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The countdown reaches zero and the preliminary round officially begins, kicking off the Manalo Conference. [[Hiroki]] rushes out with his {{p|Mudbray}}, ordering any challengers to come at him. However, he and Mudbray are immediately struck by a combination attack, making him the first to be knocked out of the competition. {{AP|Pikachu}} lands an {{m|Iron Tail}} on a {{p|Sudowoodo}}'s forehead, which causes it to immediately faint. As Ash cheers for his early victory, Kiawe orders him to pay attention to the fast-approaching {{p|Poliwrath}}. Pikachu launches an {{m|Electroweb}} attack to defeat Poliwrath, also knocking out a nearby {{p|Araquanid}} in the process. Meanwhile, [[Kiawe's Turtonator]] takes a direct {{m|Flamethrower}} from a {{p|Salamence}}, before striking it away with a {{m|Dragon Tail}}. Lillie joins the scuffle, and has [[Snowy]] {{status|frozen|freeze}} Salamence with a {{m|Powder Snow}}, taking the {{t|Dragon}} type out of the fight. [[Sandy]] and {{DL|Recurring wild Pokémon in the anime|Shaymin}} quickly defeat three opponents, with Lana and Mallow congratulating them. Sophocles has {{TP|Sophocles|Togedemaru}} bowl a {{p|Shiinotic}} out the way with {{m|Zing Zap}}. A {{p|Politoed}} leaps and grabs Togedemaru, but it is quickly defeated by Togedemaru's newly learned {{m|Spiky Shield}}. From a sky-box, [[Wicke]] sees {{an|Faba}} defeating a competitor's {{p|Boldore}} with his {{p|Alakazam}}.
As 79 participants remain, Ash and Pikachu face off against an intimidating {{p|Gyarados}}. As Ash prepares to call out an attack, a {{p|Skarmory}} swoops in and uses {{m|Metal Claw}} on Gyarados. Pikachu then uses the opportunity to leap onto Gyarados and deliver a direct {{m|Thunderbolt}}, knocking both Skarmory and Gyarados out with one hit. Kiawe orders Turtonator to keep an {{alorf|Alolan}} {{p|Sandslash}} at bay with a Flamethrower, though it continues to spin closer. Kiawe switches tactics and calls for Turtonator to use {{m|Shell Trap}}. The maneuver catches Sandslash off-guard as its claws directly touch Turtonator's spiny shell, setting off the Shell Trap and defeating the [[Pokémon category|Mouse Pokémon]]. A tense standoff between a {{p|Magikarp}} and a {{p|Pyukumuku}} abruptly ends due to an {{m|Electro Ball}} from [[Pikarla]]'s {{p|Pikachu}}, Bolt. However, Pikarla's victory is short-lived, as [[Jessie's Mimikyu]] knocks Bolt out with a {{m|Shadow Ball}}. Mimikyu then runs for another Trainer's Pikachu, leaving Jessie and James overwhelmed.
As 65 participants remain, a {{p|Talonflame}} swoops towards {{an|Gladion}} and his {{TP|Gladion|Silvally}}, though they evade the attack. Gladion throws a [[Rock Memory]] to Silvally, {{a|RKS System|transforming it}} into a {{t|Rock}} Pokémon. After Talonflame is quickly taken down by a super-effective {{m|Multi-Attack}}, Gladion and Silvally spot Ash and Pikachu sitting on the battlefield. The pair exchange stares before Gladion warns Ash of an incoming attacker, a {{p|Primeape}}, while a {{p|Clawitzer}} leaps up behind Silvally. Pikachu leaps into action, using Thunderbolt to defeat the Clawitzer as Silvally lands a {{m|Crush Claw}} on Primeape, taking it down. Gladion tells Ash to not lose in the preliminaries, and Ash offers him the same advice. The two [[rival]]s go their separate ways as they rush back into the melee.
* [[Guzma]] is revealed to own a {{p|Scizor}}.
* {{Ash}}, {{ashcl}}, [[Jessie]], [[James]], {{an|Gladion}}, [[Hau]], {{an|Faba}}, [[Ilima]], [[Acerola]], [[Mina]], Guzma, and [[Samson Oak]] make it through the [[Battle Royal]] preliminary round.
* Hau is revealed to own an {{alorf|Alolan}} {{p|Raichu}}.
* The match-ups of the first round are revealed to be:
** Ash versus Faba
* {{p|Eevee}} ({{an|Lana}}'s; [[Sandy]])
* {{p|Turtonator}} ({{OP|Kiawe|Turtonator}})
* {{p|Vulpix}} ({{an|Lillie}}'s; [[Regional variant{{rf|Alolan|Alola Form]]}}; [[Snowy]])
* {{p|Togedemaru}} ({{OP|Sophocles|Togedemaru}})
* {{p|Mimikyu}} ({{OP|Jessie|Mimikyu}})
* {{p|Shuppet}} ([[Acerola]]'s)
* {{p|Ribombee}} ([[Mina]]'s)
* {{p|Raichu}} ([[Hau]]'s; [[Regional variant{{rf|Alolan|Alola Form]]}})
* {{p|Scizor}} ([[Guzma]]'s)
* {{p|Salazzle}} ([[Plumeria]]'s)
* {{p|Ekans}} ({{tc|Team Skull Grunt}}'s)
* {{p|Drowzee}} ({{tc|Team Skull Grunt}}'s)
* {{p|Raticate}} ({{tc|Team Skull Grunt}}'s; [[Regional variant{{rf|Alolan|Alola Form]]}})
* {{p|Yungoos}} ({{tc|Team Skull Grunt}}'s)
* {{p|Snorlax}} ([[Oluolu]]'s)
* {{p|Dugtrio}} ([[DJ Leo]]'s; [[Regional variant{{rf|Alolan|Alola Form]]}}; Jessica, Ashley, and Michael)
* {{p|Mudbray}} ([[Hiroki]]'s)
* {{p|Pikachu}} ([[Pikala]]'s; Bolt)
* {{p|Clawitzer}} (Trainer's)
* {{p|Metagross}} (Trainer's)
* {{p|Geodude}} (Trainer's; [[Regional variant{{rf|Alolan|Alola Form]]}})
* {{p|Sandslash}} (Trainer's; [[Regional variant{{rf|Alolan|Alola Form]]}})
* {{p|Kommo-o}} (Trainer's)
* {{p|Golduck}} (Trainer's)
* {{p|Crabrawler}} (Trainer's)
* {{p|Grubbin}} (Trainer's)
* {{p|Graveler}} (Trainer's; [[Regional variant{{rf|Alolan|Alola Form]]}})
* {{p|Murkrow}} (Trainer's)
* {{p|Tauros}} (Trainer's)