The top 16 players, who had battled through regional qualifiers across four regions or from the Kickoff Invitational, faced each other in the online VG finals to decide who will be crowned champion and win a Travel Award to a future international championship.
The final fell down two players from the North American qualifiers, Santino Tarquinio and Jiseok Lee, who faced each other again after the latter was defeated and sent to the losers bracket in the winners finals.
Congratulations to our new #PokemonVG Champion, Santino Tarquinio!— Play Pokémon (@playpokemon) August 23, 2020
Not only did he win the final match, but Santino didn’t lose a single set throughout the Players Cup—talk about impressive! pic.twitter.com/zhCi9ZFj36
The grand finals saw Santino switch to a far more aggressive style of play with Urshifu and Coalossal in the opening gambit, which seemed to quickly overwhelm Jiseok’s Primarina and Dragapult combination.
I've been waiting two weeks to say this, but I am officially your 2020 Pokemon VG Player's Cup Champion! Coalossal is good for more than just hatching eggs!— Santino (@SupahSanti_) August 23, 2020
This experience has been a dream come true and I still can't believe this is real. Much love <3https://t.co/MXyxLqmgaTpic.twitter.com/qGAg81nx9P
Santino’s strategy was perhaps far more unique than what was seen elsewhere in the Players Cup, which eventually lead him to clean up with a straight 2-0 victory - even quicker than their initial 2-1 result in the winners finals.
Throughout the regional qualifiers and this finals bracket, Santino went undefeated - which is especially impressive considering he only started playing competitive Pokémon seriously since 2019.
The VGC winner's bracket (Picture: Pokemon Play!)
While the transition to online undoubtedly raised some unforeseen issues, with the lack of spectator mode within the game causing some player dilemmas, it’s likely you’ll see Santino’s name in the top cut of Pokémon tournaments in the months to come.
The Pokémon Players Cup is set to conclude next weekend starting Saturday 29th August with the TCG finals.