So, for those that don’t know me, my name is Sam, and I was the winner of the recent Melbourne Pokémon Meet-up. 107 Seniors participated in the event; it was a tough tournament, but it’s nothing compared to what I’m expecting at the Pokémon National Championship, in only a week and a half’s time!
Pokémon Australia’s photo gallery from the Melbourne Pokémon Meet-up can be found: here
The first thing I should point out was the structure of the tournament, which unlike Nationals, did not have Team Preview. This meant we’d have to start each battle with only four Pokémon in our team, instead of choosing from six and being able to see our opponent’s Pokémon. The tournament was single elimination, and each round would be best of one battle, as opposed to Nationals which is best of three battles. This structure does leave little room for the most skilled competitors to run deep in tournaments, as hax is unavoidable from time to time, but there’s just nothing we can do about that—it’s Pokemon!
From my own observations, the Seniors mostly consisted of players who were apt with the metagame, and knew how to play properly. The tournament was not easy, and this is how it played out for me:
I was number 9, and not too long after the tournament commenced, I found myself battling (it took hours for all the round 1 matches to end) my first opponent, who didn’t seemed to be too experienced competitively. I came in with a standard rain team, and I used Thundurus-T as my main source of damage. Pretty much every Pokémon of my opponent in my round 1 battle died to the power of my Thundurus-T’s Choice Specs, which I could use either Thunder, HP flying, or Grass Knot to apply serious damage. The first battle was easy, but then it got challenging from then on.
My second opponent was my good friend Robert Whitehill, whom I battled on the big screen. This was actually one of my most challenging battles, and the one that had me the most scared that I was going to be eliminated. I remember his Toxicroak used Sucker Punch with Dark Gem on my Thundurus-T, and if my Pokémon were to faint, I surely would have lost the battle. Luckily, however, it lived with around 25-30 HP, and managed to take the Toxicroak out, securing my victory. I was impressed by how much Rob had improved since our last battle!
In Round 3, I don’t remember much besides a close battle with a stranger, which ended with my Thundurus-T against a Garchomp. Thankfully, my Thundurus-T out-sped it, but if his Garchomp was at max speed, I would have lost. I won’t name the next two opponents, because I don’t have their permission to mention their names, and I’m sure Rob won’t mind, but I remember outplaying my round 4 opponent on the big screen heavily, because he was playing too predictably with his Cresellia, which led me to double target it and leave him weak.
I believe my next battle was the semi-finals against another friend. This person tried to setup Quiver Dance on his Volcarona, but, fortunately, I had rain set up and was able to easily OHKO it with Politoed’s Hydro Pump. Then, with the rain still in play, I tore holes in my opponent with a Choice Spec’d Thunder in the rain.
The next battle was the most difficult one all day, and was against Michael in the finals. The first match against Michael was a loss on my end, but it was more of a scouting match. I wanted to see what his team could do. I saw it relied heavily on his Substitute Terrakion, and the Spore-machine Breloom. Unfortunately, my Hydro Pump missed in the first battle, and that allowed him to setup Substitute on Terrakion, which ended up in me losing. But, from that battle, I figured out everything each of his Pokémon could do, and basically my strategy from then on was preventing the Breloom from being able to use Spore.
In the second match of the finals, I decided to change my line-up to lead with Politoed and Kingdra, as I felt Thundurus-T was too direct, and I was scared of losing it too early, as I desperately needed it to take out his Togekiss. Basically, I led with Kingdra to take out Terrakion more easily without having to switch, which was successful. I often double-targeted his Breloom, because the last thing you want is to be asleep, and I knew his Breloom held a Focus Sash.
As I got into the third battle, I started to realise I was being destroyed by his priority paralysis from his Thundurus, so I had planned to take that out first before I did anything. I succeeded in that, double-targeted the Breloom, took it out, and then took out his Togekiss with one Thunder from Thundurus-T. This left him with Terrakion, which out-sped my two remaining Pokémon, Rotom-W and Thundurus-T. The only way he could win this was to use Rock Slide and successfully flinch both my Pokémon; thankfully enough, Thundurus-T didn’t flinch, and Thunder finished off the battle!
I can’t really say much about Michael other than me being impressed with his play. I read somewhere that he was regretful that he didn’t use his Liepard in the final, but, in my perspective, I don’t think Michael would have done any better with Liepard, since it’d have to replace the job of Thundurus, which was vital to the success of the first battle. Liepard is more of a prediction Pokémon, when you’re facing it. If you don’t know what it can do, it will destroy you; but if you’re apt to what a Liepard can do, you should be more than able to take it down easily.
Good luck to everyone at PAX Australia in the coming week and a half! I’ll see you all there, where I will try my best to become Australia’s first National Champion.