2017 Memphis Regional Championships Preview

Memphis regionals marks the final VGC 2017 regional in North America, and plenty of the country’s top players are planning to compete. As a final send off to the first Alolan format, let’s take a look at what we can expect from teams and players this weekend.

Contents

Metagame

Considering it is late in the format, there haven’t been many major metagame shifts. Things remain roughly the same as they were before San Jose regionals a few weeks ago (read more here). Top cut teams can be found here.

As as a refresher, San Jose top cut was dominated by relatively standard good-stuffs teams (six of eight teams). The more unique teams were both centered around powerful Water type Pokémon. Patrick Smith ran Slowbro-Gastrodon Trick Room team and Mitchell Davies ran the famous double-duck rain core.

Seven of eight teams featured either an Arcanine or a Marowak, showing how the role of Fire types remains crucial to good team building. Their ability to check dangerous Steel types, such as Celesteela and Kartana, and their important supportive abilities are irreplaceable.

Watch for good-stuffs and rain to do well, as usual, but also keep an eye out for less conventional teams to make a splash. Considering this is the very end of the VGC 2017 format, some players (looking at you Ashton and Jon) may take big risks when team building, bring meme teams or bring a favorite team back for one. Last. Ride.

Player Preview

Going for Worlds

Needs a Win (200 CP):

  • Dylan Salvenera (211)
  • Alexander Williams (219)
  • Nicholas Borghi (222)
  • Don Czech (235)

Runner-Up (160 CP):

Top 4 (130 CP):

  • No One can earn an invite with only a t4 finish. Some with lower, some with a higher finish.

Top 8 (100 CP):

Top 16 (80 CP):

Players to Watch for

Veterans

Nick Navarre

Nick “Nails” Navarre has become quite the favorite during the past two years. He had an unfortunate CP placement going into the Sydney stipend deadline, putting him on the outside of a subsidized trip at tenth place. While he is still extremely high on the CP standings, Navarre has described his post-Worlds season as “disappointing.” Considering how well he was performing leading up to worlds, that may be warranted, but Navarre has still repeatedly shown an ability to craft unexpected teams that perform very well. If he can conjure that magic up during the format’s curtain call, he could put himself back in the race for day 2.

Rajan Bal

The benevolent overlord of the Showdown VGC room has seen notable success during the past 2 seasons. Bal top cut 2016 US nationals, made day 2 of both the 2016 and 2017 World Championships, placed top 8 at two regionals last season (Roanoke in May and Athens in January) and won the February International Challenge with the infamous Scope Lens Kartana. Like the rest of the Smogon squad, he is an adept team-builder and is unafraid to make big metagame calls. Odds are he’ll be building his team on the flight over, though.

Nicholas Borghi

You may know Borghi for the time he spends documenting results and usage for Trainer Tower, but he has an impressive resume as a player as well. He has top cut 3 regionals during the past few years, and says he is feeling confident going into this event. You can count on this because he helped write this article. Whether or not that confidence is warranted remains to be seen, but here’s hoping.

Justin Crubaugh

Crubaugh has been on a huge hot streak as of late, with 4 consecutive Mid-Season Showdown wins in the Midwest. He only has two regional finishes, but both are extremely strong and  demonstrate his standing as a top tier competitor. He went 6-2 finish at Hartford regionals and has proven consistent in the past. In his breakout season in 2016, he got Top 4 at a regional, Top 16 at Nationals and finished 10th in CP. It would be extremely surprising to see him fail to make top cut this weekend.

Alex Underhill

Alex has won two regionals this season: Collinsville in March and Ft. Wayne in September. His combined Swiss record across those two runs is 15-2, with one of the losses being intentional to make sure a friend made top cut at Ft. Wayne after Alex had already locked up his spot. To top it off, he managed one of those wins with Lucario and Drampa. Is there anything else to say?

Jeremy Rodrigues

Jeremy Rodrigues has had a fantastic post-Worlds season. With three Regional top cuts, one of which ended in victory, he is currently hopping on the SnowBall2k18. Rodrigues is most notable for using a ‘Hard Eevee’ (or ‘Good Eevee’) Team for about 11 months. He did have a poor 5-4 showing at the London International Championships, but he’s hoping the same problems that plagued him there didn’t follow him home across the pond.

Brady Smith

Brady is coming off a very solid start to the 2018 season. He was a runner-up at Hartford and went 5-2 at Daytona. Currently ranked 13th in CP, Brady is looking to solidify his 2018 Worlds Invite before the format switch.

Case Bongirne

His name is CasedVictory, but you’ve probably never heard that one before. Bongirne is relatively new on the VGC scene and only earned his first major finish in September, when he placed top 8 at Ft. Wayne. He has also gained some acclaim as a team-builder, creating the Tapu Koko/Raichu/Salamence/Metagross/Snorlax/Clefairy team that saw some success at Worlds earlier this year. Watch for innovative and unconventional teams from him as he looks to validate the “victory” part of his name once again.

Ashton Cox

Cox had one of the strongest 2017 seasons of any North American player. He is perhaps most well known for winning the Latin American International Championships in April, but he also top cut worlds this year. He’s off to another strong start this season and has already earned a travel award to the Oceania Internationals. He will be looking to solidify his hold on a top 4 spot in North America for a second straight year. The only question that remains is what kind of team he’ll bring. He’s notorious for making wild choices and bringing unconventional sets, but he’s done a lot with Sun in VGC 2017. Will he part the clouds once again in his send-off to a format that treated him very well?

Zheyuan (en) Huang

Huang has had an ok local season. He made the finals of his local Mid-Seasons and earned a 6-2 finish at Ft. Wayne. He has shown quite a knack for ‘17 however, despite claiming to dislike it as a format. He ended the 2017 Season with a regionals 2nd at Madison, and a Day 1 Worlds Invite. Ken was able to advance through Day 1, and finished 4-3 in Day 2. He isn’t the flashiest of picks to make it into top cut, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he made an appearance there.

Justin Burns

Since Burns has seen success before, his excellent 2017 was more of a lime-light season than a breakout one. Either way, his regional win, 2nd place, top 8 and Day 2 Worlds finish have all solidified him as a top threat that every player in Memphis must respect. He hasn’t attended a regional yet during this post-worlds season, and has a whopping grand total of 0 CP going in. He’ll be hoping to put himself up on the leader board this weekend.

Jon Hu

Hu has described his VGC 2017 season as “spammy.” His most successful teams this format certainly resemble that remark, as he placed 5th at Collinsville regionals in March with an electric spam team that featured Tapu Koko, Electivire, and Pikachu. Meanwhile, his 9th place finish Ft. Wayne regionals in September relied on psychic spam, centered around Tapu Lele and Miracle Eye Alakazam. He is famous for his unconventional team choices, so watch for him to break out the finest of memes this weekend.

Stephen Mea

Stephen has shown his growth as a player. In his first year as a Master, he made Top 8 of the Massachusetts Regionals — and Mea has only improved since then. He now sports a trophy from his recent Top 4 finish in Hartford, has a Nationals Top 32 and a Special Event win in addition to a Day 1 Worlds invite. Mea has been doing very well Post-Worlds and is currently in the Top 8 of North America, with a 2018 Worlds invite and a stipend to Sydney for Internationals.

Invaders

Kamran Jahadi

Kamz is venturing back into the fray. Knowing him, he’ll either take it slow as an easy opportunity for a few points or he’ll be gunning for a title. Jahadi has always had a laid back persona, but he is often one of the players hungriest for the win. He has a list of accomplishments too long to mention in totality, but he was the person who came closest to stopping Gavin Michaels from sweeping the California regionals last season.

Gavin Michaels

Speaking of the two-time 2017 regional champion, he’ll be invading from California, too. This is his last chance to pull off a regionals hat trick after a less than ideal performance in San Jose a few weeks ago. Will he be able to do it this time? That very may well depend on the results of a twitter poll where he asked whether he should bring a good team or a fun team. So, in reality, you decide. 

Newbies

Eli North and Jared Woitalla

Both of these players have little to note from their time in the seniors division, but both have already shown that they have potential as Masters. North had a very respectable 6-2, 19th place finish at Hartford, and Woitalla has consistently done well at local events in the Ohio/Indiana area. It sure would be a sight to see if either of these players are able to make it into the top cut, to prove their strength as up-and-coming players in their new division.

Rapid Fire

Here are some other players to watch that we don’t have the time to go in-depth on:

While the players mentioned are solid bets to do well this weekend, this is by no means guaranteed. Pokemon is a game where anyone can beat anyone with enough practice and a well-constructed team. With that in mind, what will happen this weekend? Will we see established players continuing to do well, or will someone new appear to make a name for themselves? Keep an eye on Twitter and the Official Pokemon Live Stream to see which players are doing well!

Smart Money is on

Andrew Nowak

Drew Nowak has already won a pair of regional championships this year, taking home wins at both Dallas regionals in January and Madison regionals in May. Before Madison, he repeatedly tweeted about not having a team he liked and that he was not confident at all going into the regional. He then proceeded to go 7-1 in Swiss and dominate his opposition in finals. If tweeting about lack of a team is any indication of Drew’s performance, he’s going to do well at this regional.

Written by Jeremy Gross and Nicholas Borghi

One comment


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  1. Love these articles! keep them coming!

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