At the 2019 Pokémon World Championships this weekend, trainers can choose any of the existing 807 known Pokémon to fight by their side. This is the last time they’ll be able to do so, at least in the near future.
Earlier today, the Pokémon Company announced that Pokémon Sword and Shield will be the official games used for competitive play during the 2020 season. While that’s not necessarily a surprising move, it does mean that that the scene will be seeing some major competitive shifts moving forward after the 2019 championships in Pokémon Sun and Moon wrap up.
As revealed at E3, Pokémon Sword and Shield will be the first games in the series’ recent history that won’t allow players to pull in Pokémon from previous games via the Pokémon bank. We don’t know which Pokémon will be left behind in this coming generation. Will Celesteela, who helped North American champ Wolfe Glick clinch the finals in June, end up returning? Whoever makes the cut, the field is in for a major culling, and it seems likely that some current competitive favorites could fall victim to that.
While that’s made some fans angry, it also makes this year’s World Championships extra special. It’s the end of a generation—multiple generations, really—and a perfect opportunity to celebrate the series’ competitive legacy on the 3DS. The Swiss round of matches got underway earlier today, and the action continues on Saturday starting at 8:45 a.m. ET to determine who will make the final cut. Then on Sunday, the video game finals are expected to kick off sometime after noon with the Junior Division. The finals are expected to wrap up by 4:00 p.m. ET that day. All of those matches will be streamed on the Pokémon VGC Twitch channel.
The Pokémon World Championships are home to more than just matches in the Moon and Sun games. The event also hosts the championships for the Pokémon Trading Card Game, which will be going on simultaneously and streaming here, as well as a Pokkén Tournament DX event that will be streaming here with the finals starting at 3:00 p.m. ET Saturday. Earlier today, the event even hosted a small Pokémon Go invitational. If you want to check out what competitive Pokémon Go looks like, you can find the VOD available here, which one spectator over on ResetEra called “a beautiful showcase of Pokémon GO’s trademark jank.”