pokemon 2018 london international championships

Concerns going into the 2018 London International Championships

While the coming London International Championships seems like a last hurrah for the 2017 VGC season, there are a few things to consider going into this tournament. A common issue that plagued the International Championships last season was controversy that popped up during or after each respective event. The International tournament in London this year has its own fair share of issues that are worth noting despite the excitement surrounding the event.

VGC 2017 is old news

pokemon 2018 london international championships

I think it’s fair to say that some players are done with VGC 2017. This season has been an exciting one, but the format itself has gotten rather stale. With such a small regional Pokedex like Alola’s, it’s going to be difficult to break the metagame, especially after an entire year of tournaments. Basically, expect to see a lot of teams that look… familiar. Considering it has been a full month since the last major tournament, there hasn’t been a lot of development in the metagame. With this uncertainty, players might default to teams that have shown consistency in the past.

And to think we still have two regional championships after London before the format officially switches over.

Attendance cap

pokemon 2018 london international championships

What caught many people off guard was the announcement that London hit its attendance cap for video game players. The initial cap announced for the Masters division was 680 players, and many are skeptical that London reached that many registered players. Is it possible that TPCI could’ve lowered the cap? If so, then why?

This news messed up many travel plans, and players are campaigning for TPCI to re-open registration. As it looks now, London has hit its cap, and it might be too late for those who planned to travel.

But at least there’s potential good news in all of this. The fact that London has nearly 700 registered players is promising considering how late into the 2017 format the tournament is. This could imply even bigger numbers coming next season.

Starting the snowball

One of the major criticisms of the London International Championships last season was how it began a snowball effect for players who were able to do well. To quickly explain, players with high Championship Point totals in the early parts of the season were eligible to receive travel stipends to other international events, allowing them even more opportunities to earn large amounts of Championships Points. This resulted in some absurdly high CP totals towards the end of the 2017 season, and the trend is looking to repeat this year.

What’s troubling about this is that we all ready have players who are qualified for the 2018 World Championships based on their results in the 2017 format. If anything, this will only screw over the players who’ve already qualified as their motivation to become skilled in the new format will be at an all-time low. It just doesn’t make sense that many players will have invites to a tournament with a format they haven’t even played yet.

Winter must be coming early, as London is promising nothing but more snowballs.

Pokemon Sun and Moon are about to be old news

pokemon 2018 london international championships

Oh right, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon release this Friday. At least players in London don’t have to worry about building 2018 format teams for a tournament happening the day after the next games come out.

Getting to my main point, the release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will hurt interest in a tournament that is still being played with Pokemon Sun and Moon. Everyone will be too busy playing the new games instead of tuning into the stream from London. All I’m saying is that, interest in Pokemon Sun and Moon content will drop significantly after this Friday and viewership for even a tournament as big as London will likely take a sizable hit.

All of these concerns are worthy of acknowledgement, but we shouldn’t let these ruin our enjoyment of what is shaping up to be VGC 2017’s last hurrah. The International Championships have been the stage for some of the greatest matches of the entire season, and I would expect nothing less from London this year. Unlike last year, everyone will know what they’re doing, and more importantly, will be on top of their game for our viewing pleasure.

 


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Pokemon 2018 season announced: The most important changes

It’s slightly past the middle of July, but The Pokemon Company has finally released information about the 2018 competitive season. Let’s check out some of the biggest developments, and how they will affect the upcoming year.

World Championship qualification bar 

Pokemon 2018 season announced

One of the biggest pieces of information to come out of the announcement was the lowering of the Championship Point requirement for a Worlds invite for the U.S. and Europe. With the sheer amount of tournaments already announced in addition to the lack of a best-finish-limit for Regional and International Championships, obtaining a Worlds invite is looking a lot easier this season.

Latin America received a bump up to 400 for its bar for 2018 which looks promising for its region, as this means a lot more events are likely coming its way.

Some European players think 300 is a bit low which is fair considering nearly 50 European players cleared 300 points in 2017. Hopefully this doesn’t mean European tournament numbers will be taking a hit.

Removal of BFL for Regional and International Championships

Pokemon 2018 season announcedPokemon 2018 season announced

One of the player-base’s biggest issues with the 2017 structure was the snowball effect that benefited those with high amounts of Championship Points in the beginning of the season. With the top players earning travel stipends to compete at more Internationals, this created a snowballing effect where these players would travel and earn ridiculous amounts of Points. Now that there is no restriction on the season’s largest tournaments, the snowball will keep on rolling.

The name “wallet warrior” was thrown around a lot last season as a name given to those who were able to travel to a lot of events due to stipends or just having the funds to do so. This looks to be the season for “wallet warriors” as the removal of the BFL for Regionals will make travelling to a lot of events much more rewarding.

The best-finish-limit for Midseason Showdowns as well as Premier Challenges has been updated to be two per series, in which there are four. The BFL has increased but at the cost of CP payouts being lowered yet again for local events. Many players are uneasy as to how this will continue to affect the local scene.

Improved prize money payouts

Pokemon 2018 season announced

One piece of undeniably good news is the increase in prize money awards for larger tournaments. Not only do the prizes for top placings look higher, but the payout looks to extend past the top eight for more forgiving attendance numbers.

This is fantastic for potentially boosting tournament numbers and will likely compliment the increase in tournaments quite nicely.

Speaking of which…

A ton of events announced already

Pokemon 2018 season announced

Image thanks to @PokeStats_TCG on Twitter

The U.S. has 12 Regional Championships already on its schedule with Europe having seven. Many players are satisfied with less travel required due to the utter number of events that are reasonably close to one another.

We have yet to see a schedule appear for Latin America and Oceania as of now, but hopefully these regions are given the proper treatment.

Even 3/4 International Championships already have dates set, but unfortunately for Europe…

European Internationals are being held the same weekend as the release of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

A lot, and I mean a lot of players had a huge issue with the European International Championships being so early in the 2017 season, but this year TPCi has decided to push it up to right when the next games are being released. I’m assuming this means the rule-set will remain with Pokemon Sun and Moon for European Internationals, but it looks like we’ll have a couple Worlds invites clinched or nearly clinched before the actual 2018 season begins.

So this is the 2018 format?

Pokemon 2018 season announced

We’ve only covered some of the main aspects of the 2018 season, but there’s so much we don’t know yet. We’re still waiting on the rule-set for when Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon drop, which will likely not be announced until the game’s release.

2018, like most of the previous seasons, is not perfect by any means, but there are signs of larger ambition from TPCi which can only mean good news for the future.

There are a lot of different opinions being thrown around right now on all ends of the spectrum, so if you want to learn more about the upcoming season, be sure to join the discussion.

Here are some helpful links for both further information and discussion about the 2018 season:

The official announcement for the 2018 season:

  • http://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-news/battle-in-the-2018-championship-series-season/

Overview of 2018 season:

  • http://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/pokemon-events/pokemon-tournaments/

Pokemon.com’s Official Tournament Locator

  • https://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/pokemon-events/find-an-event/?mo_ar=true&so_ar=true

Information on each of the tournament levels:

  • Premier Challenges: http://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/pokemon-events/pokemon-tournaments/vg-premier-challenge/
  • MidSeason Showdowns: http://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/pokemon-events/pokemon-tournaments/midseason-showdown/
  • Regional Championships: http://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/pokemon-events/pokemon-tournaments/regional-championships/
  • International Championships: http://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/pokemon-events/pokemon-tournaments/international-championships/
  • World Championships w/ qualification info: http://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/pokemon-events/pokemon-tournaments/pokemon-world-championships/

Updated Rules Documents (thanks @ParanoidOddish on Twitter) 

  • https://twitter.com/ParanoidOddish/status/890267845371756545

Forum post on @TrainerTower discussing the 2018 season announcement

  • http://trainertower.com/forums/threads/2018-circuit-feelings-thread.415/

Head Judge Jen Badamo’s Twitter – she’s currently answering questions 

  • https://twitter.com/JenBamo

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