This year’s Pokémon Video Game Championship series has presented some unique challenges for all competitors. The most prominent challenge is that players have had to create teams using only Unova Pokémon, which were introduced in the Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version games.

It’s a rule that has been met with mixed reaction: it’s tough to not use all the Pokémon they’ve been playing with for years, but at the same time the playing field has been leveled make for even better competition.

From the Regional events, to the National Championships, and finally to today’s Last Chance Qualifier event, the number of Pokémon we’ve seen in competition has been steadily pared down.

When the first tournaments began, players weren’t sure what strategies would work the best, but now there are some standout Pokémon and battle-tested strategies that players won’t go into a tournament without.

At last year’s World Championships, Trick Room teams were all the rage.

Trick Room is a move that flips the order in which the Pokémon attack, making the slowest Pokémon go first. Early this year, players were reporting that they weren’t seeing Trick Room quite as much, but now it’s starting to creep back into play.

 

2011 Pokémon World Championships

Fans gather to watch their favorite Pokémon in action.

One popular strategy is to use Trick Room to speed up Amoonguss. Players have the Pokémon use Rage Powder, which makes the opponent’s Pokémon attack it, and then use Giga Drain to hit hard and restore some of its health.

With high HP, strong attacks, and now the opportunity for the otherwise slow Pokémon to attack first, Amoonguss becomes a top-notch attacker.

The inclusion of more Legendary Pokémon into the list of useable Pokémon has also made a difference in the types of battles, but maybe not as much as may have been expected.

Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus, as well as Terrakion have all been popular and effective, with their offensive skills proving to be very valuable, but a good deal of other Pokémon have been featured, too—Jellicent, Scrafty, and Eelektross have seen a lot of action this year.

Jellicent in particular has been quite popular: it’s a Ghost-type Pokémon, so Terrakion and Conkeldurr’s best Fighting-type attacks are useless against it. And also, players can have Hydreigon or Seismitoad use Surf and not do any damage to Jellicent thanks to its Water Absorb Ability.

Fake Out has always been a popular attack at tournaments—it hits first, and it always makes its target flinch. It only works the first round that Pokémon is in battle, so it’s a highly strategic move.

While it was pretty popular in previous years, not very many Unova Pokémon can learn it. One Pokémon who can is Scrafty, who is also popular for its Hi Jump Kick and Focus Punch attacks. Scrafty can use Fake Out on the first turn to give cover for a Pokémon such as Jellicent or Chandelure to use Trick Room and establish a strategy early.

Remember, the Pokémon World Championships feature players from all around the globe.

We have been watching the evolution of Pokémon video game strategy in United States tournaments closely, so we’re eager to see what players all the way from Sweden to South Korea bring to the event!

Be sure to follow along all weekend as we continue to update the events from San Diego.