Greetings, SixPrizes readers! Since this is my first formal article, I’ll introduce myself. My name is Raimundo Estela, I’m 23 years old and from Chile, South America, where the Pokémon TCG scene is a small but strong one. Players here like to try their own rogue decks or the usual “I copy the lists I read on SixPrizes and take them to tournaments without any changes.” This is the same as everywhere else except there aren’t enough players to divide Juniors, Seniors, and Masters, so everybody plays together.
For last week’s Regional I was sure which deck I was going to use: Empoleon / Accelgor. I absolutely love Empoleon in this format, and I’m still restraining myself from using Darkrai EX, so I decided I was going to use the good old reliable penguin for this Regional.
Just as I announced my plan, some friends (hello Zubats!) told me it was a really bad idea to go with Accelgor, even more since the rise of Keldeo EX was imminent after the release of Boundaries Crossed. I told them I had this, that I would hit Blastoise BCR and Keldeo EX for Weakness with Accelgor and the always threatening Landorus EX with Empoleon. I thought I had the tournament in the bag.
Oh, how wrong I was.
The tournament was held on a small room, and a lot of people complained but I thought it was pretty comfortable. Two electric fans kept the room cool for the 26 players that showed up. Yes, 26, which meant 5 rounds of Swiss and only a Top 4 cut. You could feel the tension in the air as we learned there were less than 32 players.
I was pretty confident in my list, which was:
Pokémon – 19
3 Shelmet DEX
2 Mew EX
Trainers – 31
3 Pokémon Communication
Energy – 10
Even though I couldn’t manage to get a Computer Search and was a little afraid of the Cheren to Skyla ratio in my deck, I was still confident. Playing without Tool Scrappers sure was risky, but after some testing I found I always 2HKO’d everything, with or without Eviolites, and with my high amount of Cherens, Garbodor DRX blocking Empoleon’s Ability wasn’t thatmuch of a liability.
After everything was set, pairings were done and it was time to battle it out with my favorite deck in the format and silence everybody who was claiming it was Tier 2 or 3.
Round 1: Nicolás Geria w/ Vanilluxe / Excadrill
I could tell Nicolás was a new and young player, using cards he got from boosters and sealed decks. He used a combination of Vanilluxe NXD, Excadrill DEX, and Beartic NXD with only an N and a couple of Potions. Even before the match he asked if he could use Roseanne’s Research, which I told him he couldn’t because it isn’t legal and instead lent him a Super Rod.
He seemed very excited to be in his first tournament, so I made the match last a while, letting him KO a couple of my Empoleons before the game was over.
After the match I asked the judge if he could change his deck (since it was his first time playing) and he agreed, so I lent him some Trainers, Vanilluxe NVI, and a Victini NVI 14 so he could keep playing on a more even level without altering his deck a lot. He was really thankful and happy when he returned the cards, although I think he ended 0-5.
Round 2: Fernando “Pikachu” Gaete w/ Darkrai / Terrakion
He really insisted for me to put his “Pikachu” nickname there. Anyway, this is where things started to get rough. I had only a Shelmet as a starter and he went with a lone Terrakion. I went first and had a Double Colorless in my hand with an Accelgor. I knew I could evolve it for an easy KO, but I couldn’t just Deck and Cover because I’d lose without a Bench. I didn’t have any search cards in hand except Pokémon Communication, but I couldn’t just send the Accelgor away. I Cheren’d hoping to get something, but I get another Pokémon Communication. I pass.
During his turn he played Ultra Ball for a Darkrai EX, attached a Dark Energy to Terrakion and played N, leaving me with another Accelgor but now no Double Colorless Energy. He passes and I get a Piplup, but I’ve got nothing I can do. Any move I do will trigger some Dark Patch / Energy Switch shenanigans.
I take the risk and promote the Piplup, just to see him Juniper, play two Dark Patches, Energy Switch and Catcher, thus starting a chain of events that would only start my inevitable demise.
Curses, foiled by Darkrai again.
Round 3: Francisco Osorio w/ Darkrai / Tornadus EX / Terrakion
Francisco is a well known player on the Chilean scene. He’s only 12 or 13 and we call him Pupe, but that doesn’t make him less of a threat. He always ends up in the top cut and really understands the core of the game.
He’s really fun to play and talk with, and I must admit I was a bit anxious when they told me I was going to play against him, since I’ve never actually beaten him in a tournament before, only in casual play.
This time wouldn’t be an exception, only the match ended far quickily than I had anticipated. We start the match and, surprise! I start with Shelmet again. He opens with Tornadus EX and goes first. Searches for a Skyarrow Bridge with Skyla, attaches a Double Colorless to Tornadus EX and it’s over. Just like that.
Curse you Shelmet!
Round 4: Marcelo Colque w/ FluffyChomp
By now everybody who was playing knew they had lost their chances to get into Top 4, but we kept playing to maintain our honor and have a good time.
Marcelo started with a lone Swablu, and I went with Emolga. On turn 2 I had two Empoleons and an Accelgor set up ready to KO his Swablu that he didn’t retreat to favour a Gabite on the bench. After loading his bench with Gibles and surprisingly no Swablus, he promotes his first Garchomp, which did 60 to my undamaged Empoleon. Using Switch I paralyzed his Garchomp using Mew EX, healed the Empoleon with the Gold Potion and KO’d his Garchomp with Empoleon the next turn.
After he promoted another Garchomp I paralyzed him again with another Mew EX, and seeing I had an Accelgor ready on the bench he decided to concede the game. 2-2
Round 5: Juan Pablo Navarro w/ Empoleon / Mew EX / Terrakion
It’s always nice to see another Empoleon enthusiast, even if it’s this low in the tournament rank. This was a really fun match, with both of us preventing for Empoleon to set up until I got the upper hand by “Catching” one of his benched Terrakions and stalling for a few turns.
Then it all went to Mew wars, with both of us KOing Mew after Mew until we were both with only one prize left. Juan Pablo played really slow and took his time, so we were on the verge of time when I noticed I had the game on my sleeve. He promoted a Terrakion to damage my last Mew EX which I had recovered with Super Rod.
I was really nervous about the time, and thinking I had won the game already I Deck and Covered his Terrakion with Mew, knowing I just had to promote my undamaged Empoleon and go for the KO and even if he Switched I had a Catcher on hand.
Somehow, and I don’t know why, maybe out of pure hurry I promoted my benched Accelgor, letting him Switch his Terrakion and go for the KO with an Empoleon. Even my girlfriend, who was next to me taking notes asked me why I didn’t promote the Empoleon.
Luckily the match was out of pure fun since the cut had already been decided, but I felt really stupid for misplaying. 2-3
Pupe and “Pikachu” ended up third and fourth place, respectively It was a shame I didn’t face any Blastoise/Keldeo or Landorus EX decks like I had hoped, but I know there were a couple in the tournament.
I still think there’s a spot for Empoleon / Accelgor on the meta. I just know it. Maybe when Colress comes out. The Paralysis lock and Empoleon draw engine is still effective, even if everybody thinks otherwise ( I know they are lying though, since I saw a lot of Darkrai decks with Switch just to counter Accelgor).
After this, people has been telling me to change my deck, that even RayEels is more efficient than Empoleon. But I’m standing strong here, I know there’s a way it can work. After the testing I did at the tournament, I’m seriously considering to go 4 – 0 – 4 with Empoleon and max out Skyla. I can’t wait for the next tournament, Computer Search in hand, to show everybody what Empoleon / Accelgor can do.
In the end, this Regional tournament was fun. I had a great time taking notes and eating at a Subway during lunch break. People were happy to collaborate when I told them I was going to write an article about Regionals, and I had fun writing it.
The best part? My girlfriend bought me chocolate to ease my anger for misplaying that last round.
I hope to see even more players next tournament. And if you’re Chilean and reading this, don’t hesitate to go to one, there’s room for everybody and more than one person is willing to help you improve.