The Trainer Tower Invitational Begins!

The Trainer Tower Circuit ran over 8 months, with 25 live tournaments, 8 tournaments using previous formats, a ladder tournament, a major tournament which lasted roughly 3 months, and a team tournament that players earned their invites with friends! We had 28 of the strongest players across these tournaments qualify for the Trainer Tower Invitational, and they will be playing in coming weeks to determine the winner of the Trainer Tower Circuit!

Pools

The tournament will begin with 4 pools of 7 players each, with the top 2 players of each pool moving on to Single Elimination Top Cut. All 4 pools are below:

POOL A POOL B POOL C POOL D
AuraRayquaza zwinne Emforbes Mr.GX
Lightcore Swaggy McBuckets Animus Yale
John Beak MrJellyLeggs RadiumH3 JonoTV
Pyreon LLeonard MasterWizardVGC Knappi
Mitch Lore95VGC Xenoblade_Hero 2Thyfor
ShabaraiVGC MudcrabVGC EmbC ApplePie
Simipour Spurrific Frania Necrocat219

Prizes

PLACEMENT PRIZES
1 $720 USD
2 $360 USD
3-4 $140 USD
5-8 $20 USD

The Players

AuraRayquaza (1st Seed)

AuraRayquaza is the highest seeded player in Top Cut with enough points for two Invitational invites. With three Grinder wins under his belt, a Top 64 in the Trainer Tower Open as well as a win in the Trainer Tower Team Cup AuraRayquaza has placed well or won every event he’s played thus far. His deadly Rotom-H + M-Metagross combination he used to achieve the most Grinder wins this season became popular soon after his success and it will be interesting to see if he creates another team with some interesting Pokemon or if he sticks to common archetypes like the M-Manectric team he used in Team Cup. AuraRayquaza believes he can reach Top 8 and then from there will take it a game at a time.

zwinne (2nd Seed)

zwinne was arguably the strongest player this season in Grinders, with his lowest placement in his BFL at Top 4 and a total of 124 points from Grinders alone. With two 1st place finishes and four 2nd place finishes over the past 6 months zwinne has defeated many of the players in the Invitational already, with most players thankful when he doesn’t compete in Grinders and shares the Circuit Points. At 2nd seed and at 190 Circuit Points in total he is undoubtedly one of the strongest competitors in his pool and his the potential to make some major upsets.

Emforbes (3rd Seed)

With a 2nd place World Championships finish this year it’s unsurprising that Emforbes is such a high seed here. He earned his invite from the Trainer Tower Open alone with a Top 4, however still went on to win the Trainer Tower Team Cup with Animus and AuraRayquaza. His overall goal is to make it out of the group stages, though I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that he can go even deeper.

Mr.GX (4th Seed)

Arguably one of the most consistent players across Trainer Tower Grinders with his lowest BFL placement a Top 8, Mr.GX and his trusty Suicune have amassed 151 Circuit Points. With the Invitational being the largest event Mr.GX has played in he’s slightly nervous, but of course sets his sights on 1st place. Mr.GX has been working closely with other qualifiers including AuraRayquaza, EmbC, Necrocat219 and Swaggy McBuckets, all of whom he looks forward to potentially playing in Top Cut or in Pools. Overall Mr.GX’s obsession with cat videos has allowed him to pilot Suicune (Suicune is actually a dog) perfectly and he will continue to draw strength from these videos throughout the Invitational.

Yale (5th Seed)

Yale qualified for the Invitational through one event; the Trainer Tower Open. With a 12-2 record and wins over the well known players Emforbes, Lore95VGC, Pyreon and RadiumH3 throughout his dominant run Yale has the chance to do it again, with a prize pool of nearly $1500 on the line. Without competing in Grinders Yale has very little experience against most players in the Invitational, however this could work in his favour as his opponents won’t know what to expect from him. With Kommo-O being his go-to archetype in the Trainer Tower Open it will be interesting to see how he approaches the Invitational against players he may have no experience against.

Animus (6th Seed)

Animus is one of the highest seeded players for a reason, and that reason was his consistency with the VGC18 format. All of Animus’ Circuit Points were from VGC18 events, and he predominantly focused on utilising M-Gengar teams. Alongside his Team Cup teammate AuraRayquaza, Animus is the only player to have earned points from all VGC18 events. He placed in the Scramble, in Grinders, the Trainer Tower Open and won the Team Cup. With such a high seed Animus feels comfortable with his current position, but has noted that the playing field is a bit tougher here. He will also have to play against fellow #FreeMarsh member Emforbes in Pools.

Swaggy McBuckets (7th Seed)

Swaggy McBuckets is an avid Smeargle user, with 100% of his points due to Smeargle. He believes that a combination of his play and players being unprepared for Smeargle have helped him secure wins against some of the best players in the Circuit. His love for Smeargle even extends to other formats, with 50 Circuit Points coming from Smeargle use in VGC15 and VGC14. He thanks Jerry, IKEA, Shark Tale and the cast of Seinfeld (maybe they were team inspiration?) for his recent performances. Inspiration can come from anywhere, so I’m sure we’ll see Swaggy McBuckets showcase what IKEA has inspired him to bring.

LightCore (8th Seed)

LightCore was a TO for the Circuit this year, however where possible played in as many Grinders as possible. Despite only playing 5 Grinders, he managed to win and place 2nd twice. With 84 Points and very few events remaining LightCore clinched his invite in the Team Cup where his team with Spurrific and iMagikarp placed 2nd. LightCore favoured teams featuring M-Gengar, surprisingly enough, without Kommo-O. He proved through his dominant Grinder performances that M-Gengar itself is a strong Pokemon and isn’t just Kommo-O support.

JonoTV (9th Seed)

JonoTV currently has the 3rd highest total Circuit Points from Grinders alone, with 94 Points and nearly an entire Invitational invite from Grinders alone. With a win in the VGC17 Throwback and a few more strong placements he earned himself 9th seed. With so many points from Grinders JonoTV has experience against majority of the field, and has a winning record against most of them. With the 3rd strongest showing in VGC18 Grinders JonoTV has the best Grinder performance in his entire pool and I’m sure he will be aiming to show you why.

RadiumH3 (10th Seed)

RadiumH3 placed 2nd in the Trainer Tower Open out of nearly 400 competitors, and earned enough points from that result alone to qualify for the Invitational. His strength against the various teams he played throughout the Trainer Tower Open and his skill in utilising M-Gardevoir focused teams has earned him a well-deserved 130 points. RadiumH3 feels his pool is the most difficult, but has set Top Cut as his goal. Overall he’s looking forward to playing against fellow strong players and would like to thank Yale for his support throughout the Trainer Tower Open as well as the NPA team New Bark Loud Puppies and World Cup Team Rest Of Europe who helped him become the player he is now.

MrJellyLeggs (11th Seed)

When MrJellyLeggs is mentioned multiple Pokemon can spring to mind. Majority of MrJellyLeggs’ results have one thing in common; a strange Pokemon. His Invitational invite is no exception, with 110 Circuit Points from the Trainer Tower Open where he used Stealth Rock Clefairy. Though it isn’t winning a Regionals with a Cottonee, MrJellyLeggs is known for his unique team choices. As he has not played against many people in the Invitational this year I can already sense the fear of players in his pool, afraid of what he could bring. MrJellyLeggs is part of Team Jamie, and thanks Jamie and Jamie for their support.

John Beak (12th Seed)

Contrary to popular belief, John Beak is not James Baek’s father. However, he is one of the most commited players in the Trainer Tower Circuit. John Beak joined the circuit to learn about VGC, as he hadn’t played VGC between 2010 and 2017 despite winning the Czech National Championships in 2006 and 2008. After an expected rough start to a returning player, John Beak found his feet towards the end of the season with back-to-back 2nd places to clinch his well-deserved Invitational invite. John Beak is entering the Invitational with enjoying the end of VGC18 as his mindset, but would love to upset some well known players and prove that he is here to play.

Pyreon (13th Seed)

Pyreon was one of the more consistent players in previous formats, with a 1st place and two Top 4 placements being worth half of an Invitational Invite. From there he improved his VGC18 results throughout the season and locked up his invite with his first VGC18 Grinder towards the end of the season. Pyreon’s goal is to go as far as possible and to put up a good fight in each and every set he plays in Pools, and says he has already achieved his goal in just earning his invite. Pyreon thanks the Portuguese VGC community for their support and the friends he has made throughout this year, and is looking to leave a mark on the VGC scene in 2019.

LLeonard (14th Seed)

LLeonard’s Grinder and Throwback results were incredibly consistent, with four Top 4’s and a 1st place in Grinders as well as 1st place and two Top 4’s in Throwbacks. He’s already proven he can outplace even the strongest of players in tournament, and with results like these it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him continue to do it. As simply qualifying was his goal for the Circuit, he has now extended his goal to reaching Top 8.

MasterWizardVGC (15th Seed)

MasterWizardVGC was very committed to earning his Invitational invite early in the season, winning the 4th Grinder back in January and back-to-back Throwbacks for VGC15 and VGC17. With 80 Circuit Points on the board early in the season MasterWizardVGC relaxed slightly, and qualified with another 6 Top Cuts across various Grinders. MasterWizardVGC hasn’t played in Grinders for a few months, and could potentially be keeping a team secret for the Invitational.

Knappi (16th Seed)

Knappi earned most of his Trainer Tower Circuit points through the Trainer Tower Open, where he placed Top 8 out of nearly 400 competitors. If this wasn’t enough, he joined the Circuit and Top Cut his first Grinder at X-1, before going 6-0 in Top Cut games to win overall. Top 8 out of nearly 400 players followed by an immediate Grinder win against some of the strongest players in the circuit is proof of Knappi’s undeniable skill with VGC18 with a 15-4 win to loss across both of these events.

2Thyfor (17th Seed)

2Thyfor earned half of his invite through the Trainer Tower Open and came home strong with a 1st, 4th and 2nd finishers in Grinders and a Throwback to clinch his invite in the final event of the season. He equates his success to ‘Kramer,’ and only response was ‘Kramer Is Love, Kramer Is Life.’ 2Thyfor has quite a few people to thank, including his ‘perfect’ partner Torkoal, as well as, similarly to Swaggy McBuckets, IKEA, Shark Tale and Mt Silver. Outside of this, 2Thyfor’s only comment regarding his chances of performing well in the Invitational was that you should follow him on twitter at 2Thyfor.

Xenoblade_Hero (18th Seed)

Xenoblade Hero is another played who placed highly in the Trainer Tower Open and used these points alongside his live event results to qualify. With some uncommon Pokemon making their way onto his team such as Mega Heracross, Buzzwole and Rotom-H Xenoblade Hero tested multiple teams against strong competitors in the circuit. He also attributes his success to staying hydrated, and believes this is key to performance. His aim is Top 8, but he is also just looking forward to seeing how he fares against players who have proven themselves not just in the circuit, but at live events such as the Top Cut of Worlds. Xenoblade Hero thanked the NPA team Celestic Stars for their help this year, and teased bringing his favourite Pokemon to the Invitational, Beartic.

Lore95VGC (19th Seed)

Lore95VGC is another player who placed in the Top 8 of the Trainer Tower Open, an achievement not many can say they have. For his remaining 10 Circuit Points left in his Invitational invite he played in his first Grinder, where he placed comfortably in the Top 4 to qualify for the Invitational. If this wasn’t proof enough of his skill, he went and did it again, and now sits at 110 Circuit Points.

Mitch (20th Seed)

Mitch had one of the strongest VGC seasons in all of Australia, and was the highest placed Australian player in the Trainer Tower Open. With 90 Circuit points from the Trainer Tower Open running nothing but Kommo-O variants Mitch had to prove he was skilled at previous formats to clinch his invite in the final event of the Circuit: a VGC16 Throwback. With a Top 4 finish Mitch earned his invite and proved that this is his strongest season in his career of VGC. Although he mentions his track record in events with Pools being subpar, he would love to achieve Top 8.

ShabaraiVGC (21st Seed)

ShabaraiVGC has enjoyed playing momentum based teams all season and outplayed his opponents into the Top Cut of the Trainer Tower Open as well as multiple Grinders. ShabaraiVGC’s first VGC event was in 2015, and with a 1st place finish in the VGC15 Throwback it’s easy to see why it’s his favourite VGC format. Despite not loving VGC15 his goal is to make it through Pools and into Top Cut, with any better result just a bonus. He predominantly works alongside his groups of friends “Laboratorio Memes” and “Il Server,” and thanks them for their support. He attributes much of his success to players such as Alessio Vinciguerra, Lorenzo Silvestrini and Davide Cauteruccio.

MudcrabVGC (22nd Seed)

MudcrabVGC sneaked into the Invitational with a win in the last VGC event of the Circuit, earning multiple small amounts of points which all added up towards the end alongside a 1st and 2nd in the last few Grinders. His teams were primarily focused around M-Tyranitar and Tapu Lele, often accompanied by some high BST UBs. His teams were often aggressive and were built with help from the Brisbane Buzzwoles and his practice partner HobbitVGC. MudcrabVGC’s ultimate goal is to become recognised as a quality VGC player and due to his location, this is the best place for him to achieve his goal.

EmbC (23rd Seed)

Everyone’s favourite Mudsdale lover EmbC wasa one of the first players to qualify for the Invitational, reaching 100 points in just a couple months. From then on he laid low, potentially retaining information from his opponents. As a previous Top 4 Worlds Competitor EmbC is surely one player that fellow competitors are dreading having in their pool. Though describing himself as ‘bad’ personally, EmbC has shown amazing consistency across both online and offline events and is aiming for no place other than first.

ApplePie (24th Seed)

ApplePie is another consistent player who used the Trainer Tower Circuit as a testing grounds for new teams. He won the first Grinder of the season with a team featuring M-Charizard and Tapu Koko before switching to a M-Gardevoir team to Top Cut the Trainer Tower Open. With added points from the Trainer Tower Scramble he totaled just over 100 Circuit Points to qualify. With a ‘cool team’ he is confident in he’ll be aiming for no other than 1st place. He extends his thanks to Rest Of EU for reminding him that Grinders were running, and without their support he may not have had the results he achieved through the year.

Necrocat219 (25th Seed)

Necrocat219 barely qualified for the Invitational at 102 Circuit Points, which, considering his focus was on the Official Circuit is impressive in itself. After an early lead of 20 Circuit Points from the Scramble early in the year, a win in one of the last few Grinders and consistent Top 8 and Top 4 placements Necrocat219 qualified in the final Grinder of the year after a Top 8. His goal for the Invitational is to make Top 4, however he’s also just looking to play to the best of his ability and enjoy the sets he will have throughout the event.

Frania (26th Seed)

Frania started off the season as one of the most committed players to the circuit, playing every single event possible until they had their invite locked up. His team choice was whatever was believed to be the strongest at the time, and he proved this to be true with back-to-back Grinder wins. Frania also has arguably the best motivation going into the Invitational and the Circuit, with enjoying the game his primary goal. With teams coming from NPA team Hearthome Holy Spirits Frania is sure to have a well-built team and will be able to pilot it to its potential once again.

Spurrific (27th Seed)

Spurrific earned his invite through his skillful use of M-Gardevoir throughout the Trainer Tower Open followed by a 2nd place finish in Team Cup. Some of his results throughout the VGC18 format have been extremely impressive, the most notable being 2nd place at the North American International Championships, however we can’t forget his with strong showings in NPA and Top 16 finish the Trainer Tower Open. Spurrific believes he has a chance to go deep in the Invitational, but is slightly concerned about his lack of practice against other qualified players as he did not compete in any Trainer Tower Grinders. Spurrific thanks his Team Cup teammates LightCore and iMagikarp for helping him earn enough points to qualify.

Simipour (28th Seed)

Simipour is one of two players sitting on exactly 100 Circuit Points, 80 of which came from Grinders. With a somewhat slow start to the Circuit Simipour amassed only 30 Circuit Points in the first half of the season, however rapidly improved to place Top 64 in the Trainer Tower Open, and then 2nd and 1st in two of the last few Grinders. This improvement was also seen outside of the Circuit with a Top 8 finish at Sheffield Regional.

Conclusion

With such a diverse pool of players who qualified through various methods we are sure to get some high level sets. I wish all players luck in their Invitational sets and thank the Trainer Tower Tournament Organiser team of LightCore, Nightlight26, Swanner, Saxlad, LH Almeida and Gramgus for their help in hosting such a successful circuit.

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