The World Cup of Pokémon 2020 - Semifinals

Finchinator

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BW Circuit Champion
Germany (3) vs Europe (5)

AdvanceShip (40) vs (60) Mana - My instincts say to bold Mana decisively as he has been one of the best players of the last few months. A surprising string of dominant performances in what may be Smogon's most challenging tournament, Classic, and a strong victory over Loki last round make for a pretty impressive resume. I trust Europe's building and Mana's piloting enough to say with confidence that I favor him here. The team Mana used in the quarterfinals was particularly impressive, in my opinion. For someone who does not exactly "main" the tier to pull-off niche defensive picks like Galarian Weezing and Gastrodon with such effectiveness is really impressive. I think Europe is doing a great job picking their teams and playing their games thus far! With this said, AdvanceShip is no slouch. He had a very impressive r1 and while he may be known for piloting ol' reliable Donphan-Talonflame-Celebi ladder god squad, he has evolved so much as a player since then. I notice that he is really good at seizing momentum and claiming incremental advantages and positioning gains until he is able to strike -- his win against Raiza was a great example of this where he set-up Belly Drum + Encore Azumarill to get a few mid-game kills nicely. I think AdvanceShip is a severely underrated player and his team choices are solid thus far, too. I just favor Mana due to experience (clean +9 on the sheet) and the support he has. This one is closer than it looks though.

Ewin (45) vs (55) Eeveeto - I was ready to drink the Ewin kool aid (RIP Shake) after his 3-0 r1, but I did think he was a bit rough around the edges still. And his loss to CBU did not really change my stance. I do not hold the loss against him much as CBU was strong that match, but he used a rather unremarkable hyper-offensive team that I was not huge on. With this said, he still went 3-0 in r1 of his first WCOP using cool teams and making strong plays to gain advantages earlier on for the most part. He can use some polish, but he's an admirable opponent for just about anyone. Normally, I think I would pick him against someone like Eeveeto to edge it out, but I feel like Team Europe has found a way to bring out the right parts of Eeveeto while leaving the nonsensical extracurriculars behind. Eeveeto is actually more than just teambuilder memes, believe it or not. The dude can play and he has shown it very nicely this WCOP. He is undefeated (I think? if not, then he is at least 3-1) and he had a respectable run in the recent STour. A lot of people like to write him off as mediocre after some shaky late-game SPL play or because of his crazy team choices in the past, but I think he deserves a ton of credit for recent performances. Eeveeto is legit and he's making a bigger name for himself with time. He is fitting into the Team Europe environment well and this run thus far is impressive to me, so I will favor him in a battle of two players who continue to impress me. Looking forward to it either way.

Steve Angello (51) vs (49) TonyFlygon - This one is tough because both teams are doing amazing things both in the builder and battle right now, so I'm going solely off of my recent impressions from both individual players as I am not sure how much of their building processes are individual based and how much is done with the assistance of teambuilders on their teams. I would gather Tony at least has some input on his teams, if he does not make them himself, but he is still a busy man. With that said, Tony may not have had the most amazing start to WCOP, but I still think he plays just fine. He ran into John W last round, who is a hard opponent, and he also lost to a surging Ewin last round, so I don't find myself worried at the 1-3. Steve Angello is off to a good 1-0 start if you look at the sheet only, but if you look at the game then you realize HOLY SHIT STEVE IS HEAT...so yea, that happened. And this leaves me at a crossroads because I think Steve can beat just about anyone, but I also think he plays his opponents pretty closely. I think I will give him the slightest of edges because every last trick up Germany's sleeve has worked thus far and Steve seems to be in good form as a player. But honestly this can go either way. Tony is an underrated player over a lot of formats and he actually enjoys SS OU, which goes a long way. I'm really hyped for this one.

xray (60) vs (40) frisoeva - I feel like xray is evolving from really good to solidified great player in front of our eyes. He was previously seen as more of a one-trick-horse, dominating ORAS at times, but not really having the same levels of success in other generations. Now he is making SS OU his bitch and it does not seem like many people are up to stopping him. He has great showings in both SPL and now WCOP. friso is solid and I see him putting up neutral or positive records consistently moving forward, but I rank him a bit below xray. xray really stands out to me in metagame knowledge and teambuilding here as he is super passionate about SS OU and has been showing it each game. Not a lopsided affair, but one where I clearly favor xray.

Lord_Enz (45) vs (55) Quaze - Lord_Enz is probably one of the less impressive starters on Germany, but that is not even a bad thing. He is a fairly new player to the big stage and yet he still has managed to go even, with one loss being meaningless against Greece last round. Overall, he is solid and capable of taking games. He does not stand out to me quite yet, but this can and will change in the future I am sure. On the other hand, I rate Quaze a bit higher though. Quaze is creative -- perhaps to a fault if SPL is any indication, aggressive, and hungry to get big wins in. He is clearly motivated to get more official wins under his belt in style. He is only 2-2 thus far, but he had a rough match-up against Snowy and Gerfahrlicher Random took him out as well, who is super underrated (more on him later). He was able to handle the later stages of his quarterfinals game better than Nails and he took out z0mOG in r1, so there are a lot of positive takeaways here. Overall, I favor Quaze slightly because I think he's a bit better and he can really use just about anything, which makes solid prep a hard ask for someone who is not super experienced like Lord_Enz.

Gefährlicher Random (49) vs (51) Bloody alfa - Bloody alfa has been on fire. Strong showing in STour playoffs followed by an even stronger showing in R1. I view him as SPL-ready at this point and it is no surprise that he is thriving in other officials, too. I am curious to see where this trajectory leads him in the near future, but I honestly expect a lot of positive performances if he never loads up Accelgor again. He really solidified his name with this WCOP showing thus far. He would be a pretty easy bold against just about everyone named "Random" given this, but Gerfahrlicher Random is probably the most underrated player in the tournament to me. He has already shown amazing competency, winning 3 of 4 games, including his playoff debut. His teams have all been solid and he hasn't made many mistakes in the games. I really like how this guy approaches the game overall, dating back to NUPL when I first saw him play. I think this is virtually a coinflip for me and I'm honestly bolding Bloody alfa because he has a little more big-stage experience. This one can go either way, both are superb.

Relous (45) vs (55) Pohjis - Pohjis is one of the most solid and consistent players on Smogon. He has beaten strong opponents like Tace and FLCL recently, he made it to SmogonTour finals, and honestly I am sure the list of achievements he has began forming will read like a damn book by the time he is done. Pohjis is going to always bring solid teams and avoid costly misplays, so it's on his opponents to go above and beyond if they want to win. As for Relous, he is very capable of this. Despite a lackluster SPL, relous is still +2 on the sheet after a positive start to WCOP and honestly if you take away the outlier negative performance, he has close to a top record. I am aware we cannot ignore that -- Relous made some mistakes during SPL and he is more prone to making errors than Pohjis. However, he is capable of outplaying strong opponents and this is not as lopsided as some people may imagine from just scanning the two names. Relous is going to give Pohjis a good game, but I still gotta side with Pohjis just because of how solid he is overall.

mind gaming (51) vs (49) Twixtry - mind gaming is solid. He fits the vibe of Team Germany. Lesser known player with solid teams and doesn't seem choke prone, so he can rise to the occasion when needed. I really like what I saw from him in the quarterfinals, using some cool Pokemon like Talonflame and Dragon Dance Kyurem to emerge victorious in his playoff debut. Twixtry's game against Luthier was a mess and I do not really put much weight onto it positive or negative, but wins are wins and that's cool for Twixtry. Overall, Twixtry has had some pretty solid wins, but also some pretty rough losses in recent memory. I think his WCOP record is actually really good, including this year, but his SPL left us with a lot to be desired. Given that we're now mid-WCOP, I am going to assume that we'll see him in more recent form. Given that, this is a really close game. Both are solid players, both use teams without many glaring weaknesses, and both seem capable of rising to the occasion in a high leverage situation like this. I will favor mind gaming just because he seems more willing to take risks in the builder, which can help generate an advantage -- something Germany has done very well thus far, but this can potentially backfire or Twixtry can take risks himself to the point that this is mere speculation beyond anything backed with concrete evidence.

Italy (4) vs France (4)

Lopunny Kicks (49) vs (51) Kickasser - Both of these guys are pretty well known entities. I believe both are positive on the sheet and predominantly have played CG OU over the last few years. Kick has taken some time off whereas Lopunny Kicks is more recent, but both have pretty solid styles. Lopunny Kicks is more likely to use fringe picks and be creative, likely due to the influence of Italy, whereas Kickasser is more inclined to run more humble, tried n' true teams. I think that Kickasser has a leg up this generation as he seems to like it while doing pretty well in it. I do not regard Lopunny Kicks as a bad player in SS, but I think he has been more passionate about SM and I feel like he never fully transitioned over. The same level of creativity that I saw firsthand from Lopunny Kicks a couple SSDs ago when we teamed may not be there this generation. When Lopunny Kicks broke out, defeating strong opponents like Ciele in some of his first true tests of competency, showing some really well-crafted teams with novel ideas that he used to cater his prep to his opponent's style. It's weird because Lopunny Kicks clearly can play SS OU well, but earlier this year he seemed turned off by it nearing the end of his OST run and when he switched tiers during SPL. Maybe he has changed his mind since then or become passionate despite not loving the tier -- hopefully my opinion is dated as Lopunny Kicks is one of my favorite players to watch personally, but honestly I feel like that level of personal enjoyment helps people perform so much better and I think it is more likely to be found in Kickasser right now. Tbh, I've been wrong a lot before and I would not be shocked if I am -- or I am not up to date with Lopunny Kicks in SS -- because I think he is an amazing player overall, but in a match-up that is very close, I think this is the distinguishing factor for me because I cannot think of anything else (this is one of the reasons why I wasn't gonna do predictions initially as it's hard to pick games like these :psynervous:).

Santu (55) vs (45) Corazan - Santu is the type of player who always finds ways to win. He's crafty like that. Dude may be quiet, but he is deadly. He picks teams with dynamic win conditions or distinct strategies that help forge a path to victory against standard structures and he is able to execute sufficiently. Corazan has looked pretty good recently and I respect his play and teams a lot. I regard him as pretty similar to Sacri' overall -- Sacri' probably is a little better and more experienced, but both are dudes with success in both OU and UU that tend to use a lot of bulky-o and balance teams with some cool picks in these metagames. Corazan has had a little more success recently with a great showing this WCOP and his STour run, but Sacri' had a good SPL that is still worthy of noting. Regardless of ranking the French players though, Corazan is solid and I think he can give anyone in this tournament a run for their money. Santu has a knack for finding a way to win though and between his strong SPL run, various individual achievements, and my recent memories of him beating Insult in an important game, I will give him the nod in a highlight match for me. Really excited for this game in particular.

Rexus (45) vs (55) BIHI - BIHI had a nightmare match-up last round, so I don't hold it against him. What I said previously holds true: he is a great player throughout the generations and I expect him to bring in wins against strong competition. Rexus is a solid player, but he lacks a lot of experience under his belt, which makes it challenging. I have seen more positives from BIHI and I do not think either build entirely for themselves, so given all I have to go off of I favor BIHI. I will say that Rexus can easily pull up with WoF's new gang of favorite Pokemon and 6-0 in 9 turns if it's the right fit for the game, so this one has potential to be very dangerous.

Empo (55) vs (45) Sacri' - Predicting against Empo in SS is silly right now. He comes up with a win against every single challenge thrown his way. It is clear that Empo is the strongest SS option right now. He did lose recently, but even then I am not worried. Sacri' is an admirable opponent and he is a man on a mission to prove his weak R1 as a fluke. He is doing an amazing job leading a new-look France team to higher heights than France has ever been recently with big names like McMeghan and Ojama. In my head, I picture some crazy scenario where Sacri' upsets Empo with France facing elimination and then they proceed to win the tournament with some players who got overlooked in prior years -- this would be a fun storyline. However, all of the logic I can come up with contradicts this. Empo is too dominant to go against right now, so despite my gut I will go with him to take this game in another highlight match.

Kebab mlml (51) vs (49) RedEmption - I'm less familiar with these guys than the others. I do not want to try and give it the same justice as the other predictions, so I will simply state that this is a virtual guess. Kebab and RedEmption strike me as some of the less proven starters in both respective line-ups, but yet both players have found ways to bring in wins at important times. Both players won their quarterfinals games and now one of them has the chance to be 2-0 in playoffs, which would be an amazing boost for their team. I love how Italy is creative with building, really sticking it to standard lovers like myself on a consistent basis. I feel like this gives them an unspoken edge in a lot of match-ups, so that's my main reason for giving Kebab the edge, but honestly anything can happen here.

Raiza (40) vs (60) Cdumas - I think Cdumas is a bit better. Raiza still has a ways to go in SS and he could use more experience overall in officials, too, just to polish things up. He is a bit mistake prone, but he can outplay anyone, so don't count him all the way out. Cdumas is a proven veteran. He may not be at 100% peak form right now, but he is not at his lowest point either and he seems to be in-touch with the tier. I like his builds we have seen so far and his play is nothing poor either, so I will give him the clear edge here. I think Raiza's team choice and early-game play will determine a lot as if he comes out aggressively, it could go a long way towards pulling a crucial upset for the Italians.

Tricking (65) vs (35) Fairy Peak - Ok, Fairy Peak is legit good at using unconventional teams and finding ways to win games. I respect this player a ton. It's cool to see what they have done so far. However, besides Empo, Tricking may be the best player right now. I tried to come up with some in-depth analysis on the teams these guys use to make this prediction more comprehensive, but instead I only came up with a headache trying to wrap my small brain around all of these big brain strategies. If we see another Eruption Torkoal, I'll be fanboying for Tricking. If not, who knows what will happen on either side, but I favor Tricking based off of experience and track record. If Fairy Peak wins, he honestly may be the biggest surprise of the tour. Quite the story he has going, so it will be exciting to see if he can prove me wrong once again!

Alexander. (45) vs (55) Welli0u - Two dudes who have been around for a long time, played a couple generations really well, and now find themselves in CG OU against each other in WCOP. I am not sure how motivated Alexander. is due to his recent Smogon Classic woes. He seems to have not been super fortunate there and then he seemed turned off by the game as a whole. He also did not play R1 I believe. Welli0u has been pretty solid like always. His track record in team tours over the last few years is amazing honestly. I feel like the momentum and recent results favor Welli0u, so I will give him the edge, but in terms of overall play, both are on similar levels and it could come down to what each brings or a few important turns if it's a more offensive game. Should be intriguing.

I favor Italy in the tiebreaker if it happens, but it will be close as both teams are strong.
 
Ofc, there was haxx on this games. You can't be champion' world without any luck. However, italians are top players and they did what they were supposed to do for the win (as the first game). (e)sport need skills AND the good fighting spirit. Italien players had both of them.

We (yes i'm french) were on demies, it's awesome but only one country can win at the end. That was a great adventure and i'm very proud about the french players. Now, i hope they will save our proud and honor and try some incredible games. Have fun.

(sorry about my approximative english language, i didn't practice for a long time)
 

Moutemoute

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We all know this situation. The main character (aka French team) was put in trouble by the antagonist (aka Italian team). We all hear that the background music has already changed, because the main character gonna get his power up.. Get ready Italy, France is not done yet
 

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