Pokémon is an ever-altering beast, but there is presently one particular continual: The Pokémon Planet Championships. This year was the 16th occasion and it was the greatest one particular to date, with more than eight,000 individuals in attendance. This did bring about some delays in beginning the Opening Ceremony as individuals had been nevertheless outdoors, but just after that, every thing went off devoid of considerably of a hitch.
This year, it returned to Washington D.C. and went with a rather clever theme: Museums, to tie in with the regional Smithsonian establishments. This meant that we saw life-size fossils of Tyrantrum and Bastiodon on the stage and a variety of other additions to the motif – a incredibly cool function.
What are the Pokémon Planet Championships?
For these that do not know, the Pokémon Planet Championships is an annual occasion and a culmination of all 3 competitive arms of Pokémon: the Pokémon video game series, the Pokémon Trading Card Game and the fighting game Pokkén Tournament. More than the previous year, players have been going to a variety of events about the globe to earn Championship Points to get an invite to the Planet Championships.
The Planet Championships kicked off on Friday to win a spot for Day two on Saturday, exactly where the major players in every single area have currently gained an invite. From there, the Leading eight players in every single age division battled in a ‘Top Cut’ till there had been two players every single. These players then battled on the Sunday for the grand finals. Any person could come to the occasion to watch as nicely, if they had purchased a Spectator Pass.
This year was also notable as it added a fourth arm into the Planet Championships, with the Pokémon GO Invitational involving eight players who had been invited to play in a tournament. This integrated two employees members from Game Freak, five Youtubers and 1 particular person who applied for an invite.
The Pokémon Center
As soon as once more, the Pokémon Planet Championships opened with a Pokémon Center retailer. This opened on the Thursday and contained a selection of merchandise – ordinarily all Pokémon Center-exclusive – as nicely as a lot of gear that was entirely exclusive to the Pokémon Planet Championships itself. This year, with the motif becoming ‘museums’, that theme was clearly noticed in the merchandise. There had been exclusive plushes of Pikachu, Eevee and Piplup, deck boxes, card sleeves, hoodies, t-shirts and considerably, considerably a lot more. We dread to feel how considerably coinage was spent throughout the occasion.
Though several things had been on sale, competitors also got a exclusive competitor bag which contained even a lot more exclusive things – like accessory pouches, water bottles and luggage tags, all with the 2019 motif on them.
Pokémon Planet Championships have turn out to be well-known for their annual announcements. Considering the fact that 2013, there has normally been one thing announced for the Pokémon franchise, and this year was no distinct, bringing two distinct reveals.
1st up was the reveal of Pokémon V-Cards in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. These cards replace Pokémon GX as of the Pokémon Sword & Shield expansion with some presently unknown mechanics, like V-MAX cards. Only Zacian-V and Zamazenta-V had been shown.
For the Pokémon key series games, Pokémon Sword & Shield, as opposed to previous years a new Pokémon was not unveiled. Rather, they took the chance to showcase some of the a lot more competitive elements of the upcoming games, displaying concentrate on new moves, things and skills that are positive to be noticed a lot more more than the subsequent year. It was also confirmed that Pokémon Sword & Shield will be the games played in the 2020 Pokémon Planet Championships.
What was there to do?
If you weren’t competing in the Pokémon Planet Championships, then there may well be a query of what there is to do at the Pokémon Planet Championships? Other than watching matches, this year was filled to the brim with even a lot more activities than ever ahead of.
As usual there had been side events for Pokémon VGC and TCG. The significant one particular was the DC Open, one particular of the initially competitions of the 2019/2020 season and a swift chance for players to earn points towards subsequent year’s competitors. Nonetheless, there had been also normal VGC choose-up events and TCG pre-release style tournaments. These all gave a variety of prize points that could be exchanged at the prize wall for a myriad of prizes, like plushes and playmats.
New to this year, there was also Pokémon GO Trainer Battle side events exactly where players entered a tournament in Pokémon GO’s PvP mode, as nicely as a Pokémon GO scavenger hunt exactly where you had to full many tasks in order to win particular Pokémon GO associated prizes of T-Shirts, Flasks and a lot more.
There was also a trade location for trades of Pokémon in key series games and GO and Trading Card Game as nicely as a retro corner exactly where several games from Pokémon’s previous had been playable. Every little thing from Pokémon Stadium up to Pokémon Let’s Go was out there to attempt out. This offered a welcome chance to bring Pokémon’s previous to the forefront for the younger audience seeing young faces light up although playing N64 games was heartwarming, to say the least.
As opposed to previous years, there had been public meet-and-greets with Shigeki Morimoto, Junichi Masuda and Tsunekazu Ishihara. Though the official web page did list it as just becoming public, this was nevertheless restricted to wristband owners only and you had to discover the particular person providing the wristbands out and prove that you deserved one particular by means of implies such as becoming initially in line and other components. Though it would have been good to get a heads-up relating to the wristband requirement, it nevertheless went nicely.
There was also a demo location for Pokémon Sword & Shield, playing the exact same demo as has been about given that E3 and even a demo of the upcoming mobile game, Pokémon Masters. These demos had been massive draws to the occasion and had queues exceeding an hour extended in order to play.
As soon as once more, Pokémon GO also integrated an occasion inside a mile of the convention centre. A particular PokéStop was placed and improved spawns of all the out there fossil Pokémon adorned Washington D.C. alongside exclusive field study which permitted players to get the previously New Zealand exclusive Pokémon, Relicanth.
The Pokémon Planet Championships also coincided with the Suicune Day Raid Day occasion and, at 4pm on the Saturday, a very good portion of the show floor emptied as players went out to do raids. With most beginning at the Fitness center at the Convention Center, there had been in excess of 500 individuals at one particular Fitness center attempting to do the raid ahead of all going their separate methods. However, we had been not capable to get a Shiny Suicune throughout the occasion, but it was lots of exciting meeting players from all components of the globe although raiding. Our raid path even took us to the White Residence!
Pokémon GO Invitational
We’ll begin off with the Pokémon GO Invitational. Though it was initially offered a two-hour slot on the stream, it ended up operating for more than five hours. This was due to it becoming the initially time it had been noticed on such a level and it becoming a ‘Best of 5’ format. With eight players, it did go somewhat immediately with Game Freak employees and several YouTubers having out immediately. Nonetheless, the finals ended up becoming PogoKieng versus Poké AK. These finals had been tense, with quite a few mirror matches involving Deoxys and Azumarill, and it was hit with a couple of complications like connection difficulties which resulted in matches possessing to be restarted.
In the finish, having said that, PogoKieng ended up taking the win and becoming the initially Pokémon GO Invitational Champion. All round, the games had been a lot more exciting to watch than we had anticipated it to be, partly due to the current upgrade in Charge Attacks shifting from swift tapping to a touch-primarily based mini-game. Though it does have to have perform to repair the difficulties that plagued the tournament, this was a very good sign that Pokémon GO could conveniently take its spot alongside VGC, TCG and Pokkén in future years.
Pokkén Tournament DX
Pokkén Tournament created a return after once more for the 4th year. This year it had a alter in format to Group Battles every single match, rather than ‘Best of 3’ in the match itself, had players pick three Pokémon to fight with and the winner is the initially particular person to knock out all 3 opponents. This ran in a Very best of five format and began on Friday with a Final Opportunity Qualifier containing more than 200 individuals who wanted to earn a spot in the Leading 16 on Saturday ahead of the finals and the Planet Champion was decided. As normally, the atmosphere is electric when Pokkén is becoming played with the audience normally becoming so engrossed and tied into the action.
This year, the finals ended up becoming amongst two Japanese players: Subutan and Haruyuki, each nicely-identified players in the Pokkén Tournament neighborhood and have each appeared on the Planet Championship stage ahead of. The battles had been definitely tense and although Subutan seemed to have the benefit, having to two of the wins initially, Haruyuki managed to fight back and get two wins himself. The final match was so close ending in a Braixen VS Darkrai with each players on their final Pokémon, but with a effective combo and inclusion of Mimikyu help, Subutan managed to take the win.
Masters: Hiroki Ishida (Subutan) – Japan
Seniors: Collin Jones (ashninja1) – US
Pokémon Trading Card Game
The Pokémon Trading Card Game had a exclusive challenge this year. This year, the Pokémon Planet Championships fell on the date of the format alter. Beginning on Day 1 of Worlds, several sets that consist of several typically employed cards like Guzma, Buzzwole GX, Zoroark GX and several other individuals had been all rotated out of play and the new set, Unified Minds, was rotated in. This gave players a significant challenge as they had been primarily playing blind, even though the Japanese players have played with cards in Unified Minds given that February, providing them a bit of an benefit.
Due to this, we saw several uncommon decks about, like some employing Pidgeotto of all cards, so the games had been a lot of exciting to watch. Nonetheless, one particular of the prevalent themes noticed was Reshiram & Charizard GX from Unbroken Bonds and a variety of cards to accelerate power on it. Nonetheless, there was a lot of differentiation.
The Masters Final was a bit controversial with Shintaro Ito, the 2016 Pokémon Planet Champion, having a penalty for taking also extended to play. Usually this would be a warning but as he had repeated situations of this and of not sufficiently randomising his deck, the judges at the finals decided a two prize penalty which price him the initially game against Henry Brand. Nonetheless, he under no circumstances really recovered and Henry managed to clinch a victory with his Mewtwo & Mew GX deck utilising Marshadow and Reshiram & Charizard GX for help.
Masters: Henry Brand (Australia)
Seniors: Kaya Lichtleitner (Germany)
Juniors: Haruki Miyamoto (Japan)
Pokémon Video Game Championships
The video games had been a bittersweet year as nicely. This is the final Pokémon Planet Championships to be played on the Nintendo 3DS and this year it ran a related ruleset to 2016: “GS Cup”. This is exactly where you can use up to two Restricted Legendary Pokémon, such as Groudon, Rayquaza, Mewtwo, and so forth. on your group and, as element of the Ultra Series which has run given that April 2nd, you can use Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves as nicely.
The video games are normally the backbone of the Pokémon franchise and when the crowd goes definitely wild and the convention center fills up so individuals can watch as several of the matches as feasible, and this year had some of the finest plays that have been noticed, in all divisions.
In Juniors, the match was amongst Teddy French from the UK against Pi Wu from Taiwan. Teddy brought a group of Dusk Mane Necrozma, Smeargle, Stakataka, Primal Groudon, Mawile and Ferrothorn although Pi Wu brought a group of Rayquaza, Xerneas, Tapu Fini, Incineroar, Nihilego and Amoonguss. Teddy straight away took the initially victory employing a exclusive tactic of employing his Smeargle to explode although subsequent to his Psychic/Ghost-sort Necrozma so as to not harm it, although performing massive harm to the opponent’s Amoonguss with Necrozma’s Z-Move. Nonetheless, regardless of having the initially victory, Pi Wu managed to get some very good plays in with an uncommon Earth Energy Rayquaza which managed to take out considerably of Teddy’s group and stop Teddy from setting the Trick Area that his group most vitally necessary, causing Pi Wu to be the initially VGC winner from Taiwan.
The Seniors match was equally as fascinating, with Lewis Tan from Australia facing against Ko Tsukide from Japan. Lewis brought a group constructed somewhat about his Gengar with Incineroar, Primal Groudon, Yvelta, Ferrothorn, Tapu Fini and Gengar facing against Xerneas, Rayquaza, Togedemaru, Tapu Fini, Incineroar and Amoonguss. Lewis’ tactic worked in the initially match, with him capable to get the Perish Song off against two of Ko’s strongest Pokémon, although becoming capable to juggle his Pokémon to make positive the Shadow Tag stayed in play to maintain his opponents from switching, but he sadly could not get the combo going once more as Ko managed to make some superb plays and reads with his Togedemaru which locked his Incineroar into Safeguard and sooner or later took the win.
For Masters, it was a Japan-only final with Naoto Mizobuchi facing against Hirofumi Kimura. Naoto brought Lunala, Primal Groudon, Incineroar, Mega Salamence, Tapu Fini and Stakataka although Hirofumi brought Dusk Mane Necrozma, Tapu Lele, Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Salamence, Primal Groudon and Umbreon. As opposed to the Juniors and Seniors matches, this match was a bit a lot more traditional but featured some of the finest plays with Lunala’s Z-Move and Ultra Necrozma coming out, but Naoto managed to maintain handle of the field at all occasions and managed to take out his opponent’s Dragon-sort Pokémon with a nicely planned Dragon Claw from his Groudon. Ultimately, he took the win.
Juniors: Pi Wu (Taiwan)
Seniors: Ko Tsukide (Japan)
Masters: Naoto Mizobuchi (Japan)
Subsequent Year: LONDON, Child
As the Closing Ceremony ended, the news came as to exactly where the Pokémon Planet Championships will be held subsequent. For the initially time in the 16 years of the Planet Championships, they are to be held outdoors of North America, in London, England. This was welcomed with rapturous applause in the convention center.
With it becoming in London, it opens up all sorts of possibilities for the future, but the query is, what will the motif be subsequent year? With Pokémon Center London currently taking the English Gentleman appear, we are attempting to perform out what it will be. What do you feel?
This Pokémon Planet Championships was undoubtedly the finest we have attended. It has grown with every single year and the motif keeps enhancing. Meeting so several players from across the globe is normally good and, regardless of such negativity filling the World wide web about Pokémon at present, none of that was located right here. It was a hugely constructive occasion and absolutely everyone was so good to every single other. You had wonderful matches to watch, lots to do and several individuals to meet.
If you have ever believed about coming to the Pokémon Planet Championships, do not hesitate as subsequent year is bound to be a very good one particular!