Last weekend saw a double-header of VGC action with regional championships taking place in Atlantic City, New Jersey as well as Cologne, Germany. Atlantic City was the first North American regional to take place after the Pokemon World Championships, and was won by now six-time regional champion, Paul Chua. Meanwhile, across the pond, European rising star, Hippolyte Bernard, took home the title for his home nation of France.
What’s interesting about these events is that the teams that claimed victory were similar. Similar in that they both utilized the classic Xerneas and Primal combination, yet applied them in different ways. Chua’s team took the Tornadus approach that was popular before the World Championships, while Bernard’s variant was reminiscent of the much more standard approach to this archetype, except with the addition of a Shedinja.
What does this mean for the post-worlds Ultra Series metagame going forward into its final months? Let’s look at what each regional’s results brought to the metagame discussion.
View the results from Cologne here
View the results from Atlantic City here
(From Nimbasa City Post)
Xerneas is as Prevalent as Ever
This should come as no shock, but it’s worth noting that Xerneas is not only everywhere, but it’s making a home on quite a few different kinds of teams. There’s of course the classic Primal Groudon and Xerneas combo which has been coming back in full force, but Xerneas has once again teamed up with Kyogre as a formidable combatant to Primal Groudon’s dominance over the weather game. Mega Rayquaza even rediscovered its viability with Xerneas after a rough go at it at the World Championships, as players like Ricardo Guerra (Atlantic City) and Flavio Del Pidio (Cologne) both made it to the Top 8 respectively.
Speaking of old partners joining back up, Lunala and Xerneas reunited for some positive results this weekend mainly over in Cologne. Gabriel Agati showed the world that this team archetype still had some viability in D.C., and a few top European players such as Michele Gavelli (who also reached the Top Cut at the World Championships) managed to expand upon this duo.
Sticking to the Standard
We’ve already touched on how Primal Groudon/Xerneas teams won both of these events, but an uptrend in this duo’s usage was prevalent throughout both tournaments. The restricted pair appeared 10 times in Atlantic City’s Top 32 while having 4 appearances in Cologne’s Top 16. By far the most popular and successful take on the team was the inclusion of Mega Salamence, Incineroar and Tapu Fini. The last slot differs depending on the team’s construction or playstyle with some of the popular choices being Kartana, Amoonguss, Shedinja and even Bronzong. Some players even go outside of the box with inclusions like Kommo-o or Farfecth’d if you’re Wolfe Glick.
On the other side of the standard coin is the Mega Rayquaza/Primal Kyogre archetype. Even though it wasn’t as mainstream as Primal/Groudon and Xerneas, this archetype snagged some impressive results primarily thanks to the efforts of Alex Gomez and Eric Rios. These two constructed by far one of the best Mega Rayquaza/Primal Kyogre teams and both managed to reach the Top 8 of another event after their Top 8 run at the World Championships. Unfortunately, Gomez was the one to eliminate Rios in the Top 8 of Cologne as Gomez went on to take second.
Yveltal in the West, Lunala in the East
There was a strong showing of regional Pokemon preferences when it came to the usage of Lunala versus Yveltal. There were zero Yveltal teams in the Top 16 of Cologne, while Cedric DeRouchie managed to reach Top 4 in Atlantic City with an Yveltal squad as many others hovered just outside of Top Cut. Meanwhile, Lunala had nearly twice the number of placements in Cologne’s Top 16 compared to Atlantic City’s Top 32.
Perhaps each region has their own ideas of which threats they need to prepare for, and Lunala and/or Yveltal were adjustments tailored to each region’s metagame. With the results of each of these events readily accessible, it’s possible that later tournaments will be inspired by different regions, though I expect Lunala to have a much more difficult time in America than Yveltal will over in Europe considering how the two matchup against each other.
Creativity is Still Going Strong
This section is mainly just to remind everyone that there’s still a place for creative teams even past the point of knowing which team claims the title of World Champion. Fevzi Ozkan brought Ho-Oh back in Cologne on a creative team utilizing Mega Gengar and the disruptive power of Alolan Persian. Meanwhile, in that same Top Cut, Cristian Carsares brought some new means of firepower in Naganadel and Bisharp to the Mega Rayquaza and Primal Kyogre archetype. Finally, Roberto Parente made it to the Top 16 with a wacky team featuring Jynx which actually can make Primal Groudon immune to Water-type attacks with a combination of Skill Swap and its ability Dry Skin.
In Atlantic City, successful teams included Venusaur, Mega Alakazam, Hitmontop and like previously mentioned, a Farfetch’d courtesy of our former World Champion.
Even though the standard was the norm this weekend, there will always be players around to spice things up, and that will likely be the case going into the final months of the Ultra Series metagame.