By Jesse Turnbull, Contributing Writer
It’s official: Pokkén Tournament’s final Championship Series event has come and gone. Every single competitor gave it their all in London, and the result was an incredible show from the start of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) to the end of the awards ceremony. We truly could not have asked for a better final event, and we hope everyone else feels the same way.
Let’s take a look at what happened in the Senior Division finals, then move over to the Masters Division with the LCQ and World Championships. Both days of competition were full of memorable moments, so there's a lot to cover!
Surviving the Most Stacked Qualifier in Pokkén Tournament History
Prior to the LCQ, 12 Masters Division players had secured their spot in the 2022 World Championships. This left only four spots open for those competing in the LCQ, which had no problem hitting its 128-entrant cap. Close to half of those 128 Trainers had enough of a reputation to be seeded by the Tournament Organizers, which is a system used to separate highly-skilled competitors so they don’t meet early on in bracket. Put simply, this LCQ was the most stacked Worlds qualifier in the history of Pokkén Tournament.
After a full day of combat, the Top 8 consisted of two Trainers from North America, two from Oceania, and four from Japan. In the Winners Finals, Mikukey took Game 1 over Shadowcat, which Shadowcat responded with a win of his own. Games 3 and 4 went the same way, leading to a thrilling final game. Shadowcat’s Sceptile turned up the heat in Game 5, knocking out all of Mikukey’s Pokémon and landing Shadowcat in the Winners side of Grand Finals.
In the lower side of the bracket, Top 8 kicked off with Takasumi “Saba” Sato vs. Takahiro “RARA” Sato and Alexander “IceBurgy” Berglind vs. Kamaal “Kamaal” Harris. Saba and Kamaal were the winners of these two matches, moving on to face Antwerp and Ito respectively in sets that would determine the last two Worlds qualifiers. Saba managed to overcome Antwerp, leaving Kitty as the sole qualifier representing Oceania in the Masters Division. Meanwhile, Ito’s Decidueye managed to take out two of Kamaal’s Pokémon in their first game, clearing the path for Pikachu Libre to KO Kamaal’s anchoring Braixen. Kamaal opted to lead with his own Decidueye in Game 2, which led to Kamaal winning the first round. Ito retaliated by sending out his signature Gardevoir—who is considered the world’s strongest Gardevoir by many. Gardevoir took out all three of Kamaal’s Pokémon, netting Ito the win and qualifying him for the World Championships bracket alongside Shadowcat, Mikukey, and Saba.
The Main Event
The World Championships kicked off with Ito vs. 2019 World Champion Hiroki “Subutan” Ishida. The two competitors exchanged wins, bringing the first set of the day to an exhilarating Game 5 and setting the tone for the event. After Subutan won their fifth game, next up was a match between 2016 World Champion Masami “Potetin” Sato and Shadowcat. Every game these two played went to the final round, though Shadowcat ultimately won the set 3-1. The next set between Saba and Florian “Cloud” Blank took things a step further, with every one of their five games ending with both Trainers on their final Pokémon.
In Winners Round 2, Subutan found himself up against Germany’s Fabian “Fabilous” Zahn, who he defeated 3-1. Fellow German representative Niklas “Wingtide” Laerbusch (under the “Boonshack73” alias) was also defeated 3-1 at the hands of Shadowcat. Next, Cloud bested Jacob “Jukem” Waller and Chaz “Mewtater” Wright defeated Motochika “ELM” Nabeshima, meaning Cloud and Mewtater were set to meet in the Winners Semifinals. Once again, every match ended with each Trainer’s last Pokémon, but Cloud ended up taking the set 3-1, knocking Mewtater into Losers. The other Winners Semifinals set ended in a 3-0, with Shadowcat taking it over Subutan despite Subutan putting up an incredible fight.
Over in Losers, Round 4 started off by pitting Potetin and Subutan against each other. The set went back and forth, with Subutan’s Decidueye pulling off a One Character Victory (OCV) in Game 3, but it was ultimately Potetin who moved on. On the other side of Losers, Mewtater took his set against Saba with a Shadow Mewtwo OCV in Game 4.
Going The Distance
Up next was Winners Finals between Shadowcat and Cloud. The first match kicked off with a Drain Punch from Cloud’s Mewtwo, followed by a grab to shift right back to Field Phase. Cloud tried this same tactic again, but Shadowcat caught on, punishing the second grab attempt with a Critical Hit that led into an impressive 209-damage Sceptile combo. Cloud was unfazed by this though and went on to win the round. Shadowcat’s Braixen took the next round, but not before Cloud’s Mewtwo landed a combo that dealt nearly 300 damage. Cloud’s Lucario was able to finish off Braixen as well as Shadowcat’s Darkrai, giving Cloud the lead going into Game 2.
The first three rounds of the second game had the same result, but Darkrai was able to defeat Lucario this time around, forcing Cloud’s Decidueye out for the first time in the set. The round went down to the wire, with both HP bars in the red when the timer hit zero, but Shadowcat’s Darkrai took the win thanks to having slightly more HP remaining. After Shadowcat also won Game 3, Cloud swapped his Lucario for Weavile. The match was even going into the final round, with Decidueye and Braixen trading blows until both HP bars were in the red, but a timely Synergy Burst from Cloud put on the pressure necessary to bring the Winners Finals to Game 5. Shadowcat started Game 5 with Braixen against Weavile, which proved to be an important change as Braixen was able to KO Weavile and bring Mewtwo down to half HP before being knocked out. This early lead was enough for Darkrai to close out the set in the final round, landing Shadowcat in the Winners side of Grand Finals.
The first game in the Losers Semifinals was just as close as the matches between Shadowcat and Cloud, with Potetin’s Weavile barely taking out Mewtater’s Decidueye in the final round. Game 2 also went to the final round, where Mewtater’s Aegislash landed a beautiful wall splat combo to finish off Potetin’s Weavile. Feeling confident in Aegislash after its performance in Game 2, Mewtater sent the Pokémon out second instead of third in Game 3. The adjustment paid off, with Aegislash knocking all three of Potetin’s Pokémon out for an impressive OCV. Mewtater rode this momentum into the next game, taking out Potetin’s first two Pokémon with Mewtwo and finishing off his anchor with Aegislash to win the set.
Waiting for Mewtater in Losers Finals was Cloud, the Trainer who knocked Mewtater into Losers earlier in the day. Once again, the training partners took turns knocking out Pokémon until each was down to their Decidueye anchors. Mewtater’s Decidueye came out on top, but Cloud responded with an OCV from his Weavile in Game 2. Game 3 mirrored Game 1, with each Trainer trading blows and Mewtater’s Decidueye taking the final round over Cloud’s. Mewtater’s Decidueye continued to be a key player in the fourth game, finishing off Cloud’s Mewtwo in the final round.
The Best Finale Anyone Could Have Hoped For
Shadowcat, the Players Cup Champion who was unable to attend the North America International Championships, was given one more chance by the Pokkén Tournament community when they pooled their funds to pay for his trip to the LCQ. He made the most of this generosity by not dropping a single game in the LCQ or on his way to Grand Finals in the Worlds bracket. His opponent, Mewtater, trained all year to give Pokkén Tournament the best send-off he possibly could, and one of his training partners was none other than Shadowcat. The entire community knew these two deserved to be here, and that an unforgettable Grand Finals was about to begin.
Six unique Battle Pokémon were brought to Game 1: Shadowcat’s Darkrai, Sceptile, and Braixen and Mewtater’s Mewtwo, Decidueye, and Shadow Mewtwo. The first game’s final round was between Darkrai and Mewtwo, though Shadowcat’s Darkrai only had half of its HP remaining. Mewtater won the first Field Phase, but Shadowcat was able to catch Mewtwo’s jump and trigger Darkrai’s Phase Shift, Bad Dreams Rising (BDR). Shadowcat made up some lost ground in BDR until a Critical Hit from Mewtwo sent Darkrai to Field Phase with only 26 HP. Shadowcat wasn’t ready to give up, activating Darkrai’s Synergy Burst and forcing BDR once again. Mewtwo perfectly blocked Darkrai’s array of projectiles, but Shadowcat responded by having Darkrai teleport forward and finish the round with a grab.
In both the second and third game, Mewtater’s Shadow Mewtwo was able to best both Sceptile and Braixen, allowing Mewtwo to finish off Darkrai. In Game 4, Shadow Mewtwo still defeated Sceptile, but not Shadowcat’s Braixen. Darkrai was then able to knock out both Decidueye and Mewtwo, bringing this set to Game 5. Despite having only 480 max HP and using its own HP to attack, Shadow Mewtwo pulled off an incredible OCV in Game 5 with 341 HP remaining. For the first time all week, Shadowcat lost a set, and the bracket was reset.
Shadowcat decided to lead with Braixen instead of Sceptile to start the second set. Things were going well, with Braixen still having plenty of HP when Mewtater’s Shadow Mewtwo only had a single Hit Point, but Mewtater’s incredible reaction time allowed him to punish a projectile attempt with a Burst Attack to take the round. Sceptile was able to finish off the Shadow Mewtwo quickly, but with the momentum still in his favor, Mewtater took the game 3-1.
Taking a moment to consider how the matches were going, Shadowcat decided to switch his Support Set to Espeon & Umbreon. The switch immediately paid off, with Umbreon’s Snarl draining enough Synergy for Shadowcat to activate Burst Mode just when his Braixen was being cornered. For the first time in the entire Grand Finals, Shadowcat had taken the first round. Mewtater’s Decidueye was able to KO Braixen in the next round, but Sceptile and Darkrai were able to finish what Braixen had started.
Once again, Umbreon proved vital at the start of Game 3. Right when Mewtater was gearing up to activate Burst Mode, Shadowcat called on Umbreon to drain his Synergy Gauge, allowing Braixen to finish off Shadow Mewtwo before it could Mega Evolve. Decidueye was able to take out Braixen and was in a close battle with Sceptile when Mewtater noticed that both Umbreon and Sceptile’s Synergy Gauge were nearly fully charged. He made the decision to activate Synergy Burst in an attempt to go up two Pokémon to one, but Shadowcat made the exact play he needed in order to dodge Decidueye’s corner pressure and knock it out—meaning Mewtater would be entering the next round down one Pokémon to two and with a near-empty Synergy Gauge. Mewtwo was able to knock out the Sceptile, but Darkrai responded with a PERFECT to end the game.
Mewtater knew he couldn’t afford to let Umbreon come into play in the first round of Game 4. Shadow Mewtwo’s Synergy Gauge hit MAX before Umbreon was charged, so Mewtater activated Burst Mode right before Umbreon became available. With Braixen cornered by Mega Shadow Mewtwo X, Shadowcat went for a midair strong attack in anticipation of an offensive option, which Mewtater was able to easily punish with a Burst Attack to end the round. The pair exchanged wins for the rest of the match, with Mewtater’s Decidueye landing a powerful Critical Hit with Sucker Punch to take the game.
For the final time, Braixen and Shadow Mewtwo prepared to face off, as the crowd showered their Trainers with applause and support. Both competitors hit the ground running, with both Pokémon dishing out big attacks plus a Burst Attack. With both fighters under 100 HP, Braixen’s Psybeam managed to catch Shadow Mewtwo and take the round. It looked like Mewtater’s Mewtwo would be able to finish off Braixen without taking a hit, but Shadowcat made all the correct choices, whittling Mewtwo’s HP away until Mewtater had no choice but to activate Synergy Burst. This allowed Mewtwo to get the knockout, but it now had low HP and an empty Synergy Gauge against a fully-healed Sceptile with both gauges fully charged. Mega Sceptile was able to KO Mewtwo with more than 400 HP remaining, meaning Decidueye had two full HP bars to deplete if Mewtater was going to take the crown.
Mewtater managed to win the fourth round’s first Field Phase, then perfectly executed a massive combo to shift back to Field Phase, nearly pushing Decidueye’s Synergy Gauge to MAX. Shadowcat’s Sceptile landed a few hits, but after entering Burst Mode Decidueye was able to close out the round without much of a hit to its HP. This final set’s final game was going to its final round.
The first Field Phase again went to Mewtater, but Shadowcat retaliated with some big attacks that led into BDR. Mewtater managed to knock Darkrai down and tried to set up an unblockable with Croagunk’s Toxic, but Shadowcat activated Synergy Burst to avoid the situation. Darkrai then laid on the pressure with attack after attack, and Decidueye was blocking all of them, but Mewtater had to try something. When it seemed like there was finally a gap, Decidueye went for a forward strong attack—but Shadowcat was ready, using Darkrai’s Nightmare attack to overpower it. Decidueye fell to the ground, and the crowd erupted. Shadowcat was officially the final Pokkén Tournament World Champion.
Congratulations to Shadowcat, and to both players for putting on such a stellar performance! Click here to watch this historic Grand Finals set.
Senior Division Dominance
The Masters Division featured epic battles, but they weren’t the only ones making history. With Emma "Kitty" Cox moving into the Masters Division and several other fan favorites not making it to the finals, a first-time World Champion was set to be crowned in the Senior Division. Stellar matches from Fruitprime landed him comfortably in the Winners side of Grand Finals, where he faced off against Wefroe in one final battle for the gold.
Fruitprime’s Scizor came out swinging in Game 1, defeating all of Wefroe’s Pokémon with some helpful buffs from Mew. The Scizor was also able to start off Game 2 by defeating Wefroe’s Mewtwo, but Wefroe was eventually able to knock it out with the help of his Blastoise. The two continued to exchange knockouts throughout the match, but Fruitprime eventually came out on top in the final round thanks in large part to some heavy bias from Mew, as the Mythical Pokémon was consistently giving better bonuses to Fruitprime. Wefroe ended up selecting Celebi more often than he may have if he had gotten better rolls from Mew's Miraculous Power, but Celebi didn’t deter Fruitprime in Game 3. Scizor once again took out all three of Wefroe’s Battle Pokémon, securing a 3-0 victory for Fruitprime.
Congratulations to both players on their stellar matches and to Fruitprime for earning the title of Pokkén Tournament’s last World Champion in the Senior Division!
Turning The Page
With that, the last Pokkén Tournament Championship Series has come to an end. Although it was bittersweet, everyone seems to agree: you couldn’t have asked for a better ending.
Going forward, Pokkén Tournament DX will no longer be a part of the Play! Pokémon program, but the game isn’t going anywhere. The community will continue to host tournaments, both online and offline. If this event made you want to pick up Pokkén Tournament DX, don’t let its retirement from the program stop you. The community is ready to welcome players with open arms!
That’s all for now. Keep an eye on Pokemon.com for one more article that we have planned celebrating Pokkén Tournament’s history in the Play! Pokémon program. In the meantime, thank you to every individual who helped make this final World Championships the best that it could possibly be.
This is not the end of Pokkén Tournament’s story—just time for the next chapter.