Where do competitive Pokémon go from here?

Image: The Pokémon Company

Over the holidays, we’ll be re-publishing some of our best features, interviews, opinions, and views from 12 months ago. from employees and contributors alike – articles that we feel represent the best of the year 2021. In them you’ll find our usual mix of thoughtfulness, vanity, nostalgia specialize, nostalgia for gaming, and – of course – enthusiasm for all things Nintendo. Interesting!

Two years have passed since Pokémon Sword and Shield Inauguration of the eighth generation of Pokémon games. With it has come outrage from some fans, though most would agree that Sword and Shield isn’t awkward when it comes to its competitive arena.

Pokémon tournaments are held as part of the Video Game Championship (VGC) and Online Ranked Battles in Sword and Shield reflect the VGC rule set. Tournaments, both official tournaments and official tournaments, happen regularly, and interesting rule changes happen every three months, limiting and limiting the availability of certain Pokémon.

However, we are currently close to releasing the next games – Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl rework – will have little effect on competing Pokémon, if at all. During the Pokémon Event in August, The Pokémon Company announced the November remakes would not include Ranked Battles. Next January Pokémon Legend: Arceus, while a fascinating difference from the regular formula, will pause online battles altogether.

With no Generation IX on the horizon, where does that leave competitive Pokémon? We asked Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng, a real-life Pokémon Master, that very question.

Channel Zheng

“I imagine we will basically be playing Sword and Shield next year,” Zheng told us. “If Generation IX doesn’t come out in 2023, and we play Sword and Shield for another two years, that’s a long time. That made me a little nervous.”

When we call Zheng the Pokémon Master, we mean it. He has qualified for eight different VGC World Championships since 2008 and won several Regional and National championships. He also runs an information base Youtube Channel which he has updated regularly since 2014. Pokémon Company International has recruited Zheng to comment on numerous International tournaments and World Championships, making him one of the most prominent experts on the field. Competitive Pokémon. He knows his everything is fine.

Zheng’s dedication makes him the perfect person to comment on the challenges competitive Pokémon players face and the difficulty of developing the scene. In particular, we asked him for his thoughts on Pokémon’s inaccessibility. Despite being a supposedly simple game, it takes a considerable amount of time and requires knowledge of many esoteric mechanics to build a competitive team. You can’t just grab your favorite ‘mon and find success online.

Torkoal Stats.JPG

For example, breeding a Torkoal with a zero speed IV to allow it to attack before being in the Trick Room can take hours. If that sounds like another language to you, that’s just the tip of the iceberg Avalugg. Understanding the effort value, nature, moves of the egg, hidden abilities, items held, etc. is essential, and Sword and Shield doesn’t explain these intricacies well. People like Zheng have the power to split each battle on platforms like YouTube. And even with help, jumping into competing Pokémon is a daunting task.

I think about League of Legends. Yes, you play at random, but anyone who plays can still join the big tournaments and watch. As for Pokémon, it’s a complicated part of the game that you have to find and invest in.

“Competitive Pokémon always have the feeling that many people don’t know about it or find it difficult to reach,” Zheng said. “It’s a small component of the Pokémon franchise, while other games are based on a competitive scene. I think about League of Legends. Yes, you play at random, but anyone who plays can still join the big tournaments and watch. As for Pokémon, it’s a complicated part of the game that you have to find and invest in. “

Sword and Shield introduced natural mint and made it easier to hire teams built by other players, but the Game Freak developer could still make things more clear. However, Zheng doesn’t think accessibility is the main issue. Instead, he wants to see competitive Pokémon promoted more in the game itself. He showed how the client of the game League of Legends advertises the World Championship when you open it. Pokémon doesn’t promote much in the game, leaving players tripping over competing in tournaments elsewhere.

Despite all this, it’s not all Houndoom and Dark for competing Pokémon. Like literally everything, in-person Pokémon events were shelved as the pandemic hit. Zheng attended an event before and had this to say about it:

“The regional championship we had in Dallas was wild. It’s the biggest Zone we’ve had in years, and it really feels like 2020 is going to be a great year for the scene to explode. ”

Zheng hopes that when live events return next year, the competitive scene will see interest return. That is not to say that the pandemic has prevented Zheng from playing. On his YouTube channel, Zheng introduces a new team every two days built by players around the world, updating meta changes as they happen, and explaining the thought process in great detail. his behind every game. The video below highlights what to expect from his channel:

“It’s mostly just passion,” Zheng said when asked how he was able to upload a series of matches almost daily for two years. “Sword and Shield is fun. Just saw a lot of people were involved in it. There are so many interesting teams to try. People share their teams with me all the time. ”

In addition to watching Zheng’s channel and browsing communities like VGC subreddit, he offers some advice for those who want to learn how to compete:

It’s a game where even the best players lose. Don’t be afraid to lose… There’s no one right way to play Pokémon – see what works for you and start there.

“It was a game where even the best players lost. Don’t be afraid of loss. Loss is really the best way for you to learn. Team building can also be quite difficult, which is why I often recommend people who are looking to get good to try some of the more successful teams. And overall just remember to have fun. If you’re not enjoying the game, walk away, try a new team, or take a break. There’s no one right way to play Pokémon – see what works for you and start there. ”

Pokémon Company recently announced Ranked matches will soon rehash a set of rules that were first introduced last February, much to the chagrin of many players. It’s also possible we won’t hear anything about Generation IX until Pokémon Legends: Arceus launches early next year. However, with passionate content creators and competitors like Zheng continuing to light the torch – making a complex, hard-to-reach and non-advertised game more digestible for consumers. thousand people – the future of competitive Pokémon looks as bright as Pikachu using Flash in the depths of Mt. Moon.

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