Diana Bros had been playing the finals safe.
In game one, she double protected against a presumed fake out, only to watch Sam Schweitzer (@SamVGC) seize enough momentum to win by power-up punching his own partner Pokémon with mega Kangaskhan. In game two, almost the same scene played out — but Bros eked out a victory with a timely critical hit on Schweitzer’s Xerneas followed by a crucial tailwind.
Going into game three, she had to ask herself: would Schweitzer go for the power-up punch a third time?
Bros was in a tough spot. The first two games proved to be a wash in the decision making process, since each side had a key crit that may or may not have mattered in the long run. But what Bros knew is that, if Schweitzer went for the same play a third time, she had a chance to finally punish him.
Sure enough, Schweitzer went for the side-PUP once more — but Bros made the read. Instead of going for the double-protect, she put up a tailwind with her Salamence. That, plus a speedy primal Groudon that managed to hit all of its precipice blades, sealed the victory.
“The idea was, the worst thing he could do was fake out the Salamence to prevent me from matching his tailwind,” Bros said. “But, he switched the Zapdos out and let me get a free tailwind, which gave me a lot of momentum in that game.”
Schweitzer was a consummate-competitor as he watched his ploy fail in the third game, laughing and smiling by the end — possibly content with making a deeper run than needed to lock in an invite to the world championship. And in the end, he, too, played incredibly throughout the two-day event.
However, it was Bros that truly amazed. Not only did she beat an experienced Schweitzer, she played two other insanely close sets with veteran players Tommy Cooleen and James Baek to get to the finals. Add that to a 6-1 finish in the Swiss-rounds and you have a rare showing for someone attending their first regional.
Despite it being her first event, don’t be fooled into thinking Diana is new to VGC 2016. At the time of this article, she is 13th in the US on battle spot with a 1700 rating — and other talented players noted on Twitter that she frequently occupies a high standing there. Her win in Madison is surely not the last the scene will see from her.