I figured it was only fitting that I wrote a report on the very last CC’s of the season. This one was in Huntley, IL; a small town 45 minutes west of Chicago. The turn out was phenomenal. Over 100 heads, with 64 Masters. This is what the game is all about. The tournament was run by Jimmy Ballard, (2nd place at Worlds 2008, and owner of Collect-a-Card n’ Comics in Chicago and Top Cut Comics in Rockford). The head judge was Jeremy Adams, (jesus69) a fantastic player who took the day off to help run the tournament smoothly. I’ve been to almost every CC’s in the Midwest this season, and this was by far the most organized, spacious, and fun to date.
I stuck with my Flygon/Machamp/Nidoqueen deck that I have been running all season. I won’t type my decklist, but a few key techs included: Relicanth, Ditto, Machamp LV.X, and Lucian’s Assignment. I feel like this season of an ever-changing decklist accumulated in the most powerful, most consistent one yet, and I go into the tournament feeling pretty confident, but sad that it was the last of the year.
Round 1 vs. Richard Lucas (Gengar/Ampharos Jam)
This is the second time this season I got paired up against Mr. Lucas in round 1. I sighed because I know how great of a player he is, and I had lost to him previously at Chicago CC’s. He was actually the very first person I played against after my 10 year hiatus from the game; needless to say he taught me almost everything I know. He was playing Gengar with Ampharos. Ampharos’ PokéBody “Jamming” places 1 damage counter on each of your opponents Pokémon whenever they play a Supporter. This is obviously a fantastic combo for Gengar LV.X. We exchange a few early prizes before things start to heat up. I manage to keep his damage output fairly low by GUARDing my Claydol and keeping my hand size Trainer-free. He levels up Gengar and starts agro-spreading with “Compound Pain”, dealing 30 to everything on my side. Unfortunately, he forgot to “Level-Down” my Flygon LV.X, and I was a Warp Point and “Extreme Attack” away from taking my last prize. Great game Mr. Lucas!
Round 2 vs. James Flint (Gengar Powerlock)
James and I have been paired up at almost EVERY CC’s this season. It always leads to a fantastically challenging game with all sorts of twists and turns that have never led to me claiming victory over him. I knew he was playing Gengar, but he told me it changed a lot. He used to run it with Metagross to get easier KOs with “Compound Pain”, however I knew this was not the case when he flipped over his Pokémon to reveal Abra on the bench. We were both starting to get set up when I noticed he had GUARDed his Claydol, Expert Belted his Gengar, AND played Miasma Valley.
I then noticed my deck starting to move strangely up and down, like it was vibrating. This strange movement continued until it was my turn and I said, “Okay I HAVE to figure out what that is.” I play Roseanne’s and find out it was my Relicanth dancing!! Funny how he does that. I used “Grand Swell” for at least 3 Prizes that game, including the death of his Claydol. The rest of the game played out well, but it was that early Relicanth blitz that sealed my fate as I took my last prize. Good game.
Round 3 vs. Jason Klaczynski (Gengar Hit and Run)
Jason is a 2-time World Champion, but we also grew up playing Pokémon together in a local shop back in the day. It was a bit intimidating, but also just felt like the god ol’ days. We both open with Unown G, I attached and Call for Baltoy and Machop. He Roseanne’s for Baltoy and Spiritomb, attaches to retreat Unown G, and promotes Spiritomb to use “Darkness Grace” to evolve Baltoy. I topdeck Claydol and evolve Baltoy, evolve Machop and attach a Psychic energy to Unown G, (a WTF? moment) and use “Hidden Power” to KO the Spiritomb. He promotes Unown G, and starts using Claydol to build up his Gengar line.
I thought I might get ANOTHER prize with Unown G, but he drops a Crobat G to put a single damage counter on my now useless One-Eyed Alphabet Monster. He eventually starts getting his CurseGar powered up, while I am busy building a Machamp, Nidoqueen, and Flygon. We exchange a few prizes via Relicanth on my side and CurseGar on his side. Eventually I get my Machamp built up with 3 energy and “Take Out” an Uxie. He uses “Shadow Skip” next turn to deal 110 with Expert Belt and promotes a GUARDed Luxray GL. I Level-Up and use “Strong Willed” for the KO. Next turn he Uses “Shadow Skip” to deal 180 damage but I flip heads on Strong Willed, leaving me with 10 HP. Eventually time is winding down and I have 1 Prize left and he has 3. I desperately try to get my Relicanth back out for an easy snipe FTW when time is called. Great game.
Round 4 vs. Clinton Chan (Lady Gaga)
All day I was dreading the SP matchup. I know Clinton from my local shop, (Collect-a-Card n’ Comics, owned by Jimmy Ballard), and battled him at my first CC’s this season. Back then he was playing Gyarados, but now it was Lady Gaga. I don’t remember many of the details from this match, I know he had a speedy set up and mine was average. I may have gotten a few prizes from a very desperate Machamp LV.X, but ultimately he claims all 6 in just over 20 minutes. Good game.
Round 5 vs. Matt Alvis (Lady Gaga/SP toolbox)
My second SP matchup of the day, and again I was a little worried. Matt was also a familiar face from the Midwest area CC’s and a very funny guy. The game starts chugging along slowly, he fails to draw into a Cyrus until about turn 4. He has enough Energy Gains and GUARDs in play for my Relicanth to 1HKO anything on his side. He has a Toxicorak Promo, Dialga, and Garchomp C. I choose to snipe the Garchomp, because I figured he was the most threatening. I knew he would retaliate by sending up Promo-Croak for an easy KO, which I would then follow up with a Machop-Rare Candy-Machamp “Take Out”.
Time is winding down and I have 1 Prize to his two. I have an active Machamp, and a benched Flygon and Machamp. He manages to get Toxicroak G (PL), with the help of Skuntank to 1HKO my active Machamp last minute to tie the game. Time is called. By now, both our hearts are beating pretty hard. I promote my benched Machamp and realize I can’t simply “Take Out” for the win because of Toxicroak’s body that has an Unown G effect. All I have on my bench is a Memory Berry equipped Flygon with a single fighting energy attached. I retreat Machamp using Flygon’s “Rainbow Float” and promote Flygon.
I think for a minute. ‘Let’s see… I can’t use any of Trapinch’s attacks because Toxicroak’s body prevents both of them…’ I think for a little longer.. ‘Maybe I can try to stall while I build up Machamp…” when BAM! Light Bulb moment. I start rifling through his discard pile. TEN ENERGY CARDS. I use Vibrava’s “Energy Typhoon” for 200 damage and the win. Wow… After the game, we had a good laugh about how I might not have realized that, and whether or not he would have told me afterward. He said he purposely hadn’t looked through, or AT his discard pile the last 5 turns so as not to give me any hints. Awesome game!
Round 6 vs. Ryan Alperstein (Flygon/Dusknoir)
Ryan is another familiar face, perhaps better known for running some great tournaments in the Midwest. It was a welcome change seeing him actually playing, though. I knew he was playing “FlyClops” and figured my best bet was to focus on a couple of Flygon lines. I knew I had to manage my bench space because of the Dusknoir “Dark Palm” threat, so I just got my 2 Flygons, Machamp and Claydol going. He hesitates using Dusknoir’s power, because he anticipated the KO next turn without having Dusknoir LV.X activate. Therefore, “Damage Even”s output was never over 40. He levels up Dusknoir and places 6 counters on my Machamp. I have a fully loaded Flygon on the bench, play Warp Point, Level-Up Flygon and “Extreme Attack” Dusknoir on the bench to get around his “Ectoplasm” PokéPower. From there I use “Power Swing” and “Take Out” to claim the rest of my prizes. Good game!
Here was the top 8 after Swiss:
1. Clinton Chan
2. Colin Peterik
3. Jozell Friend
4. Seena Ghaz
5. Brandon Tilton
6. Kyle Sucevich
7. James Flint
8. Matt Alvis
Top 8 vs. James Flint (Gengar Powerlock)
I was happy when I found out I was paired with James again in the top-8. Like I said, they are always very strategic and fun games. This time he is actually able to Rare Candy into Alakazam MT to start “Power Canceling” me. Luckily I had some pretty great top decks and a revenge Cynthia’s Feelings so I didn’t have to rely on Claydol. I forced him to “Power Cancel” every turn, making him discard 2 cards from his hand each turn. This plus “Cosmic Power” thinned out his deck pretty quickly. I figure my best bet at this point was to deck him. So I promote my Flygon, Level-Up, and “Inviting Trap” his Blissey using Memory Berry. “Wind Erosion” activates and he is forced to discard the top card from his deck between turns. He has an Expert Belt on Blissey, so he could hit my Flygon for a hefty 60 damage with “Return”. The only drawback is he has to draw until he has 6 cards in his hand. Once he realized the lock he was in, he scooped.
By this time there was already less than 10 minutes left. We pile shuffle and set up like mad men. He gets set up much more quickly and I can see the determination in his eyes. I got set up very quickly too, and we both had pretty much anything we needed by turn 3 or 4. We exchanged a couple prizes each, but time is called and he failed to draw 4. Great games as always James. See you at States!
(Meanwhile, during the sudden death match between Matt Alvis and Clinton Chan…)
Clinton is able to get a T-2 Donk with Luxray GL LV.X: “Hey, I paid 20 bucks for this and I’m gonna use it!” -Clinton Chan
Great quote. haha…
Top 4 vs. Kyle Sucevich (Gyarados Honey)
“Don’t worry, it’s just the reigning National Champion!” -Jimmy Ballard
By this time I was freezing, starving, and just plain tired of playing Pokémon. 9 hours in a row can really take a toll on your brain! I was a bit nervous due to Pooka’s credentials, but I didn’t let it get to me. I didn’t know what to expect, because I know he had played SP most of the season, and today he was playing Gyarados. I figured I would rather take my chances with Gyarados than a straight up SP smack-down.
Gyarados is just such a fast deck. A good player will swing for 90 starting T-2, and this was no exception. I managed to build up a couple Flygons, taking early hits while I healed and rotated with Nidoqueen. When he is finally able to KO Flygon, I promote a Machamp with 4 energy, Level-Up, Attach Expert Belt, and use “Rage ” for the 140 damage KO. “That is one angry Machamp” -Pooka. I try to go an entire tournament not having to use “Hurricane Punch” if I can help it. It is such a BAD attack. So now I figure, “Cool, I went all out, but I got rid of Gyarados.” Next turn, Pooka benches a Combee and says “Honey.” Everyone watching enjoys a good laugh. Combee’s Held-Item “Honey” lets him search his discard pile for a basic Pokémon on put it on the bench. This plus a Rare Candy into Gyarados sealed my fate for Game 1. Ouch.
This game started out similar with both of us having very quick set ups. Here’s a good quote: “Man if I ran as good as either of you I’d be the two-time World Champion.” -Jason Klaczynski. This game gave me better field advantage, I “Inviting Trap”ed his Regirock and locked him for a while while I got set up. He flipped tails on two Super Scoop Ups in row. he finally got a Warp Point and started hitting hard with Gyarados. I had a plan to break even in prizes and go into sudden death by killing his Gyarados with my Machamp the same way I did last time, then using Relicanth the next turn to snipe the heavily damaged Regirock. Unfortunately, time was called and he was up on prizes. Great tournament.
The finals were between good friends Clinton Chan and Kyle Sucevich. They both wanted to go home and were trying to negotiate a way for them not to have to play the final match. I think Kyle ended up handing the win to Clinton, but I’m not positive. I end up in 3rd place, which was my best placement yet. For my rookie season, I think I did very well. My final record from all CC’s this season is 42-28. I would tell you my ranking, but Go-Pokémon.com is severely down. I think I finished somewhere in the 1670’s. I had my doubts about returning to the TCG after all these years, but after having so much fun with the very best of people, and seeing the amount of camaraderie, I know I had made the right choice. What a fun game. Plain and simple.
Jimmy Ballard for hosting a fantastic CC’s like always.
Jeremy Adams for being a great head judge.
Everyone that showed up and packed the place.
The dude that let me borrow Machamp LV.X. (Sorry I forgot your name! I’ll trade you something good for it next time I see you, States?)
Clinton Chan for going undefeated in Swiss and claiming his first medal of the season.
Jason K. for staying until the end to watch the finals matches.