From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
A Pokémon League Champion (Japanese: リーグ優勝者 League Champion), normally referred to as simply Champion or Pokémon Champion (Japanese: チャンピオン Champion), is the highest known level of rank for a Pokémon Trainer. The title is also colloquially referred to as League Champ (Japanese: ポケモン リーグの ちょうてん Pokémon League's Greatest).
It usually refers to a Trainer who has completed a Pokémon League by collecting all the necessary Badges, and either winning a regional Pokémon tournament or defeating the Elite Four and the previous Champion (if there is one). Kanto and Johto share a Champion, while other regions have their own. If a Champion is defeated, they must relinquish their title to the victor; however, the victor can refuse the title, as N did in Pokémon Black and White.
The Champion is assumed to have to periodically defend the title against challengers, although this is never explicitly stated.
In the games
Champion is a Trainer class that first debuted in the Generation I games. It is the title held by the Trainer who last defeated the Elite Four and the previous Pokémon Champion. Each Champion is always stronger than the Elite Four members and most other Trainers, and has a party of six Pokémon to test their opponents' strength. Like Elite Four members, they employ the use of strong healing items. To challenge the Champion, Trainers must defeat all four Elite Four members without leaving the Pokémon League area, and cannot access the Pokémon League Pokémon Center and Poké Mart until after defeating the Champion or losing at any point during the challenge. If a challenger is defeated by the Champion, just like the Elite Four, they must start over.
Since in every core series game the player goes on to defeat the standing Champion, every player character is considered a Champion and subsequently entered into the Hall of Fame, along with the player's party. However, for players, becoming the Champion is mostly a symbolic honor, as they are unable to battle challengers or take up any other league duties. In addition, the former Champion will still remain at the Pokémon League, retaining the title of Pokémon Champion at least in newer generations (in Generations I and III, Blue clearly stated his reign was over). The player may battle the Elite Four and the former Champion as many times as they like, and on each success will be re-entered into the Hall of Fame with whatever team was used in that challenge.
In Black and White, Cynthia tells the player that once every few years, the Champions from all the regions come together and battle to find the strongest among them. In the Pokémon World Tournament in Black 2 and White 2, which takes place 2 years later, all the Champions the player battles in previous games participate in the Champions Tournament. This tournament does not include player characters, with the exception of Red.
Known non-player Champions in the games:
In the anime
with the Vertress Championship Trophy
In the Pokémon anime, there can only be one regional Champion at a time, although the case of the less conventional Orange League is unclear. While Trainers can freely request a battle from the Champion, much more popular events are the Pokémon League Conferences, which can be entered by Trainers with at least eight Gym Badges. The winner of these tournaments may enter the Champion League to face off the regional Elite Four members and, if successful, the League Champion. Most members of the Sinnoh Elite Four have also been shown challenging Cynthia for the title.
So far, the only mentions of the Champion League have been in An Elite Meet and Greet!, A Trainer and Child Reunion!, Ash and Trip's Third Battle! and Ash Versus the Champion!.
In addition to gathering eight Gym Badges, the Indigo Plateau Conference is known to accept Trainers passing the Pokémon League Admissions Exam and those graduating from Pokémon Tech. There are also smaller tournaments, such as the Pokémon World Tournament Junior Cup, where the winner gets to battle the League Champion straight away. Trip and Magnus were allowed to battle Alder and Diantha, respectively, by winning such competitions.
Known Champions in the anime (including any previous ones):
In the manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
Wallace wearing the "Champion's Cloak"
In the Pokémon Adventures manga, the Champion of each region is the winner of an elimination tournament held every three years in each region. In the Ruby & Sapphire chapter, it was determined that the winners of each tournament would have to face the Elite Four, each a former champion themselves, before challenging the Champion. The main characters that took part in a Pokémon League tournament so far are Blue, Green, Black, and Red. Of the four, Red and Black both won a tournament, though only Red was formally given the title of Champion.
The following are the known Champions in the Pokémon Adventures manga:
- In every Pokémon game to date, the player meets the Champion before challenging the Elite Four.
- In French localizations, Gym Leader is translated to Champion, while Champion is translated to Maître, meaning "master".
- Diantha has the highest leveled Pokémon out of all the Champions battled the first time the Pokémon League is challenged. Her lowest level is 64, and her highest is 68.
- Although Alder has Pokémon above level 70, he is not battled as Champion until the post-credits rematch against the Pokémon League.
- Lance has the lowest leveled Pokémon out of all the Champions. His lowest level Pokémon is level 44 in Generation II, and level 46 in Generation IV. His highest is level 50 in both generations.
In other languages