Hello Hat Lovers!
Here’s a preview for the upcoming BC Invitational. This is a local tournament happening on June 13th open to anyone who has won a top cut match in a BC Premiere Challenge this season; thus players needed to make either the Top 4 in a 17+ person tournament, or the finals in a smaller tournament. The finalists of this invitiational will receive travel stipends towards US Nationals. First place will receive a stipend of $350, while second place will receive $100. In this preview, we’re going to introduce you to the players from British Columbia, and say a bit about who will be attending.
Players already receiving stipends
Max Douglas (starmetroid) – 460 CP
Number one in Canada right now, Max has had a breakout season after sporting some strong finishes over the last couple years. Max’s first VGC tournament was Oregon Regionals 2013, where he made the Top 8. Afterward, he laid low until finishing in the Top 4 of Washington Regionals 2014. But this year Max has demonstrated impressive consistency, and shown why he’ll be a player to watch out for at the World Championships in Boston. Max currently sits at 4th place in Championship Points from Canada and the US, after taking home two 2nd places and a top 8 finish in three Regionals. Max has also filled his Premier Challenge BFL with five 1st place finishes in one of the toughest areas in North America. Max will be living the good life in his guaranteed hotel at US Nationals as he aims to earn a bye to the second day of the 2015 World Championships.
Rushan Shekar (Firestorm) – 301 CP
Rushan Shekar is in the midst of his best season to date. A grizzled VGC veteran, and administrator and founder of Nuggetbridge.com, Rushan missed out on a Top 64 stipend to US Nationals by ELO last year. This year won’t be a repeat of that unfortunate bubbling, as Rushan currently sits at 41st place and thus has a $750 stipend for Nationals. A Top 64 finish at Nationals should ensure his invite to the World Championships in Boston after he closed out the Premier Challenge season with an impressive streak of 1st place finishes! Will he keep the ball rolling at the BC invitational?
Hayden McTavish (enigne) – 283 CP
A resident of Washington state, Hayden is the only non-BC resident to receive an invite to this tournament. He also has the single greatest accomplishment out of any invitee. Hayden’s run in 2013 is well known to those who were in the community at the time, as he shot through the LCQ to earn a worlds invite, and was subsequently crowned the 2013 Seniors World Champion. As a second year master, Hayden has adjusted well to older competition as he had a strong 4-2 finish at worlds last year and is currently just outside of the top 40 for a worlds invite.
Mark Hanson (Crawdaunt) – 266 CP
Mark is also having his best season to date, with two Premier Challenge wins in the tough Vancouver area and a 2nd place finish at Washington Regionals. Mark likely has a $750 stipend, currently sitting at 55th place in the US and Canada, not to mention a spot in Max’s bed in Indianapolis (don’t tell the front desk lest we be kicked out!). Mark is aiming for a top 32 finish at Nationals to earn a worlds invitation. The 150 Championship points would be enough to sit him in the Top 40 comfortably.
On the outside looking in
Randy Kwa (R_Inanimate) – 234 CP
Well known as Canada’s best player, Randy hasn’t secured a T64 stipend this year and will want to make up for that at Nats. While Randy hasn’t had a great Regionals season so far, it’s never a good idea to sleep on him. Nationals is where Randy thrived in the past couple years and he’ll likely only need a top 32 finish to make worlds. Despite middling finishes at Regionals, Randy has almost filled his Premier Challenge BFL with three 1sts and two 2nds (good feng shui); one of those first place finishes came from the hyper-competitive 69 person Premier Challenge following Washington Regionals. Randy demonstrates a great ability to read his opponent in Best-of-3 play, which will work to his strengths in this Best-of-3 double elimination tournament.
Jason Wynja (Arti) – 222 CP
Jason is a veteran of the game, having played competitively since before many juniors were born. His accomplishments these past couple years are nothing to scoff at: Top 8 Washington Regionals, and a Premier Challenge BFL of 1,1,1,4,4. Jason is best known for playing quirky teams like Soak Lanturn + Discharge Manectric, or Rain Dance Thundurus + Aqua Jet Adaptability Basculin. This past while, he’s been all about Leer, throwing Leer onto things like Sableye, Salamence and even Meowstic. What Pokemon will be using Leer this tournament? Tune in to find out!
Raphael “bagel bagel” Bagara (rapha) – 216 CP
For his first season playing in the VGC circuit, Rapha is doing very well for himself. Rapha has been using the same team for the entire season and while everyone in BC knows his team, Rapha still places well at local events, as his Premier Challenge BFL sits at 1,2,2,4,4. Raphael also bubbled out of cut in 9th place at Oregon Regionals. After bombing spring regionals, Rapha will need to shoot for the moon with a top 16 finish at Nationals in order to earn a Worlds invite.
Wesley Warthe-Anderson – 178 CP
It would have been an injustice had Wesley not qualified for the Invitational, as his top 4 finish in a stacked Seattle Regional is indicative of his high level ability. Because he started the season so late, Wesley has had limited opportunities to qualify, but he managed to pick up a second place finish in the last weekend of PCs. Wesley has learned the game very quickly after only attending events starting in January, and he will definitely be motivated to earn a travel award for Nationals.
Hongyu Zhu – 169 CP
Likely the best player that players outside of BC have never heard about, Hongyu is undoubtedly one of the top players locally. He has been unable to attend events higher than PCs, but has far too many qualifications to the Invitational to even count, and his style of play is a stark contrast to some of the other players participating in this event. Hongyu is a student of the game, but where he differs is that he uses different teams at virtually every PC and learns of team ideas from Japanese blogs that give him a good understanding of non-Western metagames. Hongyu won’t be attending Nationals, so he will be unable to make use of the prize money, but he will be pushing hard for a strong finish in this tournament.
Tony Cheung (Chinese_Dood) – 160 CP
The eternal Canadian National Champion, Tony is quite easily the most enigmatic player in BC. His extensive success is a clear indicator of his ability; however, Tony typically enjoys the team building aspect of Pokemon more than actually battling, and there is no limit as to what Pokemon he will use at tournaments. From Sneasel, Snore Sylveon, and Delphox to his signature Mega Gengar, expect Tony to use the most quirky Pokemon imaginable during the Invitational; one of his wins this season came using a Choice Scarfed Articuno!
Graeme Meekison (Winter) – 126 CP
Graeme started the new format well with a PC win in the second tournament of the new calendar year. Despite missing a decent number of tournaments towards the end of the season, he sits at a respectable 126 CP by using a Trick Room team with a Mega Tyranitar. However, most will probably remember Graeme for OHKOing Mark’s bulky Mega Metagross with a Helping Hand boosted Hyper Beam from Sylveon, knocking him out of top cut in one tournament. It might not be in his best interest to try this again though.
Aryana Welch (Feathers) – 122 CP
Aryana is another seasoned veteran as well as a Nuggetbridge.com staff member. Aryana has done well in the past, with many solid performances at Regionals including a Top 8 in Oregon 2013. This year, Aryana placed in the Top 4 of one of Vancouver’s tough tournaments to earn her invite to this prestigious event.
April Hooge (Phenac) – 112 CP
April’s had a quiet season for her standards as she has also been heavily involved with TCG, however, as a former seniors regional champion and worlds competitor, she is not to be underestimated. Her use of off-beat Pokemon has netted her plenty of strong results in the past, including Masters regionals top cuts, and it could very well be the same case in this tournament.
Leo Liu – 112 CP
Leo is a close friend of Hongyu, and not unlike Hongyu, Leo won’t be attending Nationals but will be determined to finish well in the Invitational, so much so that he’s kept his team a secret from his close friends. Though anecdotal, it might be worth noting that the Invitational is exclusively BO3 play, and while Leo has a strong track record in swiss of PCs, he’s been ousted in the first round of cut 4/5 times he’s reached the final 8. This would be the time and place for Leo to make that adjustment to improve his game.
Rounding out the qualifiers
Kelvin Koon (lyingliepard) – 70 CP
Kelvin is a newer player to the game, but has given solid performances and continues to improve in each event. He isn’t tied down to any single team, but isn’t against going back to a staple strategy if it works. He’ll be looking to improve on his best finish this year (a Top 4) by doing well at this invitational! He’ll be happy to hear Mark may not be attending, as pairings between the two have not been kind to Kelvin.
David Powell (LucarioMaster2) – 54 CP
Dave is a newer face to the community as he is in his first year attending events. He, like many other players, has used the same team for much of the season. While only a casual competitor in the circuit, Dave will be going to Nationals should he win prize money for this tournament.
Toki Tan – 52 CP
Toki left a mark on the BC metagame when he piloted an After You M-Lopunny to a strong finish, losing a tough Best of 3 to
flinches Rapha. While Toki doesn’t play teams that are completely out there, he’s certainly one for a couple “outside the box” choices on an otherwise standard goodstuffs team.
Ivan Lan – 46 CP
Ivan qualified for the Invitational when he defeated Randy in top 8, who had gone undefeated in swiss. Ivan, like Toki, receives heavy influence from Leo and Hongyu, and because he’s a more casual competitor in the circuit, we have been informed the he will be abusing Swagger in this tournament.
Bidier Jing – 26 CP
Bidier has used some intriguing stuff in the past, including Ice Beam Kangaskhan and a team Canadian Nationals deemed too overpowered to allow in the tournament (bred and sculpted by Max of course, how could it not be). Bidier has largely played an organizer role this year, but surprising sets are always something to watch out for.
Invited But Not Playing
Murray Chu (MrScaryMuffin) will be skipping playing in the Invitational as he will take on a much larger role for the event, being the person responsible for producing and commentating the stream. Several players will also miss the event for geographical reasons. The most notable of which is Yuanhao Li, who finished in the top 8 of Seattle Regionals but won’t be participating because he will be out of the country. Tsukasa Wakabayashi, a former transfer student, had a dominant showing in XY Premier Challenges but is now back in Japan. Two residents of Vancouver Island will also likely miss the event, as neither Jennifer Newberry nor John Westwood (KyleDunamisCH) are too serious about the circuit and may decide to skip a trip to the mainland for this tournament. Last but not least there are Wysley Ng and Michael Bruton (IncreasinglyUsel), two players who secured invites by attending only one tournament each. Because of their limited presence in the community we were unable to personally confirm with either of them if they will be making it out to this tournament.
List of qualifiers
April Hooge (Phenac) – 2nd, 4th
Aryana Welch (feathers) – 3rd
Bidier Jing (Bidier) – 3rd
David Powell – 3rd
Graeme Meekison – 1st, 4th
Hayden McTavish (Enigne) – 2nd, 2nd, 4th
Hongyu Zhu – 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th
Ivan Lan – 4th
Jason Wynja (Arti) – 1st, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 4th
Jennifer Newberry – 2nd
John Westwood (KyleDunamisCH) – 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 4th
Kelvin Koon (lyingliepard) – 3rd
Leonard Depp (LaeiteaIvan) – 2nd
Mark Hanson (Crawdaunt) – 1st, 1st, 3rd
Max Douglas (starmetroid) – 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 4th, 4th
Michael Bruton (IncreasinglyUsel) – 4th
Murray Chu (MrScaryMuffin) – 2nd, 4th
Randy Kwa (R Inanimate) – 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
Raphael Bagara (rapha) – 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th
Rushan Shekar (Firestorm) – 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 4th
Toki Tan – 3rd, 3rd
Tony Cheung (Chinese Dood) – 1st, 3rd
Tsukasa Wakabayashi – 1st, 3rd
Wesley Warthe-Anderson – 2nd
Wysley Ng – 4th
YuanHao Li – 2nd, 2nd, 4th