Preamble: This might sound suprising for anyone who knew me online back in 2000, but I am not confident. At the 2007 connection tour, my opponents were little kids, a handful of Smogonites and casual players from Nintendo forums (like Vooks and AN). My own lineup was developed over a period of months with a lot of help from Jumpman16. I had a good handle on the format, I knew what I had to beat in order to win, and I had a solid plan..but despite all this I got knocked out on R2 one day and the semifinals the next. This time, the situation has changed. The tournament was announced a lot closer to the date; Perth had more time to prepare but it would still be cutting it fine. Potentially half the field could be legit players. My most dangerous opponents are my colleagues from Pokeclectic, a group of local players who got together after the aforementioned Connection Tour, all of whom are just as experienced, knowledgeable and hungry for the win as I am. Smogon's elite from Perth are still at large, Blue Kirby has already confirmed his attendance. The kids I played all those years ago could now be in their teens and eager for a rematch, now armed with strategies from the internet and RNG Reported Pokemon. I have literally never played a game of doubles prior to this event being announced, having trained exclusively in 3v3 since the last Connection Tour. My team was pieced together from usage statistics on Pokemon Online, and I've only logged about 150 practice games with it on Pokemon Online due to my own laziness. I've also armed one of my friends with the best team in the format, Whimsicott-Terrakion, which has dominated all the other legs of this competition. To cap it all off, a single-elimination knockout tournament of 4v4 doubles is going to be won almost purely by luck alone. I play a lot of Magic: The Gathering, and know full well by now that I am not very lucky. Will I confirm my fears that I am a washed-up has-been who was only good when the competitive scene was young, back when half the playerbase didn't know what Special did and the game was all about DT/Rest? Or, am I going to prove to my colleagues that all the hype was true, and that the Ancient Egyptian Cat-Gonk has only been resting? It's Go Time. The Team: Hot Spore Shuffle Chandelure@Focus Sash Quiet, 255 HP 255 SpA Heat Wave, Hex, Trick Room, Protect Amoonguss@Mental Herb Relaxed, 255 Def 255 HP Giga Drain, Spore, Rage Powder, Protect Conkeldurr@Flame Orb Brave, 255 HP 255 Atk Mach Punch, Hammer Arm, Rock Slide, Wide Guard Jellicent@Water Gem Quiet, 255 SpA 255 SpD Water Spout, Ice Beam, Shadow Ball, Trick Room All of these guys were put together without RNG Reporter or the aid of any external devices. I didn't know about RNG Reporter when I was breeding up these dudes during a recent business trip, and I kept forgetting to look up GTS emulators. Thanks to the Power items I managed to give most of these guys 31 in three IVs, and their other stats weren't bad either. Since I had absolutely no knowledge of the format, the team I used was put together by looking at the VGC usage lists. I wanted to use Reuniclus at first (hence why I chose to play Trick Room) but it simply isn't good enough; without TR up it is completely useless and I swapped it out for Conkeldurr after testing proved that the basic strategy worked. A word of warning for all of you playing at home: Don't use this team for the VGC. The Australian format involved the Wonder Launcher, and Team Preview was turned off. Team Preview means that that all someone has to do to beat you is lead with Tornadus or Sigilyph. If you don't believe me, go try it out on Skarmbliss and let me know if your rating tanks to triple digits faster than mine did. Pregame: Team Stunfisk crashes at mine the night before. We get a fair bit of stuff done, but I spend most of my time fixing the teams of other Pokeclectic members. I've done all the prep I can, I can use my team well enough, though an hour or two more of practice matches online wouldn't have gone astray I rock up at 8, a bit later than I expected. There are already about twenty people there, and more are rapidly coming in. The average age of the competition is about 17-19, for every little kid there were two people in their late teens or early 20s. This isn't suprising; the competition wasn't very heavily advertised and you would only have known about it had you been looking. We take the Pokeclectic fliers out and get to work. Shadow hands out a ton of them, I get a fair bit of advertising in as well, a lot of people are interested in playing some face-to-face games. Round 1: Apologies I get paired against a guy who leads with Haxorus and something else good against me. This is already looking bad..I rev up the ragecage and go for the Trick Room only to find that his Pokemon aren't properly EV trained and don't have the right movesets when Haxorus' Dragon Pulse more or less bounced off Amoonguss. The TR resolves and I win without having to bring out my other two Pokemon. My opponent looks pretty gutted and I don't really blame him, I don't think he expected there to be so many sharks at this tournament. Round 2: White Knuckle Tight A mirror match on the big screen. Reportedly, this guy is a Street Fighter 4 pro, so good that he's being flown over east to play. I am garbage at Street Fighter 4. We both lead with the same Pokemon, Chandelure and Amoonguss. Historically this has ended really, really badly for me as I don't have the skills to win the mirror match. This match was really, really stressful. His Chandelure leads with Imprison. Unfortunately for him, I have an ace in the hole in the form of Hex, a special suprise I added just in case someone tries to Imprison my Chandelure for a free win (I didn't use HP Ghost because I didn't know about RNG Reporter when I made my team, and Hex partners well with Spore). This sudden turn of events is further compounded by me winning the Amoonguss race and getting a Spore in before his. We then start trading blows. As it turns out, he's not on the Trick Room plan at all. My lucky opening has given me a huge advantage, and I've had enough practice with Amoonguss to know that landing a Spore doesn't mean an instant win. I resist the temptation to Giga Drain and play it safe with Spore and Rage Powder; one mistake could cost me the match here. The cautious play pays off. His Amoonguss stalled for quite some time with the Wonder Launcher, but as soon as that Hex landed this game was pretty much over. Round 3: Friendly Fire One of many unfortunate Pokeclectic matches. I get paired down against Toshiya, who I know is playing WTF. However, thanks to our online testing, I also know that I can beat him provided he doesn't get a double flinch; Chandelure has a Focus Sash and Amoonguss will only die to a crit +4 Rock Slide. My opening against WTF is simple; Spore the Terrakion and use TR. I do this for the following reasons: - Rage Powder doesn't do anything useful here since Chandelure will still get put on a very low amount of HP after a Rock Slide, with or without the extra damage. Given that Whimsicott can't have both Encore and Beat Up, the only thing I need to worry about is a Taunt on Chandelure and that isn't a problem if Terrakion is asleep. - Unless he uses Beat Up on my Chandelure, which I have not seen anyone even consider, I will come out of this with both Pokemon alive (though flinches can make it difficult). - Whimsicott always has a Focus Sash and using Heat Wave here doesn't help me win. I need TR up to win against this lineup. - I could spore the Whimsicott but if Chandelure gets flinched, I still have a Terrakion to deal with that is going to outspeed and kill my Chandelure and severely hurt whatever comes out after it. In-depth analysis aside, he misclicks with Beat Up and hits my Amoonguss. This is pretty awkward, but the damage he missed out on dealing comes back when his Jellicent crits it with Ice Beam. It could have been worse; had he hit my Chandelure my accident I probably would have lost! The rest of the match is, unfortunately, academic. With a TR up and no slow Pokes on the other side, plus X Special to cement my lead, it's very hard to lose from here. I should also mention that despite there being a lot of WTF teams in the tournament (Pokeclectic ran three), very few of them are being shown on the big screen. Everyone in Perth was prepared for the threat. Round 4: Take The Flier I'm worried that I'm going to get paired against another Pokeclectic member going into the round of 16. However, Cola and our new recruit Owaru both get byes! Good for them, but bad for me since if I win here, I'll see them in the next round. Again, I'm not on the big screen. I manage to dodge Ethan; my opponent is a guy I offered a flier to prior to the event starting but he turned me down :( Unfortunately for him, he made his team only a week before the tournament and doesn't appear to have used RNG Reporter to catch his two legendaries. This isn't a fair match, and as per my first round I win without bringing out my third and fourth Pokemon. He seems like a pretty nice guy when we talk after the match, and takes a flier, so hopefully he'll be part of the local crew soon! Round 5: I Said Take The Flier The Top 8. I get lucky and dodge the other three Pokeclectic members, as well as the big screen. Good beats? Not only does this guy not take the flier, but his little brother is coaching him the entire step of the way. However, he's leading with Landorus and Excadrill, and I'm honestly suprised it's gotten him this far given that it is a really, really bad plan for this format. This wasn't pretty. He resigned himself to losing rather than Wonder Launcher an Awakening once I Spore both his guys. Fairly sure I didn't take any damage outside of Excadrill's initial move. My opponent reluctantly took a flier after the match. Round 6: Friendly Fire Part Two Cola got wildcarded into the top 8 only to lose his match due to a horrendous misplay. Owaru and Ethan get paired against each other and, as expected, Ethan's anti-meta team gets beaten by goodstuff. There are now only two Pokeclectic members left in the tournament..and they're now paired against each other. Owaru is a veteran, having flown across Australia to attend three of these tournaments. However, he is unfamiliar with the use of the Wonder Launcher (his match against Ethan would have been completely unfair had he thrown a few items), and I have a good read on what he's playing. He knows what I'm playing, sure, but I've mentioned numerous times that I have a second team to choose from, and this hesitation might give me the edge. Fuck it, no second-guessing, no tourneyfagging, I decide to make this a Gentlemanly Duel by opening with Chandelure and Amoonguss yet again. This match came down to the opening moves. He loses the guessing game at the start. I use Protect on Chandelure and Spore on Amoonguss against his Chandelure and "Whimsicott" lead. This was done for two reasons; I know he's got a Zoroark (but if he has Taunt for Chandelure I'm fucked), and I expect him to try to OHKO Amoonguss because everyone always does. He sends one attack each way. The rest of the match writes itself. Did Owaru deserve to win after flying across Australia to attend no less than three of these tournaments? Absolutely. Did he lose due to blind luck? Almost certainly. It's unfortunate that there's always going to be luck involved in this format, as well as the chance inherent in a single-elimination knockout tournament with 128 entrants. After the game he blames himself for the loss. After all, if he'd focused my Amoonguss, he would have won. However, if I had used TR + Rage Powder (which was, honestly, the correct play) or TR + Protect, the result would have been the same. He had to guess right, I merely had to sit back and watch as my team selection did the work for me. Oh well, as they say, better lucky than good! Round 7: The Wheels Come Off This is the Trick Room mirror, and as expected, it pretty much came down to who was the luckiest and who made the least mistakes. I've really got the nerves now, so as with any final round of any tournament it's going to come down to who cracks under the pressure. My opponent was just on the big screen so I know what he's playing, and he probably knows what I'm on as well. We have effectively the same team; I originally used a Reuniclus before switching it for Conkeldurr. His leads (Reuniclus and Amoonguss) are bad news for me. Normally I would sleep his Amoonguss and just hope mine is faster; however his Reuniclus will certainly OHKO me with Psychic. I am going to have to trust in my practice with the Wonder Launcher to get me out of this sticky situation, and I go in guns blazing with Heat Wave plus a Spore. I sleep his Reuniclus while he sleeps my..Chandelure! Mistake Number 1: I somehow miss the fact this his Amoonguss went before mine, leading me to believe that mine is faster and my Amoonguss gets slept on the following turn where I bring in Jellicent. The biggest cockup, however, happens next. Mistake Number 2: He has Chandelure out and I have a Jellicent. I use Water Spout even though I know he's going to go first. If I had Ice Beamed or even Shadow Balled I would have killed anything I touched thanks to a X Special boost from the sleeping Amoonguss. Instead I use Water Spout, which does almost no damage if used by a Jellicent that only just survived a Shadow Ball. My plan now is to stall for the Awakening and then use Chandelure to sweep. Fortunately for me, he never gets the chance to use Trick Room, which tilts the scales in my favour, and he switches out his Amoonguss for Conkeldurr (presumably to get ready for my incoming Chandelure). My Amoonguss wakes up by itself, buying me a turn and costing him precious Wonder Launcher charge as he uses an Awakening. We then trade blows, leaving my untouched Chandelure staring down an unhurt Conkeldurr and an Amoonguss. If Heat Wave misses and he Spores me, I'm dead. But, since I have a Focus Sash and am faster than both his Pokemon, if I land three Heat Waves (two one on turn, one on the next), I win. 73% chance of me winning right here and now. My Chandelure connects with everything. To add insult to injury, his Rock Slide misses. I've won. I'VE WON. PEOPLE I DON'T EVEN KNOW ARE COMING UP TO ME TO SHAKE MY HAND. I'VE WON! Props: My wonderful girlfriend, who supported me as I sunk countless hours into a game for 8 year olds. The tournament organisers. Trying to run this event must have been like herding cats. You guys did an amazing job! Pokeclectic for all the support, both old members and new! A big shoutout goes to indevelopment, who made our awesome fliers! Everyone who came up to shake my hand after the finals. Everyone who took a Pokeclectic flier. Hope to see you all again soon! Smogon, Skarmbliss, Legendary Pokemon, Project Pokemon, and, wait for it, Serebii.net for being highly useful resources. The competition. This wasn't just a case of a bunch of kids and a bunch of sharks, there was a lot of tight play being demonstrated. The Wonder Launcher. It adds a whole new level of depth to the game, and the best part is that it's not hidden information since you know exactly what your opponent has access to. X Special gave me a lot of help during the day. Also, I could have done some awesome things had I had the foresight to put X Speed on my Amoonguss for those games where I couldn't use Trick Room. Everyone who beat a team that had a Tornadus or Sigilyph lead, you are the reason why I got as far as I did! Slops: The airconditioning at the venue. I smelt like a sewer at the end of the day, and I didn't spend that much time inside the room. My nerves. I couldn't follow my own advice, I didn't eat properly during the day and didn't get any rests in because I had the butterflies. Connection errors. There were a lot of them during the day due to the IR setup with the big screen. Shame there's no wired option for battling. why did i pose for so many photos throwing up the pokeclectic flier Thankyou, and goodnight.