Friday, September 9, 2016

VGC Tips #1: Knowing the Basics

Welcome to VGC Tips, where I try to provide tips and important info that can be used to do well in VGC during each format and ruleset. This post is more focused to the newer players looking to gain traction and understanding about how VGC works. The goal is to show off how VGC works and why if your on the fence about competing, then I'll try to tell you why you should start your VGC journey.

The Basics
VGC stands for "Video Game Championships" which is the official battling format enforced by TPCi, or "The Pokemon Company International" and is the only way to play Pokemon officially under the rules set by the Pokemon company. It is a season long circuit from September to August each year with various tournaments help which leads to the Pokemon World Championships, an invite only tournament held once a year to decide the best of the best. You can attend tournaments in real life for a chance to win money, game systems, trading cards, and various trips if you do well enough. You can do well by earning CP, or Championship Points, which are points given out at various events for doing well and the more you earn based on how many people showed up.

 The rules down below will never change and are a staple of VGC
  • Double Battles: Up to 2 Pokemon can appear from each player at a team
  • You "See 6, Pick 4", where you bring your team of 6 Pokemon to the battle, but only choose 4 to actually use in the match 
  • Every Pokemon under level 50 remain at that level while any Pokemon above level 50 will be scaled down to 50
  • Certain items are banned, mainly the Soul Dew
  • Species Clause: No 2 Pokemon may be on the same team that have the same Pokedex number (includes different forms)
  • Item Clause: No 2 Items may appear on the same team
  • For the 6th generation and possibly something like this in the 7th, your Pokemon must have the blue pentagon to signal that they were caught in the current generation.
Banned Pokemon: These Pokemon have never been allowed in the history of VGC due to the fact that they're difficult to obtain, which helps balance the accessibility of the usable Pokemon. 
               

Restricted Pokemon: These are Pokemon are allowed to be used in certain formats once every couple of years throughout the entire use of a ruleset, but it doesn't happen very often, which makes it a neat and cool surprise.
              

How the Tournament Structure works - There are certain levels of events you can go to which the more prestigious the event is, the more CP or Championship Points it'll give out

  • International Challenge - Larger online events that last throughout a weekend, you can play 15 battles each day and 45 battles throughout the weekend where battles not played 1 night carry over to the next day until the event ends
  • Premier Challenges - Local tournaments held often within each season run by TOs looking to promote the game and start a small community within the area
  • Midseason Showdowns - Essentially a Premier Challenge that is held between March and April, but offer more CP
  • Regionals - Larger events that are are held throughout the main season that offer more bragging rights for doing well as the attendance is generally larger
  • Nationals - Large events held once a season in various countries that take place between May and July, which are often large events with a couple hundred people on average that attend.
  • World Championships - The biggest event of the season where every player that has earned in invite has the opportunity to compete
(Contentinentals are a new kind of tournament that are rumored to replace the Nationals events, but since we don't know about the event, I plan on talking about once we know more info about them.)

How to get an invite to the World Championships - You can earn an invite by meeting or passing a certain amount of CP where once you meet/pass it, you earn an invite to the World Championships on Day 1, but you can earn an auto-invite through Day 1 straight into Day 2 by having your CP count in the Top 8 in the US/Canada, Top 16 in Europe, and Top 4 in APAC, which is the area in Australia and around Taiwan. Japan also has a interesting qualification which you need to do well in the Japan Cup, which is like the International Challenge, and you can make it straight into Day 2 by finishing in the Top 4 at Japanese Nationals.

The difference between Singles to Double Battles: This article was done by Aaron Traylor [Unreality], who got recently placed 2nd at the 2016 US Nationals and Top 8 at the World Championships. This article talks about some things that are important to keep in mind when making a transition from playing Single Battles to Double Battles.

How to find an event to compete in - Use this link to find an event to compete in, but if events aren't near you and traveling isn't an option, you can always try to organize events near you so.

Resources: These are some resources that I recommend checking out when trying to improve
  • NuggetBridge: There's a lot of info to get better in VGC and a community that can help you do so.
  • CybertronProductions: A YouTube channel owned by Aaron Zheng whose VGC Commentator and got 3rd at Worlds in 2013 and Top 4 at Nationals in 2015, just to name a few of his accomplishments
  • WolfeyVGC: A YouTube channel owned by Wolfe Glick, who recently won the World Champion, and has been uploading some great content that's really helpful
  • 13Yoshi37: A YouTube channel owned by Markus Stadter, who got Top 4 at the World Championships and commentated the European Nationals this season
  • Baz Anderson: A YouTube channel owned by Barry Anderson, who got Top 8 at the 2016 World Championships and finished 9th back in Worlds in 2013
  • James Baek: A YouTube channel owned by James Baek, who got 2nd at Madison Regionals in 2015, a Day 2 Nationals player the same year, and won the Liberty Garden Invitational in 2016
  • Jamie Boyt: A YouTube channel owned by Jamie Boyt, who won a Regional, got Top 8 at UK Nationals, and finished 13th at the World Championships.
  • Jamie Kean: A YouTube channel owned by Jamie Kean, who has qualified for Worlds in both 2015 and in 2016
  • Saffron City Post: A website owned by Jason Krell with Grant Weldon on staff, which has been putting out VGC content to help out and grow the scene
  • Lava Pool: A VGC Podcast owned by Sam Harssama [Dr. Fidget] that has been going strong since 2012
  • The Hyper Voice: A VGC Podcast owned by Stephen Morioka and Alex Underhill, who both competed at the 2016 World Championships
  • Goldenrod Live: A VGC talk show owned by Matt Dorrell, who got 10th place at 2015 UK Nationals and commentated the European Nationals this season
  • Pokemon.com/strategy - An official source for getting updated on what's going on in the metagame after big events
How to get better at this game
  • Practice with a purpose and learn what you need to do to gain knowledge about your team and the format
  • Watch high level VGC content and see how the top players make high level plays
  • Attend events so you can take the skills you've learned into the real world and test out your team
  • Always keep an open mind and realize that you won't become a top player overnight and its something that takes time and effort to accomplish
I hoped you enjoyed this. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I hope that your transition into VGC is a great one.  and share this with your friends if you want to get into VGC alongside them. This is an amazing community full of some cool people and if you give it a chance, I promise you won't regret. Check out my older content if you wanna learn more about the VGC and I'll see you next time. Bye!

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