VGC 2010 Phoenix Championship Warstory!

So a lot of smogon must be wondering, who is this lurker xerograde who has suddenly stepped into the limelight? I started coming here a little before VGC 2009, taking advantage of RMT and just plain lurking to improve my poke knowledge. Last year's VGC was my first, but unfortunately I did not get picked in the lottery. I felt like all my hard work went down the drain. But then...a glimmer of hope: my little brother wins the Junior Phoenix VGC! We're going to nats, and I have a second chance! We have a blast on our trip, I get picked in the lottery this time, but unfortunately we are both one win away from the top 16. It sucks, but we still had lots of fun and are determined to do better next year.

Fast forward to 2010, and here I am again lurking smogon (and now skarmbliss, which I just recently discovered). I become a little more familiar with the community and its members, hanging out on #skarmbliss on IRC, and meeting some cool people along the way. They day of the tournament arrives and I'm as ready as I'll ever be. Here we go.

Here's the team in a nutshell:
Rayquaza, Metagross, Tyranitar, Mewtwo
Anti-weather FTW! If you would like an in-depth analysis you can see the RMT I made here. It only got 1 reply. >_<

So my brother and I rush to get to the convention center super early to make sure he doesn't miss Junior registration. it's gonna be a long day. We make it in time and he soon begins his battles. I help him make his teams (EV spreads, etc), but for the most part he creates the team focus. He decided to go with a sandstorm team, utilizing Dialga and Giratina as his ubers. He does well and is soon in the finalist's lounge! Only one problem: there is a top 18 and 4 kids must battle to get into the top 16. My brother is unlucky and does not get a bye. :( He loses this battle.

My brother on the right, his last match.

His winning opponent ends up getting second place. We are both bummed, but now I'm even more determined to do better. We leave to grab a bite to eat before Senior registration begins (Jack in the Box, it was pretty gross, lol) and return in time to arrive at the end of a ridiculously long line. While we are waiting I walk around a bit and meet up with BadIntent and some of his friends. Nice to finally meet some smogoners in person! The line begins to move and I'm getting pumped.

Huuuuge line, and that's only like half of it!

Registration is quick, and the matches are soon underway. Please forgive my bad memory. I kinda wish I wrote down every team I fought but oh well. :P

Don't remember this at all. Pretty sure it was 4-0. Next!

I remember seeing this guy in line behind me and I thought he would be a bit more of a challenge since he looked a little older. Another easy battle. It's all a blur!

Ok, this kid had to be 12 and hopped up on candy and soda. He could not stop talking and asking questions while we were in line getting ready to go into round 3. Funny because OmegaDonut is behind me and I'm telling him I hope we don't have to battle each other. I luck out and battle the kid in front of me. And to add even more hilarity to the situation, this kid actually gives me a little bit of trouble.

He leads with Dragonite and Gyarados. Totally didn't expect intimidate in VGC. It throws me off a bit but I decide to scout the first turn. (I'm all about scouting. :P) He withdraws Gyarados for Ho-oh and tries to Dragon Rush my Rayquaza. His friend on the sideline is screaming "Don't use Dragon Rush!" and I'm a little bit peeved. Whatever. I can beat this kid even if his little friend is "helping" him. I anticipate a fire attack on Meta so I switch for Tyranitar, who perfectly absorbs the Sacred Fire. I use Dragon Claw on his Dragonite and I'm pretty sure it is a OHKO. Next turn he brings in Gyrados again. Now Ray has been intimidated twice and my T-Tar once. Lame. Next few rounds are a little blurry. I take out his Gyrarados, he takes out my Rayquaza, and my T-Tar ends up burned by Sacred Fire, and now his attack REALLY sucks. Rock Slide doesn't even KO his Ho-oh. His last pokemon is Giratina-A. Long story short my Mewtwo cleans up 2-0. :)

Sadly another match I don't really remember. Pretty sure this was 3-0.

Chattin up Mike and the poke officials.

I am now in the finalist's lounge! I am feeling so much more confident now. I think I might have a chance to get in the top 8, maybe even the top 4! I hang out until the next round of matches start.

Talkin to blurry Fish.

The finalists begin to gather in the lounge when it is time and I meet a few more people. Turns out ImperfectLuck and BadIntent made it as well, so I was happy to be amongst friends. Mike explains that we don't quite have 32 so 8 people will get a bye. Turns out I have the opposite luck of my brother and I am automatically entered in the top 16. BadIntent lucks out as well and gives me a hug. haha. We are both super relieved. Time to get in line and get ready for the top 16 battles.

I got a bye? Hooray!!

Wouldn't you know it, I had to battle ImperfectLuck. What luck! haha. We had just been chatting in IRC the night before, and now after having just met each other in person we had to battle. I'm not going to reveal his team, but it was a good match. To be honest, I didn't think I was going to advance past this point. I'm starting to feel really good.

This guy is the only thing standing between me and my new DSi. He must be eliminated!! He opens with a Ludicolo+Kyogre lead. I decide to take a bit of a risk and go with an explosion when I have the chance. It pays off. He brings out his last 2 pokemon, which for the love of me I can't remember. From the explosion it was all downhill.

Top 8 battle.

I'm not gonna lie, as soon as I got into the top 4 I was satisfied. I really just wanted the DSi, so I thought that whatever happened afterward would be icing on the cake.

This match is going on the TV so we have a pretty huge crowd going. This battle is against Shinryu, and it is curveballs all the way down. He opens with Weavile and Persian. WTF? Persian? What does he have up his sleeve...

Top 4 Battle VS Shinryu.

I scout the first turn, eliminating an opportunity for a fakeout. He subs with Weavile and tries to fake out with Persian. Didn't see the sub coming. Next turn, need to take out that sub. Bullet Punch with meta destroys it easy, but he then sets up a swords dance. Hmm. Pretty sure I used Extremespeed next on his Persian. He tries hypnosis but it misses. Wow, I am lucky. I am starting to see into his strategy. I setup for another Bullet Punch on Weavile, but he switches out for Jumpluff. Another curveball. Only one uber and this guy is in the top 4? Impressive. Bullet Punch does some OK damage to Jumpluff, and then I think I took out his Persian with another Extremespeed. (Shinryu, please correct me if any of this is wrong haha). He brings in Palkia next turn. He tries sleep powder next turn and it either misses or I protected. All I know is I didn't fall asleep, thank goodness. The rest of the match is pretty fast, and I win 4-0. Only one more match for the championship. This is crazy.

Getting ready for the final battle!

It's the FINAL COUNT-DOWNNNNN!! Yeah, gotta love that music. haha. You can see the battle HERE.

I'm not gonna go too into this since you can see it all in the video. Explosion was a huge gamble, but I took the opportunity after Kyogre protected and it paid off marvelously. In the last few seconds it came down to the wire, and I won with Sandstorm of all things. The crowd seemed to love the battle. I became the champion and it felt like something out of the Twilight Zone.

A Winner Is You!!

Michael put up a great fight, and I can't wait to see this guy and many others at nats. Funny thing is I wasn't planning on going to nats even if I was in the top 4, but now that I have a full paid ticket I just have to. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I was thinking my pokemon research/training would end after Saturday but now I have to take it up a notch. It was great to meet so many of you, and I look forward to hanging out in Indiana!

One more thing, I wanna give a BIG shout out to mattj. You are my hero man. A few nights before VGC I battled mattj after talking on IRC. He won, but he really liked my team. He asked me if my pokemon were RNGd and I said no, they were made the old fashioned way. He offered to give me an RNG version of my team and I had to accept. mattj, if it weren't for you and your baddassery I may not have been the champ. Many thanks, and I look forward to shaking your hand at nats. :)

Question; did you feel like most of the participants there weren't really in tune with competitive pokemon?

The first 4 battles definitely were not. I doubt they were EV trained, etc. Once it got to the finals the competition was definitely kicked up a notch. I think the top 24 knew what they were doing.
Bring a bing bag. That way you can kick back while battling. And it will make you the coolest person there. You will get tons of friends by letting them borrow it. Make a bing bag using service, one pokemon for one use of it during a battle.