The once yearly event to determine the best Pokémon players on Earth – the World Championships – has again been cancelled in 2021 after suffering the same fate in 2020.
The Pokémon World Championships usually crown winners in three different games: the trading card game (TCG), the mainline videogames ( Video Game Championships or VGC) and the Pokkén Tournament DX fighting game. This large tournament is the culmination of a year of standardised play where participants from around the world can play in smaller events and tournaments to earn points. Each participating region has a certain amount of points required to earn an invite to the World Championships.
The reason for the second cancellation, of course, is the COVID-19 pandemic. While several vaccines have been created and are currently being distributed, The Pokémon Company is playing it safe as it’s doubtful that the pandemic will be controlled to a point by the time the World Championships were planned to happen in the middle of the year.
“After careful review and pursuant to guidance set forth by local, regional, and national health authorities, as well as the World Health Organization, Public Health England, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we have made the difficult decision to move out the next Pokémon World Championships to 2022. This event is planned to take place in London, UK,” the announcement reads.
The UK has been chosen as the country to host the tournament as the Galar region, which is the setting for the Sword and Shield mainline games, is based on this part of the real world.
With the biggest event on the competitive calendar axed smaller tournaments will continue to be left on hold.
“… all sanctioned Play! Pokémon events including League Challenge, League Cup, Premier Challenge, and Midseason Showdown will remain suspended until further notice,” the announcement continues.
Those who qualified to play in the 2020 World Championships will have their achievement recognised as their entry will count towards the event in 2022.
While official play has been halted indefinitely people are still playing all three games which make up the competitive Pokémon ecosystem. The two videogames have online play the card game has an online client. The various communities around these games have been organising their tournaments and events to keep playing during the pandemic. The Pokémon Company has been running several of its own officially sanctioned events called Players Cups.
With Pokémon experiencing something of a renaissance thanks to interest from celebrities and the franchise’s 25th anniversary, it’s a real shame that their will be another year without the tournament, but it is a necessary cancellation.