So, I'd made my team a good two weeks before the date of the competition, and decided to not overplay it during those two weeks. I got a win-streak of over 30 games on Pokémon Online, so didn't want to push my luck. I packed my bag on the Friday and left for Bolton just after 4pm. I met up with Alex (King of Lucario) and then headed to Ashley's (Balakai's) house from there. He drove his girlfriend to Warrington first, then we set off for Birmingham! Me and KoL played some Multi-Battle Subway on the way down, before I decided to try and get a quick nap. We got there and went to the wrong Holiday Inn hotel, so had to find the right one where we met up with Pokérob, Joee, tblakey89 and his friend Ollie. I had a quick can of beer, chatted with the guys, until Pokérob asked to see my team in action and challenged me. The match was pretty fun, but I basically merked him 4-0 without even switching, sorry dude! We then decided that he'd use my team on the day as well, despite him not really wanting to compete much this year. We headed down for some food, and settled on Domino's Pizza in the end, ordering four large pizza's to split between the 7 of us. We helped out one of the kids staying at the hotel (who was entering Juniors) by giving him a few of my Pokémon - he actually beat tblakey89 in a match as well. So, we ate pizza and I got another beer, then Rob urged me and 7014gree into a match. I beat him 3-0 in a good match where I played really well with my team again (gree went on to finish top 4 in Seniors). After food and more chatting, (and DarkFinal & Alex joining us for a while) we went up to our room to get ready for bed. Couldn't sleep for ages, but eventually nodded off and then Rob had us up at 6am listening to his Pokémon songs on his phone. We got showers and went for breakfast, then waited for tblakey89 & Ollie. We got to the venue before 9am, Juniors and Seniors were playing already, and there was already close to 100 Masters in a make-shift line. We joined up with some PokémonWorld members, then the likes of gec, Kinneas, Keelhauled, Pokawaii etc turned up. We had such a massive group of people, I don't think I can name everyone without forgetting somebody, but it was amazing. We had 7014gree representing PokémonWorld in Seniors, and Cheeky Monkey (Charlene, Lord Gatr's sister) representing PokémonWorld in Juniors. They both got to top 4, which was great, but we think they could have both easily won the whole thing. So, onto Masters, here's my team: Terrakion @ Focus Sash Justified - Jolly - Rock Slide - Close Combat - Safeguard - Protect Whimsicott @ Mental Herb Prankster - Timid - Tailwind - Encore - Helping Hand - Grass Knot Jellicent @ Water Gem Water Absorb - Timid - Water Spout - Shadow Ball - Ice Beam - Protect Scrafty @ Chople Berry Moxie - Adamant - Fake Out - Drain Punch - Crunch - Detect Haxorus @ Choice Scarf Mold Breaker - Adamant - Outrage - Dragon Claw - Rock Slide - Earthquake Thundurus @ Charti Berry Prankster - Timid - Thunderbolt - Hidden Power [Ice] - Taunt - Substitute Round 1 vs. Sakura - Terrakion / Whimsicott / Eelektross / Galvantula Battle Video: 98-68466-52039 I lead with Scrafty and Thundurus (Jellicent & Terrakion in the back). His Terrakion Protects to stop my Fake Out, while Whimsicott sets up Tailwind. I used Hidden Power Ice on Whimsicott to bring it down to roughly 30%. I didn't use Substitute due to fearing Encore, and I just risked the Fake Out as I expected to be able to switch in Terrakion or Jellicent rather easily if that got Encored. However, I completely forgot that some people might still use Beat Up Whimsicott with Terrakion in Masters... So he uses Beat Up to get his +4 Attack, I think I went for the Hidden Power again on Whimsicott, and Drain Punch on Terrakion. He uses Rock Slide, which takes down Thundurus and flinches Scrafty! At this point, I thought I was headed for a round one exit. I switch in Terrakion because I'm sashed, and double Protect to stall down a turn of Tailwind. Next I double target Terrakion with my Fighting-type moves. Whimsicott uses Leech Seed on Terrakion and his Terrakion uses Rock Slide, KOing Scrafty and bringing my Terrakion down to about 24 HP. Luckily, I don't flinch, and Close Combat KOes his Terrakion. Tailwind ends and he brings in Eelektross, I bring in Jellicent. Terrakion is brought down to 4 HP thanks to Leech Seed. I hope for the best and go with Rock Slide + Water Spout, thankfully, it KOes both of his Pokémon so I don't lose any HP from Leech Seed. He sends in Galvantula and tries to KO Jellicent (probably fearing Water Spout) and brings my down to red HP, Rock Slide hits (thankfully) and OHKOes Galvantula for a very close 2-0 victory. After that flinch I probably should have lost this game, I don't think my opponent had perfect IVs at all, but he had a pretty sound strategy and it'd probably surprise most people that he actually used that. I was lucky in the sense that he needed Tailwind for his Galvantula to be faster than Terrakion (at least I assume so, due to Modest or not max IVs). Otherwise, he could have used Beat Up on my Terrakion to make sure I fainted, maybe he thought Eelektross would survive two attacks. I'm also happy he didn't have Helping Hand and apparently not Grass Knot either. I felt great after pulling this match back, so I started to think a lot more clearly about my games. Round 2 vs. foodking - Amoonguss / Chandelure / ??? / Tornadus Now, I've known foodking for years, so I asked to friend rule, but the person looking over our match just told us to battle, so we went with it. GEC also told me I had to battle foodking, so here it goes. He has a form of autism, he's an awesome guy so I was looking forward to playing against him but didn't really want to knock him out so early. foodking might be able to shed more light on this battle as I can't quite remember it properly. I knew he'd been running Quick Claw Amoonguss, which had led to him beating a lot of good players, so I was very wary of this. I think I led with Scrafty and Thundurus again, so I could Fake Out and Taunt. I Fake Out Amoonguss, and Substitute with Thundurus as I'm not sure what kind of Chandelure he is running. It turns out it's a Trick Room Chandelure. I Taunt his Amoonguss with Prankster on a turn where Quick Claw did activate, but Taunt went first. Scrafty was faster than his Chandelure in Trick Room still, and I hit it with Crunch, it didn't faint however, and there was no Focus Sash message. I think he breaks my Substitute with Shadow Ball. I Substitute again next turn, while Amoonguss tries Giga Drain on one of my two (I forget which) and Crunch finishes off Chandelure. The rest of the battle is hazy. I'm pretty sure I remember KOing a Tornadus with Thunderbolt from my Thundurus, which was probably a Speed tie I won after Trick Room had ended, ensuring a 4-0 victory. It was a good battle though, I'm glad foodking won at least one match in VGC. Well done mate. Round 3 vs. King of Lucario - Amoonguss / Jellicent / Conkeldurr / Druddigon Battle Video: 81-97442-58944 I've known KoL for over two years as well, so I asked if he wanted to friend rule, but he said he'd rather lose to someone he knew and he was happy to get this far, so we decided to battle it out. KoL saved this video, and it was a good match. He was running Trick Room, and had Conkeldurr, so I packed Scrafty, Thundurus, and Jellicent. I just rolled with Haxorus in the end so if I could stall out Trick Room (if he set it up) I could smash him in with a powerful Dragon attack. So, I lead Scrafty and Thundurus again, while he leads Amoonguss and Jellicent. I Fake Out Amoonguss for the flinch, and Effect Spore poisons me (which Wasn't too bothered about, as it meant I wouldn't get Spored) and used Taunt Jellicent. Jellicent had Mental Herb, so he got Trick Room in play. I use Substitute with Thundurus, while Amoonguss tries to Spore and fails. Water Spout breaks my Sub and damages Scrafty, and I Crunch Jellicent which goes down to 7 HP. I Sub again with Thundurus and Crunch Jellicent, but he'd used Rage Powder that turn. He then attempts to Giga Drain on Scrafty, but I used Detect. I Sub again with Thundurus, as part of my plan to stall Trick Room. I sub again next turn and he Giga Drains my Thundurus instead. He gets a critical hit which breaks my Substitute, so I was hoping that wouldn't cost me. Scrafty finishes off Jellicent with Crunch, gets a Moxie boost but faints to Poison damage. Trick Room ends this turn, so I'd done what I needed to do. I sent in Haxorus and Jellicent, while he has Amoonguss 127/211 and Conkeldurr. I predict the Conkeldurr Protect, so double target Amoonguss with Haxorus' Dragon Claw and Jellicent Ice Beam. However, he Protects with Amoonguss as well. Flame Orb activates and he Mach Punches Haxorus for just under 50% damage. Amoonguss had used Rage Powder, but I predicted this and went for Dragon Claw + Water Spout, which finishes off both Amoonguss and Conkeldurr. KoL admits defeat at this point, so decides to use Snatch with his Druddigon lol. I Dragon Claw for the win. I'm not sure if he had Sucker Punch, but I'd doubt it could KO Haxorus with that much HP anyway, and still have to beat Jellicent, so I'm pretty sure I'd have won either way. 2-0 win. Great game mate! Round 4 vs. ???? - Reuniclus / Jellicent / ??? / ??? I can't remember this guys name, or everything he used, but he defeated a fellow PokémonWorld member the round before (4PY), so maybe he can remind me of his name and what else he used. He had long black hair, and black nail polish on, with a Metal related tag-line. Really nice guy, if you're reading this, please comment. I'm pretty sure I went with Scrafty and Thundurus yet again, as I'd beaten two Trick Room teams already with this lead combo and it'd served me well before. I know I prevented Trick Room in this match, and Scrafty was a boss. The guy played really well but in the more decisive turns I got it right, it was one of the longest games of the day getting to around 12-13 minutes of play, but I was playing really well at this point and it was just a matter of time until I whittled him down, made the right sacrifices and won 2-0. His team was pure Trick Room it seemed, so you can probably guess what kind of Pokémon he had. So, I'd made it to the Finalists Lounge! Four-way bro hug, with me, Keelhauled, and GEC making top 32! Round 5 vs. Dean Thompson - Lilligant / Thundurus / Haxorus / Darmanitan This match was awesome, but a bit of a slug-fest at its core. I led with Whimsicott and Haxorus, changing my leads for the first time in the day. I was surprised to see Lilligant, especially in the top 32. I went with Helping Hand on Whimsicott and Rock Slide on Haxorus. He used Thunder Wave on Haxorus, but I didn't get fully paralysed so managed to get the hits in. Thundurus was brought down to Sash, while Lilligant survived, but flinched. I finish off Thundurus with Grass Knot, which surprises him, and he puts Whimsicott to sleep with Sleep Powder. Lilligant then faints to Rock Slide. He sends out Haxorus and Darmanitan. His rus was Life Orb, as it KOed my Haxorus with Outrage. This was a risk on his part, so I'm assuming he didn't have Dragon Claw. As if he targetted Whimsicott instead of Haxorus, he probably wouldn't have KOed my Haxorus with Flare Blitz. But alas, he gets the double KO and it's 2-2. I send out Jellicent and Thundurus. I think Protect with Jellicent and use Hidden Power Haxorus, which just survives, and KOes Thundurus with Dragon Claw, which then faints itself due to Life Orb recoil. I feel pretty confident now, as it's my Jellicent against his Darmanitan. He uses Flare Blitz, and my HP just keeps going down, and down.. My heart started racing as I expected it to be a critical hit, but it wasn't, and the HP stops rolling at 33. I assume it must have held Choice Band to do that much damage, but since he'd knocked out Whimsicott, and done all that damage to Jellicent, recoil along with Water Spout with Water Gem was enough to KO him. A very close 1-0 victory and a great game. Me vs. Showsni, Ruben playing his top 16 match. Round 6 vs. Showsni - Reuniclus / Amoonguss / Conkeldurr / Druddigon Battle Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbEXRzrn2bI Thanks to Showsni for uploading this, so I won't go into too much detail. I think it was a really good match, however, I got a critical hit on Amoonguss with Outrage first turn. I was just hoping to smash whichever of his leads as hard as possible and thanks ot a crit I got an early 4-3 advantage. I'm assuming he'd have Spored my Haxorus, unless he'd tried to Spore my genie already. But I think I'd have just ended up using Hidden Power Ice to finish off Amoonguss anyway. His advantage if Haxorus was asleep would've been the option of double targetting Thundurus, so the game could have tilted from that, but who knows how long Haxorus would've slept for. Great game man, was nice meeting you! Round 7 vs. Zog - Tornadus / Scrafty / Terrakion / Krookodile I started this game well, and I think I had the edge for quite a few turns. However, I completely fucked up one turn and lost both my leads after a long session of stalling with Detects, Protects, and Substitutes from the both of us. Hopefully someone recorded this game. I lost 2-0, Scarf Terrakion at the end did some big damage, maybe I should have spammed Outrage at the end instead. My team for this match was Scrafty, Thundurus, Jellicent, and Haxorus. Good game, Zog, well played! Awkward photo of me with my Worlds Invite 9.9 I had a great time overall, and top 8 pleases me, I broke my top 32 streak! I'm not sure if I'll be able to get to Worlds, but I'm working on it. Hopefully I'll get there and meet up with some more Smogonites! Thanks to everyone who came and made it an awesome day, these events have been some of the best times of my life, I can't wait for more tournaments! Bi-winning.