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If you’ve ever thought about becoming a Pokemon Master and absolutely destroying your peers in “friendly” Pokemon battles, now is the time to stop procrastinating. Right now, a competitively viable Shiny Tapu Kokois available to everyone with Pokemon Sun or Pokemon Moon for a limited time, and The Pokemon Company just confirmed that the 2018 Pokemon Videogame Championship Series will still use Pokemon Sun and Moon, not Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

Pokemon is easily accessible on the surface, but there’s a nearly incomprehensible mountain of depth on the competitive level. Think of a competitive Pokemon battle like a game of chess. Both require players to expertly predict their opponent’s next move in order to excel, but whereas in chess you need to know the move sets of six pieces, in Pokemon you need to know hundreds. Not trying to put down chess here–both games require high levels of strategy. A player with more knowledge in a Pokemon battle will undoubtedly have the upper hand, but it’s never too late to start.

The Shiny Tapu Koko is available as a Mystery Gift until August 14 and automatically comes with a Timid Nature, which increases its Speed Stat. This exact event Tapu Koko was used by the Masters Division Champion of the 2017 Pokemon North American International Championships, Christopher Kan, and Tapu Koko in general was used in nearly 75 percent of all battles at the tournament.

Usually, capturing a Tapu Koko with a favorable nature and individual values in Pokemon Sun and Moon takes a considerable amount of planning and time, so this event is the perfect way to start building your team. Make sure to check out our Event Pokemon guide if you want to use this event Tapu Koko seriously, as it has all of the information you need.

The official Pokemon Videogame Championships (VGC) rule set requires players to battle in Doubles format, and to use only Pokemon obtained in Pokemon Sun and Moon. Especially strong Pokemon like Solgaleo and Lunalaare banned from participating, but Island Guardians like Tapu Koko, and Ultra Beasts like Kartana, are allowed. The 2018 season is expected to follow these same rules, and it hasn’t even started yet, so you have plenty of time to prepare.

The Pokemon Company also just released the 2018 Season Pokemon VGC Regional Championships schedule, which you can see below.

North American Regional Championships Schedule
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Players can earn up to $3,000 in cash prizes and Pokemon trading card booster packs at Regional Championships; plus Championship Points (CP) which are needed to qualify for the 2018 Pokemon World Championships. Regional tournaments are usually free and can be entered on-site.

If you can’t make it to a Regional event or want more information, check the Play! Pokemon Event Locator to find a local Pokemon League (yes, these exist!) and tournaments near you, ranging from small local meetups to larger Midseason Challenges, many of which can also earn you CP. A majority of these events and Pokemon Leagues host the Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) tournaments and pre-release events as well, where you can get your hands on brand new Pokemon cards early.

You’ll definitely want to get a Trainer Club account before you head out to any officially sanctioned events, as it’s needed to keep track of your points and participation, and you may want to attach your Trainer Club account to your Pokemon Sun or Moon game. Be on the lookout for an announcement for official online VGC tournaments too, which can earn you special event Pokemon or items and CP.

It’s too late to earn CP to qualify for the 2017 Pokemon World Championships, but you can attend the event in Anaheim, California this August 18-20 as a spectator, and even enter side events to get your feet wet. Though spectator badges aren’t needed for Regional and local events, they are needed for World Championships, but the $10 badge includes two Pokemon TCG booster packs and few goodies. The 2017 Pokemon World Championships features the official conclusion to the 2017 Pokemon VGC and TCG season, plus open-entry tournaments for Pokemon Sun and Moon, Pokemon TCG, and Pokken Tournament.

The 2017 Pokemon World Championships will stream live, and is fun to watch whether or not you aspire to earn an invite to the 2018 Championships.

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If a lot of that sounded like incomprehensible jargon, definitely read our Beginner’s Guide to Competitive Pokemon. You’ll find explanations of common competitive formats and rule sets, plus detailed pages on everything you need to know about raising a perfect, competitively viable Pokemon. For more on competitive Pokemon, check out our 2016 Pokemon World Championships Analysis for both VGC and TCG matches.

More competitive Pokemon coverage to come on the road to the 2017 Pokemon World Championships.

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