After overcoming a tough road to the finals at the Seattle Pokémon Video Game Championship regional, Thomas Nishimura won the day with a convincing 2-0 set over Hongyu Zhu.
Nishimura rode the versatility of a dual-primal Groudon and Kyogre team to victory while also causing plenty of headaches with his Weavile. Mega Salamence, Amoonguss and Thundurus rounded out the last three slots of his team — though the latter two weren’t even needed to seal the deal.
Zhu, on the other hand, managed to slide into top-cut with an unconventional core of mega Rayquaza, primal Kyogre and mega Manectric. Ferrothorn gave him some extra bulk and helped with the Kyogre mirror while a Crobat and Thundurus provided the ever necessary speed control.
The pair’s first game got off to a great start for Nishimura, whose Weavile knocked out Zhu’s Thundurus on the switch-in with an icicle crash. Zhu almost managed to trade one mon for another with a gyro ball onto the Weavile, but its focus sash let it live with one hit-point.
Despite losing the first Pokémon, Zhu appeared to be in a good position by setting up a leech seed to keep his Ferrothorn healthy. However, thanks to Nishimura’s cautious play, his primal Groudon lived long enough to win the weather war and mop up the rest of the field.
In game two, both players adjusted their leads, bringing Salamence/Weavile and Ferrothorn/Kyogre respectively. Both players tried to position themselves well for a weather war, with Nishimura switching in his Groudon and Zhu switching out his Kyogre.
Then, possibly hoping to bluff a Kyogre switch-in, Zhu didn’t protect his Ferrothorn from the opposing Groudon’s fire punch. That, once again, left him down a Pokémon early in the game. From there, Nishimura managed to break through a thunder-wave paralysis and a potential precipice blade miss to knock out Zhu’s slower Kyogre. With only Rayquaza and Thundurus left against Nishimura’s whole team, Zhu didn’t have much chance.
In winning, Nishimura proved that he is ready to compete during his first year in the masters division. He also helped contribute to the mounting pile of evidence that shows double primal is supplanting the big six as the most dangerous archetype in the format. Zhu, on the other hand, proved once again that unconventional teams and strong play can still be a successful strategy.
As for how the regional will affect the rest of the community, players will have to wait for next week’s events to see how the metagame has shifted. Will dual-primal continue its rise in popularity, will the big six make a resurgence or will something new come out on top? A lot is still up in the air.