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Controversial opinions

SonansuMan

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Personally very relieved that reserves won’t be used in the M8.

Having every single one of Ash’s Pokémon instead featured and being shown to help contribute to the strength of his JN team is a great compromise for not only making sure that they had an active goal in driving Ash’s success, but will (hopefully) raise the chances of good showings for a lineup that needs it the most. They’ve only recently been used more consistently in JN and I hope that this is the tourney where each member can rightfully receive good representation.
 
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Hidden Mew

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I'm also honestly pretty much fine with the reserves not being used. I understand why fans wanted them to be used, but at the same time, I just didn't think there would be much of a need for Ash to rely on his older Pokemon after his current team already got to the Master Class. Plus, the fact that the battles are only going to be three-on-three makes me think that they'd probably have a hard time balancing out the screentime between the reserves and current team members, especially when Ash's Journeys team is still in desperate need of screentime. If they wanted to make use of Ash's reserves, it probably would have been better to start using them earlier as opposed to waiting until the last stretch of the tournament too.
 
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I'm also honestly pretty much fine with the reserves not being used. I understand why fans wanted them to be used, but at the same time, I just didn't think there would be much of a need for Ash to rely on his older Pokemon after his current team already got to the Master Class. Plus, the fact that the battles are only going to be three-on-three makes me think that they'd probably have a hard time balancing out the screentime between the reserves and current team members, especially when Ash's Journeys team is still in desperate need of screentime. If they wanted to make use of Ash's reserves, it probably would have been better to start using them earlier as opposed to waiting until the last stretch of the tournament too.
There’s also the fact that only a handful of them could realistically keep up in this stage of the tournament. I mean, do we really want to see Totodile or Snivy going up against champions?
 

Weddingbells

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While I understand why, it was kinda annoying whenever the reserves were mentioned most of the time it was the same line up. Greninja, Charizard, sceptile, infernape, etc. What made the reserve fun in sinnoh was it was genuinely fun seeing ash weak pokemon become stronger and show up, like noctowl. I'm not saying I want snivy to be suddenly become stronger enough to beat raihan (wouldn't mind maybe), but man people seemed really uncreative with the line up. Like ash other pokemon exist too.

But it seems reserves basically meant the ash Greninja and infernape club
 

Handy Man

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I honestly have a harder time caring about the entire Masters Eight bracket than I expected to. At the end of the day, we all know that the show wants Ash vs. Leon to happen, which makes the bracket boring since we know that both Ash and Leon have to win all of their round one and round two matches. On top of that, having characters like Alain and Iris presumably losing their round one matches undermines any progress they’ve made off-screen, and we don’t truly get to see how much stronger they’ve gotten, since they won’t get any on-screen wins in the Masters Eight bracket where it really counts. Not to mention that trainers like Cynthia and Steven are going to lose to Ash, which is dangerous if the writers plan on Ash losing to Leon. This is why I hope Ash either draws or wins against Leon, because it would just make Cynthia and Steven look bad otherwise. Overall, I just feel like the Masters Eight has opened a can of worms, and I’m worried about what it means for the future of the anime. I find it hard to get excited about the overall Masters Eight bracket when Lance vs. Diantha and Ash vs. Leon are the only parts of it to have unknown conclusions, and the fact that its going to be controversial and discussed as much as stuff like Ash vs. Alain at the Kalos League.
 

Hidden Mew

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While I understand why, it was kinda annoying whenever the reserves were mentioned most of the time it was the same line up. Greninja, Charizard, sceptile, infernape, etc. What made the reserve fun in sinnoh was it was genuinely fun seeing ash weak pokemon become stronger and show up, like noctowl. I'm not saying I want snivy to be suddenly become stronger enough to beat raihan (wouldn't mind maybe), but man people seemed really uncreative with the line up. Like ash other pokemon exist too.

But it seems reserves basically meant the ash Greninja and infernape club
Getting to see Ash's older Pokemon look stronger was a really cool part of the Sinnoh League. Plus, they were able to give both his DP and some of his reserves the spotlight without making the reserves overshadow his current team, which they definitely weren't able to do during the Johto League. Given the major issue on screentime for Pokemon in this series, I don't have a lot of confidence that they'd be able to do that again if they did bring in his reserves, especially when they probably would have been more interested in bringing back Ash's popular Pokemon like Charizard, Infernape and Greninja before doing anything with his less popular Pokemon like Gible or Noctowl.

I honestly have a harder time caring about the entire Masters Eight bracket than I expected to. At the end of the day, we all know that the show wants Ash vs. Leon to happen, which makes the bracket boring since we know that both Ash and Leon have to win all of their round one and round two matches. On top of that, having characters like Alain and Iris presumably losing their round one matches undermines any progress they’ve made off-screen, and we don’t truly get to see how much stronger they’ve gotten, since they won’t get any on-screen wins in the Masters Eight bracket where it really counts. Not to mention that trainers like Cynthia and Steven are going to lose to Ash, which is dangerous if the writers plan on Ash losing to Leon. This is why I hope Ash either draws or wins against Leon, because it would just make Cynthia and Steven look bad otherwise. Overall, I just feel like the Masters Eight has opened a can of worms, and I’m worried about what it means for the future of the anime. I find it hard to get excited about the overall Masters Eight bracket when Lance vs. Diantha and Ash vs. Leon are the only parts of it to have unknown conclusions, and the fact that its going to be controversial and discussed as much as stuff like Ash vs. Alain at the Kalos League.
My issues with the PWC in general makes it hard for me to care about the Master Class. As cool as it is and sounds for Ash to battle against Champions from across the world, it's hard to feel really excited for it when the journey to get to this point feels rather unsatisfying or at least unimpressive. The fact that we know Ash vs. Leon is inevitable probably doesn't help matters either. It's still really baffling to me that they brought back Alain to just be first round fodder for Leon. I think that's more annoying that Iris most likely losing to Cynthia, but I'm biased here since I hate Iris and if her return episode was any indication, I don't think her off-screen development would be effective for me. I still don't know why they didn't at least have Ash battle against Alain earlier in the tournament much like they did with Iris. Saving him for a surprise in the Master Class lineup just understandably gave fans false hope.

I'm still not sure if they can really make Ash defeating Cynthia believable. I know that the Champions aren't put on a huge pedestal like they used to in the anime, which I still have mixed feelings about, but considering how Cynthia is arguably the most popular Champion next to Red, I don't know how Ash defeating her with his current team could work. I think ending Ash vs. Leon in a draw would be more unexpected, so a part of me would kid of prefer that over Ash winning or losing.
 

Daren

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I admit I'm a bit uncertain why people say that Ash vs Leon being required hurts the tournament when we also 100% knew Ash was going to battle Gary, Morrison, Paul, and Alain in those leagues.

For believability; I've said it before but as far as I'm concerned all Journeys did was finally continue on from where Ash's strength was at the end of AG before he got nerfed to keep the league cycle going.

That's also why I don't think Ash beating Leon is the huge issue some do. They let Pikachu beat Regice then tie with a Magikarp soon after. They'll probably just nerf Ash again because we've been directly told they have him forget things, seemingly because mature characters are harder to write.
 

Sai

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Yeah in every previously league you knew it would come down to Ash battling Paul, Alan, Gladion, Gary, etc. so we knew all the previous matches would be Ash winning or against filler COTD's like the older leagues had. Ash coming against Leon is common sense but it doesn't make the previous rounds less important. Lance/Diantha feels the most like a random match because they have nothing in common and were paired because every other combination was taken.

I'm actually interested in Iris/Cynthia the most to see how far Iris has come even if it's inevitable for her to lose. Going by the preview shots Haxorus unleashes a bit of damage on Garchomp. Makes their battle in BW feel nostalgic.
 

isrrael120

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For believability; I've said it before but as far as I'm concerned all Journeys did was finally continue on from where Ash's strength was at the end of AG before he got nerfed to keep the league cycle going.
I have to disagree, I don't see Journeys really doing that!

I felt it like another Ash nerf like in the other series!
 

Hidden Mew

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I admit I'm a bit uncertain why people say that Ash vs Leon being required hurts the tournament when we also 100% knew Ash was going to battle Gary, Morrison, Paul, and Alain in those leagues.
In my opinion, I think it's due to how it makes the other battles with Champions feel a bit less noteworthy, or that they're just stepping stones to the last matchup. That isn't unusual with how Leagues have been handled, but it might feel a bit different with a tournament full of regional Champions. That and despite all of the buildup, I'm not sure how many people are really excited to see Ash vs. Leon. Compared to his matches with Gary, Paul and arguably Alain, I think that there was more excitement and hype going into those matches. It might not help that there's also the looming question of what else they can do with Ash if he does defeat Leon, which might overshadow the hype for their match or just weaken the excitement for it.

For believability; I've said it before but as far as I'm concerned all Journeys did was finally continue on from where Ash's strength was at the end of AG before he got nerfed to keep the league cycle going.

That's also why I don't think Ash beating Leon is the huge issue some do. They let Pikachu beat Regice then tie with a Magikarp soon after. They'll probably just nerf Ash again because we've been directly told they have him forget things, seemingly because mature characters are harder to write.
That would be one way to handle Ash defeating Leon. I'm sure people probably wouldn't be happy about that, but they've done it before and could easily nerf him again.
 

Beatsy Ray

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Having every single one of Ash’s Pokémon instead featured and being shown to help contribute to the strength of his JN team is a great compromise for not only making sure that they had an active goal in driving Ash’s success, but will (hopefully) raise the chances of good showings for a lineup that needs it the most. They’ve only recently been used more consistently in JN and I hope that this is the tourney where each member can rightfully receive good representation.
I don't really think Ash's current team has been poorly represented when it comes to battles though. They've all had major wins, which is more than you can say for most of his previous teams. Dracovish is really the only one I'd argue deserved at least one more battle prior to the tournament, but in all fairness if you consider the fact that we're only about 100 episodes into the series, I think this is one of his most well utilized teams to date (on the battlefield).

What his team really suffers from is a lack of development off the battlefield. A few extra battles each and some Champion victories isn't going to change the fact that the audience has no reason to care about these Pokemon, or root for them aside from simply wanting Ash to win. Aside from maybe Sirfetch'd, none of these Pokemon have had stories or any meaningful struggles between battles, so there's no payoff when they actually get used. As far as I'm concerned, the current team is irreparably damaged because of this, and frankly I'm bored of watching this team I have zero investment in. When the Pokemon are treated more like tools than characters, there's no narrative value to the battles. Ash's team isn't going to gain anything important from the Masters Tournament, and likewise, nothing important would be robbed from them if they did have to share screen time with reserves. We'd get some much needed variety though, and a chance to root for some Pokemon that have had genuine development, and actually stand to gain something from participating.

A single highlight for each JN team member would have been plenty in my opinion. DP was able to balance reserves in a similar way, and with the exception of jobbing Torterra, I think that was generally considered a success. In my opinion, Cynthia will probably get a full battle, so were looking at 15 potential slots to work with between the three battles, which would have been more than enough. Example: Pikachu - 2, Lucario - 2, Dragonite - 2, Geng, Fetch'd & Draco - 3, reserves - 6 (2 per battle). Theoretically anyway.
 

FluffleFi

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What his team really suffers from is a lack of development off the battlefield.
This is the part that's just so strange to me about Journey's. The series prides itself on this whole 'world tour' concept but didn't take advantage for story lines they might not have been able to tell if the series was just a regular journey through a single reason. Like, its cool that Greninja came back and helped to train Lucario but what if, instead, upon evolving Lucario had trouble using its aura or Aura Sphere? They could've had Ash seek out Riley to help with training. There, maybe we get some meaningful development between Ash and Lucario, a returning character and a Sinnoh callout.

And then there's the PWC. In Unova, Kalos and Alola Ash had multiple rivals to face and they were only in a single region. Yet the PWC takes place around the world and he only gets one lack-luster 'rival' in Bea. I hesitate to even call her that considering how little she showed up. Its nice that the anime gave focus to someone from Galar, I just wish her appearances weren't so lackluster.
 

Sai

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Lucario got a number of proper arcs, and the Greninja ep was to explain why it's aura sphere got so powerful. Lucario lost to articuno, mewtwo, etc. prior so it was never that strong before, even tying with Volkner's Luxray. Bea was never intended to be a regular rival, just a character he lost against and had to re-battle. All 3 matches showed her and Ash get stronger each time.
 

Handy Man

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Yeah in every previously league you knew it would come down to Ash battling Paul, Alan, Gladion, Gary, etc. so we knew all the previous matches would be Ash winning or against filler COTD's like the older leagues had. Ash coming against Leon is common sense but it doesn't make the previous rounds less important. Lance/Diantha feels the most like a random match because they have nothing in common and were paired because every other combination was taken.

I'm actually interested in Iris/Cynthia the most to see how far Iris has come even if it's inevitable for her to lose. Going by the preview shots Haxorus unleashes a bit of damage on Garchomp. Makes their battle in BW feel nostalgic.
The problem with Leon compared to every other character was that Leon was already established to be the 1st seed of the entire World Championships, and as early as JN012 at that. This meant that, not only were the writers working towards Ash facing off against Leon early into Journeys, but it also meant that Ash would have to actually defeat every single person he would face in order to reach Leon. We only saw Ash have a losing arc once in all of Journeys with Bea, but other than that, it’s been jarring going into almost every PWC battle knowing that Ash will win. They created a pretty hard to believe goal for Ash in this series, and the writing in Journeys with his battle record reflects that.

Also, it’s never actually guaranteed that Ash will fight a character in a league. Sure, some like Gary, Paul, and Trip are obvious. But then you remember details like how Gary never actually fought Ash in the Indigo League, only the Johto League. Or how Trip was fought in round one of the entire Unova league. Gladion and Alain were fought in the finals as well, but that was never guaranteed. The writers could have had Gladion be Ash’s round one, or Alain could’ve been Ash’s top 8 match and he could still lose to him. Not to mention that Ash has had plenty of rivals that he never ended up facing in a league, like Casey, Barry, and Tierno. Having Leon be #1 throughout the entireity of Journeys solidified early on that, not only would Ash have to be the 2nd best trainer in the entire tournament just to have a shot in fighting Leon, but it would also make Ash and Leon better trainers than anyone else who entered in the competition. Leon feels like a means to an end in a way that no other character has ever before, and it’s going to be really hard to write Ash’s character and future rivals after Journeys considering all of that.
 

Chilon

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But i dont think Casey, Tierno and Barry are to win. There are not so strong.
 

FelipePR

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I admit I'm a bit uncertain why people say that Ash vs Leon being required hurts the tournament when we also 100% knew Ash was going to battle Gary, Morrison, Paul, and Alain in those leagues.

I somewhat disagree with the above said. The first big difference I see is that, usually, in Pokémon Championships, there are a bunch of random and non-relevant people that the characters will battle against. Afterwards, in most leagues, there was no certainty how far Ash and his opponents would go.

On the other hand, in Masters Tournament we expected that the final will be betwween Ash and Leon. This is, in advance, we already know practically all the confrontations and, probably, the winners and losers. Furthermore, In this championship, everyone is a familiar face or a beloved character, so every battle is important and must be well planned. Otherwise, many fans may leave with a bitter taste.

In Indigo League, Gary didn't fight Ash. He, unexpectedly, was eliminated before. So, it wasn't exactly certain that they would face each other at the Silver Conference and, especially, that Ash would win. The same can be said of Morrison, he was a last-minute rival. Morrison could either win or lose to Ash, or he could only serve to be crushed by another trainer before this hypothetical character face Ash. There were several possibilities open.

Ash vs Paul was a little more scripted, but the relationship and rivalry between them and their Pokemon was very well built and nurtured throughout the series. So, despite the predictable outcome, the battle between them was emblematic.

In BW, the anime surprised us by putting Ash x Trip right off the bat. And, while the outcome of this battle may have been predictable, that fact, by itself, changed the whole expectation about the tournament, without it having a negative impact .

Already in XY, we have the first bad example of a frustrated competition. The battle between Ash and Alain was already more than anticipated. And, given the strength of the characters, many expected that the confrontation between them would take place in the final. At the end, there was no other way, the whole tournament was irrelevant, just an anticipation of the final. And the result of the final, which was contrary to expectations, frustrated many.

I see journeys in a similar situation. The fact that the final is already apparent leaves few opportunities for innovation or paths to be followed, as well as a high chance of frustration. Like, if, for example, the final is not between Leon and Ash, the tournament will already have been a failure.
 
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Weddingbells

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Ash bringing Charizard to the M8 wouldn't have worked. Fans probably want to see him battle Leon's Charizard due to the whole "strongest Charizard in the world" thing, but then people would be also mad because they wanted a revenge match with Greninja. If he beats Leon, people will be mad because they see it's more appropriate if Pikachu takes down Charizard
 
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