Warning this article is HUGE for the front page. I’m talking like 4000 words. Summary: I went 9-0 Swiss, I made a HUGE misplay that cost me my 128 match, and I was playing tyRam.
Hi SixPrizes nation! I guess that I just have to say wow what a fun tournament (except for the ending, more on that later). I had an absolute blast, and I turned a lot of heads (I think).
If you recall (from my States report), I picked up the game again last fall. I have played the game since Base Set, but not competitively for a long time.
Also, you might recall that I took Charizard to my first states (without any BTS, only 3 Collector, and only 3 Rare Candy). I went 3-3 and dropped. The significance of this is going to become apparent later in the article. Jump to the bottom to learn about my list and why playing Charizard was significant.
The Testing Period
pokebeach.comThe reason why I played Charizard for the first half (without very important cards) is because I did not want to shell out the money for those cards or for a SP deck. When I first found out that the format could be HGSS-on I was really excited. I honestly believed that I could buy cards early while they were cheap, and I could build a very good deck for Nationals.
In my testing I started out with Reshiram/Typhlosion/Ninetales. I loved the deck from early on. I went on to post my idea on several message boards only to get flamed quite a bit. People kept telling me that the deck was just OK (several people told me flat-out that the deck was bad).
However, one person kept encouraging me to build it because he also thought that the deck had potential. Thanks Matt7! However, I put that deck on the afterburner (haha) and started working on other stuff.
First, I moved to what many people hyped immediately after Black & White came out: Reshiram/Emboar. I never could get the deck to workout for me. I just could not get enough recovery into the deck for me to feel comfortable with it. I also was not comfortable the deck being severely hampered by Trainer lock and disruption. So, again, I moved on.
My third testing deck was MagneBoar. I hopped on the early hype train with everyone else. I really like the deck and it was fun to play. However, I could not hit a consistent list. All of my build were too slow or too susceptible to a bad baby start. I tried everything I could to make the deck work for me, but it just was not happening. I tried everywhere from 12-18 energy. I still had problem with energy resources. Then when I added energy recovery cards, my consistency went into the floor. It was time to move on again.
I then started to test everything that I could come up with or that I saw floating around on the internet. BlastZel was fast but it ran out of steam mid game. ZPS was too inconsistent. Yanmega variants were too inconsistent for me (they just did not fit my style). Donphan lacked draw power. VileMuk was a blast, but it just couldn’t hit for enough.
pokebeach.comI tried Scavenger, LostMewGar, straight LostGar, MewPluff, and a lot of other stuff. My favorite testing deck was Magnezone Prime/Floatzel/Vileplume. I actually tested this deck to great results. It was a blast to play. It have strong draw, easy energy acceleration, and Trainer lock. It was a ton of fun to play. However, I could not quiet nail down the right Trainer line. Again, it was time to move on.
This time I went back to the beginning. It was back to tyRam for me. I never looked back. I just tested the stuffing out of the deck against everything.
I did have one more setback though. Three weeks before Nationals, I went to Yeti Gaming in St. Louis (shout of to Vince and his crew!) for a warm up tournament. The proceeds went to Joplin, MO relief efforts because they got hit hard by a tornado. Great job working out a tournament for a good cause Vince!
At this tournament I took what I thought was going to be my Nationals list, and GOT CREAMED. It was crazy. I got owned by two LostMewGar. It seriously made me question my deck choice. However, I just kept playtesting my deck and worked on making it more consistent. I found a list that I was extremely comfortable with and rocked it out.
However, Thursday night the guys over at thetopcut.net put up their last pre-tourny video. In that video Pram had started to see the light. He was all aboard the tyRam train. It put my mind at ease knowing that someone else was seeing potential in the deck.
The Trip and Venue
I got into town Indy late Thursday night. I did not get to pre-register. So, it was a really early Friday morning for me.
The convention center was a great host location. The downtown area in Indy is really cool. The convention center was awesome. Troll & Toad and Collectors Cache were there as vendors. They both offered cool stuff to the players.
The Main Event
Man I was nervous. This was only my third tournament of the season and obviously the first premier event with the HGSS-on format. Boy was I in for a ride. I’m going to just apologize in advance if I am missing your name. I was extremely excited at certain times throughout the Swiss rounds and forgot to write some names down. There were 9 rounds, a 128 top cut, and almost 900 masters.
To be completely honest, I was hoping for a 5-4 Swiss record and sneaking into the top cut with a 6-3 record would be a dream. Let’s get to the matches.
Round 1: Lisa
pokebeach.comLisa was an awesome person. She is a PokéMom that was there with her two kids. We got to have a very pleasant (and calming) conversation because almost 50 players in each flight failed to show up and they had to repair the players. It was just a little 90 minute setback.
So, as you know I am playing a straight fire deck with no techs in it. I go first, we flip over our cards, she starts Oshawatt, Oshawatt, Totodile. Great, an all water deck. Just my luck. I was hoping to win my first couple games to get up on the tables. I was hoping that people would not be playing water on the high tables.
So, we start our game. I got a Cleffa out of my deck and started to set up my bench. She draws nothing. Cleffa woke up. I got to a Typhlosion Prime. I got a Reshiram out and fully powered up. Then I scored three knock outs in three consecutive turns. She could not get anything else out and could not get anything to refresh her hand. GG.
Round 2: Rudy
Randy was a very pleasant person. He had come to Nationals all the way from Texas (which he got second at States). I was pretty worried because he seemed to be a pretty established player. Rudy was running Donphan Prime/Yanmega Prime/Zekrom tech. I was still nervous because he was a good player, but this match up (according to my testing) was in my favor.
The game went along at a good pace. We traded the first three prizes. However, after all of my babies were KO’d he ran out of easy prizes. I pulled off some pretty sweet stuff like double PlusPower drops and a key Defender drop. I swept the last three prizes to win 6-3. GG.
2-0: I was feeling pretty good about this.
Round 3: Alex
Alex was running a Yanmega/Magnezone deck. I was pretty nervous when I saw the Magnemite and the Yanma. The key to this match up is getting your Typhlosions out extremely early. Once you have Typhlosions Prime set up, their hand disruption does not matter much to you.
I do not remember a lot about this game, but it went down to both of use having only 1 prize left. On the last turn of the game, I played a Reversal and got tails, I Junk Armed it and got tails, I Junk Armed it again and got the heads. So, after a triple Pokémon Reversal, I dragged up a Tyrogue and outraged for the win. GG.
3-0: I was on a roll.
Round 4: Janessa
I had finally made it up to the front row of tables (table 20 I think). We flipped over our cards and she was running T-Tar/Weavile/Zoroark.
I was pretty worried early in this game because she had double Sneasel sitting on the bench for a long time and I was holding two of my Typhlosions in my hand for a long time. If she had gotten to a Weavile early, I would have been in big trouble.
I took the last three prizes in a sweep to win 6-3. GG.
4-0: Whoah, what in the world was going on. I mean, I thought my deck was good, but not this good. I was stoked. They had announced that there were going to be 6 rounds on Friday and I was 4-0. I was in good shape to get to the Top Cut.
Round 5: Toby
Toby was playing Donphan/Yanmega/Zekrom. I was stoked. I love this match up.
I am sorry. I did not get very good notes on this game. I know that I won 6-3, but that is about it.
5-0: This was crazy. Could I actually make it out of the first day undefeated?!? Let’s find out.
Round 6: ???
pokebeach.comI’m sorry that I do not have your name. I will always remember this game though. It was by far the best game of the day. This game went to time where I took it on prizes.
From the early game into the mid game we were trading prizes. He would bench a Zorua with a Special Darkness Energy and attack with another Zoroark with a Special Darkness Energy and a Rescue Energy. He would 1HKO me and I would do it right back. He would pick up the Zoroark, promote the Zorua, attach a Rescue Energy and we would do it all again.
Finally, I got the hand that I needed to break the chain that he was doing. I promoted a Typhlosion Prime. I played two PlusPowers and then Junk Armed for a third. That’s right, I triple PlusPower dropped to score a 1HKO with Typhlosion on his Zoroark.
I got to discard his Rescue energy and break the chain. Also, getting that third PlusPower moved my hand down to three cards. On his next turn he had to Copycat into a three card hand to get a KO with Yanmega. I think that he struggled to recover from the three card hand. I built my hand back up and took control of the game.
6-0: I did it. I pulled off the undefeated Thursday. I got interviewed by Pooka and the guys at thetopcut.net. It was a really fun day.
At this time, I was pretty sure that I could lose all of the Friday games and still make the top cut.
Round 7: ???
I got the match up that I wanted against a Donphan/Yanmega/Zoroark.
In this game he struggled to get out any of his evolutions. In my opinion, this deck is just too inconsistent at times and can be extremely reliant on Reversal flips against anything that Yanmega struggles to 1HKO (as Pooka’s Top 2 match showed). I won by three prizes. GG.
7-0: What a great start to the day. Now I have no doubt that I am in the Top Cut.
Round 8: Jayson
pokebeach.comJayson was a great guy (he went onto Top 4). He seemed to be an experienced player and was very kind. We keep the pleasant small chat going. Little did I know that he was the top rated United States player going into the tournament.
I opened with a lone Tyrogue and Jayson went first. I thought for sure that he was going to donk me. However, he had no way to get a basic out. He Copycatted my hand and still could not get a basic out. He attached an energy and passed.
Now I know that every is going to say that hitting the double PlusPower was all luck. To a certain extent you are correct. However, at least once in every game I hit a double or triple PlusPower drop and at least a double Reversal attempt (except for in this donk game). So, I honestly believe that it has to do with the consistent deck build just as much it depends on luck.
8-0: WHAT?!? This was my first Nats and I had been playing at the number 1 table for three of the last four rounds. Crazy. Can I get one more game?
Round 9: Sidney
pokebeach.comThis game had literally given me nightmares. He was playing Reshiram/Emboar/Ninetales/Magcargo. It was by far the best built deck that I saw at the tournament. I thought that is would be my first match of the day, but it turned out to be the last one for all the undefeated marbles.
Feel free to disagree with me, but this was the second most epic game of the tournament. That’s right, not just my tournament experience but the whole darn thing (the final match between Pooka and Justin was crazy). Anyone can feel free to disagree with me.
He opened Slugma and I opened with Tyrogue. I went second. He started setting up his bench passed. I started setting up my bench and Mischievous Punched for 30 and stayed asleep. He continued setting stuff up and got an Emboar online and was prepping a Magcargo on his bench. I woke back up and KOd his Slugma.
I woke back up and had to double (it might have been a triple) Reversal to hit a heads and drag up his Emboar. I Mischievous Punched his Emboar for 30 and then went to sleep. I stayed asleep forever. I stayed asleep for like 4 or so of my turns (8ish total game turns).
Through the beginning of the game I completely forgot about the Burned Tower that he played on his first turn. I felt dumb. So, the second half of the game I remembered to use it.
Once the game got back rolling again, we traded some crazy prizes. I ran through a couple Reshirams to take the lead in the prize race. The absolute coolest prize he took went down like this. I KO’d something of his with an undamaged-Reshiram that I had also attached a Defender to.
He proceeded to pull Magcargo and dropped four Fire Energies. Magcargo does 60 damage for three energy and 20 more for each Fire Energy you discard from Magcargo. It was a crazy good play. He proceeded to 1HKO my Reshiram with 140 damage. Well played sir.
In the mid game, I got another Reversal heads (I had to play multiple Reversals this turn to hit heads) and pulled up his lone Emboar to KO it with Reshiram. This bought me a few turns to work with. It took him three more turns to set up his second Emboar.
The end of this game just got crazy.
With four or five turns to go, I was up on prizes, I had one left and Sidney had two left. I was struggling to get anything going. He had just KOd a Reshiram with Emboar. On my bench, I had a damaged Reshiram, a damaged Typhlosion, a clean Typhlosion, and a Ninetales.
I promoted the Typhlosion to wall for a bit. I Collectored to look through my deck, which had two cards left: a Cleffa and a Junk Arm. I attached some energy to Reshiram and passed.
I thought that I had the game won on this next turn. He drew his last card. Then he misplayed a Fisherman (he meant to play a Professor Oak’s New Theory). I thought for sure that he had decked himself out. However, he made a good play and Pokémon Communicated a card back into his deck. To buy one more turn. Then he attacked my Typhlosion for 80 damage.
I drew my second to last card, it was Cleffa. Then I powered up my Typhlosion Prime and attacked his Emboar for 70. His field now had an undamged Reshiram, Emboar with 70 damage, Reshiram with damage, and two clean Ninetales. I had him.
On his turn, he retreated his damaged Emboar and promoted his undamaged Reshiram. I think he thought that the Reshiram would be safe because I had already played all three PlusPower and three Junk Arm. He Blue Flared my Typhlosion Prime to take a prize. It was 1-1 and the game went to time.
9-0: The perfect Swiss round record. I couldn’t believe it. Craziness had prevailed. I was the only undefeated Swiss player in the Blue Flight and entered top cut as the overall 1 seed. What made it even more satisfying was that I went 9-0 with tyRam that many people had flamed online.
The Top Cut
I we had a long lunch break and got back to it a 2:30. It was interesting when we got back. From what I heard, the judges had left the decks in order (where the cards were sorted) from deck checks. I’m pretty sure my opponent and the two people at the next table all had their decks still in order. Mine was extremely randomized. I have no idea what that was about. Maybe someone wanted to play the 9-0 deck on lunch break… jk :)
Top 128: Adam
pokebeach.comAdam was playing Yanmega/Magnezone. I was stoked. I absolutely love playing against Yangmega based decks. My deck just does not give very many easy prizes to Yanmega, and forcing them to Lost Zone three energy for every Magnezone KO is rough.
I had a rough time setting up and never could really get rolling. I lost my Ninetales in the early game and my second Vulpix was prized. I also had two Reshiram prized. However, through Engineer’s Adjustments and PONT I was able to keep the deck moving. I lead the prize exchange right down to the bitter end. I had even double PlusPower dropped to 1HKO a Magnezone in the middle of the game.
I was up on prizes. I had one left and he had 2 left. On his turn he KOd my last Typhlosion to make it 1-1 going into my turn. Let me set the field for you:
Him: He had a Tyrogue, Cleffa, Shaymin, Magnezone on the bench and Yanmega Prime active.
What did I promote? The stupid Reshiram with only 1 energy on it. That was the biggest brain fart in my Pokémon life. I completely gave the game away.
On my turn, I Reversaled his Shaymin active to buy time. I stalled with some shenanigans for a few turns trying to top deck a Fire Energy. I scooped to try to save time.
That sealed my fate. I had the game won and gave it away by promoting the wrong Reshiram. No offense to Adam (if he reads this or any of Adam’s friends read this). I was furious with myself. There is nothing quite like gift-wrapping a top cut match to a deck that had not given me any serious problems the whole tournament.
The second game. I opened with a lone Cyndaquil. He set up his bench and attached a Lightning Energy. I top decked a Quilava and evolved. He got out a Magnezone, attached a Lightning Energy, retreated his active, and turn two donked my Quilava with Magnezone Prime. It was crazy and I was ticked.
I want to make some quick observations on the format:
– Everyone is claiming that this format is extremely luck based. I honestly believe that you can choose how much you want luck to play a part in the format. Just keep you baby lines to a bare minimum. Also, if you play a thick Junk Arm and Reversal line, you can double a triple Reversal a turn a virtually guarantee you a heads to hit the crucial force out.
Some decks (like Yanmega/Magnezone or Yanmega/Donphan) rely heavily on hitting Reversals often in the game to take easier prizes because the deck (Yanmega/Donphan) either do not hit hard enough or require too many resources (Yanmegae/Magnezone) to effectively stream 1HKOs against Pokémon with HP of over 100.
However, tyRam can 1HKO almost anything. So, the key is to just save your resources (Junk Arms, Reversals, and PlusPowers) to use en masse at the crucial moment when the game is there to be won. I did this a lot. Pretty much every time I needed to hit a heads with Reversal I was prepared to play at least three during a single turn to skew the probabilities of hitting heads in my favor (often times I could have pulled off a quadruple Reversal attempt if I had to).
To be honest, only the two donk games would I say that luck attributed to my matches in a significant way.
– Everyone claims that going first is a HUGE advantage. While is it an advantage, it is not insurmountable. I went first five times in the Swiss and second four times. A good deck build can overcome starting second. Just make sure that all of your non-baby basics have 60 hp and only a single retreat cost.
– Yanmega made a massive showing and at least 8 of the Top 16 deck were Yanmega variants. I would say that Canadian nationals had a huge impact on US Nationals. Props to our friends north of the border. The final table at US Nats had two Yanmega variants in the game. Three weeks ago, no one would have seen that coming.
– Vileplume is not dead. There was at least one Vileplume in Top 16.
– There was not a lot of MagneBoar that did well. That is twice this season alone that the USA player base was off in its prediction. Everyone hyped LostGar into oblivion and it largely underwhelmed. Again, everyone hyped MagneBoar and it largely underperformed. I am not saying that it is a bad deck. It is actually a very good deck; it is just not the BDIF like everyone was running around screaming.
– This format is still wide open.
– I know that everyone is going to anoint Yanmega/Magnezone or Yanmega/Donphan the BDIF. I guess that is OK because they were the two decks at the Final Table. However, I honestly feel that tyRam deserves to be in the conversation (at least as the third wheel). I did not hear of a single player who played tyRam absolutely bomb out. There were quite a few Yanmega decks that got hammered also.
– If the World’s field is filled with Yanmega, Reshiram and Zekrom is a solid play. Both decks do not have a lot of easy prizes for Yanmega to snipe of the bench. tyRam is pretty resistant to hand disruption after you set up a second Typhlosion (which can happen by turn three relatively easily) and everything is too big to be dealt with easily by Yanmega. Just be sure to play the babies sparingly.
pokebeach.comA lot of people game me grief for tyRam. A lot of people will still not give this deck credit. However, it never let me down. It gave me an out in every game (except that final donked game). I just made a huge misplay and let the deck down.
This deck is fast. It sets up turn three almost always and I even hit a turn two set up once or twice.
It hits hard. It does not hit as hard late game as some other decks, but no other deck can consistently dish out 120 damage as early and often.
It is very consistent. The stage one draw engine, Ninetales, is faster to set up and more consistent than Magnezone.
It can be played very aggressively and it will always give you an out (you just have to be smart enough to recognize them and pounce on the opportunities).
Now for my actual list. I am definitely not going to Worlds. So, I do not care if anyone sees this. I hope that people pick it up and play it at Worlds.
|Pokémon – 184 Reshiram BLW
3 Cyndaquil HS
2 Quilava HS
3 Typhlosion Prime HS
2 Vulpix UL
2 Ninetales HS/CL
1 Cleffa HS/CL
1 Tyrogue HS/CL
|Trainers – 284 Pokémon Collector
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Engineer’s Adjustment
4 Junk Arm
2 Rare Candy
3 Pokémon Reversal
|Energy – 1412 Fire
2 Double Colorless
I am not going to go in great depth about each of these cards. If you need a refresher about how this deck works you can go read my original article here.
pokebeach.comHowever, like I said earlier, running a bad Charizard list for half of the season really prepared me for this deck. Roughly 30-35 slots in this deck are exactly the same as my Charizard deck. So, I had been playing the core of this deck for a long time now. I was extremely comfortable with how it should work and what the trainer lines should be. I honestly believe that this played a huge role for me.
I do want to elaborate a little on the status and future of tyRam.
First, I honestly believe that this deck deserves to be in the discussion for Tier 1. It is very, very good. I know that I did not take it to the top, but that was my fault, not the decks fault. Yanmega swarmed the top tables, but I dusted them off like flies through the Swiss and had the game in hand in Top 128 before I misplayed my way out.
I know that a lot of people will want to anoint Yanmega BDIF because it made a big showing in the top cut, but what do you expect when most of the top ranked players in the world are playing Yanmega. If a 1616 rated player can pilot a tyRam into a 9-0 Swiss record and handle five Yamega decks with relative ease, tyRam deserves to be in the conversation (come on at least grant me that it should be in the discussion).
Ask Adam how sweet this list can run. He was sitting next to me for round 9 of Swiss and got to watch most of my game against Sidney.
Also, the future of the deck is extremely bright. Pokémon Catcher is going to make this deck a boss, and it will have a minimum adverse effect on this deck. The Typhlosion Prime is easy to get out of the active, and all of the basics have 60 hp so they are difficult to 1HKO early in the game for most decks (save Donphan or Yanmega). Also, Eviolite (or whatever it is called) will make the Defender slots even more potent.
Also, we will have to see what exactly Reshiram-EX does, but the deck could be strengthened again with that card. The future is extremely bright for this deck.
Well thanks for reading. I am starting law school in August, so I might make it to some stuff, but will be pretty busy. I hope that I get to play a bit.
Well until next time…
- My little man, Luke Sherman took 4th in Juniors with tyRam that he had just picked up last week. We play tested a ton the last few days.
- The staff was awesome: judges, official employees, and admin people
- I love this format
- A diverse field in the Swiss rounds
- Going 9-0 in Swiss and 9-1 (9-2 if you count the two top cut games individually)
- My rating went from 1616 all the way up to 1775.77. It is not enough for a World’s invite, but this is not to shabby for only playing in three premier events this year.
- Misplaying myself out of the tournament. It was really rough. I made one misplay the whole time and it cost me a game in top cut and likely the match. It is very frustrating to be playing so well and then miss something so simple. I know the best players in the world would not have missed that. I need to fix those stupid mental lapses.
P.S. Pooka took 2nd with Yanmega/Donphan/Zoroark (I think) and Justin took 1st with Yanmega/Magnezone (I think) in what was a nail biter.