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What Do Pro Players Want From Pokemon VGC’s Regulation F?

We asked VGC pro players what Regulation F would look like if they were the ones who set the rule set

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet's Regulation E began on October 1st, 2023. Even though it included Pokémon from The Teal Mask DLC such as Ogerpon, many players argued that those changes were not enough to truly shake up the meta. Taking a look at pick rates between the current and last Regulation, you will be able to see that this sentiment was not in vain.

The confirmed list of tournaments that have been using Regulation E is coming to an end and the community has begun showing frustration with the state of competitive play, with many speculating what Regulation F might look like. Instead of waiting for the official announcement of banned and allowed Pokémon, we decided to interview top VGC pro players to see what a Regulation would look like if they had the power to create one.

If you are not familiar with VGC, Regulations are rule sets that determine which Pokémon are permitted within competitive play. Although the timeline of a regulation is not always consistent, it plays an important role in ensuring competitions do not get boring for both the competitor and the viewer while also being a necessary tool for the developers to deal with over and underpowered Pokémon.

“The meta needs to change”

Urshifu Rapid Strike in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Marco Fiero, the 2024 Pokémon Latin America International Champion, agrees with the community take that the meta has been stale since Regulation D. “Ogerpon didn't have a strong impact and the teams remained the same with a few adjustments,” he told Esports Illustrated. However, Fiero is hopeful to see how the introduction of Incineroar will affect the game as another strong Fake Out option alongside other Pokémon from the next DLC.

Another optimistic player about what the future DLCs can bring to the competitive state of VGC is Chuppa Cross IV. Cross recently won the 2024 Pokémon Toronto Regional. He is specifically hopeful for the return of the Tapus, the Guardian quartet first introduced in Pokémon Sun & Moon, as he believes each of them has the potential to have a unique place in the meta. 

“Tapi Fini is a staple of defensive VGC play and is an especially good response to the dominance of Urshifu. Tapu Lele is a strong addition to offensive teams but would be kept balanced by the presence of Rillaboom and Fini on bulkier teams. Tapu Koko might finally enable some teams built around abusing Quark Drive, but its stats are somewhat lackluster now that Flutter Mane and Iron Bundle exist. Tapu Bulu is the odd one out, being largely outclassed by Rillaboom due to its better move pool, but maybe with the right moveset additions it could stay relevant.”

As pointed out by Joseph Ugarte, a multi-regional VGC champion, changes can also come from the introduction of other elements that aren’t Pokémon. “I think there is a lot of substantial content that can be added when it comes to moves, and with the right TMs it can elevate a lot of pokemon to being even stronger than they were previously”. Another change Joseph is looking forward to is the addition of Porygon2 to the roster due to his access to Trick-Room. 

“Typically Trick-Room is kinda limited to hard commitment because of Dusclops & Cresselia being the main setters so seeing one that has some cool coverage and useful staying power will be interesting”.

Less is More

While some pro players advocate for the introduction of specific Pokémon, others believe excluding problematic 'mons might be the best way to go. Both the 2018 World Champion Paul Ruiz and Gabriel Agati, the most accomplished player from Brazil, would like to see a rollback of sorts to previous Regulations.

“I really liked Regulation A," Agati said, "I felt like it was a really fun and competitive rule set and I was sad that I could not play in any official tournaments within that Regulation. If you compare what were the strongest teams you’ll see that back then Dondozo and Ahnialape were considered overpowered and nowadays they are considered tier 2-3 archetypes.”

Paul also thinks a rule set similar to Regulation A could be the path towards a fresh format in VGC as he would like to see less overpowered Pokémon such as Urshifu and Flutter Mane while focusing on allowing only “Pokémon obtainable in Scarlet & Violet and no Paradox or Treasure of Ruin Pokémon.”

Ogerpon in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Both Gabriel and Marco shared the same sentiment that staying away from a format such as GS Cup in which players could bring restricted Pokémon (usually Legendary Pokémon with over-tuned stats, and unique moves and abilities) isn’t a healthy or fun rule set to play in.

Federico Camporesi, the quarterfinalist of the 2023 Pokémon World Championships, has a different view on which Pokémon should be removed. While he agrees with Gabriel regarding the removal of Pokémon that enable strategies with lower skill ceilings, he believes the presence of some overtuned Pokémon such as Flutter Mane and Urshifu “increases the skill level. In a game where everyone plays the same team you need to be one of the best players with this specific team to perform well.” He points out how recent success stories from Chuppa Cross, Marco Fiero, and Simone Sanvito with Tornadus and Urshifu are proof of that.

Change is Welcome

On the other side of the spectrum there are players such as Riley Factura, one of the most decorated in VGC, and Thiago Lattanzi, this season’s LAIC runner-up and highly praised for both his unique team building and gameplay, which both desire big changes.

Riley has played official VGC tournaments since as far back as 2014 and has seen almost every facet the game has to offer which most likely played a big part in his response: “I would like Little Cup VGC.” 

For the unaware LC is a ruleset in which only Pokémon that are in the first stage of evolution and can evolve are allowed. His rationale for wanting such a format is simple — “Because we would have all totally new Pokémon." This couldn’t be closer to the truth, although Little Cup has an unorthodox list of allowed Pokémon it is one of the most beloved unofficial formats yet VGC has never had a Regulation that came close to its concept.

Empoleon from Pokemon Anime

Although not citing any specific Pokémon or format, Thiago has always been an advocate for huge alterations between Regulations. 

“When it comes to regulations I love big changes so although I don’t have a specific list of Pokémon I would like to be available I would like to see TPC announcing a Regulation that truly shakes the meta in a meaningful way.”

Another player hoping for a relevant change in the meta is Eduardo Cunha, the 2022 Pokémon World Champion. To him the addition of “a group of Pokémon that is able to compete with the power level set by the most common cores of Regulation Set E, without completely breaking the game” would be the ideal scenario. Although hopeful, he is skeptical that some core problems of the format such as the lack of Fairy-resisting options might still linger on.

In the end, all pro players interviewed said the same thing: change is needed. We have seen the same Pokémon and strategies being brought to the big stage for two Regulations in a row and in VGC that feels like a couple of years.

Disclaimer: interviews were all conducted prior to Regulation F’s official announcement