vgc 2018 oceania international championships

Italy takes another International – VGC 2018 Oceania International Championships recap

The nation of Italy adds yet another International Championship title thanks to an impressive run from Alessio Yuri Boschetto. With this win under his belt, Boschetto is now the global leader in Championship Points at 1377. There was a lot of great action from Syndey including some great sets, Rock Slide flinches and off-meta Pokemon making it to Top 8 and beyond. But first, here are your results and teams from the land down under.

Results & teams (Top 8)

1. Alessio Yuri Boschetto [ITA]

Mega MetagrossMega TyranitarTapu LeleLandorus (Therian)ZapdosAmoonguss

2. Jans Arne Mækinen [NOR]

Mega MetagrossLandorus (Therian)TyranitarRotom (Wash Rotom)TogekissNidoking

3. Isaac Lam [NZ]

Mega GyaradosLandorus (Therian)Tapu KokoCresseliaIncineroarTsareena

4. Ashton Cox [USA]

Mega SalamenceTapu KokoTapu FiniAegislashAmoongussTyranitar

5. Alberto Lara [USA]

File:Mega Charizard Y.pngCresseliaLandorus (Therian)CelesteelaGothitelleSnorlax

6. Nico Davide Cognetta [ITA]

Mega GengarCresseliaHeatranTapu BuluHitmontopKommo-o

7. Javier Valdes [CHI]

Mega MetagrossNihilegoScraftyGastrodon (West Sea)VolcaronaWeavile

8. Luke Curtale [AUS]

Mega MetagrossMega TyranitarTapu FiniLandorus (Therian)AmoongussZapdos

Metagame highlights

Nidoking: We’ll start off with the Pokemon that made it the farthest. Nidoking is an off-meta choice I’ve had my eyes on ever since it was allowed back into the VGC metagame. While it suffers from a painfully awkward Speed-tier, it excels in how much damage it can deal. Sheer Force is an amazing ability which boosts the power of moves that have secondary effects, in exchange for those effects not ever activating. This allows Nidoking to deal tons of damage with attacks like Sludge Bomb, Earth Power and Ice Beam which Jens Arne Mækinen used on his Nidoking’s move set. These three moves provide excellent coverage against the metagame, making Nidoking a terrifying opponent for the Island Guardians, Heatran and even Landorus.

Tsareena: This is a Pokemon no one expected to come back. After winning the Japanese National Championships back in 2017, Tsareena once again faded into obscurity. Isaac Lam, despite his public dislike for Tsareena, took this Pokemon back to the top.

Despite being rather weak, Tsareena has some great tricks to take advantage of. Tsareena’s signature move, Trop Kick, guarantees an Attack drop on the target which makes it a pretty spam-able move against the plethora of physical attackers. Feint is a move that Isaac Lam made very good use of, being able to break opposing Protect. This allowed his Mega Gyarados and Tapu Koko to score big KO’s if Lam’s opponent decided to go on the defense. Oh, and Tsareena’s ability Queenly Majesty blocking priority moves is nice, although priority hasn’t been as popular since Tapu Lele came around.

Weavile/Nihilego: Javier Valdes often led this duo which is why I’m putting them together. Valdes’ Weavile was carrying Life Orb rather than a Focus Sash which made Weavile much more prone to being KO’ed, but gave it a big damage boost. Even Weavile’s Fake Out was doing a lot more damage, but the combination of Ice Punch and Knock Off is probably what Valdes valued in his selection of Weavile.

Nihilego stuck to its main role as a Special sweeper, but it was finally revealed in Valdes’ Top 8 set versus Ashton Cox that Nihilego was holding an Adrenaline Orb. When Cox led with his Salamence, the Intimidate gave Nihilego a boost in speed which explains why Valdes’ Nihilego was slower than a Tapu Lele we saw in an earlier stream match. Adrenaline Orb makes sense considering how Nihilego’s Speed has become more average with many more faster Pokemon being introduced into the metagame. Without having to worry about investing into its Speed stat while holding an Adrenaline Orb, more can be invested into Nihilego’s bulk which suffers heavily on the physical side.

A good tournament for Rock Slide

vgc 2018 oceania international championships

The clutch double flinch from Boschetto visibly upsets Cox.

No move generates more hype and simultaneous disgust than Rock Slide. That 30% chance to flinch the opponent’s Pokemon can be game-deciding, and no one knows that better than this tournament’s champion. Alessio Yuri Boschetto experienced both the good and bad side of Rock Slide with both instances deciding sets. Our first instance came in Swiss Round 4 where Boschetto was matched up against fellow countrymen and defending European International Champion, Simone Sanvito. Boschetto and Sanvito were running nearly identical teams making the set an intense back and forth between two of the world’s finest players.

Game 2 came down to a Landorus/Zapdos mirror match where luck with Rock Slide would decide the game. Sanvito had only Landorus left against Boschetto’s Choice Scarf Landorus and healthy Zapdos. Sanvito’s Landorus dodges a Rock Slide while Boschetto’s Zapdos uses Roost, allowing Snavito’s Landorus to score the KO on Boschetto’s. With Boschetto’s Tailwind gone, it came down to Sanvito’s Landorus at 20 HP versus a Zapdos at nearly half of its HP. With the speed advantage, Sanvito connects his first Rock Slide but doesn’t flinch. Instead, Boschetto’s Zapdos misses a Heat Wave which all but sealed the game up for Sanvito. This would be Boschetto’s first and only loss throughout the tournament.

As you know by now, things eventually went well for Boschetto, as the RNG gods smiled in his favor in his Top 4 set against Ashton Cox. In game three, Cox had the advantage with his Amoonguss and Aegislash (with a Mega Salamence in the back) against Boschetto’s Landorus and Zapdos. Boschetto needed a double flinch in order to prevent either Amoonguss putting his Zapdos to sleep or Aegislash KO’ing his Zapdos. Boschetto got the double flinch. There was still a speck of hope for Cox, but another Rock Slide flinch on his Aegislash allowed Boschetto to set up Tailwind, sealing up the game from there.

Later, Boschetto admitted on Twitter that Cox had outplayed him and that the flinches were necessary for his victory. Look, you can hate on the fact that Boschetto got that lucky in such a crucial moment, but hey, it’s Pokemon. My only question is: why wasn’t anyone using Wide Guard?

The two biggest things that we learned from Sydney were 1) Italy is yet again the force to be reckoned with and 2) Rock Slide is busted. We also learned a lot more about the potential diversity of the VGC 2018 metagame, and why you should be using Mega Metagross if you want to win tournaments. In all seriousness though, congratulations to Alessio Yuri Boschetto for his big win in what was such an exciting tournament to watch. Rock Slide flinches and all. Tournament season continues next weekend where we’ll have coverage from two major regionals in Collinsville, IL and Malmo, Sweden.

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 Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon Shuffle, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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pokemon vgc 2018 san jose regional championships

VGC 2018 San Jose Regional Championships recap

Jirawiwat Thitasiri is your 2018 San Jose Regional Champion. Despite the rather important implications of this tournament, the event flew under many people’s radars due to the lack of a stream as well as it occurring right after Thanksgiving. Despite the lack of direct coverage, there are still a few interesting story lines worth talking about from this past weekend.

Results & teams (Top 8)

1. Jirawiwat Thitasiri

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

2. Emilio Forbes

3. Rene Alvarenga

4. Matthew Greaves

f:id:Yuuichi_u1:20170619221113p:plainAlola Form

5. Karim Dabliz

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

6. Patrick Smith

7. Mitchell Davies

Alola Form

8. Sam Pandelis

As there was no stream, there isn’t much to say specifically about the interesting Pokemon or teams that made it to San Jose’s Top 8. One thing of note is that both Mudsdale as well as Muk have been picking up late season popularity. Other players seem to have resorted to teams resembling the FAKEPG archetype as a means of achieving consistent results this late into the season.

International impact

Fun fact: three out of the eight players in the Top 8 are players from outside the U.S. The overall champion, Jirawiwat Thitasiri, is a name you’ve probably seen before as he’s been in a couple Top Cuts throughout the 2017 season. He is a player from Thailand who is currently attending university in San Francisco. This is his first major tournament win, putting him at 250 Championship Points out of the 300 he needs to qualify for the World Championships.

Another international player who was present in the Top 4 was El Salvador’s own Rene Alvarenga. Coming off his 7th place finish at the 2017 World Championships, Alvarenga has been attending a few tournaments here in the states. His finish in San Jose puts him at number one in Championship Point standings for Latin America, which has earned him a travel award to the 2018 Oceania International Championships.

Lastly, our current World Championship runner-up, Sam Pandelis was in attendance in San Jose. Pandelis funnily enough wasn’t using his team that earned him that second place trophy back in Anaheim, but I’d say his team was pretty good according to popular opinion. Like Alvarenga, Pandelis is another player who has been attending events here in America who has finally earned a solid result post-worlds.

Travel awards decided

The current (approximate) Championship Point standings for North America. (Image credit to @Pd0nZ on Twitter)

November 30th is the cutoff date for deciding travel awards based off current Championship Point standings. San Jose gave North America two more Worlds invites, bringing the total to six. The current Top 4 will receive full travel awards to Melbourne while the rest of the players in the Top 8 will receive stipends.

One notable player that earned his stipend this weekend was Ray Rizzo. Rizzo unfortunately missed the Top 32 in the Regional tournament, but thanks to a Midseason Showdown victory, Rizzo’s Championship Point total of 370 was enough to place him in North America’s Top 8.

Just like old times

Another veteran player who came back to competing was official Pokemon commentator Duy Ha. Seeing Duy Ha and

Duy Ha spotted at the top tables in San Jose. (Image credit to @MudhiManVGC on Twitter

Ray Rizzo competing in the same event made this tournament feel like it was happening back in 2012 or ’13. Ha’s 5-3 finish in Swiss put him at 28th place, just above Rizzo, who finished at 34th with the same record. Prior to, as well as during the tournament, Ha’s use of the hashtag #TheComebackKid could mean Ha is potentially interested in returning to his competitive roots. I wonder if any other commentators are planning their own comeback.

While San Jose was a tournament without much coverage, it was still a tournament full of a lot of fun story lines. The travel awards for Melbourne may have been decided, but we still have one more North American regional championship to go before VGC 2018 takes over. I know, I know VGC 2017 is beyond old news but hey, at least Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are out and we’re finally able to really practice for the 2018 season. For now, we’ll be keeping you up to date with everything VGC 2017 and 2018.

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

pokemon vgc 2018 europe international championships

Italy takes home 2018’s first international title: VGC 2018 European International Championships recap

Simone Sanvito is your 2018 European International Champion. Sanvito was a player known for his shaky confidence in his play going into this tournament, but he was able to overcome his doubts by taking the European title. Not bad for someone who didn’t have a team prepared until he landed in London. Sanvito also managed to flip the narrative of last year’s tournament in London with the Italian vs. Spaniard finals going to Italy this time. Let’s kick off our coverage from London with your Top 8 results.

Results & teams (Top 8)

1. Simone Sanvito [ITA]

f:id:Yuuichi_u1:20170619221113p:plain

2. Alex Gomez [ESP]

3. Carson Confer [USA]

4. Davide Cauteruccio [ITA]

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/547.png

5. Lorenzo Semeraro [ITA]

6. Jamie Dixon [GBR]

7. Davide Carrer [ITA]

8. Flavio Del Pidio [ITA]

f:id:Yuuichi_u1:20170619221113p:plain

 

Simone silences the haters (himself)

Something that was pointed out repeatedly during Sanvito’s run in London was that he was a player known for having serious doubts in his skill as a player. Take some of these tweets from the tournament as examples:

Sanvito had it all wrong despite an early round loss. He ended up finishing his first day of Swiss with an 8-1 togedemaru pokemon vgc 2018 european international championshipsrecord, putting him in a great position for the next day. Sanvito went on to only drop one other game, capping a 12-2 record with a Top Cut appearance as the 2nd seed. We all know the story from there.

Sanvito’s team seemed like a lot of Pokemon that we’ve seen before, but there were some tricks to these already established team members. One of the main moves Sanvito utilized throughout his run was Encore, which he had on both his Alolan Ninetales as well as his Togedemaru. With two Encore users, Sanvito found many opportunities to lock down his opponent’s Pokemon into either set up moves, like Trick Room or Curse, or attacks that couldn’t do damage to Sanvito’s available switch-ins.

One of the prime examples of this control playstyle was in Sanvito’s Top 4 match against Carson Confer. In this set, Sanvito was able to mitigate Confer’s ability to set up Trick Room for his Gigalith, while also shutting down Gigalith’s ability to boost its stats with Curse. With his Pokemon stuck into less-desirable move options, Confer had to continuously react to Sanvito’s plays, while Sanvito could easily maneuver his team into a winning position.

Encore also came in clutch for Sanvito in his finals match against Alex Gomez, where, with the help of Tapu Fini’s Haze, Gomez’ Snorlax was unable to maintain its Belly Drum boosts. After locking down his opponents, Sanvito was easily able to clean up the game with either his Choice Specs Tapu Fini, Garchomp or his Celesteela.

Italy’s invasion

Like previously mentioned, Italy as a whole had a strong presence in London’s Top 8. Five of the original eight positions belonged to Italy, with the first seed coming out of Swiss and the tournament’s overall champion belonging to Italy. Does this mean Italy is the region to be reckoned with in Europe? Some players seem to think so:

 

Alex Gomez brings back Magnezonemagnezone pokemon vgc 2018 european international championships

We saw a lot of familiar teams and Pokemon in London, but Alex Gomez decided to fall back on a Pokemon that brought him success in the past. Well, more like an entire team that brought him success in the past.

Alex Gomez was one of two Tapu Bulu players in the Top 8, piloting a team very similar to the one that earned him a second place finish at the Sheffield Regional Championships earlier this year. This team featured many Pokemon that benefited from the Grassy Terrain as Pokemon like Nihilego and Magnezone appreciate taking less damage from Earthquake. For now, let’s focus on Magnezone.

Magnezone seemed like the perfect anti-meta pick for London. Celesteela was quite the popular choice for many teams, which Magnezone enjoyed. Magnezone has two solid abilities with the option of Sturdy to give Magnezone a pseudo-Focus Sash or Magnet Pull which can trap opposing Steel-types. I think you can see which one would be better against Celesteela. But, Magnezone’s combination of Steel and Electric-type attacks made it a perfect check to each of the other Tapu Pokemon, which already have a tough time dealing with Tapu Bulu. With two VGC 2017 regionals left to go, I think competitors should keep Magnezone in mind when teambuilding.

With 2018’s first International behind us and the release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, we now begin our proper transition into the real 2018 season. Those looking to compete once again on the international stage have their sights on the Oceania International Championships which were announced to be hitting Melbourne, Australia this February. Until January rolls around, we still have two more VGC 2017 tournaments taking place, but in the mean time, players can now start officially training for the 2018 season in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Perhaps now is the time to uncover what the new format has in store for us as 2017 comes to a close in the coming months.

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

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

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/373.pnghttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/547.png

4. Greg Rowson

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

5. Hayden McTavish

6. Riley Factura

7. Justin Wan

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/426.pngf:id:Yuuichi_u1:20170619221443p:plain

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

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/196.pnghttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/553.png

2. Alberto Lara

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

3. Don Czech

f:id:Yuuichi_u1:20170619221443p:plain

4. Sandy Martinez

5. Carson Confer

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

6. James Baek

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

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

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

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

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2. Abe Brath

3. Jeremy Rodrigues

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4. Joohwan Kim

5. Case Bongirne

6. Jake Muller

Alola Form

7. Kevin Swastek

8. Alberto Lara

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*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!


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

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

Drifblim Soars to Victory Again: VGC 2017 Birmingham Regional Championships Recap

Our second piece of Regional Championship coverage comes from Birmingham, UK where Rachel Annand took a clean victory for her first regional title. Annand’s win in Birmingham places her comfortably at 17th in Europe’s CP standings, but unfortunately she sits just outside of a Day 2 World Championships invite. Drifblim+Tapu Lele was Annand’s team of choice, and her results prove that this combination is far from outdated.

Results & Teams (Top 8)

1. Rachel Annand

2. Lukas Muller

3. Matthias Sucholdulski

4. Jamie Dixon

5. Jamie Boyt

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6. Matt Carter

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7. Alex Gomez

Alola Form

8. Jason McCullough

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A Balloon That Hasn’t DeflatedDrifblim

While the combination of Drifblim and Tapu Lele might appear outdated, Annand’s victory in Birmingham proves the opposite. The hyper-offensive nature of the team pairs quite well with the recent trend of multiple Ultra Beasts on top teams.

Annand’s Buzzwole and Nihilego arguably put in more work than Tapu Lele, picking up KO’s left and right with the help of Drifblim’s Tailwind. The recent popularity of Nihilego paired with Pheromosa, works well on this team with Buzzwole in Pheromosa’s place. Both can make use of Tailwind, allowing for more bulk rather than taking gambles with Pheromosa.

Players at this point are prepared to deal with Drifblim and Tapu Lele, but are they prepared to handle potentially new teammates. Annand’s decreased reliability on the classic lead shows that this team is able to adapt and doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.

A 6-1 Missed Top Cut?

birmingham regionals top cut

(from @HamstermaniaVGC on Twitter)

The Pokemon VGC tournament structure is by no means perfect, and I think we’re all aware of it by now. David Koutesh was victim to a lesser-known tournament error that cost him a place in Top 8 at a 6-1 record.

According to Koutesh on Twitter, the error had to do with players being added after Round 1, but the amount of rounds staying the same. Due to the increased amount of players and the misaligned round numbers, this is likely what caused the error.

Luckily, at 9th place, Koutesh was able to claim his invite to the World Championships, but missing Top Cut could’ve cost him potentially 120 more Championship Points.

Niche Picks

ScizorImage result for scizor

Scizor was a Pokemon that thrived for years in VGC, but so far in 2017 has been pretty quiet. Scizor’s usage usually drops a bit in seasons where it doesn’t have access to Bug Bite, but the issues for Scizor this season are beyond its own capabilities. Despite Scizor’s favorable matchup against Tapu Lele, Psychic Terrain has heavily nerfed Scizor’s main selling point: Technician-boosted Bullet Punch. Combined with the fact that Celesteela and Arcanine dominate the metagame, Scizor’s success in 2017 has reasonably been non-existent.

Matt Carter managed to find a way for Scizor to work, by ensuring he had ways to disrupt Psychic Terrain and stop Scizor’s biggest counters. This team composition is not entirely new however, as those who watched the stream for Toronto Regionals saw Nick Navarre feature a very similar team that unfortunately missed Top Cut after losing in the final Swiss round.

For those not familiar, the strategy centers around a Scizor holding Choice Band with a more supportive Tapu Fini that can Swagger Scizor in the Misty Terrain without the drawback of confusion. Salamence functions in a similar role on the team as a set-up sweeper with Dragon Dance.

It’s a clever strategy, but its skill curve is quite high. A lot of set-up is needed for the team to succeed, and making a few wrong plays can spoil the Scizor strategy rather quickly.

Can Scizor still be viable in this format? I still think so, but it’s heavily outclassed by Steel-types that can do its job much better.

SilvallyImage result for silvally

Speaking of a niche Pokemon that reappeared on a familiar team, Silvally finally showed up in a western tournament’s top placings.

Ever since Japan’s “Battle Road Gloria”, Silvally has remained in relative obscurity. For those unfamiliar with this strategy, Silvally is normally holding a Choice Scarf with the moves: Flamethrower, Rock Slide, Parting Shot, and Explosion. In this role, Silvally functions as an offensive support Pokemon that can assist Mimikyu with setting up Trick Room for Gigalith. Parting Shot gives Mimikyu a higher chance of surviving, and Explosion can pick up two quick KO’s while not harming its partner Mimikyu.

I feel like Silvally is still heavily underrated, and its potential hasn’t extended far past this team. Silvally can literally be any type and has access to a ton of moves both offensive as well as supportive. Its stats leave a little to be desired, but Silvally can fit into a variety of roles that haven’t been explored.

Final Thoughts

Birmingham was Europe’s final regional for the pre-Worlds 2017 season, but there’s still a rather large tournament happening in the states that could interest some European players still looking for a Day One or Day Two invite. This last International could have a major impact on European CP results as there’s sure to be a lot of players looking to make the trip. There’s a little over three weeks to go, so we’ll just have to see if any Europeans will take North America by surprise.

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!

Featured Image from Pokemon and The Pokemon Company International

Art of Pokémon from Pokémon and Ken Sugimori

Pokémon Sprite Images courtesy of Game Freak

Tapu Bulu is back on top: VGC 2017 Madison Regional Championships recap

After winning Madison Regionals this past weekend, Drew Nowak becomes only the second player this season to win multiple regional titles. Nowak also becomes the second player in North America to take Tapu Bulu to a regional victory. This win was quite valuable to Nowak as not only a confidence booster but also for the needed Championship Point boost heading into the North American International Championships.

With 200 CP now added to his season total, Nowak is at 790, which places him in the top eight of North America. A spot in the top eight before Internationals is huge for Nowak’s chances for a Day Two invite to the World Championships, and this placing helps solidify him as a top contender from North America come August.

Results & teams (top 8)

1. Andrew Nowak

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2. Zheyuan Huang

3. Terry Hong

4. Tyler Miller

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5. Jeremy Odena

6. Justin Carris

7. Samuel Haarsma

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8. Kazuki Kanehira

Is Tapu Bulu still bad?Image result for tapu bulu

At this point, the notion of Tapu Bulu being “bad” isn’t very accurate. Of course, the metagame trending towards double Tapu teams, the rise of Porygon2 and Gigalith as well as the decline of Alolan Muk’s popularity has helped Tapu Bulu rise in usage. It remains the most unpopular choice, but now with three regional titles under its belt, players competing in the season’s final tournaments should respect it.

Tapu Bulu has a great matchup versus the rest of the Tapu Pokemon, being able to take attacks as well as dish them out under Grassy Terrain. Despite the agonizing end-turn animations, Grassy Terrain does well to add longevity to Tapu Bulu’s teammates. It also makes the lack of Ground-resists a lot more forgiving since Grassy Terrain nerfs the damage of Earthquake and Bulldoze. This allows Pokemon like Arcanine and Nihilego to work well with Tapu Bulu, which is what happened to be on Drew Nowak’s winning team.

How Drew Nowak made Tapu Bulu workImage result for nihilego

Nowak’s team, in particular, was quite unique. Utilizing the dubbed “BAN Hammer core” (BAN standing for Bulu, Arcanine and Nihilego), Nowak was able to use this combination, alongside a Trick Room mode and Pheromosa, to overwhelm his opponents with damage. Though we rarely got to see the Trick Room component of the team during Nowak’s stream matches, it’s worth noting that Nowak’s Nihilego was carrying Trick Room much like Justin Burn’s Nihilego from his Seattle-winning team.

Image result for phermosaLooking at Nowak’s stream matches, by far his go-to lead was Pheromosa and Nihilego. This combination as a lead is deadly, as both were able to threaten a ton of damage to most leads in the format. Nowak’s Pheromosa was slightly different from the typical Fightinium-Z variant, as this Pheromosa featured a mixed attacking set of both physical and special moves. This lead was so effective, it was often the result of Nowak spending very little time in team preview during a few of his games in Top Cut.

Examining Tapu Bulu itself, we see a lot of the same, but there was an interesting tech in its move set. We saw Nowak whip out Disable in his top eight match against Justin Carris. In this situation, Nowak’s Tapu Bulu was able to survive a Flare Blitz from Carris’ Arcanine, then Disable Flare Blitz so Justin couldn’t use it to finish off Tapu Bule next turn. In a best-of-three tournament, it’s valuable to have ways to surprise your opponents and taking advantage of the flexibility of Tapu Bulu’s third move slot was a great way for Nowak to catch his opponents off-guard.

An all-Ultra Beast team?

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Samuel Haarsma’s signature all-UB team has popped up a few times on various regional streams, but always during Swiss. Finally at Madison Regionals, Haarsma’s team was able to reach the top eight as the highest 6-2 record.

Running a team like this seems very odd considering the highly offensive nature of the Ultra Beasts (minus Celesteela). That being said, all seven are viable, so slapping them all on a team could work in theory. The team itself capitalizes on its sheer offensive power with Pokemon like Pheromosa, Nihilego and Kartana having the ability to sweep through teams with Beast Boost.

However, with such offensive Pokemon, this makes defensive play rather tricky. The previously mention Ultra Beasts are infamous for their lacking defenses, so if the damage output from Haarsma’s team is able to be stopped, the team often suffers tremendously. We saw in Haarsma’s stream matches that if his beasts were able to get going they weren’t easy to stop, but if the team fell behind, the team easily fell apart.

A unique team idea that is by no means easy play. Have to give a ton of credit to Haarsma for being able to pilot this team to a regional Top Cut.

Shiny Tapu Koko

This particular Tapu Koko that appeared on Zheyuan Huang’s team in Madison has been the source of some discussion of whether or not its smart to use the shiny version over a normal Tapu Koko. Since this Tapu Koko is event-only, it means its nature is set to Timid, and by using it you are basically giving your opponent a ton of free information.

But is it really that big of a deal? Obviously, the Shiny Tapu Koko hasn’t been that big of a set back considering the number of them we’re seeing in regional Top Cuts. The thing is, most variants of Tapu Koko, even the slower ones holding the Assault Vest, run the Timid nature anyway. Tapu Koko’s speed benchmark is rather standard, and the Timid nature allows it to hit that benchmark for the Assault Vest variant, or allow it to be insanely fast with max speed investment.

With the Timid nature on Tapu Koko being as standard as it is, I can’t see too much of a detriment to using the Shiny version. In any case, using an event Pokemon in a best-of-three tournament does remove a lot of the surprise factor of that Pokemon if your opponent is aware of it. But for Tapu Koko in this format, the Shiny version is fine for most teams.

Looking to Indy 

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As regionals have wrapped up in North America, all eyes are now all focused on Indianapolis. The North American International Championships are the final opportunity players have to earn Championship Points this season, so this will likely be a make-or-break tournament for a lot of players. After Madison, 29 North American players have earned their invites, with Indy surely securing more. Though this is an International tournament, so we’re sure to get some visitors from overseas possibly looking to secure Day One or Two invites for themselves. It should be quite the tournament, and its approaching quicker than we think.

Thanks for reading!

Make sure to check back here on Friday for our recap from Birmingham Regionals!


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All Images from Pokemon and The Pokemon Company International

Art of Pokémon from Pokémon and Ken Sugimori

Pokémon Sprite Images courtesy of Game Freak