How Pokémon BDSP Gym Battles Are Changed From Original Games – Screen Rant

Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl’s gym battles have been updated since the originals with new move-sets that present a fresh challenge.
Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl invites players to challenge Sinnoh’s eight gym leaders once again, earning their gym badges so they can take on the Elite Four and the region’s reigning Champion. However, these gym battles have been updated for the remakes, giving players a fresh challenge as they fight to be the very best.
There have been complaints about Pokémon’s main-series games becoming too easy in its most recent generations, and some fans hoped that the Sinnoh remakes would see the return of more challenging gym battles. Diamond & Pearl had some notoriously tough gym leaders for players to fight, like Fantina and Volkner, and those seeking some extra difficulty in the remakes will be happy to find that many of the gym leaders’ Pokémon have been updated to better cover their team’s weaknesses. This makes most of the battles feel a bit more strategic, though it’s possible to show up to these fights over-leveled with the game’s permanent XP share, especially in the early game.
Related: Avoiding Pokémon Exp. Share Isn’t Easy, But It’s Possible
While Pokémon: Platinum brought its own changes to DP’s Sinnoh gym battles and included different Pokémon in some of the gym leaders’ parties, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl remade these battles with all of the original Pokémon as some of the Pokémon featured in Platinum weren’t in Diamond & Pearl’s original Pokédex. However, all of the gym leaders’ Pokémon in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl feature updated move-sets that situate the remakes in the series’ current generation.
As the first gym leader in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, Roark is one of the easier gym leaders to defeat. With his rock-type Pokémon’s weakness to both grass and water, it’s likely that players will have either chosen a starter that counters him or caught a grass-type like Budew by the time they reach Oreburgh Gym. However, Roark’s Cranidos can be a challenge as its signature Headbutt move can drop a Pokémon’s health pretty quickly if players are unprepared to counter it.
In the original Diamond & Pearl, Roark’s Cranidos also knew the move Pursuit, which was removed from the game in Sword & Shield. Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl replace it with Bulldoze, which is easier for players to counter with a grass type at this early point in the game. Since Pursuit does damage to Pokémon as they switch out, this move made it more difficult for trainers to swap Pokémon from their bench to better counter Cranidos. While this does slightly decrease the difficulty of the overall fight, Cranidos’ Headbutt is still the main threat for players to be aware of, which makes the remade gym battle feel a lot like the original.
Gardenia’s ace, Roserade, could be a potentially substantial threat in Diamond & Pearl considering that Eterna Gym is only the second gym in the game. With Stun Spore and Poison Sting, it could inflict multiple types of status conditions, and its Magical Leaf was a powerful attack that was guaranteed to hit.
Related: Pokémon BDSP’s 20-Minute Battle Timer Stifles Competitive Potential
Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl swap Roserade’s Magical Leaf for Petal Blizzard, which was introduced in Gen VI. While Petal Blizzard doesn’t have the guaranteed hit of Magical Leaf, it does more damage, and with its 100% accuracy, it’s still fairly likely that this move will find its target. This trade keeps the battle fairly balanced with the original, so players can expect a similar level of difficulty or ease depending on their team of Pokémon.
Veilstone Gym ramped up the difficulty with Maylene’s Lucario, which was a substantial threat for players to face in the game’s third gym. While the rest of Maylene’s team wasn’t too difficult to take down, Lucario had high attack, quick speed, and a powerful move set that allowed it to pack a heavy punch. While it could be countered with a ground or fire-type Pokémon, it could still easily sweep a team.
Lucario originally had four damage-dealing moves, including Bone Rush and Force Palm. These moves were both replaced with status moves in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. Maylene’s Lucario now knows Screech and Bulk Up instead, allowing Lucario to lower its target’s defense stat and raise its own attack and defense. Lucario can still pose a challenge, but this battle feels like it’s been changed from the original Diamond & Pearl and is more relentless, since Lucario won’t be attacking every turn. Still, its stat-boosts can make it a serious threat, and players will still have to be mindful of its heavy hits.
Crasher Wake’s Pokémon lost their status moves, giving them all a full set of damage-dealing moves as some of their more powerful moves have been removed from the game. Gyarados lost its Dragon Rage, which was guaranteed to do 40 damage, but it gained Ice Fang and Flail, which replaced its status move, Swagger, and gave it an ice-type move to counter ground types.
Related: Pokémon BDSP: All Version Exclusive Pokémon In Diamond & Pearl
Like Roark’s Cranidos, Crasher Wake’s Floatzel lost its Pursuit move in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. Its move set now includes Bite, which still gives it the same advantages of having a dark-type move in its arsenal, even if it is less powerful. Brine is still the move to watch out for while battling this particular Pokémon gym leader, as it deals double the damage to Pokémon below half health, so this fight feels fairly similar to that of Diamond & Pearl, though the pace has quickened slightly since Gen IV with the new all-damage move-sets.
Players looking for more of a challenge from Pokémon can rest assured that Fantina is still one of the toughest gym leaders to face in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. Her ghost-type Pokémon are difficult to counter at this stage of the game, and the updates to their movesets pose a new challenge than they did in the original Diamond & Pearl. Drifblim now knows Hex and Will-O-Wisp, which allow her to burn a target and deal higher damage as a combo. It also knows Fly, which allows it to do damage while dodging players’ attacks. It’s still her most easily-countered Pokémon, however, as its flying type makes it more vulnerable to different types of attacks than the rest of Fantina’s party.
Gengar’s Poison Jab in this Pokémon entry has been upgraded to Sludge Bomb, which deals more damage and has the same 30% chance of poisoning a target. Its Spite was also replaced with Dazzling Gleam, a fairy-type move introduced in Gen VI that gives it a counter to dark-type Pokémon, which covers one of the ghost type’s few weaknesses.
Fantina’s Mismagius also received some upgrades. Its Shadow Ball has been replaced with Phantom Force, which has higher base power. Like Gengar, Mismagius also knows Dazzling Gleam now, which takes the place of the less-powerful Psybeam and lets Mismagius counter dark-types as well. With her revamped team of Pokémon in a, Fantina is sure to give players just as much trouble as she did in the original games, if not more.
One of the big changes to Byron’s party is the removal of his Pokémon’s sleep-inducing status moves. Bronzor no longer knows Hypnosis, and Bastiodon no longer knows rest as these moves have been swapped out in favor of damage-dealing moves. Like Crasher Wake, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl tweaks Byron’s gym battle to be more offensive.
Related: Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl – All Major Differences
Additionally, Byron’s Pokémon have been upgraded with electric-type moves to counter players trying to take them down with a water-type Pokémon as Steelix now knows Thunder Fang and Bastiodon knows Thunderbolt. As such, Byron’s Pokémon gym battle requires a bit more strategy than it did in the past.
Candice is another of the game’s notoriously difficult gym leaders, and Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl continue to buff up their gym leaders’ parties with movesets that cover their party’s weaknesses. Her Snover and Abomasnow now have water-type and ground-type moves that allow them to counter fire and steel types. Not only that, but her Sneasel is quick and strong, and with its new Dig move, it can counter fire and steel as well. Players will have to show up to the Snowpoint Gym with a well-rounded party of their own if they want to beat Candice and earn their Icicle Badge, switching their Pokémon in and out strategically to take her down.
Volkner’s electric-type gym left few weak spots for trainers as electric-type Pokémon are only weak to ground, and Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl gave his team even more moves that counter ground-type Pokémon. While Octillery was already an issue with its ice-type Aurora Beam being effective against ground-types, Raichu now knows Surf to wash ground-types away. Luxray’s moveset is also a lot more varied, including Iron Tail and Ice Fang, which can take down grass-types that are resistant to electric. As Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl’s final gym leader, Volkner poses a huge threat with his well-rounded team, and players will have to come prepared with a good strategy and proper team composition of their own if they want to claim Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl’s Beacon Badge.
Next: Should You Buy Pokémon Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl, Or Both?
Damien Freidly is a gaming guides and features writer for Screen Rant. He graduated with his Bachelor’s in English in 2020, and is a vocalist in his spare time.

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