Holding out for a Cleffa (til the end of the night)

vampirepumpkin.deviantart.comWell, this was it. After 4 Battle Roads, including two 3rd place finishes, I was finally at the end of the road (get it?). I didn’t know if I could make this one but luckily it was right next to where my girlfriend goes to university and, as I was visiting her this weekend, it made sense to pop on over. I’ve been here a few times before, most recently taking 3rd at Cities in January, and there are a lot of good people so I’m feeling pretty good. I’m also hot off a 4-1 run which got me a 3rd place Victory Cup, missing out on 1st on resistance, with my only loss coming from a misplay in sudden death.

As this is the UK we’re playing best-of-3 in Swiss with 45 minute time limits. We’re playing 4 rounds with a top 2 which, as is generally the case, ended up with 2 people going 3-0 and playing each other in the final round of swiss…. and then playing again the final. Was I one of them? Let’s see……

Round 1: Alexandra (Reshiphlosion) (Finished 1-3)

Alexandra is a girl I’ve played on previous visits to Blackpool who always played special condition decks before which caused me no end of trouble. This time it seems she’s playing Reshiphlosion which I’m happy about as, in theory, this should be a nice start to the tournament.

Game 1

I go first and start off by mulliganing. Three times!! This gave her a huge advantage in terms of having a starting hand (effectively) of 11. I do manage to get a T3 Magnezone though and am able to Catcher her only Typhlosion and KO it. I was then able to kill a Reshiram and, even though she had a starting hand of 11, she still drew very badly and T5 I was able to kill her third and final Pokémon (a Vulpix if I remember) to win the game.

Game 2

Junk Armpokebeach.comThis game I start with absolutely nothing. I am forced to communicate for a Cleffa and burn an energy to retreat my lone Tepig and Eeeeeeek. T2 I was able to get a Magnemite down and T3 he becomes a Magnezone, though without enough energy to really do anything of note. Because of my slow start I had been burning Junk Arms too fast and started to really run low on energy. I was ahead by 4 Prizes to 2 but I was then stuck without enough energy to attack.

I needed either one more L Energy or one more Junk Arm (to reuse my Energy Retrieval and get the 2 energy from my discard pile) in order to take any more prizes but a check of my deck (from a Collector if I remember correctly) showed me that these were the last 2 Prizes.

I, in theory, had enough energy to win this game, but I needed the L Energy or my Junk Arm and with both of these being my last 2 Prizes, I had no way to take any more prizes, I was forced to scoop. This was especially annoying as I was ahead in prizes and had a MUCH better set-up. Still, without the requisite energy there was nothing I could do.

Game 3

In this game I was able to go first and a T1 Collector meant I finished my opening turn with 2 Magnemites, 2 Tepigs and a Cleffa (who was Eeeeeeking). On T2 I found myself with a Magneton and a Magnezone followed on T3 but my Cleffa stayed asleep at the wrong time and, without a Switch I was unable to start attacking.

While I was doing this she had started lone Cyndaquil, and then got a T2 Quilava and a T3 Typhlosion but on my fourth turn I was able to get my Magnezone active and get the KO on her Typhlosion. With no other Pokémon for her, the match was mine.

(1-0)

Well, that was tense. I was a little disappointed in myself (kinda like Charlie Sheen should be but never really seems to be, maybe one day he’ll learn) for not keeping track of my energy properly in Game 2 but there we have it. I could bemoan my needing one of 2 cards to win the game and both of them being my last prizes but I could have kept better track of my resources. Still, a win’s a win and it should be plain sailing from here on in…

Round 2: Darren (Magneboar) (Finished 2-2)

Darren is a lovely bloke I’ve played before, including at the cities in Blackpool where my Donphan / Machamp just edged out his Vileplume / Machamp. That was the closest I had even gotten to a competitive mirror match. Until right now. Yep, this was my first ever competitive mirror-match, having been to 18 sanctioned tournaments since I started making proper decks.

Game 1

pokebeach.comIn this game I lose the flip and start lone Magnemite with NOTHING of value. I had a Magnezone in hand so I would have been ok had I drawn one of my: Rare Candy (4), PONT (4), Collector (4), Pokégear 3.0 (1), or other Basics (10). Yep, any of 23 cards would have been fine. Needless to say I got nothing! For 3 turns!

He actually got the 3HKO on my Magnemite with a Tepig! He’d drawn as badly as me, but as he went first and started Tepig, he won. Nevermind.

Game 2

This game I started 2 basics and, although my Cleffa was prized, I started well and got myself a T3 Magnezone. By this point he only had a Tepig and Magnezone ended him!

Game 3

I thought that as his deck had been inconsistent for the last 2 games I could now get another decent start and win the match overall. Well he started Pichu and filled his bench and, as I was going second, it meant I could not evolve them straight away.

I got a good start again in this game and took out his Magneton, then his Magnemite, then his Emboar, ensuring that his deck was never able to actually get going properly while I Catchered up some nice prizes.

While I was doing all this he was stuck getting 2HKOs with his Reshirams (which I was ignoring to make sure his oppressive Stage 2s were kept in check). I was winning by 5 Prizes to 3, with a considerably better board, and Darren had told me himself that he did not see any way he could win this game. Then it happened.

I knew that I needed 3 more energy to get the final KO for the victory and I knew that, although I was out of Catchers and Junk Arms for easy KOs, I had exactly 3 energy left with which to get my final KO. At this point I ran through my entire deck. I needed one more energy to win. I had 1 Prize remaining. No prizes for guessing what my final prize was…

(1-1)

Gutted doesn’t cover it. The second match in a row where I lose a game because my final prize was the one thing I needed. The slow start in Game 1 also cost me. I believe my list was slightly more consistent and I feel I should have won that game but, this is what happens when you get complacent. This bad prizes / not tracking resources was starting to become an uncomfortable theme!

Round 3: Charles (Mew Box) (Finished 3-1 – 2nd)

Now if anyone’s been following my progress throughout my reports you’ll know that I like Mew Box about as much as Kiera Knightly likes cake and it accounted for 50% of my losses in the first 3 Battle Roads this season. This time, as well as being against Mew Box, I was also playing Charles. A man I have played 4 times competitively and never beaten. Not a good combination methinks. I had also been paired up here, as Charles was 2-0. Yep, paired up against the one deck I couldn’t beat. Cheers for that!

Game 1

pokebeach.com

I went 1st in this game and I was able to get a T2 Magnezone (using Rare Candy, meaning there was still a second to get gotten using Magneton, under Trainer lock). Unfortunately he got as T2 Vileplume, piling on the pressure pretty darn quickly.

I decided to rush this as much as I could and stick to my rule of only using 1 Emboar and ensuring that it always 4 energy on it, allowing it to retreat or attack when “Sludge Dragged,” which it clearly will be. This went very, very well. I was able to take a number of early prizes using Magnezone and Reshiram (using “Outrage”), getting lucky on confusion flips but also playing very well and judging nicely when to burn energy retreating and when to risk it on a confusion flip.

During this time he starting building a Jirachi on the bench and it became obvious that he was planning on sniping with Yanmega until such a time as he could Devolve all my Stage 2s. I could see this coming but under trainer-lock, using the deck I was, there was nothing I could do about it.

Through good play I was able to take 5 Prizes in the time he was able to take only a single prize. At this time he pulled a rather nice play (which again I saw coming but when trainer-locked it is far easier to bring these things out unopposed) by which he got his Smoochum and, two turns in a row, was able to use “Energy Antics” to move the L Energy from my Magnezone, only for me to hit tails on confusion and not be able to attack. Annoying as one heads would have been a win for me!

I knew there was then only one L Energy left in my deck and, as I was not able to find it, I had to draw and pass for several turns, giving him the time he needed to get his Jirachi all fired up. He used Jirachi to devolve (and KO) both my Magnezone and my Emboar, bringing him up to 5-4 in prizes. At this point the only real attacking threat I had was a Reshiram but he did not have the requisite energy to attack and I knew I could not win.

Annoying as his Smoochum thwarted my 6th prize, especially as two turns in a row I missed a vital flip but then again, he did play very well and it was a good play! It’s just annoying to take it so close in a game which should have been an auto-loss.

Game 2

Having said that, I was always prepared (nay, expecting) to lose the first game. My best chance against Mew Box is to lose a long first game, get ahead in prizes (having taken 4 or more) in Game 2 and then win sudden death. Not a fool-proof plan but it’s the best I have!

As I lost I was going first and was able to get a T2 Magnezone which led to 2 quick prizes. He was then able to Twins for Vileplume, but not before I had 2 Magnezones and an Emboar on the board. He then, as I knew he would, used “Sludge Drag” to get Emboar active.

Mukpokebeach.comI had 4 Energy on Emboar and two benched Magnezones with an L Energy on each so this put me in a fairly good position. I could have retreated the Emboar and gotten a prize but the inevitable second Sludge Drag on Emboar may have left me unable to get another 4 energy in time (there was enough in my deck but I would need to find it the next turn to take 4 Prizes and this was unlikely).

So it came down to a flip. Emboar was confused. Heads and I got my 3rd prize with no way of not getting my 4th prize the following turn. If he attacks the Emboar I retreat and attack with Magnezone, if he Sludge Drags Magnezone I can retreat him and he will have a Mew active that can be KO’d by Emboar. Tails.

(1-2)

So, I needed to take 4 Prizes and while I was ahead in prizes 3-1 this didn’t matter as, with not having more than 50% of my prizes taken the game didn’t count and, as the winner of the first game, Charles won the match. I had a decent shot in Sudden Death but, alas, this was a moot point.

This was actually very encouraging though. Mew Box is supposed to be an auto-loss and not only did I take the second game down to a coin flip but I got down to 1 Prize in the first game, losing to an exceptional Jirachi play. If you’ve ever played Magneboar against a good Mew Box player with a good list, you’ll understand.

Round 4: Alec (Gothitelle) (Finished 1-3)

Alec was a guy I’d never met before but he was a lovely chap; friendly, funny and honest and we had a really enjoyable game. I needed to win this to ensure that I didn’t end up with a negative record and, knowing he was playing Gothitelle, I had hope.

Game 1

I went second but I was able to Rare Candy into a T2 Magnezone. I was short on energy at this point so I had to wait a little but within a few turns I had 2 Magnezones and an Emboar and could get to work. I took out 2 Gothitelles and then started using Catcher to pick up some easy prizes from Solosis and Cleffa, ensuring that I was not going to run out of energy to Lost Burn.

pokebeach.comAt this point I was 5-1 ahead in prizes and the lock was broken as he was out of Gothitelles. I had also been conservative with my energy, ensuring that there was plenty left to finish the game with. Then something very bad happened. He Catchered my Emboar. This is fine, this happens every game. Unfortunately my last prize was my second Switch. With my deck about to run out and no way to get Emboar out of the active or get a kill, I was forced to concede, even though I was 5-1 up in prizes!

I don’t like to moan about luck (heck, I wrote an article that basically said stop crying about bad luck!) but this was the third game today where I had lost due to my last prize being the one thing I need to win. Oddly it had also never happened before with this deck. Saying that though, you could make a good argument here that I should have kept better track of my resources.

Game 2

This game was beautiful. I went first, got myself a turn 2 Magnezone and was able to completely rip his setup apart before he could get going. He got two Gothitelles using Twins but both of them lasted only one turn before being taken down. For the rest of the game I ensured that I conserved my resources, took easy prizes, kept Switches in hand and ran through his deck in about 10 minutes. He did seem to use a LOT of Twins though. He used 4 in a row starting when I took my prize. This is a theme that would continue.

I would also like to mention that half-way through one particularly long turn I had forgotten whether I had attached an energy. As I was musing he very honestly pointed out that I had not, which led to a game-changing KO. I would have been able to follow the game back and discover that I hadn’t attached (as I then did in my head) but the honestly was really heartening J

Game 3

Although I went 2nd, for the third time this match I was able to find a T2 Magnezone and, as I was able to get set up quickly, I took out his first Gothitelle using Catcher before he had enough energy on it. I was then able to take out a Gothita, drastically reducing the chances he could get anything going. He was again using Twins EVERY turn, but I was reducing his setup to the point that it didn’t matter.

He used Catcher to drag a Tepig up and I let him get the 3HKO with Zekrom as time was being called before using Catcher to kill on more Solosis to be ahead 3-1 on prizes when time was called.

(2-2)(6th)

Respect.

Well, that was nerve-wracking! I almost went 1-3 but I pulled it back to a respectable 2-2. Well, a more respectable 2-2. This was disappointing, given my 4-1 in Cardiff, but it could have been a lot worse.

At the end of the tournament Charles was beaten in the 3-0 playoff by a gentleman with Zekrom, who then went on to win the tournament, highlighting the pointlessness of the top cut. Nevermind. At 2-2 I had a chance to sneak into 4th place and get 2 boosters, but 2 of the other 2-2s had a bye so there was no chance.

I DID get a Full Art Tornadus in my only booster though, so I don’t think I can complain. My girlfriend and I stayed behind to watch the final and to help clear up and I can confidently say that a thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all.

I did seem to have a lot of bad luck with prizes (3 games and 1 match being thrown away) but then again, each of them could probably have been prevented through proper resource management. I was tired and this was my 5th Battle Road and blah blah blah but it really feels like I didn’t play well this day.

Having said that, my two losses were my auto-loss (which I took to a coin flip) and a game I threw away because of poor resource management. This was very encouraging for my deck. Very encouraging indeed. Unfortunately, it didn’t do me much good at 2-2!

Part 2: Magneboar 2: The Rise of Floink

I wasn’t supposed to go to this Battle Road. I had been greatly looking forward to Ripley, Beeston, Sutton Coldfield and Cardiff. I was hoping I could make Blackpool and was chuffed when I could. I only found out about Sheffield the previous Sunday and, to be honest, I was a little tired of playing a mentally exhausting deck week after week in proper tournaments. I was having fun, I just needed a little break.

Then my girlfriend suggested we go down as she wanted to do some trading and was friends with all the people in Sheffield (well, at the shop, not literally everyone in Sheffield) so I figured, why not? It’s not like we had anything else to do that day.

With it being late in the season and with the European Cup in Prague the following weekend attendance was a little down but we had 10 Masters and were playing 4 rounds of best of 3 (40 minutes) with no top cut. Sweet, all I need to do is go 4-0 then…

Round 1: Clayton (Zekrom / Tornadus / Thunderus / Magnezone) (Finished 2-2)

Clayton is a guy I hadn’t met before but he was a lovely guy who was a joy to play. He didn’t get to many tournaments, living far from any leagues, but he made the trip down and was excited to be playing. He was playing a deck that seemed a little random but he played it well and knew what he was doing.

Game 1

pokebeach.comWell, he’s playing a Zekrom variant so I lose the flip and, seeing a Zekrom, I start worrying just a little. I don’t mind playing Zekrom… when I get going! They can often rip the setup of a slower deck like mine apart before I even get going.

Luckily I get a pretty good start and, with a few basics out, I have everything needed for a T3 Magnezone, which should then allow me to sweep through his lower HP Pokémon while he 2HKOs me. But nope, he drops a judge. I draw pretty badly.

At this point he had Zekrom and Tornadus rolling and a LOT of Catcher. He was struggling to get energy out but by dropping the Judge and disrupting my setup he bought himself a few turns to get energy on the field and really get going.

Luckily, when 3 Prizes down, I am able to use Pokégear to grab my Twins which gets me a Magnezone, an Emboar and a Catcher, which I use to take out his Zekrom with the majority of his energy on, putting me 2 Prizes down but with a much better setup. I continue to use Catcher to take easy prizes, focussing on his Magneton and everything with energy attached and am able to win by 2 Prizes as he is unable to 1HKO me or KO much of anything without a Magnezone for draw-power or any significant energy on the field.

Game 2

This game has kind of the opposite start to the first. Instead of opening with a great hand I open with a rubbish hand! Then he drops a Judge (his start apparently being just as good as mine) and gives me everything needed for a T3 Magnezone. I was low on energy, but so was he and after letting him take the first prize to activate my Twins I was able to grab a L Energy and a Catcher and run through his deck quite nicely using Catcher and Magnezone, ensuring that he never got a Magnezone out or any energy.

(1-0)

Well that a nice start. A very enjoyable game against a lovely chap and both a good comeback in Game 1 and a reminder of how devastating this deck can be when it sets up in Game 2. At this point I’m hoping to avoid Mike (Zekrom) and Dan (Reshiboar) until at least round 3.

Round 2: Mike (Zekrom) (Finished 3-1: 4th)

Mike is a guy I have been getting to know a little this Battle Road season. He was at Beeston, though I did not meet him there, then I met him at Cardiff before hanging out with him at Blackpool. He was the only person here today I really knew too well so we were hanging around between rounds and before the tournament. I didn’t want to play him, especially so early, especially as I don’t like Zekrom.

Game 1

pokebeach.comWell, it’s a Zekrom variant so I go second. This is the fifth time this Battle Road season I have a faced a Zekrom deck and the fifth time I have lost the flip. Ironically against the one deck in the format where you really don’t want to lose the flip!

So I do have to go second but I open GOD. I have both a collector and a Twins in my hand while opening with a Cleffa and a Reshiram. Hoping to go first I put the Cleffa active (due to Reshiram’s CC Retreat Cost) but alas I lose the flip and a DCE and a PlusPower on his active Zekrom means I go behind as early as T1.

On my turn I Collector for the usual 2 Magnemites and a Tepig with Reshiram active and pass, hoping that he doesn’t have a Catcher. He doesn’t and isn’t able to get a KO on his turn. On my turns I Twins for the Rare Candy and Magnezone and get pretty much completely setup while being only a single prize down.

I’m able to take out his Zekrom (with all his energy on it) and when he tried to stall with Cleffa he hit heads of sleep, waking up and giving me an easy prize. I Catchered and killed another Zekrom and, with no way back, Mike conceded the first game.

Game 2

Well, this was bad. I start lone Tepig and am forced to go second. On his turn he has a DCE and PlusPower to do 30 to my Tepig, leaving it on 30 HP as me only Pokémon out. On my turn I cannot get another basic out so I pass, hoping he doesn’t have the PlusPower (or Junk Arm) needed to “Outrage” for the win. He does.

Game 3

Well, at least I get to go first this time! My start was ok, not too stellar but I managed to stall with Reshiram, losing only 1 Prize to a Catcher before I was able to get a Magnezone online and even the score with a KO on Zekrom. My Reshiram has previously been hit for 20 by Zekrom and though I was not able to attack with Magnezone (only one energy on him) I had previously put 2 energy on my Reshiram (just in case) so I was able to Switch to Reshiram and Catcher a Shaymin for an easy “Outrage” prize.

He stalled with Cleffa at this point but hit heads on sleep, gifting another easy Reshiram prize. I was then able to use “Blue Flare” to take out a Tornadus, officially making this the most useful Reshiram had ever been for me in this deck, ironically during the tournament in which I had cut from 2 down to just the 1.

Time was called when I was 4-2 up in prizes and seeing no way to win Mike conceded the match.

(2-0)

I felt a little mean about this because Mike is quickly becoming one of my favorite people to play due to how fun and relaxed our games are. I felt good pulling off a difficult win and knew that he was likely to put my resistance up but I did feel a bit mean because I don’t like beating people I like! At the end of the day though, any win against Zekrom is always welcome.

Round 3: Tom (Gothitelle) (Finished 3-1: 2nd)

Tom is another guy I hadn’t met before but he was again a very lovely, friendly and relaxed guy. He said he hadn’t been a tournament for about 2 years (again, due to the distance he lived from any leagues) but he certainly knew what he was doing. When I saw he was playing Gothitelle I was happy. I thought this might be easy. Yeah, try again!

Game 1

Now, as detailed in my last (double) report, my tactics with Gothitelle have changed and now I just sit and wait, get set up and then sweep. It works. Here though it wasn’t needed. I won the flip and on T2 I had a Magnezone rolling and was able to get a kill on a Gothita. The next turn I took out a Gothitelle and after 3 turns there was clearly no way back for Tom and he scooped.

This left it open for me to either win Game 2 or just play out a long game and then take Game 3, either in sudden death or by taking quick prizes and then just waiting for time to be called while I was ahead.

Game 2

This game I go second and I stick to my game plan. I take it nice and easy and get both a Magnezone and Emboar going. I take out a couple Gothitelle and 2 other prizes with Magnezone and am coasting along nicely.

He then gets out his final Gothitelle, out it active to block my trainers and uses Catcher to drag my Emboar active. At this point he then proceeds to draw pass, while forcing me to do the same as my Emboar is stuck active. I see what he’s doing here but I am fully prepared for this and just draw while I wait for the right things to come out of my deck, having used a Collector to check my deck and ensure that everything I needed was in my deck. It was.

He seemed to be getting happier and happier as I was drawing more and more cards then, right as I drew the final card in my deck, I attached 3 Fire and 1 L Energy to Emboar, retreated for Magnezone (knowing I had a Fisherman to get all the energy back), used a PONT to put a LOT of cards back in my deck and took out his final Gothitelle.

I was then down to 1 Prize and had full use of my Trainers again. Then something bad happened. He used Catcher to bring my Emboar active and stuck out a high HP Zekrom as his active. My second Switch was prized. It was my last prize. Just like my game the previous day in Blackpool.

I had no way to take any more prizes as retreating Emboar again would give me too little energy and he put a Zekrom active, meaning it couldn’t be killed before he got the KO and then I would be unable to recover the energy from the dead Emboar, still giving me no way to attack.

I had to concede at this point. I knew what he was doing (it’s what people do against Magneboar) and I was fully prepared but unfortunately with my Switch being prized and me, one could say foolishly, using all of my Junk Arms previously, I had no way back. Annoying, but we had very little time for Game 3. And I was playing the better short-game deck AND was going first.

Game 3

pokebeach.comIn this game I went first and got a T2 Magnezone. I starting putting energy out but, knowing he was clearly going to try and stall Emboar active, I didn’t bother evolving my Tepigs (though I had 3 out as insurance). On T4 I had energy sufficient to take down Gothitelle, knowing that I would be able to get a KO the following turn, seeing what was on his bench.

He did catch a Tepig and KO it but this still left me ahead 2-1. He then tried to buy time with Catcher while using Gothitelle, hoping to get the final KOs right on time to win with me unable to get any beforehand. What I did here was put one L Energy on each Magnezone. I then put a third energy on Tepig and kept energy in hand. This meant that there was absolutely no permutation in which he could stall me out.

It took a few turns to get the requisite energy down but then he was stuck in a position whereby he was unable to take a prize more substantial than a Tepig and whatever he did his Gothitelle would be KO’d by Magnezone the following turn.

I killed the Gothitelle as planned at which point he was out of options and behind by 2 Prizes after time had been called and I was able to eke out a rather difficult victory.

(3-0)

Well, that was tense. That was the 4th Gothitelle matchup I’d faced this BR season and my 4th victory, but this was (though my good friend Tommy Roberts almost decked me out with a Snivy in Cardiff!) the most difficult as his deck clearly was designed to stall far better than most. Luckily I am well tested against Gothitelle and was able to keep my cool and make sure I could get the W.

This put me in the top 2, as there were only 2-of us who were 3-0 and my resistance at this point was crazy good. Seeing the standing before Game 3 I knew I would be getting a Championship Point and a shiny piece of cardboard I didn’t already have (being that I have two 3rd place ones) but the question was, could I win it…….?

Round 4: Dan (Reshiboar) (Finished 3-1: 3rd)

Dan is a guy I’d met before. He broke my heart. When I first made my Stage 1 deck right after rotation (before everyone jumped on the bandwagon!) I won about 30 games in a row, against all the top decks and many good players. Then I played Dan. He beat me. Then my Stage 1 deck went all downhill. He was playing Reshiboar then and he was still playing it now.

What was awesome is that for the 4th time today I was playing a really nice guy and had a really relaxed game. At this point it occurred to me that everyone I played today was nice, relaxed and up for a laugh. This made it one of my favorite tournaments for a while.

Game 1

pokebeach.comWell, it’s looking like I can’t! I start lone Magnemite with no Supporters and no Pokégear. I ended up lasting 7 turns because I drew into a few basics, but he got Reshirams from the start and a quick Emboar and just ran through my deck. It wasn’t even close. I didn’t even evolve!

I never did see a Supporter either.

Game 2

Well, this was little better! I start Magnemite and Tepig but again I draw no Supporters. Nothing. In this game I draw 8-of my 15 energy and 3-of my 4 Rare Candy before I see any of my 11 Supporters! At one point my hand is literally just 2 Rare Candy, then I topdeck a Junk Arm, then another Rare Candy.

Luckily he also gets a very slow start and I sacrifice 2 basics while I attach energy to the rest and desperately try and get setup. I finally got a Magnezone going at this point but as the Magnemite had previously been hit by “Outrage” it was quickly KO’d with “Blue Flare” the following turn.

Having the Magnezone for 2 turns had been enough though and at that point I was able to build 2 more Magnezones and an Emboar in one turn and it became a race against time; could I take 6 Prizes before he took another 3? Luckily this had been helped as all I had drawn previously was energy, meaning I had a LOT of energy in play to help me on my way.

At this point I thought back to what I seen so far in this game and previous game and it struck me that he didn’t seem to using either Catcher or PlusPower (a fact I confirmed after the game). This, if true, would mean that if I could take 1HKOs for the rest of the game while denying him at least one 2HKO, I could sneak out with a win.

To the end I made sure that I got a KO every turn, including Catchering babies and taking out his Emboar as soon as it hit the field (he had struggled to get one going in this game). I made sure to Switch out any Magnezones before they were in range of a “Blue Flare” and popped my Reshiram up to absorb a hit without dying and was able to take the Game 6-2 with very little time left.

This was good. I had been working tirelessly on the consistency of my deck and, after having two bad starts in a row, he couldn’t possibly stall again.

Game 3

pokebeach.comOh yes he can! I start with 2 Tepigs and I literally have nothing useful; no Supporters or Communication or anything. One again I was forced to sacrifice basics to help me get set up but after a few turns I was at least able to get a Twins and, having previously benched a Magnemite, I was at least able to get a Magnezone going but with the poorness of my start I didn’t have enough energy to attack and had to sacrifice another Magnemite to buy enough time to start.

Once again I was 3 Prizes down before I got anything going and with time running out it was going to be a real challenge to take 4 Prizes AND not allow him to take one before time is called. Luckily I know he doesn’t run Catcher or PlusPower and I have big HP Pokémon so if I play smart and, more importantly, fast, I can do it.

In this game he was again slow to get an Emboar out and as soon as he did I was in a position to Catcher and kill it. He used Cleffa to try and stall but it woke up and gifted me a free prize. I managed to take 3 Prizes but on the final turn of time, with us tied 3-3, his Elekid stayed asleep and, using a Pokémon Collector to look through my deck, I found out that I was out of Catchers and Junk Arms.

This Elekid had put 20 damage on my Magnezone and he may not have had an Emboar but he did have a Reshiram with 3 energy on it ready to Blue Flare. I used Switch to swap my Magnezones around and ensure that he could not get a KO next turn.

As time had expired and there was no winner we kept going until someone got a KO and won. Yep, next KO wins the Battle Road. On his turn he again used Elekid, this time to do 20 damage to my other Magnezone and fell asleep. This was dodgy here! Both my Magnezones were in Blue Flare range now and, although my Emboar wasn’t, he had a huge Retreat Cost that I could pay with neither energy nor Switch. Basically, if Elekid woke up, I won. If not, he won. He flipped for sleep. Heads.

(4-0) (1st)

Here’s how I felt:

Well, I finally did it. It took me 6 tries but I finally won a Battle Road. It kept up my record of getting a Victory Cup in 50% of my tournaments and got me 2 Championship Points for good measure. I was probably more chuffed that I got a Victory Cup that wasn’t another third place!

Now I don’t think the Championship Points will make a huge difference come the end of the season because, well, it’s two! I’m not vain enough to think I’m actually gonna qualify for Worlds and if I do, I imagine these 2 points won’t break it. None of this matters though, I’m just chuffed to bits to have some Championship Points.

Battle Roads Wrap Up

comedycentral.comOk, I know I’ve said this before but I really am not going to any more Battle Roads. There aren’t any more in the UK though so you can believe me this time. I started with a decent 3rd place showing with Stage 1s before switching to Magneboar, failing horribly at my first try with the deck but then bringing it back to nab a 3rd place and a win.

I would advise anyone reading this think about the deck you use and how successful you are really likely to be with it. I could have had a decent BR showing with Stage 1s. I wouldn’t have done as well. It was a hard choice to leave it alone and change after the first BR but I am so glad that I did. I gave up a deck I love but it was worth it in the end. Plus, it’s not given up, it’s still sleeved and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Controversially, I am also going to advocate here changing your deck before a tournament and using it as a testing ground. Not for something like Regional’s or States, this would be silly. But for a Battle Road, sure. It sucked going 2-3 BUT I learned a LOT about my deck that game. I made a lot of changes since and it was doing so poorly and being forced into playing my games out (what with it being a tournament) that really showed me how to play the deck.

So, let’s do some stats shall we:

  • Battle Roads attended: 6
  • Total games played: 26
  • Wins: 17 (65%) (~2/3)
  • Losses: 9 (35%) (~1/3)
  • Best finish: 4-0 (1st)
  • Worst finish: 2-3 (15th)
  • Championship Points: 2
  • UK Ranking: 8th (Cardiff BR (4-1, 3rd) not yet added)

Cheers for anyone that’s been reading my reports. Hopefully they’ve been enjoyable and if you want to read them all just click on my name at the top of this article and you’ll find links to the lot of them. I’m officially not going to the Prague Cup now but we have our first State Championship in the UK on Saturday 19th November. It’s at my local league and all my mates are going. Luckily, I’ve been booked in for weeks! Hopefully I’ll see ya there but if not, I’ll let ya know how I do.

Wish me luck.

Edit: Snuck a look at the list for States on Saturday. 6 of the 7 UK Worlds players from last year plus about every good UK player. Gulp.

Reader Interactions

27 replies

  1. Oliver Barnett

    Not bad, man. Although you have to wonder how many people actually do play MagneBoar properly

      • Dakota Streck  → theo

        Yeah, Reshiram, Magnezone and Emboar put together already give you solid match ups vs a ton of different decks, but if you try to tech too much for the weaker ones, the deck just falls apart.

      • Ross Gilbert  → theo

        It’s the reason i did so badly at my first BR with it! It is soooo hard to do it right though. Running 2 Stage 2s with lots of energy and the inevitability of falling behind, coupled with facing decks that expect you to take the lead, it’s tough.

        The worst thing is resources though. Aggro magnezone is the best way to take out whatever you like but it’s soooo easy to run out of energy. Not to mention the inevitable catchering of Emboar constantly.

        I made Zekrom last night and played out a few games. Good god it’s a different beast!
        (By which i mean it sets up nice and quick and wins so many games before they even start!)

  2. Dan W

    Ha! Floink! I remember that you playing that lil’ guy at a BR!
    What a legend.

    • Ross Gilbert  → Dan

      Good god i love Floink! I deliberately put that in for people who may remember from the BRs ;)

      Of course i only ever refer to him as Floink and it ALWAYS gets a funny response when i “Bench Floink” for the first time :D

  3. David Wiken

    Nice article, but I don’t like how you consider Stage 1-decks to be dead… I just won Regionals with my own personal variant, and I played A LOT of different decks. I guess I would agree that the good old MegaZorD isn’t the correct play, but if you decide on the correct combination of Evolutions, your Stage 1-deck can become pretty deadly – especially in a diverse metagame :) I would argue that my deck didn’t have a single autoloss, unlike other decks like Magneboar, Gothitelle, Tyram etc. IMO, that’s what’s most compelling about the Stage 1 variants :) 

    • Ross Gilbert  → David

      Sweet! Congrats on Regionals, what did you run?

      Do bear in mind that i play in the UK so everything i write will always be slightly skewed towards the UK metagame, where Stage 1s have done nothing.

      I do see your point though. I was referring more to the earlier builds, such as megazord, but i will happily concede that newer builds are still relevant!

      Cheers for the reading the article and commenting, i am not afraid of being wrong, so long as we can get some good discussion out of it ;)

      • David Wiken  → Ross

        Thanks, man – I had a blast :) You’ll have to excuse me not letting the deck out, seeing as I prefer for people to be unprepared for my excact Stage 1-combination. It’s nothin too fancy really, just haven’t seen it around before;)

        As for Stage 1’s in general, I believe that deck-type might be facing some difficulties, as it boast no great way to deal with Kyurem. (Scizor anyone?) It seems almost impossible to tech against both Tyram and Kyurem, rendering a deck based on tackling pretty much any matchup, like Stage 1’s, in a really bad spot. 

  4. Daniel Middleton

    “..6 of the 7 UK Worlds players from last year plus about every good UK player.”
    Does this mean that at least one of the Sekkoum brothers are coming?

  5. Thomas Trueman

    Great report Ross, once again congrats on the win.
    Tom

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