The World Coronation Series’ Masters Tournament has officially begun as of this week’s episode of Pokemon Journeys, and I think we already know exactly what’s going to happen. As previously revealed, Ash will be going up against seven of the greatest Pokemon trainers from throughout the show’s history in an interregional championship to determine once and for all who the one true Pokemon Master is. Ash’s victory in the Alola League was a huge step toward his ultimate goal, but the Masters Tournament is the culmination of everything he’s worked for since the day he met Pikachu in Pallet Town. If you ask me, there’s no way he can lose this now. The question is, how will the rest of the bracket shake out?
The full bracket was revealed at the start of this week’s episode, which you can see at the end of this promo. Round One kicks off with a battle between the top ranked Leon, champion of the Galar League, and Alain, Ash’s Kalos Region rival and the only non-champion in the tournament. Next up is a battle between the Kanto and Johto League champions, Lance and Diantha, followed by Sinnoh’s champion Cynthia vs. Unova’s champion Iris. Finally, Ash’s first round is against his old ally Steven Stone, the champion of the Hoenn region.
As much as the Masters Tournament has been set up to be the culmination of Ash’s entire journey, it’s also the finale of the Journeys series arc, which began nearly three years ago with Leon becoming the Monarch after defeating Lance in the last World Coronation Series. Shortly after, Leon defeated Ash in a friendly battle and Ash vowed to one day battle again. Ash and Leon have crossed paths several times throughout the series, but they haven’t yet had their rematch. With the two sitting on opposite ends of the bracket, the only way they’ll battle is if they both make it to the finals. That’s our obvious end point for the Masters Tournament.
Unsurprisingly, Leon defeated Alain in the first round and moved up to the semi-finals. That’s the only battle we’ve seen so far, but we can make some educated guesses about where things go from here.
Ash will need to defeat Steven Stone in the first round, but after that he’ll either face Cynthia or Iris. Ash and Iris last battled in episode 65 of Pokemon Journeys, and after defeating her Haxorus with his Dragonite, Ash promised Iris a rematch. It’s possible that we’ll see their rematch in this tournament. On the other hand, the battle between Ash and Cynthia is highly anticipated, and it’s hard to imagine Ash becoming a Pokemon Master without ever having to prove he can defeat her. I suspect Cynthia will defeat Iris, then Ash will defeat Cynthia and move on to the final match against Leon.
On the other side of the bracket, we have Lance vs. Diantha, and seeing as Lance made it to the final match in the previous World Coronation Series, it seems likely that he’ll defeat Diantha and come up against Leon once again. Losing to Leon twice in a row will definitely deal a blow to Lance’s ego, but don’t feel too bad for him – he probably deserves it.
Each battle in the Masters Tournament will have its own episode, with Leon facing Diantha next week, Cynthia facing Iris July 15, and Ash facing Steven Stone July 22. We likely won’t see the final battle until late August if those promo trailers don’t spoil it sooner. Even though the tournament looks like it is going to be predictable, you never know what might happen. It seems like there’s no way Ash will lose, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time victory slipped through his fingers. Of course, we still have the Scarlet & Violet series to look forward to which will answer the next big question, where does Ash go from here?
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