I wanna be the very best. Like no one ever was.
Since I started my Pokémon journey approximately 18 years ago (and I just threw up a little bit at that), I have had one aim. To become a Pokémon Master.
I competed at a few tournaments between 2010 and 2016, but only once did I come close to my goal. This is that story.
EGX Rezzed 2014 – Qualifying
It was a cold and dreary day (okay, I can’t quite remember if it was, but it was England in March, so that’s a fair bet), when my twin brother and I went to the 2014 Eurogamer Rezzed expo. We’d brought along our 3DSs for some StreetPass hits (remember those? They need to come back) and happened to have our copies of Pokémon X and Y. And, for the first time, we were already prepared for the National Championships that were happening that May, and so already had our competitive teams ready.
We arrived at Eurogamer at 14:00 and wandered around, playing a few of the games, including Injustice: Gods Among Us and Clouduilt. And then, at 15:22*, we stumbled upon the Pokémon Ultimate Team competition.
* Side note: if you’re wondering why I can remember the exact minute, it’s because my brother and I live-blogged the event on our old website, gamesappsandreviews.blogspot.com!
Anyway, we had no idea that this was going on, but were always up for a battle, so we quickly reserved our spots. We also had a chat with a guy who had been there since 6am to register. I think I traded him an Aron for something, but I have no idea what for.
30 minutes later, and the battles began! I fought our new friend, and, to his credit, he fought well, but I still came out on top. I felt a bit bad about that, considering he’d been there for hours. My brother also won, which meant that the next battle was…
Twin vs twin!
We’d never battled against each other in a competitive setting before, so this was a big deal. Again, another good battle, but I managed a second victory. And as that’s the only time we’ve ever battled each other in a competition, I’m going to class myself as the Twin Champion.
Then, according to the live blog, there was a semi-final, but I can’t remember it for the life of me, and neither can my brother. So, sorry, mysterious challenger, but thanks for the victory and the pass to the final!
The finals were more interesting, as it was against someone who had a team comprised entirely of Eeveelutions, which was a fun gimmick even before Virgil won the Pokémon league with a similar team in the anime the previous year. Unfortunately, while being interesting, it wasn’t that powerful, and so I became the champion!
Well, actually, I just got a golden ticket (very cool) to the grand final in London in April, but I’ll still count that as a champion time.
The Ultimate Pokémon Expert X and Y Battle Tournament UK 2014 wins the contest for the most ridiculously long title. It also wins the title for the strangest location, as it was tucked away in a London backstreet somewhere. Furthermore, the doors opened an hour late, which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but I’d broken my back at the time (that’s a whole different story) so waiting in a queue wasn’t exactly my idea of ‘fun’.
The event was hosted by comedian and PG Tips mascot Jonny Vegas, as his son was really into Pokémon. He was great, friendly and didn’t act as if he was above hosting a gaming tournament, even walking between the tables and watching the games. That was even despite his lack of knowledge of what was going on, which he admitted to my mum when they had a chat.
The event itself was in a relatively small room, so people were spread out everywhere. There were two boards, one to record your in-game time, and another to record your StreetPass hits. It was then that I realised that I might be out of my depth. I had thought that my 100-150 hours was a fairly respectable time, and could get me on the board, only to find that it was pretty much full of people who had maxed out their in-game timer at over 999:59 hours. So… yeah.
Annoyingly, the only merchandise you could get was by spinning the ‘Wheel of Swag’ (I still can’t believe it was called that). I won a Pokédex Trainer Kit, which I’ve still got boxed up, and my mum won a Yveltal keyring, which I randomly stumbled upon while editing this article.
I drew Table 1 and was competing in the Ultimate Pokémon Expert category as I was over 13. This could have won me a ‘week-long trip for two to Japan’ as well as ‘fast track entry to the second round of the official Play! Pokémon UK VGC event in May’. So a lot was on the line.
It’s a shame that nothing else happened. What? The battles? They weren’t really important. Oh, fine, well there were four of them. The results? Irrelevant.
Look, I wish I could say that I won in a blaze of glory, and that my next article is about that trip to Japan. But I’d be lying. I lost all the games, okay?! Happy now? Happier than I was, certainly!
Unfortunately, I can’t really remember anything about the games, specifically, besides one. I was using a Rotom-Wash, and I was fighting a Conkeldurr. I’m sure the Pokémon players amongst our reader-base can guess where this is going. I used Will-O-Wisp, burned the Conkeldurr, and he obliterated me.
I asked my competitor why his fighting-type had seemed to get more powerful after being burned, considering the status effect should have decreased the damage from physical moves by half. He answered simply with ‘Guts’ (okay, in all fairness, he was actually very nice, explaining to the kid he’d just destroyed, exactly why he had won). This is Conkeldurr’s ability, which increases its attack by 50% when afflicted with a status and ignores the stat-lowering effect of Burn. It was fair to say that I wasn’t the Ultimate Pokémon Expert.
A quick few other trivia points about the event. One, there was a cosplay competition, but my Pikachu onesie hadn’t arrived in time, so I just went with the Pokéballs we got for pre-ordering X and Y, as well as some Groudon and Torchic figures. I didn’t win that contest either. Two, the UK two-time Masters champion was there, but not competing, and the Junior UK champion did compete. Not against me, but I didn’t need help to lose! Finally, I was a stupid teenager and didn’t eat, and so almost fainted when I tripped over someone’s legs. So all around, it went well!
But, seriously, it was a fantastic event, and I wish Pokémon did more of these ‘smaller’ tournaments in the UK. It was great fun, and a brilliant experience.
But I still have a long way to go to become the very best. That no one ever was.
And that’s all! Have you competed in any video game tournaments, Pokémon or otherwise? Were you at the Battle Tournament itself? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for visiting NintendoLink!