Many looking to explain the royal power that wild Empoleon once exerted over other pokemon – not only the notoriously independent Piplup and Prinplup, but other northern pokemon such as Spheal and Snorunt and anything else in their range – point to its trident crown and regal appearance. More cynical men, however, have long pointed to the fact that Empoleon is covered in a thick suit of armor that lets it win battles against most pokemon with ease.
Empoleon, like nearly all pokemon, have their weaknesses; what makes the Empoleon remarkable is that opponents must exploit said weaknesses to have any hope of victory. These pokemon shrug off the vast majority of attacks, weak or powerful, like a Piplup shrugs off an Ember; a fact which surely both intimidated and awed the pokemon which came to follow their lead. Just as metal and water - from bronze age weapons to knights' shields and cannonballs, from the great hydraulic kingdoms of Mesopotamia and Egypt - has let men subjugate one another, so have these elements allowed Empoleon to reign in the far north.
Among men, it was the pokeball which dethroned monarchies, for what good could armor and gunfire do when any man could summon walking tanks – in Sinnoh, often captured Empoleon themselves, used to acting as kings - into battle? Among pokemon, it was the extinction of the royal line that did monarchy in; when the last wild Empoleon died, no Prinplup had the courage to evolve and make a bid for the throne, and none of the myriad of other pokemon around could even dream of a trident crown. And in both places, anarchy replaced monarchy, and men no longer dream of ruling the world, but of becoming a pokemon master.