Sunday, October 26, 2014

2015 Fort Wayne Regionals Battle Report

2015 Fort Wayne Regionals
Result: 6-2, 27th place, 30 CP

Part three of a three-part series detailing my 2015 Fall Regionals experience. Read "The X-Factor: 2015 Fall Regionals Team Report" first.

Formatting note: The first two Pokemon listed were the leads, the next two were brought in the back, and the two in parentheses were not brought to the battle.

I was able to play in the Premier Challenge the night before, but used a team that I wasn't familiar with and played pretty poorly, finishing 3-3. Top 16 got CP, but I was somewhere in the 20's so it was a wash. I'm not going to even bother talking about it since the battles were mediocre and I don't know enough about the team to explain it in detail. Onto the main event!

Round 1 vs Sean Ring
His Team:()
My Team: 

I had seen this guy around at the Premier Challenge, but didn't know anything about his team. He told me he was using something different so it didn't matter anyway. He had a very interesting Scrafty set, using a Life Orb with Fake Out, Drain Punch, Crunch, and Smack Down. I imagine he used Smack Down alongside Garchomp (and maybe Tyranitar) to make Earthquake more potent. He ended up not bringing Garchomp, however, so I couldn't see it in action. He put Charizard to sleep early, which proved troublesome later in the match. We both switched around a little bit, and I tried to burn Tyranitar once but Will-O-Wisp missed the mark. His Tyranitar ended up having a special bias so it wasn't a huge deal, but the chip damage would have been nice for sure. The next turn I read the Talonflame switch in on that slot, attempting to block another Will-O-Wisp attempt, so I instead Thunderbolted that slot and got the quick KO on the bird. Venusaur's Sleep Powder left me scared, and there were a couple times I really needed a first-turn wake up to stay in good position. Lucario was able to wake up quickly and smother Tyranitar, who would have done Aegislash in that turn with another Dark Pulse. Venusaur knocked out Lucario with a Giga Drain, and it came down to my Shield Form Aegislash with 32 HP and Charizard at full health with a guaranteed sleep turn. Venusaur used Giga Drain on Aegislash and critical hit it for the KO while Charizard slept, and I didn't think this critical hit was a big deal since I was at such low health anyway. Charizard slept for another turn while Venusaur Sludge Bombed it down to ~45%. Thankfully I woke up the next turn, but Flare Blitz wasn't enough to KO as Venusaur knocked out Charizard with another Sludge Bomb. Discouraged that I had lost my first round, I decided to look up the damage calculation for Venusaur's Giga Drain against an Aegislash, remembering that I had 32 HP at the time.
252+ SpA Mega Venusaur Giga Drain vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Aegislash-Shield: 24-29 (14.3 - 17.3%) -- possible 9HKO after Leftovers recovery
(24, 24, 24, 25, 25, 26, 26, 26, 27, 27, 27, 27, 27, 28, 28, 29)

So yeah, that Critical Hit definitely mattered. Even Venusaur with maximum Special Attack investment (which was probably not what my opponent used), Aegislash should have survived the Giga Drain to fire off a Shadow Ball. That chunk of damage would have been enough to make Charizard's Flare Blitz a KO, so I unfortunately had been robbed of a win. Since the tournament organizers thought it would be a good idea to run a Top 8 cut instead of Top 16, I knew that I had to win my next 7 matches if I wanted to make the cut. I was under a lot of pressure, but determined to do my best.

L 1-0 (Record 0-1)

Round 2 vs Shayne Kelly
His Team:()
My Team:

This was another matchup where Charizard could do some work if he could get set up. Knowing his Miltank would probably be carrying Thunder Wave, I decided to target it with Fake Out and start Dragon Dancing right away. Charizard was unable to KO Miltank the next turn, so Charizard was paralyzed while Rotom revealed a Thunder Wave of its own and paralyzed Ludicolo. The next few turns consisted of me praying to not be fully paralyzed and trying to knock out Miltank, which kept healing its HP back with Milk Drink. Eventually I was able to knock out Miltank after a couple turns of breaking through paralysis, and Ludicolo got some good chip damage onto Rotom. My opponent's Garchomp came in and dropped a Rock Slide, which prevented Charizard from attacking but couldn't phase Ludicolo. Garchomp was eliminated by an Ice Beam, and when I saw that Greninja was my opponent's 4th Pokemon I was confident in my win. Ludicolo really shined in this battle, showing off it's great ability to shrug off special attacks and give some pretty common Pokemon a lot of problems. While Charizard knocked out Miltank, Ludicolo got the other 3 KO's in this battle.

W 2-0 (Record 1-1)

Round 3 vs Thomas Spoor
His Team:()
My Team:

Yay! Another impending Charizard sweep! I went with my standard setup lead with Ludicolo and Charizard, and went straight for the Fake Out on Amoonguss (since I obviously can't Fake Out a Sableye). Sableye went straight for a Confuse Ray on Charizard, and I thought I'd be in for another hax fest since that's where Sableye excels. Ludicolo was confused the next turn, while Charizard attacked through confusion to KO Amoonguss with a Flare Blitz. Between the recoil and the Rocky Helmet damage, I was barely above 50% after the attack and knew I'd have to be careful if Talonflame was brought out. Ludicolo got some chip damage off on Sableye, and Dragonite entered the battlefield. He went straight for a Dragon Dance of his own while I chipped him and broke Multiscale with Scald (not wanting to activate a Weakness Policy and fishing for a burn). I was able to finish off Sableye that turn with a Dragon Claw as well. The next turn, Charizard snapped out of his confusion to KO Dragonite with Dragon Claw. Mega Manectric didn't have a hope against Ludicolo and Charizard, and I easily cleaned up the next turn. This was the cleanest Charizard sweep I had ever experienced, and it felt pretty good. Neither of my Pokemon hit themselves in confusion at all, and neither Pokemon ever left the field.

W 4-0 (Record 2-1)

Round 4 vs Matthew Peroutka
His Team: ()
My Team:

This team had a few Pokemon that could be annoying, namely Raichu and Azumarill. I debated trying to get cute with my leads and go with Rotom and Ludicolo to pressure the Azumarill, but decided to go with the default Ludi/Zard again. I was very happy to see the Rotom-Heat and Garchomp on the field, as this was perfect opportunity to set up. I targeted the Garchomp with Fake Out while it Protected, then watched as his Choice Scarfed Rotom-Heat fired off a Discharge that paralyzed both my Ludicolo and Charizard. Charizard was able to Dragon Dance, but the speed drop from paralysis really hurt. The situation wouldn't have been all that bad if I could still get some good damage off (both of his Pokemon could have been OHKOd at this point), but I spent the next two turns seeing the words "Charizard was fully paralyzed!" and "Ludicolo was fully paralyzed!" I didn't want to make any switches and let him get free damage off or risk another Discharge paralysis. Unable to make any progress, my opponent was able to knock out both of my leads without much of a cost, and I was left with a Salamence (locked into Dragon Pulse) and Rotom against a Venusaur and Azumarill. My opponent made smart plays, protecting Azumarill and dealing huge damage to Rotom with Energy Ball when I tried to Thunderbolt the rabbit. Once Rotom was gone, I had no way to deal damage to Azumarill and I was done in.

For the second consecutive tournament, I had been eliminated with 4 rounds remaining. However, my two losses here in Fort Wayne hurt a lot more. I lost in Philadelphia when I made poor decisions, while I lost in Fort Wayne because I got incredibly unlucky while making the right plays. I know that I can't just blame some untimely misfortune, as I'm sure I could have played those matches a little differently to give myself a better chance, but at this point I couldn't help but feel a little bit cheated. I got pretty frustrated and decided to leave the hall and take a walk around the convention center to clear my head. I still had the chance to finish at a respectable 6-2 for another Top 32 finish and 30 more CP, so that became my new goal.

L 2-0 (Record 2-2)

Round 5 vs Jacob Short
His Team:()
My Team:

I saw another Sableye and was somewhat annoyed, honestly. I had played 4 straight matches where I had to worry about waking up this turn, not hitting myself in confusion, or not being fully paralyzed, and I just wanted to play a clean match. I went with my best anti-Kangaskhan lead and brought Aegislash and Charizard in the back. I don't remember the exact details of the match, but I know that my opponent double targeted Lucario with Fake Out and Overheat, so I traded my Lucario for his Kangaskhan (a trade I'd take any day). I don't remember what I did with the Salamence slot, but I'm pretty sure I switched it out into Aegislash. Gardevoir and Charizard came in the next turn, and I was set up a Dragon Dance. Aegislash OHKO'd his Scarfed Gardevoir after Rotom failed to knock it out with a -2 Overheat, and from there it was an easy cleanup.

W 3-0 (Record 3-2)

Round 6 vs Brendan Hudson
His Team:()
My Team: 

Before the round started there was a longer period of time than usual, and I talked to my opponent for a little bit. He was really nice guy from the area competing in his second tournament, the first being Nationals. I was looking forward to the battle, as battling against someone friendly is a lot of fun regardless of the outcome. Charizard did very well against a lot of his team, and Rotom helped to patch up a couple holes. I don't remember how the battle went exactly, but I remember a couple key turns. At one point, I had Rotom on the field against Gyarados at mid-range health and a Talonflame, and my opponent had already revealed the non-mega Manectric. I really wanted to knock out the Gyarados but decided to burn it just in case the the Manectric switched in. I ended up making the right call as Talonflame U-Turned into Manectric and Gyarados probably attacked Rotom's partner, and Rotom's Will-O-Wisp connected. This made Gyarados much easier to handle, and I could turn my focus to eliminating his partners. Another huge turn was when Ludicolo at ~30% HP was up against Manectric and -2 Goodra (who had previously used Draco Meteor). Manectric attacked Ludicolo's partner while Goodra used Sludge Bomb on Ludicolo, who survived with 4 HP to finish off Manectric with a Giga Drain. At this point, I had essentially cleared the field for Charizard to come in and clean up without needing a Dragon Dance.

W 2-0 (Record 4-2)

Round 7 vs Abraham Morales
His Team:()
My Team:

This team was very similar to the standard rain teams that had been running around, so I wagered that Politoed would be Choice Scarfed with Rain Dance. I also bet that he would lead with Politoed and Ludicolo, so I lead Charizard and Lucario to bait the Rain Dance on Politoed, since my opponent's assumption would be that I lead Charizard Y to disrupt the rain. I immediately switched Charizard out for my own Ludicolo, while my opponent Faked Out Lucario (lol) and used a pointless Rain Dance. Confident that his Politoed was choice locked and would need to switch out, and that his Ludicolo wasn't running Protect, I was free to Fake Out and Close Combat the Ludicolo while his Politoed slot was switched. I was able to get Ludicolo down to very low health while Zapdos switched in. I finished Ludicolo off with a Bullet Punch while the rain enable Ludicolo to attack before Zapdos and get off a nice Ice Beam. Politoed was brought in the next turn, and Ludicolo finished off Zapdos while Politoed KO'd Lucario with Hydro Pump. I brought in Charizard, and knew that once I finished off Politoed I could checkmate Kangaskhan in what is my favorite endgame of all time: Subsitute Aegislash vs Crunch-less Mega Kangaskhan. I doubled into Politoed with Giga Drain and Dragon Claw, and one of them knocked Politoed out. I had sealed the win at that point, as I was able to Substitute with Aegislash to limit Sucker Punch's damage to the second, weaker hit. Flash Cannon is a solid 3HKO (sometimes 2HKO) on Kangaskhan, so it was just a matter of making sure I could survive a Critical Hit from Sucker Punch's second strike before I attacked to guarantee the win.

W 1-0 (Record 5-2)

Round 8 vs Jonathan McMillan (MrEobo)
His Team:()
My Team:

Jon is a friend of mine, and we were both ready to finish off the day with a fun match. This ended up being the single most hilarious game of Pokemon I've ever witnessed, much less participated in. I'll just let you watch it for yourself.

Something in me knew his Hydreigon wasn't going to be choiced, but I went ahead and tried to flinch it. I really should have targeted the Zapdos since the incoming Thunder Wave was pretty obvious. When Charizard was fully paralyzed while trying to Protect the next turn, I knew I would have to dodge a Draco Meteor, attack through paralysis with Ludicolo, AND freeze his Hydreigon with an Ice Beam to have any sort of shot at winning the match...and they all happened. We were both cracking up at this point, though his laughter might have been more in the "laugh so you don't cry" vein. A Flare Blitz left Zapdos in the red, but a Dragon Claw was able to finish it off after he Roosted the next turn. I'm convinced that either Flare Blitz was a low damage roll or Dragon Claw was a high damage roll since I really wasn't expecting Dragon Claw to KO from that range. Luckily, Hydreigon didn't unfreeze and Ludicolo was able to knock it out with a second Ice Beam. Jon sent out his Charizard and Mamoswine, and I knew that if I could knock out Mamoswine I could finish off Charizard with a Stone Edge from either Lucario or Salamence. After a couple turns of paralysis and flinching, Flare Blitz connected and knocked out the Mamoswine. After Salamence's Stone Edge didn't miss, Jon said "but wait, I'm bulky!" in an attempt to inspire his Charizard to live another day. Charizard was in no mood to cooperate, as it was knocked out and I sealed up my final win. Clearly not the most clean match, but I like to think it made up for my earlier losses.

W 2-0 (Record 6-2)

Closing Thoughts

So my terrible habit of losing early and winning out continued, as I logged another X-2/Top 32 finish. I was definitely happy I was able to wipe out my frustration and anger from earlier rounds, but I can't say I was satisfied with my performance. I had hoped to cut at least one of the two fall regionals I attended and fell one win short at both. I did learn more about myself as a player, which will definitely help going forward. I showed myself that I'm capable of putting together a string of consecutive wins, I just need to figure out how to do so earlier in tournaments without giving up an quick loss. Breaking through the early-round nerves is going to be my focus in the future. Hopefully I can take all of this experience and information and turn it into some better results this winter.


Julien Porto - thanks for going out of your way to pick me up at the Philadelphia airport and for letting all of us stay in your hotel room. Hopefully we showed you a good enough time to convince you to stick with it :P

Meghan Swyryn - thanks for letting me stay with you on Sunday night in Philadelphia. It was great seeing you again and I'm really really sorry if I woke you up at 4:30 Monday morning

Andrew Burley - thanks to you and your family for pretty much being my lifeline for Fort Wayne. There's no way I could have made it there without you, and hopefully we can do it again next year. And congrats for cutting both events I guess... #QuieroBailar

There are way too many people to thank individually, but it was really great to see everyone again. The people in the community make traveling to these events worthwhile, whether you finish X-0 or 0-X. Well maybe not 0-X, but you get the picture.

Thanks for reading! If you managed to make it all the way through all three Fall Regional posts, you deserve a cookie. Go get yourself a cookie.

Stay tuned for more!