elvistrooper.comHello again everyone. I just got back from an exhilarating Indiana State Championships in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I’d spent the week between Ohio States and Indiana States opting not to really test, knowing full well that I knew LuxChomp as well as I could, and that the metagame wasn’t really going to change much.
I wasn’t about to switch decks because not only did no other deck offer me the same favorable matchups, but I would never be able to get as familiar with it, even if I spent the whole week testing feverishly. I pretty much knew what to expect going in. SP would be the most popular by a wide margin, with Gengar in second, and Machamp, Magnezone, and Gyarados likely vying for 3rd, 4th, and 5th.
I saw no Regigigas the prior week, and heard of it having little success so I was less paranoid about it making a large presence at this event. Before I get into the actual event, let me bore you with the adventure leading up to the tournament.
First, I was scrambling to get everyone together for the event. The plan was that I would be driving out to Fort Wayne, but not before waking up at 4:30 AM to make sure I could make it a half hour (and back) to Parma to pick up Mike O’Donnell.
We would make it back to my place by 6 so my friends David and Coleman would be able to meet me, then we’d grab breakfast and gas, and make the trek out to the tournament. One of the things that I am always sure to do is to leave for an event with about an hour to spare in case of complications.
I’ll be the first to admit I uh, take speed limits as a loose guide line, generally, but I still like to make sure we are at these things early rather than late. Worst case scenario we get to test a few games and trade if we are really early.
So I wake up at 4:30, get a shower, and get my stuff together. There was a slight complication though. I’d gone to play Magic Friday night, and the draft didn’t end until 10:30. I gave my friend George a ride back to my place, and a group of us wound up playing Magic till like 1 in the morning.
Probably a bad idea with such a long drive ahead of us. I managed about 2, maybe 2 and a half hours of sleep before waking up, which while not much, is about what I’m used to. I’ve done way too many of these trips after an all nighter. I leave my place a bit late at 5:15, and get to Mikes around 5:40.
Unfortunately he has to get packed up and takes a bit of time to make it down, so I don’t wind up making it back home until 6:20.
Previously, I had received a call from David asking where I was. I said I was running a bit late. He mentioned something about whether or not he should put their bags in the car, and I just kinda shrugged it off until I got home, and realized they were not in my driveway.
I call them, and they, of course, were at the wrong house. So, after a minute of them “looking for my car at the end of the driveway” (I stayed there as a sort of beacon) I realized they must have drastically miscalculated directions. It took them a few minutes to get to me, and we shuffled all of the stuff into the trunk and were on the road.
We stopped by McDonald’s for some breakfast, then hit up Speedway to fuel up, and grab drinks. Apparently Mike got a couple hours of sleep, where as David and Coleman wound up staying up all night. Needless to say, we had a well rested crew in our car. The drive home was likely to get exciting.
The first part of the trip was pretty standard, with me just taking the turnpike for over an hour, before having to get on a smaller highway that more resembled a country road than anything else. As we got closer, I realized I was a bit under a quarter of a tank, and since my car had been having some issues with the fuel injector, I decided I’d rather play it safe and get filled up at the next gas station I saw.
Needless to say, about an hour of no gas stations to be found later, the low fuel light was on, and I was scared. Luckily, we wound up spotting a Marathon before we wound up on the side of the road, and re-fueled, but the scare at least woke us all up.
We get into Fort Wayne, half delirious from lack of sleep, and find the sign for “Motel Wayne” to be absolutely hilarious, namely due to how much like a dive it looked like. This led to a series of inappropriate inside jokes about Wayne, the guy who owned the place, who was a smooth talking black pimp. I could go into further detail, but unless you are in a compromised state of mind, it won’t do it justice.
I find a parking lot that caps at 7 dollars a day, so we pull in, and, still not REALLY knowing where we are going, set out on foot with bags over shoulder. We wind up finding it on the first try, luckily, and settle down and work on our lists. My plan for the day was to 3-0 and then drop, securing ( likely ) my rating invite.
I figured I had a pretty good shot at it, but at the same time, that sure would make for a pretty boring and short tournament report, now wouldn’t it?
I sat down with my friend Tracy, and her friend Aaron, and we ended up working on our lists. Aaron, as usual, was using Vilegar, while me and Tracy were armed with LuxChomp. Our lists different quite a bit in our tech choices, but here is what I wound up deciding on.
It turned out to be only 3 cards different from last weeks, as I was expecting more Vilegar here, and as a result I really wanted to secure that matchup even better.
Pokémon – 21
3 Garchomp C
Trainers – 27
4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
Energy – 12
I expected no Regigigas, and I realized that the Toxicroak G didn’t do enough vs Magnezone to warrant its use. They ran Sunyshore Gym, which pretty much negated it since I didn’t run any counter gyms. Luxray #2 was really only useful against trainer locks, and I felt that Dialga just did so much more to win that.
I was torn between the Looker’s Investigation and the 4th Pokémon Collector. After swearing I wanted the 4th Collector last week, I couldn’t pull the trigger because I wanted extra Gengar insurance (both LostGar and Vilegar off of Looker’s) and I wanted the ability to disrupt players if I did fall behind and need it.
I’m still torn on this slot, and I really feel the 4th Collector is simply needed, even if it has to come from some other spot.
David used Sablelock, and Coleman used LuxChomp. Mike used LuxChomp as well, using my list, minus the Dialga, but with the Psychic and Toxicroak and 2nd Luxray. We wound up having 116 Masters, with 7 rounds and again a cut to the top 16. Juniors and Seniors had 21 and 25 players each, I believe.
Those numbers may be off, but not by much at all as they were both in the lower 20s. They had 5 rounds and cut to top 4 in each age group.
Out of 116 players I get paired round 1 against my friend Justin. We roll off and I’m set to go second, which was irrelevant since he opened with Sableye. I open Dialga, and have Metal and Energy Gain in hand, plus a bunch of good cards, meaning I am pretty safe here.
He goes for the annoying turn 1 Cyrus’s Initiative, but ends up flipping 2 tails. I had a Cyrus, Collector, and Uxie in hand, so I wasn’t really in danger of being locked out of the game, but that certainly helped me out. I start off Deafening, and set up a bench full of Garchomp, Chatot and a Luxray.
With this start I realize the only way I’m losing is if I get my hand messed up really badly, and Chatot is insurance against that. This is one of the matchups I really love that card in.
I end up having the option to use Garchomp C Lv.X on the second turn, and after he whiffed his first energy drop, I see that he put Unown Q on his benched Uxie (he Set Up for 5 and whiffed an energy) and I can safely Dragon Rush Garchomp C without dying.
I end up keeping up the pressure and go up 2 prizes as I use Luxray to kill something on his bench. He returns the kill with Toxicroak G, leaving me with no energy. I have the chance to kill it with Uxie Lv.X and a DCE, but that really strains my energy drops, and he hadn’t used any DCE yet.
It almost certainly would result in him having a return kill, leaving me very vulnerable, despite being up prizes. Instead, I got out Uxie X, attached a DCE to my Garchomp C Lv.X, and Mimic’d. He failed his Leap Away and was forced to use a Poké Turn on it. He killed Chatot but I was up on prizes so much at this point that I got the kill and he was in bad shape on the board (he was locked out of Garchomp on the bench, and his Honchkrows were going to fall victim to my Luxrays. ).
I end up taking it comfortably after I got the energy lead in play. That is the easiest trap to fall into when playing SP. Being up prizes is clearly important, but you don’t want to lose a game as a result of overextending and leaving yourself vulnerable.
Pokemon ParadijsEnergy in play is almost as important as prizes taken, and it is easy to make that lapse in judgment. I know I had problems with it when I was first testing this deck, but I’ve gotten a lot better at it now, and am proud of myself over the mid-game Chatot play.
I guess I’ll address a few issues with Sablelock at the moment. First, I hate that no one runs Bronzong G in the deck. I didn’t use it when I used my friends list during Battle Roads, and literally every game I wanted it. I know it hasn’t been in the stock lists, but how do people play this deck, and then still not want Bronzong in it? It literally blows my mind. It’s so crucial in terms of managing energy drops.
Second, I love how strong Cyrus’s Initiative is. Unfortunately, the deck faces issues like it did vs me here. It went for the Init, but at the same time, as a result, ended up not having an energy drop. Now, he had Uxie to try and get one, but you are often faced with more extreme situations where you need to make a decision between having a good start, or trying to stifle theirs.
It was one of the major complaints I always had about the deck, and it never really set right with me. Justin played it tight, but I had a pretty strong opening hand and he had some pretty bad flips over the course of the game. I really hated having to play against him in the opening round right off the bat like that too.
I was playing against a girl who I’d seen around tournaments lately, but I had no idea what to expect out of her. I wound up having a pretty solid start, but lacked a supporter. I had a Call Energy to grab an Uxie or a Chatot (I had a Premier Ball in hand) so I was feeling pretty confident.
She wound up opening Azelf, and, going first, played a 2nd Azelf to grab a Dialga (Time Reversal) from her prizes, letting me know she was using Mewperior (well, ok it didn’t isolate it to that, but it was my worst case scenario assumption).
I wound up using a drawn Looker’s Investigation to see that her hand had Rhyperior Lv.X, Palmer, some energy, and that Dialga. I take a new hand and use Call to get going. I grab Dialga, and she knew in advance that she didn’t have any outs to beat that card but she played it out anyways. I get Dialga up and attaching and start killing things after she played down a Snowpoint Temple.
Pokemon ParadijsShe never really gets going, in combination because of my Dialga and her extremely bad hand. I felt kind of bad to win off of such a matchup mismatch and to capitalize on a bad start, but at this point I was really just looking to get a few wins in and drop, so I’ll take what I can get.
We have lunch break, and me and Tracy, Aaron and Justin go for a walk to see what we can get. We veto Taco Bell, and Rallys (ok, I lied, Justin grabbed Rallys) and we debate the run to a mysterious nearby Subway that Aaron’s phone told us existed, but we opt to grab it later.
Third round pairings are up, and I get paired against Drew Holton, using SP. Lovely. Out of the near 30 2-0 players we had, I get paired against the one player in the entire tournament I did not want to have to play against.
I open with a pretty iffy hand. I have a Double Colorless Energy, a Dialga G, a Garchomp C and a Luxray, alongside an energy gain, Premier Ball, and a Poké Turn. I opt to open Dialga G because I have no idea what he’ll end up opening with, and I didn’t want to get first turned or anything.
I wanted something to hide behind so I could try to get Garchomp up and running. Anyways, I proceed to draw very few relevent cards, but I end up having to play a Luxray GL Lv.X and Bright Look Garchomp C with an energy on it, using Earth Quake. I kill it, and he has the return kill with a DCE’d Dragonite.
My prize was, of course, an Expert Belt. By this point I drew my Metal Energy, so I got to Deafen. I proceed to draw nothing, and use a Poké Turn to loop Dialga, and keep the Deafen lock. I play an Uxie, which gets sprayed, and eventually draw a Cyrus which lets me grab Twins.
It isn’t really enough to get back in the game as he’d been Cyrus chaining this whole time and had like a 12 card hand. He hadn’t drawn any more DCEs though, so I was awkwardly not “out of it.” By that I mean if I drew really, really well, and he kept whiffing on a top of key cards, then I had a shot to somehow come back.
I actually end up taking it down to 2 prizes, and manage to tie it on the last turn before he’d kill me for his last prize. He used Drifblim FB to try and finish me off, and of course, my Dark Energy was prized, or I actually had an opening to Weavile it.
He put 4 damage on my Chatot with Drifblim, and hoped I didn’t have a Seeker to save it. I didn’t have the Seeker, and I’m not sure if it would have mattered, but he had put a lot of faith in winning with that Drifblim so I may have been ok there. Not having the Dark Energy really stung at that point.
It was a bit more aggravating that I drew well enough in the 2nd half of the game that I was kinda still in it, when really, I never actually was. Drew would have had to drawn so atrociously to let that slip away since I knew he wouldn’t misplay out of it.
It was a very aggravating loss, not because I lost to Drew, who I consider to be every bit as good as me, but because it came at the do or die round of the tournament. With that start, I think I lose to almost any competent deck though, which is still very aggravating.
At this point, I figure I need to go 5-1, or 6-1. Luckily Drew was rating 1774 going into the event due to a good showing in Ohio, so I didn’t lose that many points. I wanted to at least go 4-1 before I’d consider dropping.
I look at the round 4 pairings and am furious. I got paired against Matt Nawal, who I knew was using Magnezone Donphan Regirock. Take the standard Magnezone Regirock deck, and toss in Donphans just to further enhance the LuxChomp matchup.
I knew he’d been testing vs lists similar to mine and had very positive records, and while I felt I had a solid game plan going in, I felt like I was a 40-60 underdog. It was probably the worst 2-1 matchup for me to have to play against. I walked outside to try and fight off the oncoming tilt, knowing I needed to really play tight this round and that a ton rode on me being able to pull it off, especially since Matt’s rating was unrepresentatively low.
I start with a Luxray, staring down a Magnemite and a Chansey. He draws for the turn, going first, and passes. I have 2 Bebe’s Search in hand, a Call Energy, an Energy Gain, and a Poké Turn. I end up Bebe’ing for a Crobat G, Poké Turning it, and kill Magnemite, forcing his Chansey active.
He has the Warp Energy and a Collector, and gets Spiritomb active. I whiff the next energy drop, but Bright Look up Regirock. He has the Warp for this guy too, and he gets Blissey down. He has a Magnezone out now, and Judges me, getting rid of the Spray I had to leave him with a 2 card hand at this point.
PokeGymHe gets back up to 6, and I Dragon Rush Magnezone for 80. He starts to power up Donphan and I opt to ignore it and Dragon Rush again, keeping a hand full of sprays, with his field light outside of his Donphan which now had 3 energy on it.
He doesn’t have an Expert Belt (I find out after the game both of his were prized) but while it would have certainly made it closer, I don’t think it would have changed the game. With him Magnezone-less and with a small hand. (his Bebe’s Search proved he did not run an Uxie, which is actually standard for Magnezone lists, and also, in my eyes, violently incorrect.)
I feel like I pretty much stole that game because I was able to apply early pressure and keep him from fully setting up. The key to this matchup is really just keep the Magnezones out of play to the best of your ability. The prized Belts helped a lot, but didn’t make or break the game as it didn’t impact his ability to kill Dialga.
I also have the Belt for this, as it makes Garchomp survive even a Belted Donphan. Most Lux lists do much worse against Donphan than I do, so I was pretty fortunate to have that edge on me.
I had no idea what she was playing but I accidentally saw a Copycat as she was shuffling, so I had to immediately put her on Vilegar, as it was the most likely to run the most number of Copycats. While it wound up inaccurate, I was correct in assuming it was Vileplume related.
She opened with a Spiritomb and an Eevee, and I opened Dialga, to which she groaned over. She Darkness Graced into Umbreon, which I was ok with, and I had a pretty solid hand, and access to a turn 2 Dialga G Lv.X. She Collectored for an Oddish and Eevee, and Uxie.
She got Vileplume out, but I got Dialga G Lv.X out, and she was unable to really mount much of an offense. She opened with Umbreon to buy time, and I retaliated with I want to say Luxray GL. She finally got a Glaceon Lv.X up, but I killed it by benching Lucario and using Second Strike.
That was the end of the line, as her field was pretty well done by that point and I got the win.
Well, that’s two matchups on the day where Dialga single-handedly won me the game. Toss in the fact that it was also crucial against Donphan against Matt, and I was really, really happy to include the Dialga. I’m pretty confident he’s going to stay in my list for the foreseeable future.
I decided to drop at 4-1, since I’d be gaining roughly 10 points. (I’m now at 1861 since ratings updated.) I was very tired, and didn’t want to have to play another 4-1 in a field of very good players, especially low on sleep and still fighting off tilt a bit.
I’d rather make my stand at Regionals where I only have to beat 1-2 random players at the start of the event. Not exactly the gain I wanted out of the day, but at the same time, I was up points, and currently sit at 6th in North America. I really wish that we’d be informed of what the cut off point would be, but Pokémon is notorious for keeping its players in the dark well past the point of where information should be public.
David wound up going 3-4 with Sablelock, with some rough matchups against Machamp and some other difficult games. Coleman wound up 4-3, and Mike was 4-2 going into the last round playing for top cut and lost to Mikey Collins narrowly to wind up 4-3 as well.
Tracy and Aaron both wound up at 6-1 and made cut. I’m going to try and reconstruct what the top 16 was.
1. Kyle Epperson (LuxChomp)
2. Tracy Key (LuxChomp)
3. Alex Leachman (Vilegar)
4. Aaron Solon (Vilegar)
5. Andrew Mondak (DialgaChomp)
6. AJ Schummacher (LostGar)
7. Jacob R (Magnezone Regirock)
8. Mike McElwain (Gyarados)
9. Drew Holton (DialgaChomp)
11. Spencer Brown (LuxChomp)
12. Matt Louden (LuxChomp)
13. Andrew Mishik (Arceus)
14. Kyle Lesniewicz (LuxChomp)
15. Levi B (Jumpluff)
16. Dan Richard (Machamp)
Pokemon ParadijsAJ and Spencer may have been inverted in place, and I honestly forget who Jacob played in top 16, but I want to say he played against LuxChomp. I don’t have these written down, so I apologize for any inaccuracies but I am pretty sure they are close.
Top 8 was the following:
16. Dan Richard vs 9. Drew Holton
2. Tracy Key vs 7. Jacob R
3. Alex Leachman vs 6. AJ Schummacher
5. Andrew Mondak vs 13. Andrew Mishik
Top 4 was:
16. Dan Richard vs 5. Andrew Mondak
7. Jacob R vs 3. Alex Leachman
The Finals was
5. Andrew Mondak vs 7. Jacob R
In the end, Mondak’s DialgaChomp overcame Jacob’s Magnezone deck to win Indiana States! The combination of counter gyms, plus the ability to recur Toxicroak G (Promo) was enough to overcome Magnezone’s huge girthy hit points.
Congrats to all of the players who made it into the top cut, as well as the whopping TEN 5-2 players who missed on resistance.
I guess this leaves me to really analyze the fallout of this event. I was correct in assuming we’d have more Gengar than in Ohio, but at the same time, while it performed better, it was still beaten out by other decks, and didn’t make up a commanding portion of the top cut. I actually feel like it now has competition for the 2nd best deck with Magnezone now.
Magnezone, in my eyes, was the breakout performer in this event. I’m usually not the type of person to take results as that credible of evidence in favor of a decks viability. On the other hand, results coupled with my own observations matter. Having played against it, and watched it play, I really do like the deck in theory, and practice.
It is the real deal, and has pretty good matchups across the board.
Pokemon ParadijsIt has a solid if not favorable Vilegar game. It beats Gyarados, and is generally good vs LuxChomp and Sablelock. It’s DialgaChomp depends on the Dialga list, but, if it becomes an issue, it can likely be fixed.
I don’t think that the lists being used are close to being ideal, which is going to be one of my major testing points for the next few weeks headed into Regionals.
I like Vilegar less and less as time goes by, but I’m biased in the fact I never liked it to begin with. Gyarados is actually a lot better than most people give it credit for being. Especially with less trainer lock being used, and the Gyarados lists getting fast, and most consistant, it is better than the amount of respect it received dictates.
Personally, my top 3 decks would be SP, Magnezone, then Gyarados, if I had to use a deck for an event.
I think Sablelock has fallen to the wayside now. It’s got an interesting SP mirror matchup and gives you plenty of room to outplay people, but at the same time, it is bad against Machamp and Gyarados, and seems to be rough against Magnezone.
It’s losing its favorable matchups and gaining harder ones, so with DialgaChomp and LuxChomp still being strong, I see it as a hard sell for me.
DialgaChomp saw a huge resurgence at States, likely winning the 2nd most number of States behind LuxChomp (this is before the final numbers are in, so take that with a grain of salt.) It’s a slight underdog to LuxChomp, but that’s before player skill, and taking into account that a lot of players do not know how to play against the new lists.
Toss in the great Vilegar and LostGar matchup, and you have a pretty strong choice. Unfortunately, it isn’t too good against Gyarados or Machamp, so it has its trade offs.
It seems as if Machamp saw a spike around the country for week 2. It saw a lot of play at Ohio States but not very much elsewhere, but it seems as if that trend has caught on a bit. I still hate the deck, and would never suggest using it, but its something you can’t ignore when judging what deck to play for Regionals.
I’ll end the article with the inclusion of some extra deck lists…
Pokémon – 21
Trainers – 35
Energy – 4
Pokémon – 20
2 Dialga G
Trainers – 28
4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
Energy – 12
Pokémon – 28
Trainers – 18
Energy – 14
PojoI wanted to thank Jeremy Borchardt for the basis of the Gyarados list (I’ve tweaked it some) and Sebastian Crema for the DialgaChomp list, and Jason Klaczynski for the Vilegar list. Those are fantastic stock lists to use or test against. Lists similar to these are popping up in most states so they are fairly close to public information. All of those are great lists that I entirely endorse.
Another deck I want to re-open discussion on would be Palkia Lucario. With a rise in Machamp and Magnezone in the metagame, Palkia Lucario looks better and better. Power Lock was under-represented at States, so decks are less and less prepared for it, so this might be a great opportunity to try this deck out.
For my next article, I really want to test and finalize lists for both Palkia Lucario and Magnezone Regirock. Hopefully both results go as favorably as I hope they will. Now may be a really good time to snatch up Magnezone Primes, as they will likely go up in value, and they should also be good for the next format as a source of draw, and as attacker in conjunction with either Feraligatr Prime or Emboar when it is released.
The other card to stock up on is Sableye, in case the Black and White sets are released and no format shift happens. The rules change will allow you to play trainers on the first turn, making Sableye a fantastic opener in any deck, and almost mandatory. If this rules change happens, expect Sableye to go way up in value as every deck is basically forced to run 4.
Anyways, I hope everyone had a good experience at their State Championships, and that everyone is excited and pumped for the upcoming Regional Championships. Good luck, and happy testing!
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