As we coast through the month of June, action in the Pokemon VGC scene will be expecting a bit of a slow-down. This is because we’re currently building up to the final International Championship of the 2018 season in Columbus, Ohio. Despite this, players should still keep their attention towards Pokemon as June won’t be without any action.
In just the first week of June, we already have big news about the upcoming season. In addition, we have a metagame-defining tournament happening in Japan, sign-ups opening for the upcoming International Challenge, and another online tournament with some big money on the line. If you’re a VGC player, these are the headlines you need to know about this weekend.
Regional locations for the 2019 season announced
In a timely fashion almost uncharacteristic of the Pokemon Company, various regional championship locations for next season were announced. The news mainly addressed the North American and European circuit, and the response has been rather mixed.
In North America, the east coast is the obvious favorite for the 2019 regional locations. More than half of the championship locations favor east coast players. While players in the region can rejoice, the same cannot be said for those elsewhere in North America.
Removal of key locations such as Seattle, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, and a third California regional means that the west coast realistically has only three regional championships for 2019. Any west coast players looking to compete beyond the three events in Portland, Santa Clara, and Anaheim will likely be looking for flights headed eastward.
Over in Europe, the situation looks even worse. Europe has five events announced with two regionals and three special events for the foreseeable 2019 season. Since the European International Championships are usually the first in line for international-level events, the emphasis seems heavily weighed in favor of early season success. This is due to only two or three of the announced European events being under the 2019 ruleset.
With all of the uproar for there not being enough events, the situation is the worst when looking at Oceania and Latin America. These regions had no events announced, which is unfortunately standard for these major regions of the Pokemon VGC scene. Latin America will still have plenty of events due to the insane amount of Special Events that happened this season. However, hope for a timely announced regional for the nations of Oceania appears bleak.
The full list of announced events for the 2019 season can be viewed here.
Japanese National Championships
What is by far the biggest thing happening this weekend in Pokemon VGC are the Japanese National Championships. To us westerners, this monumental tournament usually goes undocumented until the results and teams are finally revealed. This year, though, the tournament will be streamed online, allowing for better overseas coverage of the event.
The Japanese National Championships are huge for the metagame, as Japan is one of the best and most creative regions in all of Pokemon. One prominent example from last year was Tsareena unexpectedly taking the tournament thanks to the eventual World Champion Ryota Otsubo. While Tsareena didn’t really catch on in the west, the strategy of Z Conversion Porygon-Z that reached the Top 8 of Japanese Nationals managed to also reach the Top 8 of the North American International Championships.
Japan is a huge influence for the rest of the worldwide VGC community. Finding out what wins at their biggest event of the season will be critical in assessing the possible metagame for the last major tournament here in the West.
Sign-ups have opened for the June International Challenge
This past Thursday, registration opened for the June International Challenge online tournament. These tournaments aren’t big news on their own, but considering how late in the season it is, this one in particular could have some big implications.
The International Challenge tournaments are a gauntlet. The Championship Points they award are small, with the winner only receiving 50. 30-45 games of best-of-one VGC is the definition of grueling, but even an above average result could earn you some Championship Points. Any amount of CP, big or small, could be critical for some players looking to top off their invite.
So whether you need the points or just want to play for fun, make sure to sign up here on the Pokemon Global Link before next Thursday!
The Columbus Challenge
The next installment of the community-run online “Challenge” tournament is happening this weekend, with a fair amount of prize money on the line. These tournaments hosted by Sam Pandelis (@ZeldaVGC on Twitter) help raise money for the winner to have the opportunity to travel to one of the four International Championships during the season. So far, these tournaments have been a huge success. They’re a great way to potentially get players from outside regions to be able to compete overseas.
Sign-ups for the event have already closed by this point, but the tournament is still note-worthy. The level of competition will be high due to the amount of money on the line. If you’re not competing in this event but looking to compete in Columbus, perhaps a team from this event will inspire you or influence the metagame as to what the “play” is.
The time-zone accommodations for this tournament are meant for those outside of the region where the International is taking place. This means a bright and early 4 A.M. EST starting time. With the amount of money on the line, sacrificing a night of sleep might just be worth it.
Those are the biggest headlines heading into the month of June for Pokemon VGC. We’ve got a few big tournaments on our metaphorical plates, with big metagame and Worlds qualification stakes for those competing. As a VGC player looking to compete at the North American International Championships, what goes on this weekend should definitely be on your radar.
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon X&Y, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International
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