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Professor’s Corner – The U.S. National Championships Experience (2013 Edition) 06/29/2014

Posted by raznprince in Ask a Professor.
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It’s almost that time again…U.S. Nationals! Whether you are preparing to attend this year or are generally interested in attending in the future, this article will give you some insight on what to expect. I will show a few pictures from my photo album from 2013 U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN.

Nats BannerGiant Pikachu

Just…how big is Nationals, really?
It is held in a huge hall at the Indiana Convention Center. It’s the big party every Pokémon player from across the country should strive to go to and celebrate with all sorts of fun activities they have to offer over a three-day weekend. From blow-up Pokémon displays, to game tournaments, to costumed appearances and cosplayed fans, there’s something for everyone here!

Hall 2 Hall 3 Hall Starter Balloons

How often does it happen?
Usually around late June/early July timeframe.

What is the Nationals Tournament like?
It is the biggest tournament and the biggest chance for all good players to meet, compete, have fun, and battle for Championship Points and invitations to the World Championships! For TCG and comparable amounts of the VGC, Junior Division attendance tends to be around 150-200, Senior Division around 250-350, and Master Division can reach upwards of about 1,000 players!

Registration Day: Thursday, everyone that come early can check in to register for the TCG and/or VGC tournaments. Those who pre-registered and check in will receive a Nationals T-shirt, a Nationals-stamped promo card. There will be open gaming in the rooms across the hall to get your last-minute practice in and tweak your decklists as necessary before Day 1. Vendors will be open to buying and selling Pokémon goods. This is a great first opportunity to get together with friends across the country that you normally wouldn’t see on a regular basis, whether you’ve met them at another tournament or League far away from home.

Day 1: Friday is usually dedicated to TCG Nationals, where the players will play several Swiss rounds to determine if they can continue into Saturday or drop from the tournament.  All players that complete two (2) Swiss rounds of TCG will receive ten (10) additional Play! Points for participating. All the while, small events and special guests and costume appearances are also taking place throughout the day. Professors who qualified for and registered for the North America Professor Cup will play in a few Swiss rounds in the evening.

Day 2: Saturday tends to be the busiest day while TCG continues their Swiss rounds for the day and then plays a few rounds of Top Cut through Top 32 for all age divisions. VGC will be playing their preliminary Swiss rounds in parallel, and more special promotions, tournaments, and appearances are happening throughout the day! More Swiss rounds of the Professor Cup are played in the evening.

Day 3: Like the Super Bowl, championships happen on Sunday here! TCG and VGC plays through their Top Cut rounds until Champions are decided, and the Professor Cup Top Cut will be happening in parallel. All Championship matches (Top 2) will be featured on the big stage for all to see!

Finals StageVGC Finals 2

What can one win for doing well in the Nationals tournaments?
TCG: Quarterfinalists will earn invitations to attend the World Championships, Top 4 players will earn trophies, and great Pokémon merchandise. Championship Points and booster packs of the current set may be awarded as low as the Top 128 level, but ultimately depending on respective division attendance.

VGC: Top 4 players will earn trophies and invitations to Worlds, and great Pokémon merchandise. 2nd-4th place will win Nintendo 3DS-XLs and the Champion will win a 32GB Nintendo Wii U. Championship Points may be awarded as low as the Top 128 level, but ultimately depending on respective division attendance.

See Nationals information under the Tournaments tab for complete information.

I am going to Nationals this year! What should I expect that could be different from previous years?
-TCG players will play 50-minutes Best 2-of-3 Swiss Matches on Days 1 and 2 and will cut to a Top 8.
-VGC Nationals will feature battling through the X/Y versions.
-U.S. Nationals will feature two Championship Point Challenge tournaments throughout the weekend as way for players to get in another chance to earn Championship Points for the Worlds invitation. They will feature Swiss rounds only and CPs will be awarded based on final standings per the Regional Championships CP distribution. Registration is $20 and entrants will receive a U.S. Nationals limited edition playmat.

Can I still go to U.S. Nationals even if I don’t meet the TCG Play! Points requirements for this year?
YES!!! I will repeat that there’s something for everyone at Nationals. If/While you won’t be eligible to play in the Nationals tournament, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy while you’re there.

What is all there to do over the weekend?
VGC Nationals
: There is no Play! Points threshold in order to participate in the VGC. Assemble your best VG team and battle for the Championship! Be sure that you have registered beforehand!

Mini-League: This isn’t your ordinary League Session that you’re used to going to every week(end)! Find a player, battle them to a game and get in line for prizes. When you get to the front of the line, the League coordinators will reveal two prizes you can get. The winner gets first choice and the loser gets the other. The prizes are completely random, so you never really know what you can win until you get to the front of the line, so it’s best to be the winner of your game. Once you get your prize, find more players to battle, and rack up more prizes! Sample prizes can be anywhere from pencils, deck boxes, League and Premier Event promo cards, booster packs, and maybe even a booster box!

Side Events: Throughout the weekend, there will be several tournaments you can participate in order to win some great prizes. Such tournaments include 8-player knockout tournaments, 32-player Swiss, and 64-player Swiss TCG and VGC events. Brush up on your gaming skills, assemble your best deck or VG team, play against other players, and win more stuff! Who knows…big prizes like a Nintendo 3DS could be up for grabs!

Special Costumed Appearances: Costumed Pokémon will make appearances throughout the weekend and are the perfect opportunity to get photos with friends, family, and yourself. Make those memorable moments count!

Special Video Game Pokémon Distribution: While made available during Day 3, if you bring your Nintendo 3DS/3DS-XL with a (then) Black 2/White 2 version, you can receive a special Pokémon distribution that you can only get at Nationals!
Update: 2014 Nationals is offering a distribution via X/Y versions of the game.

Creativity Corner: Coloring activities are available to the younger groups in an area where parents can also be to spend that quality time with their child(ren) or wait on their child(ren) who may be playing in the Nationals tournaments. There may even be creativity contests where you could win prizes for having the best art!

Street Pass City: For those of you with a Nintendo 3DS/3DS-XL, prepare to be inundated with multiple Street Passes throughout the whole weekend. It’s a great opportunity to fill up missing puzzle pieces, get those missing colors to help get through Find Mii-2 and other Mii Plaza games you may own, share data from other games you have allowed via Street pass, and much more!

Shopping and Vendors: Looking for that certain card you need for your deck or collection? Or how about that Pokémon plush you’ve always wanted to get? Or a gift or souvenir for yourself or a friend? Looking to sell some cards? There will be some nationally-known vendors in attendance to help meet your Pokémon shopping needs.

Volunteer Work: The Pokémon Company staff is always looking for help throughout the weekend. You can act as a runner and take up and submit match slips during the Nationals tournament, judge in Side Events or assist in Mini-League, and more. That’s not to say that your hard work and dedication won’t be well rewarded; you will receive booster packs of the current TCG set per hour that you work (or 1 pack every certain number of minutes), and a Staff-stamped Nationals promo card (and possibly more). You even get to keep the “Volunteer” T-shirt you wore while working! Your contribution to a smoothly-run event, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated!

Swag

Nearby Hangouts: Summertime in down Indianapolis can get very busy, not to mention hot and humid outside. The Skywalk is a convenient network of overpasses linked between the buildings to allow ease of access without having to wait outside at crosswalks. From the Convention Center, it is a very short walk through the overpass to get to other buildings and parking lots, including the Circle City Mall (popular spot to go get lunch during the day and do some shopping), and hotels you may be staying around the area. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants alongside the large buildings if walking outside is a must. When in doubt, follow the crowds!

U.S. Nationals is a big event I highly recommend attending at least once in your lifetime. I am providing the link to the complete album found on Facebook .

Please let me know if you have any more questions about U.S. Nationals! Hope to see you there this year!

PikachuTepig

Professor Raz

Professor Knowledge Difficulty: N/A – Informational

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