JAA Raleigh (Larvi)

Introduction:

I started preparing for JAA quite a while back. I'd wanted to go to the Atlanta event but ended up having to work that weekend and missed it so decided to go to Raleigh instead. I have a sister who lives in that area so that made a good enough excuse to go up for a visit.

I tried several different ideas for my team. I prefer stall based teams (which weren't suited for JAA) so it was somewhat difficult coming up with a team I liked. I don't battle online so most of my training was done in Colosseum (I wish the Battle Tower allowed for ubers). Little Green Yoda helped me out a lot with his experiences from the JAA that he attended - I often bounced team ideas off him. I also stole his idea for the Selfdestructing Snorlax (heh). I found the strategy articles and JAA experiences posted on Smogon to be a big help - I particularly liked Obi's Uber speed analysis and referred to that many times when I was EV training. A couple of the ideas that I considered were:

  1. Having Ho-Oh or Rayquaza Mimic Lugia's Aeroblast; the setup time would probably have been too much for something like JAA. Didn't prove very useful in testing either.
  2. Using a Mr Mime with Follow Me to allow Groudon/Kyogre/Rayquaza to set up with a Swords Dance/Calm Mind/Dragon Dance, however Mr Mime doesn't really have the HP to pull this off with two attacks coming it's way.
  3. Having a Shiftry Swagger Groudon or an Illumise Flatter Kyogre. This idea worked pretty well, you basically have Groudon or Kyogre have a +2 stage 1st turn attack which is always good. I even had Shiftry able to survive the EQ and activate a Petaya, providing no other attacks came its way. The problem is, in the case of Shiftry/Groudon, you will probably see a lot of first turn Protects, thinking an Explosion is coming. You also effectively waste a hold item slot, needing to run Persim/Lum instead of something more useful. I also found out in testing that Swagger could miss (this happened a fair amount). Flatter doesn't have this issue but the problem with the Illumise/Kyogre combo is that Illumise really doesn't pose much of a threat, usually guaranteeing your Kyogre will take both of the attacks. Flatter needs to be learnt by pokemon who can utilize it more effectively.

In testing and in reading through some of the warstories from the other JAA events, I knew I had to have some way of protecting myself from Explosion. I suck at predicting, so I knew that would be a problem for me. I considered using Damp but again, didn't really like the choices available with that ability, so I decided to use a Ghost pokemon. With all of the Psychics running around in Uber play I didn't think Gengar would be useful (came to find out I was very wrong there) so I decided on Dusclops, which I have used quite a bit on my stall teams. Dusclops has great 2v2 support moves, i.e. Helping Hand and Imprison, unfortunately Helping Hand is an XD move and Imprison an egg move, thus you can't have both on the same pokemon. When I was building my team, the current JAA metagame seemed to be all about weather ubers and Rayquaza wasn't being used much. I decided I would use Ray to counter this and use Dusclops' Imprison to protect Rayquaza from his Achilles heel.

My Team:

My Team

Dusclops @ Leftovers
Imprison
Calm Mind
Ice Beam
Protect

Imprison Dusclops is fairly predictable, but even if you know it's coming it isn't the easiest thing to counter. Ice Beam to protect Rayquaza, Protect to prevent the opponent from Exploding and keep 'Clops alive for longer. Calm Mind to keep opponent from setting up, I also found 'Clops's Ice Beam to be useful on Dragons or to help kill Groudon, along with an Ice Beam from one of my main attackers. Colosseum has an Imprison team in one of the 2vs2 battles and from this I found that my original 'Clops had a -Speed personality - which meant the opponent could Imprison first. I raised another one with a neutral speed personality and gave it just enough Speed EV's to outrun a 0 EV'd 31 IV Dusclops.

Rayquaza @ Salac Berry Protect
Ice Beam
Thunderbolt
Extremespeed

I tried a physical Rayquaza initially and found that the special set worked better. Super Effective attacks on a lot of the ubers is nice to have, even without STAB. Extremespeed was there to handle Endure/Salac combos and to get a last attack in. I went with very little speed on Rayquaza, just enough to outspeed a no speed Kyogre/Groudon and put max in Special Attack and the rest in HP.

Snorlax @ Lum Berry
Selfdestruct
Curse
Shadow Ball
Body Slam

The plan was to have Rayquaza able to take out one of the opposing pokemon, then bring in Snorlax to take out 2 more. Lum Berry to prevent a status effect that could potentially keep him from blowing up.

Mewtwo @ Petaya Berry
Protect
Ice Beam
Thunder
Fire Blast

Pretty standard, I went with Fire Blast for possible Metagross/Regice/Shedinja, etc. I chose Fire Blast over Flamethrower in case I had a situation where I needed a move with more power than Ice Beam and better accuracy than Thunder. Thunder for Kyogre and friends - I was assuming Mewtwo wouldn't come out until Rayquaza was dead, usually meaning that rain would be back in effect.

Shiftry @ Brightpowder
Fake Out
Swagger
Solarbeam
Faint Attack

Groudon @ Persim Berry
Swords Dance
Earthquake
HP Bug (got lucky on this one)
Ancientpower

Shiftry and Groudon weren't a part of my main strategy but the plan was to use these two to get through the first couple of rounds so as not to give away my strategy early on. It turned out that they never saw any action.

On to Raleigh

Drove up the night before with my wife and my two daughters and stayed at a nearby hotel. My youngest came down with the flu in the middle of the night so we didn't get a lot of sleep. She was still under the weather on Saturday and so didn't really get to enjoy the event, which was unfortunate.

We arrived at the mall at about 11am on Saturday, I was wearing my custom Larvi T-shirt (designed for me by my eldest daughter). We drove around the outside of the mall figuring the event would be in the parking lot, as Pokemon Rocks America was before it. We didn't see it there but we noticed the Pokemon Volkswagon and Hummer in the parking garage so we parked near them and went inside the mall.

Once inside there were queues for everything - even the kiosk to buy pokemon merchandise had a long line. My youngest daughter wasn't up to standing around, so she went with my wife and sat down out of the way. I got in line with my oldest daughter to get Celebi - they let us download it onto multiple cartridges so we managed to pick up one for my youngest daughter too.

The 13+ tournament didn't start until 1:30 and they told us to come back at one to sign up for it, so I went to get a bite to eat and sat down with my family until it was time. At 1 o'clock it was back into another queue to sign up, though we had to wait for the twelves and under to finish. I was talking to a girl that was in line next to me and she only had level 50 pokemon for the tournament plus whatever lvl 70's she had just gotten from the top 20 download. I didn't know how many others were like that but I thought the opening round wouldn't be that tough. I figured I would be the oldest one there but I saw a couple of other guys and a woman that looked to be in their 30's and 40's also competing. I think they need to have a Senior level tournament for us, I'dve had a better chance. One of the guys that I spoke to was actually the dad of the kid that won the 12's and under competition. In talking to him I realised he wasn't at the same level as his kid, i.e. he didn't worry about Natures/EV's etc.

After waiting for what seemed like an hour we finally got assigned to a group and got our shirts for the tournament. I was in group 1 and it pretty much seemed everyone else I saw also on group 1. They let us all into the room with the GC's and flatscreen monitors set up for the competition - one thing I didn't like was the fact we had to stand and the flat screens were at table level so visibility was limited. There were 16 stations therefore a total of 32 battlers could compete at any one time. They assigned us to a station where you were told who you'd face in the first round. My older daughter stayed to watch me compete and I told her to try and scope out some of the competition for me. My wife and youngest stayed in Sears and got periodic updates by cell phone.

(note: this is based on my somewhat foggy memory of the battles so might not be entirely correct.)

Battles

Round 1: Josh

The guy I faced in round 1 turned out to be Josh. Having seen him talking to Khold in the line, I knew my hope for an easy 1st round was ruined. Althrough originally I was going to use my Groudon for the opening rounds, I changed my mind and decided to go with my main game plan even if it meant tipping my hand early.

Josh's team

The turning point here was my Rayquaza freezing his Mewtwo with Ice Beam early on. Even then, I barely scraped my way through.

Round 2: A girl

After group 1 was reduced from 32 to 16, it was supposed to be group 2's turn. However, it appeared that only 32 of the 64 original signups showed up and they only got 16 alternates. Nintendo decided to disqualify all 16 alts - I thought this was a little unfair but supposed it didn't make much difference in the long run. My round 2 opponent was a girl and I knew that she had battled the girl with the lower-leveled pokemon that I'd met in line. I was going to go with my Groudon team but saw that she had Salamence and Altaria in her party and decided to stick to my original game plan.

Her team

This should have been an easy round for me but I made a couple of stupid moves. I tried to end it early by blowing up Snorlax but she used Fly on Altaria and avoided it (I didn't see that coming). Next turn, I stupidly tried to Ice Beam her Altaria while it was still in the air. I also forgot that Manectric can have Lightningrod so the Thunderbolts I aimed at Ninetales did nothing. I got through but it wasn't pretty.

Round 3: kholdstaire

Khold's team

((skarm's editing/formatting notes here: Those were actually my Mewtwo/Kyogre/Rayquaza that I trained for and used in Chicago =).))

I'm not going to go into a lot of detail here since I think the match was taped. Suffice to say that I did catch a break when Hydro Pump missed and it ultimately came down to my Snorlax vs his Mewtwo and Shadow ball > Psychic in this situation barring any critical hits.

Round 4: Staller

Staller's team

He led with Umbreon and proceeded to Toxic my Dusclops. I ignored the Umbreon and concentrated on taking out his other pokemon, knowing Snorlax could blow it up when I needed to - as long as it didn't Double Team. It used Helping Hand instead and my Rayquaza survived the HH'ed thunder. Luckily, I wasn't paralyzed and finished his Kyogre off with an Extremespeed. I proceeded to take out his Lugia with Ice Beam and blew up my Snorlax to finish things up.

Round 5: Mystery Man

Down to four contestants. They must have been running late, as after round four they hustled me right over to the next station for round five; for the other rounds I had some time to collect my wits and get a drink before the next one started. I had no advance information on the guy I was fighting so no idea how he had gotten there.

Mystery's team

He concentrated his initial attacks on my Dusclops which was something I hadn't seen before. 'Clops survived and got his Imprison off but was subsequently paralyzed by a Thunderbolt. I aimed an Ice Beam at his Rayquaza but he switched it out for Gengar who took the attack instead.

At this point I had a total lapse and got so used to my Rayquaza being protected from Ice Beam that I forgot Gengar could pack Ice Punch, so my Rayquaza went down and I brought in Snorlax. Clops was paralyzed and at low health but still there so I didn't think he'd blow his Gengar up until 'Clops was off the field and he could Protect. To my surprise. he attacked my Dusclops with his Mewtwo and subsequently blew up his Gengar. I had protected with Dusclops but it failed due to being Fully Paralyzed, so Dusclops went down and I brought my Mewtwo into Gengar's Explosion and it OHKO'd. My Snorlax survived with a few hits left however he still had Rayquaza and Kyogre left so I was finished. Had the Protect worked I may have had a chance.

End Game

At this point my wife and youngest daughter had had enough so I collected my parting gifts and didn't hang around to see who won the finals. I ended up getting a semi-finalist medal, Skitty pillow, emerald strategy guide and a Pokemon XD GameCube skin. They gave my youngest daughter a free t-shirt because she wasn't feeling well, which was cool. We got in the car and drove the 6 hours home. I definitely had a good time and had some luck on my side. If I had Netbattle experience I'd probably have done better.