VGC 2010 Seattle (zerowing/makiri)
Our story begins at Worlds 2009, after some discussion, Fish and I decide that Seattle would be a great place to visit for the 2010 tournament, its early in the season and we can blitz the tournament with a radical strategy as the metagame hasn't developed much. We started to get anxious when dates were taking so long to be released, but when they were revealed we started planning our trip right away. During our planning more and more people decided to go, making for a very crowded regional, but it solidified the Ducks numbers, helping us become more intimidating to our opponents.
On Wednesday morning Fish arrives at my house and our trip begins with some requisite In-N-Out. The trip to Seattle would take 18 hours from my house, but Huy and his brother Duy were going to tag along so after a fairly uneventful trip to Davis, California we stay for the night at Huy's apartment, trolling IRC and playing Street Fighter. We wake up early the next morning and begin the long trip to Seattle, which included tons of Battle Factory matches because of the lack of interesting things going on in Oregon. One thing I noticed in Oregon was the lack of originality when naming cities, from Phoenix to Dallas to Salem (it keeps going), nearly every city shared its name with another city in the US. We finally reach our destination Thursday night and stay in Renton, Washington. During our short stay in Renton we visit a grocery store and discover a Taco Time, one of the reasons we made this trip was to eat at Taco Time. Sadly they were closed so we settled for a 3 pound container of macaroni salad and frozen burritos.
In the morning Mr. Bananagrabber makes his final appearance when he is finally revealed to be my alter-ego and we finally reach downtown Seattle and our home for the next few days. We wander the city for a bit looking for food, but downtowns are notorious for never having food and we eventually settle on Quiznos and I purchase what will become known as the contingency plan torpedo, a sandwich that sat in the hotel refrigerator for several days "just in case." The rest of the day was filled with practicing for tomorrow and watching Goran Dragic demolish the Spurs, while the Canadians watch their Canucks.
The team is pretty solid, it works quite good, there are some weaknesses, but what team doesn't have them? Prize to who can guess what the nicknames are.
Hitmontop (M) @ Life Orb ** Lazarus
Through testing and damage calcs it was determined that Top was a force to be reckoned with, it doesn't need to worry about speed and can bulk itself up with a ton of HP evs and its Mach Punch can decimate teams doing massive damage to anything that doesn't resist it before the opponent can even attack.
Kyogre @ Choice Scarf ** Stark
I sort of threw Ogre on as a whim, but it really worked out as an amazing partner for Top, Fake Out from Top helps keep Ogre alive and Spouting, while Top can also Mach Punch and Ogre will finish things off before the opponent can even attack.
Abomasnow (M) @ Sitrus Berry ** Crabtree
Weather control is necessary in the VGC, and if they can take advantage of my Rain I can be in some serious trouble, but Abomasnow is a great backup, allowing me to switch to a Blizzard spam team, but it also helps defeat opposing Ogres and Ice Shard gives me additional priority.
Palkia @ Haban Berry ** Lockhart
Palkia is just a solid contributor in all aspects, it can spam Blizzard, take out opposing Dragons, and can also use Thunder in the Rain to take out other Rain teams.
Giratina @ Griseous Orb ** Kozak
I never used it, and I never really planned to do so, just sort of on the team.
Smeargle (M) @ Focus Sash ** Holmes
Every team I make needs my favorite Pokémon, so here it is in the back, again I never planned on using it, but if i did I wanted a decent moveset and this worked well in testing.
The Ducks are big in Seattle
We all wake up really early, anxious to get to the tournament site. We get to the site and notice the huge line, we verify its for the Junior division and wander off to the food court to fill out our team sheets and grab something to eat.
The Junior line
The cashier at Starbucks recognizes our Ducks shirts and makes the connection to Pokémon, something that surprised us all. The group then makes our way back to the site where many Juniors have begun battling already and we just lounge around waiting and watching them play. Arti, Fish, and Firestorm leave for the mall to get Arti a game since we were unsure of when Yeti would get to the tournament with a copy for Arti (still thank you for everything Yeti). Around this time a duo interviews me for their podcast, you can listen to it here, I'm about halfway in right after the Arnold's interview. While going to the bathroom we overhear someone mention a Seniors line is forming so we go outside and line up. Enter lots of waiting and worrying about Yeti since she got stuck in traffic on the way. We make our way inside, register and line up for the first tournament matches.
I don't remember much of my early battles because playing 9 battles and trying to remember them later on is tough, especially when you are mostly focused on beating your opponent, not really thinking ahead for a warstory so forgive me if I get any details wrong, it is just how I remember it.
While standing in line before this battle I zoned out and listened to my requisite 2 BA Master prior to battling, it is just something I do before and during most tournament battles, Shoddy, Wifi, and events like these, I just have to do it. I finally get my round 1 pairing and I really don't remember much of this battle, being so early and all. I do remember he had a Weavile and Aerodactyl, the battle took longer than it should have because he protected with something every turn, but it was an easy 4-0 sweep and I win my first match of the day quite convincingly.
After the win I notice all the Ducks are winning or already won their first round opponent, and at this point I realize that maybe we all have a chance to do well in this tournament.
Again I don't remember much of this battle, but my opponent was Josh, a Worlds 2009 participant in the Junior Division, but now he is a Senior for the first time. While waiting in line to register Josh and his dad waited in line with the rest of the Ducks but sadly we got paired this early in the tournament. Despite only being 13, Josh is very experienced and has a very solid team, he has the ability to do well if he chooses to go to another regional. I don't remember much of the battle, but it was tight until a key moment where he planned to use Explosion with Metagross while switching in his Giratina, but my Kyogre's Water Spout one hit koed his Gross killing his chances and turning the tide and putting me in control of the match.
Only one Duck lost in round 2, Firestorm was defeated by Glenn Arnold, a Worlds 2009 participant in the Senior Division, and Pokedad extraordinaire.
Speaking of Glenn Arnold, I play his son this round, another 2009 Worlds Participant in the Junior Division. It was another close match that came down to the wire, I had one Water Spout pp left, and would be forced to Struggle the next turn but I was able to finish off his Giratina that turn and win the match.
From here they direct us to the finalists lounge where several Ducks were already chilling, sadly Yeti lost in round 3 in a close match (read her experiences here) and couldn't join me, Huy, Duy, skarm, Fish and Articuno64 in the "finalists" lounge. I use finalists in quotes because anyone who won 3 matches was able to go in which came close to almost 70 people.
Finalist Ducks - the DQed Huy
After probably more than an hour, maybe even longer they gather everyone in the lounge and tell us the procedure of the next round, several will get byes, Fish and Duy got byes for the next round while the rest of us got in line to battle an extra round.
I'm not sure if he goes to Smogon or not, but he had a solid team that gave me problems and was a smart player. He led Groudon and Ho-Oh and he got the Sun with his slower Groudon. I Fake Out Ho-Oh but his Protect nullifies it and my Spout fails to OHKO his Groudon while Quake does a number on my Ogre. The next turn I Sucker Punch Ho-Oh and Spout, killing Groudon and taking Ho-Oh to about 50% and his Thunder hit my Ogre finishing it. From here it gets a bit hazy but I remember he had Garchomp and Abomasnow in the rear, that I focus on because he begins alternating Protect and Roost trying to kill my Sucker Punch pp, it comes down to my ~60% Hitmontop, ~60% Abomasnow and full HP Palkia vs his Ho-Oh, with me out of Sucker Punch pp I pull a risky move not knowing his final attack and I switch Top out for Palkia and Ice Shard with Aboma and he Fire Blasts killing Aboma. Now I have to finish him fast with Top and Palkia, I think Fake Out slips his mind and he lets me get it off and I finish the match with some Blizzard spam and finally win the game.
We lose another Duck in the 4th round, Articuno64, read his story here. Because of my epic with Ho-Oh I was the second to last to finish my match and I notice the other match still going contains 2 solid players, Chris Tsai, the Los Angeles 2008 Champion who defeated me in the finals of that tournament and skarm, I don't like either matchup, skarm has the team as me and Chris wins he will recognize my leads and know what to do from there. After what seems like forever, Chris emerges the victor, setting up a rematch of the 2008 LA Finals. The emcee and publicist both recognize the magnitude of the match and wish us both luck. Check out skarm's story here.
Chris asked me not to reveal his team so I'll respect his wishes and not give anything away. After skarm lost I wasn't sure what to do, change my team up with my backups or just use what has worked so well for me to this point, after agonizing over the decision I just decide on my standard Top/Ogre/Palkia/Aboma team. Apparently he changed his team up for me and actually played into my hands, but because Chris is a very skilled player it was still a heart pounding match that could have gone either way but I pull out the win and avenge a Duck loss and get some redemption for LA 2008.
At this point I'm really far behind the rest of the bracket, my match with Ho-Oh and the skarm/Chris epic took quite some time, my opponent looks slightly perturbed especially after the emcee interviewed me before this match began. We eventually get down to business and he leads Azelf and Ludicolo. I fear a Azelf Explosion or Ludi Grass Knot, but I predict that he will Fake Out this turn and then execute his strategy the next turn. I double target the Ludicolo with Mach Punch and Thunder, but he Protects and switches Azelf to Kingdra. I switch Kyogre to Aboma to take the Grass Knot and kill the rain, it gets a bit hazy, but it eventually ends up with his Scarf Ogre locked into Surf and a half HP Azelf vs my full HP Ogre and full HP Palkia, I know I have the game well in hand and Thunder Azelf with Ogre and Thunder Ogre with Palkia as a just in case something goes wrong. After his Ogre's HP hits 0 I celebrate, but my celebration is short lived, I now have to face Duy in the quarterfinals.
It was a good game both teams played hard.
I am now in the money, I'm going to leave with at least a $300 travel stipend and a new DSi, but I will not settle for that, prior to round 4 I made the emcee a guarantee, I will win this tournament and I'm not one to back down on a guarantee. Fish was doing his semi and we have 2 Ducks in the top 4, which is just amazing for the squad, but as everyone knows, Ducks fly together. This was another tough matchup, Yeti lost to him early and again I fear the worst, I have the same team as her so its anyone's guess about what this matchup holds for me. I honestly don't remember much of the battle but I saw his Aboma/Mewtwo and I feared Aboma more than Mewtwo so I fake it out and Spout, but he switches Mewtwo for Bronzong which takes about 40% and his Aboma takes a decent amount from Fake Out and Spout. Here I think he will Trick Room so I Spout and Mach Punch Zong for the kill while Aboma Protects. It gets blurry here but I know I lose Ogre and the game is my Top and Palkia vs his Mewtwo and hurt Ogre. I know Mewtwo takes about 80% from a Top Sucker Punch and with Aboma in the back, the opposing Ogre isn't much of a threat so I Sucker Punch Mewtwo and his HP keeps dropping, I score a crit OHKO and I do something normally out of character for me, I celebrate before the battle is over. I normally don't out of respect for my opponent but I just avenged my friend's early loss and set up an all Duck final with Fish.
Before the match begins, the emcee leads the crowd in a quack chant, promising earlier in the tournament that if we got this far, he would do so, that's when the magnitude of what we are about to do set in, 2 Ducks and 2 close friends just made it to the finals of a large tournament, the odds of this happening were staggering, but we did it.
Fish and I have a long history and we test together quite often, we know each others teams though he has never seen my pocket Giratina and Smeargle. At the team selection screen I agonize over what I will pick. Again I settle on the exact team that got me here, there is no reason to change. Since the video is right there I will just give my turn by turn thinking and reasoning behind my moves.
I see his Groudon and Frost Rotom, and I know exactly what is coming. Through practice with Fish I determined Water Spout would not work, it only 2HKOs his Rotom in the Sun and he will set up Light Screen, further cementing his defensive capabilities. I know he will also Protect with Groudon for the Fake Out, so I do something radical that I have never tried versus anyone, I switch to Abomasnow and prepare to spam Blizzard.
Blizzard didn't do as much as I would've liked, and now he has a Light Screen, but I made the decision last turn, I will live and die by Blizzard and I make my move choices rather quickly. I pray for no flinches from his Rock Slide or Paralyzes from his Discharge and luckily I get neither.
Looking back I know his Abomasnow is faster than mine and I should have used Ice Shard to at least get some damage on his Pokémon, hindsight is 20/20, but it didn't really matter, I just continue my Blizzard spam knowing neither of my Pokémon will survive this turn.
Fish's double protect makes this a dead turn, but I Fake Out his Abomasnow because I fear its Blizzard more than Dialga's Dragon Pulse due to my Haban Berry.
I know Top's Mach Punch will do a ton of damage to Dialga and possibly kill it so I Mach Punch it and continue with my Blizzard spam with Palkia.
The game is now over and we both know it at this point, Top's Mach Punch will OHKO his Abomasnow crit or not and even if it doesn't Palkia's Blizzard will finish it off, this turn is just a formality.
With that win I am crowned the Seattle Regional Champion with my fellow Duck placing 2nd, exactly what we wished and hoped for almost a year ago, and it still hasn't set in totally that this happened, but it has and now Fish and I will be visiting Indy hopefully with other Ducks and continue our dominance of the VGC metagame.
Fish and I crowned champs
Flying V for Victory
After my sprint I'm ready for Taco Time
After the tournament we all went to Outback Steakhouse to celebrate, though that was rather uneventful. The next day after bidding farewell to skarm, we make our way to the legendary Taco Time. After some confusion I end up on the wrong side of the street alone, across from Taco Time, with a large crowded street in the way. After some deliberation I decide to try jaywalking, but I notice the light turn red and immediately sprint to the cross walk much to the amusement of everyone on the other side of the street. Huy uploaded a video of this event. I finally get my Taco Time and for a fast food joint, it is quite good and I must visit Seattle again in the future to acquire more. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, some snow during the drive through Oregon and a freezing night at Huy's apartment.