Hello all, it’s great to be back as I haven’t written an article since last Autumn Battle Roads! Since then, much has happened. I won 3 Cities, Top Cut at two State and Regional Championships, acquired my Worlds invite, and played at U.S. Nationals and Worlds. I had quite the season and am sad to see that it is over. But alas, this article will recap how I did at U.S. Nationals and at Worlds as well as what I believe to be the play for the NXD-on format.
- The Tournament
- Round 1 vs. Octavio Gouveia, Brazilian National Champion (BR) w/ Gothigor
- Round 2 vs. Alex Schemanske (US) w/ Speed Lugia
- Round 3 vs. Kaiwan Cabbabe, Eventual World Champion and Australian National Champion (AU) w/ TDK
- Round 4 vs. Gabor Van Meenen (DE) w/ Darkrai/Absol
- Round 5 vs. Antoine ??? (CA) w/ RayEels
- Round 6 vs. Michael Catron (US) w/ Terrakion EX/Garbodor
- Round 7 vs. Bryan de Vries, Dutch National Champion (NL) w/ TDK
- Round 8 vs. Caton Silbiger, New Zealand National Champion (NZ) w/ TDK
- The Standings
- The Tournament
- The New Format!
- Final Thoughts
When Nationals came around, I was really liking how Darkrai was performing for me. I continued to get set up and I wrecked popular TDK builds using Enhanced Hammers. And to this day that is what I should have played.
I noticed at the time there was a ton of anti-hype for Darkrai. Blastoise could beat it, new versions of TDK with basic Energy could beat it, and now with the rising popularity of Gothitelle right before Nationals, you had to play multiple Keldeo and cut consistency. So with two days before the event, I scrapped the idea of Darkrai and built Blastoise and Gothitelle.
Both were performing well and I had confidence after getting T2 Blastoise almost every game. And I mean, when you get a T2 Blastoise and even a Black Ballista every game, that can only do bad things to your ego. I became cocky that I was unstoppable and had no doubt that I was going to perform spectacular.
I can’t post the list because I don’t even have it anymore, but so you get an idea of what it was, it was really standard. 4-0-3 Blastoise, 3 Keldeo, 2 Black Kyurem, 10 Water, 3 Lightning, and 3 Beaches.
Round 1 – Crobat.dec – W
Round 2 – Mirror – W
Round 3 – TDK – W
Round 4 – TDK – L
Round 5 – Garbodor/Big Basics – L
Round 6 – Garbodor/Durant (Played POKE BALL) – L
Round 7 – Drop
Well, that wasn’t expected.
Needless to say, I was pretty frustrated. Not a single T2 Blastoise fell my way, and I went second 5 times. Ouch. My last match I played very moronically. I played really fast, and almost won. I should have done exactly what I did, except play slower. I don’t recommend this because it’s not exactly good sportsmanship, but playing slower to the point where time was called would have won me the game no doubt.
The player wasn’t exactly friendly and flipped heads on everything, but what bummed me out the most was when we were picking up our game right after it was finished, time was called. And with my resistance gone to crap, I dropped and went to play Worlds decks.
My dad finished just like me (he played RayEels) and went from 3-0 to 3-3 drop. Nationals just isn’t my tournament I guess! With the way Nationals was looking, I was really worrying about Worlds, which was coming up pretty soon.
I arrived in Vancouver on Thursday morning. I met up with friends, family, and testing partners and tested the rest of the day until probably past midnight. I had to get a good sleep schedule going though, because the most important tournament of my life was shortly arriving.
Friday played out similarly. I registered, tested, watched grinders games (my Dad lost round 2 to Chase Nieman from OTB), and scoped the field for my division. I had originally planned on playing Gothigor, but after examination of the field, I took that out of my options right away.
My top three decks as of Friday were TDK without Lugia, Lugia Donk/Speed Lugia, and Darkrai Garbodor. I tested all day Friday in between checking in and seeing what was going on for friends in the Grinder. Towards the end of the day, I thought of just playing straight Darkrai. It wasn’t one of my picks, but it was consistent and beat Gothigor (if it played 2-3 Keldeo), which was EVERYWHERE. I put in 2 Enhanced Hammers to make my TDK matchup less scary. And with that, here’s the list I started testing:
Pokémon – 9
3 Darkrai EX
2 Keldeo EX
Trainers – 40
Energy – 11
The deck performed very well. I was consistent with getting T2 Night Spears as well as not fizzling out at the end of games like Darkrai normally does. This and Speed Lugia ended up being my top 2 choices. It came down to basically me not having a way to get enough Lugia EX for my deck, so I chose Darkrai. I went to bed confident, yet not cocky. I was ready to take on almost anything.
The morning of Worlds was a lot less stressful than I expected. I ate breakfast, attended the players meeting, saw what my friends were playing, and overall was just anxious to get started. Then, finally, the pairings were up, and I see I am paired up against someone from Brazil.
Round 1 vs. Octavio Gouveia, Brazilian National Champion (BR) w/ Gothigor
I am super pumped to finally start! I talk with him a bit before the match and he seems really nice. He was the Brazilian Senior National Champion to my surprise, so I was surely in for quite a game.
We set up, I win the coin flip, and we flip our basics over. He starts with Gothita and Shelmet and I immediately feel relieved. A good matchup to start off the day. I have a Keldeo in hand that I bench, then I play Ultra Ball looking for that other one, and as if my worst fears came true, my other Keldeo is prized. GREAT.
I start to panic as I search through my deck at least 4 times looking for it, and each time to my dismay it isn’t there. I grab an Absol (I started Sableye and now had a Keldeo and Darkrai on the bench) and bench it as well. I play Juniper and get an optimal set up as I Junk hunt for some useful items.
He draws, plays an N, then passes. Whoa. From then on I get the T2 Night Spear and KO every Gothita that hits the board. I finally get that Keldeo out of the Prizes (I believe it was the 3rd one) and I sit back as my deck does what it is supposed to.
Round 2 vs. Alex Schemanske (US) w/ Speed Lugia
This game goes completely according to plan. I Hammer spam while I set up and get rid of all his Plasma Energy. The game is over quickly and I secure an early win.
Round 3 vs. Kaiwan Cabbabe, Eventual World Champion and Australian National Champion (AU) w/ TDK
I go first, and am immediately off to a fast start. I Junk Hunt and pretty much secure the T2 Night Spear. He started Thundurus, attaches a Blend WFLM, benches 2 Deoxys, plays a Plasma Ball for another one and benches it, N’s me out of T2 Night Spear, then draws into Laser to KO my Sableye T1. Whatever.
I’m a little bit wary after that turn, but I still, after a Bicycle, a Juniper, and a CPU Search, later am able to get a T2 Night Spear with Dark Claw + Laser Bank to put his Thundurus at 140 and everything floats back into my control. He retreats into Deoxys, attaches a Prism and plays a Colress Machine and gets a Plasma Energy onto it. Then he plays a Max Potion on the Thundurus and completely heals it. GREAT. He hits me for 100 with Helix Force.
To my dismay, I shortly find out both Hammers are prized. It isn’t long until he gets a Kyurem loaded up and one shots everything I throw at him. He was running REALLY hot and was top-decking like a boss. At one point I N him to 1 and he draws his last Juniper, plays it and grabs his last Catcher to win.
It was a bummer to lose such a close game, but hey I lost to the World Champion so not too shabby. He was a chill dude to talk to and really just a very respectful and funny character.
Round 4 vs. Gabor Van Meenen (DE) w/ Darkrai/Absol
This game, I draw a horrid hand. I get a measly T5 Night Spear and Junk Hunt for about 75% of the game as he Catcher kills a Darkrai and a Keldeo. I N him down hoping and praying that he draws dead as I finally KO the Darkrai that has been really making me have a bad go of it.
He has an Absol with 1 energy and I’m hoping he doesn’t have anything to start attacking again. Apart from the T2 Night Spear he got, he wasn’t drawing so hot aside from a Catcher here and there, so he wasn’t exactly able to get another Darkrai going. I KO the Absol after he whiffs the energy, then KO a Sableye to tie it up at 2-2 Prizes.
He draws a Bianca and plays it. He has a Darkrai in the active spot with no damage on it, a Darkrai on the bench with no damage, and a Keldeo with 30 and an Energy from a while back. He uses Rush In, plays a Dark Patch and then attaches to the benched Darkrai without damage. He considers retreating back to the Darkrai with damage on it but decides against it.
This is what I see to be a huge misplay. So he passes, I attach Dark Claw, play Laser, then Night Spear for the KO and win. What a stressful game.
Round 5 vs. Antoine ??? (CA) w/ RayEels
I was still a bit shaken from my last game to be honest. But hey I was having a good run and I wanted it to continue. I shuffle up and draw. First card Energy, 2nd card Energy, 3rd card Energy, 4th card Energy, 5th card Energy Switch, 6th card Dark Patch, 7th card Darkrai. Needless to say, I lost.
I actually wanted to go second on the off chance he would N me, but I went first, he saw I had a dead hand and played a Juniper, discarding a few things as well as an N. He gets a T2 Dragon Burst from a Rayquaza EX for 180 and benches me. It wasn’t looking like I was going to win even if I drew well. It looks like I’m going to have to win out for a for sure spot at Top 32.
Round 6 vs. Michael Catron (US) w/ Terrakion EX/Garbodor
I sit down pretty confidently. We shuffle up and due to poor shuffling he drops a Terrakion EX from his deck. I cringe and I know I will most likely lose already. In Seniors a ton of these Terrakion EX/Garbodor decks were performing well at top tables and there was even a rumor that one played Pinsir from NXD that discards Energy.
He starts with a Trubbish and wins the coin flip. I was especially bummed about that because I most likely had the donk which I was sure that was the only way I would win. Eight tails on Laser later, as well as the Prize count being 6-2 his favor, I scoop to go get some McDonalds. Even if I win out, I realize my chances are slim of making cut.
Round 7 vs. Bryan de Vries, Dutch National Champion (NL) w/ TDK
The match plays out pretty much how it should. We trade KOs and my Hammers do work on him. In the end he misses a KO after I N him and he doesn’t draw the Catcher he needs, so I take the last KO on a Deoxys and win.
Round 8 vs. Caton Silbiger, New Zealand National Champion (NZ) w/ TDK
Again, the match plays out in my favor ever so nicely. I Hammer spam and continue on to 6-0 him for the win.
I waited, with my heart racing a billion miles per hour (maybe more). I wanted to make cut so badly. I felt if I missed cut, my losses were justified. One was to the World Champion, one was to a no Supporter hand/I got benched, and the other was to a near auto-loss.
Finally the standings came, and to my dismay, I missed cut at 44th place. I felt so bummed I went down to the food court and had myself a milkshake. I had two friends who did make cut however (Jacob Howard w/ Darkrai and Emily Grieve with Blastoise/Black Kyurem) and of course they played each other in Top 32.
My first World Championships seemed like a near failure. Although now I know it wasn’t, at the time I felt like it was. To cheer myself up I went and traded in the open gaming room for a bunch of Japanese sleeves that I get to look forward using in the next season hopefully.
And with that, that was my Worlds experience. With any luck, maybe I will get to return to Worlds next year with an invite. I know it’ll be rough, and it’s not probable considering I just aged up. But hey, it can happen right?
The New Format!
With Worlds over, a new set to mess with, and a rotation basically now in effect, you can bet your silly self that means a new format has begun. Last year I played with RayEels for most of BRs and then at the first Regionals. RayEels was a fully new concept introduced with Rayquaza EX and Shiny Rayquaza in the format. It was cool and last year with the rotation having a much bigger impact on the format than this year, it was nice to play something pretty new, even though I had played Eelektrik variants plenty before.
With the new format, we’ve been introduced to a new archetype, Virizion/Genesect. Although I don’t exactly have confidence that the deck is all that amazing, it is kind of neat. But today I’m going to look at a deck that’s been around, and that deck is Darkrai/Garbodor. Honestly if I had to do Worlds and even Nationals again, I would have taken a much deeper look at this deck.
But anyways, here is the list I’ve been toying with online, with friends, and at league so far.
Pokémon – 10
3 Darkrai EX
Trainers – 41
Energy – 9
I really like this list, and in testing it has performed very well. Obviously without Gothitelle in the format, I didn’t think Keldeo was a must. The only change I think I would make would be dropping the Max Potion for another Trubbish or maybe a Sableye.
You might be thinking that the number of cards to get out of the Active spot are low, such as there being 4 Float Stone, no Keldeo, and no Switch. Even though Garbodor negates Rush In, I’ve found that Garbodor isn’t always in play. Players usually teched Keldeos into their Worlds lists and when paired against Gothigor, they wouldn’t bother getting Garbodor set up, but instead get a Keldeo or two Rushing In and breaking the lock.
Now that there really is no lock to break as I stated before, I felt less compelled to add it. Same with Switch. If you are smart about it, the only Tool you will attach to Garbodor is Float Stone. That way if they Catcher it up it’s got free retreat and you’re fine. Even if they Tool Scrapper, you can just attach a Darkness Energy and retreat using Dark Cloak since Garbodor’s Ability isn’t in effect anymore.
It is a little tricky to work with considering you are limited to drawing those Float Stones, but in a pinch you can always Tool Scrapper your own Garbodor if it has a different Tool than you would have liked and then attach a Float Stone. Overall I do like the list, and I wouldn’t mind finding room for Switch, but I never was in a position I couldn’t find a way to retreat out of. I hope you try out the deck and like it, and are able to find unique ways to make it your own.
Overall I was happy with my season. I got an invitation to Worlds, performed solid all season, and hey even though I didn’t make cut, I felt like I did okay at Worlds. I am aging up to Masters this year and to be honest I’m not upset one bit about it. For starters, any accomplishment I may get will finally mean something to others! But really, it’s just going to be nice playing in the big leagues so to speak.
With the start of the new season there are already a bunch of new changes, which I would I would form and express an opinion on, but I feel like there’s much more information we have yet to obtain and that could really change how I feel. So far though, I’d have to say the changes are okay, but we will see how it all turns out.
I guess this wraps it up however, and I am very happy to be back writing after such a long while. As always stay sharp players and hopefully I will write another article soon. Please do leave feedback because I do like to hear any comments or concerns.
Until next time,
Collin Coyle B. (Thatbulbasaurkid)