4 months ago
As fans of the NBA know, any tournament that has Durant involved is bound to be an epic one.
Fans of Pokémon GO PVP, not so much.
But as the early round fifth-choice Bug/Steels and the Hidden Power Togetics fell by the wayside, many familiar names headed to the stage at the first Pokémon GO European Championships in scenic Frankfurt, Germany and took turns displaying their skills for a raucous crowd online and in person as more of their defeated competitors took in the action of a very hype tournament. Heated battles pitted the best the Old Continent had to offer against one another in a double-elimination bracket and just an elite eight remain for Saturday’s action at the Messe to see who will claim a spot at the World Championships in London. We have a breakdown of the battlers vying for the title, but before we do, let’s acknowledge some of the memorable moments from Day 1:
Spice of the Day: We may have a few more successful options to offer later on, but we have to give a shout out to Clawlesslion, not only shown in the first match of the day against tournament favorite ThoTechtical, but he brought Durant and Togetic to the party. Flower Crown Togetic at that. But we still don’t know what type of Hidden Power that was! Only that it was neutral damage to Azumarill! We may never know what secrets that Fairy/Flying type holds.
GTPVP of the Day: Shoutout to NYMUUUUUUU and YYdsPlusnull, the only members of the GirlsThatPvP community to make it onto the stream in Day 1. NYMU put up a tough fight against eventual finalist Elepfandflashe, and got to show off one of the spicier selections in Cofagrigus. Plus that Azumarill plushie is far cuter than the in-game version with its wall of bubbles. Meanwhile, Plusnull hit Aeeriis with her best shot, including a Talonflame that caused so many battlers problems on the day, but the Czech trainer survived as he went undefeated in Group C play on the day.
Call of the Day: There was one moment that had all of my Discord channels lighting up and it came in the Loser’s Bracket of Group A as LonesomeRaider had a tough matchup in Game 3 against Wickedy123, with his shadow Nidoqueen in lead against Galarian Stunfisk. LR went for an early Poison Fang to soften the matchup without building up to Earth Power. A shield was thrown on the Poison Fang. Raider’s subsequent Earth Power went unshielded. A gutsy decision to stay in that matchup but it paid off with a 2-1 win.
Play of the Day: What. A. Catch.
That’s how you book a spot in the final eight. Azaray did his best to cape up for the UK contingent in Frankfurt but that catch crushed his chances like a Beatle in that first game and eventually, Inadequance went through.
So we were left with eight battlers still standing heading into the second and final day of play, here’s how the Elite brackets broke down:
(All moves are solely verified through the Pokémon GO stream, any other movesets remain hidden)
#1 - ThoTechtical (NED) - Azumarill(1496 Bub/IB/PR) / Galarian Stunfisk(1492 MS/RS/EQ) / Medicham(1500 Ctr/IP/Psy) / Shadow Walrein (1499 PwS/IS/EQ) / Shadow Nidoqueen (1500 PJ/PF/EP) / Mandibuzz (1497 Sna/AA/DkP)
ThoTechtical was featured in the first match of the day, as well as arguably one of the biggest matchups against then-Silph #2 JGBWinsenHSV in Group A’s Round 3, a criminally early meeting, but Tho came away with victories in both while displaying complete energy control with his Pokémon. After surviving his EU Emperors teammate Elepfandflashe in the final of Group A’s winners bracket, arguably the most well-known name in this list of finalists was set to continue his run and look to confirm his trip to the World Championships in London.
#4 - Aeeriis (CZE) - Trevenant (1500 SC/SeB/SdB) / Medicham (1500 Ctr/IP/Psy) / Registeel (1499) / Mandibuzz (1499 AS/AA/FP) / Walrein (1500 PwS/IS/EQ) / Galarian Stunfisk (1494 MS/RS/EQ)
One thing Aeeriis proved on Day 1: Walrein is a Scrafty counter, confirmed. The Czech GymBreakers captain represented his country well in Germany, with Walrein dishing out punishment and a Mandibuzz rocking Air Slash allowing the Umbreon of the sky to put pressure on the many Scrafty that roamed the tournament. A couple of flipped mid-games against YYdsPlusnull proved how on point his energy management is and will make him a tough opponent. But, the author of this article scored a 2-1 win against him in Nemesis, so he can be beaten. :glaceonwink:
#2 - Fr43ka (GER) - Medicham (1496) / Skarmory (1497 AS/SA/BB) / Registeel (1498 LO/FcB/ZC) / Trevenant (1493 SC/SeB/SdB) / Azumarill (1499 Bub/IB/PR) / Sableye (1498)
The man from Mainz took down his compatriot DancingRob in the Group B final with his Sableye play on point against Rob’s bulky Pokémon. He managed to avoid the Charmers and take out big names as he defended home turf alongside Tho with a very meta team. However, Fr43ka had to be salivating at a chance to take down his more famous countryman in a final setting like this.
#3 - NicoGiro73 (FRA) - Shadow Nidoqueen (1497 PJ/PF/EP) / Alolan Ninetales (1499 PwS/WB/DG) / Shadow Swampert (1498 MS/HC/SW) / Sableye (1497 SC/FP/Ret) / Medicham (1498 Ctr/PuP/Psy) / Registeel (1496 LO/FB/ZC)
The sole survivor of the French contingent that made its way to Frankfurt, NicoGiro has been a fixture in that community for a while and now gets a chance to shine. His team sent one of the favorites, Inadequance, to the loser’s bracket and he secured his spot by taking out ItsSplu in the final of Group D. He’d already scored wins with some interesting movesets, running a Powder Snow A9 and Power-Up Punch Medicham in contrast to his opponents. On Day 2, he looked to spoil Fr43ka’s perfect run.
#8 - Inadequance (NED) - Registeel (1491 LO/FcB/ZC) / Shadow Nidoqueen (1491 PJ/PF/EQ) / Walrein (1496 PwS/IS/EQ) / Pelipper (1496 WA/WB/Hur) / Scrafty (1482) / Shadow Sableye (1498 SC/FP/PG)
Not the position that the Dutch legend wanted to find himself in, but he’s still alive in this tournament, and opponents need to be on notice. A Group D semifinals loss to NicoGiro put him on the brink, but miraculous play in the loser’s bracket brought him back up to the final eight. The obvious standout choice on Inadequance’s team is Pelipper and the Water/Flying type put in a ton of work with little to no Electric damage to threaten it from the rest of the meta. A matchup against DancingRob is next, but Inadequance looked to mirror his faction teammates in the EU Emperors and take the title back to the Netherlands.
#5 - DancingRob (GER) - Alolan Ninetales (1500 Cha/WB/Psy) / Umbreon (1500 Sna/FP/LR) / Shadow Swampert (1489 MS/HC/EQ) / Sableye (1494 SC/FP/Ret) / Skarmory (1498 AS/SA/BvB) / Medicham (1494 Ctr/IP/Psy)
So you want to be a dancer? You have to step to Rob’s tune and he was on point for most of the day, switching his Pokémon at will to catch moves. He was one of the few to bring a Charmer in his Alolan Ninetales and it took a lot of Sableyes out of the picture as safe swaps until Fr43ka cut the music. Rob came back by dispatching SilvioSerrao in the Group B loser’s bracket final, but faced a tough draw against Inadequance.
#7 - Elepfandflasche (GER) - Medicham (1494 Ctr/IP/Psy) / Diggersby (1500 MS/FP/EQ) / Cresselia (1497 PC/GK/MB) / Walrein (1497 PwS/IS/EQ) / Swampert (1496 MS/HC/EQ) / Shadow Drapion (1500 PiS/Cru/SlB)
The man with the pun name (I’m told in German it’s very funny) made multiple appearances on the main stream and showed why Drapion has such strength as a safe swap with many battlers relying on Earthquake as their ground coverage move. Ele’s team was built on spamming charge moves, and it did so with glee as his team took down opponents left and right. However, it ran into ThoTechtical’s Mandibuzzsaw and could not survive the onslaught. Ele came back with an upset victory against JGBWinsenHSV and his top-heavy Turtwig in the Group A loser bracket final, and he drew an unknown factor to keep his title hopes alive, with his first match against PokeSquark.
#6 - PokeSquark (GRE) - Umbreon (1500 Sna/FP/LR) / Medicham (1500 Ctr/IP/Psy) / Shadow Walrein (1499 PwS/IS/EQ) / Talonflame (1494 Inc/FmC/BvB) / Defense Deoxys (1493 Ctr/PyB/TB) Shadow Nidoqueen (1489 PJ/PF/EP)
The dark horse of the tournament, Squark is primarily a GBL fixture branching into show six, pick three battles for the first time, and with a Talonflame that looked so dominant all day, he was able to put in some work. He announced his presence with a huge upset of one of the tournament favorites, Stonecollection, in Round 1 and sent 23EJB and aerosol2505 to the loser’s bracket as well. Eventually he ran into Aeeriis in the Group C final and while he may have reason to believe he could have taken his opponent down, it was Aeeriis’ Mandibuzz that led the way to victory. After winning the rematch against 23EJB, Squark now had to deal with Elepfandflashe in order to try and get another shot at Aeeriis.
So that was the setup. It would take a minimum of ten battles to determine who would get the win and get to declare themselves the European champion. Here’s how it went down.
ThoTechtical vs. Aeeriis
Tho was again asked to bat leadoff on Day 2, this time against the Czech contender. Aeeris had great alignment in Game 1, leading Trevenant into Medicham and getting Medicham into Walrein on the swap but Tho’s Walrein went down with two Icicle Spears and a lag spike prevented Tho from firing in the Medicham mirror. However, Walrein vs. Mandibuzz in the back proved how unwinnable that matchup was for the Dutch battler, and Aeeriis got the first point. Aeeriis’ strong reads continued in Game 2 with Walrein on Shadow Nidoqueen and Azumarill met with Trevenant on the safe swap. Azu only got one Ice Beam on the ghost tree and Tho’s Walrein in the back was met by Medicham and Tho saw the writing on the wall. Aeeriis took Tho to Hard Counter City and advanced to the Winner’s bracket final.
Fr43ka vs. NicoGiro73
A big win on the lead for Nico in Game 1 put Nidoqueen on Azumarill but a Sableye safe swap from Fr43ka gave the French battler some fits. Fr43ka invested both shields in the gem gremlin trying to take switch away against Nico’s Registeel, but Shadow Swampert in the back was able to farm up and go to town on Trevenant and Azumarill with its Sludge Wave and take the first point. In Game 2, an early attempt to catch a Psychic from Medicham against an Alolan Ninetales lead put Nico in a tough mid-game scenario against Registeel with Sableye that saw Fr43ka win switch advantage. A big shield on Dazzling Gleam got Fr43ka a lot of farm on Medicham, and Nico’s Swampert was forced to throw all its energy to take out Sableye and Medicham, with Fr43ka’s Registeel able to Lock-On down the Swampert to pull even at 1-1. Fr43ka chose to bring the same line for the final match and was able to catch an early Dazzling Gleam from Alolan Ninetales on Registeel. Nico was able to bank another Gleam on A9 and bring in Shadow Nidoqueen to resist Registeel’s moves but the Steel goliath got two Focus Blasts off, drawing a shield before bowing out against Queen’s Earth Power. A second Power was shielded on Medicham. It came down to a Sableye mirror and Nico transferred the Sableye’s Shadow Claw onto A9 in a combo attempt, KO’ing the A9 and losing all the banked energy. Fr43ka’s Medicham was able to counter down the Sableye and score the win for the man from Mainz.
DancingRob vs. Inadequance
Rob gambled in Game 1 with an Alolan Ninetales lead, but Inadequance was ready with Registeel. Rob instantly went to Sableye, but took a Zap Cannon from the Steel-type and Walrein came in to farm it down. A9 came back in to shield an Earthquake, and then swapped to Shadow Swampert to get energy. Inadequance responded with the spice pick Pelipper and committed both shields to a huge farm, which rained weather balls on the rest of Rob’s team. A9 got to a Psyshock, but Registeel came in to take the hit and a Focus Blast got the Dutch battler the early point. Rob wasn’t swayed in Game 2, bringing A9 back in the lead and it was met with the Pelipper. Inadequance tried to catch a Weather Ball on Walrein, but Rob banked the energy and Medicham came in to win the mid-game and alignment. Medicham had enough energy to hit the Pelipper with an Ice Punch, but A9 took a blind Hurricane before Charming down Pelipper. Registeel met Shadow Swampert in the back and shielded an Earthquake but the Swampert survived a Focus Blast and made it to a second Quake to take down Registeel and even the match. Inadequance correctly predicted A9 wouldn’t be in the lead in Game 3 and brought Shadow Sableye, but Rob countered with his trusty Umbreon instead. The Registeel swap-in was met by Medicham, but an early Zap Cannon debuffed Rob’s fighter, and a second one sent Medicham to the rail. Sableye came in to farm, but Inadequance sent in Pelipper, showing Rob how dominant his Umbreon could be. Umbreon was able to cut off Pelipper’s second Weather Ball and force Shadow Sableye to find two Power Gems that it couldn’t reach. Foul Plays dispatched Registeel and finally Sableye, and the Dutchman was eliminated in eighth place.
PokeSquark vs. Elepfandflasche
Elepfandflasche looked to take advantage of PokeSquark in Game 1 with a Cresselia lead into a Medicham but the Greek battler counter swapped in Umbreon and no Medicham was home with Ele’s double Water backline. Walrein came in after a Moonblast connected and a rain of Icicle Spears took out the Dark type. Medicham took one Icicle Spear but was able to Counter away the second one. Swampert faced Shadow Walrein in the backline but the Walrein was able to shield an Earthquake and take out the mudboi. Ele’s second shield came on an Icicle Spear and an Earthquake knocked Cresselia into Counter range for the Medicham and PokeSquark took the point. Both trainers brought the same trios in Game 2, but Swampert in the lead took some punishing hits before Ele swapped into Medicham, taking out Squark’s Medi. Umbreon was the answer and built up a lot of energy on the Eevolution, but Medi’s attack took it into the red. Two Foul Plays flew at Swampert drawing Ele’s first shield, but Squark gave both shields to the Shadow Walrein in the back, correctly shielding an Earthquake before Cresselia came in. The bulky Ice type was able to take a Grass Knot and knock out Cresselia before fast-moving the Swampert away to give Squark a 2-0 win and send Ele to the rail in seventh.
NicoGiro73 vs. DancingRob
NicoGiro’s Alolan Ninetales looked safe against DancingRob’s line and the French battler led it against a Shadow Swampert in Game 1. Nico committed an early shield on a Hydro Cannon, but the evil mudboi still put it in the red and a Dazzling Gleam attempt on the safe swap Sableye was shielded by Rob. Nico’s own Shadow Swampert entered the fray and got to two Hydro Cannons to eliminate the Sableye, putting everything on Umbreon. However, Rob caught a Cannon on his own Swampert, giving Umbreon a shield and an energy lead against Registeel. Regi landed a Focus Blast immediately as Umbreon got Foul Plays for days. A Zap Cannon drew the final shield, but the Eevolution got two charge moves to eliminate Registeel and Alolan Ninetales to take Game 1 for DancingRob. Game 2 saw the same lead for Nico, with Medicham coming out to meet A9. Nico again shielded Rob’s first charge move, and it paid off with a Psychic dealing no damage. Again the Alolan Fox fired a Dazzling Gleam and this time it connected, taking down Medicham. Shadow Swampert emerged and got Nico’s second shield on a Hydro Cannon, but Rob refused to deploy shields on the A9’s energy, saving them both for Sableye in the back. Nico forced the first shield on a Weather Ball right before Swampert could launch a Hydro Cannon, and then caught the ensuing Water move on Registeel. However, a second Cannon put Regi in the red and Sableye came in to Claw down the legendary Pokémon right before it got to the Zap Cannon. Nico’s Shadow Swampert came in but Rob forced a CMP tie and decked the Water/Ground type with a Return. Rob was able to shield a Weather Ball on Sableye and despite a second ball connecting, Sableye’s Foul Play took down A9 and eliminated NicoGiro in sixth place.
ThoTechtical vs. PokeSquark
With the top-seeded ThoTechtical’s tournament on the line against PokeSquark, Tho went with meta standby Galarian Stunfisk against Squark’s Shadow Walrein in Game 1. The Greek battler tried to catch a Rock Slide on Defense Deoxys, but Tho held the energy and brought in Shadow Nidoqueen. Squark decided to go Psycho Boost first but Tho threw up the shield and the second Psycho Boost was met with a second Poison Fang. DD survived, and the debuffed Psycho Boost connected. DD was eliminated by Poison Fangs and Walrein came back in, but Tho immediately sent in Azumarill to take on the Ice-type. Squark went aggressive with an Earthquake, but Tho spent his last shield to block the damage. Squark’s first shield blocked a Play Rough, and Walrein got a CMP tie on the second to finally hit the Earthquake on Azumarill. Going for the hat trick however saw Tho make a catch on his Nidoqueen, sacrificing the Kanto Pokémon. Azumarill came back in but was met by a fresh Medicham. Azu pulled the last shield with an Ice Beam, and Medicham was forced to use an Ice Punch to dispatch Azu. Galarian Stunfisk returned and the Pokémon traded charge moves, but Medicham just got to a second Ice Punch before Gfisk threw the Earthquake. Tho got a refund and Walrein came back in to polish off the Steel/Ground type and give Squark an early lead.
Tho got a lead in Game 2 with Shadow Queen on Squark’s Medicham. Queen got an early fang, but Medi’s Ice Punch was caught on Azumarill. Squark responded with Defense Deoxys. Azu’s Play Rough went unshielded, while DD’s Thunderbolt was blocked. Squark threw up a shield on the second Play Rough, and the second Thunderbolt took out a chunk of Azu’s health. Squark was able to time his Psycho Boost ahead of Azu’s Ice Beam, but swapped out into Shadow Walrein, which was met by Tho’s Medicham. Medi’s Psychic drew the final shield from Squark and was able to Counter Walrein down before taking a second Icicle Spear. Tho’s Medicham threw a Psychic to eliminate Squark’s Medi and DD’s Psycho Boost was caught on Nidoqueen, allowing Medicham to hit the Ice Punch for the Game 2 win and a tied matchup.
Game 3’s lead went to Squark as his Shadow Nidoqueen faced Tho’s Azumarill. Queen threw up the first shield on Azu’s Ice Beam, and Tho swapped into Galarian Stunfisk right after, only to be met by one half of Squark’s double-Counter backine, Medicham. Gfisk landed an Earthquake but the fighting moves added up in a hurry. Medicham threw two Ice Punches, getting a shield on the second one, but the second Earthquake took out Medicham. Defense Deoxys entered after and Tho defensively brought in his own Medicham. The Dutch battler threw his final shield at a Thunderbolt and took a second Bolt as his Medicham tried to farm up energy. Two Ice Punches weren’t enough to take out DD, and Nidoqueen came in to be met by Stunfisk. Squark made a huge no-shield call on a Rock Slide bait and threw a Poison Fang to eliminate Gfisk. Queen threw two more Fangs to take out Azumarill. Tho tried to get to a move on Medicham, but Squark swapped in DD, who with one HP and a dream got the Counters needed to reach Psycho Boost and take out Medicham, handing Squark the victory and knocking ThoTechtical, and the Netherlands’ hopes of a title out in fifth place. Post match on Twitter, Tho said that if he had thrown a move with Medicham, even with the shield, the one HP damage likely would have taken out the DD for the win. However, both battlers could take pride in how well those matches were contested.
DancingRob vs. PokeSquark
Squark must have been watching Rob’s Umbreon play, because he sent his own out to start against a Shadow Swampert. The mudboi took a Foul Play but the second one was caught on Rob’s Umbreon. Squark countered with Shadow Nidoqueen and the Pokémon traded charge moves, until Shadow Swampert came back in to snipe the Queen with a Mud Shot. Umbreon returned to take another Hydro Cannon but Squark shielded the next two, the second one on a CMP tie, but Swampert went down. Rob put his hopes on Medicham against Squark’s Talonflame. The firebird got both of Rob’s shields with Flame Charges, one each on Medi and Umbreon, and Rob’s Umbreon got the charge moves needed to take Game 1.
Squark sought to put Talonflame in the lead in Game 2, but Rob stuck with the Shadow Swampert. Squark tried to catch an early Hydro Cannon on Shadow Walrein, but Rob held the energy and countered with Medicham. The Greek battler let Walrein go and brought Talonflame back in. Squark undercharged his Flame Charge to keep Medi alive for farm, but Rob brought the Swampert back in and forced a shield with an off-turn Hydro Cannon. Squark got a shield back on a Brave Bird before summoning Medicham. Swampert got a Cannon off but Rob got greedy on the farm and Medi forced the final shield with an Ice Punch. Squark’s final shield went up on a Hydro Cannon, but Rob had a second one to eliminate Medi. Rob didn’t need to go to Umbreon, as one more Hydro Cannon eliminated PokeSquark in a very strong fourth place and with an invite to the World Championships in London.
Aeeriis vs. Fr43ka
In the best-of-5 winners final, Aeeriis again proved how adept he was at reading his opponents in Game 1 matching his Trevenant against Fr43ka’s Medicham. The German quickly swapped to Registeel but Aeeriis stayed in, landing a Shadow Ball before taking a Zap Cannon. The Trevenant tried to bait with a Seed Bomb, but it didn’t draw a shield and Registeel got a second Zap with one HP left to force a shield. Skarmory entered for Fr43ka and took a heavily debuffed Shadow Ball before Air Slashing down. Aeeriis favored alignment and got his Walrein on Skarmory, followed by Mandibuzz on Medicham. Fr43ka shielded two Aerial Aces and farmed up on Medicham to threaten a Psychic on Walrein and draw Aeeriis’ final shield. Skarmory entered, looking for Brave Bird but Walrein threw its first Icicle Spear right before Fr43ka’s Brave Bird fired, and then got a SECOND Icicle Spear on a CMP tie! One more Spear took down Medicham and timing was everything to give Aeeriis an early victory.
Fr43ka’s Medicham led off Game 2 again, and this time drew Registeel from Aeeriis. The Mandibuzz counterswap was met with Fr43ka’s Registeel. Two moves eliminated the Buzzard Pokémon, leaving Regi in the yellow. Aeeriis’ Registeel came back in and he put up the first shield, while Fr43ka did not shield in return, content to let Regi go down and have Medicham come back in. Medi got a Psychic off but Fr43ka no-shielded the Zap Cannon, taking Medi into the yellow. Aeeriis brought in Walrein and Fr43ka had to show the Skarmory to clear the debuff. Walrein started churning Icicle Spears at the Skarmory and used the second shield on a bait Brave Bird, but Fr43ka again chose not to shield and let Skarmory go down. Medicham had to shield an Icicle Spear, but was able to Counter down the Walrein and the Registeel after a Psychic to knot the series up at 1-1 for Fr43ka.
Game 3 resulted in a rematch due to desync allowing Walrein to get to two Earthquakes before Registeel got to two charge moves in the lead matchup. Fr43ka’s Registeel returned for the second go-around but this time was met by Aeeriis’ Trevenant. A Shadow Ball on the first salvo was unshielded, as well as Regi’s resisted Zap Cannon. Fr43ka brought in Sableye but Aeeriis responded with Mandibuzz. The Flier shielded a Return from the Sableye and correctly called a Foul Play bait to farm down the Ghost/Dark type. Fr43ka opted to bring in Medicham and shield the first Aerial Ace, but Mandibuzz had a second one loaded. Medi hit an Ice Punch and Registeel farmed the Mandi before it could Foul Play. Aeeriis’ Galarian Stunfisk entered to shut it down and no-shielded a Focus Blast before hitting a Rock Slide and farming the Regi down right before it got to a second Focus Blast. Fr43ka’s Medicham came in and no-shielded expecting a bait but the ensuing Earthquake knocked out Medi and gave Aeeriis the 2-1 lead.
The leads in Game 4 saw Aeeriis’ Medicham face Fr43ka’s Azumarill. Medicham shielded an early Play Rough from Azu, and after hitting a second Psychic, the return Play Rough was caught on Walrein. Fr43ka answered with Registeel and got Aeeriis’ second shield on a Focus Blast, while Fr43ka’s first shield went on a correctly called Earthquake. Aeeriis’ Icicle Spear bait went unshielded and Focus Blast took out Walrein. Medicham came back in to farm up but Fr43ka swapped in Sableye, which was countered by Mandibuzz. Sableye got to two Returns to ground Mandibuzz, Medicham farmed it down, but one Zap Cannon from Registeel ended things and forced a fifth and deciding game.
Aeeriis won the lead in Game 5 with his Galarian Stunfisk on Fr43ka’s Skarmory, with the Medicham swap in met by Trevenant. The tree took an Ice Punch and forced a late shield from Fr43ka on the first Shadow Ball. Trevenant shielded the second Ice Punch and the subsequent Seed Bomb knocked out Medicham, then managed to get to a Shadow Ball on the Skarmory. Fr43ka sent out his own Trevenant, but Aeeriis again read the line perfectly, with Mandibuzz in the back. Fr43ka joined ThoTechtical in what is now dubbed Hard Czech City, as Aeeriis secured the win and a travel award to go to London.
DancingRob vs. Fr43ka
The two German battlers would have to face off for the second and final travel award to go to London and they mirrored each other in the first match, both sending out Skarmory. While Rob’s Skarmory fired a Sky Attack, Fr43ka’s bailed with the energy and in came Azumarill. Rob’s Skarmory took an Ice Beam before switching out with Shadow Swampert. Fr43ka connected with a Play Rough and no-shielded the bait Hydro Cannon from the mudboi, before fainting to a second Water move. Swampert fired another Cannon at the returning Skarmory, drawing a shield before getting Air Slashed down. Rob’s Skarmory won the CMP tie with Fr43ka’s Skarmory, hitting a Brave Bird and letting his Steel/Flier go down to the Sky Attack, leaving Sableye to face Registeel. Fr43ka shielded the first Foul Play and started firing Zap Cannons, getting both shields from Rob. Fr43ka tried to snipe with Skarmory’s banked energy, but Sableye survived the Sky Attack. A pair of debuffed Foul Plays still had enough to take down Fr43ka’s Steel army with an added Shadow Claw for the Registeel to get DancingRob the first point.
Fr43ka’s lead was better in Game 2 as Sableye matched up with Medicham and Shadow Swampert came in immediately for Rob. The dancer shielded both Foul Plays from the Sableye, but a CMP tie on the second forced a shield out of Fr43ka. Skarmory came in after the second shield fell and took a Hydro Cannon from the Swampert, but Rob’s attempt to farm up with Medicham backfired as it took a Brave Bird to the face, knocking it out. Rob sent out Skarmory and Fr43ka’s Skarm got a Sky Attack off before Azumarill came in. Rob’s Skarmory fired three Sky Attacks at Azu, one drawing the shield and the third coming on a CMP tie. A dazzling display of dancing at the end saw Sableye come in to farm, Swampert come in to Mud Shot the Sableye, Skarmory come in to KO the Swampert with Air Slash and then the Skarms KO’d each other, leaving Fr43ka’s Sableye standing as the sole survivor to tie the match up for the man from Mainz.
DancingRob returned the favor in Game 3, leading Shadow Swampert into Fr43ka’s Registeel, which drew an immediate swap into Azumarill. Swampert dialed up an Earthquake for the bubble mouse, but Fr43ka shielded the hard-hitting move, and Rob threw up a shield for the Play Rough on the CMP tie. Rob stayed in to get more energy and fire a second Earthquake on Azumarill, connecting and aiming to dip to Alolan Ninetales, but the Azu drew CMP again and forced Rob’s second shield on the Play Rough. Rob built up more energy and finally was able to swap to A9, catching an Ice Beam on the icy fox. Charm took out Azumarill, and Registeel came back in, undercharging a Zap Cannon to try and farm the A9, and Rob sent in Swampert to try and take out the energy. The Hydro Cannon was shielded, and Fr43ka’s Registeel got the Focus Blast off to dispatch the Swampert before the second Cannon fired. Registeel landed a Zap Cannon on the Sableye in the back and Fr43ka brought in Skarmory to mop up what was left, Air Slashing the Sableye and A9 for the win and leaving Fr43ka one point away from booking his trip to London.
Rob went back to the Sableye-Skarmory-Swampert line in Game 4, sending the gem gremlin out in the lead against Fr43ka’s Skarmory. The iron bird landed a Sky Attack before swapping with Azumarill, but Sableye pulled a shield off Fr43ka with a Foul Play bait. Rob brought in Skarmory after taking the shield and hit a Brave Bird on Azumarill, but Rob had to fire a Sky Attack to take down the Water/Fairy type.The Ice Beams added up and Fr43ka’s Skarmory came in to farm it’s fellow Steel type down. Shadow Swampert emerged and built up its Hydro Cannon arsenal on Skarmory, firing a Hydro Cannon at the bird and then at the emerging Sableye, but the final shield went up on Fr43ka’s side. Swampert went for the Earthquake and took out Fr43ka’s Sableye, followed by Sableye reemerging and catching Skarmory with the Foul Play to tie the series at 2-2.
Both trainers sent out Sableye to lead off the deciding Game 5. After farming up, Rob fired the first two Foul Plays before Fr43ka could fire a charge move. One was shielded, and Rob let his Sableye go after one Foul Play. Both trainers moved into a Skarmory mirror after that, with Rob again firing first, this time with a Brave Bird, but Fr43ka held strong and a pair of Sky Attacks knocked out the debuffed Skarmory, pinning all of Rob’s hopes on Shadow Swampert yet again. Rob shielded a Sky Attack before Fr43ka’s Registeel came out, and the dancer went aggressive again, going for the Earthquake, but Fr43ka shielded it in time. Focus Blast got the last of Rob’s shields and Rob tried to undercharge a second Earthquake but the Registeel went down. Fr43ka chose to deploy the banked Foul Play from Sableye and Rob’s one Mud Shot was enough to let the Ghost/Dark type fire unimpeded, but Skarmory swapped in time to eat the stashed Hydro Cannon and a SIMULTANEOUS KO meant we needed a tie-breaking Game 6 to decide this matchup.
Rob decided to bring the exact same lineup into the tiebreaker, but this time Fr43ka met Sableye with Azumarill. Azu got an early shield with a Play Rough, while Rob’s aggressive Return got through to put Azu in the yellow. Rob attempted to catch a Play Rough on Skarmory, but that allowed Fr43ka to wall the Flying-type with Registeel. The Regi hit a Zap Cannon and took one Sky Attack before shutting the Skarmory down before it got to a Brave Bird. Sableye got its Foul Play off before falling to Zap Cannon as well, putting all Rob’s hopes on Shadow Swampert one more time, but being down a shield made it too tough a task for the Hoenn starter. Hydro Cannon took out Registeel and a stored Play Rough did a ton of damage. Fr43ka revealed the Skarmory in the back and Rob admitted defeat with an Earthquake. It took extra effort but Fr43ka clinched the second berth and travel package to go to London, while Dancing Rob got a Worlds invite but fell just short in third place.
Aeeriis vs. Fr43ka
With both battlers guaranteed trips to London, the title of European Champion was on the line in the Grand Final. Fr43ka sought redemption for the loss in the Winners’ final, while Aeeriis aimed to keep his undefeated record intact.
Game 1 saw both battlers lead their flyers as Aeeriis’ Mandibuzz faced Fr43ka’s Skarmory. Mandibuzz hit a Foul Play as the Skarmory built energy, but Fr43ka caught the second Dark move on Registeel. Aeeriis responded with Trevenant, keeping it away from Skarmory. Shadow Ball and then Zap Cannon both connected, but the ghost tree farmed down Regi before it got to a second move. Fr43ka still shielded the Shadow Ball on the returning Skarmory, and eliminated the Grass type with a Sky Attack. However, Aeeriis got his alignment, putting Registeel on Skarmory and Mandibuzz on the swapped in Medicham. One of the two Ice Punches got shielded, as well as one of the two Aerial Aces and Mandibuzz won the fast move race to take it out with Air Slash. Skarmory had nothing for Registeel and Aeeriis took an early 1-0 lead.
Sableye came out for Fr43ka against Aeeriis’ Trevenant to lead Game 2, and the swaps pitted Mandibuzz against Azumarill. Two Ice Beams were enough to knock out the flying fortress but multiple Aerial Aces took Azumarill into the red for the returning Trevenant. Aeeriis no-shielded an Ice Beam on the Grass type, and Fr43ka brought Sableye back in, forcing the Czech battler to bring in Galarian Stunfisk. Both battlers put up shields but Fr43ka’s late shield caught a Rock Slide bait. Gfisk took a Foul Play but Fr43ka called the Earthquake with his second shield. Aeeriis sent in Trevenant to force Fr43ka to use energy and get rid of the ghost tree, but it had enough energy to get the final shield on a Foul Play and Azumarill was able to finish Gfisk off with Bubbles. Fr43ka’s Registeel was unnecessary and the series was tied up 1-1.
Game 3 saw coremates lead off as Aeeriis’ Walrein faced Fr43ka’s Trevenant. The Grass/Ghost-type hit a Seed Bomb on Walrein, but when the Ice/Water-type tried to retaliate with a Spear, it was caught on Registeel. Trevenant came in for Aeeriis and got a Shadow Ball off before the Regi’s Zap Cannon with both moves connecting. Trevenant went for the farm, but Regi got a second Zap Cannon off, forcing a shield from the tree. Skarmory entered after Regi went down and took a pair of double-debuffed Shadow Balls before knocking it out. Aeeriis’ Walrein drew Fr43ka’s Trevenant back out and Aeeriis revealed the faithful Mandibuzz in back to wall the tree. Mandibuzz shrugged off the Seed Bombs, farmed down Trev and got both shields from the in-the-red Skarmory before falling to a Sky Attack but Walrein polished off the steel bird, leaving Aeeriis one point away from the title.
Aeeriis went back to the Mandibuzz lead for Game 4 and was rewarded with alignment against Fr43ka’s Medicham. The Fighting/Psychic-type fought with Ice Punches and had to use shields on the first two Aerial Aces in order to KO a Mandibuzz that only committed one shield. Aeeriis’ Trevenant drew out Fr43ka’s Sableye and the Czech battler sent in Walrein in response. An aggressive Return was unshielded by Walrein and the Earthquake didn’t get the KO, forcing Walrein to take more Shadow Claw damage before eliminating Sableye. Fr43ka chose to bring in Skarmory and Walrein got an Icicle Spear off before succumbing to Air Slashes. Aeeriis’ Trevenant shielded the Skarmory’s Sky Attack and almost took down the Skarmory with the Shadow Ball, leaving it with one HP. Medicham instantly came in to try and get to an Ice Punch, but Trevenant got the Seed Bomb off to eliminate Fr43ka’s chances of victory and seal the title for Aeeriis.
An amazing performance, a deserving champion, and I was able to talk to Aeeriis about his experience in the tournament and his thoughts going forward into Worlds:
First, with Open Great League being such a wide frontier of meta Pokémon, how did you plan out your team? Did you have set strategies you wanted to use or were you trying to gameplan for your opponents?
- I was making my team using PVPoke and trying out some variations with my friends. Then I found out this. Picking 3 out of 6 was really about my opponents’ teams and about having a plan for each lead situation.
Looking over your team, the standout had to be that Air Slash Mandibuzz. What made you bring the flying-minded Mandi into action?
- I had Altaria on my team, originally. But after a few tryouts, I found it weak to Sableye, so I chose Mandi for my team and since I replaced a flier with it, I went for AS. Also I was pretty weak to fighters, especially Scrafty, so AS was my coverage choice.
One thing I loved about watching your play was your energy management on Walrein. Can't help it. Love seeing my Ice babies succeed. What kind of effort went into getting that level of control with a Pokémon that has only recently exploded onto the meta?
- Since I'm not that much of a GBL player, I wasn't used to many of the matchups, so I had to train with it, learn matchups and how it's played best. Also knowing counts is important, but all of us know this!
Speaking of which, you said on Twitter you weren't a legend player in GBL, but clearly are that caliber of battler. Do you think having more familiarity with the Bring 6, Pick 3 format gave you an advantage against some of the GBL qualifiers that weren't as experienced with that layer of strategy?
- I've never reached legend, but on the other hand, I have 7k matches in GBL. I think having experience in s6p3 was great for me. In GBL, you often pick ABB lines, but in my opinion, it's not something that would consistently work in these tournaments, because it's much easier to call or predict a backline. But, for example, PokeSquark never played s6p3 before and he was fourth, so it's about skill, some luck (especially from me) and how you want to play.
This was the first time Pokémon GO was put on the big stage, and obviously a little different than just being able to battle at home. What was it like stepping in front of those cameras and battling in front of such an audience?
- It was much different and I was pretty nervous, mostly when I stood up on stage for the first time. I think that I've kept all my nerves before and in between games. During battles, I wasn't feeling much different than during battles at home. I was only scared about battling such great battlers who I know and who are known worldwide.
Well, you are now one of them, and you get to take that unbeaten mark into Worlds in London. I don't want to ask you to reveal any strategies for the finals, but do you have any thoughts about your team and anything that you might look at adjusting?
- Not yet, and I'm not even thinking about it now. They can release new Pokémon which can shake [up the] meta. Also I expect move balances, first of all a Zap Cannon nerf, at the end of the season. So I think my first tryouts for London won't be sooner than in June. But I'm going to London with no expectations as I went to Frankfurt.
Worked pretty well for you in Germany, definitely can't argue the strategy! In all seriousness, watching you battle and riding along as you tried to out maneuver battlers like Tho and Fr43ka, it was such a journey, and I'll be rooting for you in London. I want to be able to say I've beaten a world champion!