With the 2016 VGC season over, and the 2017 season soon to explode with the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon, let’s look back at Australia’s 2016 VGC season, and how it unfolded.
The 2016 season once again saw Australia compete under the Championship Points (CP) system as part of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) rating zone. The newly introduced CP Bar for Day 1 invitations to the World Championship opened up the possibility of competing at the World Championships to a lot more Australians, an experience that should only serve to increase our depth at the top level. There was also four paid Day 2 invitations on offer to the top players in the APAC region, double the amount in 2015. Additionally, a new type of tournament known as a Mid-Season Showdown was introduced, which allowed players more opportunities to earn points towards qualification.
The introduction of strong restricted Pokémon for the first time since 2010 was polarising, and allowed for some new faces to break into the big time and shine. However, at the crunch time of the season, it was the hardened veterans of the community who took out most of the honours. Dedicated streams for both TCG & VGC were run at Nationals while a number of Regionals were also able to be streamed. This growing coverage is fantastic for the community, and we hope to see it expand even more in 2017.
For the most part, once the season got going in the new year it ran smoothly. While there were still some aspects of the circuit we hope to see improved in the coming year, there is much to be happy about, and things have come a long way very quickly.
- Premier Challenge Series
- Regional Championships
- Australian National Championships
- World Championships
- A Look at 2017
Premier Challenge Series
Each month we provided an update as to how the Premier Challenge circuit was going. The first four months, covering the Sceptile Series and one month of the Blaziken Series were played under the old VGC2015 ruleset before the switch was made to the VGC 2016 ruleset on January 1st for the rest of the Premier Challenge Series’. Mid-Season Showdown results are also included in these articles. We hope to see South Australia get some Premier Challenges next year, after being the odd ones out this year with no Premier Challenges. You can visit each month’s articles below to remind yourself how they went.
Overview of Regional Championships
Regional Championships were once again held in the state capitals of mainland Australia, as well as Auckland in New Zealand. Regional action began in May 2016, starting in Adelaide and finishing up in Perth in June. Attendances were a little down on previous years in some cities, perhaps owing a little to the introduction of Restricted Pokémon to the format. Best of 3 Swiss Rounds were attempted in early Regionals, but due to time constraints these switched to Best-of-1 mid-tournament, and later Regionals were held as Best of 1 Swiss from the beginning. All Top Cut was played as Best of 3 as per usual.
After enduring a lean spell of Premier Challenges, Adelaide locals leapt at the chance to have some Pokémon battles. Over 100 competitors in all age groups played for the Regional Champion title on May 1st at The Ellington in Hackney.
Sam Pandelis (@ZeldaVGC) took out the title in the Masters Division, defeating fellow Victorian Josh Callister in the final. This is Sam’s third Regional championship, the most of any Australian player. Luke C’s top 4 finish made him the best placed local, and followed up his top 4 finish at Adelaide’s Mid-Season Showdown.
In the Seniors Division, Hamish Davidson-McLeod took the first Regional Championship for the season, defeating Alfredo Chang-Gonzalez in the final. Nicholas Kan continued his dominance of the Australian Junior scene with his win in the Junior Division.
224 trainers met at Sydney’s Paddington Town Hall on May 14th for their Regional Championships. Martin Larumbe (@BaseIN2) defeated fellow Sydneysider Daniel Walker (@Ludicola) in the final, and Sam Pandelis followed up his Adelaide result with a top 4 finish. Both Top 4 matches, as well as the final, were able to be streamed thanks to the efforts of Auslove & Roland Walker, with 2015 Nationals Champion Matthew Roe also jumping behind the mike.
In the Senior Division, Patrick McCann defeated Liam Gilbert in the final, and Adelaide Champion Hamish Davidson-McLeod finished in the top 4. Jack Gilbert was victorious in the Junior Division.
On the 21st of May, 157 trainers competed for the title of Brisbane Regional Champion at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Southbank.
Sydney Champion Martin Larumbe continued his run of hot form, making the finals again.Local hope Richard Buckley (@Arapthos) improved from Top 4 in Sydney to halt Martin’s hopes of winning back to back Regionals by defeating him in the final. Daniel Walker finished in the top cut for the third time in the season, showing incredible consistency.
We, unfortunately, don’t have the results of the Senior and Junior Divisions for Brisbane.
Over 300 trainers descended on the Collingwood Town Hall on Sunday, May 29th for the Melbourne Regional Championships, with 185 of them being in the Master’s age group.
Nihal Noor (@Uchihax96) showed why he was considered a favourite by defeating James Farrugia (@Faybzplays) in the final after beaten Alex Poole (@Triceratopsx5) of Western Australia in top 4. Nick Kan won the Junior Division, while Kyle Di Pastena won in the Senior Division.
Australia’s Regional Championship season wrapped up on Sunday, June 5th, with over 120 Masters participating in the Perth Regional Championship. A novel feature of this championship was the circular tables. Alister Sandoval took out the event, defeating Sam Pandelis in the final. Defending Champion Mustafaa Olomi and local PC star Alex Poole also made the top cut.
Australian National Championships
Over 300 Pokemon trainers including 266 Masters competitors, descended on Melbourne over the weekend of July 2nd-3rd to compete in the 2016 Australian Pokemon Video Game Championships. For the Masters Division, there would be 9 Best-of-Three Swiss rounds, with 7 held on Saturday and the remaining 2 held on the Sunday before a top cut of 16 (an interesting arrangement not seen before).
Many top players were well placed at the end of play on Saturday, with most going to on to finish in the top 16 after completion of the final 2 Swiss rounds on Sunday. The most surprising Pokémon to feature in the top 16 was Nicholas Bingham’s (@ludicolopatrol) Magikarp, (the consequence of a public wager), while James Katsaros also turned a few heads with his inclusion of Tangela in his team. A team featuring Gorgeist also appeared in Top Cut, courtesy of the efforts of Joshua Matos.
Phil Nguyen (@boomguypkmn) was crowned as the 2016 Masters Division Champion after defeating Alex Poole in the final. Josh Matos and Sam Pandelis rounded out the Top 4 being defeated by Phil & Alex respectively. On the paid invitation front, Alex’s 2nd Place and Sam’s top 4 finish were enough to secure Day 2 invitations for both players. National Champion Phil temporarily sat in a paid invitation position prior to the completion of the Hong Kong National Championships (hosted on the same weekend), though unfortunately he was later displaced from Top 4 after the completion of that tournament.
The Junior Division title was won by Corey from Singapore, defeating Nick Kan in commanding fashion. In the Seniors, Luca defeated Harrison Owen to take out the championship.
The entry structure for the World Championships gave many Australians a fighting chance to earn an invite to Day 1 2016 World Championships, while strong individual performances saw Alex Poole & Sam Pandelis (Masters), along with Nick Kan (Juniors) earn direct qualification for Day 2. A large contingent of Australian players made the journey to San Francisco to challenge for the title of World Champion, with 18 Masters, 4 Seniors and a Junior all competing on Day 1. For the Master’s division, 6 wins from 8 rounds would be required to progress to Day 2, while Seniors required 4 wins (6 rounds) and Juniors 3 wins (5 rounds). Two of our representatives in the Master’s division, Meaghan Rattle and Christopher Kan were able to achieve this and join Sam and Alex on day 2. Congratulations to our Day 1 representatives for their efforts in not only on the day, but for earning their invites to this event.
Here were our Day 1 results:
- Meaghan Rattle 6-1
- Christopher Kan 6-2
- David Posniak 5-3
- Daniel Hui 5-3
- James Katsaros 4-4
- James Farrugia 4-4
- Nathan Farrugia 4-4
- Nick Bingham 4-4
- Robert Whitehill (@No1MachopFan) 4-4
- Shisir L (@Auslovetwitch) 4-4
- Cameron Diamond 3-5
- Jordan Bradley 3-5
- Jay Tyrrell 2-6
- Jimmy Chen 2-4
- Phil Nguyen 2-3
- Joey Forster 2-3
- Chris Giagozoglou 1-5
- Matthew Roe 0-4
- Kyle Di Pastena 3-3
- Luca Harrison 3-3
- Isabel Jenkins Smales 2-4
- Hamish King 0-1
- Will Reimann 2-3
Across all VGC Divisions, Australia had 5 representatives for Day of the competition. Our best player on the day was Sam Pandelis, who made it to the Masters Top Cut before bowing out in the Top 16. In the Junior Division Nicholas Kan again performed solidly with a 3-3 record, finishing 22nd. Congratulations as well to Chris Kan, Meaghan Rattle (@RykouSilver) and Alex Poole for their efforts in make Day 2 of the Master’s division. The World Championships is the toughest competition there is, so all of our representatives should be proud of themselves no matter their results.
- Sam Pandelis 15th (6-3)
- Christopher Kan 74th (3-4)
- Meaghan Rattle 82nd (2-5)
- Alex Poole 86th (2-5)
- Nicholas Kan 22nd (3-3)
Generation 7 is almost upon us, with the much-anticipated release of Pokémon Sun & Moon happening in just a few days. The new rules for VGC 2017 will also come into effect on December 1st, just in time to kick off the ‘Winter’ Series for Premier Challenges. Local Pokémon groups may also be running events to celebrate the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon, so go like their Facebook pages to keep up to date on everything VGC-related happening within your local area.
- Pokeclectic (Perth)
- Brisbane Bisharps
- Pokemon NSW
- Sydney University Pokemon League
For those that want more frequent online tournaments, you can visit Nugget Bridge for their weekly Nugget Bridge Live tournaments, where you can get regular practice against the best players in the world once Pokémon Sun and Moon launch. Smogon also hosts a VGC forum which can also serve as a useful source of information. Once Pokémon Sun and Moon are released, there will be many people using the new Global Link features to host online tournaments as well. University Students can also participate in International Collegiate Pokemon Association (ICPA) competitions which are also organised through Nugget Bridge, so be sure to check out their forums for VGC-related discussion and tips.
This concludes our coverage of the VGC 2016 season, so thank you for tuning in. We look forward to sharing the excitement of a new generation when Pokémon Sun & Moon launch and events under the VGC 2017 ruleset begin rolling in. Best of luck to everyone looking to qualify for the World Championships in Anaheim next year, and to those looking to make a splash on the new International Championship events to be held throughout the season.