In another demonstration of how difficult it is to beat a Texan on home turf, Cedric Bernier has earned the title of 2018 Dallas Regional Champion by defeating Chuppa Cross IV in a tight set.
Bernier has already won a Dallas title across every age–division, but winning in 2018 cements the region as one of the toughest to invade. Since Ben Irons won in 2013, players from Texas have a collective 50 percent win-rate. And Considering how many players traveled from across the country this year to attend the first Regional using the latest format, there was plenty of stiff competition.
With a team of Mega Charizard Y, Landorus-T, Tapu Koko, Amoonguss, Porygon2 and Tyranitar, players first caught sight of him on stream in the final round of Swiss. He squared off against the last U.S. National Champion Chase Lybbert in an unusual set. Their first game ended up in a double frozen state, which counts as a tie. Then, Lybbert forfeited game two since Bernier likely would have won game one without the freeze. They finally got a chance to play a full game to decide the round, and Bernier’s Amoonguss and Charizard overcame Lybbert’s Tapu Fini and Landorus-T to send him to top cut.
To make it to the finals from there, he had to defeat Hugo Cortez, Ryan Tan and Carson Confer; the latter of which was coming off a top 4 appearance at the European International Championships. When including his match against Cross IV, Bernier defeated three different Tyranitar teams. All three of those sets also went to game three, with the eventual champ dropping the second game each time.
Low kicked where it hurts
While the win was a pleasant surprise for Bernier, it was Cross IV’s third unsuccessful trip to finals throughout his career. And what must have made it worse is that this felt like the moment he would finally break through. After a masterclass demonstration on the delicate art of defeating a Chansey team during Swiss, Cross IV smashed his way to the finals.
Unfortunately, a rough match-up against Bernier saw him fall just short. Both parties brought Tyranitar to the tournament, but Cross IV had opted for the mega set with Dragon Dance. Since Bernier opted for a slower, regular Tyranitar with Low Kick, he had a distinct advantage.
Aside from a huge read that put Bernier ahead in game one, Cross IV did a good job trying to carefully position himself for the win. And while his patience paid off in game two, a single decision may have cost him the title in game three. With Tyranitar on both sides of the field, Cross IV opted not to Rage Powder a possible Low Kick while setting up a Dragon Dance. He then lost his mega, and a potential chance at victory. According to a tweet following the tournament, he expressed confidence that it was a solid play considering what he expected from Bernier. To be fair, he would have still been in a tight spot even if his Tyranitar had survived that turn.
The meta is what we thought it would be
Going into the format, there was a lot of speculation about which kinds of teams would succeed at the first regional championships. While there were a fair amount of rogue teams from players such as Sam O’Dell and Mitchell Davies, much of what performed the best aligned with our expectations.
Ten of 16 top-cut teams used Landorus-T, which further cemented its position as the Pokémon that has earned the highest CP so far this season, according to VGCstats.com. Weather also had a huge presence, with Charizard-Y and Tyranitar showing up in force. There was one Politoed as well, but fans of hail will have to wait longer to see an Alolan Ninetales or Abomasnow make top cut. Mega Metagross also performed well, despite a weakness to the format’s two most popular weather setters. However, its steel typing does at least give it a chance against Tyranitar with the proper support.
One of the real surprises, however, was Porygon2. With the return of Cresselia as the premier Trick Room setter, many expected the enduring cyber-duck to fade into the background — and it has for the most part. Whereas Cresselia sits at #7 in terms of VGC stats rankings, Porygon2 is barely in the top 30 after calculating Dallas results. But despite the difference, it performed admirably well on both Bernier’s and Confer’s teams.
Regardless, now that players have their first real look at the metagame of live events, expect plenty of preparation against Dallas’ top teams at this weekend’s Oceania International Championships. The only question is whether players will have had enough time to create and practice with teams that have a favorable match-up.
Freeze, USUM — You’re busted!
The only major cloud hanging over the event was the double-game-freeze glitch that plagued a massive amount of players in Dallas (and Leipzig, too). No one is sure what exactly causes the glitch in the first place, but it’s safe to say this problem has been disastrous. While the tournament still had a competitive top cut, it’s totally possible that the standings would have looked completely different if Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were problem free.
The Pokémon Company International, which has no direct control over when Pokémon developer Game Freak releases a much-needed patch, must be sweating with Sydney just around the corner. Will they force all players to use Festival Plaza? Or will one of the most competitive tournaments of the season turn out to be a mess? We’ll find out soon enough.