As the UK Nationals raged in England, the Pokkén Tournament Championship Series also put down roots in the Pacific Northwest. Though a bit smaller than the events that preceded it, the Seattle Regionals was jam packed with talent. It was a dense affair that offered a look at a wide array of Pokémon as it ran down to its conclusion.
Among the bevy of Mewtwo, Blaziken, and Suicune, there emerged a variety of shining stars putting in work with lesser-used Pokémon like Chandelure and Braixen. That being said, the more established Pokémon were on full display as things headed into the final rounds, thanks in part to the incredible players controlling them.
After some intense competition, the winners' bracket semifinals came down to Omari “BadIntent” Travis, utilizing Blaziken, and Chris “Sheer” Wilson, whose Sceptile had also yet to be overcome. Whoever won this match would earn a spot in the grand finals, guaranteeing nothing lower than a second-place finish.
Owing to Blaziken's overwhelming nature, Travis started out the match aggressively and rarely let up. Unfortunately for him, this proved to play right into Wilson's hands. Sceptile used that aggression against Blaziken time and time again, carefully utilizing counters to mitigate Travis's offense and defensively activating Synergy Burst at opportune moments to further throw him off his game.
Down two games, Travis seemed to be mounting a comeback with an impressive 1 HP win, but it was all for naught, as Wilson would move on thanks to the trap-heavy stylings of his Sceptile.
Soon after, Travis faced another uphill battle against Allister Singh, a Suicune user. Unlike Sceptile, a Pokémon that relies on various on-field hazards to keep opponents at bay, Suicune is all about projectiles. The Legendary Pokémon's assortment of ranged attacks offers up a different yet still extremely frustrating series of obstacles, and it was up to Travis to figure out a way through the maze of Singh's long-range attacks if he wanted a rematch against Wilson.
But, somehow, he did just that. By trading in his pressure for a more methodical approach, Travis was able to rectify a few of his mistakes from the previous match and hang evenly with Singh. That's not to say he gave up on the aggression altogether, but it was a more measured style of offense that afforded him greater opportunities to read his opponent and decide on a careful course of action instead of spending most of his time trying to overwhelm his opponent with attacks.
Singh, for his part, adjusted as well. Upon noticing Travis's ability to maneuver through his projectiles, he began to methodically place his attacks on the field instead of going on auto-pilot.This paid off at times and led to some nasty offensive strings for Suicune, but Blaziken's ferocious assault proved too much as the set wore on. Travis was ready to redeem himself in the championship match.
Although a rematch of the winners' bracket finals set, the grand finals was an entirely different beast. Wilson, who was content to space out Travis for the majority of their previous meeting, showed an entirely different side to Sceptile in their second. By using the Pokémon's unique movement abilities, Wilson was able to throw Travis off his game early on, turning the tables and forcing Blaziken to mind his defenses. Wilson quickly went up by one game, showing Travis that he came to win.
As the set continued, it became all too apparent that Travis simply wasn't ready to handle his opponent. Wilson took up residency in the Blaziken player's mind, reading every move he made and answering with a better option. Much like their first match, Wilson was able to sweep, winning three straight games on his way to being named the Seattle Regionals Champion.
While neither won an automatic qualifying spot, Wilson and Travis both earned a number of ranking points that will assist their standings as the Pokkén Tournament Championship Series soldiers on.
Look forward to more Pokkén Tournament event coverage as players continue to compete for invitations to the Pokémon World Championships this summer. And remember to keep checking Pokemon.com/Strategy for more Pokkén Tournament analysis.