Pokémon Scarlet and Violet gym leader guide: best order, leveling, and team tips

The ninth-generation Pokémon titles do a great job of including all the best and most recognizable features the series is known for but also mixing in a ton of new mechanics and options that breathe new life into the franchise. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet bring the first fully open-world adventure to life, and with that added freedom of exploration, us trainers out there also get the freedom to choose how we want to chart our journey to be the very best.

Scarlet and Violet are the first mainline games to offer players three primary story paths to progress through in almost any order they choose. There are a few roadblocks here and there, but you are generally free to pick and choose which objective you want to pursue at any time. While two of these paths are completely new, the one returning story is the classic goal of beating the new region’s eight Gym leaders, collecting their badges, and facing off against the Elite Four. Now that the game is open-world and you could theoretically challenge any Gym leader at any time, you might want to know what the best order is in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

Further reading

Cortondo Gym (Bug-type)

The bug gym leader aplogizing.

The first gym you should look to tackle based on level is the Cortondo Gym and its leader Katy. This is a Bug-type gym that you will want a team of around 10 or higher depending on if you have a Fire, Flying, or Rock-type to counter her Bug team.

Cortondo Gym is in, you guessed it, Cortondo City. This is located to the west of Mesagoza. The Gym itself is on the south end of the city. After completing the Gym Test, you can challenge Katy to a battle. Here’s her full lineup of Pokémon:

  • Nymble — Level 14 (Bug-type)
  • Tarountula — Level 14 (Bug-type)
  • Teddiursa — Level 15 (Normal-type with Bug-type Terra form)

So long as you have at least one Pokémon type that is super effective against Bug-type, this should be an easy first Gym Badge for you to claim. You will also get TM021 which is the Pounce move.

Artazon Gym (Grass-type)

A tired looking gym leader.

After Bug, the next level up in difficulty will be the Artazon Grass-type gym. This gym is led by Brassius, who is also packing a team of three Pokémon to overcome. You will want to get to level 15 or so before seeking this one out. Grass types are weak to a lot of other types, including Fire, Bug, Flying, Ice, and Poison-type.

Artazon Gym is to the east of Mesagoza. Keep going into the South Province and east through the canyon until you spot the town with a windmill. The gym itself is located to the right of said windmill. Pass the test — here’s what competition you’ll be going up against:

  • Petlil — Level 16 (Grass-type)
  • Smoliv — Level 16 (Grass/Normal-type)
  • Sudowoodo — Level 17 (Rock-type with Grass-type Terra form)

With so many possible counters, this shouldn’t be a tricky gym to beat. Along with your badge, you will also get TM020, Trailblaze.

Levincia Gym (Electric-type)

It's time to enter the Iono Zone!

This gym is where the game starts to ramp up the challenge. First off, getting to Levincia is quite simple since it is one of the largest cities in the game. It’s to the north of Artazon and essentially impossible to miss thanks to the massive buildings and spotlights shining at night. You should be at least level 20 heading into this gym, but even 25 might be recommended. That’s because Electric-types only have one weakness, which is Ground-types, but this gym leader mixes things up.

This gym challenge has you doing some battles, so be ready for that before the main event against Gym Leader Iono and her team of four. Here’s what you should prepare for:

  • Wattrel — Level 23 (Electric/Flying-type)
  • Bellibolt — Level 23 (Electric-type)
  • Luxio — Level 23 (Electric-type)
  • Mismagius — Level 24 (Ghost-type with Electric-type Terra form)

Aside from the Wattrel being a two-type Pokémon, it’s the final Mismagius that you need to be careful of. For this one, you will want to have a Normal-type in your team to counter the Ghost-type, not just Ground-types. Come out on top, and you will get the badge and TM048, which is for Volt Switch.

Cascarrafa Gym (Water-type)

Kufu getting ready to fight.

As would be appropriate, the Water-type gym is located in an oasis resort. Cascarrafa is down to the southeast of the Asado Desert and due north from Cortondo. This gym will be another level check for you, and we advise a team of level 30 or more for this one. Water-types are weak to only Grass and Electric-types, but just like Iono, this gym leader isn’t only using one type of Pokémon.

After a lengthy gym test, you can challenge Kofu to battle. He’s only got three Pokémon to beat, but they’re all tough. Here’s his roster:

  • Veluza — Level 29 (Water/Psychic-type)
  • Wugtrio — Level 29 (Water-type)
  • Crabominable — Level 30 (Fighting/Ice-type with Water-type Terra form)

Ground and Grass-types will get you through his first two Pokémon with little issue, however, a Grass-type is weak to Ice, so that could be an issue when you get to his Crabominable. Swapping out or just sticking to Electric-types is a safe bet. He will reward you with your standard badge and TM022 for Chilling Water.

Medali Gym (Normal-type)

Larry holding a pokeball.

The Normal-type gym can probably be done right after you’ve finished Cascarrafa Gym, assuming you have the proper counters, of course. Medali can be reached either by heading west out of Levincia and going through Zapapico or by going in the direction of Porto Marinda from Asado Desert and then turning northwest. Either way, being around level 35 should be able to see you victorious. Normal-type Pokémon are not technically weak against any other type, nor are they strong against any, but they are vulnerable to Fighting-types. Once again, there is a twist to be ready for.

Do your required test and then challenge Larry’s team of three. Here’s what Pokémon he’ll throw at you:

  • Komala — Level 35 (Normal-type)
  • Dundunsparce — Level 35 (Normal-type)
  • Staraptor — Level 36 (Normal/Flying-type with Normal Terra form)

The flying moves on Larry’s Staraptor can be a problem for your Fighting-types. Since there are no other type advantages to use against Normal-types, just have a tanky Pokémon ready to power through his final Pokémon. Just make sure it’s not a Ghost-type, though, since those moves don’t affect Normal-types. Beat this normal dude, collect your badge, and TM025, Facade.

Montenevera Gym (Ghost-type)

A pathetic rap battle.

Speaking of Ghost-types, your next Gym Leader specializes in these spooky Pokémon over in Montenevera. This gym lies in the far north of the map. Simply head north up the mountains, following the path, until you reach the town at the peak. A team at or around level 40 is advised for this one. Ghost-types are tricky since they’re weak to Dark Pokémon, which aren’t very common. Of course, there are a couple of exceptions to prepare for as well.

After warming up the crowd with the pre-fight test, you can fight Ryme for the badge. Here’s her team of four:

  • Banette — Level 41 (Ghost-type)
  • Mimikyu — Level 41 (Ghost/Fairy-type)
  • Houndstone — Level 41 (Ghost-type)
  • Toxtricity — Level 42 (Electric/Poison-type with Ghost Terra form)

Again, Dark Pokémon will be your main force here, though a good Steel-type will help with Mimikyu. Once you reach Ryme’s heavy hitter in Toxtricity, pull out a strong Ground-type to counter. bear in mind that this entire fight will follow the same rules as the battles in the test beforehand, where knocking out one of Ryme’s Pokémon will give you a stat boost, but getting KO’d yourself will give her team one. Outstage Ryme to earn your badge and TM114 for the move Shadow Ball.

Alfornada Gym (Psychic-type)

Gym Leader Tulip.

Despite being in close proximity to Mesagoza, you will want to avoid the Alfornda Gym until this point in the game due to just how strong the Pokémon you’ll be facing are. The only way to reach this town is to go southwest from Mesagoza and to also have unlocked the high jump ability for your legendary Pokémon to make it up the mountain path. We recommend having a team close to level 45 to compete with this gym leader. Psychic-type Pokémon are weak to Bug, Dark, and Ghost-types, which gives you some options.

After a bit of a long test, Tulip, the Gym Leader, will be ready to duel. Here’s her full team composition:

  • Farigiraf — Level 44 (Psychic/Normal-type)
  • Gardevoir — Level 44 (Psychic/Fairy-type)
  • Espathra — Level 44 (Psychic-type)
  • Florges — Level 45 Fairy-type with Psychic Terra form)

Any good Bug, Dark, or Ghost-type will handle most of Tulip’s team well, but thankfully, you only need to pack a backup Steel-type to counter her Fairy-types. There are no real other tricks here — just make sure you’re playing against her types and come out on top with the badge. You will also get TM120 with the move Psychic.

Glaseado Gym (Ice-type)

Grisha introducing herself.

The eighth and final gym will be the Ice-type in Glaseado. This gym is on the highest point in Paldea and not part of any town. You will need to climb to the peak of the mountain by heading north from Dalizapa and up the snowy mountain path. By now, a team of level 45 or higher is required to win, but we’d say 50 is a safe level to go for. Ice-type Pokémon are weak to Fire, Fighting, Rock, and Steel-types, but Rock and Steel will do double duty later on, so try to bring at least one of those along.

Once you’re done riding the slopes in the gym test, Grusha will take you on. Here’s her chilling team:

  • Frosmoth — Level 47 (Ice/Bug-type)
  • Beartic — Level 47 (Ice-type)
  • Cetitan — Level 47 (Ice-type)
  • Altaria — Level 48 (Dragon/Flying-type with Ice Terra form)

While any of the previously listed counters are great for her initial lineup, we mentioned Rock and Steel-types since they can exploit both Ice and Dragon-type weaknesses. With her defeated, you will get your eighth and final Gym Badge, plus TM124, Ice Spinner.

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