I just got home from Athens, the tournament was awesome!
I MUCH prefer the Swiss format (everyone guaranteed a certain number of fights, even if they lose). Did pretty lousy my first turn, but every other battle was great. Ran out of time on one, and the others were in danger of the same, haha. My final rating was 96 of about 170 people, and I won four matches and lost four matches.
Every time I compete, I get a little better!
I was a little shocked though- on WiFi, it is rare to find a team without Whimsicott. I didn't even see a single Whimsicott today, nor did my friends. I was expecting to see the same heavy hitters from last year's tournament make a return this year- Conkledurr, Chandelure, etc- didn't see them either. Didn't have anyone try Stealth Rock, Spikes, or Toxic Spikes, surprisingly (and thankfully).
Lotta Smogon kids, I only had to face one of them (least I think he was a Smogon kid... he had a custom made Pokemon team shirt, but he didn't have any teammates with matching shirts around, unlike the other packs of Smogoners. There were a few super unprepared people (just started playing the game, team isn't done, came here on a whim the night before, etc) but I didn't fight any of them. No, the majority seemed to be pretty on the ball with EV training and movesets, saw some really interesting stuff.
The venue itself was ridiculous... we were really spoiled last year with a huge arena area for the event, with TV screens to watch the epic final battles, a side station for people to play King of the Hill, mascot costumes, huge inflatable Reshiram and Zekrom, a backdrop to take photos against, music, etc. Really nice.
So it was kind of a shock to come into this tiny dimly lit ballroom with hand-written signs taped up with blue painter's tape, and have the only sitting areas be the competition areas. No mascots or music, and it was hard to hear announcements because they only intermittently used their microphones, and everyone was so loud. >_<
There also seemed to be significantly less people this year... we really filled out the larger venue last year.
Not sure why it was like that, but I was disappointed in the venue, though it was awesome having all kinds of food within easy walking distance.
Also my battling experience was way better at this tournament due to the different format, so I still don't really mind all that much.
Something else I wish they would do is open up a merch booth! They could make so much money selling Pokédolls and shirts to people, especially the little kids who beg their parents for souvenirs. Of course I'm also saying this because I love merch, but seriously... they're missing a huge opportunity here!
Anyway, that was my experience. Was anyone else there?