2022 Pokémon UNITE World Championships Recap
Find out how the best of the best Pokémon UNITE teams in London took their own paths to greatness.
By Jeff Hoogland, Contributing Writer
Top Pokémon UNITE Trainers from around the world gathered in London to show us their best at the first ever Pokémon UNITE World Championships. For spectators, the Championship delivered a phenomenal two days of competitive Pokémon UNITE. This event showcased the depth of different strategies at the highest levels of Pokémon UNITE.
Our top four teams not only all came from different regions, they all approached Pokémon UNITE in a different manner. Examining their performances provides a great snapshot of the overall action. Let’s take a look at the key things that allowed each of these teams to find success at the World Championships, and look ahead at what’s to come as the new season kicks off.
4th Place: T2 (Japan)
Headlining T2 was their superstar Tsareena player, Mame. Mame navigated the Fruit Pokémon at the micro level with deadly precision. Weaving in and out of engagements where many other players would have come up short, Mame racked up knockout after knockout.
The power of Mame’s Tsareena was able to truly shine in part due to excellent team coordination. Takishima’s Blissey provided an endless stream of eggs to keep Mame nice and healthy. Supercell with Snorlax frequently displaced the enemy team, giving Mame extra room to maneuver around or escape.
Beyond their individual performances, T2 easily had the most unique “macro” play of any team to compete on the World Stage. That is, the positioning of their team as a whole on the map at any given point was often very different from other teams. The most surprising macro from T2 was the fact that they often skipped clearing their central area at the start of a game. This allowed T2 to have more Pokémon in the top and bottom paths when wild Pokémon were being contested to gain an edge in early exchanges. Once the contested wild Pokémon were cleared in the paths, T2 would send members to quickly clear the central area before the next contested wild Pokémon appeared on the map.
T2 approached the midgame of Pokémon UNITE differently from other teams, as well. While almost every other team at the World Championships put a high priority on claiming the Drednaw objective in the bottom path, T2 did not. Similar to the start of the game, T2 again prioritized contested wild Pokémon. While their opposition was clearing Drednaw, T2 sent their high-damage Pokémon to clear every other wild Pokémon off the map.
This strategy of clearing wild Pokémon above everything else meant that T2 often had the highest Pokémon levels in the game towards the end. When the 2-minute mark hit and Zapdos appeared, T2 was ready to dominate the most important team fight of the game. This was on full display in game three of the Winners quarterfinals. T2 gave up every Drednaw in this game, but still had the highest-level Pokémon with two minutes to go.
While T2 made a deep run in Worlds, ultimately their tournament run ended in the loser semifinals in a close three-game match to Nouns Esports.
3rd Place: Renaissance (APAC)
In a tournament that was dominated by melee brawlers, Renaissance demonstrated the power that some of Pokémon UNITE’s ranged attackers have to offer. Renaissance was the only team at the Pokémon UNITE World Championships to bring the powerful special attacker Gardevoir out to play, with that role put in the hands of Kamiru.
When Kamiru came out of the central area as a Level 5 Kirlia with Psyshock they were truly a force to be reckoned with. Psyshock deals three powerful bursts of damage in a row, doing massive damage to both wild and enemy Pokémon alike. This is especially potent against enemy melee Pokémon who generally need to be up close to contest last hits.
In addition to playing Gardevoir, Renaissance was one of the few teams to consistently select Venusaur at the World Championships. Venusaur and Gardevoir are both what the Pokémon UNITE community refers to as “scaling” Pokémon, which is to say that they are incredibly powerful in the late game if they are able to acquire the levels they need.
Game after game throughout the World Championships, Renaissance would reach the pivotal Level 13 on Gardevoir and Venusaur to dominate team fights. This was especially on display in the first game of Renaissance’s quarterfinals match against iClen. Kamiru racked up 11 knockouts, 12 assists, and 134,000 total damage with Gardevoir!
As the tournament progressed, though, Renaissance’s willingness to try unconventional picks would ultimately be their downfall. Against Nouns Esports in the loser’s finals, Renaissance lost while bringing out a team composition that included Alolan Ninetales and Delphox.
2nd Place: Nouns Esports (Europe)
For many observers, Nouns Esports was a favorite to win the entire tournament going into Worlds, myself included. While they fell just short of that goal, finishing second place in such a tough field is no small feat. The European Regional Champions proved yet again that they are one of the best teams around when it comes to competitive Pokémon UNITE.
Headlining Nouns Esports roster was definitely ADESu on Dragonite. Firing off Hyper Beams again, and again, and again secured countless important objectives over the course of the World Championships.
During the Regional Finals that Nouns Esports won in Europe, Bruv said that their pre-game ritual was asking the team if they could play against something other than Blissey. During the World Championships Bruv’s request was granted several times and they played Mr. Mime to great effect.
While Mr. Mime is a bit of an atypical Pokémon choice, Bruv is arguably the best in the world at playing it. The strength of Mr. Mime comes from the fact that the Confusion move it learns at Level 4 has a large amount of burst damage. This means Mr. Mime is excellent at securing last hits on contested wild Pokémon early in the bottom path. We saw this on full display in Nouns Esports loser’s finals match against Renaissance, where Bruv had a two-level lead against their counterpart in the bottom path at the 8-minute mark.
Nouns Esports had the longest route possible on day two of the Pokémon UNITE World Championships. Losing in the quarterfinals of the winners bracket, Nouns Esports won four matches in the lower bracket to climb their way back to the Grand Finals. Ultimately, however, Nouns Esports would be eliminated in the Grand Finals by our champions, BLVKHVND.
1st Place: BLVKHVND (North America)
BLVKHVND (pronounced “black hand”) put on a dominant performance at the World Championships. In addition to winning the Grand Finals with a 3-0 sweep, BLVKHVND did not lose a single match over the course of the tournament.
BLVKHVND’s unbelievable run through the World Championships is a testament to strength and flexibility of their team. While the powerful pink Pokémon Hoopa and Blissey were ever present in BLVKHVND’s compositions, their damage carries varied wildly game to game.
Over the course of the two-day tournament, BLVKHVND played the following Pokémon:
Perhaps even more impressive than the mastery of so many Pokémon, is the fact that players Overlord and Junglebook were even flexible in the role they played during the games. While Junglebook was the team’s “default” central Pokémon player, there were times that Junglebook would swap into the top path and Overlord would take over the central area.
Overlord’s specialty when it comes to micro gameplay is Pokémon that feature free skill uses: Lucario’s Extreme Speed is free every time it cuts across an opponent for the first time. Tsareena’s Queen’s Majesty buff gives you a free skill use every third time it’s used. Greninja’s Surf is free if it KOs a Pokémon. Watching Overlord’s mastery with a character like Greninja is really something to behold. A five-KO streak is impressive when it happens on the ranked ladder. It is absolutely incredible when it happens at the World Championships. During the first day of the tournament Overlord did exactly this while also securing a Drednaw to boot against iClen.
Similarly, seeing Junglebook dance around the battlefield with the hypermobile Cinderace is truly a delight. The Zapdos fight during the first game of the Grand Finals is one that really stands out in my mind as showcasing the power of Cinderace. Junglebook puts up a steady stream of damage on the opposing team, while remaining at a safe distance from the opposing melee characters that could quickly cut him down.
Overlord and Junglebook did an excellent job of showcasing the fact that mastery with a Pokémon and proper teamplay matter far more than simply playing what is “best” in a given Pokémon UNITE format. BLVKHVND was the only team to play Cinderace and Greninja at the World Championships, Pokémon that were thought by many to be suboptimal going into the event. They won every single game with these two Pokémon. Congratulations to BLVKHVND on becoming the first Pokémon UNITE World Champions.
Overall Metagame Breakdown
In my Worlds preview article I predicted that Blissey and Hoopa would be incredibly popular on the world stage. Our Champions, BLVKHVND, backed that up, playing both powerful support Pokémon throughout their undefeated run in the tournament.
Something that did come as a surprise, though, was the fact that Tsareena ended up being the undisputed most popular melee Pokémon at the event. Being selected more than twice as often as the second most played melee Pokémon, Aegislash, Tsareena was on nearly every team at some point throughout the event. Lucario and Machamp were not only third and fourth in terms of melee pick rates, but they also had the lowest win rates among melee Pokémon when selected.
Another interesting development at Worlds was the return of Snorlax as a premier defender in competitive play. We saw Korean all-star, Blossom, leverage Snorlax to great effect for team No Show at many points during the event. Heavy Slam, followed up by a Block in the direction of his team often allowed Blossom to isolate members of the opposing team to pick them off. On the North American side, Pikadiff for IX Gaming was fantastic at landing Heavy Slams that could knock up an entire opposing team at key moments.
Lastly, with how important securing the last hit on objectives like Drednaw and Zapdos is, Dragonite was the most popular central area Pokémon at the World Championships. Dragonite’s Hyper Beam is unmatched in its securing potential with how much damage it can deal at once.
Looking Forward to the Future
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In case you missed it at the Pokémon UNITE World Championships, it was unveiled that a new map is coming soon to competitive Pokémon UNITE: Theia Sky Ruins. This map will not only bring with it new objective Pokémon, such as Rayquaza at the two-minute mark, but also new wild Pokémon!
Unlike Zapdos, who makes goals completely defenseless when captured, Rayquaza will give your surviving team a score shield that also increases your scoring speed. This means simply stealing a last hit on this final objective is far less likely to bring your team victory. Your team will need to be prepared to mount a push afterward since the opposing team can defend their goal zones from attempts to deposit Aeos energy.
In addition to a new map coming to Pokémon UNITE, we also now know September will introduce three new Pokémon releases, as well! I am excited to see how the strategies employed by top teams, such as our champions BLVKHVND, continue to evolve as so many new variables are added to competitive play as we head into UNITE’s second year.
Congratulations again to BLVKHVND as the first Pokémon UNITE World Champions. And look forward to another year of exciting Pokémon UNITE battles as players start to qualify for the 2023 World Championships next year in Yokohama, Japan!
Jeff Hoogland has a graduate degree in mathematics from Illinois State University, where he studied game theory, among other things. He often works as an analyst for the Pokémon UNITE Championship Series and has been an avid player of Pokémon UNITE since its release on Nintendo Switch and mobile devices. He has logged over 4,000 matches of Pokémon UNITE.
2022 Pokémon World Championships Opening Ceremonies Trailer
Witness the opening to the 2022 Pokémon World Championships, introducing Pokémon Sword and Shield, Pokémon TCG, Pokémon GO, Pokémon UNITE, and Pokkén Tournament DX!
#ポケモン #ポケットモンスター #WCS2022
Top Pokémon Competitors Crowned at the 2022 Pokémon World Championships
New Game Mechanic Unveiled for the Pokémon Trading Card Game; More Details Shared for the Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet Video Games
London, UK—August 22, 2022—The 2022 Pokémon World Championships came to a close yesterday following four days of intense matches and friendly competition in London, UK. The best Trainers from around the world attended the annual event to take part in the premier tournament for Pokémon video games and the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG). This year’s event featured the Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield video games, the Pokémon TCG, Pokémon GO, Pokkén Tournament DX and Pokémon UNITE. Winners of each division can be found here.
New information for the highly anticipated Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet video games was revealed during the closing ceremony, introducing a new regional Pokémon, a deeper look at the Terastal Phenomenon and more. The Pokémon Company and Creatures also announced the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG): Scarlet & Violet Series, launching in 2023. The Scarlet & Violet Series will become the new Standard format for competitive play.
The Pokémon World Championships is an invitation-only event held in a different location every year, for which players can qualify by competing in various local, regional and international tournaments in the Play! Pokémon program. This year’s champions were awarded a one-of-a-kind Pokémon World Championships trophy and a portion of a prize pool totaling more than $1,000,000.
The location of the 2023 Pokémon World Championships was also announced during the closing ceremony on Sunday evening, to be held in Yokohama, Japan.
For more information about Play! Pokémon, please visit: https://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/
Pokémon Trading Card Game: Scarlet & Violet Series and Pokémon ex Gameplay Mechanic Unveiled
Unveiled during the Pokémon World Championships was Pokémon ex, a new gameplay mechanic that will release in the Scarlet & Violet Series. Featuring fan-favorite Pokémon and newly discovered ones, Pokémon ex will appear in each stage of evolution and have high HP, as well as powerful attacks and Abilities.
While getting a Pokémon ex Knocked Out by an opponent can cost two Prize cards, Stage 2 Pokémon ex have the power to quickly turn the tide of the battle with high HP and powerful attacks that require little Energy. The theme of “comebacks” will be a key focus for the Scarlet & Violet Series, as players will encounter various Pokémon, Trainer, and Energy cards that can create critical turning points in the game.
Trainers can watch the trailer for the Scarlet & Violet Series and Pokémon ex on the official Pokémon YouTube channel here.
Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet Video Games
Developed by GAME FREAK inc., Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet take a new evolutionary step in the Pokémon main series. Trainers can explore an open world where various towns with no borders blend seamlessly into the wilderness.
A New Pokémon Revealed: Cyclizar
Cyclizar has lived in many households in the Paldea region since ancient times. It has a mild disposition, and people riding Cyclizar are a very common sight. It appears Cyclizar don’t mind being ridden because the warmth of a rider helps stave off the cold.
Category: Mount Pokémon
Weight: 138.9 lbs.
Ability: Shed Skin
Battle with Pokémon Trainers from All over the World in the Battle Stadium
Ranked Battles, which players have had the chance to enjoy in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, will be returning in Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet. Players will also be able to take on battles in modes like Casual Battles and Online Competitions as well.
Master Using the Terastal Phenomenon in Battle
Terastallizing is a phenomenon in the Paldea region that makes Pokémon shine and glimmer like gems. The primary feature of Terastallizing in battle is that it changes a Pokémon’s type to its Tera Type. Pokémon don’t outwardly show what their Tera Type is until they Terastallize—a fact that players can use to take opponents by surprise in battle.
Tera Blast is a Normal-type move that can be learned with a TM. When used by a Terastallized Pokémon, it becomes a move of the same type as the Pokémon’s Tera Type. Tera Blast inflicts damage using the Attack or Sp. Atk stat—whichever is higher for the user.
Introducing New Held Items
- Mirror Herb
This herb will allow the holder to mirror an opponent’s stat increases and boost its own stats–but only once.
- Covert Cloak
This hooded cloak conceals the holder, protecting it from the additional effects of moves.
- Loaded Dice
If a Pokémon holding this item uses a multistrike move, that move will be more likely to hit more times.
The Pokémon Company International, a subsidiary of The Pokémon Company in Japan, manages the property outside of Asia and is responsible for brand management, licensing and marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the animated TV series, home entertainment, and the official Pokémon website. Pokémon was launched in Japan in 1996 and today is one of the most popular children’s entertainment properties in the world. For more information, visit www.pokemon.com.
A paid Nintendo Switch Online membership is required to use the Battle Stadium. To use the Battle Stadium, players may need to install update data that may become available on or after the games’ release date. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield players cannot battle with Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet players.
2022 Pokémon World Championships Closing Ceremony Recap
New Pokémon TCG news, Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet updates, and the location of next year’s competition.
The 2022 Pokémon World Championships have wrapped up, but not before Tsunekazu Ishihara, President of The Pokémon Company, shared some exciting news during the event’s closing ceremony. In addition to announcing the return of a classic Pokémon Trading Card Game play mechanic and delivering an update on Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, Mr. Ishihara also revealed the location of the 2023 Pokémon World Championships!
As you can see in the video above, Pokémon ex are returning to the Pokémon TCG in the Pokémon TCG: Scarlet & Violet Series. Pokémon ex will appear in each stage of Evolution—as Basic, Stage 1, and Stage 2 Pokémon. They have high HP, along with powerful attacks and Abilities, and when one of them is Knocked Out, two Prize cards are taken. These Pokémon have the power to turn the tide of battle in an instant! Pokémon ex will provide all sorts of new strategies as players adjust their decks to utilize (and counter!) these new cards.
You’d better be ready to battle when exploring the Paldea region in the upcoming Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet video games, because the Battle Stadium will provide plenty of fierce competition! If your battling skills are good enough, you might even be able to join other players next year at the 2023 Pokémon World Championships in Yokohama, Japan. This will be the first time that the Pokémon World Championships take place in Japan, so it’s bound to be an incredible event!
For more details about all the excitement from the 2022 Pokémon World Championships, visit the official Worlds website.
- Shed Tail: Create a substitute, then swap places with a party Pokémon in waiting
- Tera Blast: Changes type when the user has Terastallized
- Mirror Herb: Copies an opponent’s stat increases when consumed
- Loaded Dice: Makes multistrike moves more likely to hit more times
Competitive Play Trailer | Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet
The game’s about to change in Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet!
Pokémon TCG: Scarlet & Violet — Coming in 2023! ❤️💜
(ex)pect the unexpected, #PokemonTCG: Scarlet & Violet!
The new standard is coming in 2023.
During the 2022 Pokémon World Championships closing ceremonies on August 21, 2022, President and CEO of The Pokémon Company Tsunekazu Ishihara revealed new details about the Pokémon Trading Card Game as well as the Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet games due to release worldwide on November 18, 2022.