I posted my last Battle Roads report here and thought it might be fun to do a little series as I go through the Battle Roads in the UK this Autumn. I will be going to at least 4 Battle Roads in total (possibly 5 but the last one’s still in the pipeline) and I thought it might be fun to just write up and post reports so that people can read it like an ongoing story of my trip through Battle Roads and my thoughts about particular decks.
This site has also been a teency bit quiet recently so I thought it might be good to post these. Regardless of how well I do I have been told that my reports are fairly entertaining and I know they’re quite detailed so hopefully they will entertain or at least give some information regarding playing and unleash some tips or ideas as you read through the important plays of my games.
I write these reports for myself anyway (love reading ones from a year ago, imagine how fun it will be to read in 10 years!!) so I’m not losing anything by submitting them. Let me know if you wanna keep reading or whether they belong solely for the eyes of my illustrious self!
This Battle Road was in Beeston in Nottinghamshire (UK) and as this is the UK we’re playing 45mins best of 3 in Swiss with (I believe) 22 masters giving 5 rounds of Swiss and a top 4. I was playing Magneboar, marking the first tournament in over a year that I had taken a deck that did not include Donphan!
Round 1: Jak Stewart-Armstead (Yanmega / Lanturn / Zekrom)
en.wikipedia.orgJak is a guy I met at Nationals where he made my day by referring to me as a “Deck Builder.” I hope that I didn’t disappoint him by playing Magneboar (though I should point out it was my, entirely original, list and not taken from anyone else). It was however a tough start to the day as he has been to Worlds the last 4 years. Ok 3 of them were as a Senior but even so…..
This was, thankfully, one of the best games of Pokémon I have ever played. Not only were they well-played competitive games, but large amounts of talking, laughter and good old-fashioned banter could be heard throughout, though I did have to restrain myself when he intimated that Happiny could “take” Mamoswine. I will put in public here that this is not true! Oh, and for people that don’t know, Jak is Baby Mario on here and the gym.
I mulligan at the beginning of this game and know that I need a decent start to make up for giving him an extra card. So I win the flip and, with no than a little trepidation etched on his face, he flips over…. lone Cleffa. I let him stew for a minute before telling him it’s ok, I can’t donk him.
I get a good bench going and make an alright start, able to Twins for 3 turns in a row after he gets the early kill on my Cleffa. I get a Magnezone set up and we start trading kills. After around 3 kills each I have an excellent setup and his, by comparison, is not nearly as good.
At this point he uses Eeeeeek with Cleffa, who proceeds to stay asleep for 4 turns (for each of us!) but then wake up on his turn. During this time he was able to rescue his setup while I couldn’t find my lone Catcher and by the time he wakes up Jak is able is to get a KO and smile at his rather magnificent setup.
pokebeach.comFrom this point on I am always 1 Prize behind (I lost my chance to jump in front of the prize race when he stalled with Cleffa) and am unable to get a Bad Boar or Reshiram rolling, leaving me seriously worried about the amount of energy in the Lost Zone, even though the majority of kills I can get for 2 energy (including a lovely kill on a Chinchou with Catcher before he can cause me a problem).
Late game, with 2 Prizes left each, he uses a Catcher to grab my Emboar active and, realising I have used my only Switch and both my Junk Arms and cannot get enough energy to retreat him I start worrying. Then I realise I will deck out first and decide to scoop if he starts using Yanmega’s “Linear Attack.” He starts using Sonic Boom though and, after the 3HKO, I see a way to win.
I can get KOs for 2 turns in a row with Magnezone quite nicely, having an Emboar on my bench (with enough energy attached to retreat). The only other Pokémon I have in play is a Magnezone with enough energy to attack so there will be no Pokémon Catcher / stalling shenanigans here.
Unfortunately, I take my prize (leaving it at 1-1) and he is able to drop a double PlusPower on Zekrom to KO my Magnezone for the win. I would bemoan the luck but, to be honest, that was clearly planned and a hell of a play.
Unfortunately I was so set on the win I started playing out my next turn until I was reminded that I had already lost. It occurs to me writing this now that I REALLY should have scooped earlier in this game (when Emboar was Catchered). You’ll see why in a minute.
At this point I am very aware that I need to take 4 Prizes and be in the lead in order to win the game and force sudden death so I decide to go full aggro Magnezone. I mulligan twice (!) and start lone Magnemite to his double Zekrom start, use a Collector and the Eeeeeek with Cleffa to get a new hand. On his turn he plays a PlusPower and DCE on his Zekrom and KOs my Cleffa, just after he drops a Judge! This puts me with a useless 4 card hand (no Supporters and no way to get a Magnezone) and no Cleffa to get a new one.
pokebeach.comOn my turn I do the only thing I can and use Pokémon Catcher to grab his energy-less Zekrom in the hope of slowing him down. It worked! For the next 4 turns we both just draw and pass while I desperately wait for something to use and he waits for a way to get Zekrom powered up or out of the active. During this time I realise Bad Boar (my plan for quick aggressive prizes with no thought of the late game) is prized and so it’s me and Magnezone against the world.
I take 2 quick prizes to his one (the Cleffa) with Magnezone, at which point he uses Catcher to bring my Emboar active and kill it with Lanturn. I respond with another Emboar though as time is called on his turn with us 2-2 at prizes. I have everything needed to take 2 Prizes in the next 2 turns and as he has only one turn left to take a prize I think I’m home and dry.
And then he Eeeeeeks! Cleffa doesn’t wake up. With my Catcher gone and no Junk Arm to re-use it I am unable to get around Cleffa and though I take a prize on my final turn to put me 3-2 up it’s irrelevant as I haven’t taken 4 Prizes.
I am well aware that his Yanmegas and Zekroms would’ve given him a HUGE advantage in sudden death and almost certainly led to his victory anyway but this was still a sad way to go down.
What I should have done? Nothing I really could have done here I’m afraid. I played fast and I played well I just didn’t have enough time to take enough prizes. I can’t moan about Jak’s playing because not only did he play quite fast but he also encouraged me, telling me he had faith I could take 4 Prizes in time! I should have scooped earlier and I should have had more outs for baby stalling but this is how we learn.
Still, losing round 1 in a very close fashion to someone who has been to Worlds for the past 4 years isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world. If nothing else it should do my resistance the world of good.
Round 2: Bye
For the record, I was not in favor of this. Now I got conflicting reports about whether a bye gives you perfect or 0 resistance but either way, I wanted to play! I had to sit for an hour and do….. nothing.
On the upside I went to get a newspaper and got a free Lego Star Destroyer so, you know, could be worse!
Round 3: Paul (Yanmega / Cinccino / Zoroark / Zekrom)
Paul is a Pokédad I had never met before who is new the game but was a friendly chap and (with one exception, as will become clear) we had a really nice game that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I start with a lone Magnemite, just as soon as I mulligan to give him an extra card. I go first and bench some basics before getting a T3 Magnezone. His start is ok but not as fast as mine and I am further buoyed when I am able to Catcher up a Lanturn and KO it before it can be a threat to my Emboars. When I’m up by 2 Prizes to 1 he uses Yanmega to hit my Magnezone for 70. I then retreat to Emboar and we encounter what I have now come to call: “The Rotom Debacle”
The Rotom Debacle
pokebeach.comHave a look at Rotom UD (hopefully there’s a pic been inserted right here). Look at the exact wording of it. It says you pick a Pokémon on the bench and it does 20 damage for every energy attached to that Pokémon. I.e. if you have 2 energy attached to the Pokémon you pick then it does 40 damage. As it does not say who the damage is done to it therefore implies that damage is done to the active.
Now I do not dispute that Rotom was always intended to do snipe and do damage to the Pokémon you pick BUT this is not what it says on the card (assuming you take a literal translation). My good friend Tommy Roberts looked up the Japanese card with translation for me and we found that the Japanese card DOES snipe.
The reason I believed it did not snipe is because when the online programme first launched I put a Rotom in a silly electric deck I made as a sniper. I then got more confused than an old person at a death metal gig when it kept doing damage to the active. But why is this even important? Let’s go back to the game to find out!
Back to Game 1
He brings up a Rotom to snipe my Magnezone (my only Magnezone at the time) for 40 (due to the 2 energy on him) putting him at 30 Health; within range to be sniped by either Rotom or by Yanmega. At this point I call the judge to appeal and argue that the damage should be done to my active Reshiram. She disagreed with me so I called the head judge who, after some “persuasion” by myself saw my point and agreed with me.
This puts my Reshiram at 40 damage and I am then able to “Outrage” for a KO on the Reshiram and then a Yanma while my Magnezone sat on the bench, safely out of Linear Attack range. From here I clean up with Magnezone and win the Game 6-2.
As a slightly sour note to end this game I later find out on the Pokégym Compendium that in fact Rotom DOES snipe and my interpretation was wrong. I am still unsure about this and will see if there’s a way to challenge the Compendium or if it was errata’d etc. I apologised profusely at the time, but if you’re reading this Paul, sorry!
pokebeach.comThis was a disaster. In this game I had the chance to use Cleffa, but decided to wait as I had Twins in hand. He then proceeded to wait a few turns and setup before taking a prize. I got an Emboar up but he had Lanturn and quickly took care of him.
At this point I was down by 2 Prizes but was finally able to get a Magnezone when Paul pulled off a very ballsy and, frankly, genius move. He used his Zoroark to copy Magnezone’s “Lost Burn,” lost-zoning 2 Special Dark and a DCE in the process. Usually a really bad idea but in this instance he immediately destroyed any hope I had of a comeback and he swept 6-0.
What I should have done: I should have Eeeeeeked! Waiting for Twins can be a genius move, but I still need to learn the subtleties of when to Eeeeeek and when to wait for the kill and Twins to be activated. It’s a difficult choice sometimes and I have got it right and wrong both ways but in this instance it could have allowed me to get more setup before he killed my Magnezone, stopping him rolling through me when he did so.
In this game I started with Magnemite and it occurred to me that this was the 5th game I had played today and yet I had not yet started with a Collector. Running 4 should give me a 40-50% chance of starting Collector and here I am without one 5 games in a row. Still, I could’ve played Pokégear 3.0 (for the record, of 9 games today I start with Collector in 1).
I had a slow start and got Twins going later than I’d like, but I got my Magnezone up and used Switch to protect him from Zekrom (though it transpired that he didn’t have the last energy to “Bolt Strike”) and was then able to kill the Zekrom and Catcher and kill a Lanturn.
Time was called here and I was able to get a KO on a Defendered-up Yanmega and when he was unable to return the KO I won on prizes.
This was more like it. A proper win, a positive record and, due to the Bye and Jak’s awesome performance, I was sitting in 4th with 2 games to go, essentially meaning that my fate was in my own hands and all I needed was 2 wins and it’s top cut here I come!!
Round 4: Ayden (Reshiphlosion)
pokebeach.comAyden is a guy I didn’t really know before. He brought my girlfriend a rather elaborate birthday present at the beginning of the day so I figured that this would justify any decision I made to dislike him. Turned out this wasn’t necessary. This game was a genuine joy to play. We talked throughout, laughed a lot and (except for my abysmal playing) I thoroughly enjoyed this game.
I lose the flip and he gets an awesome set-up, getting 2 Quilavas on T2 and 2 Typhlosions on T3. Luckily I also get an awesome setup here and get a T2 Magnezone and an Emboar follows on fairly quickly. I was however dismayed to see that he didnd’t play Ninetales and (though I later found out that he did play it) he didn’t bench a Cleffa.
I took the lead early here using “Lost Burn” with Catcher to take out a Typhlosion and a Reshiram while he picks an easy prize from the bench. I am then able to Junk Arm for a second Catcher and take out a second Typhlosion and then…. Panic!
I was winning and had a better board than him but then I panicked. I realised that to take those 3 Prizes I had Lost-Zoned 9 energy. This left only 5 in my deck, with which I had to take 3 Prizes. Now this (realistically) gave 2 win conditions. (i) I take out his third Typhlosion at which point there is a high chance of him conceding to save time for games 2 and 3 (ii) I take out his Typhlosion and eventually he decks out, unable to take enough prizes in time (so although I can’t take 6, neither can he). I later checked and he WOULD have decked out sooner.
At this point though I panicked and used Cleffa to “Eeeeeek”. I stalled for a few turns, unsure of what to do and then decided to go behind in prizes so that I could use Twins to get my Bad Boar and a Fisherman and take my last few prizes that way. Bad move! Not only did I give away my lead but in losing prizes I lose my setup and instead of using Twins to get my Bad Boar I had to use it to replenish my setup.
After a few turns (and feeling thoroughly stupid) I ask to count my opponent’s deck. I am told this is not allowed. I am allowed to count the discard, hand sized, prizes and play area but NOT the deck. So I waste a couple minutes counting the deck, his hand size, his remaining prizes and his play area, subtract from 60 and realise that he has 5 cards left in his deck.
pokebeach.comWhy does this rule exist!? It just gives people an excuse to waste time getting information that is easily obtainable! (I would like to point out that my opponent here was incredibly helpful in helping me out when counting his prizes, hand etc – cheers for that!).
So it turns out that he has 5 cards left in his deck and I have a good look at the board, go through the sums in my head and realise it will take him 5 turns to win, leaving him one turn short of decking out. Darn. At this point I conceded and went to Game 2.
I got a decent start here and got a Magnezone up nice and early while filling my bench nicely. I don’t need to go into detail about what Ayden did here because he played his deck well and I threw away the match. Here’s how:
I had a Magnezone on the bench with 2 Tepigs, one of which I evolved into Pignite. I then Used Sage’s training and grabbed an Emboar and something else, discarding a Sage’s training in the process. I had in my head that I had a Rare Candy in my hand. I didn’t. I was therefore unable to evolve the Tepig to Emboar and start ripping through his deck and instead was left without enough energy in play to do any damage. I had a bunch in my hand but without Emboar they were useless.
To add insult to this I had discarded another Sage and was left with no draw power whatsoever when he then proceeded to KO my Magnezone with the fully-powered Reshiram that I had planned to kill when I evolved into Emboar and laid down a bunch of energy. I was left to draw-pass for several turns while he ran through my deck.
What I should have done: In Game 1 I should have just played the game out and killed his third Typhlosion. He may well have conceded at that point, unaware of my energy woes, or he may well have decked out before winning had we carried on. I’ll never know. I have described how I lost Game 2 in quite some detail. I don’t want to go through it again. I can’t go back. Don’t make me go back!!
At this point it was clear that I could not make cut but had nobody to blame but myself because the first game was winnable with a bit more hindsight and the second game was thrown away with stupidity.
Round 5: Ben (Mew Box)
pokebeach.comBen is a guy from my league who I play on a weekly basis. He’s a great guy and someone I enjoy playing very much, except that in my first Battle Road I proved myself unable to beat his Mew Box with my Stage 1s. I didn’t fancy my chances with Magneboar. Still, it’s always nice to play someone from your league.
I lose the flip and go second but he has a slow start with a Mew and Sunkern and all he can do is “See Off” a Jumpluff. On my turn I set about benching basics, attach a L Energy to Magnemite and pass with a Tepig active (the most expendable of my basics). On his second turn he manages to get a Yanma and Oddish (though only 1) and is able to KO my Tepig.
This is good for me however as I get a T2 Twins, setting up a T2 Magnezone and Emboar and using a Catcher (that I grabbed via the Twins) to KO his benched Oddish. On his T3 he benches another Oddish, evolves to Yanmega and manages to hit my Magnezone for some damage.
On my T3 I am able to Junk Arm for a Catcher and kill his second Oddish, meaning one more Oddish kill will stop the lock completely and move this from a near-impossible matchup to a near auto-win!
As predicted on his T4 he gets his third Oddish out and kills my first Magnezone but I have a second one ready and on my T4 I set about using Sage’s Training and burning cards to “Magnetic Draw” for 6 and…. no Junk Arm. T5 he gets a Vileplume and it’s all downhill from here.
I start with a 3-1 Prize lead and this becomes 6-4 in his favor as, without trainers, I am unable to get much of anything going and as soon as the Magnezone dies I’m unable to get another one. Emboar makes a stand but he can’t 1HKO Yanmega so Ben is able to take a hit with Yanmega before getting the kill with Mew (using Jumpluff’s “Mass Attack”) and denying my a prize in the process.
So, that game almost showed me I can do it. Can I do it in Game 2……?
pokebeach.comI go first to his lone Oddish but with no way to do 40 T1 I start getting set-up and pass. I have a decent set-up in this game, again getting a T2 Magnezone and some early kill but he gets a T2 Sunflora leading to a T3 Vileplume and he uses Mew to “See Off” a Muk and starts “Sludge Dragging” my heavy Pokémon left right and centre.
I play it fairly well, ensuring that Pignite and Magneton sit on the bench, ready to be evolved if they get Sludge Dragged, but my hand soon gets clogged up with Trainer-items (effectively shutting off Magnetic Draw) and by this point I have lost the will to play! (Wow, dramatic much!?)
Still, I have nothing to complain about. Well actually, after this game I went to both Subway and KFC to get my girlfriend food and end up waiting in KFC for 20mins while some man swore about the service and gave me dodgy looks, but I don’t think I can blame Pokémon for that!
The Mew Box game was almost unwinnable (I literally cannot think of a worse matchup for Magneboar) but I should never have even faced Ben in the first place! I should have beaten Ayden’s Reshiphlosion and faced someone else in a play-off for top-cut so I only have myself to blame.
I have detailed above why I lost the matches I did but really it just comes down to not being familiar enough with the deck and finding some issues which did not come up in my testing. I did learn a lot about the deck though and have since made a number a changes. So…
Is Magneboar still viable?
pokebeach.comIn my last report I stated that I did not think that Stage 1s was particularly good anymore, and I stand by that. I know that some players are having some success with some lists but generally I think that deck will not lead to ultimate success. So what about Magneboar?
I think this one has a chance. I know I went 2-3 here (which, incidentally, is my first negative record in over a year! Curiously, in the first tournament in over a year in which I did not play a deck containing Donphan…) but I saw a lot of good things in this deck, though I also saw some problems.
I think it’s a very difficult deck to play with (at the risk of being controversial) more of a need for really keeping track of exactly what resources you have and have used in a game than any other deck of the moment. It’s very difficult to play and is REALLY punishing if you make mistakes.
On the other hand it is AMAZING when it works well and has an answer for anything in the format (except for Mew Box). It really is a deck that can do wonders if you play it well. I didn’t. I have another Battle Road in a week and I don’t know if I want to take Magneboar. I’ve made a number of fairly large changes to my list, to the point where the focus of the deck has shifted somewhat, and my testing in the next week will determine whether I feel confident playing it next weekend.
As for the question of whether I would recommend the deck, my answer is simple: I wouldn’t. It’s soooo hard to make a list with everything you need what with needing 2 Stage 2s AND a lot of energy and it’s slow and clunky and it’s difficult to play. These are the reasons people are shying away from it.
It IS potentially amazing, but you need to be dedicated. If you want decks that are very good and will give good results you need: Zekrom, Reshiphlosion, Ross.Dec, Gothitelle, Megazone and maybe, just maybe Stage 1s.
I like a challenge and I like using lesser-played decks, partly due to my distaste of mirror matches, so I’m going to keep going with it for a while, though maybe only at league, not tournaments as I am beginning to see why it fell off the map a little.
Sorry, was that a slightly depressing end to the report? Here’s a picture of a cute widdle kitty to cheer you up: