The main goals of Pokémon Gold & Silver are to not only fill up your Pokédex, but to beat Johto’s eight gyms and eventually become the Champion of the Elite 4.
Eventually you’ll also be able to travel to Kanto as well, but we’re here to guide you through the first League Challenge you’ll be facing during which you’ll have less variety of Pokémon of which to train.
The 8 Gyms of Johto
Violet City Gym—Zephyr Badge
Gym Leader Falkner is a specialist of Flying-type Pokémon and may be a challenge to early players who chose Chikorita or caught Bug-type Pokémon. His team consists of only two Pokémon: a Pidgey (Lv 7) and Pidgeotto (Lv 9).
Strategy: Catch a Geodude or trade for an Onix in order to have Rock-type attacks with which to beat him. Totodile and Cyndaquil will also fair decently, but watch out for Mud-Slap with the latter.
Rewards: Zephyr Badge, TM31 Mud-Slap, use of Flash outside battle and increased Attack
Azalea Town Gym—Hive Badge
Gym Leader Bugsy is of ambiguous gender, but your main concern is going to be taking out their Bug-type Pokémon. You’ll be facing off against the following Pokémon: Metapod (14), Kakuna (14) and Scyther (16).
Strategy: Players who chose a Cyndaquil won’t have too much problem with Bugsy with, but if you aren’t fortunate enough to have a Fire-type handy there are several other options. Pidgey & Spearow are readily available and can use Flying-type attacks to great advantage. Rock-type attacks also work, so if you used Geodude or Onix in the last fight you can make use of them again. Finally, a Mareep or Flaaffy can use Electric-type attacks against Scyther. Take note that Fury Cutter, Scyther’s main route of attack, will gain strength each time it hits. If you’re worried you can use Sand-Attack to lower its accuracy.
Rewards: Hive Badge, TM49 Fury Cutter, use of Cut outside battle and the obedience of all Pokémon up to level 30
Goldenrod City Gym—Plain Badge
Gym Leader Whitney has a reputation for being a punishing force with her Normal-type team, specifically Miltank, and a new generation of players may just be discovering this for the first time. Her team consists of a Clefairy (lv 18) and Miltank (lv 20).
Strategy: Type advantages to take down Whitney’s Pokémon; a Machop available as an in-game trade can come in very handy! You can also catch a Gastly inside of Sprite Tower to prevent any Normal-type moves from having an effect, but this unfortunately does not stop the Rock-type attack Rollout. Grass Pokémon are resistant to it though, so it may be another option worth considering with Bellsprout, among others, being available to catch before battle. Female Pokémon are also preferred in this battle as males are susceptible to Attract.
Rewards: Plain Badge, TM 45 Attract, use of Strength outside of battle and increased Speed
Ecruteak City Gym—Fog Badge
Gym Leader Morty takes his Ghost-type Pokémon seriously and players may find it challenging to even land attacks on them with the type’s negatation of Normal and Fighting-type moves. He uses a Gastly (Lv 21), two Haunters (Lv 21 & 23) and a Gengar (Lv 25).
Strategy: In order to gain the upper-hand in battle you can use a Normal-type Pokémon to remain immune to his Ghost-type moves. Bird Pokémon are a decent bet since they can go on the offensive with Flying-type moves. Because of their Poison sub-types, Morty’s team is also weak to Ground-type attacks so training a Geodude or Graveler with Magnitude is another strong option. If any of his Pokémon use Curse, we recommend switching out so that his Pokémon take the damage without yours having to take the extended damage-over-time effect.
Rewards: Fog Badge, TM34 Shadow Ball, use of Surf outside battle and obedience of all Pokémon up to level 50
Cianwood City Gym—Storm Badge
Strategy: Chuck’s main gimmick is to use Lock-On and then DynamicPunch, a combo that will not only deal a hefty chunk of damage, but also confuse your Pokémon. Try bringing along Poison, Psychic or Bug-types that are resistant to Fighting-type attacks. Xatu, in particular, is a strong choice because of its double Fighting resistance and ability to use Psychic moves.
Rewards: Storm Badge, TM01 DynamicPunch, use of Fly outside battle and obedience of all Pokémon up to level 70
Olivine City Gym—Mineral Badge
Strategy: Ground-type Pokémon offer a clear advantage over Jasmine’s team with their immunity to Electric-type attacks and super effective STAB moves against her entire team. There are several good options to catch before getting to Olivine, such as Sandshrew/Sandslash, Quagsire or Graveler. Fire-type Pokémon will also work, but watch out for Steelix’s Rock Throw attack!
Rewards: Mineral Badge, TM23 Iron Tail and boosted Defense
Mahogany Town Gym—Glacier Badge
Gym Leader Pryce’s name rhymes with ‘ice’ and that may clue you into his chilly obsession with Ice-type Pokémon. His gym is a sliding puzzle which may require a few tries to get right. In battle he brings a Seel (Lv 27), Dewgong (Lv 29) and Piloswine (Lv 31).
Strategy: In order to beat Pryce, try taking him out with Fire-type attacks. Although Seel and Dewgong are part Water-type, they actually have no attacks of that type so you will be in a fairly safe with them. Flareon, Magmar or Growlithe (Gold-exclusive) are all capable options if you didn’t start with Cyndaquil. Finally, taking out his Piloswine is easiest with a Water-type attack so just bring your favorite Water-type Pokémon.
Rewards: Glacier Badge, TM16, use of Waterfall outside of battle and boosted Special Attack & Special Defense
Blackthorn City Gym—Rising Badge
Gym Leader Clair is a tough opponent who uses Dragon-type Pokémon to pummel her challengers. Her gym also requires a Pokémon that knows Strength, but you’re free to switch out your HM slave before taking her on in the final battle after completing the gym puzzle. She uses three Dragonair (all Lv37) and a Kingdra (Lv 40).
Strategy: One of the tricky things about beating Clair is that she will constantly use Thunder Wave to paralyze your Pokémon when you face her trio of Dragonair. The first also has Surf, so you can’t simply bring a Ground-type to avoid her attacks, although Piloswine may be a viable option after her lead has been defeated. Her last Pokémon, Kingdra, is quite a challenge because its only weakness is Dragon-type attacks. It also has the annoying move Smokescreen which will lower your accuracy. I recommend using Toxic in order make it a battle of attrition. Grass-type Pokémon such as Jumpluff also have access to recovery moves such as Synthesis which allow them to recover HP in battle.
Rewards: Rising Badge, TM24 Dragonbreath, use of Whirlpool outside of battle and obedience of all Pokémon
Because you can’t necessarily bring in a specific team of Pokémon to counter each Elite 4 member, we’re instead opting to focus on specific moves that may be worth taking on Pokémon.
This is the first battle of the Elite 4, but don’t think it will be easy. Jynx likes to use Lovely Kiss which will put your Pokémon to sleep and Exeggutor will try to set Reflect up which will bolster Will’s team’s defense. Electric and Fire-type attacks will be your best bet and give you coverage against his whole team.
Don’t let Koga set up Spikes or Toxic, try to burst his Pokémon down fast. The easiest way to do that is bring a tough Fire-type Pokémon, or at least one that knows Flamethrower or Fire Punch. His first three will fall quickly. Muk is vulnerable to Earthquake or Magnitude, so using a Pokémon that knows either of those moves is a good idea. Finally, Crobat is most easily beaten with Electric-type attacks and you can probably use the same Pokémon you did to take out Will’s two Xatu.
Bruno’s Pokémon pack a punch, but are almost all weak to Flying and Psychic-type attacks. If you really want to stay one step ahead of him, you could also bring Haunter or Gengar and make him waste a turn using Foresight to even be able to hit you. Their secondary Poison typing also is to their advantage here. For Onix, try using a Water-type attack on it and taking it out quickly.
Karen—Damsel of Darkness
Making sure you have a strong Psychic-type attack doesn’t sound like a good move when facing Karen, but to take care of her two non-Dark-types, it can be a real boon. Gengar and Vileplume don’t share the same Fighting weakness as her other Pokémon (normal effectiveness on Murkrow), so you can’t get by with Karate Chopping all the way through her team. Pokémon such as Machoke and Poliwrath are good options. Rock-type attacks against Murkrow and Houndoom are another good option.
Facing Lance is a challenge, but smart planning can save you some time. The battle will start out against Gyrados and we recommend leading with an Electric-type or a fast Pokémon with access to an Electric attack. You can quickly take out his first Pokémon before it does too much damage. The Dragonite trio can be trickier to deal with. Two excellent Pokémon to use are Quagsire & Kingdra. The latter is stronger, because of its STAB Dragon-type attacks, but if you don’t have someone to trade with you won’t have access to it. Instead, try using Toxic and switching out to Quagsire in order to negate the Dragonites’ habit of using Thunder Wave to paralyze your team. Blizzard will also hit for neutral damage (usually super effective against most Ground-types). It can also take out Aerodactyl and Charizard with STAB Water attacks.