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Smogon has a long history of success in Nintendo's official tournaments, dating way back to Journey Across America (JAA). Come 2009 and once again Smogon members are performing extremely well at the current installment, the Pokémon Video Game Championships. Smogon members are continuing the rich tradition of excellence at official tournaments, further cementing the status of Smogon as one of the finest, if not the finest, competitive Pokémon battling communities.
The Video Game Championships are a series of tournaments held at various locations leading up to US national championships held in St. Louis and to the final World Championships in San Diego, California. The top two finishers in each US regional championships receive paid travel and accommodations for two to St. Louis, Missouri to participate in the U.S. National Championships. Similarly, the top two individuals in the US National Championships will receive paid travel and accommodations to the World Championships in San, Diego.
There are two divisions, a Junior Division, for participants born in 1997 or later, and a Senior Division, for those born in 1996 or earlier. All of the Smogon attendants were in the Senior Division. The format for the tournaments are 2-versus-2 matches consisting of 4 Pokémon, of an available 6 picked, by the player, set at level 50 or lower. All of the legendary Pokémon are banned in addition to Tyranitar and Rotom. This interesting set of rules sparked a lot of creativity amongst the players, especially our fellow Smogonites, in order to succeed at the VGC. Unfortunately, due to the randomized selection processes a fair amount of our fellow Smogon hopefuls were unable to attend, but there were still remarkable successes among those who were admitted.
The first tournament in the series took place in Seattle, Washington on May 9th and saw north of 200 participants. Out of those participants, 8 Smogon members attended including: The Fish King, NightmaresAria, ultimatedra, Diesel, Acorn, Feathers, Yeti, and TeamRocketElite.
The highlight of Seattle was Diesel's impressive 2nd place finish; the final round is viewable here. While Diesel arrived with 6 different Pokémon, as per the rules, he only utilized four of them. His team was an extremely offensive Trick Room team, consisting of a Trick Room Dusknoir with an Endeavor Smeargle lead to open the match strongly. His finishing Pokémon were Belly Drum Snorlax, with a Sitrus Berry, designed to abuse the turns of Trick Room and a Psych Up Spiritomb with two physical priority moves to "copy" Snorlax's Belly Drums and attempt to sweep. This team performed consistently strong until Diesel lost in the final round. The match was slightly favored to his opponent due to some unfortunate luck on Diesel's end; but nevertheless and extremely solid performance. For further elaboration on Diesels' successes and experience, be sure to check out his report on his experiences at the Seattle VGC.
Just a few days later, on May 16th, in San Francisco, California another Pokémon VGS series was unfolding. This event had even greater participation with nearly 300 attendees. 10 of our very own were amongst those in attendance: POKEMONBATTLEBRAIN, batpig, ultimatedra, Deaglebeagle, slimceagirl, Sidd, and Arkerus. Special mention goes to batpig, winner of this tournament, Arkerus, the runner up behind batpig, and Siddarth who came out as a semifinalist.
The team Batpig used was actually designed by our own zerowing and acts as both an anti-Trick Room and Trick Room team depending on the opponent's leads. The team leads with a Smeargle, not surprisingly carrying Dark Void, and a Trick Room Dusknoir as its openers. Uniquely, is the fact that Smeargle has Transform in its moveset, which can be used to target its other teammates, Lapras and Machamp. If Lapras is targeted, Smeargle then becomes Larpas itself and due to its ability, Water Absorb, they can heal one another with Surf while still causing damage to the opponent. Hax-abuse fun can also ensue should Smeargle Transform itself into Machamp. For more information concerning this team, see this and for a recap of Batpig's experiences see his report in Stark Mountain. You may also see the finale of this tournament against another Smogoner, Arkerus, here.
Similarly exciting was, as already mentioned, Arkerus 2nd place finish with a heavy offensive team consisting of Metagross, Gyarados, Electivire, and Garchomp. Sidd's third place finish was also impressive utilizing a team of high offense and offensive status. See here to find out more about Sidd's experiences and team.
A bit later in the month of May, the 23rd to be precise, the Phoenix regional series took place at the Phoenix Convention Center with a little over 200 people in attendance. In all, a substantial 14 Smogonites attended including POKEMONBATTLEBRAIN, Shinryu, ViperGTS, imperfectluck, ultimatedra, omni, OmegaDonut, Sniper, J-Man27, ChronoSquare, MUDKIPS, zerowing, Odinoski, and JDSaulbot.
Congratulations are in order to zerowing for coming out as Phoenix's champion. zerowing utilized a surprisingly simple team, but it is in that simplicity that it shined and, in his own words, it "hits hard, fast, and gets the job done." He primarily utilizes moves that effect the entire field, including his partner, and that is why team synergy is so important. His leads exemplify this perfectly, being Garchomp and Zapdos. Garchomp is free to use Earthquake and Zapdos is free to use Discharge due to their respective typings while simultaneously harming both of the opponents Pokémon. zerowing seemed to breeze through the competition not even running into much difficultly in the final rounds, this could possibly be accredited to his opponents over-thinking his strategy given its comparative simplicity. More information can be found in zerowing's report. The final battle between zerowing and his opponent can also be seen here.
London and Dallas were both on May 30th and showed excellent attendance by Smogon members. 18 Smogonites attended London's tournament including: Havak, Giant Enemy Crab, UltimateUnknown, Magic Umbreon, Cinaclov, froggy25, Zog, Dan Dan, dragon9owns, Kinneas, Akiratron, Wichu, Ace Matador., Biggenz, McSpam, Shoe, and melmoth. Slightly less popular was the Dallas competition, but a strong showing none-the-less with 12 of Smogon members attending: penpad, RaveSage, Nim, nardd, NestW, magik0722, foretgoddx, TeeJay, Kikered Captain K., and Alakapimp.
In London's corner, additional congratulation goes to Ultimate Unknown, the winner of the London qualifier, and Shoe for a strong 2nd place performance. Ultimate Unknown's team can be described as a bulky-offensive team with just the right balance between offensive strength and defensive backing. His team consisted of Gengar and Metagross, as openers, and Swampert and Latios. On the other hand, Shoe decided to adopt the popular Trick-Room team with Dusknoir, Camerupt, Abomasnow, and Lapras. To see both teams in action, you can watch the finale here as they face off. First hand reports from Smogon participants about their experiences and their teams are also available, such as Kinnea's London Warstory, Akiratron's summary, and Havak's recap.
The Smog also extends special congratulations to our Alakapimp for winning the qualifier; Captain K. for an impressive 2nd place showing; and NestW for making it into the semi-final rounds. Alakapimp's team was a hyper-offensive team that abused moves that target all the other Pokémon on the field and through careful teammate selection reduce any possible damage he would incur. His team consisted of Gengar, Garchomp, Mamoswine, and Zapdos. Due to Gengar's levitate ability and Zapdos' partial Flying-type, Mamoswine and Garchomp were free to use Earthquake - targetting both opponents but leaving his own Pokémon secure. This similarly holds true for Zapdos' Discharge, whom Garchomp and Mamoswine are immune too. The finale of the Dallas tournament can be seen here and a first-hand account by Alakapimp is available in this Stark Mountain thread.
Captain K.'s strong 2nd place performance was due to a very offensive team with a Guts Hariyama, activated by its Flame Orb item, a Dragon Dance Salamence, an Azelf, and a Salac Berry Golduck. He made a strong showing in the final round against Alakapimp, but ultimately wasn't able to overcome him despite the close match. His report can be viewed here.
The Philadelphia tournament held on June 6th had, by a long shot, the strongest attendance numbers with slightly over 600 people including 19 Smogonites, most of whom were unfortunately turned away due to the randomized selection process. Those in attendance were Mosquitox216, VashTheStampede, BattleBeastEXP, Expert Evan, Gouki Shinkou, FiveKRunner, Sudo, Invictus, Duckster, TTS, Miltonic, Xia, Bobwayne17, XxBlueCookiesxX, Monco, Dyson, hnh, Pokethan, and CrazySnorlax.
Congratulations are specifically extended to our winner, Pokethan. His team was almost an anti-metagame team designed to shut down the popular weather and Trick Room teams, in particular with his lead Taunt Gengar and his Aqua Jet Azumarill. In his own description, it was constructed "from bits and pieces of other teams I liked that countered other teams I was most common(ly) (seeing)." His own recap can be viewed here. A second congratulation is also in order to the Philadelphia runner-up, VashTheStampede, for a strong performance of his own. The Philadelphia finals can be viewed here.
Both Nashville and Berlin's showdown took place on June 13th. Berlin, Germany's qualifier was intended by drug_duck , Picollo, and 3,14159; and Nashville, Tennessee's showdown had strong Smogon attendance with our fellow members: FiveKRunner, theamericandream38, latios315, Phantasm, RedSpyda, Ralith, DerekG, mattj, Mizuno, doctorboyfriend, [McLovin], A to the Z, Raistmagic, imperfectluck, OmegaDonut, tad38, RandomVGC, Cloggerdude, and Alhamebird.
Berlin was almost won by our own drug_duck, placing in second; with, once again, a bulky offensive-team utilizing resistances and immunities of their partners. His team included a Shuca Berry Arcanine along with a Shuca Berry Metagross paried with Garchomp, Zapdos, a Choice Specs Salamence, and an offensive Snorlax. Drug_duck's success was recapped here and the final round can be watched on Youtube. Congratulations are also extended to Picollo for making it to the semi-finals.
Nashville's tournament was also won by a Smogon member, namely imperfectluck (ipl). ipl utilized an interesting strategy. He utilized Imprison, while carrying Protect, so his team was able to explode freely as well as to prevent opposing teams Trick Room. ipl had a serious of touch matches leading up to the finale where he had a bit of luck on his opponents misplay, but still a strong performance regardless. ipl's recap can be viewed here. Similar congratulations are in order to OmegaDonut for his 2nd place finish with a team, he described as a modified "Obi-mode" utilizing a Fake Out / Endeavor Infernape lead with an Explosion Metagross. OmegaDonut's report can be found here and both of them can be seen in actions in the Nashville finals video.
The Paris qualifiers were held on June 20th and were attended by Smogon's Honckrow, froggy25, and flash0mc. We congratulate Honchkrow on placing first and while the remaining two of our members didn't place in the competition, we strongly congratulate both of them for giving their best efforts at this event and making Smogon proud regardless. For the curious, you can wach the Paris finale here.
The National Championships for the United States were held in St. Louis, Missouri on June 27th and June 28th. This is arguably the most important of the competitions thus far, both for the title and the ability to play in the Pokémon VGC World's in San Diego, California. Once again there was another strong showing from the wealth of Smogonites that attended.
In a near repeat of the Nashville showdown the two finalists were are own, OmegaDonut and imperfectluck (ipl). In the last round about, OmegaDonut made a few misplays allowing ipl to get the upper hand and ultimately come out on top. Furthering the replication of the previous round was the fact OmegaDonut was, in a bold fashion, using the same team he had used in Nashville. However, in this bout, it was not to be the same; with OmegaDonut taking the championship title. Congratulations are also in order to ipl for a strong 2nd place showing. Special honors goes to MattJ, Alakapimp, Sixonsix, and VashTheStampede for top 8 showings; and batpig and slimceagirl for making it to semifinals. We, at Smogon and The Smog, congratulate all of those who attended also. For those curious the two final matches can be viewed here and here.
The Pokémon Video Game World Championships is the final stop along the journey for any of our Smogon participants. It takes place on the dates August 14th and August 15th of this year in San Diego, California; and participants eligible include the 32 winners of the US National Championships, 16 winners of the Pokémon video game competition held in Japan, and up to 12 winners of the European World Qualifiers Tournament. We wish every one of our Smogon participants luck in these events and hopefully they will have a strong showing with our support. We, at The Smog, will be sure to keep everyone updated.
It's been a lot of work for these participants and The Smog wishes to congratulate everyone who gave their efforts towards this competition, you all made Smogon proud.
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