Iris Pokemon Guide: Dragon Goddess

Latest posts by Emily Medlock, Resident Pokémon Go Expert (see all)

An Iris Pokémon guide is everything that I needed when I first saw this Dragon-type master in the anime. She appears in Pokémon White and Pokémon Black as well as Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. However, her role in each game is not the same.

They are all connected, of course, and only together do they complete the story of Iris in the game series. I am a sucker for this type of interwoven story. But what makes Iris special to me is her grit, determination, and her love of Dragon-type Pokémon. Not many are brave enough to challenge Dragons as she does, but she does it with such courage.

Iris Pokémon Breakdown

Iris is the Dragon-type gym leader in the Unova region for Pokémon White. She appears in both Black/White and Black 2/White 2. In the anime, she is Ash’s traveling companion throughout Unova in Pokémon the Series: Black & White.

She eventually became the Champion of the Unova League in Pokémon Journeys: The Series. Iris breaks barriers by training dragons as if they were “normal” Pokémon, and I respect her for that.

Iris’ Gym

Image From Pokemon Fandom

In Pokémon White (Drayden in Black), Iris is the gym leader of Opelucid City. She’s the final gym leader in the series, which also means she’s statically the strongest gym leader in the games. If you defeat Iris, you will be rewarded with the Legend Badge and TM82 Dragon Tail. You don’t fight Iris in any other game – so far – as a gym leader, but you do fight her later at the Pokémon League.

Iris’ Team at Opelucid Gym

Iris has three Pokémon when she’s a gym leader in Pokémon White. All three are purely Dragon-type Pokémon. In Pokémon Black, you fight Drayden, not Iris, at Opelucid Gym.


Image From Pokemon Fandom
  • Ability – Rivalry
  • Level – 41
  • Moves – Dragon Tail, Dragon Dance, Assurance, Slash

Fraxure shouldn’t be a problem. He has three Dragon moves and one Dark move. Steel and Ice are ideal against him, but anything strong should hold its own fairly well against Fraxure. 


Image From Pokemon Fandom
  • Ability – Sheer Force
  • Level – 41
  • Moves – Dragon Tail, Revenge, Night Slash, Chip Away

Druddigon is stronger than Fraxure and will require more thought. Avoid Ice against him. If you use Ice against Fraxure, then switch out now for Psychic or Dragon Pokémon for best results. 


Image From Pokemon Fandom
  • Ability – Mold Breaker
  • Level – 43
  • Moves – Dragon Tail, Dragon Dance, Slash, Assurance

Haxorus should be the biggest issue with this battle. So, you’re not alone if you lose the first time you fight him. I believe that sticking with Dragon and Steel would be best, but a strong Ice-type can do super damage too.

Iris at the Pokémon League

Iris Black 2 and White 2

Iris appears at the Pokémon League in Black 2 and White 2. There are four days to fight her – the initial battle (easy mode and challenge mode) and the rematch (easy mode and challenge mode. She has the same Pokémon each time; the only difference is that the Pokémon are a higher level and have stronger moves. They also hold items whenever you enter challenge mode.

  • Hydreigon (Dark/Dragon)
  • Druggigon (Dragon)
  • Archeops (Rock/Flying)
  • Aggron (Steel/Rock)
  • Lapras (Water/Ice)
  • Haxorus (Dragon)

Iris’ Appearance

Image From Pokemon Fandom

Iris has a few different appearances in the anime and the game. Each time, she has dark hair purple hair with a dark yellow/gold ornament in it. Her large, long hair is often done up in a complicated anime style. Her light brown eyes sometimes appear orange, especially when she was younger. But they also sometimes appear red.

Yellow/white and pink are her colors of choice that stay consistent throughout her appearances. In the episode Baffling the Bouffalant! (Afro GO! Buffron NO!! in Japanese), Iris wears an afro, much like the rest of the cast. The afro method was used to protect travelers from Bouffalant. 

Iris’ Personality

Image From Pokemon Fandom

Iris is bubbly and hyper, pegged as a tomboy who loves adventure. She is kind, sweet, and brave. She spends most of her free time swinging on vines and showing off her athletic ability. Iris is a natural survivor, knowing where to find food, fish, and care for Pokémon in the wild.

She also has an innate ability to read the thoughts of Dragon Pokémon and sense their location. Iris gets a lot of flak in real life due to her personality. She’s bolder and braver than most of Ash’s other companions, and this goes hand-in-hand with her faults as well. Every fault has a counteracting gift, and vice-versa. 

Iris in the Anime

Imagen From Pokemon Fandom

Iris plays a large part in the Black and White anime. She got her start as a trainer whenever she met a Drillbur that was bullying other wild Pokémon. Iris continued to challenge Drillbur until she eventually won his respect. After that, they entered a tournament and Drillbur evolved into Excadrill.

Though she and Excadrill have been through a lot and have a general respect for each other, her bond with Axew seems to be purer.

She keeps Axew out most of the time as Ash does Pikachu. Axew often hid in her hair instead of going in his Pokeball. Though she has a few other Pokémon, Axew – eventually Fraxure and Haxorus – is her best friend. Because Dragon-type Pokémon are weak against Ice, Iris is afraid of Ice-type Pokémon.

Of course, Fairy didn’t exist back then, or else she may have been afraid of them too. Iris’ goal is to be a Dragon Master. Considering she is last seen as a Master Class trainer, it appears she has achieved her goals. Even though she lost to Ash the last time they battled at the Pokémon League.

Iris in the Games

Iris in White

In Pokémon Black and White, the player meets Iris in Castelia City where she defends them when Bianca’s Munna is stolen. In White, she is later revealed to be the Gym Leader of Opelucid City. After you defeat her, she appears later at N’s Castle where the other Unova Gym Leaders defend against the Seven Sages (Team Plasma leaders.)

In Black, she can be found at Drayden’s house in Opelucid City. In Black 2 and White 2, she can be found in Castelia city, again helping fight against Team Plasma. She does appear in Opelucid City, but you don’t fight her here. Instead, she is a Pokémon Champion at the Pokémon League.

How to Defeat Iris in the Games

There are only three games where you face off against Iris. She always has Dragon-type Pokémon, but she also has a few non-Dragon tricks up her sleeve that you should watch out for.

Note: in White, she only has Dragon-type Pokémon. This changes in Black 2 and White 2 whenever you fight her in the Pokémon League, and her party becomes more diverse than it was in the previous game. 

Pokémon White

When fighting Iris in White, Iris has Fraxure, Druddigon, and Haxorus. All three are Dragon-type alone. However, all three have a Dark-type move, and Druddigon has a Fighting-type move.

So, to cover your bases, avoid using only Ice or Rock Pokémon as Revenge from Druddigon can OTK these Pokémon. Instead, seek balance. You can get around this ability in a few ways. I recommend using a dual-type Pokémon that is also good for Fighting.

Mix in some Flying or Poison to counteract the weakness. My team would be Darumaka (he’s just strong in general,) Archen (decent type matchup,) and Hydreigon (Dark-type and Dragon.)

Pokémon Black 2 and White 2

For Black 2 and White 2, the matchup is much more difficult. I recommend taking your best team all-around instead of catering to Iris. Avoid an Ice-heavy team due to the Fire, Steel, and Rock-type moves. I recommend adding an excellent Fighting-type Pokémon to the team.

After you defeat Hydreigon and Druddigon, then a Steel-type can be super advantageous because most of the other moves will be weak against it. You can use any battle party that you want. But since you can choose six party members, there’s a lot to work with. This can be freeing or overwhelming. Something similar to this is what I go with:

  • Dragon Type – Garchomp, Dragonite, Haxorus, and many more. There are a lot of Dragon options in this gen, and I love all of them. So pick your favorite and train it for battle
  • Steel Type – Steelix is a top choice for me, but any pure Steel type and most half-Steel types work well 
  • Fighting – Machamp, Blaziken, or Conkeldurr are my choices here. But any Fighting-type that is leveled up with do the job.
  • Diverse – Darmanitan or Zoroark are two of my favorite wildcards from Black and White any day. Just use something that you have had success with and have trained up. However, preferably a dual-type Pokémon
  • Starter – one of the only games in which I don’t prefer the Fire-type Pokémon starter is Black and White. I still end up with Emboar, though. In Silver and Gold, Chikorita is my girl. The point is that your starter gets enough use that it will be one of your strongest at any stage 
  • Filler – This can be anything. Metagross is my favorite in this case because of his type advantage, but really, he’s so tanky that he can last through a few Metagross just by absorbing their attacks.

Iris Pokémon TCG

The card is Iris Plasma Blast 81

Although there are alternate arts of the card, there is only one primary Iris card in the Pokémon Trading Card game. The card is Iris (Plasma Blast 81) which made your Pokémon stronger on your turn. They do ten times more damage to Active Pokémon for each Prize card your opponent has taken. The Support card has a notable full-art edition which may be worth a lot in the future.

The standard edition is Uncommon and has little to no monetary value. That said, it’s still a great card featuring one of the most unique gym leaders in the game or the anime.


Question: Does Iris Like Ash in Pokémon?

Answer: There have been no indications of Iris liking Ash. Iris instead sees him as a respectable younger brother. The two are good friends who are quick to tease each other when the situation fits.

Question: Who is Iris’ Favorite Pokémon?

Answer: Iris’ favorite Pokémon is likely Axew. She spends the most time with him, similar to Ash with Pikachu. While she cares for her other Pokémon, it’s obvious she has a special connection to Axew.

Question: Why Did Iris Travel With Ash?

Answer: Iris and Ash battle Cilan together and realize that the three of them make a good team. So she decides to travel with them in hope of becoming a Dragon Master and eventually meeting Zekrom.

Question: Why Does Iris Like Dragon Pokémon?

Answer: There is never a direct reason stated as to why Iris likes Dragon Pokémon. She does love a challenge, but the first Pokémon she bonds with is Drilbur, who is Ground-type.

Question: Who is Stronger – Ash or Iris?

Answer: Although Iris is a Pokémon Champion, Ash defeats her. This may insinuate that Ash is stronger than Iris, but they go toe to toe in most cases. So they are fairly even when it comes to their strength as trainers. 

Iris’ Place in Pokémon

Iris is the second Dragon-type gym leader introduced in Pokémon. She plays a much bigger part in the story than the first Dragon-type gym leader Clair, primarily because Iris is a main character in the anime. Iris is one of Ash’s best traveling companions, in my opinion. I know that many find her to be too intense and even controlling. She teased Ash, yes, but it wasn’t worse than Misty.

I get from this perception – considering Gary is still respected even though he was a bully in the first couple of seasons – that there’s more to the hate than her teasing words.

People want to see specific personas from specific demographics. That said, I do agree that she didn’t get what she deserved in the anime. She was much stronger and respectable in the games, and that should have carried over. But she still became a Dragon Master, and she’ll always have that.

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