The very best in the World take the stage! – Worlds 2018 Day 2 Recap

Day 2 of Worlds is finally over and it should be said that it has lived up to the expectations. Over 12 hours of breathtaking games for both for those at the Nashville Music City Center and those watching at home from both the Pokémon and the Pokémon VGC Twitch channels have ended up and now only two players are left to take 2018’s crown: United States’ Emilio Forbes against Ecuador’s Paul Ruiz, the first-ever Latin American Worlds Finalist.

You can find Teams and Usage Stats from the 2018 World Championships here.

Comfort is the key to succeed

One of VGC’s mantras is about always using a team you’re comfortable with, which is definetly a good advice to follow when playing at the World Championships. If someone followed it to the letter today, it was Italy’s Alessio Yuri Boschetto, one of the favorites to take on the whole event.

To no one’s suprirse, Yuree has proven once agan that being comfortable with your team is sometimes all you need to succeed. After awarding him the highest Masters CP amount of the World in this season (and very likely in history), his extremely solid Metagross squad sealed a Top 16 Worlds result for him after losing to 2013 World Champion Arash Ommati. To put it simple: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Similarly, Ashton Cox ended up Day 2 with a respectable 4-3 record with an improved version of his M-Salamence squad piloted to great success both at the Oceania Internationals (Top 4) and at the Latin American Internationals (Top 32).

#SwissCountryPlayerTeam
155-2Alessio Yuri Boschettometagross-mega Victory Roadtapu-fini Victory Roadlandorus-therian Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadzapdos Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Road
194-3Ashton Coxsalamence-mega Victory Roadtapu-koko Victory Roadsuicune Victory Roadtyranitar Victory Roadaegislash-shield Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Road

Old strategies come back

While it is not really fair to say it’s an old strategy, the combination of Mimikyu + Snorlax has been way less popular during the 2018 season when compared to the 2017 one, where it was one of the dominating forces of the metagame.

It seems like its lack of recent presence coming up to Worlds may have been its best reason to shine under Nils Dunlop’s hands, since a lot of players may not have considered a rather uncommon matchup when preparing for Worlds, thus getting run over by another oldie but goodie strategy. Snorlax has also made 3 more Top 8 appearences at this year’s Worlds Top Cut, showing its value even if it has been underestimated during the last months.

In a similar fashion, Kommo-o has come back to the World Championships after being absent from the top choices in the last major events. In Nashville, Simone Sanvito from Italy piloted it all the way to Top 16 in a common M-Gengar based-team with Kommo-o abuse.

#SwissCountryPlayerTeam
36-1Nils Dunlopmetagross-mega Victory Roadtapu-koko Victory Roadlandorus-therian Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadmimikyu Victory Roadsnorlax Victory Road
145-2Simone Sanvitogengar-mega Victory Roadtapu-fini Victory Roadtapu-bulu Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadkommo-o Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Road

Latin America keeps up the innovation game

Tie Breaker match between Chilean Javier Valdés (left) and Argentinian Fede Turano (right) before Top 16

If anything, Latin America is known for being a very innovative and unorthodox player field when it comes to team building. Nashville 2018 has been no exception to showcase so, with teams such as Chilean Javier Valdés‘ one featuring Rhydon and Venusaur, both of them paired with his Charizard-Y. Nihilego and Celesteela, somewhat uncommon at this point of the metagame, were also a part of his team.

The Latino Sun has also been embraced by Argentinian Federico Turano, one of 2018 Worlds Quarter Finalists, who ran a more standard approach of the archetype that proved to be very effective but not enough to take on Yusei Matsuno’s infamous Gothitelle team.

Now that a Latin American is in the Worlds Finals for the first time in history, we can only expect this growing region to speed up and keep that momentum moving forward to the next season.

#SwissCountryPlayerTeam
75-2Federico Turanocharizard-mega-y Victory Roadtapu-lele Victory Roadlandorus-therian Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadcresselia Victory Roadsnorlax Victory Road
175-2Javier Valdéscharizard-mega-y Victory Roadlandorus-therian Victory Roadnihilego Victory Roadcelesteela Victory Roadrhydon Victory Roadvenusaur Victory Road

Salamence soars up high

M-Salamence has not been the most common of picks this season, even though it has always been a frequent Pokémon on mid-table and high stakes teams at the events. Coming to Worlds, M-Gengar using Icy Wind and M-Tyranitar teams looked promising, as well as M-Metagross being a well-established threat and dominating force of the metagame per se.

At such scenario, Salamence did not look like the prime choice for the event, but its offensive capabilites boosted up by Dragon Dance as well as passive support to partner Pokémon like Snorlax with its Intimidate ability prior to mega-evolving were well abused by some of the highest-placing players of the event, demonstrating that almost all kinds of teams and strategies can succeed in the 2018 format if they are crafted correctly.

#SwissCountryPlayerTeam
5-2Paul Ruizsalamence-mega Victory Roadtapu-koko Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadgastrodon Victory Roadsnorlax Victory Road
165-2Brendan Zhengsalamence-mega Victory Roadtapu-koko Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadnidoqueen Victory Roadsnorlax Victory Roadclefairy Victory Road

Highlights of the Day

Day 2 at the World Championships is usually known for players putting extremely common strategies to good use whilist others prefer to pursue innovation and find new pieces to break the metagame. We have selected 5 highlights from the second day of competition.

1. Competitive Gothitelle

Today’s major surprise has been Yusei Matsuno’s Competitive Gothitelle, which caught everyone off-guard. After both Shadow Tag and Frisk variants of Gothitelle having won the World Championships at some point in history, the Japanese player aimed to complete the list with its third ability — however, he fell short as he was defeated 2-0 by Emilio Forbes from the United States in the Semi Finals.

Yusei’s Gothitelle has proven to be both a defensive pivot and an offensive force to be reckoned with thanks to its Trick Room and Helping Hand, allowing to further boost its partner Choice Band Snorlax‘s attacks, while utilising to good effect its Psychium Z to launch powerful attacks under the Competitive boosts it gains from opposing Intimidate users such as Incineroar or Landorus-T. As an extra effect when it comes to psychology, if some players don’t lead or use Pokémon with Intimidate when facing Gothitelle, they could be tricked into being unable to switch out because of the presupposition of a Shadow Tag being active.

2. Arash 'Buginium Z' Ommati is back on track

While it may seem strange to report a player itself as a highlight, 2013 World Champion Arash Ommati gave us all one of the best moments of the day. His Worlds team, reminiscent of one he used in early season in January, was definetly one of the most out of the box compositions showcased today, featuring M-Metagross (with Rock Slide as one of its coverage moves) with the less-common Tapu Bulu and Alolan-Persian, a very rarely seen Pokémon since the 2017 format came to an end.

If that weren’t enough, he kicked-off the stream action in Swiss Round 1 by executing a quick KO against Christopher Kan’s Cresselia in turn 1 with his Volcarona’s Z-Bug Buzz, and later in the day he used the Z effects of Quiver Dance to remove a Snarl Special Attack drop while boosting up its Special Attack, Special Defense and Speed back in return.

Arash’s goal, as he said on Twitter, was to reach Top 8, and he very well did, eventually losing to Nils Dunlop from Sweden in the Quarter Finals. While history may not be repeating itself as it did with Ray Rizzo back in the day, Arash has proven today that he’s the one who could very well lift multiple World Champ trophies if the opportunity is given.

3. Latias

Both Worlds Finalist Emilio Forbes and Japanese player Kiwamu Endo featured M-Gengar based-teams with Latias in them, an addition that was once used by Giuseppe Musicco on his Stuttgart Regionals winning team back in April but that never popped up again… until Worlds!

Latias actually abuses of its Dragon-type in order to provide the teams with an extra speed control option that can pack Icy Wind or Tailwind (and usually both) that is not threatened by weather teams, especially Sun ones. Thanks to its well-rounded base stats, moves like Psyshock help dealing with opposing Gengar and Nihilego, both fairly common threats during the event, while doing nice cheap damage to the opponent’s side.

Icy Wind pressure on a Pokémon like Latias is essential because it stays on the field long enough to keep it going for multiple turns, causing the opponent to fear being caught on the switch-in or just forcing the foe to lose any momentum advantage they could have had.

Overall, Latias has validated itself as a very solid partner for M-Gengar teams and it could potentially take the crown tomorrow in Nashville.

4. Assault Vest Tapu Koko

2017 Latin American International Champion Ashton Cox featured an AV Tapu Koko on his team with moves like Electroweb, Sky Drop and Nature’s Madness, abusing of them in order to create set-up options or picking up KOes with its partner Pokémon. Whilist this is not a new trick from Ashton, since he has already used this variant before, it’s worth noticing how it distinguishes itself from the vastly-extended offensive variants showcased through the event.

5. Lurantis

The last highlight of the day goes to Lurantis, a Pokémon we had seen a bit from in previous major events, always coming from players like Brian Youm, who used it to get through Day 1 with a 7-1 record, or Alvin Hidayat, who featured it on his team on Day 2 as well. Lurantis’ Contrary ability allows it to benefit from the massive use of Intimidate in the current metagame in a similar fashion to Yusei’s Gothitelle while also allowing Lurantis to boost itself upon using Superpower, a move that allows it to further threaten opposing Incineroar, making of Lurantis an interesting choice on M-Manectric-based teams.

Championship Sunday Preview

#SwissCountryPlayerTeam
5-2Paul Ruizsalamence-mega Victory Roadtapu-koko Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadgastrodon Victory Roadsnorlax Victory Road
6-1Emilio Forbesgengar-mega Victory Roadtapu-bulu Victory Roadlandorus-therian Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadpolitoed Victory Roadlatias Victory Road

As usual, all Finals games from all age divisions take place on Sunday, the last day of competition, also known as Championship Sunday. Games from the Trading Card Game will be coming first from about 9 AM (CDT) until 12 PM, with VGC Finals coming straight after them. You can find the schedule for over 30 countries here.

The Masters Division Finals will be showcasing Emilio Forbes from the US, who went through Day 1 with a 7-2 record yesterday, against Paul Ruiz from Ecuador, 8th in CP of the Latin American rating zone and thus a Day 2 invitee.

Paul’s team shows a strong and pressuring fast mode in Tapu Koko + M-Salamence that could come in clutch when trying to bypass Emilio’s M-Gengar Shadow Tag, either by escaping the field with Volt Switch or simply KOing the trapper out. Both teams also share Incineroar as one of their members, being an essential glue to Emilio’s M-Gengar pitiful defenses and to Paul’s Snorlax on both teams by abusing of its bulk, Intimidate ability and Fake Out pressure. Nevertheless, Paul’s Incineroar has got potential to threaten half of Emilio’s team either by super-effective Fire-type attacks onto the opposing Tapu Bulu or Dark-type attacks against M-Gengar and Latias, but will have to watch out for both Groundium Z Landorus-T and Politoed on the opposing field.

We will have to wait until tomorrow in order to know how both players maneuver their Pokémon in what looks quite reminiscent of a chess game of positioning and slowly taking control of the momentum.

Conclusión

With TPCi’s announcement of the 2019 format being GS Cup and the rotation taking place on September 4 (you got that right — in 9 days!), VGC18 will come to an end when tomorrow a new World Champion, the 10th one in VGC history, is crowned in the Music City.

The 2018 format is also crowned as the shortest one in rotation, lasting in play only for 9 months (from January 1 up to September 3), taking away that feat from 2016, the first-ever format to last less than a year (11 months).

We will keep you updated on all the action on Championship Sunday on Twitter and in our World Championships hub. You will also find teams from all Day 2 Competitors will be posted here through Sunday. Thanks for following the action with us!

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