Preview by ZZweilous

It’s the weekend of the Fresno regional championship, and as a wise Canadian pop singer once said: All good things come to an end. Fresno marks the penultimate opportunity for NA competitors to qualify for the World Championship in Yokohama, Japan – and the last one to do so at a regional, because all that’s left is NAIC three weeks from now.

In a meta that still feels fresh and new, 66 battlers came together in California to give it a go, and one intense Saturday later, a Top 8 has emerged. Let’s take a look at how the meta developed from its debut in Turin, Milwaukee and Santiago.

Medicham domination

The initial narrative of the Season of Hidden Gems meta was clear: Medicham went from very strong to near mandatory, witch Trevenant’s absence removing the need for alternative counter users such as Obstagoon, while also having the Medicham check Alolan Ninetales falling out of favor as the ice type of choice. We see that reflected even more strongly in the Fresno top cut: One A9, no Trevenant, and Medicham on every single team.

The grass is greener

The very first concern after the Trevenant nerf wasn’t about Medi alone, though. What made Trev so prevalent wasn’t just its corebreaking potential, but also the way it walled all of Lanturn’s energy. Now, other grass types have started competing for that niche. We saw multiple Whimsicott try to occupy it, but they ultimately fell short. Instead, three Shadow Venusaurs made the top cut, and with few teams having more than one check for it, it looks poised to feature on a tournament winning team eventually.

A stunning absence

So we’ve determined the Fighter of choice, the Grass of choice... What about the Steel of choice? For the longest time, Galarian Stunfisk dominated the usage charts, especially in North America. The Fresno top cut, however, is painting a different picture. Out of nine Steel types, six are Registeel, while the Galarian bear trap ties with Bastiodon (!) and Togedamaru (!!) for runner-up.

So with those trends established, let’s get into the match-ups, shall we?


XjeraldX vs. Munchlax2000: Both these trainers went through quite the gauntlet to arrive at day two on the winners’ side, with XjeraldX defeating top cut regular HaydonusActual as well as Peoria runner-up NHoff – and all of that before the Group A winner even reached Saturday’s semifinals. XjeraldX’ standout pick looks to be Dunsparce: Especially after the slight Rollout buff, this Normal type core breaker has play into all of Munchlax2000’s mons but Medicham. But a promising team comp won’t guarantee victory against Group C’s winner, who went on an 8-0 run, knocking down proven battlers like 4TheBattles and beeeach7.

Boomerbrhel vs. CalebPeng: “Bring your Bastiodon counters”, worlds-qualified competitor, shoutcaster and content creator Caleb Peng insisted before taking on the second California regional of the season after finishing as runner-up in San Diego. With the prevalence of Medicham, that surely was at least partly in jest, but it’s safe to say that people did not have an answer to Caleb’s double steel team comp on day one of the competition. Against Boomerbrhel, Basti should probably be kept on the bench: Two ground types and a Medicham see the SoCal Swablu Gold battler well-positioned against Caleb’s signature pick at least. Whether Boomerbrhel will get much mileage out of the unique Pokémon on his side, the newly-buffed Dewgong, remains to be seen.


0EL1TE0 vs. TheC2U: Probably the biggest name down in the lower half of the bracket, 0EL1TE0 brings the team that helped Paulasha97 to victory in Turin, featuring the Shadow Alolan Sandslash, a Pokémon shoutcaster 2OButters labeled the pick with the highest skill ceiling currently. Given his previous leaderboard placements, 0EL1TE0 should have little trouble getting the most out of the icy hedgehog. However, TheC2U does share the incredibly flexible Medicham/Registeel/Noctowl/Sableye core with his opponent and will have plenty of tools to fight back the A-Slash onslaught – even though both his Shadow Walrein and his Shadow Venusaur look like picks that need to be positioned especially carefully against this opponent.


NiteTimeClasher vs. DvSheriff: Toge to top six! That’s already a given, but the final match up down in the Losers’ Bracket will determine whether we’re talking Toge-tic or Toge-damaru. It’s an impressive run by NiteTimeClasher, a battler so dedicated, he paid out of pocket to take up a shoutcasting opportunity in Bochum, Germany. Now, he’s looking to emulate Jojogogodancer’s Togedamaru success from Turin. DvSheriff’s newly buffed Fairy Wind Togetic is, however, an entirely new Pokémon in the top cut of a regional tournament. It’s uniquely strong into Sableye/Medicham cores and is capable of hitting flying types such as Noctowl with Ancient Power. 



JUNE 10 - 11

66 Players