Series 11: The last online format?

It has already been three months since Series 10 started with the first format without Dynamax in a year and a half. Despite this and the great acceptance it has had in the community, the format has only been used once officially. The only major Series 10 tours have been:

This could be because the format was never included in the official VGC ruleset document, and it would explain why other major tours like the Asia Players Cup were still played in Series 9.

In any case, during this time we have seen some major news concerning VGC, mainly the return of casual local live events in some areas of the world, the announcement of the return of the official circuit for early 2022, and the first dates of Regional Championships, Special Events and International Championships in North America and Europe. All these news seem to make Series 11 just a transitional format until 2022, when the official circuit is resumed.

In this article we will introduce all that the new format of VGC brings to the table starting on 1 November and the what to expect about the paused development of this Dynamax format previously played half a year ago as Series 8.

Restricted Pokémon

The generally strongest Legendary Pokémon, known as Restricted Pokémon, have been used in some other formats in the past. VGC 2010, VGC 2016 and more recently VGC 2019 (including its three rotations: Sun Series, Moon Series and Ultra Series) were played with the competitive ruleset known as GS Cup, which means that two Restricted Pokémon were allowed to battle per team.

However, similar to the past Series 8 and Series 10, only one Restricted Pokémon will be eligible during Series 11. The following is the list of Restricted Pokémon available starting on 1 November:

List of Restricted Pokémon for Series 11
Restricted Pokémon
mewtwolugiaho-ohkyogregroudonrayquaza
MewtwoLugiaHo-OhKyogreGroudonRayquaza
dialgapalkiagiratinagiratina-originreshiramzekrom
DialgaPalkiaGiratina
(Altered F.)
Giratina
(Origin F.)
ReshiramZekrom
kyuremkyurem-whitekyurem-blackxerneasyveltalzygarde-50
KyuremWhite
Kyurem
Black
Kyurem
XerneasYveltalZygarde
(50% Forme)
zygarde-10cosmogcosmoemsolgaleolunalanecrozma
Zygarde
(10% Forme)
CosmogCosmoemSolgaleoLunalaNecrozma
necrozma-dusk-manenecrozma-dawn-wingszacianzacian-crownedzamazentazamazenta-crowned
Dusk Mane
Necrozma
Dawn Wings
Necrozma
Zacian
(Hero of Many Battles)
Zacian
(Crowned Sword)
Zamazenta
(Hero of Many Battles)
Zamazenta
(Crowned Shield)
 eternatuscalyrexcalyrex-ice-ridercalyrex-shadow-rider 
 EternatusCalyrexIce Rider
Calyrex
Shadow Rider
Calyrex
 
List of Restricted Pokémon for Series 11
Restricted Pokémon
mewtwolugiaho-ohkyogre
MewtwoLugiaHo-OhKyogre
groudonrayquazadialgapalkia
GroudonRayquazaDialgaPalkia
giratinagiratina-originreshiramzekrom
Giratina
(Altered F.)
Giratina
(Origin F.)
ReshiramZekrom
kyuremkyurem-whitekyurem-blackxerneas
KyuremWhite
Kyurem
Black
Kyurem
Xerneas
yveltalzygarde-50zygarde-10cosmog
YveltalZygarde
(50% Forme)
Zygarde
(10% Forme)
Cosmog
cosmoemsolgaleolunalanecrozma
CosmoemSolgaleoLunalaNecrozma
necrozma-dusk-manenecrozma-dawn-wingszacianzacian-crowned
Dusk Mane
Necrozma
Dawn Wings
Necrozma
Zacian
(Hero of Many Battles)
Zacian
(Crowned Sword)
zamazentazamazenta-crownedeternatuscalyrex
Zamazenta
(Hero of Many Battles)
Zamazenta
(Crowned Shield)
EternatusCalyrex
 calyrex-ice-ridercalyrex-shadow-rider 
 Ice Rider
Calyrex
Shadow Rider
Calyrex
 

Teambuilding

The only difference of this new format with Series 10 is that Pokémon will regain their ability to Dynamax or Gigantamax. Let’s take a look at which Pokémon will benefit from it!

Zacian

It’s no news that Zacian will surely be the most used Restricted Pokémon in Series 11. Having been on that spot in both Series 8 and Series 10 (the other two formats in which it has been legal), the Crowned Sword form of Zacian may lack the option to Dynamax or to hold an item other than the Rusted Sword, but its high Attack and Speed stats, its Intrepid Sword Ability and its Behemoth Blade signature move are more than enough to render those irrelevant.

Looking at the past Series 8, we can see that Zacian dominated the characteristic best-of-1 nature of the Ranked Battles ladder. Japanese player Yuzu proved it with a 1st place in the April ladder and a 2nd place in the Japan Nationals Qualifier ladder with their unstoppable Zacian team. Actually, Zacian made it to the top 2 spots in most Series 8 ladder seasons!

That feat, however, was also achieved in best-of-three tournaments. With numerous appearances in top cuts during the three Series 8 months, Italian player Kevin Salvetto took this Zacian + sun team to the victory in the VR Circuit: Winter Series in an apparent mirror match. This Zacian + sun core, as well as the ones formed with Zacian + Gigantamax Lapras and Zacian + Gigantamax Coalossal, were heavily used back then.

Groudon

It may seem that Kyogre would always win the weather wars, but there are several factors that make that thought false in Series 11. Groudon is not only an offensive beast by itself, moreso now with its ability to Dynamax and raise its weaker Special Defense stat with its STAB-boosted Max Quake. Nevertheless, Groudon does not Dynamax that often, since its Drought Ability and its Precipice Blades spread move make it a very good ally for other Pokémon that take advantage of a sunny weather.

We have just seen its power in the invitational event that served as an introduction to Series 11. Italian player Leonardo Bonanomi claimed the win in the Pokémon Global Exhibition with this Groudon team that had already given them a 2nd place in the Pokémon Players Cup III. This team is a vivid proof of what Chlorophyll-boosted Gigantamax Venusaur and Solar Power-boosted Gigantamax Charizard can achieve in this core.

Kyogre

Even though Groudon has taken the upper hand in Series 8, the players should not rule out the power of Kyogre. It resists Zacian’s signature move and can disrupt the sun-based strategies of Groudon teams, so do not underestimate the threat posed by its Drizzle Ability boosting its already powerful Water Spout spread move.

This Water-type Pokémon proved its worth when American player Jonathan Evans got the victory in the Pokémon Players Cup III with their dual-weather Kyogre team. Kyogre + sun teams were the most common composition for this Restricted Pokémon, mixing the old Kyogre + Tornadus core with a Weather Ball Gigantamax Venusaur that could take advantage of either the rain or Torkoal‘s sun.

Shadow Rider Calyrex and Ice Rider Calyrex

Both alternate forms of Calyrex were also common back in Series 8, mainly because of their disruptive As One Ability and the immense power of their Ghost-type Astral Barrage and Ice-type Glacial Lance spread signature moves.

Shadow Rider Calyrex got two victories in VR Circuit: Winter Series Qualifiers piloted by two players present in the finals of the World Cup: the MVP, Spanish player Manuel Barea; and Italian co-manager Flavio Del Pidio. Both used Calyrex with Female Indeedee, Whimsicott and Incarnate Thundurus, although this Restricted was successfully used with many other Pokémon.

Ice Rider Calyrex did not find as much success as its sibling, as it could not get victories. However, it got American Alec Rubin and Australian Christopher Egan to qualify to the Grand Finals in the Players Cup III North America and Oceania Qualifiers with their curious Calyrex + sun and Calyrex + sand teams, respectively.

Other important Restricted Pokémon

Although the abovementioned Restricted Pokémon were the most dominant, there have been teams with other off-meta Restricted Pokémon that got success in Series 8.

The most important of them is Yveltal. Taiwanese player Wu Chen earned the title of 2021 Kaohsiung Regional Champion with their very curious Yveltal + Registeel team. Coincidentally, the 2022 Kaohsiung Regionals will be held this November with the same ruleset. Was this victory one-of-a-kind, or can Yveltal maintain this crown?

Another successful pick was Solgaleo. Although its success was moderate, its partnership with Bulldoze Spectrier while holding a Weakness Policy could be very difficult to stop. Australian player James Mainey used this core to qualify to the Grand Finals in the Pokémon Players Cup III Oceania Qualifier.

The room for experimentation is still open! The development of the metagame will continue, and maybe other Restricted Pokémon find its place in the metagame. Last time, White Kyurem, Dusk Mane Necrozma and Palkia got very respectable top cut finishes. Will they be able to go all the way this time?

The rest of the team

Every Restricted Pokémon will very likely be assisted with Incineroar, Rillaboom and the returning Grimmsnarl. These three have proved to be very good defensive and support Pokémon in Dynamax formats. They will often be accompanied by Regieleki, Single Strike Style UrshifuTherian Landorus and Heat Rotom for offensive coverage.

Regarding Dynamax options, apart from the usual Restricted and some rogue Regieleki and Landorus, the most dominant in this meta will be the Gigantamax forms of Venusaur, Charizard and Coalossal. The residual damage their G-Max Moves make is a heavy toll for their opponents to carry. Other major threats that may come back are the Weakness Policy abusers like Galarian Moltres and Metagross.

Useful resources

  • Check out our Rental Teams hub!
  • Find here the results of previous major Series 8 tournaments!
  • Find here some team reports of Series 8 successful teams!

What's next?

This time, this question is difficult to answer. There are no official Series 11 events on the horizon apart from the abovementioned 2022 Kaohsiung Regionals which only local players will be able to attend, and the release date of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl is closer than ever. Even though it is confirmed that VGC will continue in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, it is understandable that there is little motivation to play a format with no tournaments in sight, at least while we await the return of live events.

However, after the end of the 2021 World Cup, Victory Road is back and will be bringing new tours open to the global community.

Don’t forget to follow us on our Twitter account to have the latest information about all the upcoming news and events!

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