PiddlevilleGood morning, or, depending on when you’re reading this, good afternoon, good evening, or goodnight. It’s how I start my podcast and I wanted to see if it worked in a written article. I think it does. And yes, it IS a Truman Show reference.
I haven’t written for a little while, what with a new job and trying to travel all over the country (for Pokémon and non-Pokémon-related goodness) and most of my Pokémon time has been given over to my podcast (PTCGRadio) but I have a spare couple of hours now so let me tell you about Battle Roads.
Last season was an odd one. I did ok but bubbled and whiffed rather hard and rather continuously, eventually finishing almost exactly half-way to an invite (to Worlds) on Championship Points (CP), but I managed to grind in so it all worked out.
This year I was hoping not to have to go through that, so I wanted to earn a legitimate invite before I travelled to Worlds. My aim then: 6x Top 4 at Battle Roads, 4x Top 4 at Cities, 3x Top 8 at Regionals. Let’s do this!
As I go through my Battle Roads I’ll be giving little reports from the tournaments as well as deck lists that I used and the Top 4 decks from each tournament.
As a little bonus, I’ll be giving you the generic postcode (UK versions of zip codes) for each tournament so you can see how far I have been travelling. I live in PE10. Go stick it into Google maps and you can see where I live. Now, go do that for the other postcodes I give you for the tournaments below and you can see how far I went. Give it a go, it’s fun.
- Sutton Coldfield Battle Roads (B73) – 8th September 2012
- Aberdare Battle Roads (CF44) – 9th September 2012
- Nottingham Battle Roads (NG9) – 22nd September 2012
- St. Austell Battle Roads (PL25) – 13th October 2012
- Horsham Battle Roads (RH13) – 14th October 2012
- Sheffield Battle Roads (S3) – Sat 20th October 2012
This is one of my favourite places in the country to play as it’s run by wonderful people who always do a little raffle so everybody gets a free Pokémon gift. They also somehow still manage to turn a profit, despite their crazy generosity.
There’s only a little over 20 Masters but there’s a lot of good players (PokémanDan, the Armsteads, Tommy Roberts, Tamao Cameron, etc.) so these top 4 spaces will be hard to come by. We have 5 rounds and a top 4 cut (we have top cuts in Europe; it’s only the US that doesn’t).
Due to my love of Empoleon I decide to make a deck using him because it’s fast, consistent and can use Terrakion and Stunfisk (both of whom are amazing!). I play an odd list with only 6 Supporters but I’m running a 3-2 Roserade line and 8 Pokémon search cards (4 Level Ball, 4 Pokémon Communication). This gives me a T2 Empoleon about 80% of the time and I can then use Empoleon’s Diving Draw ability to sustain me the rest of the game.
Here’s my list:
Pokémon – 21
1 Mew EX
Trainers – 28
Energy – 11
Round 1 – Jono Cowley (Rayeels)
Jono is a lovely chap who’s just moved up from Seniors. But he’s one of those good Seniors that makes the transition seamlessly and is able to complete at a very high level from the off. And he’s playing an Eels deck. Brilliant.
Luckily he draws a little dead this game and as I’m about to bench him with Stunfisk (KOing a Zekrom) he plays a Max Potion. I wear him down again and just as I’m about to win he draws a Juniper and we have a proper game.
My fast start was too good though and I’m able to 2HKO a Rayquaza after catching and killing a couple Eels after my couple early prizes.
Round 2 – Mike Lamb (Rayeels)
Mike is a chap I know rather well who goes to almost as many tournaments as I do. We play a lot and we’ve both won a few so I know I need to be on my guard. And yes, my first 2 games with Empoleon are Eels variants…
In this game I play well and although Mike never draws completely dead, I’m able to use Stunfisk and Terrakion to take out his Eels before finishing the game with a 2HKO on a Rayquaza, aided by his list not playing Max Potion.
Round 3 – Jak Stewart-Armstead (Darkrai EX / Hydreigon DRX 97)
This game he goes first and I have a god start. After my first turn I have 2 Piplups and 2 Roselias on the bench, with a Rare Candy, Empoleon, Water Energy, Level Ball (for Roserade to get a Supporter), and a Catcher in hand. He has one Deino out so next turn I can KO his only Deino and I’m almost certain to win the game.
As he tells the story, he looked for a “tell” to see whether I had a good hand as I hadn’t played a Supporter last turn. He deduced I did and N’d me. As it happened I didn’t play a Supporter because there were only 6 in my deck and I didn’t draw one. He didn’t know that! I draw dead off the N and he sweeps my weak Basics for the win.
Round 4 – Ryan Middleton (Zekeels)
Ryan is the little brother of our very own PokémanDan. He doesn’t play all that often but he’s pretty good, just whiffing cut at Nationals last year with Klinklang (ironically missing cut after losing to his brother!). This also now makes 3 of my first 4 games with Empoleon against Eels decks. Zekeels however worries me a lot more than Rayeels because there’s more hitting for Weakness…
I go first in this game for the first time all day. He starts lone Tynamo and I start Emolga. I use a Pokémon Communication for my Stunfisk, play every card that I can (to increase my odds of drawing a Fighting Energy) and play an N. I hit the Fighting Energy and donk him.
We played another game afterwards and I started well but my deck drew dead in the middle (3 Empoleons out and no Energy for 3 turns!) to allow him to comeback for the win. Strangely, I have now played and beaten 3 Eels decks with Empoleon…
Yep, Jak’s big brother, who has played at Worlds multiple times. He’s pretty good. Looking at the pairings, Jono has been paired down so I know that the winner of this game will make cut. He’s playing a big Basics deck so I like my chances.
In his deck Ben plays a lot of healing cards and that really makes the difference. I struggle to 2HKO and he controls his bench well so I can never drop a Mew to KO the Mewtwo as I don’t play DCE so must rely on using “Attack Command” with Mew.
At one point he almost benches another Terrakion, which would have allowed me to KO the Moo2 and maybe make a comeback but he doesn’t and I lose by a single prize.
So I finish the day at 3-2, finishing 6th as the highest ranked 3-2. I only lost to 2 fantastic players but this does seem to be hinting at a repeat of last season where every tournament is “close, but no cigar.” The Top 4 looked like this:
1st: PokémanDan (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
2nd: Tamao Cameron (Darkrai / Hammers)
3rd: Ben SA (Mewtwo / Terrakion)
4th: Jak SA (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
Spare a thought also for Jono Cowley who lost to me round one, then went and won his other games, finished 4-1 and missed cut due to being paired down in the final round!
This weekend I had rented a car and so, wanting to make the most of it, I got into said car and drove to Wales. It was about a 4 hour drive there and about 5 and a half back, dropping my friend off on the way.
I’m not gonna lie, I was kinda hoping that it was so far that most people wouldn’t bother and I could get some easy points. There are however some good players in Wales, such as Joel Morgan, who whiffed cut at Nationals last year, despite finishing 5-2.
When we get there the view is staggeringly beautiful and Joel is not there, so it’s looking good. Unfortunately, Mike Lamb has come down and brought Charles Barton, who fell about 3 CPs off an invite last year and made it as far as sudden death in the last round of the grinder. Yeah, he’s pretty good.
There’s a little worry at the outset as there’s only 7 Masters (meaning only points for Top 2) but an 8th turns up and we’re ready to go. We’re to have 3 round (one hour, best of 3) and no top cut.
Round 1: Calvin (Garchomp / Altaria)
Pokemon ParadijsCalvin is a lovely chap who I have played once before, losing in sudden death at Cardiff Battle Roads last year when I benched 3 extra Pokémon (needlessly) and then drew a Pokémon Communication that I couldn’t use as I had no Pokémon in hand. Which was stupid. He’s playing Garchomp / Altaria which I’ve tested and like playing against, but it’s far from an auto-win.
He draws dead; I get a T2 double Empoleon and another one on T3 and sweep him in a short amount of time.
We both get set up here and start taking easy bench prizes. However, I play 3 Max Potion and he plays none. Towards the end of the game it’s really close and I’m considering scooping to ensure I can go first in game 3 when I look at his discard pile and realise he’s out of Catchers.
Armed with this information I stop him taking prizes by using Max Potion or just retreating / Switching my damaged Pokémon to the bench. He’s out of Altarias so he’s unable to get any OHKOs and I close out a long game by being the only one able to take prizes.
Round 2: Mike Lamb (Rayeels)
Yeah, I don’t need to introduce Mike again. All I will say is that he’s added Max Potions to the deck since yesterday and added a Moo2 whereas I have taken out my Moo, leaving me unable to counter it. I looked at the players and what I expected to see and figured nobody was playing Moo2. I was wrong.
In these games, especially sudden death, Mike took advantage of the fact that I couldn’t OHKO his Moo2, which was all my own fault. Unfortunately these games were soured by a ruling.
Pokemon ParadijsI’ve talked about it at length in the podcast (and Twitter, and Facebook, etc.), but basically Mike was allowed by the judge (confirmed by the head judge) to discard a Prism Energy to do an extra 60 damage with Rayquaza EX’s Dragon Blast.
This meant he could OHKO my Empoleons when he would be otherwise unable. The first time I had 2 Empoleons out, a Max Potion in hand and neither of us had taken a prize. He should have hit me for 120; I would then Max Potion and KO his Rayquaza, going 2 prizes up with 2 Empoleons on the field.
Because he was able to discard the Prism he was able to OHKO my Empoleon and I ended up 1 prize ahead with 1 Empoleon out. I lost that game.
I’m not saying definitively that this definitely cost me the game, but it did make a big difference. He did play very well though, started Rayquaza EX all 3 games (he played 2) and got at least 2 Eels out by T2 all 3 games. I eventually won game 2 and lost a close sudden death to his Moo2 play.
We were playing for a place in Top 2. So now I knew I had to win my last game and cross my fingers as positions were now out of my hands.
Round 3: John (Eels and such)
John is a lovely chap was the father of one of the organisers and grandfather of one of the Seniors. There’s not much to say about this game but it was very enjoyable and he was a lovely chap.
For those paying attention, 5 of my 8 games this weekend, while playing Empoleon, were against Eels decks. Strangely, I only lost one…
Eventually my Round 1 opponent won his last game to put me into 3rd place and I got my first 10 points and my first Victory Cup of the season. I was somewhat frustrated by the ruling error but, to be fair, I would have lost to Charles in the finals had I gotten there and those 2 points make very little difference.
I was aiming to cut every other (1 of every 2) Battle Roads (I’ll hit at least 12 between Autumn and Spring) so I was still on course.
The Top 4 looked like this:
1st: Charles Barton (Rayeels)
2nd: Mike Lamb (Rayeels)
3rd: Me (Empoleon)
4th: Calvin (Garchomp / Altaria)
Notting is, hands down, my favourite place in the country to play Pokémon. It’s my local league and run by lovely, lovely people. It also always attracts a big crowd and always attracts a lot of good players.
There were 38 Masters at this one (not big for the US but huge for the UK) including several Worlds players and several others – like Charles Barton, Johnny Hall, and PokémanDan – that should be playing at Worlds.
Nottinghamisn’t really a place you can go and grind for points (too many good players) but it’s always a lot of fun. As there were over 32 Masters there were points going for Top 8 and we had 6 rounds and a Top 8. That’s big for a BR. To reiterate though, I didn’t really want Top 8, it didn’t fit my plan!
I had a little faith with Empoleon after too many nervy moments in my last 2 tournaments so I had switched to Mewtwo / Terrakion. Credit where it’s due though, I took my list from Jak SA and it was the same one with which Ben beat me in Sutton Coldfield, with a few of my modifications of course.
Here’s the list:
Pokémon – 8
3 Terrakion EX
3 Mewtwo EX
Trainers – 39
Energy – 13
4 Double Colourless
Round 1: Sam (Rayeels)
Sam is a new player and had a Rayeels deck made by his friend Tamao. Due to card shortages however it played about 6 Supporters and no Catcher. Unfortunately I was also playing a deck designed for this (I was bored of playing Eels decks with a Water deck) so the game was over rather quickly.
Round 2: Casey (Mewtwo / Raikou / Eels)
Pokemon ParadijsCasey is a guy I know fairly well who plays at a small league and doesn’t go to too many tournaments. He has made a very consistent, streamlined deck focussing on only Moo2 and Raikou, which he feels are the 2 best attackers around.
In this game I start feeling ill. Very ill. For this reason I play stupidly. All I need to do is stream Terrakions and his only hope is Moo2, which I can then counter. But no. I take an easy KO on a Tynamo with a Moo2 despite knowing that he played 3 Moo2s and 4 Double Colourless (DCE).
This puts us into a Moo2 war in which he has the advantage (as he gets the first KO). Eventually the game comes down to 2 prizes each and I have a choice. I can let him KO a Bouffalant (which does nothing as I have no other 1 prize Pokémon out so he still has to KO an EX to win) or I can put a Moo2 active, in which case I have the win if I top deck a Catcher (to KO a damaged bench Moo2) or a DCE (to KO the active).
He had a small hand, hadn’t used a Supporter for a couple turns and had only one Catcher left in over 20 cards. He needed a Catcher to win and the chances were small he’d get it so all I needed to do was let him KO the Bouffalant, by which time I would have the cards I needed to win.
I was feeling so ill however that I needed to go get air so I put the Moo2 active, in order to end the game now. I top deck a DCE and win a game I probably shouldn’t have.
Round 3: Derek Wheatley (Ho-Oh EX)
Derek is a very good of mine who I see at league every week. He is also the other voice that can be heard in my podcast. He’s got an unusual Ho-Oh deck playing a wide variety of attackers such as Tornadus EPO, Tornadus EX, Registeel EX, Sigilyph DRX, and many more!
I have very little memory of this game due to my illness but I do remember I burned resources far too quickly. I had 3 prizes left and only one Catcher remaining when he benched a Sigilyph. He could not find the Psychic Energy though so did not use it for several turns, allowing me time to close out the game. Again, I’m not sure I deserved to win this one.
Round 4: Karl Blake (Mewtwo / Terrakion / Stunfisk)
Pokemon ParadijsKarl Blake is a man that plays at Worlds. Every year. He’s also the only UK Worlds competitor from last year that I have yet to beat in a tournament. Once again, my memory of this game is hazy.
As this was basically a mirror match it was close from the off. I drew no Supporters for a good chunk in the middle but a stream of Pokémon and Energy saved me for the time being. At one point Karl put a Stunfisk active to my Terrakion and without a PlusPower or Catcher I was forced to hit it for 90 and KO it the following turn.
As I hadn’t had quite enough Supporters mid-game it did help me late game and after Karl benched a Bouffalant (I had taken 5 prizes so would have to KO an EX for the win if he didn’t bench a non-EX), I managed to top deck a Catcher to take out the Bouffalant the turn before Karl had the win. I did however have a number of outs this game, reducing the luck factor a little of that final top deck.
Round 5: Jemma Millward (Darkrai / Hammers)
For those of you that don’t know, Jemma is PokémanDan’s fiancée. She doesn’t play all that much but when she does she can always be found in or around the top cut places. She’s playing Darkrai / Hammers and as the only remaining 4-0s I know I’ll be playing her. I figured I’d lose.
As with all Hammers deck I waited for the first turn or two and then was able to Mewtwo, DCE, PlusPower to OHKO a Sableye. This means that although she had Hammers still, she couldn’t recover them and I could (slowly) start getting energy on the field. I KO’d 2 Sableyes on consecutive turns like this.
She hit 4/7 Crushing Hammers (which is fair I suppose) and the game came down to an agonising finish. I had a Moo2 with 60 damage on the bench. She had an active Darkrai with an Eviolite and a benched Darkrai with Dark Claw. I had 4 prizes left to her 2.
I needed my last Catcher to KO her Darkrai with Dark Claw, then she wouldn’t be able to take a KO and I’d win the following turn. Otherwise she won the game with a Catcher. I had a Cheren in hand and 3 cards (including the Catcher) in deck. I can play a Cheren, get the crucial KO and deck out, or take the other KO and hope she doesn’t have a Catcher.
I take the KO and she plays a Cheren, drawing the Catcher as the 3rd card! I can’t complain though, I expected this to be a blowout and we had a very good game.
Round 6: Jono Cowley (Rayeels)
I know that I might be in cut anyway, but I might not. Win here and I would be. Jono is the same guy I played in Sutton Coldfield.
This game played out exactly as our one in Sutton. I went first, started taking cheap KOs and the turn before I was about to win he hit a Juniper and made a comeback just a little late as I won the game 2HKOing a Rayquaza EX. Spooky.
So I make the cut in 3rd place, getting into the Top 8. Jemma Millward went 6-0 in Swiss with her Hammers deck and the Top 8 looked like this:
Jemma Millward (6-0) (Hammertime)
Karl Blake (5-1) (Mewtwo / Terrakion)
Me (5-1) (Mewtwo / Terrakion)
Andy Stone (4-2) (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
Jono Cowley (4-2) (Rayeels)
Tommy Roberts (4-2) (Ho-Oh)
Barnaby Baldwin (4-2) (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
Johnny Hall (4-2) (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
Top 8: Barnaby Baldwin (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
This was not a very eventful series and I won 2-0 in about 20 minutes. Both games Barnaby couldn’t set up, I started well and took advantage of weakness to win quick games.
These were however incredibly fun games and we both had a good old chuckle. Plus, Barnaby is a good friend from the other league I used to frequent on a Friday (and still do occasionally) so it was good to see him again. Plus, he made changes to his deck based on my podcast (4 Ultra Ball, 4 Rare Candy) so I’m claiming the credit for him getting to Top 8!
Top 4: “My Good Friend” Tommy Roberts (Ho-Oh)
Pokemon ParadijsFor those that don’t know, as well as being my good friend, Tommy “T-Dawg” Roberts was number one in the world on CPs last year. We’ve played a lot in the couple years I’ve been playing and it’s about 50-50 in terms of wins. Today though, we’re not taking it as seriously as we sometimes do.
While shuffling up we talking about our decks, card counts, strategies, etc., the kind of things you don’t want your opponent to know. It’s a friendly place though and we’d both hit our goal of Top 4.
Game 1 I draw dead and Tommy wins.
Game 2 is very, very close but Tommy eeks out a close win. I forget how. Sorry.
So, 2 hours of Top cut later and I finish in 3rd. Which is a nice improvement of my 3rd place standing after Swiss rounds. Here was the final Top 4 after Top cut:
1st: Tommy Roberts (Ho-Oh)
2nd: Johnny Hall (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
3rd: Me (Terrakion / Mewtwo)
4th: Andy Stone (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
HUGE thanks here to Kelly Newsum who volunteered to judge the final so that the other judge and I could disappear as I was still feeling horrendous. Very much appreciated!
So I’ve now hit Top 4 at 2 Battle Roads and, given that there’s Autumn and then Spring BRs, I only need to do it once more in this Battle Roads season.
Now by this point I had again joined the wonderful, hedonistic club of car ownership and I celebrated this by driving home to Cornwall. Which is about 350 miles away from where I actually live. Still, not far to go for a weekend.
Luckily the weekend after I bought my car there was a Battle Road going down in St. Austell. Now I wasn’t that keen on going because I had been for non-premier events and my experiences had been poor. Bad judging, bad sportsmanship, and unfriendly people. So, with some trepidation I set off.
Luckily, I had nothing to worry about. Attendance was up, people were playing proper decks and everyone was lovely. I was slightly concerned that the lone judge was married to one of the players but it didn’t cause any specific controversy on the day.
I once again kept faith with my Moo2 / Terrakion deck, knowing it could do well against any deck other than Hammers and with 20 Masters we were playing 4 rounds with no top cut.
Round 1: Aaron (Garchomp / Terrakion)
Aaron is a guy I’ve played before who, shortly after I started playing, stacked his deck when playing me. He’s changed now though and we had a very fair, very enjoyable game.
Pokemon ParadijsThis was a winnable matchup for me but awkward. I need to take out the Altarias, forcing him to 2HKO (100 per turn with Garchomp) while I use Potions to turn these into 3HKOs. This means I take a prize lead and he 3HKOs for 2 prizes while I 2HKO for 2 prizes and the maths works.
In this game I draw no Energy and no Supporters other than Juniper and am forced to Juniper ALL of my Potions and Max Potion which I had drawn all in one go. This means I cannot heal and if I let his Garchomps live he’ll be 2HKOing me for 2 prizes and the maths no longer works.
There was a key turn in this game where I Junipered with around 40 cards left, needing to hit a PlusPower to KO his active Emolga with my Mewtwo OR a Catcher to KO his benched Swablu. Though it’s statistically likely, I miss both and am forced to do a meaningless 60 damage.
On my last turn of the game I pull off a series of moves guaranteeing me the win unless he can top deck his 3rd and final Catcher in a deck of 20 cards. He does. Had I gone second or not had to Juniper all my healing cards or hit the PP or Catcher earlier I’d have won. Nevermind.
Round 2: ??? Sigilyph / Moo2
I forget this man’s name but he was the photographer for the store and a mighty fine fellow. Unfortunately, 4 turns into the game I had KOed 2 Moo2s and a Raikou EX using Mewtwo and Terrakion and won the game.
Round 3: ??? Ho-Oh
Pokemon ParadijsI again forget this man’s name (sorry!) but he was a new player who, along with some friends, had started learning this new format using the internet and such and turned up with a decent list.
This game was fairly straightforward. I am a keen proponent of 15 Supporters (including Random Receiver) in this format and he played a few less. He drew a little dead mid-game and missed some energy drops and that, combined with my healing cards, kept me ahead in damage and prize cards to give me a convincing win.
Round 4: ??? Darkrai / Hydreigon
I really don’t remember names from this tournament. I apologise. This guy was friends with my Round 3 opponent and had a decent Darkrai / Hydreigon list but had not tested with a wide group of players so was not an expert with the deck.
Unfortunately this was one of the decks I had been testing to beat and it was a very straightforward game. By T2 I was KOing Deinos and then a couple of Darkrais later I had the win. He was a lovely chap though and we had a good game.
The results came in and my poor resistance let me scrape 4th as the lowest ranked 3-1. I was a little disappointed in this as the top 3 consisted of Eels and Darkrai / Hydreigon that I would have felt confident beating (I never played any of them, hence the poor resistance) and my Round 1 was a particularly painful loss but there we go.
I still had the 10 points and I had now met my goal of 30 points from Autumn BRs. To be truthful, I was hoping for 2 wins in those 6 top cuts to go from 60 points to 70 but that now looks unlikely. Still, you never know. The main thing is it had been a good day and I had met some new friends.
Here’s what the Top 4 looked like:
1st: ??? (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
2nd: ??? (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
3rd: Paul Hallet (Zekeels)
4th: Me (Terrakion / Mewtwo)
After some hardcore map and Pokémon.com consulting I realised that with just a 3 hour detour, instead of going straight back to Lincolnshire, I could instead go home via West Sussex and hit Horsham Battle Roads. Well, this was a no brainer!
I’d never been before but participants included the Armsteads, Nic Fotheringham, and Ian Elliot so it was gonna be a toughie.
All the way up I was thinking I had met my target and it was time to give Empoleon a run-out for funsies but I bottled it and played the exact same list as the previous day. There were about 20 Masters and we played 4 rounds, best of 3, 60 mins, with no top cut.
Round 1: ??? (Garchomp / Altaria)
Pokemon ParadijsI had about 4 hours sleep and drove 5 hours to get here. My memory isn’t perfect!
I really wanted to win this to avenge yesterday’s first round loss. Luckily this game went exactly as planned. I took out the Altarias and used Potions to force him into 3HKOs late game.
Round 2: Ben SA (Darkrai / Hammers / Terrakion)
Yep, the one auto-loss for my deck. Nevermind.
Game 1 I did ok but he discarded too much Energy and there was nothing I could do.
Game 3 went as it should and he stream-rolled me pretty nicely.
Round 3: Sam McLewee (Quad-Sigilyph / Hammers)
No, I’m not taking the mick. Sam has a bit of a reputation for playing all or nothing decks and he lived up to it today. He’s a good player though and when he picks the right deck he does very well.
In these games I had 1 Terrakion and 2 Bouffalants with which to attack. It wasn’t enough. I didn’t play great as I benched Terrakion too early but his hammers and tool scrappers really slowed me down.
I almost won game 2 when he Junipered 2 DCEs early game (meaning he was slow to charge his Sigilyphs) but he hit Crushing Hammers at the right time to nullify any chances I had.
I’d never dropped from a tournament before but after driving for 5 hours there I still had another 3 hour drive home and this was clearly not my tournament.
Ironically, Empoleon would have been a really good play that day. I would have probably still beaten the Garchomp and though the Darkrai deck would have been difficult, had I lost to that I would have faced the Sigilyph deck, which is almost an auto-win for Empoleon. This will teach me to be a pansy!
Sheffield is one of those places that I always go to. My friend always judges and I inevitably give her a lift. Plus, it’s kinda close and it’s always full of people I know. It also attracts good players.
I have however had recent success here, coming 1st or 2nd at the last 3 BRs, including beating Yaccine Sekkoum and his Vilegar list that went undefeated at UK Nats the previous weekend, with speed Donphan last year! I was then destroyed by his brother Sami.
I had grown bored of Terrakion / Moo2 and its weakness to Hammers so I decided to play a Ho-Oh deck. I didn’t want a full-on Ho-Oh deck though. I just wanted a little Energy acceleration so I swapped my Bouffalants for Tornadus EX and my healing cards for Ho-Oh and Energy Switch.
Then, right before the tournament, I decided that I wanted to annoy my good friend Tommy Roberts so I took out 3 Psychic Energy, a Sigilyph and a Tornadus EX for 3 Water Energy, a Kyurem EX and a Basculin EPO 24. Yes Basculin! You see, Basculin + DCE + Energy Switch = OHKO on Ho-Oh (which Tommy would be playing). Here’s the list:
Pokémon – 11
3 Mewtwo EX
2 Ho-Oh EX
1 Tornadus EX
1 Kyurem EX
1 Basculin EPO 24
Trainers – 35
Energy – 14
4 Double Colourless
When I found out it would be 5 rounds (30 minutes, single game) with a Top 4 (one hour, best of 3) and that I would be staying to the end as I was the judge’s ride home, I regretted this decision that I figured ended my chances of doing well!
Round 1: Glen (Terrakion / Groudon / Stunfisk)
Pokemon ParadijsGlen is of the lovely people who runs Sutton Coldfield events. He’s here for his son who is collecting points in Seniors to go to Worlds. Good luck sir!
You might think that me putting Water Pokémon in my deck and Glen playing Groudon would help me. It didn’t. None of them could OHKO a Groudon (I couldn’t get 2 Water Energy on Kyurem as I only played 3) so they just 2HKO him the same as Tornadus EX.
Luckily the Mewtwo and Tornadus did and I won the damage and prize races to win by one prize after a terrible misplay, Ning when I had game in hand. Woops.
Round 2: ??? (Empoleon / Roserade)
This was a good game with a guy I didn’t know but he was really friendly, we had a good chat while we played and, like all good games, it went right into +3, without time determining the winner.
I knew how hard this would be from playing Empoleon but, in theory, I also knew how to win.
All game I made sure to only have 2 Pokémon out, meaning he could not 2HKO my Pokémon with Empoleon and I saved my last Pokémon Catcher after KOing 3 Piplups from the bench. I knew that using all my Catchers could lead to him doing to me what I did to Calvin in Aberdare so I took 3 bench prizes and started working on Empoleons, saving my last Catcher.
He hit 3 Max Potions, meaning it was very slow going and he started coming back into it but as time was called and we went to +3 he had nothing but half-dead Empoleons and could not stop me taking my last prize so he scooped.
Round 3: Joanna Shirley (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
Pokemon ParadijsJoanna is the other person who runs Sutton Coldfield BRs. I didn’t really want to play her (because she’s lovely and playing a deck I should beat) but, as expected, we had a nice, friendly match.
Unfortunately she drew very badly in this game and I killed her Moo2 turn 2 (she started with it) before KOing 2 Deinos with Catchers and ending the game with a Darkrai KO with Terrakion.
Round 4: Charles Barton (Darkrai / Terrakion)
Charles is a lovely guy who I see a lot because we both go to a lot of tournaments. He always beats me. Always. I mean, literally, always. You get the idea.
I’m paired down this round and worrying because if there’s more than 3 X-1s (quite likely) I’m gonna need good resistance.
This was one of the worst games ever. I drew 20 cards. In this I saw one Supporter. It was a Bianca at a time where one Energy would get me a KO on a Darkrai and 2 more cards (from prizes). I draw: Ultra Ball, Ultra Ball, Eviolite, Skyarrow Bridge.
I do not believe I was as gracious as I could have been in this loss though. I did apologise and I didn’t swear or rant or yell or anything but I don’t believe I took the loss as I should have. This soured the loss even more. I should have had the grace to lose like a gentleman.
Round 5: Tamao Cameron (Arceus)
Tamao is a very good chap with whom I sometimes test and is also good friends with my good friends Tommy and George. He was however sitting at 2-2, meaning I was paired down again. This meant that, if I won, I could only cut if there were only 4 X-1s or better, as my resistance would be trash.
Tamao, being the gentleman that he is, scooped to me. Partly this was because he couldn’t cut and I could but mostly this was because he wanted to play with his Arecus deck. I didn’t ask him to scoop, nor did I encourage him. He signed the slip before I could say anything. As always though, disagreements and insults in the comments!
What I learned was this: Arceus is AWESOME against EX-heavy decks. I was thoroughly, thoroughly, beaten.
In the last round George Boon beat Joanna Shirley to end Swiss at 5-0 and leave only 3 people as 4-1s (had Joanna won there would have been 5 people on 4-1) meaning I could just scrape into cut. Tommy missed cut at 3-2 after losing a close game to PokémanDan, officially making my Basculin inclusion a moronic decision.
Top 4: George Boon (Rayeels)
George is another one of those players who went to Worlds last year. He’s good! He also got a ride to the tournament with me and discussed my deck at length so he really knew a lot about my deck.
Game 1 I started Moo2 to his lone Tynamo but without a DCE I Ultra Balled for a Stunfisk, played Switch and then Junipered. I hit both a Fighting and DCE and donked him.
Game 2 was a little longer. I again exploited his Tynamos and Eels with Stunfisk before 2HKOing a Raikou with Mewtwo (after he hit double tails on Thunder Fang 2 turns in a row with a Victini NVI 14 out!) before closing the game out by 2HKOing a Rayquaza with Terrakion.
Top 2: PokémanDan (Darkrai / Hammers)
You all know who PokémanDan is. I don’t need to give you a big introduction. Interestingly though, he was playing the exact list with which his fiancée went 6-0 in Swiss at Nottingham. I need this list!
This was fairly uninteresting to be honest. I played really badly, Dan played it well and we couldn’t hit a heads between us. Over both games Dan hit 0 heads on Crushing Hammer and I lead with Tornadus both games hitting tails on every Power Blast.
I used Ho-Oh too early and too often for only one Energy and in game 2 I had a key confusion flip to turn the course of the game and, after hitting tails, I was done.
This put me on 42 points, above what I was aiming for, and brought to a close a rather successful Battle Road period. Dan also won his second Battle Road after only attending 3. He’s on a roll this season!
Here’s what the top 4 looked like:
1st: PokémanDan (Darkrai / Hammers)
2nd: Me (Ho-Oh / Basculin)
3rd: George Boon (Rayeels)
4th: Kev Bramald (Darkrai / Hydreigon)
Anyone still with me? I’m hoping that either you picked up a couple tips from what you read here, or at least found it interesting. I didn’t have time to do full reports as I went thought but I thought I did well enough to warrant writing this.
As I speak I am sitting on 42 points with an Elo of 1702, after 6 tournaments, both of which I think are fairly impressive. My 42 CPs puts me 9th in the UK however, if you discount points from Worlds and just look at points gained from BRs, that puts me 1st, just ahead of Nic Fotheringham and Ben SA with 35, as the only person to cut 4 BRs.
Pokemon ParadijsMy Elo puts me 3rd in the UK but was gained over 6 tournaments, rather than 3 which both the people above me attended (Elo being harder to maintain the more you play).
I would have liked to have won a tournament but hey ho, I’m still on course for my worlds invite so I’m happy.
It’s still VERY early days though so I’m not too confident yet. Cities and Regionals will be where invites are won and lost so really, these BRs are good mainly as proof that I can compete with the best in the UK (except the Sekkoums who, as far as I know, have yet to go to any tournaments).
I’m hoping that I can keep this run going and secure an invite before Nationals so that I can just have fun at Nationals and look forward to Worlds. This is a tall order but I will need to make the Top 4 in 4 Cities (I’ll be attending at least 8) and Top 8 in at least 3 Regionals (I should be making 6) so it is do-able, if I can keep this up.
Wish me luck!
I’ll be going Worlds regardless though (please don’t make me grind again!) and I love playing this game so you’ll keep finding me at tournament smiling, no matter how I do.
PTCG RadioAnd as I go I must remind you to please go and check out my podcast PTCGRadio. It’s the only weekly PTCG-dedicated podcast and covers all the main news right up to date as well as interesting stories, gossip, deck ideas and analysis. I even conduct real-life interviews with tournament winners. It’s awesome! But then, I would say that.