toronto regionals pokemon

Mega Gengar’s Reign over VGC Continues – VGC 2018 Toronto Regional Championships Recap

The Toronto regional championships came and went this past weekend. As Toronto’s winner James Baek would state via his YouTube channel, Mega Gengar and Kommo-o have won “Baek to Baek” regional titles.

After multiple Top Cuts in various regionals and one finals appearance back in 2015, James Baek finally claims his first regional win in his first attended regional outside of the United States. Baek continued the trend of using Mega Gengar, an ostensibly prominent choice among players at this tournament. With it netting yet another major tournament win, Mega Gengar is becoming the Pokemon and archetype to beat in VGC 2018.

Results & Teams (Top 8)

1. James Baek

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for kommo o shuffleImage result for tapu bulu shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for clefairy shuffleImage result for azumarill shuffle

2. Rajan Bal

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for virizion shuffleImage result for mimikyu shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

3. Kevin Swastek

Image result for mega charizard y shuffleImage result for kartana shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for raichu shuffleImage result for braviary shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffle

4. Alessio Yuri Boschetto

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for zapdos pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffle

5. Alex Collins

Image result for mega charizard y shuffleImage result for venusaur shuffleImage result for cresselia pokemon shuffle iconImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for gastrodon shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

6. Stephen Mea

Image result for mega gardevoir shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for aegislash shuffleImage result for zapdos pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffle

7. Jairo Contreras

PelipperImage result for ludicolo shuffleImage result for scizor shuffleImage result for arcanine shuffleImage result for dragonite shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffle

8. Diana Bros

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for kartana shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for zapdos pokemon shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffle

Mega Gengar Haunts Torontomega gengar toronto regionals pokemon

We saw a fair amount of Mega Gengar in Toronto. However, all three Gengar teams in the Top 8 took different approaches for their team. James Baek decided to keep it simple with the typical Mega Gengar + Kommo-o archetype, utilizing a second set-up option with Azumarill. We’ve seen modes similar to this with Xurkitree over Azuamarill, but this whole team seems to resonate with Clefairy.

While Azumarill is one of his favorite Pokemon to use competitively, Baek believed that it has a good matchup in the metagame right now. Many teams can struggle against the combination of Clefairy’s Friend Guard and Follow Me support with Azumarill’s Belly Drum set-up.

Rajan Bal gave Baek a tough Finals set with his own Mega Gengar squad. Bal’s team is reminscent of a team used by Joseph Selmer who has been notably piloting Virizion as well. To round out his squad, Bal resorted to Snorlax, a personal favorite of his.

Finally, Diana Bros took an overall more standard approach to her Gengar team. Other than Gengar and Kartana, her team consists of VGC 2018 staples such as Landorus, Incineroar, Tapu Fini and Zapdos. Although this Top 8 finish wasn’t enough for Bros to secure her Worlds invite, her 355 Championship Points put her well within striking distance. If her impressive finish in Toronto is anything to go by, Bros shouldn’t have too much trouble wrapping up her Worlds invite.

Italy Invades Toronto

By Italy, this author is really talking about one player: Alessio Yuri Boschetto. The number one player in the world right now, Boschetto decided to take a trip over to Toronto. He exited this tournament with some more CP to add to his massive total, already exceeding 2000.

Fun Fact: There were more Italian players in Toronto’s Top Cut than Canadian players.

Metagame Highlights

Dragonite: Well, this is a surprise. Dragonite is one of the many powerful Dragon-type Pokemon that often gets overlooked. The last time Dragonite made news was when Giovanni Costa pulled off an impossible 1v4 at the North American International Championships last year. Jairo “Alchem1st” Contreras is quite a big fan of Dragonite as he has virtually adopted it as his mascot. This Dragonite wasn’t your typical Dragon Dance boosting sweeper, though.

Rather, it was a versatile attacker using a surprise Z-move to catch opponents off-guard. Contreras’ Dragonite had a decent amount of coverage between Extreme Speed, Ice Punch and Earthquake powering that Groundium Z. Unfortunately, Dragonite didn’t fare too well in Contreras’ Top 8 match as it found itself constantly being kept in check by Intimidate. At the end of the day, Contreras was just happy to have Dragonite in the Top Cut of a regional, and he sure made a name for the lesser-appreciated dragon.

Venusaur: The combination of Mega Charizard Y and Venusaur is always talked about, but rarely sees much success at big tournaments. Alex Collins believed this combo was still effective, and he was able to pilot it to a Top 8 finish. Venusaur’s Chlorophyll ability doubles its speed in the sun which Mega Charizard Y summons with its Drought ability. This turns Venusaur into a effective sweeper with the added bonus of a fast Sleep Powder.

Braviary: We’ve seen Braviary before in big tournament placings, but it seems to be picking up more and more popularity. It’s usually paired next to a Lightning Rod user in order to redirect Electric attacks away from it and the Tapu Fini that’s usually also on these teams. Braviary’s practicality was captured in Matthew Greaves’ post-finals interview from Salt Lake City. He stated that his team doesn’t have very good switch-ins to Flying-type attacks. Combine that with Defiant to counter the abundance of Intimidate in the metagame, and you’ve got yourself a compelling offensive Tailwind setter.

Looking Forward

With Toronto behind us, we now turn our attention towards Roanoke for the second to last regional championship in the North American circuit. Virginia is usually one of the higher profile tournaments of the season as it sits smack dab in the middle of the highly competitive East Coast region. Mega Gengar looks like it has solidified itself as the Pokemon to beat in the current metagame. Players should be prepared to face a lot of it in Roanoke.

That is, unless they decide to use it for themselves.


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi and Trainer Tower

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

dreamhack valencia

Dreamhack Valencia announced as 2019 Season’s First Event

That’s right. We already have confirmation on the first events for the 2019 season. And it’s approaching quicker than you think.

In a recent announcement on the official Pokemon website, a new Special Event tournament was confirmed to be taking place at the upcoming Dreamhack convention happening in Valencia, Spain. For those unfamiliar with Special Events, they are additional tournaments held in certain parts of the world that award regional-level Championship Points to the top finishers.

What’s notable about this event in particular is its timing. Dreamhack Valencia will throw players into the 2019 season this July.

As if having events just a couple weeks after Worlds was too soon, we have an event for next season happening less than a month before the final 2018 International, and two months before the 2018 World Championships.

Naturally, this has presented more questions than answers. Many players are unsure of their plans regarding this tournament. Levels of concern are currently wavering between “not worth it to travel” to “this could be too important to miss”.

The Timing and Location

A huge concern for a lot of players when considering this event will be the matter of when and where this tournament is taking place.

The timing is one thing, as this tournament is taking place just months before some of the biggest tournaments of this season. This creates a conflict of focus on tournaments for players. Does one want to become the 2018 World Champion and focus on this season’s remaining tournaments? Or do they want to get a head start on becoming the 2019 World Champion by focusing on the new season’s first tournament? Depending on how (or if) the Championship Point structure changes next season, missing out on an event this early could be costly.

Being held in Spain, this gives a massive advantage to European players for next season. It’s not unheard of for players in other nations to travel for regional-level events. Considering the timing, however, it may not exactly be a financially viable option for most.

On the other side of the spectrum, European players are planted into an awkward situation. Should European players give up their chance to compete in one of the most prestigious tournaments of the season just so they don’t fall behind the competition for next season? Or should they focus on preparing for Dreamhack Valencia, a closer and less expensive tournament? As stated above, this dilemma has provided more questions than answers.

The Championship Point Dilemma

The main point of anxiety when approaching this tournament is the matter of Championship Points. Announcing a tournament before we even know if the current Championship Point structure will change seems odd, to say the least. If next season’s structure remains similar to this one, this tournament becomes very important.

This is the case because of the “snowball effect” that large amounts of CP early in a season can do for a top player. If a player does well at a high-level tournament earlier in the season, they earn travel awards to other big events. They also earn more CP. This creates a cycle of CP acquisition, which can repeat until a player is well over the Championship Point requirement to secure their Day Two invite to the World Championships. The snowball effect has been exacerbated in this most recent season, as the best-finish-limit for regionals and international championships has been lifted. Players that travel are given the opportunity to earn ridiculous amounts of Championship Points.

But what if none of that remains for next season? Special Events could be reduced in their CP payout, and this might not be a big deal after all. Ideally, we’ll learn how next season works before players make plans to attend. However, The Pokemon Company’s track record in providing vital information in a timely manner, to put it lightly, isn’t worthy of praise.

Is This Tournament Worth It?

As of now, we have no idea. One deterring factor that players are sure of is the fact that the €35 entry fee doesn’t promise any cash prizes like a regional. And we’ve already been over the issue of tournament entry fees.

All we can do is hope that our questions are answered before this tournament happens so that players can decide whether or not this tournament is worth attending. The announcement of new tournaments coming to the circuit should be exciting. In this instance, however, we’re left with nothing but skepticism and anxiety over the implications of said tournament.

Including two of the season’s most high-profile tournaments, there is still a fair amount of the 2018 season left to play. For that reason, it’s perhaps too early for most players to already be looking towards the 2019 season.

That said, how will Dreamhack Valencia fare amidst the yet-to-be concluded 2018 season? Only time will tell.

 


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Dreamhack’s Official Webiste, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon Shuffle, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International.

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

pokemon 2018 salt lake city regional

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

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

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for kommo o shuffleImage result for tapu bulu shuffleImage result for tyranitar pokemon shuffleImage result for volcarona shuffleImage result for hitmontop shuffle

2. Emilio Estrada

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu lele pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for zapdos pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffleImage result for heatran shuffle

3. Cade Bowles

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for whimsicott shuffleImage result for terrakion shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu bulu shuffleImage result for kommo o shuffle

4. Joseph Selmer

Image result for mega manectric shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for virizion shufflePorygon2Image result for braviary shuffle

5. James Eakes

Image result for politoed shuffleImage result for seismitoad shuffleImage result for mawile shuffleImage result for gothitelle pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for mimikyu shuffle

6. Jerry Meyers

Image result for eevee shuffleShuffle006MY.pngImage result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for smeargle shuffleImage result for greninja shuffle

7. Eugene Vizel

Image result for mega salamence shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffleImage result for azumarill shuffle

8. Giovanni Costa

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for whimsicott shuffleImage result for tapu bulu shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for staraptor shuffleImage result for scizor shuffle

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.

 


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

latin america international championship pokemon

North America defends its title in Sao Paulo – VGC 2018 Latin America International Championships recap

Former 2016 Senior Division World Champion Carson Confer defended North America’s title as the reigning champs of Latin America. The final match came down to arguably North America’s top two players with Confer’s opponent being the Championship Point leader in the region: Alberto Lara. Even though the tournament crown came down to two Americans, Sao Paulo’s Top Cut hosted quite the variety in national representation. Let’s take a look at what nations these Top 8 players hailed from and what teams they used to reach the tournament’s Top Cut.

Results and Teams (Top 8)

1. Carson Confer [USA]

Image result for scizor shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for politoed shuffleImage result for ludicolo shuffleImage result for bisharp shuffle

2. Alberto Lara [USA]

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for raichu shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for porygon2 shuffleImage result for araquanid shuffle

3. Eric Rios [ESP]

Image result for charizard shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for milotic shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffleImage result for mimikyu shuffle

4. Melvin Keh [SGP]

Image result for charizard y shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu lele pokemon shuffleImage result for milotic shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

5. Alex Gomez [ESP]

Image result for charizard shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for milotic shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffleImage result for mimikyu shuffle

6. Jean Paul Lopez Buiza [PER]

Image result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu lele pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for bisharp shuffleImage result for cresselia pokemon shuffle icon

7. Raul Ramirez [ECU]

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu lele pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for zapdos pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

8. Nico Davide Cognetta [ITA]

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for kommo o shuffleImage result for xurkitree shuffleImage result for clefairy shuffleImage result for tapu bulu shuffle

Carson Confer’s run to the top

latin america international championship pokemon

At a 6-2 record after losing the final round of Swiss on stream against Eric Rios, Carson Confer’s hope for Top Cut was shaky. Thanks to his favorable resistance, Confer made it in as the eighth seed where he was matched up against the undefeated top seed Alex Gomez. Gomez and Rios were running the exact same team which meant Confer would have to play against the same team that seemingly mopped the floor with him in the round before.

Confer adjusted his approach to the matchup and was able to beat out Gomez in the Top 8, only to have Rios waiting for him in Top 4. Confer was able to break through the Mimikyu/Snorlax combination that gave him trouble in the previous matches, giving him a game one victory. In Game 2 Rios was on his A-game as he made a clever play by playing into Confer’s Politoed’s Eject Button, catching his Scizor on a switch in to a Flare Blitz from Rios’ Mega Charizard X.

After Confer’s team was heavily damaged by Rios’ Charizard and Tapu Koko, Mimikyu and Snorlax were able to clean up the late game. Game 3 started with Confer at a disadvantage as he led his Rain duo (Politoed and Ludicolo) against the dreaded Mimikyu and Snorlax. Confer was able to KO Mimikyu before it was able to set up Trick Room, and his rain mode plus Scizor was too much for Rios’ remaining Pokemon to handle.

After a tough rematch gauntlet, Confer had one last foe. The reigning Championship Point leader in North America in Alberto Lara. Unlike his previous two matches, this one seemed a lot easier for Confer. Lara’s reliance on Pinch berries on his main means of damage (his Tapu Fini and Araquanid) were easy pickings for Scizor’s Bug Bite. Simply put, Lara’s Pokemon in both games were just unable to break through Confer’s Rain mode and constantly healing Scizor, making the finals a clean 2-0 victory for the former World Champion.

I’m not going to say that I called Mega Scizor winning an International, but my highlight piece on it was very well timed. Confer’s team brought back memories of Rain’s glory days in the 2012 and 2013 formats when Scizor was a staple. Now with a Mega Evolution and a lot of Fairy-types to fight against, Scizor looks like it has made it back to the top. It’s also a resurgence for the Rain archetype which hasn’t seen major success since the days of the 2017 season where it reached the Top Cut of every International Championship. All in all, an impressive run from a player who is just one regional victory away from completing the trifecta.

Only one Incineroar in Top 8?incineroar anime latin america international championship pokemon

Something I didn’t notice initially was the lack of Incineroar in Top 8. In traditional VGC fashion, Landorus was king as it appeared on every team except for the team that carried Incineroar. What happened?

Well if you look closely again at the Top 8 you should notice how many Milotic and Bisharp there are. For those who don’t know, Milotic and Bisharp’s abilities (Competitive and Defiant) raise these Pokemon’s Special Attack/Attack stat when their stats are dropped. That decreased stat is usually thanks to the most popular ability in the VGC metagame: Intimidate.

Many players were skeptical about these Pokemon coming into the season as the format’s most popular Pokemon didn’t boast a favorable matchup for them. However, times have changed and these abilities plus new members to the anti-Intimidate squad like Lurantis are popping up all over big tournaments now. Oh, and I guess since rain is back that makes things even worse for Incineroar.

Does this mean Incineroar’s time in the spotlight is over? I wouldn’t count on it. But this was just a reminder to everyone that Landorus-Therian will always remain top… cat.

Nicknames are back?

In a completely random turn of events, trainers were allowed to display nicknames on their Pokemon. This is a feature that hasn’t been implemented in official tournaments since the early days of VGC, for what I’m assuming are obvious reasons. Surprisingly, everything worked out okay. There was no outrage over any inappropriate nicknames that appeared on stream or anything; heck, we even got some fun ones to chuckle at as we watched the streamed matches. Here are some of my personal favorites.

Image result for tapu fini shuffle

  • Alessio Yuri Boschetto’s Tapu Fini: “Tapu Beanie”

– Boschetto’s affinity for beanies is well known throughout the community so this nickname is just fitting.

Image result for scizor shuffle

  • Carson Confer’s Mega Scizor: “#FreeStratos”

– Wrong nostalgic childhood franchise, but I appreciate the reference. For real though, this card’s been on the ban list for too long.

  • Alberto Lara’s/Ashton Cox’s team members named after his friends.

– The power of friendship.

Image result for incineroar pokemon shuffle

  • Frederico Turnano’s Incineroar: “JohnCenaRoar”

– Like if you can hear this nickname.

Image result for zapdos pokemon shuffle

  • Justin Crubaugh’s Zapdos: “Frank”

– I’m not sure if there’s some sort of personal connection to this one, but animals with normal-sounding people names always crack me up.

Image result for clefairy shuffle

  • Nico Davide Cognetta’s Clefairy: “ReglaDeTodos” 

-This roughly translates to “ruler of all” which I think is pretty funny considering this is a Clefairy we’re talking about.

 

That’s all from Sau Paulo! As April comes to an end, May brings to us a lot of high-profile tournaments to look out for. We’ve got three North American regionals on the way, an Australian regional and the qualifiers for the Japanese National Championships. A lot of Pokemon action is on the horizon, as the final push towards the last International Championship in Columbus looms in the distance.

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi and Trainer Tower

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

Making a name amongst Europe’s best – VGC 2018 Stuttgart Regional Championship recap

Amidst a tough field in Stuttgart’s Top 8, two lesser known names in the European VGC scene battled it out for the title. Guiseppe Musicco is your 2018 Stuttgart Regional Champion, claiming his invite to the 2018 World Championships with an impressive win. Italy has yet again shown its dominance in Europe with half of the players in Top Cut representing the nation, including the tournament’s champion. Before we dive further in, let’s take a look at the results from Stuttgart.

Results & Teams (Top 8)

1. Guiseppe Musicco

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for kartana shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for latias shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffle

2. Ernest Azanza

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for mimikyu shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

3. Arash Ommati

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for kommo o shuffleImage result for xurkitree shuffleImage result for clefairy shuffleImage result for tapu bulu shuffle

4. Ben Kyriakou

Image result for mega gardevoir shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for breloom shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffle

5. Michele Gavelli

Image result for mega gardevoir shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffle

6. Matthias Sucholdulski

Image result for latias shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for aegislash shuffleImage result for tyranitar pokemon shuffle

7. Robin Langer

Image result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for aegislash shuffleImage result for cresselia pokemon shuffle iconImage result for bisharp shuffle

8. Andrea di Tivoli

Image result for tyranitar shuffleImage result for kartana shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for togekiss shuffle

Arash Ommati’s 5 ‘Mon runvgc 2018 stuttgart regionals

Rarely do players recover from a team sheet error that costs them one of their Pokemon, but former World Champion Arash Ommati defied the odds after losing his Tapu Bulu. For those unfamiliar with tournament rules, filling out your team sheet correctly is one of the most crucial things to make sure you do. The slightest mistake, even if it was accidental, could cause you to lose one of your Pokemon for the entire tournament.

Ommati carried his squad all the way to the Top 4 before losing to the tournament champion. Although Musicco’s team was well equipped to handle Tapu Bulu, the Grassy Terrain on Ommati’s side would have been crucial in stopping Musicco’s Landorus-Therian from freely spamming Earthquake. Grassy Terrain was a key defensive tool for Ommati, as half of his team could be taken out by Earthquake. This limited the effectiveness of Ommati’s Gengar and Xurkitree which are some of the main damage dealers of his team.

Despite this setback, Ommati’s Top 4 run is nothing short of impressive. Perhaps this is a testament to just how strong the Mega Gengar team archetype really is. Well that and the fact that this team was being piloted by one of the best players in the world.

A finals with new faces

vgc 2018 stuttgart regionals

As previously mentioned, the finals of this tournament featured two players that were relatively new to the spotlight. Guiseppe Musicco had previously had some success at the local level as he earned over 100 Championship Points from MidSeason Showdowns. His regional win earned him his first points from a regional-level event, and those 200 points were enough to push him over 300, earning him an invite to Nashville.

Ernest Azanza on the other hand owes all of his points this season to this second place finish. This puts him in striking distance for a Worlds invite since the cap for Europe is 300, but he’ll likely need a couple more solid finishes to claim it.

Despite their lack of notoriety coming into this tournament, these two played like Worlds-caliber players. Their top cut runs included Musicco’s win over Arash Ommati in Top 4 and Azanza’s win over on of Great Britain’s best in Ben Kyriakou.

The finals set was intense as neither player had a clear advantage over the other. Musicco’s Kartana and Gengar were great answers to Azanza’s Metagross and Snorlax which did wonders in his set versus Kyriakou. After a game one defeat, Azanza used his special attacking Landorus with Hidden Power Ice to turn the tide in his favor to force a game three. After claiming a knockout early on Azanza’s Landorus, Musicco found himself backed into a corner at a 3-2 deficit with Azanza’s boosted Snorlax staring down Musicco’s last two Pokemon. Luckily Azanza’s team was already heavily weakened, allowing Musicco’s Incineroar and Gengar to clean up the game thanks to their speed advantage over the rest of Azanza’s team.

Metagame highlights

Naganadel: We’ve seen this new Ultra Beast here and there, but Ben Kyriakou saw potential and used Naganadel on his Top 4 team. This version was slightly different than your typical Naganadel as Kyriakou’s carried Substitute and Firium Z. With Inferno Overdrive Naganadel can threaten the likes of Mega Metagross or even non-defensive variants of Pokemon like Landorus allowing for a surprise KO and a quick Beast Boost. The ability to set up a Substitute after securing a boost to Naganadel’s Special Attack is big in turning this thing into a massive threat. Another interesting note is that the Beast Boosts were going to Naganadel’s Special Attack rather than its Speed which requires some fiddling with investment in Naganadel’s stats. While watching some of Kyriakou’s matches I wondered if the Speed boost would’ve been more helpful, but without a boosting item like Life Orb, raising Naganadel’s power seems reasonable.

380MS.pngLatias: There were two Latias in the Top 8, but we’re going to focus on Guiseppe Musicco’s non-Mega Latias. This Latias was built for support with moves like Helping Hand and Tailwind. Latias is actually not a bad choice for a support Pokemon considering it’s fast and rather bulky so it can remain on the field for a while if left alone. The boost from Helping Hand helped Musicco’s Pokemon break through Arash Ommati’s Clefairy and its Friend Guard Ability, while Latias’ attacks threatened Ommati’s Kommo-o before it could boost.

 

That’s a wrap from Stuttgart! This was a tournament full of variety as new players and new Pokemon broke into the spotlight. As far as official events are concerned our attention turns towards Sao Paulo as the Latin American International Championships take place in just a couple of weeks. A tournament that I’m sure will produce an equal amount of excitement.

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi and Trainer Tower

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

pokemon tournaments april

Upcoming April tournaments that players should have their eyes on

For some reason, April has brought a bit of a lull in the action for the Pokemon Video Game Championships. There are only two major official events happening in April, and we’ll have to wait at least another week for them. However, just because April is a slow month doesn’t mean it will be without action. Here’s a short preview of some upcoming tournaments that deserve your attention.

International Friendly: Team New York/New Jersey vs. Team Scandinavia

For our first event, we have a community organized tournament pitting some players in one of North America’s strongest regions against some of the best players in Scandinavia. The teams from each side are as follows:

Team NY/NJ:

Tommy Cooleen

Angel Miranda

Justin Carris

Vincent Montalvo

Sohaib Mufti

Maura Hazen

Summer Hunter

Team Scandinavia:

Ola Norby

Benjamin Tan

Daniel van Diepen

David Barker

Pontus Westerlund

Nils Dunlop

These rosters are actually incomplete as interest for the tournament has allowed for expansion of both teams. The tournament will be played and streamed April 21st. Full information will be coming soon, so to keep up to date with the event make sure to follow the tournament’s organizer Patrick Donegan (@Pd0nZ) on Twitter for further updates.

Japan Championships Qualifiers

Image result for pokemon japan championship qualifier

While not technically happening this month, the Japan Championships Qualifier is a major tournament happening in just over a month. Japan’s unique (but admitted sub-optimal) road to the Pokemon World Championships continues here. This online tournament will function very similarly to the International Challenge online tournaments, only this time top finishers will earn an invite to compete at the Japanese National Championships happening in June. Players over in the west should keep an eye on this tournament as teams and strategies will likely inspire many players outside of Japan. Our last World Champion came out of this nation, so I expect special attention will be paid to many Japanese tournaments going forward.

Stuttgart Regional Championships

Our closest event time-wise is the Stuttgart Regional Championships over in Europe. While this event is in the rather large shadow of our final tournament for this list, this final opportunity to play/learn the metagame before then makes this regional very important. The tournament will take place April 14-15 and will be streamed here courtesy of PlayTheChampionships and team Limitless.

Latin American International Championships

Image result for pokemon latin america international 2018

And finally the obvious tournament to keep your eye on this month is the third International Championship taking place in Sau Paulo, Brazil. Some things leading up to this tournament have gone awry such as the Travel Award fiasco and the controversy with the Sau Paulo challenge, but as with every International, this event has a lot of hype around it. After a crushing defeat in Sydney’s Top 4 and two regional final appearances, Ashton Cox will be looking to defend his title with or without his trusty pineapple. The other major story line of this tournament will be the region of Latin America itself. This tournament should answer the major question on many players’ minds: “Should we be sleeping on Latin America?”

The list of events coming up this month might be small, but they’ll be building up to one of the biggest tournaments of the season. With big events happening in two of the most intriguing regions metagame-wise (Japan and Latin America), big changes could be coming; which means these tournaments should attract your attention.

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from PlayTheChampionships, Pd0nZ, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon Shuffle, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

sau paulo challenge

“Sau Paulo Challenge” online tournament faced with ghosting scandal

The online “challenge” tournaments held unofficially by Sam Pandelis (aka @ZeldaVGC on Twitter) have been a great series of tournaments allowing top finishers to earn enough money to travel to one of the four various International Championships. This tournament had 132 players entered with a $1600+ prize pool. However, recently the “Sau Paulo Challenge” (a tournament held in preparation for the upcoming Latin American International Championships) has stirred up controversy over alleged “ghosting” during the tournament’s final stages.

“Ghosting” in this case refers to other players assisting one of the players playing in the tournament during their games. Basically, other people were in a chat with this player essentially coaching them through their games. This player who was caught ghosting ended up winning the entire tournament, but after this information was presented to Pandelis, their win was quickly revoked.

The controversy

Oddly enough, there were people in the community that were on both sides of this issue. The main argument boils down to the technicality of the rules versus integrity, morals and the fact that this is technically cheating.

The situation

According to a statement from Pandelis, there was evidence presented from a group of Italian players on Facebook who “gloated” about helping ghost the winner of the tournament. More evidence from this group suggested that the player being ghosted was to give out some of their prize money to those were directly involved with the ghosting. Pandelis made the executive decision to disqualify the player and another who allegedly witnessed the ghosting, and the side of the Top 8 of the tournament where this player was seeded would be replayed.

However, the player that was accused of being present for the ghosting will not receive a ban from the future “Challenge” in a later statement from Pandelis. Pandelis has also said that he will reimburse their entry fee for this tournament and grant them free entrance to any future tournaments held.

Pandelis had this to say at the end of his TwitLonger: “Please don’t attack (the player who didn’t report the ghosting) about this, and please understand the decision we made to disqualify him was taking into account the logs we were given, and the likelihood of foul play occurring given the players being aware of the ghosting during the finals. In the future, please consider that it’s important to set this precedent. A strong way we can prevent ghosting going forward is not let players ignore it.”

If you would like to read both posts from Pandelis, you can find the first one here and the second one here.

“It’s not in the rules”

Well actually it kind of is. Whether you cite that the tournament is listed as “1v1” in the Battlefy overview for it, the fact is that this is a VGC tournament and therefore should follow official tournament rules (to an extent). Ghosting isn’t allowed in real-life tournament matches, so logically it wouldn’t be allowed in an online tournament following a similar rule set. We could even use extreme examples like how it’s technically not in the rules to hire a team of well-trained specialists to go to your opponent’s home and destroy their router, but let’s use common sense here. By definition, ghosting is cheating.

“Spirit of the game”

One of the rules that’s outlined the most in the official Play! Pokemon rules guides for both VGC and TCG is the concept of the “spirit of the game”. Anything that compromises the “spirit of the game” should be punishable, and any form of cheating fits under that umbrella.

In a TwitLonger post from 2018 Oceania International Champion Alessio Yuri Boschetto, he says that the ghosting was being discussed in some of the groups he is apart of. According to Boschetto, when this information went public there was a presence of the “snitches get stitches” mentality from many members of these groups.

Boschetto concludes his post with this: “It’s honestly disgusting that so many people thought that hiding or covering a clear cheating incident was the correct course of action and it’s an embarrassment to the community.
There will always be someone that cheats. The community should try to ostracize cheating, not defend it.”

(If you would like to read Boschetto’s post in its entirety, you can find it here).

Many would agree with this sentiment, as defending acts of cheating will not get the competitive scene or community anywhere. With the community already in a huge identity crisis, this is the last thing we need. Integrity should come before competition, especially in a tournament with such a large reward on the line. Like in Pandelis’ second statement, it’s also important to set good precedent for this kind of situation in order for it to not happen again.

*Side note: Also, many players point out just how difficult getting caught ghosting is in a tournament like this, and the fact that this player got caught for it should definitely warrant a punishment. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the moral ambiguity of this argument, but I completely agree with it.

Where do we go from here?

Segments of the Top 8 and onward will be replayed, with only those players/matches affected getting a second go. If you take anything away from this situation, it should be that ghosting (and therefore cheating) is bad and we should all be aware of that. In the midst of this controversy, Pandelis claimed that he was threatened to be sued and that he might just not hold these tournaments anymore if this is the response he’s getting. These tournaments are a shining example of a community effort, and we should be grateful that we have people in the community who are willing to go the extra mile.

The Top 4 and finals matches will be streamed in the near future on Pandelis’ Twitch channel (ZeldaVGC), and I encourage you to check out the stream in order to support this tournament. These “challenge” tournaments are a great thing the grassroots competitive Pokemon scene has going for it, and it would be a shame to see them go away over one controversy gone wrong.



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime, Bulbapedia, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

intimidate pokemon

A Contrarian Defiance to a Competitive metagame: A guide to the abilities that counter Intimidate

Like every year in VGC, the ability “Intimidate” is everywhere. There have always been Pokemon like Landorus and Salamence that have been the go-to users of this ability, but recently we have a new member of the Intimidate club that is Incineroar. With Incineroar being as dominant as ever in the 2018 metagame, this truly means that Intimidate is on 99% percent of teams, sometimes on more than one Pokemon. There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the abilities and Pokemon that can shake off or sometimes hard counter the onslaught of Intimidators, and I’m looking to weigh in. I’ll be giving you a guide to these abilities, what they do, which Pokemon can use them and maybe give you an idea for a potential member to your next tournament-winning team.

Contrary

What it does: Makes stat changes have the opposite effect.

Contrary isn’t one of these abilities that hard counters Intimidate, but the Pokemon with this ability certainly don’t mind the boost to their Attack. Since Contrary reverses stat changes, being affected by Intimidate gives a boost rather than a drop to the Pokemon’s Attack stat. Aside from that, Pokemon with this ability usually have access to a move that normally decreases the users stats, and it’s some of those Pokemon that we’ll be discussing.

Contrary + Superpower

Superpower is a 120 base power Fighting-type attack that (normally) lowers the users Attack and Defense by one stage. As mentioned earlier, Contrary reverses these drops into boosts making this a deadly combination. I mention Contrary first because it’s this exact combination that had the most recent tournament success. We’ll begin our discussion of Pokemon with Lurantis.

Lurantislurantis shuffle intimidate pokemon

Initially, this was one of Alola’s Pokemon I wasn’t very impressed with. Sure, it had access to Contrary and it could utilize that ability with both Leaf Storm and Superpower, but its low speed and defenses didn’t convince me this thing would be good. Then Charlotte regionals happened.

Lurantis actually has a lot going for it. The typical Lurantis move set carries attacks like Superpower, Leaf Blade and Knock Off which offer great offensive coverage and make Lurantis a huge threat after a couple boosts. Being a Grass-type in the 2018 metagame means you have decently powerful counters like Mega Charizard Y and Mega Salamence, but other than maybe one Fire-type on a team, many common compositions can struggle to deal with Grass-types. Lurantis isn’t even really afraid of Incineroar since Incineroar is weak to Superpower, and may struggle to hit Lurantis very hard after a few defense boosts.

Malamarmalamar shuffle intimidate pokemon

Now here’s a more fun choice for this combo. Malamar is weird in many ways, but it can be quite effective in battle. With a typing like Dark/Psychic this means Malamar only has to two weaknesses. Sure, one of those is a x4 weakness to Bug, but Bug-type moves in the 2018 metagame are pretty uncommon outside of U-Turn. That also means Malamar doesn’t like the plethora of Fairy-types, but a proper team composition can help with that.

What I’m trying to say here is that Malamar can succeed in this format much like how Lurantis can. Outside of a couple threats, many teams can struggle to deal with a set-up Malamar. Like Lurantis, Malamar also has great offensive coverage except replace the Grass-type attack with a potential Psychic-type one and a STAB Knock Off.

What both of these two have in common is that they’re both not Fighting-type Pokemon that have access to strong Fighting-type moves. Fighting-type moves are great in this format for the ever present Porygon2, Tyranitar and Snorlax running around, but Fighting-type Pokemon have had a bit of a rough go ever since Fairy-types were introduced.

The combination of Contrary and Superpower is deadly, and these are two Pokemon that should be considered threats going forward.

Serperiorserperior shuffle intimidate pokemon

Now we have an example of a Pokemon that’s actually won something this season. Jamie Boyt used Serperior in his championship run in Malmo, and this Pokemon came in clutch for him.

Unfortunately Serperior doesn’t have access to Superpower, but Contrary works for Serperior with Leaf Storm. While it doesn’t counter Intimidate quite as hard as the first two, Serperior’s speed makes it a huge threat even after one boost with Leaf Storm. Serperior’s role this season has mainly been for support with the boosting ability being a nice plus, but it’s another example of a Pokemon with Contrary that has shown itself to be viable.

Competitive

What it does: Boosts Special Attack (two stages) when a stat is lowered.

There are a bunch of Pokemon with this ability, but there’s really only one worth mentioning. (Sorry Wigglytuff, your 15 minutes of fame during the 2014 season are long gone)

Miloticmilotic intimidate pokemon

There was a lot of differing opinions about Milotic going into Charlotte regionals which was the first big tournament after Intimidate Incineroar was released. The haters were silenced after that weekend after Milotic won the regional on the team of Wolfe Glick.

Milotic is by far the best Competitive Pokemon simply because of how well a bulky Water-type matches up against the metagame, especially against the premier Intimidators. A boosted Scald melts Incineroar and Landorus while Icy Wind or Ice Beam can make quick work of Salamence.

However, according to Glick, the way to play Milotic is not to rely on its offense. Sure, having a Pokemon that can double its Special Attack just like that is nothing short of an offensive threat, but Glick believes the right way to use Milotic is to have it be more defensive with the Competitive boost just being a bonus. Milotic’s Special Attack is already impressive on its own, so maybe its worth investing into its poorer Defense in order for it to stick around longer.

Take it from a former World Champ. Milotic is good, it’s just everyone has been using it wrong.

Defiant

What it does: Boosts Attack sharply (two stages) when a stat is lowered.

This is pretty much the physical counterpart to Competitive. Defiant is technically a weaker ability than Competitive since the net gain of Attack is only plus one due to the drop from Intimidate, but that’s still significant. Even a single boost can turn two-hit-KO’s in one-hit-KO’s from these Pokemon.

Bisharpbisharp shuffle intimidate pokemon

What was once the dark knight of VGC 2015, has slowly dropped in popularity. Bisharp’s typing, low defenses and Speed finally caught up to it, but Bisharp can still do damage if unchecked. The plethora of Fairy-type Pokemon don’t appreciate Bisharp’s Iron Head, and Knock Off from this Pokemon does a ton of damage to any Cresselia or Gothitelle.

With that being said, one of Bisharp’s biggest tools in Sucker Punch was nerfed in power and is completely stopped thanks to Psychic Terrain. Still, Sucker Punch hurts coming from Bisharp, and Mega Metagross teams without Tapu Lele should beware the power of Bisharp.

Braviarybraviary shuffle intimidate pokemon 

While not nearly as common as Bisharp once was, Braviary is another Pokemon that immediately becomes a threat after a Defiant boost. Like Bisharp, Braviary has a great Attack stat, and the offensive pressure Braviary puts on will usually force defensive play from your opponent, allowing you to set up a free Tailwind. If the support route isn’t available, a Brave Bird, Superpower or even a Z-Move is almost a guaranteed KO on something that doesn’t resist it. That’s what’s cool about Braviary, it can support, but also become a sweeper under the right conditions.

 

What I love about the names for each of these abilities is that they all have something to do with opposition. Whether you’re defying or playing contrary to the metagame, you can still be competitive. If the constant matchup against teams with Landorus and Incineroar has you frustrated, hopefully this list of underrated Pokemon has given you some ideas on how to beat them. Because when you use these Pokemon, you’re intimidating the Intimidators.

Thanks for reading!



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime, Bulbapedia, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

vgc 2018 portland regional

A new voice to be reckoned with – VGC 2018 Portland Regional Championship recap

Adrian Sigler is your 2018 Portland Regional Champion, defeating finalist Yunhao Li in a near mirror match in the finals. As the title of this article implies, a certain Pokemon known for its powerful voice was big this past weekend. Portland might have been a small regional, but it was nothing short of action-packed. Let’s take a look at some of the cool strategies that made it to the Top Cut.

Results and teams (Top 8)

1. Adrian Sigler

Image result for mega gardevoir shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

2. Yunhao Li

Image result for mega gardevoir shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for aegislash shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffle

3. Gary Qian

Image result for mega salamence shuffleImage result for pheromosa shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffleImage result for audino shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

4. Jeremy Shacket

Image result for mega manectric shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for celesteela pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffleImage result for cresselia pokemon shuffle icon

5. Quinn Johnston

Shuffle006MY.pngImage result for tapu lele pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shufflePorygon2Image result for snorlax shuffle

6. Samuel Haarsma

Image result for mega kangaskhan shuffleImage result for zapdos pokemon shuffleImage result for pelipper shuffleImage result for seismitoad shuffleImage result for breloom shuffleImage result for chandelure shuffle

7. Alberto Lara

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for raichu shuffleImage result for cresselia pokemon shuffle iconImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffle

8. River Davis

Image result for mega manectric shuffleImage result for celesteela pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for gothitelle pokemon shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffleImage result for persian shuffle

Where was everybody?

I mentioned before how Portland Regionals was a small tournament, and it was for North America standards. The final number entered for the Masters division ended up less than 100 players which meant seven rounds and Championship Points only awarded to the Top 16.

What could’ve caused this? Honestly, the answer isn’t clear. The northwest has never been known to be a powerhouse region, but the influx of players from California should’ve alleviated that some. Some notable names from the west coast have felt absent this season with players like Gavin Michaels not having a ton of Championship Points to Aaron Zheng’s absence from yet another regional. Plus, this regional happened sort of on the tail-end of the “dropping of player attendance” debate with some controversy being sprinkled on that topic shortly before this event. In the interest of the community, I’ll leave it at that.

Still, maybe this absence of big names could mean an opportunity for up and coming players to claim a place in the spotlight. Of course Alberto Lara has top cut another event this season, but he already has cemented himself at the top of the North American Championship Point standings. I’m talking about players like Gary Qian, 2017 Vancouver regional champion River Davis and 2017 Ultra Beast fanboy Samuel Haarsma. They may not be names that everyone recognizes right now, but 2018 could change that.

The new screaming queen of VGCmega gardevoir vgc 2018 portland regional

Mega Gardevoir was all the rage at Portland, and after this tournament players should definitely have it on their radar. Before the release of Intimidate Incineroar, I would’ve considered Mega Gardevoir not too strong of a pick simply because of the stiff competition when it comes to Fairy-type team members and the nerf to Pixilate. Now with two amazing Intimidate Pokemon that each support Gardevoir well, this Mega Evolution has skyrocketed itself into the mainstream once again.

The common core for most Gardevoir teams boils down to Gardevoir, Incineroar, Tapu Fini/Koko and Landorus (some players are even referring to this team archetype by the name Garde-roar). The remaining two members are surprisingly flexible as this is where we mainly saw difference in the teams of both of our finalists. Amoonguss was a popular partner for Gardevoir in the 2015 season due to its ability to redirect attacks away from Gardevoir while Gardevoir either set up Trick Room or spammed Hyper Voice. The Trick Room mode continues to be standard on Mega Gardevoir teams nowadays, but you might now see some other Trick Room Pokemon like the ever-popular Snorlax.

Mega Gardevoir is here to stay, and with this new team composition, it has definitely made its case for why it’s a great choice for a 2018 Mega Evolution.

Metagame highlights

Pheromosa: One of the things that Gary Qian claims to his name is his ability to make weirdly successful teams. But, this Pheromosa has a purpose albeit a gimmicky one. This strategy involves the move Speed Swap which switches the speed stats of the user and the target. The idea here is to use Speed Swap on Snorlax after it has set up a Belly Drum to make it unspeakably fast. Like I said, it’s very gimmicky, but Snorlax has enough bulk and Pheromosa has enough speed to pull it off.

Audino: It wouldn’t be a Gary Qian team if there weren’t two Pokemon in this section from it. Keeping it in normal form, Audino actually offers some good support if you’re willing to try it out. It gets access to both Trick Room and Heal Pulse making it an incredible partner for Snorlax. It’s ability Regenerator is also great for a Pokemon as tank-y as Audino as switching out gives Audino the ability to heal while it’s not in battle. One final trick Audino has is the move Simple Beam which changes the target’s ability into Simple. This is not a bad ability to have as simple doubles the stat increases from moves like Calm Mind and Dragon Dance. A neat tech, but something tells me that Mega Salamence wouldn’t really want to give up its Aerilate ability for an extra boost to its Attack and Speed.

Seismitoad: A rain team without Politoed, Ludicolo or Mega Swampert? Well, I’d hardly call Haarsma’s team rain-based, but the mode that exists here is quite interesting. Seismitoad is a unique choice as its stats aren’t too impressive outside of its HP. Still, with a Life Orb and some great move coverage with Muddy Water, Earth Power and Ice Beam at its disposal this Pokemon can actually pack a punch.

Breloom: As more and more Fairy-types were introduced, Breloom fell farther and farther off of usage stats. Breloom’s bread and butter is the ability Technician which boosts the power of attacks with less than or equal to 60 base power. This meant a very powerful Mach Punch, which unfortunately gets kind of shut down by Tapu Lele and Psychic Terrain. But, Tapu Fini being a Water-type means that it does not enjoy taking Breloom’s other means of offense in Bullet Seed. Oh, and I almost forgot Spore which pretty much makes Breloom as faster, more offensive Amoonguss.

(I would say something about Haarsma’s Chandelure, but we never really got to see him bring it to games unfortunately)

Raichu: And here I thought Togedemaru had stolen the spotlight from one of the original Lightningrod supporters in Raichu. Raichu actually has some good synergy on a team like Alberto Lara’s as Lightningrod can make Lara’s Tapu Fini not have to fear Zapdos or Tapu Koko at all while it’s on the field. Raichu can also be annoying when paired next to Mega Gengar as, like Whimsicott, it can fulfill the role of Encore to Gengar’s Disable. Finally, Fake Out does well to allow for more free set up from Lara’s Tapu Fini and his interesting use of a Landorus-Therian with Swords Dance.

That’s all from Portland, and it looks like the season has a bit of a break at the regional level for the month of April. However, players will need to remain on their A-game as the Latin America International Championships are now just a month away.

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi and Trainer Tower

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

pokemon march international challenge

What Pokemon and strategies to expect during the March International Challenge

It’s time yet again for another International Challenge tournament. The International Challenges are online tournaments held on the Pokemon Global Link that pit players across the world in battles using the current competitive format’s rule-set. However, this tournament is a bit different since all battles are best-of-one, kind of like if you’re playing on the Battle Spot ladder. So what should you expect during your 45 battle run? Here’s a pretty good idea.

The current top 30

 

These are the Top 30 most used Pokemon on the Championship Battles ladder on Battle Spot, and you should expect to see all of them. Some notable examples are the Island Guardians, Metagross, Snorlax, Incineroar, Zapdos, Salamence, Landorus-Therian, Tyranitar, Cresselia and many others. Of course it would take forever to go over each individual Pokemon, so we’ll just give you the highlights. 

Mega Evolutions

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleMega Metagross

This should come as no surprise to anyone that has ever played VGC this year. Mega Metagross is by far the most popular Mega Evolution and for good reason. It has great speed, power and bulk with some great move coverage to help it tear through an opponent’s team. Expect to see the usual partners like Landorus, Zapdos and Tapu Lele, but there could be some variations to the Mega Metagross team formula. Recently, a team that uses Porygon2 and Araquanid has seen success with Mega Metagross, and I expect to see a fair amount of those teams in this tournament. The name of Mega Metagross’ game is consistency, and thus using one of these teams is usually a safe pick for guaranteeing a good number of wins.

Image result for mega manectric shuffleMega Manectric

Another Mega Evolution that has been dominating usage charts is Mega Manectric. This Pokemon isn’t too impressive on its own, but what it does for its team is amazing. Mega Manectric relies on pivoting and lowering the opponent’s stats by cycling Intimidate using Volt Switch and using Snarl to lower the opponent’s Special Attack. Usually this leads to a switch into Gothitelle which can trap the weakened foes while Snorlax sets up an almost free Belly Drum. This team composition is also a pretty safe pick, though its play style might be a bit slow for a 45 game best-of-one gauntlet.

Shuffle006MY.pngMega Charizard Y

Like the above two, Mega Charizard Y is a pick for consistency. What makes Charizard preferable to Manectric in my opinion is its ability to play much faster. Sure Charizard teams usually have some sort of Trick Room mode with Snorlax or Tyranitar, but this Trick Room mode is usually focused on making the most of those Trick Room turns with offense. The fast modes of Mega Charizard Y teams are also potent as Pokemon like Kartana and Tapu Koko can control speed while also firing off high damaging attacks. Combine all of that with Mega Charizard Y’s spamming of Heat Wave in the sun and you could potentially have some quick games.

Image result for mega salamence shuffleMega Salamence

Mega Salamence hasn’t had nearly the level of success it’s had in the past, but players are finding away to keep this Mega Evolution among the best. Mega Salamence fits into a category of Mega Evolutions that like to set-up and sweep. Some other notable examples are Mega Tyranitar, Gyarados and Charizard X respectively. Mega Salamence’s Aerilate ability gives it a boost to its Normal-type attacks while also turning them into same-type boosted Flying-type moves. After just one Dragon Dance Mega Salamence can win games on its own, which makes it a perfect Pokemon for best-of-one play.

Image result for mega gardevoir shuffleMega Gardevoir

The last Mega Evolution I’ll mention is one that has recently emerged into the spotlight thanks to a certain Intimidating cat not named Landorus. Mega Gardevoir has typically had a slow play style in the past, but Mega Gardevoir is another Pokemon that can win games on its own. Most Gardevoir teams have both a fast Tailwind mode and a Trick Room mode that rely on putting Mega Gardevoir in a position where it can spam Pixilate-boosted Hyper Voice to victory. The typical Gardevoir team composition is another known for consistency, and this could be an attractive option for many players looking to play a more simple team.

Other notable Pokemon

Of course I could put Pokemon like the Island Guardians, Landorus and Cresselia in here, but let’s look at some more interesting Pokemon from the aforementioned Top 30.

Image result for incineroar pokemon shuffleIncineroar

We’ve talked a lot about this Pokemon and its new ability already, but the hype train for Intimidate Incineroar has just barely left the station. With access to great offensive coverage, Fake Out, good bulk and a surprisingly flexible fourth moveslot (and Intimidate obviously) Incineroar can almost be slapped on any team right now. Expect it mainly with Mega Evolutions like Gardevoir and Salamence who benefit from Incineroar’s ability to use Fake Out to buy them a free turn of damage or setup. This Pokemon will likely be everywhere, and I encourage you to keep count of how many you face just to see the absurd amount of times you’ll likely go up against it.

Image result for milotic shuffleMilotic

Want to counter Incineroar and Intimidate in general? Milotic is probably the Pokemon for you. There were a lot of haters of Milotic before the Charlotte Regional Championships that it ended up winning. Competitive is an amazing ability that allows Milotic to turn a inconsequential Attack drop into doubling its Special Attack. Granted, this doesn’t turn Milotic into a sweeper and players who do see Milotic that way are playing it wrong according to Charlotte Regional champion Wolfe Glick. Milotic can do damage with that Competitive boost, but keeping it around for the long game is essential to using it effectively.

Image result for kommo-o shuffleKommo-o 

The reason I put this Pokemon here is that it has the ability to boost all of its stats with its powerful Z-move. The common Mega Gengar+Kommo-o team composition has had sort of a drought in tournament play, but a team like that could easily work for an International Challenge. The team likes to play slow outside of Kommo-o with Pokemon like Tapu Bulu and a Trick Room mode that relies on Gengar’s Shadow Tag to usually set up a long, painful game for the opponent, but unprepared teams could fall prey to an easy Kommo-o sweep. Make sure your team has some sort of Fairy-type coverage as you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a sweep thanks to Clangorous Soulblaze.

Image result for snorlax shuffleSnorlax

I know I said I was going to make this section more interesting, but Snorlax is a consistent pick for both best-of-one and best-of-three play. Snorlax in this tournament will likely be Belly Drum variants who will do nothing but rack up KO’s and Recycle their berries when their health gets low. Expect Snorlax to be paired alongside a Trick Room setter like Gothitelle or Cresselia and some sort of Pokemon that can cycle Intimidate like Mega Manectric and/or Landorus. I’m surprised that Snorlax stuck around despite the increase in Incineroar usage, but that should be a testament to just how good this Pokemon is. If there’s one thing I absolutely do not recommend is sleeping on Snorlax.

 

And that’s just a quick preview to this month’s International Challenge tournament. Whether you’re playing for Championship Points or just for fun, these tournaments are great to practice the current competitive format. But that’s not all the action happening this weekend as the Portland Regional Championships will be going on with a stream of the event being graciously provided by the people over at NuggetBridge. There’s a ton of Pokemon happening this weekend and we’ll be here to cover it all!

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon