It’s Good, But It’s Not Quite Right

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESOGyiZbUrc

Exeter Cities – Sat 14th Jan 2012

I got the feeling I had become a tad boring being a teacher and all, so while my girlfriend and many of my friends popped down the road to Sutton Coldfield for Cities, I decided on what I would coin as my “epic Cities journey,” taking in Exeter on the Saturday and Cardiff on the Sunday.

This involved leaving my house at 4 AM on Saturday to get the 4:20 bus, then waiting in Leicester for an hour before the 5:49 train. Not ideal, but I needed some fun! The night before I got a message from Tom Hall (he of Underground fame, well, he hasn’t written in a while, let’s hope he comes back soon!) offering to pick me up from station and give me a lift to the card shop to save me walking. No agenda, just a good, old-fashioned good deed. Very nice too.

So we arrived in plenty of time to find a field of……seven! Knowing that four would get Championship Points and one was a very new player who wouldn’t be getting any, it basically meant two people missing out. I did not want to be one of them.

After the failure of Chandelure in Nottingham (I may include this report later, I may not – let me know if you’re desperate to read it) I went back to a deck I had been working on since Noble Victories came out. It was CoKE but with Kyurem, Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion. I called it “Pokémon the 15th Movie, the Official Deck”. You can guess why. Also, it’s not really official.

Round 1: Alex (Chandelure)

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Alex is a lovely local guy who doesn’t travel much. I played him one time before at Nationals where I felt horrible for donking his lone Sableye SF with my Donphan Prime when his Gyarados SF should have destroyed my Speed Donphan. Still feel guilty for that one. Saying that, I did not want to lose to a Chandelure, especially right after abandoning the deck.

Game 1

So I lose the flip and then turn over my cards to see possibly the worst opening hand I have ever seen. So bad in fact that I committed it to memory: Virizion NVI, Electrode Prime, Rainbow Energy, Rainbow Energy, Junk Arm, Junk Arm, Junk Arm. Now you might be thinking that this is ok because I can use Virizion to “Dual Draw” for a bunch of cards and get started okay. I do this for three turns and eventually on T4 I am able to get an Electrode. I then “Energymite” for…zero Energy.

Alex’s start had been ok and he’d gotten a quick Chandelure NVI/Vileplume UD/Dodrio UD combo and even had Energy on the Chandy, but he only had the one Chandy so I knew that taking this down could give me a way back into the game. With this in mind, I used my second Energymite. I hit zero Energy. From here he can sweep pretty easily.

Game 2

On the upside, I get to go first this game and it can’t go any worse than the last one!

I start lone Terrakion with four Energy, no Supporters, and two Pokégear. I figured this would at least give me the Collector I needed. I used the first Pokégear and found…nothing. I used the second and found…Cheren. I got a T4 Electrode and was able to Glaciate once before he was really set up. Then he used “Luring Light” to bring my Terrakion active. You know, the one that has a CCCC retreat cost. I didn’t want a Terrakion in this game (for this exact reason) but starting with him alone gave me little choice!

pokemon-paradijs.comFrom here my absurd bad luck continues as I fail to find the Catcher for his only Oddish (the other two were prized) and he then proceeds to top-deck a Twins (my earlier Glaciate having killed a Cleffa) to get the Vileplume. I finally get some attackers out, but I run zero for four on Confusion flips and I can’t win.

(0-1)

So, let just remind ourselves of the things that happened over the two games:

– No Supporter T1 either game
– Two Energymites in one game for zero Energy (I run 16)
– Two Pokégear used for just a Cheren
– Failing four out of four Confusion flips
– Opponent top-decking Twins when he only had one Oddish
– Starting lone Terrakion Game 2

Let’s face it, I was never going to win that game!

So, a bad start and I was starting to worry about getting points. Especially as both Tom Hall and Alex Holdway had turned up with Durant, a match which is near unwinnable for me!

Round 2: Phil (Ampharos/Beartic/Vileplume)

I’m embarrassed to say that, for the first time in a long time, I cannot remember the name of the guy I played this round. I don’t know that his name wasn’t Phil so we’ll go with that. He was here with his younger brother and was a newer played with a thrown-together deck. He also swore when it didn’t go according to plan. He swore a lot this game.

Game 1

pokemon-paradijs.comI go first and start lone Cobalion to his lone Mareep. I attach, do a few more funky things and pass. He attaches to Mareep and then uses “Static Electricity” to attach a second Energy. This meant that Cobalion’s two-Energy attack would do 60 damage, less 40 for Resistance, and grant me the first KO. I got a third Energy on Cobalion on T3 and as he only had two Cubchoos the game did not last long.

Game 2

I start Virizion and use Collector to grab, amongst other things, Terrakion (couldn’t start with him this game could I!?). From here I used a combination of Terrakion, Cobalion, and Switch and, as I had finally had a successful Energymite in this game, I had enough Energy and resources to win comfortably in a very short amount of time.

(1-1)

So I got my win but my deck was not filling me with confidence. Add to this the fact that my resistance was not great now and that with seven people, one per round was getting a (perfect resistance) bye. I knew now that I would not get one.

Still, it’s three rounds so if I win the next one I get points. Wish me luck!

Round 3: Mike (Eelzone)

Mike is a guy I play at most tournaments. He’s a lovely man but, even though I’m a more serious player who needs the points more, he never lets me win! I often come out on top but he ruined my day in Nottingham so I’m wary. In theory my double-Terrakion should allow to win this game quite easily. Yeah!

Game 1

pokemon-paradijs.comI went first this game and immediately started building a Kyurem, thinking I could wipe out the Tynamos and Magnemites before they became particularly bothersome. Unfortunately he got an early kill on a Voltorb and then I had to use Energymite, putting him two prizes up very early and cutting off my emergency second Electrode that I like to keep for emergencies.

Luckily the Energymite was all I needed to charge my Cobalion fully and with Twins activated I was able to grab a Catcher and KO his only Magnezone. He was able to cycle Magnezones fairly quickly but I was able to take them down while he was forced to get easier two-Energy KOs from my bench due to only having a single Eelektrik out.

Late game it became apparent that my second Terrakion was prized and I was starting to run low on Energy while his side of the field seemed involved in some kind of fancy Energy party. Luckily I was able to get rid of his Magnezones and, knowing he could not keep up the prize exchange with Zekrom or Tornadus, he scooped.

This doesn’t really do justice to how close this was. It really did come down to him running out of attackers just before I ran out of Energy. Tense isn’t the half of it.

Game 2

Seeing as how close the last game was I was very keen to try and make it a bit easier for myself this time. I start with Cobalion and, seeing his slower start, I decide to hold off on Electrode until I’m desperate. This denies him the free prize, as well as an easy Voltorb KO and should make the prize race a bit easier.

I am able to get a quick Terrakion this game (god bless Switch and Shaymin) and as my second isn’t prized I get him primed and ready for a revenge KO. As soon as the first Terrakion died the second one came up for the Revenge KO and then was off rolling, getting a OHKO on anything he had.

The big thing I did differently this game was to target the Eels. In the previous game I stopped him getting a Magnezone but he got a T2 Eel and was peppering Energy around all game. In this game I stopped him having one all game (for more than 1 turn) and, though he did sometimes have a Magnezone and was able to get some KOs, he was starved of Energy and was unable to KO the high HP Pokémon regularly enough. Maybe had I given him the easy prizes with Voltorb/Energymite it would have been a whole different story.

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I also played my Energy extremely tight this game, keeping just enough on each Pokémon so I had attack options and could Switch into a better attacker when needed, as well as not seeing myself screwed when my attacker got taken down along with all my Energy.

The two Terrakions, along with the lack of Energymite and taking down his Eels, made this game slightly more comfortable than the last, but that’s like saying being hit in the face is slightly more comfortable than being hit in the Poké Balls. Ouch! Fun games……

(2-1)

So I take the win and end up fourth, winning four Championship Points and four packs for my trouble. I’m not sure how much I really deserved it though. My deck didn’t feel all that great throughout the day and I was very lucky that I missed the two Durants. Still, I won’t say no.

As it happened it was good that I lost the first round as, had that happened, I would have played Tom Hall’s Durant, then lost, then played Alex’s Durant, and lost again. Worked out ok in the end I guess.

In the end Tom Hall took this tournament 3-0 beating a Typhlosion in the final round, after a particularly tense disagreement after his opponent knocked his own damage counters off and, as far as anyone could tell, put them back wrong. Alas he was always going to lose the disagreement. Luckily everyone was smiling in the end.

We all played a few games after and then I was planning on sitting in a pub for a couple hours getting happily drunk. As it happened Tom invited me back for tea with his parents. Which went further beyond the call of duty but was absolutely gorgeous and better than sitting alone in a pub for a few hours. I couldn’t tell you the motivation behind the kindness but I would love to implore everyone reading this: Show the love to your fellow Pokéfans! One of the many things that make this game great!

Cardiff Cities – Sun 15th Feb 2012

So, with Exeter in the bag I ended up in Bristol with my friend Tom (neither Hall nor Roberts) where curry was eaten, beer was drunk, and I caught about six hours sleep on a sofa. Then I got up early and caught another train to Cardiff.

Tom Hall (need to use second names with so many Toms!) met me at the station, but this time it was me doing the favour as Cardiff is almost impossible to find as a venue. It’s in the back room of a house accessible from an alley between two terraced houses and isn’t really signposted. So he came and got me and we found the venue.

I should give big props to Cardiff here (and not just because they told me they’d be reading this) because it’s a lovely venue run by friendly people and you can even buy cheap burgers and chips and such that they make there and then. Lovely.

There were 16 people so we had four rounds and, though it wasn’t initially planned, we added a top four at the end. Though I had Zekrom, Chandelure, and Magneboar with me, I kept the deck from yesterday because it felt like we had unfinished business.

Round 1: “My Good Friend” Tommy Roberts (Reshiphlosion)

We play at League every Tuesday so we know each other well and it’s always destined to be a rather nice match-up. He is ranked number one in the world when we start though so it’s not going to be easy. Before we start I tweet how I’m getting ready to beat Tommy and he tweets a picture of my face claiming this is the face of a man about to lose. One of us is going to look stupid at the end of this game.

Game 1

pokemon-paradijs.comI win the flip and Collector for a Kyurem and a couple Voltorbs. T2 I get myself an Electrode and, although it only netted me a single Energy, that was enough to get Kyurem going with Glaciate. I use a Twins to grab a Catcher to get a OHKO on Cyndaquil and a benched Cleffa as well as doing 30 to another Cyndaquil, a Vulpix and a Reshiram. On Tommy’s turn he is unable to get any evolutions (the first turn he would be able to evolve) and so on my T3 I use Catcher to get a OHKO on a freshly bench Cyndaquil as well as the half-dead Cyndaquil and Vulpix.

For those people keeping score, that’s 5 KOs in two turns. Finding himself five prizes down by his third turn, Tommy carried on like a trooper, but he was forced to bench a Vulpix and Cyndaquil just to try and get something going. Unfortunately for him I had used my earlier Twins to ensure that I had enough Catchers to finish out the game.

Game 2

Tommy went first this game and got himself a T2 Ninetails as well as a Quilava and a Typhlosion. This meant we had a game on our hands! Again, as is customary, I used Kyurem early and often this game to put a lot of pressure on his side of the board. I was unable to spam the OHKOs of the previous game but I grabbed a couple where I could and, as he did not play Eviolite, I was able to spread a fair amount of damage to his Reshirams and Typhlosions.

As he set up properly this game I had to use two Electrodes to keep enough Energy in play and make sure that I did not run out of viable attackers, but as I had the inherent advantage with Kyurem it seemed like a viable strategy. In the end we came down to one prize each and everything on Tommy’s side of the board has a fair amount of damage.

I had a Terrakion benched with the intention of using “Revenge” for my last prize but without enough Energy Tommy was able to Catcher it, causing me problems as I had no Switch or Junk Arms left this late in the game and Terrakion had a monumental CCCC retreat cost.

pokemon-paradijs.comTommy was then able to get his final KO on Shaymin. Unfortunately, even though Tommy is my good friend, I had to call a judge and, to be blunt, I told on him. The reason was: after we had a warning that we had 10 minutes left he took a six-minute turn and won the game with one minute left, ensuring that time would be called before we set up and we’d go to sudden death.

Crucially, it would mean flipping to see who went first rather than it being me automatically. Now I don’t blame him for this and there was no intentional slow play, he was just thinking things through very thoroughly. There’s a reason he’s ranked number one in the world. Even so I told on him and the judge granted us a five-minute extension and we got ready for a short Game 3. I got to go first.

Game 3

Thankfully I started Kyurem and started setting up with Collector and attaching Energy. T2 I was able to attach a Rainbow Energy and Catcher his only Vulpix, cutting off his draw supply and gifting me an early KO with Outrage. Seeing as we had five minutes to play the whole third game I couldn’t afford to give away a prize with Electrode so I had to play like a traditional 6 Corners build, being very careful with my Energy attachments and spreading them out so that I couldn’t be left without any Energy on the field.

He got a KO on my Kyurem with Reshiram but this took two turns, allowing me to set up another Kyurem as well as getting a decent hit on Reshiram with Outrage (I couldn’t spare the Energy for a Glaciate). I then got the KO on the Reshiram with an Outrage from the second Kyurem and he was unable to get the revenge KO as he played his last turn of the game.

He had only managed to get one Typhlosion out and on his penultimate turn he had forgotten to use Afterburner. When I got the final KO on his Reshiram (who had a DCE attached) I emptied his field of Energy and with no Cyndaquils or Quilavas he was unable to get more than two Energy onto the field in his final turn. This was only enough for an Outrage and meant he could not get the KO needed to tie the game.

(1-0)

So I win and I tweet my victory and Tommy ends up looking a little silly. It was a terribly close match though and there’s a pretty good chance that had he not forgotten to Afterburner on his penultimate turn that it could have all be different. End of the day though, I felt good about my win and moved onto round 2.

Round 2: Mike (Zekrom)

pokemon-paradijs.comMike is a lovely guy who I play at every tournament (see above!!). It’s getting a little silly. I have the wins on my side so far, including the previous day in Exeter but he ruined my day in Nottingham at States when he destroyed me (so easily it wasn’t even funny) so I know not to take him lightly.

Game 1

I get to go first in this game, which is huge. I figure if I can avoid the early loss I have a good chance of lasting out and seeing a win. I use a Collector to grab two Voltorbs and a Cobalion, to add to my starting Terrakion and hope he doesn’t get any KOs too early. Unfortunately he does as he’s able to get the T1 Tornadus and take out one of my Voltorbs. On my second turn I am able to get the Energymite but I’m then two prizes down and not only am I playing Zekrom, king of the donk decks, he hasn’t even had to burn too many resources to get his two prizes….

Luckily I had my T2 Cobalion ready to go and using “Iron Breaker” to stop his Tornadus. He is unable to do anything other than pass on his turn and I take out his first Tornadus. My Shaymin was prized this game so I had to make sure I played carefully, placing Energy on other Pokémon and ensuring he was focussing on my Cobalion as I used many Catchers to grab his attackers with Energy and stop them attacking.

A couple prizes later I had my Shaymin and used this to set up double Cobalion. During this time he had been taking some easy prizes but I was almost keeping up now and was down to my last two prizes while he had only one to get. Luckily I had only my two Cobalions and both of them had Eviolites/Special Metal, making it especially hard for him to KO anything. From here I used Catchers to take easy prizes and win the game by a single prize while he was able to OHKO neither Cobalion.

Game 2

pokemon-paradijs.comWell, I started lone Shaymin this game and, after he was prized last game and I play no Seeker or Super Scoop, it was clear that Shaymin was not destined to feature heavily in this match.

Luckily, although Mike went first, he had a lone Zekrom and was forced to pass without doing, well, much of anything really. I had a T3 Energymite for three Energy and got going nicely, ensuring that Cobalions were up and running to take out his Tornadus that he got going with his T2 Collector (the threat of Terrakion being enough to stop any serious Zekrom presence).

As is customary, I went behind by two prizes but I was able to get a Cobalion to take out his Tornadus. I then stopped him attacking much by constantly hitting the Tornadus with Energy and forcing him to waste Switches, Junk Arms and Energy to get another up to attack.

As with the previous game I managed to get a Cobalion tanking nicely, this time with an Eviolite and three Special Metals, meaning he could not even be 3HKO by Tornadus. I had a second Cobalion and a Terrakion lying in wait on the bench and although he tried to use a Catcher to slow me down, I had enough Switches to avoid being caused problems and I was able to use Shaymin (after he dies and was Super Roded into the deck) to recycle Energy and stop KOs by putting a fresh Cobalion up.

By the late stage of the game I ensured that I had three prizes left and he had two half-dead Tornadus and a Shaymin on the bench. I had used Twins to stock up on Catchers and took my last three prizes, losing only one in the process.

He did make two misplays in the late game which might have changed things though. Firstly he used Junk Arm to grab a Catcher when he should have gotten a Switch, which would have allowed him to attack that turn whereas he then had to pass. Secondly he used Seeker to grab his Shaymin when he meant to get his half-dead Tornadus. I don’t think they would have stopped me winning but having lost too many games to being nice when I started playing I denied him the opportunity to take them back. He understood. Which is nice.

(2-0)

So I’m 2-0 and I know that one more win is likely to put me in top 4 and give me some Championship points. I’m 2-0 though which means facing another 2-0 and there’s a few good people in attendance today.

Round 3: Tom Hall (Thunderdome)

pokemon-paradijs.comYep, he who has shown such hospitality this weekend. My only previous game against him was at Nationals where I pulled out a win in the best game I ever played. Today I was worried because I can beat Thunderdome, but I didn’t know if I could beat this Thunderdome.

Game 1

Right, appears that the last report got a bit long so I’ll try and keep this one a little shorter.

He went first in this game. On my first turn I didn’t have a Collector. I did however have two Pokégear. I still didn’t have a Collector! He got a T2 Magnezone and then a second Magnezone on T3. I managed to get off an Energymite but I hit only one Energy and that was that quite frankly. It wasn’t even close.

Game 2

I started Terrakion in this game and managed a T2 Energymite for three Energy! This got me going pretty darn quickly and, along with a nice little Twins, I was able to start picking off his key Pokémon from the Bench using a couple Catchers.

Unfortunately for me, Tom played Terrakion. In Thunderdome! Against a regular Thunderdome (in fact, any other list I’d seen!) I would have swept nicely with Terrakion as I had a second in reserve. Unfortunately, as mentioned, Tom played Terrakion. This meant I could choose between taking out his regular setup (Eelektrik/Magnezone) or take out his Terrakion (which would need to be a 2HKO). I chose to disrupt his setup and I did, taking three early prizes, but this gave him the opportunity to take out my Terrakion with his.

When I promoted my second Terrakion, Tom had managed to build up a Magnezone and got rid of all his remaining Energy to KO my Terrakion. From here I was low on Energy and I ended up losing by two prizes. I could have maybe focused on Kyurem more for some cheap prizes but it would have taken a second Shaymin and, at the end of the day, the techs he had were too good.

Tom did play another very inventive tech in this deck but, as it didn’t factor into our game, I’m not going to tell you that it is. Tom, if you’re reading this, you’re welcome!

(2-1)

Disappointing but at the end of the day I was undone by a better deck. Thunderdome is a winnable match-up but with his silly-good start in Game 1 and the Terrakion tech there was nothing I could do. Still, I didn’t need to win this game. I just needed one more win and I was in the points baby! There was a straight Thunderdome at 2-1 as well as a Chandelure so I wanted one of them. Will I be lucky?

Round 4: Stefan Rou (Reshiphlosion)

pokemon-paradijs.comWell, Reshiphlosion is a winnable match (as proven in Round 1) but it depends on their start. The consistency of the deck is unrivalled and that’s the problem here. I should also point out here that Stefan went to Worlds last year (don’t ask me how a French Worlds competitor ended up in Wales). Yes, that’s right, I went to a Cities in Cardiff with 16 people. In 4 rounds I played three Worlds Competitors. Balls.

Game 1

Well, this was eerily familiar. Once again I’m playing a World’s competitor. Once again I go second. Once again I can’t get a Collector for love nor money. Once again they get effectively completely set-up on T2. On T2 he’s got his first Typhlosion and from then on he’s rocking constant Reshirams and there’s nothing I can do.

Game 2

This game however I get to go first and I get the T2 Electrode and the T2 Glaciate. I also had the Twins in hand so I could get a constant stream of Twins, Catchers and anything else I needed. He actually has a pretty decent hand but he can’t find a Collector so every turn he benched a Cyndaquil and every turn I Catchered it, got the OHKO and spread damage to his Reshiram. I played this game very well and got the win one turn earlier by playing around with Shaymin to get a Terrakion to finish the game, rather than risk him getting any other Benched Pokémon.

Game 3

He started slowly this game and I got another quick Glaciate. On T3 I took two prizes from a Cyndaquil and a Cleffa but he was able to bust out a PlusPower and get the OHKO on my Kyurem as I was unable to find either a Twins when I used Electrode or an Eviolite since. I set up a second Kyurem with a second Energymite but he ran two Eviolites and for the second game he got both of them out in the first few turns.

I got out a Terrakion as well and was able to kill his last Typhlosion, leaving him with only his two Eviolited Reshirams. When time was called I ahead on prizes with one remaining to his two and had just benched a Victini, as well as having Terrakion out and a couple attackers left in my deck. He Catchered and killed my Victini and, because of the Eviolite, I was just short of a revenge KO with Terrakion.

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I was then guaranteed to win as long as he could not get the OHKO on my Terrakion on his final turn. So I put an Eviolite on Terrakion. At which point he used Juniper to draw his entire deck and then Junk Armed away his entire hand to triple-PlusPower for the OHKO.

(2-2)

I am not going to lie, I was gutted. This is one of the worst losses I can remember. Now don’t get me wrong, Stefan played a hell of a game but the way I played I think deserved a win. Maybe I got unlucky with my horrendous start in Game 1. Maybe he got lucky with his start and his Eviolites. Maybe I didn’t play as well as I could. Who knows?

What I do know is that a win would have comfortably gotten me into Top 4. As it was, I got sixth, behind the four people who went 3-1 and the 4-0. Well, four more Championship Points I could’ve gotten. But didn’t.

In the end Tom Hall went 4-0 with Thunderdome before losing out to George Boon’s Typhlosion/Magnezone in the final when we ran a top 4. Michael Richie went 3-1 but missed the top 4, which was pretty harsh on him.

So, what to think about this tournament? Well, I went 2-2, played well and my deck worked. One of my losses was to a fantastically teched-out deck and one was to a very close game that I feel I should have pipped. I also ended up playing three of my four rounds against people who played at Worlds last year! Then again, at the end of the day, it was another tournament from which I went away empty-handed.

Actually, that’s not strictly true as the lovely people who run the Cardiff tournaments (about whom I cannot speak highly enough!) make sure nobody goes away empty-handed when they give everyone a booster just for playing. Still, no Championship Points for me.

Conclusion

almostrad.netSo, to conclude, I am almost good enough. At States I was one win away from cut where all three of my losses were kinda flukey. At Nottingham Cities I was one win away from cut. Now in that tournament I didn’t play that well and my deck was not as good as it could be but I still had two very bad, unlucky games. Then I went to Exeter and (somewhat undeservedly) pipped four (out of seven people!) before losing in the harshest and closest of circumstances in Cardiff.

Basically, at every tournament, I was almost good enough. I genuinely believe I should be on 14 Championship points right now. This is irrelevant however as I am on six. This makes Worlds qualification from CPs almost out of the question. Not that I expected to qualify from CPs mind, just would have been nice.

So, what can I do? Here’s a couple small ideas:

1. Play better

I think I’m playing ok in tournaments but little mistakes creep in. In my final game of Nottingham cities I used Communication to grab an Oddish rather than a Pichu. It wouldn’t have made much difference I think but still, it may have helped.

2. Build more consistent decks

Classic one this but a good one. It’s very hard nowadays to make a truly consistent deck in this format but there are things we can do to up our chances. Maybe I’m not doing enough of this. Usually my decks work fine but every so often (see Nottingham States!) it fails. Then it’s bad news bears.

3. Funky Techs

I refer you to Round 3 of Cardiff Cities and Tom Hall’s Thunderdome deck. If it wasn’t for his Terrakion tech I would have won Game 2. But I didn’t. There’s a reason players like Tom go to Worlds every year.

4. Play proper decks

My good friend Tommy Roberts plays proper meta-decks. He has so far played a lot of Gothitelle, Zekrom and Reshiphlosion. He is currently ranked number 1 in the world with 45 Championship Points. Now he’s a good player who uses them well but he takes what works and learns how to use it. This is how good players qualify for Worlds. I have so far played: Stage 1s, Magneboar, Chandeleur and a weird 6 Corners / CoKE variant. Partly this is due to my distaste of mirror matches. Maybe I need to get over this.

5. Test more

I go to league every week. I play online. I test with my girlfriend. Shall we say my regime is not as robust as some good players? This could be a factor.

So, there we have it, some reasons I may not quite be good enough. I’m not saying they’re all true (if they were all true I would not be doing well at all!!) but they’re things to be thinking about. Maybe one day I’ll know the answer.

When it comes to it, you just need to think: Are you really good enough?

P.S. Follow me on Twitter for Pokémon related thoughts and UK News: @thewossy

Reader Interactions

56 replies

  1. tim h

    I just want to give you props for your conclusion not having anything to do with ‘luck’ or anything of the sort. We all know that there is a large component of luck in Pokemon, but luck is something we cannot improve upon by complaining. I agree entirely with your conclusion: Playing a good deck, and having it be consistant; teched for the meta if possible – and, lastly, not misplaying through practice – are things that all people should try to improve upon.

    • Ross Gilbert  → Alex

      Your bittness with Exeter is probably about on par with my bitterness about Cardiff ;)

      I managed to beat the World’s number 1 player and STILL miss cut :p

  2. beyblade1410

    Don’t worry, I beat 3 worlds players back to back and came in 3rd and missed top 2, to a GIRL.

      • Max Douglas  → Anonymous

        What’s wrong with losing to a girl? Female players may be rare (which a sexist male player base won’t help) but they are fully capable of grasping the TCG. I got my GF into the TCG this summer and she can make the plays like a champ.

      • beyblade1410  → Lynx

        Im not saying you cant im just saying you’re not good. Now get back in the kitchen and finish making my sandwhich :p

        • Will Goebel  → Ross

          I think the likes on both of his comments made it pretty clear that somebody did

        • Anonymous  → Will

          I think the previous comments made it pretty clear that nobody OVER THE AGE OF 21 found it funny.

          There, fixed.

        • Anonymous  → Will

          Probably nothing. But I don’t recall males having a systematic program of sexism applied against them by juveniles throughout the entirety of TCG fanbases…

        • Will Goebel  → Anonymous

          Are you saying that you only recall females being called inferior at pokemon, not males? Please correct me if this isn’t what you mean. If it is, however, then do you really believe that there is absolutely no correlation between being called inferior and actually being inferior? That wouldn’t be very logical if you did. If there are two movies showing in theaters, and your friends all say the first one is good and the second one is bad, do you disregard their advice entirely? No, you don’t. You are more likely to see the first movie because on average, things that people label as having characteristic X are more likely to actually have characteristic X than the ones that people do not label as having characteristic X. In my example, characteristic X is bad movie quality, and if more people say that the second movie is bad than those that say that the first movie is bad, then the second movie is more likely to be bad. In his same way, if some people say that women are bad at pokemon and NONE that say that men are bad at pokemon, then statistics says that we can assume that women are worse than men at pokemon.

          An additional reason: You said that if someone claimed men were bad at pokemon, “probably nothing” would happen. Nobody would say that such a statement is rude because the claim is obviously not true, so nobody is emotionally affected by it. However, as shown by the existence of this argument, when someone doubts the playing abilities of women, everyone makes a huge scene. Many people say that such a statement is rude because it is potentially true, and therefore “hits closer to home” for females than the previously mentioned statement did for males. The fact that people are getting upset over the claim of female inferiority in the realm of pokemon makes the claim more likely to be true.

        • nicholena moon  → Will

          this is a perfect example of imaginary statistics created to support an incorrect hypothesis to an irrelevant and meaningless question. you don’t sound intelligent, your scenario supports the point you’re arguing against. if, in this situation, your sample group says that women are inferior to men at playing cards (how ridiculous does that even sound? also, if your sample group says this, they are most likely immature and uneducated, and therefore not a representative sample.) then one could also infer that this reflects sexism among pokemon TCG players (and society in general), not that their statements are fact. as to your movie metaphor, many people enjoy michael bay movies. i’m sure the justin beiber movie did pretty well at the box office too.

        • beyblade1410  → Will

          No I don’t :) I think a lot of girls that play are good, take Summer Plesko and Anne Marie Thompson for an example, they are both great players that I have respect for, I was making a joke, trying to cheer that person up.

        • beyblade1410  → Caleb

          Dude I don’t like playing girls because my GF already plays Pokemon so I try to stay away from that and btw I’m 13.

        • Lynx Meche  → Will

          And that’s why sexism is still considered funny by little kids on the internet.

          I’ll emphasize little kids, particularly those who play online games too old for their age group.

        • Will Goebel  → Lynx

          k question, what do you think would happen if somebody were to say “Don’t worry, I beat 3 worlds players back to back and came in 3rd and missed top 2, to a BOY.” Be honest please. im interested in getting a girls perspective on this.

        • Lynx Meche  → beyblade1410

          I swear you probably picked one of the worst girls to make that joke to. Find someone who thinks it’s funny and I won’t get the urge to…god how heavy is the threat censor here? Because screw professionalism and courtesy, it’s on my list of “sexist morons who piss me off but not enough that they’re significant so they just fall in here somewhere.”

          (I can’t but I’m not good I don’t even get what you’re saying.)

        • Will Goebel  → Lynx

          If he wasn’t significant, you wouldn’t have written this comment.

        • beyblade1410  → Lynx

          Ok then I’m sorry I was just making a joke :P, my Girlfriend plays and is good so I’m not sexist at all.

    • rax  → beyblade1410

      Thank you for posting this! It is motivation to get better and encourage my friends to get better, so that you and players like you will be losing to women more often.

      • Lynx Meche  → rax

        I want to press “Like” more than once on this but all it does is un-likes it…. Sarcasm or no, it’s never been funny.

        • rax  → Lynx

          Thanks. :) One of the things I really like about the Pokémon community, at least in my area, is that there are a lot of women involved in organizing and a decent number of us who play, and everyone treats this as normal and reasonable. It’s heartening to see that the online community is mostly like that too, even if the conversation is unfortunately distracting from Ross’s excellent article.

    • Anonymous  → beyblade1410

      Sigh. People like you are self-perpetuating the stupid that exists in our community. And we wonder why people tend to avoid TCG players? It’s for stupid and juvenile comments like that.

      Isn’t that right, Mr. Jonathan?

      • Will Goebel  → Anonymous

        It’s not for comments like pokemonjon’s.
        It’s for comments like yours.

        It’s for people who pretend to sigh in disappointment at the existence of disagreement, because they consider themselves so perfect that they do not understand how they could be anything but right.

        It’s for people who think they a blue star next to their name means they can decide for the world that their opinion is right and their opponent’s is stupid, without providing any factual evidence that one should be believed over the other.

        It’s for people who are dumb enough to think that expanding “jon” to “jonathan” will make their argument look more professional and less immature.

        It’s for people who put their profile pic as an anime character because they are too ashamed of their real face.

        Cabd, your entire comment shows that you have insecurities and are putting up a front in order to hide them. You are trying to act superior to pokemonjon by calling his argument juvenile, but you ignore your own naivete entirely. You keep pretending to be something you aren’t. And you wonder why people are avoiding you? It’s because you are avoiding yourself.

        • Anonymous  → Will

          It’s good to see that USC’s debate classes are doing their job. Glad my Californian tax dollars are supporting something worthwhile. However, joining the site here just to make attacks on people isn’t very bueno.

          That blue star means I am trusted by Adam to enforce that little text blurb at the top of the page.

          Let me copy it here for you:

          “Be cool. That’s all we ask. The writers and editors put a lot of time into bringing you these articles, so show some respect. It’s ok to be critical, but please be civil about it. Don’t embarrass yourself in front of everyone by making juvenile remarks because you may regret it later. If you have issue with someone, “Get a room.” Nobody wants to see your childish back-and-forth banter. Think twice before commenting, use proper grammar, HAVE FUN, and thanks for adding to the conversation!”

          If you’d like to continue making personal attacks on me, you’re more than welcome to do so on the forums, or via my email address, cabd@sixprizes.com Repeated attempts to make personal attacks on myself, as well as the other members here, will just lead to further derailing of this otherwise AWESOME article. Therefore, you will be banned if you continue. You’re welcome to make healthy discussion, but personal attacks? No.

        • Will Goebel  → Anonymous

          You called pokemonjon stupid, I called you stupid. I’m all in favor of making this an environment free of personal attacks, but it has to start with you, not me.

          Also, USC is a private school. It hope other citizens of this state have a better idea where their tax dollars actually go or there is little hope for California. Although I’m flattered that you took the time to look at my email address.

        • Anonymous  → Will

          Appeal to Adam in the morning if you so wish. I can’t be bothered to keep reminding you of the rules.

        • beyblade1410  → Will

          Thanks man, I was clearly making a joke, if I was sexist, I wouldn’t be treating my Mom or Sisters well, I like Women and I was flat out making a joke, just don’t jump to conclusions and take a joke Cabd

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → beyblade1410

          It’s true. Anyone who is nice to their mum can’t possibly be sexist.

          You tell ’em PokemonJon!

        • Eli Norris  → Anonymous

          Agreed. This article has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of sexism. Just focus on the topic, guys.

        • Akane Satou  → Will

          This comment just straight up made my day. It’s ad-hominem littered, based on flaming and just so utterly brilliant that I couldn’t help but laugh.

          “It’s for people who pretend to sigh in disappointment at the existence of disagreement, because they consider themselves so perfect that they do not understand how they could be anything but right.”

          …or that “sigh” could have indicated Cabd’s exasperation at PokemonJon’s frankly sexist and completely uncalled for comment. I’m not sure where in his comment he stated that he considered himself perfect, care to point that out? I read his comment as expressing an opinion that PokemonJon’s comment was uncalled for and an example of certain TCG players’ mentalities.

          “It’s for people who think they a blue star next to their name means they can decide for the world that their opinion is right and their opponent’s is stupid, without providing any factual evidence that one should be believed over the other.”

          …because his moderator powers have so much to do with his comment. Again, could you please point out to me where in his comment he mentioned being right because he “has a blue star”? He clearly stated his opinion, but I didn’t catch the part where he said his opinion was fact.

          “It’s for people who are dumb enough to think that expanding “jon” to “jonathan” will make their argument look more professional and less immature.”

          Because that was clearly his intention when writing Mr. Jonathan over just Jon. You’re reading way too much into this – I hardly think he used “Mr. Jonathan” over “Jon” to “make his argument look more professional and less immature” as it’s just another way of addressing someone. It’s not really something to call another person “dumb” over.

          “It’s for people who put their profile pic as an anime character because they are too ashamed of their real face.”

          BEEP BEEP AD HOMINEM ALERT AD HOMINEM ALERT
          Then why is your profile pic not of your face? I’m sorry, but if you’re going to attempt an uncalled for and rude insult, make sure you don’t accidentally insult yourself in the process. By the way, Cabd (and everyone else on this site, for that matter) has every right to use whatever he wants as a profile pic for whatever reason he wants without having to get insulted for it. I have a hard time seeing what purpose this paragraph served – I guess you needed to insult Cabd further in an attempt to make yourself look superior to him?

          “Cabd, your entire comment shows that you have insecurities and are putting up a front in order to hide them. You are trying to act superior to pokemonjon by calling his argument juvenile, but you ignore your own naivete entirely. You keep pretending to be something you aren’t. And you wonder why people are avoiding you? It’s because you are avoiding yourself.”

          Which is exactly what you are doing, my good sir. You are insulting Cabd to make yourself stand out as superior to him, while attempting to hide the fact that your argument is based on ad hominem and not on facts whatsoever. This final paragraph makes no sense at all, by the way – I find it hard to believe that you can back up your statement of Cabd “having insecurities and putting up a front in order to hide them” from the four sentences that you are responding to. You’re reading far too deep into one paragraph of brutal honesty, and you completely out of the blue end your comment with something you seemingly just made up. “And you wonder why people are avoiding you?” Wait, no he doesn’t. People aren’t avoiding him. Why would they? And most importantly: can you show me where people have?
          Your problem is that you consistently fail to back your statements up with fact, which means you have to resort to insulting Cabd to make yourself look superior. Again, you’re basing your argument on something that isn’t there. You assume things, and that’s why your argument fails.

          It’s not for comments like Cabd’s.
          It’s for uncalled for, badly thought out and insulting comments like PokemonJon’s and yours.

          ~Akane

        • Ross Gilbert  → Will

          It amuses me how little this comment makes sense!

          It does not amuse me how it’s a rather nonsensical argument aimed personally at one of the people who gives their time and effort to keep this fine site going. Not cool.

        • beyblade1410  → Will

          Dude, you just nailed him, and CabD I really don’t care about your opinions ( no offense ) I’m just tired of you correcting everyone and pretending to be this superior being, I’m not trying to come off as rude but thats really how you are and how you act. Instead of picking everyone why not go outside? I’m sure your computer is tired of you mindlessly correcting everyone all day.

        • Anonymous  → beyblade1410

          I’m glad you are honest about your lack of care about my opinions. That’s fine. Like it or not; though, I’m one of the people in charge of this part of the site. It’s not that I enjoy coming here and “correcting” you, it’s that it is my JOB here. (I say job, because yes, in an indirect way, I feel I get worth from doing this) I assure you I spend plenty of time outside. In addition to being on 6P, I have a job 8 hours a day, most of it outside.

          What do you do when you make a joke, and you hurt people? You apologize for it. I’ve made many a bad joke that way, but in the end, you have to own up to it and tell the people you hurt that you’re sorry.

          You see, one of the things about the Pokemon TCG websites is that each one serves a unique role.

          Pokegym is the place for official rulings, the largest player base, PG-13 or lower content, and where the folks from Pokemon USA post.

          Pokebeach is a news-driven website with forums and trading.

          Heytrainer is a “everything goes” realm where jokes and sexism and trolling is A-OK, which can be nice to blow off some steam or to talk frankly.

          And then there’s 6P. 6P is article-driven with a forums back end, and provides premium content as well. One of the “big ideas” here is to focus upon the articles and content, not offensive content/jokes. That’s why I called you out on it.

          That kind of joke is more appropriate on HT, or on Facebook, or in private with your friends. Had you made the exact same post on the forums here, you wouldn’t have gotten near as much flack for it. But you didn’t. You made it here, it was reported to me as offensive, and I took a look. Had it not been me, it would have been one of the other mods.

          But now, we’re ruining the discussion on an otherwise excellent article by a talented and skilled author. If you’d like me to explain further, please feel free to send me a PM on the forums or an email.

      • beyblade1410  → Alex

        The girl I had not played but she took 2nd seed, and she’s best in the state of florida and very high in the world fyi.

  3. Joe Yang

    “Yes, that’s right, I went to a Cities in Cardiff with 16 people. In 4 rounds I played three Worlds Competitors. Balls.”

    Welcome to my London Cities.

  4. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    This thread needs less Oprah and more Jeremy Kyle.

    • Alex Holdway  → Jak

      After the break we get the all important DNA results to see if Blackmill is in fact PokemonJons brother. Stay tuned!

  5. Anonymous

    Sir Ross:

    Excellent Article as always.

    I’m going to go ahead and prune some of the more extreme of the sexist comments that were left here. Your article deserves better than that.

    (+1 voted UPPPPPP)

    • Ross Gilbert  → Anonymous

      Thank you very much sir :)

      It’s a slight shame that my article ended up in a massive discussion on sexism. Especially as my article made my reference to this issue. At all :p In fact the only girls i really talked to all weekend were at my mate Tom’s house. But which Tom? You may never know….

      • Anonymous  → Ross

        You mean Hall and Roberts aren’t secretly hiding with separate last names to avoid the cloning agency trying to hunt them down and bring them back in for testing? Hmm, so 50-50 chances, then.

      • Lynx Meche  → Ross

        Well, it could be worse. It could be a long discussion about why your article, deck, or playstyle is terrible, which is usually why we get a huge number of comments. But I think you’re safe there.

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