Welcome to the Space Jam


A lot happens over the course of a year.

A lot of lessons to be learned, fun and lulz to be had, improvements and friends to be made, bridges to be repaired, and great times never to be forgotten. This warstory sums up those sorts of things. Wait, did I say "sums up"? I meant to say it ELABORATES ON THOSE THINGS SO MUCH THAT YOUR EYES WILL HURT. I'm putting all the effort I can into this warstory, simply to help others understand how fun VGC is, how amazing the community is, and how intricate the style of play in the metagame is. Really. If you don't get a kick out of this story and want to play VGC afterward, it's not me, it's YOU.​

So if you guys don't already know, I'm Zach. On a personal note, I live just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, go to college at CUW (majoring in sport management), and coach football, watch sports, freelance write, and play video games as hobbies amongst other things. I started VGC 15 months ago and have gotten more and more involved since then. Back when I started, I was a complete scrub who was pretty much only known for being an annoying prick and for using Stunfisk at nationals. Since then, I have done what I can to work on my style of play, my attitude, and just everything that goes into this game in order to become the best player I can. I would like to give a huge shoutout to the community for helping that along- specifically people that have given me advice or disciplined me when necessary- as I could have not had the success or fun I've had recently without that help. Thank you all, I truly appreciate it and want to do whatever necessary to make sure your efforts are not in vain. Again, thank you all. :)

Now for the warstory.


So I had won Madison regionals previously, got the two byes, and since those were obviously going to factor in hugely, I decided to put on my tryhard pants, buckle up for the ride, and give it my all for nationals, since I had a better chance than the vast majority of people attending. After months of working with Crow, Jhud, TheGr8, and Birch, we finally pounded out a team (basically Crow's ideas bound into one team), and were set to go. I called up my friend Peter who first introduced me to VGC and asked if he wanted to go down to Indianapolis, and he was willing. I also was taking down my travel buddy, Macle, once again.

I woke up and had to get ready. I packed most of my stuff the night before but I had to get CDs burned to listen to, my team from Crow, and a few other things so I'd be all prepared for the weekend. I probably packed a few too many things, but oh well.

Welp, looks like I'm almost ready to go!

I packed up the car, left the house, and went to go pick up Peter from work. He got done at 3 so I was just planning on meeting him outside and running right down to pick up Macle in Milwaukee. He got out a bit late and it was HOT so it was kind of annoying to wait, but whatever, I got him and we went downtown to Dunkin Donuts to pick up Macle. Macle and I started our last trip to Indiana here, so it was only fitting to do it again. We got a dozen donuts and consumed 10 of them before we even left the store. :3

Peter nomming on a donut.

We got out of Milwaukee after trying to meet up with Oberon at the Dunkin's but to no avail, and headed south toward Smogtown (Chicago). The traffic was not too bad thankfully so we got through the city rather quickly, and only forked up about $4.50 in tolls total. But on the south side of the city, it started to get dark and cloudy, and my radar showed this:

Small squall, powerful punch.

We started getting poured on, lightning was everywhere, and even some hail started falling. It was one of the heaviest rainstorms I've ever seen, and it made visibility on the highway minimal if not impossible to see. I was basically following taillights for a bit. I filmed most of the ordeal, click here to see it on YouTube. About halfway through the storm (10:30 in the video) I saw a police car pulled over by someone in the ditch and began looking over to see how bad it was when suddenly I looked back and WHAT A TIRE IS IN THE ROAD. Luckily I was able to swerve out of its way safely, but that was a little bit scary...yet cool, cause it was caught on camera!

We got through the storm and began heading south. We went for a little over an hour before we started getting hungry again...and since we were in Indiana...


So we stopped to eat at Steak N Shake to refuel for the last hour of the drive. We got a full meal and most importantly SHAKES.

Chicken, Fries, and a Shake :3

After we left Steak N Shake we decided it would be a good idea to go into Walmart and grab some prizes for the tournament for Friday night. I was originally only going in to grab some cards, but we ended up getting fireworks and plushies, too.

Peter and Macle picking out fireworks

They apparently do not want the fireworks to smoke. THEY HAVE RIGHTS TOO.

Peter bought 12 packs of sparklers and made a sparkler bomb out of them with electrical tape. We also got some whistlers. On the way back out to the car I almost stepped on something in my path, and it turned out to be a dead bird in the handicapped spot. Watch the video here.

Welp, that bird was handicapped.

We kept going on our way after Walmart and finally after something like 7 hours because we stopped so much, we ended up in Indianapolis. We stayed at the MicroTel Inn and Suites for the night. The room was cool, small, cozy, and had mirrors everywhere. We decorated the microwave with plushies, just unfolded for the night, and crashed eventually.

Mirrors, mirrors...

Peter chillin' on the bed

More of the room



I woke up before everyone the next morning (oddly enough) and decided to go into Indianapolis to see if I could get my room any sooner. On the way down there, Lucien called me and needed a ride from the airport since Human abandoned him, so I decided that I would first pick him up after finding out my room's availability. I went into the Crowne Plaza, saw TheCalmSnivy walking out, and it turned out I could check in! I then headed down to the convention center only to find no one I knew strangely enough, so I went back to the garage, got in the car, and headed toward the airport.

It took me about half an hour to figure out where the airport actually was, but once I got there I picked up Lucien and we headed back to my hotel, which was only about 10 minutes away. On the way back we saw a 'hunny', and Peter took a picture...


We successfully moved out of the room, checked out, and headed downtown. I parked in the same ol parking garage again, and we carried the stuff over to the hotel. It turned out I actually did pack too much, but whatever, we made it. Crow was waiting in the lobby, and we met up and he helped carry stuff up to the room. The room itself was not worth $150/night (even though I did not pay for it), but the hotel was pretty cool, so I guess that made up for it.

After unpacking, Peter, Lucien, Macle, and I went down to High Velocity with Crow and his dad and got some lunch. It was delicious as always. While we were there, though, we learned that JRank got stuck in Illinois and would not make it down until way later, which sucked. After we ate we headed back and relaxed for a bit until preregistration.

We went down to preregister and met a ton of people from Smogon, Nugget Bridge, and Skarmbliss. However we completely forgot that we had to get our team ready, so we ran back to the hotel, got the last mons EV'd and moves learned, and headed back down to preregister. I didn't get my check because apparently I had a different one than the rest of everyone, but they would end up giving it to me the next day.

After preregistration, we headed back to the hotel for the Brawl tournament that soon would ensue. A ton of people were invited but only slightly over half showed up, thankfully, as we had only one Wii. We had 20 in the room at one point, and it got a bit cramped, but it all worked out in the end.

Jhud, Calm Lava, and Peter going at it while Cybertron and Babbytron watch.

Tad jumped in a game.

And then Oberon and his friends came over, and we had a full tournament.

Birch ended up winning the tournament handily, and won a tshirt from it all. There were 18 participants in the tournament in all. After the tournament we went down as a group to Steak N Shake, and took up a huge portion of the restaurant!

A ton of VGC players at Steak N Shake.

After Steak N Shake we came back to the hotel, battled each other a few times, then went to sleep in order to prepare our bodies for what was to come in the tournament tomorrow.


I woke up at about 7:30, and heard Birch going into the shower. I figured I better get ready before because we wanted to get breakfast, so I started throwing everything in my backpack. I showered afterward, got my backpack on, and we went down to breakfast...

...but a little too late. It was about 8:20 and we sat down to eat, and we figured it was pushing it for time, so we only had a glass of juice then headed out to the convention center. Once we got down there I started socializing with a few people. At about 8:57 Ben says "hey want to do a quick battle?" jokingly. I pull out my DS jokingly, look at my home screen jokingly, and realize my black version is NOT IN MY DS. I SPRINTED back to the hotel, grabbed it out of my other DS, and SPRINTED back to the convention center...only to find out they had not even started the player meeting yet. Oh well. Soon everyone sat down, and the event was going to begin!


Crow and I used the same team. It was a really bulky team that was designed to flat out wall some mons, while having some nuke power to take out others. It was a perfect blend of power and bulk, and it proved well- we both finished top 8 with it. There are no major gimmicks to the team, it just does well in general and gives players fits no matter what type of team they use.

Heatran (F) @ Chople Berry
Trait: Flash Fire
EVs: 204 HP / 100 SAtk / 204 Spd
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
- Heat Wave
- Earth Power
- Protect
- Substitute

Rotom-W @ Water Gem
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 44 HP / 252 SAtk / 212 Spd
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
- Thunderbolt
- Hydro Pump
- Hidden Power [Grass]
- Protect

Tyranitar (F) @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Sand Stream
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk)
- Rock Slide
- Crunch
- Low Kick
- Fire Punch

Cresselia (F) @ Sitrus Berry
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 244 HP / 156 Def / 4 SDef / 104 Spd
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Trick Room
- Ice Beam
- Psyshock
- Hidden Power [Fire]

Metagross @ Shuca Berry
Trait: Clear Body
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Earthquake
- Ice Punch
- Bullet Punch
- Protect

Virizion @ Leftovers
Trait: Justified
EVs: 252 HP / 80 Atk / 28 Def / 100 SDef / 48 Spd
Careful Nature (+SDef, -SAtk)
- Close Combat
- Leaf Blade
- Reflect
- Protect

I had a two round bye from regionals, so I sat and watched the battles. I was slightly nervous for my third match since I was not warmed up, but I felt confident going into it that I'd be okay.

MATCH #1 Round 3: Elmo Trostel (WIN)
So I got a chodesmuggler in my first battle. I was slightly concerned because I knew who he was, but I had never met him before so I did not know what to expect. Elmo was really cool, and it was fun battling him, as we were both relaxed and joking around the whole time. I felt my team had a better matchup from the team preview and it did not let me down. I ended up winning this battle, not easily, but comfortably enough to not be shaking after it was over. Elmo played very well but as I said, I felt I had a better matchup and simply took advantage of it.

MATCH #2 Round 4: Chris Warden / Messina (WIN)
AGH NOT CHRIS! I was hoping to not have to play anyone I knew very well, but alas, I got Chris. He was running his RailRoom (Rain/Hail inside of Trick Room). I got really lucky early on with a Leaf Blade crit on his Jellicent, and I used that to my advantage and took the battle 3-0. It was tough beating someone I knew, but I think even without that crit I would have had it as I knew most of his team. Luckily Chris was still able to top cut, and the resistance from this battle helped him out a lot!

MATCH #3 Round 5: Harrison Saylor / Crow380 (LOSS)
Talk about matchup hax. Harrison and I had been working for MONTHS together on teams, so we knew each other well. He was the last person I wanted to play. We had identical teams, so this was going to be a crapshoot. I overpredicted the entire match, and Harrison knew I would, so it was his battle. He called for a crit on one turn...and got it, that lucky mofo. He got a giant bird in his face. X]...anywho, he ended up winning after it was all said and done. His resistance was nearly 100% so I would only benefit from the loss anyways...but from here on out I needed to keep winning in order to stay in the hunt for day 2.

MATCH #4 Round 6: Ryan Green (WIN)
Ryan was one of Oberon's friends. He admitted he wasn't so good when I sat down, so I was hoping he was correct. His team looked solid and he was 4-1 though, so I couldn't count it as a win nonetheless, and played him hard. He gave me an early run for my money, but in the end I was able to pull away. I won 2-0 and went 5-1...from here I figured I only needed 1 more win to get to day two, but I wanted two to secure it.

MATCH #5 Round 7: Tiffany Mullaney (LOSS)
Tiffany had just played Harrison, so she knew what the team looked like. However, unlike Harrison, I was not as good of a challenge and misplayed her. She had a really really solid team, based around rain, and I knew it would be an uphill climb, as the only Pokemon on my team that wanted to tango with rain was Virizion (albeit Virizion is nearly impossible for rain to take down). It started out close, but towards the end she started gaining a small lead by making better plays. With 2 mons each left, she used Hypnosis on my paralyzed mon and did not realize why it was failing until 2 turns later. I was keeping quiet (although I felt bad) but she did figure it out and adjusted and won. She did get a crit spdef drop on my Virizion with Focus Blast, but if she would have not used Hypnosis for 2 turns she may have won the game regardless if that did not happen. I was slightly shocked at this match as I had never heard of her before, and she was playing very well minus the small blip in the middle. Kudos to her for coming out of nowhere and top cutting. After the battle I realized I was in a win or go home situation- I NEEDED this win to stay alive!

MATCH #6 Round 8: Greyson Garren / Greysong (WIN)
WHY DID I HAVE TO GET ALL THE PEOPLE I DIDN'T WANT TO FACE?! :( The last person I wanted to face was Greyson. I wanted him to top cut so badly but in the end, one of us had to make it and the other had to go home. His team scared me because of its ability to take the game's control out of your hands, so I was doing everything I could to prepare to take that ability away. He led Top/Moth, which was something I did not expect from him since he has never led that against me, so I was caught extremely off guard. I think at one point I even told him "good game, you win" because it was so imba at the start because I picked poor leads to counter it. However, my Tyranitar survived a +1 Bug Buzz, my Hydro Pump hit, and I took down the brutal TopMoth. I then had to play smart around Tangela, and I ended up squeaking out a win. Greyson was obviously as upset as I was to have to play me, but it happens. It was a great match and it ended 1-0, barely in favor of me.

After all this I went and waited for the standings. Sure enough, I was 7th place in my flight and advanced to day two! I was so excited for the opportunity and had reached my trip's goal: top cutting.

After top cutting, there was a player's meeting that I almost missed because I almost left to get food. After the meeting, I went with Peter to get some Chick Fil A and meet up with Luke (Jhud's friend) down there.


We had lunch, and then a volleyball team walked by...and then two minutes later, Kinderlew and Spencer. They wanted to go pick up on the hunnies, so Luke left with them and Peter and I had an intricate conversation with his dad, who left after a bit to "go back to the room and down some whiskey." Harrison naturally found me at a chicken place, and he got food while I headed back to the room with Peter. We sat and relaxed for a while and made plans for the night. I was like "we need about 2 more people", and right then Ben and JiveTime walked in! We talked for a while, then headed out to the streets to look for a place to have dinner. Steak N Shake was packed again, so we decided to pass on it this time. We wandered two blocks before being asked if we were a Christian group by some gang in the alley (who were quite obviously shooting up and smoking weed), and then walked around two more blocks before settling on RAM brewery. The food was delicious, we had a great convo, and Harrison and I had the biggest fish I've ever seen. Afterward we went back to my hotel and talked some more, then it got too late so I had to get Ben some water, get my debit card from my car, and headed back to the hotel room. Ben and JiveTime headed out, and Birch came back, and we went to sleep after that.


I wake up hearing Birch yell "WAKE UP ZACH IT IS 8:10". I was supposed to be down at the convention center by 8:30 for top cut, and it is a 10 minute walk. I frantically threw everything in my bag, got dressed, and ran out the door. I made it about 5 minutes early, thankfully. We got in our seats and before anyone could think, top cut had started! I had to face Nickscor round one.

TOP CUT, ROUND OF 32: Marco Sandoval / Nickscor (WIN 2-0)
I was worried about this match. I knew Marco won a regional, and it was not going to be an easy match. I felt that we had a good team matchup and both of us stood an even chance. His Togekiss scared me early on as it was incredibly bulky, but I was able to work around it game 1. He did scare me quite a bit, and it came close, I believe it was either 1-0 or 2-0, either way it was close and he put up a very good fight, but I came away with the win slightly. In the second battle, I knew better how to approach his team, and did the same strategy, just with better moves. I got lucky at one point (I forget where, but I think it mattered), and from there I was able to take the second game. They were 2 of the better battles of the weekend, and it was a pleasure battling Marco. He's got a lot of talent and could easily top cut again next year.

TOP CUT, ROUND OF 16: Joel Moore / Captain Kirby (WIN 2-1)
Somehow Joel upset EnFuego and advanced to round two after playing 7 VGC battles in his life before that. It was an amusing matchup as he was basically telling me his moves all game. Until the third battle I was not sure if I could trust him, but eventually I realized he was just babbling his thoughts out loud and I took advantage of it. He also did not know his team very well, so I did catch a few breaks (like he did not know Gastrodon had storm drain). Game 1 I got haxed very early, and it was looking down. I could not rebound from the first few turns, even with some hax of my own, and he took me down. I knew I had a better team and could beat him, but was concerned about getting haxed again. However battle two went a little bit better, and I was able to pull off a win. It felt like the team took care of most of the business. Battle three got intense, and it came down to the last three turns, where again, the team seemed to go on autopilot and take care of business. I ended up sneaking away with a 1-0 and moved on to the next round after some of the most amusing matches I've ever had.

TOP CUT, ROUND OF 8: Joe Pulkoswki / Sandman (LOSS 2-0)
Ah yes, Sandman, the guy who knocked me out of Washington DC regionals in top 16 last year. He completely outplayed me in 2011 and it did not change in 2012- he had me from turn 1. His smack down Landorus caught me off guard in the first battle, and he KO'd my Rotom before I had a chance to do anything with it. After that I was so stunned and probably too screwed anyways seeing that I had 3 mons weak to Landorus that I admitted I was done, and went on to battle two. I had a chance here as well, but again, he simply outplayed me. I made two critical misplays that cost me the game, and it felt like he was looking over my shoulder at my moves. He played very well and deserved to move on to the top 4.

So that was it. I was two wins short of Hawaii. But I cannot say I feel jipped or slighted by any means. I feel that Joe was the better player and deserved the trip more. Even though I did not make the free trip to Hawaii, I will be going thankfully! So it all worked out in the end. I collected my reward and watched Harrison get screwed out of his matches with TTS, and cheered on Sandman the rest of the way, even though I also deep down wanted Mango and Wolfey to win too. 7th place in the nation is great for expecting to only top cut, and I will take that result anytime, especially after how horrible last year went.

I went and played some side events, totaled 11 packs by the end of the day, and went back to watch Wolfey win the finals. Afterward we took some group pictures and talked.

Skarmbliss group



My camera malfunctioned and it turned into an awesome picture somehow.

Me, TheGr8, and Crow

Stormfront and I. JiveTime photobombing in the back XD

After this we went down to Steak N Shake AGAIN and had moar delicious food. This time it was with Amarillo, Metabou, Crow, Macle, JiveTime, and a few others who I'm probably forgetting. We talked some mons then headed back to the hotel. I ended up camping out at the hotel for a lot of the afternoon with Macle and Peter. Birch ended up leaving so it was slightly more empty but Macle filled it back up because he stayed with me for another night. We were discussing mons, clothes, and etc. I was told my Nike Eite socks were really high, I was laughed at for wearing socks and sandals, and was "standing out" with my orange shirt apparently. At this point I realized I accidentally packed my long black football socks, so I had a #YOLO moment and wore them around as a big SCREW YOU to you people who care about fashion. You have to GO BIG or GO HOME. By the way, they're super comfy, so go read some more TMZ, assholes. <3

At about 6 we decided to go plushie hunting at the mall. We walked to Hot Topic and they only had Pikachus, so I just got one and Macle passed. We ran into some seniors on the way back, and the food court was closed so they were kind of wandering around looking for a place to eat. Macle and I wanted Steak N Shake again, though, so we went back and each got a shake. Why not? We walked back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit longer before hearing a knock on our door.

"Wanna come do laundry with us?"

The CapriNigs showed up and asked if I wanted to go do some laundry with them. I didn't know how to react, so I declined the offer. About an hour later they came back and were apparently sent down to the Holiday Inn since the Crowne Plaza had no laundromat, but there was no detergent and they forgot quarters so it was to no avail. They came back and hung out for a while before we decided to go to White Castle.

We got down there and ordered our food, sat down, and began eating. Some 'homeless' guy on a CELL PHONE wearing a LEATHER JACKET walked up and asked us for money for a meal. We just gave it to him so he'd leave us alone. HD and Alex decided to stuff an entire slider in their mouth at the same time. O_o Watch the video here.

While we were eating STEVE the AMAZING SIDE EVENT RUNNER walked in! We all were pumped to see him and welcomed him in, and thanked him for his efforts during the day. He had been flawlessly running 8-10 tournaments at a time at the side events, and had been doing it all day long. We finished up eating and headed back to our hotel. However we couldn't just walk back innocently, Alex had to do some parkour on the way...

We saw STEVE AGAIN in the hotel lobby, so we got a picture!


We hung out with the CapriNigs for a little while longer, then headed off to bed. They have to be the most hilarious group in VGC. It was a great way to end the weekend. We were planning on having them follow us back to Wisconsin the next day, as they were driving out to Washington anyways and it wasn't much of a detour.


Oh, we're not done yet. There is still more to come.

I woke up on Monday to Tad returning my controllers. We then packed up the room, I fetched the car, and the CapriNigs were waiting out front. After we loaded up the car and checked out, we took off out of the city and headed toward Wisconsin. Adam and I were going plushie hunting so we got off in Lafayette and went to Wal-Mart. The CapriNigs bought a bunch of Capri and groceries, so we went to Target and found more plushies while they did that. We met back up, tried to cash a check but failed, then went on our way. We got about 20 miles in and lost them, because they apparently ran someone off the road. We got to Chicago and they were close, but pulled off again to stop and actually cash the check this time. I decided just to go on forward and drop Macle and Peter off. Peter and I got Dunkin's one more time, and then I went and took him home. Apparently the CapriNigs, during this time, ended up close to my house, so I told them to wait at the gas station and showed them the way back from there.

We got to my place and it was really hot outside, so we went right for the pool. It was 90 in the pool so not so refreshing, but it was worth it. We played a game of pool basketball that was really close, 22-20 in favor of HD's team. Then we played a game of CAPRI (Horse) and I won that somehow. Afterward, we went downstairs to play some Trials, and after that we ate some Pizza and Chicken. When we got done with dinner, we went back downstairs and talked to Peter via Skype. HD decided to do this shirtless. I'm not quite sure what Peter thought. XD

When we got done with those shenanigans, I went outside with them to help them pack the car back up and send them on their way. While we were packing it, Sean found a huge disgusting bug which turns out is a Dobsonfly (I did not know this at the time so I nearly shit my pants).

The Dobsonfly


Alex decided it was too weird to live, though, so...

Yep, it died.

They headed on their way, and it was the end of an amazing weekend. I couldn't have asked for anything better. It was such a blast and I cannot wait to do it again next year.

Oh, and a massive photodump is going on the next post, simply because I don't want to find a place to put all the other stuff. I also probably forgot certain aspects of the trip and will be adding them per request, reminiscence, or if someone simply wants a picture or something else added.

NOTE THAT I WILL ADD SHOUTOUTS ASAP, TOTALLY FORGOT. I have to go watch fireworks right now but later I will definitely be adding those- check back tomorrow!

Thanks everyone for the awesome weekend. :]

Big Photodump and stuff.

Sorry Macle, I had to

As opposed to imaginary bananas.

Magically Delicious

Haha, nice pictures, enjoyable read, and so many plushes that i want hehe. Nice job stealing 7th place, and you don't know how badly I wanted to join that group pic lol.

Also that fly, jeezus, that was a brutal kill :<
great warstory zach! it was great meeting you! thanks for letting us chill at your house for a bit that was a blast! good luck at worlds!

Oh and you should've put the story about what we were going to do for fishy and the dunk;)

great warstory it was an awesome read!
uuuhhhh KRISPEY KREME!!!!!!!
Team Theorymon<3 It was awesome to work with you guys the past few months, and got to know you and harrison better. It was also awesome to meet you finally and great job at Nats man :)
I think I only ran into you once during all of Nats, too bad. Cool warstory, lots of great photos and one fly that deserved to suffers!
Dude I love telling people what I do before I do it in games. They never believe me. Usually I do it to set up bigger lies down the road...but since I did not know anything about VGC, what was I going to do, tell you I brought Latios to the battle instead of Garchomp? Like I can tell if either one was even going to do anything let alone worry you.
Bro! It was so nice to have finally met you!! You are too strong, and if you ever need any pokemon for Worlds, just give a holler!! ZACHDRO REPRESENT!!
Awesome read and it was awesome meeting you bro. Reading and looking back at this I have a cheesy smile plastered on my face from all the laughs and memories from that weekend haha. It was real hanging out with you and Harrison but steak n shake WILL HAPPEN NEXT YEAR! Also that photobomb came out better then I initially though lol.

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