Hacking concerns flare again after 2 Pokémon pros disqualified at championships

LAIC did not end well for two top competitors.

Pikachu trophy at the Pokémon Latin America International Championships.
Screenshot by Dot Esports via The Pokémon Company

Two top Pokémon competitors were disqualified from the Pokémon Latin America International Championships (LAIC) for vastly different reasons on Nov. 18.

Day two of LAIC featured the highest level of play across TCG, VGC, and Pokémon Go, with the competition cut down to players with the best records from the previous day. On the Scarlet and Violet VGC side, Yuya Tada, an accomplished veteran Japanese player, made it to the top eight single-elimination bracket. On the TCG side, Tord Reklev was after his fifth international title as the defending LAIC champ.

Both competitors eventually had their day-two runs cut short by disqualifications—one involving a hack check and the other for “pace of play.” This comes three months after multiple competitors were disqualified from the 2023 World Championships in Yokohama, Japan last season.

Right before Tada’s top eight stream match, the VGC casters announced his sudden disqualification from the tournament without going into detail.

According to Tada, he was removed from the event for failing the top-cut hack check despite passing a previous hack check during Swiss.

Since Scarlet and Violet players often cannot tell if traded Pokémon are legit or hacked, Tada took to Twitter to ask for a second hack check of his team to see what the problem was. Pokémon dataminer @mattyoukhana_ performed a hack check, saying there were “lots of problems” with the team, including no HOME trackers, 508 EVs, and PP Max on all moves.

Fellow VGC players, including Paul Ruiz and Marcus Dion, commented on how certain traits like 508 EVs and PP Max on all moves don’t confirm a Pokémon is genned and cannot be used as concrete evidence in a hack check. Hacking continues to be a controversial topic in VGC, with some VGC players even threatening to go on strike after all of the hacking disqualifications at the World Championships earlier this year.

It also remains unclear why and how Tada passed the first hack check but failed the other.

On the same day, the reigning TCG LAIC champion, Tord Reklev, said he was disqualified after judges told him his pace was “not good enough.”

According to Reklev, the judges gave him two match losses throughout the event due to “pace of play,” involving claims of a 13-minute turn. Reklev called his disqualification “one of many questionable decisions made by the staff at LAIC over the last years” and wished the judges had been more communicative with him before issuing the match losses and disqualifying him. The decision also ended the TCG veteran’s hopes of defending his LAIC title.


Karli Iwamasa
Karli is a freelance writer based in the Bay Area. She has written about your favorite video games on sites like Dot Esports and TheGamer. When she's not writing, she's playing VALORANT or the latest Pokémon game.

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