Prepare for trouble, and make it double, Puclonians! Double the Holiday Eves of Double Trouble, as the calendar would have it. Last week, Wednesday fell upon Christmas Eve and this week it falls upon New Year’s Eve. And it is actually very fitting because this is the eve of the dawning of Pokémon VGC 2015 format taking effect.
As of tomorrow, all tournaments that are a part of the official Pokémon Video Game Championships will began using the 2015 rules which came out a couple of weeks ago. As such, it is an excellent opportunity to go over these rules just before they come to life with the New Year. I shall also accompany them with some personal thoughts and resources for participating in the format. Without further ado, here are the basic rules for Pokémon VGC 2015:
- All matches are played in the Doubles format.
- Pokémon above Level 50 will be brought down to 50 for the match while those below 50 will stay as is.
- Players choose 4 of their 6 registered Pokémon after team preview.
- Pentagon Rule: All Pokémon must have the blue pentagon on their stats page indicating they were caught, bred, or received as an official gift in Pokémon X, Y, Omega Ruby, or Alpha Sapphire.
- Species Clause: No two Pokémon on your team can share the same Pokédex number.
- Item Clause: No two Pokémon on your team can hold the same held item.
- The following items are banned:
- Soul Dew
- The following Pokémon are banned (all forms):
If you try looking up the rules on any Pokémon fan site invested in the VGC, the above rules are all you will likely discover there. There is an official rulebook, however, which you can access from the following link directly from Pokémon’s official website and download as a PDF. While it is a rather bureaucratic and dry read, for anyone with serious intent in playing in VGC 2015, I would definitely suggest downloading it and at the very least perusing it. It contains information for rules on niche things such as the protocols for tie-breakers, taking notes during your matches, and whether you can wear head phones (you can, but they can only be attached to your 3DS). It is definitely a useful document to have available if you ever plan on participating in a VGC tournament this next year.
Consider bookmarking the above sight while you are at it if that is the case, too. Because this is the same place where you can look up the nearest official Pokémon-sanctioned tournaments and events to your location. And even if you live out in the boonies like Ash circa-comments made during his Unova travels, the number of VGC tournaments and events is growing very quickly year after year – you may be surprised. There were also changes made to the CP (Championship Points) System, which is what one collects in hopes of amassing enough to receive an invitation to participate in the World Championships of the VGC. The changes place a much heavier weight and value to smaller, more local tournaments, making attending such tournaments much more worthwhile for those with serious intent of trying to get their invite to Worlds as well as those simply interested in a space in which they can interact with the Pokémon community in person. One definitely does not just have to attend a Regional tournament to participate in live VGC events anymore.
Whether you are new to the VGC or an experienced veteran, yet another invaluable resource is the following link. If you are planning on participating in the VGC in any capacity, whether it be this year or in the future in general, save that link. It provides data concerning what the most frequently used Pokémon are on the Double Battle Spot and allows you to look up any Pokémon and glean information about what Pokémon are most frequently on the same team as it, the ratios of items, abilities, and moves it most frequently uses, and also what other Pokémon it most frequently defeats in battle and what Pokémon most frequently defeat it. Any Pokémon referred to in relation to the one you are on is also linked via its picture so you can then easily look into the information for that Pokémon. I cannot begin to describe how immensely useful this is for VGC players for teambuilding and developing and understanding of what is used and what to expect from others in battle. Plus it is a lot more aesthetically pleasing to work with than statistics that are nothing but text.
The general consensus from the VGC community so far is that a very wide array of Pokémon and strategies are viable in this format. There is so much to prepare for but also so much room for creativity. We are in an era of the Pokémon franchise and the VGC specifically that is extremely user-friendly. I personally think this the best year for new players interested in participating in the VGC for a number of reasons. As of Gen VI, producing Pokémon worthy of competitive play finally became something possible for everyone without needing to know how to RNG. You also have the much higher number of small tournaments this year making VGC events more accessible than they ever have been. The Double Battle Spot from the Global Link possessing the exact same rules as VGC 15 makes practicing easier than ever as well. It is worth noting here that between battling on the Global Link via your 3DS and Pokémon Showdown, Pokémon Showdown is a great tool for experimenting with things, but many serious VGC players try to get as much practice on the Battle Spot because it is a closer experience to participating in a VGC tournament where you will be playing on a 3DS, not a PC.
This year’s VGC rules also require exceedingly few resources in comparison with years in the past; this is primarily the benefit of the Pentagon rule. Because of the Pentagon rule players only need Gen VI games to participate at high levels of play as opposed to a much larger array of games throughout the years of the ever-aging Pokémon franchise to have access to obscure things like Follow Me Magmar and Electabuzz from a GameCube or buying a side game just to get Genies with their hidden abilities. As long as you have a copy either version of XY and ORAS, you are pretty much set (if you only ever get one version, Alpha Sapphire players do have an advantage, I will say, because of their access to Thundurus).
I am exceedingly enthused for the Dawning of the Age of VGC 2015, and hope to see you there. And if you have not heard it yet, definitely listen to Episode 160 of the Podcast which is dedicated to the VGC 2015 rules. Until next week, Puclonians, I’ll be blasting off again!