Written by Stephen Mea
WE’RE BACK BABYYYYYY
The Dallas Regional Championships are right around the corner. This tournament has the potential to be the biggest Regional of the year and will have major implications on the race for the travel money to the European International Championships, which are to be held in Berlin. Dallas will also be the first major in Moon series and will likely dictate the meta which we will be watching in Melbourne in February. First, let’s take a look at the situation with Germany money.
This tournament will be extremely important for those not attending the Oceania International Championships, as this will be their last major before the cutoff. Let’s meet some of these hungry competitors:
James Evans [US]
James has been having a great season as a first year master so far. He has opted against traveling as much as he did in seniors, as he already has an invite locked from his victory in the seniors division at the 2018 World Championships after a historically dominant season. James’ 2018 senior season saw him win 3 Regionals, win an International in London, reach top 8 in Sydney, and top 4 in Columbus. Since moving into masters, he has put together extremely consistent placements at locals and a top 8 placement at the Roanoke Regional Championships in November. There he piloted a creative Lunala + Kyogre team and proved himself a legitimate threat in masters. Watch out for him this weekend.
Matthew Jackson [US]
Matthew is an oft-talked about teambuilder who has been having a good start to 2019. He has had strong performances at his locals and cut the Nashville Open in the 2018 format. He is known for being a creative builder whose teams have taken players in masters and seniors to top cuts in various events. With the advent of Z moves creating more options for teambuilding going into Dallas, make sure you know all of your niche matchups before sitting down in front of Matthew this weekend.
The following competitors should still be focused on a good performance in Dallas, but also have the IC in Melbourne to affirm their standings in this race:
James Baek [US]
James has been on an absolute tear so far in 2019. He won his second Regional in Roanoke back in November and reached the finals of the Latin American Internationals (both with the standard Kyogre + Xerneas combination, which has seen much success). James has been on a lethal tear since his first Regional win at Toronto back in May, and there has been little to stop him since. Despite not having played since a little after Roanoke, James still remains atop the Berlin Stipend Race, so a good performance at Dallas should lock him the award.
Nick Navarre [US]
Nick has been a standout player in North America since his switch to focusing on VGC in late 2016. He has seldom ranked outside of NA’s top 10 since the switch and has been putting together a season of consistency. Finishing top 8 at Memphis Regionals in October, alongside top 16 finishes at majors such as the Latin American Internationals, have thrust Nick back into top 8. Another player with ridiculous peaks that will be a threat to watch for in Dallas.
Raghav Malaviya [US]
Raghav is a third year master that is already off to the best year of his masters career. His win in Anaheim, where he went 11-0, set him up in an excellent spot to both earn his second Worlds invite and money to attend the European Internationals. He is not unfamiliar to playing high stakes matches, as his last year in seniors saw him playing in day 2 Worlds after winning a Regional and finishing top 16 at US Nationals. While Raghav does not attend as many events as the rest of the players featured, seeing him in Dallas and Melbourne will be an absolute treat.
While not as immediately relevant, here is the top 15 in the Day 2 race going into Dallas:
Many combinations of placement changes can take place as a result of the Regional, but two things are certain: Ashton Cox will still be your CP leader and only Louis Milich can move into top 8 due to the Regional (Riley will not be in attendance). Dallas will likely be one of the biggest events of the year, and as a result there are a number of players flying under the radar of CP standings that have equally high chances of claiming the champion brick.
Brady Smith [US]
Brady is a standout player from Florida whose accomplishments last season ranked him as the 7th best player in North America with the 5th best Worlds finish of any American (18th). He started his season by placing second at Hartford Regionals and would later win at Memphis. These placements, alongside his top 16 finish at the Latin American Internationals, cemented Brady as part of North America’s elite. Coupled with his strong seniors performances (including another Regional win), Dallas could be the time for Brady’s return to the top.
Terry Hong [US]
Terry is a relatively new player to the VGC scene compared to some of the other players on this list, but do not let that distract you from his skill. In 2017, his first season, he got top 4 at Madison Regionals. He also earned his first invite to a World Championship that year. In terms of GS Cup, Terry placed top 4 at the 2019 Portland Regional with a very unique Zygarde + Ho-oh team that marked the highest placement for the Dragon-type snake at a North American Regional.
Paul Chua [US]
Paul is one of the generational talents that finally got the Worlds finish he had been wanting for so long last year. After his third place finish at NAIC 2018 locked up his auto-day 2 at Worlds 2018, he finished top 16 and broke through a big barrier for himself. Throughout his masters career, he has amassed 4 Regional wins, along with an additional second place finish at NAIC 2017. While the early part of this season has been hit or miss for Paul (32nd at Oaks and 5-2 bubble at Sao Paulo), he always seems to play better as the season goes on. A good finish at Dallas could also propel Paul into a great spot to snipe money to attend the European International Championships in April.
A quick and fun exploration of history! The state of Texas has been home to a Regional nearly every year of VGC’s existence, and as a result, there are a number of past champions of the event. Despite the success of a few invaders, Texas generally defends its region. Three of the past four Texas champions have been from the Lone Star State, so it will be interesting to see what happens this year.
Past Texas Regional Champions:
- 2019 (Moon): ?? [??]
- 2018: Cedric Bernier [US]
- 2017: Andrew Nowak [US]
- 2016 (2015 Format): Blake Hopper [US]
- 2015 (2014 Format): Cedric Bernier [US]
- 2014 (2013 Format): Omari Travis [US]
- 2013: (2012 Format): Benji Irons [US]
- 2012: Len Deuel [US]
Jeremy Rodrigues [US]
Jeremy has been an elite talent in North America for a long time. With two Regional wins under his belt (Ft. Wayne 2015 and Daytona 2017), he has already proven he has what it takes to close out a Regional. His experience with 2019 is deep as well, with his 2nd place finish in Memphis and Top 4 finish in Sao Paulo. He’s also an International champion. Much of the top 8 has already won something big this year, so we feel this is Jeremy’s time.