VGC 2010 Seattle (Firestorm)
Dedicated To: The two Korean girls I was talking to in the Greyhound line and seemed nice but then when we got to the border they were taken away and the bus left without them and their friend was phoning them and was like "hey what's going on" (I assume I don't speak Korean) and then sat down. May you have gotten back into Canada safely!
This is more of a travel story than straight up battling as I lost pretty early anyway. Nothing quite as amazing as A Mullet's Tale, but hopefully a fun read.
I didn't think I'd be going to a VGC, but after finding out who was going to be there and how much it would cost me, I couldn't resist making the trek down to Seattle! The commitment from some of you in going to regionals a dozen hours away also made me feel bad for thinking a four hour bus ride was too far.
After committing to going, I needed to create a team. Having never played doubles or ubers before, there was a lot to learn! Actually, there wasn't much. It seems if you understand Pokemon in one form, it's fairly easy to pick up other styles of play. I wasn't an expert by any means, but after learning some of the key differentiating factors, I was up and running looking at what cool gimmicks existed in doubles without any of the restrictions I commonly face on Smogon.
One key difference in VGC is there is no evasion clause. That was great because I love evasion. I always wanted to use Double Team Umbreon, but in VGC, there was an even better Pokemon with Double Team Lugia. So I started looking at what could be built around that. Eventually, I think I put together a pretty good team.
I started to practice by going on NetBattle Supremacy and battling people on a VGC server. Unfortunately, there wasn't much variety due to how small the community hosting it was, but it gave me a great experience that I desperately needed to tweak my team. With Pokemon Online out now and a higher userbase on it, people will hopefully get even more chances to practice before committing to a team. My favourite battle was against Little Green Yoda where we went to 96 turns as my Lugia and his Giratina struggled =) It's a lot less fun on the DS.
Support Pokemon #1. Put shit to sleep to let Lugia set up. Use Super Fang to take things down to KO range before switching out and Destiny Bond before dying with Icy Wind support to let me go first if possible.
Support Pokemon + Team Star. Takes hits like nobody's business while Calm Minding or Double Teaming based on my opponents. Icy Wind support so that Smeargle and Kyogre can do their jobs with minimum interference and also as a high PP attack if I'm in a late game war.
Powerhouse #1. Absolutely rages on teams once it Psychs Up some Calm Minds and/or Double Teams. I do wish I had done some more testing and thinking as I found that 252 HP / 252 SpAtk works better on my team.
Sweeper #2. Not as useful as Kyogre but can come out with a pretty quick attack right away which is nice. I was really kind of debating this last position and still am even though everything's over!
The Pokemon I had following me into battles and to look awesome on TV. #1 in party. Fun Fact: Firestorm is what I nicknamed my Charmander in Red Version and is what I have been using for my online username ever since.
I caught this dude at LV17 apparently! Fun Fact for those who still dont' know this: Smogon is Koffing in German.
Articuno64 lives near me and we were going to bus together. Unfortunately, the day before was my birthday and I'd gotten home very late so I was very tired. I checked Smogon on my phone before turning in and it seems skarm had just got up to get onto his plane as I was getting to bed.
Five hours later, I get up and decide I should probably pack my bag seeing as I had to be at the bus stop in two hours. Feverishly hoping I got everything, I get off the skytrain and see Arti. We've never met before, but greet each other like old friends and make our way to the Greyhound station which is actually on time!
I'm very happy that I have company as I did not want to get stabbed. I was able to nap in peace as the Big Articuno64 kept watch for me, although I think he snuck a few winks in too so we were wide open during that time. The Greyhound trip was fairly uneventful and had the standard one hour wait at the border as some person without the proper documents got the full treatment. I used trip to teach Arti how HeartGold worked. He was quite surprised at the moves being on the bottom screen. Good think he learned of this before the tournament or there'd be trouble! He then shook his head at me for not knowing that poison was weak to ground which imo is a completely honest mistake so screw you Jason. He also made fun of me for forgetting that the Scyther I'd evolved into Scizor a few nights earlier didn't get STAB on Aerial Ace =(
Anyhoo, as we finally got near Seattle, the impatient Fish and skarm started phoning us asking where the hell we were. We knew we were close, but not how close, so Arti used his precious roaming minutes and texts to give them made up estimates. We couldn't pass along my message that the area we'd be arriving - and them waiting - in was kinda sketchy. Having our ride get stabbed would be quite unfortunate tbqh.
Once we finally arrived, we walked around the block not being able to find them. After a game of hot or cold, we got to them and rode to the hotel to the sound of 2B A Master which Fish, zerowing, Huy, and Duy had apparently heard non-stop from California to Seattle. I still call bullshit on that. It's a good CD, but it's not 18-hours good.
We dropped our stuff off in the Canadian room and went to the American room to find out they'd already eaten. I had a cookie for lunch so Jason and I went to get some grub. Back with some Quizno's after getting lost, we ate while watching some basketball game.
Some time later, I can't remember why I left the room, but I did. Maybe I needed to take a shit. I don't know. All I know is when I came back zerowing, Huy, and Duy were gone. So I went down to the bar downstairs with 21+ year olds (crazy country) Fish, Articuno, and skarm to eat and drink yet again. I think it's noteworthy that the table was set up just right so that American Fish could watch his basketball game while us Canadians could watch the Canucks vs Blackhawks hockey game. That ended terribly. You know what. Fuck this part. Let's move on.
That night we finally got Arti to play his first fourth generation Pokemon match on a DS. He won his first match and Parasect performed admirably. I bred my Charmander that I wanted on my team sheet and figured out how to put Kyogre down. I think my Japanese writing abilities were admirable. Others decided they could do the team sheet thing tomorrow. We headed to bed early as apparently the Juniors are always worth watching.
OH MY GOD JUNIORS ARE TOTALLY WORTH WATCHING. First match I saw, a guy used Totodile + who gives a damn against Tyranitar and Aggron. T-Tar and Aggron used Hyper Beam as Totodile used Hydro Pump and lived through the Hyper Beam. Totodile was faster than T-Tar so I was hoping he'd be able to finish it off, but the next Hydro Pump missed and then sand killed him. It was some intense shit. Lugia came out next and used Fly iirc so we laughed at skarm.
Afterwards we saw the eventual winner stomp through someone and talked to his parents a bit. I didn't get to see much else though as Arti really needed to buy HeartGold in case Yeti didn't make it in time to lend him her extra game. So Fish and I went with Arti as he grabbed zerowing's extra DS and went to figure out how to get to a mall. There was a monorail nearby which we took ($4 for one stop round trip are you shitting me?!) to Westlake Center and after getting a little lost yet again, Mr. Articuno64 finally had his first Pokemon game since the original Gold version. Fish ate lunch as Articuno tried to get to the point where he could trade in his Pokemon and battle in the tournament. I wasn't hungry because I'd already eaten at the Starbucks where the barista somehow knew our shirts had a Psyduck on it (seriously even I didn't figure it out that fast).
By the time we got back to the convention centre, people were already lining up so we joined the rest of the ducks. We saw Feathers ahead and called to her but she ignored us because she's like that. People who knew Huy and zerowing came and chatted to us and were all cool people. We also got visits from some people dressed up as Team Rocket which was... interesting. Oooh and this dude was in a suit ahead of us in line classing the joint up. Thumbs up to that guy.
We finally get inside and get ours team sheets checked. My person looked very carefully through my team sheet to make sure Charmander and Koffing weren't on the Banned or Restricted list.
As we got to the point where matches were about to start, Eye of the Tiger came on <3 The MC came by to wish everyone luck but zerowing was busy meditating to 2B A Master so he didn't get any of it. Didn't matter in the end.
The people there were nice and weren't pairing people up with friends so we didn't have to play each other in the first round. We had a different enemy. The short as hell stations made for juniors =( Most of the seniors were on their knees or looking down from above like a map in a war room. Now, the tournament begins.
I was on the TV so people got to see me walk into battle with my trusty Charmander behind me. I talked to it beforehand to psych myself up. Good times. I think some people laughed or cheered. My opponent was fairly easy to beat. I was nervous and so was my opponent so we just made some small talk as we were getting set up. He was from Redmond, WA and I don't think he goes to Smogon. I still have the battle video so you can watch it on YouTube.
Not much special. He had three dragons and Lugia's Icy Wind made short work of the team. I didn't get off a single Double Team.
As I walked into the second round, skarm and zerowing looked up in surprise. They expected me to take a lot longer with my team. Jokes about how the tournament would go until midnight because of me and hopes that I would lose the first round had been flying leading up to this and after all that I was the third duck done his first round!
Round 2 (vs HagridTwin)
This wouldn't go so well. I was on the TV again and my opponent's wife and kids were watching the battle. I unfortunately didn't get a chance to save this battle which was quite a bit better than the last one. We were off to a decent start, but I took a really risky move which my opponent fully took advantage of. I used Calm Mind at around 55% HP instead of Roost after a Thunder from Kyogre. I knew that a crit would kill me whereas it wouldn't if I'd Roosted, but I picked the dangerous option and got killed by a crit Thunder shortly after. I had a really shitty Icy Wind miss on Ludicolo (why would you make something 95% accurate, see that's just a dick move on Nintendo's part) but I did get a double Detect go off at least. Of course, I think the double detect was to hopefully get Ludicolo slower than Smeargle with Icy Wind so that was a little bittersweet =P After that I was making my way back before he made a great prediction thinking I'd try to Water Spout with my Kyogre to kill his barely alive Palkia and still damage his other Pokemon. I did do that and he switched out Palkia for Toxicroak which wasn't affected. I then completely blanked for some reason and forgot Toxicroak learns Fake Out. Expecting a Sucker Punch on Kyogre, I use Psych Up to stall and instead he fakes out Latios making my turn useless. It was game at that point.
I shook his hand, said good game, and made my way out of the area to cheer on my friends. I was a little disappointed, but I lost to a good guy and he was very skilled. Eventually, he would lose to Duy just outside of the Top 16. Even more eventually, he'd win second place at Atlanta!
Every other duck made it to the finalists lounge. So not only was I done my first match really early, I was the first one finished the tournament! Huy kindly got himself disqualified so he could keep me company shortly afterward. What a trooper <3 After he used the Mighty Duck Communication Network to update Smogon on the status of the tournament, we ducked back over to talk to our friends in the lounge (from the other side of the rope). It was there that I met Chinese_Dood and his gang of friends as well as Diesel and Master_Baller who obviously gave me the wrong name because I've been searching him up on Smogon and can't find him >=( They were all great people and I talked with 'em for the rest of the tournament. I met Team Rocket Elite and his group of friends as well. Lots of Vancouverites. Go Canada =D I'm looking into a local tournament for those interested.
Now we were just jumping around looking at matches. As those we knew lost they'd come and join us watching the tv screens. At one point I was trying to watch zerowing's match and Fish's match at the same time. That was confusing. We quacked for the finals, saw them take their trophies and pose for pictures, then we left as convention centre staff started taking things down.
To celebrate (and because we were starving), we went to the Outback grill and ate some food. Having stood around for 12 hours, it was nice to sit down and eat. skarm needed to leave at some hour of the morning I didn't know existed on Sundays so we turned in a little early again. Can't remember what we did between those times. This night I remembered to turn up the temperature a bit. As everyone in our room was Canadian, we had no idea what the hell Farenheit translated to in real degrees and I was pretty cold the night before on my sofabed!
We woke up to be polite to skarm as he left to go home and promptly fell back asleep. After getting up again, it was time for breakfast / lunch. Did you know that there are no Taco Times in California or Arizona? I didn't. We have them in our food courts for cryin' out loud. However, since these people who are closer to Mexico than they are to Washington had never had good Mexican fast food before, we walked for over half an hour to get to a Taco Time. It was good. Pics in zerowing's thread.
With some hours before I had to leave, we decided to look around Seattle a bit. We looked around Pike Place Plaza a bit and I hunted for headphones because I lost mine and Arti wasn't coming back home on the same bus so I'd be alone :( Honestly, not much happened after that. Duy almost died but that's about it. Everyone saw me off at the Greyhound station and fortunately there were so many people going back to Vancouver they gave us our own dedicated bus which skipped all the WA stops. Border took forever though and some people were left behind. I went home.
Good luck to Smogon at Nationals =D