Kaito Arii takes his first Pokémon VGC win at the Japan National Championships.
One of the biggest events of the year ends with Kaito Arii, Hodaka Hatakeyama, and the other six members of the Top 8 getting World Championship Day 2 invites.
Congratulations to 🇯🇵 Kaito Arii (@UB_SLOW), your 2023 Japan National Champion! 🇯🇵🏆
Kaito's previous achievements:
▶️ 2023 Japan National Main Stage 2nd place
▶️ 2023 Global Challenge III 2nd place
▶️ Ranked Battles Season 5 (Apr 2023) 1st place
▶️ 2021 Japan National Top 20 pic.twitter.com/nymglWO5kS
— Victory Road (@VGCVictoryRoad) June 11, 2023
Kaito ran a very Attack heavy team for the Japan National Championship, with plenty of support for the big hitters. In fact, his team is one of the less diverse teams in recent Pokémon VGC history. Utilizing only Attack, Defense, and support, Kaito's team is straightforward enough to be predictable. What made him a Japan National Champion was his execution of the team. There are two halves of every team. The team, and the trainer. The team was built to simply be strong, and very little else. Meanwhile, the trainer was so talented, that he was able to execute it against far less predictable teams. He understood the meta so well that all he needed was a strong team to put in the work while he worked around the meta strategies his opponents were running.
Annihilape @ Safety Goggles Ability: Defiant Level: 50 Adamant Nature - Rage Fist - Protect - Bulk Up - Drain Punch
Maushold-Four @ Focus Sash Ability: Friend Guard Level: 50 Timid Nature - Beat Up - Protect - Follow Me - Taunt
Talonflame Ability: Gale Wings Level: 50 Adamant Nature Acrobatics Tailwind - Protect - Quick Guard
Ting-Lu @ Leftovers Ability: Vessel of Ruin Level: 50 Impish Nature - Sand Tomb - Ruination - Heavy Slam - Protect
Grimmsnarl (M) @ Light Clay Ability: Prankster Level: 50 Sassy Nature - Spirit Break - Reflect - Light Screen - Misty Terrain
Iron Hands @ Sitrus Berry Ability: Quark Drive Level: 50 Adamant Nature - Detect - Swords Dance - Thunder Punch - Drain Punch
Annihilape and Iron Hands are the ones responsible for most of the straightforward damage output on this team. Meanwhile Grimmsnarl, Talonflame, and Maushold are meant to support the team by mitigating damage output towards them. Ting-Lu is the interesting stand out Pokémon here. In Pokémon VGC, Ting-Lu is often used for it's fairly high Defense, and decent Attack. So while adding to the Attack of the team, Ting-Lu also provides a wall for opponents to have to deal with while it either outputs damage, or has a Pokémon by its side outputting huge amounts of damage.
Congrats Kaito Arii!
Kaito Arii now has an invite to World's Day 2 with a Travel Award. His in-your-face style of play is going to be very fun to watch if he continues to carry it forward into the Pokémon VGC World Championship. His team will likely change by the time that comes around, but since this style of play worked so well for him, perhaps we'll see him bring back this offensive, maximum support style.