By Eco_Politiq

 

Welcome to the inaugural blog post of the Pokemon Reddit League Academy! Today, we are sitting down with each of our Gym Leaders and Elite Four members to get to know each of them and discuss some of their favorite battle strategies.

 

Gym Leaders

Reddit Username: 2180161
In-Game Name: Lisa
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
I use Ice because there isn’t a huge variety as say, water, so more people will have answers to it, making my battles a little more difficult and fun.
What is your favorite battle strategy?
Depends on the other team. I tend to just try a sweep with what I have.
What do you like most about competitive battling?
Just about everything. I don’t dislike anything about it. Though if I had to choose, I would have to say setting up a team, mainly because the breeding for it is quite tedious.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
Ice has many common weaknesses: fire, fighting, rock, and steel. dual types help, but sometimes, I need the wildcard to pull it all together.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
Ever since I played pokemon Silver for the Game Boy Color, when I was about 2 years old (about 14 years)
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
It would hopefully be in a warm environment, just for the sake of irony, and the puzzle would probably be a mix of Wallace’s gym in generation 3 (RS), and Pryce’s gym in generation 2 (GS).
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I compete in Rubik’s Cube speedsolving. There is a whole database for times and everything.

Reddit Username: Clevermiltank
In-Game Name: Moshi
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
Poison. Poison type Pokemon include some of my favorites including Weezing/Koffing, Muk, Gengar and Dragalge It’s also a very weak type in the monotype metagame, but with the release of fairy type it gain some traction. It the OU vs Monotype meta it is very weak to psychic types but has reliable answers and is still very fun to succeed with.
What is your favorite battle strategy?
As far as my monotype team goes, I favor a balanced style of play. I have a plethora of Pokemon that take neutral hits and with some mons, like Weezing, fill a very important defensive role.
What do you like most about competitive battling?
I enjoy assembling teams and competing against people with skill.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
Psychic and ground are what gives my team the most problems, but psychic stands out as I only have two Pokemon that can switch into psychic attacks, Drapion and Skuntank. Neither of these Pokemon are very fast, so they have to survive as long as the opposing psychic type is alive, it takes a combination of decent prediction to slowly wear the opponent out and knowing what your counter can survive or not. Ground is not much of an issue due to Gengar, Crobat, Weezing and Golbat all being immune. Weezing is my usual switch as it can cripple with Will-o-Wisp. Other than actual battling, maintaining a gym is fun and my fellow leaders are really nice people.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
Since I was a young kid. I used to watch the cartoon and collect the cards. I started playing the video games in generation 3 with the release of Sapphire and Ruby version.
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
It would be in an autumn town, with lots of leaves and marshes, maybe carnivorous plants! My puzzle would include a multi-level swamp where you would have to sink through mud and navigate in the dark with surprise encounters along the way. The trainer type would be Rangers and Painters.
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I am starting my career as an audio production engineer. I love working with music, sound effects and just about anything audio!

Reddit Username: Teenelmo26
In-Game Name: LogieBear
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
Rock. Always been my favorite type. I love underdog types, and have always loved Fossil Pokemon and the ideas behind them. Cradily is my #1, though I don’t have the chance to use her nearly enough.
What is your favorite battle strategy?
Pressure and balance.
What do you like most about competitive battling?
Running mono type teams, and finding creative new team strategies. (Weakness Policy Rhyperior FTW).
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
Cover those weaknesses! Rock has 5 weaknesses, so its a pain to cover them all. Having something to tank steel and fighting helps a lot. Diancie has been godsend this generation to help against Fighting types.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
Since the start, but wasn’t able to play through a game until Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald when I could buy them myself.
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
As a Colorado native I’d have a gym high in the mountains. Best place to train rock types, and separate out the weak trainers. High Altitude!
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I have a bachelors degree in Zoology (useless so far), and I climb 14ers in my free time during the summer (mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation). 10/54 Colorado 14ers down! I’m also transgender (MTF) and can be fairly vocal about LGBT and gender rights. Hoping to live in a world without hate someday!

Reddit Username: zdeb93
In-Game Name: Zakharia
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
Psychic, they’re powerful and very versatile.
What is your favorite battle strategy?
Bulky Offense
What do you like most about competitive battling?
The strategy element. It can be anxiety inducing thinking of all the possibilities and the thrill of making the right choice on a switch or some other predict is great.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
Fast/Bulky bugs and ghosts. Stash fire moves for Scizor, and Shadow Sneak or Sucker Punch for Gengar.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
I’ve loved it since the anime first appeared in USA, though I never got into the games until Gen 3 and Sapphire.
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
As Hoenn was my first region in game I’d probably set up in a city in that region. Slateport was my favorite city in that region and they have no gym. There was Liza and Tate in Mossdeep for the psychic gym but who needs gimmicky doubles gyms in a single league, right?
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I work in radio on-air and dream of being a professional sports play by play man.

Reddit Username: StClemens
In-Game Name: Geo
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
I’m a normal type fan. I like the versatility they provide as a type. They also provide room for lots of tricks.
What is your favorite battle strategy?
I love surprises. I enjoy taking risks.
What do you like most about competitive battling?
When you make a prediction and it pays of in spades, I can think of no better feeling. But mostly I really enjoy building teams. The planning stage is where I have a lot of my fun.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
Lacking STAB super effective moves means I lack a lot of damage output against certain threats. What other teams would have an easier time with I must make do with coverage. Then of course there’s all those fighting type moves with silly high base power. Ideally I can drop those threats quickly before they have their way with my poor squishy normal types.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
Since it first previewed in Nintendo Power. Those first few images of Charmander, Gengar, and Bulbasaur got me hooked.
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
I’d be either the third or sixth gym, in a calm town with pleasant background music. My gym would be a large hall with other trainers walking to match the movements of the prospective challenger. They would block access to the new areas until challenged and defeated. The building itself would be a large wooden structure sitting among some tall trees. The interior would have two floors, the first floor ushering he trainer along using mimicked movements, and the second floor would just be me and a few optional trainers. My battle format would be doubles. In battle I would use X Attack or X Spec Attack on one of my two leads, allowing you the first hit before going to town.
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I have recently adopted a Husky rescue. She’s a sweetheart. We walk around two to three hours every day. I also do voices, impersonations, and improv comedy in my spare time.

Reddit Username: RightWingErika
In-Game Name: Erika
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
Ground. It’s a strong type, with a good strategy with sandstorm and different mons that work well together.
What is your favorite battle strategy?
Statuses and Hazards. Cause damage before they can attack with either hazards or weather,than quickly knock them out.
What do you like most about competitive battling?
The challenge and the roll of luck involved with it.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
Keeping up with it. I’m a full time student, a competitive VGC player and work full time. I check as often as i can, often set reminders for each match.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
Basically my whole life, so 20 years
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
Deep underground, in a cavern lit up by shining gems on the wall. Trainers would have to walk through a lower maze, while i wait at a raised platform at the end.
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I am a computer forensics major, but I also have studied pathology, fingerprinting, firearms analysis and crime scene investigation. I’m hoping to work for a few private companies, maybe even the FBI as a computer analyst.

Reddit Username: eco_politiq
In-Game Name: Richard
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
I use steel types in my gym. When I first joined the league, I chose grass, but I quickly discovered that it is not only a very difficult type in the OU metagame but it also doesn’t work particularly well with how I like to play. I switched to steel because it fits better with my play style. No regrets!
What is your favorite battle strategy?
I play defensively, using lots of switching, status, and hazards to wear my opponents down before I go in for the kill.
What do you like most about competitive battling?
I really enjoy playing with others who love the game as much as I do. As frustrating as it can be sometimes, I learn a lot from it, and the metagame is constantly evolving, which provides a great intellectual challenge.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
While steel typing is great defensively, it is somewhat lackluster offensively, being super effective against only two types. Add on top of that the fact that most steel types are pretty slow and a smart opponent can easily take advantage of my lack of offensive presence. Luckily, almost all steel types have a second typing that allows them to put up an offensive front in another area. These second typings are also very diverse, covering everything from fire to flying to fairy, meaning that with the right strategic planning I can overcome this would-be failing.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
Ever since I discovered it in second grade, so nearly twenty years now.
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
I would be located in a big, modern city, somewhere known for innovation and progressive thinking. The gym itself would double as a Pokemon Academy, encouraging battlers to not only become more skilled but to learn and better themselves along the way. Instead of traps or puzzles, challengers would need to pass through a series of battles coupled with quiz questions, similar in vein to Blaine’s gym in RBY.
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I’m a cultural anthropologist- a social scientist interested in studying and learning about human societies and people. My main research interest is understanding how people learn about and interpret environmental risks like drug abuse and pollution in their communities. I try to use this information to inform policy decisions about how these problems are addressed. Too often, policymakers have a tendency to write off people who fail to understand the depth of these issues as uneducated or ignorant, but in reality there is a lot more going on than that. If we want to tackle major social problems like climate change, we need to do so in a way that considers how risks are understood in the first place so as to develop policies that include and address the communities most vulnerable to their negative effects.
On a somewhat cooler note, I was also once featured on an episode of Judge Judy. I’m not making this up, I swear.

Reddit Username: Pixel_Engine
In-Game Name: Armada
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
Bug-Type. I started using them to give myself a challenge in a playthrough, and I found that the work required to make them capable really fuelled my interest in competitive play. Since then I can’t go without them!
What is your favorite battle strategy?
I have experimented with all kinds of playstyles using Bugs, including a no-hazards removal Hyper Offence and a nigh-impossible to figure out Trick Room team, but I have had the most success with balance. The right Bugs are surprisingly bulky and if I can I like to get one of a couple of win cons into position and sweep from there. Good support is the key!
What do you like most about competitive battling?
For me it’s about the creativity of building. I know there are often ‘best’ options, which is why you have top-tier common threats in OU. But the format is everything — that’s why I love taking part in or watching restricted formats like drafts, Monotype and being a Gym Leader because it encourages experimentation, risks and ingenuity.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
Talonflame. It’s only since playing competitively with a type weak to it that I realise how little resists Flying, and even if you can weather the priority hits there is still the Fire-typing to deal with. Fire and Rock-types in general can be a pain as well, but rarely are so many scary tools in one package. I have found a bulky Rocky Helmet user that can scare it out effective, but my favourite response is a super-effective attack like Rock Blast from behind a Substitute.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
Back since we had to play Blue plugged in all night so we didn’t erase our neighbours save! Looking forward to the 20th anniversary, it will be about 15 years for me!
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like.
What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
I think my gym would expand on the theme that bugs come together in hives, in swarms and nests and armies, to do impressive things. It would be an Army base of sorts with obstacle courses as the puzzles. All kinds of trainers could train there and learn the discipline required to work as a team with their Pokémon, but my best trainers would be like soldiers or scouts. I think all trainers in the gym would have quite a few Pokémon to keep with the idea of overcoming obstacles together and overwhelming the enemy.
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I write and self-publish comic books, which is something I want to do more seriously in the next few years. I have a pretty good knowledge on mainstream comics too if you want to chat about them any time!

Elite Four
Reddit Username: tbuck48
In-Game Name: Tyler
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
Dark, because it was my favorite type available and has some of the best offensive mons in the game.
What is your favorite battle strategy?
Chip away and sweep.
What do you like most about competitive battling?
Proving myself in battle with Pokemon that I have worked hard to raise and train.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
Facing bulky fairy/fighting types without a wildcard. Crippling them with a status is one way I try to help neutralize, but bringing coverage moves is also key.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
16 years.
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
Almost complete darkness in the room, save for a sliver of moonlight. A forested area, with a clearing in the center, with myself hardly visible and ready to pounce. Dark Pokemon are the terrors of the night, and on the battlefield as well, so why should’t I match them?
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I’m currently working on my Master’s degree in Accounting, and have played four sports competitively.

Reddit Username: UndeadBan
In-Game Name: UndeadBan
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
I use Water type because I like the diversity in the type.
What is your favorite battle strategy?
I don’t usually get to use it very often in the league but I love VoltTurn shenanigans. Also Bisharp prediction games are super fun. Will I Sucker? Will I Knock Off? Will I cheekily Swords Dance?
What do you like most about competitive battling?
I find it fun to try to predict my opponents moves.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
The hardest thing I have found for the Water type is fast grass moves. A lot of pokemon get Energy Ball and other moves like that and that can lead to some problems with many of my heavy hitters. Loco destroyed me with Choice Scarf Genesect in our battle on his way to becoming the champion.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
I got Red and my sister got Blue for Christmas 1998. I immediately loved the game and have been a fan ever since.
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
When you enter my chamber in the Elite Four, you will immediately slide down a water-slide that ends by flowing out of a Gyarados’ mouth. I will be sitting on a throne, like in XY, made of sandstone and behind me would hang 2 crossed tridents.
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I don’t really have anything interesting outside the League. I just go to work and will be going back to school sometime in the next year.

Reddit Username: locoghoul
In-Game Name: locoghoul
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
Dragon because it matches my style in this league better.
What is your favorite battle strategy?
I use balance or bulky offense in OU but in mono I prefer HO.
What do you like most about competitive battling?
Facing good opponents, trash talking, trying to outplay opponents.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
Lack of Knock Off, lack of steel type except for Dialga. I just play offensively.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
Since Gen 1.
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
Since the E4 description is really lame I could tell you that as a gym leader I wouldn’t have puzzles. Just 1-2 trainers below me that would battle the challengers first so that I only face decent trainers. I would like to be on a big city with connections to other cities so that a lot of trainers can stop by. I wouldn’t like a city with just urban areas though, need some mountains/valleys/forests to do some training/outdoors stuff.
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I like sports, I like science. Yeah I’m a nerd lol.

Reddit Username: /u/chrispy294
In-Game Name: Landon
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
Fighting. I randomly chose it when joining the sub 2 years ago because I already had a team concept from a random tournament in high school. Ever since then I’ve fallen in love with Fighting’s diversity and Hyper-Offensive playstyle. I wouldn’t change types for the world and I’m proud to be the first and only Fighting leader PRL has ever had.
What is your favorite battle strategy?
Hyper-Offensive for sure. It works well with how I think, and I prefer fast-paced gameplay.
What do you like most about competitive battling?
As redundant as it sounds, the competitiveness! I love going up against people with skill. It’s more fun when I win because then I know I beat someone who’s putting just as much work into the game as I am. It’s super rewarding and I’ve made so many great friends through it.
What is the hardest thing about leading a gym or E4 post of your type? How do you try to cover those weaknesses?
Smogonbird. God that thing pisses me off. Rocks help though haha. Having a Terrakion now is such a huge help.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
Since I was 4 or 5, so about 15 or 16 years.
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like. What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)

Well, I’m E4, so I’d have an awesome arena to fight in. I’d love to have a Desert Plateau theme, kind of like what you see in a lot of old action anime like Dragon Ball Z. Having my main platform above other plateaus and ledges would give off such a cool, intimidating and epic feel.

We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I’m practically obsessed with singing and have been doing it since middle school. I’m currently the Music Director of my college’s best all-male a cappella group, I arrange music for them, write my owns stuff and sing in a choir. I love singing and really hope that it’s something I can do as a career.

Champion

Reddit Username: ilikepizza42
In-Game Name: Brent
What type of Pokemon do you use as a leader and why?
As a champion I’m allowed to use all kinds
What is your favorite battle strategy?
Bulky offense with a pinch of thunder wave hax.
What do you like most about competitive battling?
I like trying to use my favorite pokemon. Most teams of mine have at least 1 or 2 of my favorite pokemon on them.
How long have you been a fan of Pokemon?
Since 2001ish when I first got pokemon red. I’ve been playing the games ever since.
Just for fun, if you were in the Pokemon games, imagine what your gym would be like.
What kind of town would it be in, what sort of puzzles would trainers have to solve to challenge you, what kind of trainers would come there, etc. (for E4 describe your chamber at the Pokemon League)
Can’t say that I’ve ever thought of this, but if I had a gym of mine, I would probably put all sorts of annoying puzzles in it. I’ve always been fond of the gyms in older games where it’s really dark and hard to see while you make your way through. Throw in some traps and that’d be what I’d have!
We all have lives outside of Pokemon. Tell us something interesting about yourself that doesn’t relate to this league!
I love basketball. I play MWF mornings at 6 am and sometimes go to the gym on the weekends. My first few years in college I was at the gym every day for hours on end. I’m a Golden State Warriors fan and they unfortunately just lost the NBA finals, maybe next year!
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