Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s competitive season is in full swing, with the first regional tournament being played recently.
Players from all across the world descended upon San Diego, with hopes of claiming the first regional win of the Ninth Generation of Pokemon. Among these players were 2016 World Champion Wolfe Glick, 2014 World Champion Finalist Jeudy Azzarelli, Former US National Champion Gavin Michaels, and more.
Players had been waiting with bated breath for the ruleset to be released, as Generation 9 came with its usual batch of Legendary Pokemon who would no doubt be excluded from play (Koraidon, Miraidon, Chien-Pao, Chi-Yu, Wo-Chien, and Ting-Lu being the culprits this time around), Scarlet and Violet introduced the Paradox Pokemon, who’s inclusion was a big question mark for the community.
Eventually, it was revealed that these incredibly powerful and dangerous threats would be sitting the tournament out. Another big issue going into play was the fate of Terastallisation, the premier mechanic of Generation 9, enabling one pokemon per team to alter its type to whatever it so desired. Turns out, the solution was Open Teamsheets, allowing each player to see each other’s Pokemon, items, abilities, but mostly their Tera Types. This would prove to be for the best, preventing the metagame from flying into disarray with monstrosities like Tera-Steel Gholdengo tearing through everyone unfortunate to come up against it.
Going into the inaugural Scarlet and Violet tournament, one Pokemon was on every single player’s watchlist. Well…two technically. Dondozo and Tatsugiri. These two aquatic menaces had been ripping through the scene, with Tatsugiri’s ability ‘Commander’ instantly supplying Dondozo with X2 in all of it’s stats. Players have been quivering as to the potential level of dominance they could be witnessing. And players were correct that “Dondo-giri” would have a commanding presence on the battlefield and the final results, but this was not in the matter that some would’ve expected.
In a similar scene to Mega Kangaskhan from way back when, counters upon counters were employed to stop the all-out fish assault, chief among them being the feline starter Meowscarada. While Dondo-Giri laid claim to landing on two separate teams in the Top 8, piloted by runner-up Chuppa Cross and Emilio Forbes, who landed in 5th, the tricky cat managed to scoop a ridiculous 75% usage rate in the Top 8, usage not seen since…last generation with Zacian-Crowned. It’s a funny game sometimes.
It was a similar story the further down the list, albeit replacing Meowscarada’s dominant usage with longtime VGC mainstay, the suspicious mushroom Amoonguss. Meowscarada and Dondo-Giri still scooped impressive results, landing in 11th with Wolfe Glick and 15th with Zach Carlson (who both used the cat and the fishy duo). Amoonguss handily had the pick of the bunch, picking up 9th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 16th.
The full top cut results can be seen below:
(Image credit: VictoryRoadVGC)
The pick that undoubtedly stands out is Paldean Tauros scoring a win, being piloted by Jiseok Lee of South Korea. One may look at Tauros and see it as the odd bull out, given its lacklustre competitive adventures after generation 1, but then you notice that 6/16 players in the top cut brought the black-haired bull out of its pasture, and the puzzle begins to fit into place. Surprisingly, Baxcalibur and Mimikyu were the lesser used out of Jiseok’s team, given their comparative utility (Mimikyu with Disguise + Swords Dance + Shadow Sneak), raw power (Baxcalibur has 145 base attack, come on now). But the forgotten Tauros is often the deadliest, just ask any Gen 1 player.
Nonetheless, with the first regionals of Scarlet and Violet concluded, and the ruleset for Series 2 allowing the Paradox pokemon, it will be interesting to see what players can produce next. A Tauros winning anything post-gen 1 should be proof enough that this format is one that will bring nonstop excitement, daring plays, and team compositions that would bring others to madness.