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As the Sinnoh League is about to begin, Ash finds that his first opponent is Nando, the Pokémon minstrel. Nando walks over to Ash and tells him to do his best in their match. Outside the stadium, the gang sits together, deciding which Pokémon for Ash to use in his match with Nando. Dawn tells Ash that Nando's Lopunny knows some dodging moves from what happened in the Sinnoh Grand Festival.
Just then, Paul walks past them. Dawn calls him, and he turns around. Paul tells the gang that he will be using his strongest Pokémon. Ash tells him that Paul must do his best and that he wants to battle Paul later on in the tournament. But Paul says that Ash will be defeated before he battles him. Ash gets angry at what Paul said.
Inside a room, a lady tells everybody on where they will be sitting. Jessie gets angry as their seats will be isolated from the other audiences. James and Meowth tells Jessie that it's alright. Wobbuffet pops out of its Poké Ball as usual.
Late at night, Ash ponders on what Paul said, also reminding him of his battle with Nando. Ash becomes frustrated and shouts and scratches his head. The others wake up and ask him what is wrong. Ash replies that it's nothing and goes out of the room, to the balcony. Pikachu follows him. Ash tells Pikachu that it is a beautiful night sky. And Pikachu agrees with him and nods its head. Ash looks at the eight shining stars in the sky, and remembers the badges he has. Ash talks about his Pokémon working very hard, while the battle with the eight Gym Leaders are shown.
The next morning, after spending a while in the Pokémon Center, he walks out. Dawn asks him what he plans to use against Nando. Ash says that he has it all under control. Barry runs, while saying something, and bumps in to Ash. After getting up, Barry says that he will defeat Ash, but Ash disagrees. Barry shouts that he will be the champion. Then, he remembers that he needs to go somewhere and runs off. Conway suddenly appears out of nowhere, and Dawn is shocked. Dawns tells him to stay away and Conway laughs creepily.
Outside the stadium, Team Rocket are selling their merchandise in the distance away from the other stalls. But not a single person goes there. Jessie screams loudly and sends out Seviper, but James and Meowth discourage her. Then, Meowth thinks of a great idea.
Inside the stadium, Barry had just defeated a trainer, and will be moving on to the next battle. He passes by a man and feels a sort of frightening feeling.
Ash's battle against Nando is about to begin. The gang cheered them on. And then, the battle begins. Nando sends out Roserade as his first Pokémon and Ash sends out his Staraptor, which is a type advantage over Roserade, a Grass-type Pokémon. Nando takes the initiative, and tells Roserade to use Sweet Scent, which Staraptor fails to dodge. Then, Roserade uses Magical Leaf, hitting Staraptor once again. Staraptor falls, and Nando tells Roserade to use SolarBeam. As Roserade is preparing to launch its SolarBeam, Ash begs Staraptor to stand up and dodge. Roserade launches its SolarBeam, but at the last second, Staraptor opens its eyes, and an explosion occurs. Staraptor flies out of the smoke, which astonishes both Nando and Roserade. Ash tells Staraptor to use Brave Bird, and hits Roserade, which knocks Roserade out, but Staraptor is affected by the recoil damage. Nando recalls Roserade and sends out Armaldo. Dawn checks it with her Pokédex. Ash realizes that Staraptor is worn out, so he tells it to use Close Combat, but Armaldo suddenly uses Protect, causing Staraptor to fall back. Then, Armaldo chains with Rock Blast, knocking out Staraptor.
With Dawn and Brock discussing Ash's situation, Barry runs down the stairs and stands in front of Brock and Dawn, and tells them that an unknown Trainer has entered the competition with a powerful Darkrai, But Dawn doesn't listen to what Barry says and continues cheering for Ash. Barry get angry but he then realises that Ash is battling. Barry sits down. Ash sends out Quilava and tells it to do its best. Meanwhile, outside the stadium, Team Rocket is busy with their business.
Quilava is then shown to be knocked away, and both Armaldo and Quilava are running out of gas. Nando tells Armaldo to use X-Scissor, while Ash tells Quilava to use Aerial Ace, with both attacks colliding. Armaldo is down, but with the strong impact of the X-Scissor, Quilava is knocked out too, which results in a draw.
Back with Dawn and co., Conway appears in a creepy way again, scaring Dawn and Barry. Conway introduces himself to Barry. Nando sends out his last Pokémon, Kricketune, and Ash sends out his Heracross. Ash tells Heracross to use Megahorn, and Kricketune counters with Silver Wind, the impact sends Heracross flying. Nando tells Kricketune to use Sing, and Heracross falls asleep, falling to the ground. Then, Kricketune uses Fury Cutter, and Ash tells Heracross to use Sleep Talk. Heracross dodges the Fury Cutter, and uses Focus Punch to send Kricketune flying. Heracross wakes up and Ash tells it to use Focus Punch, and Nando tells Kricketune to dodge. Ash tells Heracross to use Focus Punch continously and Kricketune counters it with Fury Cutter. The two continues to use their attacks. Paul is watching the battle in another room. A strong impact sends both Pokémon flying. Nando then tells Kricketune to use Sing. Just as it is about to use Sing, Ash tells Heracross to use Megahorn in the ground. The Megahorn hits the ground and it stamps its feet, using Horn Attack to send Kricketune flying. With the strong power, Kricketune is knocked out, thus making Ash the winner. Heracross flies over to Ash and the gang cheers him on. Conway laughs and disappears once again, creeping out Dawn.
Outside the stadium, Team Rocket are having lots of customers buying their merchandises. Nando thanks Ash for the great battle and then leaves. Then, Paul is shown winning his
battle. Brock tells Ash about the Trainer with the Darkrai. Ash is surprised at first, but becomes excited about battling a strong foe. The episode ended with Ash and the gang, Paul, Barry, Conway and the mysterious trainer with the Darkrai.