Well, it only took me more than two months, but I'm finally finished. I hope everyone enjoys reading it and remembering that which occured just eleven weeks ago! Preface: This story will recount the events that took place from Thursday, June 24 to Sunday, June 27 in Indianapolis, Indiana. I will try to remember everything to the best of my abilities, but I cannot make any promises. I’ve been back for almost two months now (I’ve actually had to go back and update this section every time I go back to work on this ._.), so some things may be a little fuzzy. Luckily, I have a steel-trap memory, so I remember most of the important stuff from the weekend. I hope that through this tale, those of you who could not make it to Indianapolis for the VGC Nationals 2010 will be able to experience it vicariously through me. Who knows, perhaps some of you will be inspired to attend a VGC in the future because of this thread. I’m not going to bother writing descriptions for everyone like I did last year, because no one does it better than DM. Go check out his story if you have not already done so. Thursday, June 24: My dad and I left our house in Minnesota around 7:30 AM CST. The drive was supposed to be about 10 hours long, so we expected to get in around 6:30 PM EST. Of course, plentiful road construction and a brief adventure in Madison, Wisconsin caused some delays, so we didn’t actually arrive until around 8 PM. This was my humble abode for the weekend: We checked in at our hotel and talked to the guy working the desk for a little bit, and I actually had a few conversations with him throughout the weekend. He ended up being a former Magic: the Gathering player, a game that I just recently started playing competitively. We had some discussions about Magic, but we also discussed Pokémon after it was revealed that I was in Indianapolis to play in the LCQ/Nationals. In any case, my dad and I went to get some dinner after putting our stuff in our room and decided to go to a small restaurant that was right next to the hotel. The food was not great, and it was a little expensive considering the quantity and quality of the food. The most amusing thing about the meal was that the restaurant had Fox News on the whole time, and that there was a family sitting at another table that I could hear discussing Pokémon. This marks the second year in a row that my dad and I have had a meal in a place where another competitor was eating (last year before Nashville, while we were eating breakfast in our hotel, I overheard another family discussing Pokémon). I told TTS via facebook that it was too late for me to join them that night as it was now 9:00 PM, though my dad and I did make the brief drive downtown to survey the area and find exactly where the convention center was located. We also determined where we could park the next morning. We went to bed fairly soon after returning to our hotel, hoping to get some sleep before getting up at 5:00 AM the next day. Friday, June 25: The day had finally come, the day where I would prove to the world how great of a Pokémon player I am…. or fail miserably. I woke up ridiculously early in the morning, took a shower, and got dressed, excitedly putting on my Ducks shirt for the first time. An interesting side note about the showers in my hotel: the hot/cold directions were reversed, despite the letters showing the normal configuration. For those who don’t know (I have no idea if other countries’ showers work the same way as American showers), when you turn the knob to the left, hot water is supposed to come out. When the knob is turned to the right, cold water is supposed to come out. This shower had the letters in the appropriate place (H on the left and C on the right), but the reality was the opposite. This combined with the fact that the shower water was already warmer than my shower at home led to me being burned by scalding water when I first got in the shower. I quickly realized what was going on and jumped out of the shower to evade the intense heat. After showering, we ate breakfast at our hotel (yay for opening at like 4:00 AM, lol), which was actually quite good. I had received a call from IPL right at 5:30 AM when I had first woken up, so I called him back while I was eating. I guess he was waiting around for people to arrive, but he told me that there was only about 20 people in the line, so I was not worried at all about being late. My father and I headed out after we finished eating, making sure I had all my stuff for the day. The entrance to the convention center looked like this: When we arrived at the convention center and walked in, my dad asked a person who was waiting by the door where the Pokémon tournament was. I was actually fortunate that he did this, because I had already started walking in the wrong direction due to my amazingly poor navigational skills. Once we were pointed in the right direction, I saw a number of people in line as well as a rather large group of people standing off to the side. As I neared, I recognized a few of the faces in the crowd and saw that they had seen me approaching. Though I had met several Smogonites before (Amazing Ampharos in 2007 and numerous guys at Nashville 2009), it was still a rather surreal experience walking up and seeing so many people that I had known for years online but never met in real life. I was greeted by TTS, Articuno64, and skarm, among others. I recognized almost everyone in the group, including the aforementioned three people, chaos, Fishy, Fish, OmegaDonut, Alaka, Mingot, his daughter Mally, Huy, Duy, godudette, dtrain, evan, and several others (sorry if I forgot you!). I actually did not know who Dubulous was at first (and it did not help that everyone was only referring to him by his real name, Alan), but I was eventually informed by Fish of his identity. I was also not aware of who Rory was (this just shows how out of it I am, considering Rory is a member of the Smogon site staff >_>), but I soon learned who he was and how awesome he is (THE PIZZA BUTTON DOESN’T WORK). There were some people there who I did not know were coming to the tournament, namely Fishy and Evan, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them as well. We all chilled in the line and chatted about various things while several people filled out their team sheets (of which Arti had extra, which he (and others) enjoyed reminding people). Chaos (THE C IS CAPITAL BECAUSE IT IS THE BEGINNING OF A SENTENCE) did not want to fill his out, so he demanded that Fishy do it for him, as her being female naturally meant she had the best handwriting. He even offered to change CaptKirby’s username (or maybe custom title, I don’t remember) to “Fishy is the best” for a year or give her ops on IRC, but she refused all offers. He eventually caved and filled it out himself, which led to some amusing discoveries about his team (“Victereebel has Scope Lens? That must be a mistake.”) Another entertaining occurrence that happened while we were waiting in line was when Nick McCord, the MC of the event, came up to us and greeted us. He had brought his Duck shirt for chaos to wear, so chaos naturally ripped off his other shirt and donned the duck shirt. Nick then proceeded to draw a crown on chaos’ shirt, as he is King Internet. At some point, we all walked over to get some water, and we passed Marriland on the way. Naturally, we took advantage of this photo op (sorry for my shitty phone camera quality): Eventually they started calling the competitors in. I psyched myself up by listening to remixed Pokemon music (I had the two songs on repeat the whole time I was battling). We all tried to split up in line, going in pairs of two (so as not to say OH I DON’T WANT TO BE PAIRED WITH THIS GUY AND THIS GUY AND THIS GUY AND etc.). OmegaDonut and I went first, but not until he had channeled chaos and stripped in the middle of the line to put on his duck shirt (which he had been wearing around his neck as a scarf prior to doing so). I get my first round opponent, and he looks at me and says “Oh crap, I’m going to lose aren’t I?” It turns out that this guy was Darkwatch’s friend and had made the trip with him. I just laugh it off and we start the battle. Here’s a recap of my team and my two battles from the day: Leads: Groudon @ Lum Berry Jolly 252 Atk, 252 Spd, 4 HP - Earthquake - Protect - Rock Slide - Dragon Claw (was deciding between this and Shadow Claw, never really needed either) Lugia @ Leftovers Calm 212 HP, 212 Spd (enough to outspeed Groudon by 1 point), 84 Sp Def - Protect - Aeroblast - Icy Wind - Swagger Other dudes: Metagross @ Shuca Berry Brave (0 Speed IV) 212 Atk (I think), some combination of HP and Sp Def that I don't remember atm - Protect - Bullet Punch - Earthquake - Explosion Shedinja @ Focus Sash Adamant 255 Attack, 255 Speed - Protect - X-Scissor - Shadow Sneak - Sunny Day My basic strategy was to protect with Groudon turn 1 and use Icy Wind to make my opponent's slower than me. Then I would use Swagger on Groudon and start raping with EQ/RS. I was prepared to face many kinds of teams and adjust accordingly, but it turns out that I mispredicted the ScarfOgre matchup. I also had these two guys that I never used: Mewtwo @ Life Orb Modest 252 Sp Atk, 252 Speed, 4 HP - Grass Knot - Flamethrower - Protect - Blizzard Abomasnow @ Focus Sash (I would obviously never use Aboma and Shed at the same time. I used a Chesto Berry as my 6th item) Quiet (0 Speed IV) 252 Sp Atk, 252 HP, 4 Sp Def - Blizzard - Grass Knot - Protect - Ice Shard My battles were as follows: Round 1: Opponent sent out Cresselia and Groudon (shiny)! Knowing I was going to be faster, I just went ahead and Swagger'd turn 1. I thought he would protect with Groudon turn 1, so I chose Rock Slide. Lugia used Swagger (attack raise, Lum cures)! Groudon used Rock Slide! Foe Groudon used Rock Polish (!!!) Foe Cresselia Flinched! (neither of his dudes got hurt particularly badly from RS, Cress took maybe 20% or so) So now I want to kill Groudon ASAP, so I Icy Wind and EQ. Foe switched Groudon for Metagross! Lugia used Icy Wind (missed Meta, hit cress for minimal damage)! Groudon used Earthquake (OHKO on Meta)! Foe Cresselia used Light Screen! Opponent sent out Groudon! I decide to go for the Icy Wind/EQ again, knowing I have a pretty solid lead here and Cress isn't going to do much to me. Foe Cresselia used Helping Hand! Lugia used Icy Wind (not too much damage to either pokemon due to LS)! Groudon (mine) used Earthquake (kills his Groudon)! Opponent sent out Lugia! I know I have the match at this point, so I just use Icy Wind and Rock Slide. Foe Cresselia used Protect! Lugia (mine) used Icy Wind! Groudon used Rock Slide! (his Lugia is at half health now) Foe Lugia used Calm Mind! Lugia used Icy Wind! Groudon used Rock Slide! (Lugia dies, Cress is at a little less than half now I think) Cresselia used some non-damaging move! Lugia used Aeroblast! Groudon used Dragon Claw! So yeah, I won my first round without taking a single point of damage, which felt really good. It gave me some confidence going into... Round 2 (vs some old dude named Danny who ended up making top 16 (finished 27th in swiss on Saturday)): Opponent sent out Kyogre and Hitmontop! (Scarfogre, so it is sunny) Heh, I have a plan here. I think I have a solid chance here, but that will quickly change. I move along according to plan: Lugia used Protect! Groudon used Protect! Kyogre used Water Spout! Hitmontop used Fake Out! (targeting Groudon) OK, all good. Now I switch to Shedinja and Aeroblast top, while he Water Spouts and uses Mach or Sucker Punch on Groudon... right? Why wouldn't he keep the pressure on me? Opponent switches Kyogre for Abomasnow! FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUU- Groudon switches for Shedinja! Hitmontop used Sucker Punch, but it failed! (targeting Groudon) Lugia used Aeroblast! (~75% damage) Everything is hurt by Hail! I sent out Metagross! So now I am mad at myself for losing Shed so easily. My plan was to use Sunny Day on turn 3 to protect myself from the incoming Abomasnow (because I knew my opponent was playing an exact clone of Paul's team), while his Sucker Punch failed. However, my opponent must have seen something I didn't and decided to completely catch me off guard. Nevertheless, I still have a chance here... until I blow it. I convince myself that my opponent only switched out so that he could switch Kyogre back in and get control of the weather again. Thus, I figured he would switch one of his guys back to Kyogre, whom I had no definite answer for with Shedinja gone. I decided that I must explode with Meta this turn. It turns out that my opponent didn't know his types or something, because the turn went like this: Lugia used Protect! Hitmontop used Mach Punch! LUGIA PROTECTED ITSELF (seriously I am going to lose to this guy?!?!?! ugggghhh) Metagross used Explosion! (Aboma's Sash activates) Abomasnow used FUCKING GRASS KNOT! (who was he going to target with this, seriously?) I sent out Groudon! Opponent sent out Palkia! At this point I have very little hope. I need to hit Kyogre with Icy Wind and then Swagger Groudon on the next turn and smash it with EQ. I play accordingly: Lugia used Icy Wind! (misses Palkia annoyingly, kills Abomasnow) Palkia used Spacial Rend! (hits Lugia for ~25%) Groudon used Earthquake! (hits Palkia for 50%) Opponent sent out Kyogre! So yeah, I am pretty much dead. I need to somehow get Icy Wind off while Protecting and then Swagger Groudon up and win. The final dagger came in the form of: Groudon used Protect! Foe Kyogre used Water Spout! It's a critical hit! (Lugia dies obviously) Palkia used whatever! So yeah, the Pokemon part of my day did not end as well as I had hoped. As disheartening as it was to see myself and numerous other smogonites get knocked out so early (a lot of people lost round 2 or 3), I am happy I got to watch all of the exciting matches from the weekend and cheer everyone on. After we cheered skarm onto the finalist lounge (where OmegaDonut and godudette were already waiting), we all went to get something to eat. There was an hour or so before they distributed the byes in the finalist lounge, so we had plenty of time. There were a lot of places to choose from in the food court in the mall attached to the convention center, which was nice. This was where I finally learned the identities of the few people I didn’t already know. On our way back from eating, TTS and I discovered that we actually liked to move at a lively pace, while everyone else enjoyed lagging far behind. We came back to watch the proceedings in the finalist lounge, where all of the smogonites (or whatever affiliation they may claim, it’s really all the same) got byes, much to our delight. We were entertained by the 3 matches that did take place, in which TR_Jessie dismantled some poor fellow with Absol, while some dude from Oakdale, Minnesota (which is a neighboring suburb of mine own, Woodbury) got wrecked by Danny (my round 2 opponent and Dubs’ round 4 opponent). After that all ended, we took some group pictures and were hanging around when some guy noticed Synre’s shirt from across the room. He ran over to us SHOUTING AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS and started screaming at Synre about how awesome his shirt was (it was from a TV show I think?) The situation became awkward very quickly and Synre was left to just nod along while this guy ranted on and on. I noticed a few of the smogonites sidling away, and at some point they began a full out sprint away. I pulled Fishy away (as she was quite interested in what this guy was saying obviously) and we all ran for it. Synre would later swear never to wear that shirt again. At this point we decided to get some Pizza from the aptly named PIZZA, which was located right across the hall from the play area. Problem was, that was not their only food, and certainly not their best. I got some nachos, which I enjoyed greatly. While hanging out at PIZZA, we tried to have a multi battle only to be foiled by the lack of auto-level in multi battles =[ ET had joined us at some point during the day, and I thought that the few comments that he made here were pretty hilarious. We joked about trying to enter Fishy into the junior division, but decided that it wasn’t worth it. After eating, we all headed back to the Ha’s room to hang out. While we were waiting for the elevator to arrive to take us up, a group of 5 or so guys (fully grown, I should add) decided that they were more important and jumped in the first elevator that came down. We decided to punish them for their actions and all of us piled into the elevator. After pushing the buttons to go up, we realized that we had indeed exceeded the maximum capacity of the elevator. We ended up getting out of the elevator and taking the next one up, but that was a fun and interesting experience to say the least. Here is a picture of the chaos inside the elevator: Everyone found a place in the Ha room and relaxed, with some people sitting on the floor against the wall or bed, some people in chairs, and some people just lying sprawled out across the beds. We chatted about various funny things, including how Mingot’s second round opponent (whom he lost to) asked mid-battle if he could be unbanned. I also raged about how I didn’t have voice on #smogon, which Arti would correct the Monday after everyone returned home. This would later be ruined by some jerktown though. =[ Eventually I got a call from my dad, and I broke off from the group for a while and headed back to my hotel. The plan was for me to rejoin them later after I ate dinner. On my way home, zerowing texted me consoling me about my loss and apologizing for making such a good team. I reassured him that in no way was he at fault for my loss, and we discussed how we wished he was in Indianapolis. At some point he mentioned that DM was in town, which quickly got my attention. I had no idea that Adam had planned to show up at all, so I was greatly confused. I told Paul that I would “lose my mind when I saw [Adam]”, which ended up being pretty much what happened. My dad and I went for a swim and relaxed in our hotel until we headed back downtown to find a place to eat. We ate at the Hard Rock Café, which was not bad at all in my opinion. After eating, I called TTS to find out where their hotel was, and set out to find it. I was confused because there was a lot of construction and there ended up being a massive building obstructing my view of their hotel, but eventually I figured it out. When I saw TTS from across the street, I facepalmed because he and I had donned the same shirt for the evening (the black smogon shirt from last year with the yellow Koffing symbol). He took me into their hotel and we went up the elevator to join the others. While riding up the elevator, I asked him if it was true that Adam had come to Indy while I was gone. He responded with a pretty believable “Who the fuck is Adam Bojak?”, which made me doubt what Paul had said (especially because Paul hadn’t been 100% sure about it). When we got up to the room, nobody answered the knocks or phone calls. TTS thought they were just fucking with us, but then he got a hold of Fish (IIRC) and he learned they were back in the lobby. We headed back down to rejoin the group. Brief aside: At some point here TTS randomly said “Pokemon on the Internet, we made it happen.” I dunno if he just said it to break an awkward silence or whatever, but for some reason it stuck with me. It later occurred to me that that was what this was really all about. The internet Pokemon community had gathered in one spot to do what they love: play Pokemon. It wasn’t about grudges or what site you represented; it was just one big community. This has been further reinforced by the stories I have heard from Worlds as well as some posts by a few fine users, and I couldn’t agree more with those thoughts. I know I let myself become a more than a little upset at some remarks that may or may not have been said at Nationals, but I hope that everyone involved can forgive and forget. When we took the big group picture at the end, I couldn’t help but smile each time another person ran over to jump in. It truly showed just how much this community has grown, and I can only hope that this growth and camaraderie amongst the group will continue for many years to come. When we arrived in the lobby, I walked out to see the usual group… plus the back of an unfamiliar man! The identity of this man was far from unfamiliar, though, as I quickly knew from his Buffalo Sabres hat that this was indeed DoomMullet. As I pointed to him and started to say something, TTS said “Yeah, that’s DM.” I wasted no time greeting him with a big hug and telling him about how Paul had told me he was coming. After exchanging pleasantries, we all headed out for the evening. As we walked and chatted about various things, we passed by the place where my dad and I had ate that night. Evan remarked about how he hated the Hard Rock Café, which I thought was pretty funny as I had just been there. When we arrived at our destination, Scotty’s Brewhouse, we saw some people playing this game where you throw bean bags and try to land them in this little hole on a plank of wood. Evan called this game “cornhole”, while I have also heard it be referred to as “sack toss”, “bean bag toss”, “toss across”, and many other names. The true name for this game may never be known. In any case, we found that the only place that had enough seating for our group was these big couches outside, which was perfectly acceptable for everyone. Those of us who were underage all settled for water, but the over 21 group ordered pitcher after pitcher of beer. When they ordered the alcohol, the server naturally checked their IDs, not even flinching at DM and Evan’s, but started to be a little surprised when she saw Fish’s Arizona ID. When she was given Skarm’s, she just said “I don’t even know how to read this one.” TTS was the notable exception, opting for Sprite instead. This ended up leading to an amusing occurrence in which he asked for a refill and it was poured into a glass that was formally used for water. No one desired this “sprite water” (understandably so, it tasted something awful) and it was ignored for the rest of the night. Another amusing thing to note was that Dubulous had apparently thought I was 21, when in fact I was not even 18 at the time (though I was not the youngest in the group, much to my surprise). I guess my weak facial hair actually did something for once? In any case, good times were had by all on this night. A few memorable things that I can recall: someone mentioned something about pookar, to which DM protested loudly “CHRIS SEMP IS A GOOD KID!” Paul and I were texting at one point during the night, which eventually led to him asking me to ask Fishy if she was “dtf”. I eventually gave up my phone to Fishy for a while, so she and Paul texted briefly (and apparently he couldn’t figure out who he was texting until I told him the following morning!) After a long time of hanging out, my dad called me to pick me up. He had some trouble finding the place, and while he was looking for it my phone ran out of battery. This led to me using TTS’ and then DM’s phone to contact him, and eventually he found it and I gave Adam his phone back and headed back for the night. Saturday, June 26: I actually slept in a little this day, and ended up getting to the convention center just as the second round was starting. Thus, I missed the infamous Rory critical hit, but I was able to watch the video later. Watching the matches this day with all the others was actually very fun and interesting, as you got to see a lot of different teams and cheer for all your friends without worrying about your own success. We all proudly wore our “GO FISH” pins, though they were not enough to stop some unfortunate occurrences =[ Nevertheless, it was a great day. This was also the point where I officially met Kongler, as he had been sleeping the night before. At the end of the 7th round, they posted the standings and much to our delight, we could identify nearly everyone in the top 16. This really shows how much the online Pokemon community has grown and how all that practice can pay off. The first 15 players had records of 5-2 or better, but the 16th spot belonged to the player with a 4-3 record with the best tiebreakers. I frantically looked down the list to see… Rory Neithinger! Upon seeing this, I started shouting “RORY! RORY! RORY WHERE YOU AT?” I ran back through the crowd and gave Rory a massive hug. I’m glad everyone else thought this was as awesome/funny as I did =D After the battles were finished and all the pictures had been taken, we got some food from PIZZA and headed to the free play room across the hall from the main room. We all hung out and ate, and lots of people broke out their DSes and battled amongst themselves. I was pleased to see DM getting in on the battling, as he seemed genuinely interested in learning how to battle competitively (and he was receiving some coaching from Fish IIRC, which was also good). At some point here I was approached by Darkwatch and his friend, whom I had defeated in round 1 the day before. I learned who he was and we chatted a bit, and he was definitely a nice guy. Looking forward to seeing you again next year! After this, we decided to head over to the bar across the street to watch the USA-Ghana world cup game. They wouldn’t let all of us sit together, so I ended up at the table with TTS, ET, Skarm, Huy, Duy, and Andrea. Huy, TTS, and ET all whipped out their laptops and hopped on IRC, which led to several very amusing occurrences. First, ET was immediately banned by someone. This banned everyone else who was on IRC (because they were all using the same network), so he was reluctantly unbanned. Later, instead of just asking out loud, ET typed out his question in IRC (asking if this was the elimination rounds of the World Cup). Then, instead of responding out loud, TTS typed in his answer. I personally found this to be quite hilarious. We screwed around on Smogon and IRC before a few of us decided to head back to watch the juniors. We were able to catch the last round of swiss play in the Juniors division, which led to some awesome sightings such as Ivysaur kid, who was winning games with his level 50 Ivysaur. We also witnessed a kid who I guess was the son of somebody that some of our group knew using the “one-move wonder” team, but he unfortunately lost his last round and did not make the top 16. Alaka was quite confident in “his” junior, someone who he had apparently helped with his team. I found it very amusing when his junior missed the top 16, as Len had been going on and on about how his kid was going to win the tournament. I headed back to my hotel with dad shortly after the Juniors wrapped up, and we once again went for a swim and then headed out to eat dinner. We ended up eating at a Chinese restaurant which I forgot the name of, but I recall that the food was quite excellent. I got in touch with Huy, as TTS doesn’t answer his phone, and he said they were at the arcade, which was near the food court where we had eaten on Friday. I was on my way over when I ran into the group in the skywalk between the tournament location and the mall. Amongst the group were the Has, TTS, dtrain, Andrea, Tyler, Alaka, Malison, cybertron, and a few others. We were later joined by skarm, OmegaDonut, and rory, but they left after the Mutant Draft started up. Another person who I had the pleasure to meet at this time was imawario, who was a very nice guy and I enjoyed talking to him about his VGC experiences, including the unfortunate tale of his loss at JAA in 2006. We all sat around and chatted for a while, and Cybertron and Alaka played a game of TCG. Eventually, dtrain came back with a box of packs that he apparently got from judging, and was offering to sell them for a discount so that we could enter the Mutant Draft. I had heard of it before and loved the idea, so I decided to give it a try. I let my dad know what my schedule was, and I probably would have been able to finish the whole draft if it had not taken so long to start. Our eventual group that played in the draft was Duy, Alaka, Tyler, imawario, Cybertron, and myself. Before the draft started, we chatted about various things and some tales from earlier in the day were brought up. OmegaDonut told a story of his match against a particular individual who had also apparently said some things to Alaka, and would be facing him in the 1st round on Sunday. As I had only heard their side of the story, I was quite disappointed that someone would come to the tournament with such a poor attitude and treat his opponents so disrespectfully. Regardless of what exactly happened between this individual and OD/Alaka, I definitely got more upset than I should have. I didn’t really do anything about it (aside from some loud cheering/shouting the next day when Alaka won), but I made some ragey posts in the VGC thread that weren’t truly necessary. I hope that in future VGCs there will be no such occurrences, and that nobody will show up with the intent to troll/anger others. Regardless, I opened a pretty average pool in the Mutant Draft and ended up playing Fighting, Water, and Colorless dudes. I won my first match but had to drop because my dad had arrived to pick me up. I was able to watch Duy win his first match as well, which was great because he had never played the TCG before. I had some tournament experience with the TCG, placing 3rd in a local STS qualifier back in 2000-2001 I believe. I played Riptide Feraligatr, if that helps anyone remember exactly what year that would have been. Sunday, June 27th: I woke up early this morning and made sure to arrive to the convention center on time. I thought that the matches were supposed to start at 9 AM, so I ran quickly inside when I arrived just a few minutes before 9. I ended up being early, as the matches didn’t start until 9:30 IIRC. In any case, it was nice to be there early and hang out with everyone until the matches started. Chaos was able to make it back in time for the matches, and it was great to see him again and hang out with him more. As the competitors entered the playing arena, I decided that this was the most nervous I had been for a competition that I wasn’t actually actively a part of. I obviously wanted all of the smogonites to do well, but I was also excited just to see some excellent pokemon battles. The Ha vs. Ha matchup was pretty awesome, but I was a little disappointed when Duy purposefully (I assume) punted game 2 to let the match be over. BadIntent vs. Rory was very close in game 1, but BI won pretty decisively in game 2. We didn’t see any of the other matches on the TV, but I was very excited to see Alaka and Skarm win their first round matches as well. It sucked to see some of our other guys go out in the first round, like TTS and Kongler, but I suppose someone had to lose those matchups. BlueCookies vs Wesley Morioka went to the time limit, but Wesley was awarded the win. This was also disappointing because from what I recall hearing from Ray afterwards, he had the game in hand barring any extreme hax. At this point, we only had a few smogonites left in the competition, so we were all pulling for one of our guys to make it to the finals. The Skarm/Alaka match lived up to the hype, and I thought it was a pretty excellent battle. Unfortunately, Huy lost his match in this round to Deagle, so it would be Alaka vs Deagle in the semifinals. The other semifinal match turned out to be Wesley Morioka vs TR_Jessie. The rest of the battles have been covered in vivid detail many times, so I’m not going to bore you, but needless to say that watching Alaka’s semifinal match was the most fun I have ever had in a Pokemon tournament. There was so much excitement and it was great to watch and commentate the battles with other excellent players. TAY and I were discussing the moves, and he actually called a switch from Deagle and accurately predicted what Alaka should have done. In the end, Alaka pulled it off and we all went wild. I started jumping up and down and screaming while clutching TAY and chaos, as chaos tossed the pita bread that ET had so excellently brought into the air. We had some time before the finals started, so we all went and got lunch. I came back to watch the finals and talked to xerograde a little bit during the juniors finals. His brother was playing in the match, but ended up losing. I had seen xerograde the night before after I had left the Mutant Draft and tried to wave to him, but I’m sure he had absolutely no idea who I was. He was also a very nice person and I look forward to seeing him again next year. When they called the seniors up, we all took our seats and I joined Synre in the back row as there was no room in the other rows. We all watched the battles and commentated, but unfortunately it was never very close as Wesley won both games fairly handily. It was awesome to see Alaka make it as far as he did, but I can’t imagine what it was like to see BlueCookies win it all at Worlds. Let’s take it home on both fronts next year, guys! After the finals wrapped up, I had to leave immediately with my dad to get back home. I said my goodbyes to everyone and headed on my way. It was definitely sad to leave, but I knew that we would meet again. Whether it is next year or the year after, or some other time, I know that this is not the last time that I will see all of my friends. I do not want to forget anyone, so I won’t sit here and name drop forever, but I will say that this weekend was one of the best of my entire life and that I will always remember it. All of the people I met throughout the weekend were awesome and very kind, and I really could not have asked for much more. I am very excited for next year, not only to see everyone again but also because TEAM WHOOL POOL RIDES AGAIN (almost no one will understand this, but if you do, you should be tittering in anticipation like never before). Words cannot describe all of the emotions I feel when I think about this weekend, but I think I’ll leave it with this, as well as my favorite picture from the weekend: I love you all. We’ll meet again my friends, someday soon.