Published on March 31st, 2014 | by tanzying


Japan’s Battle Road Gloria National Finals: Results, Team Details, Statistics and Review

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!)
see team

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

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.

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.

About the Author

is a VGC player hailing from the tropical island of Singapore. Previously involved mostly in translating Japanese VGC blog articles for the rest of the world, organising official VGC events and friendlies with other countries for Singapore has come to be his primary role.

18 Responses to Japan’s Battle Road Gloria National Finals: Results, Team Details, Statistics and Review

  1. Fantasy core for days. Holy.
    It’s real interesting to see what they’re doing/running over on the other side of the world. Is the thought of disliking the Kalos region-locked regionals shared amongst more players? I’ve been a fan of it and haven’t run into too many people who would be against it as, Geebo (I believe is how it was spelt). Great article, thanks for the read and information.

  2. tanzying says:

    Fantasy core for days. Holy.
    It’s real interesting to see what they’re doing/running over on the other side of the world. Is the thought of disliking the Kalos region-locked regionals shared amongst more players? I’ve been a fan of it and haven’t run into too many people who would be against it as, Geebo (I believe is how it was spelt). Great article, thanks for the read and information.

    I haven’t looked into this in detail because I’d rather prioritise the VGC content, but I do vaguely recall Japanese players (probably Taroimo again) telling me about how the doubles playerbase in Japan has been divided between Kalos Doubles and National Dex Doubles, with some playing only one ruleset while others dabble in both. If that is true though, the healthy participation in the Rated Doubles ladder on Battle Spot would lend credence to it.

    And no, it is indeed spelt Gebebo (げべぼ).

  3. if only this computer had the ability to register the “quote” button, les sigh.
    I’ll try and look into the National Dex varation they run into, I can see that being a fun breather from solely focusing on VGC.
    Gebebo, noted. Thanks again.

  4. shinryu says:

    That is some awesome artwork. And thanks for the updates as always.

  5. R Inanimate says:

    Thanks, as always, for your translation work, Tanzying.

  6. Lejn says:

    Wow there’s some cool stuff in here, even though goodstuffs took it all. Mega Zard X came second, the strangest double mega combination I’ve ever seen in mega venu and tyranitar, and that first 8 team looks like the mega could’ve well been garchomp. It’s also just a friendly reminder for us to pack a million and one fairies with ice, as double dragon just won’t go away.

  7. NicholasDeT says:

    Wow that’s a lot of info. very helpful though. One question: Did you do the artwork for the winner’s team?

  8. shinryu says:

    To be fair, Ray didn’t do that that much when he was winning worlds during the season, then he’d come outta nowhere and took no prisoners to wrap it up. Maybe that’s what the other known Japanese players are doing lol.

  9. Sprocket says:

    What’s with the 60 minute matches and 90 second turns? Pretty sharp difference between what we get in the states.

  10. tanzying says:

    What’s with the 60 minute matches and 90 second turns? Pretty sharp difference between what we get in the states.

    It’s not an official competition and they can’t set the game into ‘competition mode’ so the proper VGC rules time limits are probably impractical to enforce, so they just play with what they have and utilise it to the fullest extent. And I have to say, they are rather used to taking their time even since previous generations.

  11. melevin9 says:

    Great job on the report Tanzying, it was very good read.

  12. Werford says:

    Thank you again for your excellent work translating. It’s interesting to see Hydreigon picking up in usage over there.

  13. Thanks for the translations again!

    nothing too surprising for me here outside of the rise of amoongus again.  The Japanese metagame is basically what i think the metagame should be over here, but then again I’m pretty much japanese at heart.

    America sucks. 

  14. JRank says:

    Really appreciate you (and Ryokon too?) taking the time to translate this stuff, it really fascinates me and I’m glad we get a chance to view it. I also liked your mini-“what we learned” that you included at the end as well. Thanks!

  15. Kamaal says:

    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
    A wiser man than I…

  16. rapha says:

    Very cool to see Hydreigon’s usage. It’s become my favorite Dragon to use thus far, and its Scarf set is so brutal late game once Azumarill, Gardevoir, and the rare Sylveon are removed. Stronger than Salamence with a better typing both offensively and defensively (x4 weak to Fairy, but also resists Sucker Punch and Ice has greater distribution).

  17. PreyingShark says:

    Glad to see that this tourney’s results support the “Talonflame is OP omg people who use him are so cheap” crowd. ^_^
    Also, now I want to try a Dragon/Steel/Fairy core. I actually feel silly for not trying it out earlier.

  18. Tobi says:

    It’s always a pleasure reading reports like this. Thank you for the work,  tanzying!
    What i can see is very few people is running Charizard X there too; it’s obvious the Y is easier to play, but X version is still a very good one in VGC if you know how to play with it and if you give it the right support. And bidoof, Garchomp, Salamence and Khan are everywhere… 

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