The Sun Rises Again: 2 Months into Series 12!

It’s been two months since Series 12 officialy started! Let’s take a look at everything that happened in March and what is coming in April!

Table of Contents

Highlights from March

It was back in the International Challege February, the first in-game ladder tour, when Japanese player Rinya Kobayashi got a 6th place with a particular Sun team… And the revolution began!


“Rinya Sun”, as the team of Zacian, Groudon, Incineroar, Charizard, Gastrodon and Grimmsnarl has been popularly named, has defined March’s metagame. American Joseph Ugarte got a second place in the International Challenge March with his approach on the team, and this was followed by back-to-back Regional wins by Chinese Peng Chongjun‘s variant in Salt Lake City and Spaniard Eric Rios‘ in Liverpool, as well as the first place in the March in-game ladder season by Japanese Yuma Kinugawa‘s take.


Even though Rinya Sun has been meta-defining, the most common core is still Zacian + Kyogre. Weather wars are at its peak, and different Rain teams got their own good results with Australian Henry Rich‘s victory in Brisbane and second places by American Aaron Traylor‘s team in Salt Lake City and Frenchman Thomas Gravouille‘s team in Liverpool.


A special mention goes to the core of Ice Rider Calyrex + Palkia. Korean ladder hero Jiseok Lee won with it the International Challenge March, and Australian Meaghan Rattle got the second place in Brisbane with her own approach to the team.

All in all, the summary is that in-person major events are back worldwide and the Road to London is on!

April switches in

Currently, there are several big tournaments announced for this month, with the culmination of the season’s restart in the first International Championships back. Are you planning to attend? Check out our compendium of major events for sign-up instructions to all of them!:

North America CP standings (*)
RankPlayerCPsSeason Major Achievements
1USA  Joseph Ugarte12692020 Portland Regional Champion
2USA  Brady Smith11382020 Oceania Internationals Top 8
2020 Daytona Beach Regional Champion
3USA  Cedric DeRouchie10002020 Atlantic City Regionals Top 4
4USA  James Baek9712020 Latin America International Champion
2019 World Championships Semifinalist
5USA  Ashton Cox9482020 San Diego Regionals Runner-up
6CHN  Peng Chongjun8922022 Salt Lake City Regional Champion
7USA  Jeremy Rodrigues8862020 Latin America Internationals Top 8
8CHN  Xu Yihui8592020 San Diego Regionals Top 8
Europe CP standings (*)
RankPlayerCPsSeason Major Achievements
1ESP  Eric Rios14702022 Liverpool Regional Champion
2020 Oceania Internationals Top 8
2020 Latin America Internationals Top 4
2019 World Championships Quarter-finalist
2ITA  Marco Silva12942020 Oceania International Champion
3PRT  Eduardo Cunha10632020 Oceania Internationals Runner-up
2019 World Championships Top 16
4ITA  Alessio Y. Boschetto9332020 Players Cup Kickoff Invit. Winner
2020 Collinsville Regionals Top 4
5FIN  Oliver Eskolin8882020 Sheffield Regionals Top 8
6POL  Szymon Wojdat8862020 Cologne Regionals Top 16
7SWE  Nils Dunlop7722020 Richmond Regional Champion
8ITA  Giovanni Piscitelli7532020 Oceania Internationals Top 32
9ITA  Roberto Parente7242020 Paris Special Event Top 8
10ITA  Flavio Del Pidio7022020 Cologne Regionals Top 8
11ESP  Guillermo Castilla7002020 Bochum Regional Champion
12ESP  Alex Gómez6972020 Cologne Regionals Runner-up
2019 World Championships Quarter-finalist
13ITA  Davide Carrer6882020 Players Cup II Runner-up
2020 Cologne Regionals Top 16
14ITA  Andrea Cassinese6822020 Cologne Regionals Top 4
15AUT  Lukas Auer6682020 Paris Special Event Top 4
16FRA  Hippolyte Bernard6212020 Cologne Regional Champion
Latin America CP standings (*)
RankPlayerCPsSeason Major Achievements
1ARG  Juan Salerno12842020 Latin America Internationals Top 4
2CHL  Heriberto Pacaje11352020 Santiago 19U Special Event Winner
3CHL  Javier Valdés11282020 Latin America Internationals Runner-up 2020 Campinas Special Event Winner
4CHL  Nicolás del Campo10072020 Santiago S3 Special Event Winner
5BRA  Gabriel Agati Madeira9522020 Latin America Internationals Top 16 2019 World Championships Top 16
6SLV  René Alvarenga9102020 San José Special Event Winner
7ECU  Juan C. Ortiz8602020 Latin America Internationals Top 16
8PER  Jean P. López8282020 Latin America Internationals Top 8
Oceania CP standings (*)
RankPlayerCPsSeason Major Achievements
1AUS  Alfredo Chang-Gonzalez10402020 Melbourne Open Winner
2AUS  Christopher Kan8262020 Perth Regionals Runner-up
2020 Melbourne Open Runner-up
3AUS  Meaghan Rattle8142022 & 2020 Brisbane Regionals Runner-up
2019 World Championships Quarter-finalist
4JPN  Yuya Tada7802020 Oceania Internationals Top 8
2020 Latin America Internationals Top 8
5AUS  James Katsaros6412020 Oceania Internationals Top 8
2020 Melbourne Open Top 4
6AUS  Henry Rich5722022 Brisbane Regional Champion
7AUS  Luke Iuele4302022 & 2020 Brisbane Regionals Top 8
8GRC  Christos Giagozoglou4252022 Brisbane Regionals Top 16

Travel Awards

The Travel Award race is also on for the best players in each TPCI region! Championship Points (CPs) earned in April will count towards the North America Internationals (NAIC) race: there are 4 Travel Award spots and 4 stipend spots in each region from now until the EUIC!

North America NAIC TA standings (*)
RankPlayerCPsTA Season Major Achievements
1CHN  Peng Chongjun2002022 Salt Lake City Regional Champion
2USA  Aaron Traylor1602022 Salt Lake City Regionals Runner-up
3SWI  Stefan Mott1602022 Liverpool Regionals Top 8
4USA  Ben Grissmer1302022 Liverpool Regionals Top 4
5USA  Joseph Ugarte1302022 Salt Lake City Regionals Top 4
6USA  Alex Arand1302022 Salt Lake City Regionals Top 4
7USA  Zac Emerzian1002022 Salt Lake City Regionals Top 8
8USA  Zee Costagliola1002022 Salt Lake City Regionals Top 8
Europe NAIC TA standings (*)
RankPlayerCPsTA Season Major Achievements
1ESP  Eric Rios2002022 Liverpool Regional Champion
2019 World Championships Quarter-finalist
2FRA  Thomas Gravouille1602022 Liverpool Regionals Runner-up
3POL  Filip Idczak1302022 Liverpool Regionals Top 4
4GBR  Taran Birdee1002022 Liverpool Regionals Top 8
5GBR  Cameron Smith1002022 Liverpool Regionals Top 8
6PRT  Francisco Esteves802022 Liverpool Regionals Top 16
7GBR  Damian Blakey802022 Liverpool Regionals Top 16
8GBR  Matt Maynard802022 Liverpool Regionals Top 16
Oceania NAIC TA standings (*)
RankPlayerCPsTA Season Major Achievements
1AUS  Henry Rich2002022 Brisbane Regional Champion
2AUS  Meaghan Rattle1602022 Brisbane Regionals Runner-up
2019 World Championships Quarter-finalist
3AUS  Lewis Tan1302022 Brisbane Regionals Top 4
2019 World Championships Runner-up (SR)
4AUS  Alfredo Chang-Gonzalez1302022 Brisbane Regionals Top 4
5AUS  Luke Curtale1002022 Brisbane Regionals Top 8
6AUS  Caleb Wijesinha1002022 Brisbane Regionals Top 8
7AUS  Sam Pandelis1002022 Brisbane Regionals Top 8
8AUS  Luke Iuele1002022 Brisbane Regionals Top 8

(*) Standings have not been officially confirmed and are based on the results of major events in March. International Challenge March CPs have not been counted. Latin America has had no events apart from International Challenge March.

Teambuilding focus

The rising sun

As mentioned above, the six Pokémon popularised as Rinya Sun have come to power as the most dominant team heading into April.

Groudon in particular is one of the central Pokémon of this archetype. With great bulk, whose weaker side is raised by its STAB-boosted Max Quakes, and physically offensive prowess, some of them hold the White Herb to avoid being affected by Intimidate; however, the most common items now are the Assault Vest and the Sitrus Berry.

Regarding movesets, its signature spread move, Precipice Blades, is a must on this Pokémon, despite its imperfect accuracy; the most common coverage is Rock (either Rock Slide or Stone Edge), although Fire (Fire Punch or Heat Crash) and Steel (Heavy Slam) are also present in some versions, assisted in non-Assault Vest sets by support moves like Protect or Swords Dance.

Groudon’s allies usually take advantage of the Sun weather it sets upon entry with its Ability Drought. Its most common partner is Gigantamax Charizard with Solar Power, and it is not uncommon to see Gigantamax Venusaur with Chlorophyll in other compositions. The addition of Gastrodon to counter Kyogre is very troublesome for Rain-centered teams, which see themselves being Yawned while the Sun is set again.

As for Restricted Pokémon, Zacian is Groudon’s preferred pair, as in the Rinya Sun archetype that won two Regionals in a row. However, Pole Filip Idczak and Briton Cameron Smith found success in Liverpool with original Yveltal and Lunala compositions, respectively; while American Aaron Zheng used it support-oriented in his team alongside Solgaleo.

The Restricted trends

Players headed to Salt Lake City and Liverpool already knowing that Rinya Sun was a very dangerous archetype… and two Rinya Sun teams still cut each and eventually won both. What is the answer against that core that does not lose against other match-ups?

It seems natural to think that Groudon’s eternal enemy, Kyogre, will dethrone it. The core of Zacian + Kyogre is still the most popular one around, although with many different approaches to it. Even other alternatives have made cool appearances in top cuts, such as Australian Caleb Wijesinha‘s Dialga + Kyogre team in Brisbane or American Jeremy Boyd‘s Dusk Mane Necrozma + Kyogre team in Salt Lake City. Are we seeing the renewal of weather wars?

Another core that is worth mentioning is Zacian + Shadow Rider Calyrex, which has seen much usage since the start of the metagame but is still now crawling up to the higher spots. Australian Lewis Tan‘s team with Heat Rotom and Ditto in Brisbane and American Ben Grissmer‘s hyper offensive team with Galarian Darmanitan and Single Strike Style Urshifu in Liverpool have made the best performances with that core.

Watch out for other Restricted pairs, since Palkia, Ice Rider Calyrex, Solgaleo and Yveltal are not gone and are still meta picks!

It's storm season!

Thundurus is a brain breaker Pokémon in team preview, since the first question that comes to any player’s mind is which is its Ability?

This Electric and Flying-type Pokémon is the rising star in the current metagame. In CP-awarding spots, it appeared once in Brisbane, twice in Salt Lake City and eleven times (including three in top 8) in Liverpool, setting a clear trend and being the most used non-Restricted Pokémon in the latter tournament’s higher standings (except for Incineroar).

The most common version has Defiant, a physical Dynamax option usually carrying an Assault Vest or a Life Orb and deterring Intimidate opponents from entering the field while its fellow physical ally gets free Max Airstream or Max Knuckle boosts. However, the most successful version has been the special support Prankster one used in Thomas Gravouille‘s Rain team that reached finals in Liverpool.

Useful resources

  • Check out our Rental Teams hub!
  • Find here the results of previous major Series 12 tournaments!
  • Find here some team reports of Series 12 successful teams!

Closing words

Incineroar is again the most used Pokémon over Zacian, which is far from surprising given how bad of a match-up other Zacian teams have against Rinya Sun. Will it find its place with other Pokémon to counter it?

And the most fitting question: how much longer will Rinya Sun’s success last? With only a couple of events until EUIC, the quid is to either build a Rinya Sun variant or to find its perfect counter.

Follow the competitive scene with us on our Twitter account to get the answer of these questions and to have the latest information about all the upcoming news and events!

You might also like...

Victory Road