Diesel's Adventure Prelude: From the moment I saw that Nintendo's Video Game Championships were coming to Seattle, the National Tournament in St. Louis has had a stranglehold on my mind, always finding it's way into my thoughts during class, homework, and sleep. The prospect of a free weekend in Nellyville with my girlfriend and my pokemon was nearly orgasmic, so, needless to say, the magnitude of this opportunity was not lost on me. In the coming weeks I did extensive research, WiFi-scouring, and theorymonning in preparation for building my team. Despite my excitement, however, I had procrastinated on getting my pokemon ready for battle. Hell, I only had 7 badges in the snoozefest known as Platinum. But after some last minute playing, training, and leveling, I had my team. It had taken me all night, and I hadn't slept a wink, but I thought my team had a decent opportunity to do well, which is all that mattered. To overcome my lack of sleep, I stopped at a convenience store after departing from my dorm room at the University of Washington. "CLOSED" read the sign. "Fucking weekend hours, this could be trouble," I thought to myself, as hunger and exhaustion were beginning to set in. Regardless, I hopped on a bus downtown with nothing but my determination, provision-less backpack, and this... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Team: Leads Dusknoir Level 50 @ Chesto Berry Sassy - Pressure ~Trick Room ~Will-o-Wisp ~Psych Up ~Shadow Punch Smeargle Level 1 @ Focus Sash Brave - Own Tempo ~Fake Out ~Protect ~Dark Void ~Endeavor Finishers Snorlax Level 50 @ Sitrus Berry Brave - Thick Fat ~Belly Drum ~Body Slam ~Crunch ~Self-destruct Spiritomb Level 50 @ Lum Berry Careful - Pressure ~Psych Up ~Shadow Sneak ~Sucker Punch ~Pain Split Substitutes Hariyama Level 50 @ Flame Orb Brave - Guts ~Fake Out ~Cross Chop ~Stone Edge ~Payback Bronzong Level 50 @ Leftovers Relaxed - Levitate ~Trick Room ~Hypnosis ~Gyro Ball ~Explosion You'll see how this works, if you haven't figure it out already. My only comments on it are that Snorlax would have had Return and Fire Punch over its other two attacks had I had more time. Also, I was under the impression we could see the members of our opponents' teams before selecting our four. This wasn't the case, so I never used Hari or 'Zong, as they were only for certain circumstances. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Tournament: I arrived at Seattle Center with plenty of time to spare, as registration didn't start for another 15 minutes. I set off from the bus stop, passing the Space Needle and the little old amusement park, and eventually found a couple employees with bright green Pokemon shirts on who pointed me in the right direction. The place appeared all but deserted, yet as I approached the stairs leading down to Fisher Pavillion, a the dull roar of many conversations was suddenly within earshot. As I arrived at the staircase I was surprised and somewhat concerned to see at least 100 competitors of all shapes and sizes already there. Even as I made my way down to the line, more arrived from various directions. Needless to say I was instantly worried I would not get in, and all my work would be for not. Eventually we were let into the building, which was one large room with several big screen TVs, a registration area, a table deficiency, and a bunch of colorful battling areas with numbered stations inside them. After registering, I received a wristband that said "137 - Porygon" which was my ticket in, should I be selected. Two hours later, at 10:30, the fatigue from no sleep was in full force. I was half asleep outside, hoping some relaxation would settle my aching stomach when a roar from inside the Pavillion sent me and everyone else outside sprinting for the doors. Soon after, the numbers and corresponding pokemon were put up on two plasma screens. The first on the screen were numbers 1-25, so I had to wait a minute or two to see if I had been selected. Indeed I had been (after all, I'm writing a warstory), and I gave a celebratory fist pump among all the cheers of delight and relief from my fellow competitors. It's really unfortunate for people who worked hard and traveled long distances to not get in based on luck. I know a guy on these boards named wutangshinobi who drove up from Portland and was one of these people, and I feel for him and others like him. Nintendo really needs to find a better system for entrants. You'll be even more convinced of this in a second. Preliminary Rounds: Round 1 I was quite nervous (not to mention queasy) going into my first match. Despite my confidence that my team would roll inexperienced players, I was afraid something would go horribly wrong and I would get haxxed or misclick or meet a team that countered mine perfectly. Fortunately, I was paired with the holy grail of first round opponents. The kid used a Lv. 13 Piplup, and Lv. 7 Starly, Kricketot, and Shinx. I don't know if his file got deleted 30 minutes before the tournament or what, but I think you can figure out what became of his pokemon. Remember what I said about Nintendo needing a new selection system? Yeah... exhibits A-Z right here. Round 2 The rest of my opponents were much more formidable, as I doubt anyone with less than two badges advanced past the first round. My next match was against a guy who looked to be about my age or a little older, so I was much more nervous for this match, knowing it would be my first real test. He leads with a Zapdos/Ludicolo combo against my Smeargle/Dusknoir. "What the?!" is his reaction to my Level 1 Smeargle, so I'm pleased to know he's not prepared to face it. However, I'm still wary, knowing Ludi and Zappy take a big bite out of Dusknoir. I Protect with Smeargle and Trick Room with Dusknoir, while he uses Hidden Power of all moves with Zapdos, which does a measly 20% or so to Dusknoir, and misses a Hydro Pump with Ludicolo. The next turn I Dark Void, hitting Zapdos and missing Ludicolo, who Hydro Pumps Dusknoir for about 50%. The next turn he switches Zapdos out while I Endeavor+Shadow Punch Ludicolo for the KO. I don't remember the exact details of the rest of the match, but Smeargle and Dusknoir pretty much wrecked everything, as my strategy controlled the match like I hoped it would. Round 3 My third match decided if I was to advance to become a finalist or go home very unhappy. The finalists, as some quick math will tell you, were the remaining 16 competitors. My opponent was named Brad, and was about my age, probably a little younger, yet with considerably more facial hair. He sent out Gliscor and Mismagius, while I stuck with the same four pokemon. I decide to Protect with Smeargle at first, but then realize that he may be able to kill Dusknoir. So I correct my stupid mistake and take the opportunity to Fake Out Gliscor for free, knowing Mismagius will Shadow Ball Dusknoir. The first turn goes exactly as planned, with Mismagius dealing just over 50% with Shadow Ball. With Trick Room up, I Shadow Punch with Dusknoir and Dark Void with Smeargle, not expecting my Shadow Punch to KO Mismagius. It does however, but not before Dark Void misses Gliscor, who takes off Smeargle's Focus Sash with Aerial Ace. He sends out Meganium, and I Dark Void again, which hits Gliscor, but Meganium stays awake and Leech Seeds Dusknoir, which was a poor choice on his part. The next turn I Endeavor+Shadow Punch Meganium, who dies. The next turn he sends out Kingdra (IIRC), who I Endeavor+Shadow Punch for the KO, while Gliscor wakes up and finishes off Smeargle. With the game all but over, I send in Snorlax, who goes boom to finish off Gliscor, and become a finalist! Final Rounds: Sweet Sixteen As I'd hoped, I got one of the two younger kids. Little did I know, however, things were about to horribly awry. He leads with a Gengar/Regirock combo, and I proceed with my usual pair. Thinking he'll try to hit Dusknoir as hard as possible, I decide to go for the Fake Out with Smeargle on Regirock while using Trick Room with Dusknoir. Unfortunately, the unthinkable happens, and Fake Out (a 100-accuracy attack) misses and he uses Dark Pulse and Stone Edge to KO my Smeargle! In shock, I have to take a deep breath to recover from what just happened. I now know, and confirmed later, that his Regirock has Lax Incense. I regroup and send out Spiritomb to do some damage control and hopefully regain control of the match. I Shadow Punch Gengar, which I thought would KO, since it KO'd Missy, but it only does 75% or so. Spiritomb is up next and misses Regirock with Hypnosis. Knowing I had at best a 50/50 chance of success, I still decided to do this, as I knew Regirock would be a tough KO if it remained awake. My dismay at the miss was instantly cured by a terrible miscue on his part, as he Exploded with Regirock, which only hit, well, Regirock. He can't believe what he's just done, and slams the table in disgust at his fatal mistake. Meanwhile, Gengar Dark Pulses Dusknoir for a respectable amount of damage. The next turn he brings out ??? (so terrified I don't remember). I Shadow Punch Gengar for an easy KO, but miss another Hypnosis on ???, which costs Dusknoir his life. He brings in XXX (still about to piss myself) while I go to my final pokemon, CUDDLES the Snorlax. Not at all living up to his namesake, Snorlax Self-destructs and... KO's ??? and XXX for the win!! All the while my opponent was practically yelling "Live, c'mon live!!" I breathed a huge sigh of relief, while he was extremely disappointed. Now I have seen firsthand why hax items are banned, yikes! Quarterfinals My quarterfinal matchup was against a nice guy named Eli, who was a little older than myself. We were both really nervous, wished each other good luck, shook hands about 4 times, and began play. He led with Gyarados and Salamence, which I was happy about, despite the eternity it took for both Intimidates to take effect. Obviously these two pokemon have a lot of fire power, so I knew I needed to use Fake Out on one of them to ensure Dusknoir's survival. Despite Gyarados possibly having Taunt, I chose Salamence, fearing a Draco Meteor. Indeed this decision turned out to be a great one, as his Gyarados used Waterfall on Dusknoir, far from getting scoring a KO. He later told me that his Salamence was indeed Specs'd and going to KO my Dusknoir with Draco Meteor, so that decision probably saved the tournament for me. Next I Dark Void with Smeargle and Will-o-wisp with Dusknoir in case his Salamence evaded Dark Void or had a Chesto/Lum Berry (that and a -2 Shadow Punch would have done lol damage). Fortunately, Dark Void hits both lead pokemon for the first time in the tournament, giving me complete control of the game. The rest of the match went perfectly to plan, as the only other damage I took was when his Gyarados woke up a few turns later to KO my Smeargle. By then, the match was long since out of reach, and I got the easy win against his team, which didn't have an answer for my strategy. He took the loss like a gentlemen, and wished me luck, telling me I had better win the tournament. Semifinals I was so nervous and so excited that this battle is pretty much a blur to me now. He lead with Bronzong and Dusknoir, so I was clearly facing another Trick Room team, which turned out to be a little awkward. The first turn I used Fake Out on Bronzong and Trick Room with Dusknoir, hoping he wouldn't do the same. He did, so I Protect+Trick Room the next turn, hoping he relies on me to Trick Room. He did, using Shadow Sneak with Dusknoir and Hypnosis with Bronzong on Smeargle. My memory is a little fuzzy after this, so I could be wrong on some of the following details. The next turn I believe I used Dark Void, which missed Bronzong and hit his Dusknoir. Bronzong used Gyro Ball on Smeargle IIRC, and my Dusknoir hit his with Shadow Punch, doing about 30%. Next turn I go to Endeavor+Shadow Punch, but he Explodes with Bronzong, killing Smeargle and causing my Shadow Punch to hit his Dusknoir (I think something's a little funk with these details, but same result...). From this point on the match is in my control, and I bring out Snorlax who sweeps the rest of his team with a little help from Dusknoir. Yet again, I was so excited by this point I can't remember what my opponent used, I think one of them was Lickylicky. He could have used two Bidoofs and I probably wouldn't have remembered. Anyway, I won!! I congratulated him afterward and talked with him and Team Rocket Elite while the other semifinal match ended. I met the head referee named Devin, who turned out to be Marriland!!! I had heard it was him, but had to ask for myself, and we talked briefly about the tourney and such. I'm a fan of his and have been since D/P came out, so it was cool meeting him after listening to him talk on his videos so much. Anyway, onto the finals! The Motherfucking Finals At this point it hasn't hit me (or even come close) that all my goals have been realized and I've just won a free trip to St. Louis. I had to ask an employee to make sure I indeed had won the trip, and he confirmed that I had. I let out a laugh and shook the hand of my opponent, Danni, and said "let's have some fun." He laughed, apparently in the same mindset I was, and we got the battle underway. Here is a [LINK] to the battle. I will not be giving a play-by-play here, but rather commenting on most of the plays. You can actually see me battling beneath the TV screen, lol, although you don't get a very good look at me. Apologies in advance for the eternity it takes me to make my decisions (it was the finals, after all). Turn One: After the last battle, I decided to make sure Trick Room was in effect, so I decided to Fake Out Bronzong so that his Trick Room wouldn't nullify my own. Power Trick was an interesting play by him, I didn't expect it, but it wasn't particularly worrisome for me either. Turn Two: Dark Void would be my typical play here, but I suspected his Shuckle might have a Lum Berry, so I decided to KO it, knowing I would take some sort of damage (EQ as it turned out). Chesto Berry comes in handy, as Zong used Hypnosis like I thought it would. At this point I'm not feeling particularly fearful or confident. Turn Three: Hippowdon is not the pokemon I wanted to see here, but I suppose it's better than something with a priority move. My Dark Void here was a questionable decision, I was so nervous I wasn't really considering all my options. My thinking was that Dusknoir would be going last, and would be Hypnotized by Bronzong or Crunched by Hippowdon, so if I used Endeavor with Smeargle on either Hippo or Zong, I wouldn't be able to finish them with a Shadow Punch. I WoW with Dusknoir because none of my other options are decent, and because STAB EQ's would do a lot if Hippo somehow avoided the Dark Void. Looking back, I could have Endeavored Zong and switched Dusknoir for Spiritomb, which wouldn't have been phased by either Hypnosis or EQ/Crunch, then Shadow Sneaked Zong on the next turn while bringing in Snorlax to Body Slam Hippowdon. I believe this was the correct move. Then I could have Selfdestructed with Snorlax on the next play and won quickly (even with Hippowdon surviving). Unfortunately I wasn't thinking my clearest, but oh well, let's see what I do instead. Turn Four: I bring in Snorlax to get a free Belly Drum+Psych Up, or so I think. The Pokegods had other ideas, though, as Hippowdon wakes up after just one turn of sleep and EQ's me. Still though, I have two +6 pokemon going into my last turn of Trick Room. Turn Five: I'm really caught up in the moment at this point, and don't realize Trick Room ends after this turn, which leads to this bad mistake. I Body Slam Hippowdon for the KO (you see me stand up here, praying it kills him and awaiting the next move). This next move I was referring to is the Shadow Punch on Bronzong, which unfortunately only does about 2/3 damage. My mistake here is not Self-destructing with Snorlax, which would have KO'd both his pokemon, yet instead Bronzong keeps on floating. My pokemon are now sitting ducks for whatever comes in, all I can hope is that it can't KO Snorlax. Turn Six: It's a Marowak. Not good. It uses Rock Slide, critting my Snorlax and killing both my pokemon, effectively ending the battle for me. This is where my luck screwed me. Had Hippowdon not gotten a one-turn wakeup and Marowak not gotten a crit, Snorlax would have easily lived to see another day. Actually it wouldn't have, because it would have self-destructed that turn, winning the game for me. I think Dusknoir could have survived as well, not sure though. Instead, I'm left with my poor, unboosted Spiritomb to face two formidable foes. Turn Seven: Lol at everyone "ooo"ing at my shiny Spiritomb (courtesy of zero_likespie). I use Hypnosis on Marowak, which sadly misses, while he uses Hypnosis on Spiritomb, which sadly hits. Even if it had hit I don't think I could have won, as Spiritomb just doesn't have the attack to take on two pokemon like that. Turn Eight: A crit. Naturally. GG for me. :( After the battle I was experiencing an awkward combination of elation, disappointment, and indigestion. I realized I was being silly, and tried to focus on the fact that I was going to Nationals for free, just like Danni. It didn't help that he got a plaque and I didn't get anything, but oh well, haha. We posed for pictures with the two semifinalists and two people in gigantic Piplup and Turtwig costumes, and I picked up my shiny Milotic. Afterward I signed a bunch of papers so I could go to St. Louis, and went on my way, very pleased indeed. Props: - Danni for getting first! - Me for getting second! :D - Everyone else who attended. - Bozo, The Lost One, zero_likespie, DEZTROYA, and Stefywefy for the pokemon (and for not hacking them). - Team Rocket Elite and his friend for recording the final battle and posting it on YouTube. - Nintendo for paying for my trip to St. Louis when I literally only paid for a slice of meat lover's pizza throughout the whole tourney... aside from $1000 of their products over the last 10 years. (I have a bus pass so travel cost $0.00). Slops: - Danni for getting first! - Me for getting second! D: - A little hax at the end. - The convenience store at my school for opening an hour later on weekends, leaving me starving and sick throughout the tourney. That's all! See you in St. Louis!