The 2013 Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 Battle Competition took place on Sunday 14 July 2013 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. This was the final in a series of five competitions taking place in Australia over the past 2 weeks, with previous events in Perth (Western Australia), Melbourne (Victoria), Brisbane (Queensland) and Adelaide (South Australia). The winner of each age division in each state was awarded with flights, accommodation and tickets to attend the first ever Australian National Championships in Melbourne on 20-21 July. The winners and runners-up of the nationals will be given the opportunity to travel to Canada to compete in the World Championships next month.
The Sydney competition took place at Luna Park by Sydney's picturesque harbour. Many hopeful competitors gathered at the park prior to the 10am registration, however the crowds did not appear to be as big as those at the Black and White Battle Competition at Myer in 2011. There were approximately 20 entrants in the junior divison (born 2000 or later) and 76 in the senior divison (born 1999 or earlier). These state competitons only had two age brackets however the National Championships next week will follow the official World Championship format with three age divisons.
There were also a few rule differences to the official World Championship rules. Battles were played as one-on-one knockouts with the winner advancing to the next round, with the exception of the grand final for each age divison, which was a best-of-three. Competitors were permitted to change their teams in between rounds however in the grand final battles, players were only allowed to change the order of their pokémon, not the composition of their team.
After registration, players and spectators gathered in the competition room listening to music tracks from Pokémon Black and White. The large room was set up with chairs for both spectators and battlers, which was a welcome change from previous Nintendo Australia competitions where everybody had to stand in confined areas. There was one large flatscreen TV set up at the front of the room to display battles, however due to the number of participants, there were also other battles happening on players' own DS systems at the same time as those on the big screen. These side battles did rely on honesty as they were not supervised by the host once they commenced, however all players appeared to display good sportsmanship with no disputes, and shaking hands and congratulating each other after battles.
Unfortunately the day started off with some technical difficulties, with the TV's display regularly cutting out during the first two battles. The players were able to keep battling on their DS screens but it was a disappointing start for spectators who were keen to watch the battles and possibly get an idea of potential opponents' strategies. Confusion particularly arose when the TV missed displaying players sending out their pokémon, then cut back in to reveal 3 Rotoms on the field - it appeared that there may have been a rule breach till it was revealed that one player's Ditto had transformed into the other player's Rotom.
Luna Park staff soon brought out a new TV which they set up to replace the first. In order to test that it was working, the host Jamie asked for a volunteer to battle against him using whichever pokémon happened to be in his parties on his own two game cards. A young girl took up the challenge and then proceeded to tell Jamie how bad his team was, which made everyone smile. Fortunately this TV worked without any problems, so it was used for the rest of the competition.
The first round of battles was between players numbered 1-32 from the senior division, then the senior battles took a break while the entire junior division competition took place. The young players in the junior division displayed great strategies and skill, as well as maturity and respect when victories were decided - everyone just seemed to be having a fun time playing. When it came time for the junior finals, the numbers resulted in there being three semi-finalists. To resolve this, the host drew one of the finalists' numbers out of a box to be allowed to go straight to the grand final, resulting in there being only one semi-final match between the remaining two finalists. As it turned out, the player whose number was drawn ended up winning the first two grand final battles, so no third deciding match was required and he was declared the junior division champion.
After the completion of the junior division finals, the competition returned to the senior division, with the rest of the players completing their round 1 matches and then moving on to further rounds. As the matches went on, the host tried to keep the spectators entertained by asking their opinions on the battles happening on the big screen, as well as occasionally passing the microphone over and giving people chances to commentate the battles. There were a few giveaways throughout the day for members of the audience who could answer simple Nintendo trivia questions, however there weren't as many as there were at previous competitions, and the prizes were very minor: some Wii U lanyards, stickers and cards for other Nintendo properties - none of them were actually Pokémon-related. Nonetheless, the little giveaways kept the audience engaged, and the younger players especially seemed to really enjoy the opportunity to display their Nintendo knowledge.
Throughout the competition, there was a wide variety of pokémon and strategies used. Many players used weather-themed teams, with sandstorm being a favourite but also rain, sun and hail seen. According to the host, Sydney had its share of unique pokémon such as Ditto and the Eeveelutions, which were generally not used in the other cities. There was also a much higher number of shiny pokémon than seen in previous tournaments, including shiny legendaries. This may have been due to the introduction of the Shiny Charm key item in Black 2 and White 2, or perhaps people just had a lot of time on their hands!
By 4.20pm it was finally time for the senior division semi-finals.
The tension then built in the grand final best-of-three between players Steven and Hugh, who won one battle each and then went on to the deciding match.
Hugh was finally declared the senior division champion and will be flown to Melbourne this weekend to compete in the Australian National Championships.
Overall, although the competition had the impression of being organised at the last minute and didn't seem to have quite the same grandeur as previous tournaments which were much more hyped and had big prizes, Nintendo Australia still did a great job at providing a fun day for everybody and an opportunity for Pokémon fans to meet each other and hang out. Everbody at the event was enthusiastic about Australia participating in future World Championships, and the host strongly indicated that this would be the case after the global relase of X and Y in October. Hopefully this year's competitions will be the first in a series of more regular official Pokémon events by Nintendo Australia, and Pokémon X and Y truly will bring about the age of a completely global Pokémon community.