Hello PUCLonians! Welcome to a very special edition of Anything Goes. This week I will be chronicling my adventures at PUCLcon and Pokemon Nationals! I am writing this as I go, so I can say that this has been an extremely exciting PUCLcon thus far.
My journey started out pretty uneventfully, driving across the state and arriving at Scron’s house. He and his family were gracious enough to host me for an evening so I didn’t have to drive for like 12 hours in one day. On the trip, I listened to what else but PUCL. I started out by listening to Episode 189, which was last year’s PUCLcon episode. This was a great way to get me fired up for the weekend. I followed this up with Episode 183, which was also an atypical episode, as it was a Freeform Show where Thatch, Misty, Beorn, Whimsicott, and Shamu discussed things that annoyed them, as well as many other things. These two can be found here. The tail end of this trip was finished up by listening to a bonus episode which was Broadcasters for a Cure Live show, found between Episodes 177 and 178. I would recommend listening to any of these episodes, even if you have done so already.
When I arrived at Scron’s house, I was pleasantly surprised to find Scron, Bocefus, Viger, and Mr. Sniffles at Scron’s house, playing Pathfinder with some of their friends. It was my first time meeting other PUCL peeps in person. Very relaxed as they finished up their game and I tried to breed Pokemon for the weekend. Shortly after this, Bocefus and Mr. Sniffles went home and Viger and I went to sleep for the night.
Briefly after I woke up, I was sent a link from fellow writer, Locke, to the new Japanese trailer displaying the new Pokemon. Very cool to see these new pokes, even if it was in Japanese.
Shortly after this, we got on the road, picked up Bocefus and Mr. Sniffles for an 8 hour drive to Columbus. There were a lot of Pokemon things going on during the ride! Viger, Bo, and Mr. Sniffles were sporadically playing their games throughout the trip. We also listened to the first episode of PUCL, which was roughly 10 minutes long, 2.5 of which were a musical intro. Classic PUCL! The part that was probably the most fun was when we played Pokemon 15 questions with a few modified rules. Every time we did this, we successfully found the Pokemon on each attempt!
We made it to Columbus and I got checked into my hotel before we went over to Thatch’s house. It was at this time that many people were arriving. Dr. Shamu arrived only moments before our group did. Gator was already with Thatch at this time. My 4 traveling companions were all staying with Thatch, but Viger had left a few things in my van so we went out there to get them. There was a black car parked in front of Thatch’s house and I thought, “Oh, someone else must be showing up. There are many people coming right now.” And then a female stepped out of the car who looked extremely familiar to me. I asked Viger, “Is that Whimsicott!?” And at that point, we rushed up hugged her and freaked out a little bit! Viger then quickly and calmly grabbed his camera so he could record everyone else’s reaction. It was fantastic to see the surprise on everyone’s face. Thatch’s first reaction is not appropriate for this article, but it was amazing! And shortly after that, another writer, Sublime Manic, arrived and he was completely over shadowed by Whimsicott! She arrived without telling anyone from PUCL and proved that she was truly the Prankster Whimsicott!
After this, we went to dinner at a really cool Asian chain that Thatch suggested we go to. Apparently, American’s eat fast because we were all done eating while Whimsicott was still finishing her food and we almost left her behind. Also, we must have been a bit loud as the restaurant staff had asked us to quiet down a bit.
After eating dinner, I made my way back to the hotel, where Whimsicott and Sublime were also staying. We also collected other PUCLonians, such Ten Little Men (TLM), his friend, Woddy, and R Sigma. At first, TLM didn’t realize that the girl who was coming along with us Whimsicott until we started talking about how far we all had to travel. He had thought that he and Woody had traveled pretty far being from Canada, but Whimsicott pointed out that she came further. TLM asked, “Where did you come from?” and Whimsicott said, “…Italy…” and then TLM’s mouth dropped and exclaimed, “You came!?” This was at least 5 minutes after we had introduced ourselves. It was another great surprise!
After this, we went to Thatch’s house, again. Some people prepared for tournaments that were occurring on the following day, but many of us played Smash Brother and tested out the streaming set up. Around 11 pm or midnight, we wrapped things up so people could get some rest for the first day at the convention center.
My roommate, R. Sigma had to leave early to compete in the National tournament. Just for participating, he got some sweet swag pictured below.
Around 9 am, the rest of Team Hotel (myself, Whimsicott, TLM, Sublime, and Woody) met the rest of the group at Thatch’s. We got to meet Mr. Maximus who arrived early in the morning. Before we left for the convention center, I ran to Toys R Us to get the Shamin Anniversary Plush, but there was no Shaymin. TLM cam with and got a repeat ball w/ Pikachu and Woody got a Yoshi figure, as well.
We then made our way over to the convention center. The first thing we saw was a Pokemon Center store set up at the convention center. They had most of the things you would expect to see at a Pokemon Center store, but it was all on hand. Many members of our group bought a bunch of things. Woody even spent a bunch of money on a large art print of May and some of her Pokemon.
Before we entered the main center where the even was being held, we found Jushiro and surprised him with Whimsicott and then we all got pictures with Pikachu. As we were making our way to the hall, there was a sign for the event shiny Machamp which was on the team of the Champion of the Senior’s division last year. The entire PUCL crew literally stopped and went, Oh, Shiny!
After checking things out a little bit, we met up with Minor-Manectric and his wife, now deemed Mega-Manectric (or Major-Manectric) just before heading to lunch.
After lunch, it was time to get down for business. I prepared for a classic RBY tournament using the Virtual Console games. I got schooled, 0-3, but it was still fun to see a few other people who really wanted to play the classic games. Other people played Battle Spot singles in 8 man pods. Not only that but PUCL took over an 8-man pod for a TCG prerelease tournament. Thatch ended up winning this, but Shamu had a great showing using the Tyranitar card that Sublime trashed in Ep. 7 of the TCGcast.
Once things were winding down for the day, we all went back to Thatch’s, ordered pizza had chips and a variety of drinks. To everyone’s surprise, Whimsicott actually liked American pizza, even though she won’t admit it!
As dinner was ending, I went to my van and brought in the present that PUCL had for Thatch & Misty’s Wedding. Big shout out to Basket, who draws comics for the site, and Dr. Shamu for their artistic contributions to the project (Basket drew it, and Shamu added the coloring). Also, the person who framed the picture, Adam, you’re the best! They were surprised and were so grateful that our community came together to give this to them.
After that, we went to streaming on Twitch. We started with a little bit Smash, and a few people wanted to do TCG unboxings. The highlight of the night was our 12-man OU tournament. Spontaneously, Jushiro and I started doing commentary for Round 1. It was so much fun! But we saw Gliscor on so many teams!!! It is under a suspect test for being banned next year for sure. In the first round, Shamu beat Mr. Sniffles, Gator lost to Bocefus, Maximus overcame Thatch, Whimsicott handily defeated Woody (who was using a stellar team of pokes (they were mine)), Minor-Manectric defeated Viger, and Ten Little Men narrowly edged out R. Sigma. After those 6 matches, it was after midnight so we decided to save the rest of the tourney for the next day.
Before we left in the morning, there was apparently a major shorts issues at Casa de Thatch, because Thatch was missing some shorts for a while, found them, but then Viger was missing shorts. I think that all go resolved though…
There were a few people who had left early with Misty because there was some events they wanted to try, then a group left in what was deemed to be the Snaggin Wagon, and the Thatchmobile followed a little bit later. We were lucky enough to snag a couple of tables for our group to sit at, which is a bit of a luxury, at times.
Woody and Maximus got signed up for a little cup tournament, but the set up was a bit disappointing. Several players were using banned Pokemon such as Scyther, Sneasal, and others, and the judge apparently didn’t clearly know the rules, so it was a bit of a joke.
We spent the day doing a variety of things. Some people drew pictures of Pokemon cards, others prepared for afternoon tournies. Mr. Sniffles participated in what was supposed to be a Red, White or Blue Monochoromatic Tournament, but most of the players didn’t understand the rules and used Red, White and Blue. Despite this, he did fairly well and went 3-1 and was only one of a few people who really played by the designated rules. We also had the opportunity to meet up with Mickey from Pokemon Crossroads, who has been on the podcast before, as well as folks from the Kanto Cast, before we left for lunch.
After lunch, we took over another 8-man pod for Battle Spot Singles, where ultimately, Whimsicott beat Thatch in the finals! We also took over 8-man pods for 2 more pre-release draft tournaments for the TCG. Sublime won one of these, and Bocefus won the other. We then watched a few competitors playing Pokken for the main Tournament.
We then made our way back to the area where Thatch lives and got dinner, and then recorded the podcast. If you haven’t taken the time to listen to episode 241 yet, you definitely want to do so. It was one of the highlights of the weekend, especially being able to give Jushiro a 3ds considering he has lost his earlier in the year.
After recording the episode, a few people began to prepare for the final day at the convention, especially for the Triathalon, where competitors play VCG, TCG, and Pokken against each other. They worked on building decks and honing their Pokken skills. They were doing that in the living room while others finished the OU tournament, with commentary from Sublime and me.
In round 2, Whimsicott narrowly beat Maximus, in a battle of Gym Leaders, TLM handily beat Minor-Manectric, and Shamu took down Bo. With our 3 competitors, we advanced TLM directly to the finals due to him winning his matches with more Pokemon left than Shamu or Whimsicott. The reign of the mighty Whimsicott, who claims to be a “filthy casual”, came to an end when she battled Shamu. In the final, TLM beat Shamu in a great match and became the PUCLcon 2016 OU Champion.
Now, my recollection of what happened on Sunday is a little foggy as we stayed up really late Sunday/Monday and I didn’t record my notes until Tuesday morning…
Today was a little bit of a later start, but no one was bothered by that. There was nothing anyone was really trying to get to. When we got to the convention center, I stopped and got a few classic Pokemon things that I thought belonged in my collection including dogtags with Abra and Kadabra and Squirtle and Ivysaur figurines with Masterballs.
A few people played in some Little Cup tournaments. A few people were in various Triathalon tournaments. Most notably, Jushiro, Misty, and Scron were all in one group with one other person. There were a few gym battles happening, as well, including a 40 minute battle I had with Minor-Manectric that I lost due to a flinch near the end of the battle. (*sigh* See you on Saturday!) Over all, it was a really mellow day. I think we were all really tired and the event in general was really sparse compared to Saturday. We weren’t even all that interested in the Finals of any of the main tournaments. Late in the afternoon, we made our way back to Thatch’s house, but not before losing 2 of our members, Gator and R. Sigma as they had to make their way back home.
Before getting Thatch’s, though, we bought some t-shirts to screen print some exclusive PUCLcon shirts (just in coloring, there weren’t any printed with PUCLcon on it or anything). There were a few people who also wanted to go to Walmart and get some booster packs. I felt like such an enabler… I know how bad a TCG addiction can be and I encouraged others to feed that addiction. Woody, TLM, and the Manectrics ended up buying some TCG packs and Whimsicott bought a Leafeon and Vaporeon plush.
For the rest of the night, we kind of put Pokemon on hold and just enjoyed each other’s company. Some of us played Cards Against Humanity while others worked on screen printing shirts. Thatch really enjoyed printing the shirts as that allowed him the time to just talk with people for a while. We did this into the wee hours of he morning as I think we all wanted to squeeze every last moment out of this time together. Ultimately, Team Hotel had to go back to the hotel and we had to say good byes to several people, including the Manectrics. Shortly after this, at the hotel, it was at this time I had to say good bye to Whimsicott, TLM, and Woody as I would be leaving in only a few hours later.
I left my hotel with Sublime around 7 am, as he had to go to Thatch’s to be driven to the airport. At this time, we said another round of goodbyes to Shamu, Maximus, Jushiro, Sublime, and Thatchs (and probably others). Most people were making their way home on this day.
As we drove, I tried to rest as best as I could. It was a quiet ride as many of us were exhausted and used this time as a bit of a Pokemon detox. Before I knew it, we were back in the home town of my driving mates. We dropped off Viger, then Scron, and finally Bocefus and Mr. Sniffles. And then I was by myself. I had a 4 hour drive to think on the weekend and start to miss the great friends that I had only known from afar but had the wonderful privilege of being in their presence for a few short days. Thatch said it best by mentioning before this, we were online friends, but now we’re friends who keep up online.
When I got home, I was welcome by my wife and kids who hadn’t seem me for 5 days. I was so excited to share the memories I brought home with them as we watched the Independence day fireworks. I must have left a good impression because Mrs. Snag is talking about going to PUCLcon next year!
As I am writing this article people are still finding their way home from PUCLcon. I think TLM and Woody are still on their way to Canada and Whimsicott just boarded her flight off of this continent. There was something magical and amazing about this weekend. PUCLcon 2016 was a true testament of what the PUCL community is: warm, welcoming, fun, family. I am proud to be friends with these people and and I am proud to be part of this awesome community. Thank you for reading and thank you for being part of PUCL. We love you!