A massive Spanish Pokemon tournament that starts out with a Stardew Valley-style Nuzlocke was won by an exploding "trash-bird"

A female Unfezant in the Pokemon anime.
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Pokemon has an enormous and thriving competitive scene, but even though many fans might think of the official Video Game Competition (VGC) as the pinnacle of high-level Pokemon gaming, the Pokemon Twitch Cup is arguably much more interesting. 

If you were unfamiliar, the Pokemon Twitch Cup has been running since 2021 in Spain, with its third and most recent iteration taking place in December 2023. YouTuber pChal (Pokemon Challenges) has thrown its existence back into the spotlight, talking through what makes the tournament so unique.

The Pokemon Twitch Cup is actually split into two halves, the first being a Nuzlocke challenge which essentially serves to determine which Pokemon each competitor is able to use on their team in the tournament half of the cup. For those unfamiliar, Nuzlockes generally see players capture only the first Pokemon they find on each route and release any Pokemon that faint in battle, meaning that they have a more limited (and often constantly depleting) supply of friends to throw into battle. In the Twitch Cup, competitors are only allowed to use their surviving Pokemon which managed to make it through the Nuzlocke to go up against their real human foes.

To make things even more interesting, in the case of the 2023 Twitch Cup, competitors were faced with playing through a fan-made Pokemon game that's heavily visually inspired by Stardew Valley, even if you don't need to plant any crops to win. The concept is genuinely really cool, with the plot seeing players invited by an in-game social media company, Delta, to live in a town populated only by streamers. However, players soon find themselves tasked with fighting streamers who are being manipulated by Delta in order to save them, and at one point, even have to take on "Mark Zuckergerg" in a champion battle, who definitely doesn't look like any social media boss in particular. 

Since Pokemon caught in this Nuzlocke boasted random moves and abilities, it meant that the tournament could see rise to some unexpected champions. In this case, with the winner of the whole event, YouTuber SoyFelipez360, his most iconic Pokemon was none other than an Unfezant – the usually underwhelming Normal/Flying-type regional bird of the Unova region. 

His bird, named Sopita, had some tricks up her sleeve – the priority move Fake Out, which can go before opponents and cause them to flinch (miss their turn), and the ability Gale Wings, which also gives priority to Flying-type moves. Despite normally being considered pretty awful, the beloved bird was a huge asset throughout the challenge run, and continued to serve SoyFelipez360 well in the second half.

Moving onto the tournament itself, competitors fought in Double Battles, with two Pokemon on each side of the battlefield at each time, in a best-of-five format. In addition, players were able to choose a Pokemon from the other person's team to ban each game.  

Even amongst a lineup of powerful Pokemon Snorlax, Garchomp, Gholdengo, Glaceon, and Dusknoir, SoyFelipez360's beloved Unfezant was still somehow an absolute MVP. She'd learned the move Explosion – a powerful Normal-type attack that KOs the user when deployed, which the player certainly wouldn't have wanted to use in the Nuzlocke half of the cup. This was able to tear through even the hardiest of opponents, and although she wasn't the Pokemon that won him the final battle, her efforts played an enormous part in his victory, even if pChal still calls her a "trash bird." We salute you, Sopita. 

If you love Pokemon, be sure to check out our ranking of the best Pokemon games. 

Catherine Lewis
News Writer

I'm one of GamesRadar+'s news writers, who works alongside the rest of the news team to deliver cool gaming stories that we love. After spending more hours than I can count filling The University of Sheffield's student newspaper with Pokemon and indie game content, and picking up a degree in Journalism Studies, I started my career at GAMINGbible where I worked as a journalist for over a year and a half. I then became TechRadar Gaming's news writer, where I sourced stories and wrote about all sorts of intriguing topics. In my spare time, you're sure to find me on my Nintendo Switch or PS5 playing through story-driven RPGs like Xenoblade Chronicles and Persona 5 Royal, nuzlocking old Pokemon games, or going for a Victory Royale in Fortnite.