Pokémon competitive play

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Competitive play in Pokémon generally refers to player versus player battles that take place using the Pokémon video games. Players construct a team of Pokémon as defined by a specific set of rules and battle as they would in the game until all Pokémon on a player's team have fainted or when a player resigns. These battles are usually done through the consoles in which the games are played in (e.g. the Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo Switch), or online through fan-made simulators such as Pokémon Showdown!.[1]

The official tournament circuit for competitive play is known as the Video Game Championships (VGC), which was established in 2009 by The Pokémon Company International under their Play! Pokémon program. Players from all over the world compete in local tournaments and qualifiers to earn cash prizes, scholarships, as well as an invitation to the annual Pokémon World Championships, an invite-only esports tournament that aside from the Pokémon video games also features the Pokémon Trading Card Game and Pokkén Tournament.[2] All VGC tournament matches are played with the 'double battle' format, where two Pokémon from a player's team will battle two other Pokémon from the opponent at any one time. In addition, the rules typically change every year to account for new game releases, with the 2020 Pokémon World Championships being played on Pokémon Sword and Shield.[3]

In contrast, the largest fan-base in the English-speaking community dedicated to competitive play is Smogon University,[4][5] which curates its own set of competitive formats and hosts unofficial tournaments for its own players. The competitive formats are mostly fan-driven and established by the community with Pokémon and strategies seen as too powerful being banned through popular consensus and voting,[6] and Pokémon being placed into tiers according to how often they are used in battle,[4][7] allowing weaker Pokémon to be used successfully in lower-tier formats. Unlike official tournament play, players have the option of choosing any format they wish to play in, and any Pokémon at or below the tier chosen can be used.


Before Generation IV, the damage category of a move (physical attack or special attack) was determined by the type of the move itself (for example, all Rock-type moves were physical, and all Dragon-type moves were special). The physical/special split in Generation IV changed moves to be physical or special determined on how the move attacks instead of the move's type. This was a huge change to competitive battling, with Pokémon such as Gengar[8] or Gyarados[8] benefiting, and Alakazam suffering.[9] As competitive battling features human players, the style of battling is much different,[10] with players choosing their set of four moves and one item based not only on the Pokémon's stats, but based on sets other players might run in order to counter them.

Every Pokémon has a Nature which has the potential to increase one stat by 10% and decrease another stat by 10% above a base amount.[11] In addition, hidden attributes called EVs and IVs are used to alter stats in competitive Pokémon, usually maximizing them. EVs are earned by battling and defeating other Pokémon (with each Pokémon having a specific set of EVs they give), and IVs are assigned by the game when you obtain a Pokémon (the higher the number, the better the stats become above a set minimum amount).[12]

Moves that have high base power but huge drawbacks, such as Giga Impact's recharge turn and Thunder's risky accuracy, are not always viable in competitive play. Instead, moves that have reliable accuracy, minimal downsides, and have decent base power, such as Body Slam and Thunderbolt, respectively, are used instead. The introduction of Mega Evolution gave previously non-viable or less viable Pokémon a purpose in the upper-tier metagame, such as Charizard and Mawile, although this mechanic (which was introduced in Generation VI), along with Z-moves (ultra-powerful moves of a particular type which could be performed by any Pokémon when holding a specific item and was introduced in Generation VII) were removed in Generation VIII. Dynamaxing was a new mechanic introduced in Generation VIII; once per battle, each player could increase one Pokémon's HP (by up to 100%) and upgrade its moves to Max Moves (powerful moves with extra effects based on the move's type). Some players, especially followers of Smogon University, criticised this mechanic and prohibit the use of it in certain formats. Certain types in early editions of the games (Generation I), such as Psychic and Dragon, were exceptionally powerful and a clear cut above the rest due to a lack of weaknesses; the various types are more balanced in present metagames, although certain types are better in certain circumstances (such as Ice for offense and Steel for defense).[citation needed] In addition, because the now-split Special Attack and Special Defense stats were combined into one Special stat in Generation I, Pokémon with a high Special stat could both deal and resist Special damage extremely well (or if low, be extremely weak in both Special offense and defense).

UK Pokémon Regional championships[edit]

The UK and Ireland Pokémon Championships is an event held by Nintendo in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Regional competitions were held in several regions around the countries. Contestants would fight in a tournament using the Pokémon game that was popular during the time of the event.

Pokémon Championship 2000[edit]

The first championship was held during the summer of 2000.[13] Players were invited to register and take part in regional finals during the months of July and August, but were restricted to using Pokémon Red and Blue. Battles were played using Pokémon Stadium and were subject to several championship and battle rules. Anyone visiting the regional events was allowed to download Mew onto their Pokémon Red or Blue cartridge (this was limited to one per person).

The regionals were held in 14 cities during the months of June and August 2000. In each regional event, players won a gym badge based on the badges earned in Pokémon Red and Blue. Each regional consisted of eight rounds, with the winner of the final having all eight gym badges (the runner-up with seven). The winner and runner-up of each regional both represent their region for the final in London.

Date Location
15 July 2000 Bluewater, Greenhithe
22 July 2000 Central, Milton Keynes
24 July 2000 Merryhill, Dudley
25 July 2000 Harlequin, Watford
27 July 2000 Metro Center, Gateshead
29 July 2000 Gyle Centre, Edinburgh
31 July 2000 Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow
2 August 2000 Castlecourt, Belfast
4 August 2000 Omni Centre, Dublin
6 August 2000 Queen's Arcade, Cardiff
8 August 2000 Bargate Centre, Southampton
10 August 2000 Trafford Centre, Manchester
12 August 2000 Broadmead Centre, Bristol
14 August 2000 Meadowhall, Sheffield

A special event took place at Merryhill Dudley where a game of each version was given away to two random contestantsy. Red version was one by Richard Borgens, while Blue version was given to a young Arab tourist. The final was held on 1 September 2000 at the Millennium Dome, where the regional finals battled against each other in a final competition. The winner of the national competition represented the UK and Ireland in the European final, which was hosted the following day, and the World Championships later that month.

2006 Regionals[edit]

Regional battle events were held in April 2006 and the players competed for cards and electronic games. The largest regionals were held in London and Bournemouth. The 15 years and over winners are listed as follows;

Scotland (Glasgow)

2nd - Fred Entenmann

3rd - Andrew Ritchie

4th - Gordon White

North East (Hull)

1st - Andy Stone

North West (Manchester)

1st - Nitish Doolub


1st - Sami Sekkoum

South Coast (Bournemouth)

1st - Dominic Jordan

The 11–14 years and over winners are listed as follows:

North East (Hull)

1st - Alex Bramham


  1. ^ Sledge, Ben. "A Fan-Made Browser Game Is Pro Pokémon Players' Secret Weapon". Kotaku. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
  2. ^ "Pokémon World Championships | Pokemon.com". www.pokemon.com. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
  3. ^ Reichert, Corinne. "Pokemon World Championships move to London for 2020". CNET. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
  4. ^ a b "Competitive Pokémon: Smogon and varying formats". Softonic. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
  5. ^ Frank, Allegra (2017-01-05). "The problem with competitive Pokémon in one tweet". Polygon. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
  6. ^ "Fans Hate Dynamaxing In Pokémon". Kotaku Australia. 2019-12-17. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
  7. ^ "The Most Popular Pokémon Used By Top Players, In One Image". Kotaku. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
  8. ^ a b "10 Bad Gen 1 Pokémon That Are Better Left Forgotten (And 10 That Still Own In Battle)". TheGamer. 1 August 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Gotta Challenge 'em All: Pokemon Generation I". 4 March 2019. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Making the Jump to Video Game Competitive Play - Pokemon.com". www.pokemon.com. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Natures Chart and List - How Natures Affect Pokemon Stats - Pokemon Sword and Shield Wiki Guide - IGN". Retrieved 16 September 2020 – via www.ign.com.
  12. ^ Thielenhaus, Kevin (29 November 2019). "Pokémon Sword & Shield: How To Check IVs & EVs - Hidden Stats Guide". Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Pokémon Championship News - WirePlay Forums". WirePlay. Retrieved 2007-06-06.

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