The Collinsville Regional Championships were full of surprises. Not only did the eighth seed, Jake Magier, triumph over some big names on his way to his first regional win, but Collinsville’s Top Cut displayed some interesting developments for the VGC 2019 metagame. Magier’s team may not have been all that surprising to some, but his take on the Xerneas/Groudon archetype highlighted the emerging trend of Volcarona. Props to Magier for not only winning his first regional championship, but doing it in his first regional Top Cut appearance.
Results & Teams (Top 8)
1. Jake Magier
2. Alex Underhill
3. Allan Martinez
4. Alex Arand
5. Whitney Johnson
6. Ryan Loseto
7. Nick Navarre
8. William Marks
Groudon Outshines The Competition (Again)
Groudon has been a dominant force in Pokemon VGC as of late. Besides Xerneas, it was the most popular restricted Pokemon in Collinsville which is surprising considering Kyogre’s string of dominance up to this point in the 2019 season.
After its win in Dallas and a strong third place finish in Melbourne, Groudon has won yet another Moon Series event. Interestingly enough, there were Groudon then Kyogre in Collinsville’s Top Cut which has been unheard of for most of VGC 2019. As with most popular Pokemon and strategies in a given VGC season, there is a time where players find counters, and thus the once dominant begin to fade. Could Kyogre’s time at the top be nearing its end?
Each of the three Groudon that appeared in the Top Cut had slight variance depending on their respective team, and this is a testament to how versatile Groudon can be. Jake Magier’s Groudon took the more standard approach as a bulky attacker that can boost up with Swords Dance. Many players invest a fair amount into Groudon’s defenses so that it can better take on Kyogre despite its weakness to Kyogre’s attacks. Alex Underhill likely built his Groudon more defensively as it carried the Choice Band item to compensate for the minimal attack investment. The Choice Band allows Groudon to shake off at least one Intimidate and still score the one-hit-KO on most Incineroar. Finally, Nick Navarre placed his Groudon on the opposite side of the spectrum as an all-out attacker holding the Life Orb. An interesting choice for Navarre’s Groudon was Substitute, a move that further sacrifices HP, but can be key in punishing defensive play from the opponent.
Groudon seems to be the hot new thing in VGC 2019’s Moon Series, and Kyogre teams will be looking to rebound over the next two months.
Underrated Restricted Pokemon
In Collinsville you had your typical Groudon, Kyogre, Xerneas, Lunala etc. but some other restricted Pokemon also managed to have success.
Ho-Oh has had a bit of a mixed reception throughout the entirety of VGC 2019 thus far. Many consider it to be a Pokemon that should do more on paper, but doesn’t live up to its hype in practice. Its Fire-typing and excellent Special Defense make it an ideal Xerneas wall, but the way Ho-Oh usually wins that matchup is slowly in isolation. Allan Martinez made good use of his Ho-Oh in his games against Nick Navarre as Ho-Oh was a great answer to Navarre’s Grass-types and Xerneas. Once Groudon was dealt with, Martinez’s Ho-Oh could win the game on its own. Even though Ho-Oh’s play-style is a bit slow, there still might be potential for it left in VGC 2019.
The next two restricted Pokemon outside the norm actually appeared on the same team. The Solgaleo/Zygarde archetype is a team that goes all the way back to the Sun Series, but has made minor tweaks to accommodate the arrival of Z Moves into the metagame. Alex Arand made use of Solagaleo’s signature Z Move which can obliterate many targets in the metagame including the ever-prominent Xerneas. Combined with Trick Room, Solgaleo can completely turn the tables on Xerneas and blow it away in return. Unfortunately, Solgaleo has had a rough time adjusting to this current metagame with all of the Yveltal and Lunala running around, but as you can see here, it can clearly work.
Moving on to Zygarde, like Ho-Oh, this Pokemon’s play-style is very slow. Many players abandoned Zygarde after the Sun Series since they believed it wouldn’t be able to keep up with the high-powered Z Moves. However, with the proper support, Zygarde’s goal is to become basically indestructible with high HP, a Special Defense boost from Misty Seed and stacking Defense boosts with Coil. Speaking of Misty Seed, Tapu Fini is excellent support for Zygarde as it can heal it with Heal Pulse and even help its attack grow with self-Swagger strategies (which doesn’t confuse Zygarde under Misty Terrain). With proper set-up, Zygarde can turn into a massive threat, but it takes a patient player to truly make it work.
Weavile: Allan Martinez made great use of Weavile on his slightly unorthodox team. In combination with Ho-Oh, Weavile proved to be an excellent tool in dismantling Nick Navarre’s Xerneas/Groudon team. Moves like Knock Off and Icicle Crash cripple opposing Xerneas and do massive damage to Groudon and Grass-types. Fake Out is great for disruption, and either Taunt or Feint are great fourth move options for this speedy, offensive support.
Accelgor: The dreaded Accelgor makes its way back into the VGC metagame. Accelgor is well known for an infamous item/ability combo with a Terrain Seed (usually Psychic paired with Tapu Lele) and its ability Unburden which doubles its already insane Speed stat. With that, Accelgor can take full advantage of its amazing supportive movepool. Encore, Final Gambit, Acid Spray Struggle Bug are all fantastic moves that can shut down anything your opponent has that is slower than Accelgor (which will usually be everything).
The Collinsville Regional Championships might’ve shown us some interesting developments in the VGC metagame, but there was another major tournament that happened over the weekend in Cannes, France. If you thought some of the teams that did well in Collinsville were unique, the teams from Cannes might be on another level. We’ll be back soon to break down an even stranger side of VGC 2019’s metagame.
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International
Featured Image from Poke-Regionals