What we Learned: VGC 2017 Oceanic Internationals

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With the VGC 2017 Oceanic International Championship over, it's time to once again examine what we learned from the event to possibly understand the events better and see them in a new light. There's quite a few things to look at and I hope you enjoy this. We saw Nick Kan win in Juniors, Carson St. Denis win in Seniors and Zoe Lou win in the Masters Division.

Link to the Top 32 teams: here

The Australian scene has some very strong Pokémon 

Going into this event, it's been very obvious that Australian players are known for using very strong Pokémon. At the 2016 Australian Nationals, the Top 16 players shown a few very strong Pokémon. Arkie Owen used Ditto to finished 16th place, James Katsaros used Tanglea to finished 14th, Nicholas Bingham used Magikarp to finished 6th, and Joshua Matos used Gourgeist to finished 4th, so we knew that the Australian metagame is diverse. Going into this event and looking at the Top 32 players, we saw some interesting Pokémon that we're able to do well. 27th place Koutaro Nakagome used Goliospod, 25th place Tony Nguyen used both Togedemaru and Haunter, 23rd place Matthew Hui used Torkoal, Chansey, and Palossand, 26th place Federico Turano, Markus Stadter, and 5th place Sebastian Escalante used Persian, while Markus also used Clefairy. We also saw Buzzwole used by 7th place Tommy Cooleen, 30th place Rachel Annand, and 32nd place Allister Sandover. This shows that overall, the Australian metagame is very diverse and I'm curious to see which players will do well in the future.

The BFL for International Championships needs to be changed 

To understand this, we need to look at the problem with this and what it means if it doesn't change very soon. Throughout the VGC 2017 season, there are 4 International Championships for the season, 1 for each rating zone. The BFL, or how many finishes will be calculated before each one is replaced by a better finish is 4. Because there's only 4 of them for each season and the BFL is 4, then this means that there is essentially no BFL and the the idea of a BFL for these events has been basically scraped. The problem is that when you include a stipend for these events for the Top 8 players CP wise, it essentially means that if you do well at 1 of these events like the European one for example, your CP Count will shoot up drastically and put you in a good standing to earn another one to the next event. We saw 6/8 of the players who finished in the Top 8 at the European IC earn a stipend to the Oceanic IC. Because 3/8 of these players made it once again to the Top 8, then they'll most likely earn a stipend to the Latin America IC. If this isn't changed for the 2018 VGC season, then this problem will continue and the same issues will continue to come up. The solution I think will help is to cut the IC BFL from 4 to 2, meaning that for example, you finish Top 8 at both International Championships and earn a stipend to attend the other two, then only way you'll earn CP is to finish Top 4 at the next ones, or drop it to 1, but that they be overkill.

Teamsheets mistake take 1 of your Pokémon = Top Cut

When I say this, I think it's important to understand what happens. Nico Davide Cognetta, who finished 2nd at the European IC, lost his Kartana going into Day 2 due to a team sheet mistake. Despite this, he was able to overcome his immediate disadvantage of only having 5 Pokémon and  was able to make it to advance to the Top 8 and finished 2nd. The closest we saw this happen was at the European IC where Kinugawa Yuma lost his Celesteela and finished 11th in the event. There performances show that despite losing a Pokémon to a teamsheet mistake, it's still very much possible to still put up an impressive Day 2 performance. We saw 26th place Tony Nguyen loss his Snorlax, but I'm under the impression that Snorlax was able to tie up some holes in his team and by losing it, it may have weakened some of his matchups, which caused him to not put the kind of performance he may have wanted to.

Teamwork makes the Dream work

A week before the event, it was clear that we were going to not have an official stream for either VGC or TCG. I'll link a description on why we didn't get a stream from Jason Krell (@Krellitlikeitis) here. Because of this, it was up to the community to provide an awesome stream or experience for everyone so we can make the event enjoyable, which most certainly happened as a ton of people worked to make the event enjoyable with a fan stream to provide enjoyment. To provide a stream, Tim Crockford (@TimCrockfordAU) provided a phone and the ability to stream the event, which was ok'd by Chris Brown (@AlphaZealot) which was honestly done very well. Ty Power (@SarkastikVGC) and Tom Schultz (@SchultzyVGC) provided commentary, even choosing to drop from the competition altogether, which was done well. Kay Dyson (@OneHitKayOh) picked matches as the floor judge and picked great matches. Wolfe Glick (@WolfeyGlick), Markus Stadter (@13Yoshi37), and Baris Akcos (@BillaVGC) advocated for a stream, while Jesse Wilsone (@jessewilsone) also helped advocate for it as well. The PokemonAustralia community received helped from Rhydian Cowley (@rhydianc), Bailey Owen (@BargensVGC), and Stacey Muscat (@AverageJoeVGC) to live tweet the event so we could know what was happening throughout the weekend. Thanks to these incredible people, a stream and updates throughout the event was even possible and made the experience great for everyone.

A new take on a successful team wins big

It's fair to talk about how her team took elements of an already successful team to do well. A few weeks before the International, the ONOG invitational, which pitted 8 players from various backgrounds of success in Pokémon together to help promote VGC to a wider audience. The team that overall won was piloted by 2015 World Champion Shoma Honami, which featured the Tapu Lele/Drifblim core that looked to be very successful as many players picked it up, including Collinsville Regionals runner-up Justin Burns. Zoe saw the potential in this team, changing certain things to improve other matchups, most notably, Magnet Rise on Magnezone to improve versus Garchomp and Flamethrower on Gyarados to improve versus Kartana. She also changed the Pheromosa to Tapu Koko, which gave her a second Electric and a second Fairy type attacker to threaten Garchomp and water types more. Choice Specs on Tapu Lele and a wide range of coverage moves allowed her to increase its damage output. Her Gyarados also carried the Sitrus Berry, which most likely leaned to a bulkier Gyarados, but the addition of Dragon Dance may say otherwise. Her Garchomp knew Substitute, which allowed it to take hits better and in the right situations, make it a much bigger threat then the opponent may expect it to. Her final Pokémon, Drifblim, had a very interesting move in Haze, which allows it to after the Unburden boost to increase its speed, use Haze to provide an answer to teams that had set-up, most notably Eevee teams as used by Giovanni Costa. Put all of this together and her ability to play well, it resulted in a winning formula to win the entire tournament.

I hope you enjoyed this. Overall, this event has shown that when TPCi doesn't give a stream for various reasons, the community can band together to give us an amazing experience for the world. We've also knew that certain players who we're affected by the team sheet incident can still prove their skill and have a very deep run despite this, as well as the Australian metagame and players have very innovated ideas on how to team build and show how successful certain Pokemon can be. We took a closer look at Zoe's successful team she won the International. We've also seen how the BFL for Internationals are and I hope that this gets changed very soon. Check out my future content and I'll see you guys next time. Bye!


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