2019 Worlds Preview: Meet Team Latin America!

We’re counting down for the 2019 World Championships in Washington D.C, where players from over 30 countries are gathering for this year’s biggest event.

To while your time away until Friday comes, we’re introducing the top players from all competing regions in Day 2 of Worlds. Yesterday we presented the North American players, and today we’re moving down south for Latin America!

salamence-mega Victory Road Latin America at Worlds

Latin America is a relatively young player base to the Play! Pokémon circuit of events. Their first sanctioned tournaments came only in 2015, but since then they have been present at Worlds and at the main stage. In their debut year, Mexico’s Genaro Vallejo bubbled out Worlds top cut in 9th place, and the same happened to Argentina’s Sebas Escalante in 2016.

Team Latin America broke its 9th place curse with the introduction of generation 7, which brought many new players to the competitive scene and allowed them to get stronger as a region: out of the 19 players in cut in Anaheim, 5 of them came from Latin America. Ecuador’s Paul Ruiz, Argentina’s Sebas Escalante and Peru’s Dorian André Quiñonez all had a spot in the top 8 as well.

And then, it happened. In 2018, after only 4 seasons of official events, Latin America took their first championship home in Nashville, where Paul Ruiz soared higher. He was not the sole latino to stand out: Argentina’s Fede Turano and El Salvador’s René Alvarenga both fought in top cut. In this article, we’ll introduce some of the Latin America representatives willing to keep the Worlds trophy at home.

salamence-mega Victory Road Day 2 players

SLV René Alvarenga (1912 CP)

René is one of the most established and well-known Latin American players, so it’s no surprise to see him on Day 2. Topping his rating zone’s leaderboard with almost 2000 CP, he will be back at Worlds for the 5th time this year.

As one would expect, his season has been full of great performances both at local and major events. In the Ultra Series he’s asserted great dominance by getting strong finishes at Specials and Regionals across the Americas: he won Guatemala’s Special Event and top 4’d Santa Clara Regionals in May. He also placed 12th in Columbus for the final Internationals of the season.

He’s also used to play against the very best in the Worlds stage, as his top 8 finish in Anaheim 2017 proves. However, last year things weren’t on his side, and he’s back for glory in D.C.

PER Jean Paul López (1564 CP)

With more than 1500 CP, the first one of the two peruvians qualified for Day 2 of Worlds is Jean Paul López. On his early days, where he was just a 14 years old Senior, he was already proving to be a strong player at his local scene. Not much later, he got to the finals of his first Regionals as a Masters player.

From that on, his hefty finishes have been succeeding one after the another. Last year, he placed within the top 8 at the Latin America Internationals, and this year he kept making an impact by getting to the top 4 in Columbus. However, he has not been able to get strong finishes at the 3 World Championships he attended so far.

After getting one of the 8 golden Day 2 spots in Latin America, Jean Paul is eager to give a strong showing in D.C. Will his momentum carry him forward to break his Worlds curse?

Dorian is the second peruvian player to have a secured Day 2 spot. He started playing competitively in 2015 and brought an in-game team to his first event. There, he realized it wouldn’t be easy, but he didn’t give up. His efforts paid off when he placed within the 8 best in the World in 2017.

This year will be his third in a row Day 2 appearance. He obtained his invite after winning two Special Events (Paraguay and Bolivia) and getting CP at the various Internationals he attended in Brazil, Germany and the US. Will Dorian be able to repeat his 2017 feat?

BRA Gabriel Agati (1309 CP)

Agati will be back at the World Championships after falling short of making it into Day 2 by a single set in 2018. For his redemption, he’s secured himself a Day 2 spot, making him the first Brazilian player in VGC history to play at Worlds on Saturday.

Gabriel started his competitive journey after the memorable 2014 Worlds and has been the living proof of how far hard work can get you in this game. By 2017, he made it up to the semi finals of the Latin America Internationals.

This season, he kept dominating the local scene by winning locals and Special Events while doing great at Internationals: his 9th place in São Paulo in November allowed him to secure a trip to Oceania, where he got top 8, which then brought him all the way to Germany. With such a strong résumé, it’s no surprise to see him comfortably taking one of Latin America’s day 2 spots, but will he take one of the golden Worlds cut spots?

CHL Javier Valdés (1281 CP)

At the top of the Chilean ranking and a Worlds competitor for the 4th time it’s Javier Valdés. Since his first World Championship in 2015 in Boston, he has maintained an overwhelming perseverance, placing himself at the top of the ranking at multiple Regionals, Internationals and Special Events throughout the years.

His greatest international successes have come this past seasons: he placed within the top 8 of Oceania Internationals in 2018 with a remarkable Nihilego holding the Adrenaline Orb. Later that year, he top cut the World Championships with some rather unique Pokémon picks as well, though he failed to enter the top 16 after losing the tiebreaker match against fellow latino Fede Turano.

This year he placed top 16 at both Ultra Series Internationals, so he should be a safe bet for a strong showing in D.C. Which bizarre but effective Pokémon has Javier up his sleeve?

ECU Paul Ruiz (1267 CP)

The defending World Champion has no intention to stop chasing the dream. After making it to the semi finals in 2017 and taking the golden Pikachu home as the first Latin American to ever win Worlds in 2018, he’s secured himself a Day 2 spot once again.

This season we’ve not been able to see him that often on the stage, but it’s hard to forget the Moltres that carried him to the semi finals in São Paulo. He also attended Melbourne, where his 5-2 result secured him a top 16 spot. With that and strong finishes at Regionals and Special Events in Latin America, his invite for Saturday was locked long ago.

If traditions are kept, he will be the first player to get streamed on day 2. Expectations on him are reasonably high, and his consistency at Worlds has been admirable. Will he keep on soaring higher this year?

COL Juan Naar (1217 CP)

Juan Naar is not a strange face to Worlds either. He first started playing on Battle Spot at the end of 2013, and when Latin America got sanctioned events in 2015, he was more than ready to dominate. His great finishes allowed him to attend Worlds in Boston and, since then, he hasn’t missed a single one. Out of his 5 invites, 4 of them have been as a day 2 player, except for 2016, when he managed to qualify through day 1.

For this season, he’s kept his usual consistency by taking on multiple Special Events and other locals in his home country of Colombia and other Latin American places such as Ecuador, Chile and Costa Rica. Being consistently atop of the leaderboard allowed him to get travel awards for São Paulo, Melbourne (where he placed within the top 32) and Berlin.

However, despite his hard work and resilience at home, he’s struggled to make a name for himself in the big stage. Is this his year? We’re soon to find out!

Juan Andrés started playing in 2017 and just a a couple years later, he will travel to Worlds for the second time this year.

During this season, his perseverance has carried him through his engineering studies and his Pokémon carreer, with great performances at multiple events in Latin America: top cut placings at various Special Events, featuring multiple top 4s and finals appearances. All these accomplishments have allowed him to secure a Day 2 spot to play with the very best in the globe. Will he rise to the challenge?

salamence-mega Victory Road Day 1 players

For those unaware on how the qualification system works, all players living in the Latin America rating zone with 400 or more CP at the end of the season get invited to play at the day 1 of the World Championships and may play on the Friday Swiss rounds against other Day 1 qualifiers if they wish to attend. Those with 2 or fewer losses at the end of the day (x-2) will advance to Day 2, where they will play with the top players of each rating zone, automatically invited to Saturday.

The following list comprises all players with 400 or more CP in the Latin America rating zone, and is based on the official Play! Pokémon leaderboard.

  1. ECU Juan C. Ortiz (809 CP)
  2. CHL Emiliano Reyes (783 CP)
  3. CHL Estephan Valdebenito (775 CP)
  4. PER Gabriel Duran (722 CP)
  5. GTM Eduardo Mayén (704 CP)
  6. GTM Pablo Godoy (694 CP)
  7. CHL Javier Parada (690 CP)
  8. PER Renzo Navarro (670CP)
  9. MEX Israel Suaste (650 CP)
  10. PAN Rodrigo Ureña (622 CP)
  1. PER Francisco Alca (597 CP)
  2. GTM Pablo Aldana (592 CP)
  3. PAN Gonzalo González (590 CP)
  4. CHL Boris Paredes (587 CP)
  5. CHL Sebastián Reyes (566 CP)
  6. MEX César Reyes (555 CP)
  7. ECU Mario Pillajo (542 CP)
  8. PER Ernesto Serpa (526 CP)
  9. ECU Yamid Rodríguez (505 CP)
  10. COL Sergio Barreto (505 CP)
  11. ECU Alexandre Savona (502 CP)
  12. CHL Naxo Sepulveda (502 CP)
  13. PAN Gabriel Cedeño (502 CP)
  14. BRA Hugo Nascimento (502 CP)
  1. CHL Matías Díaz (497 CP)
  2. ARG Jorge Coria (495 CP)
  3. BOL Giovanni Andres (490 CP)
  4. MEX Moisés Briones (484 CP)
  5. PAN Jonathan Singh (482 CP)
  6. CRI Max Morales (473 CP)
  7. GTM Rafael Gonzalez (452 CP)
  8. CHL Martin Muñoz (446 CP)
  9. ARG Juan Spinetta (446 CP)
  10. CHL Felipe Méndez (444 CP)
  11. BOL Gabriel A. Quevedo (437 CP)
  12. BRA Gustavo Braz (436 CP)
  13. PRY Fernando Coluchi (432 CP)
  14. CRI Victor Manuel Gonzalez (432 CP)
  15. PER Carlos Beingolea (430 CP)
  16. URY Gonzalo Sintas (429 CP)
  17. GTM Rudy Chin (428 CP)
  18. PER SinnohLegenD22 (426 CP)
  19. CHL Ricardo Torrijos (426CP)
  20. MEX Charly Pastrana (425 CP)
  21. MEX Jonathan Barradas (424 CP)
  22. PER Jorge Baca (423 CP)
  23. ARG Juan Pablo Cambon (422 CP)
  24. PAN Alberto Rios (422 CP)
  25. MEX Alex Terrazas (421 CP)
  26. GTM Enrique Gonzalez (420 CP)
  27. CHL Felipe Casas (418 CP)
  28. BRA Oscar Castillo (417 CP)
  29. CRI Esteban Hernández (416 CP)
  30. MEX Marco Antonio R. (416 CP)
  31. MEX Hiram Espinosa (413 CP)
  32. SLV Geovanni Polanco (412 CP)
  33. PAN Luis Medrano (411 CP)
  34. ECU Guillermo Naranjo (411 CP)
  35. MEX Luis Canseco (409 CP)
  36. BRA André Fumis (408 CP)
  37. MEX Carlos Eugenio (408 CP)
  38. MEX Alberto Renero (407 CP)
  39. SLV Eduardo Guzman (407 CP)
  40. CRI Christofher Solís (406 CP)
  41. COL Diego Llanes (406 CP)
  42. PAN Daniel Romero (405 CP)
  43. CRI Roberto Ortega (404 CP)
  44. ARG Francisco Lagomarsino (404 CP)
  45. ECU Tebu (404 CP)
  46. CHL DavidVGC (403 CP)
  47. MEX Roman F. (402 CP)
  48. GTM Julio M. (402 CP)
  49. CHL Ivan Inostroza (402 CP)
  50. PER Sebastián Solari (401 CP)
  51. BRA Raul Gioielli (401 CP)
  52. CRI David Rodriguez (400 CP)
  53. BRA Caio Romanini (400 CP)
  54. MEX Christian Ramirez (400 CP)
  55. CHL Sergio S. (400 CP)

salamence-mega Victory Road Closing words

Congratulations to all Latin America players having qualified for the World Championships! As the defending World Champions, team LATAM have the tough task of maintaining and improving their performance from last year. We wish you all the best of luck.

If you’re not attending but will be following their struggle from home, check the Pokémon website for detailed infos on the live stream. If you’re looking for a timetable of the stream times, click here.

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