be oddly tough to hit, so hit first and hit hard with Fire, Grass, Water, or Steel attacks.
Level 70 FroslassBlizzard Baby-Doll Eyes Freeze Dry Double TeamIce BodyIt's more than a little worrisome that Froslass freezes men and adds them to her collection (it's in the lore!) and makes liberal use of a move called Baby-Doll Eyes, but such is life in the wonderful world of Pokemon. Launch a Ghost-type Pokemon like Gengar or Mismagius into the ring, since none of Froslass' moves can do much against one.
Level 70 GlaceonBlizzard Freeze Dry Baby-Doll Eyes Double TeamIce BodyLike Froslass, Glaceon's Ice Body ability allows it to regain HP in a hailstorm. But since Candice's Abomasnow, with its Snow Warning ability that summons a hailstorm, is likely long gone at this point? There's a decent chance the storm will be long gone. Infernape and other Fire-types is still your surefire (no pun intended) solution.
Level 72 WeavileNight Slash Ice Shard Brick Break X-ScissorPressureWeavile's Speed is off the charts, so unless you're packing ubers, don't fixate on trying to outpace it. Instead, keep Weavile on its toes with a flurry of Fire attacks as per much of the match beforehand.

Volkner's Rematch

PokemonMove PoolAbilityStrategy
Level 70 PelipperHydro Pump Hurricane Ice Beam U-TurnDrizzleAn odd way to kick things off against the Electric-type Gym Leader, but that's just how Volkner rolls. Nuke it with a 4x effective Electric attack, which you will unsurprisingly never use again during this battle.
Level 70 RaichuThunder Focus Blast Surf Volt SwitchLightning RodRaichu just isn't what it used to be in the olden days. If you can bring an Earthquake-user to bear upon it within the same level range, it's going to lose. All the better if it's not an innately Ground-type Earthquake-user, as Volkner may see that and Volt Switch to a different party member.
Level 70 LuxrayIce Fang Volt Switch Play Rough Electric TerrainIntimidateLuxray's Attack stat is the only thing to truly look out for here, and if you have a Pokemon on the field that's weak to Ice Fang, that could present a problem. Take advantage of its middling Defense and Special Defense by striking fast with a Ground attack.
Level 66 LanturnThunder Surf Ice Beam Volt SwitchVolt AbsorbIt's too bad that Volkner's team has so much Grass coverage because it severely limits the viability of Grass-type opponents against Lanturn here. Then again, that's what makes these rematches so tough. Once again, stick with something Ground-related, and be advised that Lanturn will spam Volt Switch just as easily if frightened. But it's a slow one, this Lanturn, so it might not matter.
Level 68 JolteonThunder Reflect Shadow Ball Volt SwitchQuick FeetJolteon is inherently very fast, and its Toxic Orb held item combines with Quick Feet to make it well and truly swift. Its HP pool is far from terrific, however, so that self-inflicted Poison might just be its undoing. Instead of trying to outpace Jolteon, take the long road with moves like Stone Edge. It may switch in and out like the rest of Volkner's posse, but that Poison isn't going to go away.
Level 75 ElectivireThunder Earthquake Flamethrower Cross ChopMotor DriveIf Turtwig was your starter, now's its time to shine. (Besides all those other times.) Torterra can laugh off Electivire's surprising Earthquake and hit back with an Earthquake of its own. Will Flamethrower cause some trouble? Absolutely, but since Electivire will lack STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus), a similarly-leveled Torterra can withstand the hit. Barring Torterra, there are plenty of other options — pretty much any Pokemon akin to it will suffice. You're never going to attack Electivire with an Electric-type move, so its Motor Drive ability is useless.

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