The Saffron Gym is a maze of warp tiles and nine rooms. Seven of these rooms contain Trainers (only four in Generations II and IV), while the other two hold Sabrina and the entrance. In Generations II and IV only, the remaining three rooms are empty.
At some point prior to the Generation I games, both Sabrina's Gym and the Karate Master's Fighting Dojo laid claim to the status of being an official Indigo League Pokémon Gym. Due to the type advantage that the Gym's Psychic types had over the Dojo's Fighting types, Sabrina easily won the challenge and became the official Gym Leader of Saffron City.
Below is a map of the teleporters' connections. The teleporters work the same in all Generations, excepting the addition of a one-way teleporter in Sabrina's room (Mid) that warps the player back to the entrance room (S) in Generation IV. The colors are purely visual aids and have no other significance.
In all Generations, the path that takes the fewest teleporters to reach Sabrina is A-B-H-M, while the fastest path (the path that requires the fewest steps walked) is A-C-G-N-M.
Saffron Gym appeared in two episodes of the anime. It is depicted as an unusual dome-shaped building that also houses an institute for the study of PSI phenomenon.
The Gym first appeared in Abra and the Psychic Showdown, where Ash and his friends found their way there after temporarily getting trapped by Team Rocket. Ash challenged Sabrina to a battle, but she offered an unusual and ambiguous request: if he lost, he and his friends would have to play with her.
Ash was quickly overwhelmed by Sabrina's Kadabra, resulting in him forfeiting the match. He and his friends were then shrunken down to the size of dolls by Sabrina, who trapped them in her toy town and nearly got them squashed by her toy ball. However, they were narrowly saved by Sabrina's father, who told Ash that if he really wanted to defeat Sabrina, he would have to get a Ghost-type Pokémon from Lavender Town.
Ash took his advice, and returned two episodes later in Haunter versus Kadabra with a Haunter he had befriended at Pokémon Tower. However, when he went to challenge Sabrina again, Haunter suddenly disappeared. Ash forfeited the match, causing Sabrina to turn Brock and Misty into literal dolls. Before Ash could meet the same fate, Sabrina's father appeared once again to save him. He told Ash to go find Haunter if he hoped to ever beat Sabrina. After a while of searching, Ash managed to find Haunter and convinced it to help him in the Gym battle.
Once more, Ash returned to the Gym to challenge Sabrina with Haunter. However, it once again disappeared before the battle. Before Ash could be turned into a doll, Pikachu stepped in to battle Kadabra and protect Ash. Halfway through the battle, Haunter suddenly reappeared, making funny faces and performing different sorts of other comedic acts to Sabrina. This eventually caused her to start laughing for the first time in years. Due to the Psychic link between Sabrina and Kadabra, the Psi Pokémon also started laughing, allowing Sabrina's father to declare Ash the winner and turn Brock and Misty back to normal. Ash subsequently received his fourth Badge and left Haunter with Sabrina, before heading to Celadon City.
Kadabra first appeared as an Abra in Abra and the Psychic Showdown. Sabrina used it in a one-on-one Gym battle against Ash. During the battle with Ash's Pikachu, Abra evolved into a Kadabra and with its Psychic-type attacks, it eventually caused Ash to forfeit the match to save Pikachu from being further injured. It was shown that Sabrina and Kadabra share a strong psychic bond.
Ash later returned for a rematch in Haunter Versus Kadabra. During the battle, Ash's Haunter appeared during the battle and made Sabrina laugh for the first time in years, which caused Kadabra to laugh as well due to the psychic bond it has with Sabrina. Due to this, Sabrina decided to give the Marsh Badge to Ash.
Red was seen visiting the Saffron Gym after the Silph Co. incident in File 3: Giovanni. Countering Sabrina's Psychic-types with a Ghost-type Pokémon, Haunter, Red was able to win his match against her and earn himself the Marsh Badge.
Saffron Gym battlefield in The Electric Tale of Pikachu
In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga
The Saffron Gym appeared in Haunting My Dreams, where Ash arrived there in order to challenge Sabrina, being totally exhausted from his travel upon arriving. After a quick meal with Sabrina and Brock showing up as well, Ash and Sabrina started their Gym battle, with Ash using Pikachu against Sabrina's Abra. Despite being asleep, Abra was able to use Teleport to evade all of Pikachu's Thunder Shocks, until one of the Electric attacks was reflected back at the Electric Mouse Pokémon, knocking it out and causing Ash to lose the battle.
The Saffron Gym was featured in the TCG as both a Japan-exclusive Theme Deck and as a card. The following is a list of cards named Saffron City Gym.
Related cards Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format. Cards listed with a silver background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.