pokemon vgc 2018 vancouver regionals

VGC 2018 Vancouver Regional Championships recap

River Davis is your 2018 Vancouver Regional Champion, making it all the way with quite the interesting team. Tapu Bulu has another regional win under its belt, but a newcomer to the upper echelon of the VGC 2017 format is none other than Slowking. Vancouver had a fair amount of inventive strategies make it to the Top Cut, which you’ll hear all about shortly.

Results and Teams (Top 8)

1. River Davis

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/199.pngAlola Form

2. Demitrios Kaguras

3. Aaron Zheng

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4. Greg Rowson

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5. Hayden McTavish

6. Riley Factura

7. Justin Wan

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8. Gary Qian

Some new faces for Trick Roomalolan exeggutor pokemon vgc 2018 vancouver regionals

Two of the most interesting Pokemon from Vancouver’s Top 8 are both viable options for Trick Room setters.

Let’s start with River Davis’ Slowking. Slowking is a Pokemon we didn’t at all in Davis’ Top Cut matches, but we did see what it could do during Davis’ streamed match against Raphael Bagara. Slowking works pretty well with Snorlax, being able to set up Trick Room and recover Snorlax’s lost HP with Heal Pulse. Slowking itself has a surprisingly diverse movepool, being able to run both a Fire-type and Water-type attack along with support options. Its typing isn’t the greatest on the defensive side, as bulky Water-types haven’t been as popular with the rise of Tapu Koko and Kartana. Luckily, Davis packed Flamethrower on his Slowking’s moveset and an Alolan Marowak on his team to help this niche Pokemon with its bad matchups.

Gary Qian is a player known for his weird strategies, and this tournament was no different. Alolan Exeggutor was Qian’s newest unconventional Pokemon that, unfortunately, did not do a whole lot on stream. What we know about this particular Exeggutor is that is was a physical variant using Wood Hammer as its main means of damage output, but said damage output was not the greatest. Alolan Exeggutor’s defensive typing is kind of bad, and its defensive stats don’t do much to help it either. As a result, we often saw quick KO’s on Qian’s Exeggutor thanks to Draco Meteor and Dazzling Gleam from Salamence and Tapu Koko respectively. One thing that Exeggutor does have going for it is its Harvest ability which can let it eat possibly two Sitrus Berries in one turn. Too bad that extra health does little to stop the onslaught of super-effective damage Exeggutor is forced to take.

One-miss-KO moves everywheregastrodon pokemon vgc 2018 vancouver regionals

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many one-hit-KO moves make it to the Top Cut before. Gary Qian had a Gastrodon with the move Fissure, though in his defense, the Tectonic Rage that Gastrodon gets because of Fissure is Gastrodon’s only means of a strong Ground-type move in this format.

Justin Wan’s team, on the other hand, had two one-hit-KO moves that had little logic backing them. Wan’s Alolan Ninetales carried Sheer Cold on its move set while his Smeargle had the move Guillotine. Both can KO any Pokemon in one hit but both are only accurate 30% of the time.

Fun fact, we saw none of these moves hit in every stream game that involved either one of these players. I wish I knew how many times off-camera either Qian or Wan managed to hit one of these moves. I guess we’ll never know.

Wait, is that Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng?

pokemon vgc 2018 vancouver regionals

Zheng posing with his favorite Pikachu and his semi-finalist trophy. (Image credit to @CybertronVGC on Twitter)

Turns out Aaron Zheng hasn’t left his competing days completely behind him, as he scored an impressive third-place finish in Vancouver. Zheng was actually using a team very similar to one his younger brother used to place in the Top 16 at the Hartford Regional Championships just a couple weeks ago. At this rate, we might end up seeing both Zheng brothers in the Masters division of the World Championships this year, as both are having solid starts to their seasons.

Ray Rizzo – #StopatNothing – Part 2

pokemon vgc 2018 vancouver regionals

(Image credit to @P_dOnZ on Twitter)

Ray Rizzo was in attendance at Vancouver, scoring another X-2 finish in the Top 16. Rizzo has yet to make the Top Cut at a regional this season, but something tells me he’s not very far off. If you watch his YouTube or Twitch content, you can see that he’s putting in the work, and one of these days it’ll pay off.

Final Thoughts

Well, it looks like we don’t have any big tournaments on the horizon for about a month, but next month will be a huge one. Not only will we have the San Jose Regional Championships, but we also the London International Championships AND the release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. We have a big month ahead of us and we’re quickly approaching the change to the VGC 2018 format coming this January. But for now, VGC 2017 is still our format, and we’ve still got a lot of exciting battles left.

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! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Featured Image credit to @blckkkkkk on Twitter

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi, Michael Bailey and Trainer Tower

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

pokemon vgc 2018 daytona regionals

Eevee finally wins a regional: VGC 2018 Daytona Regional Championships recap

Jeremy Rodrigues has done what no other Eevee player has been able to do; he won a regional with Eevee. With his third straight regional Top Cut appearance, Rodrigues not only claimed Eevee’s first major tournament win, but he also became the second North American player to clinch his invite to the 2018 World Championships. We’ve got a lot to say about Eevee, but let’s take a look at the results from Daytona.

Results & Teams (Top 8)

1. Jeremy Rodrigues

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2. Alberto Lara

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3. Don Czech

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4. Sandy Martinez

5. Carson Confer

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6. James Baek

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7. Ryan Rivard

8. Emily Golub

Eevee’s Top 8 Run

pokemon vgc 2018 daytona regionals

Starting out Top Cut at the 8th seed meant Rodrigues’ trip to the finals would not be an easy one. Eevee started its run versus former Senior world champion and 7-0 first seed: Carson Confer. This matchup was tricky considering Confer’s team had the immense offensive pressure of Tapu Koko and Kartana which Confer lead every single game. The set went to three games, with Confer taking Game 1 and Rodrigues taking Game 2. Game 3 was interesting as Rodrigues adjusted and brought Krookodile over Espeon. Krookodile revealed Substitute which led to intense mind games between Krookodile and Confer’s Kartana as each struggled to gain the Substitute advantage. Ultimately, Krookodile came out on top and was able to spam Earthquake to win the set.

Rodrigues’ Top 4 match ended in a pretty quick 2-0 as Eevee was just too much for Sandy Martinez.

In the finals, Rodrigues had the biggest and most difficult match ahead of him. Alberto Lara, having won a regional the week before in Hartford and having previously beaten Rodrigues in Swiss the day prior.

Alberto Lara’s Repeat halted by Eevee

Alberto Lara’s story line for this tournament was quite interesting as

pokemon vgc 2018 daytona regionals

Alberto Lara’s Mimikyu was a huge threat to Rodrigues’ team. Playing around this scary Pokemon was key for Rodrigues’ victory.

well. His dominant run nearly earned him a second regional victory in a consecutive week, but unfortunately, Eevee stood in his way.

Game 1 went Rodrigues’ way as Eevee easily set up Espeon allowing for Smeargle in the back to Transform in to the boosted monster. Alberto was able to take down the real Espeon, but the transformed Smeargle just proved too much to handle.

Game 2 was Lara’s. Lara was able to use his two best techs to win this matchup: Sky Drop and a Swords Dancing Mimikyu. This game didn’t last very long. As soon as Eevee dropped to a hit from Lara’s boosted Mimikyu, Rodrigues quickly forfeited the game.

Game 3 was another clutch adjustment from Rodrigues as he, yet again, brought Krookodile over his trusty Espeon. Another newcomer was Whimsicott, who was able to Taunt Lara’s Mimikyu, stopping it from setting up those crucial Swords Dances. Not only that, but Whimsicott was able to make itself useful once again as it used Fling to flinch Lara’s Mimikyu allowing Eevee to free itself from Sky Drop and set up. Lara’s lack of Ground resists really hurt him here as Krookodile was able to freely set up a Substitute and freely click Power Trip and Earthquake to clean up the game.

Despite not being able to close out a second regional win, Alberto Lara’s snowball has been rolling for a while now. He’s  already qualified for Worlds, but he’s certainly not done yet.

Eevee is a Best-of-Three team?

Rodrigues’ post-match interview brought up a few interesting points about what playing an Eevee team is like. First off, Rodrigues went into every single one of his matches knowing that his opponents knew exactly what his team did. He had a few unconventional moves here and there, but for the most part, each of his opponents knew exactly what he was planning.

The thing is, Rodrigues didn’t seem to mind. He mentioned that Eevee has very few “auto-loss” matchups which usually involves uncommon moves like Perish Song and combinations of moves that remove stat boosts. Rodrigues claims that most players who have one or two techs for the Eevee matchup don’t actually have as easy of a win as they think. As we saw, Rodrigues’ play put his Eevee play at a whole new level, and I believe that his skill as a player is what won him this tournament.

Perhaps the most controversial claim he made, was that Eevee was not a best-of-one team. In best-of-one play, there are a lot of things you cannot afford to assume about the opponent’s team. One example that Rodrigues brought up is that he’s not able to play around an opposing Tapu Fini having Haze so he’s almost forced to go for the Extreme Evoboost regardless of his assumptions about his opponent’s potential Eevee techs. In best-of-three however, if he sees that his opponent has a move like Haze, he can easily play around it in Games 2 and 3.

Final Thoughts

So now what? Am I gonna face Eevee in every single tournament I go to now? To be honest, a lot of players voiced their frustrations on the growing popularity of Sun teams and now Eevee teams. Realistically, there are still a lot of Eevee haters out there and definitely a lot of inexperienced Eevee players, so I wouldn’t be too worried.

Still, Rodrigues’ win is monumental for the Eevee team archetype, and after nearly 11 months of the VGC 2017 format, Eevee finally has a major win.

Bottom Line: Jeremy Rodrigues proved all of the Eevee haters wrong. It is a team that can win.

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! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Featured image credit to CriticalHitGG

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi, Michael Bailey and Trainer Tower

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

Taking a look at Pokemon VGC’s newly announced 2018 rule set

We’re just over a month away from the release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, and now we have information about the VGC 2018 season. This is surprisingly early considering how long we have until the new games are released, but that means we can start preparing for this new format right now. All live tournaments will transition to the the new rules and new games starting January 1, 2018. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest additions to this year’s format.

National Pokedexpokemon vgc 2018 rules

All Pokémon in the National Pokédex are allowed, with the following restrictions:

  • Pokémon must have the Alola symbol showing they were caught in the Alola region
  • Mythical Pokémon, some Legendary Pokémon, and Ash-Greninja are not allowed

Sadly we’re not getting mythical or restricted legendary Pokemon, but we now have (almost) the entire Pokedex at our disposal. Pokemon teased this in one of their trailers for Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon by announcing a bunch of new Pokemon that can be caught in Alola. Even if a Pokemon is not native to Alola, you are able to breed it in the current generation in order for it to have the required symbol. Since all Pokemon usable in the 2018 format will have to be native to Alola, this means older Pokemon and moves acquired through previous generation events or move tutors will not be allowed.

This does however bring up the issue of which legendary Pokemon will be allowed this year. It could be just the Tapu and the Ultra Beasts which we already know are confirmed, but what about the rest? There’s no telling which legendary Pokemon could be available, meaning we could potentially be missing out on VGC staples like Landorus, Cresselia and Heatran.

Perhaps the new “Ultra Wormholes” will lead us to other legendary Pokemon much like the rings and sky events in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

All items are allowedpokemon vgc 2018 rulespokemon vgc 2018 rules

I don’t need to quote this one since the title speaks for itself.

The biggest thing to take away from this is that Mega Stones and Mega Evolution are returning to Pokemon VGC. We already have access to all of the Mega Stones through the Battle Tree and online codes in Sun and Moon so every single Mega Evolution will be available. Dominating Mega Evolutions of past formats such as Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Salamence and Mega Charizard will surely be back in full force, but due to the changes in speed mechanics we could see the rise of Mega Evolutions like Metagross and Swampert.

Could we potentially see some new Mega Evolutions introduced in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon? And how will the format react to the reintroduction of one of the most polarizing mechanics in competitive Pokemon history?

Player time is five minutes

The 2017 rule set introduced the mechanic of “Your Time” which functioned as an individual overall timer for each player’s move selection. What was once ten minutes, has been cut down to only five which has many players concerned.

I could see this implementation of a faster timer making games go by faster, but players are concerned that they’ll have to rush to make decisions in battle. As an audience, we would like to see faster games, but we don’t want everyone to be running the same hyper-offense archetypes in order to win the game the fastest without having to put thought into their plays. Odds are, if the new timer becomes a problem, there can always be a patch that can fix it. As a spectator and player who enjoys both fast and slow play, I hope that this new timer doesn’t have too much of a negative impact.

Looking to 2018

Like I said previously, you can start preparing for the 2018 season right now!

Well…kind of.

It’s true that the Battle Spot Doubles format exists on the online ladder and accommodates many of the new rules, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. We have no idea which legendary Pokemon will be left out this year, so maybe don’t get too comfortable with Landorus or Cresselia.
  2. Battle Spot Doubles allows Pokemon from past generations, so some move-sets may not be possible depending on Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon’s inclusion of move tutors.

All of the specific rule changes can be found on the official Pokemon rules documents, which you can find here. The 2018 rules will be available for download through Festival Plaza as soon as Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are released so you can start practicing immediately once you complete the game.

If Battle Spot Doubles has shown us anything, this upcoming format should be an interesting one. However, there’s still a lot we won’t know until we get to play through Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon in just over a month from now. Regardless, we should have some exciting matches to look forward to in this upcoming season and I can’t wait to play the new format.

See you in 2018!


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! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Featured image credit to Pokemon.com’s official announcement of the 2018 rules

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

vgc 2018 bilbao special event

A truly special tournament: VGC 2018 Bilbao Special Event recap

Piotr Kedziora takes the first Special Event of the 2018 season, upsetting many of Europe’s best in his Top 8 run. The Special Events are new additions to the VGC circuit as extra events that award regional-level Championship points. Kedziora came to represent his home nation of Ireland, which despite being a relatively small VGC power, is already well on their way to sending one of their own to the 2018 World Championships.

Results & Teams (Top 8 Cut)

1. Piotr Kedziora [IRE]

2. Eduardo Cunha [POR]

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3. Arash Ommati [ITA]

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4. Leonardo Bonanomi [ITA]

5. Alessio Vinciguerra [ITA]

6. Eric Rios [ESP]

7. Barry Anderson [GBR]

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8. Ruben Pereira [POR]

Top Cut Team Highlights

There were a plethora of interesting teams and Pokemon in Bilbao’s Top Cut, and I’d like to start with the champion’s team.

vgc 2018 bilbao special event

Piotr Kedziora’s team is nothing new to post-Worlds VGC players, as it has been picking up popularity to the point where it appeared twice in Bilbao’s Top Cut. Tapu Lele seems to be on the rise since Sam Pandelis used it to make it to the finals of the 2017 World Championships, and the supporting duo of Garchomp and Celesteela is another popular combo that pairs very well with Tapu Lele. Alolan Muk is a surprisingly good Pokemon in the metagame right now. Knock Off plus the immense Poison-type damage Muk threatens with Gunk Shot is a deadly combination with all of the teams that rely on their Tapu and their items. Muk is a Pokemon I could see picking up more usage before the end of the 2017 format.

vgc 2018 bilbao special eventRunner-up Eduardo Cunha’s take on the classic double Tapu, Arcanine, Kartana, Porygon2 and *insert Trick Room attacker here* team archetype was far from standard. Cunha’s Tapu Fini played a hybrid of an attacker and a support Pokemon, being able to utilize both of its types offensively but also having access to Haze and Light Screen. Cunha opted for Mudsdale as his Trick Room attacker/Ground-type, and it was clutch in nearly all of his Top Cut matches. This Mudsdale decided against the popular Assault Vest item in favor of a pinch berry and the option to protect itself. This was an intelligent choice from Cunha, as many players will immediately see Mudsdale as a threat, and having access to Protect likely discouraged double targets into it.

vgc 2018 bilbao special event

Finally, I’d like to examine Barry Anderson’s and Ruben Pereira’s take on the Tailwind+Tapu Lele archetype. Anderson opted for a Fightinium Z Kartana with Swords Dance which likely claimed many KO’s on unsuspecting Porygon2’s looking to set up Trick Room. Pereira’s use of Magnezone was a great call for this tournament, even managing to rattle 2013 World Champion Arash Ommati in their Top 8 set. Ommati, being one of Europe’s top players, was able to beat Magnezone despite its great matchup.

Speaking of Arash Ommati…

Early Consistency

vgc 2018 bilbao special event

Ommati celebrating his 7-0 start in Bilbao. Image credit to @Mean_vgc on Twitter (aka Arash Ommati’s Twitter)

Despite a lacking performance in Anaheim, Arash Ommati has made it to the Top Cut in every major European tournament in the 2018 season. Sitting comfortably at 525 Championship Points, Arash has almost double the amount needed for European Worlds invite and is currently number one in the world in the Championship Point standings.

If there’s anyone doing World Champion Ryota Otsubo’s team proud, it’s Ommati. While not the exact same team, the elements of Otsubo’s team are there in Ommati’s. The Whimsicott is able to set up Tailwind so Tapu Fini and Garchomp are able to start racking up KO’s, while Celesteela is a perfect defensive pivot for the team.

It’s unlikely that Ommati will deviate from this team for the remainder of the season, but once 2018 rolls around, he’ll be forced to change things up. You have to commend his unbelievable run so far in this very young season.

Meet the New Caster!

vgc 2018 bilbao special event

Labhaosia Cromie (pictured to the far right) waves to the camera with her fellow VGC casters. Image credit to @OneHitKayOh on Twitter

Labhaoisa Cromie recently joined the European commentary team with Bilbao as her inaugural event. Her existing chemistry with the rest of the returning cast definitely showed, and I think she did a great job in balancing analysis with play-by-play commentary. It’s always great seeing new commentators every now and again, and I’m sure she’ll be brought back on for London Internationals next month.

Final Thoughts

There have been a lot of post-Worlds events for the 2017 season and I’m sure we’re all getting a bit tired of VGC 2017, but Bilbao and Hartford proved that this metagame is still evolving. We continue to see the same old Tapu Koko, Arcanine, Celesteela and Garchomp, but its the new ways players are discovering to beat these consistent strategies that continue to make VGC 2017 fun to watch.

For those of you that are still bored of the format, don’t worry, we only have about a month until the release of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. London should be exciting though. Until then we’ve got a couple more North American events to cover so stay tuned for more of our coverage!

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! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Featured image credit to tournamentcenter.eu

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi, Michael Bailey and Trainer Tower

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

West coast player, east coast champion: VGC 2018 Hartford Regional Championships recap (Tuesday)

Alberto Lara, a player based mainly on the west coast, is your Hartford Regional Champion. Lara has been quite a consistent player for the VGC 2017 format, achieving numerous Top Cut placings at the regional level. With this win, Lara is the first player from the United States to earn his invite to the 2018 Pokemon World Championships just a little over a month into the new season. We have a lot to talk about from Hartford, but first here are your Top 8 results.

Results & Teams (Top 8)

1. Alberto Lara

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2. Brady Smith

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3. Jancarlo Samayoa

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4. Stephen Mea

5. Joshua Lorcy

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6. Sohaib Mufti

7. Jeremy Rodrigues 

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8. Kevin Swastek

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*Fun fact: Three players in this Top Cut also appeared in the Top Cut of the Ft. Wayne Regional Championships. However, only one of them used the same team for this tournament.

Alberto Lara’s Dominant Top 8 RunPokemon VGC 2018 Hartford Regional Championships

Alberto Lara’s tag “Sweeper” was fitting for his domination of his opponents in Top Cut. Lara’s team featured a mix of Pokemon that could put out a lot of offense and support each other well. By far the three most interesting and clutch members of Lara’s strategy were his Gengar, Assault Vest Tapu Koko and his Flynium Z Salamence with Dragon Dance.

Gengar is a Pokemon player’s opt to build to support, but this season, the Gengar’s we’ve seen have capitalized on Gengar’s excellent offensive typing. Lara also took advantage of the powerful Sludge Bombs and Shadow Balls Gengar could throw out which proved key in knocking out Pokemon like Ninetales, Marowak and opposing Tapu.

The Assault Vest is an item that recently hasn’t seen a lot of play on Tapu Koko, but Lara showed that this variant is still good. Utilizing moves like Nature’s Madness and Sky Drop allowed Lara to set up his Salamence and other Pokemon to take KO’s on his opponent’s weakened Pokemon.

Dragon Dance variants of Salamence have risen in popularity since Paul Ruiz’s semi-final run at the 2017 World Championships, and its a powerful option for sure. Rather than having a Pokemon like Persian to Fake Out his opponents, Lara relied on his team’s immense offensive pressure to give Salamence free turns to boost.

With all of these counter-meta techs and a highly aggressive play-style, Lara swept through his Top 8 opponents without dropping a single game. With a day one invite already claimed, Lara is putting himself in a great position to claim a day two invite to the 2018 World Championships.

Did I mention that he won this tournament on his birthday? What a great gift to himself.

Ray Rizzo – #StopAtNothing – Part 1

Pokemon VGC 2018 Hartford Regional Championships

(Image credit to @P_dOnZ on Twitter)

Three-time World Champion Ray Rizzo’s quest back to the Worlds stage began in Hartford with an impressive finish to start his comeback season. Rizzo ended with a 6-2 record which unfortunately meant he missed out on Top Cut, but a Top 16 finish is still an accomplishment nonetheless.

Rizzo’s team was nothing new as he was running a team very similar to the team Sam Pandelis used to take second at the 2017 World Championships. Regardless, Rizzo showed us viewers on his streamed match versus Brendan Zheng that he can still play at a high level, and I’m sure we’ll see him in the Top Cut of a tournament before long.

Established YouTubers give VGC Regionals a shot

Pokemon VGC 2018 Hartford Regional Championships

PokeaimMD among popular VGC YouTubers Ray Rizzo and James Baek. (Image Credit to @GramgusVGC on Twitter)

Believe it or not, there were a fair number of popular personalities in the Pokemon community that attended Hartford Regionals. Notable PokeTubers in attendance included PokeaimMD, Emvee, aDrive and MrTalent. The most notable result came from Joey (aka PokeaimMD) who finished with a 6-2 record earning him a spot in the Top 16.

Why is this important? Well, popular Pokemon content creators showing interest in VGC is great for the growth of the scene. Players like aDrive, PokeaimMD and MrTalent already have VGC content on their respective channels, but this could signify a growing interest in VGC in the PokeTuber community.

Final Thoughts

For a post-worlds regional, there was surprisingly a lot of buzz around Hartford. For one, there was a community-wide effort for registration to hit the number required for a Top 16 cut which was just missed by five players. Still, the effort put forward by players and the TO’s shows that we as a community can help tournaments reach these goals, and I hope that this level of initiative extends beyond the northeast US.

Another big shoutout to CriticalHit.gg and CLASHTournaments for providing streams to both TCG and VGC. Without help from the streaming community we wouldn’t be able to grow as much as we have.

That might be it from Hartford, but there was a Special Event over in Bilbao, Spain that received an official stream that we have yet to talk about. Come back this Friday for our recap from the Bilbao Special Event!

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! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi, Michael Bailey and Trainer Tower

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

Torkoal vgc 2017

Why players should be prepared to face Torkoal now more than ever

For most of the VGC 2017 season, the “Double Duck” archetype has reigned as the format’s most popular weather team. Outside of Sebastian Escalante’s Top 8 run at the World Championships, Rain hasn’t done much recently, but Sun has made quite the comeback. Torkoal and Sun teams barely dented Anaheim’s usage charts, but after winning a regional in Bremen and placing in the Top 4 at Ft. Wayne, the Sun might be rising yet again.

For anyone who’s played against Torkoal, Lilligant or any other Sun variant, it is a terrifying matchup. With the constant threat of an erupting volcano, a good matchup and near perfect play are required to take Torkoal down. Lately, many players haven’t prepared much for Sun teams due to their drastic drop in usage, but these recent results could signal Torkoal and Lilligant’s comeback to relevance.

So, does your current team have a way to stop this deadly duo? Well, let’s examine what the common Sun team looks like and how your team can beat it.

The Typical Sun Team

The basic structure of a Sun team for the 2017 season can be broken down into three parts:

  1. Torkoal & Lilligant
  2. Tapu (and something that goes well with that Tapu)
  3. Trick Room Mode

Torkoal and Lilligant torkoal Torkoal VGC 2017

Besides the aforementioned “Double Ducks”, Torkoal + Lilligant is by far one of the scariest leads in the 2017 metagame. Torkoal may be one of the slowest Pokemon in the game, but its low speed can easily be remedied by its partner. Lilligant is what you should be worried about. The speed boost it gets in the sun from its Chlorophyll ability allows it to start spreading Sleep Powders, fire off a powerful Bloom Doom or assist Torkoal in spamming Eruption with After You.

lilligant Torkoal VGC 2017

Playing against these two requires quite the decision on turn one. Torkoal is obviously the big damaging threat, but it could easily protect itself turn one knowing it will be targeted. Lilligant, on the other hand, is free to throw out Sleep Powder or a Z-move with little consequence since it’s the fastest thing on the field while the sun is out.

Figuring out a way to damage Torkoal while also eliminating Lilligant’s status as a threat (either by KOing it or protecting your Pokemon from Sleep Powder) is your way of shutting these two down. Luckily, there are a few ways to do that.

A few ways of dealing with this pair

tapu koko Torkoal VGC 2017

Electric or Misty Terrain

Both Tapu Fini and Tapu Koko’s Terrains protect your grounded team members from Sleep, so Lilligant becomes a lot weaker. However, these two can easily be KO’ed by a Bloom Doom from Lilligant so protecting your Terrain advantage is key.

arcanine Torkoal VGC 2017

Arcanine or Nihilego + Tapu Koko

Arcanine and Nihilego are great leads when paired with Tapu Koko. The Electric Terrain prevents either one from being put to sleep while Arcanine and Nihilego can easily pick up KO’s on either Torkoal or Lilligant. Nihilego is the better of the two in this situation since its massive Special Defense doesn’t care about Eruption and it can easily KO either Torkoal or Lilligant. Plus Nihilego can set up Trick Room to stop Lilligant, but this does benefit Torkoal.

goodra Torkoal VGC 2017

Goodra

My last mention for this category is a Dragon that has flown under the radar this season: Goodra. Goodra has a bunch of good things going for it in this matchup.

1) Its Sap Sipper ability prevents it from being affected by Sleep Powder.

2) Its Special Defense and resistance to Fire allows it to shake off Eruption.

3) Goodra’s move pool is insanely diverse.

A bit of a niche pick, but Goodra one of the few hard stops to Torkoal and Lilligant.

tapu lele Torkoal VGC 2017

Tapu Lele or Tapu Bulu

Basically, both Tapu that accommodate the spamming of Sleep Powder. Tapu Lele is the more popular choice due to the hyper-offense nature of most Sun teams, and the Psychic Terrain prevents the threat of priority damage on either Torkoal, Lilligant and Pheromosa in some cases. There’s really only one definite answer to these two, and we’ve already kind of gone over it.

How to deal with their Tapu

tapu fini Torkoal VGC 2017

Terrain Advantage (Ideally Misty or Electric Terrain)

The two Terrains that eliminate sleep and Tapu Lele’s damage output. Tapu Fini and/or Tapu Koko work great here.

Trick Room Modesnorlax Torkoal VGC 2017

Torkoal is already a great Trick Room sweeper due to its terrible speed, but Snorlax is often added to the typical Sun team’s Trick Room onslaught.

For setters, Mimikyu is ideal since it pairs nicely with Snorlax and can be hard to take down allowing it to set up Trick Room more easily. Oranguru is also a setter that synergizes well with both Torkoal and Snorlax as its signature move, Instruct, can be abused with either Torkoal’s Eruption or Belly Drum-boosted Snorlax’ attacks.

How to deal with Trick Room

This part can be tricky, but the best way is to just deny Trick Room. Having your own Trick Room mode doesn’t work as well here since your opponent likely has both Snorlax and Torkoal which are two of the best Trick Room sweepers in the game. Damage on Torkoal and preventing Snorlax from boosting is your best bet for dealing with the Trick Room aspect of the team.

Other Members of the Potential Supporting Cast

I may have boiled the Sun team formula down to three simple-sounding aspects, but there are some other things that can work with a Sun team.

pheromosa Torkoal VGC 2017

Ultra Beasts

Mainly Pheromosa and Nihilego are the go-to choices for a Sun team since they work so well with Tapu Lele. The Psychic Terrain and heavy offensive pressure pairs well with the Ultra Beasts that can easily start boosting and sweeping.

smeargle Torkoal VGC 2017

Smeargle

Of course, with Ultra Beasts, Smeargle isn’t too far behind. Smeargle can provide support to the entire team in either setting Trick Room, or the Ultra Beasts or in a recent case even Porygon-Z. If there weren’t already enough scary parts to this team.

mudsdale Torkoal VGC 2017

Mudsdale

Some players have opted for Mudsdale as their main Trick Room attacker since Mudsdale enjoys not having to worry about Water-type attacks in the Sun. Mudsdale also has a great matchup against Tapu Koko, Arcanine and Nihilego which I previously mentioned are all great answers to Torkoal and Lilligant.

So, are you feeling better about your Sun matchup?

I hope so, but regardless, when you see Torkoal in team preview its okay to freak out. Hopefully, if you’ve struggled against Sun teams in the past, this article helped you better understand the matchups and what Pokemon might be worth adding to a team to help said matchup.

With the amount of popularity Sun teams have picked up recently, we’re likely to see a bunch of Sun teams in action at the Hartford Regional Championships this weekend.

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! (@aricbartleti)

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Featured Image from the Pokemon anime

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pokemon vgc 2017 strategy

Strategies to expect for the remaining 2017 Pokemon VGC season

The 2017 World Championships have come and gone, and so far, two regionals have already taken place. There are still many remaining events that will use the 2017 rule-set, including the London International Championships happening in November. If you are planning on competing in one of these upcoming tournaments, you’re probably wondering what kind of metagame you should prepare for. This can be difficult considering the last two top cuts in Ft. Wayne and Bremen looked almost nothing like Anaheim’s. So, how should you prepare for the post-worlds VGC 2017 metagame? Hopefully we’ll have some answers for you.

An Overview

For starters, I’d like to break down the current metagame into two categories: successful world’s teams and counters.

The three most popular teams to come out of Anaheim’s top cut are Sam Pandelis’ Mandibuzz and Tapu Lele team, Tomoyuki Yoshimura’s take on MetaMence and Paul Ruiz’s Persian and friends composition. The reason I mention these specifically is that all of these teams have appeared on popular VGC YouTubers channels (including but not limited to CybertronProductions, Osirus Studios and Ray Rizzo).

These teams are picking up popularity because they’re 1) Relatively easy to play and 2) Are quite consistent in a number of match ups.

I wouldn’t count on not seeing any other teams from the Top Cut of the World Championships, but if you’re bound to run into any, it will likely be one of these three.

Of course, when teams do well, the next logical step is to figure out a way to counter them. We’ve already seen Mandibuzz and Persian pick up in usage (not just because of Ruiz and Pandelis) but because Foul Play is a solid answer to MetaMence. I’ll get into some other counters in a bit, but your mission as a team builder is to create something that counters the meta and something that counters the counters.

Sounds easy right?

Popular World’s Strategies

I’ve already mentioned the teams from World’s that I think will be the most popular, but adaptations aren’t totally out of the question. These are modes from successful World’s teams that are the most likely to be adapted.

MetaMencesalamence pokemon vgc 2017 strategy

We’ve already dedicated an entire piece to MetaMence, so make sure to check that out if you want a detailed breakdown. One thing I praised MetaMence for is its flexibility in team building, which is why I expect it to return with a different supporting cast.

Foul Play users like Mandibuzz and Persian or bulky Water-types like Tapu Fini and even Milotic are good answers to this combo. Foul Play makes Metagross think twice about wanting to boost while the bulky Water Pokemon can these two for either neutral or super-effective damage.

Mandibuzz, Tapu Lele and Friendsmandibuzz pokemon vgc 2017 strategy

Tailwind and Tapu Lele go together so well and it looks like Mandibuzz has taken over Drifblim’s spot as Lele’s speed-boosting partner. This team has become slightly harder to deal with now that Ninetales can buff up its teammates with Aurora Veil while Xurkitree and Garchomp set up in your face. The hyper-offense nature of the team forces a lot of defensive play so setting up and sweeping can be easy for this team to pull off.

Alolan Marowak was clutch for Ryota Otsubo in the finals as Marowak was able to break Pandelis’ Aurora Veil with Brick Break and halt Xurkitree’s Thunderbolts with Marowak’s Lightningrod ability. Tapu Fini works pretty well here too, being able to switch the Terrain and threaten Fairy-type attacks on Mandibuzz and Garchomp. Basically, denying the team set-up by taking away things like Tailwind, Aurora Veil and Psychic Terrain are the way to beat it. It’s tough considering one mistake could lead to Garchomp and/or Xurkitree 2-0’ing you.

Whimsicott’s Z-Nature Powerwhimsicott pokemon vgc 2017 strategy

How could I mention Worlds without talking about the team that won it all? We saw how much of a threat Whimsicott was, being able to fire off priority Z-moves and support Otsubo’s team with Charm and Tailwind. 2013 World Champion Arash Ommati has already earned a Top 4 and Top 8 placing with a team very similar to Otsubo’s with a bit more of a standard approach (Arcanine > Marowak, Garchomp > Krookodile).

While I don’t think Otsubo’s exact team will make big waves post-worlds, Whimsicott might solidify itself as a viable Tailwind supporter.

Persian and Boosting Sweepersalolan persian pokemon vgc 2017 strategy

Paul Ruiz showed us yet again how terrifying and annoying Alolan Persian can be to deal with, especially with two monsters who can boost their stats next to it. Persian has a lot of disruptive options at its disposal making it easy for Pokemon like Snorlax to set up and sweep without even needing a Speed advantage. Fake Out can buy you a free turn, Parting Shot weakens your opponent’s threats and Foul Play can eliminate your opponent’s heavy physical hitters.

As for Dragon Dance sweepers, Gyarados and Salamence are great next to Persian. In his team report, Ruiz liked Salamence because of its higher Speed and Attack stats compared to Gyarados. Salamence, arguably, has better matchups, but like Gyarados, it has a 4x weakness to a very common attacking type. Something they also have in common is their heavy hitting Supersonic Skystrike coming off of moves that would normally take two turns to hit (Fly and Bounce respectively). What I personally don’t like about the Flynium-Z route for these two is that their attacking options become severely limited after the Z-move is burned. However, if that Z-move hits into a non-resisted target, expect a KO to start the game.

For counters, Ruiz didn’t like his match up against Mandibuzz and Trick Room (Mimikyu+Snorlax mainly). Mandibuzz does threaten his mostly physical team with Foul Play and can easily take away the speed advantage with Tailwind. Trick Room is threatening simply because this team has a fast Snorlax, allowing most other Snorlax to beat it under Trick Room.

Go check out his team report here!

Counters to Consider

Now here’s the fun part: the counters that you’ll have to counter.

Mandibuzz/Persianalolan persian pokemon vgc 2017 strategy

Not to be redundant, but these two have picked up a ton of popularity after Worlds. Both can decimate a boosted Metagross and Snorlax with Foul Play while providing excellent support.

Lightningrodtogedemaru pokemon vgc 2017 strategy

Tapu Koko and Xurkitree are as popular as ever following the World Championships, and there’s nothing that these two hate going up against more than Lightningrod (and maybe a Garchomp holding a Choice Scarf). Alolan Marowak looks to be the favorite, but I wouldn’t count out Togedemaru. Togedemaru can be a pain to deal with being able to Fake Out, Encore and flinch your team to death with Zing Zap. Marowak mainly just does damage. Lot’s and lots of damage.

Weathertorkoal pokemon vgc 2017 strategy

News flash: Rain and Sun are still good. It’s mainly the sun I want to talk about though. Since Worlds, Torkoal has won two regionals with a second one appearing in Ft. Wayne’s Top 4. Rain, on the other hand, has had zero appearances. I think players were sleeping on Torkoal while Pelipper and Golduck were tearing up the metagame, but Torkoal can still bring the heat. Whether partnered with Lilligant or under Trick Room, those Eruptions are going to melt teams unprepared for the Sun match up. For any team being built after Worlds, make sure you pack something that can deal with Torkoal, Lilligant and the other usual suspects (Tapu Lele, Pheromosa, etc.).

MimiLaxmimikyu pokemon vgc 2017 strategy

Despite all of the Foul Play, Snorlax is here to stay. Mimikyu looks like its back after an impressive showing at the World Championships as Snorlax’s main Trick Room setter. Mimikyu can be an incredibly annoying Pokemon to deal with especially since it basically has a free hit it can take thanks to Disguise. Not to mention, Ghostium Z has become the go-to item for Mimikyu so have fun trying to predict whether or not your opponent goes for NeverEnding Nightmare or Z-Destiny Bond.

Snorlax on the other hand, well, it’ll just keep using Belly Drum.

Smearglesmeargle pokemon vgc 2017 strategy

For our last Pokemon, here’s a bit of an underdog that I expect to do well post-worlds (I promise I’ll stop the puns now). A couple Smeargle have popped up in Ft. Wayne and Bremen next to Ultra Beasts that Smeargle likes to partner up with. Smeargle is a very disruptive Pokemon that can easily draw attention away from the boosting monsters known as Nihilego, Xurkitree and Pheromosa. Oh did I mention that Porygon-Z took home a regional title in Bremen next to Smeargle?

Taunt is likely going to be a good choice for your team.

Final Thoughts

So far we’ve seen two regional Top Cuts that look completely different from the World Championships that were just a month ago. I’m not sure how far VGC 2017 has left to go in terms of creativity, but I think I summed up what we’re most likely going to see in the next couple months. Then again, Dragonite has been on the rise so at this point anything can happen.

Hartford, Connecticut is our next location for regionals coming up at the end of the month. A stream will be provided thanks to Clash Tournaments which brings a huge sigh of relief for us journalists. We’ll be recapping everything that goes down in Hartford, but until then we’ve got you covered with everything Pokemon VGC!

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! (@aricbartleti)

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Melee’s Competition Committee good for the community despite shaky start

It’s about time the Smash community formed a governing body to watch over all competitive decisions. For a long time, the onus has been on the individual tournament organizers to make the decisions without any real discussion on practicality. It’s been a mixed bag of results, seemingly changing from week to week.

I’m here to tell you that “The 25” is a step in the right direction.

Lack of diversity

Before I dive deeper, I want to address the Adam “Armada” Lindgren situation. Armada, the greatest Melee player in history, left his post on the committee to make way for a female representative. The fact that all 25 members were male was a reality check and Armada took it into his own hands to right this egregious wrong.

Smash Sisters at Shine 2017. Photo courtesy of twitter.com/smash_sisters

Yes, the amount of females in the community is a small percentage compared to males, but that’s what makes it even more important to reach out to females. Women have almost zero representation or voice in this community and that dissuades others from potentially entering tournaments. Giving females a voice is paramount to easing the tension females feel in this community. Also, giving power to females could be beneficial to the scene as a whole.

So, good on Armada for recognizing this great indifference and taking action. It might not seem like a big deal to some, but what’s the point of a rules committee if not everyone’s voice is heard. Even the smaller and less vocal groups. The committee is still considering options at this point, since Armada’s departure, but it’s forcing them to consider on a female member.

The committee itself has been under severe scrutiny with many community members missing the point of its creation. Above all else, it was formed to create fairness for all competitors as the scene adapts to new technology and formats.

Shine 2017 is a great example of this and it also helped spawn the CoC. MattDotZeb is as experienced as they come in Smash and even he came across a situation that has never been dealt with before. The decision to make UCF legal and mandatory was an innovative idea, but the perils of trying something out is not being prepared if something goes awry. The situation led to a controversial decision that left the community angry.

It’s not the first time either. Situations like Shine happen a few times a year in seemingly big spots. It’s hard enough for organizers to deal with running the event itself, but having to make stressful decisions with time constraints is something else entirely. That’s where the CoC comes in and can help out.

Despite what some think, the CoC is not a power grab setup for Melee dictatorship. It’s not mandatory. It’s just an outlet of experienced and professional people to give assurance and assistance to tournaments and events. It will help streamline everything and get more consistency from different events.

“The Melee Competition Committee (CC), which includes the Leadership Panel (“The 5”) and the At-Large Panel (“The 25”), was formed so that we’d have a process in place for prominent tournament organizers, players, and influencers to come to the table, and unify rulesets at a critical point in our history. In a time when players were clamoring for consistency, fairness, and clarity in regards to Melee gameplay rules across events, we brought some of the community’s biggest names together to make their opinions accountable: in exchange for having the power to make lasting change, they’d have to make all votes and amendments public.”

The structure

Shine 2017. Photo courtey of twitch.tv/vgbootcamp

The structure is setup to promote accountability down the line. No one can deny the members of this community being the right choice in helping manage decisions. It was a carefully selected group of some of the pioneers of the Melee community along with some lesser known names. The diversity is there from players, coaches, player managers, tournament organizers, streamers and even historians.

However, the lack of women is appalling, as stated earlier. My only problem is the five members heading the operation. Self-proclaimed power and importance of opinion seems unjust, and while they’re here to get the decision-making process started, it feels as if those five will be making most of the decisions.

It’s an incredibly important time for Melee and the CoC is here to make it last and strengthen our events. While I’ll disagree with some of the methods used when creating this committee, I also see the benefits of having a governing body. This is not the Melee backroom, where all discussion are kept private. The CoC promises to keep everything out in the open for the public to see. It’s a test run and we’ll see if it actively makes the Melee community more appealing to players.

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vgc 2017 metagross salamence analysis

Analyzing Meta-Mence: Is it really that good?

What were once some of the most niche Pokemon in the metagame have solidified themselves as a duo to be reckoned with in the late stages of the 2017 format. Salamence, a dragon that is mostly inferior to Garchomp, and an Intimidator that appears outclassed by Arcanine. Metagross, a solid Steel-type attacker that suffers immensely from its main methods of damage not being 100% accurate. These off-meta picks have seen sparse usage over the course of the season, but ever since the North American Internationals, these two have skyrocketed in popularity. Is this combo the next big thing for the VGC 2017 metagame? Let’s find out.

How this combo worksvgc 2017 metagross salamence analysis

Salamence has been known in the past for dealing fast damage as one of the game’s best Dragon-types. This season, realizing Salamence’s offensive potential has been stunted by the abundance of Fairy-type Pokemon, players came up with a more defensive variant holding the Assault Vest.

Metagross is still pretty much the same, being able to threaten major damage with attacks like Meteor Mash and Zen Headbutt. The Weakness Policy is an item that Metagross users have been satisfied with already, but what if there was a way to gain the boosts from Weakness Policy by activating it yourself?

Enter Salamence, and the move Bulldoze. Bulldoze is a pretty weak Ground-type attack that damages all Pokemon on the field while guaranteeing a Speed drop on those hit. Players usually train their Salamence defensively and in the Special Attack stat so Bulldoze won’t do a lot of damage to the partner Metagross. Metagross’ Clear Body negates the Speed drop of Bulldoze, but the super-effective hit activates the Weakness Policy, doubling Metagross’ Attack and Special Attack. This instantly turns Metagross into a massive threat, while Salamence can continue to provide Intimidate support for the team.

This seems like a solid strategy on paper, and believe me, it is a neat combo. However, this duo has its fair share of weaknesses which we’ll examine shortly.

Pros and Consvgc 2017 metagross salamence analysis

Pro: Team Flexibility 

  • Dragon and Steel is already a solid defensive core, and many players add a Tapu to complete the “Fantasy” core of Dragon/Steel/Fairy. Since most teams can easily complete this core, Meta-Mence has found itself on a number of different teams.

Con: Common Weaknesses

  • Salamence has been pushed aside for the majority of this format due to its weaknesses to the popular Fairy and Ice-type attacks. Metagross may not be able to have its stats lowered, but it does struggle against the ever-present Arcanine. Plus, neither of these two handle the format’s most popular Tapu (Koko & Fini) very well, and both can find it hard to take strong, special hits.

Pro: The Good Matchups 

  • While Salamence and Metagross do have their share of weaknesses, they both have the ability to deal with some pretty popular Pokemon. Salamence walls Kartana as well as Arcanine, while also being a great switch-in for Garchomp since Garchomps normally don’t run Dragon Claw. Metagross has a ton of resistances for just being a Steel-type and has a great move-pool to compliment its offensive presence. Together, these two work pretty well at handling each other’s weaknesses.

Con: The Mirror Match

  • When playing with these two, the likelihood of facing a mirror match at a large or local event is high. It can be difficult to gain an edge in the mirror match without accidentally activating the other player’s Weakness Policy. There is a lot of positioning needed to gain the upper hand, and knowing where you have advantages is crucial.

Pro: Consistency 

  • This duo can win, and if played correctly through Swiss, a title run is possible. Setting up Metagross can be quite simple if you’re given even the slightest advantage, and Bulldoze is a great way to disrupt the opponent as well. If you want results, Tomoyuki Yoshimura had a very unique take on a team fitting for these two and managed to get Top 4 at this year’s World Championships. That being said…

Con: People are prepared 

  • I should also mention, Yoshimura was the only one in Top 8 using Meta-Mence with only one other player in the Top 19 cut doing the same. Also, there was only a single Metagross in the Top 8 of the recent Ft. Wayne Regional Championship. By now this strategy has been in the game for a while and players will be prepared to face it. Like any other popular strategy, a new take on it might be necessary for success.

So how good is Meta-Mence?

Overall, I’d still say this strategy is pretty good. It fits on a number of different team compositions and is consistent enough to reach the highest levels of even the World Championships. If you’re thinking of building a team around these two, be warned, as you may run into a lot of mirrors since this combo has become so popular. It’ll just take the right team and the right plays for this strategy to potentially take one of the remaining regional championships for the 2017 format. We’ll just have to wait and see which player will take Meta-Mence to a title.


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! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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VGC 2018 Ft. Wayne Regional Pokemon

Slowing things down: VGC 2018 Ft. Wayne Regional Championships recap

The first regional championships stateside for the 2018 season have wrapped up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Alex Underhill earns his second regional victory under the 2017 ruleset with a team that would make Gavin Michaels proud. The reason I bring Michaels’ up is that not only is he also a two-time regional champion under the 2017 ruleset, but Underhill took a page right out of Michaels’ “hard Trick Room” handbook. There were a couple of familiar team members, but Underhill made sure to add some interesting new ones to the archetype. We’ll take a look at Underhill’s team as well as other story lines but first, as always, here are the results:

Results & Teams (Top 8)

1. Alex Underhill

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/750.png

2. Abe Brath

3. Jeremy Rodrigues

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/133.pngf:id:Yuuichi_u1:20170619221443p:plainhttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/547.pnghttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/553.pnghttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/196.png

4. Joohwan Kim

5. Case Bongirne

6. Jake Muller

Alola Form

7. Kevin Swastek

8. Alberto Lara

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/350.png

*Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi, Michael Bailey and Trainer Tower*

A New Take on Hard Trick Room

Alex Underhill’s winning team actually resembles his Worlds team that he led to a Day 2 finish just short of Top Cut. Dedicated Trick Room teams weren’t that common this season and only saw success thanks to Gavin Michaels. Underhill didn’t simply recycle (this joke would’ve worked a lot better if Underhill used Snorlax) old tricks. He shook up the original team with a couple of new additions.

 lucario VGC 2018 Ft. Wayne Regional Pokemon

Lucario

Lucario plays a couple of unique supportive roles on this team. It can either re-direct damage away from its partner with Follow Me, or eliminate a threat by trading its own life with Final Gambit. Lucario can make it even easier for Underhill’s Mimikyu to set up Trick Room for the team.

mudsdale VGC 2018 Ft. Wayne Regional Pokemon

Mudsdale

This isn’t Mudsdale’s first time on the big stage, but its certainly new to a team like this. Mudsdale was likely added to deal with the excessive amount of Tapu Koko and Xurkitree. Not to mention, it also does pretty well against other Pokemon players have used to re-direct electricity, like Togedemaru and Marowak.

drampa VGC 2018 Ft. Wayne Regional Pokemon

Drampa

Drampa was actually a member of Michaels’ two-time regional winning team but was later switched out for Snorlax. Drampa is still a threatening Pokemon, especially under Trick Room. A powerful spread-damaging Hyper Voice, Draco Meteor and great coverage makes Drampa a solid Trick Room attacker. Also its ability, Berserk, can raise its impressive Special Attack even further.

Eevee Finally Gets a Brick 

vgc 2018 ft. wayne regional pokemon

Jeremy Rodrigues at the Virginia Regional Championships. Photo Credit: Doug Morisoli

The regional trophies look like bricks if anyone didn’t know.

Anyway, Eevee players have had a difficult time reaching the top stages of large tournaments. Sejun Park seemed to finally break this curse by taking Eevee to a Top 4 finish at the Korean National Championships. Now that Sejun has left us for TCG, the only true Eevee player remaining looked to be Giovanni Costa. But it wasn’t him that finally broke Eevee’s Top 8 curse in America.

Jeremy Rodrigues finally earned Eevee a regional trophy in Ft. Wayne with a Top 4 finish. Rodriguez took a more standard approach to the Eevee archetype as opposed to Costa’s inclusion of Tapu Fini and Dragonite. While Costa claimed there were many anti-Eevee techs that killed his run, Ft. Wayne might’ve just been a bit unprepared for this niche strategy.

Is Dragonite The New Salamence?dragonite VGC 2018 Ft. Wayne Regional Pokemon

While Salamence and Metagross dominated usage at this year’s World Championships, we get two Dragonite in Ft. Wayne’s Top Cut. Dragonite is a slightly more tanky Salamence with the ability Multiscale able to decrease super-effective damage while Dragonite is at full HP. But, there are a lot of things Dragonite and Salamence can do similarly. They both have access to Dragon Dance and they both have access to Bulldoze.

Could Dragonite potentially replace Salamence on a number of teams? Abe Brath and Case Bongirne seem to think so.

Niche Picks

I’m not sure why, but this didn’t look like a Top Cut that was inspired by the World Championships. We’ve already talked about Dragonite and Drampa, but wait there’s more!

murkrow VGC 2018 Ft. Wayne Regional Pokemon

Murkrow

After seeing Sam Pandelis use Mandibuzz to become the World runner-up, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see more Mandibuzz. I guess Murkrow works too.

When looking at Abe Brath’s team, I can see the slight inspiration from Pandelis’ team. Murkrow can set up Tailwind and do many of the things Mandibuzz can do at the cost of some of Mandibuzz’ bulk. Still, Murkrow can speed up Pokemon like Metagross and Xurkitree’s sweeping power due to Murkrow’s Prankster ability giving it priority Tailwind.

There are a couple things that make Murkrow unique, and it can work alongside powerful threats in a similar fashion to Mandibuzz. I still think we’re bound to see some more Mandibuzz.

alolan raichu VGC 2018 Ft. Wayne Regional Pokemon

Alolan Raichu

Raichu’s Alolan Form is something we saw at Worlds as a partner to Tapu Koko, but in Ft. Wayne Jake Muller might’ve used Raichu instead as a counter. Tapu Fini teams usually don’t have the best match up against opposing Tapu Koko, but having Raichu punishes your opponent for using Tapu Koko in a similar way to Togedemaru.

Alolan Raichu can be quite a pain to deal with under Electric Terrain, and what better way to abuse its Surge Surfer ability than if your opponent sets up the Terrain for you.

Final thoughts, and a word on the lack of a stream

Ft. Wayne was a very fun tournament to keep up with, but unfortunately there wasn’t a way for those not in attendance to watch the battles unfold. Unfortunately, a stream was not allowed by the organizers of the tournament, and they went so far as to email people interested in setting up a stream that they already had a stream set up. It’s one thing to not allow a stream for seemingly no reason, but to outwardly lie is a lot worse. Streaming events that don’t get official coverage is one of the main ways to get the game and the scene to grow, so organizers allowing streams should be a priority for regional-level events. On the bright side, it seems like there’s been a large initiative to stream many of the regionals not only in America but also in Europe. Streaming is a good thing people, let’s make sure it becomes a standard.

The 2018 season is just underway, and we’ve got a lot more to cover. That’s all from Ft. Wayne, and stay tuned for more tournament coverage!

Thanks for reading!


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