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SPOILERS: Masters Eight Discussion/Speculation Thread

I think they want to stick with the Galar Pokémon he has in the games.
Yeah, but I still would have preferred to use the opportunity to give screentime action to at least a couple of less-focused on species. Heck, I don't think we've even seen a Boltund even in a background cameo outside of the Secrets of the Jungle movie.
 
It is kind of awkward that the finale of gen 8 is pretty much guaranteed to come down to two gen 1 Pokémon, though I think even if this isn't the actual series finale it's meant to be the climax of the whole series up to this point in a way even winning the Alola League wasn't (we see his reserves watching from home, Dawn at least is returning and maybe more).

I still find it funny that Charizard used to be thought of primarily in the anime as Ash's ace and now it's his final obstacle for a second time.
Take my energy, Ash!
༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ
 
I still find it funny that Charizard used to be thought of primarily in the anime as Ash's ace and now it's his final obstacle for a second time.
Let's just hope he can actually take it down for once. The way Game Freak shoves this Pokemon down our throats really makes me want Ash to win. I just want to see him actually get to defeat a Charizard for once.
 
Let's just hope he can actually take it down for once. The way Game Freak shoves this Pokemon down our throats really makes me want Ash to win. I just want to see him actually get to defeat a Charizard for once.
Oddly enough his record VS Charizard isn't bad overall; he beat some back in Johto and AG and then Kiawe's at the end of Sun/Moon.
But one particular Charizard tilted the numbers.
 
I still find it funny that Charizard used to be thought of primarily in the anime as Ash's ace
Not to rehash the reserve debate (although it feels a little hollow without Ash using his old Pokemon), but it's crazy that we have a PWC and anime with a bunch of Charizards and Ash's one is the one being sidelined.

When people used to clamor for Charizard being on the show, it was always synonymous with the iconic one from the OS. Feels weird tbh.
 
The PWC and the Masters Eight Tournament in particular have given us reason for heated debates on how Ash (and I also want to include Leon) has been handled and how his battles have been written.
As I was afraid this topic might pop up again in many future review threads, I thought it was a good idea to have a central thread solely dedicated to the topic. This way we can have all the opinions in one place while fans can discuss the single episodes in their respective threads without being disturbed.

During the last few months I've been passionately engaged in those discussion about Ash and the Masters Eight myself. So, let me summarize my personal opinon with three core theses
(You don't have to agree with me, but at least it should be possible for everybody to share their opinions, no matter how controversial, in a respectful way)

Thesis 1:
Ash and especially his current team are too inexperienced and thus not ready for the Masters Eight

In my eyes it doesn't make sense that Ash, who's only become a champion recently, can train a totally inexperienced team (except for Sirfetch'd) within the short time of just 120 episodes, so they are ready to hold a candle to the strongest trainers in the world and even defeat them. Considering those champions have been training their Pokemon for all their lives, Ash's progress is not only unrealistic and simply impossible, it also seems forced and makes you think the writers want him to win at all costs. That's why fans (including myself) brought up the topic of Plot Armor. Yes, I know this term is controversial, but on the other hand I haven't encountered a reasonable counter-argument yet that could explain the points I mentioned above, except that Ash's Pokemon are on some illegal steroids or that he's getting the writers' support, just like an invisible (plot) armor. So, I wouldn't dismiss "Plot Armor" as nonsense but rather consider it a legitimate and well founded form of criticism.
If Ash's progress is meant to make any sense, the Master Eight Tournament should already have been prepared and carefully developed over many generations in the past. Ash should have been training the same team over the course of time of at least three or four regions. Only then would he be ready and logically strong enough to face trainers like Lance, Steven and Cynthia.

Thesis 2:
For reason's sake Ash should have been treated like Iris

Ash and Iris have much in common: Both have become champions just recently and both should be considered equally strong, ranking 8th and 7th in th world respectively. Iris has been training the same Pokemon that have always been with her, while Ash got his typical character and Pokemon reset. Iris put on a great and passionate fight against Cynthia, but eventually lost because it makes sense that she's less experienced and her Pokemon are weaker than those of a veteran champion like Cynthia. So, I'd say one of the few things that actually made sense during the PWC and the Masters Eight Tournament in particular was the way Iris was portrayed and handled.
In fact, I have no problem with Ash reaching the Master Eight (although some of his Ultra Class battles, especially the Drasna and the Raihan battles seemed very forced too) but the Masters Eight should have been the end of the line! Ash, as a "rookie champion" putting up a good fight against Steven and eventually losing to him or Cynthia would not have been a shame but the only reasonable and plausible way competitors like Iris and Ash should be handled, provided the writers consider at least some of the fans old enough and capable of thinking logically.

Thesis 3:
If Cynthia had been allowed to go full power at Ash, i.e. to use Mega-Garchomp, she would have defeated him

I know there have been heated discussion on whether it was smarter to dynamax Togekiss instead of mega-evolving Garchomp. But if the writers really wanted to come up with a smart move, then I must clearly say it was put into practice very poorly! Using Dynamax Togekiss to endure and destroy Mega-Lucario's attack while at the same time getting a triple Speed boost by using Max Air Stream three times in a row, was a very clever move, I won't deny that. However, the writers unfortunately let it all go to waste as soon as Togekiss was back to normal. At that stage Cynthia's Pokemon should have been so fast that Lucario would have had no chance of hitting it anymore. So, if the writers really wanted to give Cynthia an advantage, they would not have let Togekiss attack head on but would have taken full advantage of its speed by letting it dodge and attack from a distance. That way Togekiss could have worn down and eventually defeated Mega-Lucario.
The fact all this didn't happen, however, shows to me the writers didn't have any interest in effectively using Togekiss and its massive speed boost. They knew if they consistently finished what they had started, there would be no other consequence than Cynthia winning this. Last but not least, and this brings me back to the beginning of thesis 3, even more so they were aware that Cynthia would definitley have won if she had used Mega-Garchomp due to the immense power of the latter that had been established in the Iris-battle. So, the writers must have been facing the dilemma where in the end Ash needed to win at all costs but at the same time they knew it was impossible if Cynthia was battling Ash with all her might. And here we have the Plot Armor argument again: Cynthia was deliberately made "weaker" in order for Ash to win the battle and not suffer any harm (that's part of the definition what Plot Armor is). So, for me Ash's "win" is neither deserved nor legit because his opponent Cynthia wasn't treated fair when she wasn't allowed to use her full potential for Plot Armor's sake.


Now I've seen fans arguing that it eventually all depends on the writers' will and that the underdog defeating a more powerful opponent is a common motif in literature. It's true that the Pokemon universe can't be completely logical. Otherwise Pokemon themselves (creatures that shoot balls of fire, water and electricity at each other and survive that) would probably not be able to exist. My point is not that everything has to be fully explained with logic. However, if we refuse to let logic be our guiding principle and instead have it all depend on the writers' almighty will, we'll eventually end up in a dark world of superstition and nonsense where everything is possible and nothing needs to make sense anymore. Frankly, that's not the kind of show I would spend my free-time and all my passion on.
So, my actual point is that despite the unquestionably fictional character of the show, there has to be a solid and basic level of logic at least in the battles in order for the type chart, the mechanics and the movesets to work in the first place. And that very same basic level of logic should also be applied when it comes to the question whether a little kid (who hardly does any serious training with his Pokemon btw.) should be able to defeat veteran champions.
The Master Eight Tournament should be considered the culmination of over 25 years of Pokemon and it's too "precious" to be handled in such a sloppy way if you ask me.


Finally, we should also talk about Leon. Since he's the grown-up version of Ash, it's no surprise he's suffering from the same bad writing as Ash. His power level is completely exaggerated and implausible, he comes across like a self-important show-off and the way such great characters like Alain and Diantha were treated in the battles against him was nothing but a pure shame! And I guess it's even worse if you realize that all this happened just because the writers were obviously running out of time and thus not able to write proper battles anymore. Ash and Leon, both are badly written character in the PWC if you ask me and I hope I could get my message across.

Looking forward to your opinion because I think the PWC/Masters Eight is one of the most important topics of the entire Anime.
 
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The powerscaling in Journeys is complete garbage and makes no sense,I still don't buy into the idea of Ash being able to train an inexperienced team to reach champion level in such a short amount of time.If any of his pokemon deserve to be in that position it's his reserves,should've just had Ash approach the PWC the same way he did the Battle Frontier from the start.It's an absolute disgrace to show Charizard,Sceptile and Infernape watching the PWC on a flat screen TV instead of actually being there helping Ash on the front lines.
 
Cannot agree more with the OP. This is all essentially why I decided I won't tune in for the Gen 9 series. If they believe having this undeservedly overpowered protagonist beating his obvious betters is anywhere near acceptable storytelling then I can no longer hold out any specks of hope in this show's quality going forward.

No, nothing Leon does to him now will fix this. The fatal damage is done. If Ash's loss in the Kalos League was "jumping the shark" then this is like jumping the entire damn pod.
 
It's an absolute disgrace to show Charizard,Sceptile and Infernape watching the PWC on a flat screen TV instead of actually being there helping Ash on the front lines.
And let's not forget good old Greninja. He is the true "inventor" of the bond phenomenon, the original so to speak.
All Lucario is doing right now is imitating his master and teacher Greninja. I never bought it that Lucario was able to perfect "Mega/Giga/Ultra Aura Sphere of Doom" within two episodes. That felt so cheap and once more underlined what I was trying to say in thesis 1: Under normal circumstances Ash and Lucario would be far from ready, but the writers needed to get him into the Masters Eight at all costs. So, no surprise they needed to come up with such implausible, cheap tricks. Also, I personally liked Greninja's bond phenomenon much more because it felt both real and emotional, while Lucario's giant aura thingy (don't even know how to call it) seems to be just a cheap copy of the original MC.

Cannot agree more with the OP. This is all essentially why I decided I won't tune in for the Gen 9 series. If they believe having this undeservedly overpowered protagonist beating his obvious betters is anywhere near acceptable storytelling then I can no longer hold out any specks of hope in this show's quality going forward.
That's another big problem which I honestly can't up with a solution for. Ash will most likely win the tournament. So, how are they going to continue with him if there isn't a complete restart of the show with a new protagonist? Showing Ash as a disillusioned, unmotivated shadow of his own self who challenges gyms out of boredom? Well, we'll see but that's a different topic I guess
 
My predictions
Gengar vs Mr. Rime- Mr. Rime recalled
Gengar vs Inteleon - Inteleon
Dracovish vs Inteleon - Dracovish
Dracovish vs Mr. Rime - Tie
Pikachu vs Cinderace - Pikachu recalled
Sirfetch'd vs Cinderace - Sirfetch'd
Sirfetch'd vs Dragapult - Dragapult
Dragonite vs Dragapult - Dragonite
Dragonite vs Rillaboom - Dragonite
Dragonite vs Charizard - Charizard
Mega Lucario vs Charizard - Charizard
Z-Move Pikachu vs G-Max Charizard - Pikachu

Yes... it might be unrealistic Lucario doesn't get a win here, but honestly, he is one of two Pokemonof Ash's team that can afford not to have at least a win or a good showing (Gengar forcing Mr. Rime to be recalled is a good showing imo). Sirfetch'd can afford to not have a win or a good showing either, since Sirfetch'd battling Leon has basically be confirmed since its evolution episode, i cannot see it not getting away without a win, which means either Dracovish, Dragonite or Gengar need to be the fall guys, which they cannot afford, so that only leaves Lucario (Since there is no way they aren't gonna let Pikachu not end the match and give Ash the championship, since its only fitting it does so... its his main partner after all).

And out of Leons mons, the ones that can afford to be the fall guys are Dragapult and Rillaboom (Rillaboom more than Dragapult imo)... so i let it get away without a win, while Inteleon gets a win as well (Needing it more than Cinderace in terms of species screentime), but still giving Mr. Rime and Cinderace good showings.
 
The only ones that I really am meh about being Champion level Pokemon are Sirfetch'd and Dracovish honestly. Pikachu been that good for a while and Lucario got development enough that I'm ok with it. Don't really have a problem with Dragonite and Gengar. If you catch two OP Pokemon like those and can't get them to a champion level over the course of a season, you should be forced to retire. It's not like Ash caught a Dratini and Ghastly and trained them, he already caught them in final form
 
The only ones that I really am meh about being Champion level Pokemon are Sirfetch'd and Dracovish honestly. Pikachu been that good for a while and Lucario got development enough that I'm ok with it. Don't really have a problem with Dragonite and Gengar. If you catch two OP Pokemon like those and can't get them to a champion level over the course of a season, you should be forced to retire. It's not like Ash caught a Dratini and Ghastly and trained them, he already caught them in final form
When's the last time Ash's Dragonite got a victory?It's been dubbed as Jobbernite for quite some time now.
 
When's the last time Ash's Dragonite got a victory?It's been dubbed as Jobbernite for quite some time now.
Ash's Dragonite's last win was against Iris's Haxorus. Also, bit of a nitpick, but I'm pretty sure that the "Jobbernite" nickname is actually for Iris's Dragonite, since the poor thing has actually lost every single battle he's been in starting from the time Ash's Krookodile knocked him off his high horse.

I think he'll for sure get his moment in the Finals. Maybe against Dragapalt
Ash's Dragonite is a she, just sayin.
 
Ash's Dragonite's last win was against Iris's Haxorus. Also, bit of a nitpick, but I'm pretty sure that the "Jobbernite" nickname is actually for Iris's Dragonite, since the poor thing has actually lost every single battle he's been in starting from the time Ash's Krookodile knocked him off his high horse.


Ash's Dragonite is a she, just sayin.
You're right, edited it. Thanks for the heads up
 
When's the last time Ash's Dragonite got a victory?It's been dubbed as Jobbernite for quite some time now.
Ash's Dragonite has been undefeated for most of Journeys. It's only at the brink of the Master Class when she got her first loss. She hasn't lost that many times, overall, and still has a chance of getting a KO in the battle with Leon.
 
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