Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Back on 2014

Looking Back on 2014

Now that my time in the 2014 format is officially over, I'd like to take a minute to look back on the year that's about to end. I've also played in a number of Premier Challenges since my last post, so I'll do a quick run through of my results at those as well.

Alpharetta Premier Challenge - November 22
Team: Mega Charizard X / Focus Sash Lucario / Assault Vest Ludicolo /
           Choice Scarf Salamence / Sitrus Berry Zapdos / Leftovers Aegislash
Result: 3-1 Swiss (4th seed), 1st Place, 40 CP
I originally was going to fly home from Auburn for Thanksgiving break on the 21st, but when I saw this tournament had been scheduled, I decided to move my flight back a day to play. I fly out of Atlanta anyway, so this was pretty convenient. Obviously, I was really glad I made this switch. I played Crow first round and was in a very good position at the end of the game, or so I thought. It was down to my full health Ludicolo against his Greninja with 1 tick of Life Orb damage. I figured I had the game won, but then I saw the words "Greninja used Gunk Shot!" He totally caught me off guard and won in a great match. Since he's a good player I figured I would just need to win out and I could still cut. I got stuck with the Bye in the next round, which left me concerned that my resistance wouldn't be high enough to cut. I beat TwiddleDee in Round 3 and someone I had played at Athens Regionals this year in Round 4, and ended up eeking into Top Cut in 4th place. I played a really tight Top 4 set and came out on top, while I cruised through the finals against a Perish Trap/Rain team that Aegislash manhandled almost singlehandedly. I was very happy with how I played at this tournament and was able to notch my first tournament win.

Statesboro Premier Challenge - December 6
Team: Mega Charizard X / Focus Sash Lucario / Assault Vest Ludicolo /
           Choice Scarf Salamence / Sitrus Berry Zapdos / Leftovers Aegislash
Result: 3-1 Swiss (3rd seed), 2nd Place, 32 CP
Coming off a championship run, I was hoping to repeat that performance in Statesboro. My first three rounds were pretty simple, including a Shuckle/Ferrothorn stall team, a battle against a player who didn't have his mega ring, and a poorly supported Mega Gardevoir. In Round 4, I played a team that consisted of Mega Heracross, Occa Berry Klefki, and Nidoking. While it sounds pretty strange, it was a matchup that was actually very hard for me to beat. Both his Klefki and Nidoking survived a Flare Blitz from Charizard, which I didn't expect in the least. Nidoking had a way to hit all of my Pokemon super effectively, and I just didn't handle it very well. While I lost that match, I snagged the 2nd seed going into top cut and played a really fun Top 4 match against Maestro. I was able to beat him in two tight games. I played the Heracross/Klefki/Nidoking guy again in the finals, and after a poorly played game 1 I was able to take the set to game 3. I started off very strongly in this game, but threw the match away late in the game and lost the set. I was obviously disappointed with the loss, but 2nd place is still pretty respectable.

Keller Premier Challenge - December 27
Team: Mega Charizard X / Focus Sash Lucario / Assault Vest Ludicolo /
           Choice Scarf Salamence / Sitrus Berry Zapdos / Leftovers Aegislash
Result: 2-2 Swiss, 12th Place, 0 CP
I thought about using the team Keegan Beljanski had been passing around, but wasn't quite comfortable with it just yet. I just decided to stick with the team I'd been using and it clearly didn't go so well. I played pretty poorly Round 1 and got paired up to Blake Hopper (Bopper) in Round 2, who beat me with Keegan's team. I won out from there, but wasn't able to hit the Top 8 required to win CP. The team had just become outdated now that people were all in with the ORAS tutor moves, and knew that I'd need to make a change for the last 2014 PC.

Allen Premier Challenge - December 31
Team: Mega Charizard Y / Choice Scarf Tyranitar / Kee Berry Zapdos
           Choice Specs Sylveon / Weakness Policy Aegislash / Assault Vest Conkeldurr
Result: 4-1 Swiss (2nd seed), 6th Place, 20 CP
There were a lot of people using this team, or a variation of it, at this tournament, and for good reason. It pretty much embodied the metagame at this point, with Choice Specs Hyper Voice Sylveon being the focal point. In Round 1, I took down one of the semifinalists from the Keller PC. I was able to avenge my Round 1 loss in Keller during Round 3 of this tournament before losing to Bopper again in the next round. My round 5 opponent was using the exact same team as me, and I was able to win the mirror match. In my Top 8 match against Logan Castro (Yellowbox), I honestly played some of my worst Pokemon of the season. I made some very poor decisions and didn't take advantage of some good positioning early on in both games. It was embarrassing really, as my Top 8 opponent was smothered by the player I had defeated in Round 5. Since the issue clearly wasn't the team matchup, it was clear that I just didn't play that match well at all. I was still able to claim 20 more championship points, which brought my total up to 152. I believe that puts me in the top 50 in US/Canada at this point in time.

This has been a pretty great year. I traveled to a lot of tournaments, met a lot of great people, and had whole lot of fun. I've covered most of the eastern United States, making stops in Orlando, Athens, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Fort Wayne, Alpharetta, Statesboro, and the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. I've built some friendships with a lot of great people this year, and I can't wait to see everyone again this year. I also think that I've grown a lot as a player, as I've already earned almost three times as many championship points since October than I earned all of last season. I'm really looking forward to the 2015 format, as I really think it suits the way I like to play a lot more. I'll be playing in another Premier Challenge on January 1st with a team that I'm incredibly excited to try out, and I'm confident that I can make a splash the rest of this year. I'm planning on going to the Missouri and Orlando Winter Regionals as well, and really hope to make my first regional top cut appearance. With a lot of room for improvement CP-wise, at both Regionals and Premier Challenges, I'm confident that I can make a surge and claim a spot in the Top 40 to hopefully secure myself an invite to Worlds in August. Bring on 2015!

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