Thursday, December 15, 2016

What We Learned: VGC17 European Internationals



The European Internationals took place from December 9-11, 2016 at the ExCel convention center in London, England. 549 players players from across the globe to compete in this event, Including some very strong Japanese players gather to play in the VGC 2017 season on Pokemon Sun & Moon. This event is going to have an impact on the rest of the metagame as its the first major tournament to happen in the VGC 2017 season so the players, teams, and Pokemon that perform well will impact the meta and the season. We saw 3 days of nonstop action on the stream that ended with Miguel Marti de La Torre walking away with as the champion.

Top 16 players and teams for reference
(Pokemon in parentheses were removed from their team because of a team sheet mistake)

  1. Miguel Marti de La Torre:     East Sea 
  2. Nico Davide Cognetta:     East Sea 
  3. Michele Gavelli:    Alola Form  
  4. Ben Kyriakou:  Alola Form  Alola Form  
  5. William Tansley:     Alola Form  
  6. Tobias Koschitzki:      
  7. Tommy Cooleen:     Alola Form 
  8. Nils Dunlop:   Alola Form Alola Form  Alola Form
  9. Yeray Arrivi:  Alola Form   
  10. Alessio Yuri Boschetto:      Alola Form
  11. Kinugawa Yuma:  Alola Form   ()
  12. Till Bohmer:     East Sea Alola Form 
  13. Wolfe Glick:     Alola Form 
  14. Trista Medine:    Alola Form  
  15. Conan Thompson:      
  16. Alejandro Gomez:   Alola Form   


Diversity in this format is very much alive

While many have criticized VGC2015 and VGC2016 for their lack of diversity in terms of the pool of Pokemon, this season has very much proven that this is simply not true for VGC2017. While the standard Pokemon that defined the format like Alolan Marowak, Garchomp, Tapu Koko, and Celesteela made their appearances throughout the tournament, we saw interesting Pokemon that weren't really making an impact in the format previously like Gastrodon, which was on both teams in the finals. We also saw a rise of Magnezone in Day 2 used by 6th place Tobias Koschitzki and 13th place Wolfe Glick, as well as Gigalith used by 5th place William Tansley and 1st place Miguel Marti de La Torre. We also saw Kartana used by 8th place Nils Dunlop, 5th place William Tansley, and 4th place Ben Kyriakou. Finally, Incineroar started to pick up steam as 25th place Jonathan Evans, 26th place Arash Ommati, 33rd place Oliver Reilly, and 43rd place Matt Carter all included it in their teams. As the season progresses, I wonder if this trend of interesting Pokemon that fulfill roles will continue, or will the standard prevail in the end.
Link to the teams: here

Check your Team Sheet

After Day 1 of Swiss was concluded, the 51 players who had 2 or less losses and had advanced to the second day were hack checked. When this happened, there were some issues that had occurred between the teams. The teams that they used throughout the day did not match up with their team sheets and they were forced to remove the Pokemon from their team play throughout the second day of competition. The players who were affected were 17th place Andrea Di Francesco who had to remove Sableye from her team, 25th place Jonathan Evans, who had to remove Tapu Bulu from his team, 31st place Federico Andino, who had to remove Gyarados from his team, 32nd place Eduardo Cunha, who had to had to remove Pelipper from his team, 41st place Markus Stadter, who had to remove, Gastrodon from his team, and 50th place Nelson Pinero, who had to remove Porygon2 from his team. One can only imagine that if their team sheets were correct and didn't have to remove that Pokemon from their teams how well these 6 players would have done throughout the second day of Swiss. They might have even won the tournament if this mistake didn't happen.

So many Countries have strong players

In Day 2, there were a total of 51 players representing 12 countries. What was interesting is that based on the number of players that represented their country, Spain had the second most number of players in Day 2 with 10 right behind Italy with 11 with the finals being Italy's Nico Davide Cognetta vs. Spain's Miguel Marti de La Torre with Miguel winning their match and the tournament. The U.K. had 8 players in Day 2, which 2 of them made it to the Top 8. The US had 7 players in Day 2 with only 1 making it in the Top 8. Germany had 5 players in Day 2 with only 1 in Top 8. Sweden had 2, Japan had 1, Taiwan had 1, Singapore had 1, Czech Republic had 1, Argentina had 3, and Portugal had 1. This really did feel like a mini-Worlds.

Bulky Teams are just as strong as Ever

Before this event, we saw a lot of offensive teams that have dominated the online ladders both in-game and on the Pokemon Showdown Ladder. Going into London, it was theorized that a offensive team would take this event due to how the metagame was going at the time. During London, this quickly changed. Teams were very defensive Pokemon like Gastrodon, Celesteecla, Arcanine, Porygon2, Oranguru, Tapu Bulu, and Alolan Muk, who were all in the Top 16. This shows that in an early metagame with a big tournament on the horizon, strong players will turn an offensive meta in to a slow, bulky one easily.

Top Players dropping from VGC 2017?

With all the problem this event had like the new timer system and the problems with the team sheet incident, as well as traditionally, European events being poorly run, this has lead to some players commenting on twitter that because of this, they wouldn't compete in the 2017 season. Top players like Alexander Kuhn (@hibikivgc), Arash Ommati (@Mean_vgc), Alex Gomez (@PokeAlex_), and Markus Stadter (@13Yoshi37) have all said that they would not compete this season. While they may or not change their mind, its quite telling when some top players have publicly said they have sworn off of competing this season. I wonder if as the season progresses, will more top players follow suit, or is this it.

That's it. That's everything that was important from the European International that I thought was important to cover so I hope you enjoyed it. Check out my older content if you haven't and I'll see you guys next time. Bye!

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