The title may be a bit daunting, but I assure you my journey was just as engaging as whoever's it was that ended up winning. My Journey really begins more than three weeks ago, when I finished EV training my team and commenced with the practice. I had everything figured out, everything countered, every lead memorized, every weather combination locked into my head... During the last week, I practiced so often that I came to the point where I could predict almost entire matches just by looking at the leads. I figured I was more than ready, that I would do better than last year, that I would make it to Nationals via winning a Regional. Skip ahead to today. I was ready to go, and had packed all of the essentials for my trip. I learned from last year, where I ended up having a pretty failsauce time EV training last minute. I had both of my DS', binders of extra cards to give away and trade, and my good luck charm, Portable Whale the Wailord Pokedoll. I set my alarm for 7:00AM. Of course, waiting for the VGC is actually quite worse than Christmas morning, as I woke up an hour and a half early with the jitters and a nervous and anxious mind. I just couldn't sleep, so I got up, dressed, and ate only two pieces of toast for breakfast. Last year I was only able to eat a single McDonald's hashbrown, I was so nervous. I checked the BC-WA border cams to find that the wait was only 10 minutes. No problem, so I just hung out in my room and awaited the arrival of my friend Ben, who was just coming to watch and study for next year. Not 20 minutes later and the border wait was up to almost an hour. I woke my dad just as Ben was arriving, and we ended up leaving just after 8AM. 15 minutes later we were at the border crossing, where we waited only half an hour thanks to duty free. Finally, we crossed the border from Canada to the USA and began our literal journey to the Pokemon VGC. It was about a 2 hour drive, but it passed by in a breeze thanks to the fact that I frequent the commute to Seattle. About thirty minutes in, I was able to convince my friend to throw a team together and participate, so he spent the drive EV training and forming a simple strategy. We arrived at Seattle Center at around 11AM, which left two hours to spare. I was supposed to meet up with Chinese_dood and some other friends, but we couldn't find them, and they later somehow ended up behind us after arriving two hours earlier than we did..... we just grabbed a spot in line, where we met some pretty cool dudes. The dudes behind my whale are the dudes we met. They told us that the staff had let some seniors in to watch the juniors, but they'd be sent to the back of the line afterwords. Ben and I had a few matches with them for fun. On a whim, we tried a four-person battle. It went a bit like this... Dude 1: Oh cool, we won't know who's going to end up battling with who. Dude 2: Yeah, totally random battle right here. Me: I HAVE A GIRL SPRITE ....so yeah, it was a pretty fun battle, and they were pretty awesome dudes. That's probably my favorite part of these events, meeting new people. After an incredibly long wait, and after Ben filled out his team sheet, we proceeded to enter the tournament. By now, I was just totally pumped to be there. Who would my first opponent be? Would I make it to the finals? Win a trip? Inside the small entrance, there was a person counting how many people were showing up. Luckily we were part of the first 50 or so people, so no worries there. Right away we are greeted with registration: Looks to be the same as last year. We stood around in line for a bit, where we started spotting other Smogonites. Apparently Skarm and Zerowing's Duck group had been trying to get my attention, but I'm basically retarded, so it took me forever to notice. Eventually we were able to say hi, and Firestorm and I traded a comment or two about Video Games Live. I also found GottaBePerfect, who I didn't really get a chance to talk to, and some other cool girls who really didn't want to play any Smogonites... Eventually we reach the counter, where they examine your team sheet and give you your wrist band. This year, they also give you a pretty neat drawstring bag. Once you are registered, they waste no time ushering you into the competitor line. It was essentially the same as last year, the only difference being that you have to win four matches to make it to the finals. They also give you a registration card for a Pokemon ID, much the same as the TCG one. It's just one continuous line, with a lot of standing in between. Most of the Smogonites are clumped near the front. Another picture of the stations: Please excuse Marriland's back. While standing in line, I was able to watch some people play. I watched someone leading with Charizard and Metagross get owned by a Dark Void Smeargle leading with G-Chomp. At this point, the Smogonites and people I had befriended were all worried about facing each other, and taking each other out. I was personally hoping I'd be paired with crap players until the finals. Eventually, it is my turn to play, and I am directed to table 12. I have a quick glance around looking for Ben and my other buds. No luck. I proceed to the table, put my bag down, and look at my opponent. He says, "You Feathers?" and I was all "Yeah." "You know who I am?" ..... My first opponent is BadIntent. The first thing out of my mouth is "You are the last person I wanted to face first. I hope you understand." He nods and we shake hands. I was asked not to reveal anything about his team, and I won't reveal mine because there is slim chance that I will be attending Nationals anyway. All I will say is that I made a bad prediction on the first turn, and the second turn brought a critical hit to remove one of my most important pokemon from play. Had I not messed up the first turn, the match could have gone very differently. Once my first Pokemon is down, I told him GG, but we finished the match anyway. I took down 2 of his pokemon before falling. It was certainly not my best performance. I know I was anxious because I was making small talk the entire match, which was probably annoying. Sorry, dude. I wished him best of luck getting to Nationals, and told him I hoped to see him there. He was totally cool about it, and gave me a bro-hug before I walked the walk of shame. The downside to coming with a parent is that you have to leave quickly, and Ben lost his first match against Zerowing, I think, so we were gone very soon after it began. I never got a chance to meet up with some people, or give away my pokemon cards. So I ask, if you were there for some cards, PM me your address and I'll mail you packs of 20 cards or something. All in all, it was still a great experience that I wouldn't have missed for the world. You guys are some of the best people I have ever met, and I can't wait to see you all again next year (or this year, who knows). Next year, I'll be free from the iron grip of my parent-folk, and I'll definitely be staying the night, and possibly touring the Regionals. Interesting aspects from this year include: Pokemon Rumble Arena Station King of the Hill mini Tournament Eevee downloadable by wireless (Lots for multiple games, HGSS only.) Less than 600 people, probably. Having left so soon, I wasn't there for the finals. The last I heard, Chinese_dood made it to his fourth match, not sure about anyone else. So yeah, thanks, Smogon, for making the VGC an awesomesauce adventure. EDIT: hehe, they're talking about me on Skarmbliss.