2013 U.S. Pokémon National Championships

Illegal pocket monsters are not an uncommon sight at any form of competitive Pokémon. Whether it be Pokémon no longer available or those that possess impossible to obtain statistics, thousands of these illegal Pokémon are caught at competition and their trainers are disqualified. However, at this year's U.S. Pokémon National Championships held in Indianapolis, Indiana over the past weekend, an interesting situation spawned creating a barrage of internet talk and speculation, especially due to the trainer associated.

The incident centers around Ray Rizzo, a three time Pokémon Video Game champion. Rizzo won the Senior Division 2010 World Championships and Masters Division 2011 & 2012 World Championship before being dethroned in 2013. The controversy lies in one of Rizzo's Pokémon, Aegislash. His Aegislash had perfectly normal stats and acted normally during battles. However, the eyes of thousands on the official stream caught something the officials didn't.

Ray Rizzo at 2011 World Championships

The Poké Ball that held Rizzo's prized Aegislash is a Dream Ball. Now, you may be asking yourself, what exactly does this have to do with anything, a Poké Ball has no effect on battling. Correct, but the Poké Ball does make a slight appearance in the battle itself and this got fans thinking. Upon launching a Pokémon into battle, a small animation occurs as the Pokémon is released from it's capsule; this animation varies depending on the type of Poké Ball used. As a result, the thousands of fans caught this animation and realized something wasn't right with Rizzo's Aegislash.

The Dream Ball animation of former champion Ray Rizzo's Aegislash

The Dream Ball that en capsules Rizzo's Aegislash was exclusive to the generation V Pokémon titles (Black, White, Black 2, White 2). Aegislash, a new Pokémon introduced in generation VI (X & Y) is exclusive to the newest generation. With no means of transferring items from previous Pokémon titles to X & Y, the combination of a Dream Ball and Aegislash is theoretically impossible. Well, impossible by legitimate means.

Illegal and hacked Pokémon have become an ever present problem in the newest iterations of Pokémon, especially Pokémon X & Y, due to the introduction of the Global Trade Station and the Wonder Trading feature. Due to this, many unsuspecting trainers may receive illegal Pokémon with no way of checking, and many slide under the radar of unsuspecting trainer's eyes. The only possible way for the Aegislash to be held in a Dream Ball is through illegitimate means. The Pokémon used by Rizzo was statistically acceptable, so the problem lies higher in the family tree.

When two Pokémon breed and an egg is produced, it is possible that the Pokémon "baby" may inherit the Poké Ball of its parents. With this in mind, it is plausible to assume that the Aegislash used by Rizzo is in fact the child of an illegal Aegislash en capsuled in a Dream Ball.

This incident is creating quite a stir among fans. Some feel that Rizzo should have been disqualified due to the straight fact that his Aegislash was hacked in some form. Others say that Rizzo was fine to compete as the Dream Ball posed no effect on the outcome of battles and it was just a visual effect. Even with this topic split among fans, the rules of competitive Pokémon events say that the officials have the final say on the legality of any given Pokémon.

Rizzo issued a statement via his Facebook saying that he was unaware about the existence of the Dream Ball and explained how it had no impact on training or passing legitimacy tests. In the end, Rizzo did not end up winning the competition and has stated he will no longer use this Pokémon in battle.

How do you feel about this issue? Do you think Rizzo should have been disqualified, or is this a minor issue that was correctly left alone?

[source facebook.com, via pocketmonster.kotaku.com]