Pokemon: Top 5 rock type gym leaders and experts

Photo: Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Credit: The Pokémon Company International
Photo: Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Credit: The Pokémon Company International /
Photo: Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.. © 2014 Pokémon. © 1995-2014 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. /

Who are the experts of the Pokemon world? We’re going to break them down for you, type by type, starting with Rock types.

The first gym leader you encounter when going through the Pokemon games chronologically is Brock, the Rock type. This makes Rock type leaders a good first place to start.

6. Brock – Gym Leader of Pewter City – Kanto


  • Geodude and Onix (RBY, FRLG, LGPE)
  • Graveler, Rhyhorn, Omastar, Kabutops, and Onix (GSC, HGSS)

Recommended Pokémon:

  • All games: Bulbasaur and Squirtle
  • RB: Butterfree with Confusion
  • Y: Nidoran-F and Nidoran-M with Double Kick
  • GSC/HGSS: Meganium, any Grass/Water/Fighting type
  • FRLG: Charmander with Metal Claw, Mankey
  • LGPE: Oddish/Bellsprout

Brock gets the benefit of the doubt that a first time player may not know which Pokémon to use against him, but there are plenty of them. In the Johto based games half his team is still un-evolved and all have a x4 weakness to Grass.

Being the first gym leader the player faces, Brock takes the role of the generic but somewhat friendly first boss. In Yellow and Let’s Go, he states his desire to be a Pokemon Breeder. He doesn’t appear outside of his gym until HeartGold and SoulSilver, but even then he doesn’t add too much beyond his love for Rock Pokemon and his desire to grow stronger. Brock is significantly more in depth and hilarious in the anime, but in the games he’s middle of the road.

5. Roxanne – Gym Leader of Rustboro City – Hoenn


  • Geodude (1 in RS/ORAS, 2 in Emerald) and Nosepass

Recommended Pokemon:

  • All games: Treecko, Combusken, Mudkip, Lotad (Sapphire/AS exclusive), Wingull (beware of Rock Tomb), Shroomish

Roxanne is less of a pushover than Brock because her Nosepass has Rock Tomb. Rock Tomb is a somewhat strong attack for this early in the game and also lowers your speed when hit. It’s not the worst first gym battle to have, but there’s still plenty that can counter Roxanne.

We know Roxanne teaches at the trainer’s school. In Emerald she seems to have good relationships with other gym leaders as Brawly calls her immediately after you defeat him so you can get her number. Being a teacher makes sense as the first gym leader in Hoenn. Teachers are supposed to give students the tools they need to succeed after the class ends. By beating her, you get those tools.

Photo: Pokémon Alpha Sapphire.. © 2014 Pokémon. © 1995-2014 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. /

4. Gordie – Gym Leader of Circhester – Galar (Sword exclusive)


  • Barbaracle, Shuckle, Stonjourner, and Coalossal (Gigantomax)

Recommended Pokemon:

  • Rillaboom (watch out for Coalossal), Inteleon, Vileplume, Bellossom, Sirfetch’d, Quagsire, Drednaw, Sandaconda

Despite having a strong collection of Pokemon with heavy hitters like Barbaracle and Coalossal, many of them have easily exploitable weaknesses. Any fast Pokemon that can take a hit from Barbaracle can survive the Shell Smash strategy. Shuckle and Stonjourner have rock-solid defenses, but the former poses no offensive threat. The latter has poor special defense even for a Rock type. Gordie gigantamaxes his Coalossal, and Max Flare sets up the Sun after use. Keep that in mind if you started with Sobble. With balanced team this is an average difficulty battle.

Because Gordie is Sword exclusive, he isn’t seen too much outside of the gym and the Champions Cup and he’s only seen in Melony’s rare league card in Shield. Like Roark and Byron, Gordie and Melony share a parent/son relationship which is nice to see. On the surface, Gordie is a stuck up lady’s man who expects to win, but really he’s a people pleaser and considering gym leaders in Galar are treated like professional athletes, that’s a reasonable personality trait.

3. Olivia – Kahuna of Akala Island – Alola


  • Nosepass, Boldore, and Lycanroc (Midnight)

Recommended Pokemon:

  • Dartrix (though it’s weak to Rock moves), Brionne, Slowpoke, Machop, Poliwhirl, Morelull

Nosepass, as we know from Roxanne, and Boldore are solid defensive Pokemon that aren’t pushovers. Lycanroc can pack a punch with its Z Move, Continental Crush. Brionne isn’t necessarily an automatic win, but it should do a decent job. Though they are tough customers, there are plenty of Pokémon to counter them, especially after clearing Lana and Mallow’s trials. Olivia’s not the biggest challenge but she puts up a good fight.

Being an Island Kahuna is a big responsibility. It is one Olivia cherishes and takes seriously. We wander into cliche rock pun territory with talk about “polishing gems” and “diamonds in the rough” but Olivia walks the walk. She comes from Konikoni City which is known for its rare stones, fossils, and jewelry. She can be a bit boring at times but she’s a memorable character.

1999 (L To R) Vulpix, Geodude, Pidgeot, Charizard, Onix, Staryu, Coldeen, Zubat, And Psyduck In The Animated Movie “Pokemon:The First Movie.” (Photo By Getty Images) /

2. Roark – Gym Leader of Oreburgh City – Sinnoh


  • Geodude, Onix, Cranidos

Recommended Pokemon:

  • Turtwig, Monferno, Piplup, Budew, Machop

The Pokémon to watch out for is his Cranidos. Headbutt and its high attack stat are strong enough to take out any Pokemon you’d have at this point. If you start with Chimchar, you’ll definitely want to evolve into Monferno. Cranidos is a bigger threat than Nosepass offensively.

Roark fits right at home in the mining city of Oreburgh. His father Byron is the gym leader of Canalave City. Not only do Rock and Steel fit a mining family but they both use the Sinnoh Fossil families. Byron is the 6th gym leader the player faces, indicating his experience over his son Roark. Nevertheless, Roark is up to the challenge of being as strong as Byron one day.

1. Grant – Gym Leader of Cyllage City – Kalos


  • Amaura and Tyrunt

Recommended Pokemon:

  • Frogadier/Wartortle, Sandile (beware Amaura’s Aurora Beam), Scraggy, Machop, Mienfoo

Both Amaura and Tyrunt are trouble. Amaura knows Thunder Wave which can hurt you speed-wise against the heavy hitter Tyrunt. Tyrunt’s ability Strong Jaw makes Bite a 90 base power attack. In the second gym, that’s nuts. Not even Roark’s Cranidos hits that hard. Tyrunt’s STAB Rock Tomb is also a problem. Grant presents one of the few challenges from Kalos’ gym leaders.

If Grant’s not rock climbing on the cliff side or in his gym, he’s riding his bicycle in the town’s track. He relies a bit too much on rock climbing jokes and metaphors to get his point across, but tat’s Pokémon. Kalos’ gym leaders take an overall step back story wise from the generation before, but we see enough of Grant to get to know him well.

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Did you agree with our ranking of the rock type gym leaders? Let us know if we forgot anyone in the comments below.