With the Battle Road season starting up in the middle of September, I made it a priority to head out and attend one in the first weekend to both get some good experience with the new format, and in order to win one of the nifty new Victory Medal promos. I have an admitted soft spot for Typhlosion, so this card was a must win for me.
I knew going into the tournament that I felt the best decks were Vileplume Gengar, LuxChomp, and DialgaChomp. I knew to expect a lot of SP decks, and some Gengar due to their popularity alone. Being the first tournaments of the new format, I expected to see a lot of untuned, experimental decks, and as a result, I wanted to run a deck that I felt was going to be the most flexible and capable of beating a variety of threats.
That deck, in my eyes, is DialgaChomp. In addition to that, I felt that I had a solid amount of experience using the deck, seeing how I had used it during the City Championships the prior season, and I had been testing it as one of my Worlds options only a few months prior. I wound up throwing this wonderful little list together. I’ll address some of the more interesting or unusual choices in the list below:
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 28
Energy – 15
pokemon-paradijs.comI notice a lot of people running 2-2 lines on their SP Level X cards. I could not disagree more with that allocation, and will never run a 2-2 line in any of my lists. 3-1 is simply superior. Perhaps I will write an article simply based around that in the future, but that isn’t the purpose of this report, so I won’t dwell on it entirely but I will point out a few of the key reasonings as to why I ran 3-1 over 2-2 here.
First, this deck wants a good opener. It is already slower and somewhat clunky, it really doesn’t want to be stuck with a subpar start, especially in matchups where you want to be the aggressor. The 3-1 edge is also extremely crucial in SP mirror matches, where the Garchomp exchange is the single most important aspect of the game. Being able to continually place down multiple Garchomps to avoid getting Dragon Rush locked out of your X is important, and you will find yourself throwing Garchomps into their Garchomps with Earthquake quite often. I’ve found the player with the most Garchomp Cs in their list wins a solid majority of SP mirrors. That reason alone is enough to warrant the 2-2 ratio. There are a lot more subtleties to it, but I will save that for another time.
Smeargle was a bit of an experiment in this deck. It has the ability to help augment your draw power drastically, and it can give you a huge edge in mirror match over the course of a long game when it becomes a drawn out war of attrition. It also gives me a search target for the Pokémon Contest Halls which likely stick out like a sore thumb near the bottom of my list. It lets me grab those if I have a weak hand and be able to use the Power in the same turn to try and get set up. It also is a good target for Call Energy. I hadn’t logged a whole ton of games with Smeargle prior to the tournament, so I was a bit nervous as to how he would perform.
pokemon-paradijs.comStaraptor FB LV.X is simply a fantastic card. It is my person favorite choice as the replacement for Claydol. He is easy to get out, as he has a free Retreat Cost, so once promoted, he can slide right back to the bench. He allows me to search out whatever Supporters I want each turn, which in turn also allows me to run a variety of Supporters that work better in specific situations, yet still reliably get them.
Since I was already running Stadiums, his Defog attack is simply an all-star. It does 140 damage to either Garchomp C LV.X or Dragonite FB. If they do not have Luxray in their deck ( neither Sablelock or Dialga Chomp do ) it has 100 HP with no exploitable weakness and is very difficult to score a return KO on. This card is so critical in the exchange process in SP games, and can single handed turn around a game where they took the first prize and “look” to be able to keep up with KOs every turn.
Pokémon Contest Hall is nice for a couple of reasons. This is a deck that really enjoys abusing Skuntank against non SP decks, where you are using Dialga G LV.X to tank. Pokémon Contest Hall also enables Staraptor’s Defog to kill Garchomp C LV.X, and helps to smooth out the decks consistancy as a whole. It works well with Smeargle, and helps to get your deck setting up. One of the best parts of it is the added ability to search for a Pokémon Tool if you get heads, letting you get Energy Gain, or more importantly, the one Expert Belt the deck runs.
The Belt had always been a huge pain to get access to in situations where you need it, and now it is accessible. Toss in the ability to grab an Pokémon SP you need, and Poké Turn it to get the tool off of it to attach else where, and you have a very versitile stadium card. I dislike the flip and the parity of it’s ability as much as everyone else, but it serves multiple roles in the deck, and gets the easy nod simply because so few good stadiums are currently in rotation.
pokemon-paradijs.comOne of the other interesting points is the omission of a 2nd Uxie, and the Uxie LV.X. I feel that the deck doesn’t benefit from Uxie as much. The deck has large hands often, and clunks with energy, so Set Up yields less cards than in more aggressive, lower energy decks. Uxie LV.X is also a strong card, but I really don’t feel like it fits here. It is weaker than both Smeargle and Staraptor here, and the attack is somewhat irrelevent. If I wanted a Psychic type attacker, I’d add Toxicroak G over it, because Trade Off is hard to pull off, and not as strong as some people want to believe it is. Most decks want it still, but this is one of the few where the space in the deck is so tight that I cut it.
I wound up unable to attend a tournament on Saturday due to a lack of funding, and the event being a bit far of a drive. I was spending the weekend at my friend Tracy’s place at MSU in Michigan, so Sunday, the two of us decided we would make the drive down to Angola, Indiana, for their Battle Road. Tracy made the decision to play her LuxChomp deck which she had been using for almost a year now, and I went with Dialga, after some last minute crunch time tweaks to my list.
I never feel comfortable with my list before a tournament, always trying to make last minute adjustments based on what I see people using. Sometimes the “panic” hurts me, but a lot of times it gives me a better suited deck for the tournament, so I keep doing it, for better or for worse.
We have a pretty big turn out for the event. I do not know the exact number, but it was enough to earn us a top 4 with 5 rounds. I’m going to estimate about 36 Masters, with I believe less than 5 total Juniors and Seniors. I judged a second Battle Road at North Ridgeville, Ohio, and we had 36 Masters, with 6 Juniors, and 7 Seniors. It is an interesting trend to notice the huge difference in attendance in the age groups here. The pairings for the tournament go up, and my opponent is…Tracy. Of course I get the person I traveled with, and the only other player to qualify for Worlds the prior year, as my first round opponent.
Round 1 vs Tracy Key with LuxChomp
pokemon-paradijs.comI go into this match knowing I will be in for a very challenging game. Tracy is an extremely good player, and easily my most feared opponent at the tournament. LuxChomp has a slight edge against Dialga Chomp as well, although I feel that is offset slightly by the fact she was a bit rustier than I was, and that her list wasn’t as well tuned. We both get decent starts, although mine is a bit better. She has one turn where she has a good shot at drawing into some useful cards, and winds up wiffing an energy drop.
This gives me the opening to really press my advantage, although I end up returning the favor and wiffing an energy drop as well, despite having 15 in my list. Had I hit an energy I feel I really could have sealed the game at this point, instead, I was merely narrowly ahead as she struggled to recover from her missed energy drop. The game continues with the standard exchange of Garchomps, Ambipom, and Dragonites, while I make sure to save a Power Spray for her Luxray attempt to Bright Lock and Earthquake my Garchomp C LV.X with an energy on my bench.
Due to the extremely difficult nature of SP mirror matches, and the fact that both Tracy and myself were forced into being extremely methodical about our game because we knew we couldn’t afford even the slightest mistake, we were about half way done with our game when the 30 minutes elapsed. We went into turns, with me ahead by 2 Prizes. She was able to score a 3rd kill, as I Deafened to slow her progress down as I had no access to a KO on that turn. She was unable to tie up the prizes, but was a card away from doing so. I spent my “Deafen Turn” positioning my field to allow a Garchomp kill had she tied it up, but I wound up winning on time as a result of my better start and the crucial missed energy drop early in the game for her.
Result- Win ( 1-0 )
Round 2 vs Ryan Graham with Regigigas Abomasnow
pokemon-paradijs.comI was unsure what to expect against Ryan as he opened with an Uxie. Apparently, his start was atrocious, as I began to set up with Dialga as he benched a few more of the Pixies, desperate to use Set Up. He winds up benching a Snover, and I see he is playing Regigigas Abomasnow, a deck that had beaten me at Worlds when I had an unplayable hand in round 3. As a result, I was looking for revenge on the deck.
He gets Abomasnow up and starts to spread damage on my field, but the turn before he would score multiple KOs, I end up using Garchomp C LV.X to clear my field. At that point, he eventually gets a Regigigas up and powered but it was far too late to really come back as I had a tanked Dialga, and was Poison Structuring it to prevent it from healing as well. I believe I end up winning this on time again with a prize left, but the game comfortably in hand. Dialga is a very slow deck, and has a very difficult time taking 6 Prizes within 30 minutes, as you’ll see through the course of the tournament.
Result- Win ( 2-0 )
Round 3 vs Evan Baker with Machamp SP
I remember Evan from a Battle Road in North Ridgeville last season, where he ended up beating Tracy in round 5 off of Hurricane Punch flips against her LuxChomp in a nailbiter with his Flygon Machamp deck. Tracy managed to start off 4-0, lose round 5, and take 5th place, missing cut as a result. Nonetheless, having watched the game, I knew he was a really good player, and one of my least desired opponents in the tournament.
Anyway, as he shuffles, I end up noticing a Machamp in his deck, and a D Energy as he shuffled somewhat toward me with the bottom of his deck. Seeing how I had made the last minute decision to cut Toxicroak G ( Psychic ) from my list before the event having seen little to no Machamp, I was pretty disheartened. I really didn’t have any outs against the card. He ends up opening with a Crobat G, and he benches two Machops. I was disheartened by this, because I was really hoping he was simply running a thin Machamp line in addition to something else.
pokemon-paradijs.comI had immediately considered Tyranitar Machamp as an option due to the D Energy, but he quickly filled his bench with Pokémon SP, so I was very confused. I miss a turn 1 Deafen, which was my desired start, hoping I could slow him down and stop either Rare Candy or Broken Time Space from letting his skip straight to Machamp. I felt that in order to win, I needed to catch one of his Machokes with a Dragon Rush to slow him down, and hopefully keep him from getting too many Machamps out. I felt confident I could kill one, maybe two Machamps “fairly” but if he got our 3, or 4, I didn’t really have any ways to ever deal with them.
I get myself ready to Deafen the next turn, and his hand isn’t that large…unfortunately, he drops a Machoke…uses Uxie for Set Up…and Rare Candies his second Machop into Machamp. He uses Take Out on me, and I try to set up my field better, as I play down Ambipom with an Energy Gain, and use Poison Structure on his Machamp. I jokingly say ” I’m sorry all of your other fighting energy are prized…” fully expecting to have no change at all to win this game due to him being so far set up and ahead on prizes with me having no real “answer” to Machamp.
He draws his card, and confirms my joke: he only ran 2 F Energy, and the other one WAS prized! This allows me to get back into the game before he kills my Ambipom. I then kill it with Garchomp as he has taken a lot of poison damage. Unfortunately, he had Azelf’d for no Pokémon, but simply to isolate his prized F Energy, and he uses a 2nd Machamp to take care of my Garchomp, putting him at 3 Prizes. I end up having to Aarons for Ambipom and Garchomp X, and do the Tail Code trick again, poisoning him.
This is where I suddenly start to think I have a chance. It involves a lot of really bad luck for him, but prior, I had assumed I had no chance at all. He ends up playing a DCE down, and needs 2 heads to Hurricane Punch away my Ambipom…he gets only one, and it lives. I want to simply Tail Code again and again, but I know time is running out, and I have to get aggressive, so I snipe his benched Uxie, as he had already played his Aaron’s Collection to prevent me from Smeargle’ing it.
It had both of his F Energy on it, and I knew if he used Psychic Restore he could put the fighting back in the deck to use Take Out later, which would put his prize count out of reach entirely within the turns I’d get due to time. This, unfortunately, gives him the ability to use Machamp LV.X to Hurricane Punch my Garchomp. He needs 2 heads to go down to 1 Prize and leave me with 3. ( I get one more turn after his attack, as time had been called previously. )
He again hits only one heads, putting me at 90, and leaving us both at 2 Prizes. I end up getting a KO on Machamp Level X, and we are tied at 2 Prizes a piece on turn 3. His hand has nothing left in it, and over the next few turns, he ends up Bright Looking up an Uxie to buy a turn, and continues to not draw anything while I get a Garchomp snipe kill to somehow win the game.
I literally have no idea how I won this game, and had to get incredibly lucky to pull it off. I didn’t really deserve to win it, but at the same time, had to play one of the best games of Pokémon of my life to even be in a position to allow his bad luck to give me a win here.
Result- win ( 3-0 )
Round 4 vs Scott Faust with Gyarados Palkia
pokemon-paradijs.comScott was another player I really was not excited about having to play against, but he had made multiple comments over the course of the day that he did not want to play against Dialga because he had removed his fire type tech against it from his list. That left me a bit more confident, but I still hadn’t gotten a chance to see what he was using because my rounds had gone to time each game.
My hand is extremely good after we set up, as I get a special metal energy and an energy gain on my opening Dialga right off the bat for the turn 1 Deafen ( the dream hand ) and I see him bench a Palkia G. This confuses me a bit, and immediately just assume Palkia Garchomp, which I feel I’m alright against. He then benches a Magikarp and a BTS and drops a Gyarados down. Palkia G Lvl X hits play with a Warp Energy, as he struggles to get any Magikarp into his discard pile.
I see a Shuppet as well, and at this point I am really at a loss as to what he is playing, but figure as long as I can get a Dialga tanked, I would be good against it. Dialga gets set up, and I start killing things while he is unable to really get enough damage going to eat through Dialga, allowing me to continually use Garchomp to heal with Warp Energy. My hand early was actually quite weak outside of a Copycat, and he drew a huge hand off of Sableyes to try and get his Banette for Shuppet in order to discard cards, limiting his hand size to prevent my Copycat which I had Cyrus’s for.
Despite a lot of outs to draw into it, he wiffed, allowing me to Copycat for like 11, and be set for the rest of the game. Dialga goes the distance, never dying, and I end up taking my 6th prize for the first time all day in turns for the shut out, as my luck continues. Had he hit Banette earlier, it could have been a very rough game had I not drawn out of it.
Result- Win ( 4-0 )
Round 5 vs Jack Iler with Dialga Chomp w Blaziken FB
pokemon-paradijs.comJack had just aged up this year, and had already won the Battle Road the day before in Sandusky with Dialga Chomp as well. I felt pretty good going into the matchup as I don’t believe he ran Stadiums, meaning I alone had access to the Staraptor Garchomp kills, meaning he had little to no answer for killing it. The game starts out well, as I take the first prize, and have good board position.
Unfortunately, he draws into DCE, and I don’t see any, as he starts to overtake my board position. I fall behind in prizes, and manage to struggle to stay into the game, as I draw my first DCE far beyond the point of it mattering. I could have dragged the game out until time, but scoop once I realize it is impossible for me to actually win the game, knowing that at 4-1 with a last round loss that I would be good for making top 4.
Result- Loss ( 4-1 )
So standings went up and gave us the following top 4. Tracy had gone 4-1, and missed cut finishing in
5th place. 6th place also had a 4-1 record.
My tiebreakers were unbelievable. I was sitting at 80%. I had played against 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and
7th place. I get paired against Regigigas Abomasnow again in the top 4.
Top 4 vs Ryan Graham
Game 1: I get a really good start, and he ends up with another subpar one, as I get ahead on prizes pretty quickly here and he struggles to get a Regigigas into play, not really bothering with trying to get Abomasnow out this time. I go ahead by 3 Prizes, and have a Power Spray for Sacrifice.
At this point, due to the fact that the top cut time limit was being enforced as 45 +3 for matchplay, I simply string the game along. I gain nothing from winning the game quickly as I have it inevitably, and I know that his deck isn’t that fast and has issues chewing through my guys, so I am in a very good position for a Game 2 if there isn’t very much time left in it. Plus, Game 3 Regigigas is terrible against most decks, even more so against Dialga. It takes another ten minutes or so for Ryan to decide to scoop Game 1 and move onto game two.
Game 1: WIN
Game 2: This game I start a bit weaker, but still come out swinging. His hand is much better, and he starts using Mesprit to lock down my powers, and hits multiple Super Scoop Ups to maintain the lock. Unfortunately, time ends very quickly into this game, as we are both at about 3 Prizes after the 3 turns. I still liked my odds of winning this game in the long run, but I was more playing this game to prevent him from taking 4 Prizes than I was with the interest of a long drawn out victory in mind.
Game 2: INCOMPLETE
Top 2 vs Jack Iler
pokemon-paradijs.comJack almost dropped from the tournament after round 5 because he had to be home at a certain point and lived about 2 hours away, but he stayed in in order to get his packs, and in case the tournament finished in time.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have the time to be able to stay to finisht he finals, so he scooped to me. It was an illegitimate win, but I felt the stadiums with Staraptor gave me the edge in the mirror despite our round 5 results and felt confident I could take it if we had to play it out. I wish we would have had the opportunity to play it out, but I’m also not selfless enough to be upset about getting the Victory Medal.
Game 1: Forfeit
Now to address the deck I played, and what I might have changed if given the chance. I would like to fit in a 4th energy gain. This seems somewhat pointless, between the fact that I do not usually let my Pokémon die, and that I have Pokémon Contest Hall to help me find them. Unfortunately, in SP mirror games, it becomes important to be able to always play down an Energy Gain to keep up with the exchanges. When playing against LuxChomp, your at a huge disadvantage if you only have access to 3, especially if one is prized, or one is lost early on. With SP becoming by far the most popular matchup, I think the 4th one to “load the matchup” is worth it.
Staraptor played fantastic all day. Smeargle was a bit hit or miss, but overall I’ve liked it so far. If Machamp gets more popular, I feel like I am forced to add Toxicroak back into the deck. I’m not entirely sure what to cut for it, but it would be a nice insurance policy. The fighting type Toxicroak is interesting as well. I was theorizing how the LuxChomp matchup would go. Staraptor “baits out” a Luxray attack, which would then be punished by Toxicroak.
pokemon-paradijs.comI am not sure if that dynamic of the matchup warrants me putting Toxicroak back into the deck ( since I could realistically just snipe something on the bench rather than kill Luxray ) but it is worth testing. Dragonite FB is also a very worth consideration. It helps in the KO exchange ( but may be unneeded due to Staraptor ) but also helps kill Ambipom, which has grown to be a bit of an issue. The Toxicroak would kill Ambipom too though, so that may prove to simply be better here.
Another card which I would love to see in the deck is a 2nd Energy Exchanger. The card is an all-star in this deck. It either helps me get Double Colorless in SP games, which will make or break the game, or helps me get Warp Energy or Metals to help with the tanking in other matchups. It is one of the best cards to draw in the deck regardless of matchup, and it feels criminal to only be running one. I’m not sure how to fit a 2nd one yet, but I’ve made the realization that it needs to go in.
My “Want List” consists of the following:
I’m not entirely sure what I would cut in order to fit them in. The deck is pretty tight on space as it is. None the less, the deck has very few bad matchups, and those matchups can be beaten if you tweak your list with those following cards in order to prepare for it. So if you find yourself in a metagame where a “problem deck” arises, you can adjust to be able to beat it. That is one of the beauties of having such a strong and flexible deck.
So give the deck a spin, and hopefully you’ll have some luck at Battle Roads too! The deck is very difficult to play, and can give some weaker results until you really get a feel for it, so do not get discouraged, and make sure you log a pretty decent number of games with the deck before taking it out to a tournament!
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