The first regional championship weekend for the 2018 season was packed with action from both Dallas, Texas and Leipzig, Germany. Today we’ll be focusing on Dallas, a regional with over 300 Masters and a Top 16 Cut, a first for a VGC regional in quite a while. With Dallas being such a big tournament, expectations were high, and there were a bunch of story lines both good and bad. Players and spectators alike got their first look at what the 2018 metagame looks like at the top level, and the amount of variety in teambuilding was vast. Unfortunately, there is bad news, as the infamous “double game freeze glitch” plagued a number of sets throughout the weekend with even some showing up on stream. We’ll cover it all, but first let’s look at the Top 16 players and teams from Dallas.
Results & teams (Top 16)
1. Cedric Bernier
2. Chuppa Cross
3. Carson Confer
4. Sam O’Dell
5. Blake Hopper
6. Mitchell Davies
7. Jakob Swilley
8. Ryan Tan
9. Brendan Zheng
10. Adrian Singler
11. Israel Ramirez
12. Hugo Cortez
13. Alvin Hidayat
14. Christian Ramirez lira
15. Noah Stern
16. Jake Muller
Tyranitar: Everyone’s favorite sand-setting dinosaur has undergone quite the change in the 2018 format. It appears the days of Choice Scarf are long gone for Tyranitar as players are finding new ways to alter its speed. We saw players like Chuppa Cross and Blake Hopper opt for Tyranitar’s Mega Evolution with a moveset using Dragon Dance to capitalize on Tyranitar’s amazing Mega Evolved stats. Then there was the dynamic duo of Porygon2 and Tyranitar which functioned a lot like Porygon2 and Gigalith from last year, a Trick Room duo that can deal big damage. Both of these variants composed three out of the four Top 4 teams, establishing Tyranitar as a versatile force to be reckoned with.
Porygon2: Move aside Cresselia, there’s a new floating duck ready to take your job. Astonishingly, Porygon2 had greater usage in Dallas than Cresselia which would’ve been unheard of in years past. Porygon2 functions very similarly to Cresselia as it is a Trick Room setter with access to Ice Beam, but something tells me Porygon2 will have the edge this year. Pokemon like Tyranitar, Aegislash and Scrafty are everywhere making the Psychic type a lot less desirable. Porygon2 is a Normal-type and its only weakness in Fighting-types have seen a dramatic drop in usage since the introduction of Fairy-types in the metagame. Porygon2 also has better attacking coverage with access to Thunderbolt as well as Ice Beam and a great ability in Download which can boost its Special Attack. I think it’s time for the resurgence of Fighting-types, or else Porygon2 will reign over this format for a long time.
Mega Latias: I initially thought that Mega Latias was going to be the breakout star for this tournament, but the Top 16 results said otherwise. After scoring two impressive on-stream wins in the hands of Brian Youm and Chris Danzo, many viewers were hyped for the potential of Latias in the later rounds of Dallas. Unfortunately, Latias fizzled out, but potential as a Calm Mind sweeper still remains strong.
Mega Blastoise/Hawlucha/Xurkitree: Basically Sam O’Dell’s team. This team brought back memories of the Tailwind plus Tapu Lele teams from last year, but now Tapu Lele has some new support tools (and apparently sweepers) at its disposal. Hawlucha, much like Drifblim, has the Unburden ability which doubles the users speed stat when its hold item is consumed (in this case it would be the Psychic Seed). Despite being known for its offensive presence, Hawlucha gets access to great support moves like Encore, Taunt and Feather Dance.
With its Mega Launcher ability, moves like Dark Pulse and Water Pulse do a ton of damage from Mega Blastoise. The focus of this team was for Hawlucha to set up Tailwind in order to bring in Blastoise so that it could spam a powerful Water Spout. Pretty much a better version of that Wailord gimmick from last year. Xurkitree resorted to its bread and butter which was come in under Tailwind, maybe set up a Tail Glow and start racking up Beast Boosts after each KO.
Mega Camerupt/Reuniclus/Staraptor: Welcome to Hard Trick Room: VGC 2018 edition. Mega Camerupt, despite being an amazing Trick Room sweeper, has never really had a break out performance, but players like Mitchell Davies and Drew Nowak were looking to change that. Reuniclus was an interesting option for a Trick Room setter as both Davies and Nowak opted for Psychium Z and Z Trick Room. Z Trick Room gives the user an accuracy boost which means a more accurate Hypnosis. Staraptor is a notable user of Final Gambit, a move that sacrifices the user in order to deal its HP in damage to the target. This combined with Intimidate, makes Staraptor a great lead and usually leads to pretty guaranteed Trick Room set up.
Mega Steelix: Probably one of the most disappointing debut’s was Wolfe Glicke’s Mega Steelix. Glicke’s performance was by no means disappointing as he finished with a 7-2 record in the Top 32, but his Steelix did not do well in its streamed match against Chris Danzo. The Mega Steelix team aims to set up Steelix with both Trick Room and Sandstorm, giving Steelix speed and power in order to deal massive damage. Unfortunately, Mega Steelix had a poor matchup against Danzo’s Mega Latias team, and Steelix’s one game in that set reinforced this fact. Props have to be given to Danzo who played amazingly during the set, and it’s one that I recommend watching if you haven’t seen it.
Chansey: Yes Chansey was in Dallas, but unfortunately had a rough go on stream. I’m not going to bash Chansey players as even though I hate this strategy, if it’s something that you enjoy playing and winning games with then go ahead. My problem is putting this team on stream. Chuppa Cross knew how to beat this team, and despite the 50 minutes of nothing that happened he had the crowd hyped to take down Chansey. Stalling out the round timer meant the end for Jeremy Rodrigues and his Chansey squad, and viewers rejoiced at his defeat. Like I said, bring Chansey if you want, but tournament organizers please do not stream Chansey games for the sake of your viewing audience.
The freezes continue
Surprise, surprise the double game freeze glitch devastated Dallas regionals after TPCI’s move ban a few days prior. This only proves that it’s the IR connection or Live Competition mode that is responsible, which means all future tournaments are at risk for disaster. Seeing this happen on stream was utterly embarrassing as viewers were essentially watching a tournament being played on a broken game. Imagine paying money for travel and admission cost just to have your tournament run ruined by a glitch that you are powerless to stop. The 2018 format’s first International in Sydney, Australia is two weeks away, which should bring a flooring of the gas pedal for this 1.2 patch.
That’s it from Dallas, but our recap from Leipzig is on its way. VGC 2018 is off to a strong start, but it hasn’t quite reached its full potential. The metagame and tournament play was exciting to watch, but these freezes are going to kill interest in the game if they’re not fixed.
I’m speaking for the entire community when I say get it together TPCI. We need this patch. Now.
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International
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