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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!


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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

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