Now that the Unova League has wrapped up here in the US, I wanted to see how people ranked the past Leagues and how they stack up against each other. Your ranking can be based on whatever you want it to be, but in my opinion, there's only one way to rank a League: by how amazing the battles were. So without further ado, here is my ranking:
1. Sinnoh- This is almost a no-brainer. Despite its lackluster ending, the Sinnoh League provided the best series of battles to date, full of strategy, come-from-behind victories, and an unpredictability that every other League both lacked and sorely needed. Ash used his full roster of Pokemon here, including many we hadn't heard from in years (hello, Quilava!). Both Nando and Conway's battles against Ash were already great enough, but then the three-episode battle with Paul happened. I doubt we're going to get anything that good ever again. Paul proved to be Ash's greatest rival in that battle, culminating in the incredible showdown between Infernape and Electivire that everyone knew would be the end. Despite the complete unfairness of Tobias, and the fact that I still believe that it was a major cop-out by the writers, it still provided us with an entertaining finale to this League. All in all, memorable battles with an all-star roster put this League at the top.
2. Johto- For many of the same reasons that Sinnoh is #1, Johto finds its way into the #2 spot. Ash's preliminary battles against some CotWs were pretty engaging enough, but then he was pitted against Gary in the Top 16. After a few hundred episodes, Ash finally faced off against his first rival in a full battle and it did not disappoint. Gary's team faced off against the best combination of Ash's Pokemon that he had ever assembled, ending with Charizard taking out not one, not two, but three of Gary's best, including Blastoise (andwe finally found out what Gary's starter was!). This was one for the ages. That battle was immediately followed by Ash's battle with Harrison, which is the only elimination I was satisfied with thus far in the series. Charizard vs. Blaziken immediately made me want to find out what this fire chicken could do in-game, and I'm sure I'm not alone. These two battles cement the Johto League firmly in my #2 spot.
3. Kanto- An oldie, but a goodie. We finally got to see our hero from Pallet Town take the stage and show everyone what he could do. From Krabby/Kingler's epic debut/sweep to Gary's early elimination, this League was full of surprises. And, though the animation still had a long way to go by today's standards, these battles were simplebut entertaining. The reason it takes the middle spot is because of the anticlimactic battle with Richie, one of my favorite secondary characters to date. The first two rounds went alright, but the fact that Ash was eliminated by a technicality (Charizard didn't get knocked out, it just refused to battle) annoyed me a lot. There's no way Sparky could have taken Charizard out, but c'est la vie. The fact that Richie was subsequently knocked out in the next round and the title went to some no-name character also didn't help the Indigo League's chances. But it was the first, and there is something to be said about nostalgia.
4. Hoenn- Here's where I start to run out of good things to say about the Leagues. The Hoenn League just was not set up properly.Morrison's introduction a few episodes prior felt like the writers forgot that Ash had no rivals set up, so they had to make one up on the fly to make the League not a complete dud. And that's what it ended up being: not a complete dud, but still pretty close. Morrison's battle was fraught with problems. While it was a good character choice to make Morrison not want to battle Ash for fear of losing a friend, it didn't make for a particularly engaging battle. Follow that up with Pikachu's loss to Meowth in Boots (-_-') and this was a rather lackluster showing.
5. Unova- The most recent and by far the worst, which is so very disappointing as this was the successor to the Sinnoh League and there were quite a few good rival battles to look forward to. With Trip, Bianca, Virgil, Cameron, and Stephan all entered with Ash, it seemed like this would be another memorable League, particularly because of Ash's recent loss against Trip in the Junior Cup. But after all the build up, Ash's rivalry with Trip ended in a one-on-one battle that was just plain boring. I get it. Pikachu defeated the Pokemon that handed its butt to it when they first arrived in Unova, but that's not nearly enough. Stephan's battle was pretty good, as it allowed us to see Krookodile and Leavanny come out in force, but then the debacle that was Cameron's battle occurred. Hydreigon was just as overpowering as Paul's Drapion, except Paul having a Pokemon that strong made sense. Cameron, for lack of a better word (or is this just the word that describes him best?), was a noob. The anime portrayed him as someone who has no idea how to do almost anything, so how is it possible he has a Hydreigon up his sleeve? I could've forgiven Lucario winning the match if Riolu hadn't been through two battles beforehand and if Cameron had actually used six Pokemon. Instead, Ash lost to someone who didn't even know a full battle utilized six Pokemon instead of five. What really irked me is that this robbed us of a battle between Ash and Virgil, especially since that would have been a prime opportunity for the anime to introduce Sylveon and show us what it can do. Instead, we were given a half-baked League with some real stinkers of battles. Hopefully the next League shows some improvement.
Alright, if you've stuck through my long-winded explanations, it's your turn. How do the Leagues rank for you? Be sure to vote and then explain your rankings below!