VGC 2020 Richmond Regionals Preview

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Written by Joseph Costagliola (@c9_joseph)

As Pokémon players across the world are struggling to the finish line of generation 7, the final few Ultra Series Regionals are upon us. Over the last two months of Ultra, Regionals will be held in Richmond, Portland, Daytona, and San Jose. With two Regionals (and one Special Event) already in the books for the post-Worlds format, it’s important to look at how the CP Leaderboard has shaped up. Also of note, with only 71 entrants at the time of writing this article, it’s unlikely that the Regional will hit the 100 person kicker required for the top 32 CP. This leaves for a super cutthroat environment in which not all players who finish 5-2 are guaranteed CP, and prize money only goes out to the tournament’s top 4 players.

North American Top 16 (As of October 31, 2019)

Current Top 8 Players

USA Cedric DeRouchie (@TheFloppyMudkip) ~ 558 CP
  • Accomplishments – Top 4 2020 Atlantic City Regionals, 3x Masters Regional Top 8's, Day 1 2019 Worlds Qualifier, Top 16 2018 Seniors World Championships
Cedric has had an incredible start to his 2020 season. Combining a top 4 finish at the Atlantic City Regionals with a top 16 and top 32 at Knoxville and the DC Open respectively with a bounty of Ohio locals, it’s no surprise to see this incredibly talented player at the top. DeRouchie has found success this year using a variety of archetypes, from Yveltal/Groudon to Rayquaza/Kyogre (and lots of other things in between). Cedric is easily at the top of any player’s threat list going into this Regional.


USA Jeremy Odena (@JayOhh_12) ~ 474 CP
  • Accomplishments – 2020 DC Open, 4x Masters Regional Top 8's, 39th Place 2018 World Championships
Long respected as one of the strongest, if not the strongest player in New England, Odena catapulted his season with a win at the DC open followed by a Top 8 at Atlantic City. Jeremy has spent a long time perfecting his trademark Rayquaza/Kyogre team and is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Will this maverick add a fourth Regional to his uninterrupted streak of top cuts?


USA Ashton Cox (@Linkyoshimario) ~ 442 CP
  • Accomplishments – 1st Place 2017 and 2019 Latin American Internationals, Top Cut 2017 World Championships, 2019 Global CP Leader, 2x Regional Champion
No stranger to the top of the Championship Points leaderboards, Cox is the third and final player in North America to have already locked up an invite before this Regional. Ashton and his long-time teambuilding partner Jeremy Rodrigues have been two of the wildest and inventive players in Ultra Series, some of the teams they’ve brought to tournaments feature things like the Xerneas/Yveltal core, Perish Trap, Guardian of Alola Tapu Koko, and even Lunala/Solgaleo at the World Championships. Ashton has had some rough bouts with RNG over his last few tournaments, but could easily find his groove at Richmond once again.


USA Jeremy Rodrigues (@SerapisVGC) ~ 388 CP
  • Accomplishments – 2018 North American Internationals, 2018 American CP Leader, 3x Day 2 Worlds Qualifier, 2x Regional Champion, Top 4 2019 Latin American Internationals
Coming off of an impressive top cut at Knoxville Regionals (with Cresselia of all Pokémon), Rodrigues is the fourth and final slot of the current Travel Award Contingent for the Oceania International Championships. Ashton and Jeremy’s combined reign over Ohio locals and Regionals alike are sure to continue at this tournament, as the pair haven’t both missed points at a major in quite some time.


USA Brady Smith (@B_Smiffy) ~ 386 CP
  • Accomplishments – 1st 2018 Memphis Regionals, 2nd Place 2018 Hartford Regionals, 4x Regionals Top 8's, Top 16 2018 Latin American Internationals, 18th Place 2018 World Championships
After taking a year off from serious competing, Smith has opened up guns blazing in the 2020 season. With a top 4 at the Atlantic City Regional as well as a clean sweep of most of his Florida locals, Brady has placed himself at 5th in the CP standings at 386 CP. Unfortunately, he whiffed on points at the Knoxville Regional with a 4-3 record. Rest assured, Brady has been working hard to make up for lost ground and will be trying his hardest to not leave the Dogwood State empty-handed.


USA Kyle Livinghouse (@AnimusVGC) ~ 354 CP
  • Accomplishments – Top 8 2019 North American Internationals, Day 2 2019 Worlds Qualifier, 1st Place 2020 Knoxville Regionals, 5x Regionals Top 8's
Livinghouse is the player on this list with the largest target on his back going into this event. After a strong top 8 at North American Internationals, Kyle fell into a rough string with a 2-5 day 2 Worlds finish and a 4-3 in Atlantic City. Coming off of a burst of adrenaline and the power of friendship, Kyle was able to sweep the Knoxville Regional undefeated with his trademark Kangaskhan Tornadus core, making this the core’s second consecutive tournament win. At 354 CP, Kyle has the potential to lock up both his worlds invite and the stipend to the Oceania international championships, especially if he can come close to his Knoxville performance.


USA Paul Chua (@Paul_Chua_) ~ 353 CP
  • Accomplishments – 6x Regional Champion, Top 16 2018 World Championships, 3x Day 2 Worlds, 2nd Place 2017 North American Internationals
Paul Chua is without a doubt the most interesting player in North America. Twitter personalities aside, Paul’s tournament finishes are typically very scattered: it’s either all or nothing. And at the past Atlantic City Regional, it was all. Chua was actually the first to win 2020 Regional with the Kangaskhan Tornadus core, beginning what seems to be a revived era of the team’s reign. While Paul normally prefers to tackle the snowball late into the season, this win has skyrocketed him to the top of the points board. A strong finish here could mean Paul will have good enough standing to ride the snowball for the entire duration of the season.


USA Joseph Ugarte (@JoeUX9) ~ 352 CP
  • Accomplishments – Top 32 2019 North American Internationals, Top 4 2020 Knoxville Regionals
Round out our top 8 in North America’s up and comer, Joseph Ugarte. Ugarte is the only one of the current top 8 without a previous Worlds invite but has been making waves due to his success usage of the Yveltal/Groudon core at both the Chicago locals and the Knoxville Regional, where he placed third. Joe was just recently able to secure travel plans to make it to this Regional, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from tournaments already this year, it’s to not underestimate those who abruptly make plans to enter tournaments. This will be a big tournament for Joe as he aims to solidify his North American standing and prestige as a player.

Other Players

All of the remaining players in the top 16 of North America are also making the trip out to Virginia’s capital for a weekend of Pokémon. Justin Frys, Brandon Meckley, Ian McLaughlin, and Chuppa Cross have been able to balance solid Regionals placements with dominate sweeps of their respective locals to accumulate a hefty amount of points. Adrien Hurley, Collin Heier, and Joseph Costagliola are all runner-ups of the three Regional level events that have taken place so far for the year. Also, James Evans was able to rank 10th in North America in 2019, and with a Top 8 in Knoxville and Top 32 in Atlantic City with strong locals performances in the New York/New Jersey region. All of these players are surely going to be going in for this tournament and should not be taken lightly.

In addition to the current CP giants, America’s two Top 8 Worlds representatives James Baek and Stephen Mea will be in attendance. The two have been mostly quiet for the start of the season, recovering from the exhaustion of snowball and taking more time to focus on school. That should be no reason for anyone to forget that these two are the third and eighth-best Ultra Series players in the world and their hunger for success has not faded. I expect great things from the two of them at this tournament.

Smart Money

SLV René Alvarenga (@Rene_VGC) ~ 266 CP
  • Accomplishments – Top 8 2017 World Championships, Top 16 2019 North American Internationals, 6x Special Event Champion, 2019 Latin American CP Leader
This man is coming all the way from El Salvador to score some sweet sweet glory. The last time René invaded America he walked away with top 4 and a trophy, and this time I truly do expect him to walk away with the gold. His incredible performances across multiple formats (not to mention a top 8 at Worlds 2017!) has given him a reputation of Latin America’s finest, and it’s no question that he will be able to hang with the greatest players in North America with ease.

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