ONOG’s Pokémon Invitational Is Monumental for the Growth of VGC

“To celebrate the recent resurgence of Pokémon, ONOG, in collaboration with GEICO Gaming, would like to invite you to witness a tournament between the best and most storied Pokémon video game players of this generation.”

One Nation of Gamers in association with GEICO Gaming presents a Pokémon Invitational tournament featuring eight of some of the best players in the world, with a sizable amount of prize money on the line. The tournament will take place over two days (February 25th-26th) and will be multi-stage, double elimination format. The tournament has already generated a lot of positive feedback from the community, as there a large potential for Pokémon VGC’s growth.

Who Ya Got?

Courtesy of ONOG

The eight players that will be competing include the past three World Champions: Wolfe “Wolfey” Glick, Shoma “SHADEviera” Honami, and Sejun Park. It also includes players and popular YouTubers: Markus “13Yoshi37” Stadter, Enosh “Human” Shachar, Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng, Alex Ogloza, and Dan “aDrive” Clap.

The cast of players featured ensures that the level of competition will be high. It seems that every single match will be a feature. With this many well-known players going up against each other, the viewership is sure to be on par with official tournament streams.

What’s On the Line?

There are no Championship Points or trips to Worlds up for grabs. Rather, a $1000 prize pool will be distributed among the top four.

Not Your Traditional Format

The tournament will be structured in two stages: A group stage that is double elimination where players will play best-of-three matches, and a playoff stage that will be single elimination with best-of-five matches. This new approach to the traditional VGC tournament structure is sure to shake things up. It may further mitigate chances of a set coming down to RNG too.

Where Can I Watch the Tournament?

Each match from the tournament will be live on ONOG’s Twitch and YouTube channels. Justin Carris, a newer yet polished commentator, will be leading the match commentary with competitors coming on to assist him.

Why This is a Huge Deal

This is the first independent Pokémon VGC tournament with this big of a sponsor since APEX in 2014. Esports organizations like ONOG and GEICO Gaming bring promise for others to set their eyes on Pokémon as a game that has potential to rise to the level of other major esports. The prize pool, as well as the caliber of players, legitimizes a high level of competitive play that spectators will be excited to watch. The potential viewership numbers makes this tournament sure to attract a ton of attention to the game. Hopefully more of these tournaments are on the way, as this one is sure to set a stellar example.

Final Words

This tournament has a ton of well deserved hype surrounding it. The matches will be exciting, the tournament will be well covered, and the potential growth for VGC is almost certain. In partnership with Trainer Tower, profiles for each player will be posted throughout the week. For more details about the tournament, visit the official site at: http://pokemon.onog.gg/, and get hyped for February 25th!

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QR Rental Teams – A New Way to Play Competitive Pokémon

A New Challenger Approaches

Capturing, Breeding, Training, there has always been a lot of monotony to preparing for a competitive Pokémon match. Trainers spend countless hours picking Pokémon for their team, and working on training the perfect specimen. Each time a trainer chooses to replace even a single member, they must go through the process again. Not anymore with QR Rental Teams.

QR Rental Team scan prompt in game

TPCI has added the option to bypass breeding and training with the introduction of QR Rental Teams. QR Rental Teams allow trainers to register teams they train and share them with other trainers. Has TPCI finally removed the need for breeding and training in competitive Pokémon altogether?

QR Provides First Steps Towards Convenience 

QR codes now grant trainers easy access to battle with teams they put no work into. Simply access teams of Pokémon on the Pokémon Global Link website and generate a QR code for the team. Then scan the generated QR code when prompted in Pokémon Sun and Moon and BOOM, you are battling with a team bred and trained by another trainer.

It has never been easier to practice and battle with some excellent Pokémon teams. QR Rental Teams are not without their restrictions, however. Here is a list of battles in which you trainers can use QR Rental Teams:

List of battles that allow QR Rental Teams

Furthermore, QR Rental Teams are not permitted at all for official tournaments. So the hopes of moving away from breeding and training for trainers interested in VGC competition is still not entirely possible.

Helpful But Not Entirely Convenient

As with many things TPCI does, QR Rental Teams are a fantastic idea with implementation that leaves much to be desired. In order for a trainer to share their teams, they must register it to their Battle Box. Then the trainer must log into their account on the Pokémon Global Link website. From there they can access the Pokémon teams in their Battle Box and register them as a QR Rental Team.

Example Pokémon QR Rental Team from Pokemon Global Link website

At this point the team is ready to be used by trainers around the world. While you would think in order to use a rental team, you would simply scan a QR code that is shared with you. Sadly it is not that easy. A trainer has to access the Pokémon Global Link website, and locate the team or trainer who owns the team. Once they locate the team they wish to rent, they can generate a personal QR code to be scanned with their Pokémon Sun and Moon game. Not exactly the epitome of convenience.

The other area that needs improvement is the user interface. Rental Teams are separated into only two different formats, Single and Double. This makes hunting down teams for specific things, like VGC format, difficult and time consuming. On top of that, there are very few options for filtering through teams outside of specifying specific Pokémon.

A Hope For the Future and a Word of Caution

Overall, Rental Teams are a fantastic move for TPCI to make. Allowing easier access to trainers to try out the more competitive aspect of Pokémon is certainly a step in the right direction. Hopefully they are able to iron out some of the kinks with the current system and provide more and more convenience to their fans and prospecting competitive trainers.

One word of caution however, there are rumors going around that currently QR codes contain Pokémon trainer ID info that can be maliciously accessed. This data can then be used to get the trainer account attached to the Rental Team banned from the Pokémon Global Link. Please use this new service with caution until more info comes out!

All images courtesy of Game Freak

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A New Gimmick That’s Shore to be a Threat – Palossand & Smeargle

Oh no, not Smeargle again! I thought we got rid of that thing after last season!

*Cue traumatic flashbacks to VGC 2016*

Well Smeargle isn’t exactly what you should be scared of. It’s the sandcastle that Smeargle is going to help destroy you.

Who’s That Pokémon?

Image result for palossand png

It’s Palossand!

Yeah I don’t really remember this thing either.

Who thought this Pokémon would ever see play in any competitive format? Palossand is a new Pokémon, courtesy of the seventh generation that has developed a rather interesting strategy that has taken the current meta game by storm. It involves everyone’s favorite dog Smeargle, and getting Palossand to unbelievable levels of bulk and strength.

Here’s How it Works

The basic strategy involves the combination of Smeargle and Palossand, where Smeargle buffs Palossand and Palossand just has to stay alive long enough to get all of its boosts. Smeargle uses Water Shuriken, a priority Water-type move capable of hitting multiple times, on Palossand which basically deals no damage. This triggers Palossand’s ability, Water Compaction, which increases its Defense by one stage every time it is hit with a Water-type attack.

Now here’s where it gets fun.

On this team, Palossand will typically hold a Weakness Policy which doubles its Attack and Special Attack stats when hit by Water Shuriken (since Palossand is weak to Water). So now to recap, you should have a Palossand with (ideally) 4+ stages of Defense, doubled Attacking stats, and now double Special Defense after you use Amnesia.

And after all of that, if Palossand took any damage, it can heal pretty much all of it back with its signature recovery move: Shore Up.

Then What?

Now, Smeargle is either gone or continues to support with Wide Guard or Follow Me. When Smeargle finally goes down, the next move is to switch in your Psych Up sweeper and copy all of Palossand’s boosts.

Good Game.

What Does the Rest of The Team Look Like?

Really, once you set up Palossand, the rest of the team doesn’t matter. But, there are a few ways to support your unstoppable sandcastle.

courtesy of Quassihollic Art on Tumblr

Tapu of your Choice

Since all of the Tapu Pokémon gain access to Psych Up, the choice of which one to use is completely up to player preference. Tapu Fini may be a popular choice considering how popular it is in the format right now, thanks to its already impressive bulk. Second to Fini would likely be Tapu Koko due to its Speed and capability of sweeping with the increase to its Special Attack.

Image result for espeon

Espeon

A choice for a Psych Up sweeper seen on a successful Japanese player’s version of the team. Espeon gets access to Stored Power, which is a Psychic move that increases in strength for every stat boost on the user. With the added defensive boosts, Espeon could be terrifying to go up against.

Image result for arcanine

Arcanine

The literal “Top Dog” of VGC 2017 seems to find its way onto pretty much every flavor of team out there. Arcanine can deal with the ever-present Kartana, which may cause problems for Palossand since Leaf Blade can easily score a critical hit and wipe out your set-up sandcastle.

Image result for Kartana

Kartana

Speak of the devil. Kartana can deal with Water-types (mainly Tapu Fini) that can hit Palossand pretty hard due to its low Special Defense.

Gigalith

Gigalith is a Pokémon that has been rising up in popularity as of late, and it makes a good teammate for Palossand. Palossand is able to recover even more health with Shore Up since it’s boosted by the presence of a sandstorm, which Gigalith can set up for it.

How Do You Beat It?

It shouldn’t be too hard to beat this strategy if you follow one or more of these steps:

  • Get rid of Smeargle (Just watch out for Moody)
  • Taunt Palossand so it can’t use Amnesia or Shore Up (also Taunt is useful for Psych Up users)
  • Strong Water and Grass-type attacks (Tapu Fini and Kartana work well)
  • Resistances/Immunities for Palossand’s attacks (mainly Earth Power)

Finally, Here Are Some Sample Teams to Try Out!

These teams can be found and scanned using the QR Team feature in the Pokémon Global Link.

Art of Pokemon courtesy of Pokémon and Ken Sugimori unless otherwise credited

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Top in Class: VGC 2017 Top Three Fire Types

Where There is Smoke, There is Fire

Fire typing is undoubtedly one of the most powerful typings in all of Pokémon. Fire types have been burning their foes to the ground since generation one. VGC 2017 has been no different, and three fire types have risen to the top of the class.

Specializing primarily in offense and speed, fire types like to hit their opponents fast and leave them with a burn. Burning an opponent in Pokémon will actually serve to reduce the amount of physical damage they are capable of doing.

Not all fire types fit into this formula, however, let’s take a look at which fire types have risen to the top of the pack in VGC 2017.

Slowest Finishes Third

Pokémon Torkoal placing ni VGC

Torkoal @ Charcoal/Life Orb
Ability: Drought
EVs: 116 HP / 252 SpA / 140 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Eruption
– Heat Wave/Flamethrower/Solar Beam
– Overheat/Flamethrower/Solar Beam
– Protect

While Torkoal may not be finding a massive presence in high end tournament play, this fire type turtle defined the meta early. Doing work a bit differently than other Pokémon, Torkoal would come onto the field and overpower its opponents with help from its partner’s status effects or Trick Room.

Unlike most fire type Pokémon, Torkoal is slow and bulky, with high special attack. Changes in Sun & Moon have granted Torkoal the ability Drought, which allows it to summon the sun when it enters the field. This grants its already strong fire attacks a tremendous bonus to damage.

Stranger in the Night

Pokemon Marowak-Alola places 2nd among fire pokémon in vgc 17

Marowak-Alola @ Thick Club
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Atk / 4 Def / 68 SpD / 12 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Shadow Bone
– Bonemerang
– Protect

Marowak used to be a ground type that never saw competitive play, but Sun & Moon have changed that completely. Marowak-Alola is a monstrous opponent if left unchecked. Shedding its previous ground typing, Marowak-Alola is now a Fire/Ghost type.

Just like its type changed, so too has its use in the competitive scene. Marowak-Alola started out the VGC competitive tournament circuit as most used fire type, but has since fallen to second place. While Marowak-Alola packs a punch, he can be somewhat predictable and lacks some utility.

They’re Gonna Hear Me Roar

Pokemon Arcanine places in VGC

Offensive Arcanine

Arcanine @ Iapapa Berry/Sitrus Berry/Life Orb
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 84 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 164 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Extreme Speed
– Flare Blitz
– Snarl/Wild Charge/Will-O-Wisp
– Protect

Support Arcanine

Arcanine @ Firium Z
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 204 HP / 4 Def / 116 SpA / 4 SpD / 180 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Overheat  / Burn Out
– Will-O-Wisp
– Snarl
– Protect

Arcanine has been a fan favorite since generation one, and he is still putting in work. Sitting as the most popular fire type at this point in the 2017 VGC circuit, Arcanine has been a reliable pick for many trainers. It is no surprise, due to the plethora of ways it can be run.

Always packing intimidate support, Arcanine makes his presence felt as soon as he enters the field. From there, the battle plan is based on the trainer’s choices during breeding. Arcanine can run Snarl support to lower Special Attack and deal chip damage to its opponents, or Will-O-Wisp to inflict burns.

An offensive set can also be run abusing Flare Blitz and Extremespeed. Utilizing items from Sitrus Berry, to Assault Vest, to Life Orb, Arcanine is great at leaving the opposing trainer guessing. That is why, season after season, he continues to be on top.

A Prediction For the Birds

pokemon talonflame could rise the ranks of vgc

Talonflame @ Flyinium Z
Ability: Gale Wings
EVs: 236 Atk / 20 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Brave Bird
– Flare Blitz / Overheat
– Protect
– Tailwind / Taunt

Due to nerfs, Talonflame has yet to take off like it has in previous seasons. My prediction is that moving forward, Talonflame will play a much more prominent roll. Offering great offensive pressure, Tailwind support, and the ability to pressure the popular Kartana, Talonflame is poised to make a comeback!

All images courtesy of Game Freak

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Breeding Cheaters – Why The Pokémon Company Should Close a Window and Open a Door

Assembling the Best in Breed

Pokémon Pikachu holding a Pokémon egg from breeding

Image courtesy of Game Freak

Becoming the very best in competitive Pokémon requires much more than just showing up to tournaments and winning battles. Competent trainers must spend a plethora of time developing teams of six Pokémon that have synergy together. Then for each Pokémon selected, the trainer must breed the perfect candidate. Finally, the trainer has to train a proper EV, or effort value, spread into each Pokémon in order for it to optimally perform its role. This entire process is referred to as teambuilding.

Arguably, teambuilding poses one of the single biggest hurdles when it comes to new trainers attempting to get into competitive Pokémon. The amount of research, trial & error, and knowledge of the current metagame, means a high barrier for entry. Top that off with the fact that each time you want to try something new, or change any member of your team, you must start the breeding process over.

Worst yet is that both teambulding and breeding contribute little to the viewing experience of competitive Pokémon. Furthermore, both of these activities reduce a trainers ability to practice while discouraging experimentation due to time commitment. None of these things foster a healthy competitive community. In fact, the current breeding issues are causing more harm than good.

Breedings not Cheating… or is it?

Investing time into mastering the nuances of battling is extremely important. For the most part, trainers consider riding a Tauros in circles for hours hatching eggs and praying to the RNG gods to be a waste of time. As with most things in life, the path of least resistance is found and the floodgates open.

Pokémon breeder riding a Tauros in circles while breeding Pokémon

Image courtesy of @akamiso0608

Cheating, more specifically genning Pokémon, has risen to popularity as a way to cut out the timesink breeding creates. Trainers use a computer program to instantly create the Pokémon they need for their teams. This successfully bypasses the need for breeding and decreases the time teambulding takes tremendously.

In the end, the effect is a lack of consistency and an uneven playing field. While genned Pokémon will end up totally identical to their bred counterparts, the savings in time cannot be understated.

Furthermore, genning requires the trainer to have access to a Nintendo 2/3DS with hacked firmware. This encourages any aspiring Pokémon trainers to almost have to break TOS on Nintendo hardware to stay competitive. Nintendo and TPCI would both benefit from solving this issue.

An Argument for Breeding Consistency

Regardless of whether you are for genning Pokémon for convenience, or doing it the hard way, consistency is needed. With the current system in place, the community finds itself fractured. Those with experience and drive to win will take the most reliable route to victory. The result is a large gap for new trainers to cross.

Pokémon status screen used when breeding Pokémon

Image courtesy of Game Freak

TPCI and Game Freak need to streamline the entire teambuilding process. Either enforce the system of breeding in some way, or make the ability to build teams for competitive events easier. There really isn’t another option. Removing the need for reliance on third party applications is paramount.

Ultimately the goal should be to create an easy and transparent way for new and aspiring trainers to get into competitive battling. By lowering the barrier for entry, TPCI can stimulate the competitive community and interest in competitive Pokémon as a whole.

 

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Player Skill Be Damned! RNG is a Critical Part of the Pokémon Formula

RNG Is All Around Us… But What Is It?

Pokémon Pokéball shakes using RNG to capture

Image courtesy of Game Freak

RNG, or Random Number Generator, is a term used to describe a background process for decision making. Much the same as luck, it is used in games such a Pokémon to determine things like critical hits and status effects. In other types of games, such as MMOs, RNG is used to determine what monsters drop from their loot pool. Think of it like the result from the flip of a coin, or roll of the dice.

RNG is a controversial topic when it comes to eSports, and in particular competitive Pokémon. One of the main critiques of competitive Pokémon is its reliance on RNG. There are many that feel that due to the fact that these elements are not affected by players skill, they have little to no place in competitive sports/eSports. However, others feel the inclusion of RNG tests a competitors risk management.

So which side is right? While reliance on player skill is an important factor in all competitive sports and eSports, so is unpredictability. It is when both skill and luck come together that a truly great competition is born.

 

Milotic Goes for the Scald on Celesteela, HE GETS THE BURN!

Pokémon Milotic uses Scald and RNG grants a burn

Image courtesy of Make A Gif

There is no doubt that RNG plays a large roll in all Pokémon matches. Critical hits and Status effect are the two biggest examples of RNG altering matches. It is also true that in some cases, no matter the skill of a trainer, RNG will lead to their defeat. This does not mean that each match is won by the flip of a coin though. The fact you see many of the same great trainers winning tournaments over and over again is proof that skill is the ultimate deciding factor in win-rate.

Sure, a Trainer can’t force a critical hit to kill that Celesteela, but they certainly can predict a Leech Seed and swap a Sap Sipper Goodra into it. This type of play only comes with lots of training and practice. Understanding the meta, observing your opponents play style, and getting into their head are huge parts of competitive Pokémon. The best players are reacting to what their opponent will do before they even do it. This is the level of play that separate the good from the great.

At the end of the day, even the best Trainers will inevitably lose matches that they have no business losing due to RNG. Normally though, this is not enough to prevent great Trainers from winning consecutively. Official matches are even structured in a way to prevent the influence of RNG. Rather than each match ending with a winner and loser, all matches are played in a best of three series. This not only helps to prevent RNG from determining winners and losers, but also allows Trainers to get a feel for each other as the series progresses.

 

Do You Feel Lucky? Well Do Ya Punk?

Let’s be honest, RNG or luck influences many of the sports and eSports that we know and love also. Actually if you step back and look at all of these activities, you will see they all fall on a continuum. On the left is pure luck, like playing the lottery, and on the right is pure skill. Chess would be the best example of purely skill based gameplay. Every other sport or eSport falls somewhere on this continuum.

Think about things like weather and coin flips. These are excellent examples of RNG at play in popular sports. Baseball has variable field sizes, Basketballl has game winning shots from half court; the list goes on and on. Then look at eSports. League has crit chance, DOTA has crit chance, accuracy penalties, and much more. Even CS:GO has shot variance, creating some situations where a long range shot is missed simply due to luck. Yet all of these games are leading the charge in the eSport market.

Going even further, even the Super Bowl’s outcome can be determined by luck. Think back to Super Bowl 46 when Wes Welker dropped an easily catchable ball that would have won the game and the Super Bowl for the Patriots. There is not even a best-of series for the Super Bowl, so if luck is the deciding factor, that is it. This has not stopped the popularity however, and very few games have come down to pure luck.

Patriots Tight End Wes Welker drops game winning pass in Super Bowl 46. Demonstrating lucks influence in traditional sports.

Image courtesy of NBC

At the end of the day, the best way to think about it is great competitors create their own luck. This is, in essence, the risk management of competition.

 

Luck vs Skill: The Ratings

Looking at ratings alone, luck is actually the more important factor for spectators. Consider the continuum, while very luck-based games such as Texas Hold’em have aired all over ESPN and cable television, you would be hard pressed to see a Chess Tournament in primetime. The fact is, unexpected results create drama, and drama is good for viewership. Some of the most memorable sporting moments have been upsets that were part skill and part luck, but amazing television.

This is why the focus on the influence of RNG on not just Pokémon, but eSports in general is misguided. Rather than making RNG the end all be all, it should be another element that adds to the fun. Great competitors will understand RNG, and even bend it to their advantage. This will lead to those “Oh My God” moments, and who doesn’t want more of those in their sport?

For Pokémon this means learning to blend the elements of range subtly into the playing experience. If something like burns or critical hits seems to be too powerful, tweak it until you get the right mix. However, you can never forget the three dimensional game that Pokémon is. Between subtle things like team building and dynamic actions (like masterful switches), Trainers have a multitude of methods to tip a match in their favor.

Pokémon VGC world championship 2015 Wolf Glick shows expert prediction during finals match

Image courtesy of Game Freak

Full Stop. Pure Skill Based Gameplay is Boring

RNG or luck makes for excitement, and observers like excitement. It keeps competitors on their toes and keeps games from getting stale. While taking all reliance on skill out of a game is a terrible idea, so too is removing all aspects of luck. Finding the perfect formula of gameplay, skill, and luck should be the ultimate objective of aspiring sports. While Pokémon by no means has the mix perfect, TPCI should not let the critics convince them RNG has no place in an eSport.

 

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Pokémon VGC Content Creator Spotlight – Who You Should Watch

The amount of Pokémon VGC YouTube and streaming content has exploded in the last few years. Players and other popular Pokémon content creators have started showcasing VGC content, which has helped the format gain a ton of exposure. In this piece, I’ll be directing you to some Pokémon YouTubers and streamers to start watching if you’re looking not only to improve but also be entertained!

Courtesy of the Official Pokemon YouTube Channel

Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng

“Hey guys. Aaron ‘Cybertron’ Zheng here!” is a familiar phrase to most in the VGC community; as it’s the intro used for all of Aaron’s videos. Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng is a 19 year-old college student who has been in the competitive Pokémon scene ever since it began back in 2008.

One of the most decorated players in Pokémon VGC history with six World Championship appearances, two National Championships, multiple Worlds and National Top Cuts, and a bunch of Regional wins; Aaron has solidified himself among the best.

Aaron started his YouTube channel back in 2014, and now currently has over 71,000 subscribers. He pretty much invented the “Road to Ranked” format that countless others have emulated, where he showcases different teams as he climbs the Rated Battle Spot Ladder. While this is the majority of what he uploads, he occasionally posts team reports, guides, and various discussion videos to add some variety. Being a full-time student does require a lot of time though, so Road to Ranked is mostly what you’re going to see.

Aside from being a competitor, Aaron actually forfeited playing at the 2016 National and World Championships to work as a commentator for the official Pokémon stream. In fact, Aaron sort of became a meme after performing a segment in front of a monitor where he analyzed a previous match; almost looking like a weatherman. For the fans, he introduced himself with “Hey guys, Aaron ‘Weatherman’ Zheng here!” to the crowd’s immediate delight.

“Hey Guys! Aaron ‘Weatherman’ Zheng here!” Courtesy of twitch.tv/Pokemon

Being one of the pioneers of Pokémon VGC content creation, Aaron’s channel is definitely one you should be subscribed to. His knowledge of the game, as well as his relatable and fun personality, provides a great mixture of education and entertainment.

Here’s where you can find Aaron!

YouTube: youtube.com/cybertronproductions

Twitch: twitch.tv/cybertronvgc

Twitter: twitter.com/CybertronVGC

Courtesy of SaffronCityPost

Wolfe “Wolfey” Glick

Your current World Champion does indeed have a channel of his own, and it’s quite a good one. Wolfe Glick is a player who needs no introduction. 2016 World Champion, National Champion, multiple Regional Champion, are just a few of his many accomplishments.

From starting out small, Wolfe now has over 55,000 subscribers and looks to be on pace to catch up to his good buddy Aaron Zheng. Wolfe’s content is pretty diverse, including a plethora of guides, battle videos, and even a series where he plays through the “Battle Factory” modes on Pokémon Platinum and Emerald Versions. Wolfe’s formula is nothing close to formal, but he does showcase a deep knowledge and understanding of the game and its various mechanics.

In addition to the top-level analysis, you’ll often watch Wolfe hilariously outline why a particular situation is bad for him, or give you all of the reasons why Exeggutor is a good Pokémon. Wolfe’s videos are a ton of fun and give new players another great way to learn the game; this time, through the current best player in the world.

Here’s where you can find Wolfe!

YouTube: youtube.com/wolfeyvgc

Twitch: twitch.tv/wolfeyvgc

Twitter: twitter.com/WolfeyGlick

 

Courtesy of Nintendo Enthusiast

Alex Ogloza

Okay, I know what most of you who know Alex are thinking: “He doesn’t post VGC videos on his channel anymore.”

Unfortunately, Alex doesn’t post VGC videos to his YouTube channel, but he does amazing work for those who support him on Patreon. He provides VGC videos, teams, guides, and even one-on-one help to his Patrons who donate a certain amount every month. If you can’t afford it, or just don’t feel like shelling out the monthly amount, Alex does do a fair amount of VGC content streaming on his Twitch channel for all to see.

Regardless of what battle format you enjoy, Alex is probably one of the most entertaining of the bunch. Not only that, but he’s a National Champion, so he’s pretty good at the game too. Even though it’s not VGC, I highly recommend his Fight For First: Singles series on his YouTube channel just because of how entertaining I find him. If you like his stuff, consider supporting him on Patreon to get access to all of his great VGC material!

Here’s where you can find Alex!

YouTube: youtube.com/alexogloza

Twitch: twitch.tv/alexogloza

Twitter: youtube.com/alexogloza

Patreon: patreon.com/AlexOgloza

 

Courtesy of Alchetron

Ray Rizzo

Arguably THE greatest player of all time: three-time World Champion Ray Rizzo. Ray runs a bit of a smaller channel compared to those listed above, but still has 7,500+ subscribers. Despite announcing a possible come back to the game, he has been mainly doing work as a commentator for official Pokémon streams. Ray’s channel primarily features his own take on the “Road to Ranked” formula with his series Rayce to the Top. Ray has done tutorials and guides from time to time, so he does have a bit of variety too. Ray’s style is more formal, with him giving analysis and talking through his decisions as he plays battles. Ray looks like he’ll be uploading a ton now, so make sure to subscribe to him to support his content!

Here’s where you can find Ray!

YouTube: youtube.com/rayrizzovgc

Twitch: twitch.tv/rayrizzopkmn

Twitter: twitter.com/RayRizzoVGC

 

Courtesy of SaffronCityPost

Barry “Baz” Anderson

Barry Anderson might not be as well-known as the players I’ve listed, but I hardly consider that a reason to discredit his content. He’s a pretty accomplished European player, with him recently making it to the Top 8 stage of the 2016 World Championships. On his channel, Barry mainly uploads Battle Spot and Showdown content where he frequently teams up with friends to use some fun strategies. Other than battle videos, he sometimes uploads team reports and other discussion-type videos. It’s a fun channel with a ton of unique battle content that definitely deserves a subscription.

Here’s where you can find Barry!

YouTube: youtube.com/user/bazandersonvgc

Twitter:  twitter.com/bazandersonvgc

 

Courtesy of RedBull.com

Markus “13Yoshi37” Stadter

A two-time European National Champion, Regional Champion, and now a World’s Semi-Finalist, Markus Stadter’s content is deserving of viewership.

His posts on YouTube are mainly battles with his Mark Us Back On Top series. He has definitely branched out to include discussion videos, team reports, and some great collaboration content too. Markus’ on-camera personality has definitely improved as a result of working as a commentator, as he effectively combines great analysis with the occasional funny or witty remark.

I personally recommend his collab videos with Wolfe since they’re pretty much best friends and their chemistry is on point. Markus recently has been regularly streaming on his Twitch channel, so do yourself a favor and follow him!

Here’s where you can find Markus!

YouTube: www.youtube.com/13yoshi37

Twitch: twitch.tv/13yoshi37

Twitter: twitter.com/13Yoshi37

Courtesy of the Official Pokemon YouTube Channel

The Official Pokémon Channel(s)

Despite not having regular competitive Pokémon content, the various official Pokémon YouTube and Twitch channels upload and stream from select large tournaments each season. On YouTube, you can find footage from the Top Cut stages of big tournaments that were previously live streamed. It’s a good source for viewing VOD’s from bigger tournaments, while also catching streams of those events live.

Here’s the list of Pokémon’s Official Channels!

YouTube: youtube.com/pokemon

Twitch:

  • twitch.tv/pokemonvgc
  • twitch.tv/pokemonvgc_eu
  • twitch.tv/pokemon

Stream Website: pokemonchampionships.com

Twitter: twitter.com/Pokemon

 

 

Finally, Support Your Smaller Channels!

In addition to all of the great channels I’ve talked about in this piece, there are a ton of other, lesser-known content creators out there! If ever you come across a small YouTube channel with only a few hundred subscribers or a Twitch streamer with only a handful of views, show them your support! The growth of the Pokémon VGC community starts with more exposure, and the more popular content creators we have the better! Go give these people your view, subscription, and a follow! Thanks for reading!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric!

 

Pokémon Pokésport competitive logo

Pokésports VI: Satoshi’s Dream and the Future of Pokémon

Generations Come and Go

Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri appearing on a Pokémon Direct presentation

Image courtesy of Game Freak

Twenty years ago, Pokémon existed as 151 8-bit sprites players attempting to catch on the original Nintendo Game Boy. Envisioned by its creator, Satoshi Tajiri, to be a catalyst for interaction in a culture that was spending more and more time indoors. Satoshi had a passion for collecting bugs and turned this passion into Pokémon. The idea went full speed ahead when the Game Boy Link Cable was introduced, allowing data to be transferred between Game Boys. This inspired Satoshi to press forward with turning his idea for a social video game into a reality.

Two Game Boys trading Pokémon using a Game Boy Link Cable

Image courtesy of GameSkinny

Twenty years later, Satoshi’s vision has paid off. Pokémon has grown from two Game Boy games into a multifaceted franchise. Containing a TCG, long running anime, multiple Manga series, multiple video game spin-offs (including a new Tekken-based fighting game), and much much much more. The common theme always being Trainers coming together to trade and battle.

What does the next twenty years hold for TPCI, Game Freak, and the Pokémon franchise? This is the exciting proposition that inspired me to start working on this series to begin with. The same vision that saw a social phenomenon in the Game Boy Link Cable is exactly what is needed to move Pokémon into esports.

Pokémon Jirachi using Future Sight on Pokémon Warlord

Image courtesy of Game Freak

Future Sight 

From Game Boy to 3DS, Pokémon has come a long way. Just like the Game Boy Link Cable allowed the original Pokémon trainers to trade and battle, smartphones today have allowed new and old Trainers alike to catch Pokémon in the real world. Trainers around the world can bond over the joy of Pokémon in ways Satoshi never even imagined back in the 90’s. However, moving forward, what could be the next platform to really push Pokémon to its limit?

Fans cheer at a concert of Splatoon sisters Calie and Marie performing as holograms

Image courtesy of neoGAF

Simply put, Holograms. Augmented and Virtual Technology are both being fast tracked by Silicon Valley. These new types of technologies are breaking down the walls between the physical and the digital. Allowing users to create and enjoy experiences beyond their wildest imaginations. Pairing Hologram technology with the Pokémon franchise would potentially yield an eSport juggernaut.

Consider sitting in an arena, lights dim, and the announcers voice breaks over the intercom and announces two trainers as they walk onto the field. Lining up across from one another, they take time to consider their options, and then like lighting, four monsters appear in the middle of the field ready to do battle.

Hologram of Charizard and Latios

Image courtesy of Nerdist

This type of imagery is precisely what is needed to give the extra oomph to a competitive Pokémon battle. The type of drama and energy that could be created by this type of spectacle would be hard to rival. I have no doubt that if TPCI and Game Freak were to pioneer the systems to make something like this happen, they would easily create an esport phenomenon. While unlikely TPCI will pursue this, chances are some ambitious competitor will see this new tech being developed. Then just like Satoshi with the Link Cable, they will be inspired to change the world.

 

Esports Glass Ceiling

Pokémon GO fans gather in chicago

Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

Simply put, Pokémon as a brand stands for more than just collecting Pokémon. Where Pokémon truly shines is using innovative technology to break down barriers and bring people together. TPCI, Game Freak, and Nintendo should truly take heed of this point.

Throughout this series, my focus has been to identify both the reason Pokémon would work as an esport, as well as the struggles it would face. My hope was to show that ultimately the reward for TPCI was much greater than the risk.

The Pokémon brand has stood the test of time. Sustaining and growing over two decades is an incredible feat. Stagnation, however, leads to a collapse of market share. This is why taking the majority of market share in the new and fast growing esports market should be imperative to TPCI and Game Freak. So many new potential fans, with more interest growing every day could be at TPCI’s fingertips.

With a brand focused on bringing people together via trading and battling, as well as an already established tournament circuit in the VGC, puts Pokémon well on the path. Though the viewing experience and prize pool need a lot of work, there is still so much potential. Putting the focus on the Trainers, and pushing match commentary to be exciting and engaging would be easy first steps that could yield a lot of results. Working on refining competitive match tempo and fostering diverse metas would then create a seriously competitive esport product.

Trainers battle with Pokémon in real life

Image courtesy of Game Freak

Satoshi Was Right

In the end, Satoshi had it right from the start. Use new and evolving technology to bring people together. This theme underpins the core of appeal for Pokémon. It is why such things as the Pokémon GO phenomenon can happen. Pokémon has become a cultural brand due to more than just cute monsters.

Being a sports fan, and now esports, has always been to me about bringing people together. This is the underlying theme that I see between Pokémon and the traditional sports our societies love. I know that if TPCI and Game Freak took this idea seriously, Pokémon could be a success as an esport. It could even revolutionize sports as we know them.

Thank you for reading this series. Pokémon means a lot to me and I want to share that passion with the world. A future with competitive Pokémon is a future I want to live in. If not than I just wonder… What will be the Game Boy Link Cable of the 21st century?

Pokémon Train On logo

Image courtesy of Game Freak

Follow me on Twitter: @aeroashwind

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Drew!

The Battle Spot Top 30! – A Guide to the Most Popular Pokémon in VGC 2017

Want to know what the top Pokémon are right now? Want to know how to use them effectively? Well then this is the article for you!

In the most recent Global Link update (1/23/2017), the Top 30 Pokémon (usage-wise) were revealed for each format on the Battle Spot Ladder. Other information, such as most popular teammates, items, natures and more are shown when viewing each Pokémon, showing how most players like to use that Pokémon.

But we’re going to take it a step further.

Not only will we show you all of that, but we’ll also provide sample move sets and spreads for each Pokémon! This article will be updated to reflect current meta game trends and new Pokémon that break the Top 30 each week!

Note: This won’t be updated to resemble a traditional “Top X” List, so here’s how this will work:

-If a new Pokémon enters the Top 30, it will simply be added to this list along with all of the data associated with it.

-If there is a shift in placement for some Pokémon, that won’t be reflected here.

The Top 30 (1/24/2017)

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Tapu Koko

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Tapu Koko @ Life Orb/Focus Sash/Fairium Z/Electrium Z
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Thunderbolt/Nature Power
– Dazzling Gleam
– Discharge/Hidden Power (Ice/Fire)/Taunt
– Protect

The most common set for Tapu Koko which mainly focuses on speed and attack power. There are many variations on this move set to fit certain teams or roles for Tapu Koko on a team. EV’s can also be changed depending on personal preference.

Tapu Koko @ Assault Vest
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Def / 28 SpA / 132 SpD / 100 Spe
Timid Nature
– Volt Switch
– Dazzling Gleam
– Discharge
– Nature’s Madness

Assault Vest mainly takes advantage of Tapu Koko’s very diverse attacking move pool, while also giving it some added bulk.

Tapu Koko @ Choice Specs
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Def / 84 SpA / 76 SpD / 100 Spe
Timid Nature
– Volt Switch
– Dazzling Gleam
– Discharge
– Thunderbolt

This is the Choice Specs variant of Tapu Koko that Ray Rizzo featured in his video showcasing his set. You can check out his video here if you’re interested in seeing damage calcs or just want to hear his take on it.

 

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Tapu Lele

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Tapu Lele @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 84 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 164 Spe
Modest Nature
– Psychic
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Thunderbolt/Shadow Ball/Hidden Power [Fire]

Standard Choice Scarf Tapu Lele designed to out-speed Pheromosa and deal tons of damage.

Tapu Lele @ Psychium Z/Life Orb/Sitrus Berry/Psychic Seed
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 28 HP / 44 Def / 228 SpA / 4 SpDef / 204 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Psychic
– Moonblast
– Taunt/Dazzling Gleam/Substitute
– Protect

A slower, more bulky Tapu Lele which allows for some support options in addition to standard attacking moves.

 

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Tapu Fini

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Tapu Fini @ Leftovers
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Def / 196 SpA / 4 SpD / 12 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Moonblast
– Calm Mind
– Substitute/Protect

 

Tapu Fini @ Choice Specs
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 20 Def / 164 SpA / 44 SpD / 28 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Hydro Pump
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam/Ice Beam/Grass Knot/Shadow Ball

A Choice Specs set focused on just dealing damage. Tapu Fini has other cool attacking options, but most just stick to Water and Fairy-type attacks.

 

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Tapu Bulu

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Tapu Bulu @ Miracle Seed
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 244 HP / 116 Atk / 140 Def / 4 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Wood Hammer
– Horn Leech
– Substitute/Rock Slide/Superpower
– Protect

Tapu Bulu might not be so popular nowadays, but it still can deal a ton of damage with strong, Grassy-Terrain boosted attacks.

Tapu Bulu @ Lum Berry
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 36 Atk / 60 Def / 140 SpD / 20 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Horn Leech
– Leech Seed
– Substitute
– Protect

Here’s a set that was piloted by our current World Champion at the London International Championships. You can watch his team report here where he discusses the set more in depth.

 

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Kartana

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Kartana @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Smart Strike
– Leaf Blade
– Sacred Sword
– Protect

Simple Focus Sash Kartana. Sacred Sword can be traded out for moves like Night Slash or X-Scissor depending on what kind of coverage you need.

Kartana @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 84 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 52 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
– Night Slash

The EV’s for an Assault Vest vary largely among players, but this one is meant to get you started.

 

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Celesteela

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 60 SpD / 76 Spe
– Heavy Slam
– Leech Seed
– Flamethrower/Substitute
– Protect/Wide Guard

The EV’s and Nature make it so Beast Boost raises your Attack stat.

 

Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 180 HP / 180 Atk / 148 SpD
Careful Nature
– Heavy Slam
– Substitute/Flamethrower
– Leech Seed
– Wide Guard/Protect

The EV’s and Nature make it so Beast Boost raises your Special Defense.

 

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Nihilego

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Nihilego @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Power Gem
– Sludge Bomb
– Hidden Power [Ice] – Protect

 

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Pheromosa

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Pheromosa @ Focus Sash/Fightinium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature/Naughty Nature
– Lunge/U-Turn
– High Jump Kick/Low Kick/Brick Break
– Poison Jab/Ice Beam/Feint/Taunt
– Protect

Pheromosa can have a TON of moves on it, though the item choice and EV’s are pretty simple.

 

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Garchomp

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Garchomp @ Groundium Z
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Dragon Claw/Fire Fang
– Poison Jab/Rock Slide
– Protect

 

Garchomp @ Assault Vest
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 28 HP / 172 Atk / 4 Def / 52 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Dragon Claw
– Poison Jab
– Fire Fang/Rock Slide

Assault Vest allows Garchomp to survive crucial Special hits like Golduck’s Hydro Vortex in Rain and a Moonblast from Tapu Lele.

Garchomp @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 36 HP / 252 Atk / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Earthquake
– Dragon Claw
– Poison Jab
– Rock Slide

Probably the least common of all main Garchomp sets, but this set can be useful to snag surprise KO’s on some of Garchomp’s faster threats.

 

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Alolan Muk

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Muk-Alola @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Atk / 108 Def / 100 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Poison Jab
– Knock Off
– Curse/Shadow Sneak/Imprison
– Protect

Another set from our current World Champion. Mukl EV’s can be all over the place, Figy Berry (or whatever variant) will more than likely be your item of choice. The third move slot has changed a lot, and which one you go with is entirely dependent on what works for you.

 

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Alolan Ninetales

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Ninetales-Alola @ Light Clay/Focus Sash
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 4 HP /252 SpA/ 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Blizzard/Freeze Dry
– Icy Wind
– Aurora Veil
– Protect/Encore

Ninetales has a pretty standard set. You can mess around with the EV’s a bit if you want to add a bit of bulk.

 

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Alolan Marowak

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Marowak-Alola @ Thick Club
Ability: Lightning Rod
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Atk / 4 Def / 68 SpD / 12 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Shadow Bone
– Bonemerang/Substitute/Perish Song
– Protect

Marowak EV’s are pretty diverse, so here’s a starter set. You could ditch the speed for a Trick Room attacking variant.

 

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Alolan Raichu

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Raichu-Alola @ Psychium Z/Alolaraichium Z/Focus Sash
Ability: Surge Surfer
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Fake Out
– Psychic
– Thunderbolt
– Protect/Encore/Feint

Even though Raichu will double its Speed in Electric Terrain, it’s still worth running max Speed since Raichu is naturally fast.

 

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Porygon2

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Porygon2 @ Eviolite
Ability: Download
EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 164 SpD
Careful Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Return
– Ice Beam
– Recover

Porygon2 can be run a ton of different ways, but the set above is probably the most basic way to use it.

 

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Snorlax

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Snorlax @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
EVs: 68 HP / 196 Atk / 244 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Return
– High Horsepower
– Curse
– Protect/Recycle

Standard Curse Snorlax. You have the choice of Recycle (much like Markus Leipzig’s Snorlax) to keep using your Figy Berry.

 

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Arcanine

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Arcanine @ Iapapa Berry/Sitrus Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 84 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 164 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Extreme Speed
– Flare Blitz
– Snarl/Wild Charge/Will-O-Wisp
– Protect

The new standard Arcanine that leans more on the offensive side. Wild Charge can be added in place of a support move for more coverage.

 

Arcanine @ Firium Z/Sitrus Berry/Aguav Berry/Safety Goggles
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 148 HP / 164 SpA / 4 Def / 28 SpD / 164 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Will-O-Wisp
– Flare Blitz
– Snarl
– Protect

The more supportive Arcanine runs a Special-Attacking set with Snarl and Flamethrower. The EV’s can be changed pretty freely on this set depending on personal preference.

 

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Pelipper

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Pelipper @ Focus Sash
Ability: Drizzle
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest/Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Hurricane
– Tailwind
– Protect

The most standard Pelipper set. Primarily functions to set up Tailwind and the Rain for a likely Golduck partner.

 

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Metagross

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Metagross @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 252 HP / 204 Atk / 52 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Meteor Mash
– Zen Headbutt
– Bullet Punch
– Protect

This is the Metagross that Collin Heir used to get 2nd place at Dallas Regionals. Metagross has a ton of other viable items if Weakness Policy doesn’t suit your needs.

 

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Gigalith

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Gigalith @ Assault Vest
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 228 HP / 228 Atk / 52 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Stone Edge
– Heavy Slam
– Earthquake

Standard attacking set with added bulk from the Assault Vest.

Gigalith @ Rockium Z
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 196 HP / 124 Atk / 188 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Stone Edge
– Heavy Slam
– Wide Guard/Rock Slide/Earthquake
– Protect

If Assault Vest is already taken, this is an ideal set with a possible support option.

 

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Torkoal

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Torkoal @ Charcoal/Life Orb
Ability: Drought
EVs: 116 HP / 252 SpA / 140 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Eruption
– Heat Wave/Flamethrower/Solar Beam
– Overheat/Flamethrower/Solar Beam
– Protect

The EV’s are pretty flexible as long as you max your Special Attack and make sure you’re as slow as possible.

 

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Gastrodon

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Gastrodon-East @ Sitrus Berry/Aguav Berry
Ability: Storm Drain
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 156 Def / 12 SpA / 100 SpD / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Ice Beam
– Recover/Protect
– Toxic

Purpose just to suck up Water attacks and Toxic stall. Just watch out for Kartana.

 

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Araquanid

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Araquanid @ Sitrus Berry/Waterium Z/Life Orb
Ability: Water Bubble
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Liquidation
– Leech Life/Lunge
– Wide Guard/Poison Jab
– Protect

Simple spread mainly to maximize bulk and Attack. Can switch up some of the moves to make Araquanid more offensive.

 

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Mimikyu

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Mimikyu @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Disguise
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Play Rough
– Shadow Claw
– Taunt
– Trick Room

If you want a good Mimikyu spread, look no further than Gavin Michael’s one he used to win San Jose Regionals. Max Speed on a Trick Room setter might not make sense at first, but Gavin wanted to be able to out-speed and KO Tapu Lele with Never Ending Nightmare. Mimikyu basically gets Trick Room up for free as long as it doesn’t get double targeted.

 

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Gyarados

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Gyarados @ Waterium Z
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 52 HP / 196 Atk / 76 Def / 4 SpD / 180 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Waterfall
– Dragon Dance
– Ice Fang/Earthquake
– Protect

Standard Dragon Dance set meant to spread Intimidate and get off boosted attacks.

 

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Porygon-Z

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Porygon-Z @ Normalium Z
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 20 HP / 28 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 204 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Shadow Ball/Thunderbolt/Ice Beam
– Tri Attack/Shadow Ball/Thunderbolt/Ice Beam
– Conversion
– Protect

You can run a ton of different attacks on Porygon-Z, any of these types (Ghost, Electric, Ice, etc.) are viable.

Porygon-Z @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Adaptability
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Tri Attack
– Dark Pulse
– Hyper Beam
– Ice Beam

This is the Porygon-Z that Sejun Park used on his Tapu Fini team that had a bit of time in the meta spotlight. If you want to know more on how Sejun used this Porygon-Z, you can read a translated team report here.

 

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Vanilluxe

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Coldstone (Vanilluxe) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 52 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 196 Spe
Timid Nature
– Blizzard
– Freeze-Dry
– Icy Wind
– Sheer Cold

I would consider Vanilluxe a more offensive Nintetales. Scarf is to account for Vanilluxe’s lack of speed so it may be free to spam Blizzard.

 

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Talonflame

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Talonflame @ Life Orb/Flynium Z/Choice Band
Ability: Gale Wings
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Brave Bird
– Flare Blitz
– Tailwind/U-Turn
– Taunt/Will-O-Wisp/Protect

Talonflame functions pretty much the same way it did in past formats. Now just without full-power Gale Wings.

 

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Oranguru

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Oranguru @ Sitrus Berry/Mental Herb
Ability:Telepathy
EVs: 252 HP / 140 Def / 20 SpA / 92 SpD
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Psychic/Foul Play
– Instruct
– Trick Room
– Protect

 

 

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Hariyama

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Hariyama @ Flame Orb
Ability: Guts
EVs: 92 HP / 252 Atk / 164 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Fake Out
– Close Combat
– Feint
– Knock Off

 

 

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Salamence

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Salamence @ Dragonium Z
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Draco Meteor
– Flamethrower
– Substitute
– Protect

Dragonium Z basically gives Salamence two Draco Meteors before it take a hit to its Special Attack. If the damage output disappoints you, Life Orb or Choice Specs are also great items for Salamence.

Art of Pokemon courtesy of Pokémon Global Link and Ken Sugimori

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Pokémon Hits DreamHack! – VGC 2017 Leipzig, Germany Regional Championships Recap

Our first European tournament coverage comes to us from DreamHack Germany, which happened last weekend, along with the Georgia Regional Championships in the US. Despite being held at such a huge event, the tournament itself was not given any stream coverage (more on this later). It was a bit of a smaller tournament compared to Georgia, but there were still some cool teams and Pokémon to break into the Top Cut. Check them out below!

Results & Teams (Top 8 Cut)

1.Markus Stadter

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/143.pnghttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/630.png

2.Davide Carrer

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/630.png

3.Baris Ackos

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/89-1.png

4.Alexander Fijalkowski

East Sea

5.Joshua Schmidt

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/89-1.png

6.Nico Davide Cognetta

7.Andrea Di Francesco

East Sea

8.Andrea Sala

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/778.png

 

No Stream?

You’d think at an event like DreamHack, who advertised the Regional a ton on their website and their promo video, would stream the tournament knowing that it would draw a lot of viewership. That wasn’t the case, however. To be fair, Leipzig was a relatively small tournament for Masters (only 129 competitors), so that most likely would explain the lack of a stream from the local scene. I hope that Pokémon VGC events in the future will be held at events like DreamHack due to the amount of exposure Pokémon could gain as an esport from that large of an event. Hopefully if there is another event like this, DreamHack (or whoever is hosting) will recognize that there are people that would love to see Pokémon streamed with the quality they can provide.

Also, a quick note:

Since there wasn’t any significant coverage (like a stream) analyzing specific Pokémon and strategies that were used, spectators may be left in the dark. Plus, many of the “niche” Pokémon that appeared in Leipzig I’ve already covered in other pieces. In addition to some new thoughts, I’ll provide links to the pieces where certain Pokémon were covered.

The Niche Picks

Mandibuzz Image result for mandibuzz

We haven’t seen a Mandibuzz since Dallas, and this time there were two! Both in the finals! Mandibuzz could be something that jumps up in popularity since it has cut a Regional twice. It now also has a Regional win under its belt, thanks to the current third best player in the world. Markus mentioned in one of his streams that he usually brings Mandibuzz when he faces a team that is fast and without speed control. Tailwind, and speed control outside of Trick Room, haven’t seen much use in this format, and I’m not sure why. It’s most likely that most teams don’t have room for a Flying-type Pokémon, but Mandibuzz has a lot more utility than just setting up Tailwind. You can read my other thoughts on Mandibuzz here.

Snorlax  Image result for snorlax

Speaking of Pokémon who are going to jump in popularity thanks to a Regional win; here’s Snorlax again. Another Eastern trend is making its way to the Western meta game, and now I think we all know how good Snorlax can be. Here are my thoughts on Snorlax as a Pokémon.

Lapras Image result for lapras

All I’m going to say is that Lapras cut two Regionals in one weekend. I have an entire piece dedicated to why this Pokémon is good.

Final Words

In conclusion, this event should’ve been streamed. Congratulations to Markus Stadter for his win, solidifying his spot among the top players in Europe (according to Championship Points, but also you know…current 3rd in the world). The meta game looks pretty concrete for now, but we’re only three months into the season, so anything could happen. The next Regional Championships are coming up in February in Anaheim, California, where the World Championships will be held later this year.

Art of Pokemon courtesy of Pokémon and Ken Sugimori

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