In the age of the quarantine, the brothers and sisters of PsiEK clamored for something exciting to do. With all of our classes online and everyone stuck at home, we had lost not only our motivation to study, but the heart-pounding stress of the fast-paced quarter system. We couldn’t take it anymore, and we could no longer ignore our innate, burning desire to walk the fine line between success and failure, winner and loser. Thus, the PsiEK Zoom Pokemon Showdown Tournament was born (and will now be narrated by an idiot who has no idea what I’m talking about in regards to virtual, pixelated, fictional, and borderline unethical animal fighting for our own entertainment).
It began on Zoom, at some time on some day that I can’t remember because time has blurred into a mush of stagnancy and impending doom. There were 32 of us in total (and some spectators), thirsting for violence amongst physically impossible critters with funny names, who shoot into existence from small orbs colloquially known as “Dragon balls” (CITATION NEEDED)? I had no idea what I was doing, as I am uncultured, and had never played Pokemon before. I was nervous, and I would’ve been sweating had I not been so dehydrated from drinking way too many coffees each day out of sheer boredom. First, Tournament Master Ryan Lee began to explain the structure of the tournament: we would be playing double elimination with both a winners and losers bracket, we would be paired and split into Zoom breakout rooms to fight, and we would be battling on pokemonshowdown.com with random teams of Pokemon at our disposal. Next, the scholar known as Matt Chin informed inexperienced players such as myself that the key to victory was a Pokemon type chart, which would allow us to assess which evolutionary monstrosities would be most effective or most vulnerable in a given fight. I frantically googled one of these charts, and prayed to my ancestors for luck as the tournament began.
My first match was against Natalie Wang, a new Psi active and fellow alto, who like me, also had no idea what to do. Our fight was slow and methodical, not because we were good, but because we were constantly referring to our Pokemon type charts to figure out what to do. I somehow managed to win this match, with the help of my unfairly powerful spooky ghost-looking thingy with psychic and d A rk powers. I felt powerful, perhaps too powerful, ravenous for the next fight. Next up, I was against a new sister, Elija Balanga, who utterly destroyed and demoralized me, with barely any effort. I was up against a true master, and with each of my Pokemon quickly going down, I felt helpless, like an infant trying and failing to grasp the concept of object permanence. After this defeat, I was reminded of my mortality, and approached the next battle with extreme caution. I only had one chance left to claim clout and victory in this tournament. Now in the loser’s bracket, I faced another new sister, Raghu Tekumalla, and somehow came out on top. I felt immortal once again, and like Hercules at the end of Hercules, I climbed out of the brink of defeat. I was surprised to see that my next opponent was Katie Osborn, a brother, and fellow relative of the esteemed Driftwood family. I sent out my first Pokemon to do battle, and BOOM, Katie blew it up. I sent another, and another, and another, until finally, Katie had easily and relentlessly decimated my forces. I cried without tears (again, I’m very dehydrated), finally accepting that I was now out of the tournament. I subsequently dropped out of school in shame, just weeks away from graduation (CITATION NEEDED). In the end, Elija ended up the champion of the tournament, demonstrating to all of us that he indeed is a cold-blooded killer who should not be trifled with, lest you want to experience crushing defeat and humiliation. All bow down to Elija, our new overlord, President and CEO of PsiEK. May he lead our Pokemon armies to victory in our war against [INSERT THREAT HERE].
Overall, 10/10 tournament, would do again.
On a serious note, Pokemon showdown is genuinely really fun to play with friends online. Check it out if you haven’t already (just have the Pokemon type chart ready)!