Jay’s Gym: Top 16 Worlds Report

pokegym.netDuring the Georgia Marathon last year, Jim Roll from Florida posted a where he took a Yanmega/Magnezone deck to a second place Cities finish. Jim has been the innovator behind several big decks over the last few years so when he posted a report about a new rogue he’s created I tend to listen.

I couldn’t help to think to myself how bad of a play the deck was in such a Luxchomp heavy format, but how much potential it might have after our next rotation. Thankfully I traded for Yanmega Primes early, partly for this reason and partly because there was a deck I wanted to do with them.

Fast forward to after Regional’s and P!P announces the new HGSS on format, and at the time I could not have been more thrilled. I honestly thought that this new format would bring more skill and diversity into the game.

The first deck I built for the new format was Yanmega/Magnezone, my first take on the deck was horrible, and even if I could I find my old list for it I don’t think I would show it to you. I ran like 2 Junk Arm, Serperior, just tons of bad choices, I don’t even want to go into.

Shortly afterward Magneboar starts making huge waves and with good reason, it’s a deck with near unlimited damage potential and a built-in draw engine. I start testing it almost exclusively up until Canada Nationals. After Canadian Nationals I quickly start to realize how much more diverse this format is than I originally realized.

Despite having no intention to play at US Nationals, I started testing Yanmega/Magnezone again almost non-stop. I tried to push the deck on my little brother feeling that it was the BDIF of the format, but he sticks with Magneboar though and I really can’t fault him over that. He had been testing the deck non-stop for the last 2 months or so and felt comfortable with it.

pokegym.netAfter US Nationals the metagame was finally starting to take shape with a large number of decks having potential but only a small handful top tier in my opinion. My testing revolved around 3 main decks Yanmega/Magnezone, Stage 1s, and Typhlosion/Reshiram.

One of my core beliefs in this game is that if you want to grow and become a better player you have to realize and own up to your mistakes, and at this point I have made two huge ones. I gave up on two very good decks way to quickly. My first attempt at Yanmega/Magnezone didn’t fail due to the concept, but rather due to my poor list.

The more I tested this new format the better I became at understanding it and building decks accordingly. Once I had gotten more experience in this new format, I should have come back and tried to come up with a better list rather than to simply write it off.

The same thing with Emboar/Magnezone; the deck had so much potential, but it just simply wasn’t as consistent as most of the other decks in the format. However, once it got set up, the deck simply did not lose. I was so focused on my new deck and what the current metagame was that I didn’t even bother to go back and test Emboar/Zone (even after Chris Fulop posted his new and updated list).

I read his article, and thought the idea was sound, but the bottom-line is I never bothered to test it. I thought Chris was mainly pulling at straws desperately trying to save himself from the backlash that had been coming after the deck widely under preformed at both U.S. and Canadian Nationals.

I’m sure Chris is going to have a well deserved field day with his next article. I only wish I would have taken his last article more seriously. I always loved Emboar/Magnezone and wish I would have spent more time trying to correct the problems in the list than simply abandoning it.

Thursday before Worlds

Since I worked Wednesday night, I didn’t get fully packed until nearly 1 AM, and considering the fact I had to be up at 3:30 AM to leave for the airport I knew this was going to make for a very interesting day. I had both Yanmega/Magnezone and Stage 1s packed.

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In hindsight I should have brought Typhlosion/Reshiram with me as well, and to be honest I have no idea why I didn’t bring it. As we were getting ready to leave for the airport some strange impulse told me to grab my Tyranitar Prime deck, so I quickly rushed to grab it before we left.

While dragging my suitcase through airports and on the uneventful plane ride to California, I kept thinking about how good Tyranitar Prime could be.

I knew James Arnold had Top 8’d US Nationals with it and I somehow got it in my head that he played Yanmega Prime with it. I have no idea where I got this idea but it seemed really good in theory. I talked to my friend Kason about it throughout the day and we theorized a few lists. The more and more I thought it about it, the more and more the deck really started to come together in theory.

Yanmega not only acted as Donphan counter but I could also just keep spreading with it, trying to set up KO’s and forcing my opponent to take the first prize. This in turn would allow me to play Twins, and in my opinion one of the most underrated set up engines of the format.

Despite having a delay in Chicago, I still get to the hotel first out of everyone in our group, and thankfully the hotel staff lets me check in. Con, Gino, Alex, and Bristow arrive an hour or so later where they find a half put together Tyranitar deck.

Con, Alex, and Bristow think the deck is horrible, but Gino had faith in the deck and helped me build it. I feel like at the very least I have to test this deck. We grab some food before heading to the Hilton, I find Pooka and we schedule a time to do the 4 on 4 tournament, Team Underground vs. The Top Cut.

I get to see a lot of familiar faces and even play a pick up game against Sydney (Junior’s 2nd place finisher), where my new Tyranitar deck was able to take a close win over her Typhlosion/Reshiram. Now I know most of you wouldn’t find beating a 9 year old girl in the open gaming room that impressive, but considering the fact I went I think 1-6 against her in Hawaii last year I can’t lie I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Anyway before I knew it, it was time for our match against The Top Cut. Here is the Tyranitar deck I used for the tournament.

Pokémon – 21

4 Larvitar UL 51
1 Pupitar UL 39
4 Tyranitar Prime
3 Snivy BLW 1
1 Servine BLW 3
3 Serperior BLW 6
2 Yanma TM
2 Yanmega Prime
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 29

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Twins
4 Rare Candy
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
3 Junk Arm
2 Copycat
2 Professor Juniper
1 Switch
1 Defender

Energy – 10

4 Darkness [Special]
3 Double Colorless
3 Rainbow

There was a pretty casual feeling to the tournament, and they let us choose who we wanted to play. The games were the best of 1, and at the end each team would add up their wins, if it were a tie, each team would select a representative and there would be a play off match. We somehow managed to misplace Gino though all the excitement, but Bristow was able to step up and took his place. Here is how the pairings broke down:

Jay Hornung vs. Kyle “Pooka” Sucevich
Con Lee vs. Drew Holton
Alex Frezza vs. Michael Pramawat
Bristow vs. Crim

Jay Hornung vs. Pooka

pokegym.netI always enjoy playing Pooka and for some reason I thought he was playing Typhlosion/Reshiram. Very sadly I was mistaken and he was playing his Stage 1 deck, and things only got worse for me after I saw my incredibly weak opening.

But I topdeck an early Pokémon Collector to finally start getting set up. We both set up slowly, but Pooka knows I play a high Twins count so he is careful not to take the first prize. It doesn’t take long for me to realize how much trouble I really am in.

is a dark type and Donphan minuses any damage done to it by 20, so this meant the only Pokémon I could actually spread to was his Yanmegas. This left me with only 1 course of action and that was to go agro Tyranitar. I had to play my Defender early on a Larvitar, and at this point I really was wishing I would have been able to fit a second copy in my deck.

I bring my Tyranitar up and Junk Arm for the Defender back knowing he would need 3 PlusPowers to knock me out. I hit his Yanmega Prime for 130 (via Darkness Energy) I think with Magneton Tail, and I proceed to mill 2 useless cards off the top and then a Tyranitar Prime.

This is the point I start to really remember why I don’t like Professor Juniper in Stage 2 decks. An early Professor Juniper forced me to discard a Tryanitar Prime and a Yanmega Prime. So despite Pooka not taking any prizes I was already down to 3 real Pokémon to attack with remaining in my deck, the Tyranitar Prime I had active and a Yanmega Prime and another Tyranitar Prime in my deck.

I tried hard not to let Pooka know how weak my board really was but I think he knew. He had seen my mills and was doing an excellent job of denying me access to my Serperiors. Anyway he brings up Zoroark and hits me for 120, before I knock it out on my next turn.

Due to all my discarding with Professor Juniper and Junk Arm and my mill with Tyranitar Prime I was down to only a handful of cards in my deck and we both knew I wasn’t going to win this game. He KOs me with Donphan Prime next turn and I was out of steam, so over the next few turns, he starts to catch up with me and the prize lead I once had quickly disappears.

pokegym.netLate in the game I finally get my Yanmega/Serperior combo, off but without a second Yanmega to switch to the healing only does me so much good. In hindsight I probably should have played a 3-3 Yanmega or even a 4-3 and made this “heal and switch” strategy more of a main focus.

However hindsight is 20-20 and making those changes really would have only benefited me in this match up and it would done nothing to change my Typhlosion/Reshiram or Magnezone/Yanmega match ups.

The match ends when Pooka is able to pull off a triple PlusPower KO on my active Yanmega Prime. I believe I managed to steal one more prize somewhere in the exchange but Pooka was able to take a comfortable 0-3 win on prizes. I think Drew got a really weak opening hand and Con was able to run him over. I didn’t see the game or get the details but Bristow managed to win out over Crim.

So the entire tournament came down to Alex vs. Pramawat. Alex took an early lead and kept through the game, taking 5 prizes but burned through all of his resources doing so and he was unable to take the last one before he decked out.

This left us at tie 2-2, and a decision to be made. We selected Con to represent us while they selected Pooka as their representative. Both of them opened well, Con a bit more so and he was able to take a big lead mid game due to Kingdra Prime and hold on for the win.

I was glad Con won so I didn’t feel like I let my team down, deep down I actually was kind of happy that Pooka crushed me. At least now I knew how bad of a play Tyranitar really was for me and I could put it to rest and get back to real testing.

Early I talked about how important it was to not give up on a deck to soon. The opposite is also true and knowing when to walk away is also important.

The biggest question to ask yourself is “does the deck have potential, or do I just want it to be good?” Tyranitar looked a lot better on paper than it was actually performing in real life. I still think the strategy was sound and perhaps given a few more weeks I could have done more with the list but the bottom line was I didn’t have a few weeks.

Friday before Worlds

pokegym.netWe show up early and watch the grinders and cheer friends on, the early rounds seemed to have a lot of diversity but I was sure that wouldn’t last. Here are what some of the bigger names I remember were playing.

Yamato: Zekrom/Lanturn/Pachy/Shamin
Goh: /Yanmega/Cinccino
Jason Klaczynski: Yanmega/Magnezone
Seena: Typhlosion/Reshiram

After the first round or two we leave to explore San Diego and I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful of an area this was. There were a lot of shops, restaurants, and stuff to see and we didn’t run into any problems.

We return for the last few rounds of the Grinders to see the field basically be narrowed to Yanmega/Magnezone and Typhlosion/Reshiram. I couldn’t really say I was surprised, but it was still depressing to see.

Saturday (Worlds!)

After my last minute panic to find a new deck, I knew I had to stick with Yanmega/Magnezone. This was the deck I had been testing the longest and it fit my playstyle better than anything else in the current format.

I hadn’t tested Stage 1s enough and I felt the deck had a low damage cap and lacked any sort of “kick.” The Typhlosion/Reshiram mirror was just stupid and completely luck based in my opinion. On top of this the deck was just simply to linear for me, all you did was set up and use “Blue Flare” every turn.

The deck lacked any sort of options, which meant I had no room to try and “outplay” my opponent, which is something very important to me. Anyway here is the list we settled on.

Pokémon – 21

4 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
4 Magnezone Prime
4 Yanma TM
3 Yanmega Prime
1 Horsea UL
1 Kingdra Prime
1 Cleffa HS
1 Manaphy UL
1 Pachirisu CL

Trainers – 28

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Rare Candy
4 Judge
4 Junk Arm
4 Pokémon Reversal
2 Copycat
1 Twins
1 Switch

Energy – 11

10 Lightning
1 Rainbow

The biggest shock in my mind was how much the Typhlosion/Reshiram decks had grown and evolved since Nationals and the caliber of the players that were piloting them. For the first time ever, I felt like an underdog in the match up. I know Fulop adamantly still believes that it’s a positive match up, but I disagree.

I think Jason Klaczynski said it best: “It’s a 40-60 match up, 50-50 if you win the coin flip.” Setting up first was the only way you won this match up. This is why I knew I had to play the fastest, most consistent version of the deck.

The above list is the combination of work put in by Con, Gino, Alex, and myself. I think we all showed up with lists that were within 4 or so cards of this lists. After discussion and last minute playtesting this is the list we decided on and all 3 of us played.

4-1-4 Magnezone: Simply put we maxed the Magnemite and Magnezone count for consistency. I saw some variation on the numbers this weekend, some players opted to play a 3-1-4, 3-1-3, or 4-2-4. I thought the 3-1-4 was to gimmicky and well victim to FPS (Fancy Player Syndrome), 3-1-3 wasn’t consistent enough, and I never found the extra Magneton necessary in a 4-2-4 line up. Sure it would have been nice, but space was already so tight anyway.

4-3 Yanmega: I wanted 4-4 really bad, but I listened to Con and Alex and dropped the extra Yanmega for an 11th Energy. At the end of the day I still wanted a 4-4, but the 11th Energy was more important.

1-0-1 Kingdra Prime: I found 2-1-2 took up to much space and was just clunky, but Kingdra could sway so many games, the 2 tech spots were definitely worth it. I just don’t know how I can convey how much 10 damage matters. Magnezone Lost Zones 1 Energy to KO Yanmega and normally only 2 to KO a Reshiram. Your Yanmega’s also could get easy KO’s on 50 HP basics and at times even “lock” your opponent out of the game.

1 Cleffa/1 Manaphy: Depending on your hand and your opponents board each were situation ally better. I found the 1-1 split optimal, however I thought many times about going just 2 Cleffa, since I felt like it was the superior of the two. In the end I stuck with the 1-1 split because I liked the idea of having only 1 30 HP Basic in my deck.

1 Pachirisu: We were donking with it about 1 in 20 games, but that was only an added bonus. The energy manipulation was the real bonus, many times I wanted to take a KO without having to discard all my energy off my “valuable” Pokémon.

As you can tell with the Trainer lineup, it was built for consistency, and we streamlined out all the techs in the deck.

4 Pokémon Collector, 4 Pokémon Communication, 4 Rare Candy, 4 Judge and 4 Junk Arm, and 4 Pokémon Reversal were all choices made to maximize consistency and increase the odds of drawing into important cards. Judge was just to disruptive not to run 4 copies of, and originally I only had 3 Pokémon Reversal and 2 Twins.

Con and Alex talked me into upping the count to four noting how needed they were in the Typhlosion/Reshiram match up. This was the last change I made to the deck. Normally I hate cutting consistency cards for tech cards, but in the end I felt like if I went down in prizes against them I probably lost anyway.

2 Copycat: I had 3 up until about a week before Nationals, before I cut it for a copy of Twins.

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1 Twins: This was my clever little idea I came up with about a week before Worlds. I hadn’t really seen the idea on the online message boards so I thought I found my own little tech. However, once I got to Worlds I found a lot of players playing it.

Falling behind in prizes normally meant nothing more than you went second. Searching out Rare Candy/Magnezone, 2 Pokémon Reversal, etc. could pull you right back into a close game. Con and Alex had none in their builds and originally I had two in mine. We compromised at 1 a little after midnight the morning of Worlds.

1 Switch: I always felt like 2 Switch made me “feel safer,” but was never really needed. I would like to point out that Mikey is completely wrong and the HGSS picture for Switch is clearly the best.

10 Lightning Energy: 10 Lightning is about the bare minimum to run with Pachy.

1 Rainbow Energy: Cutting to only 1 Rainbow Energy was originally my idea, the card was inferior to a Basic Lightning Energy in every situation expect when you wanted to attack with Kingdra Prime, or rare situations when you needed it for Yanmega Prime.

I felt these situations were rare and we already had Twins to search it out. I once again can’t stress how harmful that 10 damage could be, especially early game with Yanmega being such a popular choice.

In the end I felt like my consistency and experience gave me the edge in mirror, after all I was testing this match up with some of the best players in the world. I also felt like I was a favorite against Stage 1 decks, with a solid hand.

Although, I have to give they are a lot faster and more consistent than my deck, so I certainly couldn’t get cocky in this match up. Lastly, I felt like only a slight underdog against Typhlosion/Reshiram and I felt like the match up was even if I went first. I didn’t like playing the match up but I certainly didn’t hate it either.

What I Didn’t Play

Sage’s Training: This was pushed on me a bit before Worlds I tested it, and just found it horrible in the deck. You were always discarding to many key cards, and decking was already a major concern for the deck.

Jirachi: I really wish I would have tested this idea more than I did, but the bottom-line was I thought Pachy was more consistent. On top of this, I hated the idea of trying to get Psychic Energy in the discard pile.

I also felt like this messed with your energy line up to much as well. While Jirachi could win you games, missing even 1 turn of attacking with Magnezone would most likely cost you the game.

Rescue Energy: I already ran very think lines of my Pokémon, and never really felt like ran something that I had to get back. Once again Rescue Energy also messed with your energy line up, hurt your Pachy drops, etc.

The Report

Round 1: Vs. Pooka, United States (Donphan/Yanmega/Zoroark) (First)

I saw the pairs and I kind of smiled knowing round 1 of Worlds I was playing against arguably the best player in the World. I’ve played Pooka a total of 3 times before this in tournament play and all of our games pretty much go the same of me opening God and Pooka drawing dead.

I get a Yanma and Magnemite start and I win the opening coin flip. I play Pokémon Collector and grab and another Yanma and Magnemite, along with a Horsea. He plays some cards down before bringing up Cleffa and “Eeeeeeeking”.

pokegym.netOn my turn I evolve both my Yanma’s into Yanmega Primes before going Rare Candy to Magnezone, Rare Candy to Magnezone, Judge. This was my far the best hand I think I have ever gotten with this deck and Pooka just had this “This happens to me every year” look on his face.

I also hit a Turn 2 or Turn 3 Kingdra I believe and I play the basic game of nailing Pokémon Reversals and taking prizes with Yanmega Prime. While he desperately tries to draw into something more playable, even between multiple “Eeeks” and Supporters, his board is really weak.

I look through his discard and was happy to see how many resources he had burned through, a couple of Junk Arms, 5-6 “shuffle and draw” Supporters. He only had one Donphan Prime and no Phanpy in play so I decide to go agro and KO the Donphan with my Magnezone Prime.

I’m taking prizes but my on field energy is being depleted fast. Normally this wouldn’t be too much of an issue but I realized early that my Switch was prized, so I have to be careful that I don’t leave my Magnezone stranded active.

I take 2 prizes with my active Magnezone bring me down to one prize, while Pooka has to settle for two shooting it. I miss two game winning Pokémon Reversal flips on my next turn, but his field is really weak and I think he only has 2 Zoroark’s and a Phanpy in play. I decide just to hit his active Zoroark for 70, know that his only out would be a Super Scoop Up heads, he doesn’t have it and offers me the hand shake.

Win or lose it always feels so much better to get the first round of the day out of the day. I really don’t get nervous anymore, even in high pressure games but I certainly feel more relaxed after the first round, especially coming out of it with a win.

1-0

Round 2 Vs. Miska Saari, Finland (Typhlosion/Reshiram) (Second)

I instantly recognize the name as the 2006 Senior World Champion, and later I also learned that he had another Top 4 in 2009.

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He mulligans and I see a Typhlosion, so I knew what I was up against. I proceed to lose the opening coin flip, and my heart sinks. This is probably the worst deck in the format to go second against, those early and cheap prizes are so important. I believe I open with Yanma and Magnemite while he opens with Cyndaquil active and Vulpix benched.

He sits there for a second staring at his hand, and I thought he might not have opened with a Pokémon Collector. But a few seconds later he plays it and starts grabbing basics. He grabs a Manaphy, Reshiram, and another Cyndaquil and benches all three before hitting me for 10.

I thought he might have prized his Cleffa, and that I might have just bought myself a turn. I have access to the turn 2 Yanmega/Judge but outside of that my hand is rather weak, I simply attach my energy and pass. He brings up Manaphy and uses Deep Sea Swirl for 5.

I Pokémon Reversal up a Cyndaquil, evolve to Yanmega and Judge. Still didn’t draw much of anything, but I was hoping taking an early KO on the Cyndaquil would hopefully stop me from getting overwhelmed from 2 Typhlosions.

He drew a Professor Juniper off the Judge and draws for 7, and I’m near positive he had the return but he must have gotten 7 pretty bad cards because he brings up Manaphy and goes for 5 again. At this point I knew I got a lucky break, and wanted to capitalize on it, but sadly all I could do was KO the Manaphy.

I feel like I’m getting some of these details mixed up, but the highlights are I get an early Yanmega Prime but have nothing to really back it up. It does grab me a few early prizes while he sets up slow. Eventually he has his full set up, 2 Typhlosion Prime, 2 Reshiram, and a Ninetales and KO’s my Yanmega.

That is his board, mine is Magnemite with 2 Energy, Manemite with 1 Energy, Magnemite with 1 Energy. Oh and my hand is Magnezone Prime, Pokémon Reversal, and Lightning Energy. I think I’m up one prize 3-4, at this point. While our boards look vastly different the two big advantage I have are my 1 Prize lead and the fact that I have 4 Energy in play.

pokemon-paradijs.comI really need to get a Rare Candy, and while topping the Cand, may seem unlikely, you do have to remember that I have played through 15 or so cards without hitting one and I have barely played any Supporters, this means that I have a ton of good top decks.

I draw a Magneton, and evolve one of my benched Magnemites, and drop my energy on it. I saw little point in trying to diversify my energy after all if he hit a Pokémon Reversal I probably lost regardless. I kind of shake my head realizing how bad my only play is.

I play a Pokémon Reversal and hit heads, to bring up his Typhlosion Prime, than I announce Thunder Shock…Heads! He draws, plays some cards, but didn’t have the Switch. My turn I draw…Rare Candy! My the end of the turn I had 3 Magnezone Primes in play and KO one of his two Typhlosions.

We start trading KO’s at this point but I’m still always one ahead, at the end of the game I believe I nailed a Pokémon Reversal Flips to win the game. Honestly this was the most luck I had all day, I think I went 3-2 on Reversal Flips and the Thundershock heads.

2-0

Round 3 Vs. Ulises Santamaria, Mexico (Donphan/Zekrom/Zoroark) (Second)

pokegym.netI’ll leave this one short; I opened with nothing and went second. A majority of the game was me top decking something to keep me alive one turn before he would kill me. I topped a Pokémon Collector around turn 6 and find out both Cleffa and Manaphy was prized.

I desperately try and take a prize, and eventually am able to do so with Yanmega. I drew the Manaphy but at this point he already had a 1-5 prize lead. I had a small chance for a come back when I managed to strand an energyless Zekrom active for a few turns but my third Yanmega was prized.

I played it out but I had nothing left I could attack with, I flipped over my prizes at the end of the game. Magnezone, Magnezone, Yanmega, Kingdra, Cleffa, Manaphy, I swear I’m not making it up.

I was really disappointed at this point, I felt like this should have been a pretty comfortable win. Normally opposing Yanmegas are the only scary thing in Stage 1s and he didn’t even play it. But luck is huge part of this game, so what can I do other than suck it up and move on.

2-1

Round 4 Vs. Adam Arsenault, Canada

I honestly don’t even remember this game. Sometimes it’s kind of hard going into a round after just coming off of a loss. I do remember being happy to pick up the win.

3-1

Round 5 Vs. Jayson Harry (Yanmega/Magnezone) (First)

pokemon-paradijs.comI went first and opened I believe with a Pokémon Collector, and start setting up. I hit a turn 2 Magnezone and take the first 2 prizes, near unopposed. At this point I Judge and take another prize with the Yanmega Prime. His turn he plays a Collector and then benches a Magnemite forgetting about the prize I drew to put my hand at 5.

This now leaves him with 4 and I don’t let him pick the Magnemite back up. I really didn’t want to play like that mainly because it was Jayson and he’s a good guy, but it was Worlds and I didn’t have a choice.

He makes an incredible play of burning his hand down to one card before passing, making his position look much weaker than what it really was. I had the Copycat in my hand and I think a lot of players would have just thrown it down and attacked again with Yanmega.

However since we each had only 1 Magnezone Prime in play, he was trying to bait me to do exactly that. Had I played Copycat and drawn 1 card, he could have used Magnetic Draw next turn to get back up to 6 cards. If he had managed to pull out a Pokémon Reversal and gotten heads, he would have left me dead in the water.

With only one card in my hand and no Magnezone, its unlikely I would have been able to match his hand size at all, let alone consistently.

When playing deep strategic games its very important to not get “tunnel vision” and always keep the big picture in mind. Had I taken his bait, I quite possibly could have walked away with a loss. Instead I used the turn to “Eeek” for a new hand.

The match goes on, but I just had a stronger board position throughout the game and was able to ride it for the win. I think we finished with a prize count of 0-3 or 0-2.

4-1

Round 5 Vs. David Booji (Typhlosion/Reshiram)

He drew pretty dead; this game and really didn’t get anything going until the very end. I set up pretty solidly by Turn 3 or Turn 4 and really never looked back. I had to go aggressive with Magnezone earlier in the game than I wanted to, and I was Lost Zoning my energy at a pretty good rate.

This really worried me toward the end of the game, but thanks to Kingdra Prime and Spray Splash, I had enough energy and took the game as my opponent struggled to set up.

5-1

Round 6 Vs. Tom Dolezal, United States (Typhlosion/Reshiram) (Second)

pokemon-paradijs.comTom started off with the edge of going first, and be both set up at about the same base. I flip pretty bad on Pokémon Reversal and in the end this really does me in. I pull out all the stops, but can never really seem to get any sort of edge.

Like I said my Pokémon Reversal flips were pretty bad going (I think 2 for 5), and I could never get a Judge to stick (though his 2-2 Ninetales made this much harder to do). Midgame he nails a Pokémon Reversal to KO my Horsea and I know that lack of Kingdra damage is going to hurt.

If both of our decks set up at the same speed, his will win almost everytime. In the end Tom wins 0-2 on Prizes. I had a Magnezone Prime on the bench that was posed to take another one next turn, but he hits a Pokémon Reversal to finish the game.

So the 20 or so minutes of panic set in while we all wait for the final standings to go up. I’m pretty sure I’m safe, but you can never be 100% sure. I wind up with 12th seed. At first I think I’m playing Josh, so I was pretty happy to be playing mirror, but then I double check the standings and realize I was playing against Tom Dolezal again.

Tom was about the last person on that sheet I wanted to play against. A Typhlosion/Reshiram player that knows what they are doing and runs hot is about the worst thing to play against in this format. Anyway we wish each other luck, and we head out to get food.

5-2

Sunday (Top Cut)

Top 16 Vs. Tom Dolezal, United States (Typhlosion/Reshiram) (Second)

Game 1: Once again I lose the opening Coin Flip, though I manage to set up a bit faster than he does. Around turn 5 or so I have a chance to take a huge lead if I can bring up a Typhlosion, Judge and than KO it. I play Pokémon Reversal…Tails! Junk ArmPokémon Reversal…Tails! Junk ArmPokémon Reversal…Tails!

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I was posed to have a major game changing turn, but instead I wound up burning a ton of resources with nothing to show for it. I think Tom was right around 50-50 on his Pokémon Reversal flips, but he was able to hit a huge one to KO my Horsea mid game. The Prize count was 1-2 in Tom’s favor when I scooped.

I knew Tom had this game won almost 10 or 15 minutes earlier, but I wanted to run the clock a bit. I felt like the match up favored Tom, but my deck performed better in time. As long as I had enough time to take 4 Prizes, that’s all I really cared about. I figured I could possibly steal a game 2 and be up in Prizes on a timed Game 3.

Game 2: This went about the same as game 1, we both got pretty average set ups, but I flip horrible with Pokémon Reversal. Tom’s weren’t great, but once again he did get a key one to KO a Horsea midgame. I still can’t stick a Judge, and after the game my friends tell me I Judged him into Professor Juniper/PlusPower.

It’s pretty close most of the game, but Tom’s relentless Blue Flares allow him to pull ahead at the end of the game. Don’t quote me on this, but I think I went 2 heads and 7 tails on Pokémon Reversals during the match, and Tom went 5 heads and 2 tails.

I was a little pissed when I lost, but not at Tom or anything; just at the fact that I lost. I can’t be too bitter though, going in I knew a lot of hands and coin flips would need to go my way, and they simply didn’t. Tom is a great and a consistent player, so after I took a walk and cleared my head I came back and cheered him on in Top 8. He ended up beating Josh, before losing to Ross in Top 4. He won the 3rd/4th playoff and wound up third, so I was thrilled for him.

Con and Alex watched the game and said they only saw one really questionable play I made and that was hitting the Reshiram with a Yanmega. This honestly meant a lot to me knowing I played the match up well and didn’t make many misplays.

Closing Thoughts

To put it simply, this format is horrible. I felt like this was the least skilled format we’ve had in a long time and that anyone could have topped Worlds this year based simply off having a good day. Most games came down to 1 of 3 things:

1. The Opening Coin Flip: In most years there has been pros and cons for going first. There has than been pros and cons for going second. This year there is literally no cons for going first and no pros for going second.

2. Pokémon Reversal Flips: I think this is such a huge issue for several reasons. First, a turn 2 Yanmega Prime, along with a Pokémon Reversal flip can be game ending. Second, sure we’ve had Pokémon Reversal in other formats and they been fine (2004), but never before has a player been allowed to play 8 of them (Junk Arm). This makes drawing into them and hitting them so much easier.

3. Set Up: A lot of games at Worlds were very one sided, one player set up and the other never got anything going. I know this happens all time and in other formats but I don’t think we’ve had it to this degree in a while. I just don’t feel like we have a enough “good Supporters” in this format. We really need a Steven’s Advice, or Celio’s Network type of cards.

Thanks

I could do an entire page on people I really need to thank for this but for a very, very short list.

My brother: Thank you so much for testing with me for all those long hours and late nights.

Con, Gino, and Alex: You guys are such amazing players, that have helped me out so much.

Kason Day: Thank you for always being a sounding board and helping me with crazy ideas.

Sam Liggett: Thank you for all the help this season, you are such a good player I really hope you get your turn in the spotlight and Nationals or Worlds, you really do deserve it.

And to all of the other people I’m forgetting, there is way to many of you to thank.


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