Justin Tang won the first Pokémon Regionals he entered at the most recent Pokémon North American competition in Knoxville. This past weekend, Abdullah Mohayyuddin, a first-time contender, had a similar experience. He went undefeated in the first eleven Swiss rounds and lost just two games overall. In the finals, he prevailed over fellow Canadian Ryan Loseto to win the trophy and the Regional Championship.
Sounds impressive already, but there’s more to the story.
To get to the finals, Abdullah had to face some of the biggest names in the scene. In Rounds seven and 14, he took down Gavin Michaels, a three-time regional champion and the current Oceania International Champion. Gavin had actually been the reigning champ of the tournament before Abdullah’s big win today.
Adding to his incredible tournament run, the newcomer also went head-to-head against one of the most well-known VGC players of all time, Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng, in Round 10 of swiss. In addition to being a popular content creator and official VGC commentator, Aaron has won two Regionals and one U.S. Nationals throughout his 15-year Pokémon career. Vancouver was Aaron’s first return as a competitor since the release of Scarlet and Violet.
While their match was not shown on stream, it was Abdullah who came out on top. He would have faced Aaron again in the finals if the veteran had won his semi-finals match. Unfortunately for Aaron, he had a huge Will-O-Wisp miss against Ryan Loseto in the semi-finals to end his run just shy of the finals.
Big names aside, Abdullah’s overall performance was impressive, piloting a strong sun team of Lilligant, Torkoal, Flutter Mane, Great Tusk, Dragonite, and Kingambit (all nicknamed after songs from the popular K-pop group TWICE).
While Torkoal has been commonly seen on Trick Room teams with Armarouge and female Indeedee, Abdullah’s fire tortoise was partnered up with Lilligant, a rare pick in the current Series Two format. The idea with this sun duo is to set up the sun with Torkoal and get the Speed boost from Lilligant’s Chlorophyll. From there, Lilligant can either put targets to sleep with Sleep Powder or use After You to help Torkoal get off a massive Eruption before taking damage.
The rest of Abdullah’s team was more standard, with all four Pokémon being among the top 12 most used on Day Two. Sure, there were a lot of other Flutter Mane and Dragonite flying around, but it was Abdullah who piloted the team to victory.
When asked in the pre-finals interview if he had any plans to attend the World Championships in Yokohama, Abdullah admitted, “Probably not this year. I just came for fun, and I’m so happy I made it this far, but not this year.”