When battling Pokémon in the wild, there is nothing stopping a trainer from using and carrying any number of monsters (besides the general difficulty of controlling a small mob). In an actual sanctioned match, such as those within a gym or competition, things change dramatically.
- Unless otherwise specified, each trainer is only allowed to use one monster at any given time. A trainer must recall the Pokémon they are currently using in order to send out another one.
- Unless otherwise specified, each trainer starts the match with only 6 (or fewer) Pokémon to choose from. Once all of his Pokémon have been defeated, the trainer has lost the match.
- Sanctioned matches are always nonlethal battles. The match only goes until the opposing Pokémon has fainted (reached 0 hp) or the trainer or monster surrenders.
- A battle must be contained within a certain area agreed upon by the combatants and any judges present. Usually this will be a battle court or gym. In less official matches, such as between trainers in the field, the area could be nearly anything, from a particular clearing or lake, to a small patch of grass.
- Unless otherwise specified, each Pokemon may only use four of its attacks over the course of a match, though it may use those attacks as often as needed. These four moves must be chosen before the battle begins.
Badges & Gyms
Badges represent a trainer's experience and power, and collecting them is as important to some trainers as collecting Pokemon, sometimes moreso. Most commonly, when a trainer is talking about (or showing off) badges, they are referring to badges received for defeating a Gym Leader in an official match. Gym leaders will not usually accept a challenge from just anybody, and may require that the challenger first defeats other gym members. Most Gyms are also set up like huge puzzles, making it difficult to even reach the leader in the first place. This is intentional, as it tests the trainer in both in and out of battle situations. Particulrly large or prestigious gyms may also require that the challenger have at least one or two other badges. The Elite Four, while not a Gym, requires that any challenge have at least 8 badges.
Trainers who do not travel often claim membership at a local Gym. In exchange for the use of the facilities and direct advice and training from the Gym Leader, members are expected to battle would be challengers. Gaining memberships usually requires the aspirant to defeat a team of the Leader's weaker Pokemon, or to complete some task or trail assigned by the leader. Members will receive a membership badge, which is often a lesser version or variations of the official gym badge.
Becoming a Gym Leader requires more than just defeating the current leader. Generally, a Gym Leader will not use his or her strongest Pokemon in an official match. They will use a team that will challenge the trainer, but not make it impossible for them to win. If a trainer actually seeks to claim the gym for their own, all bets are off. A Gym Leader is expected to (and almost always does) use her strongest available Pokemon and try to defeat the challenger by any legal means. If the trainer succeeds and is recognized by the current members and former leader, he or she becomes the new leader of the gym and is expected to carry out all the responsibilities associated with the position.
Starting a new gym is almost as difficult, as if requires the recognition of at least one existing gym leader and, in some instances, the approval or invitation of a member of the Elite Four.
The various recognized leagues and their most prominent gyms are listed on the charts below. The most basic effect of a badge is that it increases the maximum level of Pokemon a trainer can control by 1. This effect stacks, so that a trainer with all 8 badges from a particular league should be able to control nearly any Pokemon he encounters, though especially strong or unruly examples still exist. Most badges also have additional effects and perks, such as boosting combat ability or simply garnering respect.
|Boulder Badge||Pewter City||Brock|
|Cascade Badge||Cerulean City||Misty|
|Thunder Badge||Vermilion City||Lt. Surge|
|Rainbow Badge||Celadon City||Erika|
|Soul Badge||Fuschia City||Janine|
|Marsh Badge||Saffron City||Sabrina|
|Volcano Badge||Cinnabar Island||Blaine|
|Earth Badge||Viridian City||Gary|
|Zepher Badge||Violet City||-||Falkner|
|Hive Badge||Azalea Town||-||Bugsy|
|Plain Badge||Goldenrod City||-||Whitney|
|Fog Badge||Ecruteak City||-||Morty|
|Storm Badge||Cianwood City||-||Chuck|
|Mineral Badge||Olivine City||-||Jasmine|
|Glacier Badge||Mahogany Town||-||Pryce|
|Rising Badge||Blackthorn City||-||Clair|
|Stone Badge||Rustboro City||Roxanne|
|Knuckle Badge||Dewford Town||Brawly|
|Dynamo Badge||Mauville City||Wattson|
|Heat Badge||Lavaridge Town||Flanery|
|Balance Badge||Petalburg City||Norman|
|Feather Badge||Fortree City||Winona|
|Mind Badge||Mossdeep City||Tate & Liza|
|Rain Badge||Sootopolis City||Juan|
|Coal Badge||Oreburgh City||-||Roark|
|Forest Badge||Eterna City||-||Gardenia|
|Cobble Badge||Veilstone City||-||Maylene|
|Fen Badge||Pastora City||-||Crasher Wake|
|Relic Badge||Hearthome City||-||Fantina|
|Mine Badge||Canalave City||-||Byron|
|Icicle Badge||Snowpoint City||-||Candice|
|Beacon Badge||Sunnyshore City||-||Volkner|
The Orange League
Based out of the Orange Islands, this particular league is unique in that a trainer does not battle the Gym Leader (in the usual sense) to attain badges. Instead, the trainer and his Pokemon compete against the leader in several competitions that test their skills and the strength of their bond. The Orange League has only four badges.
|Coral-Eye Badge||Mikan Island||Target test||Cissy|
|Sea Ruby Badge||Navel Island||Various races||Danny|
|Spike Shell Badge||Trovita Island||Target test||Rudy|
|Jade Star Badge||Kumquat Island||Double team||Luana|
|Winner's Trophy||Pummelo Island||Six vs six battle||Drake|
Upon defeating at least 8 Gym Leaders in a particular region, a trainer is declared a Pokemon Champion and has the right to challenge the Elite Four, a group of the region's greatest trainers. These matches are done much the same as a normal gym match, with the following additions:
- A trainer must fight all of the members in order
- If a trainer is defeated at any point, they must start over from the beginning
- Although a trainer may bring items, a trainer is not permitted to leave or rest in between matches. Doing so forfeits the current challenge.
Assuming the trainer is able to defeat all four members, he or she has the right the right to challenge the current Pokemon League Champion and take the title of Pokemon Master.