Ranking all 8 of Ash’s Pokemon League performances in the anime, based on how memorable they were

An infamous bout that will always live in infamy (Image via OLM, Inc)
An infamous bout that will always live in infamy (Image via OLM, Inc)

Ash's Pokemon League bouts often represent the pinnacle of what he has learned in that anime season thus far. However, not all of his performances are equal. Some of them are bound to be forgettable, while others are something that fans can easily remember years from now.

This article will be about the eight Pokemon Leagues that have already been completed in the anime. By the time this article was written, the World Coronation Series wasn't complete. Hence, the article will only focus on major tournaments from the Manalo Conference and all of its predecessors.

Note: It's about how memorable the leagues were, not just Ash's placement.


Ranking Ash's 8 Pokemon League performances in the anime from least memorable to his best one

8) Orange League

Dragonite was not an easy foe to beat (Image via OLM, Inc)
Dragonite was not an easy foe to beat (Image via OLM, Inc)

This was the first Pokemon League that Ash Ketchum won in the anime, making it one of his best overall performances. There was no League Conference in it, so he just had to defeat the four Gym Leaders and the Supreme Gym Leader to earn the Winner's Trophy.

However, the first four Gym "battles" weren't traditional bouts, as they ranged from a surfing race to a double battle. They're not as exciting as his other Pokemon League performances, as a result.

At the very least, his battle with Drake was a full-on six versus six and was fun to watch, but the earlier challenges were extremely forgettable.


7) Vertress Conference

Top eight isn't bad, but the battles weren't as fun as the previous conferences (Image via OLM, Inc)
Top eight isn't bad, but the battles weren't as fun as the previous conferences (Image via OLM, Inc)

The Black & White anime was a regression in several ways, and its Pokemon League is no different. Ash makes it to the top eight, which was lower than his previous Pokemon League (top four in the Lily Valley Conference).

Not much happens here, which shouldn't make it surprising that the entire conference is only six episodes long (the shortest out of any League Conference).

The main protagonist lost to Cameron, who only used five Pokemon instead of six due to his forgetful nature. To the Vertress Conference's credit, there are more traditional battles here than in the Orange League.


6) Ever Grande Conference

His loss to Tyson (Image via OLM, Inc)
His loss to Tyson (Image via OLM, Inc)

The main problem with the Ever Grande Conference is that the trainers that Ash fought against were boring and otherwise unspectacular. There was no Gary, Paul, or any other character that made this Pokemon League exciting to watch. The main thing that made the Ever Grande Conference stand out was the inclusion of Double Battles.

Ash makes it to the top eight, making his rank in this Pokemon League the same as the Silver Conference and the Vertress Conference. He would end up losing to the actual winner of the entire conference, Tyson, who was notable for having a Meowth with a hat and boots.


5) Indigo Plateau League

Ritchie was an interesting character, but winning by a Charizard disobeying his trainer isn't very exciting (Image via OLM, Inc)
Ritchie was an interesting character, but winning by a Charizard disobeying his trainer isn't very exciting (Image via OLM, Inc)

Ash's lowest rank was his first tournament (which makes sense, given his inexperience at the time). Some memorable parts of this league include:

  • His Krabby became a Kingler and swept another trainer's entire team
  • His Muk prevented him from getting swept by a Bellsprout
  • He lost to Ritchie because his Charizard disobeyed him

There were certainly some fun moments in this Pokemon League, but some (like Gary losing to a random character) did not make it as good as it should have been. It also doesn't help that Ash only made it to the top 16 (his lowest rank) by fighting some otherwise unspectacular trainers.


4) Silver Conference

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Ash fights a lot of minor trainers in the Silver Conference at the start, making its rank relatively low overall. However, the saving grace of this league is that Ash fights against Gary in one of the rounds and defeats him. For most of the anime, it seemed as though Gary was a step or two above him, so seeing Ash finally win was a huge moment.

Another memorable moment involved Ash fighting Harrison and seeing some new Hoenn Pokemon that he's never seen before. That episode aired before the Ruby and Sapphire games came out, so fans of the series wouldn't have known much about Blaziken or Kecleon at the time.

The winner of the Silver Conference was Jon Dickson, who had a Rhyhorn and Rapidash, but no moves were known, making it an anti-climatic finish to an otherwise fun Pokemon League.


3) Lily of the Valley Conference

Paul would end up losing to a Pokemon he released (Image via OLM, Inc)
Paul would end up losing to a Pokemon he released (Image via OLM, Inc)

The Lily of the Valley Conference was the first Pokemon League where one could argue that Ash should've won. He had a compelling journey in the Sinnoh anime and defeated fun characters like Nando and Conway. Most importantly, he defeated Paul, arguably his greatest rival alongside Gary.

However, it's all for naught, as he loses to a trainer named Tobias. This enigmatic trainer isn't that well known, except that he owns a Latios and a Darkrai. Ash predictably loses to him. One has to wonder what ever happened to Tobias, as he's not seen anywhere in the World Coronation Series.

Still, a top four ranking is quite impressive in a star-studded Pokemon League like this one.


2) Manalo Conference

Some of the notable participants (Image via OLM, Inc)
Some of the notable participants (Image via OLM, Inc)

This Pokemon League is one of two that Ash was the champion of, although this one was far more memorable for a number of reasons. For starters, it followed the controversial Lumiose Conference, where many fans wanted to see him win a credible Pokemon League for once.

It also means that he was the first ever champion of Alola, which is an impressive feat that no other character can claim in the anime. The battle royal in the preliminaries was fun, although some viewers might find the one-on-one singles bouts a little anti-climatic.

Nonetheless, Ash's victory over Gladion was in a notable three-on-three battle, and he even beat Kukui in an exhibition bout afterward.


1) Lumiose Conference

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Lumiose Conference was the main tournament in the X & Y anime, and it's where Ash makes it all the way to the finals. His team was as good as it ever was, so many fans (including casuals who haven't watched the show in years) thought he could win it all.

To their disappointment, he chokes and loses to Alain when his Greninja's Water Shuriken ends up being weaker than a Charizard's Blast Burn.

It was his most consistently impressive run in a tournament from start to finish, making it easily one of the most memorable in the entire anime series. Fans did hate the ending, which was evident when TVTOKYO's preview for the next episode was over 90% disliked on YouTube.


Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.


Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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