Roark is the first gym leader you face in Pokémon Platinum, and he’s located in Oreburgh City. The best way to beat him is with at least one grass-type or water-type Pokémon above level 13.
The biggest troublemaker here is Roark’s level 14 Cranidos: a speedy, hard-hitting Rock-type with high HP and a brutal Headbutt attack that can cause your Pokémon to flinch.
Potions will likely be of no use here, unless Cranidos slips up and wastes a turn with Leer (which isn’t often). So the important things to remember are:
- Save your game first (applicable to any boss battle)
- And be mindful of type advantages
With this being so early in the game, you aren’t left with a lot of options in wild Pokémon. So your plan is somewhat dependent on the starter you chose.
Piplup and Turtwig can both hold their own against Roark due to type advantages.
If you chose Chimchar as your starter, then to beat Roark quickly you’ll probably want a Budew or Psyduck in your party, or maybe one of each. Because both of them can deal super effective grass-type & water-type moves.
|Gym Leader Roark: Quick Strategy|
|Starter Pokémon||What To Do|
|Piplup||Catch a Budew and raise it and Piplup to at least level 13, but preferably to level 14. Have Pipup last for as long as it can against Cranidos, then blast Cranidos with Budew’s Mega Drain.
Mega Drain is great for this battle because it restores 35% of the damage dealt in the attack. You won’t one-hit KO Cranidos, but the healing might keep you in battle for multiple turns.
|Turtwig||Catch a Psyduck and raise it and Turtwig to level 13-14. At level 12, Psyduck will learn Water Pulse, a much harder-hitting Water attack than the Water Gun it learns at level 3.
Although you won’t get the added healing that you would from Budew’s Mega Drain, Psyduck’s overall stats are higher than Budew’s.
|Chimchar||Chimchar will be useless in this battle. So it’s advised to come in with both a Budew and a Psyduck, both level 13-14. Send Psyduck in first and use Water Pulse, then bring out Budew’s Mega Drain to finish Cranidos off.|
Before you can face him, however, you must first find him in the depths of Oreburgh Mine.
Gym Leader Roark is easy enough to locate.
From Oreburgh Gym, head east, then head south when you can do so.
After that, just head south for the rest of the way, taking the stairs down into Oreburgh Mine.
At some point the path will split, but both east and west paths lead to Roark, so pick either one.
Note: You can talk to two of the men working on the surrounding walls to instigate a battle. It’s worth fighting them with your water/grass Pokémon, as they’re easy battles and can snag you some decent EXP.
Follow the path around south, and you will find Roark working on a wall in the middle of the southernmost section.
Speak to him and he’ll head back to the gym, ready to battle.
The Oreburgh Gym
Head back to the surface and enter the gym, which is no longer being barricaded.
Each gym in Pokémon Platinum has its own theme or gimmick, as well as its own trainers you can fight as you approach the Leader.
Oreburgh’s gym is very basic.
There are only two trainers here before Roark, and both can be avoided by opting to take an overhead bridge to circumvent their line-of-sight.
But again, you should fight them both with your water- and grass-types for the EXP. Both offer a decent amount of experience, and although their Pokémon are high-leveled, they’re no match for a good water- or grass-type move.
The trainers are:
|Trainer||Pokémon||EXP Gained||Money Awarded|
|Youngster Johnathon||Geodude (lvl. 11)||170||176|
|Youngster Darius||Geodude (lvl. 9)
Onix (lvl. 9)
When you’re ready, talk to Roark at the north end of the gym to initiate battle. Save first!
Roark’s Team + How To Win (Battle Tips)
|Roark Team Comp|
Hopefully you trained your water- or grass-type(s) to level 13 or above.
Geodude and Onix are barely worth mentioning here; Roark’s Onix will likely use the new move Stealth Rock, which surrounds your party with sharp stones and damages any Pokémon you switch into battle, but you won’t be doing much switching.
Cranidos is the real terror in Roark’s party.
It’s fast enough to move first against most Pokémon you’ll have, and its Headbutt attack is ruthlessly powerful.
Headbutt also has a chance of making your Pokémon flinch, which causes you to miss out on a turn and will almost certainly spell the end for that Pokémon.
Cranidos also has an ability called Mold Breaker, which allows it to avoid many protective abilities your own Pokémon might possess.
The best Pokémon/moves to use against Cranidos are:
- Piplup’s Bubble (learned at level 8)
- Turtwig’s Absorb (level 9) and Razor Leaf (level 13)
- Psyduck’s Water Gun (level 9) and Budew’s Mega Drain (level 13) are excellent as well
If your Budew is strong enough to withstand one of Cranidos’s Headbutts, Mega Drain has the added potential to completely heal any damage Budew sustains from the attack.
Roark will probably use a potion or two, but ignore that and just keep spamming your advantageous elemental attacks. With any luck, Cranidos will use Leer and waste a turn!
After You Win
Once you’ve defeated Cranidos, Roark will admit defeat.
For your trouble, he will award you the Coal Badge, allowing you to use HM06 Rock Smash. This move is necessary to reach the next part of the game.
He will also give you TM76, which contains Stealth Rock, the move Roark’s Onix likely used during the battle.
Now you’re free to leave Oreburgh Gym and backtrack to Jubilife City, where the next part of your adventure awaits!