Pokémon: Ash Ketchum’s 10 Worst Strategies
Most fans of Pokemon more or less know Ash Ketchum’s story now. Ash is the protagonist of the anime and a brave young Pokémon trainer who wants to “be the best, like no one has ever been” by becoming a Pokémon master. During his long career traveling the world, his fighting strategies have seen their ups and downs.
To be fair, Ash has really established himself as a coach over the years, but sometimes he comes up with some pretty questionable strategies. Surprisingly, all of this doesn’t end in a loss for Ash, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that these are just bad strategies for any coach to use.
ten Metapod vs. metapod battle / reinforcement
This one comes from the early days of Ash’s journey as he comes face to face with an insect catcher samurai who challenges him to a battle. After eliminating their first two Pokémon (Pidgeotto and Pinsir), the two decide to go head-to-head with their metapods. Unfortunately, being immobile cocoons, the only movement metapods know of is “Harden”.
Ash and the Samurai order each metapod to use Harden over and over again, essentially creating a dead end. What makes this one so bad is his and the samurai’s stubbornness in sticking to a plan that clearly doesn’t work. Ash doesn’t even try to replace Metapod with Pikachu.
9 “Pikachu, aim for the horn!” “
Ash is known to come up with some pretty bizarre attack plans in the heat of the moment, and one of the most infamous examples was when Pikachu faced off against Blaine’s Rhydon. Blaine had the advantage since the ground guys are strong against the electric guys, but Pikachu challenges him and wins by shocking Rhydon’s horn like a lightning rod.
It’s unclear how Ash found this and why it works doesn’t make sense, since Rhydon was previously completely immune to electrical attacks. It just comes across as a strategy out of nowhere that ends up being lucky as opposed to smart.
8 He tried to use brute force against Lorelei
Ash had a number of times his head got swollen after scoring a few wins, only to be educated by a senior trainer, one such case was when he fought Lorelei (or Prima in the English dub) from the Elite Four on the Orange Islands. While he uses Pikachu against his Cloyster for the type advantage, Ash’s strategy is less of a plan than a simple attempt to use brute force.
Unsurprisingly, Ash’s addiction to attacking head-on backfires on the Elite Four member’s experience, and he loses the match. Ultimately, Ash’s overconfidence is what made him here.
7 Ash is playing things a little too safe after losing to Bea
Rarely, if ever, does Ash lose that strong sense of confidence he has, but after being completely beaten by Bea in the World Coronation series, Ash begins to doubt himself and his off the beaten track style strategies. In the battles following his first match with Bea, Ash tries to play it safe and keep his Pokémon at bay from their opponents.
This approach doesn’t go very well either and Ash loses one too many times, moving him from High Class to Normal Class. Eventually, Ash regains his confidence, but it’s still an odd sight to see Ash fight with too much restraint.
6 The times he used Pokémon that didn’t listen to him
Ash has always had a long way to go to achieve his dreams, and no fact illustrates this better than the many Pokémon that simply didn’t listen to him, especially during Kanto’s journey. Back then, a number of his Pokémon considered him weak and inexperienced, so they didn’t obey him.
Pikachu, Primeape and most notably his Charizard are prime examples of this, although Ash would always try to rely on them despite their rebellious streak. The fact that he didn’t train Charizard better caused him to lose the Indigo League and showed that he would need to grow more as a manager if he was to win next time around.
5 Thunder Armor was risky and almost passed out
Another infamous eccentric strategy Ash invented on the fly came about during his dual battle with Tate and Liza in the Hoenn region. Sending Pikachu and Swellow for a battle in the air, things don’t look very good, so Ash decides to turn things around by having Pikachu and Swellow strike with lightning, giving them “Thunder Armor”.
Despite the oddity, it ends up working and Ash wins the badge. It should be noted, however, that this move was risky and could have knocked out Swellow given he is low on electricity. Ash was very lucky as this move was probably more likely to backfire than to succeed.
4 He basically had no plan against Lenora
Ash’s time in the Unova region is infamous enough to make him seem regressed as a character, and unfortunately his fighting style has suffered as well. Despite his experiences, he was completely defeated by Gym Leader Lenora, as Ash basically had no plan at all, causing his Pokémon to attack without thinking at first.
Lenora threw Ash out of her game quite quickly and easily by swapping out her chosen Pokémon and then knocking out the two, leaving the score 2-0. Even Lenora notes how lackluster Ash’s strategy, or lack thereof, has been in this battle.
3 This time he tried to fight Mewtwo with his bare hands
After saving Pikachu and all the other Pokémon caught in Mewtwo’s lab for Pokemon First film, Ash re-emerges from the smoke to face off against the powerful psychic Pokémon. With an army of Pokémon by his side, Ash decides to take matters into his own hands (literally) by charging in to strike Mewtwo.
Obviously, that doesn’t work, as Mewtwo easily blocks all of Ash’s attacks and then throws him into the air with telekinesis. Considering that Ash saw firsthand how Mewtwo could dispose of other powerful Pokémon, it was just a bad idea that could have ended with Ash becoming a stain on the wall without Mew’s intervention.
2 Every time he forgets Type Advantage
To be fair, the Pokémon battles in the anime work a little differently than those in the games. However, type advantage still plays a role in these battles and can still be the deciding factor between victory and defeat. Yet time and again, Ash ignores the strike during combat, often sending Pokémon that have a disadvantage when he could have sent a Pokémon more suited for the job.
Every now and then, Ash and Pokémon can challenge the strike and prove there’s more to Pokémon clashes than type advantage, but it’s always a risky decision to ignore it and send a Pokémon that may not have the best chance of winning.
1 Relying solely on Palpitoad to win against Elesa
Another notorious example of the character of Ash in the Unova saga and quite possibly one of his worst strategies across the series came during his battle with Elesa, the leader of the electric-type gymnasium. This time around, Ash takes the type advantage into account and uses his Palpitoad, but when he passes out, Ash’s strategy crumbles.
It is revealed that Ash’s plan was to rely only on Palpitoad for the entire match, to the point that he didn’t bring in any other Pokémon. He had to leave the gym to pick up his other Pokémon and then go back, which probably should have counted as a forfeit there. It’s a shaky plan and a particularly stubborn move, even for Ash.
NEXT: Pokémon: 10 Biggest Failures Of Ash Ketchum’s Career, Ranked
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