Play! Pokémon 2022: NAIC Day 1 Rewind
7 months ago
The Pokémon GO World Championships in London are a little under two months away. If the North American Championships are any indication, it is going to be a breathtaking show.
The finale of the Western Hemisphere’s qualification tournaments got underway in the heart of Buckeye country; Columbus, Ohio. 127 battlers were registered for the tournament, the highest number seen at any event thus far. And yet even with such a wide and talented roster of battlers set to dot I’s, light cannons, rock and roll all day and take their crew into Day 2, only eight would get the privilege of doing so. Before we look at the last battlers standing, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the day:
Opener of the Day
The return of live tournaments to the big stage have drawn out a lot of names that may be more familiar to veterans of GBL as opposed to those of us that came up during the pandemic period of remote tournaments. ValorAsh is one of the originals, and still battling as part of the newly rechristened Stadium Elite, but he was thrown into the spotlight immediately against Toshi9227. Much like WildSusanBoyle in Vancouver, Ash showed he hadn’t lost a step with an early Talonflame victory over a spicy Tropius pick from Toshi, and survived a Sableye onslaught to claim a 2-1 win over Toshi. It set the tone for a day that was jam-packed with battles, to the point where we had three more hours of battles opposed to the regional tournaments!
Flight Plan of the Day
While deemed the North American International Championships, one battle was determined to make sure Europe had a voice in the bracket. Hitching what he called a cheap flight from London, Dutch battler Inadequance arrived in Ohio to make another run at a Worlds berth, and have a much easier flight in August. Inadequance made it onto stream and knocked Chippychoodles to the Loser’s Bracket, but ultimately fell just short in losses to ItsAXN and ChemCoop.
Spice Pick of the Day: With the number of battlers reaching triple digits in Columbus, spice was going to be plentiful. Jason2890 had Venusaur and Bastiodon, GBL staples that had seen little action in these tournaments. Inadequance brought Pelipper, Obstagoon and Cofagrigus across the pond with him. Mxchmp made a deep run with the OG spooder, Ariados. TrainerRem brought a Pokémon that Fossil Cup fans (Anyone?) are now very familiar with. DanielZyniri of course went spicy, rocking Mew and Shadow Drapion. But we’ve seen all those in various formats. Have y’all seen a Goodra before? Even on your own roster? Party Marty brought the Kalos dragon in the squad, potentially as a Ninetales answer, but it didn’t see play in a loss against Panick23.
GTPvP of the Day
In previous recaps, this category has been disappointingly sparse, with only a handful of female battlers able to take the stage and get in on the action. And when I was unable to cover Milwaukee’s regionals, and thus the meteoric rise of birdpower13 and her quest to prevent Reis2Occasion’s coronation in his home state, I worried that Columbus would leave me disappointed.
Viewers of my streams know I am often wrong, and I am happy to report this was the case today.
First let’s start with the new face to Pokémon GO fans, but a veteran of the shoutcasting scene around Pokémon in general. Gabby Snyder learned about Pokémon GO while doing on-screen work for the VGC tournament in Indianapolis, and voraciously started to absorb all info she could about the game, seeking out consul from PVP veterans as she learned about catches and undercharges. In a short time, she picked things up and while she was the least experienced of the four shoutcasters on the mic, her professionalism and ability to ask the questions for a lot of new players to Pokémon GO, like herself, stood out and broke up the straight commentary. She was also able to bring a lot of VGC parallels as well to help bridge the gap between the communities. Hope to see more from her in this sphere in the future.
And hopefully she has the chance to call more matches from the GTPVP community because they showed up in droves in Ohio and were ready to battle from the get-go. The Queen of Spice herself, the legend of this site, Meta analyst NHoff came up in match three against Canadian competitor ScrapinPete, but her Tapu Fini/Noctowl spice options were unable to handle Pete’s meta picks on the stage. Hoff went 2-2 in the tournament, knocking out Pranav and bosoxguy7 before bowing out to nck228.
Another legend among the GTPVP community made her first appearance on screen as 4TheBattles came onto stage with Obstagoon in tow, a nod to her Mazer teammate Reis’ squad in Milwaukee perhaps? She drew a tough stage opponent in Indy Top 8 finisher TrentSzcz and after an impressive opening victory, Kim went down 2-1, and was knocked out in the next battle against HouseStark93 with a 2-2 mark.
With Gabby taking over the booth, the other GTPVP shoutcaster got to prove her mettle in battle as well as Queen Bees field specialist DPhiE250 made a nice run. She prided herself in running a spicier team without Registeel or Walrein on the roster, and she proved it could work with Tapu Fini and Alolan Marowak pushing kayvaughn to the limit on screen and again winning the first battle with all three balls remaining before falling 2-1 and going out with a 3-2 mark after losing to eventual top 8 finalist Evan777713.
After not getting screen time in Indianapolis, NeedforSpeedy also finally made her long awaited debut on the main stage. One of the few battlers to bring Umbreon as a safe swap, she was unable to avenge DPhiE’s loss to kayvaughn on screen, again winning the opening battle, but the next two bouts went kayvaughn’s way and relegated Speedy to the Loser’s bracket. Speedy fell in her next matchup against Zimmykid, but a 3-2 mark again is a great result in such a stacked field.
The star of the community today was Mxchmp, making a deep run into the tournament with a double Poison strategy of Toxicroak and Ariados confounding opponents. She calmed Panick’s team with enough Lunges to send him to the Loser’s bracket, the last one at the death to slay the Registeel spire. She ran into Jason2890’s Bastiodon and broke the dino apart, Lickitung and Toxicroak again doing work. She went on an amazing 5-0 run before losing to the two finalists from Group B, but a remarkable show with off-meta Pokémon had the crowd in Columbus roaring. On a day that was so tough for women across the States, it was nice to see some of the brightest stars of the community finally get their due on screen.
Outfit of the Day
Can’t let this article go by without mentioning the exquisite outfit DJ Entaprize showed up to Columbus with. I’m glad the black and yellow vest/tie combo was showcased and I’m sure the Pittsburgh colors were meant to intimate the Ohio crowd, but unfortunately, the DJ was hung up by LunarWing2 and sent packing early.
Catch of the Day
There were so, so many, but maybe the most important one was KaiserTener’s catch in G2 of the Group A final against ValorAsh, sparing Nidoqueen from taking an Icicle Spear by sending in Walrein to take it instead. Nidoqueen dispatched Swampert in gratitude and booked Kaiser into the final day in style. No sunglasses necessary.
With all that, there are still eight battlers remaining and here who will be looking to make their way to London: