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Why did it have to be Kommo-o? – VGC 2018 Salt Lake City Regional Championships Recap

pokemon 2018 salt lake city regional

Everyone’s favorite scaly dragon finally has a regional championship to its name thanks to newly crowned Utah Regional Champion: Matthew Greaves.

Greaves perfectly fit the “home town hero” narrative (dubbed that by commentator Kimo Nishimura) as he finally won the regional title in his home state. Greaves had previously made it to the Top Cut of Salt Lake City twice before this year’s tournament, and was a lot of people’s “smart money” to win the whole thing this year. Needless to say, he didn’t disappoint.

Results & Teams (Top 8)

1. Matthew Greaves

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2. Emilio Estrada

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3. Cade Bowles

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4. Joseph Selmer

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5. James Eakes

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6. Jerry Meyers

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7. Eugene Vizel

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8. Giovanni Costa

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Matthew Greaves’ Team of Tech’skommo-o pokemon 2018 salt lake city regional

Matthew Greaves was not running your standard Mega Gengar team, which seems obvious at team preview. At first glance, despite the odd composition, you’d think you know what Pokemon like Volcarona and Hitmontop are going to do. In this matchup, however, that prior knowledge was (for the most part) meaningless.

Let’s start with the main threat (damage-wise) for Greaves: his Kommo-o. Like 100% of all Kommo-o this season, Greaves’ Kommo-o held its signature Z Crystal that triggers everyone’s favorite 36-second-long animation. However, the Fighting-type attack of choice was… Drain Punch? After that surprise, Greaves revealed Belly Drum.

That’s right, Greaves ran a double set-up Kommo-o with Belly Drum as a secondary means of buffing Kommo-o’s stats. In his post-finals interview, Greaves said that he’s been using a team like this for the whole season and he originally wanted to use Swords Dance on his Kommo-o. Due to the popularity of Intimidate in the metagame, Swords Dance just wasn’t going to cut it.

Running Belly Drum seems like a huge risk considering Kommo-o wasn’t holding any item to help restore its health. That’s where Drain Punch comes in. If Kommo-o is able to achieve this monstrous level of set-up, it has a Speed boost thanks to Clangorous Soulblaze, and it can easily start spamming Drain Punch to regain its HP.

Was it the most practical Kommo-o set? No. Was it fun to watch? Absolutely.

Volcarona was the other major surprise to come out of Greaves’ team, as this Volcarona didn’t do any dancing. This Volcarona was definitively support-focused, with its only attacking move being a powerful Overheat. Rage Powder allowed Volcarona to re-direct attacks from Gengar and Kommo-o, and this Volcarona showed its impressive bulk when it was able to take a double target from Emilio Estrada’s Tapu Lele and Zapdos during the finals. Lastly, this Volcarona was packing Whirlwind which came in clutch during Greaves’ Top 8 match against James Eakes and his Trick Room Gothitelle.

Oh, and the only thing special about Hitmontop is that it had Stone Edge. A Charizard or two were probably caught off-guard with that one.

Who needs six Pokemon?

We’ve seen a few rare examples of players reaching the Top Cut of regionals with just five Pokemon, but in Salt Lake City, there were three. This should be yet another reminder to players out there to make sure your team sheet is 100% correct down to the very last number. Even just one mistake can cost you a member of your team.

Giovanni Costa lost his Scizor in Round 3 due to a stat number being written incorrectly. However, this didn’t phase him. Costa ended up with a Swiss record of 6-1 which actually clinched him his invite to the 2018 World Championships. Despite this setback, this tournament seemed to be a big confidence booster for Costa, as he claimed on Twitter that he was “very close” to perfecting his team.

Eugene Vizel lost a Bisharp somewhere in the Swiss rounds, which actually could have been a key member in his Top 8 set versus Cade Bowles. Bisharp could’ve made the Gengar matchup much easier for Vizel. But despite taking game one in the set, Vizel was no match for the top seed.

Eevee’s Tragically Short 2018 Premiere

eevee sad pokemon 2018 salt lake city regionalFinally, we have the most tragic of the team sheet victims which was Jerry Meyers’ Eevee team. We currently don’t know what Pokemon Meyers lost. But judging by the team composition, the pieces were definitely still there for Eevee to pull off a win. What hit Meyers the hardest was the game one loss that comes with his loss of a Pokemon.

Immediately being down one game is never a good thing, but it’s especially not good for an Eevee player. The element of surprise can usually earn a quick win in game one for the Eevee player, but a surprise tech from the opponent can swing the game the other way as well. In that case, the Eevee player can adjust to the tech accordingly and win the set, but Meyers didn’t have that luxury.

In what was game two of the set, Meyers lost his Eevee on turn one thanks to a Shattered Psyche from Estrada’s Tapu Lele, even after the Extreme Evoboost. At least we got to see the animation.

Also, this author found humor in seeing both Eevee and Giovanni Costa in Top 8, but not together. Perhaps this will serve as some inspiration for Costa to revisit what has become his mascot.

 

Salt Lake City wasn’t the biggest tournament, but it provided some big storylines. Notable Worlds invites were clinched by Giovanni Costa and Joseph Selmer, which makes a total of 29 Americans qualified for the World Championships with three regionals and one International left to go. Kommo-o finally won a regional and Eevee is finally back in the spotlight.

What does this mean for the metagame? We’ll see very soon, as next weekend brings us the highly anticipated Toronto Regional Championships.

 


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Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon Shuffle, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International.

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