The Pokémon World Championships has officially kicked off in Washington DC today. The action is running throughout the weekend with end-of-season competitions for Pokken, the Trading Card Game and the Pokémon Video Game Championships and you can keep up with all the action live on Twitch.
As usual, this year's opening ceremony brought with it a handful of new information about the upcoming Pokémon TCG and video games. With Sword and Shield due out this year, that marks a big change ahead for next year's championships - with a confirmation that a brand new Sword and Shield TCG set and the latest Pokémon games will be the featured standard for next year's tournaments.
In other TCG news, the power creep was confirmed to continue with the brand new 'V' Pokémon feature.
No real details were revealed about this new type of card, but it seems likely to be pretty similar to the EX, GX, etc type cards that preceded it.
For the new Pokémon games though, we got some really detailed information on new abilities, attacks and features that will affect competitive play.
To begin with, we've learned that Dynamaxed Pokémon can resist flinching from attacks such as Fake Out, meaning knowing when to use your three turns of Dynamaxing can end up having even more of a significant impact on the course of a match. Max Moves, the Z-move style attacks available to Dynamaxed Pokémon also have secondary effects as well as being incredibly powerful. Examples we've seen include:
Dynamaxing was also confirmed to be available to all Pokémon in the game without the need for a special held item - meaning that unlike Mega Evolutions or Z-Moves, you have the full range of strategy options open to you in a match.
- Water: Max Geyser - will trigger the rain weather condition
- Fighting: Max Knuckle - Will increase the attack of all allied Pokémon
- Flying: Max Airstream - Acts like the move Defog to clear away fogs, veils, spikes, etc on the battlefield
- Ice: ??? - Triggers the hail weather condition
We also got to see a couple of new abilities introduced in Sword and Shield:
This Ability neutralizes the ongoing effects of other Pokémon’s Abilities and even prevents Abilities from being triggered. Once the Pokémon with Neutralizing Gas leaves the battlefield, the Abilities of the other Pokémon will be activated again.
Corviknight (Hidden Ability)
Will bounce back any stat-lowering effects from an opposing Pokémon’s Abilities or moves.
To get Corviknight's hidden ability, you'll have to encounter it in a Max Raid Battle, where certain Pokémon you can encounter this way will have a chance to be caught with their hidden abilities. There is also a small chance during these Max Raid Battles that you'll be able to encounter a Pokémon capable of Gigantimaxing AND with their hidden ability.
Some new held items were also announced:
Lower's the Pokémon's speed during the attack Trick Room (and so makes your Pokémon much more likely to attack first).
Automatically switches out the Pokémon if its stats are lowered.
Hits multiple targets and lowers the attack of all Pokémon hit.
This signature attack of Duraludon was previously named in Japan via a competition and was lacking an English name until now. Steel Beam is a 140 power Steel special attack that reduces its user's hit points by 50%.
Putting all of the above to good use are a raft of new multiplayer battle features.
In the new, online Battle Stadium, there are a few different battle options - all of which can be played as either single or double battles:
In these battles, the rules are somewhat more relaxed and there's no impact to your online ranking whether you win or lose. In these matches you can use certain Legendary and Mythical Pokémon that cannot be used in Ranked battles.
This main online competitive mode will see you competing in matches with specific rules with an aim of increasing your trainer rank throughout the course of a season.
Sword and Shield introduces a new Pokéball Tier rating system for Ranked matches that is used to determine your opponent. In Ranked play you'll only face players of the tame tier as you - so beginners won't be matched against Master Ball tier players until they've gotten that far themselves.
As well as being able to check your tier in the Battle Stadium, it was also announced that when it launches next year, you'll be able to see how all participants placed in a competition "in the smartphone version of Pokémon HOME". Whether this means that there may also be, perhaps, web or Switch versions of Pokémon HOME that haven't yet been announced is not clear...
There are two types of Online Competitions Official Competitions and Friendly Competitions. Official Competitions are run by The Pokemon Company and will feature a variety of different rules and restrictions, while you'll be able to host your own Friendly Competitions with your own set of rules. This adds an easy in-game way to host your own tournaments, though we don't yet know the specifics on how you can control which people can enter your competitions - only that you can.
Finally, you'll also be able to download other Trainers Battle Teams for use in any of the Battle Stadium modes - including Ranked play. These teams can be downloaded by entering in a unique code generated for the uploaded team and you can have up to 5 of these rented teams at once. You'll also be able to upload your own, of course.
While it's not exactly an in-game team builder, it does mean you could, for example, compete online using the exact same team that wins at Worlds 2020.
For now, that's all we've got. Though we wouldn't be surprised to see another burst of news during Sunday's closing ceremony. We're still eagerly awaiting details on the launch of new app, Pokémon Masters as well as even more Pokémon reveals for Sword and Shield - including the still-elusive Impdimp...
We'll bring you any more information from across the weekend as it comes. In the meantime, make sure you check out the action at Worlds itself.
The full trailer with a lot of the above in action is also available below: