Yo, I thought I would write down my first ever tournament experience. I have seen Vyse and co playing Pokémon here and there, but never took much interest until I was shown Durant a couple of weeks ago and then I really got into it. I love using what some people like to call “lame tactics”. Win by never doing damage in a game based on creatures fighting… Perfect. Although I had only had a few days actually playing, I decided to tag along to the tournament and see how it goes.
My deck list for the tournament was as follows:
Pokémon – 6
Trainers – 44
Energy – 10
The main premise of this deck is of course to deck out the opponent. The Rainbow Energy mainly are for Rotom’s Plasma Arrow to take out things like a Double Bolt Strike’d Zekrom. Cobalion is in for crushing things like Victini NVI 15 who pose a threat to Durant and to get quick prizes if I ever need them.
I also have an Energy Switch in there which helps on the mirror match to keep the energy on Active Durants if/when Catchers are used and I get bad Energy draws. It can also be used to help get a Cobalion set up a turn quicker and for a final reason (that was unknown to me at the time of putting it in the deck) will be listed near the end of this article.
In the days before the tournament I stayed up in Brisbane, about 45 minutes from my home on the Gold Coast just to hang out and get some practice games in. I’ve found it’s hard to play with a Durant deck as people don’t really wanna get milled for more than a few games at a time before you get bored with it.
I had varying luck on the day before the tournament. Going from milling out the whole engine of the Mag/Eel deck to effectively win in two turns to proceeding to prize all 4 Durants a few games later. One thing stayed constant though; I couldn’t roll heads on a Crushing Hammer to save my life.
Going into the tournament I didn’t have any real expectations as to how I was going to go, I though going 50% throughout the day would be a good result for someone who has only been playing for about a week. I was going at about that during practice games at Vyse’s place so it was a reasonable target to aim for.
Arriving at the tournament, I was glad to find how nice the shop was. Usually when you think a card shop, you think of some dank, gloomy, dark place, but this place was bright and clean, an obviously well looked after shop and a great place to hold events. I can’t wait to go again.
Anyway we register, I hand in my deck list I prepared the night before, hoping I have done every correctly and I get my POP ID (1088488 for any that are interested) and I had to buy some dice. The plan was to take some from Anthony’s place before coming here but I forgot so now he has some extra dice to use.
After 45 minutes of chit-chat with other players (everyone are super friendly) the judges came out introduced themselves, explained the rules (45 minutes per round best of 3) announced the first match-ups and we were underway.
Nothing like getting a favourable matchup for your first tournament match. This is a matchup I have had some good practice and there is nothing really to fear; as long as you get Eviolites and Special Metals out early, by the time you start losing prizes their deck has been severely milled out.
Both games go well in my favour with me getting 3 Durants up first turn and getting the final one out of prizes quickly in game one, and getting all 4 out turn 1 in game two, leaving just too large a mountain to climb for Kyurem and it’s a fairly easy two straight win confidence builder for me.
(There’s probably a name for this deck… those were the two Pokémon that I remember.)
Trainer lock. This was first time experiencing it, and must say I don’t care for it too much. Being able to only get Durants back once in a game through the use of Flower Shop Lady and Collector makes this matchup very hard, and also having never played against it before, I had no strategies for facing this type of opponent.
I pick the coin flip correctly and get to go first. I set up turn one and begin the mill. I manage to mill his needed cards long enough that by the time he sets up, I am able to hold out until he decks out to go up 1-0.
Much better start for him this time around and although I get set up quickly as well, there’s not a lot one can do if you can’t use Revive or disrupt his Pokémon. I lose this game in less than 10 turns. 1-1.
Similar starts from both of us. Again he just sets up too quickly for me to be able to disrupt again. I make a big mistake of waiting an extra turn to use Flower Shop Lady to get three Durants back instead of two, and end up getting myself benched. Sad way to end a set that started well.
At this point now I am 1-1.
This match was again Natalie, Anthony’s girlfriend who I have had all my practice with this deck against. My record is quite good against this deck although I had never played it with Victini included. I feel I had very good decision-making and made some very good plays in this match.
This version of Victini is very strong against Durant; for 1 Fire and another Energy it KO’s Durants. The only downside is that must have a full bench or the attack fails. This can be countered by the Durant player having a Ditto TM and reducing the opponents bench to 4, rendering Victini useless, but I wasn’t using one.
Good start for myself and I get to milling four cards straight away. Everything is going according to plan until Victini comes to play and starts blowing up all my ants and while I get them back, I have terrible luck with Crushing Hammers and couldn’t manage to keep that Victini out of play long enough and lose the first game. 0-1.
Game 2 – The start of the Cobalion wrecking machine.
I realise I’ve used about half of the 45 minutes for the set so I need to win this game quick or I’ll lose the match. This time I get to go first and manage two draw Durants, a Collector, Eviolite, and Special Metal to start the match. On my frist turn I use the Collector to get out the other Durants and Cobalion. I figure she will try to set up the Victinis again, so I want to be ready to squash the threat.
Both Victinis come into play at the same time and by the time she has a Victini ready to go, I have Cobalion waiting on the bench to kill it. My next turn I Catcher up the other, kill it, and then proceed to destroying Kyurems. A scoop happens soon after that and we are off to game three with about 10 minutes left in the round.
I’m pretty sure this one will be going to time so I spend the game thinking about how to make sure I don’t have a prize deficit when time is called. I fall two prizes behind two Victinis again, but manage to pull it back to 5-4 by killing a Victinis and being very very lucky. She stalled with Cleffa went through 20 cards in a turn looking for a Fire Energy for the other Victini which would have won the game for her.
Luckily for me, it was card number 21 and I managed to kill the second Victini to even the game at 4-4. There was a possible misplay on her behalf by filling her bench completely before using Super Rod + Collector to get the two Victini’s back to her hand. I retreat back to Durant as there’s no real threat to them dying and she concedes when it reaches extra time as I could have just retreated back to Cobalion and took a prize for the win.
Now I’m 2-1 and feeling good.
We were put at the 2nd table for this match right next to the undefeated pair. This in my opinion was the best match of the whole tournament; the back and forth battle and funny moments made this day really really fun. It was also a learning experience, that slow playing Durant for a time out win doesn’t always work (explanation later) and that I love Cobalion.
I lose the coin flip and have to go second, bad for Durant. I start with a Durant and he has a Zekrom BLW and a Thundurus EPO. Everything goes bad in this game; he sets up quick and starts killing everything. I go 1/6 on Crushing Hammers and it’s over in about 15 minutes.
This was a fun game. I get to go first and I set up turn 1. The luck from the first match has flipped and I mill everything important for him, the problem is I need to win this game or at least take 4 prizes to push it further with time approaching and we both know it. He takes maximum time for all of his actions.
I commented I’d love what you are doing if it was someone else, but right now I hate it. I mill away and he can’t take prizes. Before being milled on his second last turn, he ends up shuffling his 0 card deck which I proceed to cut and forget to put back into one pile.
He doesn’t do anything until I realise and we have a laugh, I put it back in one pile, he passes, I mill then win the game.
He chooses to go first for game three, and by his words gets a terrible start even after I mulligan twice. He does what he can for starters and I Dual Ball + Collector to get all Durants and Cobalion out. I know this one is going to time like my 3rd match and I’m going to have to take prizes to stand a chance. So while milling I’m setting up Cobalion as best I can. This would turn out to be really good for me.
When time is called his bench looks like this: Active is Zekrom which has Bolt Striked once to kill one Durant and on the bench he has a Tynamo which he never managed to evolve, a Thundurus with no Energy, and another Zekrom with 1 Lightning attached. I had a Durant active, a Cobalion set up on the bench, and two more Durants. We didn’t have much time left and I manage to disrupt enough to leave myself only 1 prize behind. I had pulled it back with Cobalion in extra time before so I had confidence I could do it again.
On turn zero of extra time he kills the Durant which made it 6-4 prizes. I promote Cobalion, draw, attach Eviolite, and proceed to kill his Zekrom, 5-4. On his turn he attached and passes. My turn again and I have a Catcher to bring up his Tynamo and get the kill to even it out at 4-4 at the end of regulation.
A judge is called by myself as I’m not to aware of the rules at this point and it’s decided that we play until someone has prize a lead. His turn again, attaches, and Bolt Strikes my Cobalion leaving it at 20 HP remaining. My turn again and I use Iron Breaker leaving him at 10 HP and unable to attack. His turn and all he can do is attach a Rocky Helmet to Zekrom as if I attacked we would both get KO’d and play would continue and he would still have a Thundurus to kill a Durant.
What he didn’t count on was my next turn. I draw, don’t get anything, so I use Juniper and get what I need; Energy Switch and an Energy. I retreat my Cobalion, attach to Durant, Energy Switch the final Energy attached to Cobalion to Durant, and score the first possible game 3 Vice Grip kill with a Durant in extra time ever.
We shook hands and he sat there stunned. Anthony chose not to record the match, saving the camera for a top cut which didn’t eventuate, which is a shame. We had a good crowd at the end too as we were the last match to finish in the whole tournament.
To the awards ceremony… There was only one Junior at the event so he got 20 boosters for showing up, a good effort. Seniors was dominated by I think a brother/sister pair from out-of-state. Masters was won by Arrow who I had been practicing with in the days prior. I got 5th with a record of 3-1 which is a good effort and above my expectations. I missed out on extra boosters and Championship Points (I think that’s what they are called) by like 1% on Opp Opp Win rate.
Later on, we got to talking and he said it was a good play, but jokingly questioned who runs Energy Switch in Durant, and we had another good laugh. I also alluded to the fact that if he hadn’t played as slow in game two he would have had more turns before extra time and would have won game 3.
All in all I really enjoyed my first Pokémon tournament and would recommend anyone who is thinking about going to one to do so. Everyone was nice and I can’t wait to go to another one. I will probably run some Cobalion fun next time after he did so much work for me in this tournament, probably more than Durant did.