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Miraidon Pokemon TCG art.
Image via The Pokémon Company

Why top Pokémon players are KOing their own ‘mons in Scarlet and Violet pro play

Go big or go home.

At the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Los Angeles Regionals this weekend, we saw multiple players intentionally attacking and knocking out their own Pokémon. Here’s why.

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As Pokémon players, we’re taught to knock out all Pokémon on the opponent’s team while trying to keep our team healthy. However, at the highest level of play, there are certain situations where it’s actually beneficial to attack and knock out your own Pokémon—even if that sounds counterproductive. At the L.A. Regionals, that’s exactly what top players like Alex Underhill and Joseph Ugarte did on-stream during their matches.

Joseph Ugarte's Miraidon using Discharge at the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet LA Regionals.
Ugarte casually knocked out his own Pokémon to secure the win. Screenshot via Pokémon YouTube

First, in his swiss round four match, Underhill shocked everyone by targeting and knocking out his own Gothitelle with Koraidon’s Flame Charge to get a sneaky speed boost. Normally, you can just use Flame Charge on an opposing Pokémon to get the boost, but the reigning Portland Regional champ predicted his opponent to use Protect to keep those ‘mons safe.

Instead of wasting a turn hitting into a Protect, Underhill’s Koraidon was able to secure the speed boost at the expense of its ally Gothitelle. That allowed Koraidon to outspeed the opposing Scream Tail, who would end up surviving the former’s attack on just one HP. Underhill eventually lost, but caster Sierra Dawn commented, “If he had won this first game off of that play, that would be a YouTube short with like 100,000 views.”

Then in round seven of swiss, Ugarte won his set on a play that looked bizarre when taken out of context. The multi-regional champ had his Miraidon use Discharge, which hit all Pokémon on the field—including allies. Ugarte was shown celebrating on the player cam when his opponent played it safe and protected both of his ‘mons. In other words, the only Pokémon hit and knocked out by Miraidon’s Discharge was Ugarte’s own Ditto (transformed as Calyrex Ice Rider). That huge knockout gave Ugarte a free switch into Incineroar to Intimidate and Fake Out the opposing Calyrex Ice Rider. From there, Miraidon used Discharge again to win, knocking out Incineroar (another ally) in the process.

These unusual side-knockout Pokémon plays will likely be more common and normalized as we get further and further into Regulation G with restricted Legendary Pokémon like Miraidon and Calyrex running around everywhere. Side-knockouts are always possible with how strong Miraidon’s Discharge is with boosts from its Electric Tera Type and Electric Terrain. Meanwhile, Ice Rider and Shadow Rider Calyrex’s abilities, Chilling Neigh and Grim Neigh, give them offensive boosts when they snag knockouts.

With those abilities, it makes sense for players to either knock their own ‘mons out with Calyrex for the boost or steal those knockouts from opposing Calyrex.

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Image of Karli Iwamasa
Karli Iwamasa
Karli is a freelance writer and editor for Dot Esports based in the Bay Area. She mostly writes about Pokémon with a focus on competitive VGC but also enjoys VALORANT.