Trainers at the Pokémon Video Game World Championships were prohibited from using Mega Stones, Mythical Pokémon, some Legendary Pokémon, and any Pokémon not found in the Alola Region Pokédex. The top-8 players in the Masters Division brought several surprising Pokémon to the festivities, including Araquanid, Gastrodon, Klefki, and Whimsicott, as well as a whole horde of Nihilego, Buzzwole, and Persian. Check out more teams and tournament analysis at Pokemon.com/Strategy.
Each Pokémon on Ryota’s team could deal massive damage, enabling him to dictate the pace of play. He brought two different Tapu that enabled his Whimsicott to use two different Z-Moves through Z-Nature Power, and he was nearly the only Trainer all weekend who brought Krookodile to battle. Several of his Pokémon knew attacks his opponents probably weren’t expecting—Tapu Fini’s Ice Beam and Marowak’s Brick Break aren’t the best choice against most opponents, but they can net some knockouts more common attacks cannot.
Sam’s team traded immediate offensive power for survivability, and he elected to build up its power with a number of stat-increasing moves instead. A Ninetales that knew four supportive moves, an Arcanine that knew Bulldoze and Helping Hand, and a Mandibuzz that held Psychic Seed were all selected almost purely for defensive purposes. Sam could cash in their support to enable his other Pokémon to use stat-increasing moves and try to run away with matches—his Garchomp knew Swords Dance, his Tapu Lele was taught Calm Mind, and his Xurkitree wielded Tail Glow.
Paul’s team featured numerous tricks no one else in the Masters Division top cut tried. Marowak are rarely taught Will-O-Wisp, and Paul took full advantage of the unexpected move—sometimes by inflicting his own Snorlax with a Burn to increase the damage of the Sleeping Pokémon’s Facade. While many Trainers brought supportive Salamence to Anaheim, Paul used his to dish out damage instead. After increasing its stats with Dragon Dance, it could use its Flynium Z to fire off a powerful Supersonic Skystrike. Tapu Koko was also the most surprising Pokémon in the top cut to hold a Choice Scarf, easily surpassing even Nihilego holding the same item.
Tomoyuki’s team featured the familiar setup of a Salamence using Bulldoze to activate Metagross’ Weakness Policy that we saw so much this weekend, but the rest of his team was very different from other competitors’. His Trick Room option came from a defensively-trained Nihilego holding a Wiki Berry instead of Mimikyu or Porygon2, and his team included Gastrodon—a Pokémon that was barely used at all this season. Tomoyuki’s Buzzwole strategy was also on the wild side, featuring a Fightinium Z instead of a defensive item.
We’d guess many Trainers started with Snorlax, Arcanine, and a Tapu Koko holding Electrium Z as they started to plan their teams, but where Nils went from there stands out. His Mimikyu strategy features Fairium Z, Psych Up, and Shadow Sneak, making for one of the more aggressive takes we’ve seen. Teaching Arcanine Helping Hand and adding Persian to the team made up for any missing support, and Nils put up a fantastic showing with one of those wonky Choice Scarf-wielding Nihilego we saw in Indianapolis.
One team combining Drizzle and Swift Swim made it to the top cut of each Masters Division International Championship, so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that someone achieved the same feat at Worlds. Sebastian’s variant of the team was very different from what we saw earlier in the season, particularly because he swapped out Pelipper for Politoed. The most surprising Pokémon on his team, however, was Klefki—perhaps more Trainers will give the Key Ring Pokémon a look after it opened doors for Sebastian’s team using Metal Sound, Light Screen, and Reflect.
Most Trainers in Anaheim opted to use Weakness Policy, Curse, or Belly Drum to increase their Pokémon’s stats, but René went for a throwback approach and taught his Tapu Fini Swagger instead. The Misty Terrain created by its Misty Surge Ability prevents Swagger from inflicting confusion, turning the attack into an inaccurate Swords Dance that can be used on allies. Hariyama’s Wide Guard, Tapu Koko’s Choice Specs, and Arcanine’s Roar were all interesting selections that separated René’s squad from similar teams.
The standout Pokémon on Dorian’s team were Araquanid and Nihilego. The Water Bubble Pokémon provided Dorian’s low-Speed option, and it proved to be an effective Pokémon at the World Championships despite most Trainers choosing to forego it. Nihilego held a Choice Scarf, making it Dorian’s quickest Pokémon. Its Speed enabled it to take down key foes like Tapu Koko, or to weaken foes with Acid Spray so Dorian’s own Tapu Koko and Porygon2 could pick up knockouts.
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