You may have noticed that its been quite a while since I’ve written an article. Unfortunately real life, testing for Battle Roads, and of course actually playing in Battle Roads have gotten in the way of being able to produce content. However, as of now I’m going to start producing regular articles for you all, and am going to have a concrete list of articles that I’ll always submit (winning reports, set reviews, etc.) so that even if I have no inspiration I’ll be able to keep some content out there. I’m focusing on playing the game at a higher level than ever this year, and I consider writing about it to be just as important.
This article is going to cover what’s been up with me and Pokémon in general since before Worlds 2012. It’s going to be like a clip show for articles, briefly covering a few different topics, but I assure you that we’ll return to our scheduled programming soon!
pokezam.comFirst things first: Worlds was great. I actually had some bad times during the trip (losing my bag at the airport, misplacing things, having a bank account issue that was not my fault whatsoever, having trouble finding a deck, none of my close friends in Masters doing well, Brit Pybas and Raymond Cipoletti having their things taken, etc.) but after I arrived back in the great Pacific Northwest I had some time to reflect and all-in all, I’m still amazingly lucky to be able to hang out with some of my best friends in a tropical paradise playing a game that we’re all incredibly passionate about.
One moment in particular that really shined through was on Friday night (I believe), Myself, Ann-Marie Thompson, Amelia Bottemiller, David Cohen, Alan Luc-Nguyen, Brit Pybas, Tyler Ninomura, and Isaiah Middleton all laid on the lawn of the golf course in the resort and watched a beautiful meteor shower. Usually I’m not too into these kinds of things, but having had an awful time in Hawaii leading up to that moment, and being surrounded by my closest friends really had an impact on me and I cried. I have literally never told anyone that (including those who were there!), so take that as a 6P exclusive. It was just an incredibly moving night for me.
pokemon-paradijs.comI’m assuming you don’t care about the actual tournament, but assuming that some of you do…I played Speed Darkrai with Biancas and Lost Removers for the LCQ, and was eliminated in two games by a man from Finland (I believe?) playing Quad Groudon EX. I have to admit it was pretty frustrating to lose (especially as both games were close) to that deck and it’s one of the factors that added to my initial sourness about the trip in general, but I tried to grin and bare it the best I could. For what it’s worth he ended up losing to Tsuguyoshi Yamato in the penultimate round, so it wasn’t exactly like he was a donk.
As for my thoughts on the actual World Championship, I don’t have many. I watched Ross have an incredible string of bad luck, and everyone else I was invested in did just as poorly. I’m glad that a Mew/Accelgor deck made it to the T16 and I’m happy that most of my predictions about what would win were right, but without anyone I know playing and with all of the decks being more or less the same/nothing being too innovative it’s hard for me to get invested.
Congratulations to Harrison and Igor for their performances! As a quick aside, congratulations to Liam Williams for T16 Seniors, Jack Pitcher for getting 3rd in Seniors, Derrick Nelsen for successfully grinding in for the second time in Juniors (He’s 8!), Colter Decker for getting 2nd in Seniors, and David Tomhave for T16 Juniors. All of the aforementioned players are from my area, and all are very good and deserving of how far they went.
Oh also…VANCOUVER 2013!
I’ve spoken at length about this on Facebook and other such outlets but…I think it’s a positive change. It’s not exactly what I outlined in my last article, but it’s pretty darn close and in all reality we couldn’t really have asked for more. The numbers look to be about perfect, and contrary to what others have said I think that Cities are weighted perfectly, still. I’m also a huge proponent of the Top X system, and I’m glad that everyone else is catching on to it as well. Overall, very positive.
Autumn Battle Roads 2012
pokemon-paradijs.comOverall, I’ve been really enjoying Battle Roads. The format certainly isn’t my favorite ever, but it’s an improvement over HS-DEX, and it’s probably the best format since HS-NVI, aka the Cities format with Chandelure, Durant, Cake, ZPST, etc. I like that there are a fair number of reasonable decks to play, and that most of them have different enough strategies to make it feel like you’re actually playing a different deck with different goals and a different set-up, rather than just blank cards with numbers on them, as I felt was an issue last format.
I’ve been playing Darkrai/Hydreigon at all of the BRs I’ve attended, as I think it’s an insanely powerful deck. I don’t feel comfortable giving my list away as it doesn’t just belong to me, but I will say that I feel like the Japanese Battle Carnival list is pretty bad and inconsistent, and the first things I did after testing that list were to add more consistency cards to it. Almost every game I lost in testing was due to not being able to either a.) set up Deinos, or b.) Find Rare Candies or Hydreigons to get them online. As BRs come to a close, if people are interested, I can go over my exact list and talk about changes throughout the course of them.
I also think Rayquaza/Eelektrik is very good and may be the best deck in the format. Shiny Rayquaza gives you the ability to donk and a ton of early game pressure, Raikou, as I’ve been saying since forever is an incredible card that’s only gotten better since rotation, Eelektrik is obviously broken, and Rayquaza EX gives you an insane amount of late game pressure and inevitability. I haven’t chosen to play it as I thought that it would be hated out of my meta too easily, but it seems that that is not the case thus far.
I don’t want to go too deep into it, but there are a handful of other reasonable decks as well…Garchomp, Garbodor variants, Ho-Oh variants, Darkrai/Terrakion, etc. Overall this usually isn’t the type of format that I like, but it feels like the matchups are more than a coin flip, and removing Junk Arm from the format has added another level of skill to the game.
One quick point I’d like to add is that Battle Roads are more relevant now than ever, and people posting on forums saying things like “They’re just Battle Roads” couldn’t be more wrong. In my area, literally every good player has attended nearly every Battle Road, playing a competitive deck, and will continue for the rest of the season. While it’s true that no innovation will occur until Regionals and that decks definitely won’t be 100% tuned until then, the idea that Battle Roads are casual, soft events is simply not the case anymore.
Regionals Prize Structure
Mark A. HicksFor those who aren’t aware, Seniors and Juniors who T4 Regional Championships in the U.S. will get $200 travel rewards toward attending their countries Nationals. This has caused quite the stir in the community as it’s the only time that prizes have been separated by age division since the Wizards of the Coast era. Some people are saying it’s spelling the end of the Masters division, or competitive Pokémon all together.
Personally, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. It certainly sucks that Masters aren’t getting more prizes as that’s something I’m always interested in, but what some seem to be forgetting is that Masters prizes actually ARE increasing, as Regionals are handing out more Championship Points and product than ever before, with prizes going all the way down to T64. I can’t say I’m not disappointed by the announcement, but any prize increases in the game are good, even if they don’t directly benefit me.
The one issue I’ve seen brought up is that this will spell the end for the Masters division as “if TPCi are willing to do this, maybe they’re willing to take away our prizes in exchange for Juniors prizes. Who knows what they’re capable of?!” I personally think this is a silly “the sky is falling” attitude and don’t think that one announcement that doesn’t benefit the Masters division should lead to this sort of speculation at all. Maybe in a few years the Masters division will fold and I’ll look silly for having written this article, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
For what it’s worth, if you’re interested in this subject, you should read the PokéGym thread on the subject, in which my good friend Sam Chen and others argue both sides of the debate (Sam disagrees with me). Obviously it’s the Pokégym so you have to filter out some of the noise, but there is a good discussion to be had.
– I’ll be attending Northern California Regionals this October! Does anyone know of any good hotels to stay at close to the event site, or any food that I can’t miss while I’m there? One of my goals for this year was to turn my Pokémon trips into better vacations by staying at better places, eating better and seeing touristy stuff. If you have any recommendations at all please let me know, and I’ll see you there!
– Would you be interested in another Mail Bag article, in the next few weeks? It’s something I’ve been throwing around since the last one went so well. If you want to see one, please let me know in the comments and I’ll post a bit about it in my next article to get the ball rolling.