Why Did Ash Lose in the Kalos League?


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Ever since his first adventures in the world of Pokémon, Ash Ketchum has been one of the best-known and most popular anime characters. The adventures that he and his Pikachu, along with their friends, have had are known around the world, and fans of the anime series still patiently wait for each new episode. And while Pokémon is much more than just the fights, one of the most interesting and thrilling parts of the anime are Ash’s battles against the Gym leaders in each of the regions and his final participation in the region’s Pokémon League. Although Ash always managed to collect all the badges and generally had a lot of success in the league format, he actually had little to no success in the actual finals. In this article, we are going to discuss why Ash lost in the Kalos League finals and whether that decision made any sense plot-wise.

It seems that Ash lost in the Kalos League final due to a writer’s decision, as there was absolutely no logical sense that Ash, with such a strong team and a great tactical approach, lost to Alain, who was not stronger than him. It seems that the writers wanted to prolong the show and they made Ash lose.

The focus of the rest of the article is going to be on Ash Ketchum, the anime’s protagonist, and his lack of success in the Kalos League finals. By most standards, Ash should have won in that final, yet he did not. Today’s article is going to examine the reasons for such an outcome and give you all the necessary details.

How did Ash reach the Kalos League final?

Before we actually discuss Ash’s battle in the Kalos League final, we’ll give you a short overview of his road to that battle. Also, the term “Kalos League” is associated with the Pokémon games and was not used in anime. In the anime, the Kalos League was called the Lumiose Conference and was held in Lumiose City. Each trainer who has won eight Kalos gym badges

The gym battles

Before advancing to the Kalos League final, a trainer has to obtain eight Gym Badges from the Kalos League Gyms. This is a concept used in each regional arc in the Pokémon anime and the Kalos region was no exception. The eight Badges Ash obtained are:

GymLeaderBadgeEpisode Won
Santalune GymViolaBug Badge“Battling on Thin Ice!” (805)
Cyllage GymGrantCliff Badge“Climbing the Walls!” (824)
Shalour GymKorrinaRumble Badge“Showdown at the Shalour Gym!” (843)
Coumarine GymRamosPlant Badge“The Green, Green Grass Types of Home!” (857)
Lumiose GymClemontVoltage Badge“The Moment of Lumiose Truth!” (866)
Laverre GymValerieFairy Badge“Fairy-Type Trickery!” (873)
Anistar GymOlympiaPsychic Badge“All Eyes on the Future!” (892)
Snowbelle GymWulfricIceberg Badge“A Real Icebreaker!” (921)

Now, we are going to briefly analyze Ash’s battles in the Kalos region and see how difficult his path actually was.

XY006 Ash VS Viola

Led by Viola, Santalune Gym was Ash’s first Gym battle in the Kalos region; he fought for the Bug Badge. Interestingly enough, Ash had to fight Viola twice in order to obtain the Bug Badge. She uses a Surskit and a Vivillon in battle. In their first encounter, Surskit froze the battlefield inside the Gym which surprised Ash’s Pikachu as it was unable to move, which is why it lost to Surskit.

Ash’s Fletchling managed to defeat Surskit due to his ability to fly, but it had no chance against Viola’s strong Vivillon, who defeated it with a strong Solar Beam. After regaining his confidence, Ash challenged Viola for a rematch. This time – he was ready. Surskit used the same tactical approach as in their first battle, but Pikachu used its tail this time to balance itself on the ice and managed to defeat Surskit.


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Fletchling also got the chance for a rematch against Vivillon but was once again overpowered thanks to Vivillon’s Sleep Powder. Pikachu then returned to the battlefield and managed to defeat it after its wing became frozen due to the ice. This is how Ash won his first Kalos badge.

XY025 Ash VS Grant

Grant is the leader of the Cyllage Gym and the holder of the Cliff Badge. As the name suggests, his specialty are Rock-type Pokémon. When Ash fought Grant, he challenged him with three Pokémon – Pikachu, Fletchling, and Froakie. Grant’s first Pokémon was Onix, an experienced and powerful Pokémon; this battle was similar to Ash’s first-ever Gym battle against Brock in the Kanto region, where he also had to fight an Onix.

Onix fought Ash’s Froakie and despite being stronger, it could not keep up with Froakie’s speed and eventually lost. Tyrunt was Grant’s next Pokémon. The quick dinosaur was much faster than Froakie and defeated it with Draco Meteor, after which it fought Fletchling. Despite taking some damage from Fletchling, Tyrunt had no trouble defeating the bird Pokémon before finally facing Pikachu. Pikachu was stronger than Tyrunt and eventually managed to defeat it, thereby securing Ash’s second Kalos badge.

XY044 Ash VS Korrina

Korrina, the leader of Shalour Gym, uses Fighting-type Pokémon. Ash was quite successful in his battle against Korrina until her Lucario, her main Pokémon, entered the battlefield. Mienfoo was her first Pokémon and it fought Ash’s Hawlucha; the battle was quite intense and pretty equal, but Hawlucha eventually managed to win.

The same happened in the second fight, where Korrina’s Machoke fought Fletchinder and likewise lost in a very tense battle. Her last Pokémon, Lucario, quickly entered the battlefield, and immediately Mega evolved into Mega Lucario. Mega Lucario first fought against Fletchinder and won, but it took some hits from the small bird Pokémon. The same happened against Ash’s Hawlucha, who also lost against Mega Lucario.


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Ash’s final Pokémon was Pikachu who, after a very intense and thrilling battle, managed to shock Mega Lucario, returning it to its normal form, which signalized the end of the battle. Thus, Ash managed to obtain the Rumble Badge from Korrina.

XY058 Ash VS Ramos

The Coumarine Gym has its leader in Ramos, a Grass-type Pokémon specialist who used three of his Pokémon to fight Ash for the Plant Badge. The first clash featured Jumpluff and Ash’s evolved Fletchinder, where the latter Pokémon had a type advantage. Jumpluff did its best to defend against the Fire-type Pokémon but ultimately lost.

Ramos’ second Pokémon was Weepinbell who, despite a type disadvantage, defeated both Fletchinder and Hawlucha, mostly due to its Poison Powder, which inflicted Poison upon its opponents, which enabled it to win. It was ultimately defeated by Ash’s Frogadier, who also fought Ramos’ last Pokémon – Gogoat. Gogoat was very powerful and almost defeated Frogadier, but Ash came up with a winning tactical approach in the last moments, which enabled Frogadier to defeat Gogoat and Ash to earn his fourth Kalos badge.

XY067 Ash VS Clemont

Clemont was Ash’s fifth opponent on his way to the Kalos League. The battle in Lumiose City was one of the more interesting ones in the whole series. We’ll disregard Clembot for the sake of this article, but we had to at least mention the lovely robot and his Magnemite and Magneton.

As for Clemont, he sent out his Bunnelby against Ash’s Pikachu for the first clash, which ended with an easy win for Pikachu. The quick Heliolisk was Clemont’s second choice and although Ash initially sent out his Goodra, he quickly replaced it with Hawlucha after it had been paralyzed. Hawlucha managed to find Heliolisk’s weakness and it finally defeated the lizard Pokémon.


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The battle seemed to be on Ash’s side, but then Clemont sent out Luxray, who easily dealt with both Hawlucha and Pikachu, leaving Ash’ paralyzed Goodra as his last hope. Goodra used Rain Dance to recover and, after an intense fight, managed to overpower Luxray, earning Ash the Voltage Badge.

XY074 Ash VS Valerie

The battle against the Fairy-type specialist, Valerie, was a relatively simple one when compared to some others. It was a 2-on-2 battle in which Ash first faced off against Valerie’s Sylveon, one of Eevee’s evolutions, sending out his Fletchinder. The fight was quite intense as both were very strong, but Fletchinder actually managed to win, forcing Valerie to retrieve her Sylveon.

Her second and final Pokémon was Spritzee, who defeated Fletchinder with relative ease. To everyone’s surprise, Ash sent out his Hawlucha to fight Spritzee. Although Hawlucha was given very little chance, it managed to defeat Spritzee, thus allowing Ash to obtain his sixth Kalos League badge.

XY093 Ash VS Olympia

Akin to Ash’s battle against Tate and Liza in the Hoenn League, the Psychic-type specialist, Olympia, was actually a double battle for Ash. Interestingly enough, where Tate and Liza used a Solrock and Lunatone respectively, Olympia used a male and a female Meowstick, as the genders have a very different appearances.

Ash chose Frogadier and Talonflame for this battle, despite Pikachu’s insistence. The two Meowstick were extremely powerful and Ash was on his way to defeat when he came up with an idea and asked for Pikachu’s help. After the two of them managed to find the necessary information and come up with a new tactical approach, Talonflame and Frogadier came out as the ultimate victors of this fight. As she was awarding him with the Psychic Badge, Olympia praised Ash and his approach to the battle.

XY122 Ash VS Wulfric

Run by Wulfric, the powerful Ice-type user, this is the last Gym in the Kalos Area. Wulfric was Ash’s last step before the Kalos League and Wulfric truly delivered an amazing fight, so amazing that the two of them had to fight a rematch in order to determine the winner. Bergmite was Ash’s first opponent; Ash sent out Pikachu and Pikachu managed to win this time, securing Ash’s first win.

Avalugg quickly defeated Pikachu, but the soon lost during the fight with Talonflame, who is a Fire-type Pokémon. Abomasnow was Wulfric’s final choice and soon afterward, it evolved to Mega Abomasnow. And while Ash’s Greninja put up a good fight, it wasn’t until its transformation to Ash-Greninja that Wulfric’s Mega Abomasnow began to lose and ultimately did, which allowed Ash to enter the Kalos League and become the best trainer.


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The league battles

After obtaining all eight badges, Ash was eligible to participate in the Kalos League, which was known – in the anime – as the Lumiose Conference. It was held in Lumiose City, the site of Ash’s battle for the fifth Kalos badge. This is way to the final.

XY125 Ash VS Titus

Ash’s first-round opponent in the Kalos League was Titus, a young trainer. It was a 3-on-3 battle but Ash was almost disqualified, as he was late for the beginning of the match because he had to defeat Everett on his way to the match. As he arrived, he first battled Titus’ Altaria, sending out his Greninja.

Altaria started out strongly, but Greninja successfully resisted all of the attacks, and finally managed to knock Altaria out. The rest of the battle was never shown on screen so we don’t actually know the other Pokémon used in the battle but we do know that Ash defeated Titus and that he managed to advance to the second round of the Kalos League.

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Ash’s second-round battle was not shown on screen. We know he won and we know that he used Greninja, who transformed into Ash-Greninja, but the details related to the battle and his other Pokémon are unknown. The quarterfinal battle saw Ash battle against Astrid, a well-known trainer from the franchise.

Her strongest Pokémon is Absol, who can also evolve into Mega Absol. The details on this battle are scarce as well, as we only saw a fragment of the battle. In that fragment, we saw Astrid’s Mega Absol fight Ash’s Hawlucha. Hawlucha successfully dodged Mega Absol’s attack before landing a direct, knockout hit that sent Ash to the semifinals.

XY127 Ash VS Sawyer

Ash fought Sawyer in the semifinals in a very entertaining 6-on-6 battle; the rules also changed, with the battlefield changing whenever three Pokémon on either side are knocked out. Ash’s first Pokémon was Hawlucha, who fought Sawyer’s Slaking. Ash’ started out strongly, but every attack Hawlucha launched didn’t even make Slaking flinch.

Slaking soon regained its health and then launched back at Hawlucha, knocking them out of the battle. Talonflame was Ash’s next Pokémon and though it seemed that Slaking would once more just absorb the damage and not even flinch, the accumulated damage began to show as Slaking tried to stand up, falling down on one knee, thus enabling Talonflame to knock it out.

Sawyer sent out Clawitzer, a Water-type Pokémon, who successfully chased Talonflame around the arena before freezing part of its wing with Ice Beam. Talonflame melted the ice but in a direct collision with Clawitzer’s Aqua Jet, it fell down and lost the battle. Pikachu was Ash’s obvious choice against Clawitzer, but Sawyer’s Pokémon resisted Ash’s friend quite well, dodging a lot of its attacks before eventually being defeated by a combination of strong Electric-type attacks.


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In order to counter Pikachu and it using the forest terrain to his advantage, Sawyer sends out Aegislash, which starts to cut down the trees in order to stop Pikachu from hiding. The battle becomes more intense as Ash realizes that Aegislash is hard to attack, but he comes up with an idea that involves using Aegislash’s form change to his advantage. It is a difficult move, but Pikachu manages to do it and defeats Aegislash.

After the battlefield changes, Ash and Sawyer send out Noivern and Salamence respectively. The two dragons have a very intense fight until they attack each other so hard that both are knocked out simultaneously, resulting in a draw, with Ash having the overall advantage. Slurpuff is Sawyer’s next Pokémon, while Ash sends out Goodra.

Slurpuff had a type advantage against Goodra, but the battle was very intense as the type advantage didn’t turn out to be an advantage on the field. In the end, this battle ended in the same manner as the previous one – after a simultaneous, strong attack, both Pokémon were knocked out at the same time.


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Sawyer, down to his last Pokémon, sent out Sceptile while Ash sent out Pikachu once more. Pikachu started strongly but it didn’t really stand a chance against the powerful Grass-type Pokémon and was knocked out. It all came down to the last clash between Sceptile and Greninja, i.e., Mega Sceptile and Ash-Greninja. We don’t want to bother you with the text, as this battle is just too epic to describe, so enjoy:

Ash won. It was one of the best battles of his career and one of the most thrilling battles in the anime ever. This victory was hard-fought and more than deserved, and it allowed Ash to enter the finals, where he would face off against Alain.

Why did Ash lose in the Kalos League final?

On their way to the title of the Pokémon League champion, Alain and Ash had to face each other in an epic 6-on-6 battle. Alain’s team consisted of Charizard (evolving into Mega Charizard X), Metagross, Tyranitar, Weavile, Bisharp, and Unfezant. This team wasn’t generally stronger than Ash’s and Ash even had several type advantages over Alain’s Pokémon, especially when their two strongest Pokémon were concerned, as Greninja, a Water-type Pokémon, was stronger than the Fire-type Charizard.

So, why did Ash actually lose? Well, the fact is that there was no real, in-universe reason for such a decision. The two respective teams were, at best, on equal grounds, but objectively – Ash’s team was more powerful. Greninja, as a Water/Dark-type Pokémon, had the advantage over Tyranitat and Charizard, and even Metagross to some degree. Pikachu could easily deal with Unfezant, while Talonflame was a sure pick against Weavile and Bisharp. So, three of Ash’s Pokémon had strong type advantages against all of Alain’s Pokémon, and yet Ash – lost.


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The reason behind that is probably a decision by the writers to prolong Ash’s impending victory in a Pokémon League in any region. It wasn’t such a bad move in retrospect, as the battle was truly amazing and Alain’s victory wasn’t all that undeserved, but it did not make any proper sense and we have to attribute it to external factors, rather than to in-universe circumstances.

Who won the Kalos League?

Alain winning

As we have seen, the real victor of the Kalos Pokémon League was Alain. We have already explained that his victory wasn’t all that logical and was more of a (bad) decision by the writers than actual proof of Alain being better than Ash. Yet, the young trainer won and we can only congratulate him as he did prove that he was a match for Ash and with such a firm balance of powers, a little luck is all a trainer needs, so congratulations to Alain!

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