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The 2013 North American VGC Circuit and You: What's Changed and What That Means

blog-nationals_pairings.jpgIn case you weren't online yesterday, Nugget Bridge Headquarters was inundated with a veritable stories, which flesh out the remainder of the North American VGC Series for the 2013 season. There's a lot to unpack, so bear with me as I attempt to make sense of the changes and highlight their impact on the circuit as a whole. Note that the opinions contained within are entirely my own and not representative of Nugget Bridge as a whole, and I look forward to discussing them with you in the comments.

There are four main updates to last year's format in the categories of prizes, WiFi tournaments, Championship Points, and the North American Nationals format. Let's take a look at the headlines:

Prizes Increase Across the Board... Except for Third and Fourth Place Masters Finishers

TPCI raised a bit of a stir at the beginning of the season when they announced a net prize decrease for the Autumn Regionals. Most notably, only the top two finishers in the Masters division received any prize money -- a travel award for the Champion and a $300 travel stipend for the runner-up -- instead of the $300 stipend going to the top 4 as had been the case in all previous Regionals. Juniors and Seniors likewise saw a small prize decrease to $500 for second through fourth place finishers, down from $600 in the past.

Fortunately, TPCI has heard and responded, upping the prize to Masters finalists to $600 and $750 to Juniors and Seniors finalists with third and fourth place in the Seniors division receiving $700. This represents an increase across the board for every placement that would have scored you a prize in 2011... except for third and fourth place masters finishers who will still receive nothing.

TPCI has stated in the past that Juniors and Seniors receive more prize support because that is where the money is: if they can get players hooked young, they'll have them for life. While this may be true, and I'm not fully convinced it is, it is also detrimental to the long-term competitive health of the game. While Seniors has become a dramatically more competitive division since its inception in 2011, the Masters division remains the heart of competitive Pokémon and the division that TPCI should be most focused on growing if it hopes to create the perception of Pokémon as a competitive game.

The greatest motivator is self-interest, and more talented players will come from farther away to compete for better prizes. Increasing the prize to the Regionals runner-up is a step in the right direction, but I'm still disheartened to see prizes for top four in the Masters division go by the wayside. When you limit prizes, you also limit the amount of people who believe they can win those prizes. Relatively few people enter a Regional thinking they can take the Championship; more enter thinking they can place in the top four (and so on, and so on). At some point you have to step back and decide where the cut-off is -- you can't give prizes to everyone -- but top four has historically been TPCI's cut-off and continues to be TPCI's cut-off for Juniors and Seniors.

Still, the prize increase is much appreciated, especially at the National level. The North American National Championships have been probably the most competitive and difficult tournaments of the VGC season for at least the past few years with an incredibly deep pool of talented and strong trainers; they deserve to be rewarded handsomely. While I'm very disappointed that Worlds invites weren't extended to at least the top eight, more on that later, adding a Nintendo 3DS to the prize pool of second through fourth place and a 32GB Deluxe Nintendo Wii U to the Champion in addition to fully-paid trips to Vancouver for all four is a more than welcome change. I'm very pleased to see additions to the prize pool here and expect them to make North American Nationals an even more difficult tournament.

WiFi Tournaments to Count for Championship Points and Regionals Byes... But Will Your Battles Count?

WiFi Tournaments have, in the past, been a fun diversion worth only bragging rights. That all changes this year with the disconnections, it's unclear how accurate the rankings will be. To combat this, TPCI has used both the carrot and the stick: offering a Custap Berry to any player who completes ten matches and is not disqualified and threatening to disqualify players found to be in violation of their disconnection policy from future WiFi tournaments. There is also a concern that these tournaments disadvantage those without access to Nintendo DS approved WiFi, like yours truly, or who are unable to commit to the extreme amount of time required to climb the online ladder in a weekend.

I'm cautiously optimistic for this change. In general, it's a good thing for the community to have more tournaments that actually mean something. The Friendlies were fun, but at the end of the day, you couldn't take them very seriously because they were only worth bragging rights. As I mentioned in the previous section, self-interest is a great motivator and an advantage at increasingly competitive Regionals and Championship Points towards a Worlds invite are both in my self-interest. Still, for these tournaments to be taken seriously, there has to be a dramatic reduction in disconnections or accurate punishment for those found to be maliciously disconnecting on their opponents, preferably both. I can't stress enough how important it is to make sure that the leaderboard at the end of the tournament, and thus the recipients of byes and Championship Points, accurately reflects the top 16 and top 128 of that tournament and not merely those who were able to disconnect "strategically." The upcoming 2013 VGCS Winter Battle (registration open now!) will be a crucial test of the integrity of the WiFi system. If TPCI is able to pull this one off, I will declare adding WiFi to the VGC circuit an unqualified success.

I'm not particularly concerned about the secondary issues of lack of access to Nintendo DS approved WiFi, though I don't currently have it, or the time constraints. The former can usually be rectified at most coffee shops or by asking your parents to change your wireless router's security settings, while the latter is a secondary complaint to me. I fully understand and appreciate the concerns -- top of the ladder won't be the best, merely the people with the most time to kill, for example -- but compare them to a Regional. I, at least, spent a little over two days, total, traveling or competing in the Philadelphia Regional. It's not something I can make time for every weekend, but these WiFi tournaments will not be occurring every weekend. Further, the prizes aren't so significant that you will need to spend every waking moment playing Pokémon for a shot at some monstrous prize package. The most significant prize here are the Championship Points, which... Well. Let's just go right into that one:

Championship Points Pave the Path to Worlds... But For How Many?

Currently, we know that Championship Points will be used as an alternate path to Worlds if you are unable to place in the top four of North American Nationals, and presumably whatever European equivalent is announced. We also know the Championship Point breakdown for both North America Regional and National Championships. The top 128 in upcoming WiFi Tournaments will also receive Championship Points. Aaaaand that's about it.

Questions left to answer: How many Championship Points will the top 128 in WiFi Tournaments receive? How many players will receive Worlds invites based on their Championship Points? Will invites given to players who have already secured an invite to Worlds like the top four from Nationals pass down?

These questions are listed in order of decreasing importance. That last question I don't expect to be an issue at all, but people have already brought it up. Suffice to say if invites to Worlds were wasted on players who have already qualified for Worlds in a year in which we've already seen the total Worlds invites for North America decrease with the still listed as receiving Championship Points, which would be meaningless considering they have already qualified for Worlds, so maybe TPCI really will be that regressive. I would be surprised.

The second question is of more importance. Originally, TPCI had announced that trainers with the four highest Championship Point totals would receive an invite to worlds in a story since pulled. If this is the case, it would mean a net increase of two North American players qualified for Worlds over last years six, including Canada. However, with the European circuit likely in for a

Lastly, in my mind, the most important question: How many Championship Points will WiFi Tournaments be worth? This is a crucial question that needs to be answered because the answer will determine just how important WiFi Tournaments are and just how bad the flaws inherent in the format will be. Currently, we know that the top 128 trainers in any given tournament will receive Championship Points. To compare, a Regional Champion receives 120 Championship Points, the runner-up 110, and third and fourth place 90. At Nationals, fifth through eighth place finishers receive 110 Championship Points, ninth through twelfth 80, and thirteenth through sixteenth 60. There will be five WiFi Tournaments compared with three Regionals and one Nationals. All of this is leading me to an obvious point: placing first in a WiFi Tournament should not be worth more than a Regional Championship or a Top 8 finish at Nationals. The sweet spot for Championship Points for these tournaments lies somewhere in between the 110 mark for Top 8 Nationals and Regional Champion and the 60 CP for a Top 16 finish at Nationals, and probably on the low end. This would make it possible to make it to Worlds if you are consistently placing in the top of the WiFi Tournaments but weighs your performance at the live events, which are the more competitive events.

Second Day Nationals Play Reduced to Top 8 (Now Top 16!)

[Nationals Top Cut on Sunday has been to Top 16. The brunt of my analysis stands, just replace "Top 8" with "Top 16." - Ed.]

In the "It Wouldn't Be Pokémon Without Some Bad News" department, ended up placing).

However, I'm a big fan of playing only the top 8 matches on Sunday for one big reason: it would free up more time to watch the Juniors, Seniors and Masters finals consecutively instead of simultaneously. This has been, by far, my biggest complaint after the 2011 and 2012 National Championships. These are the top players in our region, but I have only been able to watch the Juniors and Seniors finals if they've gone longer than the Masters finals or on recordings later. It's disrespectful to the players who are ignored in their moment of glory and disappointing for spectators who want to see all of these matches. Having only the top 8 playing on Sunday would mean more time for those matches, which is a huge plus. All I ask is that you keep the same format as last year and cut to 16 in each flight and then do the top 32 and top 16 matches on Saturday. This will be a long day of Pokémon, but hey, that's what we're here for.

Disagree with any of my opinions? Have a better solution to problems I've identified? Noticed a problem I haven't identified? Let me know in the comments so we can open a dialogue.


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    • By MattDorrell
      How’s it going, Nugget Bridge?  My name is Matteo 'Matt' Dorrell, and I've been playing VGC since March.  I built a team on Pokémon Showdown and won a tournament there, so I bred the Pokémon in game. The team then got me close to a 1800 rating on Battle Spot. As a beginner I was quite proud of what I had achieved with this team, so I decided to really test its mettle at a real competition: UK Nationals in Manchester.

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      Swift Swim | Adamant
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      - Waterfall
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      Talonflame @ Choice Band
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      Ferrothorn @ Rocky Helmet
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      Day One (Swiss Rounds)
      Anyone who attended the UK Nationals will tell you that the tournament was an unorganised mess and had us all loitering around for 3 or 4 hours before any games even began.  Although for everyone else this was a nightmare, it gave me the opportunity to make new friends who supported me all weekend, despite never having met me.  I think the confidence boost this gave me had a part to play in the events that were to follow.
      Game 1 – Sergio Marcos
      His team:
          ( )
      I brought:
         
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      His win condition was to get off another Perish Song with either Pokémon and to then stall out the last couple of turns with the two extra Pokémon he has in the back.  The obvious play here was to Brave Bird the Gengar and Thunder the Azumarill, so all he had to do was switch in Amoongus for Azumarill and Protect the Gengar, while following up with redirection and Perish Song.  Was I overthinking my situation?  I probably was, but my prediction turned out to be spot on, as Amoonguss went down easily to a Brave Bird, while Thunder went into Gengar to knock it out too.  Lopunny and Azumarill come out from the back, but now it was his turn to believe the game was all over.  This doesn’t mean that he didn’t put up a good fight until the end, as Lopunny used Fake Out on Manectric while his Azumarill went for the Perish Song.  As his Lopunny had gone down to Brave Bird, he was left with his Azumarill against an on-point Talonflame and an angry Manectric.  In a last ditch effort, Azumarill went for the triple Protect, but fortunately for me, only got the double.
      Sergio Marcos ended making the top cut with a 7-2 record, coming 21st  overall, which is very impressive, considering he lost his first battle of the tournament.  Good game, Sergio!
      1 - 0
      Games 2 & 3 - Micky Orchard & Alex Monks
      Although I definitely won both of these games by leading Politoed and Kabutops, my memory is almost blank.  I know for a fact that both players used a Mega-Kangaskhan and I successfully lured both players into having them use Fake Out on Ferrothorn. Not to downplay their efforts, I'm quite sure that both games were close even if turn one went my way both times. Manectric won the game both times with Lightning Rod boosts and a lucky critical hit at the second game.  I'd have remembered if my opponents were nasty, so I can only assume they were absolutely swell people.
      Looking at the standings, my eyes spy that they both narrowly missed making the top cut with 6-3 and 5-4 records respectively.  Good Game Micky and Good Game Alex!
      3 - 0
      Game 4 – Matteo Gini (Matty)
      His team:
          ( )
      I brought:
         
      Fancy getting a game against someone who shares my name!  As our names suggest, I got to speak Italian with him, which was a pleasant surprise.
      He lead with Charizard and Sylveon, which I was comfortable with.  Having a strong suspicion that he would Mega-evolve, I had Politoed do his Rain Dance and protect with Kabutops.  Matteo did in fact Mega-evolve with the Charizard and had his Sylveon use Hyper Voice.  Politoed took a lot of damage, but didn’t faint.  Knowing that his Charizard was too valuable to him, he switched it out.  Kabutops really shone as he picked up knock outs on both Sylveon and Landorus-T.  I did also play quite recklessly as I did lose Politoed a little bit too early.  On the final turn, his Charizard was up against my low-health Manectric and Ferrothorn, with the sun up.  Manectric managed to knock out the Charizard in one hit with a critical hit, which Matteo said had mattered, as his Charizard was bulky enough to take a Thunderbolt from Timid Manectric.
      The critical hit might have set Matteo back a bit, but he still made the top cut with a 7 - 2 record, finishing 13th overall.  Good Game Matteo!
      4 - 0
      Game 5 - Harry Aurime (Adaranoy)
      His team:
          ( )
      I brought:
         
      Looking at his team, I made the schoolboy error of not thinking about Suicune's Tailwind, meaning I didn't lead with either Serperior or Talonflame to taunt it away.  Instead I lead with Politoed and Kabutops again, seeing as no Pokémon on his team particularly scared me and I had been leading the pair in every game to great success so far, as he lead with Suicune and Bisharp.
      This is when I realised that he could Tailwind and seriously diminish my chances of winning, even if I didn't feel that threatened by his team.  I decided to have Kabutops Rock Slide and hope for the flinch on Suicune.  I was going to Scald the Bisharp but realised that the only play that would make sense for him would be to Protect the Bisharp, so I went for the Scald on Suicune just to get free damage off and maybe hope for the Burn.  Thankfully, Harry is a calm and gracious player, because two critical hits, a burn and a flinch on his Suicune meant that his game plan was probably set back by miles.  But it did not stop there.  He had Sylveon and Kangaskhan in the back, but neither could make a significant impact on the game as Kabutops got even more flinches with Rock Slide while Manectric paralyzed everything it touched.
      The loss here unfortunately set Harry back a lot, as he narrowly missed making the top cut with a 6-3 record.  I had a friendly rematch against him after I got knocked out of the contest.  The rematch was just as eventful.  Good Game, Harry!
      5 - 0
      Game 6 - Matthias Suchodolski (Lega)
      His team:
          ( )
      I brought:
         
      Fun fact: When I was a kid, I was gifted Pokémon Gold Version in German, so that I could learn the language.  Being able to speak German at the Nationals with Matthias was another pleasant surprise.
      Being ecstatic with what I thought would be an easy match-up for my team, I lead with my five-win-streak pair of Politoed and Kabutops, because they had done me proud so far.  Just like in games two and three, I kept Ferrothorn and Manectric in the back to lure in Fake Outs from Kangaskhan and electric-type attacks from Rotom-Heat respectively.  He lead with Kangaskhan and Rotom, which made me very happy.  If I could predict Matthias’ moves to a tee, I would win the game easily.  My plans however, fell apart from turn one.  Rotom switched out for Amoonguss, which was to be expected but his Kangaskhan became the first of the competition to use Fake Out on Politoed instead of Kabutops.  Ferrothorn came in, but I was already disheartened.  The game was still quite close, as Ferrothorn managed to set up enough turns with Curse to knock out quite a few Pokémon, including his Kangaskhan which was burned from a Politoed Scald the following turn and doing significant damage against Amoonguss.  With Terrakion and Rotom-Heat in the back, Ferrothorn struggled to not get knocked out in one turn.  Kabutops would have had free reign if I had bought Talonflame for the Amoonguss.  I'd say this was my biggest mistake.
      For 9 Swiss rounds, Matthias impressively went unbeaten and came 5th overall.  Good Game Matthias!
      5 - 1
      Game 7 - Terence Dray (Ty Flowsion)
      His team:
      [mini name=reuniclus][mini name=staraptor][mini name=charizard-mega-y][mini name=scrafty]([mini name=breloom][mini name=sylveon])
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=serperior][mini name=kabutops][mini name=talonflame]
      The first thing that struck me seeing his team was Reuniclus.  I knew Reuniclus was a Trick Room setter, but I couldn't even begin to guess what its defensive stats were.  My guess was that it was a slightly less bulky Cresselia with higher offensive potential.  His Reuniclus was level 49, which made me assume that it had to be able to outspeed something in Trick Room to presumably beat it, my guess was Amoonguss (turned out I was right).  I was tempted to lead Politoed and Kabutops again as an attack from both could knock Reuniclus out, especially if it had to compensate defensive EV's for Special Attack to knock out Amoonguss.  But I saw other problems, namely Charizard-Y and Scrafty who could both severely hinder my plans to disrupt Trick Room.  I decided to lead with Politoed and Serperior, as Politoed could try getting a burn off on Scrafty or Rain Dance after Charizard Mega-evolves while Serperior could stop Reuniclus from setting up the Trick Room with Taunt.
      Terence led with Reuniclus and Staraptor.  I hadn’t even really considered him leading with Staraptor.  In a moment of bewilderment, I used Taunt on the Reuniclus with Serperior as planned, but completely forgot about Staraptor being able to use Final Gambit.  I lost Politoed, meaning that I had already lost the weather war on turn one.  The battle wasn't lost, because Kabutops had me covered with his Rock Slides.  I was also sure that Kabutops could outspeed his low Speed Charizard because I had prevented the Trick Room.  The only Pokémon Terence had in the back that could potentially cause me problems were Breloom and Scrafty, who were both easy pickings for Talonflame.  He switched in Charizard as my Kabutops came out.  Even if  I did lose my Politoed, I felt that I had the advantage.  Rock Slide was the most obvious move to go for with Kabutops, while I correctly predicted the taunted Reuniclus to switch out.  Charizard used Protect while Scrafty came in to a Glare from Serperior.
      I didn't know what to expect next, and I was also suddenly not so sure whether or not my Kabutops could knock out the presumably bulky Charizard, especially after the Intimidate and Fake Out from Scrafty.  I decided to play safely and switch to Talonflame.  I'd say that this was a misplay.  I would have been far better off stalling out the Fake Out with a double Protect and then switching, but I think I was afraid of the Reuniclus switching back in for the Charizard.  He fakes out the Talonflame and goes for the Heat Wave, putting Talonflame at about half health.  Knowing that Terence would risk too much with a Solar Beam prediction, I switched in Kabutops for Serperior.  I made Talonflame Brave Bird Charizard instead of Scrafty, just in case Scrafty should decide to do anything like Protect.  Having his Charizard at low health would also be good, as a Rock Slide from Kabutops would guarantee the knock out.
      Then came the play that won Terence the game: his Scrafty using Quick Guard.  I did no damage that turn and his Charizard managed to get yet another Heat Wave off, knocking out Talonflame in the process.  Out of options, I knew I had to commit to trying to getting lucky with Rock Slide flinches and the chance of full paralysis.  My Serperior went for the Glare on the Charizard, but Terence switched it out for Reuniclus.  Scrafty either flinched or got fully paralysed, it didn't move, that's for sure.  Next turn, I knew I had to get rid of the Scrafty as it was the only immediate threat to Kabutops, so I had Serperior target it down with a Leaf Storm.  But the unboosted Leaf Storm was nowhere near enough to knock out the Scrafty.  Scrafty overcame the Rock Slide flinch and the full paralysis to knock out my Kabutops with the help of both Pokémons' Life Orbs.  To add salt to the wound, the Reuniclus managed to set up the Trick Room, which decided the game.  Serperior did manage to get a knock out on Scrafty during the last few turns because of Reuniclus getting fully paralysed, but did not stand a chance against the Charizard in the back.
      Using this win, Terence solidified his chances and made the top cut with a 7-2 record, coming 12th overall.  Good Game, Terence!
      5 - 2
      Game 8 - Reece Timms (ChicoMono)
      His team:
      His team:
      [mini name=lapras][mini name=thundurus][mini name=salamence-mega][mini name=breloom]([mini name=sableye][mini name=landorus-therian])
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=manectric-mega][mini name=talonflame]
      It struck me as odd that I was paired with someone who was at a 4 - 3 record and as such, already out of the competition.  I would discover the reason later, but I did joke about bribing him to let me win.  Being such a kind-hearted guy, Reece said he wouldn't mind losing and only planned to play for fun.  This did end up being quite a fun game as Reece brought an interesting team with him.  I didn’t struggle much in this battle, but I did have to do multiple double-takes when his Lapras dodged a Rock Slide from Kabutops, survived a Thunder from Manectric, and knocked Talonflame out with a Weakness Policy-boosted Hydro Pump.
      Even though Reece was knocked out of the competition, he still finished relatively strong with a 5 - 4 ratio.  Good Game, Reece!
      6 - 2
      Game 9 - Yohan Pagonakis
      His team:
      [mini name=charizard-mega-y][mini name=thundurus][mini name=conkeldurr][mini name=breloom]([mini name=weavile][mini name=landorus-therian])
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=manectric-mega][mini name=talonflame]
      Another fun fact:  At the same time that I was gifted a German copy of Pokémon Gold Version, I was also gifted Pokémon Red Version in French, with the exact same aim: to learn the language.  Being paired up against Yohan and speaking French with him meant that I had spoken a total of four languages in one day, which I wasn’t expecting.
      Tensions were high along the 6-2 table, as everybody was mentally preparing for the battle that would decide their place in the top cut.  I didn't know at the time, but Yohan is a veteran player, having gotten 15th place at the German nationals a couple weeks before.
      I led Politoed and Kabutops as per usual and had Politoed do a Rain Dance, because he led with Charizard.  The game went pretty smoothly from there, because Charizard locked into Solar Beam allowing Kabutops to knock it out.  The game was decided when Talonflame picked up a KO on Conkeldurr at -1.  Good Game Yohan!
      7 - 2
      With this final win, I made the top cut, ranking 8th in Swiss being the highest ranked player with a 7 - 2 record, which explains why I was matched against Reece earlier.
      Day 2 (Top Cut)
      Arriving at the venue the next day, I seemed to be the only person who wasn't tired.  I had only gotten a few hours sleep that night because of how late we had finished the day before.  Obviously pumped with adrenaline, I waited with my breath held as my first opponent for the day was to be decided.  As it turned out, I got a bye round for doing so well the day before, and some matches were going to be played by people further down the ranking to determine who would get a place at the top 32.  Some really big names made the top cut, but there was a particular big name that I definately did not want to get matched up against.
      Top 32 – William Tansley (StarKO)
      For my top 32 match I was matched up against William Tansley.  Like me, William made the top cut with a 7 - 2 win ratio, losing only to big names Arash and Sekiam.  The stage was set for Kabutops to prove it was no one-trick pony.  My first ever best-of-three match was about to begin.
      His team:
      [mini name=kangaskhan-mega][mini name=latios][mini name=rotom-wash][mini name=aegislash][mini name=volcarona][mini name=landorus-therian]
      Latios was the first Pokémon that struck me on Williams team.  This was the moment where I had wished I had Knock Off on Kabutops instead of Low Kick.  I would bring Kabutops anyway, because of Landorus-Therian and Volcarona being easy pickings for it.
      Game 1
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=ferrothorn][mini name=manectric-mega]
      He brought:
      [mini name=kangaskhan-mega][mini name=latios][mini name=rotom-wash][mini name=aegislash]
      At this point, I think you can easily guess what pair I lead with, but I should probably mention it anyway.  Politoed and Kabutops were going to be perfect bait for any Fake Outs from the Mega-Kangaskhan or Thunderbolts from Rotom-Wash, as Mega-Manectric and Ferrothorn were lurking in the back again.  Things went wrong from turn one.  Just like against Matthias the day before, William correctly had his Mega-Kangaskhan Fake Out Politoed while his Latios went for the Tailwind.  I decided it might be an idea to take the Tailwind to my own advantage, I wanted Ferrothorn to get a strong Gyro Ball off against Latios.  But on the other hand Ferrothorn would be at risk from the Kangaskhan.  I decided to switch Kabutops in as a sacrifice, which was the best play I could have possibly made, as he double-targeted it with Low Kick and Draco Meteor.  Politoed Scalded Mega-Kangaskhan and got the burn too.  I switched Ferrothorn back in, as I knew that it wouldn't be taking that much damage from either Pokémon.  Knowing that one of his Pokémon would switch out, I had Ferrothorn use Curse.  Unfortunately it did take some damage from Low Kick.
      The Rocky Helmet reveal was important for William, as he had in mind to burn Ferrothorn in future games.  Rotom-Wash came in next along with Latios returning.  Thinking he could get rid of Politoed quickly, I knew it was Manectric's time to turn things around.  Gyro Ball from Ferrothorn did significant damage to Latios, almost knocking it out.  I wanted to stall out his Tailwind as well as my rain, so I could set it up again with Politoed in the back.  I needed Manectric to outspeed everything and launch those high-powered Thunders.  Protecting Manectric, I recall was also a fantastic play on my end, as William had identified it as a threat and double-targeted it.  This allowed Ferrothorn to hit the Rotom with a Power Whip.  The end of the game was easy as all I had to do was knock out the low-health Latios to stop it from setting up the Tailwind again, meaning that Aegislash was left to fight against my last three Pokémon.
      1 - 0
      Game 2
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=ferrothorn][mini name=manectric-mega]
      He brought:
      [mini name=kangaskhan-mega][mini name=latios][mini name=rotom-wash][mini name=aegislash]
      A piece of advice that is often given to best-of-three players is to stick to what works if you win the first game and change things up if you lose it.  At first I thought William hadn't gotten that particular memo, but he would soon prove me wrong.  If the first game was heavily in my favor, the second was completely in his.  I didn't want to risk any more wrong Fake Out predictions, so I just made Politoed and Kabutops go for the Mega-Kangaskhan, as any damage was good damage.  This is possibly the only good play I made this game, because Tailwind became a real thorn in my side.  His entire team became unstoppable, as no Lightning Rod or Iron Barbs predictions could become a reality.  Aegislash sealed the deal for William as I could not read its movements at all.
      1 - 1
      Game 3
      It was back to the drawing board for me from here.  William was not going to fall for anything that I had revealed anymore, I knew that much.  But on the other hand I had dominated the first game with the element of surprise.  This time I had one thing in mind: Speed control.  I had to stop him from setting up the Tailwind, but I needed a backup plan just in case that idea were to fail.  Time for Serperior to shine.  Or should I say Glare?
      I brought:
      [mini name=serperior][mini name=talonflame][mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops]
      He brought:
      [mini name=kangaskhan-mega][mini name=latios][mini name=rotom-wash][mini name=aegislash]
      And so started the best game of the competition.
      Talonflame and Serperior were to lead and double-Taunt the Latios, because I knew that having one of the pair be Faked Out was no big deal.  He decided to Fake Out Serperior, which was probably to be expected, but there was no Tailwind for him this time.  I might actually have gotten really lucky there, as there might have been a speed tie between Talonflame and Latios. Serperior was the definite hero this game as it started running circles around William's team, Glaring and Taunting, Taunting and Glaring.  All the while Protecting at clever intervals to recover with Leftovers.  William did not go down easily however.  Although Serperior did go largely ignored, my other Pokémon had a hard time between trying to find a way to dent the correct Pokémon and not taking damage.  Talonflame however survived a Psychic from Latios to knock it out in one hit with Brave Bird.  Aegislash also failed to outpredict the combo of Politoed and Kabutops, going down easily due to Serperiors Taunt.  Mega-Kangaskhan and Rotom almost ruined the party as they had free reign because I had not taken Manectric or Ferrothorn with me.  The last turn came about and Serperior, with a Leaf Storm boost and at almost full health, was left against Mega-Kangaskhan and Rotom-Wash.  Mega-Kangaskhan had visible battle bruises, as it lay in low health almost from Double-Edge recoil damage alone.
      I think tiredness and hunger must have set in, because I suddenly drew a complete blank on what William had on Mega-Kangaskhan.  For some reason I was convinced it had Power-Up Punch.  I was also convinced that he was going to predict me to Protect to get Leftovers recovery and so would Power-Up Punch his own Rotom to get enough fire-power to knock out Serperior in one hit.  I had to prevent this from happening.  If my prediction turned out to be wrong, I knew that the chance of me getting knocked out from on Double-Edge was very low (around 10%).  Even if that did happen, there was no way that Kangaskhan wouldn't faint due to recoil.  Putting all my eggs in the snakes basket, I easily knocked out the Rotom with Leaf Storm.  The moment of truth came as Double-Edge hit Serperior.  Time itself slowed down as I watched the health bar fall down...
      to 4 HP.
      2 - 1
      There was no way that this game could have been any more tense.  This was the only other game Serperior was taken to, having lost the first one against Terence.  Not only did Serperior redeem itself, it also won me the game almost single-handedly.  This was my favourite match of the tournament, and possibly the best match I've ever played in my admittedly short VGC career.
      Great Game, William!
      Top 16 – Arash Ommati (Mean)
      If you had told me on the cold Friday morning when I left my flat to get to Manchester that I would be battling Arash Ommati, the former World Champion, for a spot in the top 8, I would never have believed you.  Here I was, with the matchup that I was fearing.
      I looked at his team.  It was very familiar.  Aaron Zheng had been playing a variation of it on his Road to Ranked series that week.  Arash brought a Japan Sand team.
      His team:
      [mini name=salamence-mega][mini name=tyranitar][mini name=excadrill][mini name=aegislash][mini name=azumarill][mini name=amoonguss]
      I tried to keep calm, because I knew Kabutops could thrive in this battle.  If I won the weather war, Kabutops could get off fast Rock Slides and seriously threaten the sand core of Tyranitar and Excadrill.  On the other hand if I lost the weather war, Kabutops could tank the Mega-Salamence, Aegislash, Azumarill, and although I didn’t know this at the time, his Amoonguss.  I figured that I should take Ferrothorn with me, as it doesn’t take Sandstorm damage and was also immune to Amoonguss.  As long as I could get a few boosts with Curse up, I would be safe.  Arash recognised my win condition: Knock out his Salamence, and Ferrothorn could carry the rest of the game.   I didn’t.
      Game 1
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=manectric-mega][mini name=ferrothorn]
      He brought:
      [mini name=salamence-mega][mini name=tyranitar][mini name=azumarill][mini name=aegislash]
      In the first game I decided to lead with my trusted pair of Politoed and Kabutops with Ferrothorn and Manectric on the bench.  The idea was to hopefully find out whether or not Tyranitar was carrying a Choice Scarf, by bating out a Superpower.  Arash led with Salamence and Tyranitar, with Aegislash and Azumarill in the back.  Although I suspected as much, I was comfortable with the confirmation of Salamence being the Mega-Pokémon, as I knew Manectric could threaten it.
      My memory has faded on the details of this game, but I remember feeling that I played terribly.  I remember Manectric getting knocked out early, but getting Azumarill to low health at least.  Politoed also knocked out his Salamence quite early on with an Ice Beam.  Arash must have been playing worse, because I won the game in the end.  It might have had something to do with the fact that Arash targeted my Ferrothorn with a Shadow Sneak from Aegislash and an Aqua Jet from Azumarill after Ferrothorn had set up a Curse.  I remember having a miss-click this game too, but nothing as game-deciding as his.
      1 - 0
      We took a break after the first game, so that we could both have a breather and a think.   The difference between a veteran and a beginner really showed during this break, as Arash thought about whether or not his Azumarill was really worth bringing instead of Amoonguss, while I ran around the venue looking for as many people as possible to tell that I was one game up against the former World Champion.  Now that I’m no longer a fledgling player, I now know not to make this truly obnoxious mistake again.
      Game 2
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=talonflame][mini name=kabutops][mini name=ferrothorn]
      He brought:
      [mini name=salamence-mega][mini name=tyranitar][mini name=amoonguss][mini name=aegislash]
      In the second game, I thought that Arash had maybe identified his Aegislash as a threat to me.  Not wanting to have the same Aegislash-related problems that I had against William, I decided to lead with Politoed and Talonflame.  I fealt safe leading with Politoed because I had a suspicion that he would drop sand altogether.  I’m not sure what he led with, but I honestly felt that I was playing better this game than the last.  I won the weather war, as Kabutops made Arash do a double-take by surviving a Superpower from Tyranitar and responding with a Low Kick to knock the it out.  If Arash hasn’t been at the top of his game, I would have won, because Amoonguss putting all of my Pokémon to sleep really prevented me from doing any other significant plays.  Talonflame was also having a tough time, because it couldn’t find the perfect opportunity to Brave Bird his Amoonguss.
      1 - 1
      Game 3
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=manectric-mega][mini name=talonflame]
      He brought:
      [mini name=amoonguss][mini name=aegislash][mini name=salamence-mega][mini name=tyranitar]
      I cringe every time I watch this game.  I still have no idea what I was thinking that first turn.  When Aegislash was targeted by Kabutops I heard Arash groan quite loudly, which means he must have been relieved when I did not double-target it.  Even if I did get the flinch on Aegislash, I would have been at an advantage if I played recklessly as usual, as Arash kept predicting me to play it safe.  I genuinely thought I was going to win when I got both the critical hit and the paralysis on Salamence, but I just couldn’t capitalise on it.  Having Flamethrower on Manectric would have also been useful, as Amoonguss would have given me much less problems.  I believe that the tiniest bit of bulk on Politoed would have also helped it survive the Shadow Sneak from Aegislash, which sealed the game in his favor.
      1 - 2
      Good Game, Arash!
      The dream was over, but there was no way I could be bitter.  I was lucky to get that far in the first place and it was an absolute treat to get matched against Arash.  In the next round Arash faced Matthias and beat him.  This made me slightly disappointed at my loss as I would have really enjoyed a rematch against Matthias.  Arash got so close to winning it all, only to fall at the final hurdle, but his win against me had already solidified his place at the World Championships.  Hope to see you do well there, Arash!
      Conclusion
      As much as I love this team, I do have to admit that it relies a little bit too much on taking risks. I am happy about the fact that Kabutops proved to not be a one trick pony in best-of-three games. Does it need support? Yes, it does, but I still feel that it carried the team. Would I use it again?  Probably not. I assume that people will start to wise up about the prehistoric critter after reading this article, so it might possibly start seeing more use. Maybe someone could find an even better way to use it in the future!
      I want you all to know that you should not be afraid of going to official events near you, because the Pokémon community is so welcoming to newcomers and I did not meet a single person I disliked. Neither should you be scared of bringing your favourite Pokémon, especially if you can find a clever way to use it. Who knows, you might even make it further than I did my first time.
      Finally, I want to give some thank yous and shout outs to some people, because (and I don't want to sound silly) I would not have made it that far without the praise and support of the people I met that weekend.
      Matt Sheppard (KaSlaps)(high-fives galore), who was even more daring than me and top cut with a Kecleon, coming 35th overall. Gareth Buckley and his friendly friend Lee (or Leigh), who would praise me like a god for using Kabutops and just being the most entertaining person at the nationals with his extraordinary plays (successfully reading a Zapdos Roost with an Earthquake).  Still trying to find you on Nugget Bridge, buddy! Astronautical, who volunteered to make that really awesome artwork you see at the top. Various people on Pokémon Showdown who complimented me on Kabutops and set my decision in stone to bring it with me to the nationals. The lady at the stand who made the bacon butties which were a blessing between games. Every single one of my opponents, for giving me great games and still being supportive and gracious after being beaten or when beating me. Everybody I met at the nationals who I didn’t battle in the competition, including the people who went: “Oh, you’re THAT guy”, after I would tell them about my team. Everyone who helped jog my memories of the event, as they were quite fuzzy at the time of writing. And lastly you, for putting up with the ramblings of a novice and reading this article to the very end.
    • By MudkipVGC
      so i sadly dident TC this year due to a miss play but i still had fun. but the way this team works is pretty much switch gain momentum until a primal can sweep. most of the time i follow the rule of chose Thundurus or Cresselia chose if you want both primals if not take both intimidaters if so pick 1. since the team only has Mawile as a mega and theres matchups you want Landourus over Mawile you have to learn to play at a slight disadvantage. when bringing TR mode i like to lead Landourus Cresselia so T1 i can U-turn and TR and then i chose a primal. when bringing Thundurus theres a lot more switching involved. Mawile is mainly my mega of chose because it works well in TR and it gives me answers to Yveltal and Xerneas. 
       
      Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Desolate Land  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 196 Atk / 60 SpD  
      Adamant Nature  
      - Protect  
      - Fire Punch  
      - Precipice Blades  
      - Substitute  
      Kyogre-Primal @ Blue Orb  
      Ability: Primordial Sea  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 204 Def / 52 SpA  
      Quiet Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe  
      - Protect  
      - Water Spout  
      - Scald  
      - Ice Beam  
      Mawile-Mega @ Mawilite  
      Ability: Intimidate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD  
      Brave Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Protect  
      - Play Rough  
      - Iron Head  
      - Sucker Punch  
      Thundurus @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Prankster  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 20 HP / 0 Atk / 29 SpD  
      - Protect  
      - Taunt  
      - Thunder Wave  
      - Thunderbolt  
      Cresselia @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 164 SpD  
      Sassy Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk / 9 Spe  
      - Trick Room  
      - Gravity  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Ice Beam  
      Landorus-Therian @ Choice Band  
      Ability: Intimidate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - U-turn  
      - Rock Slide  
      - Earthquake  
      - Explosion  
    • By styrofoameon
      The (Big) 6 Groups of 2016 Nationals Preview
       
      There are currently about 446 players registered for VGC. While some of them are seniors and juniors, most will be masters. This means, as in the past there are in all likelihood 9 rounds and somewhere in the vicinity of 27-36 players (based on 300 to 400 masters) will cut day 1.
       
      However, this year, most people have other goals, and can be broken down into groups based on their objectives. For simplicity we will ignore that a few US and Canada players have CP from other nationals, and simply approximate the targets based on the assumption that this is the last CP of the season, and that most players have a nationals slot open.
      ----------------------------------------------------
      GROUP A: Day 2 or Bust (453+ CP, 21 players)
       
      8 players make a free invite to Day 2 of worlds. This is a hugely important goal. By estimating that most everyone in the current T8 will get at least T32 in this tournament, we can find the minimum target for a day 2 invite: 748. However, something like 59 other players can reach that target with a T16. So a more realistic target is about 819, which assumes that at least 5 of the T16 come from that group of 59.
       
      There are about 21 people who could hope to meet that target with a T32. As most of them are among NA's top players anyway, it is fair to say that not achieving a Day 2 invite would be at least a mild disappointment. At least 13 of these players will of course be disappointed, but such is the nature of Pokemon VGC that it would be silly to discount any of these players a chance for an invite.
      -------------------------------------------------
      GROUP B: As Long as We're Here... (384 - 452 CP, 43 players)
       
      Late in the season VGC confirmed that the T64 would receive stipends contingent on them attending and playing in Nationals. Thus most of them will be in Columbus, but for players at the lower end of the T64, cutting day 1 at Nats is almost certainly required for them to earn the right to skip day 1 at Worlds. More realistically they probably need a T16.
       
      In general, one can expect a lot of these players will drop at X-3, possibly opening up some places for some of the below groups.
      --------------------------------------------------
      GROUP C: Why are we here? (350 – 383 CP, 48 players)
       
      By the current count, 112 players in the US-Canada region have invites. Some of these players will be attending, but many will not, choosing to save their dollars for their trip to expensive San Francisco. Realistically these players can try to pay for their trip to Nationals with T16 or better prize money, but they have little else as a target.
       
      Many of these players are here for the opportunity to see friends and so forth, and one might reasonably expect them to drop at X-3, and perhaps even to scoop if paired with a friend with more at stake.
      -----------------------------------------------------
      GROUP D: Thank goodness for T128 (266-349 CP, 76 players)
       
      About 76 more players (down to #188 in the standings) can reach worlds with a T128 finish. This is easily achieved with a 6-3 finish on day 1. Even with 400 players, a 5-4 finish with good tiebreaks can get the job done, as about a quarter of 5-4 players will finish in the T128.
       
      There will be many pairings between these players in possible win-or-go-home games in the final couple of rounds on Day 1, which will lead to more drama than any of these players want. Players at 5-4 will of course be quite interested in how many people drop at X-3. If attendance is low (<320 or so, possible if virtually no one pays the extra $15 on site to play) and a significant number of players drop, we could even see CP awarded to players with losing records at a nationals not located in South Africa.
      -------------------------------------------------
      GROUP E: Nervous about 6-3... (218-265 CP, 39 players)
       
      This group needs a T64 to make Worlds. Somewhere between about half (with ≈350 players) and a quarter (with ≈410 players) of 6-3 will finish in the T64. This group could be most affected by drops by X-3 players, so it is hard to forecast how many will make it, but there is certainly going to be some suspense waiting for the standings after round 9.
      --------------------------------------------------
      GROUP F: Day 2 or Bust (217 or fewer CP, 228th or worse in the standings)
       
      While some of these players can sneak into worlds with a T32 and technically there may be some T32 at 6-3 depending on attendance, for the most part people in this group cannot really think about worlds unless they are playing on Saturday. T16 of course is enough CP for worlds by itself.
    • By Blue42
      Hello nugget bridge, I am Blue42 and here is a team that has been in development for many months. I feel like it is almost where it needs to be, but it needs some tweaks here and there that I cannot seem to identify. This is not an umbreon team persay, but I titled this "Umbreon and his homies" since Umbreon is rarely seen in VGC and has an interesting part to play.
       
       Anubis
      Umbreon @ Black Glasses      
      Ability: Synchronize  
      EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD  
      Careful Nature  
      - Wish  
      - Protect  
      - Foul Play  
      - Helping Hand  
         Umbreon is my cleric/support/physical mon counter. Having helping hand to boost my teammates attack, and wish to heal itself, or a mon switched in. Protect allows for Umbreon to get a free wish, and also (obviously) protect itself against a predicted attack. Its Foul Play with black glasses can deal heavy damage on pokemon that have a high attack stat, and is able to bring the common primal groudon to a yellow health bar. Umbreon's bulk is a major factor in its usage. Despite its type advantage Umbreon can easily survive a low kick or power up punch from a kangaskhan and is able to take it down to at least half health. 
        Haeven
      Gengar @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Levitate  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Icy Wind  
      - Sludge Bomb  
      - Will-O-Wisp  
      - Shadow Ball  
      Gengar is mainly a special attacker with two "support" moves. Icy wind is used to slow down opposing fast pokemon, and for some heavy spread damage on mega salamances. Sludge Bomb is the fairy killer, capable of either OHKOing or 2HKOing a Geomanced Xenrneas. Will-O-Wisp is used primarily when up against Mega Kangaskhan and when a sucker punch is predicted, since a parental bond sucker punch can take down Gengar in one turn. Shadow ball is Gengar's last move so it has a Ghost type STAB. Gengar is holding a focus sash, because I chose an sweeping spread instead of a bulky ev spread, and this gengar would extremely frail without it. 
          Mama Bear
      Kangaskhan (F) @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Scrappy  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 244 HP / 252 Atk / 12 SpD  
      Adamant Nature  
      - Power-Up Punch  
      - Return  
      - Fake Out  
      - Sucker Punch  
      Kangaskhan(M) is my physical sweeper who's priority moves, and attack stat plows down opponents. Its scrappy ability allows it to hit ghost types with a fake out or return while not mega'd, and its parental bond lets Kangaskahan hit twice. Kang's power up punch can scrape away some damage on opponents while strengthening her own attack stat. Return was chosen due to it being a great STAB, and because it doesn't have recoil damage, unlike double edge. Sucker punch can be used to get a quick KO, due to its priority, and is able to take down ghost types easily. 
      Enrique
      Ludicolo @ Assault Vest  
      Ability: Swift Swim  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Modest Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Scald  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Giga Drain  
      Ludicolo was the last pokemon I fit into my team, and so far has been one of the mvps. It's grass and water typing allows it to flourish in Kyogre's rain, and be viable in Groudon's rays. Ludicolo's fake out prevents opposing pokemon from moving that turn, allowing Ludicolo's partner to either set-up or deal some heavy damage. Ludicolo's scald is able to OHKO Groudon in clear weather, or the rain, and his Giga Drain can wear away at Groudon in the sun, and deal some damage on Kyogre in the clear or rainy weather while at the same time regaining health. Ludicolo has ice beam to counter any of the flying types in the format, since most flying type moves deal massive damage. 
       Leviathan
      Kyogre-Primal @ Blue Orb  
      Ability: Primordial Sea  
      EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpA  
      Bold Nature  
      - Thunder  
      - Origin Pulse  
      - Earthquake  
      - Protect  
      Primal Kyogre is a bulky special attacker. Mainly chosen as a counter to Primal Groudon and other Kyogres, it has moves to take down both, as well as all other mons that have weaknesses to water and electric. It has Thunder to damage opposing kyogres, generally taking them down to around 50% HP. Origin Pulse is used to OHKO Primal Groudon in the rain, and earthquake to damage it in Primal Groudon's rays. Protect is used for a variety of situations; for prediction purposes, survival, outlasting a poison/burn, etc. 
        Chaos
      Cresselia @ Iron Ball  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Spe  
      Calm Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Trick  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Moonlight  
      - Psyshock  
       
      Cresselia is pure chaos on my team. It carries an iron ball to trick away to opponent's speedsters to cut their speed in half and skill swap to pass around abilities, confusing and taking away the opponent's advantage. Cresselia has moonlight to regain its health so it can last even longer on the field, and has Psyshock as a STAB. I have already figured out a number of good combos of abilities that I can switch to my own pokemon using skill swap to benefit them when their abilities no longer serve their purpose, or can be improved in the current situation. 
       
      Any critiques or tips would be amazing and I hope to make this team the best it can be.
       
      Thank you,
      Blue42

    • By TeeJay
      Date/Schedule: 
      SATURDAY, MAY 28th - Swiss & JR/SR Top Cut  10:30am - Check-In 11:30am - Check-In closes -- Any players not checked in by this time will be entered with a First Round loss 11:45am - Player Meeting 12:00pm - Play begins SUNDAY, MAY 29th - Masters Top Cut & Premier Challenge Top Cut start time TBD PC start time TBD Location: Overland Park Convention Center. 6000 College Blvd, Overland Park, Kansas, 66211 (same as last year) https://goo.gl/maps/fQzH4AC1HaM2
      Registration: ALL PLAYERS MUST register at this link http://labs.pokegym.net/register/16-05-000063
      Entry Fee (Cash only): 
      $20 per player, all divisions $10 if you are a parent with a child playing in any division (limit 1 discount per person) Hotels: Only one hotel is offering a group rate. Many events in the area are causing hotels to fill up fast this weekend.
      To reserve a room at the group rate, please CALL the hotel directly and ask for the Pokémon Regionals group rate. All rates are per night stayed and do not include associated taxes.
      Hotel with group rate
      Hotels in walking distance with NO special group rate
       
      Nearest major airport (40 minute drive): Kansas City International (MCI): https://goo.gl/maps/iWS6fWxQ1JG2
      Useful Links
      Play! Pokemon link: Tournament ID 16-05-000063 https://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/pokemon-events/16-05-000063/ KC Pokemon Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/635201656648230/ Player information/preparation sheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ubGGjKrq6nrc67uoYL7pyyidhzO8JlUO3QhM3ea4-cY/edit Registration (required): http://labs.pokegym.net/register/16-05-000063 PTO's website: http://www.feralevents.com/default.cfm Note-worthy food nearby
      Joe's KC BBQ (formerly Oklahoma Joe's) (CLOSED SUNDAY): https://goo.gl/maps/58tNXxxAGG32 Fast Casual World famous - Check out the others on this list from Bourdain: http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/must-visit-restaurants Fiorella's Jack Stack BBQ: https://goo.gl/maps/c3Cu1VGsqF42 Upscale sit-down Generally considered the highest quality "gourmet" BBQ in KC Nearest Planet Sub: https://goo.gl/maps/izxNzMBhkr62 Stream: Nuggetbridge Twitch channel. Hosted by TeeJay and Biffster.
       
      Welcome to my hometown. 
       
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