Another year another VGC, almost every year since 2006 already. This year seems to be different since we've now had the 5th generation games already for a year and a half, and we also had the fall regional back in November still fresh in our minds. So what seemed harder at first was just the logistics of a 3 hour drive from Connecticut as Shinkou needed to return that same night to go back to college the next day. With the 10-11:30am registration window, we figured if we leave at 7:30am from Bridgeport we'd get there with little time to spare. While the drive was actually not that bad getting there, and we at least stopped by a McDonald's for breakfast sandwiches, we managed to get to Philadelphia and the Convention Center area by around 10:30am, so we parked at one of the nearby public parking garages unphased by the fact it would cost up to $29 and my wife could get a discount for shopping at the Reading Terminal Market while Shinkou & I were competing the entire afternoon. Once we got to the Convention Center, the first I recognized in line was Solace, whom I competed with at Providence in the first round, along with Jio, the one that Shinkou had faced in the final round. In our spot in line, some players in front of us were leveling up their pokemon through the pokemon league at the last minute, while I was keeping my DS turned off to conserve its power since I had long got them ready and prepared up to the previous evening. The line started moving little by little and I started seeing other smogoners in line such as TheGr8, Ditto, JiveTime. We were a little nervous there could be a cut-off preventing us to play, with a typical "thanks for playing Pokemon" response, but fortunately that was not going to happen. Since both Shinkou & I had the same first and last name on our trainer cards, we told at registration to include our middle initials as well so there would be no confusion for our rounds, so I ended up at least getting my middle initial would Shinkou had none as that was how we were able to tell apart. Once done, we met up with the 2009 Philly VGC winners Pokethan & VashTheStampede and hung out for awhile. At around 12pm anxious to get started, we were initially told we won't start until 2pm since the Juniors & Seniors were still playing at the time, so we went to eat at one of the cajun places in the Reading Terminal Market then came back shortly before 2pm as we continued to wait until 3pm to get started. Both Shinkou & I were assigned to the Pink flight which was loaded with other prominent smogon players, so there was that fear that we'd all be facing each other, as I had previously faced 4 smogoners out of 6 opponents at Providence last fall. Only known picture of me (with Ditto, us WiFi mods!) at Philly here: Hide (Move your mouse to the hide area to reveal the content) Show Hide Hide Hide So here, let's get to the team as I really didn't spend much time on Pokemon Online playtesting but rather used random wifi and participated in the recent Wifi International competition, which further made me determined to make some changes to my team as I'll go over here: Zapdos @ Charti Berry Trait: Pressure EVs: 140 HP / 252 SAtk / 116 Spd Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk) - Heat Wave - Thunderbolt - Hidden Power [Ice] - Detect Basically the same zapdos from Providence, only replaced discharge with thunderbolt since there was lesser synergy of having an attack that targeted everyone this time. zapdos is bulky enough to take some hits yet has attacks that can adapt to various weather conditions. Usage: 43% Marijuana (Ferrothorn) (F) @ Leftovers Trait: Iron Barbs EVs: 252 HP / 148 Def / 108 SDef Relaxed Nature (+Def, -Spd) - Leech Seed - Protect - Power Whip - Gyro Ball Standard tank samely used at Providence, no changes, meant to be brought in when the opposition is weakened and hopefully all fire and strong fighting move threats have been eliminated so it can frustrate its opponents to the point where one of them simply forfeited. Usage: 57% Hitmontop (M) @ Fight Gem Trait: Intimidate EVs: 236 HP / 252 Atk / 20 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Fake Out - Sucker Punch - Close Combat - Wide Guard Similarly used at Providence only allocated more speed EVs in place of HP to try to fake out first when other hitmontops are on the field. Wide Guard to particularly protect from the likes of abomasnow's blizzard, rainteam surfs, excadrill/tyranitar's rockslide or zapdos' heatwave. Sucker punch as a 4th gen move tutor to KO attackers at low health, and a strong close combat for stab. Quite standard as I see 3 of my opponents had actually used hitmontop as well. I RNG'd this guy in my Soul Silver game with the fighter guy deep in the cave as this guy is essential in helping my team to win matches in more ways possible. Usage: 100% Rotom-W @ Sitrus Berry Trait: Levitate EVs: 252 HP / 252 SAtk / 4 SDef Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk) - Protect - Thunderbolt - Hidden Power [Fire] - Hydro Pump This was a last minute addition to my spring 2012 vgc team in place of trick room & imprison musharna as I felt my team was bulky enough to handle any possible trick room anyways, and needed some protection for ferrothorn (so long as hydro pump can hit volcarona without a storm drain gastrodon on field) against certain fire types. The decision to go with HP fire over HP ice was basically due to taking HP-fire away from latios and needed to still counter the likes of a scizor, abomasnow, ferrothorn or anything else weak to fire. Usage: 57% Gliscor (F) @ Flying Gem Trait: Hyper Cutter EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Protect - Tailwind - Acrobatics - Earthquake Designed to be bulky especially against physical types after an intimidate to survive weavile's ice punch, and hyper cutter to avoid getting intimidated then go for the tailwind setup or take out certain pesky fighting or grass types. gliscor originally worked in tandem with zapdos' discharge so long as it didn't get soaked. Usage: 71% Latios (M) @ Dragon Gem Trait: Levitate EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 248 SAtk / 252 Spd Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk) - Dragon Pulse - Psychic - Tailwind - Protect Since I was concerned about being outsped by other latios, I decided to go with tailwind over HP-fire since it's not 4x weak to anything, also went with dragon gem over life orb to get a strong attack in at least without taking some damage. Of course this had certain risks as I'll further explain in one of my matches. Usage: 71% Round 1 (0-0) vs Ryan Marinelli (3-4) vs After 3 hours of waiting and anticipation, we can finally begin playing as we were all assigned our spots and opponents. First up as Ryan Marinelli wearing red. In the preview I see he's got some really threatening pokemon which also included cresselia whom I've had lots of trouble playing against on random wifi along with chandelure and common goodstuff such as metagross, so I go with my reliable lead of hitmontop, and chose gliscor to go first over latios to help setup the tailwind better. While things got off to a shaky start, I managed to get the upperhand with the tailwind as latios would take out his zapdos while my zapdos took his garchomp with hidden power ice. Always nice to get started off with a win though it won't get much easier from here on. Later on I thought Ryan was 4-1 until losing to Enfuego but I see his record is at 3-4 instead. I also found out later on that Ryan is also known as NarutoLLN somewhere else. Round 2 (1-0) vs Timmy Aymon (2-5) vs It turns out this next opponent had a bye the first round as his opponent never showed up. In preview, his pokemon was commonly weak to water or fire as well as having some intimidate pokemon so felt I'd give my rotom-w a turn in the lead. he starts with forretress & rhyperior so I go for the fake out on forretress to break the sturdy and he switches out rhyperior for luxray which intimidates and takes lots of damage from a hydro pump. forretress gets close to being KO'd with hidden power fire as it sets up stealth rock, which I don't understand much of why anyways as it was enough for a lower attacking hitmontop to finish off anyways. rotom-w proceeds to sweep out the rest with hydro pump and good game for my only 4-0 win of the day. Round 3 (2-0) vs kinderlew (DQ'd) vs 2 wins already and I'm assigned to spot 4 in the lead table against Dom Gliatis whom I would later learn is kinderlew. I thought this guy looked more like Nick McCord rather than some immature trash-talking kid I've often seen and once battled on the skarmbliss PO server. Anyways, he seemed to know what he was doing as he got in a substitute on his latios which guaranteed at least a KO on my latios or another pokemon switched in, and got me down to my last pokemon that was vulnerable to a hidden power fire, so well played there, not immature at all. Too bad he ended up getting disqualified as this was the second year in a row that I lost to someone that either had an underleveled hydreigon or an over-EV'd hitmontop, which neither had any effect on the outcome of our matches and were ironically taken out early each time. Round 4 (2-1) vs Eddie Smith (5-2) vs With the loss from previous round, I was back to the 2nd table. This was a somewhat interesting match as I had trouble taking down some of his pokemon earlier on and even setup tailwind which I probably shouldn't have anyways as his bisharp's sucker punch and donphan's ice shard each had priority moves. Eventually I wised up, sent ferrothorn in on an ice shard targeted for gliscor though I thought ice shard attacks took damage in return on steel barbs but it didn't. when it got down to ferrothorn to a low health samurott, my opponent forfeited which is something I never seen an opponent do before as I would always fight to the bitter end. I see according to his final record that he did win all his other remaining matches from there on. Round 5 (3-1) vs Michael Mitchum (3-4) vs Back to table 1 in spot 9 as I was facing what appeared to be a sand team with some annoying pokemon, so I had latios and gliscor ready to see action as well as my star pokemon from the last match ferrothorn. While a recent decision to replace life orb with dragon gem was intent to keep latios to last longer and get some important kills out of the way, its psychic attack wasn't enough to KO amoongus which would then go on to spore latios to sleep and make it not wake up in time to take care of business. Hitmontop had done its damage by taking care of a switch-in excadrill while gliscor was able to take care of amoongus and ferrothorn with the garchomp. With 3 down, Michael had trouble sending back in his tyranitar as all he had to do was switch it with a fainted pokemon as it couldn't do much to ferrothorn anyways. He even asked me what's an old man like me playing pokemon, which of course I told him my son plays pokemon. Am sure he was disappointed in losing to such an old fogey here. Looking at his record, it appears he lost the next few final matches as well. Round 6 (4-1) vs Sapphire Birch (5-2) vs With a win at the first table, how the heck can my spot drop from 9 over to 10? I see that my opponent's name is Angel Miranda aka Sapphire Birch and Chalkey comes to the other side a bit surprised he'd have to face me as I knew it really wasn't him and went to check his name and told him he's assigned to spot 16 as Angel comes over. Anyways, if there was any match that I played so awful, it was this match as we both started out with the same lead of hitmontop & latios, and things went downhill as his volcarona would take out my latios & ferrothorn and my rotom-w could not hydro pump volcarona while storm drain gastrodon was on the field, so excuse my F-French during that hydro/drain turn as I forgot about that. Needless to say it was over. Round 7 (4-2) vs Daniel Rosengrant (4-3) vs Here's my round 7 opponent's pokemon in further detail: Hide (Move your mouse to the hide area to reveal the content) Show Hide Hide Hide As you can see, it appears he was more interested in nature, moveset & EVs and didn't believe the IVs would make any difference probably. Final match of the day as I was determined to end on a winning note. Myself, Shinkou & Ditto all of us with 4-2 records sat next to each other in this final round. I see my opponent has a classic rain team and felt this was the time to put the strategy that helped me sweep an RNG'd rain team on random wifi to the test. I knew that if my latios could at least survive a hit and setup tailwind then I can get the upperhand on some of these swift swim opponents. Latios was able to get in a critical hit to KO ludicolo while hitmontop would KO the politoed with close combat. The toxicroak with sucker punch was a bit of a challenge to get past as it took my zapdos' hidden power ice to 2HKO a multiscale dragonite holding yache berry and hitmontop would finish off toxicroak with close combat, all while rotom-w was waiting on the bench. Battle video is now on youtube. Final place: actually 24th in Pink flight with a 5-2 record, Shinkou was 37th in Pink flight with a 4-3 record. Props: -Going 5-2 -Meeting other smogoners: solace, TheGr8, Ditto, VashTheStampede, Pokethan, Jio, JiveTime, Ditto, Cybertron, Chill Murray, Sapphire Birch, The Wolf, DTrain, Human, Enfuego, BiffsterPkmn, TDS, Chalkey, Soul_Survivor. I know there were others but otherwise I'm bad with names. -Being organized with pen & paper -last minute team changes working in my favor -using twitter for updates Slops: -Losing to kinderlew & Sapphire Birch -no Mike Sankey, probably scared I'd tell some rally squirrel jokes, lol -WTF hydro pump doesn't work when storm drain gastrodon is on the field -$29 for parking, compared to free parking at Newark the prior year -3 hour delay to start the masters division -didn't take any pictures this time, hopefully the competition stats should make up for that. -unable to stay and watch the top 8 play -didn't get back home until midnight and took Shinkou back to college in the morning instead. At this time, we are 50/50 on attending Indianapolis in few months as it depends on whether Shinkou gets his invite to the yugioh nationals which also happen to be on the same weekend as the Indianapolis nationals. I will more likely use a different team if we go. At $1000 per person to go to Hawaii, I'm doubtful we'll go this year, unless perhaps I get a free trip if we go to Indianapolis that is.