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Japanese PGL Announces Eevee Cup Tournament

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blog-eivei_cup.pngThe latest tournament to be announced by the Japanese Pokemon Global Link, previously responsible for the Eievui Cup (Eevee Cup). Like the Pokemon Center Cup, the Eevee Cup breaks from standard PGL format and will be the first ever tournament to be held in the Rotation Battle format. Not only that, but the only legal Pokemon for the Eevee Cup are Eevee and its evolutions (that is, Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Espeon, Umbreon, Leafeon, and Glaceon), making this the smallest pool of Pokemon ever allowed in an official tournament. The tournament will be held over WiFi and players will be ranked according to their rating at the end of the tournament. As a thanks for participating, everyone who plays at least one valid match will be ranked at the end and will unlock special Eeveelution PokeDolls for their PDW account.

While previous PGL tournaments have received some buzz as potential VGC 13 rulesets, I think we can safely rule this one out.

Entry begins at 13:00 JST, November 30th, 2012 and closes at 23:59 JST, December 6th, 2012. The tournament begins at 00:00 JST, December 7th, 2012 and ends on 23:59 JST, December 9th, 2012. Players will be separated into Junior, Senior, and Master categories. Only Japanese Black 2 and White 2 games will be allowed to enter.

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    • By BattleArena
      2 of the greatest players clash in a local tournament in Japan. I think it's funny how both players managed to play their niches successfully in this season, with sejun using follow me on togekiss rather than pachirisu, and shoma still using thundurus and managing to still make it effective.  Thoughts on their teams?

    • By Firestorm
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      We do not currently know the number of players from Japan who will qualify for the World Championships or how many of them will receive travel awards. The format of the National Championships has not been announced either. Last year, the qualified players played in a Round Robin stage separated into eight groups with the top player from each group moving onto a Single Elimination bracket. All games in both the group stages and elimination stage were best of one until the finals.
    • By Kortex
      Hello everyone! My name is Nathan (Kortex) and I am fairly new to the competitive scene. I started playing competitively around the end of 2013 and I first discovered Nugget Bridge a few months ago although I have been playing the video game franchise since 2004. What interested me the most about Nugget Bridge was the wide variety of team reports and insightful articles that helped me hone my skills as a competitive battler. Before finding these articles I did not even know about the basics like Effort Values and Individual Values! In the past few months, I feel like I have learned a great deal and quickly improved from level zero.
      Team at a Glance
      It is with this new knowledge that I present to you the team I used to attain first place in the U.S. Masters Division Battle of Legends Wi-Fi Competition (15th worldwide). In this Level 100 Double Battle competition I managed to achieve a solid 1780 finish with 22 wins and 2 losses. I was unable to complete the remaining six battles since the deadline was 4:00 PM here in southern California and I had been busy all day. I was barely to get my last four matches done right before the closing of the competition!
      As for my team, I knew that I would have to account for an extensive range of dangerous threats such as Arceus, Darkrai, Kyogre, Mewtwo and Xerneas. With this in mind, I decided that I would use Xerneas and Darkrai as my two restricted Pokemon since those were the only competitive Legendaries I had in my P.C. immediately before the competition. The team is centered around Xerneas and Mega Kangaskhan, two incredibly powerful Pokemon that have the potential to annihilate opposing teams with the right support.
      The Team

      Thundurus-Incarnate @ Chesto Berry
      Ability: Prankster
      EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 4 SpA / 144 SpD
      Calm Nature
      - Thunderbolt
      - Thunder Wave
      - Taunt
      - Rest

      Survives Modest 252 Special Attack 150 BP Kyogre Water Spout 15/16 times (Double target)
      Survives Adamant 252 Attack Mega Kangaskhan Return 15/16 times
      Survives Modest 252 Special Attack Xerneas Dazzling Gleam 100% of the time

      Thundurus was important because it crippled several major threats such as Choice Scarf Kyogre, Ludicolo in the rain, Mega Kangaskhan and Geomancy Xerneas. Thundurus’s Taunt was also very useful as it prevented opposing Xerneas and Darkrai from using Geomancy and Dark Void. In addition, it protected my team from other Prankster users and kept my Kangaskhan safe from Will-O-Wisp. Rest, in combination with Chesto Berry, ensured that Thundurus stayed on the field for a considerable length of time. It often caught my opponents off-guard when Thundurus regained all of its health after being close to fainting. The Chesto Berry also allowed me to shut down Darkrai completely, even if it held a Lum Berry or a Mental Herb.

      Talonflame (F) @ Focus Sash
      Ability: Gale Wings
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
      Jolly Nature
      - Brave Bird
      - Flare Blitz
      - Tailwind
      - Quick Guard
      Talonflame provided invaluable support for the team in the form of Tailwind and Quick Guard. Tailwind allowed me to outspeed the opposing team and proceed to set up or sweep with Darkrai, Xerneas, and Kangaskhan. Quick Guard was incredibly useful in blocking Fake Out, Arceus Extreme Speeds, Talonflame Brave Birds, and Prankster users. It often bought me a free turn to set up or take out a threat with Talonflame’s partner. The Focus Sash allowed it to take a hit and provide the team with another turn of support. Talonflame was also essential in dealing with the Steel types that would try to wall my Xerneas or Kangaskhan.

      Xerneas @ Power Herb
      Ability: Fairy Aura
      EVs: 180 HP / 252 SpA / 76 Spe
      Modest Nature
      - Dazzling Gleam
      - Hidden Power Ground
      - Geomancy
      - Protect

      Outspeeds Choice Scarf Base 102’s and below after using Geomancy
      Survives Modest 252 Special Attack 150 BP Kyogre Water Spout in Rain 100% of the time
      Survives Adamant 252 Attack Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge 100% of the time
      Survives +2 Adamant 252 Attack Life Orb Arceus Extreme Speed 100% of the time

      Xerneas makes up the first half of my setup sweeping duo. Along with Kangaskhan, it can destroy entire teams after one turn of setup. With a Power Herb, Xerneas instantly gains a +2 boost in Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed from using Geomancy in one turn. This allows Xerneas to function both as an extremely fast sweeper and a Special Defensive wall. Hidden Power Ground enables Xerneas to power its way through several of its counters such as Heatran, Mega Mawile, and Aegislash after a Geomancy boost.

      Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
      Ability: Inner Focus -> Parental Bond
      EVs: 164 HP / 156 Atk / 44 Def / 4 SDef / 140 Spe
      Jolly Nature
      - Fake Out
      - Return
      - Power-Up Punch
      - Sucker Punch

      Outspeeds Neutral-natured 252 Speed Xerneas and Yveltal and below
      Survives Modest 252 Special Attack 150 BP Kyogre Water Spout in Rain 15/16 times (Double target)
      Survives +2 Adamant 252 Attack Life Orb Arceus Extreme Speed 15/16 times
      Survives +2 Modest 252 Special Attack Xerneas Dazzling Gleam 100% of the time (Double target)
      Survives Modest 252 Special Attack Life Orb Mewtwo Aura Sphere 100% of the time
      Survives Adamant 252 Attack Landorus-T Superpower 100% of the time

      Kangaskhan was Xerneas’s partner in crime, taking out the majority of the opposing team in countless battles. It was able to deal great damage to many of the popular Legendary Pokemon in the format even without a Power-Up Punch boost. The widely underused Ability Inner Focus shocked several of my opponents and gave me the element of surprise. In several of my matches, faster Pokemon like Weavile would often Fake Out my Kangaskhan to win the Fake Out war only to watch my Kangaskhan Fake Out their other Pokemon to buy a free turn for my partner or boost itself with Power-Up Punch. In my games against the popular Kyogre and Ludicolo pair, Ludicolo would frequently Fake Out Kangaskhan while I would Fake Out Kyogre to give a partner like Xerneas or Darkrai an opportunity to use Geomancy or Dark Void, respectively. In the end, I feel like the decision to use Inner Focus over Scrappy was well worth it and gave me an edge in many of my battles.

      Darkrai @ Mental Herb
      Ability: Bad Dreams
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
      Timid Nature
      - Dark Void
      - Dark Pulse
      - Substitute
      - Protect
      Darkrai provided Xerneas and Kangaskhan excellent opportunities to set up and take out the opposing team. Darkrai is essentially a deadlier version of Smeargle with its incredibly fast Dark Void. With Fake Out, Quick Guard, Tailwind, and Rage Powder support, Darkrai is almost guaranteed a chance to use Dark Void. Substitute eased prediction, protected Darkrai from status, and gave me an additional turn to use Dark Void if I successfully used Substitute without taking damage that turn. Setting up a Substitute after putting my opponents to sleep also made it much harder for them to knock out Darkrai and stop it from repeatedly using Dark Void. Finally, Mental Herb allowed it to bypass Taunt from Thundurus, Sableye, Talonflame, Whimsicott and others to complete its task for the team in creating free turns. I did not rely on Darkrai's Dark Void to bring me victory in my battles. In fact, I did not bring it at all in several of my games. When I chose to bring it, I would always assume that Dark Void would miss at least one, if not both of its intended targets and I would formulate a backup strategy in my mind accordingly. Nevertheless, Darkrai was an incredible asset to the team and performed its job well in the matches that I brought it to.

      Amoonguss (M) @ Rocky Helmet
      Ability: Regenerator
      EVs: 252 HP / 116 Def / 140 SpD
      Relaxed Nature
      - Spore
      - Rage Powder
      - Grass Knot
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      Survives Adamant 252 Attack Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge 100% of the time
      Survives +2 Adamant 252 Attack Life Orb Arceus Extreme Speed 15/16 times

      Amoonguss was vital to the team as it offered indispensable support with Spore and Rage Powder, as well as improving my team's match-up against Trick Room. I could always rely on a 100% accurate Spore to put an immediate threat to sleep and buy me a free turn or two. In addition, Rage Powder was exceedingly useful at redirecting attacks away from the rest of the team. I chose to use Grass Knot instead of Giga Drain or Sludge Bomb because I wanted to be able to deal great damage to Kyogre and Groudon. Lastly, I selected the item Rocky Helmet to aid in handling physical threats such as Mega Kangaskhan and Arceus. In hindsight, I might have used Rage Powder Volcarona, Follow Me Eviolite Magmar, or Landorus-T with its Intimidate in this slot instead for additional help in dealing with the various Steel types that I encountered during my matches.
      Closing Thoughts
      In the end, I had lots of fun participating in this extraordinary competition and I feel like I have also become better as a player. I am pleased with my final results and I plan to participate in upcoming competitions as well. I hope to attend large live tournaments in the future and I look forward to meeting many other Pokémon players. Thank you for reading my report; I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
    • By tanzying
      This is a translation of Bicho's team and battle reports from the 2014 Asia Cup. The Japanese Wi-fi qualifier for the Asia Cup was hosted by R_Justice on the 2nd of March 2014 and involved about 128 players. Bicho went very nearly undefeated thorough the tournament, advancing from his round robin preliminaries group 7-1 and continued to win until he took 1st place. In the main tournament of the Asia Cup on March 30th, 2014 comprising of 32 participants from the 8 countries involved, Bicho once again swept the Swiss rounds undefeated (5-0), then beat his top 8 opponent Oktavian Jason before finally losing to eventual runner-up Nu in the semi-finals and then defeating Cantona, the other semi-finalist, to achieve 3rd place. We would like to congratulate Bicho on his phenomenal success and thank him for the opportunity to feature his team.
      Trivia: Bicho's success is not limited to the VGC '14 Standard ruleset; he also placed 2nd worldwide in the recent Wi-Fi Test Competition (see his report here), as well as Top 4ing and above the majority of the grassroots offline tournaments he participated in last year and even winning a good chunk of them, including Singles tournaments. Truly, a player of exceptional strength.

      Team Report
      (Original: http://d.hatena.ne.jp/bicho5296/20140331/1396234411)
      Asia Cup 2014 Main Tournament - 3rd Place
      Asia Cup 2014 Japanese Wi-fi Qualifier - Champion
      4th Hokuriku Offline Tournament - Top 16
      Here I'll present to you the team that achieved all of these!

      * The actual stats, especially some of the speeds are quite subtle so I'm not going to reveal them.
      When the rules of the Battle Spot Special ladder changed to Kalos Doubles, I was busy with real life and had no time to dabble in Pokémon. Once my graduation thesis had been safely submitted, I rebuilt my favourite season 1 Talonflame Kangaskhan team and attempted the ruleset, but just could not win. Several times when battling, I found Tailwind difficult to use, and after reading others' blogs, I learned that speed control was not nearly as important in Kalos Doubles as in other metagames up til now, and rather, the ruleset focused more on individual matchups.
      The feel of this ruleset, if you asked me to describe it, struck me as rather reminiscent of single battles, so I took the lineup which I felt was the most beautiful from Season 1 Singles -- Mega Venusaur, Rotom-H and Azumarill -- to use as a core and build my team around. The grass, fire and water typings of these three are the traditional types of the starter Pokémon in-game, and have excellent synergy. From there, I added Salamence, Garchomp and Aegislash, which were strong against the Pokémon at the core of the metagame, namely Garchomp and the strongest Mega Evolutions Kangaskhan, Charizard and Mawile. Thus, the team was complete.
      Even in situations where Mega Venusaur can't be sent out, the other Pokémon have really good stats so I don't think I lose the stat point war. Even at the present point, one might say that the Salamence + Aegislash + Azumarill lineup, so often included even in Kangaskhan teams, are going to become the conclusion of this metagame, no?
      I think what I've managed to build here is a team that, even though it does not possess conspicuous firepower or overwhelming strength, collects an assortment of various bulky Pokémon that complement each other beautifully and thus becomes a sturdy team that does not crumble easily. This is not a team that sets out to accomplish something it wants to, but one that aims to thwart the opponent's win conditions. Because of that, it is hard to play. And yet, though there are difficult matchups, I would say that there are no difficult-to-the-point-of-being-impossible ones, and in that lies the stability of this team. Accordingly, when you lose with it it will mostly be due to either misplays or stupid amounts of luck, so using it might tend to stress one out (lol)
      Having built it, I immediately jumped into Battle Spot to playtest it; won some, lost some, and achieved a not particularly spectacular win rate, but as I started getting used to it it began winning and surpassing my expectations to the point where it got me my results in the Asia Cup.
      However, it's quite difficult to find the correct play within 40 seconds, so I think that this is definitely not a team suited for Battle Spot (´-ω-`)
      (TanZYinG's note: A good portion of competitive Pokémon in Japan takes place in grassroots real-life tournaments and friendly matches between players, where the game cannot be set to enforce VGC time limits)
      Individual Analyses
      The nicknames are all from the Children of Nisemachi in Madoka Magica: Rebellion

      Salamence (nickname: Ibari)
      Item: Choice Scarf
      Ability: Intimidate
      - Draco Meteor
      - Dragon Pulse
      - Fire Blast
      - Stone Edge
      Part of Kalos Doubles' Strongest, and one of the few that can come from behind to take out Garchomp with relative reliability. There are plenty of oppportunities to use it in a physically-oriented metagame that creates a demand for Intimidate. As for the moves, the two Dragon ones are indispensable, and while it may have shaky accuracy I decided to used Fire Blast for the fire moveslot, which can strike Mega Lucario down in one hit and take half of Aegislash's health off. Lastly, Stone Edge, which ignores Wide Guard and KOs Mega Charizard Y even when intimidated, rounds off Salamence's quintessential moveset.
      As for the EV spread, well, firepower, bulk, speed, it really wants them all so I've always been lost regarding this and can't give an answer!
      Regarding how to play it, Intimidate is especially strong so I usually want to preserve it as best as I can. There will be plenty of openings for it to switch in and take attacks, and I don't want to go crazy over the 10% miss chance of Draco Meteor so avoiding its use as much as possible, spreading Intimidate during the opening, and mopping up with Dragon Pulse during the endgame is the safe way to go. I have two solid switch ins for it in the form of Aegislash and Azumarill so I don't partake in messy affairs like Salamence mirrors.
      Its body is blue and its face looks like Suneo (note: from Doraemon) so its nickname became Ibari. (威張り: to swagger, act pridefully, be haughty, brag)

      Garchomp (nickname: Ganko)
      Item: Lum Berry
      Ability: Rough Skin
      - Dragon Claw
      - Earthquake
      - Rock Slide
      - Protect
      The other cornerstone of Kalos Double's Strongest alongside Salamence. It's been saving up its fury since Generation 5 and now that Cresselia, the Latis, Thundurus and Landorus aren't around boy is it strong.
      When building a Mega Venusaur-centric team, due to Venusaur being the mega evolution, it naturally becomes weak to the three major megas of Kangaskhan, Charizard and Mawile (though depending on the circumstances it can beat out Charizard and Mawile), and thus I use the non-mega that is strongest against all three of them.
      At first, due to wanting to compensate for an overall lack of firepower, I ran Life Orb which would let me get the 2HKO on Mega Kangaskhan, but then Life Orb's demerits just kept showing themselves such as Kangaskhans often getting chipped by Rough Skin and Double Edge recoil anyway, Garchomp barely surviving attacks but then dying to Life Orb recoil, and doing too much damage during the times where I decided I wanted to just go ahead and Earthquake even with my own Mega Venusaur out. Therefore, to patch up my team's effectiveness against sleep and because Will-O-Wisps often come flying towards Garchomp, I made it hold a Lum Berry.
      The moveset is again the quintessential Dragon Claw / Earthquake / Rock Slide / Protect. This is inevitable (I'm pretty sure). For the Rock move, options like Rock Tomb seemed interesting, but in the end Rock Slide off Garchomp's 102 base speed does a good job at fishing for flinches and is just superior.
      For the nickname, since Garchomp looks stubborn and it fits its real name, I used Ganko. It would have been even better if it had been female. (頑固: Stubborn, Obstinate)

      Mega Venusaur (nickname: Nekura)
      Item: Venusaurite
      Ability: Chlorophyll ->Thick Fat
      - Giga Drain
      - Sludge Bomb
      - Sleep Powder
      - Synthesis
      The axis of the team. After Mega Evolving it is ridiculously bulky.
      With Thick Fat removing all but two of its weaknesses, and Flying and Psychic attackers being relatively absent, it really has a lot of staying power. This staying power shines especially against teams without Talonflame. With the exception of Choice Banded Brave Bird from Talonflame, there isn't really anything that can OHKO it, so if it doesnt get focus fired it won't lose due to Synthesis.
      For the moves, Giga Drain, which gets STAB, hits the popular Rotom-W super effectively and its recovery effect fits right into Mega Venusaur's own general playstyle, so it was set in stone. So was Synthesis, which heals up all the damage it accumulates and can checkmate opponents. Next, no matter how bulky it is it would be pointless if it just sat there so Sleep Powder, which is punishing against a wide range of opponents, was added. Lastly, I wanted to add HP fire to hit Steel types with, but there were situations where I wanted to hit Fire types too, and being able to hit Gardevoir super effectively was important so I ran Sludge Bomb. I think that in order to win against Salamence, Hydreigon, Goodra et al, attacking with Sludge Bomb interspersed with heals is the only way to win. Mega Venusaur cannot do anything once Aegislash gets a Substitute up, so that has to be covered by other Pokémon. In the worst case scenario where Sleep Powder misses one can usually switch out and salvage the situation in time so the 75% accuracy is somewhat acceptable.
      For playstyle, if I feel at team preview that the opponent has no good way to hit Mega Venusaur, then I do my best to keep it on the field and aim to block them completely with it. If they have but one Pokémon that can hit it, I aim for more or less the same thing after eliminating that one threat. Sleep Powder is a powerful move, but one can't rely on its 75% accuracy so I never want to use it at critical junctures. It is really effective when you fire it off from an advantangeous matchup and are predicting a switch. Even though Sleep Powder is inferior to Smeargle's Dark Void both in accuracy and the amount of targets it hits, Venusaur's forte, its bulk, allows it many attempts at the move and increases the number of safe opportunities to use Sleep Powder.
      Given that both its body tint and what it does is dark and gloomy I don't suppose the nickname can be anything other than Nekura. (根暗: dark natured, dull, gloomy)

      Rotom-H (nickname: Wagamama)
      Item: Sitrus Berry
      Ability: Levitate
      - Thunderbolt
      - Overheat
      - Thunder Wave
      - Protect
      A Pokémon that possesses excellent bulk for the major threats. It feels a little less stable than Rotom-W, but the Fairy resistance and anti-Charizard-Y properties make it stand out. Along with its main roles, it takes all the attacks of Venusaur's nemesis Talonflame, takes all the Ice that comes flying towards my two Dragons, and basically makes use of its type synergy to the fullest.
      On the offensive side, it was important that I could take a large chunk off Aegislash which I don't have enough ways to hit. It applies some pressure on Mawile, and against other things I guess it's acceptable. The consistent Thunderbolt and Steel-hitting Overheat were no-brainers, but for a Status move I used Thunder Wave instead of Will-O-Wisp. Though Will-O-Wisp is effective in an environmnet full of physical offense, Will-O-Wisps that hit second were often too little too late, and Rock Slide flinches messed with it a little too often, that I found myself not valuing Will-O-Wisp on Rotom much. It's better on Rotom-W who does not take super effective damage from Rock Slide though. The team, with many members having middling speed, makes good use of speed support, and because it opens up the possibility of Mega Venusaur stalling out a paralysed opponent with repeated Synthesises, I think it fits the team really well. Lastly, I thought about putting Will-O-Wisp in anyway for two status inflicting attacks, but there were many situations in which I wanted to Protect so Protect was an easy choice.
      Rotom takes plenty of hits switching in, and because of that and the need to survive Mega Kangaskhan's Fake Out + Double Edge, Sitrus Berry is required.
      The nickname is Wagamama because its activity in standby mode is noisy and its lack of base stats made EVing it such a pain. (わがまま: Egoistic, Willful, Headstrong, Selfish)

      Azumarill (nickname: Manuke)
      Item: Assault Vest
      Ability: Huge Power
      - Waterfall
      - Play Rough
      - Aqua Jet
      - Superpower
      A Pokémon with an excellent typing that completely walls Salamence. Although not used in this team, the terrifying ability of Belly Drum + Aqua Jet to steamroll everything inflicts great pressure on opponents even by just showing it in team preview. It is strong against rain, which despite the presence of Mega Venusaur still gives the team a little pause, and if it doesn't flinch it can check the likes of Mega Aerodactyl and Mega Tyranitar too.
      In my reactionary playstyle, I wanted to make good use of its inherent bulk and firepower to cycle it in and out while racking up damage on the opponent, but the most stable item of choice, Sitrus Berry, had already been taken by Rotom. At first, I had it hold a Choice Band, valuing the fact that Choice Band let it OHKO Dragons even through Initimidate, and also let it have a chance of OHKOing Mega Aerodactyl with Aqua Jet depending on the damage roll, but because I ended up wanting to change attacks often and being choice-locked into Aqua Jet opened up big holes for my opponent, I ended up being dissatisfied with it and rejected it. There were some instances of Choice Specs Rotom-W partnering Aerodactyl and taking out Azumarill in one hit, so to withstand that I tried out Assault Vest. And with it, it became able to attack confidently even in the face of Mega Manectric and win Rotom-H one on one, among many other appealing benefits. Being able to survive Mega Charizard Y's Solarbeam is huge too.
      With the drawback of not being able to use non-attacking moves (well, basically only Protect), and Waterfall, Aqua Jet and Play Rough already decided, I considered the fact that the rest of the team didn't really have good ways to hit Mega Tyranitar and therefore added Superpower without much deliberation.
      Being able to attack with confidence in situations where Azumarill would normally be completely pinned, and being able to induce opponents to overpredict and ignore Azumarill was extremely strong.
      For the nickname, well, it's kind of making a dumb face so... *appropriateness* (まぬけ: stupidity, idiocy, thick-headedness)

      Aegislash (nickname: Reiketsu)
      Item: Leftovers
      Ability: Stance Change
      - Shadow Ball
      - Flash Cannon
      - Substitute
      - King's Shield
      A Steel/Ghost Pokémon with excellent bulk. Hm, I seem to have been using this phrase "excellent bulk" rather repeatedly!
      It has magnificent type synergy with Salamence, and since Salamence often wants to switch out after firing off its Draco Meteor having it in the back is extremely handy. And conversely, Salamence can easily takes the Fire and Ground attacks that are aimed at Aegislash, so they are truly the best of partners. Although, because of that, it becomes easy for the opponent to predict the switch so care must be taken. Also, it's just about the only Pokémon that can safely switch into Mega Kangaskhan's attacks, and so is rather indispensable to teams focusing on switching based teams.
      There are limited ways to hit this guy effectively, and with leftovers recovery factored in, it is another Pokémon you can aim to checkmate the opponent with. My playstyle involves using these two walls, Aegislash and Mega Venusaur, together and thinking about which opponents to eliminate so that either of them can seal the win. With that in mind, and because this is a middling speed bulky team and I wanted to deal with the Trick Room teams I hadn't really considered up to this point strongly, I added Substitute and Leftovers. Shadow Ball and King's Shield were in for sure. Sacred Sword can revenge KO Bisharp, whose popularity has been rising recently, in one strike and hit Tyranitar and Kangaskhan for more damage, but since Flash Cannon OHKOs Mega Aerodactyl and breeding a hexflawless Aegislash is such a drag, in the end I went back to the standard Flash Cannon.
      It's made of iron and looks cold so the nickname is Reiketsu. (冷血: cold-blooded/heartedness)
      As you see, aside from the core of Venusaur, Rotom and Azumarill which had been determined from the start, the rest of the Pokémon are all high-usage Pokémon running their standard, defining items and movesets. One could say that that makes it predictable, but there are good reasons why those moves and items are there, and when combined with the rest of the team and handled properly I really think they are the strongest.
      I guess I can say that I tend to lead with Salamence + Venusaur a little more often than the rest, but really, all of the Pokémon can work well both as leads and in reserves and I think I can say that this is a goodstuffs team with a wide plethora of options in battle. There are lots of things you have to consider while playing it, so it taxes the player alot and I won't go out of my way to recommend playing it to people, but thank you to those who have read up to this point!
      I mentioned this before in the preface, but with this team not being ideal for Battle Spot, I think it would be good if I could come up with a team that doesn't involve nearly as much thinking and plays more straightforwardly for the Japan Cup.
      Battle Report (Asia Cup Japanese Wi-Fi Qualifier)
      (Original: http://d.hatena.ne.jp/bicho5296/20140310/1394465689)
      I was placed in the K block of the preliminaries, and advanced from it in first place with a record of 7W - 1L. I've skipped the preliminary matches because this would be very long if I wrote about everything. However, my one defeat by Ao-san was a guessing game at the very end which I lost. I think I misplayed on the previous turn, but on the turn itself, even if I had chosen to do anything else, all the luck factors combined would have led to a roughly 50-50 guessing game anyway so I don't think there were any other misplays.
      Top Cut R1 - Top 32 vs Vete
      Battle Video: 86PW-WWWW-WWW6-3AE2
      Mega Venusaur looked like it had an easy field so I went ahead and proactively led with it. The leads came out as his Salamence and Rotom-W versus my Salamence and Venusaur which was completely in my favour. Because Rotom-W looked as if it couldn't do anything productive, I swapped Aegislash for Salamence and Sleep Powdered his Salamence. Rotom Protected, Aegislash took a Meteor and I put Salamence soundly to sleep.
      The 2nd turn I had Aegislash put up a Substitute while Venusaur Giga Drained Rotom. Salamence switched out for Chandelure, and Rotom moved before Venusuar to get a Will-O-Wisp off on Aegislash.
      On the 3rd turn, wary of Chandelure's Infiltrator I had Aegislash use Kings Guard once while firing a Sleep Powder at it, but wasted the turn completely as he got a Substitute up.
      From then on, it became a bitter struggle as he stacked up the Minimizes and I couldn't land my attacks. I tried to Sludge Bomb Chandelure with Mega Venusaur, but I had no idea that Poison attacks were not very effective against Ghost types. I thought I would have been able to break the Substitute.
      Since I couldn't possibly continue throwing myself at Chandelure in vain and since it looked as if it only had Heat Wave and no other attacking moves, I changed my plan and focused on shutting down the other Pokémon. Switching around and taking attacks, I took down Mega Kangaskhan without incident and created a Mega Venu + Mence + Chomp vs Chandelure situation.
      Quite a few attacks got evaded, but in the end Garchomp's Earthquake landed and I won. If the misses had continued, Chandelure's 16 Heat Waves could not have outdamaged the 8 Synthesis's worth of healing Venusuar had available, so if after 16 hits I had not gotten burned, it would probably have led to an ugly ending where I would Synthesis on the last turn and win on the HP tiebreaker.
      Top Cut R2 - Top 16 vs Junio
      Battle Video: YSEG-WWWW-WWW6-3AE9
      Looking at my opponent's team, there didn't seem to be any obvious Mega Pokémon, so I expected that it was probably a Mega Tyranitar build.Letting it get a Dragon Dance off would make dealing with it very hard, so I tried my best to not leave any opportunity open for it to do so. Garchomp seemed to be strong against everything overall, but leading with it would only get it Intimidated by Salamence so I brought it in the back.
      His leads were Salamence and Bisharp, and although I had Rotom-H -> Bisharp and Azumarill -> Salamence, being slower than both of them kept me cautious. Happy that I was making my opponent feel threatened at the possibility of Belly Drum, and expecting that no Dragon moves would be fired towards Azumarill's slot, I switched it out for Garchomp and Thunder Waved Salamence as a precaution against a Scarf. My opponent double targeted Rotom with Sucker Punch and Draco Meteor to take it out, so I survived the LO Meteor and got the Thunder Wave off.
      On the 2nd turn, because Garchomp had both Bisharp and Salamence pinned with Earthquake and Dragon Claw respectively, and moreover since my opponent's team had nothing that could take Garchomp's Earthquake safely, I deduced that Salamence would have no choice but to stay in and so Dragon Clawed Salamence and Overheated Bisharp. Bisharp's Iron Head took half of my Garchomp's HP off, but I successfully took out both of his Pokémon. Then, out came Talonflame and Tyranitar.
      Garchomp was being pinned by Talonflame's Brave Bird, but i thought it would be better to buy a little time rather than let it go down immediately, so I protected once. Rotom was in KO range from Tyranitar's Rock Slide, but even if it were to go down Azumarill could take its place and handle Tyranitar, and furthermore the worst thing would be letting it Dragon Dance for free, so I Thunder Waved it.
      Tyranitar Mega Evolved and Dragon Danced, but ate a Thunder Wave and was easily dealt with later, giving me the win.
      Top Cut R3 - Top 8 vs Taruto
      Battle Video: FG3W-WWWW-WWW6-3AEY
      The lead matchup was so-so. First of all if Gardevoir was Scarfed, Garchomp would just go down without being able to do anything, so I made the safe switch to Aegislash. I didn't want Rotom to take a possible Fake Out + Dazzling Gleam either so I Protected with it. Gardevoir used Dazzling Gleam instead of Moonblast so I determined it was using Choice Specs.
      On the 2nd turn it was very obvious that Gardevoir would switch out and there was a very high probability of Garchomp coming in, and so I really wanted to switch Rotom out for Salamence, but if my opponent madethe gosu play of sending out Bisharp from behind I would lose, so I timidly Thunder Waved Kangaskhan. As expected it was Garchomp, but I guess there was nothing to be done about it.
      On the 3rd turn the probability of Bisharp being in the back had more or less disappeared so I brought Salamence out while Flash Cannoning Kangaskhan.
      On the 4th turn I predicted that Garchomp was going to switch out and wanted to dispatch Kangaskhan, so I meteored it but missed. I forgot why I Flash Cannoned Garchomp's position instead of Shadow Balling it, but Talonflame came in and made me pay for it.
      Turn 5, I couldn't lose my Salamence yet and was fearful of Brave Bird and Sucker Punch so I used King's Shield and switched to Rotom to take the Brave Bird.
      Turn 6, I thought that Garchomp would come in to take a Thunderbolt for Talonflame, so I Shadow Balled Talonflame's position and chipped away at Kangaskhan with Thunderbolt.
      From here on, I thought that Garchomp, who I had preserved well up until now, would be able to plow through everything, so I sacrificed something to get it in safely and continued making safe plays for the win.
      Semi-Finals vs Kantona
      Battle Video: 7FAG-WWWW-WWW6-3AEJ
      Between Bisharp and Malamar, bringing Salamence was most certainly out of the question (lol)
      Azumarill, with water attacks unresisted by my opponent's entire team and being able to hit the likely leads Bisharp or Malamar hard, was put out in the front, and Rotom-H, which also had lots of room to manoeuvre, accompanied it.
      At the opening I was afraid of the possibility of getting outsped and flinched, but it looked like a pretty good matchup for me. Aerodactyl's Rock Slide and Bisharp's Iron Head tried to stop my Azumarill from moving, but Azumarill dodged the Rock Slide and took out Aerodactyl with Waterfall, and Rotom managed not to flinch as well and got a Thunderbolt off on Bisharp. At the time, I was sure that Gothitelle and Mawile were in the back so dropping my Special Attack with Overheat would be a terrible idea. Furthermore it was probable that Bisharp was Focus Sashed so I thought Thunderbolt was the way to go.
      My opponent's Rotom-H came out, and I was wondering if I should just sacrifice Azumarill, but then I decided it could still do some work with Aqua Jet if I kept it around, so I switched to Garchomp. A Will-O-Wisp came flying hither but I didn't mind.
      After that, somehow Garchomp still managed to be a good Pokémon even while burned and played sloppily. I recklessly spammed Rock Slide and the opponent's Rotom just wouldn't stop flinching. I kept that up and won.
      Finals vs Moyomoto
      During the 1st battle there was a communication error while the battle was in my favour, so it was decided to turn it into a best-of-3 with me one game up.
      1st Battle
      Twitcast Video: http://twitcasting.tv/bicho_5296/movie/42615880
      It looked as if leading with Salamence and Venusaur would be good, but then I refrained from that after considering the possibility that Noivern was Scarfed. I didn't think I would be particularly disadvantaged no matter who I brought so I sent Rotom-H out with Venusaur. I was a little scared of Specs Noivern Hurricane, but decided that that kind of thing would not appear on a Sun team and so abandoned those fears.
      I didn't know which of my Pokémon he would Fake Out at first, so I made both of my Pokémon attack with Sleep Powder and Thunder Wave. Venusaur got to move, but for some reason Noivern was carrying a Lum Berry so that ended in failure.
      Turn 2, I couldn't lose Venusaur so I switched to Aegislash while Thunder Waving with Rotom, but Rotom flinched due to Rock Slide.
      Turn 3, I wanted to Substitute with Aegislash but it got flinched. However, I successfully got Thunder Wave off on Mienshao.
      The subsequent exchanges created a situation where my opponent was unable to break Aegislash's Substitute. The communication error occurred when I had caught Charizard on the switch with Sleep Powder and hit it into the red on the next turn.
      It seemed that on the turn that Charizard came out, my opponent had originally intended to switch Mienshao out and Protect Noivern, but given that Noivern had already Protected the turn before, its special attack was cut from having Draco Meteored previously, and Aegislash still had its Substitute up, I think I would still have the advantage no matter what happened. Even if Charizard had woken up on the turn of the error, I would have switched Venusaur to Rotom and taken any of its attacks and won regardless of whatever happened, so the set was turned into a best-of-3 and I was given the first win.
      2nd Battle
      Battle Video: G8HW-WWWW-WWW5-UCAC
      With the fact that Noivern was neither Scarfed nor Sashed exposed, I led with Salamence this time. With my opponent's leads being Noivern and Charizard, a double pin situation was created and I had to decide who to go after. With Noivern possessing the ability to take out Salamence if allowed to move, and Venusaur's Sleep Powder and Noivern's Lum berry both being revealed during the previous match, Meteoring Noivern and Sleep Powdering Charizard certainly seemed like the safe option.
      But then if I did that, Salamence could not possibly fight Charizard and Aegislash choice-locked into Draco Meteor with dropped special attack, and I felt that the absolute worst situation for me would be if he made the safe play of double Protecting and I left Charizard free to do whatever it wanted (by locking into Draco Meteor). So, because even if Protected, it would be better to lock into Stone Edge, I Stone Edged Charizard and Sleep Powdered Noivern. It was a dangerous gamble, but I figured it was my best option. My opponent moved exactly as I expected, and the game was sealed almost completely right there and then on turn 1.
      After that, I dealt with the remaining Pokémon one by one while maintaining a way to hit his Aegislash hard, and won.
      Mega Venusaur is such a beast for surviving Super Fang and Garchomp's critical hit Earthquake.
      Somehow or other I made it through a 150-man strong field and clinched the championship!
    • By tanzying
      On Sunday, the 23rd of March, Japanese Pokémon players gathered in Osaka to watch the culmination of the biggest grassroots tournament circuit in the country with the VGC '14 ruleset: the Battle Road Gloria National Finals. Following intense competition over the past two months, where players duked it out in the various regional qualifiers for an invite to the finals, as well as a Last Chance Qualifier the day before, the field of competitors was finally thinned to a final 20 players. Thus, the showdown to determine who would be crowned as the No. 1 Trainer of Japan began.
      With the tournament over, hardworking host @masaVAmpharos has once again publicised the team details and usage statistics. Combined with the information from the qualifiers, we are finally in a position to look back on the series of live competitions that have shaped the metagame in Japan and even influenced the playstyles of players all over the world.
      Finalist Teams
      First up, we have the team details of all the participants of the Battle Road Gloria National Finals, starting with none other than:
      1. Gloria Champion: See_miruo!
      Qualified through: Ganyu Off (Kyushu) Champion
      (Awesome team portrait courtesy of Yudetama (@yudeyude123), go to her Pixiv for the WIP and other artworks!)

      Runner up: Rei
      Qualified through: Hokuriku Off (Hokuriku) Champion

      3rd Place: Fukunyan
      Qualified through: Hokuriku Off (Hokuriku) Runner-up

      4th Place: Gonbe
      Qualified through: Shade Off (Kansai) Champion

      (Note: I'm unable to verify the exact Megas used from here on so I will list them as their base forms)
      Top 8: Viera
      Qualified through: Arena Off (Kanto) Champion

      Top 8: Yasumatsu
      Qualified through: LCQ

      Top 8: Hashidam
      Qualified through: Bibu Off (Chushikoku) Runner-up

      Top 8: Ryuzaki
      Qualified through: LCQ

      Qualified through: Ganyu Off (Kyushu) Runner-up

      Qualified through: LCQ

      Qualified through: Bibu Off (Chushikoku) Champion

      Qualified through: LCQ

      Qualified through: Arena Off (Kanto) Runner-up

      Qualified through: Touhoku Off (Touhoku) Champion

      Qualified through: Shade Off (Kansai) Runner-up

      Qualified through: Touhoku Off (Touhoku) Runner-up

      Qualified through: Arena Off (Kanto) 4th place

      Qualified through: Arena Off (Kanto) 3rd place

      Qualified through: LCQ

      Qualified through: LCQ

      Battle Videos
      The most important battles of the National Finals and LCQ have also been recorded by various people and are avaliable for your viewing pleasure.
      National Finals
      Courtesy of the Eggy Emporium team. Recorded from the Nico Nico livestream timeshift by Hibiki, subtitled by myself and Ryokon, and uploaded to Youtube with organiser Masa's permisison.

      Recorded and livestreamed on Twitcast by organiser Masa

      Flight A Finals: San (front) VS Haochii (back)
      Flight A 3rd Place playoffs: Kamendaburu (front) VS Ryuzaki (back)
      Flight B Finals: Denjiha (front) VS Takumi (back)
      Flight B 3rd Place playoffs: Yasumatsu (front) VS Suraili (back)

      Usage Statistics
      Next, the usage statistics for the finals as well as the LCQ held during the day before (for reference, here are the statistics for the previous qualifiers combined):

      Finally, if anyone wishes to see the complete team details of all the participants in the LCQ as well as the raw KP numbers, they can be found in this file. Remember, the KP of a Pokémon is defined as the number of players who used it in the tournament, while the KP of a team is the sum of the KP of its constituent Pokémon.
      Points of Interest
      I'm probably not good enough of a player to write a particularly solid dissertation similar to Scott's 'What We Learned' articles after each season of events in the American VGC circuit, but seeing as I picked up a little knowledge of the Japanese scene through following this series of events and there are issues which I think are worth highlighting so I'll take a stab at it.
      Aqua Jetting Up the Rankings

      Scanning for changes in the usage statistics between the LCQ plus Finals and the previous tournaments, the Pokémon that immediately demands attention is Azumarill, which surged all the way from a respectable 14th position in the qualifier rankings to a commanding 5th/6th in the LCQ and finals respectively -- kicking its fellow Huge Power Fairy-type wielder Mawile out of the Top 10 in the process. I'd personally put this down to Azumarill having advantageous matchups against all the pseudolegendaries legal in the format (Garchomp, Salamence, Tyranitar, Hydreigon, Dragonite), who -- aside from Dragonite -- account for a large chunk of usage. Azumarill hits them with painful STAB super effective attacks and resists their primary STABs and even quite a few of their coverage moves. Even better, it doesn't need to take up a Mega slot to do it unlike Mawile, which reduces its competition. With both the Belly Drum and Choice Band sets able to bring ample amounts of hurt, it certainly looks as if players are starting to discover its potential, possibly cementing its place in the metagame for the rest of the season.

      Other less noticable but significant usage changes include a slight reshuffling of the Grass type pecking order, with Ferrothorn almost completely falling off the radar from 14% to 4% and Venusaur and Amoonguss picking up the slack and jumping from 8% to 16% and 12% to 18% respectively. My personal experience with Ferrothorn is one of giving up on it, as useful as its Grass/Steel typing was, after having had to Protect it ever so often to stop it from getting taken out by every random fire move under and not under the Sun without nearly enough success. It therefore wouldn't come as a surprise to me if the Japanese players have wisened up to its consistency issues and stopped using it as often. In contrast, Venusaur and Amoonguss are able to fill the bulky grass defensive niche and provide solid support options to the rest of the team without bringing a crippling weakness along. Also, could the fact that their Grass/Poison typing shuts down the abovementioned Water/Fairy Azumarill completely have anything to do with their increase? The numbers aren't strong enough to say for sure, but I guess time will tell.
      Top 4 Mega Madness

      While good old Kangaskhan, Charizard Y and Mawile still have their iron grip on the top 3 Mega spots, the top 4 was a hotbed of innovation with the semifinalists' and finalists' Mega Pokémon choices departing from the norm in various ways. Champion see_miruo's Kangaskhan, unlike other members of its brethren, chose to eschew the highly contested 100 base speed tier and take it slow, even underspeeding Runner up Rei's Bisharp in Trick Room and taking it out with Hammer Arm, then using the subsequent speed drop to underspeed and KO Rotom-W on the next turn.
      In a metagame where almost every Charizard chooses to evolve into Mega Charizard Y, Rei's signature Mega Charizard X returned once again from his Hokuriku regional qualifier winning team to carry him to second place. 3rd place Fukunyan's Mega Mawile is a slightly more ordinary all out Trick Room attacker, though its moveset does reflect a nowadays increasing tendency for Mawile to forgo their reliable STAB 100% accurate Iron Head in exchange for coverage moves -- in this case Rock Slide.
      Finally, double Mega combinations are not unheard of, but mostly restricted to combinations of the top 3. 4th placed Gonbe however put an extremely unorthodox spin on the concept by choosing to run Mega Tyranitar and Mega Venusaur on the same team. Even more unusual was Mega Tyranitar's moveset of Dragon Dance, Rock Slide, Ice Fang and Earthquake.
      I'm not someone who particularly champions originality for originality's sake, but I find the variety displayed by the top-performing players heartening. It indicates that there is quite some untapped potential out there awaiting exploration even among the Mega Pokémon that define this year's ruleset so. Many important metagame breakthroughs in the past such as bulky Thundurus, offensive Cresselia and Pyroar have been spearheaded by pioneers achieving success with them and changing perceptions from "Why would you even do that?" to "Why didn't anyone think of doing that?". I think that in this regard, a metagame that requires players to have the basics down yet provides ample potential for and rewards experimenting is healthy for competitive Pokémon.
      The "Fantasy Core" is Very Real

      It's not hard to see why the triangle of Dragon, Fairy and Steel types is at the forefront of the metagame. Garchomp and Salamence, with the utility and reliability bestowed upon them by their superior base stats, abilities and typing, are just too good not to consider for inclusion on any team. The Fairies have great offensive and defensive coverage too, with the bonus ability of being able to maul the popular dragons, although unlike the dragons they aren't as blessed in the BST department. And finally Steel, the only type in the game that resists both of them and even gets to hit the Fairies back hard.
      Even though it is pretty evident from the usage statistics how ubiquitous Garchomp, Aegislash and Salamence are, I decided to delve further into the statistics to explore their correlation and wasn't disappointed.

      [/td][td]Percentage of teams with at least 1 Pokémon of each of the following types Dragon + Steel Dragon + Steel + Fairy Dragon + Steel + Fairy (*With Mawile/Klefki only counting for 1 type) National Finals 95% 60% 45% Teams that earned an invite to the National Finals 100% 75% 70% Qualifier tournaments Top 16 teams 80% 59% 46% All teams in qualifier tournaments 73% 52% 43% (Raw data here)
      As you can see, an overwhelming number of Japanese players have decided that having a Dragon and Steel type on their team was in their best interests, with the percentage only increasing as the sample size was cut to the better-achieving players, to the point where pretty much all the finalists were running a Dragon-Steel duo. It's harder to read a definite trend into the Dragon-Steel-Fairy numbers, but they look healthy enough to be a mainstay of the metagame. The American metagame of the Winter Regionals season, in contrast, was decidedly iron-deficient in comparison, but the metagame has had time to evolve now and perhaps the Spring Regionals will show us a different picture.
      The LCQ Pilgrimage...in Reverse!
      With Japan never seeming to get a proportionate number of places in the official World Championships, scenes of them descending on the Last Chance Qualifier and grinding in the hard way have become a yearly occurrence. This time, however, it was German player Rebecca "San" Wolf (13th place Masters, Worlds 2011) that made the trip to the Orient, took 2nd place in the LCQ's A flight and very nearly made it to the top cut of the National Finals itself (more on this later)!
      There's nothing much more to point out beyond the unprecedented nature of this (congratulations to Rebecca for her achievement, though). I didn't look closely enough to see how Japanese players reacted to the presence of a foreigner in a tournament to "determine the No. 1 in Japan." However, it did make me wonder how things would be like if the World Championships ever goes to the birthplace of the franchise and it becomes the Western world's turn to mount LCQ expeditions instead.
      Round Robin Rumblings
      As I've mentioned in my previous article on the regional qualifiers, the Japanese grassroots tournament scene does not use the Swiss format Americans and Europeans are familiar with through official VGC events. Instead, they break players up into blocks right from the start and have everyone in the block play everyone else, with the top 2 from each block by win-loss score advancing to a Top (usually) 16 single elimination best-of-1 cut. This usually doesn't give too much problems and the Japanese seem to be perfectly happy with the status quo. However, the format resulted in a very sticky situation in the D block of the National Finals (containing both Champion See_miruo and the just-mentioned foreign LCQer Rebecca Wolf), where all five players in the block went 2-2, and a lottery had to be used to decide that See and Ryuzaki would advance to the Top cut of 8. (Even more seemingly ludicrously, the initial method proposed to break the deadlock was Round Robin Rock-Paper-Scissors!)
      Such rare occurrences aside, my impression of the format is that it does seem to increase the element of luck in matchups a tad. If you had a strong win ratio in Swiss, you would be guaranteed to play similarly accomplished opponents, whereas in Round Robin groups you might land in a group of lesser opponents by luck of the draw and coast to an easy top cut. Other considerations include avoiding bad matchups; A 3rd place qualifier report I translated had a team with a rather evident Rotom-W-shaped hole in it, yet the player himself mentioned that managing to avoid playing most of his bad matchups was instrumental in his final placing. Various other problems with Round Robin, such as players dropping midway, come to mind. If I had to pick, I'd definitely go for a Swiss format. Of course, I don't have the influence to change anything that goes on over there, but nevertheless it would be interesting to see what the rest of the world thinks.
      Where are the Japanese Players We Know?
      Perhaps as a testament of how little we outsiders are exposed to the Japanese scene, when asked to name strong Japanese players most of us would probably come up with a rather limited list along the lines of Gebebo, Huuuryu, R_Justice, Shota Yamamoto, Jumpei Yamamoto, Osamu Shinomoto... i.e. those few players who have shown up on the LCQ/Worlds stage or in International Friendlies. And yet, searching through the placings, these names pop up sporadically and at most correspond to a few top 16 placings here and there, while other previously-unheard-of-outside-Japan players like See and Viera frequent the top spots. The known players probably have their own individual reasons for their decline; Gebebo, for instance, has mentioned that he doesn't like the Kalos Doubles ruleset much and has been playing National Dex Doubles and GS Cup instead, probably intending to take most of the season out like Ray did when he already had his Worlds invites locked up. Overall though, it's evident that the Japanese scene remains largely a mystery to the outside world, and hopefully that begins to change soon. I'll be keeping up my translation work, but TPC could really help by implementing a better official VGC circuit in Japan and perhaps actually give them a proportionate amount of representation in Worlds itself.
      Foreign Influences
      We learn a lot from Japanese players, but what do they take back from us? Trawling through the various Japanese team reports, influences from Ray's Virginia Regionals-winning team caught my eye, and there was a remodelled version of Human's Runner-up team from the same event, but not much else. I had a conversation with Taroimo, the go-to person for English -> Japanese VGC content translations, and the discussion threw up a few interesting points.
      According to Taroimo, he's mostly the only translator in the field, and Japanese Pokémon players mostly don't go out of their way to proactively machine translate foreign content and read them (the exception being their RNG researchers i.e. Omega Donut, Kaphotics, Slashmolder et al's Japanese counterparts). As a result, most of the foreign VGC content flowing into Japan goes through him. Right now, the VGC '14 content he has produced Japanese translations of include Ray's, Human's and Wolfe's team reports as well as Wolfe's commentary on the usage stats of the various Gloria qualifier tournaments. And according to him, the viewcount on Ray's report far outstrips that of the rest.
      It seems that in the end, as of the moment, between the bottlenecking of information through their only translator, the limited number and Japanese players playing on simulators and the limited amount of foreign players on Battle Spot (compared to the number of Japanese players), and the underdeveloped nature of Japan's official VGC circuit, Japan doesn't really want or need information from the outside world most of the time, and who can blame them? Their grassroots scene is well-developed enough for their players to experience fierce competition and earn lots of recognition without ever needing to play foreigners. If TPC continues to be stingy with Japanese representation at Worlds, I don't see any compelling reason for them to suddenly work up the motivation to pay attention to the rest of the world -- which might be a loss for them, but my feeling is that its as much of, if not even more of, a loss for us.
      With the above points, I end my recap of the Battle Road Gloria circuit. Of course, there are still team reports to come, and the Asia Cup just concluded today with See_miruo conquering the other countries from his throne in Japan, so look out for more exciting content from my side of the world! TanZYinG, out.
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