The 2013 Autumn Regional Video Game Tournaments were held in Philadelphia, Fort Wayne, Houston, Phoenix, and Pleasanton, California, and the competitors fought it out on Junior, Senior, and Masters Divisions. Who won and how’d they do it? Let’s look at some winning teams, beginning with the Junior Division winner, Emma Cox (pictured), who won in Fort Wayne.
Junior Division Winner: Emma Cox
Her team consisted of:
- Golurk (Ground/Ghost) with Shadow Punch, Earthquake, Dynamic Punch, and Protect, and holding an Expert Belt
- Weavile (Dark/Ice) with Sword Dance, Fake Out, Ice Punch, and Night Slash, and holding a Metronome
- Rotom (Electric/Ghost) with Hidden Power, Thunderbolt, Hydro Pump, and Volt Switch, and holding a Choice Specs
- Volcarona (Bug/Fire) with Heat Wave, Struggle Bug, Bug Buzz, and Hurricane, holding nothing
- Breloom (Grass/Fighting) with Spore, Seed Bomb, Sky Uppercut, and Bullet Seed, holding Choice Scarf
- Nidoking (Poison/Ground) with Earth Power, Sludge Bomb, Ice Beam, and Thunderbolt, holding Life Orb
What stands out is what’s not there: Politoed. Across the top four winners in all five locations, eight teams had a Politoad in them. Emma won by going against this trend. Another interesting choice is using a Metronome with her Weavile. The Metronome increases the damage of a move each time it’s used, but this increase disappears if the streak is broken. Normally, this might not be a good choice since it’s difficult to use the same move consecutively in a competitive environment—it also locks the user into doing the same thing over again, making the Trainer’s next move predictable, and if you can predict it you can act against it. But Emma had the confidence to overcome its apparent weakness and still won.
Senior Division Winner: Jacob W.
Let’s look next at the Senior Division winner from the same place, Fort Wayne, Jacob W. He also eschews the Politoed and had the following team:
- Chandelure (Ghost/Fire) with Trick Room, Energy Ball, Heat Wave, and Shadow Ball and holding a Fire Gem
- Escavalier (Bug/Steel) with Megahorn, Iron Head, X-Scissor, and Protect, and holding a Bug Gem.
- Medicham (Fighting/Psychic) with Drain Punch, Thunder Punch, Psycho Cut, and Detect, and holding a Fighting Gem
- Azumarill (Electric/Grass) with Ice Punch, Waterfall, Superpower, and Aqua Jet, and holding a Water Gem
- Amoongus (Grass/Poison) with Spore, Giga Drain, Protect, and Rage Power, and holding a Lum Berry
- Reuniclus (Psychic) with Psyshock, Trick Room, Protect, and Focus Blast, and holding a Life Orb
Half his team had a gem and there was a berry, just in case. The gems are one-time power boost items so Jacob’s item loadout seemed to favor powerful finishing moves. Note that three of his team have the same move: Protect. This is a player who knew to keep his guard up during a fight.
Masters Division Winner: Thomas Mifflin
Finally, a look at one of the Masters Division winners, Thomas Mifflin who won in Pleasanton, California.
- Tyranitar (Dark/Rock) with Crunch, Rock Slide, Low Kick, and Protect, and holding a Chople Berry
- Landorus (Ground/Flying) with Earthquake, U-turn, Rock Slide, and Protect, and holding a Focus Sash
- Cresselia (Psychic) with Ice Beam, Psyshock, Rest, and Trick Room, and holding a Chesto Berry
- Rotom (Electric/Ghost) with Will-O-Wisp, Thunderball, Hydro Pump, and Light Screen, and holding a Sitrus Berry
- Conkeldurr (Fighting) with Mach Punch, Hammer Arm, Ice Punch, and Detect, and holding a Life Orb
- Heatran (Fire/Steel) with Eruption, Heat Wave, Protect, and Hidden Power, and holding a Fire Gem
A good placement of held items here. Conventional wisdom holds that if anyone is going to hold a Chople Berry, which reduces the damage taken from Fighting type moves, it’s going to be a Tyranitar which suffers 4x the damage from Fighting-type moves.
The Focus Sash held by Landorus seems to indicate that Landorus was Thomas’ leading Pokémon. Focus Sash allows a Pokémon to survive an attack that would otherwise have knocked it out—but it only works if the Pokémon is at full health, and that usually only happens when they’re the first Pokémon on the field.
Thomas seems to have matched Cresselia’s Rest move with a Chesto Berry, using a tactic often known as “ChestoRest.” The Rest move heals the Pokémon completely, meaning restoring all lost HP and healing any status conditions, but then the Pokémon falls asleep for two turns—and no one wants that to happen in the middle of a competition. However, if the Pokémon is holding a Chesto Berry, the Pokémon wakes immediately from sleep. Thus, the Pokémon heals immediately without being vulnerable for two turns. Quite handy!
All three winners had different strategies to win. One enabled seeing a choice through to the end, another had lots of defensive moves until a big finish, and the third seemed to keep their options open and adapt to what happened in the field.
The important takeaway here is that Pokémon Trainers can use a tactic they’re comfortable with and win with it. Favor bold offenses? Careful defenses? Either way can work because there’re no obvious choices you “have” to make—you just need to find the tactic that speaks to you, one that expresses your personality, because when you feel closest to your Pokémon, you’re most likely to win.