Gold Rush – A German Regionals Report

Hi SixPrizes! This is my very first article for this community. My name is Ole, I’m 20 years old and from Berlin, Germany.

I started playing the Pokémon TCG competitively back in 2005. My first and greatest success for a long time was winning a Regional Championship (or State Championship, it’s the same in Europe) in Hanover in 2008.

Last season, 2011-12, was my best one by far. I managed to get my first invite to Worlds via Championship Points and travelled to Hawaii last August. I played a Zekrom/Eelektrik/Mewtwo EX deck and made 27th place (5-2).

This season I try to continue playing on a high level. I had collected 202 CP before Regionals. Of course I want to qualify for Worlds again – if you have been to Worlds once, you want to come back every year.

Card Leaders' Pichu
Our mascot Card Leaders’ Pichu.

I am part of the Card Leaders Berlin community. We are more than 20 players from Berlin and other cities who play in the League in Berlin, travel to tournaments together, support each other, and are just good friends. Six of us travelled to Worlds 2012.

I’m also the webmaster of the German Pokémon TCG website and the Facebook page Card Leaders’ Pichu. On Facebook you can find information on tournaments in English, too.

I applied for the Front Page Contributor two weeks ago. Originally I planned to write my first article about the Pokémon communities (offline), but after a very successful Regionals weekend, I decided to start with a tournament report instead. It should be easier for me to write this first. Of course I will finish the other article and publish it soon!

Some of you might just think that this is just another tournament report from a city which you’ve never heard of before, written by a guy from the “Far East” of Pokémon Europe. If you do so, I recommend continuing reading. If not, continue reading!

Preparing for Regionals
If you can’t beat them, join them.

I had been doing a lot of playtesting. There was a break of almost a month between Battle Roads and Regionals. I had planned to continue playing Darkrai/Terrakion because of my success at Battle Roads.

But then, one week before Regionals, one of my favorite Pokémon became more and more popular on PTCGO: Keldeo-EX. I began to hate it because it destroyed my beloved Darkrai/Terrakion deck. Up to then, I had lost only 10 out of 70 games with that deck, but seven of them were against Keldeo.

One day before Regionals, I stopped being frustrated and built my own Blastoise/Keldeo-EX deck instead. I borrowed three Keldeo-EX and three Blastoise from my friends at our Boundaries Crossed Prerelease.

Pokémon – 13

4 Squirtle BCR

1 Wartortle BCR

3 Blastoise BCR

3 Keldeo-EX

2 Bouffalant DRX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

2 Cilan


4 Rare Candy

3 Ultra Ball

1 Level Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Super Scoop Up

2 Eviolite

2 Energy Retrieval

1 Super Rod

1 Computer Search


1 Tropical Beach

Energy – 11

11 W

Playtesting with my friends Jan and Thoralf showed that two cards are very important for this deck: Tropical Beach and Super Scoop Up.

Tropical Beach is very useful in many situations, like having only Skyla at the beginning of the game. Without Tropical Beach, you have to take a Supporter and play it next round.

Since you don’t start attacking T1, you can take Tropical Beach with Skyla instead and draw into new cards which hopefully include a Supporter. It’s also nice to get out of dead hands after a late-game N.

And last but not least, it is a counter Stadium against Skyarrow Bridge. It seems to fit perfectly – just imagine Blastoise and Keldeo relaxing together at the Tropical Beach

Super Scoop Up is a Shaymin UL, Max Potion, and Switch all-in-one. It can be used to move Energy around. It can be used to heal your Pokémon. It can be used to switch to Blastoise or Bouffalant without retreating. I don’t like flippy cards but in this case, there is a high reward for the risk.

I took out one Ultra Ball and included one Level Ball instead. I often wanted to use Skyla to get a Squirtle early game – Ultra Ball needs to discard two cards. There is no reason why discarding cards could ever be good for this deck, but there is only Ultra Ball to find Squirtles, Keldeos, Blastoises, and Bouffalants.

pokemon-paradijs.comPokémon Communication in a deck with only 13 Pokémon? Uhm, no. The single Level Ball helped me a lot.

No Mewtwo EX? I don’t like Mewtwo because Keldeo already has an unlimited damage output. Of course it’s better to counter a Mewtwo with a Mewtwo, but I worried about consistency and space.

Bouffalant DRX is my second attacker. It is a non-EX attacker which has a nice attack for three C Energy. It’s good against almost every Pokémon-EX you could think of, especially against Darkrai EX. Its Ability Bouffer makes it very hard to KO for Darkrai.

I think that four Squirtles are absolutely necessary here. This deck needs an early Blastoise in order to start attacking. One Wartortle is nice to have; two is too much.

“Gold Rush” is my name for this version of Blastoise/Keldeo-EX. It comes from Keldeo’s “Rush In” + Bouffalant’s “Gold Breaker.” I hope you like it!

The Tournament

Regional Championships Hanover. 59 players, 42 Masters. Six rounds, Top 8. That’s pretty much standard for German and European Regionals. I was a little bit nervous before the first round. I think I am a little bit nervous before EVERY first round, because it’s the most important one.

Round 1 vs. Mark H. (Tornadus/Darkrai/Blissey)

pokemon-paradijs.comMy opponent revealed a mulligan – his hand contained DCE and Aspertia City Gym. Obviously a Tornadus EX deck. Since Dragon Vault isn’t legal in Germany because of some problems with distribution, the deck couldn’t use First Ticket. Mark won the coin flip anyway.

He opened with Tornadus EX against two Squirtles. T1 he benched a Chansey and KO’d my first Squirtle with DCE + Aspertia City Gym. I had to get Rare Candy + Blastoise as soon as possible. A Keldeo-EX took some damage while I did my setup. His Blissey DEX didn’t do anything important other than flipping tails.

Decks like T1 Tornadus usually have a bad late game – Blissey wasn’t able to make it better. I started attacking and scored 2HKOs on two Tornadus. Tropical Beach removed Aspertia City Gym and Keldeo’s Secret Sword sealed the win.


Round 2 vs. Nico A. (Darkrai/Landorus)

We both had solid starts. Nico won the coin flip and opened with Darkrai or Sableye. He decided to discard his Landorus-EXs because they would be easy prizes for me. I started to build up a Bouffalant, which is good against Darkrai because it can’t be 1HKO’d.

Nico healed his Darkrai with Gold Potion and did some heavy damage to my Bouffalant. I had to switch to Keldeo as my main attacker for this match, so I tried a Super Scoop Up on Bouffalant and flipped heads.

This was the first out of four SSU heads which sealed the game for me.

I was very lucky with the flips in that game – Nico played very well but there is nothing you can do against 4/4 SSU… I felt a little bit sorry for him and told him that we would face again in the top cut, hopefully.


Round 3 vs. Merlin Q. (Empoleon/Accelgor)

I think that Empoleon/Accelgor is a difficult matchup for Blastoise/Keldeo. You can switch out of Paralysis because of Keldeo’s Ability, but Accelgor still does a lot of damage. I decided to focus on Bouffalant. Bouffalant + Eviolite can prevent 40 damage which is huge against Accelgor.

I had to get rid of those Shelmets before I could Rush In with Keldeo. My opponent revealed that his Super Rod was prized, so I felt safe after I KO’d his third Shelmet. My Super Scoop Ups didn’t work this time and I couldn’t prevent Merlin from scoring a KO on Keldeo.

I don’t remember if he got the Super Rod out of his prizes, but it was too late for a comeback anyway.


Round 4 vs. Ingo S. (Quad Landorus + Hammers)

This is the most favorable matchup a Blastoise/Keldeo player can imagine. My opponent was 3-0 with a Quad Landorus + Hammers deck. 4 Landorus-EX, that was it. No more Pokémon. Before the round, he said that he had already beaten a Keldeo before.

I had a very slow start. Ingo was able to remove some Energy with Crushing Hammers, but he couldn’t put any pressure on me. The most difficult thing of this game was to find Rare Candy + Blastoise.

After five or six turns, I finally got it and won the game with three consecutive Hydro Pumps on Landorus-EX. Yeah.


Round 5 vs. Finn L. (Darkrai/Hydreigon)

In my third turn I said to Finn:

“I can’t even pretend to have something because my hand is so bad.”

He won the game a few turns later. I don’t remember if I even managed to build up a Squirtle and use Water Splash.


Round 6 vs. Janik R. (Blastoise/Keldeo)
Who knew this could be so effective?

Hooray, a mirror match. I had no idea what to do in a Blastoise/Keldeo mirror. Winning the “Keldeo war,” Knocking Out Blastoise…

I had a wonderful start with a T2 Keldeo-EX and a KO on Janik’s first Squirtle. Janik had a great start, too. Rare Candy into Blastoise, lots of Energy to Keldeo-EX, Rocky Helmet attached. Rocky Helmet, whoa. This was the most annoying card of the game.

My Keldeo-EX took 150 damage – and I didn’t want to KO my own Keldeo. I retreated to another Pokémon to buy a turn. I at least wanted to 1HKO the Rocky Helmet Keldeo before losing my own Keldeo, so the next turn I 1HKO’d that Keldeo – with six Energies attached – which I lost immediately because of Rocky Helmet.

The field was almost completely cleared of Pokémon – only the two Blastoise were left. Janik built up a fresh Keldeo, attached five Energies (four of them from Energy Retrievals), and KO’d my lonely Blastoise.


Top 8 vs. Merlin Q. (Empoleon/Accelgor)

This best-of-three match was quite different from our first game. Merlin was able to take the lead early because he got a better setup. Bouffalant still was my best man in this matchup, but I started collecting prizes quite late.
For the win!

Merlin struggled in the mid-game somehow and I scored some KOs. He drew a lot of cards from his deck – one turn before my win he had four cards left (hand + deck). I had N in my hand and wanted to deck him out. The next turn, Merlin had three cards and 3 Prizes left and I played N for the win.

Unfortunately I don’t remember the second game.


Top 4 vs. Björn R. (Darkrai/Landorus/Terrakion)

Read Round 5 to see what happened in Game 1 against Björn. He KO’d my last Squirtle with his Darkrai after a few turns.

Game 2 was much better. Unfortunately I don’t remember much… same for Game 3, which I won in a timeout.


Top 2 vs. Finn L. (Darkrai/Hydreigon)

Maybe a Drowzee ate my memories (it eats dreams, doesn’t it?). I don’t remember Game 1, but at least I remember the end of Game 2.

Both sides had a good setup, but Finn lost his Hydreigon after attacking with it. I had 3 Prize cards left and was two Energies short of KOing a Darkrai EX. I had Cilan in my hand and nine Energies in play. My deck contains 11 Energies.
Tails never fails…

I realized that I hadn’t counted the Energy cards in my deck in the beginning. Instead of playing Cilan, I discarded my hand with Professor Juniper and drew one Energy, one Super Scoop Up and one Computer Search.

I tried to find the missing Energy with Computer Search, but it was prized. I had expected that… I grabbed a second Super Scoop Up. One heads out of two SSU would have been enough. Two tails…

I Catchered another Pokémon and KO’d it. Time was called. Finn tried to get a Shaymin EX + Eviolite, but he couldn’t find the Eviolite. I was hoping that he would find it because I got the missing Energy from my prizes. My second Keldeo-EX was able to KO Shaymin EX in return.

Since Finn didn’t find Eviolite, so he continued attacking with another Darkrai. Again, I couldn’t KO it, but Finn scooped the next turn because he ran out of Energy for Shaymin EX.


Unbelievable – this was my second Regionals win. The first one was back in 2008 in Hanover with a Empoleon DP/Mantine MT/Palkia LV.X deck, only Water Types. Final match against Darkrai LV.X. Pokémon TCG sometimes tells crazy stories.

I’m now at 322 Championship Points (oh my god). I’m still trying to find that Drowzee which is hypnotizing me. Of course I’m going for the missing 78 CP to get my invite as soon as possible. Wish me luck!

Thoughts on Blastoise/Keldeo-EX

Can we go to the beach? Please??

Playing this deck helped me to understand how it actually works. I think that the most important thing is a good decklist. You have to combine consistency, variety in attackers and the ability to deal massive damage.

I still like the idea of Tropical Beach in this deck because it helped me a lot. You can’t afford having a dead hand because this deck’s strategy is hand-based. If you are left with only one card in hand and no option to draw more cards, then you’ll probably lose.

The downside of Tropical Beach is that can be the 61st card of your opponent’s deck when played wrong. It’s not a card which can be thrown on the table immediately when you draw it.

Blastoise/Keldeo-EX can be considered an “auto-piloted” deck. The Rain Dance concept isn’t the most complicated one, but a very successful one. Emboar BLW 20 – the equivalent when it comes to Fire types – won Worlds 2011.

Consistency is the biggest problem of my version. I lost two games because I drew absolutely nothing. Adding a Supporter could help maybe. The 12th W Energy would be nice, too.
Maybe the best Keldeo counter.

There are only a few cards which can counter Keldeo-EX effectively. The best one seems to be Mewtwo EX. It can be thrown in many decks and it doesn’t need much Energy to attack Keldeo-EX for a lot of damage. But Mewtwo EX is also a risky play because Blastoise/Keldeo-EX can easily play Mewtwo EX, too.

Good Grass types are very rare nowadays. Shaymin EX’s HP is too low to counter Keldeo-EX effectively. Virizion EPO can 1HKO Keldeo-EX for three Energy, two of which have to be G Energy. It has 100 HP and a Water Resistance, which makes it harder to KO than Shaymin EX. It can be included in a Darkrai/Hydreigon deck.

The Rayquaza/Eelektrik matchup isn’t the best to be honest. I was lucky enough not to face a RayEels, but I played a few testing matches against it. I would like to hear your thoughts about that!

I think Blastoise/Keldeo-EX is one of the best decks in the format right now. It’s easy to play and hard to defeat. However, once a hard counter is released, a straightforward Blastoise/Keldeo-EX deck will struggle.

Thank you for reading! Comments are appreciated on both the content and my English. :)

Reader Interactions

9 replies

  1. John Orgel

    Great first article. This has reinspiried me to play Blastoise Keldeo at some cities and I really like Bouffalant and Trop Beach in your deck. They are creative innovations that seemed to make sense and really help out. Looking forward to your next article.

  2. Ryan Moorhouse

    Props on the win! Tropical Beach is such a good play in this deck, and I love your list-It almost mirrors mine bar the Boufalant. Well done and im hoping to go to Worlds as well next year(54 CP atm,yay:P)so I might meet you there!

    • Ole S  → Patrick

      I would like to add another Energy if it was possible. I had to think about every attachment. It should be easier to play with 12 Energies.

      • Patrick D Glynn  → Ole

        I had a feeling. You had to make every attachment count or else it bit you in the butt. I saw bouffalant was pretty useful in some matches, but did you ever regret not using Mewtwo?

        • Ole S  → Patrick

          Not really… last weekend I played another Regional (same deck list, 9th place, missed Top 8 -_-). 4-2, lost vs. Blastoise/Keldeo (huge misplay) and Hammertime (bad draw). Mewtwo wouldn’t have helped there.
          Mewtwo is okay, but I prefer Bouffalant for Darkrai matchups.

  3. Anthony Ramos

    Yes i also believe RayEels is an unfavorable match up to you as well. A deck that can kill a loaded keldeo easily is tough. That is the sole reason I ran RayEels at my cities, to counter Keldeo/Blastoise.

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