Friday – After finding out on Monday that I was going to go to CA States, I had obtained a bus ticket to Oakland and then planned to catch a ride with TRUK, Andrew and his mom down to Pasadena. I got up at 8, had some breakfast, then caught the bus. After an uneventful, long, and boring ride, I finally made it down to Oakland and TRUK picked me up. We then headed to San Francisco to pick up his great grandma and went out to dinner. The food was seriously killer. That was definitely some of the best clam chowder I’ve ever had (seafood + California = win). After a delightful meal, TRUK and I headed back down to his place and hung out for a few hours before Andrew arrived at like 11:30. We packed all kinds of snacks and movies and stuff (that we didn’t actually watch). Saturday - We headed out mostly down the 5 to Pasadena and arrived at about 6:30 a.m. Practically dead from lack of sleep, we found two lovely couches in the Hilton’s lobby (event venue) and crashed for like an hour maybe. Sleeping in the car was just not working. With knowledge of the previous California States, I figured there was a chance the attendance could reach as much as 300 this year, but that was not the case. At first it seemed like there wasn’t too many people in the room, but as registration progressed, it became crowded. We ended up with 200+ total for the tournament and 111 in 15+. I figured 0 or 1 players with a 5-2 record would make T8, so 6-1 or 7-0 were the only options. After much testing and a few changes from Oregon States, I decided to go with Blaziken/Magmortar again. Round 1 vs Gardevoir/Gallade/Porygon 2: My start was sort of weak this game, but for some reason my opponent didn’t want to flip 4 prizes to OHKO my Blaziken GE with Psychic Cut. There were also some other strange plays made, but they helped me to really set up and I eventually got up on prizes and time was called. I had the win a couple turns later, anyways. 1-0 Round 2 vs Absol/Empoleon: I opted to open with Baltoy and my opponent conveniently flips over Absol. Not bad. I also have a great hand against an Absol based deck: 4 draw cards. Problem is, he hit 3 of them =/. He brought up a T3 Empoleon and I wasn’t really drawing much, but since he attached Cessation Crystal, I was able to do 70 with Pachirisu (FTW!). He seemed to really draw dead after the opening Empoleon and I was able to draw into evolutions and Scrambles and wreck his face. 2-0 Lunch Break – TRUK was 1-1, and decided to go take a nap during the break. I headed over with Daniel, Jason and some others to some food court in an outdoor mall. After enjoying a good meal, we headed back. At least now I had some energy from the food to continue on. Round 3 vs IDon’tRemember.dec: I seriously don’t have a clue. 3-0 Round 4 vs Dunno.dec: This was a game that I don’t remember, but I did win. 4-0 Round 5 vs Gardevoir/Gallade/Lucario: I get what looks like a pretty good start, until I’m looking through my deck and there’s 3 Torchic prized, real mature. I goes back and forth for a couple prizes and I still haven’t drawn one of my 3 prized Torchic =\. If I had gotten it earlier, it would have been a much easier game. My opponent ended up taking 4-5 minute turns later in the game with tied prizes which was pretty annoying considering I was obviously going to win a full game. I took my 4th prize, finally getting a Torchic, and Rare Candied to Blaziken PK and just powered stuff up and won. 5-0 Round 6 vs Togekiss/Magmortar: I remember my opponent getting a pretty good start, and I had to use Baltoy to set up. I drew into Claydol and got some things going and started the comeback via Scrambles. Time was called on my turn and I was up on prizes and legitimately had a full game won a couple of turns later. 6-0 Round 7 vs Salamence SW/ex d: I had talked with Leo who just lost to this deck, so I had an idea of what was in it. He told me that there were Memory Berries to make use of Bagon’s Rage attack. Seemed pretty annoying to me. Anyways, I manage to get my best start of the day with a T2 Blaze GE doing Fire Dance. He doesn’t get a Claydol for a long time and I constantly do bench damage with Blaze and Magmortar. I Wager him, win it and get a KO at a crucial and he draws pretty much dead. Time is called when I have one prize left and I had the win the next turn anyways. 7-0 I obviously make the cut as the top seed and we are given a 30 minute dinner break. This really wasn’t enough time after I had to sort out my deck and turn it in, but it’s all good. We all decide we’ll just eat after the event. Before I turn my deck in, Kim (Bulbasnore) conducts an interview with me for the Pokegym podcasts. It was short, but fun and I recommend that everyone listens to it . Anyways, TRUK and Andrew also made T8, both at 6-1, so our whole car made it out of 111 players, not bad. I was to face off against my Round 6 opponent in T8. T8 vs Togekiss/Magmortar: Game 1: He seems to get an eh start, and I start with Pachy and Celio in hand. He goes first and opens with Togepi and puts me to sleep. I naturally flip tails on the sleep check, but still Celio for Claydol, attach energy and pass. I flip tails again in between turns. He hits heads on Togepi’s Pokemon search attack thing and still doesn’t have much out. I miss the sleep check yet again =\. I TV Reporter into a Warp Point and waste an energy to retreat Torchic so I can Call for Family. Pretty annoying. To make matters worse, he Wagers me the next turn and wins it, so I lose Claydol. How lucky can you get? Yikes. He starts to get some things going, and gets up a couple prizes at some point. I basically start Scrambling and just go completely nuts on him later in the game. I win by two prizes after he is drawing dead from a Wager with about 30 minutes left. Game 2: We both get Magmar starts and he opts to play first. He does absolutely nothing and just passes. I am thoroughly confused as to why he would choose to play first with no energy, so yeah. I draw and don’t have a Celio or another Basic, so I TVR and get a Celio and it looks like I will be setting up in a turn or two pretty nicely. I attach a Fire to Magmar and do 20. He draws, plays Togepi/RC/Togekiss, gets 4 energy off of it, and evolves to Magmortar and KOs me FTW, wow. This guy’s luck was really vexing, but I shake it off and am determined to win Game 3. Game 3: So, we have about 20-25 minutes remaining. He gets an insane start, basically getting tons of stuff out by T3. He gets another early jump on me, but I get some great draws and get up double Claydol. I overwhelm him with multiple Blazes wrecking his bench later in the game after a successful Wager. I think time was called or he scooped or something, but I had like one prize left. 8-0 TRUK ends up losing to the Salamence deck by not getting amazing starts and just having multiple problems with Memory Berry, etc. Bad beat. Andrew beats some Electivire thing with GG so I have to play him. T4 vs Gardevoir/Gallade/Furret: Game 1: He starts with Sentret and we both get fairly good starts. He begins to Psychic Lock me T3 and I start to use Flame Dance to power up my stuff. After something like 7 consecutive Power Locks, I start to draw into Scrambles and evolutions via my increased draw line. He gets up two prizes and I start the comeback. He has Gardevoir X prized, but quickly KOs my first Magmortar X with Gallade and flips it up. He doesn’t choose the GX as I have multiple damage on his field and he can’t Bring Down for a prize. I continue the damage spread and stay one or two prizes down. He plays down Feraligatr and uses his 3rd RC of the game so that I don’t Wager and leave him with a small hand. Even with Telepass and such, it would be impossible for him to draw into everything he had again to gain a OHKO with Gatr. I do 100 to the Feraligatr with Magmortar X and then use another Magmortar to get his Gallade and Gardevoir to 10 HP remaining and KO the Gatr. At this point I know he can’t KO the Magmortar, so I believe he uses Sonic Blade on it. I bring up Pachy and FS, bring up Blaze PK, Wager and then Fire Stream for two prizes, to get to one prize down. He is left with just a Kirlia and a 4 card hand when he draws. He uses Night Maintenance to get back the Gatr line and a Gardevoir. I simply get another Blaze GE the next turn and snipe the Kirlia. I know he has no way to get any KOs except with Feraligatr and he’s going to have hard draw multiple energy and the 4th RC to get even one KO. Even at that point, I have an answer for the Feraligatr and his Furret and other benched Pokemon are going to be KOd by Fireball Bazooka the next turn. He sees that I have the win the next turn and correctly scoops. Game 2: The first game took about 45 minutes, so by the time we shuffle and cut and set up, there’s like 12 minutes left. I get up Pachy and CFF T2 and get a full setup on T3. He has a T1 Furret and an amazing start, but mine is just plain sick. Power lock really isn’t even an option for him with the setup I have. He gets up a prize, but I quickly get up Magmortar X and I think I’d have had the game by a prize in the end, but time is called. 9-0 Leo ends up beating the Salamence deck, so I get to face Togekiss/Magmortar again, yay. We wish each other luck and start the game. Finals vs Togekiss/Magmortar: Game 1: We both get pretty good starts this game and it goes very similar to some of my previous games against this deck. He misses a crucial burn flip from my Magmortar X to KO his and I am able to land a key Wager later in the game. I seize control of the game and come from behind with Scrambles yet again, KOing his threats with Blaze GE and Magmortar X that he is trying to build. There’s about 30 minutes for the second game left, so we shuffle up and deal. Game 2: He gets what I’d call an obscenely ridiculous start: T2 double Claydol, Magmortar, and two Togekisses. He manages to get 4-5 energy total off both of them, which is pretty normal. I get down a couple prizes and start to comeback. I wasn’t drawing well off Claydol or my draw cards at all this game, so it was pretty lame. He eventually KOs my Claydol, but there’s still a key turn where I Wager (after I’m not drawing more energy/trainers, ugh) and win it and need a Scramble off of it to KO. I whiff it, or I’d have been in a decent position to come back for the win. I continue playing on, trying to get some things going, but my draws are really getting bad. He gets a couple more KOs, but time is called on my turn and he has two prizes left. Not much I can do about that, I would have liked to play a full match with him, but it’s impossible in this format. So I pull out the win and am the 2008 California State Champion with a record of 10-0. I get my prizes, shake some hands and we head off to our hotel down the street. We get to the hotel and try to figure out where we’re going to eat. As we walk into the lobby, the restaurant there is conveniently open until 10:30, and it’s like 10:20. Must be my day. We get some pretty good pizza and stuff and then go back to the room. After cracking open the box (ugh one Lvl. X in every box, so lame) we talk and then hit the sack. After another 6 hours back to TRUK’s, he takes me to the bus station at 3 and I get to ride another 6.5 hours home. Too much sitting, but hey, it was worth it. Props: - The Staff. Seriously, this event was really organized and legitimate and all of you did an excellent job. Very impressive. Shout out to Chrisbo for being freakin awesome. - Andrew’s mom for driving us down - TRUK for cards, etc. - Team HB, especially Pooka for the amazing changes to the deck that were perfect - Blaziken GE (it’s SOOOO GOOD!) - Team Galactic’s Wager and how good I am at RPS - My first ever undefeated record - The 136.5 rating points I gained for winning this event - Actually being able to go to two States this year, despite them being really far away - Sou and Alex Wooton for showing up and being cool - Kim for the interview and awesomeness - Matt Chin Slops - All the sitting I had to do to get to this event - People who complain when they have no room to compared to how far I have to travel - Everyone that got to go to a ridiculous amount of Cities to gain an inflated rating - People who drop when they have a good record to “preserve points”, give me a break. - Having to basically play perfect and have amazing records all season to gain an invite even though my record in California in the last few years is quite impressive - No added points/prizes for attendance. Seriously we get the most players EVERY year, I went to the two largest States and we have plenty of legitimate players. Where’s the rewards? - 5-2s routinely missing on the West Coast when 4 and even 3-2s have made the cut in other States (and countries) before - California States never being in Northern California - Getting T2d by a Magmortar - Ratings - Nats/Worlds both being on the Eastern side of the U.S. (even though I’m going to both regardless) Seriously, I’m just dealing with things by winning. If posting an 80-90% win rate, never losing more than two games a tournament, and playing in the only 7 events or so I can go to isn’t enough to get an invite this time like last year, I don’t know what to say. Thanks for a great event everyone.