The following article contains important spoilers for Episode 129 of Pokémon Journeys, “The Finals I: Torrent”.
The long, highly anticipated full battle between Ash and Leon in pokemon travelMasters Eight Finals has finally begun. A fight against Leon has been Ash’s goal all year to travel anime, and the first of (at least) three episodes devoted to the showdown lived up to the hype. But before the fight could begin, Leon did the most Leon thing ever by insisting that Ash could use all three famous combat gimmicks: Mega Evolution, Gigantamax, and Z-Moves.
Seven of the eight participants in the Masters Eight are confirmed users of at least one of the combat gimmicks. While Cynthia can use two, Ash is the only one confirmed to be able to wield all three. Usually the World Coronation Series rules state that each trainer may only use once: a of the three tricks. Leon, wisely playing for the crowd to get what he wanted, requested that this rule be changed for the Masters Eight Finals, which the tournament officials and Ash agreed to. Even though Ash is now free to use Gigantamax Gengar, Mega Lucario, and 10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt in his battle with Leon, does it still matter?
Leon probably let Ash use all three tricks to his own advantage
In the event that the humiliating, fast-paced and sometimes off-screen beatdowns that Lance, Raihan, Flint, Alain and Diantha to travel didn’t make it clear enough, Leon is very strong. He has never lost a battle in his entire life, and it is said that when he conquered the Galar League, none of his battles were even close. The unbeatable Galar champion and reigning Monarch of the World Coronation Series, Leon craves a real challenge more than anything else.
He certainly has a soft spot for Ash, as his younger brother, Hop, revealed that Leon talks a lot about young Ketchum. Allowing Ash to use all three battle gimmicks may seem like altruism, but it’s more likely that Leon is just trying to make it harder on himself because he’s never had a hard fight before. After all, he only needed three Pokémon to defeat Diantha, the Kalos champion, in full battle. He skillfully played the audience with his request to make everyone believe that he wanted to give them a spectacular fight, but above all he wants a spectacular fight for himself.
Will Gigantamax, Mega Evolution and a Z-Move be enough for Ash to defeat Leon?
Ash has relied heavily on battle gimmicks for the Masters Eight, using a Z-Move to overthrow Steven and Mega Evolution to defeat Cynthia. Once Leon and the tournament officials allowed him to use all three in one fight, he quickly took up the offer by using his Gengar Gigantamax to defeat Leon’s Inteleon. Dynamax/Gigantamax only lasts three turns, but luckily that was enough for Gengar to defeat Inteleon, giving Ash the first victory in the battle, shocking the crowd and delighting his friends and family.
At the time of writing, Ash and Leon each have five Pokémon left, and Ash already has Mega Lucario and 10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt left now that Gengar is defeated. It’s a mystery whether his two remaining gimmicks can get the job done, as there’s no telling what Leon will do next. The Galar Champ doesn’t wear a Z-Ring, but he could be hiding a Key Stone, similar to how Cynthia hid hers. The rules didn’t say that only Ash could use multiple gimmicks, and it would be a very… pokemon what to do for Leon to mega-evolve his Charizard and Gigantamax one of his leftover Galarian Starters to throw Ash for a loop.
Leon’s Cinderella has his hidden ability, Liberio, which changes his type to match the move he just used. His Rillaboom single-handedly defeated four of Diantha’s Pokémon, while Charizard is a professional dream breaker who rarely experiences the slightest challenge. Even if Leon stays with Gigantamax and tries to defeat his Charizard, it’s still a challenge for Ash to defeat his five remaining Pokémon. With his Dragonite stumbling on a losing streak and Lucario having a bad Type matchup with Charizard, Ash’s remaining five Pokémon and two gimmicks can still cause him to be ground up in Poké dust like everyone else who fights Leon.