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2011 was a great year for tournaments, with some of the biggest turnouts, and by far the most tournaments hosted in a single year. Of course, this wouldn't have been possible without all the people who volunteered their free time to host the tournaments, nor without the hundreds who played in them. Thanks to everyone who made the Smogon tournament experience so great in 2011, and may 2012 be an even greater year!
The 2011 official tournament scene saw a lot of new changes as well as worthy champions:
Smogon's new programmer Articuno64 has coded a new engine for running tournaments. Unlike in the Tournaments forum, anyone can create a tournament whenever they want and share the link with those whom they want to participate. The tool is streamlined to allow easy methods of contacting opponents, simplifies hosting while still giving the host adequate power, and sends out reminders when a new round starts via the Smogon forums. Currently, this tool runs alongside the traditional forum system that is already in place, but in future we may transition to the new engine. If you want to go ahead and play with it, feel free; the only requirement for creating a tournament is having a Smogon account, and anyone looking to host a tournament for any purpose is free to do so.
You may have noticed a new subforum was added to the Tournaments section a few weeks ago. This is the Local Tournaments section, which can be used to organize and advertise Pokémon tournaments and gatherings that are to be held in person. The only real restriction is that any tournaments in the section must be hosted at a public venue rather than at someone's home. There are already threads for events held in America, the UK, and Australia, so if you want to get together with fellow Pokémon fans and test out your trained-up team, this is a great opportunity to do so.
Smogon Premier League 3
The third season of one of the most popular tournaments on Smogon has just commenced, and it looks to be one of the most interesting seasons yet. For those unfamiliar, the tournament involves a group of managers being chosen, followed by an auction of the players who signed up to play in the tournament. Using the players purchased in the auction, the managers must fill the 11 tier slots each week: BW OU x 3, BW Uber, BW UU, DPP OU, ADV OU, GSC OU, RBY OU, VGC 2012, and a new addition in BW RU. Teams go head-to-head for a nine week season, then the top four teams progress to the playoffs, and play in a single elimination bracket of head-to-head match-ups based on their final position in the standings. The winners of the tournament receive the bright red SPL trophy to wear until the next year's champions are crowned.
The Stark Sharks, captained by makiri, were last year's champions, and you will undoubtedly have seen team members carrying the red trophy in their profiles if you browse the Tournaments forum. Will they become the first team in SPL history to defend the title, or will one of the other teams step up to the plate? Be sure the follow the season as it progresses! For more information about the SPL, you can browse the team rosters, standings, rules, and schedule here or view the SPL forum here.
Smogon Tournament #8
The eighth annual Official Smogon Tournament, hosted by Earthworm, is currently underway. It is the first edition of the tournament to be held in Black and White OU. The tournament is traditionally one of the most popular on Smogon, and this year's is no exception, being the first ever to reach 512 entrants. This means that one player will have to defeat a whopping nine opponents consecutively to earn the trophy.
The tournament is about to enter the fourth round, where 64 of the original 512 will remain. Some of the favorites to win have already been eliminated, while others show no signs of slowing their progress. Good luck to those remaining!
Random Pokémon Tournament IV is a tournament in which, each round, players are publically assigned seven fully evolved Pokémon at random. They must then construct a team from these that is designed to beat the opponent's assigned Pokémon. Players must carefully research each Pokémon's options in order to come up with a team capable of shutting down the opponent's. Even when it seems that one player has an advantage, rarely is it so large that it cannot be overcome by the right combination of innovation and unpredictability. Thanks to kd24 and RODAN for hosting.
Sinnoh Cup is the DPP OU successor to the popular Hoenn Cup hosted by Umby in 2011. The tournament uses the same format, where all players compete for several weeks rather than simple elimination. After playing a total of ten opponents each, the players with the best scores in each of six divisions will progress to the playoffs, where the winner will be determined. Thanks to Bloo for deciding to host this great tournament format for DPP OU!
The Most UBER Tournament Ever is a new BW Ubers team tournament, where each player on each team of five is given a different Pokémon that they must use each round. This creates a kind of centralization around the Pokémon while also challenging players to build a team that works well with it. Many different groups of Smogon players are competing in the tournament, so it will be interesting to see which is the best in the BW Ubers metagame! Thanks bojangles, Hugendugen, and Zephyr for hosting this tournament and bringing life to the BW Ubers tournament scene.
Weather Monopoly is a tournament hosted by New World Order where players can only use one specified type of weather each round. The effect that this has is mainly on team building, where players will have a lot fewer weather related threats to prepare for. Good luck to everyone participating.
Mono Tournament III is the third edition of the Mono Tournaments previously hosted by Earthworm. Players are given three types generated at random to choose between and then must construct a team entirely made of Pokémon of that type. Players must ensure that within their team, they cover the majority of mono-typed teams that they may have to face. Thanks to Lamppost for taking over hosting this fun tournament.
Battle City Tournament is a tournament that has similarities to the Battle Royale tournament, where players challenge whoever they want on an IRC channel rather than using traditional pairings. In this tournament, players wagered chips against each other in order to gather a total of 8, which advanced them to the next round. Round 2 and onwards is a simple single elimination tournament where matches consist of a best-of-three in ADV OU, DPP OU, and BW OU. DC. came up with the idea originally, but the tournament is now in the hands of Steven Snype, Bloo, and Eos.
VGC Secret Santa is a tournament that provides an opportunity to try out someone else's VGC team and allow others to try out your own. It is the first time Secret Santa has been done with VGC teams instead of the current generation's OU metagame. Thanks to Ditto for hosting.
UU Olympus is a team tournament similar to the Team Trials series, but instead covering the UU metagames of the three most recent generations. The tournament should provide an enjoyable break from the OU metagames to the players while also allowing them to team up together. Thanks to Malekith for hosting.
Sideboard Tournament is a best-of-three BW OU tournament where players may change out two Pokémon with two from their sideboard between each battle. Sideboards contain four Pokémon, and may contain the same species as one from the main team if a player wishes to change the moveset of that Pokémon. The tournament is designed to make team disadvantages less problematic. Good luck to the remaining players and thanks to blarajan for hosting.
RBY/GSC/ADV Mashup II is the sequel to the original RBY/GSC/ADV Mashup held in 2010 by Floppy. Players compete in best-of-three matches in RBY OU, GSC OU, and ADV OU each round. This tournament should showcase the skills in adapting to older generations, as well as giving the veterans a chance to show newer players that they still have much to learn. Thanks to ENZ0 for hosting and continuing the trend of reviving older generation metagames in tournaments.
Home Field Advantage is an innovative new solo format where each week of the season, there are an equal number of "home" and "away" players. The home players decide which tier out of BW UU / OU / Ubers will be played against their opponent for the week. At the end of the eight week season, the highest ranked players in each division move on to the playoffs which uses a NFL-style system to advance and eliminate players. Thanks to Dubby for coming up with this format and hosting it!
Tournament of Thieves III is the third edition of Stone_Cold's Tournament of Thieves, a tournament that involves stealing teams that were posted in the Rate My Team forum. Each round, there is a new tier to find a team for, and the finals consists of a best-of-three in BW UU / OU / Ubers. Thanks to Foster for taking over hosting this tournament.
Scales of Justice is a new tournament based around restricted team building. Each round, a number is provided by the host, zarator, which is the maximum total of the usage percentages of the Pokémon used on a team, based on the Smogon University PO Server usage statistics. As the tournament progresses, the number gets lower and lower, meaning that eventually there will not be any commonly seen OU Pokémon on any teams. Good luck to the remaining players.
The Indigo Plateau Conference, hosted by twash, is a mini-Smogon Frontier, except that instead of having to defeat all the gym leaders, the aim is simply to do the best you can in order to reach the finalist rounds.
Steven Snype's Uber Tournament (tentative name), hosted by Steven Snype, is a Pound-for-Pound style Ubers tournament that covers the four most recent generations.
B/W's Beginnings, hosted by Tobes, is a tournament that takes players back to the beginning of Black and White, when the tiers had just been settled.
The Helping Hand Tournament, hosted by KnightoftheWind, was mentioned in Issue 16 but was delayed until now.
Lady Luck's Lottery, hosted by Ditto, is an OU tournament with a twist. Players submit 30 Pokémon and receive six from these in private, selected at random, which must be used as the team.
Uber Inclusion II, hosted by Lady Salamence, is a tournament where each round, one Pokémon from Ubers is allowed in the standard OU metagame.
At the time of publishing of the previous article in this series, eight players remained in the Smogon Tour Season 12 championships, all of them great players. From the eight emerged Bluewind, reyscarface, Kevin Garrett, and ENZ0, who then competed against each other in the semifinals. Kevin Garrett lost BW to reyscarface, then came back to win ADV and DPP, while Bluewind beat ENZ0 in ADV and DPP, leaving Bluewind and Kevin Garrett as the two finalists. Bluewind had reached the finals of the season championships once in the past, when he lost to Delta 2777 in the Season 10 finals. Kevin Garrett, on the other hand, had reached the season championships of the past four prior seasons. Both had put a massive amount of effort into the tour in the past, and defeat for either player would certainly be crushing at this stage. However, the tournament could only have one winner, and eventually, it was time for the final battles to be played.
In the first battle, BW OU, Bluewind brought a consistent balanced team, while Kevin Garrett took a more innovative approach, using Pokémon like Weavile and Choice Specs Magnezone. Bluewind took control of the match and played it safely to come away with the win. The replay of the BW OU match can be viewed here. The next battle, DPP OU, was a one-sided match for Kevin Garrett from start to finish, and it never looked like Bluewind had much of a chance, with his main offensive strategies trapped and walled by somewhat unconventional strategies. The replay of that match can be viewed here. With the score tied at 1-1, the final battle and the entire tournament would be decided by the final battle in ADV OU. Kevin Garrett brought a stall team with trappers, while Bluewind brought a slightly more offensive trap based team. In an intense battle with some key predictions, Kevin Garrett managed to overcome Bluewind and finally earned himself the Smogon Tour trophy. The replay of the final battle can be viewed here. A big congratulations to Kevin Garrett on your victory; it is great to see that such consistent perseverance has paid off for you. Bluewind also deserves a congratulations, since very few have achieved as much as you have in tournaments, despite you not coming away from it with a trophy.
Thank you to all of the individual tour hosts, as well as Iconic, Bloo, and Philip7086 for your massive efforts in co-ordination and maintenance of everything to do with this great tournament.
After so many qualifications to the season championships that didn't pan out for you, how did you keep up your motivation going into it for the fifth time? How did you feel when you realized you had finally won the trophy?
I learned from my mistakes, most notably, sticking with the same teams. In the past, I greatly underestimated the importance of surprise factor on all my teams. I promised myself if I were to make it back a fifth time, I would lay everything on the line and reinvent my style. As for staying motivated, that was from my hunger to accomplish what I always dreamed of. Seeing all the comments in the thread, both positive and negative, really helped lift me up when I was running low on enthusiasm.
I felt fulfilled when I won it. It was a long journey from my first championship until now with a lot of highs and lows along the way. Most of all, I'm pleased with how the games resulted. I played against a rival and it all came down to the last game where a couple of key decisions in the battle swayed it to its conclusion. It took a while to sink in when it finally happened. I think it is more satisfying that I had a long road to travel before winning the trophy.
National Pokémon Association, a highly competitive VGC team tournament, was won by the Sacramento Slakings, consisting of manager The_Chaser and players theamericandream38, makiri, Giant Enemy Crab, Sapphire Birch, and Infinity.Cypher. They defeated the Chicago Afrobulls in the finals 3 games to 2. Logs of each battle can be found in the finals thread. Thanks also to commi$$ioner for doing a great job of hosting.
Sneak was a very competitive standard BW / DPP OU tournament with both a team and individual component. The individual component was won by Earthworm, who defeated Scimjara in the finals in both BW OU and DPP OU, while the team component was won by Stone_Cold's team, consisting of Stone_Cold, Krack, TheFourthChaser, 6A9 Ace Matador, ENZ0, Lamppost, Earthworm, and Bloo. Replays of the final matches between Scimjara and Earthworm can be found here (BW OU) and here (DPP OU). Congratulations to Earthworm and the winning team, and thanks Iconic for another highly efficient and well-hosted tournament.
#pokemon Tournament was a tournament hosted by the leaders of Smogon's IRC Pokémon discussion channel, #pokemon. The tournament was designed to eliminate the need to build teams and find out what teams win the most in the BW OU metagame. The tournament was won by JabbaTheGriffin, who defeated Heist in two games to none in the finals. The most successful team used in the tournament was Golden Sun's. Congratulations to Jabba on your victory and Golden Sun on creating the most successful team.
Little Cup Eviolite-less Tournament was a BW LC tournament designed to test what the metagame would be like without the new item Eviolite. The finalists idiotfrommars and Nails both had offensively-oriented teams, suggesting that it is only the presence of Eviolite that makes defensive strategies viable in this generation. idiotfrommars ended up triumphing over Nails, so congratulations on your first tournament victory! Thanks to ShinyAzelf for hosting.
The Gauntlet II was a BW OU tournament where any Pokémon that faint can no longer be used for the duration of the tournament. idiotfrommars managed to reach the finals losing a mere five Pokémon, while his opponent Taylor lost a total of eighteen. idiotfrommars, having a much greater selection available to him, managed to win his second tournament, leaving Taylor in second place for both editions of The Gauntlet so far. The final battle can be viewed here. Congratulations idiotfrommars, and thanks also to Steven Snype for doing a good job hosting.
DPP OU Tournament was a tournament that was exactly as the name suggests, a standard best-of-three DPP OU tournament. The finalists of the tournament were French player CriCri95, New Zealander Heist, and American Delta 2777. Delta and Heist both defeated CriCri95, leaving the final match as Delta 2777 vs Heist, and Delta 2777 came out on top of that set (replays here and here). Congratulations Delta 2777! Heist and CriCri95 both deserve some credit too, since both players have made the finals of multiple tournaments in recent months, despite not coming away with victories. Thanks to Steven Snype and ENZ0 for another well hosted tournament.
Who Needs Team Preview Tournament was a BW OU tournament without team preview being on. This tournament explored what BW OU would be like with the classic lead system and without knowing what the opponent's unrevealed Pokémon are. DracoMalfoy won the tournament, defeating DarkLoïc in the finals (replay). Congratulations DracoMalfoy, and thanks to Romeert and Mr_br_kill for hosting.
Battle Royale III was the third edition of the biannual Battle Royale tournament, hosted by Stone_Cold. The tournament involves a system where players log onto an IRC channel and challenge each other there. Players must complete at least one match every 48 hours to prevent people from avoiding playing. The final two remaining players were idiotfrommars and Eternal, and idiotfrommars came out on top yet again (replay). Congratulations to idiotfrommars on winning so many tournaments in such a short time. Look out for this player in future tournaments! Thanks Stone_Cold and enforcers for making this tournament a success once more.
Type Reduction Tournament II was a tournament in which each round after the first, one or more types were banned from use. This eventually led to a metagame where Water, Fire, Grass, Dragon, Psychic, and Steel-types were banned. EspyJoel managed to come away with the win against Shun DK in a somewhat odd battle which can be viewed here. Congratulations EspyJoel on your third tournament win, and thanks Eos for doing a good job of hosting.
ADV Ubers Tournament was another of Umby's old generation metagame resurrection tournaments, this time focusing on the ADV Ubers metagame. The tournament was won by McMeghan, who defeated Heysup in the finals two games to one (replays here, here, and here). Congratulations McMeghan on your fifth tournament win, and your first outside of Black and White! Thanks also to Umby who did a great job of hosting as usual, your efforts have not gone unappreciated and you will be missed.
Wyoming Tournament VI was the sixth in one of Smogon's craziest tournament traditions, the Wyoming Tournament series. The tournament focuses on Challenge Cup mode, where players are given teams generated completely at random. In the past, Sonuis has hosted this tournament, but with him gone, elDino decided to take over where Sonuis left off. The finalists in this year's tournament were extra. and EspyJoel, and extra. took the title. Congratulations to extra. and good job taking over the tournament, elDino!
For a Limited Time Only! Tournament was a DPP OU tournament in which players got the chance to use Pokémon that were once suspects or close to being unbanned from the Uber tier. The tournament was won by wilson46, who overcame Bartman101 in the finals (replay). Congratulations to wilson46 on your third tournament win! Thanks H-C for efficiently hosting this tournament.
VGC 2012 Tournament was the first ever tournament with the new 2012 VGC rules on Smogon. It was a simple single elimination, best-of-one tournament, and Hawkstar triumphed over CriCri95 in the finals. Congratulations to Hawkstar on your first tournament win! Thanks to Alaka for hosting.
A Whole NU World 3 was the first NU tournament in Black and White. NU is one of Smogon's newest metagames and is likely to fluctuate considerably before it eventually stabilizes. The newness of the metagame means that no potentially overpowered threats were banned, so being able to identify and take advantage of the most powerful Pokémon and strategies was the key to success in this tournament. Foster managed to oust the winner of the first RU tournament, Pearl., in the finals. A replay of the match can be viewed here. Congratulations Foster on your second tournament win! Thanks to Raikaria for being a good host, and bwburke94 for co-hosting.
Secret Santa Year 6 was the sixth tournament in a long standing tradition of Smogon's, the annual Secret Santa. Hosted around Christmas time each year, the tournament is all about giving and receiving gifts in the form of standard OU teams. Players submit their team at the beginning of the tournament and then receive another team to use throughout the tournament. This year's tournament was won by Malekith using the team Maaf submitted (which was in fact built by Agammemnon), and he defeated Scimjara in the finals. Congratulations to Malekith, and good job to Scimjara on your multiple recent runner-up finishes. Thank you to makiri as well for hosting this tournament highly efficiently and continuing the tradition.
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