Wednesday I leave Seattle at 5:30 am, we get delayed at Denver airport during our layover for three hours because a generator stopped working just as the plane was about to take off. Anyway, I finally arrive in Columbus at 7:00. I hang around a bit, talking to random pokemon players and hanging out with Levi for most of the day until the tornado warning hits. We huddle around for about an hour joking about the Origins events catalog while waiting for the storm to subside. I find Ross in his room and we start discussing decks and scouting information, which Michael carefully constructed, but his handwriting is so godawful the only thing I can make out is a few chicken scratches on his notebook. We decide to call up Paul and have him arrive with beedrill cards in case we need them for Saturday. After the storm gets less crazy, Michael and I go back to the room and dodge lightning on the way back. Thursday I wake up early for volunteering at the TCG/TFG booth and start teaching new players for a few hours. Not much happens today other than saying hi to all the players who are finally arriving. I have dinner with the Fouchets and their friends from Long Island at the Elevator. Personally, I don't get what's with cooking your own steak at a resturant, but to each his own I guess. Friday Professor cup. Most of this is a blur because my showing at Nationals has basically taken up most of my "OMG I'M SO GOOD AT POKEMON" section of my mind rather than this tournament. I decide to run donphan/fearow/cessation, I really should have picked something else but this is all I had atm. Round one vs Steve P Right off the bat I start with a lone unown Q and he has a unown M. He goes first and plays a buffer piece, then flips heads for 30. Koing my unown Q. BUT WAIT, he played a buffer piece, the judges come up and make him rewind the whole thing, including the flip, which is tails. I quickly set up and take the game. 1-0 Round two vs some lady from vegas dressed in a pokemart cosplay with raichu/manectric Pretty easy game, set up donphan and win. 2-0 Round three vs. Adam Vernola with a kitchen sink deck. Donphan, breloom, dodrio, kekleon, you name it he's got it. I fail to set up in time and Vernola just runs me over with keckleon. 2-1 Round four vs. Brent in mirror. Pretty good game, I set up fast and take some ko's quickly, but stupid breloom completely changes my strategy and I lose on a misplay near the end (how the **** was I supposed to know he had pluspowers and he'd draw all three of them in one turn?), even if this went to time I probably would have lost anyway. 2-2 Round Five vs. Mothim/Venomoth He grabs a ko right off the bat and I fail to stabilize, this isn't the first time donphans low damage bites me in the ***, but oh well. 2-3 Round 6 vs. Primeape gym discard Pretty easy, he runs out of gas and donphan runs him over. 3-3 Round 7 vs Breloom/porygon 2 I lose at the end on another misplay, I really should quit this game from all the misplays. Either that or I'm just really tired. 3-4 Round 8 vs cacturne/prinplup Donphan runs him over 4-4 Pretty disappointing. Fearow was an awful decision, it's too flippy and I barely used it in any of my games. I would have been better off with an additional attacker or something that did more damage than donphan, with enough hp to last through several attacks. Cessation didn't help either, it was a cool concept, but in a format where almost no one uses any powers or bodies, it was basically worthless. In hindsight I couldn't have seen that first misplay coming, but something isn't clicking right, which was obvious in my fourth loss. Worried that my lack of focus is going to carry on to nats, I go crazy playing with gg to get comfortable with it before the main event. Saturday Stomach hurting from pepper turkey sammich from subway, I spent most of the time before the tournament getting acquainted with the toilets in the men's room. Not the best way to start out the tournament of the year. Round one vs Electabliss Kim Allen I think her name was I set up a gardy and a claydol right off the bat with phione as I let her take the first ko. I draw into a scramble and play gallade with cessation, holding another dre in my hand after the ko. Cessation stops her draw cold and me winning wager basically seals the game. She starts sacrificing heavily and I clean up early. 1-0 Round two vs Torterra/Sceptile Ness' Origins Girlfriend It's pretty obvious this is her first big tournament. I don't go easy on her, but I spend most of my time explaining the rules of the game. Good thing I spent thursday getting practice at that, right? I have a lone phione and evolve ralts. She goes with a T2 sceptile and kos, I counter with a T2 gallade with a cessation and pass. She plays a call energy and fetches. I ko sceptile and win a few wagers to keep her from recovering. 2-0 It's lunchtime and I tell Dan and Spencer about my game. Dan notices the cute girl I just played and says that I should see if I should get her number. He eventually convinces me to try after saying that I had her pretty engaged in conversation during the whole match. Good advice, don't actively look for a date, just kinda smooth the girl into it, not like she's going anywhere. Round 3 vs Emp/scizor I set up gallade and destroy him. He never gets much of a set up and I'm able to counter everything he plays. 3-0 I run into that girl again after taking Dan's advice. I talk to her for a bit until Moss interrupts me and she starts talking to Ness, who she obviously likes, oh well. 0-1 Round 4 vs Kevin Wong Garchomp/rotom I set up normally and snatch some kos early. Kevin drops two claydol and a rotom while trying to build some garchomps, pretty big misplay on his part, but I'm hiding dusknoir for most of the game. I try to keep four pokemon in play while I look for dusknoir, but it gets apparent they aren't coming. He gets board control with the only big attacker, a garchomp X in play, but he misses all of his flips. I catch a break and warp candy dusknoir dark palm his garchomp, and start koing everything I see. We're tied on prizes near the end, he plays a dark on his benched garchomp and draws like crazy for a warp point, he whiffs and he concedes after time is called. 4-0 Round 5 vs Sidney Garchomp/Togekiss He also sets up two claydol and garchomp, eventually benching to five before I get a dusknoir and start controlling the game. We trade kos for a while and he switches to attacking with togekiss, the only attacker left in his deck. He flips heads a few times when he shouldn't and I take the game on time with some late game psychic locks. Dusknoir wins again. 5-0 Round 6 vs. Ryan gg/furret I don't get set up, he does, and I get benched in a few minutes. 5-1 Round 7 vs. Matt Alvis, Gardy mirror. We're both holding T2 gardy, I get set up first and aggro him out. Cess is key in this game because it keeps him from recovering, the only thing keeping him in the game is the fact that he wins all of the wagers. Time is called near the end, and I grab my gardy X out of prizes, play a dre and bring down his benched ralts, which he played in desperation before time was called. 6-1 Round 8 vs. Ryan Magmortar/Bronzong/Ampharos I set up quickly, but notice that both gallade in my deck and a duskull are prized. I trade prizes for a while with gardy until he plays an island hermit. Right before he's about to clean my bench. I hermit and find the gallade, take it, then finally get a heavy attacker in play. Cess is key again as it stops ampharos and keeps him from grabbing key kos off my weak bench. Phoebe was also important because it allowed me to pick my targets with warp and keep gardy active. Gallade is the only pokemon in play when he takes two prizes off magmortar. I draw a duskull off my prizes and set that up for the late game, warp bounce his magmortar, while NMing a gardy for later. Time is called again and I have dusknoir fully set up while he has nothing. 7-1 Round 9 vs Matt with gardy raichu tech. He gets two claydols right off the bat while both of mine are prized, you do the math. He's not a bad kid, just a little arrogant and incredibly donky. If you're looking for more irony, he's facing Frankie Durso in top cut. 7-2 I'm not worried I make the cut. I'm sitting next to the same guy who made 9-0 in swiss last year. I have David Nelson snap a few pics while we wait for T64 to show up. T64 vs Leo with Beedrill Game one. He five benches and takes a few prizes early while I scramble up gallade and fetch tauros for his beach. Once dusknoir hits play it's business as usual as his two claydol are locked by cessation. I let him ko tauros and refetch it again with night maintainence as soon as he plays another beach. After that he concedes. Game two. He four benches this time. I guess he's hoping that noir is prized. It isn't. After killing two beedrill and leaving him with a singleton active, he concedes fast. Sunday T32 vs Jimmy Ballard with sausages (banbliss) Game one. I get garbage, and he aggros me. I concede to save time for the next game. I figure 48 min is enough time for the next round. Game two. I get a decent setup, but the game takes a lot longer than I figure and get beach locked late in the game. Jimmy plays a TVR on the last turn of the game just before time is called. I had the copycat in my hand, which would have been just enough for me to grab a phoebe and take the last prize, but oh well. After waiting for Mikey to get T4 and Henry to disembowel the poor kid from Colorado, I grab the WA players, Mikey, Cap, Spencer, Dan, and MK, and go to dinner at the mongolian grill a few blocks away. The food is much better in Seattle, but they had a better variety of foods here. I learn pretty easily that I can't take spicy food any more, but I'm stubborn so I still pile on the red pepper. We bought some X files ccg cards pretty cheap. It's like playing clue with cards. XFiles Championship vs Ross. I get an amazing draw and keep Ross from questioning my X-file through most of the game. It's about about the X-Files shirt as I counter everything. Ross eventually gets desperate and breaks one of the ground rules we set for the game by playing a 8 medical check. I do the same and he accuses me of cheating. Oh yah? Arctic Worm ftw. Monday We have breakfast with the Fouchets, Cap, and the WA players again and say our goodbyes before leaving on the plane. I honestly can't wait until next years nationals. It was a blast, even the tornado and the lightning storm. I finally top cut a major event, after a dismal season with almost no cuts and no major wins, but this event just made up for it. It keeps me playing, so I guess it isn't a total loss. Props -all the new faces and old ones that I met for the first time, you know who you all are. -to Team X-Files, most of us top cutted, no one can say we aren't one of the best. The Truth Is Out There. -Matt Chin, oh wait, that's me =P -Michael, for being the most awesome brother in the world and keeping me in line on all these trips. Getting 11 wins in a row in swiss rounds at only nationals is no small accomplishment. -Mikey for getting T4, finally saw your break bud, see you at worlds. -Henry for winning Nats, our little protege is growing fast, just don't forget that you're still a kid, k? -Da Champ, Jeremy Scharff-Kim, just for being the champ. -Ross, what happened? -Paul, for playing out nats even though you qualified for worlds -Tyler, for playing out nats even though you qualified for worlds -Paul, for helping carry my stuff and also keeping me in line -Spencer for proving he actually exists. -Ben for being cool -Dan for also being cool -Cap for putting up with me -MK for buying the last good haruhi poster and leaving me with the rest. No xxxholic posters makes me a sad panda. -Chris and Petey, I guess you have a lot to live up to now that your Big Bro is T4 at nats. -Kettler, Chad, Truk, Kant, and everyone else I forgot. Slops -I usually don't do slops but meh -Matticus Chinneth, if I ever find out who this guy is, I'll kick is butt, seriously. -Me for my dismal cup showing -BTW dudes, tone down the Matticus jokes, they're getting dumb and I'm getting tired of it.