libraryblog.freeworldu.orgUp until the middle of September I was unsure that I was even going to attend an Autumn Regional. I mean, the closest one was a 13+ hour drive, and the only other one I would want to attend (Texas), was a pretty expensive flight. I thought that maybe it would be safe to skip one Regional and just work hard during States and Cities, saving a bunch of time and money in the process.
Then I remembered that I promised myself I would do everything in my power to get a Worlds invite this year, and in the grand scheme of things operating a motor vehicle for upwards of half a day wasn’t going to kill me. I started chatting with local players and teammates about attending and sometime in late September I finally worked it out!
… Except for the fact that our rental card didn’t end up working out, I ended up being the only one capable of driving, the car we did take had expired tabs and a burned out taillight, we locked the keys in the car, and almost broke down in the wilderness of California looking for a gas station. Oh, roadtripping!
Thankfully our actual trip was fairly easy, as it’s essentially a straight shot from WA to CA via I-5 South. It was thirteen hours, as I mentioned before, but with good company those hours tend to fly by. Eventually we get to the hotel, and, after a short nap, I finalize my list like so…
Pokémon – 16
4 Tynamo NVI 48
Trainers – 32
Energy – 12
This looks pretty similar to most of the lists you’ve probably seen by now, but I’ll break down some of the most interesting choices…
pokemon-paradijs.com– Obviously the man of the hour is the Victini. I believe that Sam Chen was the first to popularize Victini during Battle Roads, but I’m not 100% on that. Either way, I was introduced to it early and everyone in my meta was playing one copy of the little guy all throughout Battle Roads, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise to me.
The idea behind Victini is that you get to stall in the early game while you get set-up, or get out of sticky mid-game situations, either via Thunder Wave or Thunder Fang. It’s especially potent versus the majority of Darkrai decks that were running zero copies of Switch. For an in-depth look at how crucial Victini is, check out any of Ross Cawthon’s matches at the Indiana Regional Championship.
– I’ve seen a lot of talk about people cutting to one of the shiny Rayquaza, but I predicted there would be a heavy RayEels presence, so stuck with the two copies. It’s also decent versus Terrakion NVI, as it can put 40 damage on it early and then KO it through Eviolite with Shred. Also randomly good against Dragon-type Deinos and pads your Basic count.
– Mewtwo was a last minute addition after realizing that “straight” Eelektrik was quite good and a single copy of Mewtwo EX was often hard to beat. My friend Paul Johnston had been testing a list that ran Double Colorless Energies as both a way to power-up Mewtwo and retreat stuck Eelektriks, but I didn’t feel like I could sacrifice the consistency, nor did I have enough time to fully test and tinker with such a list.
pokemon-paradijs.com– Two Super Rod is something that’s also been common within my area/testing team and I think the deck gets much, much worse without it. The second copy allows you to play much more loose with your Junipers, Celestial Roars (god forbid), Dragon Pulses, and Ultra Balls.
– The 1-of Tool Scrapper wasn’t in the list until the night before, but I figured that 4 R Energy was solid enough (I was on 5 for the longest time), and that I would rather cover my bases in exchange for the smallest of lost consistency. Overall it didn’t end up helping entirely too much, but I would play it again ten out of ten times.
Other than that the deck is pretty standard. We had been testing a Stunfisk DRX variant not unlike Henry Prior’s list that took second at the Indiana Regional Championship (ours was much more focused on Stunfisk, though), but decided that it had too many small flaws and needed too many things to work. I’m very glad that Stunfisk was successful, even if it wasn’t us that broke it.
I registered for the tournament online via Eventbrite (something that more tournament organizers should look into!), so I was afforded the luxury of showing up 5 minutes before registration closed and skipping all lines. It was announced that we’d have 253 Masters, which was the absolute worst as that meant that not only did T64 not get kicker points, but that 3 of the X-2s would miss the cut. Even still, I figured that I could easily make it on in 6-2 with a strong start, and hoped for the best…
Round One: Bruce Long w/ Ho-Oh
pokemon-paradijs.comI look at the pairings sheet and recognize the name, although I can’t quite place it. Assuming that it’s just a strong California player that I’ve heard about, I prepare and sit down at the table. Not too long afterward, an older gentleman sporting an Elekid on his hat sits across from me and I realize that I’m playing the one and only scrub netdecker!
Our game, unfortunately, isn’t very good as we both get slow starts. I get three Eels up pretty quickly but don’t have Energy or Supporters for several turns. Finally the game gets going the sequence of plays ends up being something like…
- Bruce: Triple Laser Eelektriks.
- Me: Dynamotor, Dynamotor, Dynamotor, Attach, Dragon Burst Registeel.
- Bruce: Attach DCE to Registeel, Energy Switch. Triple Laser Eelektriks.
- Me: Switch to Victini, Dynamotor, Dynamotor, Dynamotor, retreat, Dragon Burst Registeel.
- Bruce: Send up Terrakion NVI, have no Supporter, pass.
- Me: Catcher Mewtwo EX, Switch to Victini, Dynamotor, Dynamotor, Dynamotor, retreat, Dragon Burst Mewtwo.
Kind of a lame way for the game to go but that’s the raw power of Rayquaza. I was happy to start off on the right foot.
Round Two: Kale Chalifoux w/ Ho-Oh
I don’t remember too much of this game, but it was pretty back and forth and came down to me stalling him out with Thunder Fang for two turns until I had enough energy on my Mewtwo to 1-shot his Ho-Oh. He was very quick to start and I thought I was dead in the water for a few turns, until I was eventually able to stabilize. Kale is a gentleman and a scholar, and it was great to play him after hearing so many great things.
Round Three: Kristy Britton w/ Eelektrik
We both get pretty average starts, but she takes an early prize lead off of a Zekrom killing a Tynamo. I stupidly walk my Raikou-EX right into her surprise Terrakion, but am able to recover via Dragon-types and eventually tie the game at 1-1.
Unfortunately it wasn’t my superior playskill that won me this game, but her inability to draw her final Catcher off a Bianca for 5 in a 6 card deck. Awful to win that way, especially knowing how big of a blunder the Raikou play was, but I was happy to be 3-0.
Round Four: Ho-Oh
pokemon-paradijs.comI certainly didn’t expect to play against this many Ho-Oh decks. During our meta analysis discussion in the hotel room the night before, I had brought up that I expected to play one or two Ho-Oh at most, and that not more than one or two would make the T32. I don’t have the full standings to see quite how wrong I was about the T32, but I was certainly incorrect about its presence in the metagame in general.
This game, if I remember correctly, is another that comes down to the wire, that I eventually win by Thunder Fang stalling a Ho-Oh twice before Volt Bolting it for my last 2 Prizes. This game came down to time and was one of the most intense I’ve ever played, so I’m very sorry that I can’t remember my opponent’s name. Regardless, he was quite the gentleman.
Round Five: Tornadus/Aerodactyl DEX (Troll)
This is the game I remember the least of any of them, but I do know that he failed to get Terrakions or Aerodactyls out, and was essentially forced to fight my Raikou with his Tornadus, which is never a good idea. It wasn’t a complete blowout and he had an insane early game, but things just could not stabilize for him.
Round Six: David Castillo w/ RayEels
At 5-0 I know that should I win this match I’ll be a lock for the T32. However, I also know that it’s entirely possible for me to go L-L-L, out of the tournament and into a bed of tears. So needless to say this was a pretty tense match for me.
Things start off pretty well for me as I take an early lead by Knocking Out Dragon types, as David chooses to bench Rayquaza EXs liberally. I normally think that this is a pretty poor play in the mirror, but David was able to play out of it and keep the stream of Eels going into Dragons and eventually N me into nothing and win the game.
I felt pretty bad about this loss as I feel like I could’ve won had I played out my end game a little differently, but David was a fantastic opponent who played well (he ended up being the lone X-0 after Swiss before being eliminated in the T32), so I wasn’t all that sour.
Also, just to show all of you how great my friends are: After telling Lane Tower that I had fallen to 5-1, he looked at me, shook his hand and calmly said “What starts with a 5 and ends with a 3?” Team Best Friends Side!
Round Seven: Joe Sanchez w/ Rayquaza/Eelektrik/Virizion
pokemon-paradijs.comThis game was a pretty bad one as Joe was never able to really set-up due to drawing completely dead, but he did manage to make a late game comeback. I ultimately won, but not before an odd situation that left me feeling super scummy.
At a crucial point in the late game, I played a Bianca to dig for a fire to kill his Rayquaza EX with my SH Rayquaza. I end up hitting it, retreating, KOing the Rayquaza, and taking 2 Prizes. After starting his turn Joe asked me how many cards were in my hand, and I counted out eight. After a little thinking he realized that I should only have seven, after a Bianca to 6, attaching a Fire, and attaching 2 Prizes.
We call over a judge and I’m extremely nervous that I’m going to get a game loss. Joe goes over the situation with the judge, who then asks me if I agree. After a little bit of thinking and counting I say that I do indeed agree. The judge sighs, and tells me that “because you agree that’s what happened, we’re going to have to…
…shuffle a random card from your hand into your deck.”
The feeling of relief that rushed over me was one of the most intense I’ve ever felt at a tournament. It was an honest mistake (that I assure you I am not prone to making, I generally pride myself on doing things correctly, and I even fanned out the cards to six with the Bianca) and I’m glad that I wasn’t punished too severely for it. At the end of the day I had the Fire as my first or second card so it wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was still a ridiculous thing for me to do, and I’m glad that my mistake wasn’t that costly.
At 6-1 I know I’m a lock for the T32, and my next match will only determine seeding. At this point I’m feeling pretty good knowing that I’m +20 CP no matter what happens next.
Round Eight: Darkrai/Hammers
I’ll admit that I don’t remember much of what took place in this match. I was tired from the previous seven rounds of Pokémon, and the last round had left me feeling particularly mentally drained and on edge. I know that I lost and I know that I didn’t play to the best of my ability, but it is what it is.
I end up at 12th place and will be playing Simon Narode with Darkrai/Terrakion/Hammers. Although he’s from Oregon, he’s a newer player and I’ve never had a chance to speak with him or play him at any local events. My friend Matt Oslakovic had played Simon sometime during the Swiss so we were able to guess the majority of his decklist, which is a major help in these types of situations.
After the tournament a group of us went out for P.F. Changs. Unfortunately James Good and I were the only local players to make the T32, with the rest of our car going X-3. After a relaxing dinner I decide that the extra three hours of sleep would be more beneficial than recreating Simon’s list and testing it. Looking back I wish I had stayed up that extra few hours but hindsight, 20/20, etc.
Top 32: Simon Narode w/ Darkrai/Terrakion/Hammers
I get destroyed in two games that weren’t even close. I don’t know what to chalk it up to except to say that I hadn’t tested that matchup intensely before and that Simon is a very solid player (with a Nationals T16 to his name). These games weren’t worth talking about at all and frankly I’m pretty disappointed in myself with how I played.
James ends up losing in three close games at the table next to mine, Matt ends up locking the keys in the car, I pull a Ho-Oh EX, a reverse Garbodor DRX, and a reverse Hydreigon DRX 97 in my packs, and Martin Moreno ends up taking second with Terrak City (or Terrakion Town, if you’re in the know). Overall, not a terrible tournament and it would be selfish of me to complain. I wish I had gone deeper, but that’s just how it goes sometimes I suppose.
Thanks for reading, as always! Sorry for the lateness, I’ve been pretty busy during this past week. Sometime this week or early next I’ll do a full Boundaries Crossed review, and I’m going to try and push out a Face of Modified before Cities fully start, once I’ve had some more time to test.
How did your Regionals go?!
P.S. – Just want to note that it was AMAZING to meet cabd and Dane Carlson, as well as everyone else who introduced themselves to me during the weekend. Sorry I couldn’t chat more or take the group picture, I was on a pretty tight schedule. Love y’all.