UK National Pokemon Tournament 2014!


Following on from the International Tournament a week ago, this weekend Manchester hosted the UK National Pokémon Tournament. (Apparently Nintendo don’t believe in breathing space between their competitions.) Having never been to a national tournament before, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from the day; so it was with some nervousness that I set out for the tournament with my friend and long-time rival.

The most striking thing about the event was the sheer number of people who had turned up to either take part in the video game challenge or the trading card game competition. While no accurate figure was given for the day, the combined attendance figures must have exceeded 700. The next most striking thing was the level of effort that some people had put into their costumes. Some of the best included a child in a Snivy onesie, a brother duo dressed up as a mega-Kangaskahn and a girl dressed up as a Team Flare admin.

The Masters division (my category) had upwards of 450 competitors, all having 8 battles each, making for a challenging day of Pokémon battling. The system used to pair up competitors was very good, with people being partnered with other battlers who have the same number of wins and losses meaning that people should be battling against people with roughly the same level of skill.


My Team:

Before going on to my battles here is a quick list of Pokémon on my team for the day:

Mega-Venusaur, Garchomp, Gyarados, Scrafty, Rotom Heat and Aegislash.


Battle One: (Loss)

Team: Mega-Manetric, Trevenant, Politoed, Kingdra, Scrafty, Escavalier.

I went into this battle with high hopes. The team is not a bad match up for mine so I stood a reasonable chance of doing well in the opening game. As it turned out, my opponent was a serious competitor who had flown over from Germany to compete in the UK tournament. He was a fantastic battler who managed to combine unusual move-sets with uncanny levels of anticipation and awareness, effectively shutting down my team before I could really get going. The unusual move of having snarl on Manetric left my special attackers neutered and unable to inflict much damage. The game was close and came down to the timer but he fully deserved the win.


Battle Two: (Win)

Team: Rhyperior, Mr Mime, Charizard Y, Venusaur, Exploud, Heliolisk.

After losing the opening battle I was determined to get a win in this battle. My opponent was a lovely person who was using a team given to him by a friend after his was deleted by accident. That being said he was a great competitor, and very nearly snatched a win. Having not seen many before, I completely underestimated what his Exploud was capable of. It wreaked great damage before being taken down; but once that was down I was able to clear his team away without too much more trouble.

Battle Three: (Win)

Team: Mienshao, Garchomp, Manetric, Mawile, Gardevoir, Talonflame.

Flushed with success from my last battle, I was brought down to earth with a bump by being told by a friend that they had just battled my next opponent and that she was incredibly tough indeed. So, it was with some trepidation that I sat down to my next battle. Unfortunately, my opponent made a mistake in not bringing Mawile or Gardevoir to the battle and as such my win was quite comprehensive. My opening took all momentum away from my opponent and pretty much secured the win.

Battle Four: (Loss)

Team: Raichu, Talonflame, Gengar, Bisharp, Politoed, Kingdra.

I was worried about this team. I was deeply concerned about the Bisharp as it has the ability defiant which raises its attack when intimidated. Two of my Pokémon have intimidate. Not a good start. I was also worried about Encore/Fake out shenanigans from Raichu. That being said, the battle was extremely close, and came down to my Garchomp and Scrafty against mega-Gengar. I should have taken the win but in my haste I completely forgot that some Gengars run Disable. This duly disabled the only move that Scrafty had which could harm Gengar. Fair play to my opponent, it was a great move and it won him the battle.

Battle Five: (Win)

Team: Reuniclus, Dragonite, Aegislash, Chandelure, Garchomp, Hariyama.

My opponent misplayed in not bringing Reuniclus or Chandelure to this battle as they would have hard countered Mega-Venusaur, and it also meant that he took all physical attackers to this battle. With the amount of intimidation that my team can dish out this was a very bad match up for him. It was nice to see an original team though, particularly the Hariyama.


Battle Six: (Loss)

Team: Garchomp, Gengar, Charizard Y, Azumarill, Aerodactyl, Venusaur.

My team suffered badly against this match up. This is a very fast team which leaves little time for my team to set up properly. Added to that I forgot that Gengar can use the fairy move Dazzling Gleam as most of them now run substitute, will-o-wisp etc. A surprise hidden power ice from Venusaur was also a very uncommon move which I have never seen before. That being said I had a chance in this match until a very bad misplay where I completely miscalculated which turn the sun would fade, thus reducing his Venusaur’s speed and allowing dragon dance Gyarados to sweep. This still haunts me.


Battle Seven: (Loss)

Team: Talonflame, Rotom Wash, Ferrothorn, Salamence, Mamoswine, Mega Gardevoir.

This is the kind of team that makes me wake up before competitions in a state of dread. This is pretty much a team of Pokémon which pretty much counters mine. A few of these Pokémon together would be OK but all of them combined are a huge problem. Ferrothorn walls out Venusaur (it can’t harm it at all without hidden power fire) and Talonflame, Salamence/Gardevoir also counter Venusaur well. Talonflame is hugely fast, and Rotom Wash is the worst match up possible for Gyarados. Suffice to say this battle was very short.


Battle Eight: (Loss)

Team: Bisharp, Dragonite, Talonflame, Jumpluff, Abomasnow, Mamoswine.

I can barely talk about this. One critical hit from an intimidated Talonflame ruined everything. (That and three sleep powder hits in a row at 75% accuaracy!)


Final Thoughts:

Overall, three wins and five losses is pretty disappointing result as I was hoping for at least a 50% win/loss ratio. That being said I am happy with my team composition and I am considering only very minor changes. The main lesson learned from my first tournament is that the atmosphere of the day can make you forget to think at critical moments. In future I am going to try and keep slightly calmer and really prepare by learning all the movesets for the most commonly used VGC Pokémon as a few unexpected moves cost me at least two games. Despite the result the day was great fun and I will definitely go to next year’s tournament. Only a few weeks to go until the June International Challenge…..

As ever comment below if you wish to battle on the 3DS or showdown!


Pokemon International Tournament!


All Pokémon have been returned to their Pokeballs, 3DS’ across the world have been laid down (or smashed in rage this IS Pokémon after all) signifying the end to the May International Pokémon VGC tournament. Now that the dust has settled its time to tally up how I did and comment on some of the highlights. For those of you unfamiliar with the international events, essentially the competition is spread over 3 days, each player being allowed a totally of 20 games each day to a maximum of 60 overall. The top 128 in the competition receive championship points which contribute to an invitation to the world championship. Before I go into the scores and results here is the team that I used for the tournament:


Venusaur (Mega)

Moves: Sludge Bomb, Giga Drain, Leech Seed, Protect.

Nature: Modest.

EVs: 200 Defence, 200 Special Defence, 100 Special Attack, 8 Speed.


Rotom Heat

Moves: Overheat, Thunderbolt, Will-O-Wisp, Protect.

Nature: Sassy.

EVs: 200 Defence, 200 Special Defence, 100 Special Attack, 8 Speed.



Moves: Dragon Claw, Earthquake, Rock Slide, Protect.

Nature: Jolly.

EVs: 252 attack, 252 Speed, 4 Defence.



Moves: Fake Out, Crunch, Drain Punch, Detect.

Nature: Adamant.

EVs 252 Attack, 50 Speed, 206 Defence.



Moves: Waterfall, Ice Fang, Dragon Dance, Protect.

Nature: Adamant.

EVs 100 Attack, 200 Defence, 208 Special Defence.



Moves: Shadow Ball, Flash Cannon, Substitute, King’s Shield.

Nature: Relaxed

EVs 200 Special Defence, 154 Special Defence, 154 Defence.


Day One:

It was with some nervousness that I sat down to my first battle of the tournament, fearing that an initial loss would set the tone for the whole competition. Happily, the game was won pretty comfortably thanks to the bulk of Mega Venusaur. Due to time commitments I could only do 11 out of the 20 games for that day. However, it would seem that I could do no wrong, finishing the day with a record of 10 wins and 1 loss, putting my points at 1620 (everyone starts at 1500.)


Day Two:

The first game of the day saw a close defeat, the first indication that the competition had become a lot more difficult after the first day. I battled 14 battles that day but failed to open up much of a lead, pretty much alternating between wins and losses for the whole day. By the end of the day I had completed 25 battles overall, and my score rested at 18 wins and 7 losses, leaving my score almost unchanged from the previous day. Notably, one of the last battles of the day was against a Poketuber called Wolfey who created the Eggy Emporium Pokémon forum. This was a terrible defeat for me as he seemed to anticipate all the plays I was going to make before I had even decided to make them. Nevertheless, a great battle and a harsh lesson in how far my battling has still to come.

Day Three:

This was a day with huge ups and downs, with some great wins in the morning followed by a string of bad defeats in the afternoon. One memorable loss was against a hugely original Ice based team featuring Rotom Frost and mega Abomasnow. My own Rotom’s lack of speed let me down in this instance, leading my team to succumb to blizzard after blizzard. A galling loss, mitigated somewhat by the uniqueness of his team. I battled 17 battles that day bringing my total up to 42, with an overall score for the competition of 26 wins and 16 losses and a rating of 1629. The highest score I achieved in the competition was 1690 and potentially I should have called it a day at that point.



There are a few observations that I would take forward to any future tournaments. First of all, battle all the battles available, particularly on the first day. Most of the casual, non-committed players will drop out after the first day, so play as many as possible on the first day. By the second day only skilled trainers will be left. Second, stop battling and take a break after one or two losses in a row. Taking a break and stepping back a bit for a while really is the best thing to do after a few losses, particularly if you feel that luck has really been against you or your opponent has been using a particularly douchey strategy.

This weekend I’ll be battling in the UK national championships hopefully I will have better results to announce! If you have a copy of X or Y then here are a few battle codes from the competition. As always if you want to battle let me know!


L6KW-WWWW-WWW7-E7HT (This was the closest battle in the universe.)



I’ll Show You Who’s Boss! Top Ten Boss Fights


Whether you love them or hate them bosses are an integral part of many genres of video games. There are many different ways to make a boss fight entertaining, climatic atmosphere, dramatic music, stunning visual effects or even just straight up difficulty (I’m looking at you Dark Souls.) In order to celebrate the art of boss battles, I have out together a list of the top ten boss battles from games that I have played. These are not necessarily the most challenging bosses that I have faced (although some are), but many are included in the list for their sense of drama, narrative qualities, visuals or, in some cases, out and out hilarity. Obviously, there will be many great boss battles from games I have not played that I can’t include in this list, but if you have any that you think rival or beat the ones in my list then let me know so I can give them a go!

10. Taurus Demon (Dark Souls)

As most of you know, this game is terrifying and unforgiving in equal measure, the slightest mistake resulting in swift death. This is doubly so at the beginning of the game when you are just getting used to the controls and the combat system and just the kind of combat technique that Dark Souls requires in order to be successful. So you fight your way through the first level (of sorts) dying many times until finally you reach the pinnacle of the keep with a bridge leading to sweet, sweet freedom. NO! Out pops a huge demon boss ready to smash your face in. And smash your face in he does. This boss fight is terrifying for those just starting out in the game. Not only is your foe huge and powerful, but the confined space makes it so hard to stay out of its way. The damn thing is as wide as the bridge and there is nowhere to run. Suffice to say on my first run through I died several times to this. It really is a hard boss considering how close to the start of the game it is. Very few gaming experiences will equal the triumph of defeating this boss though. You really do feel like a hero.


9. Trevelyan (Goldeneye)

Trevelyan himself is not that hard to face down, but when combined with the rest of the level on the hardest difficulty, this can be a real pain. Trevelyan essentially runs around the cradle as his endlessly spawning minions shoot the crap out of you. They wear armour. They re-spawn. Their guns are powerful. It is actually all too easy to run out of ammo just trying to get near enough to Trevelyan to wear him down. Eventually, (assuming you live that long) he makes a break for the final showdown at the base of the level. There is a pretty good chance you will get shot in the back by minions on one of the narrow sections were dodging is impossible and distance makes no difference to enemy accuracy. Still, once you have him cornered its a simple enough task to shoot him off the satellite to his painful death. Unless your foolish enough to try and use the ladder to get to him. Then you die 100% of the time as one hit will see you off the edge. Beware.


8. Krauser (Resident Evil 4)

This is one of my favourite games of all time, and Krauser is just a pretty entertaining, hilarious friend turned enemy. This battle is not especially difficult, but it is a lot of fun. The first encounter is done entirely through cut-scenes and quick time events, which at the time was very innovative, and is incredibly tense, one wrong move seeing Leon stabbed viciously to death. The dialogue between these two former friends is great and full of emotion. The second encounter sees Krauser morph into a powerful and quick mutant with a huge claw. Going toe-to-toe with Krauser at this point is great, using quick time events and doges to avoid his powerful strikes before catching him off guard and putting a few rounds into him. His attack patterns are varied and quick enough to catch you off guard many times. This is by far one of my favourite parts of this game.


7. Fyrus the Fire Demon (Twilight Princess)

I think that this game is underrated generally, the visuals are great, the music is fantastic and the dungeon design is some of the best that I have seen. Yet people seem to have a real downer on this game and I can’t understand why. Sure it doesn’t have the same charm as Ocarina or the absorbing weirdness of Majora’s Mask, but it is still a well designed and entertaining game. The dungeons are fantastic and the bosses are very well done. My favourite though is the Fire Temple boss. A huge, possessed Goron elder this boss just looks so menacing and beautiful that it really deserves a place in this list. It also has more than a whiff of a Balrog about it which for me only adds to the overall awesomeness of this boss fight.


6. Mr Patch (Banjo Tooie)

If i had to try and list my top 5 favourite video games ever, this game would almost certainly make the cut. I love it that much. Its one of the best adventure platformer games out there. The boss fights are all good, but I have chosen the fight with Mr Patch as the best of them. The witty dialogue between our heroes and a self-important, smug inflatable dinosaur is hilarious and there is something inherently fun about flying around inside a big top circus tent shooting egg grenades at a dinosaur. There is also a certain degree of satisfaction in watching the boss slowly deflating to a humorous paaarrrp noise before exploding.


5. The Bounty Hunters (Metroid Prime 3 Corruption)

This game is brilliant but, way, way too short. That being said the boss battles are beautifully designed, a visual feast and always challenging. My favourites though are the battles against your former bounty hunter allies. I absolutely love seeing the way that their Phazon corruption has altered their forms into twisted, energy charged versions of their former selves. The friends you knew are gone, time to take them out and give them peace.


4. Ganon (Ocarina of Time)

So, you have fought your way through Ganondorf’s keep, killed his minions, climbed his tower and beaten the crap out of the evil sorcerer and freed the princess. You are feeling good at this point, just starting to relax after a job well done when suddenly a huge monster erupts out of the wreckage of your enemie’s ruined castle, wielding two enormous swords and angry as hell. Oh, and he takes your sword away and traps you in a ring of fire. Great. This boss battle looks fantastic. The figure of Ganon was designed so well, he looks evil as anything and really is huge and threatening. More than that, though, is the feeling of pressure which comes along with this boss, the feeling of being suddenly put upon and attacked is very real at that point. When you finally retrieve your Master Sword and drive it into the King of Evil’s face…..priceless.


3. The Star Magician (Golden Sun 2 GBA)

In my opinion, this is one of the best RPG’s ever made, I love it so much. I may do a separate post about this game so I won’t say too much here, but suffice to say that it does so many essential RPG elements well creating an absolutely fabulous game. It was a toss up between the final boss and the Star Magician for this spot on the list. The final boss certainly feels dramatic and climatic, but I have gone for the Star Magician because it really is just so challenging. He possesses numerous attacks and spells that can wipe out most of your party’s health in one go, but he can also summon familiars to aid him. Some of these attack you with magic, others just straight up explode for huge damage; but worse than these are the healers. They can heal almost all the bosses health back in just a few turns of combat, making all your work up to that point useless and essentially restarts the combat. This means that you have to really fight tactically and oh so carefully. You need to strike the right balance between attacking the boss, killing the familiars (he can summon these many times) and not leaving yourself vulnerable to counter attack. You definitely need to have at least one party member spamming party heals every turn just to stay alive. This sounds frustrating; it isn’t. it’s very fun, and the sense of reward is proportionate to the difficulty of the task.


2. Bowser (Super Mario 64)

Earning enough stars to climb the endless staircase and confront Bowser for the last time is a hugely fun journey. It was, and remains, one of the best games ever. The level leading up to Bowser with its dramatic and tension building music is just perfect. It really creates the atmosphere of a reckoning, an evil doer about to face justice through a final confrontation. It manages to successfully impart the feeling that every action in the game so far has been leading to the pivotal moment, this final clash. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.


1. Ornstein and Smough (Dark Souls)

This is probably the most intense moment in a video game that I have experienced so far. Cliche as it sounds, this boss battle really will have you on the edge of your seat as you desperately try and stay alive. Either one of the two enemies alone would be manageable, but together they are a brutal and remorseless boss fight. One huge and powerful, the other quick and deadly. Focusing your efforts on one of them while avoiding the other is the only way to go if you want to survive. You kill one of them and think “Success! One down, this is going to be easier now!” Wrong. The surviving boss pulverises the body of its former ally and absorbs its energy, mutating into a massive version of itself. It’s debatable which one is worse to face as a mega boss, but I always ended up with Smough, and it was hard. Its so nerve wracking, knowing that if you fail (chances of that are pretty good) then you will have to do the whole thing all over again. Even killing one of these foes can be health sapping. Then there is just mega Smough to deal with. Already big and powerful, he becomes only more so, and is quicker than you would expect, with a huge reach using that giant hammer of his. A tough battle then, but its hard to get anymore enjoyment out of a video game than this boss battle offers.


Honourable mention: All the bosses from Jet Force Gemini (N64) they are all just hilariously fun.



So, I’ve posted a lot lately about competitive Pokemon battling and team building as I’m sure most of you are aware. however, many of you may be thinking, “who is this guy?” or “is he even any good?” These would be fair points. Therefore if any of you have an interest in Pokemon battling, team building or even just Pokemon and gaming in general then check some of these PokeTubers out. They post great videos on battling and team building etc. Many of them even have series on playing through games like Skyrim, Dark Souls, Zelda etc. These people really know their stuff and are well worth a watch. I would do my own channel if the capture cards weren’t so expensive (seriously they are like £200 pounds and you have to send you 3DS away for it.)


Ace Trainer Troy-

Cullination Media-

Shady Penguin-

Pokeman Academy-



Oh no! It’s Team Rocket!


Prepare for trouble! Make it double…..

Like most people of the 90’s generation, as a child I was enthralled every Saturday when the Pokémon TV series would appear on screen to show us the latest adventure of Ash and his Pikachu, who invariably saved the day in some capacity before winning some gym battles out of pure luck. However, another constant staple of the show were the ever-present figures of Team Rocket. Each episode would see Team Rocket dressed up in terrible disguises, which our heroes could (for some reason) never see through, before attempting to make off with Pikachu for no good reason at all. As a testament to Team Rocket’s perseverance and ineptitude, I have put together a team list for an in-game Pokémon team based solely on Pokémon used by the inept trio. I have tried to stick to their most iconic Pokémon, rather than use Pokémon which they only briefly owned or only used once. Let’s be clear, this is not a competitive team. Its pretty hard to make a competitive mono-type team at the best of times but with the restriction of using only Rocket Pokémon makes it considerably harder. Still, against less hyper competitive teams it may do well.

Item: Focus Sash
Moves: Coil, Earthquake, Gunk Shot, Dragon Tail.

EVs, Nature and Ability: 252 Attack, 252 Speed, 4 SpD, Intimidate, Adamant.

Arbok’s intimidate ability is useful for reducing the attack capability of physical attackers, which is a good thing because Arbok’s defences are pretty average at best. Therefore Arbok is more of a sweeper. Focus sash allows you to guarantee surviving one hit allowing you to set up a Coil move, which raises Attack, Defence and Accuracy by one stage. Arbok can then sweep using gunk shot for massive damage along with earthquake. Dragon tail allows Arbok to force Pokémon to switch out if it outspeeds. As a sweeper maximum speed and attack investment make perfect sense.


Item: Eviolite
Moves: Brave Bird, U-turn, Confuse Ray, Toxic.

EVs, Nature, and Ability: 252 Attack, 252 Speed, 4 Def, Infiltrator, Jolly.

Due to its status as being a mid-evolution Pokémon, the Eviolite item is a must as it increases both defence and special defence by 50% giving it reasonable staying power. That being said, this Pokémon will still not be taking many hits so is more suited to a sweeper role. The infiltrator rule is extremely useful as it allows the Pokémon’s attacks to ignore substitutes and the effects of reflect, light screen, safeguard etc. This Pokémon has decent enough coverage with bug type U-turn to take down dark and psychic types (and allows you to switch out troublesome match-ups) and brave bird to inflict heave damage. Toxic and confuse ray can cause you foe some serious problems, completely ruining even some of the best strategies.


Item: Black Sludge
Moves: Giga Drain, Sludge Bomb/Clear Smog, Infestation, Sleep Powder.
EVs, Nature and Ability: 252 SpA, SpD 252, Def 4, Chlorophyll, Bold.

This Pokémon fulfils a special attacking role and adds a useful grass typing to the mix. While still not being a great overall typing, the addition of poison to grass at least removes the poison and bug weaknesses and makes earthquake a neutral hit. The item Black Sludge, when combined with Giga Drain, gives this Pokémon a bit of staying power, allowing it to regain health. Sludge Bomb is a powerful special STAB move, but clear smog could be used to remove stat changes from Pokémon who are trying to set up, such as Dragonite. Infestation traps a Pokémon in battle and causes gradual chip damage, forcing a Pokémon to stay into an unfavourable match-up. Sleep powder, as you would expect, can cause some serious headaches.


Item: Leftovers
Moves: Sludge Bomb, Flamethrower, Will-O-Wisp, Stockpile/Pain Split.
EVs, Nature and Ability: 252 SpD, 252 Def, 4 SpA, Levitate, Modest.

Weezing can be an impressive physical wall. With naturally high defence Weezing can soak up attacks from physical attackers. Weezing can also gain the Stockpile move, boosting its defences enormously. Leftovers help to make the Pokémon hard to get rid of, giving back 1/16 health each turn. With a few stockpiles under your belt this may almost negate any damage that your opponent does. Will-O-Wisp inflicts gradual damage and reduces physical attackers damage capability, adding to its staying power. Flamethrower and Sludge Bomb offer good coverage, as fire is super effective against the only type immune to poison (Steel). If you would rather gain more health back rather than increase defences then pain split can be substituted for stockpile.


Item: Choice Specs
Moves: Shadow Ball, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Toxic.
EVs, Nature and Ability: 252 HP, 252 SpA, 4 SpD, Cloud Nine, Modest.

Coverage, coverage, coverage. Thats the purpose of Lickitung at this point. It was hard to come up with a use for Lickitung; its stats are all pretty average except speed which is terrible. However, it has access to a decent movepool and with the choice specs and modest nature will be able to do at least reasonable damage. The cloud nine ability will be useful against teams which use weather effects to their advantage as it effectively cancels out the effects of rain, hail, sun etc. Its two other potential abilities are pretty decent, oblivious and own tempo allowing the Pokemon to avoid confusion and gender dependant attacks such as infatuation and destiny knot etc.


Item: Rocky Helmet
Moves: Counter, Mirror Coat, Encore, Destiny Bond.
EVs, Nature and Ability: 252HP, 252SpD, 4 Def, Shadow Tag/Telepathy, Bold.

This Pokemon is extremely tricky to use but could be pretty hilarious. It knows very few moves and with pitiful attacking stats it relies almost exclusively on counter and mirror coat to do damage. These moves reflect damage back based on whether a move was physical or special in nature. Get this wrong and you are going to do no damage whatsoever. Shadow tag can be useful to trap opponents into battle, and telepathy can be useful in doubles battles as it makes you avoid taking damage from allies spread moves. Encore can shut down opponents in both singles and doubles by trapping them into moves such as protect, forcing them to either switch out or be stuck doing nothing for several turns. The addition of the rocky helmet ensures that anyone physically attacking Wobbuffet will take residual damage, and the HP and special defence investment should make the Pokemon bulky enough to take some hits.


Like I said this team is not especially competitive and would be destroyed by most VGC teams, but could definitely be fun to try out. As always, leave a comment below if you wish to battle!