Third and final weekend of winter regionals! I swear this isn’t a dare for Florida to have problems with their tournament, but given time zones and whatnot, Oregon will be the regional that caps off an exciting month of our new format.
Difficulty Rating: / 5
(Three extreme weathers the Pacific Northwest sees everyday)
Location: “Not Portland but at least it’s also not Salem” Clackamas, Oregon (Monarch Hotel & Conference Center – 12566 SE 93rd Ave)
Registration Time: 8 AM on Sunday, February 28th (There will be a Premier Challenge on Saturday, with registration starting at 10:30 AM)
Last Year’s Winner: Conan Thompson (conan)
Residing on what is unequivocally the best coast, Oregon is the home of Voodoo Donuts and will be visited by three former world champions and half of US Nationals top cut. Clackamas will also be invaded by a fleet of beaver loving moose riders known as “Canadians” who will go to battle against the more local competitors of Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, and one ambitious visitor from North Carolina.
Canada is a Real Country, I Swear
Starting off with the closest province, Canada Viera and Smeargle aficionado Randy Kwa (R Inanimate) won this event in 2013, and he will look to build on his top 8 finish in the Boston Open in hopes of returning to worlds. 2015 US nationals finalist and yours truly Raphael Bagara (rapha) will be attending this event as well, and these two will be joined by eternal Canadian National champion Tony Cheung (Chinese Dood), who also won Seattle regional in 2014. NuggetBridge overlord Rushan Shekar (Firestorm) will look to replicate his strong finish at this regional where he finished in the top 4 last season. Worlds competitor Max Douglas (starmetroid) was one of only five trainers in North America to reach the finals of two regionals last season, and he will be joined by fellow Vancouver Islander Mark Hanson (Crawdaunt), who himself finished second at Seattle regional last year. Speaking of 2015 Seattle regional, Wesley Warthe-Anderson (dreadpirateroberts) and Yuanhao Li (Hao), who finished in the top 4 and top 8 respectively in Seattle, will foray into Oregon for the first time. Last but not least from BC is Hongyu Zhu (fivepointstars), who will be attending his first ever regional tournament. He won the Battle Road Gloria Invitational and went 8-2 in the NPA, in addition to being by far the most dominant player in local Premier Challenges in the past two seasons. Though he might not be a household name to some, he is one player who could very easily win this entire event. Rounding out Canadian visitors is an Albertan, which is apparently a real place that people actually live in and not just a place with oil fields and cold winters. Ben Piercy (Qertyk) was the Canadian that actually won US Nationals last year, albeit in the senior division. He will look to perform well in his first year as a master.
Washington and Oregon
Conan Thompson (conan), whom you may or may not have heard is Japanese, will look to repeat as champion at this regional, as his dominant weekend last season included a PC win on Saturday and an 8-0 run in swiss during the main event. 2013 senior world champion and 2015 US nationals quarter-finalist Hayden McTavish (enigne) will be attending this event as well, as will Demitrios Kaguras (kingdjk), who very narrowly missed out on a day two worlds invite last season, as he finished 9th in North America in CP. Carter Powers Beggs (FlacidPanda) does not frequent events but he has cut Seattle regional in each of the past two seasons, and Evan Feroy, who reached top cut of this regional last year with “interesting” Pokemon choices, will look to repeat his performance. Graduating into the masters division, Henry Maxon (Snake) won this event in seniors last season and could also be a name to look out for, as he is a veteran of the game despite being born in the new millennium. Oregon native Chris Stotts (MasterFrisk) will look to win this tournament on his home turf after a strong top 4 performance in Oregon last year.
The Californians and Other Outsiders
Shifting our focus to the state south of Oregon, a group of California natives will also make the trip to this regional. Kimo Nishimura (TFC) cut three regionals last season, and with a solid performance here, will move one step closer of qualifying for worlds in his home town of San Francisco, which is something he cone definitely dig. He will be joined by other NorCal residents, most notable of which is Arizona regional champion, SoCal regional finalist, and current North American CP leader Patrick Smith (Salamenace). James Eakes (Eakes), who sealed his worlds invite last week, will also be attending, as will Mitchell Davies (MissingNoL), who will earn his own worlds invite with a top 32 finish. And, oh yeah, some guy named Aaron Zheng (Cybertron) will also be in Oregon. You may have heard of him. I hear he’s a YouTuber though so he is probably a free win, regardless of the fact that he won Anaheim last week. 2014 senior world champion Nikolai Zielinski (Nikolai) has cut an impressive five regionals the past two seasons and is fresh off a top 8 finish last week in not-St. Louis, in addition to reaching day two of both nationals and worlds last year. He attended Oregon last year and could also be there again. As far as long travelers go, they likely won’t be in abundance at this event, but one notable name has realized that living in the east is not quite as rad as being on the best coast. Toler Webb (Dim) of North Carolina will be here. He won worlds in 2012 as a senior and is the 2015 US national champion or something (I definitely have no recollection of the latter happening).
Smart money will go to Nikolai Zielinski (Nikolai) here. Not only is he the most recent world champion who will be attending this event, few can rival what he has accomplished the past two seasons, as noted above. There will be a number of strong trainers here but look for Nikolai to stand above the rest.
Thanks for reading! I hope to see you in Clackamas, and I hope you enjoy your Voodoo Donuts.