If you’re a fan of the Pokémon franchise, you’ll certainly know that Ash’s battles have proven to be unpredictable over the decades. Sure, we always knew he would go far in a tournament, but despite our hopes, his victory was never assured; in fact, the only League he won was the one in Alola, which was significantly easier than all the others and is part of Generation VII. Currently, Ash is fighting in the Master’s Tournament semifinals against Cynthia, and in this article, we are going to explore whether Ash could win this one or not.
Based on the Pokémon we saw in the episodes and the trailers, Ash has a fair chance of defeating Cynthia, although it will be a close call. The anime is always different than the actual games, so knowing what we know about Ash’s Pokémon and their powers, there is a chance that their shared bond will be enough to defeat Cynthia, although we cannot be certain at this point.
Unlike our other comparisons, we are going to approach this one differently. We are going to present the two Trainers and their Pokémon (the ones used in battle), and then draw a conclusion as to who might come out on top after the battle. This is going to be an analytical article, so we’re not giving you any spoilers here.
Ash and his Pokémon
Ash Ketchum is the main character of the Pokémon anime. He is also the main character of various manga based on anime. He is a Pokémon Trainer from Pallet Town whose goal is to become a Pokémon Master. His starter Pokémon was a Pikachu that he received from Professor Oak after arriving late at his laboratory. On his journeys around the Pokémon world, he’s been accompanied by a multitude of close friends. Ash has caught numerous Pokémon over the years but the ones he used in his battle against Cynthia are:
Pikachu is seen from the first episode, adopting an execrable character. Not taking a liking to his new Trainer, he constantly ignored him, and when Ash failed to capture a Pidgey, Pikachu laughed at him. However, by the end of the episode, he will end up trusting Ash, who has protected him from an attack by a horde of Spearow and treated him at the Pokémon Center. Since then, they have become inseparable. Pikachu refuses to enter its Poké Ball and evolve into Raichu as we saw in Episode 14, when he rejected Ash’s Lightning Stone.
Over the course of the episodes, he’ll beat a Rock/Ground-type Pokémon with an electric attack, oppose Mewtwo’s domination, and electrify two young members of Team Rocket too many times to count. He is also deeply selfless, extremely dedicated, and a good fighter. He seems undemanding for food but in some episodes, we see that Pikachu strongly appreciates ketchup. We can also see in several episodes that he is an excellent imitator.
Prior to its evolution, Dragonite was a curious Pokémon, having shown immediate interest even in strangers – Ash, Goh, and their Pokémon – stranded on his island. Quickly, Dragonite decided to take care of them, in particular by showing them around the place where it lives and showing them the different corners of the island. Overall, Dragonite was very affectionate and kind.
However, Dragonite was also a bit lonely and isolated from the rest of his fellows. The fact that she wasn’t able to fly in the sky with the other members of its group saddened it greatly. Despite his goodwill, his many attempts, and his relentless training with his comrade Dragonite, Dragonite was unable to obtain results. When Ash decides to train him, Dragonite tries the different techniques offered by the young Trainer but continues to fail, which demoralizes him even more. Despite this, it remains touching that Ash goes to such lengths to help it.
Gengar is quite a mischievous Pokémon. He is usually willing to fight anyone who crosses his path. Initially, he wanted revenge for the abandonment of his trainer, and for this reason, Gengar did not trust humans until he was captured by Ash. From then on, he is still quite mischievous, although he is much more giggly and causes jokes for fun and not to do evil.
He has a particular taste for scaring Ren, Professor Cerise’s assistant. On the other hand, it is quite strong and agile in combat, it is also shown as an observant Pokémon and curious about its surroundings. When Ash shows his trust in him, he is shown to be very loyal to him. It has also been seen that he gets annoyed when people talk about him behind his back, especially when they suspect something he did not do.
Riolu, like his kind, demonstrates the ability to sense the aura of others. This is how he generated a connection with the aura of Ash and Pikachu when they were both protecting him from an angry Onix. He feels a great passion for fighting since shortly after being born, he goes out in search of confrontations with various Pokémon regardless of the differences in strength they have with him. He is quite proud. At first, he was continually trying to prove that he can stand on his own, such as when Ash offered to carry him after being exhausted from fighting so he can’t walk, or to help him off the stretcher at the Pokémon Center.
In both cases, Riolu shows that he can do it alone. He has also been known to attack Pikachu to show that he doesn’t want help from him. But as time went by, Riolu gradually began to be more affectionate and close to his trainer, as well as getting along better with Pikachu, even worrying about him. He has been shown to be enthusiastic and a bit childish when it comes to showing his interest in battles.
Farfetch’d stands out for being a very competitive and passionate Pokémon for fighting, it can be somewhat brusque and careless when passionate about its training, forgetting its surroundings. He often challenges other Pokémon to fight him. He shows to be occasionally stubborn and hasty when it comes to attacking, when he is like this, he does not obey the orders of his trainer.
He is also very easily teased and forgets his surroundings when he goes into a rage. Farfetch’d doesn’t usually pay much attention to his trainer and is often seen avoiding him. The highest aspiration of this Pokémon is to be a Leek Master.
Dracovish is a very confused Pokémon for having woken up in a world that has gone through so many changes. It tends to get out of control very easily and can become a bit aggressive. Nonetheless, it proves to be a friendly and trustworthy Pokémon. He makes his affection known with his bites, he seems to really like Ash.
It proves to be a very agile Pokémon when running in the depths of the water, but when it comes to swimming, it is not the best because it is quite slow, which often causes its trainer to be confused with it. It also shows that he does not control his body parts perfectly nor is he very good at jumping. It is evident that Dracovish is attracted to everything that staggers and on several occasions, this has led him to abruptly launch himself against other Pokémon.
Cynthia and her Pokémon
Cynthia is a recurring character from the Pokémon anime. Cynthia is the current Champion of the Sinnoh region and has helped deal with several crises, particularly those involving Team Galactic and Team Rocket. In the anime, Cynthia is revealed to be one of the top eight Pokémon Trainers in the world within the World Coronation Series. As for her Pokémon, the six used in battle are:
Garchomp is Cynthia’s undisputed ace, always present with her in each of her appearances. She is a fierce adversary on the battlefield, as she has always emerged victorious in all the matches she has fought on screen. She has been seen defeating high-caliber opponents such as Lucian’s Bronzong, Aaron’s Drapion, Flint’s Infernape, or even almost all of Paul’s Pokémon. Cynthia has raised her since she was a Pokémon egg and they have been together since their childhood, so it follows that this is where Garchomp’s enormous strength in combat comes from and her unbreakable bond.
Like Garchomp, it is a very powerful Pokémon. He shows great dexterity and control in his attacks. It is not very fast, but it makes up for it with its attacks which perform a defensive and offensive function at the same time. This is seen when its muddy water blocks the sharp winds of Team Galactic’s Golbats or when its sharp rock blocks the sunbeam of Aaron’s Beautifly and then hits it defeating it. It is a seemingly very calm Pokémon. It is the second Pokémon shown by Cynthia in the anime. She apparently captured it in western Sinnoh because of the color it has.
Roserade is one of the Sinnoh Champion’s Pokémon. She first uses it in LPA03 to combat and tie up Team Galactic in order to arrest them. Roserade reappears in EP1212, as Cynthia’s second Pokémon in her Eight Masters Tournament battle against the now also champion, Ash Ketchum, being her initial opponent Gengar. Roserade attacked Gengar with a Seeder and then Leaf Rain, but luckily for the Sinnoh Champion, Gengar lands a Will, burning her Grass Pokémon, to which she responds by switching Pokémon with Spiritomb. Roserade, like all of its kind, is shown as a very elegant Pokémon, but also strong, determined, and willing to give everything on the battlefield.
Milotic was the second Pokémon used in the Eight Masters Tournament quarterfinals during EP1206, in which it faced Excadrill and Iris’s Dragonite, beating both with great ease. However, he ended up losing to Haxorus. It knows the moves Hydro Pump, Captivating Voice, and Iron Head.
Spiritomb was the first Pokémon used in the semifinal of the Eight Masters Tournament during EP1212, in which it faced Ash’s Dragonite and Gengar, defeating both but ended up drawing against Pikachu with the same fate. He knows the moves Sucker Punch, Hypnosis, Dream Eater, and Destiny Bond.
Togekiss was the third Pokémon used in the semifinal of the Eight Masters Tournament during EP1212, in which it faced Pikachu but was traded for Cynthia/Cintia. He knows the moves Air Slash, and Zen Headbutt. His ability is Bliss.
Ash vs. Cynthia: Who would win?
Now that we know who is going to participate in this battle, we can actually do a proper analysis, and it’s quite a complex one. On a nominal level, as far as the games are concerned, it would depend on the tactical approach and the order of the Pokémon used in battle. Pikachu could defeat Togekiss and Milotic, but would lose to Gastrodon. Gastrodon would be defeated by either Lucario or Sirfetch’d, but both of these would lose to Togekiss in battle. Garchomp and Dragonite, as well as Spiritomb and Gengar, would cancel each other out. Roserade would be able to defeat Dracovish. So, as you can see, it would all come down to the order of battle as it would make a big difference.
On the other hand, the anime is always different. Namely, Pikachu was able to defeat Pokémon that are actually immune to his attacks, so it’s not as realistic as it is in the games. From an objective standpoint, Cynthia seems to be the better fighter, as her most powerful Pokémon have more experience and skill than Ash’s best Pokémon.
Yet, somehow, we cannot really rule Ash’s victory out. Namely, Ash’s history in the anime shows us that he was able to defeat numerous opponents nominally tougher than him thanks to the special bond he has with his Pokémon. In that aspect, we can see him coming out on top here in a very evenly-matched fight, but we’ll just have to wait and see what the producers of the anime have decided for us.