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After a grueling eight-set losers run, Peru’s Renzo “Prro-T” Navarro emerged as the Pokémon Players Cup IV VGC champion. He became the first VGC Players Cup winner from outside of the United States, breaking the trend of North America’s dominance in the online series.

Here’s a closer look at Prro-T’s underdog performance, plus other major takeaways from the Players Cup IV Global Finals.

Prro-T wins after a Cinderella run

The odds were stacked against Prro-T early. He lost his Round 1 match against Fevzi “Fevzioe” Özkan at the Pokémon Players Cup IV Global Finals. While previous Players Cup champions have won from the losers bracket, none of them had to bounce back from such an early loss.

Nevertheless, Prro-T was up to the challenge. He eliminated Alexander “Triceratops5X” Poole, Leonard “DaWoblefet” Craft III, Antonio “Rahxen” Sanchez Cervan, Enrico “EGrim” Grimaldo and Kevin “Lil Bo Peep” Salvetto. This set up for a losers finals rematch against Fevzioe, who set Prro-T on his path through losers in the first place. But, this time, Prro-T came out on top, even after losing Game 1 of the best-of-three set.

In grand finals, Prro-T faced a near mirror match against Leonardo “Ilbona” Bonanomi. Both players had teams built around Landorus-Therian, Regieleki and Galarian Moltres. However, Prro-T also had an Incineroar, allowing him to cycle multiple Intimidates by switching between his Incineroar and Landorus. As a result, Ilbona often had to use Swords Dance on his Landorus just to negate the attack drops.

Grand finals saw multiple Dynamax Landorus face-offs, forcing both players to win a coin flip speed tie in many instances to get the advantage. In the final game, Prro-T’s Dynamax Landorus survived a critical hit Max Airstream from Ilbona’s Dynamax Landorus and an ineffective Thunderbolt from his Regieleki — which Ilbona may have used to incorrectly predict a switch. On the next turn, Prro-T won the speed tie and finished off Ilbona’s Landorus. This set him up to win the game from there. Ultimately, Prro-T beat Ilbona 2-1 in both grand finals sets to win the Pokémon Players Cup IV.

Ilbona is consistent

In a game with as many variables as Pokémon, it’s difficult to perform consistently. Even the best players rarely maintain high placements from tournament to tournament. For this reason, Ilbona’s Pokémon Players Cup IV performance was incredibly impressive. He placed second at his second Players Cup in a row.

Similar to the Players Cup III, Ilbona made it all the way to winners side of grand finals without dropping a set at the Players Cup IV. Along the way, he conquered Ben “Maddo” Maddigan, DaWoblefet, Lil Bo Peep and Fevzioe. In fact, he only dropped a single game to DaWoblefet prior to grand finals.

Ultimately, Ilbona lost two close sets to a resurgent Prro-T. Nevertheless, he managed to match his second-place finish from the previous Players Cup with a largely different line up; the only Pokémon to appear on both of his runner-up teams was Regieleki. As a result, Ilbona has showcased his ability to adapt to the changing meta and use a variety of Pokémon successfully at the top level.

Registeel emerges as a breakout Pokémon at the Pokémon Players Cup IV

The Pokémon Players Cup IV used the Series 9 format. This format is exactly the same as the Series 7 ruleset used in the Players Cup II. For this reason, many familiar faces from the previous format showed up in this global finals. These included Dynamax Landorus and the ever-present Incineroar, which has been on every winning Players Cup team to date.

However, Registeel emerged as a breakout Pokémon this season. Despite having little popularity during Series 7, Registeel appeared on three of the top four Players Cup IV teams.

Registeel’s primary appeal comes from its bulk. With Iron Defense, it can raise its Defense stat extremely high. It also works well with a partner Dynamax Landorus, which can raise its Speed with Max Airstream and its Special Defense with Max Quake. Once set up with multiple Iron Defenses, Registeel can finish off opponents late in the game thanks to Body Press. Body Press is a Fighting-type move that does more damage the higher the user’s Defense is.


Dylan Tate is a student in 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.


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