Pokémon's new competitive rule-set goes live in January 2018, meaning that players everywhere are devising strategies based on the new monsters and movesets available in Ultra Sun and Moon. Let's talk about some of the biggest additions that will have a major impact on the way competitors approach tournaments.
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Earlier this month, the Pokemon Company International announced the rules for the next Video Game Championship Series format, bringing the controversial mega evolution and a much wider selection of Pokémon back into tournament play.
With updated mega evolutions, Z-moves and a slew of competitive staples returning to the fold, 2018 will give players more room to innovate while also adding some stability to last season's chaotic metagame.
Last weekend, the weak inherited the Pokémon world for an official online tournament. Much like last month's Tiny Tournament, players could only use a subset of the game's hundreds of options. The Weakness Cup's restriction, as its name implies, only allowed players to use Pokémon with five or more weaknesses to the game's various types.
Competitive Pokemon has four main zones in North America, Europe, Latin America and the Asian-Pacific region, with countries such as Japan and South Korea running their own system. While that covers most of the world, it does leave a large gap on the map in the Middle East. This system leaves some players, such as Khalid Abdulla, in a difficult position.
This weekend's Japanese National Championships proves that competitive Pokemon 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.
There are many ways to play competitive Pokemon, 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.
It's night before the Dallas Regional Championships, and Drew Nowak is trying to squeeze in some practice with a last-minute Pokémon team. Despite not fully understanding the intricacies of the new team, he rises above hundreds and wins the entire tournament. A couple months later, he pulls a last-minute team off again and takes top four at the St. Louis Regional Championships.
Legendary Pokemon get a bum rap in competitive play. Many casual observers and players constantly ask why legendaries are allowed in the first place. Aren't legendaries overpowered? Don't legendaries make battles boring?
Last weekend's big Pokemon tournament in Australia saw many famous players, including two world champions, duking it out for the top title. Australian Zoe Lou, a player with no previous major finishes, stunned and thrilled the community by rising above competition. In doing so, she has become the first woman to win an international Pokemon event in the oldest age division.
At the start of 2017, nobody really considered Palossand, Pokémon's sandcastle monster, to be noteworthy for competitive play. Then, the top-four World Championship finisher Markus Stadter lost against a Palossand-centric team live on a Twitch stream.