Top 15 Best Trainer Classes in Pokémon (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Pokémon trainers are the lifeblood of a Pokémon game.
All the Pokédex entries in the world don’t mean anything if the world feels empty or hollow. And it’s up to NPCs to keep the world full and alive.
A good roster of trainer classes is the difference between a great Pokémon game and a poor one for me. And I’m willing to bet it is for a lot of people, because there’s a ton of trainer classes you’d remember just from years spent playing these games.
I’m going over my favorite classes to try and prove that point.
15. Bird Keeper
There’s only one reason why I’m putting bird keepers on here, and it’s not because they’re the best.
No, it’s because I really want to know what kind of bird he keeps in his cage. I’m never going to have another excuse to write about the bird keeper trainer class, so I’m ham fisting it in here.
I mean, why even have a cage at all?
If it’s a Pokémon, then there’s no need to lock it up unless it’s in a Pokéball.
And if it’s not a Pokémon, how does anyone tell the difference between regular animals and the ones that you can legally make fight one another? The world needs answers.
14. Bug Catcher
I don’t know if it’s just me, but my earliest memory of Pokémon is Viridian Forest.
I remember the bug catchers in the forest so vividly, and I have no idea why.
I suppose because it’s one of the first trainer types you ever battle against.
It’s iconic, and that deserves some respect.
Even if modern iterations of the game have dropped the whole “early forest” trope, I still think that the OG bug catcher design (you know, the one with the stupid-looking hat) deserves to make this list. Even if it’s just down the bottom.
13. Ace Duo / Cool Couple
The cool couple was changed to the ace couple after Gen I.
I guess Game Freak didn’t want the kiddies thinking about couples in the Pokémon world.
Well it’s because of them that we never got to date any of our rivals (except in Pokémon Ranger Guardian Signs, and thank god for that).
I’m putting this dynamic duo on the list because I just want what they have. My SO doesn’t play Pokémon, so honestly, I’m just a little bit jealous.
The hiker trainer class holds the same place in my heart as the bug catchers.
It’s just one of those iconic looks that I’ll forever associate with Pokémon.
I remember the old orange hat, big bushy beard, massive backpack, and Santa Claus-like belly that the old hikers had. I used to spend so much time lost in caves in the older generations that I’ve probably seen more hikers than any other type, which might be playing into this decision somewhat.
The nurse trainer type was only introduced in Gen V, making her rather new.
Now, the fact that this lass is holding down a frontline working job while still finding time to battle is admirable enough to earn a spot on this list.
But there’s just something about the design that clicks with me.
It’s so simple. And yet, paired with the animation, it just looks great.
I was a fan of all the new occupational trainer types that came with Gen V, and the nurse is a prime example of why.
He featured on my best NPCs of all-time list, so I’m here singing his praises yet again.
As a biker, he represents everything that this trainer class is all about.
He’s dusty, hardy, and a wandering spirit.
He goes with the wind, just him and his bike on the open Unova roads. He’s a heartbreaker…. and his name…. is Charles.
I absolutely hate fishing.
My dad tried to get me into it when I was younger, but I couldn’t stand it. It was so boring.
Maybe if he were a bit more like the fishermen trainers, I would have picked up the hobby.
I’m not here to dump my trauma onto you, though (not on this list, anyway).
The fishermen in the Pokémon world are just happy. That’s all I can use to describe them.
They’re so content with their life by the sea that nothing seems to faze them. Every single one of them you talk to is joyful and more than willing to waste every single minute of every day trying to score yet another Magikarp.
And that’s a life I wish I could enjoy.
Okay, we all saw way too many of these guys and gals in Gen III.
But let’s ignore that for now.
Swimmers being on this list should be fairly self-explanatory. If you’ve read my favorite gym leader character designs list, then you know exactly what I’m getting at here.
If you don’t, then don’t worry about it! Just move on and enjoy your innocence while you still have it.
Youngster Joey might just be the most popular Pokémon NPC of all time.
At the very least, he’s always in the conversation when the topic of trainers comes up.
While there aren’t any other really memorable youngsters, Joey is strong enough to carry the whole trainer class on his back.
And that’s something that we have to respect.
6. Team Yell Grunt
I’m only really referring to one gender here when I’m talking about the Team Yell trainer class (two guesses to figure out which one).
It’s totally biased; I’ll happily admit that.
I don’t even like Team Yell all that much.
I do like punks and goths, though, and that’s all I have to say on the matter.
5. Ace Trainer
Ace trainers had to appear somewhere on this list.
If anyone argues that these aren’t among the best trainer classes of all time, they lose all credibility with me.
For years, Ace Trainers were the strongest non-story NPC battles that Pokémon had to offer.
Or to put it another way, they were a great source of XP.
Pokémon wasn’t always as easy as it is these days. You youngins won’t remember spending 10s of hours trying to level up your team because you could only train one Pokémon at a time, and that’s a shame.
You used to build a bond with each individual Pokémon that was much deeper than what you get with the newer generations.
Ace Trainers were a big part of that experience, and very much a godsend.
Battling one was almost a guaranteed level or two, which could save you an hour of hard work.
Why musicians haven’t made a comeback, I will never know.
The fact that Game Freak made them actually play their instruments and bring sound into the area made them feel alive.
They weren’t props. They were part of a moving and living universe.
That’s something that Gen V did very well compared to others, and the musician class is an example of that.
The design was cool, but not insane.
The reason it ranks so highly with me is because of that extra level of interactivity.
3. Parasol Lady
That’s it, that’s the entry.
Been around since Gen III and I hope she’s around for quite a bit longer.
2. Pokémon Breeder
Okay, do I need to explain why Pokémon breeders are on this list?
Anyone who plays Pokémon past the endgame is either a shiny hunter or a competitive battler, and both of those groups rely on the services of Pokémon breeders.
They’re hardworking, and enable us to do so much that we otherwise couldn’t.
It also happens to be the trainer class that we talk to the most, and not by any small margin, either.
Even if the design is somewhat bare, it would be nothing short of disrespectful to skip the breeder trainer class.
1. Plasma Grunt
Team Plasma is the best Pokémon villain team that has ever been created.
This faction actually has some moral complexity and grey-ground to its beliefs, rather than either option A: “I want to rule the world,” or option B: “I want to destroy the world.”
I don’t know who they hired to write Team Plasma, but Game Freak could really do with bringing that person back.
Everything about this faction was great, including both versions of its designs.
The original BW Plasma grunts were based on medieval crusaders. So not only did they look incredible, but they also stayed in theme with their whole “liberation” beliefs.
And somehow, the BW2 redesign was even better.
They went from crusaders to special forces GI Joes.
The black combat vests, face masks, and berets looked far superior to any team that we had seen before, and any team that we’ve seen since.
I’m longing for the day we get a Gen V remake in around eight years’ time. Unova isn’t done, and neither is Plasma.