After making players wonder whether any Video Game Championship 2017 season information would be released before the first regional, The Pokémon Company International finally announced everything from championship point structures to prizing.
A lot has changed from 2016 and this article will have a lot of information — so read carefully and buckle up. VGC 2017 looks like it’s going to be a wild ride.
Worlds championship point bar and event payouts
While the community had mixed feelings about low CP numbers to qualify for Worlds in 2016, the Pokémon Company has adjusted things for this season. Masters in the US, Canada and Europe will need 500 CP and 350 CP in Latin America, the Asian Pacific and South Africa. This makes it significantly harder for players to earn an invite in every region except South Africa. The bars for seniors and juniors saw a similar increase as well.
At the same time, the payout for Regionals, Mid-Season Showdowns and the Nationals replacement (International Championships) have all changed drastically. On average, while best finish limits have gone up, the gap between payouts for high and low finishes has widened. In effect, this makes it easier for top-performing players to accumulate a lot of CP while average players may struggle more to get an invite without at least a few good finishes.
Regionals now have a best finish limit of four, and first place awards 200 CP (50 more than last year). Second place receives 160 (+25 from 2016), top four receives 120 (same as 2016) and top eight receives 100 (-5 from 2016). Kickers also work differently than last year. In 2016, a regional with at least 128 players award CP to top 64, but this year it only awards CP to the top 32. Now, there will need to be 256 attendees for top 64 to get their CP, and even more for top 128. The rest of the finishes and the kickers associated with them are as follows:
Mid-Season Showdowns saw arguably the largest change as their best finish limit was both separated from Regionals and increased to four. To combat players’ increased opportunities to get points from this level of event, the payout has been reduced drastically. First place awards 50 CP (-40 from 2016), second awards 45 (-35 from 2016), top four awards 40 (-32 from 2016) and top eight awards 35 (-29 from 2016). The rest of the finishes and the kickers associated with them are as follows:
As for the new International Championships, things look much different than last year when comparing them to National-level events. The best finish limit has increased from one to four, though payouts have been reduced to compensate for increased opportunity. First place awards 500 CP (-100 from 2016), second awards 400 (-140 from 2016), top four awards 300 (-180 from 2016) and top eight awards 240 (-180 from 2016). The rest of the finishes and the kickers associated with them are as follows.
Finally, International Challenges (events played solely online) will have no best finish limit and payout 50 CP to first, 45 to second, 40 to top four, 35 to top eight, 30 to top 16, 25 to top 32, 20 to top 64, 10 to top 128 and 5 to top 256. It’s also worth noting that, according to the Play Pokémon website, there may be other special tournaments at other events depending on various factors. They will apply to the best finish limit that most matches their attendance, though the format and prizing may be different.
Event prizing and travel stipends
While players will likely be forced to attend more events to secure their Worlds invite, they at least have a better chance at being compensated for the expense. While the maximum prizing possible hasn’t changed for the National-equivalent event, there is the potential for less money to be awarded if attendance is below 500 players. This makes it harder for those in younger age groups, which typically have less participants, to achieve the same amount of prizing as Masters.
That being said, TPCI will at least help a handful of players from around the world make it to these big events. According to the Play Pokémon website, players who finished in the top four of each age division for 2016 will receive what looks to be full travel awards to at least the European International Championships, which starts on Dec. 9. Meanwhile, those that finished in the fifth through eighth place will receive a stipend of $1,000 (minus taxes) toward travel to London. There are no specifics for travel awards to other International Championships, nor any other dates or locations.
As for Regionals, things have changed drastically. While players will still receive packs of trading cards, they will also be able to win varying amounts of cash, travel stipends or scholarships depending on attendance. At the highest attendee threshold (500+), first place will win $5,000, making it similar to the payout of an International Championships. However, since many regionals struggle to come close to even 200 attendees, the prizing will likely fall in either the 65-128 range or the 129-226 range (if numbers are similar to last year). The detailed breakdown is as follows:
When it comes to the prizing for the World Championships, however, there is currently no information. Last year’s first place finish netted champion Wolfe Glick $10,000, so it is unlikely to be less than that.
Aside from the CP payout and prizing information, TPCI also announced that players will compete using Pokémon Sun and Moon cartridges after Dec. 1. While there have been no specifics as far as what Pokémon can and can’t be used after the change, the likely assumption is only Pokémon native to Alola will be allowed. Considering players won’t be able to transfer Pokémon from older generations through the Pokébank until January, a more expanded format would be limited for at least a month if it were used.
While that is good news for those that aren’t a fan of VGC 2016’s restricted legendary format, the transition’s timing may cause problems for those competing at the Europe International Championships and the San Jose Regional in the US. With both events occurring just shy of a month after Sun and Moon’s release (less for those in Europe), players will be hard pressed to design and breed competitive teams before having to face them in very important competitions. It remains to be seen if Hyper Training, Sun and Moon’s new IV changing tool, will make things any easier for players in a hurry to create a competitive team.