keepwaddling1I would like to give a brief introduction about myself first, since this is my first article on 6p.com. I’m Medziddo, but some of my peeps call me Xincloft or Cyrus (>.<). I’m a League Leader at Masters Gym (over here at my place, all the leagues end with “Gym” :D), a Pokémon Professor, but more importantly, a competitive player.
I tend to focus on writing on tourney reports, and will give unadulterated, blow-by-blow accounts of them to the best of my ability for you guys to enjoy. Expect more of such reports in the form of my articles (or should it be vice-versa? o.O) in due time.
A shoutout to 6p forum moderator MewJadester for scouting me out based on my report written elsewhere, and giving me the much-needed (really much-needed) encouragement to take a step forward and present my works on the international stage for the World to see. Another thanks to Adam for allowing me to post my Wall of Text here to sting your eyes with. Thanks guys!
Here’s a rather lengthy report for my BR. I have taken part in a Battle Roads tournament over the weekend, and did well. I submitted this report at the forums of my local Pokémon TCG playing fraternity, but MewJadester, the moderator at 6P.com’s forums, scouted me out and encouraged me to submit this report on the site. Thanks to MewJadester for the opportunity to show others how I went about with my game and I hope to receive some advice to up my playing standards.
In this report, I aim to capture the thought processes behind my deck choices and my moves for every game, as well as the emotions that I felt during each of them. So this report would be pretty big, even it is was a report for a BR. Also, I have this bad habit of writing excessively… so if you can put up with my nonsense, then read on!
1. How I Arrived at My Deck Choice
jakecaptiveBasically, I wasn’t caught in the same “trilemma” that I was caught in during States. Call of Legends prior to States brought LostGar to the table for me to consider, and Gigas intrigued me at the very same time too. This time, we had Black and White, which did not alter my field of vision too much. Zekrom and Reshiram would be great cards, but more so for the next format only.
Certain additions like Professor Juniper definitely gave a leg up to decks like Gyarados this time around. However, for someone like me who doesn’t consider Gyarados as one of his choices anymore, it did not prove to be too much of a factor to consider when deck building and deck choosing. Rather, I would keep a look out for it when facing it though. However, in the deck building phase, it was not accounted for.
I really liked SP at this point, seeing that it has the ability to answer most decks out there. Even with rogue decks where little can be known until the game itself begins, LuxChomp gives one a great capacity to work and play around the opponent and take the win away from them.
My friend at league took out a Cincinno proxy deck to face me prior to B&W release and scans (AND THAT MEANS POKEMON CATCHER IN SAID DECK) and my LuxChomp comfortably played around it with cheap kills on Mincinno and Promocroak G chains to lay down KOs on Cincinno.
Instances like this just kept proving to me LuxChomp is as versatile as I had wanted it to be for a tourney setting. It was certainly a great choice and had earned its keep as “BDIF” in my eyes.
The real problem, however, lies in two main areas.
2. New B&W rulings.
Under the techs department, LuxChomp has no lack of options. The question, however, is which techs to squeeze into a space of 60 cards without affecting consistency too much. Which are the priorities? I felt that my old LuxChomp deck was able to keep up with majority of the decks out there. However, there were a few threats over the horizon.
pokebeach.comA great example of a looming threat would be VileChamp. VileChamp was certainly at the top of the “must beware of” list in my book. After hearing that outstanding players like Curran Hill, one of the top rated players in the World currently, saw his VileChamp deck take a 19 – 3 record to bring him to such a position, I knew that it was a pure anti-SP beast that I had to worry about.
A deck that I first saw two friends at league work on is now being played more frequently, and I’m sure the threat would spread to my area as well. Sure enough, I saw some VileChamp players in Battle Roads, and I did face off against one of them.
I knew I had to adapt with the times, so my techs and build would have to be different. I need to squeeze in stuff, badly. There is a space of 60 cards to deal with, and some essentials I just cannot do without. I would have to shave my SP tools line as well as a few luxuries that I had relied on as crutches to ensure that I could fit the needed techs in.
This would also demand sharper and more efficient play from me, as I would have to use every single resource I could grab in the most frugal and economic fashion humanly possible for the right situations. A feat that can only be accomplished after much practice.
Another large wave that hit the metagame was the new B & W rulings, the most notable of which dictated that T/S/S can be used on the first turn by both players. This means that by and large, players who went first would have a great head start. I did not think much about this till I saw the monstrosity that was SableDonk.
Here’s what I mean. Let us use Uxie Donk to compare matchups. LuxChomp can hold its own against Uxie Donk, bringing the match nearly down to 50 – 50, since it was all down to a dice roll. If I get to play my T/S/S, I would abuse the consistency of SP decks to flood my bench with high hp SP to avoid the donk, then wrap up from there.
The reason why it was not completely 50 – 50 was simply because you might be able to get the better end of the coin flip, but there will be the rare instance of drawing into a bad hand and so you would not be able to flood your bench in time. However, it was a better deal than most other decks happened to be getting anyway.
pokebeach.comThis time round, with SableDonk, the coin flip factor would be taken away if my opponent nails a Sableye start. Now its coin flip + whether or not my opponent opens with Sableye. I would get donked like no one’s business afterward. I would then put my matchup at a paltry 30 – 70 or even 20 – 80 through playtesting, and it scared me very much, seeing that it would be popular for its efficiency and simplicity.
So I considered, for the very first time, putting an entire playset of Sableye into an SP deck. Sablelock did it, why can’t I? My faith in my decision to do this was bolstered by reading about JWittz’s success with “LoxChomp” at his States, coming in 2nd in a highly competitive States Championship with top players in it.
If LoxChomp could overcome such great competition and take both top spot (J-Wittz and his brother went to top 2 with LoxChomp) WITHOUT B & W RULES FOR SABLEYE TO ABUSE, why can’t I use it with rulings to my advantage right now? I was certainly not top class in the game like the aforementioned, but it was certainly a tantalizing idea.
The premise was basically taking a ChenLock deck and replacing the Blaziken FB lines with Luxray GL lines. From a LuxChomp player’s perspective, it was to take a LuxChomp deck and jam 4 Sableyes into it. With new rules, it would become a greater beast than it already was at the Wisconsin States that J-Wittz and his brother took it to. I had great confidence in it, with such good players succeeding with it, and with the new rules buffing it up further.
As a bonus, problem #1 of techs was solved. Honchkrow SV was conveniently fitted into a typical LoxChomp list, as well as the energy required for it. Speaking of Honchkrow SV, Darkness Energy took the place from Call Energy at this point.
Call Energy was a consistency booster, and gave you something constructive to do when you started first and allowed you to even the odds somewhat by giving you an option to shore up your board control when you can’t play T/S/S.
pokebeach.comThis time round, starting first does not involve you twiddling your thumbs, so what better to do than to beef up the energy lines with Special D Energy Cards to increase my ability to grab a donk, or at least a chance to grab the first prize?
It’s also great to utilize against Spiritomb’s Darkness Grace attacks and punish them for setting up against you, as well as take the prize lead, and hopefully power past the trainer lock to obtain some form of board control back by disrupting their set up, evening the field up.
Finally, throw in Normal Dark Energy to make it searchable by a T1 Cyrus. SP Radar for Crobat G and grabbing a Normal Dark Energy allows you to snatch up a first prize quickly and handily for some situations.
So out with Call Energy, now relegated to a (mostly) early game only consistency booster and otherwise filler energy, and in with handy, donk-grabbing, prize-snatching Dark Energy Cards, also a great fuel for Honchkrow SV.
Back to Big Daddy (Honch)Krow, Honchkrow SV answers many meta decks, with Honchkrow SV being a sickening hard hitter vs SP (and though it is not meta, Gigas as well as random tank decks) a good wall, stall and striker vs Donphan and/or Machamp, potent irritant for careless Gyarados, Kamikaze fighter vs VileGar, overwhelming sweeper vs LostGar, and not to mention epic Switcheroo agent for Expert Belt holders like Magnezone Prime, which is a mere Murkrow (energyless, awesome!) away. It’s a crazy 1 – 1 line of tech-ish madness, and won me over well and truly.
So it became from LuxChomp…
This made me LOL the first time I saw it, but my friend had other plans for the picture…
… to LoxChomp… the LuxChomp deck that has the locking and disruptive properties of SableLOCK!
A work of sheer genius by my good friend in my league, Xiaomage2. IN PAINT. Look at how the words were rendered, right from the attack names that blended in nicely with the yellow background to the “LuxChomp C GL” text, beautifully crafted, pixel by painstaking pixel.
2. Playtesting Process
This was the singular major flaw in my preparation for the BRs. For some reason or the other, I was unable to playtest sufficiently with my deck, and only had one session of major tweaking with it, then left it as that. I felt that post-tweak, I was quite happy with the result, but felt that I had too many cards inside the deck.
This involved me going to my local community’s forums deck help section with my 63 card decklist and asking for advice on how to slice and dice it into a proper 60 card one. Thanks guys for your help once more! You gave me awesome insight into what my deck should and should not include, and this was instrumental to my results at Battle Roads.
isfullofcrapIn terms of actual practice with the deck, I did very little. I playtested mostly against metagame decks online in the comfort of my home and the convenience of my portable laptop. DialgaChomp, Gyarados, VileChamp, SableDonk, etc, just to name a few. I partially neglected the fact that my metagame tends to have more rogues than your typical one, and did not account for it.
Fortunately, this did not prove fatal to me, as my encounter with rogues were few and far between, by and large occurring within the first round of the tourney or so. I guess my tendency to play against either meta decks or unfavourable matchups in tourneys served me well this time, in an ironic twist no less.
Playtesting sessions with my team and Trick Room/Battle Frontier (initiatives set up by the TO in my area to boost out playing standards and inject fun into the Pokémon TCG experience) gave me a limited measure of practice, and I was mostly relegated toward taking the role of a spectator most of the time.
However, “watch and learn” was an adage I tried to adopt when I came across such match-less sessions, and I was able to garner invaluable information about the metagame, as well as gain added insight toward deck-vs-deck interactions, which was very educational indeed.
Finally, right up to the day before Saturday’s Battle Road’s I phoned my good friend in my league, Jeremy, when he was in the middle of a function for extra tips. Sorry to Jeremy for bugging him, hope he doesn’t mind! As usual, he gave sound advice, which I heeded to great effect the following day and the day after. Thanks man!
I did some last-minute playtesting the night before against SableDonk and VileChamp to shore up my responses against these 2 new threats. It turned out to be the right thing to do.
Battle Roads 14th May 2011 Saturday @ Aggro Gym
So the big day is here. I opted to go to Aggro Gym (one of the leagues in my area) for the BR. I saw that there were only 2 possible SP players there max, and most likely they were DialgaChomp players for Honchkrow SV to truck past eventually. With respect to this, I replaced the Dragonite FB in my deck for an Ambipom G as it generally is more useful than Dragonite FB’s non-SP matchup, and increases my chance for a donk.
vizzzual-dot-comI went to MacDonald’s for lunch and nearly lost my way, wolfed down my lunch and downed a can of SUGAR-FREE RED BULL for awesomeness’ sake. I would keep the sugary one for top cut if I ever made it there.
Red Bull Count: 1
Ujin Yumeno, the Head Judge of the tourney, briefed us on the tourney rules. There would be 4 Swiss Rounds and a Top 2. I knew then that the tournament would be highly unforgiving in nature. In order to reach the minute top cut in a bid for the position of the winner of the tourney, rounds 1 – 3 cannot be lost.
Even if one match was thrown away in these rounds, it would be likely my unfavourable resistance would catch up and a 3 – 1 scoreline would still not be good enough to save me. Only round 4 could be lost, and if that did not help matters, my round 4 opponent is odds-on to my top cut opponent.
It would not bode well if round 4 was lost due to an unfavourable matchup, as this would spill over to the top 2 and result in the likely double whammy to my ratings. Tough conditions were laid out, and I needed to stay in the game at all costs.
So eventually the pairings were up and I was against…
Round 1 versus Xion J. (Yanmega/Cincinno rush deck)
My opponent was a new player to Aggro Gym. He started the game one month ago. He was slightly dismayed at battling me because Wallace, League Leader of Aggro Gym introduced me to him and mentioned that I was quite experienced in the game. Not the best way to introduce me. Regardless, we sat down and began the match.
I opened with Promocroak to his Yanma start, and I had a Luxray GL benched. He had another Yanma at the back as well as a Mincinno. Immediately I knew to take out Mincinno first, as it is a problem that is hard to bring down without expending lots of resources or starting a Promocroak G cycle, which might involve breaking the Cyrus chain.I went first and used Pokémon Collector to develop my board and prepared for the game. I also got a Sableye from Pokémon Collector to build my board position and hand content further.
I immediately used Leap Away, keeping my Poké Turn handy if I ever needed it. I was successful and so my Poké Turn could be kept for another day. I then promoted my Sableye SF to Active Spot. I was deciding between taking the first prize or using Impersonate for Cyrus’ Initiative to disrupt him, since I had a decent start and I could afford to disrupt him to widen the gap between our hand content and board position.
pokebeach.comHowever, I saw Mincinno on his bench, an indicative of a rush deck, and I did not want hand him the first prize. Moreover, I was more than well-equipped to return the KOs with what I had in hand for the next couple of turns, so I decided not to leave it at the mercy of coin flips and chose the more prudent path of taking the prize lead and maintaining control in the prize exchange.
It turned out my choice to go for the prize exchange game was right in the end, but more on that later. I handily took my first prize with a special darkness energy attached to Sableye for an Overconfident KO, but not before developing my board with Collector for Uxie, Luxray and Promocroak. Uxie scored a Cyrus Conspiracy to get me in the game. He bounces back with a Yanmega Prime Sonicboom KO on my Sableye. 5 – 5 Prizes.
My benched Luxray came out, but instead of hitting Yanmega Prime right back, I bright look a benched Mincinno for the KO via Flash Impact (30 went to the 90 hp Promocroak G), for I knew Yanmega Prime can be consumed later. If a Mincinno becomes a Cincinno, that’s trouble for me. Sure enough, he had enough resources to grind out Cincinno next turn and hit me hard with PlusPower IIRC. 4 – 4 Prizes.
I was prepared for his Cincinno by benching a Promocroak G early on and Promocroak G was sent out to deal some major kickarsery. I broke the Cyrus Chain at that point and went for Aaron’s Collection and an additional Energy Gain. He retaliated with another Cincinno. 3 – 3 Prizes.
Aaron’s Collection did its work and I got out a Promocroak G and Psychic Energy. With the Energy Gain I have prepared, I hit his Cincinno once more for the KO, and prepared a Luxray GL on the bench. He belted his Yanmega and hit me for Sonic Boom. 2 – 2 Prizes.
At this point, with the commanding presence of the Expert Belt, the pace became accelerated, and the effects of Red Bull and the hot sun worked my body up to the point where I could hear the adrenaline pumping right through the entirety of my being. I promoted my Luxray GL, then I whittled my hand down by abusing Poké Turns via Crobat G onto Yanmega, hoping to score the win, and used a Pokémon Collector for the last Uxie I had been saving up.
pokebeach.comI hit a Premier Ball but not the lightning energy required, nor an Energy Gain (not that I expected it to still be in the deck, for I used it thrice already). So I got my newly refreshed Luxray GL LV.X to use bright look on a benched Mincinno, which I believed was his 4th and last one. I had a very good flow of DCEs as my Garchomp line was sorely underused. Now DCE started flooding into my hand.
I decided to put this to great use and hit Mincinno with Snap Attack, but not before benching Garchomp C to stay in the exchange. He returned the KO with his belted Yanmega Prime to wall and stall, as well as threaten a KO if I could not take down this beastly dragonfly. 1 – 1 Prizes.
I walled with Luxray GL LV.X and prayed he did not have sufficient PlusPower to go for the KO. I charged up my Garchomp C with a DCE, realizing I made a minor misplay by not promoting Garchomp C LV.X, then retreating for Luxray GL LV.X to wall.
Perhaps I was taking for granted that he showed no signs of running any hand disruption cards and focused on using hand refreshers and other staples like Copycat and Pokémon Collector (brilliant for modifying your hand size across a range).
If he ran Judge and used it, I would have to count on my 2 – 2 line of Garchomp C to get it back, for I expended all my SP Radar already. He didn’t disrupt my hand and my Garchomp C LV.X was safe. So he opted to hit it off with a 40 hp snipe on the Uxie, apparently not being able to KO my active Luxray GL LV.X.
I laid down Darkness Energy on Garchomp C, promoted it to Active Spot, levelled up and used Dragon Rush on Uxie to seal a frighteningly close first game by a prize margin of 1.
1 – 0
I was very happy that in the first round, where the deck’s consistency and ability to run through enough cards to get what I required was tested, I emerged the victor. Indeed LoxChomp did run like a LuxChomp in a sense where I could comfortably take 6 Prizes in 6 turns (or close to it) if need be. The deck’s basic purpose was fulfilled and appropriately so in the first match.
The basics were done with, and perhaps in the second round something else might be tested, like the deck’s ability to utilize its techs effectively. I talked to my opponent and little more and complimented the speed of his deck and the ease of which he tuned his hand size. He also told me my deck idea was good and I thanked him for it. After exchanging pleasantries, we went our seperate ways.
pasukaru76From what I had seen from the players (these were threats, some of which I would see later in the day, so I had to mention names) who sat next to me, Febri A. was running a VileGar with Blaziken FB tech, a significant threat to me. He was unfortunately done in by Elias’ EmboarTress deck, a deck that I also felt threatened by due to its sheer unpredicability.
Ryuto and Kennard were the only other SP players around, so I kept an eye out for them. Ryuto was done in during round 1, but Kennard prevailed. Terry, to my relief, was running Reshiboar, making my removal of Dragonite FB a safe choice.
I didn’t get to see what Nelson was using as he was farthest from me and the glare of the sun obscured my view of his playing table. I assumed he was playing his favorite deck, Gyarados, given the he donked his opponent on that round, something to be expected from his speedy Gyarados build. If he was playing Gigas I would not expect the same outcome.
Remember what I said about testing my deck’s ability to tech in round 2? Pairings were announced and my opponent was none other than Irfan from Delta Gym (yeah another league’s name), using VileChamp! Honchkrow SV will have to earn its keep as a tech this time around, in order to help me deal with this nightmarish matchup, which if not teched for could be the cause of my demise.
Given the unforgiving nature of the tourney, I sincerely hoped that Honchkrow SV would see me through this tough match.
Round 2 versus Irfan (VileChamp deck)
pokebeach.comLet me clarify by saying that at the moment when I sat down opposite Irfan, I had absolutely no idea what he was playing. I knew his brother Idhizar did well at States and reached the top cut with a rogue deck. All I knew that he was from Delta Gym, which contains a good number of fine players. I braced myself for everything.
We shuffled our decks and I caught a glimpse of fighting energy sticking out of his deck. I paled, knowing that either Donphan or Machamp, or a mix of both makes for a tough matchup. After shuffling and cutting, we laid our basics down and began.
I opened a Sableye in Active Spot and benched a Luxray GL. He opened with an active Spiritomb and an Oddish. Everything in my head clicked together and I groaned inwardly, knowing that a world of hurt was about to descend upon me.
I immediately switched to my modus operandi when dealing with Spiritomb-based decks: go for Overconfident, ASAP! I played Cyrus’s Initiative from my hand to see what’s up. Lucky me hit 2 heads with the dice Terry lent me, and I saw from his 5 card hand:
- Interviewer’s Question, Fighting Energy, Gloom, Fighting Energy, Machamp Prime.
I was half-tempted to take Gloom away by sheer reflex, but decided against it and let him grace for it. Who knows the other Gloom was prized and keeping Gloom in his hand proved to be a good time waster? The only instance where Gloom in hand was deadly at that point was for him to topdeck a Broken Time-Space, an unlikely outcome. Machamp Prime was next, but I also decided against it, seeing as it was unlikely he would topdeck a means to rush it out quickly.
I grabbed the 2 Fighting Energy and back in the deck they went. I knew that Machamp Prime’s “Fighting Tag” allowed even a Fighting Energy attached to a totally unrelated Pokémon early game to be a power source later on, and I wished to put him on backfoot ASAP to press my early game advantage.
This also forces him to waste his Interviewer’s Question and bring about a dilemma of whether or not to develop the board with basics first or to stay ahead in energy attachment if he were to topdeck a Bebe’s Search or Pokémon Collection. So he was left with a 3 card hand:
- Gloom, Machamp Prime, Interviewer’s Question.
Luxray and Uxie worked in tandem to try and get rid of Vileplume if the going gets tough, and Murkrow for the eventual Honchkrow SV to go toe-to-toe with all the Machamps out there. Smeargle boosted my consistency and deck speed to stay on top of the matchup.
I had a Pokémon Collector in hand to follow up with Unown Q attachments onto either Uxie LV.X or Smeargle. On his turn he topdecked another Spritomb and benched it. He used Interviewer’s Question, and to my great relief hit only a Rescue Energy. He attached it to Spiritomb to keep the Spiritomb flow going to maintain the trainer lock while he was in damage control mode. Darkness Grace got him a benched Gloom.
I used Pokémon Collector from my hand to thin out my deck further, grabbing Unown Q to use on Smeargle and Azelf to see what’s up in the prizes that I should be taking on the same turn. Nothing stellar in my prizes, but enough to map out the pace of the game, spying 2 Cyrus’ Conspiracy in it.
I filled my benched with Luxray GL, Unown Q onto a Smeargle, Murkrow and Azelf. Finally I dropped Uxie and drew into a rich serving of 5 cards. I was rewarded with sweet stuff like a DCE, a Cyrus’ Conspiracy and YES A SPECIAL DARKNESS ENERGY. I attached DCE to Murkrow for the eventual Machamp SF, and hit it off with my first prize to stay ahead. I grabbed a Cyrus’ Conspiracy with great aplomb.
He rescued his Spiritomb back and used his 2nd Spiritomb to wall. Having topdecked nothing of consequence, he used Darkness Grace once more for a Vileplume to complete the lock, but not before benching his saved Spiritomb. I started the Cyrus chain, looking for basic darkness energy and attaching it to Murkrow. Having another Cyrus’ Conspiracy in my hand meant I could go for Bebe’s Search to grab Honchkrow SV later. I used Overconfident to nab yet another prize.
He put Spiritomb in front and topdecked Twins. A lucky break for him, seeing as he was running into a lot of obstacles against me, and no Machop by turn 3 was certainly a difficult situation he was caught in. Fair enough, he got a method to fight back and I tensed up in response.
pokebeach.comHe used Twins for what I believe to be a Machop and an Uxie, drawing many cards and developing his board somewhat. After attaching Fighting Energy to his benched Machop, he was forced to use Darkness Grace yet another time to get out a Machoke so that he could nail a Machamp SF eventually.
I used Bebe’s Search for a Honchkrow SV and hit an energy drought. I would need to use the other Cyrus in my hand to get the energy flowing again. I used Overconfident on his damaged Spiritomb once more to claim my third prize.
He used Professor Elm’s Training Method to search for a Machamp SF, and prepared Fighting Energy on his benched Machop, now a Machoke. His board development was disturbing indeed. He took my Sableye out and took his first Prize card.
I promoted my Smeargle UD, prepared to hit something like a lone Judge, and being thankful I knew where the 2nd Cyrus’ Conspiracy was in my prizes.
I nailed a Pokémon Collector instead, awesome! I got out Lucario GL in case Uxie LV.X wants to come out and play, Garchomp C for a late game cheap prize as I had Garchomp C LV.X in my hand already, and Bronzong G to stay energy efficient. I retreated and sent out Honchkrow, while using Cyrus’ Conspiracy for lighting energy to attach to my benched Uxie. I put Garchomp C on my bench to be ready for cheap prizes. I hit Machamp SF for 110 damage.
Irfan decided to take the risk of using Hurricane Punch on my Honchkrow SV instead of charging up his Machamp Prime. Since he had rescue energy on Machamp SF now, it was just as well. With BTS, he can salvage the situation. The benched Machoke now evolved rapidly into a Machamp Prime. He used Hurricane Punch…
2 heads. 40 damage.
2 heads and consequently 40 damage was the average expected damage output on Honchkrow SV. Nevertheless I was nervous when he started flipping, preparing for the worst. I retreated my Honchkrow and place Uxie in front, with Lightning Energy on it from the previous turn. I attached Psychic Energy to Garchomp C, and went for Psychic Restore to the bottom of my deck for the KO, taking my 4th prize and freeing up bench space for a Pokémon to sit on.
pokebeach.comI walled with Smeargle despite its weakness to fighting type, as it was the only free retreater that I could afford to let go. He rescued his Machamp line for another day, and walled with Spiritomb, apparently not having DCE to power up Crushing Punch. He used Darkness Grace to develop him board further.
I responded with a Honchkrow SV, this time not even using Portrait before I left, afraid of ruining my good hand. I benched my Bronzong G as I knew Uxie LV.X was hardly an option now that it was out of the board, so Lucario GL has no place on my bench as of now in this round.
I got a Special D Energy from my prizes to attach to Honchkrow SV and gave Spiritomb the KO for my 5th prize. He immediately responded with Machamp Prime in Active Spot, but insufficient energy to use Crushing Punch on me.
However, at 150 HP, it was the only Pokémon that was able to wall me. He also had a benched Machamp Prime waiting behind to tag into.
He used Looker’s Investigation to shuffle away my hand and walled. I hit Machamp Prime for 120. He walled with his 2nd Machamp Prime via Fighting Tag. I hit it for 120, as I had nothing to do due to my hand being reduced to bits. Now we were at an impasse. He finally got enough energy to hit me with Crushing Punch, and did 40 and ridding me of my DCE. Leaving me with insufficient energy to use Riot. My bad hand did not help matters either.
I then saw a solution to grab the win. Not believing the simplicity of my final move, I double checked and triple checked, taking my time. Finally, with everything in place, I used Galactic Switch from Bronzong G to transfer the Psychic Energy on Garchomp C onto Azelf. I retreated my Honchkrow with Special Darkness attached to it prior and promoted Azelf to Active Spot and used Lock Up to seal the game.
2 – 0
It was a close fight, where I prevented his Machamp Primes and Machamp SF from doing a world of pain to my SP deck in time. Prize counts can be deceiving, and had the match gone on, my crap hand, depleting energy count and almost dead Honchkrow would certainly level the field.
pokebeach.comGranted, I was in a good position to kill 3 Machamps, that being 1 SF and 2 Primes, but that’s why it’s still close, and that’s why I managed to seal the game. I told Irfan that his deck scares me. He just laughed it off and said he wished he could have a slightly better start during the game. I definitely agree with him, and wished him better for the next few rounds.
I went around and I found out that Elias’ highly unpredictable EmboarTress deck finally crashed. I had to win round 3 in order to stay above and beyond the reach of such deadly decks and keep myself in the race for the spot of the winner.
At this point, only 4 people were 2 – 0. There was Nelson with Gyarados, Kennard with DialgaChomp and a Reshiboar. I was highly comfortable with all 3 matchups, but feared Nelson’s speed Gyarados the most, since I heard he donked once more to win.
I was afraid the same fate might befall me if he was running hot enough. I could not take a close look at his deck specifics and playstyle as he has finished his games too quickly for me to get a closer look. I felt I could disrupt and take cheap prizes of Reshiboar sufficiently, and my faith in Honchkrow SV has increased, and I clocked in enough practice against DialgaChomp and SP decks in general to feel at home against Gyarados.
Pairings were up and I was against…
Round 3 versus Kennard T. (DialgaChomp)
I would like to stop here for a moment and say I was very proud of Kennard for making it this far, with a deck that he seldom used no less. I have seen him use DialgaChomp on occasion during league, but LostGar was his main.
To top it off, DialgaChomp was an extremely tough deck to use, and it is not something you would feel right with taking into a competitive setting with little practice. Despite his relative freshness with the deck itself, coming into top 4 is certainly no mean feat.
Props to him for his achievement. Both of us were the only people flying the flag for Masters Gym (my league) in the relatively faraway gym location of Aggro, and I was happy that both of us made it to “top 4”. It was certainly unfortunate that we have to eliminate each other at this point, not having the chance to try and meet each other at the final round if we could help it.
pokebeach.comNevertheless, I felt whoever won this match deserved the right to compete in the top cut for Masters Gym by virtue of sheer skill via victory alone, and I hoped he shares the same sentiments.
As an opponent, I felt comfortable with the matchup, this being one of the metagame decks I have prepared myself against. Like your typical SP match, I would try to stay ahead in the colourless far.
My lack of Dragonite FB was hopefully offset by LoxChomp’s decidedly favorable matchup against DialgaChomp itself. Dialga G LV.X and surprise techs like Drifblim FB would be trucked over by Honchkrow SV.
So my modus operandi was simple: keep an edge in the colourless war to prevent tank healers and snipers from coming in, then charge up Honchkrow SV to truck over during my “leisure time” aka when the colourless war starts to recede as he starts to develop his mid-game/late-game Dialga G LV.X tank and/or Drifblim FB tech.
I should be able to gain an edge with the occasional Luxray GL LV.X to increase my offensive capabilities to smother his defenses as well as some form of disruption.
I could not remember what I topdecked. All I remember was thinking of how to donk him ASAP and get myself a guaranteed spot in top 2 without going through a long and tedious game. I used Pokémon Collector for Uxie, Murkrow and Crobat G.
I dropped Crobat G for a Flash Bite and used Poké Turn to hit him again. Ambipom G had 60 HP left. 10 HP away from the donk. My bench was Luxray GL, Garchomp C, Murkrow, Crobat G, and then I attached Special Darkness to Sableye and hit it off with Uxie to Set Up for 5 cards.
I felt going for the donk this way was safe. I used my resources to prepare for the matchup, with Garchomp C, Luxray GL and Murkrow benched, Sableye in active to disrupt and set up if the donk missed, and Uxie to get more resources before he could legitimately power spray.
pokebeach.comThe only card I squandered specifically for the donk was just one Poké Turn, which is seldom used in the SP mirror anyway, where prize exchange was the norm of the colourless war game, and only Luxray GL LV.X abuses such luxuries often. As such, I was quite frugal with my resources, and felt that I did not overextend fatally in an attempt to donk.
I drew into 5 cards, and though I did not nail a Poké Turn, I got an Expert Belt instead to seal the game with a belted Overconfident attack. Expert Belt was included to shore up the Gyarados matchup as it was for Luxray GL LV.X to truck with. Expert Belt also allows Promocroak G to deliver the 1HKO onto Gigas as well as belted T-tars/Magnezones. Now it became my donking tool.
3 – 0
I apologized to Kennard for the unsightly donk and assured him his loss will not be in vain and I will do my best to represent my gym. Kennard was cool about it and showed me his hand.
Energy Gain and Metal Energy in his hand made for a great donking tool if he went first against most decks, but the rest of the cards were just more SP tools and energies that were only truly useful midgame. No supporters to get him started whatsoever.
I checked his topdeck and it was a mere SP radar. He would be saddled with a nigh unworkable hand if the match wore on for turns, so he was already resigned to be on the backfoot, softening the blow the donk had on him. He won his final swiss round later on to clinch 3rd place, as a consolation.
I believed that Nelson would beat the Reshiboar deck because he was using the Water type deck, Gyarados. The speed and ferocity of the deck coupled with the type advantage would allow him to clinch the victory. As I had resolved my game quickly, I hurried over for a closer look at his game, which was still ongoing. True enough, he took a prize already, while his opponent took none.
However, I sensed something amiss. Then it hit me… it was not Gyarados! Nelson was using SableDonk all along! SAY WUT. It was still his turn and he was continuously laying damage counters down for prizes then wrapping the game up with Overconfident. This changed things as I prepared myself against SableDonk for my last swiss round and for top 2. The report will shorten from here on as the next few matches would be against a donk deck.
Round 4 versus Nelson C. (SableDonk)
Even though I was guaranteed a place in top 2 by virtue of my good resistance, I still aimed to give it my best for this match. This is for a number of reasons.
- You never know what might happen. A loss in this round might make me miss top cut, despite what statistics say. The chances are really slim, but I prefer to err on the side of caution.
- It’s basic respect for your opponent.
- Ratings (not a highly convincing reason given the event is a 4k one, but I will put it down nonetheless).
- I want to use this opportunity to learn how to get the best of the SableDonk matchup in preparation for the top 2.
- I could afford to exert myself a little, because if SableDonk does manage to face me in top 2, I would still have plenty of energy to spare as the match does not sap my stamina greatly. Both round 4 and top 2 can be tanked with a can of Red Bull in between.
pokebeach.comI have never faced Nelson in a Premier Event before, but I have played with him in the early days of another league and he is a very formidable opponent indeed. I have heard of his successful exploits in the past, getting into top cut in Cities and in States, and now securing himself a top 2 spot here against me.
I braced myself for a wave of damage counters, and aimed to plough through whatever he throws at me with all that I have.
Playing against SableDonk is not as easy as avoiding the donk. Even if the donk was not accomplished, chances are, your opponent still has a good prize lead (this is for non-Spiritomb builds like mine), and he would have eaten up a huge chunk of time burning through his deck on his turn, leaving you with very little time to catch up and win on time.
This was how I lost against Uxie Donk at States top 4, when I avoided the donk in Game 1 and Game 3, but lost on time due to his 1 Prize card lead. Normally avoiding the donk gives you the win under normal circumstances, but do remember that this is under tourney settings, and the prize lead needs to be closed timely.
I aim to watch my time for this one to avoid making the same mistake that I made during top 4-of States. I aim to play timely and wrap up the prize lead quickly after I tank against the donk attempt with my high hp basics.
Both of us opened with Sableye. In true 50 – 50 fashion, a coin flip decided who went first. I went first, and I immediately flooded my bench with high HP Pokémon SP and just one Uxie to Set Up for resources to respond against the KO. Nelson then took a super long turn, went deep into his deck, and Knocked Out my active Sableye SF and benched Uxie, taking a 2 Prize card lead.
I went for the revenge kill with Promocroak, and his belted Uxie did me in Uxie Donk style. He had a 2 Prize card lead maintained, taking 3 Prizes to my 1. Ujin, the TO, then came over and announced that time was called. I was shocked that time had passed so quickly. I promised myself to watch my time more vigilantly from then on.
I used Luxray GL LV.X to gust up a Crobat G for a cheap prize and hoped that he could not return the KO to seal the game. My 110 HP tank walled sufficiently. A Poké Turn later, I gusted out a cheap Crobat G prize to equalize the prize count by chaining Bright Look once more, and 3 turns were up, and sudden death came into play. He flat out ran out of resources then, and a Thrash Bolt won the game.
4 – 0
We had a 10 minutes break before our 1 hour long top 2 match. I took this moment to chug down a can of Red Bull to give me much needed energy, and my friend phoned me during this interval in a timely fashion to find out how I did. He congratulated me on reaching top 2 and I thanked him in return. I resumed chugging down Red Bull, this time it was not the sugar-free kind. This means business. Sugar = POWER.
Red Bull Count: 2
FINAL BOSS: NELSON C. (SABLEDONKKKKKKKKKKK)
*Insert super fast paced final boss battle music to reflect SableDonk’s speed here*
So we started off with a handshake as requested by Head Judge Ujin, and smiled at the camera. I was under the influence of Red Bull and attempted a trollish smile and decided against it last minute. So I tried to smile. I think I did a good job.
0 – 1
If you are still wondering why I threw away the match so quickly, it’s because I did not want to make the same mistake I did against my top 4 States opponent in Game 2, where he was in the prefect position to donk me, and he took a huge chunk of time burning through his deck to find the resources to deliver the donk. This contributed to me losing via time.
So, I did not want my opponent spending so much time killing me when I needed to stay on top of the clock to eke out a win for the next 2 games. My loss was assured, so I might as well minimize its effects on the game. I have lost the battle, but I will not let it decide the war.
I opted to go first this time, and my Sableye start assured that. I promptly flooded the bench to avoid the donk, then worked to equalize the game afterward. He did flip many, many heads to cut me down to a lone Luxray GL with 3 damage counters on it, as I could only fill my bench to a size of 3, having Cyrus’ Conspiracy in my hand to look for a singular SP radar to fill my bench. It was a close shave indeed.
I dropped down a Seeker-ed Crobat G and used the Pokémon Collector the Cyrus’s Conspiracy netted me to flood my bench once more and stayed in the game. To my dismay, he cleverly played out the whole match despite me winning convincingly after I tied up the prize count after avoiding the donk. This was a great move on his part, as it gave me less time to wrap up Game 3 with a prize equalizer if I ever avoided the donk.
1 – 1
I was now very concerned about the final game. He will definitely opt to go first, and if he starts with Sableye and/or I did not start with Sableye, I was as good as dead. The probability of him getting a win in this manner was exceedingly high.
pokebeach.comI got a Sableye start, and hoped he didn’t. He opened with a lone Crobat G – YES! My Sableye’s Overeager Poké Body overides Nelson’s request to go first, so I went first and flooded my bench quickly and used impersonate for a Judge on him into a smaller hand to reduce the chances of him getting a convincing prize lead. His luck finally ran out this game.
All game he flipped heads more than the average number of times, and always scored the heads whenever he needed it the most, like crucial Super Scoop Up on Uxie when his hand size dropped to nearly zero. This time he halted in the middle of his deck, taking just 1 Prize on my Sableye with an unbelted Overconfident.
I immediately went for Promocroak G to return the KO. Promocroak G was a very good instant killer on things like belted Sableyes and Uxies to tie up the match in terms of prizes.
He burnt through the deck a little more and made the odd choice of gusting out my Garchomp C with a double blower at one point to kill it, taking his second prize and still having some life left in his deck, as well as only one Special Dark to work with after the demise of his orginal Sableye.
I anticipated that he would be going Uxie Donk style, so I used Luxray GL LV.X to gust up a cheap prize from a benched Crobat G to equalize the game, instead of Promocroak G, fearing the return KO to jeopardize the prize-denial scenario that I was trying so hard to enact and protect.
He emptied just about almost his entire the deck the following turn but did not nail a prize. I glanced at my watch, which all this time I had been frantically looking at frequently. In my nervousness, I also repeated ushered Nelson along with his moves, and I apologize for irritating him like that: I was just that agitated. Now, I relaxed a little, having reached the turning point in the game.
So I kept my board tight and my prize denial solid, using Poké Turn to chain Bright Look for cheap prizes to increase my lead. I have 15 – 20 minutes remaining in the game, and I laud Nelson for playing in such a timely manner and not use the moments where he had the prize advantage to slow the pace of the game down. He played out his turns in proper time, and I respect him for that.
pokebeach.comAlso worth honouring was the fact that he played till the end despite the matchup getting tilted to my favor after every turn. He resiliently started an Uxie + Expert Belt chain on my last prize, where I had to use Sableye to wall and Impersonate my last Supporter in the deck, Cyrus’s Initiative, to thin my deck and cut off the last Uxie in his hand to stop the cycle.
He took down Sableye and I thinned my deck (now less than 10 cards) sufficiently to get Honchkrow SV out, as I fully charged my Murkrow SV out when Sableye was there to wall, and used Riot to KO his now lone belted Uxie.
2 – 1
I won a Battle Roads!
I received many congratulatory well-wishes, and a sweet Victory Medal to boot. I felt grateful for the lucky breaks I had, most notably being able to open with Sableye 5 out of 7 games, which was above the average of 3 or occasionally 4 I reckon.
Despite matchups being either even (such as vs the rush deck where the 1st prize taker usually takes the game, and SableDonk of course) or unfavourable (I’m looking at you VileChamp), I was able to capitalize on my highly aggressive early game to take the lead and later on the game.
Luck of course played a part and my frequent Sableye starts were key to either 1) taking cheap prizes or 2) setting up my answer to the matchup. My matchups weren’t exactly cakewalks, pretty much the opposite in fact, but a bit of early game luck to offset my lousy luck in matchups and the versatility of Sableye gave me the games.
Another thing I was satisfied with was my configuation of 24 Pokémon, 25 T/S/S and 11 Energies. Some may feel that I ran too many Pokémon and too few Energies, but my good friends Jeremy, who ran the EXACT SAME configuration won the BRs in another location on the very same day with LoxChomp as well.
pokebeach.comI felt the high Pokémon count enabled me to obtain great board control well very early in the game, and 19 basic Pokémon, all of which except Sableye and Unown Q were 70 hp and above, would pose a strong challenge for SableDonk to donk me if I went first. Even if I did not hit a Pokémon Collector T1 like in Game 2, Cyrus’ Conspiracy netted me an SP Radar to fill my bench further and a Pokémon Collector for follow-up action.
That SP Radar used turned out to save me, as Nelson went on to flip a great number of heads. Post-Seeker and post-Overconfident, I was left with a singular Luxray GL on the field with 3 damage counters on it, and it was certainly close.
I dropped the Seeker-ed Crobat G and a Pokémon Collector for 2 SP and an Uxie to net yet another Garchomp C to fill my bench and take the game. 19 basics in an SP deck FTW for MD – BW format if you wish to have a solid chance against SableDonk.
I thanked those who wished me well and I followed my TO to the other event location to see how things went. I learnt that Masters Gym (this is the name of my League Shop) members Joshua, Nicholas and Jeremy all took the top 3 spots and was proud of them. Masters FTW!
I went home satisfied and intended to play in the next BR for hopefully another Victory Medal. I stayed prepared and playtested online with some friends with the VileChamp and SableDonk matchups again, and will continue to playtest more matchups for the metagame in my next BR.
Props and Slops
- Ujin Yumeno for being a great TO to host the BRs for this whole season.
- J-Wittz’s Underground article on his States run with LoxChomp to inspire me to play this deck.
- 21 singles in my deck to allow me to answer nearly any matchup.
- Sableye for being great in MD – BW and allowing me to tie up my 21 singles nicely.
- Jeremy for confirming that 24 P/ 25 TSS / 11 E configuration was viable in this format in an SP deck.
- Xiaomage2 for sick LoxChomp art. He is working on an entire SP toolset customized by PAINT alone for me to hopefully put in my next BR report coming soon.
- Players and friends in the community and various leagues/gyms for helping me playtest and giving me tips.
- Opponents for giving me a good fight.
- Kennard for flying the flag in a foreign league location with me using a difficult deck that was new to him, and doing well with it.
- MewJadester for recommending that I write this article to share on 6P with other 6P-ers.
- Can’t think of any, event was well run I guess?
Thanks for reading my lengthy report. Even though it was a BR, I believe in writing thoroughly as a good mental exercise for my brain to sift through my plays in greater detail, upping the standard of my play in the future (hopefully).
Will be back with another BR report soon! I’ve got 1st place in a bigger BR, going 7 – 0 in it, so look out for it during the week.