Our heroes have finally arrived in Vertress City, home of the Unova League, and Ash’s excitement is at a fever pitch! While they’re in the midst of marveling at the massive Unova League stadium, the familiar faces of several Trainers begin rolling into town with their own plans to compete—and to Ash’s dismay, Bianca’s entrance is as dramatic as ever.
Ash, Trip, Stephan, Bianca, and new friend Virgil (from the Pokémon Rescue Squad) are all raring to go—as is Cameron, who’s been camping out for three days in a tent with his Riolu to make sure he wouldn’t be late! However, no one told him he needed to register for the tournament, so Ash rushes his absent-minded friend over to Nurse Joy—mere moments after registration has closed. Fortunately for Cameron, Nurse Joy takes pity on him and lets him register anyway.
The next morning, it’s time to get started! Freddy the Scoop drops in by parachute to call the action, and starts out by announcing the rules: before the main event begins, Trainers have to get through the qualifying rounds, where they can only use one Pokémon each. Stephan wins his first match easily. Virgil and Bianca are struggling against their opponents—and Ash is paired up against his very first Unova rival: Trip!
Trip calls out his super-speedy Serperior, who handed Ash his defeat in the Pokémon World Tournament Junior Cup finals. This time, rather than relying on Pignite’s type advantage, Ash has chosen Pikachu to kick off his Unova League experience! But even Pikachu’s Quick Attack isn’t fast enough to hit Serperior, who dodges every move with serpentine skill. Finally, Trip has Serperior strike back with Dragon Tail—and it’s a direct hit! Will Ash and Pikachu be knocked out of the Unova League before they even get to the main event?