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Play Pokémon has announced the new ruleset for VGC Series 5. Changes to the official VGC ruleset document went live on June 17. The updated competitive format coincides with the launch of the Isle of Armor Expansion Pass for Pokémon Sword and Shield.
The Victory Road Twitter account posted an update highlighting the most significant changes with this new ruleset. Players can compete with any creatures in the Isle of Armor Pokédex, barring Mythical Pokémon like Zarude or Magearna. Notably, this means players can fight using Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion – Legendary Pokémon from the Unova region. In addition, trainers can now use Gigantamax forms for all of the Kanto and Galar starter Pokémon, along with Urshifu.
Of course, the 2020 Play Pokémon season was previously canceled due to the coronavirus. As a result, Pokémon‘s VGC Series 5 won’t be implemented at any in-person events, at least for the foreseeable future. Still, this ruleset will apply to online Ranked Battles in the Pokémon Sword and Shield Battle Stadium beginning July 1.
The official #PlayPokemon rules document has been updated with Series 5 infos.
1⃣ All Pokémon in the Isle of Armor Pokédex are playable
2⃣ Cobalion, Terrakion and Virizion are allowed
3⃣ New Gigantamax: Kanto & Galar starters + Urshifuhttps://t.co/pDlIdsXaiq
— Victory Road @ World Cup (@VGCVictoryRoad) June 18, 2020
Biggest changes in Pokémon VGC Series 5
The most notable addition to Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s VGC Series 5 is the inclusion of Urshifu. Urshifu has a signature Ability called Unseen Fist, which allows it to hit through the ever-popular Protect with contact moves. In addition, both of its forms learn a signature move that lands a critical hit every time. This lets it deal massive damage while ignoring any Defense boosts. As an added bonus, Urshifu is the only Legendary Pokémon with a Gigantamax Form. Given all of these characteristics, Urshifu may quickly become one of the most dangerous Pokémon in the format.
Terrakion will also likely see substantial usage due to its Justified Ability. This Ability grants Terrakion an Attack boost when an opponent hits it with a Dark-type move. Therefore, Terrakion can take a Beat Up from a partner Whimsicott, suffering negligible damage while raising its Attack four stages. With the added ability to Dynamax, Terrakion could become a terrifying offensive threat. In this way, it will likely fill the niche that Justified Lucario previously held.
Finally, it is worth noting that the Galar starter Pokémon may be useful in VGC Series 5. As Paul “ralfdude90” Ruiz noted on Twitter, Gigantamax Rillaboom’s G-Max Drum Solo has 160 base power. Previously, the strongest G-Max Move in Sword and Shield only had 150 base power. As a result, the Galar starters appear to gain access to some of the strongest moves in the game.
Don't know if this was already said somewhere, but GMAX Drum Solo is 160 BP so it's 10 points stronger than the strongest Max move until now (150 BP was the cap). I assume this is the same for every Galar starter but haven't confirmed it pic.twitter.com/z2bZDcEAXx
— Paul Ruiz Pokemon VGC (@ralfdude90) June 19, 2020
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.