It’s been two years since Pokémon Sword and Shield introduced the eighth generation of Pokémon games. This drew the outrage of some fans, although most agreed that Sword and Shield did not fail when it came to its competitive scene.
Pokémon tournaments are hosted by the Video Game Championship (VGC), and online ranked battles in Sword and Shield reflect the VGC ruleset. Tournaments, both mass and official, are held frequently, and every three months there are exciting rule changes that limit and do not restrict the availability of certain Pokémon.
However, we are now approaching the release of the next games – remakes of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which will have little or no impact on competitive Pokémon. During Pokémon Presents in August, the Pokémon Company stated that the November remakes will not include Ranked Battles. Pokémon Legends: Arceus next January, while an intriguing departure from the usual formula, will postpone online battles entirely.
Until Generation XI is on the horizon, where are the competitive Pokémon? This is the question we asked Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng, a true Pokemon master.
“I believe we’ll be playing Sword and Shield next year,” Zheng tells us. “If Gen XI doesn’t come out in 2023 and we play Sword and Shield for two more years, well, that’s a long time. It worries me a little. “
When we call Zheng the Pokemon Master, we mean it. Since 2008, he has qualified for eight different VGC World Championships and won several regional and national championships. It also conducts informative YouTube channel which it has regularly updated since 2014. Pokémon Company International hired Zheng to comment on several international tournaments and world championships, making him one of the most prominent experts in competitive Pokémon. He knows his stuff well.
Zheng’s dedication makes him the perfect person to comment on the challenges competitive Pokémon players face and the difficulties of the scene. Specifically, we asked him what he thinks about the unavailability of Pokémon. Despite being a deceptively simple game, it is time consuming and requires knowledge of many esoteric mechanisms in order to build a competitive team. You can’t just take your loved one and be successful online.
For example, diluting a Torkoal with a zero speed IV to allow it to attack first when under the Trick Room can take hours. If this sounds like another language to you, this is just the tip. Avalugg… An understanding of the meanings of efforts, character, egg movements, hidden abilities, held objects, etc. It is necessary, and “Sword and Shield” poorly explains these difficulties. People like Zheng have to divide battle into battle on platforms like YouTube. And even getting into a competitive Pokemon is not an easy task.
I think about League of Legends… Yes, you play casually, but anyone who plays can tune in and follow the big tournaments. For Pokémon, this is such a difficult part of the game to find and put into it.
“Competitive Pokemon has always felt like a lot of people didn’t know about it or find it somewhat inaccessible,” Zheng said. “It’s such a small component of the Pokémon brand, while other games are competition-based. I think about League of Legends… Yes, you play casually, but anyone who plays can tune in and follow the big tournaments. For Pokémon, this is such a difficult part of the game that needs to be found and put into it. “
Sword and Shield did introduce natural mints and made it easier to rent teams created by other players, but developer Game Freak could still clarify a lot. Zheng, however, doesn’t think accessibility is the main issue. Rather, he would like competitive Pokémon to advance in the games themselves. He described how the League of Legends client advertises the World Cup when you open it. Pokémon is not very promoted in the game, so players have to stumble upon tournaments elsewhere.
Despite all this, there is more to come Houndoom and Darkness for competitive Pokémon. Like literally everything, face-to-face encounters with Pokémon were postponed when the pandemic broke out. Zheng attended the event earlier and said the following about it:
“The regional championship we had in Dallas was insane. It was the largest regional competition we’ve had in years and it really seemed like 2020 would be such a great year for the scene to explode. “
Zheng hopes that when the individual competition returns next year, interest in the competitive scene will revive. This does not mean that the pandemic has prevented Zheng from playing. On his YouTube channel, Zheng introduces a new team created by players from all over the world every two days, keeping abreast of meta changes as they emerge, while explaining in detail his thought process behind each game. The video below shows what to expect from his channel:
“It’s mostly just passion,” Zheng said when asked how he managed to download a set of matches almost daily for two years. “Sword and Shield was so exciting. Just seeing so many people fall into it. There are so many cool teams to try. People are constantly sharing their teams with me. “
Besides watching Zheng’s channel and watching communities like VGC subreddit, he gave some tips for those looking to learn how to compete:
This is a game where even the best players lose consistently. Don’t be afraid to lose … There is no one right way to play Pokémon – see what works for you and move on.
“This is a game where even the best players consistently lose. Don’t be afraid to lose. Losing is really the best way to learn. Building a team can also be quite challenging, which is why I usually recommend people who want to be good to try some of the more successful teams. And in general, just remember to have fun. If you don’t like the game, step aside, try a new team, or take a break from it. There is no single right way to play Pokémon – see what works for you and move on. “
Pokemon Company recently announced Ranked Battles will soon rework the ruleset first introduced last February, which has disappointed many players. It’s also likely that we won’t hear anything about Generation XI until Pokémon Legends: Arceus releases early next year. However, with content creators and competitors as passionate as Zheng continuing to keep the torches burning, making difficult, inaccessible, and under-hyped games more digestible for thousands, the future of competitive Pokémon looks as bright as Pikachu using Flash in the depths. the mountains. Moon.