Once again, City Championship tournaments are underway, and we already know many of the big names that are taking down these equally big events: Magnezone; ZPST; Kyurem; Cobalion.
We know what’s been winning, but just what is the process that goes into preparing for, playing in, and learning from these events? Today, I will do my best to explain that process: by detailing my preparation for the start of the City Championship tournaments, my experiences in two recent events, and by discussing preparation ideas for the upcoming City Championship marathons.
This season, late November to early January is arguably the most important period of Organized Play. When it comes to earning an invitation to compete in the 2012 World Championships, knowing what to do, as well as how to do it, is pivotal in maximizing your chances of earning boku Championship Points.
City Championship Weekend!
pokemon-paradijs.comAfter not getting a chance to compete during week one, I was eager to play any tournament I could during the second week. Since I had two within a forty mile radius, I knew what this meant: a Pokémon weekend. Of course, any Pokémon weekend needs the right degree of planning…
What Deck to Use?
So far this season, the two types of decks I have played have been polar opposites: conservative, slow decks such as The Truth; and hyper-aggressive archetypes such as ZPST. My main problem with the former was that I could not make much of an aggressive push in my games unless I relied on Donphan Prime, and my concern with the latter was that I could potentially collapse in the late game. Heading into Cities, the one deck that could overcome its weakness via Noble Victories inclusions would be my choice.
Looking to reinvent the Ross wheel, I turned to Cobalion. With four Special Metal, attack lock through Iron Breaker, Reuniclus Damage Swap, and healing by virtue of Blissey Prime/Seeker, it is almost undoubtedly the ultimate defense. I was then reminded of one of my favorite cards from Emerging Powers: Beartic, now known as Cobalion’s crippled ice cousin.
Regardless, it offered a ton of type coverage, and so I knew what my starting point for a Cities deck was: Cobalion/Beartic (a.k.a., “Patience”).
Pokémon – 24
3 Oddish UD
3 Solosis BLW
2 Cubchoo EPO 28
Trainers – 24
4 Sage’s Training
Energy – 12
4 Double Colorless
savagechickens.comThe strategy, as alluded to earlier, is to just lock your opponent out of any and all attacks. It enjoyed excellent matchups against ZPST, Typhlosion, Gothitelle, and pretty much everything in the old metagame (except for Yanmega/Magnezone, but you could run a Zekrom in the “dragon” space to make this a slightly easier game).
As I began to test Patience, I found that for all of its merits against the “old” decks, it just could not hold up against the new decks. For decks such as Chandelure, Durant, Cobalion/Kyurem/Electrode, and Six Corners, Beartic is just dead space that does not progress your game enough. Its elimination was gradual, but my end result was its complete elimination in exchange for more Kyurem (my inevitable dragon of choice), as well as a stronger fighting presence.
Where did I end up with the aggressive decks, though? To dissect that inquiry, let us revisit my ZPST from a few weeks back, freshly edited for NVI’s release…
Pokémon – 11
4 Tornadus EPO
Trainers – 37
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
Energy – 12
pokemon-paradijs.comBy and large, this list is the same version I’ve been using for the past month. The only two things I did differently upon NVI’s release were the additions of Rocky Helmet and Seeker. The Rocky Helmet addition should have been seen coming by anyone who read JK Q&A, where I elaborate on why I like Rocky Helmet over Eviolite; however, my testing confirmed all of my original theories, and helped assure me that the extra damage is worthwhile over the extra defense.
This is worth its weight in gold against Item lock decks, and now that The Truth has resurged, a couple spare damage counters are very significant.
Despite my best efforts with traditional ZPST, the threat of absolute late-game collapse persisted, and so I knew that it was time to mix things up a bit: I had to incorporate Eelektrik. It was around this point when I moved toward the “Zek-Trik” list featured in J.K. Q&A, but I also knew that I wanted the ability to 1HKO anything. Thus, I modified the build to incorporate Lanturn Prime…
Pokémon – 20
4 Thundurus EPO
Trainers – 26
4 Sage’s Training
Energy – 14
pokemon-paradijs.comFor the record, I have crushed on this card since it first came out: first as a (failed) Luxchomp tech, and then later as a (somewhat not-failed) Stage Ones splash-in. This is probably Lanturn’s best – and possibly last – moment to shine. Still, let me put forth the disclaimer that this is by no means a unique deck idea: I’ve seen other very similar lists floating around, albeit with a rather interesting play of Engineer’s Adjustment as a primary draw card.
Anyway, the focus of the deck is to build early with Thundurus’s Charge, launch an attack by the second turn (usually Disaster Volt), and then eventually use Lanturn to sweep the game with its “unlimited damage.” Unlike ZPST, Zek-Trik, or even Magnezone/Eelektrik, there is also a substantial amount of type coverage, thanks to both Tornadus’s Fighting Resistance and Lanturn Prime’s Underwater Dive Poké-Power.
Zekrom remained just as a “random” presence of sorts to make attacking easier, but if you deem it unnecessary, then it is actually one of the easier cuts from the list.
Testing proved well for the deck: it nabbed me several nice wins against Typhlosion, gave me a solid match against Magnezone variants, and kept me close to 50/50 against fighting decks.
But in the end, I went with Patience over speed. If Lanturn was this successful, what kept me from playing it over The Truth?
1. The opening coin flip matters too much for this deck. If you go first, then you enjoy applying early and hard pressure by the second turn, and continue to push it until the game’s end. Going second, however, is another matter, since your opponent enjoys first draw, first attachment, and first blood. At least with classic ZPST, the first turn balances out a little if you go second.
2. It is very Catcher-prone. However, I am somewhat inspired by some of the lists I have seen as of late, which feature 4-3 lines of the prominent stage one Pokémon.
3. I have come to grips with the fact that no matter how much I want them to work with more than other builds, aggressive decks do not fit my personal play style nearly as well as conservative decks. I am by nature a cautious player who does not like to take risks unless they are necessary, and I feel like The Truth caters to this sensibility much more than Thundurus/Tornadus/Lanturn.
Additionally, I have loved nearly every come-from-behind card in the game’s history, and with a deck that virtually requires four Twins, I enjoy that personal appeal in most games where I use The Truth.
All of those points are important, but if one matters more than the others, then it would be the third contention. Sometimes, you should just play what you prefer, and most of what you want should fall into place.
With that very painful decision made, I knew what I wanted, and was prepared for the upcoming City Championship weekend.
City Championship #1: McKinney, Texas
Pokémon – 24
3 Oddish UD
3 Solosis BLW
1 Donphan Prime
Trainers – 23
4 Sage’s Training
Energy – 13
Notice a lot of changes? Well, you should!
pokemon-paradijs.com– As advertised, I included a much larger presence of Fighting attackers to counter the very real threat of Magnezone/Eelektrik. On top of that, I accounted for the lack of Beartic by increasing my Kyurem count to two.
– My original Cobalion/Beartic build outright maximized its Vileplume odds thanks to a bunch of straight draw. I have willingly lowered those odds by running N and Professor Oak’s New Theory, with the reason being that these shuffle draw cards allow for much more mid and late-game flexibility than Cheren does. It is the late game where this deck shines most, so if you have a way to recover from flimsy hands, or to punish an opponent’s early lead with some disruption, then the 2/1 divide on N and PONT really works.
– Running less than four Pokémon Collector is nothing less than taboo these days, but with the presence of Pichu, as well as the serious need for more space, I felt like I could chance it. Plus, Pokémon Collector is a notably weak late game card, and in a deck that values the late game so much, I felt like three would suffice.
– The absence of Tropical Beach may be plainly obvious, but for now, I am working within my means, since I own zero legal Tropical Beach (I have a Japanese one, but that is another story for another day…). Even without Tropical Beach, the list runs perfectly fine, and I was a serious contender at both Cities I went to.
Could it have made a difference in at least one of my games? Certainly, but so could other cards (and against a Chandelure player in a similar situation, it would have actually lost me the game).
– For the most part, the Energy has been really difficult to get down right. Due to no real need for it in the exact values of my attacks, barring the notable exception of Kyurem’s outrage, I felt like three Double Colorless would be a worthwhile experiment.
It was an impulsive call and while it did not come back to haunt me at all throughout this City Championship, I quickly realized that it was a risk not worth taking again. The Fighting/Water split was actually somewhat nice, but those will likely not show up together in the near future.
Now, onto the games themselves…
Round One: VS Donphan/Yanmega/Zoroark (Stage Ones)
pokemon-paradijs.comWith the rise of Kyurem, Cobalion, and other attackers that are naturally strong against Stage Ones, I was surprised to see the deck in any capacity; however, I knew that Zoroark would be strong against most major attackers in my list, so careful playing was necessary all-around.
Anyway, my opponent got off to a very quick start via Pokémon Catcher, while I struggled to setup my board. 3 Prizes of Donphan-KOing later, though, and I finally had the means to get a Vileplume into play. This secured my inevitable “plow through everything with Cobalion” comeback, but not before he made efforts to slow me down with his Foul Play on Iron Breaker.
However, Kyurem’s Outrage dealt with Zoroark, even in spite of counter-Outrages or Glaciates. I kept alternating between these two attackers when appropriate, and eventually won the game by 2 Prizes.
Round Two: VS Typhlosion/Reshiram
My opponent went first this game with an active Reshiram, and promptly dropped the one card that makes any Truth player groan: Rocky Helmet. It also did not help my cause that my opponent knew how to play against a Twins-oriented deck, as he opted to not recklessly charge into my Pokémon. Top all that off with a very slow Vileplume, and even Kyurem was unable to get me the win in this game.
At this point, I was already regretting my lack of Beartic: had I run a 1-1-of that with 1 Kyurem, I could have used the latter to charge into the Rocky Helmet Reshiram, and then sweep the rest of the game with the Beartic. Still, I had high hopes that I would not go up another list of this sort.
Round Three: VS Magnezone/Eelektrik/Zekrom
pokegym.netIf round two was an example of a matchup where one small tweak lost the game for me, then round three was an example of the opposite. Although a piece of my 1-1 Donphan was prized, Terrakion NVI was a clutch card that carried me through much of this matchup: into an early game revenge kill on a Magnezone; and then into another one six turns later (during that time frame, I had manually retreated the Terrkaion, and began swarming with Cobalions).
Between a beefy Fighting attacker and Item lock, our relatively close early game broke into a favorable mid game for me.
Round Four: VS Typhlosion/Reshiram
Like the last Typhlosion game, my opponent knew to not charge recklessly into my Twins; but unlike the last game, he was unable to get a Rocky Helmet into play, and I cranked out a very speedy turn two Vileplume. I was able to do everything I wanted in that second game, making Kyurem my end-all, be-all spreader. Still, you have to be very careful: a Reshiram could immediately come up to KO a damaged Kyurem, and if you only have the minimum Energy attached, then Typhlosion’s Flare Destroy will make life very miserable.
…None of that happened, though, because I made sure to load my Kyurem up, and to utilize my non-Water attackers whenever I came up against a situation where the Ice Dragon would not help (e.g., using Terrakion to KO a Reshiram with back-to-back hits of 30 and 90). Time was eventually called, and I used Kyurem’s Glaciate to wipe out a healthy chunk of his board.
Round Five: Typhlosion/Reshiram
Another Typhlosion? Oh joy…
pokemon-paradijs.comOnce again, I went second, but like the prior game, I enjoyed yet another turn two Vileplume: one with no draw to really support it, but enough to sustain me in the early game. While I struggled to see a board, I used my first Kyurem to keep pace with my opponent. Once I finally began to enjoy a full setup of ‘Plume, Reuniclus, and Twins/draw, I deliberately fell behind some in order to build up a Kyurem’s energy supply.
This worked out well for me, and with the drop of an N, the tables were turned in my favor. He successfully swarmed three Typhlosion against me, but by leaving my Kyurem at 50 damage, I was able to avoid a Flare Destroy KO while simultaneously being able to respond to his Typhlosions.
(This play entailed a certain amount of risk if he topdecked a Reshiram, but retreating into any other Pokémon would have led to either a complete loss of Energy, a blank check for him to setup, or both.)
Feraligatr Prime with tech JirachiRound Six: VS Kyurem/
This was a very well-constructed, consistent version of the deck; however, matchups are matchups, and as long as you can get out a Reuniclus, there’s simply no way to lose this matchup – bar crazy techs.
For the first time in a while, I get to enjoy going first…But in exchange for this luxury, I’m stuck with a lone Solosis, an N for six, and a Cell Culture for another Solosis. Fortunately, I also hit a Duosion off of this draw, and later top deck a Pokémon Collector to put me back into the game.
Eventually I score my first KO with Energy Press, and each successive KO with Iron Breaker. If I recall correctly, he attempted a Feraligatr Prime attack on one turn, but that was just a desperate attempt to recover the game.
Rocky HelmetTop Eight: VS Druddigon/Terrakion/
Game Ones and Two – I try to aim for as much elaboration in tournament reports as I can muster at any given moment, but these games really went the same exact way: I got out Vileplume, got out Reuniclus, and then loaded up a Cobalion with Special Metals to tear through his attackers with no risk to myself.
I will say that this was an inspiring rogue deck, and that it was capable of some truly brutal revenge kills: Druddigon’s Clutch + 4 counters from a Rocky Helmet/its Ability + Black Belt + 90 from Terrakion can KO nearly anything.
The Black Belt never factored into our games because I always kept even in prizes due to explicit paranoia of it, but it could have easily turned things around had I not taken precautions against it.
With one Fire tech such as V-Create Victini, I feel like this deck could be a nightmare for even Cobalion! That wasn’t there for this match, however, and I advanced into the final four…
Top Four: VS Cinccino/Zoroark/Cobalion
For the second match in a row, I’m up against an unusual rogue deck; however, this one is a clearly rough matchup. Between Zoroark and his own Cobalion, I was doomed to lose a war of attrition without the right game plan.
Going into this game, I knew that my one primary method of preserving resources would be to attack with non-Cobalion, non-Kyurem attackers whenever I could. Unfortunately, this was easier said than done, since my Donphan and Blissey lines (yes, you can attack with Blissey) were both prized! So my solution was to just do what I could with Cobalion…
pokemon-paradijs.comThanks to Reuniclus, any Metal type enjoys a ton of mileage, and so even though I was “out-Iron Breakered,” I could still stall for time, building my board into something reasonable. This is just what I did, effectively circulating my two Cobalions continuously. Regrettably, my resources were running thin in the late game, so pulling this off became harder and harder. His Double Colorless were also running thin, and so in the late game, both of our decks stalled out simultaneously, with him possessing the last Iron Breaker option via Foul Play.
So for turn after turn, I simply moved my damage, drew, and passed, with a couple heals along the way (I had drawn my Blissey piece earlier). Thanks to this, I was able to win in one of the more classically outlandish ways: by decking him out.
Although my hand in the first game was competitive enough to force a deck-out on my opponent’s part, what I had here was completely and utterly lacking of any substance. Even with three separate Eeeeeeeks, I whiffed on anything resembling Item lock. I was eventually able to get an Item lock going by turn six, but by then, my opponent had already drawn 4 Prizes. To give myself some time in the third game, I opted to scoop.
Long story short: I enjoy a quick start with Donphan, but collapse shortly thereafter due to a prized Cleffa. Not exactly the most elaborate game report, but that is pretty much all there is to it!
After a rather epic first game, I drop two very anti-climactic games in a row…Oh well. Since I knew there was a tournament the next day, I had to reevaluate my list somewhat.
So what needed to change for day number two?
1. I needed a more substantive Typhlosion answer. Even though I can play my way out of close spots, I crave positive matchups against prolific, good decks, and my games throughout swiss showed me that I did not have that with the list I used. Add in the established Cobalion presence, and I decided that I needed to revive the 1-1 Suicune & Entei LEGEND.
2. Two Terrakion is simply more effective and room-efficient than running one Terrakion with 1-1 Donphan. I also considered going 1 Terrakion/1 Landorus due to its lower retreat and damage spread. But because it was an untested idea, and because I owned no Landorus, I decided against it.
3. The three Double Colorless Experiment was for the most part successful, but in a deck full of two Retreat Cost Pokémon, I couldn’t chance it anymore; I needed to run four again. Plus, the return of Suicune & Entei LEGEND demanded I run my Energy to accommodate it more, which not only entailed the DCE inclusion, but the basic Fire.
I immediately incorporated these tweaks, and was ready to compete for the next tournament…
City Championship #2: Sherman, Texas
Pokémon – 24
3 Oddish UD
3 Solosis BLW
2 Cobalion NVI
1 Chansey HS
Trainers – 23
4 Sage’s Training
Energy – 13
Round One: VS Haxorus/Archeops/Audino
pokemon-paradijs.comThe first turn of the game, I opened Oddish active/Oddish benched to a carnival of the bizarre: an Audino primed to KO me on the first turn; a benched Axew; and…A Plume Fossil, which luckily yielded nothing for my opponent. I quickly fell behind a couple prizes, but I was quick to get out a Vileplume, an attacking Cobalion, and – ultimately – the game.
This was a strange deck, but I can’t help but think what would have happened if he pulled off the turn two Archeops. And now that the card has been ruled to override even Rare Candy, I’m legitimately afraid of a good rogue deck that can pull off the no-evolution bird well.
Feraligatr Prime/Victini V-CreateRound Two: VS Kyurem/
So another game against my round six opponent in McKinney, but this time, the early game control was all his: turn two Glaciate with Feraligatr! While this meant that I could not use Reuniclus for the rest of the game, I was able to activate Twins by the second turn, thereby assuring a Cobalion with multiple M Energy. The rest of the game amounted to taking out his deck with big basics, as well as playing around his Feraligatr Prime’s 1HKO threat.
Interestingly, I discovered the Fire tech’s existence approximately 80% of the way through the game: through his discarding of a R Energy. I quickly tightened my play the moment I saw it, setting up a Kyurem to respond to whatever it may have been, but it luckily never came into play. Once I drew my sixth Prize card, he flipped over his own prizes to reveal a V-Create Victini: his would-be savior against Cobalion.
Round Three: VS Magnezone/Eelektrik/Zekrom
pokemon-paradijs.comAgain, my opponent knew how to play against Vileplume/Reuniclus, so we got into an Eeeeeeek war to push for a fast setup. I eventually got my full board into play, but this was not enough to save me against a field of L Energy…Or a prized second Terrakion.
Had both been available to me, this game would have been much easier; however, I was instead forced to Iron Breaker a little too much than I preferred. This may have stalled his advance for a while, but Lost Burn proved too much when the opponent could crank out three-four consecutive Magnezones.
Round Four: VS Chandelure/Dodrio
I missed the flip in this game, and spent the first two turns sweating out whether or not my opponent would pull off the turn two double Chandelure. Luckily, this did not happen, so I was able to crank out both Reuniclus and Vileplume in short order, and quickly take over board control via Kyurem’s Glaciate.
As expected, he countered with a Jirachi Time Hollow against my Rare Candied Vileplume; and like clockwork, I responded by just Rare Candying it back up. With just three turns left until I had his whole board wiped out, I opted to Glaciate instead of go for a quick KO. This gave him another Time Hollow, but I had a Rare Candy to match that. I then Glaciated, and brought his whole board to 90 – including knockouts on Dodrio and Jirachi.
Shortly thereafter, he surprised me with a second Jirachi, and finally broke out of Item lock (I had no more Rare Candies available). This opened up access to a swarm of Max Potions and Junk Arms he had stockpiled, which amounted to a complete turnaround in his favor. My early and mid-game advantages caught up to him, and so I was able to just charge into his Chandelures repeatedly with big Basics.
pokemon-paradijs.comTime was called, and at 1-1 in prizes, he opted to setup my Terrakion for a two turn KO: with six Cursed Shadow counters on his first turn; and then six the next. His method of pulling this off, though, backfired, since it led to him bringing up a Chandelure with 40 HP left – just enough for me to Energy Press for the win.
Wow – what a close one! Had he brought up the Chandelure with no Energy, I would have certainly lost: a nice break on my front. It does somewhat balance out the surprise factor of the second Jirachi, though, making for a very intense, strange game.
Round Five: VS Magnezone/Eelektrik/Thundurus
Opening hands are very important in any Magnezone/Eelektrik matchup for The Truth-style decks, and this game was no different: unlike my previous two, I enjoyed access to both of my Terrakions, as well as an advantageous Kyurem start. Unfortunately, I was forced on the second turn to make a painful Sage’s Training choice: between access to turn two Vileplume, or a second Terrakion.
The optimal play in nearly every scenario (including this one) is to go for the Vileplume, or else the deck may be completed flattened by Magnezone’s virtually limitless damage; still, losing one of your best Magnezone responses for this advantage is a steep price.
Recognizing this list option on my part, my opponent made multiple attempts to bait me into KOs. I refused them all, however, opting to spread via Glaciate in order to put his soon-to-be Magnezones within range of a 2HKO from my Cobalions. This worked beautifully, as I was able to save my Terrakion for his one full health Magnezone, and then – if need be – use my Iron Breakers to outlast his future Magnezones.
Luckily for me, his “future” Magnezones never came into play: his draws were poor, his Items were shut off, and he was stuck with a board of basics in the late game. My one Terrakion dodged a bullet, and I swept his half-built field with it.
Top Four: VS Durant
pokemon-paradijs.comMy Vileplume was at about an average speed of turn three, but I luckily was able to get out a fast Cobalion during Iron Breaker repeatedly. He pulled off a couple good discards, but nothing to really change the game’s outcome.
My Vileplume made it onto the field by turn two, but this meant little without access to Energy! I was without the necessary Metal/Metal/Colorless requirement for Cobalion’s Iron Breaker, and so I was forced to bring up Cleffa for a few Eeeeeeeks. This proved futile, as not a single attack amounted to Metal or Rainbow, instead amounting to several free turns of Devour for my opponent. I eventually got out a Cobalion, but not in time to defeat the deck-out.
[Side note: I did not have the right resources to approach this game with a Kyurem; otherwise, I would have.]
In this third and final game of our series, I opened with what is most likely the worst possible starter against a Durant deck: Terrakion. I had the energy to move into a Land Crush, but no Vileplume on the second turn to protect me from Crushing Hammer and Lost Remover. Sure enough, this whiffed Vileplume made all the difference, since my opponent proceeded to hit both on his second turn, leaving my Terrakion stranded.
To make matters worse, every single Devour discarded Energy! I could only hope and pray for good top decks…Of which I hit none. A few turns later, my entire deck was gone, and that was the end of my second City Championship.
So there you have it: in less than 20 minutes, I lost a full three-game series against…Durant. In hindsight, I could have simply tried not attaching any Energy at all to Terrakion before a Vileplume made it onto the board, but that would have put me behind a minimum two turns, as well as made me susceptible to a well-timed N.
Once so, back to the drawing board…
1. Perhaps consider a different approach to the Typhlosion matchup, or just accept it to be a 50/50 matchup. It may go against my philosophy of deck-building to leave something so solidly in “even” territory, but Suicune & Entei LEGEND was dead space throughout the entire event.
2. Unlike SEL, V-Create Victini is an automatic response to trouble matchups, and is thus worth consideration. Had I been running this card at either McKinney or Sherman, I would have had a much better chance of winning both top four matches, as well as had another late game sweeper option. Between Vileplume, Reuniclus, and your basics, V-Create is bound to be activated when you need it to be.
3. A 1/1 split on Terrakion and Landorus does work well! I have had a chance to test the two together, and with a two Kyurem list, Landorus is even stronger than it would otherwise be.
With these three thoughts in the back of my head, I prepare for my next weekend series of City Championships. Nevertheless, we have something else to discuss…
Mastering the Marathon
If you live in or anywhere near California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, or New Jersey, then chances are high that you will have the opportunity to attend a City Championship marathon: where four or more tournaments are held in rapid succession. Even if this is not the case, most playing areas around the world will feature back-to-back City tournaments on the weekend, such as in my report, so you can find ways to apply the advice to your own personal situation.
I have been emphasizing the importance of City Championships to the Worlds invite equation for months now, so if the lion’s share of your Cities will take place during a marathon, then such events are arguably the most important during your whole season – at least prior to Nationals and Worlds.
If you are attending your first marathon this season, then try not to fret too much, since I am in the same situation. Let’s learn something together, and figure out how to tackle this unusual 24/7 Pokémon trend.
Unlike Battle Roads, which are highly prone to metagame change, and Regional Championships, which are a broad reflection of the national metagame, City Championship marathons are somewhere in between those extremes.
To what extent this is the case depends on which marathon you are attending, though. On one hand, series such as the Georgia Marathon will likely to see a more Nationals-esque metagame, since it already has a long history of attendance from a nationwide audience. On the other hand, newer marathons in North Texas and Southern California will likely see a much larger emphasis on local metagame.
Regardless of which marathon you attend (if any), expect a sizable focus on the statewide metagame, but remember that people from all over will be going to them all. Each marathon has several satellite states, and a drove of players could theoretically come down from them all to play, meaning BIG numbers, as well as BIG Championship Point kickers for the top eight and top sixteen of each event.
pokemon-paradijs.comFrom tournament to tournament during a marathon, you may go through a similar process I just did with my weekend of City events. Should you stick with the same deck, carefulness with your list tweaks will be essential.
First, surprise factor might be good, but try not to rely too much on it in your changes. In my above Patience decklists, too much reliance on surprise would be defined as running, say, a Wobbuffet HS with Victory Star Victini. Is this a possibly good combo? Yes, since it can KO virtually anything in the game! But is it too much of a swing outside of my comfort zone, norms with the list, and overall game plan of “Iron Breaker into oblivion”?
It sure is, and for that reason, I have kept my tweaks to minor elements such as slightly new basic, minor edits to the distribution of cards, and maybe some future omissions of things that do not hold much value anymore.
Second, set a bottom level for your “overall consistency” count (total search cards plus total draw cards). Part of success in any big event is consistency, and part of success in a series medium-sized events is almost required if you want to nab Championship Points every tournament.
For that reason, I have numbers in my mind for the amount of cards I should dedicate as a minimum to consistency – in the case of Patience, it is 18 (one less than what I had in my list for City Championship #2). Finding out the right count may be challenging, but it really amounts to finding that sweet spot between tech and reliability.
Third, pay careful attention to the tweaks your rivals make. Normally these do not require a counter-tech on your part, but it does demand at least some reconsideration of your list, especially if it outright devastates whatever you run. Should these edits become unbearable, you might consider the next option: a deck change.
pokemon-paradijs.com“This is a marathon; not a sprint.”
So you chose a successful deck (e.g., an undefeated Turbo Donphan), did well at your first two tournaments, and have just entered the third marathon event with high hopes. All of a sudden, you see the strangest sight in the world: a third of the field is now Water, and another third of it is Magnezone with Leavanny NVI teched in!
Assuming your opponents and their lists are any good, your undefeated 18-0 streak is now marred by a 3-3 record. Is there any choice left for you?
Switching from one list to another in a very short period of time may seem impossible, but remember: it is never easy when there is so much on the line, and your deck has become the metagame For that reason, try to prepare as much as possible, and choose a “Deck B” for the marathon series in case your Deck A is no longer a safe choice.
Alternatively, if your Deck A is one of those mish-mash builds such as Stage Ones, than you could also cut and/or add major attackers. Perhaps Turbo Donphan is unable to combat a metagame of Kyurems and no weakness Magnezones, but maybe Zoroark and Yanmega are.
Knowing when to do this can be tough, as you can either proactively switch decks, or reactively switch. In general, proactive planning yields the best results, but if you enjoy a strong early presence during these tournaments, perhaps you should simply opt to react. If you are on top and doing well, being “too” proactive about deck changes can lead to an overall sub-optimal performance, since you might just over-think the situation.
But back to proactive planning, I have one more point to address.
Initial Deck Choice
Despite the importance of flexibility in both lists and deck choices, I feel like the most crucial decision you can make during a long trek of City tournaments is your very first deck choice. After all, it is much easier to start strong than “catch up,” and you do not want to be caught behind these fast-moving metagames at any cost.
Your choice for the first marathon tournament you attend may be the same list you used during week one of regular City tournaments, or it might not be anything like it at all. No matter what, remember that everything changes with a marathon, and that metagames will quickly evolve to new circumstances. Most of the people in attendance at these City events are just as serious to do well as you are, and that they are rational people looking to tweak and/or change their deck’s instantly.
Therefore, your primary strength will be in good, well-tested lists that can tackle most of the possible threats that come along. I have my own thoughts for that (i.e., my preference for Patience and Eelektrik-based decks), and so do the other writers; however, your initial choice is one that you will have to make, so try your hardest to make it the best you can. A strong foundation is the one advantage you may enjoy, so work well to achieve it.
I hope my City Championship experiences gave you some new perspective into the format’s top decks, some of its more interesting rogues, and how to adjust between tournaments. Additionally, I hope that my marathon tips help you earn several Championship Points. As of this article’s posting on Underground, the Florida Marathon is just half a week away, and every other series is soon to follow.
My next article is on the 29th, which takes place in the middle of my own City Championship marathon. Although I will try my hardest to incorporate the marathon’s first two days into the article, our main subject for that day will be an exhaustive “how-to” on building decks.
Thanks again, and remember to get those points!!!
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