2019 Worlds Preview: Meet Team Korea!

Tomorrow, the 2019 World Championships in Washington D.C kick off, with players from over 30 countries are gathering for this year’s biggest event.

In our aim to provide you with great coverage before, during and after the event, we’re introducing the top players from all competing regions in Day 2 of Worlds. Last Sunday, we presented the North American players, and on Monday and Tuesday we got to meet teams Latin America and Europe. Today, we’ll be talking about the Korean players!

salamence-mega Victory Road Korea at Worlds

South Korea has been present at the VGC World Championships since 2011. That first year, Seniors player Sejun Park placed 2nd, losing the final match to Kamran Jahadi of the US. Since then, a decent number of players have stood up at Worlds throughout the years, but no one has had the success and impact on the scene as Sejun. Having placed 2nd in his final year of Seniors, he graduated and got 5th at Hawaii 2012. The following year in Vancouver, he placed 5th again with a 6-0 swiss record. His major success and Korea’s first (and, at the time, only) championship was yet to come.

In 2014, Sejun and Pachirisu conquered the world and marked an era within competitive Pokémon. His performance and masterful team building skills brought the little nation their first Champ and inspired lots of new players, some of them Day 2 competitors from other nations, to get started.

Sejun's trophy

In the following years, Korea’s presence at Worlds has been constant but more discrete. In 2015, Sejun was again the best-peforming Korean at Worlds, though he ended up with a 4-3 record. In San Francisco 2016, Jang Won Seok entered Worlds top cut and ended up in 20th place.

In 2017, as the new generation kicked in, new faces like Shin Junghoon‘s (13th) started to show up at Worlds, while Jang Won Seok improved his mark up to 12th place. Hong Juyoung took the first Seniors championship for Korea after placing 5th in 2016.

Last year, Wonseok Jung placed 25th as Korea’s best result in Nashville, though Juniors player Wonn Lee took the championship, thus making Korea one of the few nations to have a champion in all 3 divisions of VGC. In this occasion, 4 Korean players get a Day 2 Invite for Worlds. They’re strong in their local scenes, so anything can happen.

salamence-mega Victory Road Day 2 players

As the first player for this year’s Korean leaderborad, we have Shin Hyungwoo. He’s a newer player to the scene, having played for the first time at an event in 2018. This year he’s managed to place top 8 at the Korean League S2 in Moon Series and he’s won the Korean National Championships last June, played in Ultra. You can read his team report on Victory Road. Though there are no previous recordings of him at Worlds, his momentum will surely carry him forward in Saturday.

The second spot in the ranking is for the veteran player Wonseok Jung, who played in a Pokémon tournament for the first time back in 2011 as a Junior. Since then, he has gained a ton of experience that clearly helped him to get some consistent results at all official events in Korea. This season, he’s managed to win Korean League Season 2 and get to the finals at Season 1, closing his Day 2 qualification all the way back in February. After his 25th place in Nashville, he will be looking forward to improve his marks and get to top cut of Worlds for the first time.

Korea’s 3rd Day 2 representative is young Jung Sungjae, just 16 years old. He was mostly known for being a strong Seniors player in Korea, though his first steps in Masters have been quite successful already: grinding CP at the first events, he clinched his invite after winning Season 3 of the Korean League, the first Ultra Series event in the country. You can read about his win on the team report he wrote on Victory Road.

The final day 2 player for Korea is another well-known face in their local scene. He’s been a player for long time, already a Masters player since Korea’s inception to the circuit in 2011.

Due to his full-time job and time constraints, finding an opening to practice and attend events has been hard for him, which is why he retired in 2016. This year, though, he won the first season of the Korean League (Sun Series) and also placed 4th at the National Championships, allowing him to get a golden day 2 invite. We’ll be looking forward to him this weekend!

salamence-mega Victory Road Honorable mentions and closing words

Due to the Korean qualification system, only the 4 players with most KP (Korea’s equivalent of CP) are invited to Day 2. However, other relevant faces will be attending the event as well. We’d like to highlight 2014 World Champion Sejun Park making a return to the city where he won Worlds and looking after a second win — we’re eager to see what he’s come up with to make that happen.

If you’re not attending the event, 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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