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Pokémon: How Did Leon Become So Ridiculously Strong?

Pokémon Journeys has shown off Leon’s strength on several occasions, but what exactly makes him and his Charizard so powerful?

The “unbeatable” Champion of the Galar Region, as well as the reigning Monarch of the World Coronation Series, Pokémon Journeys has done everything in its power to prove that Leon is the world’s strongest trainer by a wide margin. Leon and his signature Charizard retained the number one seed in the WCS as a result of winning the previous year’s tournament with a decisive victory over Lance. Nowadays in Journeys, one can’t swing a Meowth without hitting someone whose goal in life is to battle Leon – which is a self-destructive dream as the Galar Champ does not hold back when wiping the battlefield with his fanboys.

What do Alain, Raihan (Galar’s Dragon Gym Leader), and Flint (Sinnoh’s Fire-Type Elite Four) all have in common? They’ve all battled Leon in the World Coronation Series and been spanked like misbehaving toddlers. Alain in particular got beat like a cheap drum after Leon finished hyping up the crowd by pretending his opponent stood a chance before his Charizard one-shot each of Alain’s last two Pokémon. This being the same Alain and Mega Charizard X who’ve beaten countless Mega Evolutions, battled Zygarde, Primal Groudon, and Mega Rayquaza, and won the Lumiose Conference quite handily with only Ash requiring him to use more than two Pokémon.

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So how did Leon become so strong that episodes in which he battles should have trigger warnings for excessively one-sided beatdowns? Leon has been a gifted battler from a young age, and it’s said that he conquered the Galar League and became Champion without ever losing an official battle. Aside from being able to Gigantamax, Leon’s Charizard is unique in its ability to quickly change its entire move set.

Leon learns from every battle, and always changes his Charizard’s move set to best adapt to whatever Pokémon his opponent is known for using. So far in the anime, Leon’s Charizard has been seen using Flamethrower, Air Slash, Fire Spin, Thunder Punch, Dragon Claw, Dig, Brick Break, Rock Tomb, Flare Blitz, Fire Blast, Ancient Power and Dragon Pulse.

Leon’s introduction to the Pokémon anime was during the previous World Coronation Series Finals where he faced off against Lance. Despite his Gigantamax Charizard being at a disadvantage against Dynamax Gyarados, Leon emerged victorious and was crowned Monarch – the official strongest trainer in the world. This battle is what inspired Ash to enter the WCS in the first place, and though he has battled Leon once – losing, obviously – Leon accepted his request for a rematch as long as it was during the WCS. Battling Leon was also Alain’s dream, however, so hopefully it works out better for Ash than it did for the only rival he’s never beaten.

RELATED: Pokémon: How the Journeys Anime Should End

The other Champions like Lance, Steven, Cynthia and Diantha are pretty uniform in their stoic, business-only personalities. Though Leon takes his role as Champion and Monarch seriously, he’s actually a lot like Ash in that he’s a gifted battler but otherwise fairly head-empty. His secret to success isn’t that different from Ash’s – he just loves Pokémon and battling more than anything else. It can’t be the whole secret, though, as Ash is far from undefeated and it took him seven tries to become a Champion. Leon takes a true love for Pokémon and combines it with a brilliant strategic mind that masks the fact he’s not obsessed with winning, he’s just looking for a good battle.

Leon and his Charizard are pretty much on the same wavelength; both have a flair for the dramatic and love to put on a good show. Charizard can act on its own in battle and avoid attacks without being told what to do, and when it hits, it hits hard. A single Dragon Pulse was all it took to defeat Alain’s Mega Charizard X – a Pokémon that was too powerful for Ash-Greninja to defeat despite Greninja having pressed Diantha’s Mega Gardevoir in battle during the Kalos Saga.

Together Leon and his Charizard define the term OP, and it comes down to the bond they’ve shared since Leon was a child and Charizard was just a Charmander – another cruel reminder of how strong Ash’s Pokémon would be if he’d use them for more than a single region.

Ryan is an enthusiastic fan of the film and television industry, particularly interested in the creative process. Some people need a white noise machine to relax at night, but Ryan needs an audio commentary. Making a living by talking about the movies and shows he loves is his dream. You can find him complaining about Rise of Skywalker on Twitter as @RickeySpanish because even his Twitter handle is an American Dad reference.

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