Look Mummy, I Top-cut with Donphan – UK Nats Report

Hey. I was going to write a quick report of my time at Nationals in the UK, but it turns out I did pretty well and I managed to do so with a deck that nobody hyped before Nationals, so I thought I’d flesh it out a bit. I go into details where I can in matches, because I want to give people a sense of how I played the deck and why I managed to do quite well with it.

So, after the intro you’ll get a decklist with some explanation of more unusual choices then a complete report and a summary at the end. Enjoy!


I’ve always been a bit of a rogue when it comes to Pokémon. I attended 5 Autumn Battle Roads and for all of them I played an Umbreon deck (MD and both UD ones) with Tyranitar Prime and Sableye teched in. I did pretty well, managing a positive record overall and a top 4 finish, taking down several metagame decks in the process including Scizor, Charizard, and even a Luxchomp (played by, at the time, the second best player in the country).

Then Triumphant came out, giving rise to Machamp and Gyarados; the two decks that my Umbreon deck could not compete with, so I dropped it.

For Cities and States I played Donphan / Machamp and I did well, taking 3rd at 2 of the 3 Cities I attended, but it never pushed into tournament winning territory, and at States I managed 3-3 and then 4-3, partially due to bad matchups (or good players) and also partially due to the deck failing – I realised it was not fast or consistent enough so I decided to drop it.

Looking ahead to the Black and White set I had the fantastic idea of pairing Machamp and Honchkrow, but in seeing that Pokémon Catcher was not being released although the new rules WERE coming in, I decided that it wasn’t the play and instead went for just straight Donphan. I never looked back.

I had mixed success at league but this is because pretty much all the good players at league had excellent matchups against me and they knew my deck. I had faith and was rewarded by going to two Battle Roads and taking first and second. I figured it was a good play for Nationals. It had an excellent matchup with Luxchomp (the most popular deck this year) and it wasn’t SP, Vilegar or Gyarados, the three decks that I considered too popular.

The night before Nationals I asked my girlfriend how she would answer if someone asked her honestly if I would top cut while I wasn’t around to hear her answer. She replied: ‘probably not’. So, now that you know why I picked my deck I suppose I’d better give a list:

Pokémon – 21

4 Phanpy HS
4 Donphan Prime
3 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X LA
4 Unown R LA
1 Unown Q MD
1 Regirock LA
1 Regice LA
1 Crobat G PL

Trainers – 30

4 Pokémon Collector
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Pokémon Communication
1 Luxury Ball
3 Seeker
4 Poké Drawer +
1 Junk Arm
1 VS Seeker
3 Expert Belt
3 Switch
1 Lost Remover
1 Lucian’s Assignment
4 Broken Time-Space
1 Ruins of Alph

Energy – 9

9 F

As you can see, the Unown R, Poké Drawer +, and 3 Uxies offer speed and consistency, but the inclusion of Regirock, 3 Switch, 3 Seeker etc. are to give it a good mid-to-late game, and for that reason I really don’t call it a donk deck. It can donk (and it did on the day) but if I was going for donks I would make a faster build of the deck!

There are a couple of slightly unusual cards that I feel should be explained.


Firstly, Ruins of Alph is a stadium that takes away the resistance of all Pokémon in play. This is mostly there because, of the 6 games I played at Nottingham States, 5-of my opponents used Crobat G to stall (as he can’t be 1-shot by a Belted “Earthquake”, due to resistance) but also because Fighting resistance is very common across the game (Jumpluff, Yanmega, Gyarados etc).

Technically it does take away Donphan’s resistance to Lightning, but you get an easy kill anyway because most Lightning types are weak to Fighting. So it’s all good.

Lost Remover is there to try and take away DCE etc. from decks but it didn’t really work. Running 4 would have helped massively against Dialgachomp but, to be honest, it didn’t turn out to be very useful.

Lucian’s is there for two real reasons. Firstly, Regirock can use his Poké-Power to attach a F Energy from the discard to himself which can then be moved to Donphan with Lucian’s, but also it can be very useful after “Switching” Donphans.

Regice is also included for two reasons. He can discard trainers and other useless cards – this is good for keeping trainers away when playing Vilegar but it’s also pretty good just for dropping cards from your hand if you’re using an Uxie so that you can draw more and increase your chances of getting what you want.

Secondly, Regice is very useful T1 or T2 for moving a Spiritomb out of the way, breaking the trainer lock, or, if they’ve got two Pokémon out and the active is a basic, you can bring the benched Pokémon forward and kill that one rather than the active basic, should you wish.

It is especially good against SP decks because there are VERY few cards that can’t be taken down with a Belted “Earthquake” (Promocroak, Dialga and Bronzong G being a couple of common ones) and if one of these does come up, Regice can just move it out the way, leaving you with another KO. It really is a VERY useful card.

I assumed this deck would be fairly easy to play – just swarming Donphans and then hitting everything hard with “Earthquake” and “Heavy Impact” – but it really wasn’t. I was worried that I wasn’t practiced enough with the deck, but I knew it could do well. So, let’s see how I did:

Round 1: Carl (Luxchomp with Dialga / Dialgachomp with Luxray)

pokebeach.comI turn up at my table for R1 and find that my opponent is a good guy who I’ve played against a few times before. He’s turned up at my local store a few times, most notably to contest the final of a Triumphant Prerelease when we were both 4-0. We also played each other at last year’s Nationals, him beating my Feraligatr / Lanturn deck with his Cursegar.

I was happy to be starting off against someone as friendly as him and figured that, if nothing else, it would at least be a happy start to the day.

I start with a Phanpy and a Regice and “win” the flip. This means I go first and have to bench the Regice so that I don’t get donked as he has the first turn with trainers. This scares me a little though as Regice has a hefty CCC Retreat Cost and I’m worried about him dragging it up with Luxray and sniping around it with Garchomp C.

I have very little draw (no Collector, no Poké Drawer +, no Unown R, no Uxies or ways to search them) but T2 I get a Donphan rolling with 1 Energy (ruing my decision not to put an Energy on Phanpy T1 when I was worried about the early kill).

I then spent 2 turns killing Garchomp C (I couldn’t find a Belt without any draw) and found out his Dialgas were both prized. One nice thing here was that I (for about the only time today) managed to successfully use my lone Lost Remover. I knocked the Call Energy off of his Garchomp C, theoretically making it more awkward for him to “Dragon Rush” (and meaning he couldn’t “Call” a second time to completely fill his bench).

He then stalled with a Garchomp C LV.X (using “Healing Breath” to take away the “Earthquake” damage) and Dragon Rushed the Regice for his first prize. I baited his Power Spray with an Uxie then used a Seeker to drop a second Uxie and “Set Up” for 2 more cards than I would have originally.

Next turn he has an active Dialga and I have a Donphan with 3 Energy, but no Belt (meaning I can hit for 90). I use a Pokémon Collector to help my set up but fail to get my Crobat. This means I hit Dialga for 90, rather than getting the KO in one turn. He then levelled Dialga up but I killed it next turn with a second “Heavy Impact”.

pokebeach.comEarlier in the game I had used my favorite trick of attaching an Unown Q to an Uxie, using Switch, leveling him up and then retreating to have an Uxie LV.X on my bench to help me draw what I needed. This turn he used Luxray to drag my Uxie LV.X and kill it with “Flash Impact” (adding to the earlier damage he took from Donphan’s “Earthquake”). This did mean I managed a nice revenge kill on his Luxray LV.X next turn (god bless fighting weakness).

He then promoted and leveled up a Garchomp C and sniped an Uxie. At this point though I finally had what I needed. I attached a third Energy to Donphan and then attached an Expert Belt so that I could hit for 110 and Knock Out his Garchomp C. This meant that I could now one-hit anything in his deck (unless he got another Dialga G LV.X up).

A couple of turns later (after some nice bench control on my part) my field consisted of a Donphan active with 3 Energy and a Belt, a benched Donphan with 3 Energy (and a Belt in hand) and a third Donphan with no Energy. With no easy bench prizes he was forced to take on the Donphans.

He used a Luxray LV.X to drag up the Donphan with no Energy, hoping to stall me and kill the Donphan slowly, but I used a Lucian’s Assignment to move the Energy from one of my benched Donphans onto the active. I also had 2 Switches in hand, so I could have used them instead. From here I used “Heavy Impact” for the game and the win, taking 6 Prizes to his 3.


I felt good. I’d won my first game (and not an easy one at that) but I’d also had a very nice game with a guy I know and get along well with and was having a pretty good day!

Round 2: Sam (Dialgachomp)

pokebeach.comI’d never met Sam before but he was a friendly guy and we had a really good-natured game, meaning I could continue to enjoy a darn fine day. I was a little gutted to be playing another Dialgachomp though. I have an excellent matchup against Luxchomp, but a pretty bad matchup against Dialgachomp. If I wasn’t reporting something that happened in the past I would say: Wish me luck!

I started Phanpy and Unown R to his lone Skuntank G. It turned out that had I gone second I would have got the donk and saved myself a difficult matchup. But I didn’t; I went first and on his turn he started filling his bench and used “Poison Structure” to Poison my Phanpy.

On my turn I got a Donphan rolling, using Switch and Lucian’s Assignment to stop the poison and Knocked Out his Skuntank G with “Earthquake”. He then promoted his Staraptor FB and leveled it up, taking advantage of the resistance to buy himself a couple of turns.

I started attacking the Staraptor, but with no Expert Belt and no Ruins of Alph I couldn’t one-hit it and he just used Garchomp C LV.X’s “Healing Breath” to get the damage off.

He managed to kill 2 Donphans using Dialga G LV.X AND sniped a benched Phanpy with Garchomp C (a silly move on my part as, especially when playing SP, you should NEVER bench a weak basic Pokémon unless you can immediately evolve it). At this point I wasn’t feeling confident at all. I played no recovery cards in my list.

This was a deliberate choice as I figured that if someone kills all 4-of my Donphans (especially as one or two would be Belted), they would win. Because of this, I was starting to think that I had already lost as I had only one Donphan left to play with. It was gonna take some very good moves to get me back on top.

By now he had 20 damage on his active Dialga G LV.X, meaning it would take 100 damage to kill it. This was a problem as my Donphan was only doing 90 with “Heavy Impact”. I used a VS Seeker to grab a Seeker from my discard pile and reuse my Crobat G and “Flash Bite”, allowing me to kill his Dialga with “Heavy Impact”.

He then promoted a Staraptor FB (not the Level X as he had Poké Turned it earlier in the game to heal it) and I was able to kill it by dropping Ruins of Alph to take away his resistance.

pokebeach.comAt this point I had taken a couple of surprise prizes and was starting to mount a comeback. I Belted my Donphan (which I was reluctant to do as he had only 2 Prizes left) and started using Seekers to clear my bench. It was time for Donphan’s last stand!

We went to time, each needing just one more prize for the win and I had the first of the +3 turns and took my penultimate prize (I can’t remember what it was but I was hitting for 110 and he was out of Dialga G LV.Xs so it could have been anything).

On his final turn he was unable to take his last prize and I was starting to get very excited about taking my own final prize next turn. Then he Belted his Garchomp C LV.X, taking it to 130 HP and making me unable to Knock it Out next turn.

This caught me completely by surprise so I had to stop and think. Then I saw the Regice in my hand. I discarded two cards from my hand to use my benched Regirock’s “Regi Cycle” Poké-Power to try and bait a Power Spray and when that did not materialise I benched my Regice, announced “Regi Move” and hoped to god he hadn’t kept a Power Spray in hand.

Luckily he hadn’t, and realising that he had to switch to one of his bench and none of them could withstand a Belted “Heavy Impact”, he scooped.


I genuinely have no idea how I pulled off that win. I tried to include enough detail there to make it clear how difficult the match was but kudos to Sam; he played a hell of a game. I was feeling very happy now because I was 2-0 and had won two games that could have easily been losses.

It was then that I realised I was guaranteed a hard game next round. R1 you could be playing someone new or just not very good (although I didn’t!) and R2 you could be playing not very good who just had an easy game R1 (although again, I didn’t!) but R3 I was guaranteed someone good who had gone 2-0. Still, how hard could it be?

Round 3: Tom Hall (Loxchomp)

Unown R Legends Awakenedpokebeach.comI’d heard of Tom Hall. I’m sure most of you have too. He’s an Underground writer for this fine website and a regular at Worlds. He went on to make the top 4 at this tournament and, after Nationals, is now ranked 3rd at the UK. Point being, he’s a very good player.

When he sat down he was incredibly friendly and cheery, we had a bit of a joke and he tells me he’s here to gain a few more points and cement his Worlds invite. Brilliant!

This was by far the most epic game I had all day and was so tense and exciting that by the end of the game we had attracted quite a crowd, most of whom seemed surprised and impressed by some of the moves I made. I reckon that must be a bit of a compliment!

So I lose the flip and start 2 Unown Rs to his Sableye and active Unown Q. He retreats his Unown Q and “Impersonates” for a Collector, grabbing some stuff including a Luxray GL, signalling that he’s playing that new fangled Loxchomp deck everybody’s talking about (Sablelock with Luxray GL).

On my first turn I have almost everything I need for the donk. I have a Switch to get rid of my Unown R, I have a BTS and a Donphan and a F Energy so I can “Earthquake”, I even have the Seeker to get rid of his benched Pokémon. What I do not have, however, is a Phanpy, so, as much as it pains me, I Collector for a Phanpy, Unown Q and Uxie.

I Switch the R, lay down a Phanpy and immediately get a Donphan rolling and drop an Uxie to help me set up. I don’t wanna use all my resources too early here so I kill his Sableye for the early lead.

On his turn he gets a Crobat G active, attaches an Energy Gain and P Energy and uses “Toxic Fang”, which is pretty annoying when you have an active with a CCCC Retreat Cost! On my turn I use Switch to get a non-poisoned Donphan active to face his active Garchomp C and I drop the Expert Belt I’ve been keeping in my hand (just in case) to get the KO on his Garchomp.

pokebeach.comThe following turn I made my first awesome move of the game; when he had an active Garchomp C LV.X , I had a Belted Donphan, but with only one Energy (meaning I needed another 2 energies to Heavy Impact for the KO). I attached a second Energy then dropped a Lucian’s Assignment to move an Energy from my benched Donphan to the active, giving me the “Heavy Impact” and the KO on his Garchomp C LV.X.

On his turn he evolves a benched Murkrow into Honchkrow and starts to work making sure he can kill my Belted Donphan. It takes a little time, some Crobats and Poké Turns, benching a couple more basics and the use of Honchkrow’s “Darkness Restore” Poké-Power, but eventually he can 1HKO my Belted Donphan with “Riot”.

Right now I’m getting worried because although I built up a bit of a prize lead (3-0 if I remember correctly) he’s pulled off an insane move meaning not only has he killed a Belted Donphan and got 2 Prizes back but he should now be in a position to continue KOing Donphans for the rest of the game.

The next turn was by far the most impressive move I pulled off all game – all day really – and nobody saw it coming. He had his benched Honchkrow with 90 HP (and a Fighting resistance) and I had an active Donphan with no Energy.

I dropped my only Crobat G and, as I could currently only do 40 damage IF I pulled an Energy. He chose not to Spray it (although he had a Spray in his hand). I then dropped an Energy and a Belt onto Donphan, but could still only do 60 because of his resistance.

So I played my Ruins of Alph to take away his resistance and hit for 80 and the KO. This caught him by surprise and caused quite a stir among the people watching. More importantly, it took away his biggest threat for the moment and renewed my hope in winning.

The rest of the game is a little hazy – although from the length of the report so far that might be a good thing! After a while we were down to 1 Prize left (me) and 2 Prizes left (him). At this point he “Bright Looked” my Regice (which terrified me as I’d used all 3 Switches and my Junk Arm) and hit it for 60, leaving it on 10 HP.

pokebeach.comNext turn he used “Flash Bite” to KO my Regice and I promoted a Donphan with 2 Energy and a Belt. All I needed was a third Energy to win, but for several turns I just couldn’t topdeck the Energy, and he pulled off a lot of moves looking for the win.

After time was called I took the first turn and on his last turn of the game it came down to the flip on his Dragonite FB’s “Giant Tail”. Heads he got the KO and the win, tails he missed the KO and I took my last prize. He hit tails.


I was very relieved to win such a tense game and was proud of myself that I had really earned the win. I heard from a couple people afterward that I could have won earlier, but the tension must have gotten to me. Either way, very good game man!

As a side note, he also got to use 3 Twins in that game. He first used it on his second turn (after I KO’d his Sableye) then he used VS Seeker to reuse it and later used Junk Arm to get VS Seeker to use it again! Kinda made me wish I ran Twins!

Round 4: Dan Middleton (Luxchomp)

At this point I was 3-0 and thinking that top-cut was a very real possibility. I was quite looking forward to this matchup, partly because I know Dan a little and he’s a great guy; and partly because I have a good Luxchomp matchup.

He does run Dialga though, and he’s a top player (making top 16 at this tournament) so I wasn’t thinking of victory just yet! Oh, I should also mention that Dan is the guy who does the awesome Poké Class series on YouTube and is also a front page contributor to this site. So, second game in a row against a fellow 6P writer.

At the start of this game a mat is put between us and we’re told to flip a coin, winner of the flip gets the mat. I lost the mat. Though, as you’ll see in second, I had my share of luck in this game!

pokebeach.comSo I lose the flip and Dan starts with a lone Lucario GL. There’s nothing he can do so he passes. I start with an active Phanpy and benched Unown R, and on my turn I topdeck a Poké Drawer +. I then “Retire” the Unown R and topdeck a second Poké Drawer +. Now this gives me a dilemma because, for the donk, I need a Donphan, BTS and Belt and I can only search for two with the Poké-Drawers.

In the end I go for a BTS and Pokémon Collector, deciding to mill for the Belt and Donphan. I collector for 2 Uxies and an Unown R and my milling pays off with the Donphan and Belt, allowing me to donk his Lucario GL.


I felt bad that the game had to end like this but I also know that I could well have lost this and have to take a win, however I can get it. Dan offered me a friendly game afterward and although I REALLY wanted to I was conscious that he was likely to top-cut (I was proved right) and I didn’t want to give away any tricks of my deck as the surprise factor had been working well for me today. Sorry Dan!

Round 5: Alex (Gyarados)

So far today I had played 4 games and every one of them was against SP. I was in the mood for change. This was not what I had in mind!

Now I hate making decks with auto-losses. Usually I won’t do it. When I ran Machamp / Donphan I actually got to a point where I was about 70:30 with Vilegar. With Donphan however, I had to accept the auto-loss to Gyarados. The only saving grace was that they pretty much had to run Sableye. I always said that my only hope was that the Gyarados player started lone Sableye, meaning I got to go second, and then I HAD to donk them.

So we sit down and I win the flip. He had two basics out as well as having the first turn with Trainers. I have resigned myself to the fact that I cannot win. Then it’s announced that the pairings have to be redone. It turns out that I’m still playing Alex, but this time he DOES start lone Sableye, so I have a shot at donking. It would be nice if I wasn’t starting with a lone Regirock, but I was.

pokebeach.comHe starts Sableye and Collectors for the usual; Magikarp, Magikarp, and Regice. I then play my own Collector for 2 Uxies and a Phanpy, attach an Energy and a Belt, and use a pair of Poké-Drawer+ for a Switch and BTS (thinking the easiest card to mill for would be a Donphan).

I have an active Phanpy with Energy and a BTS in play to his lone Sableye. All I need is a Donphan. I drop an Uxie for 4 and draw: Energy, Energy, Energy, and Lost Remover. Not only did I not get a Donphan but I can’t even burn any of the cards I did get.

So, I’m left to drop my second Uxie and Set Up for a single card; pull a Donphan and I win, pull anything else and I almost certainly lose. It’s a Donphan!


So I’m sitting at 5-0 and people are telling me that with my resistance I should be guaranteed a place at top-cut. I’m also happy when I find out that I am one of just 3 players (out of 96) that has currently gone 5-0.

I’m getting excited now though because the more I win the better (in theory) matchup I get in top 16. Also I would love to keep proving wrong the people who said that Donphan wasn’t viable for big tournaments!

Round 6: Nicholas Fotheringham (Dialgachomp)

For those of you that don’t know, Nicholas is one of the top players in the country, currently sitting 50th in Europe. In this tournament he goes 6-1 and drops. Oh, and he’s playing Dialgachomp!

He goes first with a lone Bronzong G and uses Call Energy to get himself rolling. On my first turn I start milling like crazy and use all 3-of my Uxies. This is partly because I need a fast start and partly because I want to be able to use them before he can Power Spray (he did have 3 SP out, but no Sprays in hand).

From my 3 Uxies I got a lot of cards, including a Phanpy and a Donphan, but no BTS and no Energy. This was the big theme of this game: no Energy. In my first 33 cards I saw one of my 9 Energy and by the time one appeared he had an active Dialga G LV.X with 2 Special Metals and a Belt, meaning I did a whopping 40 damage! (just 100 short of the KO).

pokebeach.comMy slow start in this game was entirely at odds with his awesome start. He didn’t do so well at this tournament and the rest of the year without building fast, consistent decks and he showed it in this game. He set up exactly as Dialgachomp should do and I’m not ashamed to say that he rolled completely over me. I didn’t take a single prize.


Ok, that was annoying. But I can’t really complain when the last 2 games I won with donks. I should already have secured my top cut place so all I needed was one last win to improve my placing. The main thing is that all 5 games so far had been very fun and with really friendly people. Quite frankly, I was having a very good day!

Round 7: Ashleigh (Vilegar)

According to popular opinion, the top 3 decks in this format are SP, Vilegar and Gyarados, so I suppose I needed to play a Vilegar to complete the set. Now, my Vilegar matchup isn’t amazing, but I play a guy with Vilegar every week at league and I have some tricks up my sleeve so I was feeling OK.

Ashleigh was, again, a very lovely player who was a really bad winner (her words)! Every time she did something good or took a prize she was incredibly apologetic. I offered to take the win so she didn’t have to worry about it, but for some reason she wanted to just play the game! Well, whatever floats your boat!

She starts Spiritomb and I start Unown R with a Collector in hand. On my first turn I use the Collector for a Regice, move the Spiritomb and start burning trainers. Unfortunately my Unown Q is prized, so I need a Switch or an Energy to retreat it manually.

Even though I was trying to mill cards like usual I was unable to get a Donphan OR an Energy OR a Switch. After about 3 turns it was clear that this was not my game at all. She used Shadow Room to kill my bench and after taking out my Regice she used Poltergeist a few times for the win. In this game my first Energy was my 30TH card! Again, I did not take a single prize.

(5-2) (8th Seed)

pokebeach.comFor the second game in a row my deck suffered a complete Energy drought. I play 9 Energy and a lot of consistency and speed cards: this shouldn’t happen. Having said that, if it had to happen, then when I’m 5-0 and in top-cut is a good time for it!

The standings are posted and I top-cut in 8th place. There were a lot of 5-2s, and, due to the quality of the people I was playing against, I was one of the top ones. The most important thing is that I’m still having an awesome day.

All my games have been fun, I’m doing well, and with the break before top-cut I’m finally able to get some trading done. Amongst other things I manage to trade for 2 “Inferno Fandango” Emboars and a Typhlosion EX for my girlfriend. Then, the pairings go up and I’m against Dave Martin.

Top 16: Dave Martin (Vilegar)

By this point I was tired and didn’t take many notes so I’ll try and remember whatever I can but it might not be as in-depth as I’d like it to be – though you might think that a good thing! I hadn’t met Dave before but he was another fantastically friendly guy.

He’s a Pokédad and told me he got to go Hawaii after his son won Juniors last year, but this year his family were waiting for him. I offered to accept him scooping and let him go home, but again he said he’d rather play a proper game. Not sure what’s going on today at all!

Game 1

He starts Azelf and goes first. There’s nothing he can do so he passes. I started Phanpy and Unown R and mill for some cards, starting off by Collecting for Uxie, Unown R and a Crobat. I drop the Crobat and “Flash Bite” the Azelf to bring him into “Earthquake” range then mill until I grab a BTS, Donphan, Energy and Belt and “Earthquake” for 80, making sure to get the KO. So, starting with a donk, that was nice.

Game 2

pokebeach.comThis game was not very good at all. I go first and by my second turn he has an active Spiritomb and benched Gloom, so I Collector and grab my Regice so I can move his Spiritomb (with “Regi Move”), burn some trainers and get myself set up. Well, that was the plan. Turns out my Regice was prized. From here it was all downhill.

I was unable to move his Spiritomb, allowing him time to get fully set-up. I was unable to get set-up myself without trainers and I built up a big hand of them. He took advantage by “Shadow Rooming” my bench and because he wasn’t killing Donphans I wasn’t getting any Energy in the discard pile, meaning I couldn’t use Regirock to discard trainers.

After a couple of turns I have a Seeker and he has a Spiritomb with just 20HP left, but I try a Communication and find my only Crobat G prized, so that cheeky prize wasn’t happening.

Eventually I managed to get a couple Donphans going and 2HKO a few Gengars, but he hit heads on both “Fainting Spells” and ruined any chance of a comeback. We were doing well for time so I played the game out but there was never really any chance of a comeback.

Game 3

So, one game all but I get to go second so I know I have a shot, although I need a bit of luck in this game! He starts Spiritomb and Oddish and I start with 2 Phanpys and 2 Unown Rs. So I go second, grab my Regice, move his Spiritomb and start trying to get a Donphan going to KO his Oddish. Unfortunately I can’t get it down (annoying as I rarely miss a T1 Donphan!) and this sets me behind for the game.

On T2 I get my Donphan going and start taking prizes, but he gets an early Vileplume because I’m unable to kill the Oddish. Then his deck starts working exactly as it should. In this game too he hits heads on every “Fainting Spell” he tries (3 I believe).

The real genius here was that he got his Gengar LV.X out and used “Compound Pain” 2 turns in a row to kill all 3-of my benched Uxies while I was unable to get a Seeker to save even one of them.

This game runs close and eventually I need to take 2 Prizes while he needs one more for game. I do 60 to his active Gengar while his bench consists of Vileplume, Spiritomb and a Gastly with a single Energy. There was no way that he could take a prize this turn (I only had Donphans out and had very few trainers in hand) so I expected to KO the Gengar next turn, and then it would come down to one last “Fainting Spell”.

pokebeach.comIf he hit heads he would win and if not he’d be left without a back-up attacker, and I should be able to take my last prize and win the game.

Unfortunately he topdecked a Seeker. This meant he could free retreat his damaged Gengar, Seeker it up and get a new Gengar with his benched Gastly. Then he could “Shadow Room” my Donphan before I could kill his Gengar and he took his last prize.

(Overall: 10th)

So, I went out in top 16 and came 10th overall. I think that’s pretty darn good myself! I was also immensely proud as the top-cut was made up of several Vilegars, lots of SP, a single Gyarados and myself. All year (well, at least since Triumphant came out) the top decks seem to have been SP, Vilegar and Gyarados, and I shunned them for that reason. I was chuffed to bits that I managed to top-cut without them. Of course, maybe if I’d chosen one of those decks I may have been able to make it further!

Overall it was a fantastic day. My girlfriend commented that my grin didn’t disappear all day and she’s right. I met a lot of friendly people, enjoyed all of my games and generally had a fantastic time. I also got to play a lot of good people.

Of my 7 opponents, 3 of them top-cut (would have been 4 had Nicholas not dropped) and at least 5 (though it could have been more) went 5-2 or better. So I got to play against genuinely good players and every one of them was awesome. Thanks everyone!


– Coming 10th
– Top-cutting without a Tier 1 deck
– Every game being with someone friendly and nice
– Meeting a lot of good people
– Getting people talking after my round 3 win (I heard someone come into the toilet talking about me!!)
– Good trades
– Getting to test myself against fantastic players
Ruins of Alph!
– My girlfriend reminding me constantly how happy I looked


– Politoed promo (WHY!? He shouldn’t even exist!)
– Putting any more slops would do a disservice to my ridiculous grin!

Reader Interactions

13 replies

    • Ross Gilbert  → David

      Cheers dude and you’re welcome :D By that point in the day i was far too tired for muffins and i certainly wasn’t taking them home!

  1. Sam Marshall-Smith

    Really awesome report dude! I did very poorly because I was playing Scizor and lost to 2 DialgaChumps and was donked…

    • Ross Gilbert  → Sam

      Ouch! That’s bad luck! Dialgachomp was proper rampant though. I managed to beat the Dialgachomp round 2 but god knows how, it’s a tough match, especially against a skilled player.

      Still, kudos for playing Scizor, always nice to see people representing the lesser-played decks :D

  2. Anonymous

    great article. ncie deck but theres one thing i comment on. why do you run alth lithograph 4 but not azelf. azelf can get them form prizes. also in topc cut when you talk about crobat being prized. even if it wasnt when you seekered to pick it up he would have picked up spiritomb.

    • Ross Gilbert  → Anonymous

      The Spiritomb was active, so Crobat would have worked :)

      I don’t run Alph Lithograph, i run Ruins of Aplh. It’s a stadium that takes away resistance. It is AWESOME in Donphan decks! As for Azelf, i chose not to run him because it was only Unown Q, Crobat, Reice, Regirock and Uxie X that i run a single copy of and in all my testing i never really found it beneficial to run Azelf. In hindsight though, Lost Remover wasn’t very good so i should have cut that and probably put in Azelf. It could have saved Game 2 of Top-16 as my Regice was sorely needed!

  3. Daniel Middleton

    Great report Ross! Was a joy to read and congrats on the Top 16.
    Shame our match wasn’t longer, but it was great meeting you properly and hanging out with you later in the day.
    You certainly lived up to your own article as you were having fun all day!
    See you next season.


    • Ross Gilbert  → Daniel

      Congrats to yourself sir! and thank you for the kind words :)

      It was a proper shame we didn’t get a proper match. I should have taken you up on your offer of a friendly game. Still, plenty of time to meet this season :D Now all i need is a working HS on deck…..

  4. Franco L III

    “ruining” is ruined in the R1 part… but LOL on the 4th props! THat is pretty funny. xD Nice to see that you did very well! very nice article! :D

  5. Jacob AG

    Great Article! That was fun and entertaining, and oddly enough I felt anxious during some of your games. Congrats on making top cut with Donphan too. Your list was solid and consistent so that’s something to be proud of.

  6. Garry Mortimer-Cook

    Great article and to hear your Donphan did so well! I ran a Drapion/Flygon variant ending up 3-4. Got so sick of Dialgachomp/Luxchomp, it felt like playing the Borg but at leat I beat one of them in the end.

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