As promised, I finally did well at a tournament and am going to write about it! For those who have been following my recent string of articles, I’ve failed to do well in a single Cities tournament thus far, which explains the lack of reports from me. Now that I finally spiked a tournament and top cut another I decided to take the time to write about them. They’re particularly entertaining in my mind because I succeeded with the worst deck ever!
youtube.comIn the week or so leading up to the January 7th Cities, I knew that I needed to take some sort of action. I hadn’t gained any Championship Points during Cities (although I did have a single point from Regionals), and I knew that if I didn’t start earning them I wouldn’t be able to qualify for Worlds, and my entire season would be a no-go. I knew that I needed to get focused, test more, and switch decks.
As I wrote about in my latest Underground article, I was pretty sure I was going to play Gothitelle. ZPST had been dominating my local metagame for the past few weeks and I was certain that half of the players would try to hate ZPST out of the meta, while the other half would stick to playing ZPST. This puts Gothitelle in a pretty good position, as it has fantastic matchups across the board, particularly ZPST.
Unfortunately, I soon learned that players were switching primarily to CaKE and Chandelure, both matchups that I could just never quite break with Gothitelle. I won’t repost my entire list here as it’s available in the Underground article from a few weeks ago, but I ran Dodrio UD and V-Create Victini, and other than that had a pretty standard list.
With Gothitelle off the table I decided it was time to try the one deck in the format that I hadn’t played…Durant. If you read my article from last week you’ll see that I thought Durant was less than tier one, but was still a threat to watch out for. After sleeving it up and testing it versus the decks that I predicted would be big for the weekend (Chandelure, ZPST, Cake) I saw that it was a very solid play, and made the decision to run it on Friday night.
Here’s the list I used for the tournament.
Pokémon – 7
Trainers – 43
2 Dual Ball
Energy – 10
A few explanations…
pokemon-paradijs.com– The Pokémon are pretty standard, with the exception of the Smoochum, which is an idea I stole from Tyler Ninomura. The basic idea is that it acts as a stall mechanic, as it can move energy around the board, preventing your opponent from attacking while at the same time protecting itself from being KO’d. Overall I love the card and wouldn’t take it out under any circumstances. One is definitely enough, though.
– I put in the Cobalion just to have an out in case I couldn’t mill my opponent fast enough. I found it to be absolutely useless and wouldn’t play it again. Because your deck is so bad it just wastes a slot and if you open with it you want to kill yourself. I’ve seen Durant lists in my area run 3 copies and become semi-successful, but I couldn’t imagine what kind of sick person wants to do that.
– I considered a Weavile UD tech for a while and it’s perfectly fine, but ultimately takes up a lot of room, and I just found myself wanting so many Trainers over it. It’s still something I’d like to test given more time (I did build the deck the night before after all), but something I probably wouldn’t include overall.
– The Supporter suite is okay, but I think there’s definitely room for improvement. N pretty much never helped me at all, for one. I understand why it’s played, and I’ll still probably keep a few copies in, but the number of times that N hurt me greatly outnumbered the times that it was effective.
– 4 copies of Juniper is undoubtedly where it’s at, and along with 4 Revive and 4 Durant is something that I would never change in the list. You need to hit all your ridiculous trainers at the right times, and nothing helps you do that more efficiently than my favorite Professor.
– Twins was very nice, but I’m not sure if I want all 3 copies next time. You have so much draw power with all of your other Supporters that I’m just not sure you need more than 2. It is a pretty clutch play though, and definitely won me some games. It’s something that you certainly couldn’t omit, but I would personally never play more than 3.
pokemon-paradijs.com– 2 Oak isn’t the best thing ever, but it’s all I could fit at the time. If I were to play it in the future I might switch things up to 4 Oak and 1 N or something along those lines. I might even try to fit Cheren in its place, especially if I decide to keep the Ns, as straight draw is so much better than shuffle draw in this deck.
– The single copy of Black Belt is a pretty fantastic play, and something that I wish I had more of. I used it several times in combination with Rotom to KO Zekroms, which ultimately won me several games. Even though I want more of them, I’m not certain where I would find the room. Oh, Black Belt also helps with Cobalion, but I literally never used that card once, soooooo.
– From what I’ve seen my energy count is lower than most, but it worked out fine for me. Obviously you need the 4 Special Metals and the Rainbow, but I’ve seen other lists that run 5-7 basic Metals. If your meta is entirely dominated by Durant than I would try to cut all the fluff and go to 8 basic metal, but if not I think 4 is pretty fine. If you’re a worry wort go to 6, I suppose.
Other than that I think the list is pretty standard. As always, if you have any additional questions please feel free to ask in the comments.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the actual report…
Day One: Uncle’s Games in Redmond, WA
Not much to report as far as pre-tournament shenanigans. Tyler Ninomura reveals that he was my Secret Santa and gives me my belated X-Mas gift (this incredible 3D Shinx, which you can see here). We get our decklists turned in, and it’s announced that we’ll have six rounds and a top 8.
Unfortunately we also learn that the top 8 matches will be 45 minutes long, meaning that Durant is at an immediate disadvantage. Still, at this point in the season I’d be happy with just making the top 8, so I try not to worry about it too much.
Round 1: MegaZorD (Yanmega/Zoroark/Donphan)
I don’t recognize my opponent, which I typically find to be a good sign. When he flips over a Yanma as his starter, I am taken back a bit as I haven’t seen any Stage Ones anywhere since Worlds. I consider my options a bit and realize that there’s actually very few ways he beats me. Donphan can’t 1HKO a Durant, and can’t even 2HKO one that’s equipped with Eviolite and a Special Metal. Additionally, Yanmega can only 1-shot Durants that are void of Special Metals/Eviolites as well. And obviously Zoroark just does nothing.
With this in mind, I realize my game plan is to never play Cobalion or Smoochum, as he could drag up the Cobalion and snipe the Smoochum with Yanmega. I also know that I need to find Eviolites and Special Metals early. If I stick to both of these game plans, I don’t think I can lose the game.
I manage to go first and the aforementioned happens. No Durants are prized, I hit a Special Metal on turn one, etc., etc. The game is pretty uneventful, and I end up taking the win.
Round 2: Andrew Chard w/ EelZone
Andrew Chard is my roommate, and only came to this event to see a few friends and give someone their Christmas present. He has no plans to play Pokémon heavily during this season, much less qualify for Worlds. With all this in mind and it being lunch time, he concedes the game to me.
Round 3: Grant McClellan w/ ZPST
Not much to report on here, the matchup goes as it usually does and he beats me very easily.
Round 4: Tyler Ninomura w/ Chandelure
Luckily, I get pretty lucky, manage to go first and get everything I need. Once again, no Durants are prized, and my mills are particularly great, as I believe I milled 3-of his Chandelure and 4-of his Lampent very early. He manages to get a Cobalion out and start taking prizes, but by that point it’s too late in the game, and I manage to mill his list card while he has a few prizes left.
Round 5: EelZone
This match went pretty much exactly like it should’ve. I got all 4-of my Durants up on turn one, and was able to cut off his set-up pretty well. I think my first Devour was something like Eelektrik, Magnezone, Sage, Sage, which is pretty great. I also ran really hot with Crushing Hammers and was able to keep him off of energy almost the entire game.
Round 6: Jeff Anderson w/ Durant
Jeff has been playing Durant exclusively for the entire Cities season, so I know that he has more experience than me in all things Durant related. However, his list is also quite a bit different than mine, playing a heavy Cobalion line, no Smoochum, a Drifblim UD line, so I think that I can beat him on milling, since there are so many more cards in his deck that don’t help him with the mill.
He also realizes this, and almost immediately begins attacking with Cobalion. I’ve seen a lot of players talk about how the attack strategy is the best one to use in the mirror, but I’m not quite sure if I agree with that. In all the times I’ve seen it play out, it ends up that the attacking player can’t get enough energy on Cobalion consistently because of milling and Energy removal effects, and therefore can’t take all of their prizes before they’re milled out.
pokemon-paradijs.comAlso, Cobalion completely cuts you off of any other options, at least when you start out using Durant it’s possible to switch to a Cobalion or slowly build one-up on the bench and try to go aggro attacking, whereas if you start attacking with Cobalion you’ll be infinitely behind in the mill race and will never be able to switch it up.
Anyway, things play out as I expect and I’m able to mill after he takes 3-4 Prizes.
Feels pretty good to make my first cut of the season, but soon after I learn that I’m getting paired against Kyle Nelsen, a teammate who’s running Lake, one of the worst matchups for Durant. Combine that with the fact that I’ve never played the matchup out, and I’m pretty nervous.
Top 8: Kyle Nelsen w/ Lake
Game 1: There’s not a lot to talk about in this game. We both get extremely good starts as I mill almost nothing of importance from him. The turning point in the game comes when he miscalculates damage and attempts to KO me, but because of Eviolite leaves me with 10 left. After that I get several free turns of mill that he wasn’t anticipating, and he concedes the game.
Game 2: From what I can remember, he rolls me very easily.
Game 3: I don’t quite remember all of the details of games 2 and 3, so forgive me. They’ll be video up soon, and I’ll be sure to link to that either in a future article or in the comments section of this post. Anyway, I do what I’m supposed to do and win, can’t remember much outside of that.
Now that I got past my first awful matchup, it’s time to play Durant mirror. Yeahhhhhh.
Top 4: Charlie Nguyen w/ Durant
Game 1: Again, by this time it was pretty late and I’m not certain that I remember all of the details. I believe that he went first and things were pretty even until he started hitting Crushing Hammers and Lost Removers more consistently than I did. At that point the game was pretty much over.
Game 2: I went first and had no Durants prized and things went as they were supposed to. I believe this is the game where he got all of his Durants set-up on turn one but had an unfortunate energy drought. Anyway, things go as they’re supposed to and I milled him out. Sorry, Durant matches in general, and especially Durant mirrors aren’t the most exciting things to talk about.
Game 3: He takes the initiative to start attacking with Cobalion, a strategy that we’ve outlined a few rounds down in this article. Unfortunately for him, I run insanely hot on Crushing Hammers, and eventually get a Devour for 4 that’s literally all M Energy. He manages to make it a pretty close game from what I can remember, but I get my mill off pretty quickly.
Again, there will be videos for all of these matches in the next few weeks, and I’ll be sure to share all of them with you guys then.
Finals: Albert Du w/ ZPST
Bad matchup? Obviously not a problem! QQ
Game 1: He goes first in this game and over-extends for the donk. I think he plays something like 2 Dual Ball and gets four tails, and then plays a Junk Arm for a Dual Ball again, and maybe a draw Supporter as well? Anyway, he doesn’t get the donk but it is a pretty decent game wherein I get lucky with my Crush Hammers and he can never really seem to get anything up.
Game 2: This game is pretty much exactly the opposite of Game 1, where he gets stuff up just like he would in a normal ZPST match, but a few turns slower. Luckily those few turns are exactly what I need to buy me the game, but it was extremely close and Albert played extremely well. I’m still not sure how I can 2-0 ZPST with such a do-nothng deck.
So I win my first Cities of the season and it feels pretty good. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do if I didn’t start acquiring points. Obviously I’m still at a very low total, but I at least feel like I can start earning more now and at least have a shot at Worlds. I also want to talk about Championship Point totals and how I think that people are way overestimating the amount it’ll take to qualify for Worlds, but that’s another topic for another article.
Day Two: Blue Highway Games in Seattle, WA
So this day starts out pretty awful. We have to leave the house by 8:30 to make it comfortably for the 10:00 AM registration. Unfortunately my alarm decides not to go off and Chad Bosquez’s — who was sleeping over, pkmnmasterchad on SixPrizes — phone decides to die. We all wake up around 9:15, and around 9:30 are out the door, stressing the entire time about making it. Luckily the staff of Blue Highway along with judges Trevor Whiton and Mary Holocher stall a bit for us and we’re able to get registered no problem. Good thing I took those lessons in light speed driving from Tyler Ninomura!
I play the same exact list from the day before, and it’s announced we’ll have five rounds and a top 4.
Round 1: Chris Ball w/ ReshiPhlosion
pokemon-paradijs.comI’ve never played the ReshiPhlosion match before, but I can imagine it’s pretty horrible. Durant isn’t big on fire types, even if they’re not as bad as Heatmor.
Luckily, he fails to set-up as he should and my mills are extremely strong. I mill several Typhlosions and Reshirams in the opening turns, and by the time he mounts a comeback it’s too late.
Round 2: David Cohen w/ ZPST
David scoops to me because he is a good person.
We play it out, as he’s never played the matchup before and he absolutely destroys me, as usual.
Round 3: Paul Ninomura w/ ZPST
Another ZPST, I run so welllllllllll.
Anyway, this game goes as it usually does when I play against this deck, and he fails to get anything set-up. Whenever he does get somewhat of an advantage I have Lost Removers and Crushing Hammers at the ready to cut him off. Paul’s a great player and I wish it would’ve been a better game.
Round 4: Isaiah Middleton w/ ZPST
As a boy they told me it was impossible to hit four bad matchups in a row. Now I know that was a lie.
This game is not fun. He has the donk but I go first, and am unfortunately stuck on 2 Durant! I’m pretty tilted at this point thinking that there’s no way I can beat this bad of a matchup on 2 Durants, but obviously it’s way too early to scoop or anything of that sort. He goes and is unable to KO my Durant due to Eviolite, and then it gets fun…
pokemon-paradijs.comI N us both down to 6, and in my six are Crushing Hammer, Crushing Hammer, Crushing Hammer, and Lost Remover. I play all of the Crushing Hammer and get three heads in a row, blowing up all of his Energy on board. From then on I’m able to run extremely well with Crushing Hammer flips, even without having more than two Durants for 80% of the game.
Eventually I get my third and fourth Durant and it’s over.
Round 5: Tyler Ninomura w/ Chandelure
I realize that, as the only 4-0, if I scoop to Tyler, we’ll both be in. So I do so, and we play Pack Wars (the best Pokémon format, in case you didn’t know).
The top 4 is announced and unfortunately I’m playing Isaiah. I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t scooped to Tyler I would be playing either Chandelure or Six Corners, both of which would’ve been better matchups for me, but I would much rather my friends succeed with me when at all possible.
Top 4: Isaiah Middleton w/ ZPST
Not even going to really both writing reports for this. He absolutely destroys me both games. The only interesting play comes in Game 2 where I’m one turn away from milling and he has to Catcher to take his last prize. He looks at his discard pile and then Oak’s for all six of the cards left in his deck, hitting the Junk Arm for the game.
Not the games I would’ve liked, but my luck had to run out somewhere.
Tyler ends up beating Chad’s Six Corners in the top 4 and Isaiah’s ZPST in the finals for yet another Cities win.
I still have another weekend of Cities on the horizon, so I’m hoping to earn more points there. I’d really like to get 8 more to crack the 20 point threshold, but I’m not sure how likely that is.
Thanks for reading!