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The Elite Four (Japanese: 四天王 Four Heavenly Kings) are four Pokémon Trainers who are regarded as the toughest in their regional Pokémon League, short of the Pokémon League Champion. Those who challenge the Elite Four must have won all eight Badges from that region and face all four and the current Champion consecutively without losing to any of them.
One group resides on Indigo Plateau in Kanto, and are considered the best Trainers in both Kanto and Johto; another is in Ever Grande City in Hoenn; two more reside at the unnamed Pokémon Leagues in Sinnoh and Unova.
Kanto/Johto Elite Four
Generation I and III
In the Generation I games Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, and their Generation III remakes, the Elite Four at the Indigo Plateau consists of:
Generation II and IV
In Generation II and Generation IV, the Elite Four at the Indigo Plateau consists of:
Hoenn Elite Four
In Generation III, the Elite Four in Ever Grande City consists of:
Sinnoh Elite Four
In Generation IV, the Elite Four at the Pokémon League consists of:
Unova Elite Four
The Unova Elite Four may be challenged in any order the player wishes. In Generation V, the Elite Four at the Pokémon League consists of:
In the anime
The Sinnoh Elite Four in the anime
Ash and his friends infrequently meet the members of the Elite Four, who then impart them with battle strategies. So far, Ash has encountered the complete Kanto group:
Ash has also met Koga in The Ninja Poké-Showdown, though merely as Fuchsia City's Gym Leader and not as an Elite Four member.
From Hoenn, Ash has met:
Ash has also met the entire Sinnoh Elite Four as well:
In Unova, Alder first appeared in a flashback of Trip's childhood in Ash and Trip's Third Battle!. Ash met him in Ash Versus the Champion!. None of the Unova Elite Four have appeared yet.
It has been hinted by Lucian in An Elite Meet and Greet! that when a Trainer wins their respective region's Conference Tournament, they can participate in the Elite Four Challenge, fighting the four members of that region's Elite Four, and then possibly the Champion as well.
In the manga
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Hoenn's Elite Four and Champion
The Kanto Elite Four made their first appearance in A Charizard...and a Champion watching the final battle between Red and Blue before serving as the primary antagonists for the Yellow chapter of the manga. They are each said to be so powerful that triad leaders of Team Rocket, Koga, Lt. Surge, and Sabrina all had to (begrudgingly) team up with the protagonists and Blaine to take just a single one of them.
The Johto Elite Four is formed at the end of the Gold, Silver, & Crystal chapter. It consists of accomplished Pokémon Trainers that were formerly part of criminal organizations, who would eventually rise as the official Elite Four of the Indigo Plateau. Will, Bruno, Karen, and Koga united to train together after they were no longer being controlled. They reappeared in the HeartGold & SoulSilver chapter participating on the Pokéathlon and later fighting against Lance's Dragonite.
The Hoenn Elite Four made an appearance in the Ruby & Sapphire chapter, helping to find and catch the legendary golems in order to contain the massive surge of energy created by the clash of Kyogre and Groudon alongside Steven and Wallace, their two regional Champions.
The Sinnoh Elite Four member to debut in the series was Flint who appeared as a cameo in the last round of the Diamond & Pearl chapter. The other members appeared in the Platinum chapter, where they were enlisted by the Pokémon Association Chairman to decode the ancient writings in Charon's memobook. Cynthia, the Champion of the Sinnoh Elite Four has made multiple appearances since the seventh chapter.
The Unova Elite Four have appeared in the Black & White chapter as Black cites them during his daily pledge. Besides Caitlin, who appears in the Platinum chapter, the only Elite Four he is yet to meet is Shauntal, but White meets her instead.
- In the Kanto-based games, all of the Elite Four members have at least one Pokémon that is not of their specialty type during the first battle.
- All Indigo Elite Four members are villains in the Pokémon Adventures manga.
- The Hoenn Elite Four members are the only ones that don't have higher level Pokémon in future rematches with them in any game.
- Prior to Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the Elite Four typically progressed in level with their Pokémon in the games. The rematch teams in HeartGold and SoulSilver don't progress in level like in all previous games and even the pre-Kanto teams used by the same Elite Four. In Generation V, all members of the Elite Four use Pokémon of the same levels, as they can be challenged in any order.
- In Platinum, the highest-leveled Pokémon of Bertha, Flint, and Lucian (Rhyperior, Magmortar, and Gallade respectively) match the final Pokémon that the Sinis Trio uses from Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, in that same order.
- Also, Aaron's highest-leveled Pokémon, Drapion, and one of Bertha's Pokémon, Gliscor, match Kincaid's first and second Pokémon, respectively.
- Black and White are the only games where Elite Four members used fewer than five Pokémon in their initial parties.
- It is also the only Elite Four thus far that does not force the player to battle its members in a specific order.
- The only types not specialized in by an Elite Four member nor a Champion are Electric, Flying, Grass, Normal and Rock.
- However, Pokémon of all the types have been used by the Elite Four.
- The Sinnoh Elite Four and Generation I and III Kanto Elite Four are the only Elite Fours in which all members made appearances in the anime.
- In Generation V, all five Elite Four members' (including the Champion) type specialties have been used exactly twice in previous Elite Fours, at least one of which is one of the two Indigo Elite Four variations. Fighting has been used by both Indigo Elite Four versions, Ghost has been used by the Indigo (Generations I and III) and Hoenn Elite Four, Psychic has been used by the Indigo (Generations II and IV) and Sinnoh Elite Four, Dark has been used by the Indigo (Generations II and IV) and Hoenn Elite Four, and a Champion has had no specialty type in Kanto (Generations I and III) and Sinnoh.
- With the exception of Caitlin, Blue, and Bruno, all Elite Four members and Champions have a Japanese name with three characters.
- Pokémon Puzzle League features its own Elite Four: Ritchie, Lorelei, Bruno, and Gary. Gary serves as the leader of the Elite Four and the Puzzle League Champion.
In other languages