JAA NYC Finals (Amazing Ampharos)
DAWN OF THE FIRST DAY: 72 hours remain
Well, I won a free trip to New York. Pretty cool, right? I decided to take along my old pal from 4th grade, Alex, and we were both excited. He drives to the airport, and a boring few hours (total cloud coverage, we couldn't see the ground the whole time), we're there. We land at Newark Airport, and we wonder where the ride to the hotel we were promised is. We search and search and can't find it. We call and are told where we have to go, and we find out that we needed to be at baggage claim (we only brought carry-on stuff). We still can't find him and have to call again to get his cell phone number. I still have no idea where he was hiding with his sign that had my name on it, but either way, we get on the trip. Apparently our hotel, Millinium Hotel, is right on Times Square. Snap. We head on over to a Pokémon table where I get some free stuff and sign in. The rewards were $500, a ton of random food, a munchlax figurine, a Game Boy Micro (yes, I now have 2 free Game Boy Micros), and demo versions of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon (both the DS and the GBA version; at the time I thought it was the real game and was not all that happy when I found out I was wrong). Either way, we head up to the room, I hook up the GameCube and own Alex at SSBM a few times, and then we decide to explore NYC for a few hours before the dinner. Alex has the ill-fated idea of going to the Empire State Building, so off we go. Upon arriving we find out that in order to go to the top you have to pay. Seriously, paying to go to the top of a building? Alex is insistent on this total waste of money, and it costs each of us $30 (I wasn't prepared to just wait at the bottom for him, regardless of how stupid the whole thing was). Well, we wait in line for over a half hour, and then we finally get to the 102nd floor. We get to see basically all of NYC and I take a bunch of pictures, but it wasn't worth anywhere near $30. I wouldn't have even waited in that line if it were free, and I wouldn't have paid $30 to go up with no line.
Either way, we get back just in time for dinner, and it turns out the food was pretty lousy, but at least it was the right price (free). There's salad, some noodle things that look bad to me, curly fries, and then a few things I can't identify, but the one I grabbed tasted meaty. They did have a variety of pops in glass bottles (!) so I make off with three of them over the course of the evening. I also run into Derek, the KC winner, and we chat a bit and sit together at a table. Another guy I don't recognize is there, and then some guys from Minnesota sit down with us. We all eat and talk and speculate, and then we get the announcement. Apparently, we get to see a special early screening of Lucario and the Mystery of Mew. Joy. Derek found a few Smogoner, and we all sat down and watched. I'll sum it up:
The more notable thing was the sarcastic comments we all made the whole time. Example: Aaron is flying on Pidgeot. I say "Do a barrel roll!"
Afterwards we get more free stuff (a backpack, a poster, and several plushies and figurines of 4th gen Pokémon), and I invite a few Smogoners up to my room to smash. For the record, we never got totally clear on who is who so I don't really know the Smogon names of most people. I'm going to guess, and if I'm wrong, don't take it personally. Alex and I were basically better than one of them, and I had a good time basically juggling "Wario"'s Roy all over the place with PK Thunder (Roy shouldn't play defensively versus Ness). They left and we slept.
DAWN OF THE SECOND DAY: 48 hours remain
Ok, time for Pokémon! We got up early to be on TV, which was a total waste of time (it was only local, and I just stood there). The good side is that we got to see Bryant Park all set up for the activities. There was a giant blimp of Pikachu they were inflating. There were several events that didn't interest me too much, and there was a download station that eventually had a line longer than I was willing to wait in for a flying Pikachu. We got breakfast and then headed to the hotel for the walk right back to Bryant Park with everyone else (no Smogoners were interested in the morning thing).
We got there and were separated by age groups and lined up according to which cities we won in with the online qualifiers in the back. We went behind the stage and waited an interminably long time. I chatted with some Serebii.net people who seemed to dislike Smogon as cheaters. Heh, Serebii n00bs. We eventually progressed up onto the stage and shook Hulk Hogan's hand (seriously, he was so out of place it wasn't even funny—ok, maybe it was). I stood in the back, since as an online qualifier I went up last, and I was creeped out by a giant Mudkip dancing behind me (ok, a guy in a costume, but it was still creepy). Hulk Hogan opened his big mouth and sounded like an idiot, and it was on! The good news is that the LA winner got DQ'd so I didn't have to play the extra round. I instead played a guy with a broken arm who I'd talked to a fair bit as we waited in line, mostly about Mario and how the Super Mario Deluxe version of Lost Levels was in fact butchered and how I actually liked New Super Mario Brothers. Well, time to hear how I blew it:
I see he has a Kyogre, and he makes a remark about how I'm running a sun team. I kid around that he might be wrong, but he knows. I decide to hold my fast Groudon back to try to claim the weather advantage and choose to lead with Mewtwo and Ludicolo. He leads Gengar and Slaking. I fake out Slaking and Psychic his Enduring Gengar. His Salac activates and I fear Explosion, so I have Mewtwo Protect and the Protectless Ludicolo Surf. Big mistake. He Destiny Bonds and takes out Ludicolo, while Mewtwo wastes a turn entirely on a useless Protect. I send out Jumpluff as he sends in Articuno. The next turn sucks. Mewtwo has already Protected and I don't want to risk a double, so I Psychic Slaking who survives with about 40 HP left, and Jumpluff puts his Articuno to sleep, which is woken up by a Lum. Slaking Hyper Beams Mewtwo to death and Jumpluff falls to the ice. I send out Groudon and seize my sun. Rock Slide finishes off Slaking and knocks off over half the health of Articuno as he Ice Beams me to under half health, and he sends in Kyogre. Ok, I lose. I Rock Slide to kill Articuno, and I don't get the flinch, but his Ice Beam gets me. gg, well, not really. That match sucked through and through. This whole tourney format precludes us having a good match. Derek, my pal from KC, also lost first round to a Smogoner, and the guy I would have had to play for the spot lost as well. A lot of Smogoners apparently had to play each other. Bad game.
I then got interviewed by Gabby and Ty, and was asked to summarize my game in one word. I suggested that the word I wanted to use was a word I probably shouldn't say, and I got a semi-joking, semi-stern warning from an organizer lady that she'd thrash me if I cursed into the live camera. I chose appropriately. "Mispredict". After that I wondered around a bit, and apparently they put me down for a win even though I lost. It was not a wonderful time to correct them on that. I then saw my pal Wario (I seriously have no idea who you are on the internet, and I thought I heard the other Smogoners refer to you as such; please correct me) almost lose in a horrible way. He was in trouble and about to lose, but he pulled an amazing comeback. It was his Dusclops vs Mewtwo and Snorlax. He had Imprison down locking Shadow Ball, Protect, and Ice Beam. He took a lot of damage but managed to kill Mewtwo (but got paralyzed by a Thunderbolt). Snorlax's set was Shadow Ball/Protect/Body Slam/Selfdestruct. Lax was stuck only using body slam until he ran out of PP. Then, kaboom. Dusclops was recovering with Lefties and chipping away at Lax with Ice Beam. But time ran out, and the Lax had more health so he "won". The Lax user stalled the full 30 seconds out every move. I'd say bad things about him, but it was only playing smart. We can blame the rules for that one. Either way, I then looked to see another match by a Smogoner named "Jeps". I asked if Smogon was still in it, and a coolish guy turned and introduced himself. Hello, DoomMullet. Another guy asks me who I am and I say Amazing Ampharos. They take my picture with the tour vehicle, and we watch Jeps pull out a win and advance to the semis. Jeps, you hold all our hopes. You are the last Smogon survivor!
Jeps had a cool team. I mean, it had Quagsire and Shedinja. Hardcore. Also, DM was with Jason and Fish, which was neat. I also saw Kongler around (he stood out almost as much as the old lady—she was like 60-70 and qualified online). We went to watch the semis on stage. Here are match summaries:
Semi 1: Serebii.net's last survivor vs Random:
The random has a Clefable that he used and a Cradily that he didn't. Mr. Serebii had a Mewtwo and a Kyogre in reserve. The Serebii guy wore a hat of a Pokémon and carried around Pokémon plushies. Odd. Anyway, turn 1 was them both putting up Reflect, and turn two, Serebii blew up his Mewtwo into the enemy Reflect. The enemy Mewtwo and Clefable both survived, and then serebii sent out Kyogre into an enemy counter. Congratulations, Serebii, you lose the internet. Had you Psychiced Clefable, you would have steamrolled him. He lost horribly from there.
Next was a 12-and-under match. It was notable because one of the players had a Wooper in his lineup of 6 nicknamed "OMG WOOPA!!" Smogon was united in our opinion that was awesome, and we were happy when he won. I don't recall how he did (obviously not with the Wooper). The 12-and-under actually knew what they were doing, by the way; they actually had better matches than the 13+.
Semi 2: Jeps vs Calvin
Jeps basically had a rough time with a Rayquaza locking down his weather and an Ice Beaming Mewtwo bullying his Jumpluff under the protection of Air Lock. He kept Jumpluff around and used Quagsire well, eventually killing the Rayquaza, but he suffered for it. Calvin pulled out Kyogre after Jeps pulled Groudon back out, bg. Jeps used a Shedinja neither Mewtwo nor Kyogre could hurt, but he let himself get Shadow Balled by a Snorlax. Basically Ice Beam Mewtwo brutalized Jeps's big Oce weakness, even though the Jumpluff was actually faster than the Mewtwo (I think there was an "lol Lum" moment though). Smogon has lost, and the Smogon crew left. I stuck around, but I never saw DM (who had no idea what was going on at all) or Fish or Jason (who joined me in commentating the matches) again. All three were cool guys though; I hope they had fun partying and didn't end up meeting the NYPD.
The next 12-and-under match was two guys who led with Kyogre and Ludicolo and used Snorlax as a third Pokémon. It was kinda funny, really. One of them playing was a guy who had played SSBM with us the night before, but he sadly lost. Seriously, wherever you are, kid, join Smogon. You have what it takes.
13-and-over final: Calvin vs kaolinite
kaolinite won. Um, I don't remember the whole match, but it ended with Kyogre vs Mewtwo. Kyogre had a double Hydro Pump miss and Mewtwo 3HKO'd with Thunderbolt. Seriously, hax won the tournament. Congratulations, kaolinite! You proved nothing! Enjoy Tokyo, and come to Netbattle if you want some real battling.
12-and-under final: kid vs kid
This match ended tragically. Basically, one kid had a very powerful team, but the other kid managed to kill all the physical Pokémon and had Blissey and Ho-Oh. Ho-Oh stalls with Protect while the Blissey paralyzed Mewtwo (the Kyogre was already paralyzed). Ho-Oh Thunders Kyogre and Blissey STosses it. It survives, and Lefties bring it to 105 HP (argh, the Lefties mattered). Obviously Ho-Oh was Hydro Pumped and died. Next the kid with the 2 special Pokémon Protect stalls and time stalls until the last turn. Kyogre's double Protect fails, and Mewtwo was fully paralyzed. Blissey and Mewtwo were at full health, and Kyogre had about 40 HP left. The genius Seismic Tossed the Mewtwo! Seriously, he should feel bad forever. STossing Kyogre would have forced a tie. Well, the obviously better player who would have won eventually lost because of what I can only assume to be a misclick (the only excuse), and the other guy went to Tokyo. Stupid time limit.
Also, there were three people commenting on every match. The announcer lady was annoying and didn't understand the game at all. Hulk Hogan was a freaking moron and used such great commentary as "Body Slam, that's my kind of move! Pokémon." He said "Pokémon" everytime he couldn't think of anything to say, which was quite often. Seriously, he was totally out of place. The third guy was dressed up as a Pokémon Professor and actually understood what was going on. Considering who he was explaining it to, he did a good job commenting. It was funny how unable he was to explain how the Dusclops using Imprision worked. He basically told the audience it was a clever defensive tactic; I wish I could have talked with him. He was obviously the smartest guy on the staff.
Then came the lame awards, and then the maker of Pokémon came and made some announcements. He announced Mystery Dungeon first, and it had a rather ridulous movie of the anime special for it where a guy is turned into a Squirtle. "I'm a Pokémon?" Next he announced Ranger, where we saw a similar anime thing with a girl spinning a top around a circle of Linoone who just stood there not moving at all for about 30 seconds while it spun around them. Seriously, geniuses, MOVE! Next he made the DP announcement that RS was compatible. O rly? No demo either...
Afterwards, Alex and I explored NYC. We saw Madison Square Garden and the UN! I even got a copy of the Onion. We went back to Bryant Park and paid a staff girl $20 to take her shirt off! By that, I mean we bought the staff shirt, since I promised my sister a shirt and hadn't been willing to wait in line to get one at the actual event. We got a hat too; it was neat. We spent a lot of time walking around and seeing stuff, and we sat down and at at a nice restaraunt. I had a sirloin steak which was good but very pricy. Each of us had to pay $40 for our meals, seriously. We went to Nintendo World, but it closed early because of the event. There was a video of the Wii playing which was pretty neat though; it was a bunch of Japanese people playing various launch titles. Both of our cameras ran out of film on this trip, so the rest of this is just me talking.
Later that night around midnight, I coerced Alex to go on a late night walk. Times Square at night was neat, and we decided to be adventurous and head over to Central Park (the only place reasonably close to our hotel we hadn't seen). No, we didn't go into the depths. We did see a lot of people sleeping there, and one random guy was getting yelled at by this girl. Poor man. On the walk we saw a guy with a crashed car get arrested too. The NYPD was seriously out in force. We walked by a church, and Alex pushed on the door. It was sealed, obviously, and then Alex looked down. He found $60! Seriously! That's a hefty sum to randomly acquire. I still got $500 from being me though so I still win... Also, at another church, people were sleeping on the stairs near a sign that said "Don't go to bed angry". Heh.
DAWN OF THE FINAL DAY: 24 hours remain
The next morning we packed up and headed to Nintendo World and saw "Wario" there. Awesome. I played some DDR Mario Mix on hard mode and failed badly. I beat Alex though. Seriously, it was unresponsive, and my feet just plain don't move that fast. "Wario" was upset over his nonsense loss, and he wished the Nintendo World were still a PokéCenter. I agree, really. I considered getting a game or a shirt but decided against both. Afterwards we went back to the hotel, discovered we'd missed our ride to the airport, and had to pay $69 (second time that ironic number had come up; the other time was the gate we left out of) for a ride to the airport. Seriously, uncool. We flew back in another tiny airplane I didn't fit in, and we were back in KC. I ate dinner here and wrote this warstory. Alex and I have 52 pictures between us; I'll post some after we get it developed. Until then, enjoy the story.