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.
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!)
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!