So how's it going, smogon? I'm going to Hawaii! Ahem. Okay, I don't think I practised quite as much for this VGC as last year. I played a fair amount on Pokémon Online (also with a fair few gimmick teams), but I only stated making the team physically the week beforehand, and didn't finish it off until Friday. (Why do you have to wait until level 73 to get Close Combat, Terrakion?) I had idle thoughts of making a weather team (I have female Poliwag and Vulpix sitting in my Entralink, so making one wouldn't have been much problem) but decided in the end to go with generic goodstuff. Rate My Team! Click the spoiler to see my team and teambuilding process! Hide (Move your mouse to the hide area to reveal the content) Show Hide Hide Hide Rith the Latios He's up first because I RNG'ed him first! I RNG'ed my SID on Heart Gold long ago to make the flawless timid spread shiny, so obviously the Latios I got would have to be hex flawless timid shiny. (Hidden Power is for chumps!) At first, I was kind of worried; I went into the Pokémon Centre and no delivery guy! No Enigma Stone in my bag! Oh man, don't say I missed the event for it... Checked my wondercards, and it was there. (Along with Make a Wish Jirachi and shiny VGC '10 Eevee). So why... Oh wait, the delivery guy is in the Pokémart, not the Pokémon Centre. Playing White has confused me. So I talk to the delivery guy... "Here's your Eevee! Here's your Jirachi! Here's your Enigma Stone!" Dangnabbit, I can't get the stone without collecting these other jokers first. And I refuse to collect a Jirachi with poor IVs. I don't care about shiny Eevee. So, my first job in building my VGC team? RNGing a Jirachi, that can't actually be used in the VGC. Makes perfect sense! And of course Wondercard Pokémon have random natures so you have to do it over and over until you hit a good one. In the end I settled for hex flawless Bold Jirachi. So, got my stone and RNG'ed Latios. Then I actually had to catch him. He did not want to be caught. Hitting my seed wasn't too bad... Had a little trouble, but you expect that. Messed up my frame advances the first time, but eh. But the catching... He Struggled himself to death three times. I threw about 90 balls at him, all whilst he was on 1HP and asleep. But finally! Latios was mine! Then I decided to give it Tailwind and Draco Meteor. Welcome to the Battle Frontier! You currently have 4 BP! Argh. Had to go through the arcade twice up to the frontier brain to grind enough BP for Tailwind. Then I had to max out his happiness for Draco Meteor... A lot of cycling up and down! Training Pokémon is hard work, and I haven't even EV'ed it yet! Anyway, this was the end result: Shiny Latios (Rith) @ Life Orb Timid 31/31/31/31/31/31 4 Def / 252 Sp. Att / 252 Speed Draco Meteor Psyshock Tailwind Protect You know, I ended up not using Tailwind once. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache. Oh well. Life Orb Draco Meteor is very powerful, and Psyshock is great to take out fighting types that are fairly common. Protect is Protect. 'Nuff said. I didn't tend to bring Latios with me too often, but just having it on the preview screen can scare off some things. Crippling yourself after one use of Draco Meteor, and the move's shoddy accuracy, are obviously the downsides to using the Eon Pokémon. He's nicknamed Rith. Rith is one of the Invasion cycle of three coloured dragons from Magic the Gathering (to be precise, the green one). It worked well because my Latias is named Ruth (she's named after the White Dragon of Pern). Bartimaeus the Thundurus Actually, I lied when I said I RNG'ed Latios first - Thundurus I RNG'ed when I first released it during my playthrough. Due to the random weather he brings, RNGing him consistently is pretty very hard, so I ended up giving up on making him shiny. As such he's the only member of my team to show his true colours! I kind of got White because I wanted to use Reuniclus, and getting Thundurus too sealed the deal. Thundurus (Bartimaeus) @ Charti Berry Timid 31/30/30/31/31/31 4 HP / 252 Sp. Att / 252 Speed Thunderbolt Substitute Taunt Hidden Power (Ice) Thundurus was great. He was one of my usual lead pair. Great power, great speed, Prankster Taunt to mess up so many things (oh hallo there Sableye) and he dodges the Earthquakes my team throws around. Thunderbolt/HP gives the pseudo BoltBeam coverage. The last move was kind of a toss up between Substitute and Protect; in the end I decided to go with Sub, because it can almost be as good as Protect with Prankster, and if you're left safe behind your sub you can do some serious damage. Charti berry is to tank to ever present Rock Slides. (Get it from the Dream World! I have every type resist berry in mine now.) Bartimaeus is nicknamed after the genie with the same name from the Bartimaeuse Trilogy. (Well, I guess there's four of them now.) A Prankster genie who uses Taunt a lot? Yeah, the name just fits nicely. Gato the Metagross They call me Gato! I have metal joints! Beat me up and earn 15 Silver Points! Now, Beldum I could either RNG in fourth gen or in fifth gen. In fourth gen I'm able to clone (a complicated procedure using My Pokémon Ranch), but fifth gen is so much easier to RNG in. So I wimped out. Who needs elemental punches anyway? I've no idea what the Special Attack IV is. I guess I could use a calculator (I use Metalkid's normally), but it's not important. Shiny Metagross (Gato) @ Occa Berry Adamant 31/31/31/?/31/31 236 HP / 252 Attack / 20 Speed Bullet Punch Earthquake Meteor Mash Protect Seems fairly standard. The 20 speed EVs are to creep a little bit and hopefully outspeed no investment Metagross, Hitmontop, etc. And also beat max speed Caracosta before a Shell Smash! Strangely, that situation didn't come up. Occa lets it take a fire attack (with reason - Helping Handed Fire Gem Overheat in the sun from Chandelure isn't something a meer berry can save you from!), since it's bulky enough defensively to take an Earthquake from most things anyway. Metagross was probably my MVP, and formed half of my regualr starting lineup. He's just so bulky! Clear Body is excellent, allowing you to laugh off Intimidate and Icy Wind. And he pairs nicely with Thundurus (resists the ice and rock moves Thundurus doesn't like, Thundurus is immune to the ground Metagross dislikes). I used him in nearly every match. Priority is always useful, too! I felt the power of Meteor Mash made up for the shaky accuracy. Gato's nickname? You want me to sing it again? Aa Gonzaresu! Ore-wa tsuyoi! Ore ni kattara shirubaa pointo! Oh, wait... Falkor the Garchomp As with Beldum, I wimped out and RNG'ed Gible on Black. It's just easier, okay? He doesn't need egg moves, but I find RNGing an egg easier than messing around with encounter slots anyway. I guess the real star of the team is my flawless Ditto, who sired half of it! Is this picture even the shiny version? I can't tell. Is there even any difference? Shiny Garchomp (Falkor) @ Yache Berry Jolly 31/31/31/?/31/31 4 HP / 252 Att / 252 Speed Dragon Claw Earthquake Rock Slide Protect Wait, doesn't that make his HP even? Maybe I should have put the 4 in defence. Oh well, I'm sure it matters little. Yache berry is for ice attacks (well, duh). Jolly max speed to at least tie with other non scarf Garchomp. Well, you get the picture. I was debating whether to use Dual Chop or Dragon Claw, which would you go for? Dual Chop: Pros: Breaks Subsitutes, Haban Berry and Focus Sash Cons: 90% accuracy. I decided my team was already relying on luck a little too much to have another dodgy accuracy move. Garchomp was solid. Strong, fast, bulky enough to take a hit - and if they set up sandstorm, he becomes a massive pain. My original team idea was Zapchomp (Zapdos uses Discharge, Garchomp uses Earthquake, a fun time is had by all), but I ended up swapping Zapdos for Thundurus and Discharge for Thunderbolt. Still, the basic idea is there. He's named after Falkor, the luckdragon from the Neverending Story. And buy did he earn it! Rock slide flinches, sand veil dodges - he really is a luckdragon. Hotpoint the Rotom-W Rotom was a little trickier to RNG, because I needed to get the IVs right for Hidden Power. Starting with Eeks (is that what it's called? The one you get in return for Ditto) I first bred a Rotom that could pass down the 30 IVs I needed nicely. I could just have searched using only my flawless Ditto, but that could have taken ages. Then I used the new Rotom and Ditto to breed a shiny version. (Everything must be shiny when you RNG! It's the law! (Except genies/wondercards)). Couldn't find any fanart of shiny rotom wash with a quick google search. Artists, get on it! Shiny Rotom-W (Hotpoint) @ Choice Scarf Modest 31/30/31/30/31/30 20 HP / 4 Def / 252 Sp. Att / 232 Speed Trick Hydro Pump Thunderbolt Hidden Power (Fire) With the only fire move on my team, Rotom was pretty much my only answer for Scizor, Ferrothorn, etc. Slightly worrying. I used him a fair amount, and he was pretty good all round. The EVs... Well, I didn't go for max speed, because with the HP Fire I wouldn't be able to speed tie other Rotoms anyway. The scarf makes him fast enough to outrun quite a lot, and trick lets it cripple supporters if you're lucky. Hotpoint make washing machines. They're a pretty famous brand. It also hints at his usage of HP Fire... Porthos the Terrakion One of the easiest RNGs in Black and White, in theory. Musketeers are good Pokémon to practise on if you're just getting into RNGing. Bring two Chatots with you, find a frame one spread, and Bob's your uncle! I had more difficulty levelling him up. Level 73 until he gets CloSe Combat? That means a lot of Audino grinding! I had Lucky Egg, EXP Power Up ^^ and was fighting the level 52-55 Audinos in the Chasm and it still took ages! Shiny Terrakion (Porhos) @ Focus Sash Jolly 31/31/31/?/31/31 4 HP / 244 Attack / 4 Def / 4 Sp. Def / 252 Speed Rock Slide Close Combat Protect Quick Guard Hadn't decided on his last move until I was levelling him up; decided to go for Quick Guard over Quick Attack/Safeguard/whatever in the end, mainly to help out Latios from being Sucker Punched. The EV spread is what the site recommends, though I guess with the sash it's kind of moot. Oh well. A strong fast Rock Slide is great, and Close Combat has nice power. I don't think I used Terrakion all that much (mainly if I thought I'd need to tank Heat Waves and so on) but when I did, he was very useful. Porthos. Yeah, not the most clever nickname ever for a Terrakion. Kind of not a nickname at all. The Main Event! This year, I managed to cadge a lift with my parents rather than get the train. They spent the day in Birmingham, looking at the sights and whatnot, so thanks to them for bringing me! Arrived in fairly good time (7:45am) with a big queue already formed. A little worried too many people might be there, but then I got my blue armband pretty much as soon as I joined it, so all was good. Some people had apparently arrived at 4am. Ouch. Chatted to people and borrowed pens to fill in the registration form as we wended our way to the playing arena. Of course, the problem with chatting with people next to you in the queue s that you then have to fight them. Awkward... Round One Yep, I'm fighting the guy I was talking to in the queue. He's brought his son along with him to participate in the Juniors later on, so we have a spectator for this match! Now, this was a very tough battle. Quite possibly the toughest all day (barring Ruben...). I didn't bring a pen this year, so I don't have any notes on exactly how the battles went - you'll have to forgive me for that. From team preview, he has some pretty good stuff. Ttar makes Garchomp a shoo in for my team. I lead with my regular two, Thundurus and Metagross. He starts Suicune and Rotom-W. Troubling... Metagross' Meteor Mash is NFE on both, and his EQ can't touch Rotom. Suicune takes heavy damage from TBolt, but is bulky enough to easily survive and Ice Beam back. I start with taunt on Suicune (predicting the Tailwind) and Meteor Mash to hope for an attack boost on Rotom. I immediately second guess myself. If he doesn't use Tailwind, I've pretty much thrown away my genie for no reason. Oh, this could all be over before it's even begun... Thundurus used Taunt! The foe's Suicune fell for the Taunt! Suicune can't use Tailwind after the Taunt! Phew. It's still a close matchup, though. His Suicune proves itself to be Life Orbed, and Ice Beam does indeed do a lot to Thundurus. I get a lucky break when he switches Zapdos in the turn I Rock Slide with Garchomp (or possibly Terra) and Bullet Punch with Metagross, letting me kill it on the switch in. Suicune survives long enough to set up Tailwind again when the Taunt runs out, and I then have to stall out the Tailwind turns with careful use of protect. We end up with Suicune (red HP) and Tyranitar (about half) facing down Garchomp (full HP) and Metagross (low orange) the turn Tailwind runs out. Metagross Bullet Punches Ttar down low, and Earthquake from Garchomp kills off everything else on the field to take round one. Round Two My opponent leads Sand Rush Stoutland and Tyranitar, and I go with Thundurus Metagross. I'm happy to see his Stoutland is only level 49 - I can't think of any reason to run level 49 Stoutland other than a poorly trained team. Return hurts Thundurus, but doesn't get the KO. I Thunderbolt Stoutland back, and EQ for good damage on both his Pokémon, knocking Stoutland into the red. Turn two, I Bullet Punch Stoutland and go for the TBolt on Ttar - but he switches in Swampert. In comes Rotom-W for Stoutland (I think it was Rotom-W here, might be mistaken). Swampert's EQ leaves Metagross on the orange, Thundurus dies after doing pathetic damage to it with HP Ice, and possibly Rotom-W T Waves Metagross. (I think. Maybe I'm making that up.) I send in Garchomp. Swampert uses Blizzard! Oh no. The Ice Gem boosted Blizzard's power! OH NO! Falkor dodged the attack! :D Just cleaning up to do from there. Round Three Okay, here's where my memory starts to get hazy. There are some standout moments from the remaining matches in my mind, but I'm not sure in which matches they occurred. I might put a few of the matches under the wrong heading as a result. I think this match was a pretty close one but the main thing I remember is how it ended. He has Scizor out, that I've already done a fair bit of damage to (it's taken an Earthquake from Garchomp and one other attack). I'm down to my last Pokémon too, which is my full health Garchomp. He says good game and goes to shake - I agree, and say "Yeah, I don't think the crit Bullet Punch kills it." Scizor uses Bullet Punch! And the HP goes down... and down... Sure enough, a critical hit! But yeah, it doesn't quite kill Garchomp. This was another close match - probably the weakest position I ended up a match in (just low health Garchomp left), bar Ruben. Round Four If there are two Pokémon my team struggles with, their names are Scizor and Cresselia. I have no supereffective moves on Cress. It's rough. I start with my usual lineup here, and take Rotom and Garchomp in the back. He has the Cresselia. The crucial play of this match was when my Rotom-W Tricked a scarf onto his Cresselia the turn it used Thunderwave. I'd switched Thundurus out for Rotom to tank an ice beam. Cress could then freely paralyse Rotom and Metagross, which didn't bother me much. Rotom died and Thundurus came back. Taunt on Cresselia reduced it to struggling as I took out the rest of his team; and then my Garchomp came in, and Cress couldn't touch it (obviously). Garchomp was free to finish Cresselia off at his leisure. Woo! Into the finalists lounge! I was happy enough to get past round one this year, and very pleased to get back to the lounge. Turned out we had 24 finalist, so 8 people would get byes. 1/3 chances? I like those odds! Turned over my card - Play. Oh well. Round Five Now this match I feel bad about. It was fairly haxy, and all my way. I can't remember all the details, but I think I got stuff like the Meteor Mash attack boost, a crit Rock Slide to KO something, and dodged something like two of her moves. Probably would have been a failry even match without that. Round Six/Seven You'll have to forgive me, but these two matches have kind of run together in my mind and I can't remember one much at all. The other had a very notable start, though. After seeing his team, I led off with Latios and Terrakion, rather than my usual two. He goes for Infernape and Mamoswine. I use Quick Guard with Terrakion - Infernape used Fake Out! Quick Guard protected the team! Mamoswine used Ice Shard! Quick Guard protected the team! Latios used Psyshock! It's supereffective! The foes Infernape fainted! Getting a free turn and basically starting with one extra Pokémon really cinched the match. Latios Protected itself from Ice Shard next turn as Close Combat took down Mamoswine, and the Sash let it survive to attack again from what the partner did. Round Eight S, I get to the seat. First time I'm on the screens! And my opponent is... Oh. Rats. Yeah, the number one seed and defending champion Ruben from Barcelona. I think I put up a decent fight. Judge for yourself! The final scoreline was certainly very close, and if I'd just Earthquaked with Garchomp one turn when I used Dragon Claw instead (I was sure he was going to Protect!) I think I could have won. (Ah well, hindsight is 20-20...) Here's the video code: 15-28740-07313 (if anyone has a way to get it on youtube I'd be much obliged.) But who cares! I'm going to Hawaii! After the juniors, I ended up talking to the guy I'd beaten in round one. Yep, his son had won the juniors event! So he did get to go to Hawaii too.