Hello all. My name is David Alan “Argyle” Burnett and as the USPA’s Double Down Invitational gets set to kick off, we thought it’d be a good idea to give you all some insight into some of our competitors. These Trainers have fought for a place in the invitational over the course of multiple tournaments this past year, and we are excited to allow them to battle it out for the title of Double Down Champion!

Without further ado, here are some words from Charisma, Alex123, YoshiandLugia, and Darkmaster491:


1) Introductions are in order! Can you provide some information on yourself and on your VGC background? 


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Charisma: “My name is Thaison (pronounced Tyson), but most people know me as Charisma online. I’ve been playing VGC through every series since the start of SwSh and have loved every bit of it. I wanted to take things seriously off the bat, but only got to play at one PC (which I topcut) before Covid shut things down. My online performances were decent and I participated in a lot of team leagues, and qualified for Players Cup 3. My greatest achievement for this season though has to be qualifying for Day 2 at NAIC. It really felt like all my hard work paid off, even if I didn’t play the best Day 2.

Alex123: “Hi I am Alex Qian also known as Alex123 online. I am a 21 years old American Chinese player. I played VGC in China for a few years and then I went back to the USI have been playing VGC since 2017 but I played a few games in 2014 when the format came out to see how it was. I think I got into VGC after watching Alex Ogloza win 2014 US Nationals. I have played VGC for 6 years. In 2018, my favorite team was Rain Mega Scizor. In 2019 , Ultra Series my favorite team was Necrozma Dawn Wings Groudon. In 2020, my favorite team was Diggersby Clefairy 

YoshiandLugia: “I started VGC in 2015 but started going to events regularly in 2017. I had my breakout in 2018 when I got Top 32 at NAIC and qualified for Worlds in 2018, 2019 and now 2022. I also won the first Hatterene Series tournament and Top Cut the other 3.

Darkmaster491: “Greetings! My name is Ricardo Guerra, also known as darkmaster491 online. I’ve been playing VGC since the start of VGC in 2009. Before that time, I entered other Pokémon tournaments with similar rules to VGC such as the Journey Across America Regional tournament at the Nintendo World store in New York City in 2006, and the Pokémon Video Game Showdown in 2008.”


2) How did you get involved with the USPA Double Down Tournaments?


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Charisma: “I got involved in double down, actually, after USPA. I was the PA manager and got to meet tons of new friends through there, after we made it all the way to top 8. I think it was Pengy (long time VGC friend) who originally told me about them maybe though, not 100% sure.”

Alex123: “I got involved with these tours after the USPA Season ended and wanted to improve my skills further by joining these little tours.”

YoshiandLugia: I got involved in April when I was confident with a Dialga team and wanted to try it out in tournaments. Started to get less confident but I kept using Double Down tournaments to test teams.

Darkmaster491: “I was a player on Team New York from the USPA League earlier this year – that’s how I got involved with USPA tournaments. I was curious about other tournaments USPA hosted and found out about the USPA Double Down tournaments through USPA’s Discord server.”


3) What were some of your favorite team compositions that you used during your tournament runs? Do you have some favorite moments from the tournaments?


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Charisma: “I think I’ve probably used the same team most DD tours haha. Between Palkia and Calyrex-Ice, and Reshiram Calyrex-Ice, I love the ice horse and it’s won me the most games. Comfort is key as most would say. I do think my favorite moment though, is when I got third with a Gmax Kingler team. Very funny stuff.”

Alex123: “My favorite team that I used in my tournament runs is Calyrex-Shadow, Groudon ,Incineroar, Gastrodon, Thundurus/ Tapu Koko, Charizard”

YoshiandLugia: I had a lot of fun with Reshiram / Calyrex-Ice. In one tournament I beat the same team 3 times to win which was really funny.

Darkmaster491: “My favorite team composition that I used during my tournament runs was Rinya Sun. I used the exact same team for every single Double Down tournament that I played in. I have 2 favorite moments from the tournaments. My first favorite moment was having to play Alex123 in the Grand Finals and Grand Finals Reset of the DoubleDownVGC s1 8 tournament. We had played each other so many times already and knew each others’ teams inside and out. That made these sets all the more intense with so many mind games. My second favorite moment was having to play Pengy in the Grand Finals and Grand Finals Reset of the DoubleDownVGC s1 11 tournament. Pengy is an amazing player, and it’s always an honor to play him. The team he used was unique, and I hadn’t seen anyone else use his team composition before. Although I had the team advantage, they were still both fun sets!”


4) Can you shed some light on any kind of preparation, practice, or other methods you used to hone your skills in order to succeed in the Double Down Tournaments?


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Charisma: “A lot of times I’ve entered DD, I’ve been usually prepping for something else. So DD usually IS the practice for a bigger tour, which means that my usual go to practice method is Bo3. However spamming Bo3’s doesn’t really help me all the time and I’ll again reach out to my friends to flowchart and talk about my matchups. Something I’d like to do more personally are replay reviews.”

Alex123: “I just practice with the team on cart ladder and I get comfortable with the team after using it for a long time”

YoshiandLugia: “Some prep I do is ladder for a few games to get a feel on a team I like with general strategies, leads etc and go from there. After that, I ask friends for help with prep on specific matchups.”

Darkmaster491: “I was pretty comfortable with my team composition, so I didn’t feel that I needed to practice before playing in the Double Down tournaments. But I find that every time that I play in a tournament, I’m always learning something new which helps me to improve my plays for the next tournament.”


5) What kinds of teams do you expect to see at the Double Down Invitational? Is there a specific team composition you’re hoping won’t show up? 


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Charisma: “For the invitational, I honestly don’t know! That might sound bad, but with a lot of people prepping for worlds, there might be some cool new stuff to play against or there might be just standard stuff. I think something super scary is a well constructed ‘horse’ team (using either Caly-Ice or Caly-Shadow), as both of the horses in my opinion are the strongest Restricted Pokemon in the game. (Yes, over Zacian).”

Alex123: “I expect some Eternatus teams to pop up or just regular stuff like Crystal Rain, Calyrex-Shadow, Groudon, Palkia, or Calyrex-Ice.”

YoshiandLugia: “Zacian Ogre Screens, Rinya Sun, and Calyrex-Shadow / Zacian are my guesses. I hope I don’t play vs Dialga as that matchup isn’t fun to play at all”

Darkmaster491: “I expect to see Zacian + Kyogre teams, Reshiram + Calyrex-Ice trick room teams, Kyogre + Dialga + prankster Tailwind teams, and Rinya Sun teams at the Double Down Invitational. There aren’t any team compositions that I’m hoping won’t show up. All I have to say to that is: Bring it on – Challenge accepted.”


6) What are your plans regarding VGC in the future? 


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Charisma: “I plan on continuing! Participating in team leagues when I can, tours (both IRL, and online), and being just an active member of the community. I’m hoping SV is where I pick up steam and I’m gunning for a big win! Winning a regional even would be huge for me.”

Alex123: “I am probably going to play in some team tours in a few weeks and then take a break until Scarlet and Violet comes out. 

YoshiandLugia: “I’ll be attending Worlds this year but after that I plan on taking a break till Scarlet and Violet”

Darkmaster491: “My plans regarding VGC in the future are to play in more in-person VGC events. I don’t have much time for that right now, but I’m hoping that will change in the future.”


7) Any shout outs or mentions that you’d like to share?


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Charisma: “Huge shoutouts to Pengy first and foremost, my go to VGC guy from day 1. Shoutouts to Neku as well, who’s always there when I need to run and just spam sets. And shoutouts to Azulite, ZekromZeke, and EclipseOwl for being awesome friends and team building buddies.”

Alex123: “Shout outs to Gerald Hoard 2thyfor for making USPA!” 

YoshiandLugia: “Shoutout to Bat for being supportive and helping me prep”

Darkmaster491: “Yes! I’d like to give a shout out to USPA for hosting these Double Down VGC tournaments. They were definitely a lot of fun. I’d also like to give a shout out to Team New York from the USPA League!”


Be sure to tune in to watch Charisma, Alex123, YoshiandLugia, Darkmaster941, join Pengy, Haganex, Noob88, Jero, and STKMichael21 in the Double Down Invitational!


   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. He can be found at Twitter.com/argylevgc