The competitive side of Pokémon is still thriving despite the fact that its world championship was cancelled for 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Winner of the 2016 world championship, Wolfe Glick, is one of those people still playing the game at a high level, and he recently did something rather impressive.
In the May season for Pokémon Sword and Shield’s Ranked Battles Glick was able to become the number one player in the world using the six Pokémon which Red used in HeartGold and SoulSilver.
This means Pikachu, Lapras, Snorlax and the three original starters – Blastoise, Chairzard and Venusaur.
If you’re not into the competitive side of these games, or you’ve been out of the scene for a few years (like us), the reason this accomplishment is a bit special is because it’s a bit of a joke team. When you want to be the very best you don’t choose your team because they’re your favourites or because you have a theme in mind, you pick whatever is best in the current meta.
This means that Glick was competing at a disadvantage compared to the opponents he beat live live on Twitch to document his efforts. The stream VOD has now been uploaded to YouTube (see the embed below) for prosperity.
As mentioned at the beginning of the video, there were some factors in play helping the cause along. Firstly all six of these Pokémon are decently competitive on their own, with a few exemptions. While Red’s choices still presents problems with overall team composition, it does help that each of the six picks are able to stand on their own.
Another big factor here was timing. The aforementioned Ranked Battles May Season had just started when the attempt for #1 was made. When a new season starts there is a soft reset of player standings opening up the opportunity to grab the top spot if you can win enough games in a short amount of time. For Glick that was six wins in just over an hour.
Strangely enough something similar happened a while back in the world of trading cards. Henry Brand, an Australian player who won the world championship for Pokémon TCG in 2019, managed to win a massive tournament using a deck also featuring Blastoise, Chairzard and Venusaur. Brand, in comparison, chose those cards based purely on their viability and not for a bit of a laugh.