Players have just wrapped up a thrilling first day of the 2018 North America International Championships, with lots of action on both the Pokémon TCG and video game sides. The field this year is enormous, with over 2,400 competitors from more than 30 countries battling it out for precious Championship Points on the march toward the Pokémon World Championships next month. And more than 1,300 spectators crowded the Greater Columbus Convention Center to cheer on their favorite players.
The Pokémon TCG Masters and Senior Divisions got underway today; the Junior Division will begin tomorrow. On the video game side, only the Masters Division players have begun their tournament, with the Senior and Junior Divisions joining the fun tomorrow morning. The Pokkén Tournament World Championships qualifier will also take place all day Saturday.
Compared to the number of players who competed today, tomorrow's field will be drastically smaller. Only the top competitors from Day 1 get the chance to progress toward the title of North America International Champion. Additional bragging rights go to the players who earned 25 or more match points through 9 rounds of Swiss play today. They are:
Pokémon TCG Masters Division
Fabien Pujol (France)
Adam Hawkins (Great Britain)
Pokémon TCG Senior Division
Isaiah Bradner (United States)
Pokémon VGC Masters Division
Alessio Yuri Boschetto (Italy)
Congratulations to all of these players!
Pokémon TCG Takeaways
On the Pokémon TCG side, players were expecting to see a lot of Buzzwole-GX and Zoroark-GX in the field, and that prediction has held true. The two Pokémon have been duking it out for months, and the North America International Championships is no different.
But the competition hasn't been without a few surprises, the biggest of which is the rise of Malamar. Decks built around this Pokémon and its Psychic Recharge Ability have done alright in recent competitions, but you can tell that players have been searching for the perfect partner to unlock its full potential.