Wind Lugia

What to expect from your limited edition Wind Lugia

Dedicated Pokémon fans are getting a lot of rewards in 2018. They can claim a free legendary Pokémon once a month for the duration of the year. It was recently announced that anyone with a subscription to Pokémon Bank would be able to get their hands on the first ever Hidden Ability Alola starters. Now, as part of the promotional for the upcoming movie Pokémon the Movie: Everyone’s Story, they have released a limited edition Lugia.

First seen in Pokémon Gold and Silver, Lugia remains one of the franchise’s most popular legendaries. This makes it a common addition to a lot of teams.

But this version is going to be unique.

Its unusual moveset and rumours surrounding Everyone’s Story have led fans to affectionately nickname it the Wind Lugia.

How to get your Wind Lugia

Wind Lugia

Announcement of Wind Lugia page in CoroCoro, taken from Serebii.net

Wind Lugia is a limited edition Pokemon that is only available for a brief period of time.

Between April 13th and July 12th 2018, anyone who pre-books a ticket to see Pokémon the Movie: Everyone’s Story will also receive a free Lugia code. You have until September 30th to redeem it.

Codes will be distributed with the pre-booked ticket and can be redeemed through the Mystery Gift functionality.

They can be downloaded onto any Generation VII game. This means that anyone with Pokemon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun or Ultra Moon has a chance to get their hands on this exclusive Pokémon. Unlike the legendary Pokémon distributed throughout the year, it does not appear that Wind Lugia will be any different between the original Pokémon Sun and Moon and their Ultra counterparts.

Every Lugia will be distributed at level 100.

 

Stats

Wind LugiaNo information has been officially released about what trainers can expect from their Wind Lugia’s stats. However, there are tangible reasons to hope that you’ll end up with a truly powerful Pokémon.

For starters, Lugia has incredible base stats anyway. Totaling 680, its stats make it a wonderfully tanky Pokémon. Attack and Special Attack are its lowest, standing at a still respectable 90 each. It has solid Speed (110).

But its defences are where it really shines. With 130 base Defence and 154 Special Defence, Lugia is built to be able to withstand a blow. Its bulk gives it the kind of durability that many Pokémon can only dream of.

Since Generation IV, any Pokémon in the Undiscovered Egg Group has been guaranteed to have three IVs. Particularly valuable for legendary Pokémon, which can’t be bred at all, this means that you’ve got a decent shot at great stats without having to invest so much time into breeding them into your team.

This gives you an even better chance of a monstrously powerful Wind Lugia. Depending on which stats get this natural boost, this could shape the fighter your Wind Lugia will become. It could pull up its Attack and Special Attack Stats so that it can pack more of a punch. Or it could end up doing even more to barricade those already stunning defences.

 

Ability

Wind Lugia

Lugia from the anime, from Bulbpedia

This event Pokémon is equipped with its Hidden Ability Multiscale. Multiscale only ever appears in the game as a Hidden Ability, and only on two Pokémon – Lugia and Dragonite. It reduces damage taken from damage-dealing moves by half when the Pokémon with this Ability is at full health.

Lugia’s first ability, Pressure, is already pretty impressive. Most commonly found in legendary Pokémon, Pressure reduces the PP of any move targeted at the Pokémon with this Ability. This hurries your enemy through its move set and forces it to Struggle much sooner than usual. It can really make a dent in those low PP, high power moves that cause the most damage.

But Wind Lugia’s guaranteed Multiscale can be more valuable still.

It gives you an opportunity to make the most of Lugia’s already impressive defensive stats. You can go into battle knowing that Lugia will be all but untouched by the first move thrown at it. Or any move coming its way after a recovery. That gives you an opportunity to set up the situation you need to make the most out of your team.

It means you’re near guaranteed a turn or two that you can dedicate solely to tilting the scales in your favour.

 

Move set

Wind Lugia

Wind Lugia details in CoroCoro, taken from Serebii.net

Part of the origin of the nickname Wind Lugia, this legendary is distributed with exclusively Flying type moves. It comes equipped with Aeroblast, Defog, Tailwind and Hurricane.

Aeroblast makes a lot of sense, as Lugia’s signature move. It blasts a vortex of air directly at the foe. In Triple Battles, it can hit non-adjacent foes. It has base power of 100, with 95% accuracy, and a boosted chance of a critical hit. Aeroblast is the perfect attack for a move set built around the Flying type.

Defog is kind of move that can undo anyone’s carefully built boosts. It lowers the targets evasiveness by a stage and clears away any fog on the field. As well as fog, Defog will clear protective moves like Light Screen, Reflect and Safeguard. It also removes popular competitive moves like Spikes and Stealth Rock. This might seem like a detraction, but since Generation VI, Defog has been able to remove Spikes and the like from the user’s side of the field too. Defog is a beautiful move for competitive play.

While Defog focuses on dragging down on your opponent, Tailwind shares its advantage with your entire party. It doubles the Speed stat not only of the user, but of its entire party for three full turns. Given Lugia’s comfortable Speed already, this could make for some fierce fighting.

If used with Flyinium-Z, it also ups your critical hit rate by two stages. In conjunction with Aeroblast, this makes Wind Lugia a dangerous foe.

Hurricane has caught the attention of a lot of Wind Lugia’s fans, as it is not a move that Lugia can usually learn. With a base power of a whopping 110, it deals a ton of damage. It also has a 30% chance of causing confusion and can hit non-adjacent targets in Triple Battles.

 

The verdict

Wind Lugia

Lugia, from Bulbapedia

With this combination of moves, ability and pure base power, Wind Lugia makes a fearsome addition to any competitive team.

Although they’re not popular among competitive players, Wind Lugia looks like it’s ready to wipe the floor in Triple Battles. But generally in any format, it’s got the makings of the kind of Pokémon that you can depend on battle after battle after battle.

The moves it comes with complement each other beautifully. They cover all the bases for competitive battling. There’s something to boost not only Wind Lugia itself, but its entire team. It has something to tear down the defences of the enemy. There are two enormously powerful attacking moves that have the stats to back them up. There is even the not inconsiderable chance to confuse.

Wind Lugia combines a natural bulk with a move set that takes advantage of its typing. Although it doesn’t do anything to take advantage of Lugia’s Psychic side, it showcases the very best of what its Flying typing can do.

As well as being another treat for your Pokédex, Wind Lugia has the potential for some brutal competitive action.

 


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Images from Bulbapedia and Serebii.net

Hidden Ability

How the Hidden Ability Alolan starters perform competitively

It was announced this week that Hidden Ability Alolan starters are finally available. Exclusive to Pokémon Bank subscribers, they can be collected from Pokémon Centres the same as any other Mystery Gift.

All players need to do to claim their Alolan starters is log into the Pokémon Bank app with a Generation VII game in their console. Each trainer will receive one of each starter in its fully evolved form at level 50. This is the first time that these Pokémon will appear in the game with their Hidden Ability.

No end date for the distribution has been announced.

Along with the legendary Pokémon distributed each month, this offers trainers a new way to shake up their competitive teams.

 

Decidueye with Hidden Ability Long Reach

Hidden Ability

Decidueye, from Bulbapedia

Decidueye doesn’t stand out as a particularly powerful Pokémon for competitive teams. It has fairly average stats with disappointingly low speed. At a respectable 107, its Attack stat is its highest. Its 100 base Special Attack and Special Defense isn’t awful, but it also isn’t amazing.

Decidueye’s signature move, Spirit Shackle, can pack a punch. It offers a solid 80 base damage as well as STAB. It does lock in opposing Pokémon so they can’t be switched out. But, thanks to Decidueye’s generally average stats and typing, this isn’t a particular threat to many opponents.

Its Z-Move is more powerful still, with a lot of base power offering one of its biggest blows.

There are a few decent move sets available to Decidueye, if you know how to strategise around it.

Its typing is as unremarkable as its stats. While it is resistant to some common types, including Ground and Water, it has more type-based weaknesses than strengths. While it resists four types, it is weak to nine: Flying, Ghost, Fire, Ice and Dark. The immunity to Normal and Fighting types comes in handy, but it’s not enough to make up for its vulnerabilities.

Hidden Ability

Decidueye typing, from Bulbapedia

The Decidueye available through Pokémon Bank comes with Leaf Blade, Phantom Force, Shadow Sneak and Brave Bird. This move set comprised of powerful physical moves takes advantage of that high Attack stat. It also offers a little bonus in the form of Brave Bird, which Decidueye usually can’t learn until level 55.

Decidueye’s Hidden Ability, Long Reach, prevents effects caused by contact moves. This Hidden Ability only appears in the Rowlet evolutionary line.

Long Reach means that Decidueye won’t take recoil damage from moves like Brave Bird. It also prevents the effects of abilities like Poison Point and items like the Rocky Helmet. There are items that can do this for Decidueye, but this Hidden Ability frees up the item slot for something else. With some creative thinking, this can definitely be used to your advantage.

Decidueye’s Hidden Ability gives it more scope for competitive play. It means that its most powerful moves won’t take so much of a toll. This can be very valuable with the right strategy. But it may not be enough to make up for the vulnerabilities that have kept Decidueye out of the competitive sphere so far.

 

Primarina with Hidden Ability Liquid Voice

Hidden Ability

Primarina, from Bulbapedia

While it is also not likely to stand out as particularly powerful, Primarina does have fair stats. Its 116 Special Defense stat gives it a fair amount of bulk. At 126, Primarina’s Special Attack stat is the highest of the Alolan starter Pokémon. It is slow, but tanky, so does have potential on the competitive scene.

The signature move, Sparkling Aria, offers a base damage of 90, with 100% accuracy. It has the ability to heal the burn of its target. While this might not seem advantageous when directed at an opponent, a creative strategy could make it a strong asset, particularly in doubles.

Primarina is also blessed with the most powerful Z-Move out of all the Alolan starters.

Primarina’s typing gives it decent coverage. Although it is weak to Poison, Grass and Electric types, it is resistant to more types than it is vulnerable to. It has a type advantage over Fighting, Fire, Bug, Water, Ice and Dark, which gives it an edge over some very popular Pokémon. The immunity to Dragon types is especially nice.

Both Primarina’s types offer STAB to some fairly powerful moves. It has access to a decent range of attacks that can combine to make up some solid move sets. Its move pool includes a lot of popular moves for competitive battles, including Charm, Protect and Amnesia.

Hidden Ability

Primarina typing, from Bulbapedia

The Primarina available through PokémonBank comes with Hyper Voice, Moonblast, Perish Song and Icy Wind. Perish Song is notable in particular as it isn’t a move that Primarina, or any of its prevolutions, can learn through leveling alone. Usually, Perish Song is an egg move that can only be bred into a Popplio.

The Hidden Ability, Liquid Voice, turns any sound-based moves into Water type. This Hidden Ability only appears in the Popplio evolutionary line.

Liquid Voice means that both Perish Song and Hyper Voice, usually Normal type moves, will gain STAB when used by Primarina. This move set gives Primarina three out of four moves with STAB, as Moonblast already benefits from it as a Fairy type move.

Primarina’s move pool gives it access to some attacks that can really take advantage of its Hidden Ability. A lot of attention has already been drawn, in particular, to Round. While it has a base power of 60, that gets doubled when used immediately after another Pokémon. Added to the STAB afforded it by Liquid Voice, this could become very powerful in doubles tournaments.

Thanks to its combination of decent stats and typing, Primarina already has some potential for competitive play. The introduction of its Hidden Ability gives it a chance to exploit some high damage moves.

 

Incineroar with Hidden Ability Intimidate

Hidden Ability

Incineroar, from Bulbapedia

Incineroar’s stats make it a fairly decent tank, as far as its role in competitive teams goes. Combining 95 base HP with 90 Defense and Special Defense makes for solid cover. The addition of 115 base Attack seals its tanky reputation.

Incineroar’s signature move, Darkest Lariat, makes very good use of its high Attack stat, with 85 base power.

It has a solid move pool that is boosted by some very nice egg moves, if you’re prepared to invest some time in breeding. Capable of learning a lot of strong physical attacks, there are some interesting move sets available to anyone looking to get creative with Incineroar.

It doesn’t have a huge amount of versatility. Most of its move sets are going to be based primarily around its high Attack. But Incineroar is at least good at what it does.

Its dual typing of Fire and Dark offers fair coverage against other types. It is resistant to more types than it is weak against. The advantage of Fighting, Ground, Rock and Water isn’t amazing, as they all have some popular powerful moves. However, its resistance to Ghost, Steel, Fire, Ice and Dark does make up for that a little. Its immunity to Psychic types also helps.

Hidden Ability

Incineroar typing, from Bulbapedia

The Incineroar released via Pokémon Bank is comes with Fake Out, U-Turn, Darkest Lariat and Flare Blitz. This is a decent move set, all things considered. Fake Out typically appears as an egg move for Litten’s evolutionary line. Flare Blitz is usually only learned at level 55. This offers a bit of an advantage over home-grown Incineroar.

The Hidden Ability Intimidate is the only one of the Alolan starters that isn’t exclusive to their evolutionary line. It has been available to a wide variety of Pokémon since Generation III. In terms of competitive use, it’s not uncommon, but not unpopular either. It lowers the Attack of all opposing Pokémon.

Given Incineroar’s decent defensive stats, Intimidate can be very valuable competitively in adding to this. If you’re not going to lean into Incineroar’s literal fire power, then its Blaze ability won’t offer too much of an advantage. Intimidate, on the other hand, weakens opposing Pokémon, making it tougher for them to break through Incineroar’s defenses. It is also helpful in Double Battles, if Incineroar’s partner isn’t especially well endowed with high defense stats.

It doesn’t much affect the move sets you might choose for it, but Incineroar’s Hidden Ability could give it the edge it needs to make a mark on the competitive scene.

 


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Images from Bulbapedia and Game Radar

Legendary Pokémon

How do the March legendary Pokémon perform competitively?

As part of the year long celebration of Legendary Pokémon, trainers around the world can effortlessly get their hands on either a Regigigas or a Heatran for the duration of March. Anyone who signed up to the Pokémon Trainer Club newsletter will already have had their download code sent to them.

Trainers playing either Pokémon Sun or Ultra Sun will receive a Regigigas. Trainers playing either Pokemon Moon or Ultra Moon will receive a Heatran. Two extremely coveted and popular legendary Pokémon, both make for a treasured addition to any collector’s Pokédex.

Like all legendary Pokémon, Regigigas and Heatran are blessed with a number of gifts that make them truly formidable opponents.

They are both officially categorised as Sub-Legendary Pokémon. This means that they are allowed in Battle Facilities and Video Game Championships.

But how do they fare competitively?

 

Heatran

Legendary Pokémon

Heatran, from Bulbapedia

Coming in with a similar total to most legendary Pokémon, Heatran has a decent spread across its stats. The total of 600 is fairly evenly split, peaking with an impressive 130 Special Attack stat.

Its typing is incredible. It is resistant to an immense nine different types of Pokémon, plus a total immunity to Poison. This is incredibly rare. In the current competitive climate, being resistant to Fairy type Pokémon is a particularly valuable asset to any team.

Its type advantages are boosted by its Flash Fire ability, which also makes it immune to Fire type moves.

It only has three weaknesses, but they’re not uncommon. Water, Ground and Fighting all boast some very powerful moves, too. You’ll definitely want to be wary of moves like Earthquake if you’re fighting with Heatran.

Generally, these weaknesses aren’t especially difficult to cover with a decent supporting team.

Heatran’s versatile move set means that you can use its advantages to complement almost any team.

The level 60 Heatran you’ll receive if you’re playing Pokémon Moon comes with a fairly basic move set. You’ll likely want to change it around if you want to take your Heatran to competitive battles. If you do, you’ve got a lot of room to be creative.

It comes with Crunch, Scary Face, Lava Plume and Fire Spin, which aren’t bad moves by any stretch. Lava Plum and Fire Spin both get an advantage through STAB, and could even get an additional boost through Heatran’s Flash Fire.

Legendary Pokémon

Heatran’s type matches, from Bulbapedia

Heatran’s move pool includes attacks like Stealth Rock, Toxic, Taunt and Protect. These can all be very advantageous to a strategic team. You’re definitely granted plenty of scope to craft yourself an unpredictable Heatran that does a lot of lingering, long-lasting damage.

Pokémon Ultra Moon players will receive a level 100 Heatran equipped with a very powerful offensive set that is more suited to competitive play. It comes with Magma Storm, Earth Power, Heat Wave and Flash Cannon.

Again, its Flash Fire ability gives two of its moves a potential boost. Its combined Fire and Steel typing means that three out of four of these moves get assistance from STAB. The inclusion of Earth Power gives you a solid edge over anyone else bringing their Heatran to the competitive stage thanks to its weakness to Ground type moves.

There’s no denying the obvious reasons that Heatran is a popular pick for competitive teams. Whether you’re playing Moon or Ultra Moon, you’ve definitely got scope for an incredible addition to your strategy.

 

Regigigas

Legendary Pokémon

Regigigas, from Bulbapedia

Despite not often being used in the competitive sphere, Regigigas is blessed with incredible stats. They even blow most other legendary Pokémon out of the water.

The whopping total of 670 means it gets a stunning 160 Attack stat and an impressive 110 on nearly everything else. The only exception is Special Attack, which sits at a still respectable 80.

These kinds of numbers are the type that would usually get a Pokémon banned from competitive play. Regigigas gets around this thanks to its ability Slow Stat. This halves Regigigas’s Attack and Speed stats for the first five turns of battle.

It makes it a little less terrifying for your opponent. But if you’re prepared to invest in your Regigigas, you can make its ability all but pointless. If you’re lucky enough to get a Regigigas with a nature that does it for you, you can boost these stats up to the maximum for some Pokémon that are popular competitively. If you don’t, you can still take some time to focus on your EVs that give those lowered stats a little bonus.

This will mean that even with Slow Start, Regigigas will still have respectable numbers. In five turns, when Slow Start wears off, they will become monstrous.

And Regigigas is enough of a tank that will definitely last that long.

Unlike Heatran, Regigigas doesn’t have the same kind of advantages due to its type. Its Normal typing isn’t amazing. It takes the usual damage from most types and is weak to Fighting. But that isn’t devastating given its bulk. It isn’t resistant to anything, but is immune to Ghost, which is a nice touch.

Legendary Pokémon

Regigigas type matches, from Bulbapedia

Trainers playing on Pokémon Sun will receive a level 60 Regigigas with Zen Headbutt, Revenge, Dizzy Punch and Confuse Ray. This isn’t a bad set up. It gives you a chance to lean into a strategy based on confusing the opposing team.

If you want to get a bit more creative with the move set, Regigigas has plenty of options. At level 100, it learns the STAB enhanced Giga Impact. It can also learn Knock Off and a bunch of elementary punches you can definitely make good use of.

The level 100 Regigigas available to Pokémon Ultra Sun trainers comes with a move pool consisting of Crush Grip, Drain Punch, Zen Headbutt and Heavy Slam. Like the Pokémon Ultra Moon Heatran, this version is more traditionally suited to competitive battles.

The inclusion of Drain Punch gives you a restorative option that can keep your Regigigas going through those Slow Start turns. This is particularly useful as Regigigas is one of the few Pokémon that can’t learn either Rest or Protect. The immensely powerful Crush Grip is boosted by STAB, making for another immensely powerful offensive set.

While typically not as popular in the competitive scene as other legendary Pokémon (including Heatran), Regigigas has a lot of potential if you know how to use it.

How to get your Legendary Pokémon

Anyone who signed up to the Nintendo newsletter before March 1st 2018 will be able to receive one of these legendary Pokémon through the Mystery Gift function. The code has already been emailed out to subscribers. It can be redeemed until March 24th 2018.

Neither Heatran nor Regigigas comes with an item that is advantageous in battle. However, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon players will find their legendary Pokémon holding a Gold Bottle Cap.

In January, trainers could get their hands on Dialga and Palkia. Coming up in April, you’ll be able to get either Entei or Raikou.

 


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Images from Bulbapedia and PokemonLegendary.com

Pokémon Day

Is Nintendo building up to Switch release announcement on Pokémon Day 2018?

Eagle-eyed Pokémon fans will not have missed that people behind Pokémon are making a big deal about Pokémon Day 2018. They’ve posted a countdown on Twitter complete with a cheeky winking Pikachu, original content each day on the official website and plenty of throwbacks to generations past.

One of its most recent Tweets feels designed purely to generate nostalgia. It takes us back on a little journey through every generation so far, from Kanto to Alola.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The last time things felt this nostalgic was in 2016, on Pokémon’s 20th anniversary, when it released the heart-wrenching trailer for Pokémon Sun and Moon.

The eerily similar approach to promoting Pokémon Day 2018 has got a lot of fans speculating about what Nintendo could be up to. Many think that this feels like they’re ramping up 22 years of Pokémon passion for a reason – building to something more than just any old Pokémon Day.

In fact, a lot of people think that Nintendo are planning on releasing big news on February 27th 2018.

But what could it be?

It feels too close to the fairly recent release of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, not to mention the upcoming release of Detective Pikachu, for it to be a full announcement. But a lot of fans think that we might be about to get a glimpse of how the Pokémon world will evolve into its eighth generation on the Nintendo Switch.

A Tweet from Serebii.net has confirmed that the footage from the newest Pokémon movie will premiere on a Japanese Variety Show on Tuesday February 27th. At the moment, there’s almost no information about what this footage will feature, apart from the inclusion of Lugia.

Again, this feels very similar to the build up to Pokémon Sun and Moon, which reintroduced classic Pokémon in an all new way through their Alolan forms. People are theorising that this film could usher in a new age for more much-loved Pokémon. Perhaps the beloved second generation legendary will be revived in Gen VIII.

The film could be the first we see of the anime heroes reconnecting with these old favourites. This could pave the way for the games to revisit them. Pokémon Day is rumoured to provide the first real glimpse we get into what to expect.

Between Pokémon GO and Pokémon Sun and Moon, Nintendo have hit on a goldmine with these revivals. Each new generation will of course bring new wannabe Pokémon Masters into the fold. But by bringing back Pokémon rich with nostalgia, they’re reconnecting to an existing audience, some of whom may have drifted away from the franchise. But now, as adults with their own money, rather than kids begging their parents for games for Christmases and birthdays, this market is ready to buy.

There is no reason for Nintendo not to capitalise on this by continuing with this trend. The promotional patterns based on nostalgia are clearly repeating themselves, albeit with Tweets rather than full trailers this time around.

With Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon still quite recently released, and with Detective Pikachu on the way, it makes sense that there will still be a bit of a wait for another new Pokémon game. But the Switch is now nearly a year old and its popularity is booming. It’s only going to be a matter of time before Pokémon makes its way there.

There is speculation that Pokemon Day 2018 could see the release of a trailer, or a teaser, of a revolutionary Generation VIII. The subtle nature of Tweets rather than a full length trailer suggests that we won’t be getting a lot of information just yet. But could instead be the first look at a Pokémon adventure unlike anything we’ve seen or played so far.

Through island trials and Alolan forms and other new ways to play, Pokémon Sun and Moon paved the way for a new approach to classic Pokémon. It prepared people for a whole new way to explore and interact with the Pokémon world made possible by the Nintendo Switch.

So what does this mean for competitive battlers?

Honestly, at this early point, it could mean anything.

The resurfacing of Lugia as a central character in a movie suggests that there are going to be new ways to battle with classic Pokémon in the games. Similarly to the way the Z-moves and Mega-Evolution gave some Pokémon a new foothold in the competitive scene, the new generation could offer another change to gameplay that restored old favourites to their former glory. Only now, they’ll have a fighting chance aginst more than just the original 151.

There is already a lot of suspicion out there that CoroCoro is due to release new information about Lugia’s role in the next generation. This is reminiscent of the CoroCoro leaks that introduced the world to Mega-Evolution through the first ever glimpse of Mega-Evolved form of Mewtwo.

While this isn’t confirmation, the similarities are generating a lot of excitement about the future for Lugia.

How Pokémon will translate to the new, more complex console is still a something of a mystery. The basic mechanics of the game have remained similar throughout the generations, but there is definitely scope for evolution with the move to the Switch.

Every new generation updates something. Developments have been quickening their pace recently, with Mega-Evolutions and Z-Moves and Island Trials coming in quite rapidly.

It’s not unreasonable to think that by reintroducing a Pokémon as popular as Lugia, they’ll be boosting it with a completely new way to battle and maybe even using it to usher in all new mechanics.

So although the answers aren’t there yet, it’s still a lot of fun to contemplate. The countdown to Pokémon Day 2018 is getting tenser by the minute.

 

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 Kirstie! (@ActuallyKurt)

Images from @SerebiiNet on Twitter.

vgc 2018 oceania international championships

Italy takes another International – VGC 2018 Oceania International Championships recap

The nation of Italy adds yet another International Championship title thanks to an impressive run from Alessio Yuri Boschetto. With this win under his belt, Boschetto is now the global leader in Championship Points at 1377. There was a lot of great action from Syndey including some great sets, Rock Slide flinches and off-meta Pokemon making it to Top 8 and beyond. But first, here are your results and teams from the land down under.

Results & teams (Top 8)

1. Alessio Yuri Boschetto [ITA]

Mega MetagrossMega TyranitarTapu LeleLandorus (Therian)ZapdosAmoonguss

2. Jans Arne Mækinen [NOR]

Mega MetagrossLandorus (Therian)TyranitarRotom (Wash Rotom)TogekissNidoking

3. Isaac Lam [NZ]

Mega GyaradosLandorus (Therian)Tapu KokoCresseliaIncineroarTsareena

4. Ashton Cox [USA]

Mega SalamenceTapu KokoTapu FiniAegislashAmoongussTyranitar

5. Alberto Lara [USA]

File:Mega Charizard Y.pngCresseliaLandorus (Therian)CelesteelaGothitelleSnorlax

6. Nico Davide Cognetta [ITA]

Mega GengarCresseliaHeatranTapu BuluHitmontopKommo-o

7. Javier Valdes [CHI]

Mega MetagrossNihilegoScraftyGastrodon (West Sea)VolcaronaWeavile

8. Luke Curtale [AUS]

Mega MetagrossMega TyranitarTapu FiniLandorus (Therian)AmoongussZapdos

Metagame highlights

Nidoking: We’ll start off with the Pokemon that made it the farthest. Nidoking is an off-meta choice I’ve had my eyes on ever since it was allowed back into the VGC metagame. While it suffers from a painfully awkward Speed-tier, it excels in how much damage it can deal. Sheer Force is an amazing ability which boosts the power of moves that have secondary effects, in exchange for those effects not ever activating. This allows Nidoking to deal tons of damage with attacks like Sludge Bomb, Earth Power and Ice Beam which Jens Arne Mækinen used on his Nidoking’s move set. These three moves provide excellent coverage against the metagame, making Nidoking a terrifying opponent for the Island Guardians, Heatran and even Landorus.

Tsareena: This is a Pokemon no one expected to come back. After winning the Japanese National Championships back in 2017, Tsareena once again faded into obscurity. Isaac Lam, despite his public dislike for Tsareena, took this Pokemon back to the top.

Despite being rather weak, Tsareena has some great tricks to take advantage of. Tsareena’s signature move, Trop Kick, guarantees an Attack drop on the target which makes it a pretty spam-able move against the plethora of physical attackers. Feint is a move that Isaac Lam made very good use of, being able to break opposing Protect. This allowed his Mega Gyarados and Tapu Koko to score big KO’s if Lam’s opponent decided to go on the defense. Oh, and Tsareena’s ability Queenly Majesty blocking priority moves is nice, although priority hasn’t been as popular since Tapu Lele came around.

Weavile/Nihilego: Javier Valdes often led this duo which is why I’m putting them together. Valdes’ Weavile was carrying Life Orb rather than a Focus Sash which made Weavile much more prone to being KO’ed, but gave it a big damage boost. Even Weavile’s Fake Out was doing a lot more damage, but the combination of Ice Punch and Knock Off is probably what Valdes valued in his selection of Weavile.

Nihilego stuck to its main role as a Special sweeper, but it was finally revealed in Valdes’ Top 8 set versus Ashton Cox that Nihilego was holding an Adrenaline Orb. When Cox led with his Salamence, the Intimidate gave Nihilego a boost in speed which explains why Valdes’ Nihilego was slower than a Tapu Lele we saw in an earlier stream match. Adrenaline Orb makes sense considering how Nihilego’s Speed has become more average with many more faster Pokemon being introduced into the metagame. Without having to worry about investing into its Speed stat while holding an Adrenaline Orb, more can be invested into Nihilego’s bulk which suffers heavily on the physical side.

A good tournament for Rock Slide

vgc 2018 oceania international championships

The clutch double flinch from Boschetto visibly upsets Cox.

No move generates more hype and simultaneous disgust than Rock Slide. That 30% chance to flinch the opponent’s Pokemon can be game-deciding, and no one knows that better than this tournament’s champion. Alessio Yuri Boschetto experienced both the good and bad side of Rock Slide with both instances deciding sets. Our first instance came in Swiss Round 4 where Boschetto was matched up against fellow countrymen and defending European International Champion, Simone Sanvito. Boschetto and Sanvito were running nearly identical teams making the set an intense back and forth between two of the world’s finest players.

Game 2 came down to a Landorus/Zapdos mirror match where luck with Rock Slide would decide the game. Sanvito had only Landorus left against Boschetto’s Choice Scarf Landorus and healthy Zapdos. Sanvito’s Landorus dodges a Rock Slide while Boschetto’s Zapdos uses Roost, allowing Snavito’s Landorus to score the KO on Boschetto’s. With Boschetto’s Tailwind gone, it came down to Sanvito’s Landorus at 20 HP versus a Zapdos at nearly half of its HP. With the speed advantage, Sanvito connects his first Rock Slide but doesn’t flinch. Instead, Boschetto’s Zapdos misses a Heat Wave which all but sealed the game up for Sanvito. This would be Boschetto’s first and only loss throughout the tournament.

As you know by now, things eventually went well for Boschetto, as the RNG gods smiled in his favor in his Top 4 set against Ashton Cox. In game three, Cox had the advantage with his Amoonguss and Aegislash (with a Mega Salamence in the back) against Boschetto’s Landorus and Zapdos. Boschetto needed a double flinch in order to prevent either Amoonguss putting his Zapdos to sleep or Aegislash KO’ing his Zapdos. Boschetto got the double flinch. There was still a speck of hope for Cox, but another Rock Slide flinch on his Aegislash allowed Boschetto to set up Tailwind, sealing up the game from there.

Later, Boschetto admitted on Twitter that Cox had outplayed him and that the flinches were necessary for his victory. Look, you can hate on the fact that Boschetto got that lucky in such a crucial moment, but hey, it’s Pokemon. My only question is: why wasn’t anyone using Wide Guard?

The two biggest things that we learned from Sydney were 1) Italy is yet again the force to be reckoned with and 2) Rock Slide is busted. We also learned a lot more about the potential diversity of the VGC 2018 metagame, and why you should be using Mega Metagross if you want to win tournaments. In all seriousness though, congratulations to Alessio Yuri Boschetto for his big win in what was such an exciting tournament to watch. Rock Slide flinches and all. Tournament season continues next weekend where we’ll have coverage from two major regionals in Collinsville, IL and Malmo, Sweden.

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 vgc 2018 san jose regional championships

VGC 2018 San Jose Regional Championships recap

Jirawiwat Thitasiri is your 2018 San Jose Regional Champion. Despite the rather important implications of this tournament, the event flew under many people’s radars due to the lack of a stream as well as it occurring right after Thanksgiving. Despite the lack of direct coverage, there are still a few interesting story lines worth talking about from this past weekend.

Results & teams (Top 8)

1. Jirawiwat Thitasiri

Alola Formhttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/750.png

2. Emilio Forbes

3. Rene Alvarenga

4. Matthew Greaves

f:id:Yuuichi_u1:20170619221113p:plainAlola Form

5. Karim Dabliz

Alola Formhttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/778.png

6. Patrick Smith

7. Mitchell Davies

Alola Form

8. Sam Pandelis

As there was no stream, there isn’t much to say specifically about the interesting Pokemon or teams that made it to San Jose’s Top 8. One thing of note is that both Mudsdale as well as Muk have been picking up late season popularity. Other players seem to have resorted to teams resembling the FAKEPG archetype as a means of achieving consistent results this late into the season.

International impact

Fun fact: three out of the eight players in the Top 8 are players from outside the U.S. The overall champion, Jirawiwat Thitasiri, is a name you’ve probably seen before as he’s been in a couple Top Cuts throughout the 2017 season. He is a player from Thailand who is currently attending university in San Francisco. This is his first major tournament win, putting him at 250 Championship Points out of the 300 he needs to qualify for the World Championships.

Another international player who was present in the Top 4 was El Salvador’s own Rene Alvarenga. Coming off his 7th place finish at the 2017 World Championships, Alvarenga has been attending a few tournaments here in the states. His finish in San Jose puts him at number one in Championship Point standings for Latin America, which has earned him a travel award to the 2018 Oceania International Championships.

Lastly, our current World Championship runner-up, Sam Pandelis was in attendance in San Jose. Pandelis funnily enough wasn’t using his team that earned him that second place trophy back in Anaheim, but I’d say his team was pretty good according to popular opinion. Like Alvarenga, Pandelis is another player who has been attending events here in America who has finally earned a solid result post-worlds.

Travel awards decided

The current (approximate) Championship Point standings for North America. (Image credit to @Pd0nZ on Twitter)

November 30th is the cutoff date for deciding travel awards based off current Championship Point standings. San Jose gave North America two more Worlds invites, bringing the total to six. The current Top 4 will receive full travel awards to Melbourne while the rest of the players in the Top 8 will receive stipends.

One notable player that earned his stipend this weekend was Ray Rizzo. Rizzo unfortunately missed the Top 32 in the Regional tournament, but thanks to a Midseason Showdown victory, Rizzo’s Championship Point total of 370 was enough to place him in North America’s Top 8.

Just like old times

Another veteran player who came back to competing was official Pokemon commentator Duy Ha. Seeing Duy Ha and

Duy Ha spotted at the top tables in San Jose. (Image credit to @MudhiManVGC on Twitter

Ray Rizzo competing in the same event made this tournament feel like it was happening back in 2012 or ’13. Ha’s 5-3 finish in Swiss put him at 28th place, just above Rizzo, who finished at 34th with the same record. Prior to, as well as during the tournament, Ha’s use of the hashtag #TheComebackKid could mean Ha is potentially interested in returning to his competitive roots. I wonder if any other commentators are planning their own comeback.

While San Jose was a tournament without much coverage, it was still a tournament full of a lot of fun story lines. The travel awards for Melbourne may have been decided, but we still have one more North American regional championship to go before VGC 2018 takes over. I know, I know VGC 2017 is beyond old news but hey, at least Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are out and we’re finally able to really practice for the 2018 season. For now, we’ll be keeping you up to date with everything VGC 2017 and 2018.

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 Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi, Michael Bailey 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 vgc 2018 europe international championships

Italy takes home 2018’s first international title: VGC 2018 European International Championships recap

Simone Sanvito is your 2018 European International Champion. Sanvito was a player known for his shaky confidence in his play going into this tournament, but he was able to overcome his doubts by taking the European title. Not bad for someone who didn’t have a team prepared until he landed in London. Sanvito also managed to flip the narrative of last year’s tournament in London with the Italian vs. Spaniard finals going to Italy this time. Let’s kick off our coverage from London with your Top 8 results.

Results & teams (Top 8)

1. Simone Sanvito [ITA]

f:id:Yuuichi_u1:20170619221113p:plain

2. Alex Gomez [ESP]

3. Carson Confer [USA]

4. Davide Cauteruccio [ITA]

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/547.png

5. Lorenzo Semeraro [ITA]

6. Jamie Dixon [GBR]

7. Davide Carrer [ITA]

8. Flavio Del Pidio [ITA]

f:id:Yuuichi_u1:20170619221113p:plain

 

Simone silences the haters (himself)

Something that was pointed out repeatedly during Sanvito’s run in London was that he was a player known for having serious doubts in his skill as a player. Take some of these tweets from the tournament as examples:

Sanvito had it all wrong despite an early round loss. He ended up finishing his first day of Swiss with an 8-1 togedemaru pokemon vgc 2018 european international championshipsrecord, putting him in a great position for the next day. Sanvito went on to only drop one other game, capping a 12-2 record with a Top Cut appearance as the 2nd seed. We all know the story from there.

Sanvito’s team seemed like a lot of Pokemon that we’ve seen before, but there were some tricks to these already established team members. One of the main moves Sanvito utilized throughout his run was Encore, which he had on both his Alolan Ninetales as well as his Togedemaru. With two Encore users, Sanvito found many opportunities to lock down his opponent’s Pokemon into either set up moves, like Trick Room or Curse, or attacks that couldn’t do damage to Sanvito’s available switch-ins.

One of the prime examples of this control playstyle was in Sanvito’s Top 4 match against Carson Confer. In this set, Sanvito was able to mitigate Confer’s ability to set up Trick Room for his Gigalith, while also shutting down Gigalith’s ability to boost its stats with Curse. With his Pokemon stuck into less-desirable move options, Confer had to continuously react to Sanvito’s plays, while Sanvito could easily maneuver his team into a winning position.

Encore also came in clutch for Sanvito in his finals match against Alex Gomez, where, with the help of Tapu Fini’s Haze, Gomez’ Snorlax was unable to maintain its Belly Drum boosts. After locking down his opponents, Sanvito was easily able to clean up the game with either his Choice Specs Tapu Fini, Garchomp or his Celesteela.

Italy’s invasion

Like previously mentioned, Italy as a whole had a strong presence in London’s Top 8. Five of the original eight positions belonged to Italy, with the first seed coming out of Swiss and the tournament’s overall champion belonging to Italy. Does this mean Italy is the region to be reckoned with in Europe? Some players seem to think so:

 

Alex Gomez brings back Magnezonemagnezone pokemon vgc 2018 european international championships

We saw a lot of familiar teams and Pokemon in London, but Alex Gomez decided to fall back on a Pokemon that brought him success in the past. Well, more like an entire team that brought him success in the past.

Alex Gomez was one of two Tapu Bulu players in the Top 8, piloting a team very similar to the one that earned him a second place finish at the Sheffield Regional Championships earlier this year. This team featured many Pokemon that benefited from the Grassy Terrain as Pokemon like Nihilego and Magnezone appreciate taking less damage from Earthquake. For now, let’s focus on Magnezone.

Magnezone seemed like the perfect anti-meta pick for London. Celesteela was quite the popular choice for many teams, which Magnezone enjoyed. Magnezone has two solid abilities with the option of Sturdy to give Magnezone a pseudo-Focus Sash or Magnet Pull which can trap opposing Steel-types. I think you can see which one would be better against Celesteela. But, Magnezone’s combination of Steel and Electric-type attacks made it a perfect check to each of the other Tapu Pokemon, which already have a tough time dealing with Tapu Bulu. With two VGC 2017 regionals left to go, I think competitors should keep Magnezone in mind when teambuilding.

With 2018’s first International behind us and the release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, we now begin our proper transition into the real 2018 season. Those looking to compete once again on the international stage have their sights on the Oceania International Championships which were announced to be hitting Melbourne, Australia this February. Until January rolls around, we still have two more VGC 2017 tournaments taking place, but in the mean time, players can now start officially training for the 2018 season in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Perhaps now is the time to uncover what the new format has in store for us as 2017 comes to a close in the coming months.

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 Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi, Michael Bailey 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 2018 london international championships

Concerns going into the 2018 London International Championships

While the coming London International Championships seems like a last hurrah for the 2017 VGC season, there are a few things to consider going into this tournament. A common issue that plagued the International Championships last season was controversy that popped up during or after each respective event. The International tournament in London this year has its own fair share of issues that are worth noting despite the excitement surrounding the event.

VGC 2017 is old news

pokemon 2018 london international championships

I think it’s fair to say that some players are done with VGC 2017. This season has been an exciting one, but the format itself has gotten rather stale. With such a small regional Pokedex like Alola’s, it’s going to be difficult to break the metagame, especially after an entire year of tournaments. Basically, expect to see a lot of teams that look… familiar. Considering it has been a full month since the last major tournament, there hasn’t been a lot of development in the metagame. With this uncertainty, players might default to teams that have shown consistency in the past.

And to think we still have two regional championships after London before the format officially switches over.

Attendance cap

pokemon 2018 london international championships

What caught many people off guard was the announcement that London hit its attendance cap for video game players. The initial cap announced for the Masters division was 680 players, and many are skeptical that London reached that many registered players. Is it possible that TPCI could’ve lowered the cap? If so, then why?

This news messed up many travel plans, and players are campaigning for TPCI to re-open registration. As it looks now, London has hit its cap, and it might be too late for those who planned to travel.

But at least there’s potential good news in all of this. The fact that London has nearly 700 registered players is promising considering how late into the 2017 format the tournament is. This could imply even bigger numbers coming next season.

Starting the snowball

One of the major criticisms of the London International Championships last season was how it began a snowball effect for players who were able to do well. To quickly explain, players with high Championship Point totals in the early parts of the season were eligible to receive travel stipends to other international events, allowing them even more opportunities to earn large amounts of Championships Points. This resulted in some absurdly high CP totals towards the end of the 2017 season, and the trend is looking to repeat this year.

What’s troubling about this is that we all ready have players who are qualified for the 2018 World Championships based on their results in the 2017 format. If anything, this will only screw over the players who’ve already qualified as their motivation to become skilled in the new format will be at an all-time low. It just doesn’t make sense that many players will have invites to a tournament with a format they haven’t even played yet.

Winter must be coming early, as London is promising nothing but more snowballs.

Pokemon Sun and Moon are about to be old news

pokemon 2018 london international championships

Oh right, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon release this Friday. At least players in London don’t have to worry about building 2018 format teams for a tournament happening the day after the next games come out.

Getting to my main point, the release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will hurt interest in a tournament that is still being played with Pokemon Sun and Moon. Everyone will be too busy playing the new games instead of tuning into the stream from London. All I’m saying is that, interest in Pokemon Sun and Moon content will drop significantly after this Friday and viewership for even a tournament as big as London will likely take a sizable hit.

All of these concerns are worthy of acknowledgement, but we shouldn’t let these ruin our enjoyment of what is shaping up to be VGC 2017’s last hurrah. The International Championships have been the stage for some of the greatest matches of the entire season, and I would expect nothing less from London this year. Unlike last year, everyone will know what they’re doing, and more importantly, will be on top of their game for our viewing pleasure.

 


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, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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interview with pokeaimmd

From “Road to Top 10” to “Road to Ranked”: An interview with Joey “PokeaimMD” Sciarrone

With the growing popularity of the Pokemon Video Game Championships, many players well versed in the popular Smogon single battle format have been giving the official Pokemon tournament format a try. However, learning a completely new battle type and metagame may seem daunting to some, making the transition one that many are hesitant to make.

Joey “PokeaimMD” Sciarrone is a player and YouTuber that has been one of the number one sources for content regarding the Smogon format since 2010. Sciarrone has dabbled in the VGC format in the past, but recently he’s devoted a new series of videos to Pokemon VGC and has even begun competing seriously in official tournaments. While he’s no expert at VGC, his knowledge of the game and his overall strength as a player has made this transition between formats a lot more seamless. As one of the biggest names in the competitive Pokemon community, we decided to talk to Sciarrone and get his perspective on what the transition to VGC is like from the point-of-view of a singles player, and how players can best approach this transition.

What are some of the main differences you’ve noticed?

Aside from the obvious ones, like there being more than two Pokemon on the field at a time. One of the differences that Sciarrone speaks highly of is the adoption of best-of-three matches in higher level Pokemon VGC events. It’s valuable to Sciarrone that he’s able to adjust his strategies in-between games which is something that players on Pokemon Showdown! don’t usually have the luxury of. Sciarrone borrowed a team from 2016 World Champion Wolfe Glick to use at the Hartford Regional Championships, as he liked how the team functioned in best-of-three play, being able to utilize many different options in order to adjust to his various opponents. Currently, Sciarrone holds a 4-1 lead over VGC veteran Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng, with his first ever VGC set resulting in a win against such an accomplished player.

Another key difference Sciarrone pointed out was the increased importance of positioning in the VGC battle style. He mainly addressed the difficulty of lead matchups, and how your leads are essentially “half of your team” you’re immediately tossing into the fray. Switching and putting yourself in an optimal position becomes a lot trickier when a poor switch or prediction could cost you 25% of your team.

Lastly, despite his immense competitive knowledge about individual Pokemon, Sciarrone has struggled to learn the various double battle specific moves that some Pokemon have access to and commonly use. Some of the examples that Sciarrone pointed out were moves like Feint, Wide Guard and Sky Drop.

“I know the weight that’s too heavy for Sky Drop, but I still haven’t memorized all of the Pokemon that can’t be picked up. I had someone pass me a list of all of the Pokemon that can’t be picked up.”

What skills do you think have transferred over from your experience as a singles player?

Knowledge was one of the biggest things that transfers over according to Sciarrone. For those who don’t know about the Smogon tier system, Pokemon are ranked by tiers depending on their viability and overall usage. If you’ve watched any of Sciarrone’s YouTube content, you know that he’s quite experienced in all of the Smogon tiers, giving him a plethora of knowledge about what even the lowest tier Pokemon are capable of. Even so, there still remains the hurdle of learning the differences in how these Pokemon are used in double battles.

Aside from his wealth of knowledge, obviously his skill and play style have made a relatively easy transition. Sciarrone still is able to make defensive switches and predict his opponents in order to put himself in a better position. Speaking of his play style…

How would you describe your play style, and have you had to alter it for when you play a VGC match?

“Not really.”

Sciarrone is a player that values his positioning, and making the most optimal plays rather than relying on reads. Although, this isn’t how he started out when he first picked up the game competitively.

“I remember when I started out, I used to be a super aggressive player, but you know eventually your plays catch up to you.” 

After playing for this long, Sciarrone has been able to adapt his play style to accommodate the kind of team he’s using. In his videos, he’s used teams ranging from stall strategies to hyper offense. In a serious competitive match, Sciarrone will always be thinking six turns ahead, and rather than going for game off of a single play, he’ll play the slow game making it easier to set up a late-game win condition.

 “If I have the option to hit a Draco Meteor to win the game or get chip damage to make it easier to win later, I’m going for the chip damage.” 

One interesting point that Sciarrone brought up was the idea of knowing how experienced players play just because they’re good players. He mentioned a match that he had at the Hartford Regional Championships against Robbie Moore, one of only two players that managed to defeat Sciarrone in Swiss. “He mopped the floor with me,” Sciarrone said when describing their match. Apparently Moore was able to read Sciarrone so well because “he is a good player”. Sciarrone had another experience that resulted more in his favor when he played the finals match in a Smogon tournament.

“My opponent was someone who I knew, so I decided to switch up my play style and just play super agressive.” 

It seems like being an experienced player can make you, ironically, predictable at times according to players at the highest level. There also seems to be a collective fear for “lower ladder” and/or “unknown” players, as the unpredictability factor makes the match up potentially a lot more difficult than playing against a well-known player. Funny how that works.

Something that I noticed was that Sciarrone seems to share a similar play style to former World Champion Wolfe Glick, and I think that speaks for itself when considering Sciarrone’s potential to be a powerhouse in the VGC scene.

How do you approach teambuilding?

If you’ve watched any number of the live battle sessions on Sciarrone’s channel, you’ve notced that he rarely uses his own teams. This, of course, doesn’t mean Sciarrone hasn’t built a team in his life, but for VGC events, he’s often relied on outside assistance.

Sciarrone says that he hasn’t really built a VGC team all on his own, and has mostly relied on previously successful teams for use at tournaments.

“I like to play what wins.”

This might not seem like a popular sentiment as this seems to 1) feed right into confirmation bias and 2) suggest that Sciarrone doesn’t have the ability to be original. In Sciarrone’s defense, playing “what wins” isn’t a bad way to approach using a team at all. At the end of the day, players are trying to win a tournament, and while some players can pull of weird and creative strategies, some players like Sciarrone prefer consistency and results above all else. What’ll win you games is how well you play a team, rather than what team you’re using.

According to Sciarrone, this is also largely due to lack of familiarity with how certain teams built for VGC work. While Sciarrone can pick up nearly any singles team and be successful, he requires a lot more resources to fully understand how to play a VGC team.

“With singles you can hand me a pastebin and I’ll know how to play a team just like that, but with VGC I feel like I need an entire team report.”

What is some advice you can give to other players looking to get into VGC?

“Watch good players, and play a lot.”

Admittedly, sort of cliche advice, but Sciarrone has adopted a slightly different approach to his advice. Many players relay the advice of getting better by building experience and learning from the pros, but who says that has to be done alone? Sciarrone emphasized throughout our interview how valuable working with other players to learn the game has been for him in learning the VGC format. In addition to building your skills on your own, finding a network of people to improve alongside of will likely lead to much better results.

With 150,000 YouTube subscribers and now some Championship Points under his belt, Sciarrone has a promising future in the VGC scene. With his “Road to Ranked” series he’s already introducing a ton of his primarily-singles playing audience to the realm of Pokemon VGC, while he himself continues to improve as a player. Sciarrone looks to compete in the upcoming 2018 VGC season and it looks like he’s got a lot of support from his fans as well as players in the community who are welcoming him with open arms. He might still be learning, but don’t be surprised to see Joel Scarrione pop up in a regional-level Top Cut before too long.

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)

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 local tournament streams

Does this new rule change mean the end of local tournament streams?

In a wave of newly released information for Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the official Play! Pokemon rules document received some updates that have gotten the community’s attention. According to an update to section 2.2 players cannot enter official tournaments with a modified 3DS system; meaning 3DS systems with capture cards are not allowed for tournament use. Many members of the community are outraged at the implications of this rule, but there is a possibility that this ruling could be totally harmless.

Before that, a quick update regarding our last piece

 landorus pokemon local tournament streams

In our last article, we discussed a potential scenario where staple legendary Pokemon would not be allowed in the upcoming 2018 format. In a hilarious twist of irony, today a trailer was released confirming the return of every single legendary Pokemon in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

The speculation was fun while it lasted, and some of the analysis present in that piece is still relevant to a format where these Pokemon are allowed. While it’s not exactly accurate anymore, it’s still worth a read (in my completely unbiased opinion).

The ruling

capture card 3ds pokemon local tournament streams

A 3DS capture device often used by Pokemon content creators. (Image: 3dscapture.com)

“Section 2.2: Players should ensure that game systems with which they enter Play! Pokémon
tournaments are unmodified. Players found to be using modified systems may be subject to
disqualification and subsequent disciplinary action.”

-Taken from Appendix B of the official Play! Pokemon VG Rules document

What this ruling implies is that any 3DS system that has been modified in any way is not eligible for use in any official tournaments. This makes sense considering modified systems could indicate that a player has the means to alter their game state which is also prohibited.

What’s not clear is to what extent does the “modification” criteria go? Does this accommodate players with extended battery packs or are all modifications prohibited? One thing that’s for certain about this criteria is the outlawing of 3DS systems with installed capture cards.

Since there is no official hardware or software able to record game play from a 3DS, many content creators have resorted to third-party capture cards that must be installed into the system in order for both screens to be captured. In the most traditional sense, this would be considered a modification, and thus, prohibited from tournament use. The problem here is that local tournaments, as well as unofficial streamers, rely on this hardware in order to stream and record matches from smaller tournaments and larger tournaments without official coverage. The implication of this ban means that the use of 3DS systems with capture cards will be outlawed from tournament use entirely.

Or will they?

Check the wording

The rule does not specifically say that these modifications would be banned from tournaments entirely. It only says that players may not enter official Play! Pokemon tournaments with modified systems, and technically systems used to stream are not entered into the tournament.

There’s one problem though.

Technically, the systems being used to stream would be used by players during the tournament, so we have yet another area of ambiguity. Does this qualify as an “entered” system or consoles that are used for streaming outside of the tournament jurisdiction? Unless we get some sort of confirmation, we just don’t know.

Another important additiontapu fini pokemon local tournament streams

This rule isn’t exactly relevant to the previously mentioned one, but it is very important for those who are competing in any of the final 2017 format tournaments after Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon’s release.

“Section 1.4: Pokémon may only use moves that have been learned through normal gameplay or
from an official Pokémon event or promotion obtainable through a copy of Pokémon Sun or
Pokémon Moon. Players may not use moves that are exclusively obtained through use of a copy
of Pokémon Ultra Sun or Pokémon Ultra Moon.”

– Taken from Appendix B of the official Play! Pokemon VG Rules document

We already knew that move tutors were coming back, but this rule came as a bit of a surprise. Basically, moves only accessible via the move tutors in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon cannot be used by Pokemon that are currently usable under the 2017 rules. This was a rule not enforced back towards the end of the 2014 season, as move tutor moves accessible in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were allowed in VGC 2014 tournaments after the new games were released.

It’s reasonable why this rule would be in place, to keep the remaining tournaments under the same restrictions as the rest of VGC 2017. Having to learn, and more importantly get access to, the new tutor moves would be a daunting task for some in just under a month. I guess we’ll just have to wait until January for Tapu Fini to get Icy Wind.

In regards to our main point of discussion, does this new ruling mean the end of grassroots streaming content? I would say no, but at this point we have no official statement regarding the issue, so I honestly don’t know. I hope that the Pokemon Company realizes how much damage they would do to the competitive scene if this rule outlawed 3DS systems with capture cards. Stream coverage is already incredibly scarce in the scene, and hitting local streamers would only further inhibit the growth of the game. All we can do now is wait and see if TPCi will make the right choice.

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, 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