We’re less than 2 weeks away from the start of State Championships, and it’s definitely time to start cramming. I see States as being a lot like a major exam that everybody wants to do well at. I know what you’re thinking… “Way to go Jay, take a hobby I really enjoy and make it sound like school,” but there really are a lot of similarities.
Just like a test at school, preparation is everything in terms of success. Occasionally people will put forth little effort, get lucky and do well, but the system normally awards planning and hard work.
Basically States is like the ACTs or SATs and Worlds is the college everybody is competing to get into. In what is my last article before the start of States, my intentions are to give you is a well-written study guide. What is really cool is since this is the Underground, not everybody gets this guide, so it should give all of the Underground members an advantage heading into
the test States.
I’m going to start out by breaking down the ECC, looking at what did well and what impact it has for us here in the United States. Then I’m going to talk about my top 5 deck choices for States and give you my lists for each. Lastly, I’m going to give you some tips I found useful at doing well at State Championships and other high level events in the past.
The European Challenge Cup
What is the ECC?
ECC stands for European Challenge Cup which is a tournament comparable to Regionals which took place on February 18-19 in the Netherlands. Last year’s ECC was attended by players from 15 different European countries. This year had a huge turnout of 228 Masters, 70 Seniors, and 34 Juniors.
Why should I care?
The ECC was the first major tournament where our latest set, Next Destinies, was officially legal for play. By looking at the results of the ECC we can begin to get an idea of how the metagame for States is going to look.
Does this mean the meta at the ECC is exact same meta States will have? No, not necessarily. It’s important to keep in mind the ECC is roughly about the same size of 1-of our Regionals in the United States. It’s also only 1 tournament which makes it a very small sample size to get an accurate reading from.
Think of it like this: if somebody based the entire US meta off St. Louis Regional this year, then they would think that ZPST is the best deck in the format by a good margin (it placed 3 spots in the Top 4 I believe). If they looked over the whole Top 32 they would see a majority of the meta decks, but they would most likely believe that ZPST is far superior.
It’s much the same way with the ECC. It should give an idea of what the meta is going to look like, but it’s far from set in stone. Just because deck X beat deck Y in top cut does not mean the matchup will always play out like that.
What did well at the ECC?
You can see a full listing of the Top 32 in John’s article from last week, but let me reiterate the breakdown of those decks:
- 11 Zekrom-EX/Eelektrik/Techs (34%)
- 5 Magnezone/Eelektrik/Techs (16%)
- 4 Celebi/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus/Techs (1 just Mewtwo EX) (12.5%)
- 3 Durant (9.5%)
- 1 Electrode Prime/Attackers (3.5%)
- 1 Chandelure (3.5%)
- 1 Yanmega/Magnezone (3.5%)
- 1 Donphan/Dragons (3.5%)
- 1 Typhlosion/Magnezone (3.5%)
- 1 Typhlosion/Reshiram/EX (3.5%)
- 1 Truth (3.5%)
- 1 Mew Prime (3.5%)
Twelve different decks made top cut! On top of this, there was a considerable diversity between the same fundamental strategies. The decks can basically be broken down into two categories; decks we knew were going to do well, and decks that ended up doing well.
Something really important to keep in mind when looking at this breakdown, is how represented the deck was in the tournament. Magic the Gathering normally releases a decks overall representation in a tournament and hopefully in the future P!P (Play! Pokémon) will do something similar. If only 3 players were playing deck X in a 300 person tournament and 1 of them makes top cut, that is important to know since 1/3 of the players playing the deck made top cut.
On the flip side, if 150 people were playing deck Y in a 300 person tournament and 7 of them top cut it would offer a false representation. The deck may seem impressive with 7 top spots until we look at its overall representation in the tournament.
Out of the 12 different decks that top cut that the ECC, the ones that we expected to well and did were Zekrom-EX/Eelektrik NVI, Magnezone Prime/Eelektrik NVI, and Celebi Prime/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus EPO. Decks that were expected to well and had subpar results in my opinion were Durant, Electrode Prime/Attackers, Chandelure, Typhlosion/Reshiram-EX, and Typhlosion/Magnezone Prime.
I’m going to take a moment to reiterate how important it is to keep in mind this is only 1 tournament. Just because a deck only took up 1 top cut spot does not mean it’s time to write the deck off, or think it’s not a threat. Its lack of representation could be due to many different factors. But moving on, what I really want to look at is some of the less standard choices that snuck into the Top 32.
Ever since Worlds last year, I felt this deck only got weaker with each new set released, so to see one make the Top 32 really shocked me. The 70 damage from Yanmega Prime early in the game is just not that impressive anymore when you have these huge EXs dominating the format, and being weak to Lightning is not something you want from any of your main attackers.
Without energy acceleration to assist Magnezone Prime, it’s nearly impossible to consistently Lost Zone (LZ) the 3-4 energy to KO these EXs. I suppose the deck has some more options against Durant since it can just lead with Yanmega Prime, but even in these situations I feel a late game N would seal the deal.
I’m not exactly sure how the deck was played, but without energy acceleration it’s probably pretty safe to assume Magnezone Prime was not a main attacker. If I had to make an educated guess, I would say early Mewtwo EX pressure and Judges/N to disrupt was a big part of the deck. Here would be my take on a NDE-on Yanmega/Magnezone deck.
Pokémon – 20
Trainers – 29
Energy – 11
pokemon-paradijs.comOnce again, with the release of Next Destinies I thought Donphan Prime was buried in the past. Eelektrik based decks got Zekrom-EX and could simply power through Donphans. Donphan would need 3 PlusPower to 1HKO Zekrom-EX (without Eviolite) with its first attack, or actually manage to get 3 energy attached to one to get the 1HKO with the second attack (without Eviolite).
The deck top cutting was certainly a surprise, but not a complete shock. Donphan Prime is really fast and can start swing turn 2 or turn 3 and disrupt Eelektrik based decks while they are setting up. I don’t see Donphan decks as a huge threat at States, but after its top cut spot I’m not going to underestimate it either.
Every deck runs a high Item count which makes Vileplume UD very strong right now. Combine that with the fact your opponent has to put 180 damage on the board at once to score a KO, and you have a contender. With the release of Next Destines and Pokémon-EX I think Ross actually gained quite a bit.
I’m going to do a little feature on deck the deck a bit later in the article so I won’t talk a lot about it now. I think the deck is underrated and still has a place in our meta, but it also has lot of challenges to face as well.
The Mew Prime deck was… Mew Prime/Yanmega Prime/Terrakion NVI/Chandelure NDE 20/Crobat Prime/Jumpluff HS. Pre and post-Worlds last year I did a lot of testing with Mew Prime, and of course all the testing with LostGar I would rather forget. The three biggest weaknesses I’ve found with Mew Prime are its low 60 HP, getting a Turn 1 See Off is a must, and you really only have 1 turn to waste using See Off.
After the first couple turns, your opponent is just going to be KOing Mews left and right and you’re going to fall to far behind in the prize war. I think the idea of Lost Zoning Chandelure with Mew and then start spreading early is an interesting idea, but not as useful in such a fast format as it would be in a slower one.
pokemon-paradijs.comI’m also going to disagree with Kettler and say that in many situations it is not worth running extra copies of your potential LZ targets unless it’s absolutely necessary. Deck space is really tight and as I talked about earlier, you really only get 1 good See Off per game.
I usually try and keep my list to 3 See Off choices, which in this case would be 1 Jumpluff (allows 1 shot of Mewtwo EX), 1 Crobat Prime (wins Durant), and 1 Chandelure. The odds of prizing it are 1 in 10 games, and if it gets stuck in my hand I have 3-4 Pokémon Communication to get it back in the deck.
As for the rest of the Pokémon lineup, without energy acceleration Terrakion is just going to get Pokémon Catchered and KO’d, and we’ve already discussed how less useful Yanmega Prime is now days. I’m sure I’m underselling the deck, as after all it went 6-2 in Swiss and all the way to Game 3 of Top 8 before being Knocked Out by the eventual winner. The deck just seems to slow and the damage output to low in this fast format.
Click here to see the list, which was posted on The Top Cut.
The big question that everybody wanted to know about is just how popular Mewtwo EX would be. Looking at the results, it shows 11 out of the 32 decks played Mewtwo EX. I feel this number is certainly on the low end of the spectrum though, because if a deck played it as a tech rather than a main attacker, it may not have gotten reported.
I feel almost any deck in the top cut could have easily incorporated Mewtwo EX except for the 3 Durant builds. So a more honest answer (though less proven) is somewhere between 11 and 29 of the Top 32 decks played Mewtwo EX. Watching prices the last few weeks, the card does seem to be a bit on the rise and seems to be selling for $55-$60 on average.
There have been a lot of people saying Mewtwo EX is so expensive, not everybody is going to have it, etc. This simply isn’t going to be the case; a large majority of the competitive players are going to have Mewtwo EX, and this goes for all 3 divisions. The other thing to realize is that $50-$60 for a card really isn’t that expensive compared to almost every other card game.
In Yu-Gi-Oh, “Tour Guide from the Underworld” topped out at $200 and is currently sitting at about $150. Sure enough, about 80-95% of the decks that top cut at Shonen Jump Championships all run 3 Tour Guides. Even at lower level tournaments everybody seems to have them. If players think by having card X it will give them an advantage (and often times it does), then they will gladly pay the cash for them with a smile on their faces.
I got an email last week from a young boy who said he didn’t have any Mewtwo EX and wondered what he should do. The biggest piece of advice I can give to anybody that doesn’t have Mewtwo EX is don’t tell your opponent that you don’t have Mewtwo EX, or how many Mewtwo EX you run. Your opponent always has to assume that you have the Mewtwo EX, and very few opponents will carelessly throw a Mewtwo EX into the Active Spot without a backup plan.
If you read Esa’s report on his blog, he knew Tom Hall only played 1 Mewtwo EX and he had a much easier time in that matchup because of it. Had he thought Tom played 2, or perhaps even 3 Mewtwo EX, he might have played the game very differently. There are a lot more bluffs and calls in Pokémon nowadays, and even if your hand is very weak, it’s important your opponent doesn’t realize it.
In the Top 32, a total of 4 decks were playing Zekstrika (all Zekrom-EX based), and if you had to look this card up don’t feel bad because I had to too. It looks like most of the builds were playing a 1-1 or a 2-2 line. Its first attack “Disconnect” for [LC] hits for 40 damage and stops your opponent from playing Items on their next turn. Stopping your opponent from playing Item cards seems really good in this format, but Zebstrika is just so fragile and takes up a lot of valuable deck space.
Its second attack for [LCC] lets you hit anything in play for 80 damage, but once again 80 damage really isn’t even enough to 1 shot anything worth caring about in this format. At first I thought it might make a solid Durant counter, but I quickly realized that all Durant has to do is play 1 Special Metal under Durant, and Zebstika will have to use Disconnect 3 times for the KO (to be fair, 2 with a PlusPower).
This is probably enough to win you the matchup, but devoting 4 spots to an already solid matchup seems like overkill. My opinion on the card is that it has solid attacks, but the low HP, low damage output, and the fact it’s a Stage 1 all make me say there is better options out there.
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is another one of those cards that seem to be popping up in just about everything, but considering how big Lightning is right now, it’s not surprising. Thanks to both Prism Energy and Rainbow Energy, it’s really not that hard to tech into a wide array of decks. There are two things to keep in mind when deciding if teching Terrakion is worth it.
First, your deck has to run energy acceleration of some sort. If you are not able to drop Terrakion and hit with it on the same turn, it’s going to be nothing more than a prime target for Pokémon Catcher. I would like to note though you can “bait” your opponent into making this play or in other cases put them in very awkward situations, but often it won’t lead to the result you want (which is to score a return 1HKO).
Second of all, it really messes with your consistency and can make your energy lineup very awkward. Whenever I tech Terrakion into on my lists, I have to run at least 2 F Energy; anything less and I simply don’t draw it enough.
It’s also just about the worst starter in the game, and you really might as well scoop against Durant if you have to start with him. The odds of playing against Durant, and starting Terrakion is rather low but it is something I get paranoid about.
Please don’t think I’m trying to talk anybody out of playing Terrakion (I’m certainly not), rather I feel the card has a lot of hype right now and it’s important to look at both sides of the coin. In the end, Terrakion’s Fighting type and ability to score 1HKOs against many of the top decks right now make him an amazing tech. However, he does have some downsides to be aware of and consistency issues that can cause problems.
Shaymin EX in Durant
I really have no idea how this worked for him because on paper it doesn’t look good. Durant doesn’t have any way to power up Shaymin EX in 1 turn and it has a very fragile 110 HP. It’s really only useful in the late game and I see it being far more of a liability to the deck than an asset.
Focus and speed is everything in Durant and if it’s not a live card in most situations it probably shouldn’t be in the deck. I like Shaymin EX, and I think it has a potential in a variety of deck, just not in this deck.
My Top 5 Deck Choices for States!
I’m going to discuss what I believe are the Top 5 decks for States and give lists for each of them. In no particular order my top 5 choices are…
Magnezone Prime/Eelektrik NVI/Zekrom-EX/Mewtwo EX
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 28
Energy – 14
- It has built-in draw power with Magnezone Prime.
- Thanks to this built in draw power, it can abuse N better than any other deck in the format.
- It can 1HKO anything in the format.
What “N” essentially does for the deck is make sure that you’re never out of a game. You can easily be down 2-6 or 1-6 in prizes, N your opponent to a very small hand, Magnetic Draw yourself up to a large hand, and then just start sweeping prizes. There is literally no other the deck in the format that can do this as well as Magnezone can.
While it’s true the deck can 1HKO anything in the format, I do believe I’m overselling that a bit. Most likely you will need to LZ 4 energy to KO an EX, and the deck simply can’t get 4 energy onto the field early in the game, or easily under disruption.
This means if your opponent goes off first/second turn and is putting a lot of early pressure on you, you might struggle to respond. Mewtwo EX can help against early aggression, but it’s simply to fragile to be considered a “hard” counter. The deck also can’t LZ 4 energy consistently for multiple turns in a row. If I have to LZ 4 energy to KO an EX, it’s very unlikely I’ll be able to LZ 4 more energy on the following turn.
Celebi Prime/Tornadus EPO/Mewtwo EX
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 35
Energy – 13
I really liked how consistent David Booji’s list was and the success he had with it this past weekend. I didn’t want to stray horribly far from what I know is a very consistent and successful list, but at the same time there are few cards David opted not to play I wanted to get into the deck.
What I Added
1 Shaymin EX: In a lot of my testing games I’m able to take a huge lead, but really struggle to take those last few prizes. Toward the end of a game 80 damage from Tornadus and the situational damage from Mewtwo EX aren’t always enough to win it. Shaymin EX is only 1 tech spot, easily incorporated into the deck, and has the ability to put large amounts of damage on the field late game relatively easily. This makes those last few prizes a lot easier to take.
1 Smeargle: Smeargle is definitely a double-edged sword and with so many discard and shuffle and draw Supporters being played nowadays, Portrait can certainly backfire on you. But all of this still isn’t enough to stop me from devoting one spot to it. Even with the risks, Smeargle does bring a little bit more consistency to your deck over the course of a game. Going along with this, you get to choose when and if you’re going to use Portrait.
2 Bianca: The deck goes up really quickly on prizes in most games, and for this reason often N will give you a small hand and your opponent a large one. I feel N is an alright play for those very close situations, but 2 copies should be enough for me to find it when I need it.
1 Switch: I simply switched the Switch count and Skyarrow Bridge count to 3-2 instead of 2-3. You only need 1 or the other to have that early game aggression, and with Stadiums really not seeing play once a Bridge hits the table, it will probably stay. Also, Switch is more useful over the course of the entire game, and allows for some Celebi Prime and Smeargle tricks without having to wait until your opponent KOs your active.
What I Took Out
-1 Tornadus: I feel with 3 Tornadus and 2 Mewtwo EX I’ll be set for early and midgame attackers, so I switched the 4th Tornadus for a Shaymin EX. I give up a little in the early game, but gain a lot more in the late game.
-2 N: I talked about this above, but 4 is just too many in a deck that doesn’t have consistent draw power.
-1 Dual Ball: I know this looks a bit weird on paper, but it’s actually testing really well for me. Between all of the draw Supporters, the 3 Dual Balls and 4 Junk Arm, I’m not having any problems finding the Basic I need when I need it.
Celebi Prime/Tornadus EPO/Mewtwo EX/Terrakion NVI
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 34
Energy – 14
Basically the two viable ways I see to play the deck are either very fast, focused, and consistent like my first list, or a little slower version that trades speed for the addition of being able to use Terrakion for return KOs. I talked about the advantages and risks of using Terrakion earlier in the article, so I won’t repeat a lot of it. I tried to stick very closely to my first list, giving up as little speed and consistency as possible to fit in Terrakion.
What I Added
2 Terrakion: I went with a full 2 Terrakions; anything above 2 Terrakions is simply overkill and is just going to shoot your consistency. A few other options to consider are 1 Terrakion, or 1 Terrakion and Super Rod/Revive. Both of these alternative options still incorporate Terrakion while taking away less from other areas. If you find yourself starting with Terrakion too often, you may want to consider one of the latter options.
2 F Energy: As I’m sure you noticed by now, 2 is my go-to number for cards I want to see often enough so I can get them when I need them, but few enough that I’m not drawing them when I don’t need them.
What I Dropped
-1 Shaymin EX: I needed to make room in a very tight list, and Shaymin EX felt like I could cut. He’s another bad starter in addition to the 2 Terrakions I just added to the deck, and sometimes the late game situations I have Shaymin EX in the deck for, Terrakion can also bull through.
-1 Smeargle: The Trainer lineup is just about as tight as I can make it right now, so I had the option of either cutting a consistency card or Smeargle. I decided to go with Smeargle rather than a Supporter because he’s more of a mid-game option, and I’m already giving up some early game speed and consistency to add Terrakion.
-1 Pokégear 3.0: This is another one of those I had to make a cut, and I hate cutting consistency cards. We only run 12 Supporters, so this makes Pokégear 3.0 not always consistent. Between 2 Pokégear 3.0 and 4 Junk Arm, I felt like this was a cut I could stomach.
-1 Grass: In my energy lineup, 4 DCE is a staple for this deck. If I’m devoting 4 spots to Celebi Prime, I don’t want to go below 8 Grass energy. Lastly, I feel 2 Fighting is mandatory if you want to include Terrakion and I would have played 3 if I had room.
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 31
Energy – 14
This is the Zekrom-EX/Eelektrick list I’m currently testing, and I can see why the deck did so well at the ECC. The Pokémon lineup is barebones and very focused. Zekrom-EX and Mewtwo EX are the main attackers, along with Zekrom BLW. I still feel the 1 copy really shines in the Durant matchup and is still definitely worth the space.
pokegym.netI went with a 4-3 Eelektrik for consistency and to help fight off early Pokémon Catchers if the opponent decides to go after them. The 1 copy of Cleffa is pretty standard in just about everything and acts as a consistency crutch. Lastly, the 1 copy of Shaymin UL is just an all around good utility card which can help get energy to both Zekrom-EX and Mewtwo EX from benched Eelektriks.
The Trainer line up I feel is a pretty solid balance between consistency and techs. The 4 Pokémon Collector is again a staple in just about everything, while I went 4 Sage’s Training to help burn through the deck, search stuff out, and dump L Energy in the discard pile.
The 3 Juniper can also dump energy in the discard pile, while at the same time give you a new hand like the 3 PONT the deck runs. The 1 N can help out in a tight spot, but since we don’t run Magnezone Prime or some other forum of consistent draw, we want to shy away from higher counts of the card.
We run too many Items in the deck not to max out Junk Arm at 4, while the 3 Pokégear 3.0 add more consistency to the deck in Trainer form. I love how as soon as I get 1 Pokégear 3.0 in the discard pile, all of my Junk Arm become “live” and can now fetch Supporters. I only run 2 Pokémon Communication because besides Eelektrik, the entire deck can be searched out with Pokémon Collector. So between the 3 Eelektrik themselves and 2 Pokémon Communication, we have a total of 5 outs to get Eelektrik into play.
The 2 Switch is pretty standard, while the 2 Pokémon Catcher looks low on paper. After testing though, I feel the deck doesn’t need to “steal” prizes as much as it did in the past. Between Zekrom-EX and Mewtwo EX, it can really just power through anything your opponent puts in the Active Spot. In the past you would be using Eviolite to protect 3-5 Pokémon over the course of the game which warranted 3-4 spots for the card.
Now with the new EXs, you really only need to protect 2-3 Pokémon over the course of a game. This is why the lower Eviolite count plays fine. Lastly, the 1 Super Rod is just so universally useful in letting us get by with thinner Pokémon lines and making discarding choices easier.
Pokémon – 24
Trainers – 24
Energy – 12
While many of the top decks in this format rely heavily on their speed to cary them to victory, “Ross” on the other hand takes the opposite approach and attempts to bring the game to a halt. Now I’ll be fair here and say that Ross barely made my top 5, but I feel like it’s still a viable deck that we haven’t covered much in the Underground.
pokegym.netAs soon as I saw the set scans of Next Destinies, this is one of the first decks I really wanted to test. I’ll even admit that I got a bit overzealous and preordered 2 FA Regigigas-EX. The new EXs just fit the Ross theme so well, both offensively and defensively. Offensively you can tank them by constantly moving damage off of them, and defensively they can absorb a lot of damage.
The Pokémon in the deck basically fit 1-of 3 roles: they either help the deck set up, support Regigigas-EX, or they are Regigigas-EX. Tanking a Regigigas-EX and keeping it alive for the whole game is the main strategy. Like its Stormfront LV.X counterpart, it might even be necessary to “sacrifice” injured Pokémon on the bench to free up space for new Pokémon that can absorb the damage being done to Regigigas-EX. I’ll skip going over the standard card choices and rather I’ll talk about some of the new additions and more obscure options I went with.
2 Regigigas-EX: I feel that Ross is just about the only really viable way to play Regigigas-EX right now. Without Vileplume for protection, it’s just too vulnerable to Lost Remover, Pokémon Catcher, and a whole host of other Items. Pairing Regigigas-EX with Reuniclus, you always have that 1HKO option on the table with Regigigas-EX’s second attack. In most cases, I’m finding 2 copies of a main EX to be the right number, after all if my opponent can plow their way through two and take 4 Prizes, they probably already won the game.
1-1 Musharna: I know I didn’t give this card an extremely warm review; I feel this was partly due to the fact that I was trying to compare it to the superior Uxie LV.X. The bottom line is that its Ability is not as good as Trade Off was, but it does allow me to see 2 brand new cards each turn and choose the better one to go into my hand. Just that little bit of extra draw power is something Ross really needed with how many dead cards the deck has once it gets set up.
1 Pichu: I’m still not a big fan of this card, and I have found it hard to get into the Active Spot at times with this deck. However, with how fast the rest of the format is, being able to get 2 Oddish and 2 Solosis into play at once warrants the 1 spot. I also like having the “5th Collector” in the deck, which ups my odds of seeing it from 1 in 15 cards to 1 in 12. With an opening hand of 7 and initial draw for 8 a total of 8 cards, I have approximately a 66% chance of opening with either Pokémon Collector or Pichu.
3 Cheren: I went with Cheren over Sage’s Training mainly because Durant is a really big threat in the current meta. The deck is already a slow, and you really can’t afford to have any discarding card in that matchup. It’s also really personal preference; I’m always forced to make horrible Sages decisions which come back to hurt me later in the game.
2 Tropical Beach: I find I draw into Tropical Beach considerably more often with 2 copies than I did with 1 copy. I tested 3, but found the 3rd Tropical Beach just to be a dead card to often to warrant the 3rd spot.
2 N: As slow as the deck is, N normally leaves your opponent with a small hand while giving you a much larger one. These can easily be traded out for PONT if that fits your play style better, but I prefer the disruption N brings to the table.
1 Professor Elm’s Training Method: I really liked the 1 Elm I used in Chandelure, and the more I test I really like it in this deck as well. It can act as a 5th Communication to grab Vileplume early game, while in the mid to late-game it makes setting up Reuniclus or Musharna much easier.
Energy: 4 Double Colorless Energy and 4 Rainbow Energy are already staples in the deck, but the 4 Prism Energy brought perhaps even more to the deck. Pre-NDE, my energy lineup always felt very tight and with limited draw and search in the deck getting the right energy was difficult at times. Prism Energy makes splashing techs like Terrakion and Shaymin EX in the deck so much easier.
For me, the big selling points of the deck are its consistency and its ability to lock my opponent out of playing Item cards. The fact that the deck auto-wins any match where the opponent is not able to 1HKO Regigigas-EX is something else I really like as well.
Now once again the flip side, there are also a lot of things I really don’t like about the deck. First off, the deck is very slow this can cause issues in both 30 minute rounds and top cut. I can’t ever remember losing any major game with Item lock due to time, but I do play at a pretty consistent rate.
I also don’t like how many dead copies of extra Vileplume lines, Reuniclus lines, and Items the deck has once it gets set up. To be fair though, with Item counts being so high now days your opponent is probably sitting with some dead cards too.
Pokémon – 5
Trainers – 44
Energy – 11
romeert.deviantart.comLooking over the results of the ECC, Durant had a very lackluster showing compared to the hype it was receiving. So while people might think that this would knock Durant out of my top 5, it’s actually exactly what kept it in. At Cities the deck was a joke that nobody took seriously; at first they didn’t test against it, and they didn’t tech for it.
Pretty quickly though the deck started doing well and winning events, all of sudden people started to catch on to how good Durant was and they started testing against it and tech for it. What happened was at the start of Cities, Durant was ahead of the metagame and toward the end of Cities the meta was almost ahead of Durant. If people start writing Durant off as unplayable/less playable now, stop testing against it, and stop teching for it, then the meta could come full circle and Durant becomes a solid play again.
I went over my list in detail in my article last week, so I won’t hammer out my card choices again. The only change I made in the list since last week is I dropped 1 Victory Medal for 1 Professor Oak’s New Theory. I wanted another “new hand” Supporter that wasn’t N, and it makes Pokégear 3.0 just a bit more consistent. If this is a deck you want to run and you don’t have Victory Medals, you could pretty easily switch all of the Victory Medals to PONTs.
Adjusting Your Attitude
I go into every event I play in – whether it be Battle Roads or Worlds – with the exact same attitude. I want to be confident, but not cocky or scared/worried. I hear a lot of people say “I’ll just play and hope for the best.” This is fine if you’re a casual player, but as a competitive player you always have to believe you can win.
The problem with taking this too far and being “cocky” is I see players get too overconfident, and in some cases put themselves on “autopilot” because in their head, their opponent isn’t “on their level” and they’ve already won the game. Once somebody is on “autopilot,” they start making little mistakes or not seeing options the opponent might have, which can make little difference or it could end up costing them the game.
I also like to be a little nervous and have a little fear going into an event. There is a saying “Fear keeps you smart, fear keeps you alive.” Basically no matter where I am in a game, I want to think to myself “I can win this,” but at the same time I’m always looking for ways my opponent can seal a win or make a huge comeback.
Being too nervous is normally worse than being too cocky; you always have to think I can win this. In the end, the takeaway point is be confident, but don’t ever think you have a game won until you’re initialing the match slip.
For me personally, I listen to music before each tournament and before top cut. My friends always make fun of me because my iPod ranges from Slipknot to Taylor Swift, and has everything in between. Before tournaments though, I always listen to something laid back and soft like Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez.
[Editor’s Note: laughing out loud]
Yes you can fun of me for this, but the truth is you don’t want to get all pumped up to go sit at a table for 30 minutes; you want to be relaxed. Although I really don’t play Magic, I was reading some of the MTG coverage from their last PTQ in Hawaii, and Brian Kiebler – one of the best players in the game – also listens to music before top cut. I’ll admit it made me feel better to know I’m not the only one who does this.
One of the most important aspects in any tournament is to focus on your current game. The harsh reality of any game is no matter how good you are, sometimes you will lose. Of course you should try and learn from your mistakes, but after that let it go; don’t take a loss you suffered into the next round.
On the opposite side of this, just because you’re doing well in a tournament/game, don’t start thinking about all those prizes you’re going to win either. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen players get cocky in games they think they have won, only to end up losing, or players who start out 3-0, already planning out their top cut, only to end up 3-3. Nothing else matters but the game you’re currently playing, and the person you’re playing it against.
Play Your Hand
The one thing I’ve always told my brother is “Know your deck and know your matchups; outside of that all you can do is play the hands your dealt.” This also the attitude I strongly suggest all parents take with their kids. Younger players have a much harder time shaking off losses than older players, so no reason to add more stress.
I’m sure some of you read the above paragraphs and either don’t believe me, or think I shouldn’t have spent so much time talking about, but I swear it’s all 100% true; attitude means so much more than a lot of players realize. You can’t always control all of the factors in a game, but you can always control all of the factors outside of one.
I have won many games (especially at major tournaments) because I’ve gone into the game with the right attitude and my opponent didn’t. So keep all of this in mind when you are heading into States, or helping your children or siblings get ready for theirs.
facebook.comI really put a lot of time and effort into writing these articles, and it’s great to see people who enjoyed and felt like they got something useful out of them. So, if you liked this article, please take just a second to click the “like” button at the bottom of the page.
If you didn’t like the article, please shoot me an email at email@example.com and give me some feedback on what you think I could do better. With States so close, the biggest takeaway point I want everybody to get from this article is to really put time into playtesting, because little mistakes lose big games.
Right now it’s looking like for the first weekend of States I’ll be in Nebraska, and most likely Wisconsin for the second weekend. Hopefully I’ll get to see some of you there, and if I don’t, I want to wish you good luck!
…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.
After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.
Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!
Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.