Coming into the states tournament Team Pikkdogs was hungry for a win, we haven’t had one in a while. And this put considerable pressure on me since I am the sole member of Team Pikkdogs. Before the tournament I went back and forth about what deck I wanted to play. At first I was thinking SP, so I built a cool Luxray l/Infernape 4/Gallade 4 spread deck. It was nice, but just didn’t win enough. Then I thought Charizard; it’s a good simple deck. But then I tested it against my Flygon lock deck, and Flygon beat it so many times that I couldn’t not play Flygon. I improved my deck with some late night testing the night before the tournament. I dropped the Call Energies and used Double Colorless Energies and a Bench Shield.
Just a quick note for people who don’t know what a Flygon Lock deck is, it uses the Rising Rivals version of Flygon and Flygon LV.X to mill, or discard cards from your opponents deck. Its Poké Body “Wind Erosion” discards the top card of your opponent’s deck each turn. Then the user attaches a Memory Berry and uses Trapinch SW’s attacks “Inviting Trap” and “Sand Tomb.” “Inviting Trap” lets you bring up a benched Pokémon such as a Claydol, and “Sand Tomb” does 10 damage and doesn’t allow the defending Pokémon to retreat next turn.
When the user has Flygon going, then on the bench he/she builds a Rhyperior DP. Rhyperior’s Poké Power “Earth Fissure” discards the top 3 cards of your opponents deck when you first play him from your hand. So now you know about the deck, I can tell ya a story about the Michigan State Tournaments.
I get there a little early and just sit around for an hour waiting for play to begin. It was nice to see a good turnout; we had about 50 or 60 players I think, so that means a top cut of 16!
Round 1 – Leafeon
I never met this chap before, he seemed nice but I had no idea what he was capable of. He turned over an Eevee so I thought he must be running a Leafeon deck. I was right, he used Shaymin LV.X, Sceptile GE, and Leafeon to come together to do some damage. The only problem was his deck was a little slow; no Claydol or Uxie. While I was happy his deck was slow, I also knew there was nothing I could lock down with Flygon. I tried locking a Shaymin, but that didn’t work, so I tried something else. I put a Flygon X on Flygon and used “Extreme Attack” to knock out his Shaymin LV.X and Leafeon LV.X. Because of his lack of speed he could not recover and he lost when I knocked out his last Pokémon.
1-0. Right now I’m happy, but I know there are much bigger fish to fry.
Round 2 – Justin with Gengar with Spiritomb and Mr. Mime
My next opponent was a guy I’ve played against before, he is a good guy and a devoted Gengar player. I had a pretty good start and got a Flygon LV.X active right away. With “Wind Erosion” I was able to discard both his Claydols. But, he counters with a Gengar LV.X and uses “Level Down” to shuffle my Flygon back into the deck. He does that twice before I can knock the Gengar out. Without the Gengar and any Claydols he is helpless as I lock his Mr. Mime in place and use Rhyperior to finish his deck off.
2-0. Really Happy that I have a good win against a good player.
Round 3 – Blastcatty with Metagross SV
I did not know my opponent, but after the match we talked a little and I found out that he’s a nice guy. It was too bad for him that I have a Blastcatty deck myself, and have practiced against it hundreds of times. I have a good start and let him set up, and then I strike. I used “Inviting Trap” to get his Claydol active and trap it. I continue to find the Flygon LV.X and set up a Rhyperior. There isn’t much he can do anymore, he must not have been playing any Warp Points or Unown g’s. I proceed to mill his deck until he decks out.
As I go to break I have a great 3-0 start. I enjoyed my roast beef sandwich at Arbys, and freak some children out by singing “Lets Here it for the Boy” along with the radio.
Round 4 – versus Mike and Arceus
I did not know Mike when States began, but by the time states ended, we agreed that our matchups were legendary. He turns over Arceus, and I’m thinking “What am I supposed to do now?” There’s nothing to lock and Arceus LV.X’s Poké Body lets him use the attack of any other Arceus in play. I decide that instead of using the strategy I used in Round 1, I would find something to lock. I found the water Arceus, it has a 2 retreat cost, an attack that costs 3 energies and doesn’t have any bad effects, it also can’t hit for weakness on Flygon.
So I set up pretty early with a Palkia LV.X and a Flygon X. I choose the water Arceus and lock it down. To his credit Mike did everything to get out of the lock, but it wasn’t that easy. He tries to take some prizes by using “Sky Spear”, but I Bench Shield a Claydol so he can’t affect my game too much. I proceed to mill his deck and discard some pretty important cards like Palmer’s Contribution, and the game ends when he has nothing left to draw. Good win but kudos to Steve for being so inventive and clever; it was not that last I had seen of him.
So 4-0 is great, I knew that barring a catastrophic collapse I will go at least 1-2 through the rest of the tournament and then go into Top Cut with a shot.
Round 5 – Luxchomp
I have not played this fellow before, but I have seen him around a lot. He is an older fellow, but I know he knows his stuff and will be a tough out. I start off pretty well and draw into everything I need……except a Memory Berry. He has a rough start but comes back and plays a Lucario l and a Garchomp c, giving him a huge advantage over my Flygon. I Bench Shield my Claydol and use “Cosmic Power” many times but the Memory Berry never comes. So my Flygon just looks at the Garchomp c as my opponents knocks three of them out. That was all I could take, and I scoop for my first loss.
4-1, still a great record but I feel a fog coming over me.
Round 6 – Machamp.
When he flips over the Machop I am happy cause I know as long as I can get a couple of Flygons I am set. He can’t really hurt me unless he has the LV.X, in which case I would retaliate. But he gets Machamp LV.X early and uses it to knock out 1 Flygon. In the meantime I have a horrible draw and can’t get anything going. I did not have a Flygon waiting, so he proceeds to use “Take Out” to knock out my Baltoy and win.
4-2. I lose two in a row, but I am where I want to be. I know that if I just win the last match I will make Top Cut.
Round 7 – Dialga and LuxChomp
4-3. At this point I’m heartbroken, after a 4-0 start it looks like I’m going home early. I had a great start but then fell in the end. Just for fun before I left I checked the 7th round pairing to see if any 4-3 teams can mathematically make it to the round of 16. I do the counting and find out that there is a guaranteed 14 or 15 people who will make top cut. Leaving 1 or 2 spots open for a 4-3 player. So I stick around and make a couple of trades. When I just about sew up a trade, I hear the announcement that I had made it as the 16th seed. I run to the sheet that contains the standings, and find that I had beat about 10 players in the tiebreaker.
Round of 16 – Jonah with Uxie Donk
Jonah is a guy I met this year and we got know each other and support each other at tournaments. He won cities this year with this deck and has made it through Swiss undefeated. So at this point I think if I have to end it here at least it’s to a friend. I know his deck goes for the jugular very early on, and all my basics besides Palkia have low HP.
First Game: He has not so great of a start, while I have an okay start and a key turn 2 I “Cosmic Power” for a bunch of basics. He uses Uxie’s “Psychic Restore” attack and Crobat g’s “Flash Bite” Poké Power for a couple of early knock outs. When he uses about 3 Pokéturns to use on Crobat g, and then promotes Crobat g as the active I get an idea. Why not lock Crobat g? So that’s what I do, I get an active Flygon LV.X with Memory Berry and use Sand Tomb. Each turn I discard some key cards like Aaron’s Collection. He tries to use Super Scoop Up, but it does not work. I then get a benched Rhyperior and start using Super Scoop Up on him to discard more cards. He ends up decking out as the first game ends.
Second Game: He doesn’t have a perfect start again this turn, and I again get a key turn 2 “Cosmic Power” to bring up some basics. So I survive his initial assault and begin to build up Flygons. When I go to my deck with Roseanne’s Research I realize that my Rhyhorn is prized, so I then tried to grab Azelf LA, but that too is prized. I know that if I will win this game it will be without Rhyperior.
But by this time the round is almost over and I know that if I just use “Sand Tomb” I might be able to stop him from winning this game. He puts down a Mr. Mime and promotes it. I seize the opportunity to bring up a Flygon LV.X and use Sand Tomb to trap it. He then gets tails on all his Super Scoop Up attempts. As he realizes he can’t get Mr. Mime out of the active position he starts to pack his stuff up and I advise him to not buy any lottery tickets tonight.
A 16 seed beats #1, the glass slipper fits Cinderella’s going to the ball! 5-3.
Game 1: In this round I meet Mike again with his Arceus deck. I’m just hoping I can lock the water Arceus again, amidst the taunts of people yelling at Mike for playing Arceus. Both of us get good starts and get our strategies going. He plays the Water Arceus, and I lock it in place with Flygon LV.X. He yells at me for locking the Water Arceus, then I asked him why he played it at all, and he says “good point.” I start milling his deck with Flygon LV.X and Rhyperior. But he then discards my last Broken Time Space (which means Rhyperior is less effective).
He uses Ultimate Zone to good use, making efficient use of every energy card that he has played. He knocks out two of my Flygon LV.X’s with “Sky Spear”, and knows that I can’t get the Flygon LV.X back anymore. But by the time this happens it’s my turn and we each have 1 card left in our decks. I celebrate and think about my Round 4 matchup, but the game isn’t quite over. I knew we had the same number of cards in our hands, and he had a Copycat in his hand.
I am really tired at this point and play a Fighting Energy just for fun. I end and then realize I just made a huge misplay by playing that energy. He uses Copycat and puts another card in his deck, which forces me to deck out in 2 turns.
Game 2: At this point I knew it was over, Cinderella may have went to the ball but midnight was fast approaching and she lost her pumpkin-stagecoach. There wasn’t time to do much of anything in this game. We both had decent starts, and time is called shortly after.
I walked over to the judges table, got my 4 packs for winning, and thanked the judges for coming today. Then I ran out of their as fast as I could, ashamed of that huge misplay. But all in all I think it was a great day. I pulled an Ampharos Prime and a Double Colorless Energy in my prize packs. The judges did a great job and are always the unsung heroes of every tournament. I had a great day with some friends, and all of the Michigan Pokémon players. It was fun playing the game, making Top Cut, and pulling out a huge upset. That misplay will haunt me until the day I play my last Pikachu, but there’s not much I can do about it now.