Multi-time World Champion was removed from Pokemon’s biggest event for odd reason

Getting his fourth trophy has gotten slightly tougher.

Coming as a shock for the competitive Pokémon community, the three-time back to back to back Pokémon VGC World Champion Ray Rizzo announced The Pokémon Company had un-qualified himand many other players who got their day one Worlds invitesbecause of the bug-ridden games that Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are.

Rizzo, along with a horde of disgruntled Asian players, shared their frustrations online. Rizzo mentioned he will need to compete again for a spot at Worlds, and that the qualification system TPC has in place is an absolute shit-show.

Raymond Rizzo made history when he won the 2012 World Championship held in Hawaii, becoming the three-time and only multi-time Pokémon World Champion, after winning the 2010 World Championship in the Senior Division, and the 2011 World Championship in the Masters Division.

Since then, Ray took his time with competitive Pokémon a little less seriously, only competing for a couple of years after 2012 before he retired from the scene.

Fast forward to 2023, and Rizzo has actively begun his hunt for a Worlds invite to the 2023 Pokémon World Championship to be held in Yokohama, Japan, a hunt which he succeeded in… until it was taken away on May 17.

Why Ray Rizzo and others have to qualify again

Unlike The Pokémon Company International, which handles the competitive circuit in North America, South America, and Europe, The Pokémon Company does not have a lot of in-person tournaments for the competitive circuits of the various Asian countries it handles. Japan is the most notable one of them since Asias strongest players are often Japanese.

The way the Japanese competitive circuit for Pokémon works is mostly through online tournaments. 

The beginning of the Japanese circuit started off with the Global Challenge, an online competition anyone in the world with a copy of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet could take part in. Getting a high enough rating in the GC would award the player with a certain amount of Championship Points, and the higher their rating, the more CP they would be awarded, which is something that mattered more to players in the western circuit.

But for Japanese players, the main goal was to get a top 150 placement in the Global Challenge, which would secure them a spot at Japan Nationals, a crucial event for players to earn their Worlds invites. Since there are a total of three Global Challenges, this would lead to a total of 450 players eventually competing at Japan Nationals.

This also meant Japanese players had three different chances to qualify for Japan Nationals.

Japan Nationals itself was divided into two stages. Stage One was almost identical to how the Global Challenges worked with players competing in a best-of-one closed team sheet ladder-style tournament, which finished over the course of the previous week.

Out of the 450 players, the top 64 players would qualify for Stage Two of Japan Nationals. Not only that, but these 64 players would also get their Day One invite to the 2023 Pokémon World Championship.

Rizzo did manage to finish among the top 64 players, and he was thrilled to have secured his spot in this years World Championship along with Stage Two of Japan Nationals.

Stage Two for Japan Nationals would finally be an in-person tournament rather than an online one. That being said, the tournament would still be a closed team sheet, along with adopting a double-elimination style. The players that secure a top 8 placement for stage two would go on to secure the most coveted prize: a Day Two invite to Worlds.

Sadly, neither Rizzo nor any other Japanese player that got a top 64 placement in Stage One had a chance to compete in the original version of Stage Two of Japan Nationals they were promised, and allegedly this was because of The Pokémon Companys attempt to fix the situation with Japan Nationals.

Since Stage One of Japan Nationals was all online, there was a lot of noise stirred up by Japanese players about the neverending bugs and disconnections that Scarlet and Violet constantly display, making it so that an entire countrys Worlds invites came down to whether or not players were fortunate enough to not encounter a disconnect or a game-defining bug during a match that was of no fault of their own.

This issue was not only of Japanese players but was also echoed by the East Asian countries that have nearly identical competitive Scarlet and Violet circuits.

To remedy this, The Pokémon Company has now introduced another stage of the tournament between Stage One and Stage Two. Among the 450 players that qualified for Stage One of Japan Nationals, the 386 players that originally did not qualify for Stage Two will now compete in the intermediary round added in between the two stages.

In this middle round, another bunch of top 64 players will be added to the competing group, making the total playing field for Stage Two now consist of 128 players.

The problem with this remedy is players like Rizzo who had already secured their Day One Worlds invite have gotten it revoked to no fault of their own and will have to compete in Stage Two just to secure their Day One invite once again.

Rizzo left less than pleased with outcome

Since Rizzo will no longer be in the top 64 group anymore after the new middle stage of Japan Nationals takes place, he will have to compete in Stage Two to once again get into the top 64 from a group of 128 players. From there, if he and any other player is looking for a Day Two invite, they will need to perform their best to earn a top eight placement in the final stage of the Scarlet and Violet Japan Nationals.

With Stage Two of Japan Nationals still being double elimination, now with a playerbase that has doubled in size, a displeased Rizzo noted in his YouTube video that now [your Worlds invite] comes down to three games of best-of-one closed team sheet.

The three-time Pokémon VGC champ continued: Who knows who you get paired against, you could just get unlucky with pairings, you could get unlucky because Pokémon is just a naturally luck-filled game, or you could just play some, you know, typical best-of-one closed team sheet that you might normally find.

Dot Esports has reached out to Rizzo for comment.

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