The Pokemon Video Game Championships have never produced an unplanned adjustment to the current season’s rule set, but in the latest edition of the Play! Pokemon Video Game Rules document (released July 17, 2019), it had appeared that a big change was coming.
One of the first to make this change known was Joe Merrick, owner of Serebii.net, when he tweeted:
The Play! Pokémon rules have been updated.
— Joe Merrick (@JoeMerrick) July 17, 2019
According to this screenshot, the latest update to the official Play! Pokemon rules added a ban to the move Dragon Ascent, the move required for Rayquaza to Mega Evolve. This news came out of nowhere for everyone in the community, and this major update came with no formal announcement, which seemed very odd. What was even more strange is that a change like this came just a month away from the biggest event of the season, the 2019 World Championships. Fortunately, it was confirmed a few hours later that this was an error most likely caused by an accidental re-use of a previous rules document.
A change like this would’ve been a massive blow to the player base, especially when considering the state of the metagame leading up to this year’s World Championships. Could you imagine if this ban was real?
A Worlds Metagame Without Mega Rayquaza
Since we have this fun hypothetical to play around with, let’s think about a possible Worlds field without Mega Rayquaza.
First off would be the absence of two of the strongest archetypes in the current format: Mega Rayquaza/Kyogre and Mega Rayquaza/Xerneas. These two teams won the past two International Championships and placed in three out of the top four teams at the North America International Championships. It’s safe to say that Mega Rayquaza is one of the most centralizing Pokemon in Ultra Series, and its removal would’ve taken away some of the best teams out there.
Without Mega Rayquaza, the two Primal Pokemon would run wild (even more than they already do). Both Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre struggle quite a bit against Mega Rayquaza, with Primal Kyogre’s matchup being only slightly better since it can hit it hard with Ice Beam. With that being said, the Primal Pokemon also make excellent partners for Mega Rayquaza, with it being one of Primal Kyogre’s best partners. Mega Rayquaza is an invaluable partner for Primal Kyogre since it has the ability to negate and also change the weather effects on the field, allowing Primal Kyogre to better handle an opposing Primal Groudon. Without Mega Rayquaza, Primal Groudon would likely dominate the World Championships metagame, however Primal Kyogre teams wouldn’t be totally extinct. We’ve seen how good Primal Kyogre can be with other restricted Pokemon like Lunala and Yveltal, although the Primal Groudon matchup would be an even tougher battle for Primal Kyogre users.
Speaking of other restricted Pokemon, with Mega Rayquaza being gone, more restricted Pokemon could become viable since they’d finally be free from Rayquaza’s shadow. Not to say that the presence of Mega Rayquaza means that no new or interesting restricted Pokemon can be brought to the World Championships, but it likely discourages it.
Players Were… Happy About This?
You would think with such a sudden, major change like this players would be shocked or frustrated that Play! Pokemon would do something like this. But in reality… many were okay with Mega Rayquaza’s removal.
🦀 MEGA RAY IS GONE 🦀
— River (@blckkkkkk) July 17, 2019
The fact that most VGC players just go so hyped for the so obviously mistaken ban of Mega Rayquaza was hilarious. Enjoyed.
— It’s Mack 👋🏼 (@RowletVGC) July 17, 2019
It’s no secret that Mega Rayquaza is one of the most powerful Pokemon ever created, and its prevalence in VGC’s Ultra Series is a testament to that. In Smogon’s Single Battle rule set, Mega Rayquaza was almost instantly banned to a new tier created specifically for it called “Anything Goes”. Many would argue that Mega Rayquaza is borderline overpowered, and maybe its removal would’ve been healthier for the metagame… if it was done earlier on and properly of course.
But alas, to all of those who celebrated Mega Rayquaza’s ban for the rest of the Ultra Series, your time of celebration is over. Mega Ray is here to stay.
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokken Tournament, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International