competitive pokemon

Snorlax Wins International Pokémon Tournament By Eating A Ton

Last weekend’s North American International Championships had two big surprises: not only did Australians sweep the tournament, a Snorlax dodged more than half a dozen chances to be paralyzed or flinched. And, in classic Snorlax fashion, it won a tournament by eating. As one of the smaller and newer regions to Pokémon’s Video Game Championship series, Australians have historically struggled to close out tournaments outside of their home region. Despite that, Nicholas Kan won the juniors age division (born in 2006 or later), Alfredo Chang-Gomez won in the seniors age division (born from 2002-2005), and Christopher Kan—the older brother of Nicholas—won the masters age division (born in 2001 or earlier). Christopher Kan’s victory was ultimately possible because of a Snorlax that refused to faint. Christopher took the lead after game one, leveraging the survivability of his Assault Vest Garchomp to cause major problems for his opponent, American and three-time regional champion, Paul Chua. In game two, Christopher brought in his Arcanine and tried to whittle Chua’s Snorlax away with Toxic. Unfortunately, this only boosted Snorlax’s damage output, thanks to its Facade attack. With the help from that (and a freeze onto the opposing Porygon2), he forced the set to game…

Nobody Thought Competitive Pokémon Player Would Win A 4 vs 1, But He Did

Competitive Pokémon players usually forfeit matches with seemingly unbeatable odds. But the first day of the North American Pokémon International Championships is a perfect lesson in why never giving up can pay off. Giovanni Costa, this season’s consummate Eevee player, found himself facing down one of the most talented players from Germany, Tobias Koschitzki, in the third round of the tournament. Koschitzki was using a team of Smeargle, Porygon Z, Arcanine, Tapu Bulu, Hariyama and Nihilego, which recently finished in the top four of the Japan National Championships. Costa had made some major updates to his previous Eevee team, with Incineroar, Tapu Koko, Whimsicott, Tapu Fini and Dragonite accompanying the Evolution Pokémon — and they helped him enough to secure the set’s first win. Advertisement However, things started looking grim for the Eevee player. He eventually lost game two and was forced into a final match to determine the round’s overall winner. Costa went for his typical Eevee strategy: trying to boost its stats before giving them to another Pokémon with Baton Pass. But on the second turn, Nihilego and Hariyama made it impossible for that plan to work. Costa’s entire strategy was shaken. Advertisement Despite Costa’s efforts, Koschitzki dismantled…


Recent Japanese Pokémon Tournament Full Of Monsters You Rarely See

This weekend’s Japanese National Championships proves that competitive Pokémon plays almost like an entirely different game in the franchise’s home country. While every Japanese top eight team had some common picks you might spot at other tournaments around the world, players made plenty of choices that are almost never seen anywhere else. As an example, the grass-type Tsareena, has never placed well… except for this weekend, where it was spotted on the team belonging to Ryouta Ootsubo, the champion who took first place at the tournament. There’s a reason for that, of course. Unlike most players on the planet, who can qualify for the World Championships by collecting championship points at best-of-three tournaments, Japanese players can only qualify by placing highly in an online, best-of-one tournament called the Japan Cup. Then, the top 50 from that tournament are invited to Japanese Nationals, another (mostly) best-of-one tournament, to compete for a chance to skip the first day of Worlds competition. Advertisement While the difference between a best-of-three and a best-of-one may not seem like such a big deal to the uninitiated, it completely changes the way Pokémon is played among the pros. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Competitive Pokémon Player Risks It All With Fragile Ultra Beast, Wins Tournament Anyway

Pheromosa, an Ultra Beast known for its fragility and power, normally seems like a risky pick for competitive Pokémon. But this weekend, Andrew Nowak won the Madison Regional Championships largely thanks to an uncommon Pheromosa moveset. The perennial glass cannon, Pheromosa is often used to get important one-hit-knock-outs before getting KO’d itself. It uses attacks such as High Jump Kick, Ice Beam and Poison jab to take advantage of super effective damage and sky-high offensive stats to do so. Many players then focus on circumventing its fragility by letting it hold a Focus Sash, which lets it survive an attack that would otherwise knock it out with a single hit point. For his moveset, Nowak decided to double down on the damage output by having it hold a Z-Crystal instead. This lets Pheromosa utilize one-use, super-powerful attacks based on the type and damage of one of its four moves. That extra damage comes at the cost of survivability, though, and a single bad decision with Pheromosa can see it go down without having accomplished much. As a result, many turns with a Z-move Pheromosa can come down to 50/50 decisions—using this strategy at all is a huge READ FULL STORY…

Normally, A Competitive Pokémon Match Between These Top Players Wouldn't Happen

There are many ways to play competitive Pokémon, and each format has its own group of top players. These groups usually don’t cross paths, but YouTubers created an online league to remedy that. Last weekend, two elite trainers from the singles community took on their “doubles” counterparts in a clash of the titans. Joey “pokéaimMD” and “Lord Emvee” both have a respectable list of tournament wins and moments at the top of online ladders as singles players. Meanwhile, Wolfe Glick and Markus Stadter are both world-class doubles players who compete in the official tournament series, the Pokémon Video Game Championship. The former is the 2016 world champion while the latter finished third. Both pairs also happen to be best friends who joined the Multi-Battle League to stake their claim in a lesser-played competitive format. (Disclosure: I am an analyst for this league, meaning I participate in round-table discussions of the league and weekly match previews.) Unlike singles, players fight with two Pokémon on the field at a time in a multi-battle. Yet, unlike the doubles format, each side splits control of their team among two trainers. This forces players to, among other things, come to agreements on team-building and in-game…


The ‘Worst’ Pokémon Sun and Moon Legendary Guardian Scores Big Competitive Win

Nick Navarre, a top competitive Pokémon player from the US, won last weekend’s Roanoke Regional Championships with a unique team that included what many consider the weakest Alolan Guardian: Tapu Bulu. Advertisement Tapu Koko is by far the most common and successful guardian in competitive Pokémon, with Tapu Lele and Tapu Fini competing for the second place. Tapu Bulu, by contrast, has struggled to find its niche in the face of popular competitive monsters, like the ever-present Arcanine. While Bulu does have some strengths, they are often overshadowed by its weaknesses, leading many players to dub it the “worst” guardian. Many have tried to make it work, but Tapu Bulu doesn’t have anywhere near the same track-record of tournament success as its fellows. Tapu Bulu wasn’t the only odd Pokémon out on Navarre’s team, though: he also packed a Salamence and Clefairy, both of which have been rare in the latest competitive season. More typical picks, like Arcanine and Snorlax, still boasted unusual movesets. Only his Kartana, which holds an item that boosts critical hit rates, felt like a standard choice. Advertisement Navarre’s team is READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!