North American International Championships, June 24–26, 2022
Notable shift: Shadow Nidoqueen claims the crown
ItsAXN’s second time in the Top Cut was far more successful than his first venture in Indianapolis back in May. Going undefeated in any of these tournaments is a tough task, and ItsAXN’s perfect run through one of Pokémon GO’s toughest competitions to date is nothing short of amazing. While Shadow Nidoqueen saw play throughout the series—from the Liverpool Regionals all the way to the NAIC—its frequency in battle is clearly on the rise and ItsAXN’s dominance reflects that. In addition to offering meta-wide pressure, Shadow Nidoqueen is notably favored against Shadow Ninetales as well as Obstagoon, which made a resurgence in tournaments between the Vancouver Regionals and the NAIC. Appearing on three of the final four teams and seeing frequent play in post-NAIC community tournaments, Nidoqueen is a sure bet for London in some capacity.
ItsAXN’s other team members were Lickitung, Swampert, Sableye, Medicham, and Shadow Walrein, which offered him a good deal of anti-Nidoqueen play between those Ice-, Ground-, and Ghost-type Pokémon. Being the most recent Champion—save for whomever will advance from the Last Chance Qualifier in London—ItsAXN’s team will be under heavy scrutiny, and his decision whether to stick with that lineup or adjust it will have to be an extensively considered one. Regardless of the party he brings, it won’t be a surprise if we see ItsAXN in the Top Cut of the Worlds tournament in London.
While we’ve taken a look at a number of the flashiest competitors to expect at the World Championships, there will many, many more Trainers in attendance ready to battle. Keep an eye out for players you might not have caught at previous events, but who have been preparing just as hard for their big chance to win it all in London!
Whether you’re rooting for amazing Azumarill achievements or a shadowy sweep, the 2022 Pokémon World Championships are assuredly a great time for competitive Pokémon GO fans. Be sure to catch the action August 19–20 at Twitch.tv/PokemonGO