Another year another VGC. Will the finally be the year that the father & son combo of Expert Evan & Shinkou finally qualify for an invite this year? Well that's what we keep hoping for and put in the time to try to put together such a team to accomplish that. This all started back in September when the Japanese versions were available and eventually RNG was cracked so we could breed and capture pokemon with perfectly desireable IVs and get a headstart on the rest of the population that just waited until March when the American versions finally came out. I've practiced and tested various types of teams and up until the day before Newark I even made few adjustments to my team which I'll explain later, but this is a glance of what I ended up using in Newark: The idea of this team is to take advantage of tailwind, use goodstuff pokemon to take advantage of the speed benefit, and provide as much overall coverage as possible, which is such a huge task even with a limited amount of pokemon available. As a recap of past years, this is how things ended up: 2006 JAA: Garden City, Long Island, NY Expert Evan: lost round one where My drizzle gave way to a drought team and then was immediately in trouble and was swept 4-0 by a team I could've won against. Live and learn. Shinkou: lost round one to Silv Gamestop PBR Trumbull (2007): this post so Shinkou beats me in finals. Too bad there were no Nintendo video game events that year I was aware of. Showdown NY(2008): this topic Expert Evan: finalist, lost to jbomber in the top 16 round, just one win away from going to worlds, led matches with a fake out weavile and trickroom bronzong lead. Shinkou: finalist, lost to Blue Cookies in the top 16 round, all prior matches were easy but he wasn't as prepared for trickroom 2009: Philadelphia/VGC Expert Evan & Shinkou: lost Round 0 to the bullshit lottery system that only allowed 128 mostly all scrubs to compete out of about 600 that showed up. EE's VGC/Newark(2010): this topic Expert Evan & Shinkou: lost round 3 Will 2011 be better? Well we arrived at Newark a little later since some others had suggested it would be slim to none that such a limit of 1024 for masters would be reached, so at 12pm, we saw that the line looked relatively small and decided to grab a late breakfast at a bagel shop within walking distance behind the Holiday Inn. We we came back and saw that the line was starting to move, we still guess it wasn't so big after all and when the cards got distributed and saw our numbers were 533 & 534 that confirmed we made the right decision to start as late as we did and not many players came in after us. We saw a group of smogoners moving in line way ahead of us, almost didn't recognize Carl in the next aisle, and proceeded to have everything ready. So here again is the team I ended up using in fuller details as all were of my own RNGing to perfection where the stats counted at least: Tornadus (M) @ Flight Gem Trait: Prankster EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk) - Acrobatics - Taunt - Tailwind - Protect This is the most sought after pokemon for VGC in my trade topic, and for good reason too: it's acrobatics easily OHKOs a majority of pesky leads while it can be used to setup tailwind and can also taunt the likes of Amoongus and trickroomers if it doesn't get fake outed. I really wanted to use whimsicott in the beginning, but ran into too many problems when testing on Pokemon Online. Jack (Krookodile) (M) @ Chople Berry Trait: Intimidate EVs: 92 HP / 252 Atk / 164 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Earthquake - Rock Slide - Protect - Crunch Krookodile may look like goodstuff pokemon, but its the best intimidater to help reduce attack of common physical foes to help my team last a little longer while it has some bulk and physical strength to help sweep especially in a tailwind. Notice this was caught in a luxury ball from the relic castle as all my pokemon were non-breed as they were all captured pokemon in anything else other than a pokeball. Borutorosu (Thundurus) (M) @ Charti Berry Trait: Prankster EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk) - Thunder Wave - Thunderbolt - Hidden Power [Ice] - Grass Knot Another high demand pokemon in my trade topic as its thunder wave is intended to stop other tailwinders in their tracks while also providing special offensive coverage. Jellicent (F) @ Water Gem Trait: Cursed Body EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk) - Water Spout - Shadow Ball - Ice Beam - Protect The mini-kyogre of this generation with water spout dealing tons of damage especially when its in a tailwind. I made a last-minute choice to go with cursed body over water absorb as it was meant to especially cripple scarfers. Randy (Terrakion) @ Focus Sash Trait: Justified EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk) - Quick Attack - Protect - Rock Slide - Close Combat Another popular pokemon used from my trade topic that I've used from the start although I've replaced lum berry with focus sash and put quick attack over quick guard to take care of other sashers especially. I had to choose between using either Terrakion or Chandelure but ended up with the faster pokemon in the event I can never setup tailwind. Haley (Amoonguss) (F) @ Coba Berry Trait: Effect Spore EVs: 252 HP / 244 Def / 14 Spd Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk) - Spore - Rage Powder - Giga Drain - Protect This generation's blissey can be so annoying and for good reason as rage powder allows partner to deal its heavy damage while spore to cripple the opposition. Sadly I never got to use this as I'll explain later on why I should've sent it out when I didn't. So let's proceed with the rounds: Round 1: vs Rich H. VashTheStampede had mentioned on IRC he was going to wear a tropical shirt and I recall what he looked like from some pictures and of course 2009 Philadelphia tournament, so I happened to see another guy in line about 10 spots behind me that was wearing a tropical red button-down shirt that also had facial hair. I took a closer look at him and was thinking that really could not be VashTS, so when it came time to play and they asked us if we knew each other, I asked the guy what's his name. He replied as "Rich". Wrong answer so I said "I don't know him", so we both go to our table and get started. The only things I can recall from the match was he had a ferrothorn that did stealth rock at least, a carracosta that did shell smash, and finally had a sigilyph. I lead with tornadus & krookodile and swept his team 4-0 as he wanted to forfeit when he sent out his last pokemon sigilyph since its only attacks charge beam and I'm guessing a psychic attack could not do anything to my krookodile. I encourage him to at least finish the match at least. It turns out last year he made it as far as round 4 but admitted he was having trouble understanding this new generation. Once our match was over, I quickly had to advance leaving me no time to send a twitter update at least. Round 2: vs Matt L. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEinN_OnDeg (Courtesy of Kaphotics, also battle video 23-05957-91931) Matt is a younger looking oriental guy that admitted he was very nervous, so once again I lead with tornadus & krookodile only this time I setup the tailwind while foe volcarona did its speed/sp.atk boosting move, and then I proceeded to do acrobatics and earthquake to KO both leads only this time volcarona's flame body burnt my tornados and even though it was sashed it still got quaked out. He now sends in mienshao and his intimidating krookodile and now a burnt tornados cannot OHKO mienshao. I admit I made a move mistake by having krookodile do rock slide and should've other done the stab move with earthquake or switched in my jellicent to be creatively better to get mienshao to crash on a hi jump kick. I still had my tailwind up so that thunderus and jellicent were able to get the job done. After the match Matt asked me for my honest opinion as to how he did, and my reply was that he at least got 2 of my pokemon down and did better than the first time I ever participated where I got 4-0d (reference to 2006 JAA) and he was like oh wow. I took my time to take some deep breaths and updated my twitter before proceeding to the next round. Round 3: vs Sucker4Jessica http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pP45Ktoo4M (Courtesy of Cybertron on big screen) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJGJdaYQpdg (Courtesy of Sucker4Jess with narration, also battle video 34-16068-01441) This time on the big screen, and lots of smogoners watching, so I acknowledge the crowd and quietly hope I'm there not to disappoint. I will not go into much detail about this match as many thanks to Cybertron this is on youtube as I didn't get to record this match anyways. Things got off to a decent start by once again leading with tornados & krookodile and setting up the tailwind and KOing a hydreigon, but things rapidly went downhill when dealing with foes eelektross & amoongus as neither tornados, krookodile, thunderus nor terrakion could do much to them except finally getting rid of that amoongus. While each year it stings me as to what I could've done differently, this year was no different. What could I have done differently, well as the background song in the video goes, you have one chance. I could've chosen my amoongus instead of terrakion, which I know can outspeed an elektross in a tailwind at least, or when I was down to my final pokemon I could've called for a hack check since I was already quite frustrated with getting past this dude. I'm very curious as to what were all the stats on this eelektross so I can at least have something that can possibly better prepare for it if amoongus can't quite do the job. So my tourney quest at 2011/Newark has come to an end. For the rest of the time, I at least got to meet most of the smogoners that said they were going at least, and learned many of them didn't even make it to the finalist lounge, including last year's Newark winner TTS. I also learned with disappointment that my son Shinkou didn't even make it past round 1 (battle video: 56-38280-23481) but did get some action in the King of the Hill area. I stayed around and watched the finals this year as I could've thought that my round 3 opponent was playing ImperfectSpider in the haxy semi-finals as the guy had the same appearance and all, but today I learned the following: Stuff like this really bums me when it happens and there is nothing I can do about it, and this sadly has been confirmed. I spent since last fall RNG breeding and catching pokemon that I could use for this year's VGC only to once again get cut short from getting further in the tourney. On the bright side, both Shinkou and I shall intend to be at the San Diego LCQs in August, so hopefully we'll have better luck then even though I expect the competition will be much tougher indeed, so once again which us luck.