Prepare for Trouble, PUCL, and, as must always be the case, make it double! It’s Double Trouble! And it is a very exciting moment that comes every year, no less. The rules for the VGC 17 format have been released!
The VGC format is constantly changing with a new rule set every single year keeping things fresh, and the changes brought forth this year include things people expected as well as things people did not see coming, even if their Pokémon companions used Foresight!
Most things remain the same: the VGC is still a Double Battle format. You have a team of six but only bring four to any battle. The staple rules remain intact. Moving on.
The most pressing thing for any VGC player would be that the new rules will go into effect starting on November 30th. That is something of a game changer when we look at the rules (as we will shortly) and also when look at the history of the VGC. Ordinarily the new rules for the year’s format go into effect at the start of the New Year, giving players more time to actually play through their games and create the teams they will compete with. But with Sun and Moon coming out next month and new rules going into effect just a couple of weeks later, it will be a race against the clock for many to have teams ready to go.
And speaking of the race against the clock, a new rule is bringing the VGC format closer in line competitive chess, as players will have 10 minutes each allotted to them to make their decisions for a game. They may take up to a minute to decide moves (which is an increase from the 45 seconds it is currently) but if a player runs out of their 10 minutes before the game is over, they will lose. This is a HUGE game changer. Prior to this, players could use the full time available to them every turn and it was often wise to do so in order to process as much information about the battle as possible. With the new rules, battles will be faster paced and players will have one more thing to manage. But good time management and smart, fast decision making will now be rewarded.
What was widely predicted was the format using the Alola-Dex. Whenever a new generation of Pokémon comes out, the first year of the VGC featuring it tends to allow JUST the Pokémon catchable in the new games and this year is no exception. If it cannot be caught in Sun or Moon, it cannot be used. Formats like this always lead to fresh metas where many Pokémon see success that they might not see in other formats. If you have any favorite new Pokémon or Alola forms, this could be their moment to shine brightest!
What is definitely a twist in things, however, is that Mega Stones will NOT be allowed. This is a huge changer, y’all. The introduction of Mega Evolution had a huge impact on playing Pokémon and in the VGC. The removal of Megas from this year’s format may not be a bad thing, however. With the format starting as soon as it is, not having to worry about collecting all of the Mega Stones in post-game is definitely convenient at the inception of VGC 17’s rules. But, also, with Megas taking a vacation while we explore Alola, many more Pokémon may have a chance to shine as a result.
Especially when you consider the fact that ANY Pokémon can use Z-Moves, the shiny new mechanic of the Generation that, like Mega Evolution, can also only be used once per game. With the versatility of Z-Moves and the ban on Mega Stones, creativity in team building might Bloom (
And no need to worry about PokeBank not being compatible with the games when they first come out. Pokémon HAVE to be bred or caught in Sun or Moon to be allowed. This is essentially a reset on the Pentagon rule from the last couple of years. Not all news is good. This is important, however, if Pokémon attainable in Sun and Moon get access to move-tutors from ORAS or TMs that may not carry over. It does slow down breeding consirably, however. Hopefully those IV-changers are easily attainable.
A new generation of Pokémon usually brings with it an exciting VGC year. Here’s hoping that trend continues! What are you looking forward to in VGC 17? Looks like I’m blasting off again!