I noticed that the front page has been a little bit barren of content as of late, so I felt it fit to share my tournament report from this weekend’s Battle Roads. I got to participate in my first tournament of the season this weekend at the Belleville, IL Battle Roads. We had around 17 or 18 Masters at this event. We had two Battle Roads within about 15 minutes of each other, which led to fragmented Battle Roads, both of which had fewer players than a normal Battle Roads for our area would have.
Pokemon ParadijsI decided to play Rayquaza/Eelektrik for this Battle Roads as the deck has proved one of the best decks in the format in my testing, and I really enjoy that the deck doesn’t have any major weaknesses or decks that can be built to counter it. The reason for this is that Rayquaza DRX is the dragon Pokémon counter, and Eelektrik variants are able to abuse the card better than any other deck available right now. So in order to counter Rayquaza/Eelektrik, it takes another inherently strong deck to beat it rather than a deck that simply aims to counter it based on type.
For the most part, I played a list very similar to the list in my last Underground article, which I feel is very close to the standard list for the deck. The only differences I made to the deck were that I dropped my pair of Eviolite for Enhanced Hammers to tech against the local meta, and cut off a little other fat to make room for a Max Potion to give me some healing option.
The reason for the Enhanced Hammers, is I was expecting a lot of Registeel EX decks to be present in our meta. I was expecting them to come both in the form of the Registeel + Fighting partner and Garbodor deck and the Steel Eels deck. A turn two Registeel deck can be especially frightening for an Eelektrik variant, so I felt that it would be the right play to help slow down those decks a bit. I felt even more comfort in playing the card as it also served a utility of discarding Blend Energy in the Hydreigon matchup and discarding Double Colorless Energy from Mewtwo EXs in a variety of decks.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do too good of a job at predicting my local meta. The meta game for our Battle Roads ended up being mostly Hydreigon decks and Garchomp/Altaria decks, with Garbodor and Steel Eels having no presence. I think this might just have been a result of having two Battle Roads in such close proximity to each other, as that part of the meta might have gotten fragmented off to the other nearby tournament.
As a result of our small player pool, we ended up just playing 4 rounds and the Championship Point distribution would go to the top 4 players, which meant 3-1 would probably get you points and 4-0 was the goal to get first place.
Pokemon ParadijsI think my first round opponent’s name was Caleb, and he was a player that just moved to the area from the Northeast. I dead draw to start this game, but still manage to get some Eelektrik setup, even without supporters. My only problem is that I wasn’t able to get Lightning Energy in the discard pile to make use of Dynamotor to setup a bench full of attackers. Eventually I break out of the dead draw and get into a normal flow of the game.
I manage to take out all of his Hydreigon lines with Rayquaza, and work him down to a field of just Darkrai EX’s and Sableye. I work the game down to one prize left for myself and two prizes left for him.
He attached an Energy to his Darkrai EX during the closing moments of the game, forgetting that Hydreigon was no longer in play, meaning to attach it to Sableye that turn so that he would be able to Junk Hunt. I let him take back the attachment, as I know how terrible of a feeling that can be to lose a game because of a silly mental error like that.
My plan is to end the game with a Volt Bolt with Raikou EX on his benched Sableye for my final prize. The only issue is that I have an Eelektrik with 60 damage on it (and I think my benched Raikou EX also had 90 damage on it), allowing him to use Pokémon Catcher to win the game with the double knock out.
Pokemon ParadijsAfter playing an N to start the game, I dead draw after that for a few turns. Additionally, I have two Tynamo prized, which meant it would be difficult for me to both get and keep Eelektrik in play, at least in the early game.
I have to switch up my strategy to using Rayquaza’s Dragon Pulse attack to place 40 damage on Ho-Oh EX’s to soften them up for two energy discard Dragon Burst KOs with Rayquaza EX. I had to use Celestial Roar and manual attachments to power up my Rayquaza EXs in this game. Eventually, in the late game, I do get two Eelektrik in play, which allowed me to get off some Dynamotor action.
I use my Enhanced Hammers to remove DCEs from his Mewtwo EXs to prevent them from ever becoming serious attacking threats and instead turning the game into Rayquaza EX versus Ho-Oh EX, which is what I need the game to be as those are easier to knockout with minimal Dynamotor action.
After he took a knock out on a Rayquaza EX, the game fell to one prize left for him and two prizes left for me. My field just consists of two Eelektrik and a Rayquaza EX. I promote Eelektrik to the active spot, Dynamotor twice to put my benched Rayquaza EX up to a Fire Energy and four Lightning Energy. I Catcher up his benched Ho-Oh EX, play Professor Juniper drawing into my final Switch. I switch into Rayquaza EX and Dragon Burst for the win.
I start first this game with a lone 30 HP Tynamo, and play a Supporter and draw into no other Pokémon on my first turn, so I am a little nervous about this game. I get a Rayquaza going on turn 2, and have it powered up to use Shred by turn 3, and just roll through his Sableyes and Hydreigons for a ton of prizes.
Thanks to Enhanced Hammers removing energies, he isn’t able to get a Darkrai EX powered up to attack after I have taken three prizes, and his only way to knock out my Rayquaza is to use Shaymin EX, which I respond with the knock out with Rayquaza EX and a Dragon Burst, at which point he scoops.
Pokemon ParadijsIn this game I get paired against Mitchell Stromsdorfer. We previously had a pretty epic CMT mirror match at Kansas State Championships in which I came out on top. We finally got our rematch, and in such a high stakes game, as 10 Championship Points would be on the line.
I go first, starting a Rayquaza EX and Tynamo to his lone Sableye start. I see an opportunity to get a potential turn two win here if he can’t get another Pokémon in play, so I attach a Fire Energy and use Celestial Roar, netting me two more Lightning Energy. Of course he is able to get some more Pokémon into play, so the turn two win dream dies there.
I use Super Rod to put a Lightning back into my deck, making it more likely for me to draw into it, Catcher up his benched Darkrai EX, and play a Professor Juniper, drawing into the Lightning Energy. I take the turn two Dragon Burst knock out on his Darkrai EX.
At this point, he N’s me to four cards, and I dead draw a bit from there. I use Dynamotor to try to setup some attackers for when I break out of it, but he catchers up my Eelektriks to stall a bit, giving him time to setup. After I break out of this, the game is just a very close exchange of knock outs, going back and forth, with neither player really missing a beat.
I effectively use my Enhanced Hammers to remove Blend Energy from his field to try to prevent Hydreigon from becoming a late game threat to knock out my Rayquaza EXs. He had three Blend in the discard pile as a result of my two Enhanced Hammer and one discard from earlier in the game on an Ultra Ball.
The game gets worked down to one prize remaining for him, and two prizes for me. Time is called at this point. I need to knock out one of his Darkrai EX’s with Dragon Burst to win the game on my next turn and I have no Eelektrik in play to quickly power up a Rayquaza EX this turn to do it for me. I Super Rod three Fire energy back into my deck, N him to one card, and have two Lightning Energy attached with two Fire Energy in hand after the N and my remaining deck looking like Fire Energy, Lightning Energy, Random Receiver, and Pokémon Catcher.
In order to win this game, I need to use Celestial Roar to accelerate one of those two energies onto my Pokémon, while avoiding the Pokémon Catcher. The original translation for Celestial Roar had the attack be called Heaven’s Call, and I feel that attack name would have been a lot more appropriate for this situation than Celestial Roar, as I needed a prayer answered from Heaven to win this game.
I go ahead and use Celestial Roar, hoping for the miracle. Lightning Energy…good, Random Receiver…oh my god, this is actually going to happen….and Pokémon Catcher. Lose the game right there, and he top decks his last Blend Energy anyhow to take the final KO on my Rayquaza EX with Hydreigon. Great game, definitely an ESPN instant classic.
Pokemon ParadijsFor some reason this never reared its ugly head out in testing, but the 30 HP Tynamo’s proved to be a major liability for me throughout the tournament. A large problem that I had with these is that I had two Tynamo prized in three out of my four games, and when you’re going up against Darkrai EX decks every round and you’re left with trying to setup a 30 HP Tynamo, this is a major problem. I guess one of the reasons this may have slipped under the radar in testing is just because this isn’t all that statistically likely for you to have this many of a card prized in so many games in such a short span.
Nonetheless, these things worked out horribly for me. The reasoning for playing them was sound, as they gave you another out to get to Rayquaza on turn one to get off to a very aggressive start. However, in none of my games did I ever get the cards in hand to get the turn one Rayquaza, so this ended up being a non-factor for me.
I think I would have been in a much stronger position having played the Thunder Wave Tynamo from Noble Victories in its place. These things aren’t easily picked off with Darkrai’s snipe damage, and their attack can stall your opponent, particularly in the Hydreigon/Darkrai matchup where they don’t play Switch, buying you more time to get setup and being able to lock something like a Hydreigon or Darkrai EX in the active spot, trapping it for the ohko on your next turn.
I think if I had played the 40 HP Tynamo all around, instead of doing a 2/2 split, I would have been able to turn both of my losses into wins. Instead, because of how easily they were picked off with Darkrai’s snipe, I was unable to get or keep Eelektriks in play, making this matchup much more difficult than it could have been for me.
Golden State of MindOne thing that became clear to me through extensive testing is just how powerful of a card Rayquaza EX is. When you have multiple Eelektrik in plays, you are able to stream a series of OHKOs on your opponents EX Pokémon with Dragon Burst attacks for 180 damage, which can end a game very quickly.
Even without Energy acceleration, the card can still be a very strong attacker making use of its built in Energy acceleration of Celestial Roar. I had to rely on this attack much more in this tournament than I had hoped because of an inability to keep Eelektrik in play, but I was able to make use of this attack to pick up a rather unconventional win against the Ho-Oh deck and used it to keep both of my losses within striking distance of being wins.
Just remember to analyze the probabilities and the game state before you go around using this attack freely. Sometimes being able to go for an aggressive start is the way to go, such as going for the turn two donk. In the late game, it can be fairly strong for energy acceleration when your opponent will be unable to knock out Rayquaza EX and you just played a Super Rod to move energies back into your deck.
Ideally you will never have to use this attack for energy acceleration, but if you are unable to Dynamotor onto your Rayquaza EX, it is important to remember that Rayquaza EX has this built in energy acceleration as a backup plan.
- Even with the meta game not being exactly what I expected it to be, Enhanced Hammer proved to be a really strong card for me all day long.
- Mitch for selling me a Full Art Giratina EX for a sexy price of only $5. Now I can say I have all of the EX’s from the new set, even Giratina!
- All of my games were able to play out and were all close for the most part, which made for some good tournament action.
- It was still a fun time.
- Raikou EX also proved it’s place as a strong card to be played in Eelektrik decks, being able to Snipe bench sitters for prizes in situations when Rayquaza EX wasn’t ready to attack yet.
- Not winning.
- Not calling the meta correctly.
- With no top cut, losing in the first round feels especially bad as you know right away that you’re not going to be winning the tournament.
- Had two Tynamo prized in 3/4 games.
- Only got my Skyarrow Bridge into play 1/4 games.
- Never getting paired against an auto win in Garchomp/Altaria when it had a large presence amongst the field.
- Playing 30 HP Tynamo. These things were HORRIBLE.
Pokemon ParadijsEven though I didn’t perform quite as well as I had hoped for, I’m not too discouraged from this performance. Outside of the Tynamo issue, my deck performed fairly well, with most of my games going down to the wire.
I am a strong believer that playing in tournaments is the best possible playtesting that you can get. Sometimes things just don’t pop up within your playtesting circle that end up taking you by surprise in the actual tournaments. The good thing about a tournament series like Battle Roads is that you can analyze your mistakes, fix any problems with your deck or play strategies, and then come back stronger the next week.
In contrast, if you just sit out Battle Roads and show up to a bigger tournament like Regional Championships, you won’t have taken in the tournament experience, which allows you to learn these subtleties of what works and doesn’t in a format, which could lead to you having a subpar deck for that tournament compared to other players who have taken the time to consistently play throughout the format and learn its subtleties.
I will be switching up decks for next weekend’s Battle Roads, as I like to take in a little more of a variety of decks as I prepare to take on the format. I do plan to return to this deck though at one of the later Battle Roads, as I do feel it is a strong deck that I can do well with.
Last Spring in Battle Roads I started off by going 1-2 with Hammer Time with Weaville only to bounce back by going 4-0 with Darkrai/Mewtwo/Terrakion the next week. I can only hope that my Battle Roads path can follow a similar route this season with a strong performance this coming weekend!