The Play! Pokémon rules have been updated ahead of 2019 Pokémon World Championships, and one of the most highly used and powerful Pokémon in the game is now essentially banned, according to the official document.
When Play! Pokémon changed the rules and allowed players to use any Pokémon in the VGC format, it gave players a list of extremely powerful Pokémon that were going to be limited in use, which at the time, included Mega Rayquaza.
Players could only use two of the Pokémon on that list at any given time, making duos such as XernDon, the combination of Xerneas and Groudon, and RayOgre, Rayquaza and Kyogre, a staple in the game. The community discovered which pairings from that list went well together and ran with it, giving birth to a very mixed meta for this year’s VGC season, titled the Ultra Series.
With such a focus on powerful pairings, it wasn’t really a surprise that Rayquaza, a Pokémon that can access Mega Evolution and still hold an additional item, became a dominant force. The combination of not needing a Mega Stone to achieve such high stats, its ability Delta Stream that makes most super-effective moves neutral against it, and the extremely powerful move Dragon Ascent made it an absolute beast.
But once the rules dropped in the update, a surprising discovery was listed when it came to the specific regulations for Pokémon on a player’s team.
Along with reiterating the basic rules about no duplicate items or Pokémon, under the reminder that Pokémon can only use moves available to it legally in-game or through Nintendo official event distribution, there was an extra footnote. That little blip says that Pokémon on a player’s team may not know the move Dragon Ascent.
There was no further clarification on the rule, but the impact that simple sentence makes could be significant. There are only two Pokémon that can learn the move: Rayquaza (it’s the Dragon-type’s signature move) and Smeargle, who can only learn it by using the move Sketch on it during battle.
This ban doesn’t affect Smeargle at all since it’s better suited for being a support Pokémon rather than an offensive one. But Rayquaza was essentially just hit with a soft ban for the upcoming event.
In place of a Mega Stone, the only way to get Rayquaza to mega evolve is by having it know Dragon Ascent. Without it, Rayquaza won’t be able to become the monster that is tied with Mega Mewtwo for the overall highest stat total in any Pokémon game.
This ban completely nerfs the serpentine creature and effectively destroys any core, like RayOgre, that relied on it. Without Dragon Ascent, the usage rate for Rayquaza will drop like a rock and other Pokémon on that limited list will fill in.
But there are a few complications with this rule that leave room for a change. The ban could have been done in hopes of forcing a new meta right before the biggest tournament of the year, but it also could have been a mistake. The wording could have been mistaken as a ban for Mega Rayquaza since Dragon Ascent was banned in Pokémon Sun and Moon last year, according to several Twitter users.
If that’s the case, an updated version of the rules will likely be released soon with clarification on what’s specifically banned and if Mega Rayquaza will still be eligible for use at Worlds.
Mega Rayquaza most recently dominated the North American International Championships, appearing on three of the top four teams at the event, including the winning team. As a legendary Pokémon with insane stats, few weaknesses that it can’t cover, and a great fit for almost any team build, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the ban is actually real to open things up a bit.
The 2019 Pokémon World Championships will run from Aug. 16 to 18 in Washington, D.C. with tournaments for the Pokémon TCG, video game, and Pokkén Tournament.