Pokémon NAIC’s new Champion takes the crown in only his second season of VGC

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The new champion of the North American International Competiton for Pokémon VGC is Patrick Connors, and he defied all the odds to reach this position.

Pokémon VGC is one of the biggest competitive scenes in gaming, and it has a new champion in North America now. Over the course of the last week, 1024 players were competing for the top spot, and among the shot of winning 500 competition points, all the fame and glory of being the most accomplished player in North America too.

The new winner, Patrick Connors, took the crown after only his second professional season of VGC, which is an absolutely incredible achievement. He beat out Aurelien Soula to take home a $15,000 prize, and his team was composed of a IR Calyrex, Urshifu RS, Raging Bolt, Incineroar, Rillaboom, and a Pelipper.

Image via Pokémon

Connors’ win did not come as a surprise to him, though. Despite being a relative newcomer to the scene, he said on Discord ahead of the competition that he “feels like [he’s] on some player’s lists,” exuding confidence and self-belief in his play.

His previous experience in VGC has included placement in the Top 64 for Orlando Regionals in ‘23 and ‘24, though his big break only came this weekend. Just the day before the finals, Connors shared his surprise at placing in the Top 8, and had finished that day having only lost four out of 24 battles.

Patrick’s best friend describes him as “the kind of kid to think about how he can make your day better over his own,” which makes his win even more rewarding.

Despite Soula having put up a tough fight, Patrick was able to overcome him at the end with a tactical play using his Pelipper. Connors did have the upper-hand throughout the final battle, and his Icer Rider Calyrex’s Glacial Lance was doing much of the heavy lifting in the early stages. After recalling Rillaboom, Patrick goes straight in with a Pelipper – which turned the crown absolutely wild thanks to its Wild Guard, which neutralizes Soula’s Terapagos.

Pelipper continues to Wild Guard, which pushes the French competitor into a tight corner – desperate, and Calyrex’s Trick Room continues to shift the game entirely.

Ultimately, the Calyrex and Pelipper combination continue to take out Soula’s MIsdreavous and Flutter Mane, going on to win the competition outright.

After the win, the local winner exchanged a friendly hug with his challenger, and the crowd applauded their Florida-born champion.

About the Author

Amaar Chowdhury

Amaar loves retro hardware and boring games with more words than action. So, he writes about them daily.