How do you beat the Elite Four and Cynthia in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl? It’s a question that fans haven’t had to ask in years, with games getting progressively easier since Pokemon X and Y dropped all the way back in 2013.
But in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Aaron, Bertha, Flint, Lucian, and Cynthia actually represent a legitimate challenge for anyone but the most overleveled player. Players will have to defeat a number of Pokemon that are over level 60, and the BDSP Elite Four also break the mold by going outside of their assigned type specialties.
That makes them uniquely difficult to approach, but they’re not unbeatable. Here’s how to defeat the Elite Four in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
The Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Elite Four members include:
While the Elite Four of Sinnoh are mostly standard fare by Pokemon standards, the quartet are unique in that most of them use Pokemon that don’t actually fit their respective type. This makes them feel more like the original Elite Four from Pokemon Red and Blue, which sometimes makes things easier and sometimes makes things harder.
Players need to battle them one after another and don’t have the opportunity to heal between these battles at a Pokemon Center. This means players need to be well-stocked with healing items, Full Heals, Revives, and some PP restoring items.
In terms of levels, the Elite Four of Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl have Pokemon between levels 53 and 63. After defeating the Elite Four, players then take on Pokemon League Champion Cynthia who has Pokemon between level 60 and 66.
The Pokemon BDSP Elite Four are a stiff challenge, even in this era of mandatory EXP Share. While exploiting type weaknesses is very important and a key to victory in any battle, Elite Four members are actually itemized to help protect them from this.
The lineup of each Elite Four member in Pokemon BDSP is as follows:
Some of these Pokemon can be tricky, but there are different strategies for taking down each one.
For the first time through, each member of the Elite Four has five Pokemon. After defeating the Elite Four, players take on Cynthia, who has six Pokemon.
On subsequent challenges, the Elite Four’s lineup is strengthened and expanded to six Pokemon. The new lineups include different Pokemon from the National Pokedex. These rematches are particularly challenging, with Pokemon being as high as level 88.
The key to defeating the Elite Four in Pokemon BDSP is having powerful grass, flying, and ice attacks.
These types are often forgotten about by players, but they are important to defeating the Elite Four here. A strong attacker with flying moves can absolutely annihilate Aaron, and then has a super-effective attack option against Flint’s Infernape, Lucian’s Medicham, and Cynthia’s Roserade.
Players can also sprint through Bertha’s ground-type lineup with any Pokemon that can out-speed them and hit them with a grass attack. All five of her Pokemon are weak to grass attacks, with three of them taking quadruple damage. While the list of powerful grass attackers is limited in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, players can use TMs for Grass Knot or Energy Ball on such Pokemon as Alakazam, Gardevoir, and Mesprit.
A Pokemon with a strong ice-type attack is an absolute must. Various Elite Four Pokemon have weaknesses to ice moves, but this is key for defeating Cynthia’s notoriously tough Garchomp. The Pokemon hits hard and has Poison Jab to deal with anyone that tries to wall it with a fairy Pokemon. It has a Yache Berry that will likely prevent it from being one-shotted, but whittling it down and finishing it with an ice attack makes it a more manageable threat.
Finally, moves that deal with held items are very useful against the Elite Four and Cynthia. While Knock Off, Trick, and Pluck aren’t especially amazing against most trainers, every single Pokemon used by the Elite Four and Cynthia have held items that empower them in different ways. Quickly neutralizing those items can actually do a lot to undermine their strategies.
Strong fairy and ice attacks are the key to defeating Cynthia in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
Two of Cynthia’s Pokemon are weak to fairy attacks and three are weak to ice types, with her signature Garchomp being doubly weak to ice attacks. If the player has a Pokemon that knows the move Freeze Dry, that is upped to four Pokemon that are weak to ice attacks. Glalie is a very powerful Pokemon against the Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Elite Four because of its instant access to Freeze Dry.
Another great way to deal with Cynthia is the burn status effect. Lucario and Garchomp are both physical attackers, and their attack stat is halved if they are burned. Will-O-Wisp can be taught with TM61 to a long list of Pokemon that can out-speed them including Gengar, Gallade, Infernape, and Rapidash. Burning them makes their attacks significantly weaker, and makes the battle with Cynthia much more manageable.
In the Pokemon animated series, Cynthia has never lost a battle despite her making regular appearances.
Like most other Pokemon League champions in the show, Cynthia is consistently portrayed as one of the most powerful trainers in the world. In her appearances on the show, she defeats Sinnoh Elite Four members Aaron, Lucian, and Flint, Ash’s Unovan companion Iris, and many other monster-of-the-week threats.
In Pokemon Journeys she is revealed to be one of the eight highest-ranked trainers in the world. Though Galarian champion Leon is the top-ranked trainer in the world, he never crosses paths with her.
The closest Cynthia has come to defeat was against Unovan Elite Four member Caitlin. They battle to a time limit draw during the Pokemon: Black and White anime.
Cynthia appears as the Pokemon League champion in Diamond and Pearl and their spin-offs, and as a post-game opponent in Pokemon Black and White, Black 2 and White 2, Sun and Moon, and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
As with the anime, Cynthia is consistently portrayed as a huge challenge for the trainer across all her appearances in the Pokemon games. She also sticks with a largely similar team in each game built around her Lucario and Garchomp.