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How Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon’s bugs are affecting competitive Pokemon

Competitive Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon Glitches

Despite how complete Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon feel as games, some surprising oversights in their programming have made themselves known through the early weeks of 2018 competition. While the Pokemon Company has been quick to patch out some of these issues, a new glitch involving the move Curse threatens to compromise infrared connection-based tournaments due to its capability to make the game essentially freeze. Let’s take a look at how these glitches have created a rocky start to the 2018 VGC season.

Issue #1: Was Wide Guard buffed?

clangorous soulblaze Competitive Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon Glitches

Surprisingly, many players thought that the issue with Wide Guard was actually a buff. Turns out, it was indeed a glitch.

The move Wide Guard essentially serves as Protect against attacks that do spread-damage. This move has become even more popular this year with the re-introduction of powerful Rock Slides from Landorus and Heat Waves from Charizard, as well as veteran users of the move like Hitmontop and Aegislash. In Pokemon Sun and Moon the move Wide Guard had no interaction with the newly-introduced Z move mechanic, but the addition of a new exclusive Z move to Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon changed everything.

Kommo-o is a Pokemon whose viability shot through the roof after it received its new, exclusive Z move: Clagorous Soulblaze. This Z move was the first of its kind that not only deals spread damage to the opponent, but also boosts all of Kommo-o’s stats by one stage. Wait. A spread-attack Z move? Now Wide Guard needed some alteration, but unfortunately this change extended to the rest of the Z moves out there.

Wide Guard was fixed in Ultra Sun and Moon to act similarly to Protect when the user is hit by a Z move, which reduces the damage taken to 25%. Like I said earlier, this “fix” originally affected all other Z moves too, which made little sense considering that all other Z moves were single target attacks.

Thankfully this issue was patched out before official VGC 2018 tournaments were held; but some players were okay with what looked to be an obvious bug. I guess players liked the idea of Wide Guard being better and thus nerfing Z moves, but this change might’ve been too good. Unlike Protect, Wide Guard is able to be used consecutively without fail, meaning that Wide Guard could be spammed indefinitely in anticipation of your opponent’s Z move.

Regardless on where you stand on the issue, two things are certain: Wide Guard and Kommo-o are still good.

Issue #2: A Curse on QR tournamentscurse pokemon Competitive Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon Glitches

Okay, so this issue goes a bit deeper than just the move Curse.

The seventh generation edition of the Pokemon Global Link introduced the ability to create tournaments using QR codes which function on similar software and connectivity of regional-level and above tournaments. Local tournaments, like Premier Challenges and Midseason Showdowns, have now adopted this mechanic in order to streamline things. But after the first weekend of VGC 2018 many issues became apparent.


As of now, the QR code generated tournaments that use IR (infrared) connection are very unstable, and are likely to freeze the game if you switch in the wrong Pokemon or even use a move in the wrong place on the battlefield. The move in question is Curse, and many Snorlax users reported that using Curse when Snorlax is in a particular position on the field will cause the game to freeze where neither player is able to make a move.

But it’s not just Curse though. Apparently differences in system models (old versus new 3DS systems) will cause the same issue if Curse is used like previously mentioned or even if Pokemon are switched in and out.

These tweets from Leonard Craft III (@DaWoblefet) summarizes the whole situation pretty well.

Back to Festival Plaza it is, but this solution can’t work forever.

With the 2018’s first batch of regionals just a couple of weeks away, the urgency of fixing any and all bugs and glitches becomes much greater. The “double freeze” glitch seems to only take place during tournaments using the “Live Competition” mode, which every regional-level and higher tournament uses.


Having this issue remain would essentially make tournaments unplayable due to the nature of how game freezes are treated in the rules. If a player using Curse is in a losing position they can pretty much save themselves by causing a game freeze. For now, local organizers should use Festival Plaza and Quick Link which does require a bit of extra work on the part of the TO’s and players, but it’s a temporary fix for now.

I anticipate that Game Freak will release a patch in a comfortable time frame before the first 2018 regional championships, so I don’t think we need to be worried about being cursed for much longer.

Thanks for reading!

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Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

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