9 months ago
The Latin American International Championships took place in São Paulo last weekend and in what looked to be arguably the biggest LATAM event of the season, registration sold out in just 2 hours! 109 players made the trip with some familiar LATAM names such as Ventuski, rochababyface1 and HorovBK alongside returning Worlds competitors such as Marto Galde, Zarddy, Emili0oXx and PatrickyAlbani. The LNDs community also came out in full force in their home country with players such as LNDsRargef and LNDsAureo looking to defend the titles they’d earned earlier on in the season.
The Road to Day 2 was a difficult one for many with lots of favourites dropping out early. Bracket A saw LNDsRargef prove he was still in stellar condition going unbeaten to qualify in the winner’s side while Ricpts12 conquered the loser’s end of the bracket after being sent their by LNDsRargef himself in the winner’s finals. In Group B, PatrickyAlbani progressed successfully through the winner’s bracket beating 3rd Place Mexico City Regionals competitor JavierV20 in the finals. On the loser’s side however, LNDs founder LNDsKRUSTZAO went on a phenomenal run after being knocked into the loser bracket in the first match. Winning 8 consecutive matches, LNDsKRUSTZAO secured qualification beating JavierV20 in the losers' finals
JWNaldo took Group C beating the caster’s favourite Jumpluff user MJamaicaBR in the finals, while the only Mew user in the whole tournament took the losers bracket after being sent there by JWNaldo himself. Finally Group D was conquered by Rnetol999 beating his Factions team mate GabrielYehovah in the finals, who then successfully won the next game also securing himself a place in Day 2.
The all-Brazilian Top Cut showed the home players were out to dominate. Both previous Regional toppers LNDsRargef and PatrickyAlbani lost their first matches of the day which were also their first match losses all tournament. PatrickyAlbani went on to lose the next match as well while LNDsRargef won his. This meant that with LNDsRargef in the top 4 already owning a world’s invite, the invite would pass down to 5th place. PatrickyAlbani and rafaclxr fought for this final invite off camera with PatrickyAlbani emerging victorious and becoming the first player outside of the Champions to qualify for Worlds twice in a row.
GabrielYehovah meanwhile made it through the losers bracket, beating LNDsRargef on the way as well as his own teammate Rnetol999 in a rematch in the Loser’s finals. This took him to the grand finals to face off against JWNaldo who was still yet to lose a match throughout the entire tournament. The finals saw JWNaldo keep up that win streak and take the match 3-1 becoming the first ever Pokemon Go Latin American International Champion.
Congratulations to JWNaldo, GabrielYehovah, Rnetol999 and PatrickyAlbani on qualifying for the World Championships in Yokohama, and congratulations to LNDsRargef for his second peak performance of the season!
The Latin America International Championships brought us exceptional battles from scores of talented players. The community was thrilled to see the only Mew in the tournament find its way into the Top 8 and progressing on to Day 2 and held out for another potential Mythical run after witnessing the magic captured by koksiak2400 and Victini in the Warsaw Regionals earlier this month. We may not have seen Mew hoist the trophy in São Paulo, but we did welcome a new face into the champion’s circle. The LAIC Champion JWNaldo not only wielded Noctowl and other meta staples exceptionally well but also leveraged this season’s newcomer Toxapex en route to victory, representing our first champion to run the Brutal Star Pokémon.
For the first time this season in any Play! Pokémon event, Trevenant was outside of the top five in total usage. This eventuality is hardly a surprise with Noctowl first climbing into the top five in total usage at the Salt Lake City Regionals before solidifying its place in the meta by repeating the feat in Warsaw and now top-five total usage again in LAIC and on five of the top-eight teams. If we pause briefly and rewind all the way back to Baltimore on opening weekend of the Play! Pokémon 2022-2023 season, it’s quite astounding that Housestark93, the Baltimore Regional champion, had the foresight to recognize the value of Noctowl so early on. Now fast forward to LAIC with Lickitung and Noctowl firmly entrenching themselves at the top of the current metagame, and Trevenant’s unique combination of roles and coverage starts to lose its luster in the face of these two prominent Normal-types. However, don’t be mistaken—this is no precipitous fall from grace. Trevenant is still the premier Grass-type and one of the most used Pokémon this season, although perhaps the Wing Attack buff coming this month in the Season of Wishes will present another challenge.
Noctowl, Galarian Stunfisk, Sableye, Nidoqueen, and Alolan Ninetales all over-performed in LAIC, showing up on a higher percentage of top-eight teams than total teams. Trevenant and Azumarill slightly under-performed here as well. As we saw Walrein, Alolan Ninetales and Froslass make appearances in São Paulo, Ice-types continue to be on the fringe of the meta in a way that’s almost reminiscent of Fire-types from last season and their anti-meta role. With the move updates from Season of Wishes coming shortly, we look forward to seeing how the meta evolves over the next three months.