VGC Indianapolis LCQs 2010 (SixFortyFive): I Hate That They’re Called "Warstories". That’s so tacky.
Oh man, this is way longer than it looked in Notepad. Skip down to the pictures if you just want the battle log. I am also hotlinking some of Ninahaza's pics. Hope he doesn't mind. :3
I wouldn't exactly call myself a lurker, but I don't post much outside of the simple Q&A and RNG threads. Don't really battle much on Shoddy or against other Smogonites in general, either. So, first up is boring introduction stuff.
THE LOCAL CREW
Played RBY when it came out in 8th grade or so. It was rad. Skipped GSC and RSE because I was "too old for Pokemon." Got back into it hardcore with DP due to the nostalgia bug and the fact that wi-fi play meant that the versus aspect was now worth considering, and it intrigued me. I was vaguely aware of simulators like Netbattle previously, but they never interested me much.
About a month or two after DP launch I discover that a friend of mine, Beverage, decided to pick up Diamond on impulse, having never played Pokeymans before. This is great, as I manage to get him to entertain the idea of competitive play after a while. I make some horrible gimmick teams to beat up his non-trained in-game teams, then he gets tired of taking my shit and trains some gimmick teams of his own, and good times are had by all. Another friend of ours, Riley, starts to get into it too. He hasn't owned a PKMN game of his own since Red and doesn't feel like shelling out the cash for a DS, but I let him borrow a copy of Emerald I picked up for cheap and Beverage lends him a GBA and he goes to town on the Battle Frontier. He also starts watching PBR videos on Youtube fairly regularly, and gradually gets more into it. The three of us mostly play Capcom fighters, Poker, and a few other games together for the next few years, with Pokemon continually thrown in on the side every once in a while.
Flash forward to 2010. I'd read a few things about the VGC in previous years, but it was little more than a blip on my radar. Previous competitions were out of the question for me, as there were none within a reasonable driving distance to justify putting myself at the mercy of the lottery system they were using. That wasn't an issue this year. Indy is only 5 hours away, and it was conveniently the location of both the final qualifier and the national championship, all on the same weekend. I think to myself that I could probably swing that if I really wanted to, and I start watching some of the Japanese and early US regionals a little more closely, but I'm still not seriously entertaining the notion of attending.
...Until I read this. That's finally what pushed me over the edge. That thread coupled with all the positive comments about the event experience I'd been hearing from other people who attended made it seem like this would be too fun to miss. I had no excuse. I'm in. I tell Beverage and Riley about it. They're in. There's a little less than a month left before LCQ, but I wager that's plenty of time to make preparations. I tell my 2 friends to start coming up with their team ideas so that we have time to train them. I'm holding off on my decisions until the Jersey qualifier is over with, just so I have more battle data to examine and a solid picture of how the VGC metagame is shaping up (even though I barely used any of that info at all >_>).
Jersey comes and goes and by this time I'm no stranger to the Team Zerowing archetype and its primary components: Kyogre, Hitmontop (or another Fake Out + physical priority user), Abomasnow, and Haban Palkia (or sometimes Giratina). With Kyogre being so dominant, I figured I needed at least 2 Pokemon to adequately check it. Abomasnow can OHKO with Wood Hammer if Ogre fails to invest in defense, and I like running hail and 100% accurate Blizzard anyway, so that seems like an obvious choice. Palkia seemed like a good pairing, with defensive neutrality to Thunder/Blizzard and a double resist to Water Spout, and it can run a fairly strong Thunder+Blizzard of its own. At this point, though, I think I might be in trouble if I lose the weather advantage, especially to sun, so... I guess I'll add in a Kyogre of my own for backup. And now I need some physical oomph and priority and... shit... My Team Zerowing counter is Team Zerowing, down to the last Pokemon.
Fuck ubers (and my inability to think outside the box).
I already have a hex-flawless Modest Kyogre that I RNG'd for sitting in my box, along with a number of Abomasnow used for various hail teams (favorite play style), one of which can likely at least serve as a prime breeding candidate. I can RNG for a Palkia on Beverage's copy via the Sinjoh Ruins event, and Hitmontop shouldn't be too much trouble. Still not enthused about using this team though, so I mostly wait for Beverage and Riley to finalize their teams so that I can RNG them. They do so about one week before Indy, and I get to work. I RNG breed/catch all the 'mons, then pass them over to Beverage for EV training. It took a bit longer than expected, as there were some aspects of RNG abuse that I had yet to learn on HGSS. This put me behind by at least a day.
Furthermore, I just really wasn't feeling Team Zerowing. It wasn't until I was done RNGing for all of my team members that I decided to more or less scrap it and start over with something else. What would be the point of even competing if I use something that is not only "someone else's" team but also so common and so well-known to the top players by now? A victory wouldn't even feel like it was my own doing, and I figured I wouldn't get too far with it anyway because somebody out there is likely ahead of the game by now and has come up with some reliable ways to counter it.
Whenever some newb asks me for teambuilding advice on other forums, the first thing I say usually goes something like: Pick a Pokemon or two that you like, learn what they do well, learn what gives them trouble, and figure out what other Pokemon could best fill up the rest of your team to support them and cover their weaknesses. Good synergy is more effective than just slapping 6 OUs together.
After watching this match one more time, I decide to take my own damn advice. I have less than 48 hours before we leave for Indy.
Yes, that's right: freaking Glaceon. I just like this thing too damn much, and I settled on it as the cornerstone of my VGC team pretty quickly. I've been running hail teams long enough to know that Glaceon can work in doubles. The ice typing doesn't seem to be as much of a curse in VGC as it is in Smogon OU, the strongest Blizzard in the game is nothing to sneeze at, and the other moves have pretty good coverage and power, particularly when I can't rely on hail.
There's also the benefit that few people really know what Glaceon's stats are, and that it actually has surpisingly decent defenses after maxing out HP. There aren't that many commonly used things in VGC that can OHKO it, and those that can haven't been too hard to predict. Lots of people I've fought have expected this thing to be frail and speedy, but the opposite is the case. With only base 65 speed and no priority moves worth using, this thing can only really shine on a Trick Room team, so that's what I'm going with.
I was a little uneasy about running Trick Room. From what I had observed of the US regionals this year, Trick Room was common, but it rarely won tournaments. It just seemed too high risk in most cases, and if TR was ever prevented from activating or stalled out, it often spelled certain doom for the team. So, my main impetus for picking Palkia is that it isn't as suspected of running Trick Room as the likes of Dialga or Smeargle and is thus less of a Fake Out magnet. It can still underspeed plenty of things, particularly all of those ubers lumped together in the base 90 tier. Lum Berry is there to protect against sleep, but in retrospect I wonder if it would have been more worthwhile to stick with Haban, as my other lead (Weavile) was usually capable of dealing with Spore/DV Smeargle and the like on his own.
I wanted a fast Fake Out lead to both outspeed other Fake Outs and help further disguise Trick Room. Having a usable Sash in hail doesn't hurt, either. This moveset was rather poorly thought out, imo. Weavile wasn't much good for anything besides FO, then dying on the next turn. I probably should have gone with Low Kick instead of Pursuit or Protect, but I also really wanted to activate glitch weather for lulz. You can tell I'm real serious about winning this thing.
Greysong (I think) also demonstrated that I probably should have stuck those HP EVs into speed in order to outrun max speed Infernape FOs. Weavile still won't survive 2 hits of hardly anything with max HP anyway. (Although the both of us did do a double take when it took a Heat Wave with 25% HP remaining.)
Going to want hail eventually, so this seems obvious. The only real question here was "Wood Hammer + Sitrus" or "Grass Knot + Sash." Since Weavile got the Sash, Abomasnow gets the Sitrus.
If I was to make changes to this team now, I'm not sure if I would have run Protect on nearly every member. The conventional wisdom is that you should basically always put Protect on your Pokemon in doubles if they can sacrifice a move slot for it without losing any vital coverage, and I think that's generally good advice. I don't think it was as useful on my team, though, as I have to really make use of my time for attacking before Trick Room runs out. Protect stall is one of the last things I want to be doing.
Now, neither Beverage nor myself have ever trained super-serious, play-to-win Pokemon teams. We mostly try to just one-up each other with stupid gimmicks and themes. The very first team he trained, IIRC, was nothing but a bunch of really fast Pokemon that learned U-turn. He was just tired of taking my shit-talk and having his in-game Pokemon outsped on every turn, so he hella compensated for it. If I remember our history right, this team's MVP was an incredibly annoying SubSeeding Sleep Powder Jumpluff, which he became rather proud of. So when the two of us were brainstorming for the VGC, I recall which ubers were permitted this year and passed an idea along to him...
"I'm tellin' you man. Groudon + Jumpluff lead. It'd be awesome."
Here is his team, as I have it written. Not all details may be correct:
(I think these were his moves. He may have had Helping Hand in there somewhere. Not sure.)
This guy ended up working out better than Beverage had expected. He said there were multiple instances where his opponent failed to identify the more immediately threatening of his two leads, and were in turn quickly incapacitated by Sleep Powder and Encore, allowing for the rest of the team to wreck shit. Not bad.
The speed EVs give Groudon just one fewer speed point than a min-speed Abomasnow after factoring in Iron Ball, guaranteeing that he retains the weather advantage at the start over Kyogre, Tyranitar, or Abomasnow unless they also happen to be holding an item that cuts speed. After Flinging it away, he has a bit of a speed boost to get the jump on base 90s that don't care so much about speed.
Don't really remember much about this guy. I think Beverage basically just wanted 3 partners for Groudon that were immune to Earthquake so that he wouldn't have to waste turns Protecting.
Beverage decides to go into full-on troll mode and prey on the unsuspecting with the Bug/Ghost. You know the deal: Identify and remove as many threats as possible with the first 3, then bring this guy in and laugh. Since Jumpluff is already holding a Sash, Shedinja gets Lum to protect from poison/burn. Confuse Ray is chosen over Toxic in order to hit steels.
Riley hasn't owned a Pokemon game of his own since Red, but he keeps up with us enough to have a good enough idea of how to play. The following is his team, which was made almost entirely without input from me or anyone else:
Fairly standard FO lead, I think. He was amazed that Low Kick did as much damage as it did to the heavyweights.
He told me that few of his opponents were prepared for or failed to predict Grass Knot, and that it felled many a 'mon.
I thought HP Flying was an odd choice, but he really wanted to be able to hit Hitmontop and other fighters supereffective, I guess. Don't think that would do much more than Blizzard in most cases, but I suppose it also adds some Shedinja insurance.
Prolly would've gone with a Haban myself, but eh.
I work night shift from 11PM-7AM on Sun-Thurs nights, and I usually sleep through the afternoon. Originally, the plan for VGC was to take Thursday night off and drive to Indy overnight, Beverage and Riley sleeping in the car on the way, not having to book a hotel room for Thursday, and getting there at dawn on Friday morning. But since I've changed my entire team at the last minute, there's still a lot of stuff left to do in-game and Beverage and I both figure that it'd be best for him to drive and me to finish training everything on the way since I'm faster at it. All 3 of us basically pull an all-nighter, though it doesn't really matter for me since I woke up at 9:30 PM.
The drive from Huntington to Indy is only about 5 hours and all on the Interstate, and since we leave at about 12:15 AM, we can expect a traffic-free ride with plenty of time to spare. Or so we thought. About an hour into Kentucky, we come to a full stop at a curiously long traffic jam. Turns out the Kentucky DOH decided to demolish a bridge in the middle of the freaking night, and we're stuck here for about an hour and a half. Beverage tries to make up time afterward by picking up the pace, but all this manages to do is get us pulled over right after Louisville.
Officer: "I'll need your license and registration."
I'm sitting directly behind Beverage and still EV training and BP farming, so at this point I flash my DS at the officer. He does a damn good job at stiffling a laugh.
Officer: "Hold on one moment."
He walks back to his cruiser, then returns shortly.
Officer: "The speed limit doesn't go back up to 70 until exit 9. You guys have fun."
And we're off. We all have a laugh about this.
645: "You know, this is a good omen, I think."
The rest of the drive goes rather smoothly and we're in the city limits at around 6:30 AM. It doesn't take us long to find a place to park and get inside the convention center.
We enter the convention center a bit before 7:00 and pass by a group of ducks near the door. The three of us stake out our place in the line, then I go over to introduce myself to Aricuno64, Ninahaza, Alaka, and a few of the other guys. I don't hang around long before returning to the line and filling out my team sheet though.
I point out to my two comerades that we're awfully close to the ducks in line, and since previous regionals have shown that you tend to fight the people close to you in line in the early rounds, that's kind of a bad thing for us. I suggest that we hang back and stake out a position at the end of the line, but Riley, in his infinite wisdom, says something like "Well, only 16 players get through anyway, right? Let's just get it over with and take them on now." He's feeling pretty confident! And confrontational! Beverage is indifferent. For whatever reason, I decide to drop it and just stay put where I am.
Beverage heads to the bathroom and Riley and I decide to get a practice match going to pass some time, but before I can join his game, somebody else answers his battle request, walks up to us in line and shouts "I CHALLENGE YOU!!" Riley and I laugh. Pretty cool environment here! Riley wins the game, at any rate.
A video of the LCQ line. The main group of ducks are at about 1:40. Riley and I can be seen getting our game on at 1:48.
The line starts moving shortly after 8:00. I hand my team sheet to the staff at the registration desk, and she asks "You're only using 1 restricted?" I was confused for a moment because Abomasnow is on every damn team and I must have subconsciously grouped him in with the ubers lol. I get my wrist band and am directed towards my first match.
...It's a duck. Shit. And I hadn't introduced myself to this one, so there's no way I can call buddy rule without looking like a complete tool.
I also recognized his face from one of the threads here, and I was pretty sure I remembered which username it belonged to. I ask what his name is on the forums to be sure.
Fuck me. My first ever in-person Pokemon match against somebody outside of my circle of friends, and it's against the guy who programmed RNG Reporter. At this point, mingot can clearly see that I'm not at all enthused about fighting him and says something like "It's okay man, I don't really know how to play Pokemon all that well." My first thought is: bullshit, he's just saying that to get me to unwind. My second thought is: okay, maybe he's more of the type to just tinker with the technical side of the game and not actually compete all that much, but that doesn't exactly make him a pushover.
The staff takes our game cartridges and hooks them up to the machines. I take a deep breath and get this thing started.
ROUND 1! FIGHT!
Battle Recorder video. I believe the music choice is appropriate.
Pretty sure that's us on the right.
Sixfortyfive sent out Weavile and Palkia.
Hahaha, so soon. I'm already kicking myself for not actually putting in any meaningful practice for this competition. That being the case, I should have an idea what to expect from this battle, considering that he's likely to be running the very team I scrapped a few days ago. I honestly have no idea how the odds stack up between our two teams, but I'm feeling a little more confident now. It's now or never. Let's do this.
The foe's Kyogre's Drizzle made it rain!
I wasn't paying close attention to the order of abilities at the time. If I had, I would have known for sure that Ogre was Scarfed. I suspected as much later but wasn't sure of it for a little while.
Weavile used Fake Out! [foe Hitmontop ~75% HP]
Fake him out before he can do the same.
The foe's Hitmontop flinched!
The foe's Kyogre used Water Spout! [Weavile 1HP, Palkia ~80% HP]
No surprise there.
Palkia used Trick Room! Palkia twisted the dimensions!
Now we're in business.
Rain continues to fall.
I think back and realize that there's no way for me to tell whether Ogre is Scarfed or not. I wasn't paying attention at the opening, and since Weavile, Palkia, and probably Top were all using priority moves, there's no way for me to gauge Ogre's speed. I pick Thunder for Palkia hoping that it stays in. I believe I used Ice Shard for Weavile, expecting him to keel over and die soon anyway.
mingot withdrew Kyogre!
Shit. Should have went Dragon Pulse + Pursuit.
mingot sent out Abomasnow! Abomasnow's Snow Warning whipped up a hailstorm!
Yep. I notice that this Abomasnow is in a Premier Ball. Against an ordinary opponent, that would mean that it probably has suboptimal stats and Hidden Power. Not this one, though.
The foe's Hitmontop used Mach Punch! Weavile fainted! (3-4)
Weavile goes down like the chump he is. Better him to take the shot instead of switching out for someone else though. I notice the Life Orb recoil on Top.
Palkia used Thunder! [foe Abomasnow ~75% HP]
Really should have went with Dragon Pulse.
Hail continues to fall.
Sixfortyfive sent out Abomasnow!
I have NO idea why I did this. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Hail and Trick Room were already up. Those are the prime conditions I need for Glaceon to wreck shit, and for some reason I decide not to send it in. I must have though that Abomasnow had little to worry about from its two opponents.
The foe's Hitmontop used Mach Punch! [Palkia ~42% HP]
Abomasnow used Blizzard!
Looking okay so far.
The foe's Abomasnow used Hidden Power!
Oh shit. I run HP Fire on a Scarfed Abomasnow of my own, so I had a bad feeling.
Guess he didn't hear me say fire.
Abomasnow fainted! (2-3)
Palkia used Blizzard! [foe Abomasnow ONE PIXEL OF HP]
Oh man, that stings a little.
Hail continues to fall.
I believe it's at this point I realize that I'm running out of time, and I'm not sure how much I have left. I ask mingot if he's been keeping track of the number of turns. He has not.
mingot sent out Kyogre.
Glaceon shrugs it off like a champ. The rain definitely helps though.
Glaceon used Shadow Ball! The foe's Abomasnow fainted! (2-2)
Seemed like such a waste of a turn to have to use this on something with so little HP left. I almost went with Blizzard, but I didn't want to risk the miss.
Palkia used Thunder! [foe Kyogre ~15% HP] The foe's Kyogre used Water Spout! [Glaceon ~40% HP, Palkia ~30% HP]
Good, good. Took off enough HP to weaken Spout significantly.
Rain continues to fall.
Bracing myself for the Trick Room prompt. It doesn't come.
mingot sent out Palkia. The foe's Palkia is exerting its Pressure!
Maybe there's a chance.
Palkia used Dragon Pulse!
The Haban Berry weakened Dragon Pulse's power! [foe Palkia ~49% HP]
The foe's Palkia used Thunder! Glaceon fainted! (1-1)
The twisted dimensions returned to normal!
We're both below 50%. My only hope is a Spacial Rend miss.
The foe's Palkia used Thunder!
Palkia fainted! (0-1)
mingot: "How long was your drive?"
Sixfortyfive lost to mingot!
645: "Good luck."
We shake hands, the staff clips my wristband and puts the PBB mark of shame on the back of my hand, and I am politely directed towards the spectator area on the outside. I'm feeling miserable, but that only lasts for about 30 seconds. I could think of a lot of worse ways to go out, and it's hard to say how it would have gone if both of us had played at 100%. I probably could have made some better predictions, and I think he could have Protect-stalled me out of Trick Room a litle bit if he wanted to. Mindgames, man.
I'm also really glad that I didn't go with OgreTop myself. I would have been furious if I had lost this same round to a mirror match with a team I wasn't thrilled about in the first place.
Riley can be seen in the back at one of the yellow tables.
I find Riley on the outside not long after. He lost round 1 as well. I'm not sure of the details of his match, but I believe it involved a very physically-oriented team on his opponent's side, Toxicroak being Intimidated+burned, Mewtwo being fully paralyzed for more than one turn, and not being able to manage a comeback. His opponent also got to at least round 4, IIRC.
So the two of us are suffering from some pretty bruised egos, and we start looking around for Beverage. He's still in the ring, and apparently still in his first match. And this match is taking an awfully long time to complete. Some people around him are completing their second, then third games.
Riley: "What on earth his taking him so long?"
And that's exactly what it was. Beverage tells us later that when he sent Shedinja out, his opponent winced and gave him one of the most painful sighs he's ever heard, and that made his entire tournament experience worth it. We didn't realize it at the time, but this match was being played on the TV on that side of the play area, right in front of the registration line. For like half an hour, everyone coming inside to compete watched him stall his opponent out of Sucker Punch PP and gradually Confuse Ray the guy to death. Awesome. He later thanked me for all the PP Maxes I supplied to his team. Beverage ends up losing round 2 and joining us soon enough. Don't remember how he lost. Don't think he even told me.
So the three of us are out of the tournament barely after it gets started. Lame. I ask one of the staff if King of the Hill is running today. It is not. So Riley and I just start walking around the place with our DSes out, challenging random dudes. We start cleaning house, which reassures us that we were actually not completely outclassed for this competition.
I bump into mingot and a few other Smogonites on the outside. Turns out that a lot of ducks were stopped at round 2. Double lame. I decide to tag along with the group for lunch, and I follow them all the way through the convention center, a skywalk, past a parking garage, and into the second floor of a mall before arriving at the food court. I have my face in my DS the entire time we walk over there, as I'm playing out a match against mingot's daughter. (I win. I'm on a roll now!) But now I have no idea where I am or how to tell my buds to find me. I tell them I'm at a Subway but there are like 10 Subways within walking distance and they end up at the wrong one. Lolz. I sarcastically ask mingot if it's all right to post our battle video online or if he'd prefer me to not reveal his team. :P He's all "Nah man, I want to try and keep OgreTop on the down low for next year."
I end up spending most of the rest of the day at the convention center. I had absolutely no desire to do anything but nerd out and play Pokemon all weekend, and that's more or less what I did. Walked around the main event room just trading away perfect Dittos to randoms, picked up my shiny Eevee, and took some group shots with the Smogon crew or just happened to be within viewing range:
Fourth from the right, sort of hunched over like a doofus.
I crop up in the back or on the side in the group pics every once in a while. I'm photogenic as hell.
And then I hung around in the Open Gaming room forever. Talked with Ninahaza, Greysong, tyler422, and probably a few others I'm forgetting. At one point this heavyset, somewhat unkempt 40-something walks by us and is like "Hey kid, wanna trade shinies?" I politely decline and am more than a little creeped out. I know I shouldn't judge, but there was something really funny/creepy about this encounter. You had to be there, I guess.
I was there for the 5-minute argument about how that Grass Knot crit decided / did not decide their game. Tyler leaves, then comes back hours later and is like "You're STILL here?" *shrug* Not like I had any other plans for the day.
Since Beverage and Riley have been up for like 30 hours minimum at this point, we go crash at the Comfort Suites next to the convention center. I head back to the mall to chill in the arcade for a while. I somehow manage to pass Paranoia on Heavy Doubles. I am way too out of shape for DDR. Nobody got in touch with me for TvC, but that didn't really matter since our hotel TV had awful HD upscaling lag anyway.
This is running long now and I'm forgetting all of the noteworth anecdotes anyway, so I'll keep Saturday brief: I was around for most of the senior and junior swiss rounds, though I wasn't paying particularly close attention to the matches themselves. I saw OmegaDonut get luckfucked in that game with ImWario and watched Grace Arnold stomp all over some poor guy without getting hit. Don't really remember any other matches.
There was this one guy I played against on Friday who seemed to read Smogon a little but clearly had little experience in doubles. One of his leads was a Forretress with SR/Toxic Spikes/Spikes/Rapid Spin. He asked me and a few others for pointers after our match, then tracked me down the next day with like an entire new team written down on his hotel memo pad. If that guy happens to be reading this, I wasn't trying to blow you off or anything. I'm just really not confident enough in my own battle knowledge to give you a proper critique, lol!
We left late Saturday afternoon. On the drive back, all three of us expressed how much fun we had this weekend despite our awful performance in the tournament itself. Both Beverage and Riley used to compete nationally in the Smash Bros scene, and they remarked at how much more pleasant their Pokemon experience was, both in terms of the event's organization and the sportsmanship of the participants themselves. I'd be back next year in a heartbeat even if nothing about the event changes.
I'll post some of Beverage's pictures if he ever sends them to me.
OTHER MATCH VIDEOS
The whole experience was great, and I'm already looking forward to next year. I might even start putting time into simulator play and level up my game a bit.