FRIDAY I begin my journey to Phoenix at 1 pm, expecting to get to my hotel at around 6 pm. At around 1:30 I arrive at the train station in San Bernadino to pick up omni and again I set off for a long drive, this time with a partner. We spend time catching up and talking about the previous two tournaments and our opinions on the teams, players, etc. We reach the Palm Springs area and are amazed by the vast number of windmills, quite a sight. Just a few of the windmills Things start getting hot as the temperature reaches triple digits, omni begins to see illusions and thinks there is water in the middle of the road, being from the desert I laugh and explain that he's just seeing things. We reach the halfway point to Phoenix, a small town called Blythe, California. We take a pit stop there refueling the car and our stomachs. Finally we reach the Arizona border and are assaulted by the Arizona highway patrol and clouds. The remaining ride is filled with dark clouds and nearly every 10 miles another highway patrol officer. Eventually we reach the Phoenix area and instead of cops we get robots, speed enforcement cameras every which seems like 2 miles. Once we reach the hotel, omni and I are impressed, 5 star quality for a 1 star price. Almost right away omni's friend Justin calls us from the airport and we set out again to pick him up. The clouds go on forever Downtown Phoenix We return to the hotel to discuss Pokemon and finish our training up. Hunger sets in and we go visit Taco Bell, while we wait a homeless guy steps in asks another patron for food and bolts when the manager says "Hey!" The manager just wanted to give him a burrito, but that is his lose I guess. My night concluded shortly after that while omni and Justin continued training late into the night. SATURDAY I wake up before omni and Justin, head downstairs to the free breakfast area when I am assaulted by a large number of British accents. The entire room was filled with British tourists eating bagels and the like, though the one thing I found rather funny was that none of them knew how to use the toaster to toast the bagels and I ended up explaining it and helping several of them. When I get back omni and Justin are waking up and the rush to get ready begins. We arrive at the tournament site at around 8:05 and just chill. Gradually the Smogoners begin congregating together as I meet imperfectluck and ViperGTS for the first time and renew acquaintances with PokemonBattleBrain and OmegaDonut. Around this time one of the Pokemon media guys recognizes me from last years tournament and we chat for a few minutes, and the whole exchange made me realize I'm becoming somewhat of a celebrity in the Pokemon community. Palkia, zerowing, and Dialga Pika!!!! A new failblog submission Before they open the door the emcee for the tournament explains that there is no rush and as they open the doors I yell really loud "RUSH THE DOORS" and get a couple courtesy laughs from it. Enter boring lines and chilling waiting for the numbers to be called, just before they display the numbers the Pokemon dance party begins, hopefully that ends up on YouTube as OmegaDonut, PBB, and I cut a little rug. The screens go on and my Pokemon #67 Machoke is displayed, time to battle, I mean wait in more lines then the battles. But before the battles, the team: Francis the Garchomp (M) @ Lum Berry Trait: Sand Veil EVs: 6 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Crunch - Earthquake - Protect - Rock Slide Francis, one half of my lead, works extremely well with his friend Louis, Earthquake hurts everything really hard (obviously except for Fliers/Levitators), Rock Slide is a great move that attacks both Pokemon and came in handy quite often during the tournament, and Crunch for any Dusknoirs or Bronzongs that I happen to come across. Louis the Zapdos @ Chesto Berry Trait: Pressure EVs: 4 HP / 252 Spd / 252 SAtk Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk) - Detect - Discharge - Heat Wave - Thunderbolt Louis is the second half of my standard lead, Francis is immune to Discharge and it allows Louis to hit both opposing Pokemon and has a handy 30% Paralyze rate, Thunderbolt is there for just in case I don't want to attack my partner and don't want to mess with Heat Wave, which provides very good coverage for the team. Bill the Metagross @ Occa Berry Trait: Clear Body EVs: 244 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 Spd / 4 SDef Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Bullet Punch - Earthquake - Meteor Mash - Protect Bill could be called the MVP of the tournament for me, without him certain Pokemon would have caused quite a bit of damage to me, Bullet Punch, its resistance to Ice and Rock, were the main reasons Bill made it onto the team, and without that combination of things I may have been trounced from the tournament as early as round 2. Zoey the Abomasnow (F) @ Choice Scarf Trait: Snow Warning EVs: 22 HP / 236 Spd / 252 SAtk Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk) - Blizzard - Energy Ball - Hidden Power [Ground] - Shadow Ball Zoey keeps in the theme of attacking everything at once, but also serves several other purposes, it resists water, changes the weather, causes Focus Sash to be useless, and with the Scarf and EV spread shown, Zoey is able to outspeed Timid Max Speed Latios and below, some of which cause some major problems for Francis and Louis if they are outsped. It's a very basic team that I created with a bit of inspiration from jeps, and not exactly original as the leads have been used in that form for quite some time, it wins with not only just straight up attacking, but attacking everything at once so as to not put all your eggs in one basket and targeting Protect users or a switch that resists an attack. Hits hard, fast, and gets the job done. Now onto the battles! Round 1: OH WAIT, random hack check time. I must be on a Poketerrorist Watch list or something as I'm getting hack checked before the tournament even starts for me. "Whatever, I'm clean," I think as I pass the check and get my opponent. Round 1 (really now): Not much to say really he led Torterra and Gyarados, Earthquake does little damage to Torterra and Torterra does very little to Garchomp with a Grass attack. He brings out his own Garchomp and I Earthquake and Heat Wave this turn to KO his Torterra and his Chomp Dragon Pulses (not a misprint) my Garchomp for the KO. I bring in Abomasnow and he brings in Charizard, Blizzard and Thunderbolt finish him off. Win Round 2: This battle is on YouTube, if you wish to see it here it is (thank you PBB). I'll just give some commentary on what I am thinking as opposed to a summary. Once I see Shuckle and Metagross, I actually think to myself that I hope this isn't some random TR team, but I'm pretty sure I will be taking out Metagross Turn 1 so there isn't much reason to worry. After I begin to miss his Double Team Shuckle I start to curse to myself before I think again and realize I have Abomasnow and his no miss Blizzard waiting in the wings. I mostly focus on trying to do he most damage to his second Pokemon until only Shuckle remains. Win He left me hanging for a good 20 minutes Round 3: All I really remember about this battle is Aerodactyl and Azelf that were causing problems until Metagross started Bullet Punching everything to death, I wouldn't be surprised if Metagross KOed everything on his team. Win Finalist! After that win it means I am a finalist and I get to chill in the lounge with the other finalists which includes IPL. After all 16 finalists are determined they then take us to the battling area and begin pairing us off. Sweet Sixteen: This time I'm facing IPL, which we really didn't want to happen, IPL asked me not to reveal his team so all I'll say is that I emerged victorious. Win Quarterfinals: This match was a lead Aerodactyl and Bronzong, so I really didn't know what to expect. The match was very close and the Reflect and Light Screen he got up early in the match were letting his Pokemon live longer. I switched my Zapdos out of the game pretty early, which is key as he forgets about it later in the match and thinks he has it won until Zapdos shows up. The final few turns involved Zapdos and Abomasnow vs Rhyperior and Bronzong. Abomasnow takes out Rhyperior with Energy Ball and Zapdos finishes Bronzong with Heat Wave. Win Semifinals: This match is also on YouTube, you can see it here (thanks again PBB). When I see his leads I know its TR, the team can handle TR but I don't like to face it. I actually make a mistake when I switch in Metagross I accidentally Earthquake with Metagross and nearly kill it which could've cost me the match. I make a timely switch to preserve my Garchomp, which proved to be a great move as it was later used to help kill his remaining Pokemon. Win Finals: There are currently three videos of it, its on YouTube here or here or the Platinum video code: 70-86331-77624 I'll do a turn by turn break down of my thoughts and plans for this one. Turn 1: Zapdos/Garchomp vs Smeargle/Gengar For some reason I was thinking the opponent was using a TR team with maybe a strange TR Gengar, so I decide to proceed as normal, but when his Smeargle uses Helping Hand and Gengar OHKOs Zapdos, I begin to panic. Turn 2: Metagross/Garchomp vs Smeargle/Gengar On the off chance that Gengar was holding Choice Specs I send out Metagross to not only for its immunity but thinking that maybe Bullet Punch will kill, which it does, and Garchomp finishes Smeargle off with Rock Slide. Some may question the use of Rock Slide here, but I was willing to risk the miss because I really wanted both of his Pokemon gone that turn. Turn 3: Metagross/Garchomp vs Porygon-Z/Latios At this point I begin to feel really good, Abomasnow can finish these Pokemon off pretty easily so I want to do as much damage as possible, but not let Garchomp die yet. Turn 4: Metagross/Garchomp vs Porygon-Z/Latios Instead of risking a second Protect I decide to attack with Garchomp on just in case it somehow survives the next attack, him targeting Metagross was actually very good for me as I was able to get a Crunch off and do a ton of damage and Meteor Mash did nearly as much damage to Porygon-Z Turn 5: Metagross/Garchomp vs Porygon-Z/Latios I try to finish Porygon-Z off this turn but the only damage taken was from Latios' Ice Beam and it KOs Garchomp, however at this point I am celebrating inside, I know I have this game won, the rest is just formalities. Turn 6: Metagross/Abomasnow vs Porygon-Z/Latios Metagross finishes Porygon-Z with Bullet Punch and Abomasnow finishes Latios with Blizzard Win Cue all the cheering, my trademark "woo," interviews, Shiny Milotic, paperwork, photo-ops, etc The champ acknowledges the crowd OmegaDonut, IPL, omni, Justin, PBB, and I all meet up at Waffle House to gorge ourselves on celebratory waffles, cheeseburgers, and whatever we thought sounded good to eat. PBB left shortly after to return home while OmegaDonut and IPL follow us to the hotel for a well deserved nap time. And you thought I was kidding SUNDAY Not much really happened on Sunday, I returned Justin to the airport, omni to the train station, and myself home. Omni and I did visit the Cabazon dinosaurs along the freeway and snapped a few pictures. Pre-Jurassic Park T-Rex And for those of you clamoring for a Smogon T-shirt you can get it here. OmegaDonut also has his highlights and pictures from the day, in this post.