Best Pokémon Elite Four Members From All Games (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
The Elite Four are the penultimate challenge that a trainer faces on their journey to glory.
So it should stand that these trainers are both the most challenging, and the most memorable. But with so many gens out there, where do we even start?
While the E4 can suffer from becoming secondary to stopping the villain, these E4 members certainly do not come secondary to any Rocket grunt.
I never hear Koga ever being mentioned in contention for the best Elite Four members, and that’s an absolute travesty.
Maybe it’s because his team isn’t that good. But that should be irrelevant.
Koga was the first time in a Pokémon game that we saw a gym leader ascend to the Pokémon League. I remember my reaction when I saw Koga was now a member of the E4, and it’s something that I’ll never forget.
He’s an example of what a working man, or ninja, can achieve if he puts his mind to it. And I’m a sucker for those kinds of stories.
Despite his flaming Ronald McDonald looking haircut, Flint’s five-man team only has two fire types in Diamond and Pearl.
They changed this for Platinum, which is a shame because his team diversity made him one of the more difficult Sinnoh Elite Four members.
I remember his Lv.60+ Infernape in particular. Those STAB Mach Punches and Flare Blitzes were the banes of my childhood.
Especially since I, in all my wisdom, choose Turtwig as my starter.
Flint is just the first of Gen IVs E4 to make it on the team. You might call me biased, and that might be justified.
Agatha is an OG of the Elite Four, being a member in Gen I and still holding that position in Sun and Moon.
That’s worthy of at least acknowledgment, if not respect.
Her team actually had more poison types than ghost types originally, although Gen I has one ghost family, so that can be forgiven.
Her design is memorable enough for me to remember this lady so many years on. Plus Gengar is one of my favorite Pokémon, so that earns some brownie points.
Unfortunately, Alakazam is also one of my favorite Pokémon. So Agatha never really lasts long put up against my team.
Two points for Sinnoh.
Lucian happens to be Gen IVs physic type E4 member. You’re going to notice a few psychic type trainers on this list, for whatever reason.
Again, maybe I’m biased, but this typing tends to have better-designed trainers.
His team is actually pretty brutal.
You’d expect to steamroll most psychic trainers in the game, but that’s not an option here. He had a Medicham to counter your dark and steel types, his Girafarig is immune to ghost, and his Bronzong is resistant to dark, steel, and bug type attacks.
How strong his team is puts him right here on the list.
He would be a lot higher if he had a slightly more psychic inspired design.
Marshall looks like he should be in a Tekken or Street Fighter game, not Pokémon.
And his team reflects that level of strength and brutality.
Black and White had a lot of very viable fighting types. And Marshall takes advantage of this.
Fighting trainers were pushovers in previous generations, but Marshall can serve as a very painful slap in the face to those that don’t prepare their team’s types correctly.
Hoenn’s Drake looks like a badass. Seriously, his toned chest visible beneath a long, jagged, and cut Captain’s coat, the worn-down jeans tucked into the combat boots, the mustache to make men and women alike both swoon.
Drake was one of the first trainers in the series to take advantage of dragons being expanded – a trend which has followed in his footsteps.
There’s a dragon-type trainer in Sword and Shield’s gym lineup, after all.
Drake was the first time where we really saw the power of a Salamence in battle, plus his Altaria was a pain to get through.
I’m going to put my hands up here and admit that I didn’t like the way Sun and Moon handled the league.
I get that it was new, and I appreciate that. But I much preferred the style that Sword and Shield went with it.
Despite my dislike, Acerola is a member of the Alolan E4 that stuck with me after the credits rolled.
As well as her incredibly cute and unique design, Acerola’s team is nothing to scoff at whatsoever.
Most of her Pokémon are dually typed, so get ready for STAB city. Plus her Palossand has a ghostium Z, which is not fun to find out the hard way.
Grimsley is a style king.
He’s what I want to see when I look in the mirror every morning, even though it’s usually a Miltank staring back at me.
Gen V is my favorite. And if N were a member of the E4, he would be occupying this spot. As it stands, Grimsley is the next best thing, albeit for totally different reasons.
His team consists of some of the best looking and most powerful Pokémon that Unova has to offer. And he makes a cameo appearance in Sun and Moon’s battle tree.
My number one spot doesn’t even do that.
Caitlin is by far the most memorable Elite Four fight that I’ve ever had, even compared to her incredible Unova peers.
There’s something about her design, the almost dreamlike state of it – which works very well given that you first encounter her when the curtains part and you find her asleep.
It’s like a battle with a Disney princess.
Which is something I can’t say about any other E4 member.
Could the top spot be anyone else?
If Caitlin was like battling a princess, Lance is the grizzled prince that had been exiled from the kingdom, only to return on dragon-back to conquer it.
If you’ve played the original two generations, then you know exactly why he deserves this spot. He rose to the rank of Champion in Gen II, which allowed Koga to take his spot.
Aside from the fact that Dragon was broken back in the day, Lance just looked badass. And the recognition when you transition from Gen I to II is incredible.
Ask any Pokémon fan about Lance, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t have a story to tell.