Video: Pokémon UNITE Championship Series Player Profile and interview revealed for Centerguard from Japan

The Pokémon Company recently announced the Pokémon UNITE Championship Series. Read on below to learn more:
【公式】ポケモンユナイト甲子園 参加チームインタビュー 茨城県立境高校「Centerguard」篇 6月25日(土)・26日(日)に、『ポケモンユナイト』の高校生大会「ポケモンユナイト甲子園」のオンライン地区予選が開催! この予選大会に参加する、茨城県立境高校のチーム「Centerguard」に、大会への意気込みなどを聞いたよ。 「ポケモンユナイト甲子園」のエントリーは、6月24日(金)まで! 同じ高校の友だちとチームを組んで参加してね! https://pokemonunite.j-cg.com/ja #ポケモン #ポケットモンスター #ポケモンユナイト
Player Profiles: Sejun | Pokémon UNITE Championship Series Sejun, a member of Eternity in the UNITE Championship Series, has a unique list of accolades. Not only did he win the Korea Aeos Cup in April and the Korea May Finals the following month, but he is also highly respected for his iconic VG win with Pachirisu at the 2014 Pokémon World Championships. In this Player Profile, hosted by UNITE Championship Series caster spragels, Sejun discusses his life with Pokémon. From playing Pokémon Gold and Silver as a child, to his success across competitions in more recent years, Sejun has plenty to share! Get more Pokémon UNITE details and learn where to download the game here: https://bit.ly/3gujGug
Player Profiles: Yoshi | Pokémon UNITE Championship Series Yoshi, captain of the team PogChamp, is driven to win the UNITE Championship Series. Aside from winning the March Cup in the EU region, Yoshi and PogChamp also finished within the Top 4 of both the February Finals and the Aeos Cup. While they rack up Championship Points on the road to the Regional Finals, Yoshi has his sights set on the ultimate goal, the World Championships in London! His message to opponents: “If you face PogChamp, be ready to lose, my friends.” Learn more about Yoshi in this Player Profile!
Player Profiles: BabyMazo | Pokémon UNITE Championship Series Within Pokémon UNITE, BabyMazo is a member of From Brazil and a two-time Monthly Champion in the South America-East Region of the UNITE Championship Series. Outside of the game, he’s busy from morning to night with work, school, and content creation. Learn more about the skilled attacker in this Player Profile!
Player Profile: Goof | Pokémon UNITE Championship Series Goof, an Attacker for North American team Gaimin Gladiators, has already made a huge impact on the Pokémon UNITE Championship series. Goof and Gaimin Gladiators won the NA February Finals and finished in the region’s Top 6 in March. But there’s much more to Goof than just Pikachu and Hoopa! From gym to scrims, see a day in the life of Goof in this Player Profile!

How Gaimin Gladiators Prepared for the Pokémon UNITE Championship Series

Hear how one of the top Pokémon UNITE teams prepared for their biggest matches.

By George “Goof” Gebhardt, Contributing Writer The February Pokémon UNITE circuit finals have concluded, giving fans of the competitive scene their first official look at which team reigns supreme in each region. I am fortunate to be on one of the top teams in North America, the Gaimin Gladiators. We won the first event of the Pokémon UNITE Championship Series—the February Finals—without dropping a single game, and we look forward to continuing our success right up to the World Championships. Our team has put in a lot of hard work to get to the level we’re at, and a lot of aspiring players probably want to know more about what has led us to our success. In this article, I will explain how we formed our team, our preparation for this tournament, and our dominant run through the event. First, let’s look at some of the other top teams from when the Pokémon UNITE Championship Series kicked off. The European February Grand Finals were action-packed, with Yerman Burger Flippers facing off against Random Gaming. Both teams brought their best scoring-focused compositions and battled it out in chaotic style. Random Gaming surprised their opponents with a niche Crustle pick that tilted this no-defense, pure-scoring battle in their favor. With this win, Random Gaming, after having fallen to the lower bracket earlier in the event, claimed victory in the Grand Finals. As for Oceania, the favorite to win—Ground Zero Gaming—decided to play a more traditional style. With some brilliant adjustments to the standard western metagame, this team unleashed Talonflame and a solo top path Charizard. Their strategy paid off, securing them a 2–1 victory in the Grand Finals. In the following weeks, we saw the top teams of other regions experimenting with this Charizard strategy. Needless to say, there’s a lot of talent and a lot of evolving strategy everywhere that Pokémon UNITE is being played. OK, let’s take a look at the work Gaimin Gladiators put into their winning team strategy!

Background: Building Our Team

A good place to start is the beginning. Leading up to the release of Pokémon UNITE, my friends and I were all really excited to jump in. We have competitive backgrounds in similar games, and many of us really just love Pokémon. Before we knew what the metagame would be, and before we knew if there would be a competitive scene, we had a rough idea of who would be playing what. Here is what each teammate brought to the table with regard to both talent and attitude.

Indieツ

With Indie’s long history of playing the healer role across similar games, we knew Indie would be the perfect fit playing Supporter Pokémon. The thing about Indie is that he’s perfectly content just to float around on Eldegoss, saving us with Cotton Guard, but he’s also skilled enough to play any Pokémon or role. This is a rare combo in competitive games. He brings a positive attitude, and he’s always willing to take responsibility for his mistakes.

Zugrug

Zugrug has a professional background across multiple other competitive titles—and a penchant for the “tank” role. Zugrug was a shoo-in for the Defender spot on our yet-to-be Pokémon UNITE team. He is nearly always calm under pressure and has experience on the big stage playing in front of a crowd (for if and when the time comes at the World Championships).

Lutano

Our plan for Lutano going into Pokémon UNITE was simple. We would figure out which Pokémon was the hardest and most mechanically demanding, then stick Lutano on it. This guy has been bringing it to our opponents on Lucario since the release of the game, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Toonslim

Toon was an easy pick for our Pokémon UNITE team as our longtime friend and consistent overperformer in any game our group has played. Toonslim is really having his time to shine in Pokémon UNITE and is arguably the best central area player in the world.

Goof

This is me. I play the bottom path attacker for my team. When Pokémon UNITE released, I really wanted to play as Pikachu. Recently, my dream came true, and we won the February Finals with me piloting everyone’s favorite Electric-type Mouse Pokémon. I won’t talk up my gaming history here besides to say that it allowed me to make all the right friends for this journey.

Competitive Roles and the Metagame

Despite all our preparation before the release of the game, the metagame of Pokémon UNITE was hard to predict months in advance. I’ll quickly break down the current “1-1-3” or “western” metagame as it pertains to the roles on my team and areas of the map.

The Top Path

The top path is typically home to a 1-on-1 battle, with each team sending one Pokémon that excels at this duel for control. Lucario has been the prevailing choice since the release of the game, but we’ve seen Tsareena, Garchomp, Machamp, and recently, as mentioned earlier, Charizard from our Oceania February champions.

The Central Area

The central area pick for each team is typically one Pokémon that benefits significantly from a large Exp. Points lead. This player must help their teammates on the top or bottom paths at two key early points in battle: 8:50 and 7:20, when the Vespiquen appear. It’s important that the chosen Pokémon is powerful at these times so it can begin building a lead.

The Bottom Path

The bottom path is an all-out 3-on-3 battle. There’s usually a healing Supporter Pokémon, which has predominantly been Eldegoss. Joining it is a Ranged Attacker, as well as a Defender or a bulky Supporter to secure the last hits on wild Pokémon.

Roles

This leaves the roles in the current metagame as follows:
  1. Top path solo player
  2. Central area “carry”
  3. Bottom path “tank”
  4. Bottom path “attacker”
  5. Bottom path “healer”

February Finals Preparation

Prior to the Play! Pokémon Championship Series kicking off, my team had won nearly every major western tournament, but admittedly, our morale was starting to fade. Then, the details about the official Pokémon UNITE circuit and a live event at the World Championships were revealed, including a $1 million USD prize pool. That brought us back. Our motivation rebounded to an all-time high, but with fans in every region declaring us the best team in the world right out of the gate, the bar was set high. We could not afford to lose the first official event. Even though we were excited, we weren’t playing our best around this time. But despite the weight of the moment, I don’t think anyone was really nervous. We decided the ranked ladder wasn’t sufficient practice, so we arranged scrimmages with other top teams. The best teams from North America and neighboring regions were invited to participate. We stopped livestreaming our practice, and for around four hours per day, we played Pokémon UNITE as a team against the best opponents who were willing. We were clearly improving, and after a week or two, we were once again at our best. We developed new macro tactics, and because we weren’t communicating all our strategies when we did stream matches, each tactic remained effective for longer. By the time our opponents figured out one thing we were doing, we had three more new ideas to throw them off balance. We could see the draw competitive Pokémon UNITE had firsthand as the viewer numbers just to watch us practice were higher each day. Again, this came with feelings of pressure to perform, but we were practicing hard. I knew we wouldn’t let our fans down.

Preparing Our Team Composition

Regardless of our level of confidence, there was one thing we had to make sure was optimal going into the event, and that was picking the right Pokémon for the job. We knew we could change battle items and held items on a whim to adjust to our opponents, but if we practiced with the wrong Pokémon, it wouldn’t be such an easy fix. We decided pretty early on in February that, given the time frame, we had time to prepare a main composition and maybe one backup composition in case things went south. There was some debate, but as a team, I think we all agreed on some fundamental ideas. First, we wanted something stable and well-rounded. We would prefer to have a few slightly unfavorable matchups we could overcome with skill rather than have any nearly unwinnable matchups. Additionally, for our main composition, we needed something flexible in terms of our game plan. Having the tools to win a game in which we lost the first Drednaw was significantly more important to us than being slightly more favored when we did win it. It was also important that we had the tools to win late-game team fights, as well as the tools to quickly complete the map objectives if the situation called for it. Looking back at this tournament, I wouldn’t change a thing from what we settled on.

Our Main Composition

Here’s the team we ended up using in the February Finals.

Bottom Path

Indieツ — Healer

Indie was on his tried-and-true Eldegoss for this tournament. Cotton Guard is too strong to not have on your team. And with its powerful Unite Move, this Pokémon is incredibly strong in the constant 3-on-3 skirmishes on the bottom path. Eldegoss’s ranged basic attacks and the sustain provided by its moves make it indispensable. Pokémon: Eldegoss Moves: Cotton Guard + Leaf Tornado Battle Item: X Speed Held Items: Buddy Barrier / Muscle Band / Exp. Share

Goof — Attacker

Pikachu was an easy choice for me. Pikachu provides early-game dominance with two strong early-game moves and extremely long-ranged Muscle Band basic attacks. Pikachu requires very few Exp. Points to be useful, which allowed Toonslim and Lutano to be more greedy. Additionally, Pikachu’s fast-charging Unite Move provides lots of macro options, especially when Rotom first appears three minutes into the match. Pokémon: Pikachu Moves: Thunder + Thunderbolt Battle Item: Eject Button Held Items: Buddy Barrier / Muscle Band / Focus Band

Zugrug — Tank

For our bottom path “tank,” we chose Wigglytuff. Wigglytuff has a strong early game, with Sing unlocking at Lv. 4. Sing is great for setting up for Pikachu. At Lv. 8, Wigglytuff unlocks its extremely powerful and flexible Unite Move, which is strong both offensively and defensively. This is absolutely massive in games in which you lose the first Drednaw and would otherwise struggle to get Slowbro’s or Snorlax’s Unite Move (which unlock at Lv. 9) for the second one. Pokémon: Wigglytuff Moves: Sing + Dazzling Gleam Battle Item: Eject Button Held Items: Buddy Barrier / Focus Band / Score Shield

Central Area

Toonslim — Carry

The central area is a tricky one for deciding which Pokémon to play as. You have to weigh the Pokémon’s strength against the first and second Vespiquen, its clear speed, its potential for surprise attacks on the top and bottom paths, and so much more. There are a lot of issues to deal with, but there are just as many attractive, extremely powerful options. For our needs and for consistency’s sake, we chose Cinderace. Cinderace is relatively strong throughout the match, has a somewhat stable, predictable performance in fights, and can reliably complete map objectives when the time is right without taking damage. Cinderace’s long range also means the strongest Pokémon on your team doesn’t always have to be in harm’s way to deal damage. This is something Speedsters like Talonflame lack. Pokémon: Cinderace Moves: Blaze Kick + Flame Charge Battle Item: Eject Button Held Items: Buddy Barrier / Scope Lens / Muscle Band

Top Path

Lutano — Solo

For Lutano, we decided on the tried and tested Lucario. Lucario has a strong early game on the top path and is no slouch compared to the alternatives in late-game team fights. Lutano saw a bit of a return to dominance on Lucario with the rise of the Close Combat build. This build allows us to secure map objectives with Power-Up Punch, something we would otherwise be sorely missing. Leading into this event, we were using Pikachu’s long-range zoning to make our opponents change their route into the Zapdos area. When they did, we would then pull and secure Zapdos while they repositioned. Lucario’s damage with Close Combat and secures with Power-Up Punch made this possible. Pokémon: Lucario Moves: Power-Up Punch + Close Combat Battle Item: Slow Smoke Held Items: Muscle Band / Razor Claw / Attack Weight

Our Backup Composition

For our backup composition, we prepared something that would cover any of our main composition’s potential weaknesses, as well as perhaps catch our opponents off guard. We didn’t change everything, but it’s surprising how a couple different Pokémon can be a game changer. This one was much more straightforward: a powerful late-game team-fight setup geared toward building an impossible-to-take-down Petal Dance + Giga Drain Venusaur. It relied on Blissey in the tank role, providing twice as much support for a central area Venusaur and for running our opponents over. We thought this was a strong counter for Talonflame and other central area Speedster compositions, which relied on taking Toonslim’s Cinderace out of the fight early on with burst damage. Not only is Venusaur a pain to knock out, but it would be backed up by Zugrug on Blissey.

Bottom Area

Indieツ — Healer

In this composition, Indie remained on Eldegoss. Not much new to say here. Eldegoss does what it does very well. Pokémon: Eldegoss Moves: Cotton Guard + Leaf Tornado Battle Item: X Speed Held Items: Buddy Barrier / Muscle Band / Exp. Share

Goof — Attacker

Again, Pikachu remained in the composition. This Pokémon felt necessary for securing the early game, and with this largely Venusaur-focused team, it was even more important that our bottom path attacker be relevant without too many Exp. Points. Pokémon: Pikachu Moves: Thunder + Thunderbolt Battle Item: Eject Button Held Items: Buddy Barrier / Muscle Band / Focus Band

Zugrug — Tank

We swapped Zugrug to Blissey on our backup team. Blissey’s role on the team was to stop pesky burst damagers or crowd-control effects from taking out our Lucario or Venusaur. Then, once the fight was stabilized, we would run our opponents over with two Supporters and a high-level Venusaur. Pokémon: Blissey Moves: Safeguard + Helping Hand Battle Item: Slow Smoke Held Items: Buddy Barrier / Focus Band / Score Shield

Central Area

Toonslim — Carry

As you can tell by now, the crux of this composition is the central area Venusaur. Paired with Blissey and Eldegoss, Venusaur is nearly impossible to take down when it has a lead. This is amplified when our opponents would forgo a traditional sustained-damage-dealing central area Pokémon in favor of a burst-damage Speedster. The game would then simply be about surviving the initial engagement, and with Blissey, that’s easy work. Pokémon: Venusaur Moves: Giga Drain + Petal Dance Battle Item: Full Heal Held Items: Buddy Barrier / Focus Band / Muscle Band

Top Area

Lutano — Solo

Here we stuck with Lucario. Lutano has been dominating with it, and there are definitely some windows for an Extreme Speed switch-up here. Pokémon: Lucario Moves: Power-Up Punch + Close Combat Battle Item: Slow Smoke Held Items: Muscle Band / Razor Claw / Attack Weight Luckily, we didn’t have to switch from our main composition, but I’ve included this backup team composition to give an idea of what went into our preparation. You may not always need a backup team, but when you do, you’ll be grateful you had one.

Closing Thoughts

To play well and stay mentally focused, I believe you should feel good physically, too! Before events, I like to wake up early, hit the gym, get breakfast, and relax a bit before warming up with some practice matches. I find that a good night’s rest and a morning routine can put you in a consistent mindset to perform well. You could argue that this wasn’t the most challenging set of matches we’ve played, but I think our success is mostly due to us preparing the right way. We’re also excited to have fans that watch the matches and push us to be the best people and players we can be. The Gaimin Gladiators and so many other teams are so excited for the rest of the Pokémon UNITE Championship Series. We’re truly wishing the other teams luck and doing our best for our competitive scene and Pokémon UNITE as a whole. About the Writer
George “Goof” Gebhardt Goof is the captain of a dominant team in the Pokémon UNITE competitive scene. He has been playing MOBA-style games for 15 years. Pokémon games, including the TCG, have always been a passion of his. You can find him on Twitter at @goof_gg. Source: Pokemon.com

7 thoughts on “Video: Pokémon UNITE Championship Series Player Profile and interview revealed for Centerguard from Japan

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