Day One Recap | Vancouver Regionals
9 months ago
The North American circuit of World Championship qualifying made its second stop for a Regional tournament, as the Great White North got its chance to host an event. Vancouver welcomed 62 battlers from across Canada and the U.S. and with one Canadian already guaranteed a trip to London for the grand finale, there were plenty of local and not-so-local battlers ready to duke it out for the chance to join him. As the matches raged it was clear the meta was in a period of flux with the addition of Water/Bug Araquanid to the mix to try and mitigate the havoc that Walrein was wreaking on Pokemon across the board, and some spicier picks managed to stand out amongst the staples of Registeel, Trevenant, Galarian Stunfisk, Swampert and Medicham.
Sound the foghorns, we’re getting into this with some opening awards!
Opening Gambit of the Day: Some of the streams have had opening matches that served as solid appetizers for the events to come. Vancouver decided to go right to the maple-glazed salmon by leading off with local hero WildSusanBoyle taking on Reis2Occasion, one of the best “grassroots” battlers in the world, and a man with a chip on his shoulder from Indianapolis. In practice streams, WSB admitted he was working his way back into form and it looked like it with a relatively clean first-game win for Reis, but the dancing the two battlers put on in Games 2 and 3 was masterful. WSB’s Walrein was a force in the hands of someone as skilled in energy management as he is, and the tango between both battler’s Lickitung and heavy hitters was amazing to watch. WSB got the best of both games, winning alignment by committing both shields early in the matchup in G3 to send Reis to the loser’s bracket early for the second straight regional, but neither battler can be upset with how they played that one. The fans certainly weren’t.
Spice Pick of the Day: There were some great choices here. TriBird3 brought the Kommo-O in from the Alolan isles for that Dragon/Fighting damage. KingDucksPool went to a newer gen with Obstagoon making an appearance to wall any Trevenant/Walrein cores. JBrandse rejected modernity and brought Unovan Stunfisk and its Ground/Electric typing into action. 610HERO embraced the rain with Shadow Politoed to drown foes in Weather Balls. Th3six4ninja doubled up on spice bringing Bewear and a horribly mispronounced Ferrothorn on his team. But Elodicolo cameoed Salazzle, with the Fire/Poison type not here for a long time but a venomous time, and for that we salute him. The Toxic Lizard Pokemon was unfortunately drawn against one of its hardest counters in MUKBURbur’s Swampert, and couldn’t put much work in, but still good to see it in action given how hard it’s been to acquire one.
GTPVP of the Day: We had to wait a long time to get a member of the community on screen, but once she entered the stage, hsineerg, aka Greenish, aka Cindy, never left. I’m still not sure ScrapinPete’s recovered from the stay in Hard Counter City that hsineerg put him through in Game 1. Cindy wasn’t the first person to bring Shadow Kanto Ninetales into action (more on that later), but she did up the spice ante with Ember chunking away its Alolan counterpart. She had the deepest run of any woman who had hit the stage during an official Pokémon Go-streamed tournament, and we’ll be discussing her team down below, but it was nice to see her cut a path of destruction through the field and earn her spot in the Final Eight.
“For You Bro” of the Day: I know people will say that the game state is sus at times. Apparently Google agrees. The first-round battle between Drag0ns1lk and TriBird3 looked to get off to a solid start for the Canadian until Google came in with the 2FA chair shot to prevent Drag0ns’ Walrein from getting off an Earthquake. A rematch was granted and Tribird made an early EQ catch from Walrein on his Mandibuzz, proving it wasn’t just the phone’s OS that could make the Ground-move worthless. Mango won that matchup, but Tribird struck back and a CMP tie in Game 3 with the spicy scale dragon Kommo-O landing a Close Combat KO’d the Walrein for the win. The irony, Drag0ns1lk knocked out of the winner’s bracket by a dragon.
Last Second Connection of the Day: Game 2 between Uberjudgement and TelegraphTrain looked to be over. The triple Water team had done work and Train had an energy-dry Registeel to try and deal with the thick Water/Bug Araquanid. Train didn’t even think he was going to get to the necessary Zap Cannon. He did. Barely. Chest-clutching close, but Steel squashed the bug, and set up an amazing heads-up play by Train in G3, using Uber’s Talonflame’s fast move against him. He charged three Mud Shots on his nearly-fainted Swampert and transferred the Incinerate damage to Alolan Ninetales, keeping the Swamp alive and drawing the final shield with a Weather Ball. Train then came in with Registeel to force both charge moves from Talonflame, giving Swampert the one Incinerate it would need to Mud Shot and Hydro Cannon the Talonflame to win. Choo choo, indeed.
Holesome_ Call of the Day: The mayor was in fine form throughout the bracket, and while WildSusanBoyle’s Talonflame was on a rampage in the Group A Winner’s semifinal against Chellmic07, we got this exchange as the firebird prepped to Flame Charge a defenseless Trevenant:
“"You have to Ramp up the damage here, and TIMBERRRRR" - Holesome_
"Not Timburr the Pokemon, but Timber, the tree has fallen" - AlphaFeeb
We saw a lot of battles with a bit more variety in the meta to teams that were showcased in previous tournaments. Here is who remains entering Day 2 of the Vancouver regionals:
It’s not often you get to watch someone who wrote the literal book on PVP battling go to work on such a stage, but for the man known for putting out the official guide on GOStadium’s website, and who was coming out of competitive retirement to enter this tournament, the Professor didn’t look like he missed a beat. The Canadian eschewed Steel types, as well as Medicham, and opted to bring in the Poison/Fighter Toxicroak to the dance. With this more attack-oriented lineup, WildSusanBoyle was methodical in dismantling his opponents during Day 1. In the opening match of the tournament, he was drawn against Reis2Occasion and after a Game 1 loss to get his sea legs back, WSB used the gained knowledge of the PuP Medicham to take advantage with aggressive shielding to take down the Wisconsin native. WSB defended his home turf with ease, dispatching a pair of x3Dx members as well as Rhyblet to set up a showdown with 610HERO in the Winners’ Final. All that practice ahead of time to shake off the rust clearly paid off. (The writer of this article served as one of those practice partners and did get a 2-1 win against him with a Lurantis team, so maybe people should have been bringing Lurantis).
Not all heroes wear capes, but 610HERO was flying all day in the first half of the tournament. This despite not featuring a Flying-type on the team. The Japanese-Canadian came in from Ontario looking to defend the leaderboard totals he put up in GBL and he did not disappoint. A surprising lineup given that 610HERO is the only finalist not running any variant of Walrein. Instead, a Shadow Politoed cracked the squad, and those hard-hitting Weather Balls were relentlessly dished out from the backline. With Power-Up Punch Medicham also on the side, it was a team built to win in multiple ways, and 610HERO did just that, picking up victories over Doonebug97, Chellmic07 and completely walling off KevinSaludares en route to the Group A Winners’ final. He might be dreaming a dream of a ticket to Worlds, but WildSusanBoyle could just as easily turn that dream into a nightmare in that final matchup.
During the stream, Holesome_ commented that he thought Kanto Ninetales was something of a spicier pick in the tournament. It was the play of hsineerg that probably convinced him it was something more. Cindy’s ability to flip bad alignments was crucial in her win over ScrapinPete, and she added LyleJeffsIII and Dax0u to her tally as well. That Ember Ninetales was throwing opponents off all day, and set up the rest of her team to apply a lot of pressure, including that Shadow Walrein that has been ubiquitous in the meta since January. Alexmaderaaa stands in her way, but hsineerg could be the first GTPVPs to punch her ticket to the UK with two more wins.
The unknown factor in the Vancouver Eight, Alexmaderaaa proved he was more than capable of going toe-to-toe with some of the bigger names in the bracket during his 4-0 run on Saturday. Armed with a shiny Medicham (because shiny damage boost is totally a real thing, y’all), a Skarmory that managed to avoid much of the fiery carnage brought by other battlers, and the imposing Walrein/Shadow Nidoqueen combo, Alex took down a pair of veteran Canadian battlers in DaiLapCheurng and 2021 Silph NA Champion AShadyEquation, then inflicted psychic damage on FreakyBot9 with the mind games in the Walrein mirror and an amazing Earthquake catch on Lickitung to secure his spot in the Top 8. He draws a tough matchup against hsineerg without an obvious answer on the squad to her Shadow Ninetales, but he’s proven he won’t be intimidated by the bigger names on the stage.
The spotlight was shining on KevinSaludares this day. A victim of the absolutely loaded Group B bracket in Indianapolis, where his day ended with an early pair of losses, Kevin entered Vancouver with a purpose and came to the same conclusion that hsineerg did when it came to the new Araquanid meta: Bring the heat, bring the Fire Fox. With Shadow Kanto Ninetales hitting the scene as a very viable safe swap for teams that didn’t have a hard Water answer, Kevin was able to put in a much better showing in his home country. He fell in the Group A Winner’s semifinals against 610HERO, but was able to dispatch the sole survivor of the Mazer on Mazer carnage in the Loser’s bracket, KingDucksPool, with Araquanid managing to Bug Bite down a Talonflame to keep Kevin’s dream alive. Still a hard road ahead with x3DxJMar159 next on the docket, but the flame still burns as hot as the sun that surrounds his face on certain Twitch channels.
It seemed as if the Canadians were going to be perfect in defending their home and native land against any American invaders in the tournament, but one man stood alone to keep the Stars and Stripes flying into Day 2. x3DxJMar159 made the trek up from Washington state, bringing with him one of the more popular answers to the emerging Araquanid question in Noctowl. The Water Spooder was also on his team for good measure, and the bulk on his side proved a stalwart defense as he weathered a tough loss to WildSusanBoyle in the Winners’ bracket to knock out Tribird3 to stay alive entering Day 2. Galarian Stunfisk will likely have to do some work to prevent KevinSaludares’ Ninetales from scorching his chances of advancing towards a shot at redemption.
If it was a battle of the cutest team mascot to grace the stage at Vancouver, then apologies to KevinSaludares’ Jester Pikachu, but it was no match for FreakyBot9’s Wooloo. Another local legend looking to take home the crown, FreakyBot matched his fluffy companion by being the lone final eight member to bring Altaria into action, the Walrein-heavy meta having proven capable of clipping the songbird’s wings in most cases. FreakyBot relegated th3six4ninja and x3DxCptTeemo to the Losers’ Bracket but ran into the unstoppable AlexMaderaaa and that sick catch sent him to that bracket as well. Wooloo provided enough strength to silence the Cinderella run that papacorn18 went through in the Losers’ Bracket, but now draws a Leaderboard legend in DaiLapCheurng in order to keep moving on, and that BC vs. Alberta rivalry is sure to send sparks… err, Zap Cannons flying.
The legend of the Leaderboards himself, DaiLapCheurng entered Vancouver as one of the favorites to take home the title, but he finds himself in a tight situation entering Day 2. Running his favored double-Ice lineup (a squad this writer can get behind), Eddy was cruising until he ran into Alexmaderaaa’s side in the Group B Winner’s Bracket quarterfinals. However, DaiLapCheurng shook it off and ran a merciless gauntlet of LyleJeffsIII, Motiks and Dax0u to stay alive in the tournament. The Albertan now gets a night to refresh and come back in Day 2 against FreakyBot9 to continue his quest to get a shot at London, as will all eight battlers remaining.
The Vancouver stream has already produced some intense battles, and Day 2 is sure to offer even more chest-pounding action as the next representative heading to London is chosen. I for one can’t wait to see what these eight have in store on Sunday.