The Other 90 HP Lighting Stage 1: An Illinois Battle Roads Report

Maybe I can use these if I play Garchomp next format

Vince Blasko, #1 rated Pokémon player in the great state of Illinois, sat across from me. I was re-sleeving my deck into some plain blue matte sleeves I had just purchased. I played the first game with worn Rayquaza sleeves, copyright 2004.

They were no good for competitive play due to not having a solid border color – said Jimmy Ballard, the event organizer who earned 2nd place at Worlds 2006.

Great. I had to buy new dice too, since the tiny ones aren’t supposed to be used for anything but damage counters. I have never played Pokémon competitively. I only started playing last month after a 7 year hiatus. My delusions of grandeur had faded rapidly. I wasn’t going to top cut. This Battle Roads was huge – 6 rounds of Swiss. Jimmy’s new shop, Top Cut Comics, was a smash success. There was just no way, especially with my own original list.

At my local league, where I had been re-learning the game, I played a Zeels deck. I had done research before I got back into the game, Zeels was the dominant force at the time. My original build was an absolute monstrosity. I ran 3 draw Supporters in the whole deck and with 2 Shaymin UL and 2 Pachirisu CL; it more closely resembled ZPST than Zeels. My 2nd build was almost as terrible. 3rd was still pretty horrendous. Eventually I just net-decked a good Zeels. The shame.
Cake and Coke? That's bad for your blood sugar.

That was me a month ago, running 3 draw Supporters and wondering why I was losing.

Two Crushing Hammers. Two heads. My heart almost skipped a beat, but I had all but resigned. He went first anyway, whatever. Vince was running Hammertime Darkrai, Tornadus, Sableye, and Smeargle. Turn one, 3 energy on the board.

I desperately wished to run my own rogue deck. My Zeels was horrible anyway. I had been watching PTCGO videos and saw a deck that was popular two sets ago – CaKE, CoKE, and the like. So I put it together, almost didn’t play it since I practiced against my brother the morning of and lost because 3-of my 3 Electrode were in my last 3 Prizes.

Was I happy with my deck choice? Now we all know how bad my deck building history is, but I guess you’ll just have to keep reading to find out how content I was.

Electric Mewtwoaloo

Pokémon – 12

3 Voltorb TM

3 Electrode Prime

3 Terrakion NVI

2 Mewtwo-EX NXD

1 Regigigas-EX

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper

4 Pokémon Collector

3 Twins

3 N


4 Research Record

4 Junk Arm

3 Level Ball

3 Pokémon Catcher

2 Eviolite

1 Super Rod

1 Switch

1 Pokégear 3.0

Energy – 15

11 F

4 Double Colorless

noirwhale.comMy 2nd turn. I can evolve my Voltorb at least and explode, giving him another prize. I had the Research Record. Did I feel lucky, punk, did I? I did. I hit 3 Fighting and Land Crushed Darkrai for the 1HKO. Wow, cool, still gonna get served though.

I’m Sam Salvador, I’m 18. I like to make movies and I’ll be going to Michigan State University after this summer. I’ve never played anything competitively in my life. I only started playing again because, well, it’s a really long story. Like, trains, prom, shop-lifting, taxis, girls, and lies long.

Anyway, at the end of all that I got a Mewtwo EX full-art in just two packs. Then I found out its value. Wow! I thought. That card got me back into this wonderful game. So that’s enough about me, I want to hear about you! Just kidding, I want to ramble on about my games at Battle Roads.

Round 1 vs. Matt (Lickitung, Zapdos, Eels, Virizion)

Matt’s a cool kid. He plays at the local league, but he doesn’t like meta decks a bunch. He doesn’t have too many of the greatest cards, but he’s a good player. It was a fun match and I won 6-0.


Round 2 vs. Vince (Hammertime Darkrai, Tornadus EX, Sableye)
"I'll play crushing dreams - I mean 2 Crushing Hammers" is what he should've said.

The dreaded Vince! Vince is an awesome name, by the by. He went first and got a rocket start, but soon thereafter he hit a Supporter drought and couldn’t land any Portraits on me. I got a great Energymite and 1HKO’d the active Darkrai. He sends up Tornadus to hit me for 100. I get another good Energymite and hit for 140 with Mewtwo.

He retreats into Sableye to Junk Hunt for Crushing Hammers, but I have the Catcher. I pull Tornadus up to meet his maker. I’m at 2 Prizes, he’s at 3. He’s forced to Junk Hunt. I’m able to KO Sableye, he gets out another Tornadus. I have Junk Arm for Catcher and take out his benched Smeargle for the win. I was speechless.


Round 3 vs. Carlos (Yanmega, Vileplume, Darkrai EX)

Carlos is a nice guy, I think he was a Pokédad (or at least I hope so, because if he’s reading this I sound like a jerk. You look old enough [but still spry and vibrant enough] to have a kid who plays Pokémon, sorry, I don’t know, ok?). He ran an interesting but deadly deck. Fortunately I managed to deny him Vileplume the whole game. Yanmega is a creative counter to Terrakion and a pretty effective one too as I was soon to learn.

He went 1st. He missed a key Dark Claw and couldn’t 1HKO a Terrakion and I was able to Land Crush Darkrai for 2 Prizes. All in all a pretty close game, but I bring home the W at 3-0 in prizes.


Round 4 vs. Joel (Terrakion, Landorus, Tornadus, Mewtwo)

pokemon-paradijs.comOK, Joel was definitely a Pokédad. I think. I was pretty nervous, his deck played SSU and Tornadus that were a pain in my side. He goes first, too. How did I win? Regigigas! I was seriously considering playing Shaymin UL instead of Gigas, but I took Shaymin out last second. My reasoning was; what was I supposed to bench against this very deck? Decks that could counter Terrakion, but also ran their own Mewtwo were my enemy.

He puts 100 on Gigas at one point and it bench sits for a few turns until he takes out my Terrakion with his. We’re at 1-1 in prizes – my turn. I send up Gigas, which had two DCEs from an Energymite and Raging Hammered for the win. Closest game of the day.


Round 5 vs. Alejandro (Magnezone Prime, Eel, Terrakion, Mewtwo)

Alejandro was another super-cool dood. He was 21 and played the only Magneels in Masters. So here we were, the only Electrode and the only Magnezone. It was like stepping back in time to when those two were meta. He goes first, but draws dead for two turns and can’t get a Magnezone the whole game. I win 3-0.


Oh wow, I’m pretty much in top cut, right? Was my resistance shot because my first opponent went 0-6? Is this real life? So many questions. My friends were cheering me on, they all had missed out on topcut by now, but I would say they were better than I was. They practically taught me how to play.

Round 6 vs. Alex (Hammertime Darkrai, Tornadus, Sableye)
No cash for 'Trode this game.

Hit 4 out of 5 Crushing Hammers (my new blue, legal-sized, dice are too lucky). At one point I N myself to 1 card just in hopes of getting an energy. I have 60 on his Smeargle. I really wanted to fit PlusPower into this list. Gah, why didn’t I?

He recovers from 3 Prizes down by Portraiting my Twins for 2 turns. Great game! Unfortunately he was seeded 5th and narrowly missed top cut. Great deck, great game. I didn’t feel bad about losing since I was glad to have made top cut.


Top Cut vs Alejandro

Game 1

We meet again! He goes first, gets turn two Magnezone, another one to spare and I dead-draw for a while and energymite after a research record for 0. I try in vain to stall his eels but he has switches to spare. I lose 0-5.

Game 2

I get a good start. Some successful Energymites. I misplay more than once though. I was in a pretty comfortable spot for the majority of the game. He got a Magnezone turn 3 I believe. I catcher it and KO it. He gets another one next turn. I Junk Arm for Catcher and KO it. He gets a 3rd one the next turn and I have overextended, I don’t have the Catcher or anything. He has 3 eels. This isn’t good…

I KO his damaged Terrakion to get down to 2 Prizes. He lost burns my Terrakion to get his 4th prize. Ok, ok, alright. But I have to send up Mewtwo (I Junk Armed away my 3rd Terrakion for that Catcher earlier). I realize I probably lost… Mewtwo had something like 5 energy on it, it destroyed the Magnezone, but he dropped his own Mewtwo and Dynamotored. Good game, glad to lose to somebody nice at least.

David (pronounced Da-veed, like Sayid from Lost) goes on to win the whole Battle Roads after a harrowing win when time is called vs. the Truth EX. His Darkrai, Tornadus, Mewtwo build was clearly a deadly force not to be trifled with.

Since everybody else seems to do this, props and slops!


  • Top-cutting my first ever competitive event.
  • Getting back into Pokémon.
  • Somehow building a pretty unique, yet effective deck.
  • Binny’s. Great burgers. Cute cashier. Made her laugh (yeah, I’m pretty much awesome).
  • Not having to play CMT, never played it, bet it would eat me alive.
  • Jimmy’s new Top Cut Comics store.
  • New blue dice to match my new blue mat to match my new blue sleeves. Wore a green shirt though. Misplay.
  • Getting packs for top cut.
  • Darkrai/Tornadus, Magneel, The Truth Darkrai EX, and Electrode/Gigas/Mewtwo/Terrakion top-cutted. Glad to see such variety!
  • Remembering everyone’s name.
  • I just realized I don’t play a single card from Dark Explorers.
  • My first article ever.


I’m a pretty positive guy. Everything was to my liking.

Thanks for reading! (That’s not a slop, maybe I should put another line above this.)

Reader Interactions

24 replies

  1. Hunter

    You were on a roll without any meta deck of any sort and then you ‘sloped’ and lost 3 games. That happens me at every regionals! I wanted to see you do good. Fun read. +1

  2. Mark Hanson

    Fun read. I liked the tone throughout :P

    Very cool to hear you took a Top 4 in your first competitive tournament with a fringe deck. And major props on pulling a Full Art Mewtwo!

  3. kazambolt

    Great article man. Interesting deck, great story telling ability, awesome overall.

    Oh, and I’ll be attending MSU in the fall as well! I’ll be glad to see you there. There’s quite a good Pokemon TCG club there and you’ll be a great addition!

  4. bowser

    thanks for the article, great job with the list! any time you can get energies on terrakion in the current format, a deck can be a force, good work. i met a guy who frequented top cut comics at a wisconsin battle roads and he was cool and helped me with my deck, great stuff.

  5. Yassine Karma

    I like how you make us feel really comfortable throughout the article even if it’s about a tournament !

    We should have more people like you, who play to have fun and don’t take things too seriously !

  6. Bryan Ward

    Wow, this was an epic read. It sounds almost like my first tournament, a Cities almost 2 years ago. I got second with a Healix deck. It’s always nice to see you don’t have to play the top decks to do good.

  7. Aaron Minjoot

    Just love the tone and manner of this article. Huge props to that. It was a +1 no matter what the ending.

  8. DTF

    I actually received 1 complimentary Rayquaza deck sleeve when I made a purchase on Does anybody know any places to purchase custom deck sleeves? All I have are basic red/silver ones =/

  9. abudoggie

    Nice article. Yes.. Carlos is a nice guy and a Pokedad. FWIW, he is the father of the current Junior National champion (Xander who is also a great kid and tough competitor).

  10. Chuck Rancor

    Impressive story, reminds me of how I barely topcut with Feraligatr at like my 2nd competitive tournament. Anyways congrats! And I’m heading to Top Cut Comics this Saturday, any chance you’ll be there?

  11. Tyler Baskin

    Fantastic article, I loved it throughout. From the use of the rogue deck, to your comedic relief to give the reader a break from the battle report, this was an absolutely wonderful read and I hope to see you at Jimmy’s soon!

  12. Dave Enzo

    Great article and all but the +1 is for running elecrode prime lol i still got love for him

  13. Karol Nowak

    Awesome job with the 3rd place, Sam! Making such an accomplishment despite being your first time playing in a long while is one major achievement. It’s a sign you’ll be in for some successful years as a TCG player!

    BTW, I was the guy who sat next to you during your round 5 match (I was against Steve Bala, and I was running CMT). Also, how did you do at Des Plaines?

    • Salvador  → Karol

      Ah yes, I do remember you quite clearly.
      I went 4-2, getting absolutely trounced by a quad-terrakion with Mewtwo EX deck and narrowly losing to Meganium Vileplume. He went first and got T.2 Vileplume and without research record I energymited away all my basics and 2 Terrakion were my last two prizes so he was able to win by only taking 3 prizes.

    • Salvador  → Karol

      Ah yes, I do remember you quite clearly.
      I went 4-2, getting absolutely trounced by a quad-terrakion with Mewtwo EX deck and narrowly losing to Meganium Vileplume. He went first and got T.2 Vileplume and without research record I energymited away all my basics and 2 Terrakion were my last two prizes so he was able to win by only taking 3 prizes.

  14. sam woofter

    reallly like your great writing style it had me sucked in from sentence one

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in.