Sejun wins Pokémon World Champion Invitational 2020 - Upcomer
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Sejun Park won the Pokémon World Champion Invitational 2020 for Pokémon Sword and Shield on December 28. This event was not hosted by The Pokémon Company like most VGC events, but rather by Victory Road VGC. It pitted all eight of the Pokémon World Championships Masters Division winners from the past decade against each other.

The Pokémon World Champion Invitational featured two Round Robin pools, each with four players. The top two finishers in each pool advanced into a top 4 single elimination bracket. Victory Road VGC originally planned for there to be a third place match in this online invitational. However, they did not play it since the event ran late into the evening for the east Asian players competing.

Sejun had a flawless run through pools, starting with wins over Ray Rizzo and Paul “ralfdude90” Ruiz. He advanced as the first seed in his pool after defeating the reigning World Champion, Naoto “penguin” Mizobuchi. Sejun solidly defeated Wolfe “Wolfey” Glick in Semifinals of the top 4 bracket.

In the Finals of the Pokémon World Champion Invitational, Sejun faced off against Shoma “SHADEviera” Onami. SHADEviera had experience in the Finals’ best-of-five format, as he defeated Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng 3-0 in the 2017 ONOG Invitational. Despite this, and the good match-up SHADEviera seemed to have against Sejun’s team, Sejun managed to win the set 3-2.

Sejun rose to prominence when he won the 2014 Pokémon World Championship with a Pachirisu on his team. He similarly had some unorthodox picks at this event; he was the only trainer using Passimian, Dracozolt, and Galarian Darmanitan. While he had to take a break from competitive Pokémon due to mandatory military service, Sejun has clearly made a strong return with this event.

Other results from the Pokémon World Champion Invitational 2020

Like Sejun, SHADEviera started the Pokémon World Champion Invitational 2020 with a dominant run through pools. He earned 2-0 victories over both Arash “Mean” Ommati and Wolfey. Though he dropped a game to Ryota “barudoru” Otsubo, he still won the set and finished as the first seed in his pool. SHADEviera then beat penguin in Semifinals.

As the winner of the most recent Pokémon World Championships, penguin was arguably one of the top picks to win this event. Despite losing to Sejun in pools and SHADEviera in Semifinals, penguin still put on a strong performance at this event. He defeated ralfdude90 and Ray Rizzo in pools.

With early losses to barudoru and SHADEviera, Wolfey seemed like he would drown in pools. However, a series of fortunate events allowed him to reach top 4 at the Pokémon World Champion Invitational 2020.

Wolfey scored a 2-0 victory in his last pools match against Mean. Then, barudoru’s loss to SHADEviera created a tie, with the tiebreaker rules allowing Wolfey to advance. Interestingly, Wolfey would not have won this tiebreaker had he not taken a game off of barudoru in pools. Even more interestingly, Wolfey only took a game because he connected a Horn Drill with Excadrill to OHKO one of barudoru’s Pokémon.

Dylan Tate is an alumnus of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.