I believe it is safe to say that Brock will be the first one going. There has been nothing which suggests that any of his pokemon, other than his Steelix
or quite possibly his Ludicolo
, has what it takes to stand up to the pokemon that the other major characters might have in their arsenal. It is very important to stress that Brock doesn't like to "battle" alongside his pokemon and would simply be content with raising them in an efficient and loving manner. Brock's dislike of battling in general is his Achilles' heel. Brock has been shown capable of battling decently if he was forced to, but none of the opponents he might be paired up with in this mock tournament are lightweight trainers. They each exhibit some passion towards battling that is relatively absent in Brock's construct of character. Most of Brock's pokemon are males so they can easily be thwarted by Iris
Misty and Iris are both wild cards in this equation as well. Neither trainer is particularly experienced or well-versed in battling, and have quite a number of weak and inexperienced pokemon on their teams to boot. Nevertheless, each trainer has possession of at least one powerful pokemon that can hold its own in a fight. For Misty, it would be the Gyarados
that can also use fire-type attacks such as Flamethrower. For Iris, it would be the Excadrill
that she had raised and trained ever since it was a Drilbur
. Those pokemon might be able to triumph over any of the "unevolved" pokemon that the other companions have in their arsenal. However, there has been nothing in this anime which suggests that either pokemon had a winning streak, or was unbeatable. Excadrill and Gyarados
can only hold their own in a fight for so long. Emolga's Attract and Corsola
's Mirror Coat attacks are also too situational to account for their effectiveness if either of these pokemon are paired up against a multitude of different opponents. Misty and Iris would be eliminated next.
Cilan is also a gym leader, but he adds a flavor of intelligence and calculated coolness into his style of battling. He doesn't get fed up in the same manner that Misty would do if the battle isn't going her way; but at the same time, however, Cilan exhibits enough passion in his battle that would give Brock a run for his money. Cilan has a slightly larger variety of pokemon than either trainer, all of which can hold their own in a fight.
We should factor in the possibility that either Brock or Misty could potentially send out a Water-type pokemon against any one of Cilan's pokemon. Even though two of Cilan's pokemon (Dwebble
) have a type disadvantage against Water-types in particular, both pokemon have some sort of counter and defense when they might be paired up with that type. For Stunfisk, it has access to some electric-type moves to compensate for its ground-type weakness. For Dwebble, Cilan could simply use the pokemon's Protect attack to shave off some of the damage, and then go for a potential win with its Shell Smash combo.
However, we should also consider that both Dawn and May also bolster a wild variety of pokemon with different types in their own arsenals as well. Cilan's only "upper hand" in this scenario would be his own intelligence; but of course, his intelligence and "thinking two or three steps ahead of the opponent" appoach can only get him so far. Cilan was visibly surprised by Ash's ability to innovate strategies in the middle of their fight. It should be noted that both of these coordinators have that amazing amount of flexibility in their battling styles as well. Cilan's team of unevolved pokemon will be outclassed in a battle where both trainers have access to and can use fully evolved pokemon.
For simplicity's sake, I might as well just pair up May and Dawn in the final round of this tournament. When these two characters were paired up for real, Dawn got the slight edge over May in points. Neither pokemon in that battle (Dawn's Piplup
and May's Glaceon
) exhibited any true advantage over the other. The battle had shifted both ways. There is no advantage in "expertise" here, either. May had obtained her Glaceon as an Eevee
shortly before Dawn had set off on her journey. May's Eevee had evolved into a Glaceon only a few days before the actual start of the Wallace Cup itself. There should be some testament to May's skills as a coordinator for her ability to raise such a powerful and skilled pokemon in only a short amount of time. Dawn was simply using the best pokemon in her arsenal at the time, and even then, her Piplup's attacks were countered time and time again (i.e. Glaceon's Mirror Coat).
However, this battle took place a "long" time ago. Dawn had obtained many more pokemon since this battle was resolved. Some of Dawn's pokemon even evolved and learned new attacks, so right now "experience" isn't as big a factor when it comes to deciding the end result. With seven pokemon afloat, May (currently) has a slightly bigger arsenal than Dawn. Two of her pokemon (Munchlax
) are unevolved pokemon with some battling experience and a variety of moves. Dawn can easily counter those pokemon using similar pokemon (Buneary
). There's no telling the end result of such a match-up.
Of course, we should factor in the evolved pokemon as well. May has four fully evolved pokemon in her arsenal, as opposed to Dawn's two. However, Dawn's Piplup had the potential to evolve into a Prinplup
, and had since abandoned the idea for the sake of his trainer's happiness. Piplup compensated for this missed opportunity by learning a powerful new attack (Hydro Pump) that even gave Zoey's pokemon a run for their money. Dawn's Piplup is arguably the coordinator's most powerful and versatile weapon in contests. From Buneary to Togekiss
, Piplup has been shown to get along with and has battled alongside the majority of Dawn's pokemon. None of their "double performance" combinations should be trifled with. Of course, May's pokemon also have that same flexibility in attack patterns and flexibility. It's a near dead even match here as well.
Therefore, the only way to settle this match-up is by evaluating each coordinator's relative experience in the profession. May initially disliked pokemon overall and had only been introduced to the contest mechanic for a short while. May was terribly inexperienced during her beginning trials, even much more so than Dawn could had ever been. Ever since that moment, however, May had improved by leaps and bounds. As a coordinator, May was able to accomplish something that even Dawn in her prime was unable to replicate: defeating Dawn's main rival, Zoey, as well as her pokemon Glameow
in a contest battle. May was using one of her more experienced veterans in this match-up and had been felled by Zoey's strategies too, but she simply had more skill and experience on her end.
On the contrary, we have a coordinator who had wanted to follow her mother's footsteps ever since she was old enough to think for herself. Dawn's earlier years were swarmed by an obsession to battle alongside and raise pokemon. Dawn was visibly excited when she wanted to obtain her pokemon from Professor Rowan. Dawn had much more motivation than May to become a better coordinator; and for the sake of completing this goal with greater success, had managed to obtain more pokemon in a shorter amount of time than her predecessor. Including the Ambipom
that she had raised on a shorter term, Dawn had successfully completed contest appeals for eight pokemon, slightly triumphing over her counterpart in this regard.
Should we simply factor that May had slightly more time in the profession and leave it at that? Is it safe to factor out Dawn's own accomplishments? Both May and Dawn seem to like to attack head-on, giving their opponents a good chance for a counterattack. They have been felled by that same response time and time again, and neither one of them appeared to have improved a decent enough defense to triumph over their weakness. Dawn and May are so similar in nature that it is nearly impossible to say that either trainer has a better shot at defeating the other. I'll simply leave it at that note.
If I was forced to give a choice as to who could win this tournament, I might as well just state May as the winner only because she had more time to compete in contests. Besides, we have no idea how much May had changed since she was last seen on-screen.
Thank you for reading this in full.