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Pokémon players threaten to strike over hacking disqualifications at World Championship | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


After a wild first day of unexpected disqualifications at the 2023 Pokémon World Championships, VGC players are frustrated by the circumstances—and some are even entertaining the idea of boycotting the next season of competitive play.

On day one of Worlds in Japan on Aug. 10, Brady Smith, along with other top VGC competitors, battled it out for their spot on the second day of the tournament. Their Worlds journeys got cut short, however, when they were informed in the middle of the event that they were disqualified for using hacked or “genned” Pokémon.

This didn’t sit well with many players because of how difficult it can be to obtain certain Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet, specifically those like Landorus and Urshifu which must be transferred over through Pokémon HOME and are currently staples of the meta. If a player doesn’t have access to rarer Pokémon with the right stats for whatever reason, they often resort to trading with other players—and those traded Pokémon might happen to be hacked.

Related: Pokémon World Champion Wolfe Glick shares ‘incredibly unjust’ truth about the VGC community

It is nearly impossible to tell if some Pokémon are illegally modified because certain values that these official hack checks look for are completely hidden from the player or come down to some insignificant internal value for the species. This has become a widespread issue within the community with illegal ‘mons being traded globally and even official tournament messaging stating TPC “strongly recommend you do not use Pokémon provided to you by other people,” as shared by pro player James Arnold on Twitter.

A growing sentiment within the competitive Pokémon community is the belief everyone who plays at a casual and high level would be better off if there was an in-game feature that allows players to quickly generate battle-ready Pokémon for their competitive battles.

This is best summed up by Pokémon YouTuber Patterrz who notes that a change like this would also make VGC more appealing since there would be fewer steps to compete at those higher levels—compared to now where it is locked behind time-consuming methods such as breeding.

Smith and a few other players, however, have even mentioned possibly going on strike for the upcoming 2024 season in an effort to legalize hacked Pokémon at major tournaments. The goal for a strike like this would be to put pressure on TPC to make quality-of-life changes in the game to keep competitive players from leaving, or at the very least rework the legality and official messaging around hack checks.

That won’t work if players aren’t willing to walk away from the game, though. Other players simply don’t believe protesting in favor of hacking is the right approach to take and it is unlikely enough competitors would agree to a strike to make TPC feel pressured to legalize what is officially listed in the VGC rulebook as “Illegally Manipulated Pokémon.”

There is also a subset of the community that just sees this as a challenge to cheat “better” to avoid these checks because TPC hasn’t shown interest in taking major steps to make VGC more accessible despite adding things like Rental Teams in recent years.

The Pokemon World Championships continues this weekend and will conclude on Aug. 12.

About the author

Karli Iwamasa

Karli is a freelance writer based in the Bay Area. She has written about your favorite video games on sites like Dot Esports and TheGamer. When she’s not writing, she’s playing VALORANT or the latest Pokémon game.

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