Hello all. My name is David Alan “Argyle” Burnett and as the second season of the USPA’s League Tournament is set to begin, we thought it’d be a great opportunity to hear from this season’s State managers! These Trainers not only are responsible for organizing, managing, and drafting their teams, but they can also jump into the fray themselves as a player if they so choose. Last year, the Trainers from New York were able to win the league, but we’re all set to see if they can retain their title as the top State, or if a new champion will be crowned! So without further ado, lets hear from some of the USPA Team Managers!
The featured USPA Managers are: Izzy (WA/OR), Rexchaos (OH), charMarlin (UT), PapaShuckle (Carolinas), TCamp (Carolinas), KJChicken (Hawaii), Justified Joe (MN), ZekromZeke (TX), TapuNani (MO/KS), Gazoney (DMV), Spooky Megamite (Canada), Pd0nZ (NY), Dandy (NY), JinFurai (WIS), PsyJ (FL), ZardiChar (NorCal), and CharismaaCheck (PA)
1) What has been your experience so far with competitive Pokemon and the USPA and what made you decide to manage a team for this coming season?
Izzy (WA/OR)- I started playing during COVID. I placed Top 8 at the Vancouver Regional 2022, won the AML player draft league as well as EGL s1 + MVP. I was the NPA Manager for Cruisers and am currently managing Winter League with Helios (Smogon league). I have not had much experience with USPA besides being friends with a few of the managers/players from other regions. I was busy with other online stuff when USPA launched. I decided to manage this season because Alyssa asked + its open teamsheet. I think open team sheet is a bit friendlier for newer players and helps being able to focus on their growth vs having them stressing guessing tera types/moves. I have also gotten to know a few of the locals/newer players interested in the league and I want to help grow the VGC scene in the WA/OR area.
Rexchaos (OH) – I have been attending in person events since late 2017, though I started playing online in 2015. I have qualified for the world championships three times in 2018, 19 and 20-22. As for USPA, I managed Ohio last year after being asked to do so in an emergency and had a great time meeting new people and communicating in a team environment, so I figured why not do it again. I love meeting and interacting with new people and this is a great way to do it for myself and others.
charMarlin (UT)- I’ve been playing since 18, and I was a member of team Utah/Nevada. I wanted to manage a team because last year we got merged with Nevada as no one from Utah signed up to manage. This lead to some tough roster decisions being made which lead to some of my friends being left off. I knew that Utah could field a roster on their own, and so it seemed worth my time.
PapaShuckle (Carolinas) – Like many people I started playing during the online era. I have competed in several grass roots local tournaments in the mean time and actually won one in Atlanta during Sword and Shield’s Season 12. I’ve gone to one regional and placed just outside of the top 64 finishing 5-4. I also have been doing my best to grow and organize the local scene in the Carolinas which is what led me to managing in USPA in Season 1. I had a blast and decided to run it back this year.
TCamp (Carolinas) – I got into VGC in 2020 just by wanting to beat my buddies in battle, but it just kinda grew from there into a minor addiction. As far as USPA is concerned, I participated as a player last year and had a really great time, I attribute a good chunk of my growth as a player to the experience I gained working with Team Carolina. I decided to manage this year because I just had a baby and the time constraint of building, testing and playing is more than I want to commit to at this time, I also view it as a great chance to learn from PapaShuckle who is an amazing manager and would like to use this experience to help me in maybe managing a team myself in a future draft league.
KJChicken (Hawaii) – Compared to some other managers I’m still relatively new to the competitive scene. I started in SWSH and due to living in Hawaii wasn’t able to compete much in live events. Thankfully there were a ton of online tours that gave me a lot of experience. One of the biggest reasons I am coming back to manage is to give players from lower Pokémon-populated areas a chance to compete against everyone.
Justified Joe (MN) – I started playing during the Covid era of Sword and Shield , and eventually found myself getting involved in a variety of leagues and tournaments throughout Galar. Playing Pokémon has been such a cool way to meet people and keep my mind busy especially during the early pandemic. I managed the Minnesota Mamoswines last season , and really enjoyed helping build the local scene here. USPA is an awesome concept , and I appreciate all the groundwork the team has put in to get it off the ground. When I started playing , I didn’t know a single player in my area , but now we have a bright budding community , which has been fun to see the growth of the game!
ZekromZeke (TX) – Been playing VGC since 2012 so definitely not new to the scene by any means. My good friend and USPA commissioner himself Gerald “Tre” Hoard asked me to manage Team Texas last season which I of course had to say yes to. It wouldn’t have been my first time managing so I felt quite comfortable taking the role. While I’ve taken a small break since Worlds, getting to manage again will be a great way to get back into the game.
TapuNani (MO/KS) – I have been playing since 2018 with local wins and small online events under my belt. Last year I played for the Moonlights to pretty good success, playing some amazing players. I took over the management of the team as Crawlshots, our manager from last year, had to step down. I was happy to take up the mantle if that would like some of the MO/KS players get to play again.
Gazoney (DMV) – The experience has been great so far! I’ve been competing since 2016 (following since 2010) with no plans to stop any time soon. As far as USPA goes, I had a blast managing for Team DMV last season and wanted to continue that into this season. I think USPA is a fantastic way to introduce players to their local scene since we haven’t had any (official) locals in almost 3 years now and I love being able to help shape that mission, which is why I chose to return as a manager for Season
Spooky Megamite (Canada) – I began playing VGC almost 9 years ago, but did not participate in USPA last season. A friend who is one of our managers mentioned that we didn’t have a manager for USPA this year, and wanted to know if I would manage with them. I think it’ll be a good opportunity to help newer players integrate themselves into our community, while also picking up some valuable experience along the way.
Pd0nZ (NY) – I’ve played VGC for a very long time. While the 1st event I went to was in 2009, I also built teams for 2008 and Journey Across America. As for USPA, Tre brought me in to help with the founding of the league last year, and I’ve been assisting in various ways ever since. It is due to my length of time in VGC as well as assisting with running the league that I actually stepped down from being the head person in charge of New York for USPA 2, though I am still advising them. The mission of USPA isn’t just the league itself, but to try to build up local communities as well. The NY/NJ community has always been one of the strongest and most well attended local scenes in the country. That is something I wanted to build on in USPA 1 so we could maintain the quality of locals we had pre pandemic. Plus, of course, to try to win the league, which we fortunately were able to do last season. It is also why I wanted Dandy to take over for me this year. Not only has he worked with me in NPA and USPA last year, he is also in the process of becoming a TO, so if done right, USPA 2 can also strengthen our community on that front as well.
Dandy (NY) – I’ve been around the VGC community since post World’s 2016, but I really was only playing in order to hang out with friends. I didn’t start to get serious about chasing an invite until World’s 2018 which is when I started going to events, seriously building teams, and seeing results. About halfway through the pandemic era of online play, I decided that playing online kind of sucks, so I took an apprentice management/staff opportunity in NPA. I also was fortunate enough for Pd0nz to take me under his wing as an assistant manager for team NY last season, in which we were able to secure a championship. This season, we will be seeing what I’ve learned.
JinFurai (WIS)- I’ve enjoyed meeting new people online and creating partnerships to build a positive atmosphere both within my team and the league itself.
PsyJ (FL) – I have been playing VGC since 2011 so well over a decade. in 2016 I qualified for Worlds and starting 2017 I switched to being a professor and am now the TO for the Orlando, FL area. Also in 2017 myself and few friends formed CriticalHitGG, a production company, and together we streamed over 20 regionals back before the Pokémon company started streaming all of them. We are responsible for nearly all of their current talent (Gabby, Adam, Joe, Rosemary, Jake, and Chip (TCG) are all CriticalHit alumni). Last season I was co-manager for Florida and have stepped in to run the team this season.
ZardiChar (NorCal) – My experience with USPA has been excellent. I never felt more connected to another team than the team I was able to play for. I still have made great friends from our team experience, and we’re still in touch. I wanted to manage a team for this coming season because I wanted more experience managing teams in VGC. I’ve learned a lot from all of the leagues I’ve played for, and I want to do what I can to not only keep a positive culture but also to go far in the season.
Charismaacheck (PA) – I started competitive Pokemon in SWSH, which overall saw a large increase of people in the scene. The online circuit was wonderful because of this and allowed tons of people, including me to get into it and its communities. I was involved in being a manager for USPA during the first season and it was a lot of fun to have that position so I opted in for it again.
2) Are there any players on your team that you’re really excited to be working with? Conversely, are there any players on opposing teams you’re interested in competing again?
Izzy (WA/OR) – I am really excited to be working with Maxdeese, always been a fan of them. I actually recreated their team a few times during Generation 8 and always enjoyed the big Pika. Not really planning to play, I want to focus on giving the opportunity to the newer players/newer to draft formats to play instead.
Rexchaos (OH) – Everyone on team Ohio I have loved interacting with for as long as I’ve known them. They’re a great bunch of goofs and are really talented players.
In terms of players or teams I’m interested in seeing compete again, I’d love to see the rosters for states such as Illinois, who I feel is a state full of good players, as well as New York and Canada who both did really well last season, winning and placing top four respectively.
charMarlin (UT) – On our team, It’s pretty exciting that we were able to get Preston Clark, Josh Mecham, AtTehCross and Squirtwo. Mormon Matt is a living legend so getting him to come manage the team was also awesome. We didn’t want to be in the same pod as Nevada (our former teammates), but now that we are we are excited to face them and kindle that rivalry. Dimond, Jason Fish, and Andy Fish are all people we see at locals from time to time and it will be fun to face here.
PapaShuckle (Carolinas) – Our roster has added a ton of really high quality depth this year with the addition of some top players from NC that did not play last year. So i’m excited to add them to an already stacked roster. I’m always excited to compete against really good players and now that I’ve followed VGC while having a live circuit I feel that I recognize a lot more names on the different USPA rosters. So i’m excited to see who we will be playing.
TCamp (Carolinas) – I’m excited to work with everyone on the team for sure, i love watching them work together and build off of each other. I’m especially excited to work with PinkSylvie because she’s an incredible player and so so good at passing on knowledge to her teammates. Rusty is my best friend in the world so I’m extremely excited to work with him this year as well!
As far as other players I look forward to playing JoeUX9, and some bigger named players like him I think playing people with worlds invites and regional wins is exciting and a huge opportunity that players may not be able to get otherwise. Oh and there’s this guy named ArgyleVGC, he’s pretty cool too I guess lol. He writes a column for the USPA website called Argyle Asks that everyone should check out! (Author’s Note: He was not paid to say this, but he’s not wrong!)
KJChicken (Hawaii) – My group is really small. Catfish is the only returning player as of right now and I’m thankful for him. He is an amazing player who puts on a show every time he is fielded. In terms of opposition there isn’t anyone in particular that I’m excited to face but every team has someone I’m familiar with so whoever they matchup against on my team will always have a star next to it
Justified Joe (MN) – TTT made the 3rd team all USPA and has been a force to be reckoned with in other leagues such as NPA the past few seasons. He has such a brilliant mind for the game, and I really enjoy picking his brain and seeing how he constructs teams especially with some lesser used Pokemon! Grayson Dewolfe , who was the first Pokemon friend I made from my state, finished 18th at the Milwaukee Regional last summer , and I expect him to be a strong contributor once again for us!
ZekromZeke (TX) – We have some new additions first being Adi, who people may know from his youtube channel and his myriad of strong tournament results. Texas was already a strong region having finished T4 last season so to add a player of his caliber to our roster, well you know what they say: “Don’t Mess with Texas”. As for our 2nd addition, it’s Spactutitan which I know has been quite low-key with some results here and there. I know they have some potential to step up so I would love to see them prove their ability this time around.
TapuNani (MO/KS) – I am really looking forward to all the returning players from last year: Static, who has shown a lot of growth since last year, Jeremyedboyd off his successes last year in the live event regionals and Clutchsometimes who was a solid member of the team each week. Two new players on the team have caught my eye and I am looking forward to them playing on the team are Spoinkman and Loyd. For those on the other teams, some of the other managers have caught my eye including Rexchaos and Professor Walnut
Gazoney (DMV) – It might sound a bit corny, but I am excited to be working with everyone on the team. We have a lot of new sign ups that I’ve never met and the players we have returning this season are ones that I didn’t know what to expect from last season, but all performed fantastically. If I have to call one out specifically, I think I’d have to go with RogerM. He was a player that wasn’t on my radar and hadn’t been to an event before, but I could tell he had the drive to play and play well. This definitely showed as he went on to finish USPA Season 1 with a 4-1 overall record that was only cut short by our team falling in Top 16. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be able to perform just as well or even better this season. As far as any opposing players, it’s hard to say currently without knowing everyone’s final rosters, but I have a lot of friends signed up to play on other teams that I would love to beat down.
Spooky Megamite (Canada) – There is a new player from the BC area who is quite promising. I’ve played them before in tournament, and they played exceptionally. On top of that; they are quite friendly. I wouldn’t say there’s anybody in particular on the opposing teams that I would be interested in competing against.
Pd0nZ (NY) – NY has returned almost all of its roster from last season and we were able to get some more people into the team environment this season thanks to the roster expansion. It is always good when you can return a roster that worked hard and accomplished its ultimate goal, so I’m excited to work with them again and to see what the new players have to offer both in matches and in the team environment. Because of last season, we will likely be taking every team’s best shot. I can’t necessarily say there are individual players I would like to see New York play against. However, I am interested in seeing how a more experienced Team Georgia fares this season. The result we got in the Top 16 does not tell the story of their effort, commitment, and planning that we saw in the series. I think they have the potential to be better this year, and it would be intriguing to me if we face off again.
Dandy (NY) – New York has a very developed and very strong local scene, especially around the city, so most of the players on team NY are folk ive had the pleasue of knowing and working with previously. in particular im happy that Chuppa and Jeudy were able to join us this year. I know Ink is the newly appointed manager of team NJ. im lookign forward to squaring up with Squid, since we met NJ in the finals last season.
JinFurai (WIS) – All of them, Wisco 4 life. ^_^
PsyJ (FL) – Excited to work with Karioshii, Lovetrain, and Emiilavaburst14. Emii is one of the best players in Florida with multiple MSS and PC wins, plus a Top cut at Florida 2017 and a Worlds invite in 2018. Lovetrain Top 16’d Nationals in 2015 and stepped away from the game in 2017 but is back now. And Karioshii recently moved out of Florida but is another great player with a couple Regional cuts and a Worlds Invite to their name as well.
ZardiChar (NorCal) – I made many friends in this community, and now most are managers, which is very cool. I would love for the opportunity to face all of the teams. However, I would love to have a rematch with Team New York. They won the league after beating us in the Top 8 by one game.
Charismaacheck (PA) – Everyone! Of course I love working with the same tried and true team builders from the previous season (shoutouts to team PA from season 1), but having insight from newer players is super cool when jumping into a new game like scarlet and violet. On the flipside, I think the new competition is super healthy for the game and will be fun to see who dominates Scarlet and Violet.
3) How do you think open team sheets will affect not only the games themselves, but also preparation and team building leading up to each weeks’ games?
Izzy (WA/OR) – Honestly, it will probably punish players who tended to like certain gimmicks (Gargancle Explosion) as the surprise factor is no longer there. But it will also be a more scary team preview. We will probably see more aggressive plays too from players who know your Pokemon can’t protect. There will definitely be more mind games going on.
Rexchaos (OH) – Open Team Sheets are a give and take in my opinion. The positives are obviously you can’t try and “cheese” your opponent with unexpected moves and strategies that more serve to catch an opponent off guard for a game, and possibly wouldn’t work in normal tournament play, which rewards more for skill than wars of information. This takes away from some of the fun of some of these team based, week to week tournaments. Part of some of the charm is seeing what crazy stuff you or your opponents might pull every week. However, the Open Team Sheet is going to be the official format moving forward, and I feel like for that reason it is for the best that the USPA also operates with the same rules as in real life tournaments.
charMarlin (UT) I think Open Team Sheets will stifle creativity because you’re less likely to bring a creative tech if it is less likely to catch your opponent off guard. However, I do think it will make decisions made in the set much more important. Reads will become much more important when your opponent has a complete map of what you can do given the 2 Pokemon that are on the field.
PapaShuckle (Carolinas) – I think for some it’s going to change everything about how they build. I’ve heard that one way to look at Bo3 is just trying to win 2 Bo1s with lots of surprise tech. That is essentially out the window. But since it applies to everyone its still balanced and helps eliminate some of the stress of Tera Types.
TCamp (Carolinas) – I don’t have any experience with Open Team Sheets so I’m not sure what to expect really. I think it could bring the competition gap closer because now you know what your opponent is using, but also I think it does make scouting less important which is unfortunate. I think prep may look similar because you wanna plan against popular matchups and kinda have an idea of what to do if you get put in a bad position
KJChicken (Hawaii) – Open Team Sheet is going to change the format a bit. It forces players to really think about not only their team but how the opposition will plan for their team on preview. Having knowledge is great but being able to capitalize on it will be the real skill this upcoming season.
Justified Joe (MN) – I think Open Team Sheets change how players will approach their weekly preparation. You still need to build solid teams and know your lines into common archetypes, but I think it eliminates more of the surprise factor that some players rely on. Teching on lesser known moves to throw your opponent off now will be less valuable. I think knowing the Tera Type sometimes forces a mind game when assessing the best possible plays as you sometimes find yourself playing around potential tera typing. That being said , I do still think players can be creative in their building , especially with room to innovate in EV Spreads and nature to catch their opponents off guard!
ZekromZeke (TX) – Most immediate answer to this I can say is that having really specific counter teams just won’t be viable, or at least certainly not as much as before. If you’re dead sure your opponent is going to bring a certain team, you could before bring a weird counter team with tricks but now with open team sheets, the surprise is no longer there.
TapuNani (MO/KS)- I think open team sheets will change the game for how each team will prep. As once the replays are on the server, that team might be considered to be used again as others will have those sets. I think team building will become more secretive and only played between teammates now, rather than doing that and some ladder practice. It will also lead to more teams to be practiced against as we will have more access to the same resources.
Gazoney (DMV) – I think it will allow for more of a team-effort each week. Now that our players will have all of the information they’ll need at the start of each game, flowcharts should become a much more central part of the game, but also much easier to work on as a team. There will also be more importance placed on practicing with each other as a team too, now that the element of surprise is somewhat off the table. We’ll need to make sure that our players are able to play at a consistently high level, rather than winning certain games off misplays due to missing information.
Spooky Megamite (Canada) – I personally believe that Open Team Sheets make Protect more valuable than ever, as having less Protect on your Pokemon allows your opponent to have more guaranteed plays once they figure out how fast the aforementioned Pokemon are. Additionally, open sheets incentivize being creative with EVs, so we will likely see a lot of “weird” speed tiers or bulk in the counter teaming process. In terms of preparation, it’s hard to say how much it “negatively” impacts counter teaming in a week by week tournament, but we will likely see a slight decline in wilder techs for matchups in the preparation stage.
Pd0nZ (NY) – I think the preparation and teambuilding will not change too much to be honest. Sometimes, in these team tours, players must deal with off the wall stuff. More often than not, however, the teams that show up will be meta or meta adjacent. For example, maybe you swap out Amoonguss for Indeedee-F as your redirection on a Garchomp set up team because your opponent is more likely to use priority moves or less likely to use Trick Room. That aspect of the games and weekly prep probably won’t change much. Where you might see a slight change with open team sheets is with tech moves or stuff that is pretty far out there. For example, Crawlshots beat us in NPA one year with an Icy Wind Gyarados and a Tickle Whimsicott on the same team. Those are good moves, but moves you almost never see on those Pokemon. Players may approach the set differently with that information known in team preview instead of if they are surprised by it. Therefore, I think most players will stick to safer moves instead of trying out something unless the surprise factor is not the primary reason the move works well.
Dandy (NY) – I personally think that Open Team Sheets make the game incredibly easy. Tt makes the good matchups better, the bad matchups worse, and lets you know exactly how to bully your opponent. However, I don’t think it makes things very interesting for spectators. But at the end of the day though, I’m just playing Pokemon. I’ve pretty consistently said that I would stop playing if it wasn’t fun. I’m still playing.
JinFurai (WIS)- Players will have to approach the game differently if they are inexperienced in this format of having your data revealed beforehand. It really promotes reads and higher level thinking but it strips away a few layers of creativity and surprise, so there’s a trade-off there for sure that could probably be described at a more granular level by a better analyst than myself.
PsyJ (FL)- I think Open Team Sheets are gonna definitely change how players prep their teams. Neat one-off tricks will no longer work in an open team sheet setting since the opponent will always know your moveset so theres nothing to surprise them with. I think mons that are bulkier than normal may thrive in this kind of environment since the opponent might go for a KO they think they’ll get, but will be caught off guard when it doesn’t KO, and those kinds of things will really shift the balance of the game.
ZardiChar (CA) – I think Open Team Sheets will do us all good personally. The lack of Restricted Pokémon in Series 1 invalids flowcharting and specific counter teaming that we saw in Restricted formats. I feel like Open Team Sheets will affect Game 1 mainly, as there won’t be a need to scout for moves/sets.
Charismaacheck (PA)– It’s an information game at the end of the day. Removing the ‘who knows who’ aspect from the game effectively lowers the barrier for entry, and makes Pokémon super accessible. But that being said, just because you know a Pokemon doesn’t have Protect or not, doesn’t guarantee you a win– it will be engaging to see how players will use this information between weeks to plan, and build.
4) Do you have any specific preparations, strategies, or tactics you’re excited to work with your team on?
Izzy (WA/OR) – There is a few, but we will keep them secret
Rexchaos (OH) – Honestly, we have such a creative group of players in Ohio, I’m more excited about what they plan to do more than what I’m doing myself. So while I won’t say any specific strategies we’re working on, we plan to do everything as a team and ask for advice and help whenever possible.
charMarlin (UT)in – Not really, but I am excited at the prospect of being able to discuss our teams we use at locals and see how it could help us in the league(if they ever actually come back).
PapaShuckle (Carolinas) – I can’t give away the playbook but I’m excited for some new ideas that we have for our prep each week.
TCamp (Carolinas) – Not really anything specific, I definitely wanna work with the team on working together and helping everyone regardless of your past relationship with them, Draft leagues are such an amazing opportunity to work with talented players that you normally don’t get to work with so if everyone helps everyone, the team becomes incredibly strong and just better in general
KJChicken (Hawaii) – I think continuing to learn and teach pins/win cons with my players is always great. With Dynamax leaving the format, getting good pins will help alleviate a ton of stress when playing and help decision making easier.
Justified Joe (MN) – At least for my team, learning how to pilot teams will be important, but I also think teaching my team how to better analyze their winning lines in team preview is something I will emphasize. Teaching my players how to use the open team sheet to their advantage and giving them plenty of practice sets to better prepare them for the week is important!
ZekromZeke (TX) – Nothing specific besides just wanting to one up ourselves compared to last season. We had a strong showing but we can do better and I know we can.
TapuNani (MO/KS) – I am excited to get some new thoughts into the mix and let me team have an open mind about what will and wont work for this meta. As it is still developing and changing weekly at this point. The main tactic I want my team to work on is scouting and learning matchups based on an open teamsheet concept.
Gazoney (DMV) – We’ve got some ideas that we want to work with, but nothing concrete so far. Open Team Sheet is definitely a bit of a curveball that I was not expecting coming into this season
Spooky Megamite (Canada) – Not really, no. I’m just looking forward to helping them improve at building and playing between their matches.
Pd0nZ (NY) – I will say that hard work can either help you beat opposing talent or amplify the talent that you already have to help you win. I know NY is ready to get to work to try to win USPA 2, so we will see how it goes. As for Pokemon strategies, I have never been the best at them, so I will leave those to the rest of Team New York, many of whom are better than me with stuff like this!
Dandy (NY) – Any team worth its salt is going to do a lot of scouting and a lot of prep. We won last year, but are very intentional about not letting your past successes go to your head. Just because we’ve been successful before doesn’t mean we’re owed another win by any means. We have to make sure we’re prepared.
JinFurai (WIS) – Yeah, Team Wisconsin did our fair share of shake-up last season by focusing on core behaviors and routines. We are looking to improve upon that formula and see what shakes up.
PsyJ (FL) – Not at the moment, but I trust my team to be able to build exciting teams. We have a lot of creative team builders in Florida and I’m very interested to see what strange tactics my team can bring to the table
ZardiChar (NorCal) – Yeah! I’m also personally excited to work with Team NorCal again. Last year, I felt the atmosphere was highly positive, and we all did what we could to help each other in as many ways as possible. I love our culture, and can’t wait to work with everybody again!
Charismaacheck (PA) – I think the best part of Pokemon is the planning. Not limited to the team building either, in these team tours the preparation overall really shines and rewards research and practice. I think I’m most looking forward to Open Team Sheets and usage of that information.
5) Assuming your state makes it to the finals, who would you want to go head-to-head against?
Izzy (WA/OR) – New York. I have lot of friends in that team and would love to get the upset vs them.
Rexchaos (OH) – I think to be the best, you should beat the best. An easy answer would be New York because they won last year, but we will gladly face anyone on the other side of the bracket.
charMarlin (UT) – Team Canada beat us in the playoffs last year so we are looking for revenge (haven’t checked to see if this is possible given the bracket)
PapaShuckle (Carolinas) – Well, they always say you want to beat the best to be the best, so taking on one of the “big dogs” like SoCal, NY, or NJ would be sweet!
TCamp (Carolinas) – One million percent Georgia. The Carolina and Georgia communities have gotten really close over the last year so I think that would be the idea finals in my opinion. I love a lot of the guys over there and Professor Walnut and Bruneaux especially are great people so playing them in the finals would be so cool. Other than them any of the teams that most people expect to be powerhouses like Texas, NY, Canada who were all amazing last year would be super cool as well.
KJChicken (Hawaii) – I haven’t looked at rosters fully yet but if my team makes it to the finals I hope one of my friends is on the other team so I can rub it in the face when we win
Justified Joe (MN) – I have a lot of respect for the Georgia grassroots scene , and feel like we match up really evenly with them . We played them last season in the USPA , and it was definitely the highlight of our season to beat them 3-2 considering the strength of their roster! I am hoping to develop a friendly rivalry with them!
ZekromZeke (TX) – New Jersey would be quite poetic as they knocked us out last season in T4.
TapuNani (MO/KS) – I would love to play New York, as their team last year was stacked and we were close to beating them last year
Gazoney (DMV) – I think I’d have to go with Texas. They’re the team that knocked us out of Playoffs in Top 16 last season, so being able to get our revenge and win it all at the same time would be great.
Spooky Megamite (Canada) – Kentucky
Pd0nZ (NY) – It happened in USPA 1 already. I think it is fair to say that New Jersey is New York’s biggest rival, and we met in the USPA 1 Finals, where we grabbed a hard fought 3-2 victory. I would probably consider New Jersey a standing answer for New York as a whole. Other than that, I think additional hype would come with Canada, Texas, Illinois, or SoCal. Texas has added talent coming off their Semi Final finish last season, so they will be a tough out. Illinois and SoCal include the 2 biggest metro areas of the US outside of the NYC area, so any time these areas face off, many people will be invested. With Canada, there are even more layers to this. Canada has active scenes in Quebec and Ontario. New York borders those provinces, so some of our players make the drive up there, meaning some of our communities know each other. Canada and New York played in the USPA 1 Semi Finals, and NY pulled it out. So, I am sure Canada would like another shot at New York. Finally, Canada finished 2nd place at the World Cup run by Victory Road a few months ago. New York’s roster and management team contains quite a few Team USA hopefuls, as well as some players who represented other countries, including China, Ecuador, the Philippines, and Ireland. The thought of having all these players with international experience playing each other in a Final I think would be fascinating for the league and community, and I would definitely be interested in seeing how that played out!
Dandy (NY) – There’s a pretty large rivalry between New York and New Jersey since we share many of the same locals and consequently similar turf.
JinFurai (WIS) – Anyone and everyone can get a piece.
PsyJ (FL) – I would love a rematch with New York. They knocked us out of cut contention last season and would love a rematch with them.
Zardichar (NorCal) – New York!
Charismaacheck (PA) – I think playing NJ or NY would be perfect, as PA has always felt like it’s been on the cusp of greatness. NJ and NY are usually regarded as the ‘best of the east coast’ so I think PA taking a W would 100% show off our talent!
6) What new Pokemon from Scarlet and Violet do you think will have the biggest impact on the competitive scene?
Izzy (WA/OR) – The 3 starters being so viable from the get go is really nice, we don’t see that happen a lot and I am excited to see all of them shine in some way.
Rexchaos (OH) – This is a tough choice. So many answers with Pokemon like Dondonzo with Tatsugiri, Maushold, Meowscarada, Gholdengo, Kingambit, and even the occasional Skeledirge or Palafin. Armarouge has proven to be quite good as well. And don’t even get me started on the Paradox and ruin Pokemon, who at the time of writing are not available for use in competitive play. For my Pick though I’m going with Annihilape. It currently has two very different but very effective sets at this time, being the scarf set with final gambit, and the other being a bulk up set with drain punch and rage fist. I think it has a lot of potential to have many showings through series one and beyond!
charMarlin (UT)in – Dondonzo. I don’t think it will be the best, but it requires more team construction to help to beat it. It reminds me of Coalossal from last year
PapaShuckle (Carolinas) – Aside from Dondozo (which I think will level out eventually) I think Gholdengo has a really strong place in a Regional Pokedex meta.
TCamp (Carolinas) – I definitely think Dondozo is huge, Armarouge and Annihilape are others I really thing can be super strong as well. Honestly the format is so fresh I’m excited to see what mons we originally don’t think about that end up growing in popularity as the format progresses
KJChicken (Hawaii) – A lot (tatsudozo/gold boi/etc.)
Justified Joe (MN) – Dondozo and Tatsugiri are definitely the early behemoths of the format , and I strongly believe that the sushi combo will dictate a lot of team constructions for the season. Additional mons that have been doing very well and I expect to continue to see at the top are Annihilape, Meowscarada, and Gholdengo. I think there is a ton of room for other mons to shine especially with Tera Typing being a factor. The new scene still has a ton of time to develop , and I think being able to innovate strong cores with new tera typing and synergies will separate the top teams for the competitive scene.
ZekromZeke (TX) – Dondozo and his lil fish friend feel like “those 2” you’ve got to respect at all times when team building and when facing versus them. If you’re not taking into account what to do versus them, then better hope you dodge the matchup.
TapuNani (MO/KS) – There a few that come to mind: the big fish in the room Dondozo (and Tatsugiri) as this thing has been in cut every major tourney to date, Annihilape has gone from being a two trick pony to being a 4-5 set monster and I don’t expect this to change any time soon, and finally Gholdengo has been very centralizing and I think it will continue to be so.
Gazoney (DMV) – Hard to say, and this may be cheating since it’s technically a pair, but I’ll go with Dondozo. The Pokemon itself presents such a large threat, with just enough flexibility thanks to Terastalization, that most teams need to slot in a specific answer to it. It currently has a chokehold on team building that we’ve only seen a few times in the past.
Spooky Megamite (Canada) – Dondozo now, and likely for the foreseeable future. As I did not play the meta with Paradoxes and the Quartet, I can’t say how good Dondozo will be when they return, but Dondozo is a team that wins games in the teambuilder, so I believe somebody will figure out how to break it… again. Miraidon will almost certainly be a staple of the GS Cup format, but it will depend a lot on Xerneas’ and Groudon’s viability imo.
Pd0nZ (NY) – We’ve seen Annihilape, Gholdengo, Kingambit, Tatsgiri, Dondozo, Meowscarada, Maushold, Garganacl, and Armarouge have early success so far (and it is possible I forgot something). Flutter Mane and Roaring Moon were also establishing themselves as threats before they were banned for Series 1. It depends on how one interprets impact. Every team needs an answer to the Tatusiri & Dondozo combo, or it will sweep your team. Gholdengo and Annihilape feel like splashable and somewhat versatile Pokemon that also need to be addressed in team building. But then, are you dealing with Choice Specs, Life Orb, or Nasty Plot Gholdengo? How about its Tera Type? Can you survive a 217 HP Final Gambit and a bulky Bulk Up set from Annihilape with the same team? All of these mons are influencing team building right now. Ultimately, though, I have a strange feeling the Pokemon that becomes most impactful to the meta actually ends up being Skeledirge. Bulky Fire Types have always had a place in the meta. Arcanine and Incineroar loved Intimidate, but Rotom-Heat, Torkoal, and Volcarona also had their places historically and could take a hit too. 104/100/75 is solid bulk on Skeledirge. It can build itself up with Torch Song and heal up with Slack Off. Unaware stops other Pokemon from boosting up to defeat it, and that reduced damage output allows Slack Off to be more effective over time. We are also already seeing some Tera Fairy Skeledirges around to assist with the Dark and Dragon types in the current meta and to take away its Ground weakness to mons like Garchomp, which could be a preview of how it is ultimately utilized.
It is tough to say for sure, but with no Incineroar, multiple ways to stop Arcanine’s Intimidate (and both Clear Amulet & Covert Cloak to slow down Snarls), various gameplay weaknesses from Rotom-Heat, Torkoal, Volcarona, and Armarouge, and a tendency for formats to get bulkier as time goes on, Skeledirge may end up having the biggest impact on the competitive scene when all is said and done.
Dandy (NY) – Dondozo will likely be meta shaping or at least cyclic. if you don’t have a way to beat it right now, you’ll easily be run over.
JinFurai (WIS) – Dondozo, the leviathan king of the sea.
PsyJ (FL) – The elephant in the room is obviously Dondozo/Tatsugiri, but I think some other mons may creep into the meta once people start figuring things out. Kilowatterel is a very good Pokemon for example, same with Brambleghast but they need a team composition that can support them. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Pokemon like those make a bigger impact than people think.
Zardichar (NorCal) – Tatsugiri, and Dondozo if we can include a second Pokemon. Right now, Dondozo and Tatsugiri are the two to beat. Tatsugiri becomes very oppressive when it joins with Dondozo using its Commander Ability. If you want to put it to sleep, it can use Sleep Talk! If you’re going to Flower Trick Crit, it can Tera to a type that resists it! Want to use Clear Smog? It can pull steel or Substitute to be immune! Without Dondozo, Tatsugiri is still a threat with its base 125 Special Attack stat and excellent Water/Dragon typing. It can run a Toxic Orb and Endure set, or even a Scarf + Icy Wind set with Soak to partner with Meowscarada. Tatsugiri, and Tatsugiri complemented with Dondozo, are so volatile together that it demands respect from the get-go in team preview.
Charismaacheck (PA) – #Dozobozo
7) Finally, the most important question of all: Who’s your favorite Pokémon?
Izzy (WA/OR) – Skeledirge
Rexchaos (OH) – Medicham
charMarlin (UT) – Charizard and Cofragigus
PapaShuckle (Carolinas) – Shuckle (obviously)
TCamp (Carolinas) – Oh man, there’s so many great Pokémon! I gotta say there’s a 4 way tie between Scyther, Flygon, Goodra and Pincurchin. Scyther was my favorite as a kid, and then I fell in love with Flygon in Gen 3. I really began to like Goodra when I started playing competitive and then towards the end of SwSh, I became know as the Pincurchin guy haha, so there’s no way I can pick just one.
KJChicken (Hawaii) – Komala is my spirit Pokemon
Justified Joe (MN) – A lot of people know me for my love of Rillaboom , but while it’s not in the game, Maushold gets to hold the top spot for me!
ZekromZeke (TX) – Zekrom
TapuNani (MO/KS) – My favorite Pokemon is Milotic for its design and how it plays. Of the new Pokemon in the game I really like Maushold, as its good competitively and a fun design.
Gazoney (DMV) – Bulbasaur, he’s been my Number 1 since Day 1 and that’ll never change
Spooky Megamite (Canada) – Manectric. I like the Mega more, as almost all of my love for it comes from VGC, but I am also inclined to say I like the regular form.
Pd0nZ (NY) – Articuno of course! I’ve always liked the snow, the cold, and the scenery that comes with it, as well as it being the 1st legendary I caught so long ago. It is also the mascot of my NPA team, the Snowbelle Blizzards. Due to New York’s history with the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, we even had it included in the New York USPA logo along with the more obvious G-Max Duraludon to represent New York City. Now, if only Game Freak would make it a competitive Pokemon. It’s past time for them to give this poor bird Snow Warning. I would settle for Chilly Reception, but sadly, Articuno cannot tell a joke at all, unlike Slowking, so I doubt it will learn that move anytime soon
Dandy (NY) – Beedrill. There’s no other answer to this question.
JinFurai (WIS) – Golisopod or Mewtwo, but Mewtwo with the Armor like in the movie
PsyJ (FL) – Flygon is my favorite Pokemon. I loved him since Ruby/Sapphire and have multiple plushies and figures of it, and have a acquired a shiny one in every game its been available in
Zardichar (NorCal) – Mine has to be Spirigatito. The cat won my heart ever since it was revealed. It’s so small and adorable!
Charismaacheck (PA) – Tatsugiri + Dondozo (They come together)
Be sure to tune in to watch the managers and their teams (including yours truly on Team Carolina) compete in this second season of the USPA League! It’s sure to be filled with matches to remember!
When not playing or writing about Pokemon, David Alan “Argyle” Burnett can be found teaching, spending time with his wife and two children, or trying to figure out how to get Ninetales to work in this meta (even when it’s not available). He can be found at Twitter.com/argylevgc