Sunday, 4 January 2015

[VG] Blunderstomp or Get Blunderstomped

Hello friends, happy new year and format if you care about these sayings. Just some rambling today. Nothing that will change the Pokémon world -- if anything, only stuff to let you know it better. Have some fun music if you like.

(The song I just linked happens to be about people who dwell on the past forever. People have insinuated that I seem to be lost in 2009 forever or something, and it's no lie that I did see better times for me (way) in the past... Well, more on that later in this post!)

My First Actual Premier Challenge

(Yeah, why is Arena Cup no Regional? I top 16'd the thing with like a hundred people and only got freaking 8 CP for it.) Shop tournament time, finally. After I missed the only one close to me last year because of a family birthday, there's at least three for me to play in January. First one is just over, and it was quite a different beast to approach with the format being as new as it can be, literally only 2 days old. Basically, a metagame doesn't even exist yet and there's no use agonizing over it. In fact, the other day I just informally asked my Islanders friend Simon what to do, he answered Excadrill, and to me it made quite some sense to bring that indeed. I went in on the assumption that only few would have mons like Landorus and most would be using rather 2014-like teams, which would mean lots of Rotoms among other things. So I just drafted a new and legend-less Togekiss/Excadrill team in order to make sure I can feasibly get the mons together, and that's it. Also seems more fun than just cheesing people with fucking Kangaskhan -- or rather, being forced into the stupid "who wins the Kanga mirror match with the help of what RNG" game.

I ended up finishing 2-2 and at 5th place. There's contradictory information on whether I'll get any CP for that or not, but I'm assuming no. Short report on my matches in the following paragraphs.

Round 1 I ended up getting my local rival Mirko "Akira" J. already, we have knocked out each other of single-elimination tournaments in the past. I'm heading comfortably into this game as I deal with his Cresselia + Hariyama Trick Room lead optimally. Then a weird turn happens: he gets Kangaskhan onto the field and I Sucker Punch into Fake Out after pondering my Bisharp's move a little too much. That looked silly as fuck, and it kinda showed that I'm so out of practice. However, it turns out that this was in fact the right play! Not taking his MEGA BLOOD SACRIFICE killed his TR momentum, and so stalling it out came basically for free, if you will. In fact, I stalled it out and didn't even notice! We ended up at 2-2 mons, faster Bisharp and Salamence against red Cresselia and full Sylveon. I Protect both of mine and he uses Helping Hand + Hyper Voice instead of Trick Room + Protect. I feel defeated because TR didn't end after that turn and no way in hell I would survive that attack. Next turn I just attack as I should, and yeah, TR was already over before that, you fucking dumbass I! Thus, I end up walking away with the win, but this screw-up is simply unforgivable, so I should have lost. Miscounting Trick Room like that must not happen ever!

Round 2 I got to play another person who later top cut the thing and is also not present on the Internet. Now this was the matchup I actually wanted to play: 2014 team + Sylveon in all its glory. I might have had the game just fine with setting things up for Togekiss + Excadrill, but, well, when one beginner's mistake that goes unpunished ain't enough, have another one! I didn't remember that Fake Out would outprioritize Follow Me no matter what (I had Tailwind up, so I thought I would redirect it), and so I lost 75% of Togekiss's health and Excadrill's Focus Sash for absolutely nothing. Blah, I blame Game Freak for that. Changing the priorities around every fucking generation ain't cool for old players like me, and maybe not even for newer players who are bound to find contradictory information in articles... But alas, I really should have known that, no way around it. Funny thing is that I almost still could have won the game. Sandstorm ending one turn too early twice put the final nail into the thing -- were at least that weather timed correctly for my purposes, the match as it was would have boiled down to Sucker Punch vs. non-attacking Russian roulette, haha.

Round 3 was dedicated Trick Room. I got all the useless luck I had all day in this single game, but yeah, it was useless, because I was probably tearing him apart regardles. At least to me it felt like an auto-win for the Togekiss/Excadrill/Talonflame core after Bisharp's work of denting shit, but we shall not know for sure.

Round 4 I had to play the Senior who had won his tournament already. And it was, of all things, a Togekiss/Excadrill mirror match! And... a match full of RNG. Turn 1, I fuck up a little by not remembering that Scarftar does not outspeed Weavile, get Low Kicked by it but survive with 3 HP thanks to Intimidate. That was lucky; he made a good play there, completely ignoring my Protecting Salamence. Ok, and then we get into the Togekiss mirror... He gets the first Tailwind and I don't deem that as problem. What very well may be a problem is that his Dazzling Gleam crits my Salamence into death, denying me an opportunity to weaken his mons enough. What I then need is a flinch on his still too healthy Togekiss, ignoring his Protecting Rotom now after Tailwind is over, and... his freaking Togekiss gets another Tailwind off right through Air Slash and Rock Slide! Fuck my life, I'm never "lucky" with flinches when I actually need them, let alone are close to being as probably as a Hydro Pump hit! Speaking of which, his Hydro Pump missed my Excadrill not once but twice. Goodness gracious, as painful as it may look, it was totally fucking useless at that point. Since his Air Slash without an accompanying Rock Slide naturally made my Togekiss which was supposed to counter-Tailwind flinch, it was game over.

Here's a fun story. Last time, Mirko lost his last round to a Senior, finished 2-2 because of it but still got into top cut, also with 11 Masters in the tournament. This time, he made the cut again as 4th seed by just going 3-1, but had I just won my match or even my opponent just forfeited because the result didn't matter for him, I would have pushed Mirko right out of the cut because his resistance was ass and there would have been five X-1s or better with me not losing. Swiss system always has ridiculous stories in store, always.

That One Aphorism Holds True

Intriguingly recently, I have posted this little thing on my Twitter:

You've seen it right in my report -- 1 by RNG, 1 by team matchup, 2 by (admittedly facepalm-worthy) muck-ups. And overhearing conversations and stories of other players and matches, there were a lot more mistakes in the mix -- stupid ones as well as those that actually are legit plays but just wrong guesses. This also includes that the eventual winner of the event claimed that he would have lost in the semi finals if his opponent had brought Rotom + Bisharp more than once, so yes, even the successful are far from perfect. This brings me to...

The Frustration Live

Turns out there was a Nugget Bridge live tournament scheduled for the same night. I entered it for shits and giggles, or more like, because I wanted some practice that's worth at least a bit more than Showdown laddering. (But to be frank, I hardly see a difference between Showdown and in-game battling anymore -- you're getting moody matchup draws everywhere and people make plays you don't expect everywhere. This leaves the extended visualisation stuff as the only real difference, and because I miscounted things a lot recently, I can simply use some playing on the actual game. I also really need some Battle Spot soon, for I theoretically exceeded the 45 seconds per turn a lot...) Well, and I ended up fucking winning it. Literally only time that emotionally preparing for slaughter made me actually not get slaughtered.

I'll spare you from battle-per-battle comments here. Let's just say that the Swiss portion was wonky as fuck. Like 4 or 5 of my opponents had team previews that I didn't like, yet only one of them actually brought it to battle like that -- and beat me 4-0 like the idiot I truly am. The others simply screwed up in one way or another, could have had it but subconsciously rejected, haha. Especially during the early rounds I played badly and made some more mistakes that really shouldn't be. One example of it I like is double-targeting a 75% health Azumarill assuming that it has no Sitrus Berry -- and after I entered that super-simple-minded play, well, I had to pray it indeed had no Sitrus Berry. And I never got to know what the Item was. 6-1 and guaranteed top cut it was in the end, why is Internet so much easier than offline!?

As for the top cut matches, they were really nice, probably the best I had all day. Naturally still decided by fuck-ups for the most part, but fortunately not beginner's fuck-ups this time. ツ I'm leaving just the replays of them here, have fun with them if you desire.


Some More Words on the Team?

Well, I think you deserve to know what it actually was with how much I rambled yet again. Have a Pastebin'd team sheet, I guess. Shoutouts to Randy "R Inanimate" K. for the basic team design. (You may want to look up his various 2013 reports on Nugget Bridge if you haven't been around then; it was probably much more of a team building gem than this Hail Room stuff that gets brought up in conversations with me again and again.)

As you can probably tell, the team was mostly thrown together mindlessly. Like, the "I wanna use this, and that should go well along it" kind, because what else to do for a metagame that hasn't existed yet on a local level? The natural consequence is that it doesn't match up too well with some common threats. In the live, I had to face a ridiculous lot of Terrakions and I had to just wing it somehow; I really should have better answers to Terrakion. Next big ohne is Swampert, can be more annoying than I ever experienced Gastrodon to possibly be. One round of the live, I had to navigate around its Wide Guard somehow while I couldn't 2HKO it -- a game I could have easily lost with a few plays different. And then the game I actually lost was against Mega Swampert, which I couldn't even 2HKO on a very intended double-target, and then lost two of my mons for it in return. Also, Kangaskhan is a bit stronger against this team than I would like to admit. That could be less of a problem if Kang were more niche like late 2014, but that's clearly not how things are right now, and people will have a point with it as long as the heavy Kangaskhan hate won't re-initiate.

The Everlasting Past?

I wanted to touch on that a bit again. I don't know, am I really locked up in the past and the key got lost? What I do know is that somehow I'm more "famous" than I should be. If I have an accomplishment that's worth something today, it's possibly getting new players into the game and, well, getting them to outdo me (which frankly isn't a hard task), haha. But as for tournament success... Well, I made it into Worlds in the first year, and that was when next to no one had a clue about how to fucking play this game. It's pretty much like the Senior Division is today -- a few guys that are solid players and they usually get their results without much effort. I am literally an eternal Senior, if you will, oh boy... (Well, seems fitting that Master Division didn't exist before 2011, and so I in fact got my only achievement as a 21-year-old "Senior", lol.)

Anyway, it's really great how the playerbase has developed over the years, and I fucking love it. Of course I would so like to be successful in this community, but if it ain't happening, it ain't happening. I'll never get into the ideal age (which is on both sides around the Senior/Master threshold) for playing Pokémon again. Only thing I can (not) do is "git gud" and I legitimately don't know how. But obviously a good start would be to not make mistakes I simply shouldn't be making, and that I can only get from a healthy amount of practice. And from the practice I subconsciously require to not turn me off, because I tend to get annoyed fast when it's not going well in whatever way possible...

And with these words, the grind to "git gud" kicks off right now. As atrocious as my Premier Challenge was -- not even taking some points with me when half of the dangerous players, including big names like Lajo and appi, were absent, is such a shitty thing to happen in a region with few players --, nothing's lost yet in the big picture of things. If I can learn to stop fucking up, something may be in store. It will be top 16 CP or bust though, because if I do travel around Europe for Nationals, I won't be paying Worlds out of my pocket too.

Take care friends, see you next tournament or so.

PS: Premier Challenge Block Scheduling

Forgot one thing. Premier Challenge block scheduling is absolutely odd, at least for us here in Europe. Apparently, we are banned to hold PCs in February (dead month between Alpha and Omega blocks) for no apparent reason, but there will be Premier Challenges in May (last month of Omega block) when we have business grinding Nationals instead. It makes sense for North America, because they have their glorious finale two months later in July, but obviously not for us. Please remind me to bring that up in the season-concluding feedback thread in case I forget. Can't be a big deal at all, really...

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