The City Championship season is well underway, and I’d imagine most of the readers on this site have already cut their teeth at one or more of them so far. If the local metagame is anything remotely indicative of the rest of the country, you’ll notice the following decks have really defined the format so far: SP decks, Gyarados, Gengar Vileplume, and Machamp.
It seems that Machamp started off as being far more popular before beginning to taper off as a result of first Gyarados becoming more popular, and than also the rise in popularity of Gengar Vileplume to accomodate that. Of all of these decks, I’ve found one in particular that I’ve really taken a liking to, and have had some fairly moderate success with.
I have gone to a total of 6 City Championships this season already, and plan on attending another 5-6 over the next few weeks. I haven’t kept it much of a secret that I really feel that Cities can make or break a player’s season. I see a lot of very strong players who remain inactive most of the season, and put all of their World’s hopes on the back of having to overperform at States, Regionals, and Nationals. One or two average or subpar tournaments will put a great player out of the running due to simple variance.
If you start States sitting at a 1750 or so rating, you can just perform moderately at the other big tournaments, hitting the required 1850 or so rating to get into Worlds isn’t that hard. After the 6 Cities I have gone to so far, I am sitting at roughly a 1760 rating already. By the time I am done with Cities, I hope to be hitting an 1800 rating, which means I only need to score another 50 points the rest of the season.
If you are serious about making a push for Worlds, there is no excuse to skip going to as many Cities as you realistically can.
Anyway, for Battle Roads, which I went to four of, I used Dialga Chomp, Chiofalock (Blaziken Sablelock), and Kingdra Machamp twice. With Cities, and the release of Triumphant, I felt that I had to make a switch. Kingdra Machamp, I feel, was the best deck in the format prior to Triumphant. The release of Seeker, plus the rise in power of Gyarados, shifted power from the deck as it interacted negatively with both of those.
Due to this, I needed a new deck. The other big change was the shift to the new Matchplay rules, which really hammers slower decks because of how it hoses incomplete games. So I also knew going in that I needed to find the fastest deck I could to use.
After having never used the deck in a single sanctioned tournament despite testing it extensively (and almost making the switch to it last year at Worlds) I decided to use LuxChomp. The skeleton list I used stemmed from a combination of the decklist I had worked on with Tracy Key last year, and the one I tested against at Worlds last year with Sami Sekkoum.
By merging the theories and strategies we’d all worked on with the new metagame, and the new card pool, this was the initial list that I brewed:
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 28
Energy – 13
Some of the key points that need to be addressed are the following:
pokemon-paradijs.com– Power Sprays are crucial. Spray is key in SP mirror matches, and can be used to slow down all of the hyperaggressive stage 2 decks. It also is key at stopping Mesprit’s Psychic Bind, which is even more of a threat due to Seeker.
– Lucario GL is necessary now. It is needed to beat both Machamp, and Gyarados, two matchups you simply cannot afford to give up on. Luckily, this card happens to cover both of them, so it is clearly mandatory.
– 3-1 Uxie is actually really good. I spent a long time using a 2-1 line, which had generally been accepted as standard. Not only does the 3rd Uxie give you quicker, more resiliant starts, but it helps you push past Power Spray, especially if one of them is prized. Most importantly, it allows you to have a positive matchup against Machamp. Why is the 3rd Uxie so important to that? Well…
– 2 Premier Ball. This is the main thing I lifted from Sami’s deck. Premier Ball is too good in this deck. Not only does it help with the deck’s speed, but it also gives you the ability to get your Level X cards back. This means you effectively have 3 Uxie LV.X, and up to 5 if you are willing to use Junk Arm toward that end. 3 Uxie X is brutal against Machamp decks.
In a lot of games, you actually need to attack with all three of them, at which point you need the 3rd Basic Uxie, which Premier Ball can’t help you with. Since the only other post-mortum recovery card is Aaron’s Collection, you are out of luck otherwise. The other benefit of 2 Premier Ball is…
– 3-1 Garchomp is so far and away better than the popular 2-2 split that it literally makes me ill. If you don’t believe it, try the 3-1 split with 2 Premier Ball and a Rescue Energy. It makes the deck more aggressive as it gives you better openers, and the 3rd Garchomp C is so vital in the mirror match “Garchomp Exchange” that it cannot be overlooked. If you are not seeing the strength this offers in mirror, you are simply playing it wrong.
If you try to play the build as how you would wit a 2-2 split, you may not be approaching it correctly. A simply shift of one card slot can drastically alter how a matchup should be approached and this is a great example of that. With the 2-2 split, it is important to AVOID the outright exchange, where as with the 3-1 split you want to aggressively encourage it. It is far easier to simply force the exchange than have to play around potentially losing it.
– Junk Arm is amazing in the deck. The card smooths out a number of clunkier hands that LuxChomp could get. It makes its end game that much stronger. It is easily the best card in the new set for the deck, and 1-2 of them should be mandatory.
Martin Moreno, the 2006 U.S. National Champion was in town to visit friends for Thanksgiving, and was going to be spending the better part of a month in Ohio to also hit up Cities while here. The week before the first Cities, Martin came over to my house as we were both extremely pumped over the new Gyarados list that Martin and a few friends had brewed online.
Testing had initially been quite negative against LuxChomp but after a few changes and streamlining of the deck, the matchup had tested in favor of Gyarados. I figured I’d find out first hand, and decided to run LuxChomp against it. After winning 7 straight games against it, we realized neither of us really wanted to play Gyarados with those results.
We then played 3 games of mirror match which I won as well, before running an addition 2 against him using Gyarados again, with me winning those as well. The deck played extremely well, and I felt confident going into the weekend that I’d be in good shape.
I end up driving down to Akron to meet up with AJ Schumacher and Mikey Collins to drive out to what we called the “Pittsburgh Marathon,” which in reality, was merely 3 tournaments all within the Pittsburgh area over the post-Thanksgiving weekend. We all got a hotel room to share alongside AJ’s girlfriend, and her sister. We ended up meeting up with Martin and Samantha who we also coerced into staying at the same hotel. I guess it was a motel, which AJ’s girlfriend was less than thrilled about, but I didn’t mind it.
Anyway, we drive down the morning of the tournament where we grab Arbys, and I discover the amazing taste sensation that is the Jalepeno Bites, featuring Bronco Berry Sauce. While not quite official yet, I do aim to make those the Official Snack of SixPrizes Underground.
After getting there, I see a metagame that consists mainly of SP decks, Machamp, Gyarados, and Gengar. I had talked to Jayson Harry prior to the tournament, who petitioned for the inclusion of 2-2 Luxray to beat Gengar Vileplume, so I panic last minute and make the switch of cutting an Energy Exchanger for a 2nd Luxray GL Lvl X.
- Murraysville, PA
- Round 1 vs Martin Moreno (LuxChomp)
- Round 2 vs Travis R (Machamp)
- Round 3 vs Adam A (Machamp)
- Round 4 vs ??? (Tangrowth Shaymin)
- Round 5 vs Nick F (DialgaChomp)
- Top 4 vs Mike Reynolds (Gyarados)
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Round 1 vs ??? (Tyranitar)
- Round 2 vs ??? (Machamp)
- Round 3 vs Martin Moreno (LuxChomp)
- Round 4 vs Lamar Messner (SP Toolbox)
- Round 5 vs Mike Reynolds (Gyarados)
- Top 4 vs Lamar Messner (SP Toolbox)
- Top 2 vs Mike Reynolds (Gyarados)
- Butler, PA
- Round 1 vs Adam A (Machamp)
- Round 2 vs Josh (Giratina Lock)
- Round 3 vs Marvin (LuxChomp)
- Round 4 vs Richard A (Palkia Dialga Garchomp)
- Round 5 vs Travis R (Machamp)
- Top 2 vs Martin
- Toledo, OH
- Round 1 vs ??? (Blastoise Feraligatr)
- Round 2 vs ??? (DialgaChomp)
- Round 3 vs Chase N (LuxChomp with Blaziken)
- Round 4 vs Jack I (LuxChomp)
- Round 5 vs ??? (Feraligatr Ampharos)
- Massillon, OH
- Round 1 vs Kyle P (Garchomp Honchkrow)
- Round 2 vs Jacob R (LuxChomp)
- Round 3 vs Alan E (Machamp Donphan)
- Round 4 vs Andrew Spencer (Gengar Vileplume)
- Round 5 vs Matt Nawal (Magnezone)
- Round 6 vs Austin Reed (LuxChomp)
- Sandusky, OH
- Round 1 vs Matt J (Tyranitar)
- Round 2 vs Shawn K (Gyarados)
- Round 3 vs Samantha Bittinger (Gengar Vileplume)
- Round 4 vs Joey Gannon (Sablelock)
- Round 5 vs Matt Louden (LuxChomp)
LuxChomp CC 1
Pokémon – 20
Trainers – 27
Energy – 13
Anyway, I wind up getting paired against Martin round 1, in a battle of National Champions!
Round 1 vs Martin Moreno (LuxChomp)
pokemon-paradijs.comI end up getting a good start, where as he starts Supporterless. I also feel, at this point, I have a pretty substantial mirror edge due to his rustiness. I take the least early on, and he finally draws into a little bit of game. This was a pretty standard display of about half of the SP games that get played. One player has a notably better start than the other, and the game isn’t really “close”.
Due to me pressing my advantage, I end up with a low energy count in play midgame due to repeated Dragon Rushing, so he started to make a bit of a comeback, but once I restabilized, never really giving up my lead, I won the game on turns, although I would have had it if the game went untimed as well. This is a point where I would like to address the issue of over-extension in SP mirror games:
If one player gets the better start, they may go ahead on prizes, but they can “blow the game” by losing the energy attachment race. If they are discarding energy to Dragon Rush repeatedly, they could be caught with their pants down so to speak, and blow it. It is hard to balance taking a lead with a long term safety net. SP mirror matches are very fragile, because of the importance of coming into play effects, and energy discards.
The fact that a constant flow of resources is necessary to function makes it so that in any given game, you can attack a number of different weaknesses in a players game. Recognizing the weakest point in a set up or game of an opponent is vital toward trying to win games you start off behind in. You can take advantage of their weakness in energy in play, or you can try to lock out their Garchomps. There are plenty of ways to try and make a comeback.
Round 2 vs Travis R (Machamp)
A group of Canadian players opted to make the drive down to the series of tournaments, and it seemed as if every one of them decided to run turbo Machamp builds. I get a pretty iffy opening hand, and of course wind up going first. He goes, and gets a turn 1 Machamp, but opened with an Uxie, and his Unown Q was prized and he was unable to get it for the first turn kill.
I end up getting to see a second turn, and set up my bench. My list is actually very well equipped at beating Machamp decks. The 3-1 Uxie line coupled with 2 Premier Ball and the Lucario GL makes it so I am able to easily score kills on Machamps. It is hard for them to keep getting enough Machamps going, and I can end up stealing prizes off of benched Pokémon as well.
Theoretically if they take the first prize and end up hitting everything they need all game, they can get more Machamps out than I can get out Uxies, but I rarely find that happening. He ends up getting a couple of Machamps up through the course of the game, and I end up taking them down with my Uxie swarms, and eventually he wiffs on a few cards and falls behind in the prize exchange which lets me take down the win.
Admittedly, if he had the Unown Q this game, I lose first turn, but it is nice to have luck on my side for once.
Round 3 vs Adam A (Machamp)
pokemon-paradijs.comAnother Canadian player, and another Machamp deck. The game plays somewhat similarly as the last one, actually. My start is a bit better than it was last time, and he is unable to get to his Unown Q this game. I don’t remember if it was prized or not, but he wasn’t able to get his active retreated despite having the turn 1 Machamp.
Really, all of the Machamp matchups seem to go the same way. I try not to get a lone basic killed, and then begin the exchange, while hoping my disruption throws off their game plan enough that they start missing some cards. A midgame Spray on an Uxie is usually good for that, but sometimes if your hand is good enough you can pull it off early on to just slow them down. As the SP player, if you end up getting the first KO, it is extremely difficult to lose the matchup, although usually they should take the first kill since it is difficult to actually score a KO without being able to level up.
In closing, we reach the point of exchange, and exactly that happens. I’m able to trade 1 for 1 vs Machamp, and eventually he isn’t able to keep churning out attacking Machamps, and I pull ahead and win the race. He actually wound up wiffing pretty hard midgame, and got locked out of it near the end, and if I remember correctly, the game ended a lot more lopsidedly than my game vs Travis, who seemed to draw better midgame.
Round 4 vs ??? (Tangrowth Shaymin)
I wind up paired down against a 2-1 player. I had seen him running “Big Grass” as I like to call it. I was actually moderately worried because of the high amount of healing and Hit Points the deck possessed but I wasn’t really sure how consistant of fast the deck was. I did know that if I started weak, or if he started very strong, that the deck, still an unknown quantity to me, had the potential to be very difficult to score prizes against.
If you read my last article, I immediately identified his deck as “having inevitability,” As a result, I wanted to make sure I played a fast, aggressive game in order to prevent him from getting fully developed. While this is generally the case with LuxChomp, there are some games where you may want to hold back a bit. (The Gyarados game I play later on is a good example of this.)
Anyway, he gets an iffy start, and I opened with a Luxray, and manage to bench a Toxicroak G, and then Uxie into a 3rd Pokémon SP to allow myself access to a turn one Power Spray. He has an Uxie, and empties his hand down to 2 before using it. I don’t know if he could have played his first turn differently, but my benching of Toxicroak, a bad card in the matchup, and a premature Set Up had to signal that I was aggressively reaching toward being able to use my Spray turn one.
I catch him with his 2 card hand, and Cyrus for another Spray. He never really gets out of this hole, and I roll over his weak set up. It would have been interesting to see how his deck would have played vs me if he had gotten that Set Up off, but I had no intention of doing that.
My push for the 3rd Pokémon SP is an example of playing against his Inevitability. In some matchups, I hold that Uxie for a better point, being willing to take a slightly slower approach. I wanted to make sure I optimized my disruption here, so I went for it earlier than I would have in most games.
Round 5 vs Nick F (DialgaChomp)
Nick was the other 4-0, and he was running a DialgaChomp list with a 1-1 Scizor Prime line. I’d seen his other games, and I was a bit concerned because of the unknown implications his Scizors could have for me. He wasn’t too confident in his LuxChomp matchup, which was a pretty good assessment.
Remember how I mentioned in my recap of round 1 that a lot of SP games are never really games? That is what happened here.
His start was rather lackluster, and I set up pretty well. I simply focus on the Garchomp Exchange, letting him build his Dialga while I take prizes and cut off his healing potential. Once he gets up and running, Luxray comes up to bat against the Dialga and I end up scoring the two hit on it.
Once that happens, the game landslides into a win. The matchup was bad for him, and he had the weaker start, so it wasn’t a very threatening game since my hand was above average to add to the lopsidedness.
The tournament ended up having a cut to a top 4, which looked like the following:
1st Chris Fulop
2nd Nick F
3rd Martin Moreno
4th Mike Reynolds
I had LuxChomp, Nick had DialgaChomp, Martin had my LuxChomp list, and Mike, who’d come up from North Carolina, had an incredibly fast and consistant Gyarados build. His one loss in swiss came round two or three to a junk start where he never really got into the game, and was a complete fluke.
Top 4 vs Mike Reynolds (Gyarados)
He winds up opening Smeargle, and snipes a Pokémon Collector off of my hand early to get a turn 1 Gyarados up and swinging. I fall behind a little bit, but collect my energy in play and prepare for the Luxray/Gyarados exchange, while saving my Sprays for Mesprit to make sure I can use Flash Bite for my KOs.
I actually manage to make use of my Rescue Energy to loop a Luxray here and I end up ahead in the prize exchange due to taking advantage of the 2 for 1 advantage offered by Expert Belt. I’m not entirely sure how I pulled back ahead after his impressive start, but I did. He managed to go 4 for 4 on Super Scoop Up flips, which left me pretty sour here, but despite that I pull it out.
This is the game where I look back and feel like I really threw it away. I end up getting greedy. I was a bit worried after last game, where I wasn’t sure how I came out ahead on the exchange, and really wanted to make sure I didn’t fall into the prize hole again. Unfortunately, this made me play too aggressively, and wasted two energy attachments to score the first KO using an Ambipom.
When he did score the return KO, I was left at an energy attachment disadvantage. I ended up merely giving back up that prize while I tried to rebuild, and had I played more defensively, I felt that I could have won the exchange in the long run fairly comfortably. I scramble to get back into the game as I am forced to make overextended plays, leaving my field low on resources.
In the end, I am in a position where I am almost able to pull out the game, but due to only running 1 Aaron’s and 2 L Energy, I am short the ability to score the last KO I need and lose what wound up to still be a nailbiter in the end.
Game 2 had been a pretty long one as well, and I knew that I didn’t have a lot of time left so we would be playing pretty close to a Sudden Death game. I open with a Smeargle, and as a result, opt to go 1st. Of course, I Portrait, and see a monster of a hand, only with no Supporter at all. He goes, Portraits me (I had no Supporter in my opening hand, or I would have gone 2nd) and ends up copying the Collector I had topdecked on my turn.
He then procedes to go off entirely, and after taking a 5 minute turn of Trainers, hits me with a turn 1 Gyarados doing 80 damage due to a Belt for the win. Not a whole lot I could have done here to change any of that, but after feeling like I threw Game 2 away, I was pretty hard on myself for theoretically throwing the match away.
Martin ends up beating Nick in t4, and then beats Mike in the finals to take down the tournament despite the round 1 loss!
As for some closing thoughts after the tournament, I hated the 2nd Luxray GL LV.X I had added. It was never needed, and it clogged up my hand, and could have been better used for other cards. I felt like, due to the Gyarados matchup putting such pressure on me to keep swarming Luxrays, that I wanted a 3 L Energy.
The Warp Energy never did anything, and the Rescue Energy, while good, never seemed necessary, or easy to really abuse. Uxie X wanted DCE, Luxray used a Lightning and an Energy Gain, and Garchomp discarded its energy. I liked its theoretically implications with Trash Bolting with a Lux X though, so I cut the Warp for the 3rd Lightning.
LuxChomp CC 2
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 29
Energy – 13
Round 1 vs ??? (Tyranitar)
pokemon-paradijs.comI get a pretty iffy start, but I topdeck a Collector. He actually opens with the SF Tyranitar, which allows me to one shot it with a Toxicroak G, Crobat G, and Lucario GL. He had no energy left in play, and I just kept gusting and killed everything he tried to throw at me from that point on.
If I didn’t draw that Collector, my hand was good enough to put up a fight, and I felt like I had the game in the long run, but it would have certainly been a nailbiter as I’d have had to 2 shot the Tyranitar and give him a chance to build up a follow up. This was the first time I really felt Toxicroak earned its keep.
I’d used it in LuxChomp mirror previously, but those were games where I had other plays available to me, and I could have been fine without it. This was a spot where, without Toxicroak, I could have been in a bit of trouble.
Round 2 vs ??? (Machamp)
This time, I end up Ambipoming a Machop on the first turn with a DCE. My hand was really nuts though, so I liked my odds regardless.
Round 3 vs Martin Moreno (LuxChomp)
I get a pretty subpar hand and Martin takes a quick lead against me. I don’t like where this game is going in the least, and he gets a 2 Prize lead on me, and I end up getting an interesting play where I Bright Look up an Uxie and get a Snipe to try and close the gap. He wiffs pretty bad midgame, and I actually make a comeback right as time is called.
I tie up prizes, and could take the lead on turn 2, but he could likely tie it on turn 3, and I don’t think I’d have a return KO on the next turn in sudden death. Instead, I play defensively and Bright Look something for a stalling turn, and power up a Garchomp on the bench and he is unable to get the kill on his turn, and I somehow steal this game from him.
At this point I begin to get pretty aggrivated over how annoying SP mirrors are. Very few of them seem to be close, and just start off so lopsided. You can try to outplay someone and win, and it definitely happens, but so many of the games feel near pre-determined.
Round 4 vs Lamar Messner (SP Toolbox)
He runs an SP list with Garchomp and a bunch of other support, but I really feel that SP decks are all underdogs to LuxChomp. Luxray gives an SP deck so much utility and extra reach that it is hard to overcome. It also has the most aggressive approach of any of the decks. Sablelock is more disruptive, and can steal games, but it doesn’t have the number of great attackers LuxChomp does. Dialga doesn’t have the reach Luxray offers, and really offers little to the SP mirror game.
Lamar’s build was at a slight disadvantage here, and I wind up taking the early lead, and never really look back. He stayed in the game for awhile, but since I took the initial lead, and we both drew about equally, he never had the chance to really take back the lead.
Round 5 vs Mike Reynolds (Gyarados)
pokemon-paradijs.comThis was my opportunity to get revenge! I end up getting a pretty good start, and play this one a bit more defensively. I make sure to keep my energy drops safe, and stockpiled, while forcing him to make the first attack and expose the Gyarados off the bat. I lead with Garchomp C LV.X to bait out the Belt for the KO, which let me Luxray that.
At that point, with the 2 Prize lead, I tried to steal prizes until I was able to force a 1HKO on the next belted Gyarados. I learned a few things about the Gyarados match after doing some theorycrafting the night before about how to approach this matchup. It isn’t reliable to assume you can force them to miss a follow up Gyarados, so it is safe to assume they will always have the return attack.
So all you need to do is take a prize every turn, or at least make up for the missed kills by killing a Belted Gyarados. One of the things that I initially undervalued was Garchomp C LV.X. I like to lead with it, as it forces them to Belt their Gyarados, and in turn, run it into your Luxray Trash Bolt.
Garchomp is also crucial when dealing with Mesprit. Ideally you want to Spray it, but sometimes, they SSU and/or Seeker it, and you just can’t stop it from hitting. You really want a KO outlet, and Garchomp lets you get a KO on those turns. Otherwise you have no out to killing a Belted Gyarados. Hitting it for a little bit of damage is terrible because they stand a good chance of healing it, and at the very least, they kill whatever you attach energy to.
Another interesting play is to use Bright Look on something and then kill something else. Perhaps use an Uxie X on an Azelf or an Uxie. It lets you steal a prize, but doesn’t cost you Luxray. There are a lot of little things that can be done in this matchup.
The Top 4 wound up looking like this:
1st Chris Fulop
2nd Mike Reynolds
3rd Adam A
4th Lamar Messner
So we had a LuxChomp, a Gyarados, a Machamp, and an SP Toolbox deck in cut. Adam had forgot to register his Rare Candy in his decklist, and got stuck adding basic energy in place of them, and was already at a tremendous disadvantage against Gyarados.
Top 4 vs Lamar Messner (SP Toolbox)
I’m going to be honest and say that by this point, due to the long day, and the poor sleep from the night before, that I had a pretty bad headache going, so my memory of the next set of games really suffered. After our round 4 game, Lamar didn’t seem to optimistic about our matchup. I end up taking an early lead this game, and he ends up making a slightly suspect play by chosing to play almost too defensively against me.
That isn’t really the best game plan against LuxChomp, as it is able to take its last few prizes so easily and almost unfairly that you really can’t afford to hold back and give up any more prizes than you have to. All of these SP mirror matches end up blurring together, as players start off with Garchomp exchanges until one player wiffs the return KO, and then they fall out of the game really.
This happened in the latter half of the game, but I had built up the energy in play advantage that is so huge by the time the true end game comes around.
This is an illegitimate game as I end up Spraying his Uxie, and he pretty much draws dead from there. The first game had remained at least competitively, but this is another example of a “stolen” game where Power Spray really just locks one player out of the game.
I really liked the idea behind Power Spray, where it allows players to interact with their opponent’s games more directly, but the card is just downright unfair when the most reliable source of speed and draw power in the format is Uxie, which is downright crippled by the card. It wasn’t so bad when Claydol was in the format, as it was a re-usable source of draw power and could at least eventually power past Spray, but the decks in this format don’t have access to the correct kind of draw power needed to make the card not a bit unfair.
I really like the idea behind it, and I think the card is appropriately balanced by the SP requirements, its just that the other cards in the format are so limited that its pretty aggrivating to deal with.
Mike had clearly beaten the Machamp deck without Rare Candy, although the one game actually looked like it was moderately close. So here I was, trying to break ahead in our series, which was currently tied at 2-2.
Top 2 vs Mike Reynolds (Gyarados)
I get a pretty good start, but so does he, scoring a turn 1 Gyarados. I let myself go down a prize, building the Luxray KO, and I get him in an awkward position where I KO his Gyarados and he somehow doesn’t have access to another Expert Belt. As a result, he doesn’t get the return KO on Luxray, and I end up taking over the game as a result. By the time he gets the Belt to start KOing again, my board position is too strong. He scoops before the end of the game taking us to Game 2.
This game was a bit aggrivating but I was running pretty good all day so it was due. I’m unable to keep up with the exchange at all, and he just manages to take kills against me with another very fast start. Early in the game, I spray his Uxie’s Set Up, hoping to lock him out, but he has a Volkner to get right back in it. I keep up with his Gyarados for 2 Prizes before I fall behind, and for the first time of our games, he just steamrolls me really badly. I get overwhelmed and crushed.
I get to go 2nd this game, but he opens with Smeargle, again. I’m pretty sure he legitimately opened Smeargle against me all 7-of our games. I get to Collector the first turn, and he gets a turn 1 Gyarados going again. Well, I guess it is a turn 2 one, but he gets it the first turn of his Trainers. I’m able to narrowly keep up with the exchanges. I fall behind a prize and think I’m in a lot of trouble. Time is called as we are tied at 2 Prizes a piece.
I go deep into the tank, and end up Cyrus’s for a Lightning…only to be terrified when I realize the 3rd one is in my prizes!! This forces me to change my game plan from Bright Looking an KOing a benched Pokémon and then Dragon Rushing the next turn. His Gyarados was Belted, so instead I am forced to Cyrus for nothing relevent and Aarons next turn.
I leave Garchomp C X active, and attach a Call to my benched Luxray. He is forced to keep the Belt on Gyarados to KO Garchomp. I spray his Mesprit, and next turn Aaron for the Lightning and Poké Turn Crobat for the kill. If he had a way to Psychic Bind a 2nd time, I had no Spray, and would have lost.
There was no reason I should have put myself into that position. I had the Aaron in hand, and could have gotten the Lightning that turn from my discard pile. I almost cost myself the finals due to poor prize mapping, which I’d like to blame on the headache I had by this point, but I won’t give myself that sort of out, because I should be beyond making stupud mistakes like that.
So despite going 7-0, I really felt like I wanted a bit more of an edge for myself going into the third tournament of the Pittsburgh Marathon. I saw a ton of SP mirror matches, Machamp, and Gyarados. All of them were somewhat weak to Entei Raikou Legend. The card also let me steal games I would otherwise lose, and also let me force Sudden Death in games that I was too far behind in.
I had also seen Scizor and Steelix decks the day before, and while I wasn’t too scared of them, I was a bit concerned about my ability to really answer them. Both Machamp and Gyarados would wind up as exchanges which often came down to whoever got the first prize, but both of them required their decks to overextend with Uxie and Mesprit and such, so ERL would allow me to “leap ahead” in the race, and I felt it was a great answer to the metagame.
LuxChomp CC 3
Pokémon – 20
Trainers – 27
Energy – 13
Round 1 vs Adam A (Machamp)
Well, I open with an Unown Q this game, and I’m not lucky enough to escape being donked this time. I go first, and he ends up getting the first turn kill on me with what I believe was a Machoke, but I’m not entirely sure. I had run so hot heading into this point that I was pretty sure I deserved that one.
Round 2 vs Josh (Giratina Lock)
I had a bit of an idea of what he was playing headed into this game, so I knew I just had to keep a pretty decent hand size. Well, it didn’t end up mattering, as he opened with a lone Pokémon, and I ended up getting the first turn kill on it. We played another game for fun after the fact, and I find out that he is running Mewtwo LV.X!
I definitely dodged a huge bullet with that first turn kill! I end up locking him out of Mewtwo by killing it before it could level up, and end up, after taking a bit of a beating, winning the game off of Entei/Raikou Legend.
Round 3 vs Marvin (LuxChomp)
So remember the whole thing about lopsided SP games? Here we go again, as I end up with a solid hand, and he pretty much has nothing. I get a Garchomp C X up first, and take board control and pile Sprays in my hand. He struggles for a bit, but isn’t able to really force any sort of comeback because I had the board locked down, and he wasn’t able to force past a Set Up. I don’t mind the lopsided games, but eventually I was due to be on the wrong end of one of them.
Dialga Garchomp)Round 4 vs Richard A (Palkia
Mark A. HicksI end up seeing the worst opening hand ever. I start off in draw pass mode, and had no Supporter, and no real game what so ever. The first couple of turns I have nothing going for me either, as he starts to get set up overwhelmingly. The worst part is, he took the longest turns I have ever seen in my life. His turns were all taking like 5 minutes.
I wound up thinking that his first turn would clearly take a long time because he had to check prizes, and would need to formulate a game plan. When his second turn was the same pace, I politely asked him to speed up his play pace. He did not. I asked him again about 2 minutes later (during his same turn) and he again did not speed up his pace of play. I immediately call over a judge, and have them watch the pace of play. He plays the same pace, and my turns are all draw pass.
At about the 15 minute mark, I was just then getting to my third turn, with all of my turns taking under a minute. The judge who was watching my game did nothing, and continued to let him take another near 5 minute turn. I finally topdeck a Collector, and somewhat get back into the game, as he managed to mismanage the game rather poorly at this point.
I’m somewhat certain my insistance about the pace of play really did cause him to make mistakes, and I really do not feel he was trying to stall me out. I’m sure he is just a very slow player, but at the same time, that isn’t something that I can just sit by and let happen to me either. I feel bad for being so forceful about the issue, but even the people who were watching the game agreed that I was 100% in the right about trying to push for something to be done about his speed.
I end up making a comeback right as time is called, and I actually end up winning on the back of an Entei Raikou bomb to take my last 3 Prizes on my last turn to win the game.
Round 5 vs Travis R (Machamp)
Not exactly what I wanted to play in the last round of swiss with a potential top cut placement on the line. I was pretty sure I would finish in 5th anyway due to the fact I had lost round 1, but I wanted to, at the very least, play for Rating points. He gets a slow start, and I actually take the first prize. His first Machamp is answered by Uxie X, and I take out his second one pretty easily. I end up taking this game pretty comfortably actually, without needing to use the Entei Raikou game plan.
I would like to use this as a slight disclaimer. I played a lot of games of the same matchup. I have a general idea of how most of the games flow, but not every last detail is flawless. I apologize in advance if I mix up a game with another, or if a small detail is incorrectly reported.
Some of these games were many weeks ago, and I’ve attended 6 total tournaments so far, so the details get a bit blurry at times. I know the results are accurate, and most of the key game points are, but I do want to at least get this disclaimer added in.
Mike Reynolds goes 5-0 with Gyarados, but ends up dropping to conserve his rating because he didn’t like his top cut matchups. As a result, I sneak in at 4th place!
1st Alan E with Donphan Machamp
2nd Martin Moreno with LuxChomp
3rd Joey Gannon with Blaziken Sablelock
4th Chris Fulop with LuxChomp
I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be dealing with a Donphan Machamp matchup, but I saw Sam play against it round 1 and keep it somewhat close, and I felt my list was better against it than hers, and that I could play the matchup better. I also felt that Donphan was simply worse against me than Machamp was, and that it’s inclusion slowed the deck down, and also gave me something to Bright Look to buy time.
I know he ran Machamp Prime too, which cut down on his SF Machamp count. As long as I could hold Spray for Fighting Tag, I was just dealing with a diluted turbo Machamp deck, which I was already beating fairly well.
I get a pretty fast start, and he isn’t able to get a Machamp out turn one. As a result, I end up taking the first prize. He ends up getting a Machamp out, and it gets Uxied. His follow up is a Donphan, which I snipe around using Garchomp C LV.X. I play around the giant Elephant, and take a substantial prize lead as he gets out his next Machamp.
Eventually I am left having to two shot his Donphan with an Expert Belt, for my last 2 Prizes. Donphan was a bigger threat when it ran Super Scoop Up, because that made it hard to reliably kill once it got belted. When I could guarantee a two shot on it for 2 Prizes, it wasn’t too bad. I kept trying to set up a position to Toxic Fang the Donphan with Crobat G, but I kept having opprtunities to snipe or kill parts of the Machamp line, so Donphan had to wait.
I was feeling pretty confident after this game, and shuffled up to head into Game 2.
Ok, this game doesn’t go nearly as well. His start isn’t the fastest, but my hand is just bad. I effectively draw-pass, without any real gas in my hand, as he develops his field. He ends up taking 3 Prizes before I draw into anything to let me mount an offense, and I scoop to go to Game 3.
I opt to go 2nd here, and as a result, I get an amazing start. To top it off, he is struggling at getting a Machamp out, and I get a clutch kill on a Machop with Luxray. He never really gets up and running before it is too late, as I am up a couple of prizes and have plenty of energy in place to manage the exchanges.
I finish the match rather quickly, as Machamp SP games go quickly. Usually they are over within the first 7 turns for one player. Martin was ahead Game 1 against Joey, but Joey had just enough game left in him to hang in there and take Game 1 down to time, tied 1 Prize a piece.
He ended up losing, and it made us wonder why he didn’t scoop the game sooner, as he could have tried for a quick Game 2 win, and let Game 3 go to sudden death. He was barely in Game 1, and it seemed like a bad play to drag it out until time.
It did, on the other hand, guarantee that my Lux list would take the full sweep, taking all 3 of the Cities.
Top 2 vs Martin
Alright, see the very first point I make. My opening hand is weak, where as he gets a very strong start. I get locked out of the game by Spray, and take a pretty steep prize disadvantage. I struggle to try and stay in the game, but he continues to hit solid cards while my subpar draw continues. I try to position for some sort of ERL play to draw the game, but my hand is too weak. At a certain point, I end up scooping to take it to Game 2, knowing I had no way to really come back.
This game is pretty much the reverse. I get a solid start with a Call Energy, and he gets no Supporter. He lets the game go for about 5 turns, before falling too far behind and taking it to Game 3.
We both get solid starts this game, but he ends up drawing a lot of Sprays early and shuts me out of Uxie. I’m able to narrowly keep the prize exchange even, keeping myself ahead down to 3-3 Prizes, but up to this point I had not seen a single DCE to his 3. My hand size is dwindling, while he has Uxie LV.X in play. I’m keeping the game close prize wise, but the board, and more importantly, hand size, is working heavily against me.
He sprays multiple Uxies, and I end up Psychic Restoring to try to get another shot at it, but his 2nd Junk Arm gives him another spray. I finally see a DCE near the end of the game, but I wasn’t able to overcome to 4 to 1 DCE draw count, and the overwhelming draw advantage the Uxie X he had most of the game gave him.
pokemon-paradijs.comAfter my round 1 loss, and getting paired against the Donphan Machamp deck in the finals, I wasn’t too disappointed to only walk out with 2nd place for the tournament. Congrats to Martin for taking down two of the Cities and finally getting his game back!
After the tournament, I realize I really wanted a way to replenish my hand if I got caught in those dead hand positions. Either a Chatot, a Smeargle, or a Copycat seemed to be mandatory. I could fit a 1-1 tech line, like the ERL, but it likely would have to come at the cost of some of the safety net consistancy which I didn’t like.
To make things worse, people were really starting to like the idea of Gengar Vileplume, which scared me a bit, and made me want to consider running Dialga G LV.X. I was pretty torn on how to handle the deck at that point, although I was very happy with how it played overall.
So the weekend after the Pittsburgh Marathon was a tournament up in Toledo. There was a closer one in Chardon, but me and Martin wanted to split them up so that we didn’t keep playing each other. I lived closer to Toledo than Sam did, so they went to Chardon, which also looked to have the tougher competition, while I made the longer drive.
When I got there, the competition was a bit harder than expected, and I saw a decent amount of Gengar Vileplume, so I made some adjustments and added the 1-1 Dialga G LV.X addition.
LuxChomp CC 4
Pokémon – 20
3 Garchomp C SV
Trainers – 26
Energy – 14
Round 1 vs ??? (Blastoise Feraligatr)
He gets off to a slow start, and I end up just using Luxray to kill off his Lightning Weak pokemon, while I use Garchomp C X to heal my Luxray and effectively ignore the damage output of his Feraligatr Prime. After going up a few prizes, I start to focus on killing his Feraligatr, and eventually take all of my prizes by killing one Feraligatr, and 5-of his benched Pokémon.
LuxChomp is just such a bad matchup for his deck as neither attack has a means of dealing with Luxray.
Round 2 vs ??? (DialgaChomp)
I get a pretty good start here, opening with a Call Energy, and going first, on a Garchomp. He opened with an Uxie, so I didn’t have a lot to fear in regard to a turn one Garchomp kill on me, so I felt pretty safe with my turn one Call play. I follow this up with a Premier Ball for Garchomp C LV.X, and Dragon Rush the Garchomp C he attached to. It doesn’t really get much prettier, as his shifts gears to powering a Dialga.
This leads to a bit of a stalemate as he switches over to Deafen mode. I snipe around Dialga until I eventually am forced to deal with it, and manage to 2HKO it. He is behind by 2 Prizes by the time it goes to turns, but he has no way to kill my active Garchomp C X that had 80 on it with Crobat G. (He had Crobat and 2 PokéTurns, but my hand had all 3-of my Sprays in it.)
Even if he had, he couldn’t kill my benched Luxray I’d promote, and even if he did, I have access to kill something off his bench the next turn to win on turn 3 anyway.
N (LuxChomp with Blaziken)Round 3 vs Chase
I go first, and get a pretty decent start. His start is solid as well, and I have a Cyrus waiting for me the next turn. He ends up Judging me on the first turn, which gives him a decent hand. I hit a Cyrus, but not too much else. I slowly get set up and take the first prize, and we start to make exchanges as he gets Blaziken FB LV.X out to do battle.
It is a huge pain to deal with, and I drop Toxicroak G LV.X and a P Energy and Set Up for 6 aiming for a Cyrus or an Energy Gain for the return KO, but wiff on the 6 outter, and I wind up having to make a gamble. I had seen him running Dragonite FB the game before, and his hand was small. I had a Garchomp C LV.X active, and can either retreat it and give up a prize to his Blaziken and fall behind, or leave Garchomp active and force him to try and get Ambipom G for the KO if he had it in his deck.
He ends up having it, the Gain, and an energy and Turns his Blaziken. I again wiff the Energy Gain, and fall behind as I try and stay in the game. I go aggro Luxray, and try to keep the prizes close while I stabilize. I wiff on a key Poké Turn midgame, and never see the much needed Premier Ball to get Garchomp X back, and I end up losing.
The game should have been a lot closer than it was, but I wiffed on a lot of draws. The kind of odds where I draw a bunch of cards and have like a 60% chance of hitting. It isn’t too aggrivating when it happens now and then since the odds aren’t that lopsided, but when I have a whole game of them, it gets annoying since hitting any of them could have really changed the way the game ended up.
Round 4 vs Jack I (LuxChomp)
I draw pretty dead early on, and he ends up taking a pretty quick lead as I struggle to stay in the game. Neither one of us draws any DCEs all game, until the very end when I finally draw one, and begin to make a comeback. His energy count in play was dwindled from being the aggressor, and since he wasn’t drawing DCE either, that gave me a slight opening to come back. I actually take it to turns, and tie up the prizes. I threaten the kill the following turn if he isn’t able to return KO me.
He goes into the tank after awhile, and ends up using Judge. If he hits a DCE, he wins, if he doesn’t, I win. He had about 25 cards left, with all of his DCE in there. I cut and wait…he draws 4…hits the DCE and wins. He had 1 Prized, so he only had 3 in deck, so I actually had a realistic chance of coming back from that game. I opened without a Call or Supporter again, which was very aggrivating.
Round 5 vs ??? (Feraligatr Ampharos)
His deck was experimental at best, and he came with his son who was playing in Seniors, I believe. I get a fast start and he gets a really bad start and I just chew through basic Pokémon in a matter of turns. After looking through his deck after the fact, I noticed that he ran a decent # of Supporters and draw cards, but had just drawn really cold that game, although I liked my matchup regardless.
The fifth CC I got to attend was in Massillon, and I was trying my best to outrace a snowstorm this time. I wasn’t actually even that motivated to attend this one, as I was tired and really wanted a day to just sit at home and recover since I’d been pretty busy the prior week and usually use the weekends to try and get some rest. I force myself up and out of bed, and drive down there alone.
After the last tournament, and drawing so poorly a couple of those games, I cut the Dialga from my list, and added a Chatot, and a Copycat back into the deck to try and improve my mirror match games a bit, and my consistancy overall.
LuxChomp CC 5
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 28
Energy – 13
Round 1 vs Kyle P (Garchomp Honchkrow)
He opens with an Uxie, and has a Murkrow on the bench. I immediately assume Sablelock, but change my mind when I see a Gible, being immediately reminded that Garchomp isn’t usually a basic Pokémon. I end up using Luxray to gust up and kill a Gabite, and snipe another Gabite the next turn.
He finally gets a Rare Candy to jump straight to Garchomp, but I Luxray it up, and drop Lucario GL and Dragon Rush the active. At that point, his hand is pretty dead, and I Flash Impact his Honchkrow before getting a concession for the game.
Round 2 vs Jacob R (LuxChomp)
pokemon-paradijs.comI open Chatot and he opens Sableye. I get to use a Collector, and his Sableye causes his hand to become huge, and Mimic is just brutal against him as it gives me a huge hand. I get the first shot at leveling up, and I take a huge lead. He tries to Q his Sableye, and I wasn’t about to let that happen and Power Spray that to buy another turn.
Midgame, I end up Luxray’ing up an Azelf to buy another free turn and I take a pretty significant lead. Chatot’s free retreat, and powerful drawing effect was an allstar this game, and proved to actually be better than Sableye was in this particular game. I’m not actually sure how this game played out the way it did, as I had a huge lead the entire game, despite him having Sableye up and running for the first few turns of the game.
I can only imagine the fact that he would have to devote an energy drop to retreat the card prevented him from making any notable aggressive plays without overextending since he didn’t get the Unown Q out quick enough. By the time he wanted to, I had Spray ready for it.
Round 3 vs Alan E (Machamp Donphan)
This was an interesting game. I open with a Bronzong G, and a Call Energy. I go first vs Machop, and Call for an Uxie and a Lucario GL. He goes, uses Rare Candy into Machamp, attaches a Fighting, and immediately uses Take Out. I promote Uxie, Premier Ball for the Level X, attach a DCE, and SP Radar for a Crobat G for the return counter-donk.
Round 4 vs Andrew Spencer (Gengar Vileplume)
Lovely, I wasn’t really too excited about having to play this deck, but at the same time, I didn’t want to play against the Regigigas Donphan deck that had won the CC in Toledo the day before. He had been paired against Martin the first round of the tournament, and had crushed him pretty badly. I was also pretty depressed by the thought of the matchup as it is pretty weak for me in theory as well. I didn’t want to play Gengar either, but I really didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter.
I mulligan my first hand, and my second on reveals a horror: Bronzong G is my lone basic. He, of course, opens Spiritomb, and goes first, getting a Haunter, after attaching to it. I go, and attach to Bronzong, and Cyrus for a Collector. I expect to get second turned, as my hand is laden with trainers, but he doesn’t have the Psychic! He Bebes for an Uxie and uses Set Up and gets the Psychic…but wiffs on the Gengar! He attaches, and ends up evolving into a Curse Gengar.
I’d seen him use a Gengar Prime in another round, and realized he was running a 1-1-1-1 Gengar split. He had filled his bench to Set Up, and left himself with just the Curse Gengar. This error actually let me back into the game. I end up Bright Looking it active and hitting it for 60, threatening a Garchomp C X the next turn to kill it, and get rid of all of his energy and forcing him to try and reset.
Of course, he uses Seeker to save it, and replaces it with the Storm Front Gengar this time, but his field is still in trouble as he is still stuck with a lone Gengar. I eventually kill Gengar, and while he tries to set back up I make back the few prizes I’d fallen behind. Time is called while we are tied on prizes. I Dragon Rush something for a kill, and I have a Bright Look for the next turn as he kills Garchomp with Poltergeist.
I have 2 energy attached to Luxray, and have the Lightning in hand. He had a Staraptor FB benched, which he Seekers. I bounce my Uxie. I Bright Look up Uxie and use Set Up to try and get an Energy to discard to Trash Bolt, or a Crobat G. I wiff on both, and end up ten damage short and lose the next turn. It was turn 3 when I used Bright Look, so I would have actually taken the game off of that KO, even though I surely lose the game in the long term even though it left me with just 1 Prize.
Round 5 vs Matt Nawal (Magnezone)
pokemon-paradijs.comI felt pretty confident about this match going in because not only have I tested Magnezone quite a bit because I like it, but because me and Matt had discussed the deck prior. We both agreed that the deck had positive matchups against every other deck in the field besides LuxChomp, which beat it pretty badly.
I knew he ran Manectric and ERL, so I just had to be sure not to overextend and walk into Thunder Fall as I didn’t think I could lose the matchup otherwise. I get a pretty fast start, and I end up using Trash Bolt and Flash Bite to kill his Magneton on the second turn. This left him off balance, and I took a few prizes before I decided it would be really cool to make a careless error.
He had Manectric benched, and I decide to Dragon Rush a Magnemite. For 0. I had Poké Turn for my Crobat to just kill the Manectric. This would have been a disaster if it wasn’t for the fact I was at 2 Prizes to his 6 and his bench was full of bad Pokémon that weren’t going to really help his game plan. After I killed his first Magneton, he fell too far behind to really keep up. He used a bunch of Judges on me throughout the game, but I never really drew dead off of it, and kept in the game.
His deck had great Judge synergy, but only if he had Magnezone Prime up and running, which he didn’t get this game. He brings up ERL and Thunder Falls for 2 Prizes, and I return the KO with Toxicroak G and a Flash Bite I got off the Crobat G I Aaron’d.
Round 6 vs Austin Reed (LuxChomp)
I go first and use Call Energy, and he empties his hand, and tries to use Set Up. I have a Power Spray, and he Calls for Smeargle. I Cyrus for another Spray, and kill his active. He brings up Smeargle, which I Power Spray, and next turn kill it as he literally never even successfully attacks me. I find out after the game that he only ran 1 Uxie, so when I Spray’d that, it pretty much sealed the game anyway.
I look at who was likely to make top 8, and I see 3 decks I do not want to play. There were 2 Gengar Vileplume decks, one which had Mewtwo. The Regigigas deck was also 5-1. I was likely 4th or 5th seed, and likely to play one of those 3 decks. I decide to avoid the really bad matchups and drop.
Afterward I look to see what my tiebreakers were, and I’d have been paired against Regigigas, so I was pretty happy with my drop decision, to save rating points.
Going into the 6th CC event, in Sandusky, I knew that I couldn’t afford to ignore Gengar Vileplume anymore, and I was also nervous that more and more people were adding Mewtwo to decks since a lot of the LuxChomp builds did not have any answer to them. So as much as I hated to do it again, Dialga G went back in, once more at the cost of consistancy.
I wasn’t willing to cut the Chatot/Smeargle spot, so I cut a Junk Arm this time, which I wasn’t too comfortable doing, but it was more expendable than the extra fallback Pokémon.
LuxChomp CC 6
Pokémon – 21
3 Garchomp C
Trainers – 26
Energy – 13
Round 1 vs Matt J (Tyranitar)
I start with a Luxray GL, and a pretty bad hand. I attach an energy to it, and SP Radar for a Garchomp, and bench an Ambipom so I can Spray. He goes and uses Rare Candy into Tyranitar Prime, and attaches, to do 20 to my field. I topdeck a much needed Collector, and go off. I Flash Impact his Tyranitar.
He needs a Belt to do enough damage to KO my Lux X and I bait it out of him, as I have the return KO using Toxicroak G’s Poison Revenge. This also forced him to attach a 3rd energy to his Tyranitar, leaving his field vacant. His next few turns he stumbles, as despite the turn one Tyranitar, he didn’t have any Supporter, so once I took down the big threat he was pretty helpless.
This is again, another matchup where I really am glad I had Toxicroak G. Besides Tyranitar and Lux mirror, I also felt I needed the Toxicroak as a last ditch effort to stand a chance against Regigigas Donphan, so he definitely stayed in. Otherwise, I would have likely cut him to make room for Dialga G.
Round 2 vs Shawn K (Gyarados)
I get a pretty fast start and notice something peculiar when he goes off on his first turn but fails to find a Broken Time-Space. I make the iffy play of gusting up a Magikarp and killing it for 30 from a Garchomp C. The gamble paid off as he was unable to get a Broken Time-Space for the next couple of turns, so I just sit there and keep killing Magikarp as he benches them.
By the time he does draw one, I’m up way too much for it to matter. I normally wouldn’t want to gamble by exposing an energy attachment like that to kill a Magikarp, but it was clear he didn’t have a BTS as I knew he had a Gyarados in hand from a Luxury Ball.
He ran Luxray GL LV.X and Blissey in his list, so his deck was slower than the builds I was used to playtesting against, which was a nice change of pace. Blissey and Luxray do very little to help against LuxChomp. A turn one Gyarados, on the other hand, is the scariest threat they can produce.
Round 3 vs Samantha Bittinger (Gengar Vileplume)
I mulligan my first hand again, which, if it had a Pokémon, would have been fantastic. My second hand, staring down 3-of her Pokémon, was garbage plus an Uxie, and a Bronzong G. I had no Supporter again, so I gulp, and regrettably place Bronzong G active, knowing full well that he would sit there for an extremely long time.
If I didn’t run Dialga, I would have promoted Uxie, and just hoped to draw out of it, but really felt that I had a better chance to draw something off of Set Up and hope for the best on getting Bronzong out of there. Set Up does yield me a Cyrus, and I eventually retreat Bronzong G for a Dialga G and level up and start to go aggro against a Gengar LV.X. She starts killing my benched Uxies, and I eventually get Gengar within range of Flash Bite kills.
She made the same fatal mistake of not leaving enough bench space for the replacement Gengar, and as a result I have a lot of freedom from pressure as time is called with me behind by 1 Prize. A Luxray lets me tie that up, and she puts 60 on Uxie. I could take the lead, and she’d get the return KO on Uxie, and I wasn’t sure if I could end up squeeking out another once it goes to sudden death.
Instead, I PokéTurn, and Bright Look up Vileplume, and Psyhic Restore it for 40. Her Gengar only had 1 Psychic on it, so if she Warp Energy’d, she couldn’t Poltergeist, and even if she had Unown Q, she would need to attach again, and still couldn’t Poltergeist. She fails to take a prize, and I use yet another Poké Turn to bring up Spiritomb and win.
Round 4 vs Joey Gannon (Sablelock)
pokemon-paradijs.comI have a pretty nuts hands, with a Crobat G, Garchomp C, Garchomp C LV.X, Collector, DCE, and an energy. I get to go first too! Or I thought I did, as he opens Sableye. He goes for a Cyrus’s Initiative, which hits one heads, and rips out my Collector. I of course topdeck a Cyrus’s Conspiracy, and attach a DCE to Garchomp.
On his turn, he smacks me with a Judge, but I get an Uxie, and a Cyrus off of that, and snipe a Garchomp with an energy. I take the lead from there, and he isn’t able to really break advantage since he used most of his disruption early in the game. Admittedly, I was quite lucky to topdeck that Cyrus, and also when I drew well off of his turn 2 Judge.
Even if I didn’t draw that Cyrus, my hand was able to provide some form of threat as I had the turn 2 Garchomp C X to take a prize and hopefully get me something useful. Instead, I decide to run well in mirror for once (opposed to running average, and my opponent just running awful) so I can’t complain really.
At this point I am debating dropping as Regigigas Donphan is smashing the other 3-0’s LuxChomp pretty soundly…until he drops a 2nd Metal on his Dialga X and proceeds to hit 4 heads on Remove Lost to strip Gigas of all of it’s energy. He then had a Power Spray for both Sacrifice and a Set Up, stealing the near unwinnable game. I felt confident in my mirror match ability, so I decided to stay in instead!
Round 5 vs Matt Louden (LuxChomp)
I open with Luxray and a Call Energy. I fill my bench with 2 Garchomp C, and next turn I have a Cyrus. Luxray gets his aggro on, and takes a prize against an Uxie. He has a Call on his Luxray, and uses it, and I Garchomp C X his Garchomp. His response is to attack me with Luxray GL, without the level X, and I wiff on a way to get the KO on the Luxray with all of his energy on it.
He makes a wierd play where he then Trash Bolts next turn, and I get the kill that way. I’m up a couple of prizes, and he draws a few more blanks. The only thing I could assume is that he ran the 2-2 Garchomp line and had his 2nd Garchomp C prized, allowing me to just rush ahead unopposed.
At 5-0, the top players who were 4-1 or better were…
Chris Fulop 5-0
Matt Louden 4-1
Joey Gannon 4-1
Justin Phillips 4-1
Dustin Zimmerman 4-1
AJ Schumacher 4-1
pokemon-paradijs.comI end up dropping to save points as I really didn’t feel like getting Gigas’d. I realize now that I need to find an answer to that deck as I’m stuck having to actively avoid playing against it at every tournament. Unfortunately, the best bet I can think of is an Expert Belt, but even then I have no idea how I am supposed to reliably get to it when I need it.
Beyond that, I really feel that the list I used for that week’s Cities beats everything else in the format. It’s got plenty of game against SP decks, it beats Machamp, it beats Gyarados, and with the inclusion of Dialga, it beats Gengar, and is no longer dead to Mewtwo.
At this point I really see no reason not to just use LuxChomp until we get an influx of new cards coming up for States. The deck has great matchups across the board, having literally no bad matchups that you should expect to realiably face. It beats the entirety of Tier 1. It is fast, and has favorable matchplay advantages. It is so fast and disruptive that it can steal games it would otherwise have no business winning.
Plus, it gives you plenty of room to outplay people with. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this confident in suggesting a deck for a tournament season before. The only real downside is that the deck does take quite a bit of skill to play. While it can easily win a lot of its games just by pure strength, it really requires you to make a commitment to know how to play not only the deck, but its specific matchups, in order to overcome its close games and matchups.
After 4 Battle Roads, and these 6 CCs, I am sitting at a 1766.37 Rating, which as far as I know, might be the highest in North America at the moment. I know Alex Brosseau who had X-0ed three CCs so far only has a 1752, and I don’t know anyone else who has had as successful record yet. It makes me sad that the rankings are not online on the official Pokémon site.
I encourage you to pick up the list I’ve posted here and take it to your next CC and give it a whirl. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the results it gives you. I’ll leave you with the “skeleton” of the list:
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 26
Energy – 13
That leaves you with 4 “Floating” spaces which can be used to customize the deck… 5 if you count the fact that you can tweak the 13th energy. Some of the cards worth considering are:
So feel free to mess with the list a bit and adjust accordingly. Hopefully you’ll have as much luck as I have with it! So good luck, and happy testing!
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