Good day, Pokémon Trainers! The Pokémon GO World Championships are just around the corner. And whether or not you’ve been ardently following this year’s Pokémon GO Championship series or it’s your first time watching an official Pokémon GO tournament, there has never been a better time to start!
In my effort to add to that excitement, I wanted to make this piece to highlight some of the more exciting and interesting Pokémon we might see in this year’s World Championships.
Some Stuff Worth Noting
As the best Pokémon GO players in the world will be competing for the prestigious title of “World Champion”, this is a good opportunity to learn how to play some of these Pokémon effectively yourself. As such, the point of this article is to shed some light on some of the more interesting Pokémon outside of the most common meta-picks that may have a significant presence in the World Championships.
But in order to do this, there are some differences between the official Pokémon GO tournaments and the “GO Battle League” that you can play anytime yourself that I believe are worth highlighting:
The official Pokémon GO tournaments use the “Show Six Pick Three” format, in contrast to the GO Battle League’s “Blind Format”. What this means is that unlike in the GO Battle League where you don’t know which Pokémon your opponent is running until you see it, in official tournaments every trainer brings 6 Pokémon to choose between. This slight difference does result in some Pokémon being better for GBL as opposed to official tournaments and vice versa.
Unlike the GO Battle League which is host to various PvP formats, the official Pokémon GO tournaments exclusively follow the Open Great League Format as it’s the most accessible and allows for the greatest pool of Pokémon to choose from.
A lot of this article is based on my experience with the English-speaking, primarily USA-focused part of the tournaments throughout this tournament season. So there could very well be trainers playing with completely different strategies and Pokémon than what I know of when they make their appearance in the world championships. As such this article is by no means the be-all and end-all of what unique Pokémon could appear in the World Championships. I am certainly expecting to be pleasantly surprised.
I will be omitting the most prevalent meta-picks such as Medicham and Registeel from this list and focus on the less used Pokémon that could potentially appear during the tournament.
Despite these caveats, how these Pokémon are used and their ideal matchups do remain the same in GBL. So with that out of the way, let’s start talking about the stars of the show, the Pokémon:
Shadow DragonairDragonair (Shadow)
Starting with the wildest of wild cards. Dragonair is by no means a particularly prevalent Pokémon in the official Pokémon tournaments in the current meta. Yet this Pokémon and its trainer TontonBatteuse had an absolutely unrivaled appearance during the European International Tournament this year. Where TontonBatteuse won the entire tournament with flair. Near the end of the tournament, people were cheering every time Dragonair entered the field. The excitement could be felt even while watching online.
But I digress. A significant portion of Shadow Dragonair’s success can definitely be attributed to TontonBatteuse’s skill in battle. But when you’re battling against the best of the best, you can’t expect to win with subpar Pokémon. So I believe Dragonair definitely has solid untapped potential and I’ve been trying to catch a good Shadow Dratini ever since I saw it at European Internationals. TontonBatteuse used Dragonair as a closer with shield advantage along with the next Pokémon on the list:
Shadow CharizardCharizard (Shadow)
Ever the fan favorite. Shadow Charizard was very prominent during the European Internationals. Taking a place in most of the top cut teams, including that of the aforementioned champion, TontonBatteuse’s. However, the regional tournaments afterward saw a lot less Charizard action. This all changed during the North American Internationals, where Shadow Charizard once again found itself in five of the sixteen trainers’ teams. Including that of both of the grand finalists, Wdage and Reis20cassion.
So when it comes to bigger tournaments, it seems trainers have grown to rely on this fiery beast. And why wouldn’t they? Being a Fire pseudo dragon, Charizard has a lot to offer in a whole host of matchups. Including beating the likes of Medicham, Registeel, Noctowl, and Sableye on even shield scenarios, some of the most prominent Pokémon in the meta right now. And that isn’t even mentioning Shadow Charizard’s success in beating other shadows in these tournaments, even beating Shadow Swampert a few times. All in all, I would definitely keep an eye out for more Charizard action during the World Championships.
This lovable sea dog was already a decent pick for limited metas. With even its pre-evolved form Seel being a mainstay in Little Cup metas. And with the current Pokémon GO season giving Dewgong the much-appreciated move Drill Run, Dewgong started looking solid for the Open Great League as well.
Despite this, however, there weren’t that many Dewgongs going around in the regional tournaments even after the update. This all changed yet again in the North American Internationals. With the fittingly named MountainDewgong having an impressive run on the first two days of the tournament. And then on the final day, Wdage won the entire tournament closing up the grand finals with none other than Dewgong. Right now it’s difficult to say if we’ll be able to see more Dewgongs swimming around in the World Championships, but I’d certainly love to see more of this lovable WaterIce type.
About to throw fins
Who Wants to be a Trevenant?
Now here’s a million-dollar question. What do you have if Seed Bomb gets nerfed to require more energy for more power in the current season? The answer: A very sad Trevenant. Being a GhostGrass type Trevenant was a mainstay for most of this year’s official tournament season. Being the go-to counter, to well Counter users like Medicham. But with Trevenant out of the picture thanks to the nerf, trainers have been experimenting to see what can take its place. Including:
As far as Grass type coverage is concerned there has been a decent number of Shadows Venusaurs, and less so Victreebel. Though both are more attack weighted and glassier than Trevenant. If you’re looking for tankier grass damage you might want to look at Lickitung and Cresselia. While neither is a grass type, they do play like pseudo-grass types thanks to their charged attacks. Whimsicott is also worth mentioning, as it directly benefits from the change in how Seed Bomb works. Though I personally don’t expect to see too much of it in worlds.
Live Trevenant Reaction
As for Ghost type coverage though, there hasn’t been much to take Trevenant’s throne. Cofagrigus has had limited success. But perhaps the fact that Sableye is still a constant presence in tournaments means trainers aren’t too concerned about ghost coverage. It should be noted that the one to replace Trevenant can possibly be well, Trevenant. It’s still not a completely terrible Pokémon. Though it always got completely walled by Noctowl resulting in every battle being heavily skewed towards the trainer with the better lead having a higher chance of winning. So some trainers may actually be quite happy to be able to part with Trevenant.
Deoxys (Defense Forme)Deoxys (Defense)
While I mentioned before that trainers may not be feeling pressure to find a good Ghost type replacement for Trevenant thanks to Sableye. It should be worth noting that as a bulky Pokémon with only a single weakness, Sableye’s role is best suited as a safe swap. As such it often avoids matchups it’ll dominate in favor of matches it’s solidly neutral against. This leaves the door open for Psychic types to take the field with a relatively calm mind.
I’ve already mentioned Cresselia, but a much more noteworthy candidate in my opinion is Deoxys. Not only is it a Counter user like its fellow psychic-type Medicham. Access to both Rock Slide and Thunderbolt means Deoxys can much more cleanly deal withtypes than Medicham as well. To prove Deoxys’s viability, Kimisui one of the youngest and most talented trainers in these tournaments already had an impressive win in the Fort Wayne Regionals with his Deoxys. And this was before the Trevenant nerf. And according to Kimisui, with Trevenant gone, Deoxys (Defense Forme) is looking better than ever. I for one, cannot help but agree. I definitely expect to see a few Deoxys roaming around in the World Championships.
Shadow Alolan SandslashSandslash (Alola Shadow)
This is another case of the meta shifting due to the nerf of Trevenant and I promise this will be the second to last time I mention that tree. Between the Ice type Alolan form duo, it was Ninetales that was getting all the love in the tournaments earlier. But with Ninetales’s best matchup gone, Alolan Sandslash became the new star.
This is probably thanks to the fact that Alolan Ninetales has to commit to focusing on being a Fairy type with Charm or Ice type with Powder Snow. However, Alolan Sandslash, or A-Slash as it is lovingly called, has a lot more variety. As it runs Shadow Claw, Ice Punch, and the new weapon to its arsenal Drill Run. Giving it great variety and landing it a place in the winning team in three Regional Tournaments before the North American Internationals. So it’s very likely we will get to see more from A-Slash in the World Championships as well.
Additional Pick: ChesnaughtChesnaught
And finally for the last Pokémon on the list, We have an extra pick from other members of the team. The Pokémon of choice: Chesnaught. An interesting spice pick to be sure, and not one that has been a solid presence in the official tournaments so far. Yet it has a strong chance to make an appearance in worlds as a potential Grass alternative to sighs once again, Trevenant. While on paper Chesnaught shares the same problem as the tree. Being a GrassFighting type which in theory should do poorly against . Yet it can leave more lasting damage in even shield scenarios against Noctowl, as its Normal typing is weak to Fighting.
In fact, I’d compare Chesnaught more with Shadow Venusaur rather than Trevenant. Both are more attack-weighted grass starters. Except Chesnaught’s Fighting typing gives it stronger matchups against the common steel types such as Galarian Stunfisk. As opposed to Venusaur’s Poison giving it an advantage against common fairies such as Azumarill. I personally lean a bit more towards Chesnaught myself as fighting types in my opinion are a tad more useful than poisons. The most common Fairy types in the Great League formats tend to be Azumarill and Alolan Ninetales. And both Pokémon’s Grass typing results in a win against Azumarill and a loss against Ninetales. So in my opinion, the fighting typing brings more to the table.
“I’ll have my time to shine soon enough”
And that concludes my list. Only a few days before the World Championships start and I cannot be more hyped. Whether you’ll be participating in person in Yokohama, Japan, or watching from home I hope you have a blast! As for me, the monsoon season’s finally hit where I live, so I’ll be cozying up on the weekends and watching the tournaments in my room with the calming sound of rain.
Maybe keep an eye out for some of these Pokémon for your own team. And someday you might just be out there on the stage as well. And I will gladly be prepared to write about the greatness of your team!
Goodbye for now, Pokémon trainers. Priom-out!