Note, this is a rather lengthy read, but I like to write, so live with it :P Ok...so where to begin here...well, let's start with a little story I guess. After missing a chance to compete at the VGC last year (due to the asinine way they did signups), I'd pretty much given up on the VGC coming back to Phoenix again, as well...let's just say I didn't have much faith in PUI holding another event here based on past history and such. So I spent the year in a somewhat catatonic state, mainly playing WoW and reading the occasional Pokemon article or chat...hell, I couldn't even tell you what is OU or not anymore, to give you an idea of how dated I am, last I remember Ninjask and Aerodactyl were like UU or something...how novel that they're back in OU. Anyways, fast-forward to...about a little over a month ago, when they announced locations; to my major shock, there would be another one in Phoenix! And without the asinine signups! But as happy as I was, I realized I pretty much had no team at all; sure, I had an old Rain Dance/Explosion team I made for last year, but that was kind of antiquated when you considered 2 ubers could now be squaring off instead of Kingdra with Draco Meteor being the most feared Pokemon out there. So from there, I went about team making...I had some simple guidelines I wanted to follow. First of all, whatever the team, I wanted it to be "weather-neutral"; that is, whatever weather condition that may exist on the field would not impact my own team's performance. In that same vein, I didn't want to focus on one type of weather as well, as with 5 different possible weather changers (Kyogre, Groudon, Abomasnow, and to a lesser extent, Tyranitar and Hippowdon), the odds of keeping any one type on the field wasn't great, especially since the most popular type, Rain, was the most countered (usually with Aboma and Hail). Finally I wanted something unorthodox; instead of running around in underwear screaming "THIS IS SPARTA!", I wanted something uniquely different, more refined if you will. So, after about 3 weeks worth of theorizing, I came up with this: Persian @ Focus Sash Naive, Ability: Limber 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 6 HP -Fake Out -Hypnosis -Taunt -Icy Wind Weavile @ Life Orb Jolly, Ability: Pressure 6 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe -Substitute -Swords Dance -Ice Shard -Brick Break Jumpluff @ Leftovers Timid, Ability: Chlorophyll 252 HP / 6 SpA / 252 Spe -Sleep Powder -Substitute -Leech Seed -Sunny Day Palkia @ Lusterous Orb Timid, Ability: Pressure 6 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe -Surf -Draco Meteor -Thunder -Dragon Pulse Which of course left about 2 1/2 weeks to do breeding, catching, and EV training, inbetween work >.> The basic concept of the team was to get Weavile set up with a Sub and SD under his belt; from running the damage calcs on various Pokemon I expected to encounter, this was often enough to OHKO about 98% of the ubers out there, with the other 2% either being a good chance (50%+) at an OHKO or enough damage to the point where they won't be hanging around much longer. Originally, this idea came to me from using a Lucario with SD to beat on things (as I do remember him being a beast in singles and wanted to try to replicate this OHKO 1 Pokemon at a time concept), but Weavile ended up being a better choice I thought due to his priority move (Ice Shard being an OHKO on most dragons and hitting ghosts, which Lucario couldn't mimic) and overall better speed (125 base opposed to 90 base); both their Low Kicks would OHKO the same targets with a SD, so that wasn't any concern. I even thought Weavile had the better typing since he would be immune to Hail, though this unfortunately wasn't the case as seen later on... Jumpluff, I've loved forever since GSC, and it was the solid backup for when Persian was KOed, providing an even more accurate sleep-inducing move than Hypnosis and the ability to hide behind a sub and wait away the day until it needed to nail another Pokemon with Sleep. Palkia was the big finisher if Weavile croaked; Water/Dragon is always a fantastic typing, and it has more than enough power to finish off whatever Pokemon are left usually. I will shamefully note the team I did use was incomplete; my original intent was to have Weavile with Low Kick over Brick Break, Jumpluff with Helping Hand over Sunny Day (to force basically an OHKO on anything), and Mewtwo over Palkia just because, well, he is faster and overall more likely to act as a cleaner in case things went south. However, remember I was on a pretty big time crunch to do all this, and I'd only bought HG about a week after finding out the dates of the VGC, so it's not like I had much time to do the Battle Tower as well inbetween planning, breeding, and working for long hours at work. So in that regard, Sunny Day I chose to counter Rain teams better (and provide Jumpluff with his own personal speed boost) while with Weavile, I'd already bred it a long time ago and it had Brick Break, so I left it on. But I digress, I guess things turned out decently enough XD Ok, enough of that stuff...the Friday before the event was my brother's HS graduation, was happy about that. Went and saw Robin Hood after that, pretty decent movie in case anyone's interested. And I spend the rest of the night (about 5 hours) of more EV training and trying to frantically get ready >.> Saturday started bad enough actually, I woke up early to try to get in some more EV training, but only ended up trading all the Pokemon over to the right cart. Didn't shower or eat anything, had to rush some relatives back down to the airport so they could catch their plane (meaning I wandered out with a day old shirt too), then I had to find the Phoenix Convention Center from there and managed to get lost. I finally arrive at about 12:55 parked about 3 blocks away (damn one-way streets and poorly designated parking garage signs), and run on over to get in line; then after seeing that long ass line, I thought I was surely going to get screwed out of a chance to play again, but fortunately that wasn't the case. Reviewing my cart, I discover I'd forgot to transfer a Pokemon over, so I literally whip out 2 DSs while in line, trade it over, then fill out the sign up sheet, all before even entering the main building lol. Everything else goes smoothly from there thankfully, I get checked in ok, get a nice looking backpack (which I'll be bringing to Nats over that DeVry messenger bag I had) and wait in line some more for my first battle. And...here we go! *que in Pokemon battle music* R1: And this is why you don't write warstories about 5 days after the fact...don't remember much, but I easily set up Weavile and take him out. I had saved the video, but deleted each subsequent one for the newest...why can't you save more than 1 video again? (1-0) R2: Pretty much in the same idea as R1. Both times I think my Persian got KOed, but he did his job, and Jumpluff easily shut down the rest of their Pokemon. (2-0) R3: I "think" in this one, they actually manage to KO Weavile, but I win regardless. (3-0) R4: Another boring 3-0 win here. (4-0) Break: Well, after winning 4 straight matches, I get to hang around in the finalists lounge for about 10 minutes and relax. I saw all my favorite Pokemon TCG Judges/Professors/PTOs there as staff, so I chat with the spare ones while the rest of the matches wind down. Was fun to meet Mike Liesik as well, always been a fan of his since his days in the TCG. R5: For the top 16, they announced since there was 24 of us, 8 of us would be getting byes through the random chance of him handing us a corresponding Energy card (Lightning = auto-top 16, Psychic = battle). Using my incredibly detailed knowledge of the TCG (ie, the theory that cards stick no matter how well you shuffle, especially Holos and Energy), I grab the 2nd bye right after the first guy, and happily sit down to await the top 16. During this time, I get my invite papar to Nationals, fill out some paperwork, and even get interviewed by the one staff reporter. R6: VS So after nervously waiting for a few minutes while chatting with the guy next to me (we both mumble along to Matchbox 20 when it begins playing on the speakers), I get my opponent, who as it turns out (and I learn much later after the fact) is a smogoner named Ninahaze. He's running the first Smeargle I've seen all day, so I have a decent idea of what's coming: Dark Void of course. So I had good ol' Persian smack him with a Fake Out, while Weavile sets up a Sub. Interestingly, his Palkia set up a TR, which kinda concerns me as all my Pokemon are based around speed, so I decide to turtle for a bit and wait it out. Persian then manages to somehow get a Taunt off on Smeargle, meaning it's Scarfed, while taking a hit from Palkia and living with Sash and Weavile gets a SD up. Palkia kills off Weavile's Sub (almost wonder why he didn't finish off Persian...), Weavile gets up another SD, and Persian puts Smeargle to sleep. From there, it's pretty elementary; since TR is now gone, Weavile OHKOs Palkia, Persian keeps any other incoming Pokemon shut down with Sleep, and I end up winning. Finally, a challenging match, good game. R7: VS ? ? Top 8...I really want my DSi and travel money lol. My opponent ends up being the guy I was chatting right next to, which is a bit sad, as he seemed like a nice fellow. He lead with Kyogre and...ugh, crappy memory. If you happen to be on here, help me fill in the blanks...anyways, I end up Faking Out the Ogre first while Weavile subs, then I thought it was odd as he switched it out next turn...I just set up a SD and am thinking easy sweep to myself, when all of a sudden it comes back in and fires off a Scarfed Water Spout at me! Thankfully I had Persian aiming a Hypnosis at the Pokemon he switched Kyogre in for, so it's taken care of...Weavile subs again and Persian shuts down the partner Pokemon. From there I SD again and end up sweeping him with just Weavile and Persian out...I remember another of his Pokemon was a Spiritomb, I thought it was a pretty neat team overall. Good game to you as well! R8: VS Top 4 now...I'm happy that I'll get to walk away with a DSi and travel money to Nats, but a free vacation and trophy would be an even better upgrade! So I end up facing (as again I end up learning much later) Xerograde, another smogoner (and, had I known he'd posted his team up on Smogon, I probably could have beat easily XD). Anyways, things look good starting on, he double Protects with Metagross and Rayquaza while Persian does his usual trick and Weavile subs. Easy win I'm thinking here...he brings out T-tar over his Quaza, and then to my horror, his Metagross uses a Bullet Punch on my sub! I guess in my fatigued state or something, I completely spaced on the fact Meta often uses BP in the VGC...so after panicking for a minute (Persian safely throws t-tar to sleepytime, guess I should have aimed it for Meta), I switch out Jumpluff for Weavile, figuring that he should be able to take a few hits, sleep it easily, then sub up and recover with Leech Seed. I proceed to follow through with this, trying first for a Hypnosis on his Meta now (which misses), and then 2 bad things quickly turn the match in his favor; Sleep Powder, despite its 75% acc and hitting all day so far, MISSES on his Meta, AND his t-tar decides to wake up early to Rock Slide and KOs Jumpluff (though rather interestingly, Persian lives). Knowing I had to KO that damn Meta, I throw out Palkia and opt to use Surf, reasoning that Persian was dead no matter what (which it turns out he is, as he BPs it). Surf though fails to KO Meta, leaving it with about 25% left (t-tar Protected)...knowing the match was slipping away, I throw back out Weavile, get in a quick hit with Ice Shard on t-tar (BP KOs Weavile next), and Surf KOs both his Pokemon...then my heart manages to sink lower when I see him bring out Rayquaza and Mewtwo. I decide to try for a quick KO on Rayquaza first with Dragon Pulse (as Mewtwo would not be KOed by a Surf, and I reasoned Palkia is about a 3hko for the common Mewtwo moveset), but it Protects...thus ending any chance for a comeback. So slightly bummed, I offer him my congrats as he lands the killing blows with ES and IB. So overall, can't really say I was disappointed; 3rd place out of some 500+ people is a pretty big accomplishment by any means, and I managed to get a lot of cheers going with my fairly unorthodox team (I think it was only in my final battle it came out I even had an uber waiting, Persian was easily the star). Props: -Persian, for being leet -Weavile, for proving any uber is just a big, lumbering target -Jumpluff, for its hallucinogenic spores (just joking...) -Palkia, for being a better cleaner Pokemon than I gave it credit for -Imawario, for offering random bits of advice and being a patient sounding board while I bounced X ideas/concepts off him -Chompy (friend from another forum) for being a great friend and another patient sounding board listening to my self-induced rants on theorymon -PBB...eh, why not? Then again, who cares about PBB, he's some ovehyped doubles guy who wouldn't have been if I hadn't helped him from overseas on my study abroad program 2 years ago :P Slops: -Fivekrunner, where the hell are you dude? -Bullet Punch, the one bane of my existence I forgot to account for -Running out of time and being forced into using a less-than-perfect team And if you've somehow made it this far, thanks for reading! I'll definitely have something fun planned for Nats as well, lol.