Hi, I'm Tony (also known as Chinese Dood on here), and this is my buddy Snorlax: With my gf Sally, we traveled all the way across Canada to compete in the VGC Nationals in Toronto recently. The journey started on Thursday June 28th for us, even though the tournament does not happen until July 1st. So that means totally unrelated to VGC are the first few days in Toronto! Feel free to read if you care. I'll have some photos in there so it will look less boring. Toronto Trip (Days before Tournament) (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Toronto Trip (Days before Tournament) (open) Toronto Trip (Days before Tournament) (close) Day 1 (Thursday): My gf Sally and I bumped into R Inanimate and TRE at the airport and apparently we're on the same flight! I asked them if they were using the same teams. TRE said he was. R Inanimate said maybe, which sort of makes me happy, because maybe usually means no, and if it's a no, then I might have an easier time vs his team. We went our separate ways and after a bit of asking around at the airport in Toronto, we bought our transit tokens and also found out where to take the shuttle to our hotel. We then ate at the Keg which was right beside the our Travelodge Hotel! It was yummy. We didn't do much that day since that was the plan - not doing anything for the first day. My peppercorn steak and baked potato at the Keg. Day 2 (Friday): Casa Loma, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Toronto Science Center I'm not sure if there's that much interest in reading a lot of this, so I'll just keep it brief. Those were the tourist places we visited on Friday! Casa Loma is a castle-like building that is home to a rich person who I think later on got poor (or was it because of war?) and didn't actually ended up finishing his swimming pool. It was quite hot since there's no air condition in said building. There are secret tunnels at the bottom of the building that were very cool (temperature-wise) though. They lead to other parts of the building. The main attraction at the ROM, for Sally anyway, were the dinosaurs. Lots of big dinosaur bones and … yah, it was interesting. The Toronto Science Center was similar to Science World back in Vancouver, except bigger I think. There were a lot of neat things in there, but we didn't have enough time because apparently they close at 4pm. We thought they were supposed to close at 5, so we were only there for like a bit over an hour, which sort of sucked. One of the many dinosaur bones. Day 3 (Saturday): St. Lawrence Market (SLM), CN Tower, Toronto Zoo Every Saturday morning, SLM has farmers coming in selling their fresh produce. It was fun and interesting. Sally and I met up with one of her Toronto friends to go visit. We bought some bacon. There were yellow zucchinis and small roundish zucchinis and small roundish yellow zucchinis. At the top of the CN Tower, we got a nice view of Toronto. There was a scary glass floor thing where the floor is transparent and you stand on it to take a picture. Toronto Zoo was super tiring as it was crazy hot and required a lot of walking to get around, but it was worth it as we saw tons of really cool animals, a couple hippowdons bathing, some sawbucks standing around, some super tall girafarigs, etc. Funny zucchinis at St. Lawrence Market My foot on the glass floor at the top of the CN Tower Sleeping Tiger at Toronto Zoo After that, we ate ribs for dinner at Montana's. Another delicious meal. I VM'd Roz about meeting up with her (since the day before that, we talked about meeting up), but she didn't reply, so Sally and I went to her hotel Double Tree (where the tournament is held) anyway. Fortunately I got wifi connection at Double Tree and successfully contacted FearZeCrawdaunt, who told me that everybody's in his room playing games. So we went up and hung out for a bit, playing Pokemon mini games and then Snowboard Kids for a while (a while as in one game - it's a fun game though, wish we played more but o well). Then we left since I still need to shower and finish EV training and levelling up my Hydreigon (I ended up using rare candies to evolve it after EVing). Day 4 (Sunday): Day of the Tournament! I'll actually talk about this in more detail later, so here goes. Also, for some reason my camera didn't charge properly the night before, so my camera had no batteries... so I didn't take any photos unfortunately, but Sally took a few with her cell phone. I typed out this 4000 word story just on how I ended up with the team I did (i.e. not even to the battles yet), read what I wrote, and then thought to myself, "Wow, this is sort of boring and tiring to read." In fact, I sort of got bored typing it about half way. So I decided to just scrap all of that and I'll just keep it simpler. And then… I think it's still too long but whatever. Just skip everything until "Nats Team", and skip the explanations too, unless you're interested in the whole team and such. Team Idea Intro (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Team Idea Intro (open) Team Idea Intro (close) - I lost only to R Inanimate in Regionals. He mentioned that he was going to use the same team at Nats, so I noted to make sure that my team would be able to handle his (so yes, R Inanimate, when you said after the battle that it looked like I made my team to counter yours… it was not far from the truth, :P). - The team has to be able to handle other things too, of course. Maybe this is a bit weird, but with the way that the metagame is currently, I don't really see Trickroom or Tailwind as a "type of team". It's either weather, or it's good stuff. All so-called Trick Room or Tailwind teams really should be just Good Stuff teams that happens to have Trick Room / Tailwind on one or two pokemon. I say this, because a good team should be able to function in and outside of trick room / tailwind - i.e. it's a good stuff team. Weather is sort of different because you don't even need to use any moves and the weather is there. Anyway, I'm getting wordy, so I'll stop. - The point of the previous note was: I had to make a decision on what sort of team I wanted to build, and in my opinion, good stuff is safest, most flexible, and has the most room for creativity. If you know me, you know that I like to be unique in team building. Team Building (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Team Building (open) Team Building (close) 1. I'll skip all that testing stuff and experience from Spring Friendly I originally wrote, and let's just say, I ended up picking Latias and Hitmontop as the first two pokemon in the team. 2. Hitmontop was pretty standard, but from my experience it was amazing for what it does, and it does two things the best - Intimidate and Fake Out. It's currently the only pokemon that can do both of those until DW Scrafty (though top will probably be better still). 3. For Latias, it actually came as a result of reading Huy's story of using Virizion as a rain counter. Latias was basically very similar, and it even has Thunderwave to cripple swift swimmers. 4. I was originally going to have a tailwind user - either Zapdos, Latios, or Scizor, but at the end, I ended up with none of those and scrapped tailwind and just went all the way with Thunderwave. For various reasons to be explained, I chose Gyarados as my 3rd pokemon. 5. I used Ghost Gem Chandelure in Regionals as well as Spring Friendly… it OHKOd all trick roomers not named Cresselia or Porygon2. I sort of figured I'd probably be using it again even before choosing Latias and Hitmontop, but as I was play testing with pokemaster649, using Chandelure and something else (a number of other pokemon tested) as the 5th and 6th pokemon, I noticed my inability to deal with Timid Dragon Gem Latios Draco Meteor. I.e. it tends to be able to always KO something. Long story short, I theorymoned a Heatran that ended up being amazing. 6. From the play testing with pokemaster649, I knew that my last pokemon needed to be able to deal with both Zapdos and Latios (i.e. one Latios counter wasn't quite enough… need another Latios check at least). Obvious choice was Jolly Choice Scarf Tyranitar, but the fact was that it was like a mere few hours before my flight to Toronto at this time, and I didn't have enough time to do 4th Gen RNGing for another Tyranitar (I can do 5th Gen RNGing on my Mac laptop that I'm bringing, but for 4th Gen I usually use my Windows desktop - and I want 4th Gen Tyranitar because I probably would want Fire/Ice Punch and/or low kick). I settled on Choice Scarf Hydreigon instead which I can breed and train up for in the couple days in Toronto before VGC. Nats Team (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Nats Team (open) Nats Team (close) 1. Latias / Levitate / Timid @ Dragon Fang - Dragon Pulse / Substitute / Thunderwave / Recover 2. Hitmontop / Intimidate / Adamant @ Fighting Gem - Fake Out / Close Combat / Wide Guard / Sucker Punch 3. Heatran / Flash Fire / Timid @ Shuca Berry - Taunt / Substitute / Heatwave / Dark Pulse 4. Rotom-Washer / Levitate / Modest @ Sitrus Berry - Thunderwave / Thunderbolt / Hydro Pump / HP Grass 70 5. Gyarados / Intimidate / Adamant @ Wide Lens - Thunderwave / Protect / Aqua Tail / Stone Edge 6. Hydreigon / Levitate / Modest @ Choice Scarf - Dragon Pulse / Flamethrower / Dark Pulse / HP Grass 70 Summary: It's a good stuff team with bulky pokemon of the good stuff category, with major focus on Thunderwave and Intimidate. Team Member Explanations (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Team Member Explanations (open) Team Member Explanations (close) You can assume flawless for the IVs, but I didn't mention EVs just because I'm lazy. Latias: - The most special thing about Latias is in the EVs. This is what the EVs are supposed to do: 1) Outspeed Jolly Garchomp 2) Survives the following: a) Jolly Garchomp Dragon Claw b) -1 Jolly Garchomp Dragon Claw with over 75% health so it can sub c) -1 Adamant Salamence Dragon Claw, which is basically same as -1 Adamant Crunch from Tyranitar d) Timid Volcarona Bug Buzz with over 75% health e) Modest -2 SpA Draco Meteor from life orb Latios 3) With all those speed and bulk EVs though, it cannot OHKO any dragon with Dragon Pulse even with the remainder EVs into SpA, unless it got some sort of boost, SO, that's where Dragon Fang comes in. With Dragon Fang: a) Dragon Pulse OHKOs all 4 HP Salamence b) Dragon Pulse OHKOs 4 HP Garchomp 70-ish % of the time… wanted higher chance, but cannot tweak the defensive EVs anymore for that to happen. 4) Moveset Explanation: a) A fast Substitute is amazing in this metagame full of Gem Boosted attacks. And to be totally truthful, it was mainly meant for R Inanimate's Bug Gem Bug Buzz and his Salamence's Draco Meteor (I didn't know it had Dragon Pulse until Nats). But it's useful for Modest Latios Draco Meteors as well, and of course, Sucker Punches. b) Thunderwave makes a lot of things much easier to deal with, even though it ended up being more useful on Gyarados during Nats. c) I mentioned some calcs for Dragon Pulse already, but really, with Dragon Fang, Dragon Pulse also 2HKOs a lot of things it otherwise wouldn't, and 2HKOs from a fast and decently bulky pokemon is good! Hitmontop: 1) This is pretty standard so I won't explain much other than the following: a) As mentioned, I play tested a bit with pokemaster649. We both used Hitmontop. Long story short, what I found to be true is that outspeeding your opponent's hitmontop seems to make you at an advantage more often than not. Bulk is important too though. I found Attack power to be the least important for Hitmontop (between speed, bulk, and attack). So this top only has 196 Attack EVs (just reaching the last level 50 "+nature bonus stat"), with plenty of speed and a decent amount in HP. b) Wide Guard is used, because I found it useful vs certain rain teams using primarily surf/muddy water and certain sand teams using primarily rock slide and earthquake. Heatran: 1) Heatran is awesome. a) When I theorymoned Heatran, first thing I knew it needed was Dark Pulse. It's not super obvious, so I'll explain: Other than water types, what common pokemon resists Heat Wave? First two things in mind were Latios and Chandelure. That's partly why Heatran was chosen in the first place. Heatran can use Dragon Pulse / HP Ice to deal with Latios and Earth Power for Chandelure, but why do that when Dark Pulse deals with both! b) I saw no reason to run both Chandelure and Heatran (too many common weakness, while coverage is almost identical). But without Chandelure, Trick Room might be harder to handle. That's why Heatran has Taunt c) Subtitute again? Yeah. With Substitute, this Heatran can beat the standard Hitmontop one on one, by subbing as it uses Close Combat lowering its Sp Def. it's Timid and outspeeds all +base 70s. Actually it was EV'd to outspeed Adamant Heracross, because, you know, I might as well outspeed it so it can close combat Heatran's sub too. d) Note Heatran's weaknesses: i) Fighting is resisted by Latias and Gyarados (and Gyarados Intimidates), ii) Ground is not affected by Latias, Rotom-W, Gyarados, and Hydreigon. iii) Water is resisted by Gyarados, Hydreigon, Latias, and Rotom-W… so it's usually pretty easy to switch Heatran in and out unless opponent predicts perfectly. Rotom-Washer: 1) Fairly Standard: a) Thunderwave is good, and Rotom-Washer is bulky, so I gave it a sitrus berry and didn't bother having protect. Not much can OHKO Rotom-W, and from my experience, it's usually the one doing a lot of things and not having much free time to protect anyway. Well, in hindsight, I'm not so sure that I actually needed 3 Thunderwave pokemon haha, but I guess it worked out. b) Main rain counter alongside Latias. Gyarados: 1) I don't remember how I ended up with this 1), 2), 3), etc. format. But Gyarados ended up being more amazing than I hoped. a) It's like Hitmontop, except, instead of Fake Out + Intimidate, Gyarados has Thunderwave + Intimidate. It also resist water and is neutral to ice and grass, making it do decently well in rain. b) Wide Lens was mainly for Stone Edge. 88% accurate Stone Edge is not too horrible, better than Muddy Water at least! But yeah, with Wide Lens, I might as well use Aqua Tail instead of Waterfall, since it's 99% accurate with the lens. Relying on flinch (from waterfall) is not reliable. I wanted a rock move, because rock moves are awesome in this metagame and I didn't have a single one in the team. Rockslide seems to be the most common, but I hate how the damage output is so low unless it's STAB, and even then, it's not OHKOing much without some boost. Stone Edge, on the other hand, getting past the fact that it misses at the most important times, deals extremely heavy damage. For Gyarados, the three main things that scare it are Thundurus, Zapdos, and Rotom-Appliance. If Thunderwave paralyzes Thundurus or Zapdos, Gyarados doesn't fear those two nearly as much as it outspeeds and has potential to OHKO with Stone Edge. c) And yes, Gyarados is the ONLY pokemon in my team that has protect. Was not purposely intended that way, but it somehow ended to be like that. Hydreigon: 1) Fairly Standard again: a) At first I thought this was somewhat creative or unique, but then after talking a bit about it with people, it's actually quite standard. I mean, there are plenty of dragons that outspeed Hydreigon, so if you see a team in top cut with Hydreigon, it's fairly most likely Choice Scarfed, and it's extremely likely to have Dragon Pulse, Flamethrower, Dark Pulse, Hidden Power… perhaps substitute Hidden Power with Draco Meteor. b) Despite being so obvious, outspeeding Latios to OHKO it with Dragon Pulse is still good. c) In case Rotom-W faints, Hydreigon is the back up for dealing with Rindo Gastrodon. To be honest, it's probably a bit overkill. I probably could have had Draco Meteor instead, because HP Grass is mainly for Rindo Gastrodon. It's true that it could be used for other water types too, but Dragon Pulse hits most of those for nearly the same damage, and more importantly, I already have Rotom-W, Gyarados, and Latias to deal with rain teams lol, and Hitmontop has wide guard for surfs/muddy waters too... Tournament! (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Tournament! (open) Tournament! (close) It was sort of too bad how so much time was wasted in the beginning when the announcer kept stalling us time telling us they need to repair something for the pairing systems. To quote FearZeCrawdaunt: "Did he just taunt us? OMG, he just taunted us, and he played a trick on the room!" But aside from that, it was pretty good! So let's start! 1. Round 1: VS Katie We chatted a bit before beginning our match. She's from Prince Edward Island! How cool is that! Well, I never met anyone else from PEI. She seemed to be a nice cheerful person. I was hoping she'd be an easy opponent. Upon seeing her team though, I see that she might know what she's doing, because the team definitely seemed to be a competitive one. It was a sand based team with Hitmontop, Garchomp, Tyranitar, Metagross, and some other things I forgot. I led with My hitmontop and Gyarados I think? I forgot actually. It was definitely Hitmontop and something else. She led with hitmontop and Tyranitar I don't remember all the details, but I made two mistakes and got 2 crucial sand veil misses, resulting in my loss. First mistake was first turn. My Hitmontop should be faster than hers due to my Intimidate activating first, but I over predicted that she'd switch out her Hitmontop for Metagross (I really shouldn't over think that much on the first turn of the first match of the day haha) to refresh her Hitmontop's attack drop and fake out while taking little damage from my Hitmontop's fake out. So, instead of using fake out, I decided to just Close Combat Tyranitar right away. Well, she ended up not switching, and instead, faked out my Hitmontop. I don't remember what else happened that turn, but I just remembered that if I did fake out her Hitmontop, I would have been at a slight advantage instead of slight disadvantage. This mistake wasn't game costing though. The 2nd big mistake was switching Latias in. Maybe it wasn't a mistake so much as her making a good prediction that my Latias would switch in. I predicted an Earthquake since my hitmontop just used wide guard to block an earthquake (or was it rock slide), but instead his Garchomp used Dragon Claw as Latias switched in. She survives (as she was EV'd to), but Latias is still severely injured after sand. I did use recover successfully as Katie predicted Latias to protect (and thus didn't target her), but things still weren't looking extremely good. We were on about even grounds though, until Dragon Pulse missed Garchomp the following turn (resulting in Latias' death)… … and then Hydreigon's Dragon Pulse also miss Garchomp on the turn after that iirc… … and then I lost. Such is the power of sand veil. (*Foreshadowing!*) I'm happy to know that Katie ended up finishing 3rd in the tournament though! Record: 0 Wins - Losses 1 2. Round 2: VS John I think Sorry I do not remember who it was that I battled in 2nd round. I just remembered that it was a guy and his name was John, and … that I won. Record: 1 Wins - Losses 1 3. Round 3: VS someone else I forgot Sorry again. I just remember that this one was a girl, and she had a Dragonite, and when I faked out her Dragonite, she said something like "Oh noes, my multiscale!" … I thought she had an inner focus Dragonite when she said that, but it turns out, it did indeed have multi scale. She was from Toronto I think. I just remember I won fairly comfortably (like probably 3-0). Record: 2 Wins - Losses 1 4. Round 4: VS Bidier I think this was round 4 anyway. Bidier got 3rd place in the Regionals in Surrey (I got 4th). He used a team that looked very familiar. I told him, "Hm, I think I saw a team very similar to this before… where have I seen this…" Bidier: "O yeah, maybe you have. I got this team and cartridge from a friend. Maybe you battled him before…" I looked at the trainer name: "Max" … Haha, no wonder it looked so familiar. I fought this team back in Victoria in May (Read: http://www.smogon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3465649 for the battles vs Max … as well as my regionals story). The team consisted of Dusknoir, Ninetales, Cresselia, Garchomp, Eelektross, and Hariyama. Half of it takes advantage of trick room. The other third takes advantage of sun and Garchomp's sort of just kills stuff. I led with Hitmontop and Heatran. He led with Dusknoir and Hariyama. I fake Out Hariyama and Taunt Dusknoir, but slightly to my surprise Dusknoir had a Mental Herb and successfully used trick room anyway. It was here when I sort of realized that I didn't have protect on very many pokemon in my team lol. That said, Trick room was fairly easy to play around, especially since I have Gyarados in the back to soften things up with Intimidate too, so between Hitmontop and Gyarados (which has protect) and Intimidates and some switches, it was not difficult to stall out trick room while KOing some of his pokemon. I had a lot of trouble with this team back in Regionals, but with my current team, it was actually not bad at all. I think I won 3-0 here too, maybe 2-0. Record: 3 Wins - Losses: 1 At this time, we were hack checked, and it was found that the Cresselia was illegal. Bidier had no idea. Well, they gave him the option to drop out instead of getting DQ'd. That sort of sucked for me since my opponents' win ratio will be lower as a result (then again, Katie's going strong, so that's good). 5. Round 5: VS FearZeCrawdaunt (or was this Round 6?) I'm thinking this was actually round 6, but my memory is so bad that I'll just say it's round 5 unless someone corrects me. FZC was using one of R Inanimate's older teams. I didn't know at the time, but after he told me (after the battle), I totally did recall seeing a video of RI using said team. It was a team with (Bug Gem?) Heracross, Abomasnow, and Rotom-Frost. He also had a Heatran, and… I don't' remember what else. Upon team preview, I knew that he will likely use Heatran, because after his Heatran faints, my Heatran will do pretty well. So… I led with Heatran sort of to lure out his Heatran (but I mean, it's strong against a number of members in his team so why not lead with it). I switched out my Heatran after his came in (seeing how mine lacks Earth Power). After Aqua Tail finishes off his Heatran, it was easy enough to pull off the win. But I do recall it being a somewhat close match, Like, I only had my Heatran left standing I think. Record: 4 Wins - Losses: 1 6. Round 6: VS Gene I think This might actually have been round 5, and I don't remember much from the battle. I'm sorry. I remember it being kind of close, and then something I did (probably a thunder wave?) made me secure my win. Somebody else can probably fill me in on Gene's team if they want/remember. I think I remember him having a Salamence, and in the end I had my Latias or Hydreigon vs his Salamence, and I think the short conversation went something like: me: "I think I have this." Gene: "...unless my Salamence has a Haban berry..." me: "uh oh, does it?" *We watch as the health bar goes down* Gene: "Oh I guess not" EDIT: I remember more of the battle now! I think my Latias thunderwaved his Choice Specs Zapdos that was locked into Thunderbolt, and I have Latias and (probably) Hydreigon out (I think I switched Gyarados out and got Hydreigon in when the Zapdos used Thunderbolt and didn't do a whole lot to my Hydreigon because he had some HP and Sp Def EVs) He also told me during the battle that it was choice specs'ed... which was nice of him, but... I mean, might not be such a good idea until after the battle, I thought. Record: 5 Wins - Losses: 1 So I just made top cut! If I remember correctly, the top 8 were: 1. Skarm 2. Crobert 3. R Inanimate (Randy) 4. Katie 5. Gordon 6. me 7. Johnny 8. TRE … This means, I play Randy next! Top 8 VS Randy Match 1: Turn 1: You might as well read R Inanimate's story since his turns are much more detailed than mine will ever be, but yes, I was happy to see that he was using the same team I faced at Regionals, so I know already that his Volcarona has a Bug Gem, his Salamence has a Life Orb, and I don't think I faced his Politoed in Regionals, but I recall from his Battle Subway team that Politoed has Choice Scarf and Ludicolo has Absorb Bulb. I wasn't totally sure about the Absorb Bulb for this team, but I was pretty sure his Politoed has Choice Scarf (I'm not sure why I was so sure haha). He totally screwed me up at Regionals with his Volcarona + Gastrodon combo, so I wasn't going to fall for that again. … That's why I have Gyarados there, to fake the water move and go for the surprise Stone Edge KO. So I lead with Latias and Gyarados. Slightly to my surprise, he led with Volcarona and Salamence - the SAME leads that he used in Regionals that beat my team. I was thinking that he definitely wouldn't be leading with both of those together again. Like I thought maybe one or the other. I figured he would probably not use Volcarona because Gyarados counters it and also does decently well vs the rest of his team (so I'm almost definitely using it), but that was great news for me. I anticipated Protect or switch for his salamence and probably bug buzz for Volcarona, but he might also just double protect, or protect with Volcarona to scout and switch to Metagross. Either way, Latias's best option is to substitute. She'll either get a free substitute at the end of this, or she'll have wasted Volcarona's Bug Gem while being KO'd by Gyarados' Stone Edge (and even if Stone Edge misses, it's not a huge deal… just sort of bad to lose the surprise factor). Well, things worked out perfectly and he switched Salamence for Gastrodon. Latias uses sub. Volcarona breaks sub with Bug Gem Bug Buzz, and Gyarados Stone Edge Volcarona for the KO. Turn 2 onwards: Turn 1 was the main important turn. After this, I was fairly certain I could win because I have Rotom-W for Gastrodon, My Latias outspeeds his Salamence, and Politoed is not really threatening anymore when it got paralyzed by Gyarados' Thunderwave. Randy chose the path of using surf with his Politoed to boost Gastrodon's Special Attack, so (knowing that his Politoed is scarfed) I didn't have to worry about Randy's Politoed dealing too much damage to my pokemon (Latias, Gyarados, and Rotom-W all resist water), so I focused on taking out Gastrodon, and… yeah, after that it was just cleaning up. After a short while, it became obvious to me that Randy was just using the remainder of this battle to scout for what attacks I have on my pokemon. I tried not to reveal too much - not that I had too many more surprises other than HP Grass Hydreigon (but I don't think I brought Hydreigon to this match). Me 1 : 0 Randy Top 8 VS Randy Match 2: I led with Hydreigon and Gyarados this time. He led with Politoed and Ludicolo. I'm not sure what I was thinking though when I used HP Grass + Protect first turn. Well, protect is obvious, since I predicted that Randy would Fake Out Gyarados so Gyarados can't start its Twave spreading, but I probably should have been using Dragon Pulse instead of revealing Hidden Power which he knows must be either Electric or Grass now. He used surf + Gastrodon switch in and gets a lot of SpA boosts while I was slowly killing things. For whatever reason, I thought he only had 2 pokemon left when I finally KO'd his Ludicolo, and then his Metagross shows up and I was thinking "Oh shoot… what was I thinking!" The thing was… I was in a sort of difficult situation because Latias can't beat Metagross but my other pokemon that can deal noticeable damage to Metagross are all injured already. In the end, I did what I can with Latias. If I could survive Metagross's bullet punch after taking a Meteor Mash, I could still have a very slim chance of winning -> by Thunderwave + recover/sub stall hoping for Meteor Mash misses or full paralyses and then getting the occasional dragon pulse in. But yeah, that wasn't happening. Me 1: 1 Randy Top 8 VS Randy Match 3: I led with Latias again. She's good. I decided to try Rotom-W this time. I think either Gyarados or Rotom-W leading with Latias is the way to go. He led with Salamence and Metagross. I was hoping that Randy will think that Latias is going to sub first turn again, because really, I don't lose much by subbing first turn vs his leads. That's what's so good about a fast sub. It makes prediction easier. If I don't get attacked, then I get to hide behind a sub. If I'm attacked, then at least it's not extremely costly (sometimes even beneficial like wasting the bug gem in first match). With that in mind, I decided to attack his Salamence instead, thinking that he'd also attack my Latias predicting me to sub. It paid off as Salamence faints from Dragon Pulse. Rotom-W also gets a lucky Zen Headbutt miss from Metagross, making my chance of winning very high. Politoed switches in. I was predicting and ice beam, and so Latias used Recover…. In hindsight, I should have been using thunder wave or sub because Politoed's Ice beam won't do much to latias. Instead He used Hypnosis on Rotom, but thank goodness it missed, but Rotom's Thunderbolt failed to OHKO Politoed, which means another hypnosis is coming up, but the second misses as well, and at that point I knew I had this one. I went ahead to reveal HP Grass on my Hydreigon to KO Gastrodon, and then switching it out so it can come back in to flamethrower Metagross. I forgot if I actually needed to. R Inanimate's story said Gyarados' Aqua Tail KO'd it. Me 2: 1 Randy Top 4 VS Johnny Tang Match 1: I thought I was going to face Crobert, but instead it was Johnny Tang. I don't know who he is (not that I really knew who Crobert was either), but during team preview I was pretty nervous when I saw Tyranitar and Garchomp again, and I told him, "I don't like facing sand teams… *sad face*" … I mean, I really didn't have any problems with sand teams. It was just that match vs Katie with two sand veil misses. Ugh. But anyway, he had an excadrill as well, and other pokemon that I forgot already. Oh, actually, I remember, he had two other Dragons and Zapdos. I think Dragonite and Haxorus, or maybe it was a Latios or Kingdra. This means Hydreigon is definitely in. Hitmontop and Gyarados are in. I forgot what my last pokemon was. I think it was Heatran, but maybe it was Rotom. I won the first match fairly easily. I don't even remember what I led with, but for some reason Hitmontop OHKO'd full health Garchomp with Fighting Gem Close Combat, no crit. I told him I was a bit surprised, but he just said, "Oh but you have that thing that increase attack". I guess I did … didn't think it was enough to KO though, especially with just 196 Attack EVs, but I'm not complaining. Intimidates softened up a lot of his attacks, and he didn't switch much at all. I didn't even use Hydreigon I think, which is good, because I can keep the surprise scarf (not that it should be too surprising). Me 1: 0 Johnny Top 4 VS Johnny Tang Match 2: I don't remember much from this battle either, except that Hydreigon's surprise scarf Dragon Pulse OHKO on Garchomp did indeed surprise him. Before that point, neither side was winning, but after that, I had the advantage and proceeded to victory! Me 2: 0 Johnny Wow I totally did not expect to get this far … … Top 2 (Finals) VS Skarm: So his team was rain based with good stuffs… Hydreigon, Metagross, Kingdra, Politoed, Cresselia, Hitmontop. You can watch the 2 matches here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq9hZ1712MM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofVbrTUTi24 Sorry for not so good quality, but hey, it's me on the left and Skarm on the right, with our plushies cheering us on, except those Wailords are Feathers'. And of course R Inanimate and TRE and FearZeCrawdaunt are in there watching too. You can also sort of see my gf Sally in the mirror taking the photo. Match 1: I took almost all my time to pick my pokemon, largely because I was nervous and people were crowding around and I was trying to concentrate and then getting distracted. At the end I wasn't sure whether to pick Heatran or Hydreigon. Hydreigon makes sense because of it'd do better against his rain pokemon, but Heatran would be able to shut down his Cresselia. I basically just randomly picked Hydreigon (without even looking) since there was no time left. I led with Gyarados and Hitmontop mainly because I think my hitmontop will be faster than his and can fake out. I noted that he didn't have a ground type or volt absorb, which means Gyarados/Latias/Rotom-W will be free to Thunderwave. Out of those Gyarados and Rotom seem to be the safest and I chose Gyarados because it has protect in case there's something unexpected… plus… Intimidate, hehe. He led with Hitmontop and Cresselia, and I was going to Fake out his Cresselia and switch Gyarados out for Heatran … except I didn't bring Heatran into the team lol. Well, I get Hydreigon in anyway, since Dark Pulse will do more damage than anything a -1 Gyarados can do. Things happen as expected. Hydreigon Dark Pulse on Cresselia is a must and I was really hoping she is not switching out, because I'm sure Skarm's Hitmontop is going to close combat Hydreigon… which is why I switch my hitmontop out to get Gyarados back in so that Skarm's hitmontop is at -3. Obviously I have done damage calculations before that a -3 Fighting Gem Hitmontop Close Combat does not OHKO a Hydreigon that has some bulk. Ok, no I actually didn't, but I figured it should survive. I'm glad to know that it did, and I'm glad that Dark Pulse did over 50% damage, which means the next Dark Pulse might KO, but Trick Room is up now, and I see absolutely no reason why Cresselia is staying in when switching is clearly the better option. So, switching out Hydreigon is clearly the option for me too. What better thing to switch in than another Intimidate Hitmontop to get Skarm's Hitmontop to -4? :P Well, that's a big reason, but the other reason is that I want Fake out to burn another turn of Trick Room. I don't remember why I didn't fake out in the following turn. Instead I switched. I do remember that I switched in Hydreigon anticipating a Zen Headbutt, but instead Water Gem Scald KOs Hydreigon. It's not so good since I was counting on Hydreigon to beat Cresselia, but with Politoed's rain, I know that Gyarados's Aqua Tail (or Rotom-W's Hydro pump) will hurt Cresselia quite a bit too, so while I was a bit worried, I wasn't extremely worried. Also, even in hindsight, if I were to need to sac any pokemon to the water Gem Scald, I probably would have chosen to sac the 35% health Hydreigon anyway. So it's ok still. I get Rotom-W in. Skarm does a nice double target on my Rotom-W to KO it, and I think I might have lost it here, but I got a very lucky crit Aqua Tail OHKO on Metagross, which turned from low chance to winning to somewhat high chance of winning. I just need Cresselia to not be running protect and for Politoed to not crit Hitmontop with Scald (or Psychic), and I should have this. And indeed, I fake Out + Aqua Tail on Cresselia, putting her in KO range. Hitmontop does survive the Scald and doesn't get burnt, so it was low health Hitmontop + full health Gyarados vs Skarm's low health Cresselia and full health Politoed. Trick Room just ended and both of my pokemon are faster than both of his, so should be able to win this first match now, and I do. Match 2: I led with Heatran + Hitmontop this time because I wanted to taunt his Cresselia, but instead, he doesn't use Cresselia in his team. He quickly reveals all 4 of his pokemon after 1st turn as he led with Metagross and Hydreigon. It's understandable, since Heatwave KOs Metagross and Close Combat KOs Hydreigon. I went with the safe heatwave + Fake Out even though Close Combat might have been better (He might have switched Cresselia in on the close combat though). Then let's just say I get super lucky with 2 Muddy Water misses which allowed me to Close Combat his Hydreigon to death. I'm surprised that I had Latias out with two faster dragons and Latias still managed to survive. Looks like the training I had with her paid off, surviving a Life Orb Rain boosted 75% Muddy Water followed by a -2 Hydreigon Draco Meteor. After that, it was all over since it was 3 on 1. I did make a mistake of not (playing safe by) subbing with Heatran (which could have been costly should Heatwave miss twice in a row or should Heatwave miss once while Metagross' EQ crits), but I was sort of just wanting to finish it quickly. My Experience (Battling-wise) (Move your mouse to reveal the content) My Experience (Battling-wise) (open) My Experience (Battling-wise) (close) I know I was extremely lucky. I almost feel a bit bad about it, because in both of the matches vs Skarm, I won mainly due to hax. Not to say that I think I suck or anything, but he probably would have won both of those if not for hax, or at the very least it would have been much much closer (which would have made it much more interesting). But o well, 1st and 2nd place still get the same awards other than different trophies, so I don't feel quite as bad. But still sorry about the hax Skarm! Randy is an amazing player too. If not for the fact that I knew how his team worked already (and, well, more importantly, that he used the same team at Regionals), he definitely would have been extremely hard to beat (and even now it was not at all easy). O yeah, I thought his team was really good too, so good, in fact, that I made my gf Sally's team based on the structure of Randy's team (hers was rain-based with a Ghost Gem Chandelure instead of Bug Gem Volcarona … and some other additions and changes from me). Oh, ALSO, when we went to Milestones for dinner after the tournament, Sally and I had a battle … she BEAT me with the team I made for her. I probably could have predicted better, but yeah, it was a good team. I think I should say too that I was lucky to not have encountered that many electric types. In fact, I did not encounter a single Zapdos or Thundurus! I asked Sally too. She did face a Thundurus, but she never encountered any Zapdos either! Seems like not many at Nats used one, but maybe it just so happened that neither of us encountered them. I think I faced 2 Rotoms (Frost and Washer) but that was all for electric types… oh, and one Eelektross. That's probably the reason why Gyarados did so well I think. If you're wondering what exactly Gyarados did, well, it's more the support he was able to give while dishing out powerful attacks --> and the fact that Stone Edge never missed in the entire tournament lol. I think I used it 3 times. It thunder waved successfully when I needed it to, and it dealt with rain better than even Latias. I'm not sure why. Maybe people saw Latias as more of a threat and targeted her more often than Gyarados. Who knows. Maybe it was Protect that made Gyarados better? On the topic of protect, yeah, it was totally unintentional that I only have ONE protect on the entire team, and I don't think that will happen again, because it seemed like a team like this won't do too well vs Trick Room, even though I did beat one that even had Mental Herb Trick Room, but then again it was mainly Intimidate softening all the physical hits while Latias walls the special Eelektross pretty well. Relating to Protect is of course Substitute. I thought it would be a good idea to use substitute instead of protect on Latias and Heatran (I explained my reasoning above already), and... yes, I think it did turn out to be a good idea! Only Gyarados has protect, but Latias and Heatran has Substitute, and Hitmontop had Wide Guard. So it's not like the team needed constant switches and good predictions to work (in fact, with sub, it's actually less prediction needed usually). Oh, but on the topic of switching. I did make plenty of switches in many of the battles (like the finals round 1 vid). I think it's a very big part of the metagame. I made switches in almost all my battles. It's cool that none of the players I faced this time were newbies. Some were of course less experienced than others, but I see some sort of strategy and planning on my opponent's side in all of my battles, so everybody at least sort of knew what they were doing. My Experience (of VGC as a whole) (Move your mouse to reveal the content) My Experience (of VGC as a whole) (open) My Experience (of VGC as a whole) (close) It was awesome meeting more smogoners and just other pokemon players in person. Too bad I didn't hang out as much as others did since I was staying at another hotel and I was out most of the day on Saturday when you guys were at Double Tree. And I was pretty tired on Sunday after the tournament too. Haha, I'm an old man... It was definitely a fun and enjoyable experience, and I hope it'll grow bigger in years to come.