Skip to main content

One of the players competing in Yokohama was Brady Smith, a three-time regional champion, and founder of VGC Corner, a platform aimed at helping beginners learn and improve at VGC. Brady did not however go far in the competition, after winning his second series the player was called for a routine hack check - a procedure whose sole focus is examining competitor’s Pokémon to see if they have been captured and trained through legal methods. During this hack check Brady received the announcement that he would be disqualified for the possession of hacked Pokémon.

After getting disqualified, Brady posted on Twitter about his situation and explained that due to not having Legends of Arceus and Pokémon Sword & Shield he was not able to capture two of the Pokémon from his team and had to rely on a “reputable trader” to complete his team on time for the competition.

The unexpected reaction from the community

Generating Pokémon on third-party software has been considered illegal by The Pokémon Company ever since VGC existed and this action is extremely frowned upon by VGC purists that consider capturing and training Pokémon a vital process that competitors need to go through.

After tweeting about the situation, however, Brady was met with support from members of the community who were empathetic toward his situation and acknowledged that, although you should not hack your Pokémon competitors also shouldn’t be put in a situation where you are forced to do this in order to play on the highest levels.

Why do players feel forced to hack their Pokémon

With each new game in the Pokémon franchise, VGC players are required to learn and adapt to an ever-growing list of Pokémon that are available in competitions. Some if not most of the Pokémon which are used in certain regulations cannot be obtained in the game in which competitions are played, this unavailability makes it so competitors have two choices: buy multiple games or rely on other players to acquire their Pokémon.

This problem has been discussed several times by the community and is one of the reasons why some fans of the franchise call VGC a “pay-to-win” esport. With The Pokémon Company giving esports a bigger chance each year players urge the developers to create easy ways for trainers to create Pokémon with the specifications needed to perform at the top level.

Not an isolated case

Brady is unfortunately not alone, during the first day of Worlds other players have been punished for using hacked Pokémon on their rosters. Although no official list has come out with all the names we have seen several players come to Twitter to share their stories: