An ATL Warstory (Top 4)

Hi, I'm Kyler. I'm kind of new at this, but here goes...

Let me start at the beginning. I've played Pokémon off and on since the original Red and Blue versions were released 18 billion years ago, but never until this year did I consider competetive battling at all. I just happened to be checking for promotions on and saw that one of the regional stops this year was in nearby Atlanta.

I entertained the idea of attending for a couple of weeks, and in early May I finally decided that I'd try and put a team together. So I focused on defeating the last few gym leaders and elite four in my Black version, and then learned how to do basic RNG manipulation from the tutorials on this site. (thank you)

Since I had no prior experience, I just wanted to build a team composed of Pokémon that I liked that would hopefully work well together yet still be somewhat competetive. So, thanks in part to the analyses found here and on SkarmBliss, I developed a team that proved to be quite successful.

My Team
I'm not going to go into full detail on sets and EVs and such, as I might be using some of them for Nationals, but here's a quick look. My primary strategy is built around Sunny Day.


JRank's Chandelure




Zoroark (mind games filler)

Round 1 (vs. Dalton): Galvantula/Zoroark/Eelektross/Reuniclus
This was actually my first non-AI Pokémon battle since Red version.

Upon seeing his team preview, I really wasn't sure what to expect. He lead with Galvantula and Zoroark disguised as Reuniclus (which actually fooled me), and I lead with Chandelure and Whimsicott. I assumed he wasn't going to set up TR immediately because his lightning bug obviously had some decent speed behind it, but I was also afraid it might 1HOK my Whims if it ended up being scarfed for some reason. It wasn't. Whims set up Sunny Day w/o a hitch, and my own scarfed Chandelure took out both his 'mons with a boosted Heat Wave. He then sent out his last two: Eelektross and the real Reuniclus. So now I'm thinking TR, but I'm not too worried at this point because I still have all 4 of my 'mons at 100%. So I Heat Waved again with Chandelure and Solar Beamed his Eelektross with my Whims: KO and KO. 4-0.

Round 2 (vs. Mirla): Hydreigon/Landorus/???/???
Ya, my memory is pretty awful for the rest of the prelims. But I must say that Mirla was quite the unexpected opponent. She was older than the majority of the competition and was apparently the mom of another competitor? Either way, she was friendly and she seemed to know her stuff. The Hydreigon on the preview screen almost scared me into leading Volcarona over Chande, but after considering it for a few moments I decided to choose the same leads as before. And if I'm recalling this correctly, she didn't lead with Hydreigon anyway so it worked out fine. The battle itself is really fuzzy. I know I got SD off before she KO'd my Whims, and when Hydre was finally brought out I benched Chande and sent out Terrakion and Lilligant who cleaned up rather nicely. 3-0.

Round 3 (vs. Librado H.): Conkeldurr/Mienshao?/Amoongus?/???
I'm so bad at this. I remember the guy more than the match itself. And he was amiable from the start, but when my Whims unleashed a Solar Beam on the second turn he asked me how I was able to do that w/o it charging first. I reminded him that the sun was out and we both laughed about it. I think he lead with Mienshao but I could be way off. It was a pretty straightforward match. I know he KO'd my Whims but I think I ended up winning 3-0.

Round 4 (vs. Ben K.): Volcarona/Jellicent?/Scrafty?/???
Last round of prelims. (Damn. Didn't expect this.) My opponent was Ben K. and the only thing I could notice as the battle started was that he used a female avatar as well, lol.

But my thoughts soon turned serious when I saw his Volcarona/Jellicent leads. I had some decisions to make. I could do my usual Sunny Day setup to weaken his Jellicent's offensive threat, but at the same time I'd be running the risk of his buffed Volcarona destroying my team. I'm pretty sure I chose to Tailwind with Whims instead and then Shadow Ball his Jelli to weaken the inevitable Water Spout. But of course his moth uses Rage Powder right off the bat (should have seen that coming) and the Shadow Ball leaves Jellicent unharmed. Luckily for me, he chose to Protect with Jelli first turn and so I didn't have to suffer a fully-powered WS. His moth is now somewhere around 30% HP or so from the SB so I figured I could kill it decently quickly and I let Whims go ahead and bring out the sun while I switched out my Chande for Terrakion. This is where my memory starts getting hazy... I'm pretty sure he Protects with Volcarona as Terrakion switches in and takes the weakened WS (which brings him to around 40%). I then Solar Beam Jelli and finish off the Moth with a Rock Slide. I end up winning 2-0. Good game.

After winning against Ben, one of the staff lead me to the Finalists Lounge and to a table where they checked me in, gave me a new wristband and took my game cart. Wow. I made it.

There weren't really any people in the lounge yet so I decided to take a walk around, get some water and watch some of the KotH battles. I returned to the lounge a bit later, when only a handful of prelim matches were still in play and by then it was much more populated. I sat down at a random table with some people who looked friendly enough (I'm sorry, I'm AWFUL with names), and the last prelim battle ended shortly thereafter.

Turns out there were only 29 finalists and so they announced that three of us would receive byes and automatically advance to the top 16 and get an invite to Nationals. So they passed out cards with the word "PLAY" or "BYE" on them. Of course our table was one of the last to receive our cards. It was nerve-racking and when I got mine I left it face down for a few moments in order to prolong my feeling of hope. Then I flipped it over and saw the word "BYE". I couldn't believe it. Unfortunately, I was the only one at the table with such luck. They then lead the 26 players to a set of competition tables while the three of us with byes stayed behind.

Round of 32 (29)(Bye): --
It was a bit awkward waiting for this round to finish. The staff went ahead and collected our info for Nationals, which didn't take long at all, and then we were left to sit at the next set of tables all spaced out so we couldn't really talk. At one point, Nick came over and interviewed the three of us one-by-one, and I'm pretty sure my responses sounded dumb because I don't really know how to answer the typical, "How are you feeling right now?"-type questions without sounding like an idiot. Oh well, I was more focused on the next round anyway.

Round of 16 (vs. Wake): Terrakion/Whimsicott/Scrafty/Thundurus
Wake was cool and I hope to see him at Nats. He gave me one heck of a long battle too. It was tough. Thankfully, I saved the video of this match so I don't have to fail at remembering anything.

You can watch it HERE.

Re-watching it, I think he missed some opportunities to put me away midway through, but it's hard to stay focused I know. Hindsight, etc. I'm just really glad I didn't lose this round. I would have felt pretty bad if I had lost right after receiving a bye.

1-0. Great match.

Round of 8 (vs. Stephen M.): Conkeldurr/Genie?/???/???
Sadly, I remember very little about this match. I was kind of hoping a video would surface considering it was broadcast on the screen, but I haven't found one yet. I do remember thinking at the time that this was the best match of the day for me. It was very close throughout and I had to think carefully each turn. And I was kind of happy that I got to show off my Lilligant, even if she was stuck using Hidden Power the majority of the time.

I ended up winning either 1-0 or perhaps 2-0 with very low HP.

Final Four (vs. Harrison S.): Chandelure/Amoongus/Tornadus?/Terrakion?
By this time I was pretty damn nervous. One more win and I'd be in the final match.

It was not to be, however. Harrison had my Sunny Day read from the start, and after the first two turns I knew my chances of winning were slim. But I still tried the best I could and it actually turned out to be a decent battle. I really wish I could remember more though. And I'd like to see a video if it exists. I think I lost 0-2.

I wished him luck in the final battle (which apparently had the opposite effect), and sadly watched as my wristband was cut off.

I'm extremely happy with the way everything turned out. My only goal going in was to not lose in the first round. And I got to meet some pretty cool people too. Hopefully I'll see some of them again next month at Nationals.

I'm sorry I can't post more specific info on my team. If you have any particular questions I might be able to answer them, depending.

-Many thanks go to the Smogon and SkarmBliss communities for providing such invaluable information on competitive Pokémon. Without their resources I'd be lost.
-More thanks goes to JRank for the Litwick. To say it served me well would be a great understatement.

-Making it to the semifinals with nothing but theory to guide me.
-Meeting some cool people.
-Getting a bye the first round of finals.
-Whimsicott for being an unexpected offensive beast.
-Using the team I wanted to use and somehow making it work. (I refuse to use those ugly genies!)

-Not testing my team at all beforehand.
-Waiting until the morning of to get my last 41 BP to buy a Life Orb.
-Forgetting I had messed around with my trainer card greeting when I first got the game, and not changing it before the tournament.
-My faulty memory (x1000000).


blatant Nintendo fanboy
I love you for running a Sunny Day team in a metagame that does not favor it. Excellent read, and congrats at doing so well.
I absolutely loved seeing a Sunny Day team! A video of our battle does exist, I had my friends record the semis. I'm in Savannah right now and don't have the camera it's on, but I'll work on putting it up as soon as I get back.
Not gonna lie, once we saw Liligant, we wanted it to use Teeter Dance so badly.

Congrats on making top 4! Good luck at Nationals!
Ah so you were the one guy from the top 4 I didnt get to talk to. I was the kid that was with Thomas and Daniel that didnt place well in the tournament. Congrats on your t4 placing.
Freaking awesome team, congrats in making it into the Top 4! (Too bad they took the DS's away from 3rd and 4th :x)

Hope to meet you at Nationals :)
amazing read! I love the fact this was your first VGC and you made it so far, congrats and good luck at nats! (and that's awesome that you used sunny day)
I loved the fact that you were original in not using the genies and managed to place an amazing top 4 with a sunny-day team! Absolutely amazing! Again, really nice job making top 4 and nice warstory!
Thanks all for the kind replies! I hope to see some of you in Indianapolis.

Not gonna lie, once we saw Liligant, we wanted it to use Teeter Dance so badly.
Lol... I did toy with that idea for a day or so. If nothing else, it would have been fun just to mess with people.