Oklahoma State Championships Report

The time is 8:30am; the location is a little place called Norman Oklahoma. After making the three hour drive all the way across Oklahoma we had finally arrived just as registration for Oklahoma States was starting. I unloaded the 7th and 8th grade students out of the SUV and we proceeded to deck check and tournament registration.

You see I work at a place called Marble City Public School and around 5-6 months back I was asked to teach the Pokémon trading card game in the after school program. Upon doing some research I agreed and ever since that day I have been doing everything I can to do good in OP and to get my 7th and 8th grade students started in Organized Play as well.

Unfortunately by the time I had felt they were ready to play in a real event the only one taking place was Oklahoma State Championships. Regardless of all of us being relatively new to Pokémon we had high hopes of having fun and we all were secretly hoping to do well even though we all knew the odds.

After registering I told the boys to work out any nervousness they might have in their systems by finding someone in which they had never played before and asking them for a warm up game. A little apprehensive at first they made their way through the crowded building and eventually found opponents. I decided it would probably be best if I took my own advice and found myself a warm up game as well, so that’s exactly what I did.

The person I ended up playing was a guy by the name of Len Deuel. I have actually played Len before online several times, he is a very strong player and I knew he was playing Gyarados, a deck in which I was most apprehensive about. I ended up doing really well against it and probably would have won the match but the masters list was going up so we decided to sack the game and make our ways to our first match’s. Low and behold who my first match was… None other than Billy Kettler. This was already looking bad for me.

Gengar Stormfront SF 18 Pokemon CardMatch #1 – Billy Kettler with Gyarados:

As soon as I saw who I was playing I already knew it wasn’t going to be easy and boy was I right. He started with a Sableye and I started with Spiritomb and a Gastly. My Spiritomb ended up locking him for like five rounds and I was really surprised he hadn’t killed me off by that time. Eventually I retreated it and we started trading off prizes. In the end it came down to a coin flip on a feinting spell and I lost the flip, had I gotten the flip he informed me there was no way he could have recovered and things would have ended much better for me, but regardless of the fact I lost, Billy was a pretty cool guy and I very much enjoyed our match.

0 – 1

Match #2 – Charizard AR with Typhlosion Prime and Ninetales:

I started this match with Spiritomb and he started with a Cyndiquill. I had my things set up really early with the exception of my Nidoqueen, I ended up having to lose two Spiritomb in order to establish a fully charged Nidoqueen but I deemed it was worth it, until I realized my opponent was trying to stall me out on time. He had a 2 Prize lead on me because of my Spiritomb and he decided to make his turns last 20 minutes a peace, after I caught on I asked him several times to please hurry his turns up and he informed me he wasn’t slow playing just trying to make sure he didn’t make a mistake. I could have understood this if he had actually done something with his turns but he didn’t do anything except stall. Near the end of the match I had two minutes to try and play catch up with prizes and I just couldn’t do it, instead I misplayed, I lost the match due to time and him having 1 Prize left and my only having two. I was severally irritated with this but it was my own fault for not calling a judge.

0 -2

Match #3 – Nikki with AMU:

I started this match with a crummy hand and she set up her pixies really quickly and was hitting my with 200 damage before I could set anything up, but I realized I needed to just sacrifice prizes in order to establish a Dusknoir and a Gengar so I could level her down and Dark Palm her to eliminate her ability to hit me for 200. I did this and took the win because of her in-ability to recover after I leveled her Azelf down, Dark Palmed her Uxie and KO’ed her Active Mesprit LV.X. All in all she played really well and I really was quite sure she had me in the beginning. Excellent game Nikki!

1 – 2

Match #4 – Feraligatr Prime with Gyarados G and Floatzel GL

Nidoqueen Rising Rivals RR 30 Pokemon Card This match was a real surprise for me, I had never encountered a deck like it and I thought it was really quite clever. It hit really hard and set up rather quickly. I misplayed about halfway through it and forgot to level down the Floatzel GL LV.X and so when I KO’ed the active Gyarados G he simply scooped it up promoted his Floatzel GL LV.X set Gyarados G back down and Rained Danced all of the energy back onto it, retreated, promoted and hit me hard again KOing my active Gengar. I then night maintenanced my Gengar LV.X back into the deck, then Bebe’s searched, leveled up my other Gengar, leveled him down and started to turn things around after that. It was a really cool match and I very much enjoyed playing against a deck I have never played against.

2 – 2

Match #5 – Dunsparce Donk with Donpahn:

This deck was uber strange and I didn’t really know what was going on, the guy playing it was running cards that belonged in a Shuppet deck and I was wondering what the fighting energy was for until he pulled out a Donphan late game and started using it. It was close near the end I had a belted Nidoqueen on the bench that only needed 30 more damage to be Knocked Out and he couldn’t manage to do it so I Compound Pained and took my last 3 Prizes. Despite my rough start I took the win.

3 – 2

Match #6 – Gardy Gallade:

This was such a crummy win, we both started with Spiritomb’s and he had a benched Mewtwo as I had a benched Nidoran. I simply set up a Gengar, Nidoqueen and a Claydol and all he drew into was energy. I retreated my Spiritomb and KO’ed his, then afterward I took out his only benched Pokémon, Mewtwo, for the win. I hated winning that way but he was really understanding, and we ended up playing another match afterward. He wanted to test a Tyranitar deck against me and I ended up winning against it as well. Very nice guy and an excellent player as well, glad to have shared the experience.

4 – 2

So I fell shy of making top cut but I had allot of fun, I got to meet a lot of people I play against in Redshark and Apprentice (Austin Baggs, John Kettler, Len Deuel, ect) and it was an excellent experience. My 7th and 8th grade students did really well also, a few of them just barely missed top cut and so they are all readily awaiting the next chance to compete in OP.

I also would like to take the time to thank Austin Baggs for sending me the Claydols and Uxies necessary for my 7th and 8th graders to have consistent decks and a better chance at playing. Without them I’m afraid some of my students wouldn’t have had as good of a chance at drawing what they needed. Your contribution was much appreciated.

Reader Interactions

19 replies

  1. Adam Capriola

    Great report Michael! That's so awesome that you're teaching kids how to play, huge props to you for that. I'm glad they all had a good time. :)

    Nice job on finishing 4-2 after the rough start. It sucks that you got stalled out, but being one of your first big tournaments, you'll now know what to look for and it hopefully won't happen again.

    I'm really looking forward to meeting you at Nationals (if you're going)!

  2. Scnappy

    Nice one mate, awesome that you teach kids to play man, real awesome.
    Also great tourny report would have been great to visit and play there.

    P.S. maybe you could start/Join a league in your area, I don't know if you have the time but it gives rewards for playing and also lets you meet loads of pokemon players. That way your students also get to meet other players and get better trades and more expirence :).

    Anyway just a thought and hope to hear more from you soon :D

  3. Dave Hueglin

    Hi Michael,

    I teach a Grade 4/5/6 class in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and have also gotten many of my students involved in playing the Pokemon TCG. We have an informal club that runs two lunch recesses every week. Several of my students also attend our local League (which I also attend with my 8 year old son). It's wonderful to read that you were able to organize a trip to the States for your students. It must have been quite a logistical feat! Congtrats for doing so well and helping out your students in such a fun way.

  4. Joshua Hall

    It's great that you were able to compete and bring new kids to the game at the same time! Too bad you weren't able to make cut, but 4-2's not a bad day considering how you started.

  5. Brandon Bittinger

    Nice article, also do you know how that Charizard deck finished?

    @Adam: Your taking me to Nationals with you right?lol!

  6. Michael Randolph

    I think i was the Charizard decks only defeat. The very next match he played was against my friend Dustin whom was also running a Charizard deck and he lost to Dustin ( I warned him about the guy's stalling) and I didn't see him again. Dustin went 2 wins and 4 loses with his Charizard deck if that helps any.

  7. Michael Randolph

    Yes the school I work at is very PRO Pokemon. Even being very PRO Pokemon I didn't expect them to allow me to take the 7th/8th graders on a 3 hour field trip to States but they didn't even hesitate, they set everything up and gave me the Go-Ahead. It's wonderful to know that other schools have incorperated pokemon into there schedules as well.

  8. Michael Randolph

    There isn't a league within any reasonable distance from where I live. Also the area in which my school is located is mostly below poverty level so none of the parents have time to miss work or such to drive their students a few hours away every saturday for league, which is why I requested Pokemon USA allow me to create a league at our school or the community building in town. I promised them over 50 people (and thats not including all of the college students I have gotten into the game) and explained our situation and I have still yet to hear from them. So until they decide to approve (or deny so i can re-file) my claim I just continue to hold meetings with my students every chance I get though-out the day and after schools on fridays from 3:15 – 6:00.

  9. Michael Randolph

    I would love nothing more than to meet the man whom made me a better pokemon player and taught me so much with all of the insight and all too helpful articles on his site. What I learned from you guys I taught to my 7th/8th graders and with out your help i would still be a bumbling fool playing decks with like three supporters and 20 energies :] I mean your knowledge of the game has took a guy that didnt know anything about the game 5 months ago and made him capable of doing 4-2 at states! I owe each and every one of you a whole lot of thanks, especially you Adam. And i hope to meet allot of you at Nationals because I plan to be there! Until then good luck guys!

  10. Michael Randolph

    I was really surprised I managed 4 wins and 2 losses myself, I would happily take that any day as oppose to doing worse lol.

  11. Ed Mandy

    Thanks for the writeup, Michael. I'm curious how your students go about building decks? Do you decide things as a group? Do you suggest specific deck types? Do they do it all on their own? Do they tend to focus on top archetypes, or do they end up with rogues?

    Anyway, it sounds like you've got a real good thing going. Keep it up!

  12. Dave Hueglin

    That's neat. I play short 3 prize battles with my students on many recesses (15 minutes). I only have 1 or 2 students who are really into deck building. One of them (Grade 5) goes onto 6P and Pokegym and looks at the arch-types. He has built a pretty good Beedrill deck using a lot of cards I traded to him. Has your school invested in cards or are the students primarily responsible for getting their own? I was abl to get a bit of money from my school to build some 30 card decks so that students who could not afford cards could still play at the club.

  13. Dave Hueglin

    p.s. I really hope Pokemon OP approves your League. (Had to do a new post as it would not let me edit.)

  14. Michael Randolph

    Actually my school approved me to pretty much go on a pokemon shopping spree for the kids, and every day or so i handed out handfuls of cards to them that way they had options for their decks which were mostly starter decks handed out. Then in the end i started buying cards for them. And allot of the older kids tend to be avid readers of SixPrizes.com which helps them understand what other people are playing and ways to counter rough matchups.

  15. Michael Randolph

    Well they all started with basic started decks and i let them experiment for a while, afterwards we decided it would be best if we all played different decks. We all get together and play aginst each other and five suggestions as well as trade/lend cards for others to try and see if they help. It's a neat process, and the students really enjoy it. Some play rogues others play decks used by successful players. I train them against all the decks i find to be tough. We all get together and play test on redshark and then afterschool with real cards. I have found that preparing them for cards they have never seen helps them allot when they are faced against them in a match. I try and give them an option to combat any matchup.

  16. Ed Mandy

    I think you've got it quite right. It seems that your club/team/class will be dominating in no time, as it sounds like you have dedicated players that are concentrating on the right things. Even if they're not running the most competitive decks at the moment, that's a fairly easy fix. The harder part is learning all the other decks and how to play against them.

    My daughter is only 6, and this is the most difficult part. When we practice, she usually just plays against me, and she doesn't get a good grasp of all the different things she might have to deal with in a tournament setting. She learns how her deck works, but that doesn't mean that any given matchup will be so straightforward.

    I feel like if you can do the reverse and learn the metagame and most of its cards, then you can easily pick up any deck and have a good shot. Learning a single deck in and out doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to use it effectively when faced with adversity, but that's the only option that I think is available to her at the moment.

  17. Errol Gabriel Curioso

    Great job man! I really admire what you're doing. I also want to teach other people how to play Pokemon TCG, so we could have more players playing in our league. Props to you man! Yeah! LOL

  18. Errol Gabriel Curioso

    Great job man! I really admire what you're doing. I also want to teach other people how to play Pokemon TCG, so we could have more players playing in our league. Props to you man! Yeah! LOL

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