Hey everyone, today I am going to do a report on my first weekend of City Championships. I haven’t done an article in a long time, but I want to get back into writing so I hope you guys enjoy!
Coming into the new format I really liked Landorus-EX – the card had everything I ever wanted. It had early game pressure in the form of Hammerhead and then a really good late game attack with Land’s Judgment. It was the best way to deal with Tynamos and Darkrais and could deal with everything in between – all with just one card!
However the problem was trying to figure out what deck it fit into. At first I tried to play it in Ho-Oh, but I never liked how many flips that deck depended upon, between Rebirths and Super Scoop Ups, so that plan ultimately failed.
A few days before the first Cities I came across a Japanese deck that had won one of their major events. It was called “White Tea” and consisted of Landorus-EX, Mewtwo EX, Tornadus EX, Terrakion NVI, and Bouffalant DRX. At first it seemed a bit weird, but after testing I found the deck had huge tanking capability with Eviolites and Aspertia City Gym.
I was set on playing this until the night before the tournament when my friend Ricky played Darkrai/Hammers against me and crushed me multiple times. The thing was that White Tea had no Energy acceleration and if Hammertime kept on using Crushing Hammers you would eventually run out of Energy and lose.
This made me want to play Hammertime too, and in the end, Ricky, Cor, and I wanted to all play Darkrai/Hammers instead. Turns out that would be hard to pull off. You would think it would be something like getting the 12 Darkrai EXs (4 per deck) that would prevent us all from playing it, but that wasn’t the problem. It was that we couldn’t find enough Crushing Hammers!
Ricky decided to take the bullet and switch decks to Ho-Oh. (Thank you very much man, I don’t think I would have done as well with another deck!)
The events were in Washington and my friends and I are from British Columbia, Canada so we had to drive down at like 5 AM – not fun. Onto the actual tournament report…
Round 1 vs. ??? with Darkrai / Terrakion / Cresselia
pokemon-paradijs.comI started off with Sableye DEX and Crushing Hammers, so I was able to take control early on by reusing Hammers to keep him dry of Energy. Once he started to draw dead and I saw my opening to go for Night Spear, and that lead me to victory.
Round 2 vs. ??? with RayEels
He started off with a lone Tornadus EPO. I was able to get a turn two Night Spear and KO Tornadus before he got another Basic.
Really rough for him, but I do feel like I am a heavy favorite in the matchup anyway.
Round 3 vs. ??? with Blastoise / Keldeo
I got a somewhat slow turn 3 Night Spear, but he also had problems getting a Blastoise into play so I was able to Catcher and KO some of his Squirtles.
By the time he got a Blastoise into play I was up 4 Prizes and he could only power up one Keldeo which was unable to take on three Darkrais by itself.
Round 4 vs. Tyler Ninomura with Landorus / Mewtwo / Bouffalant / Terrakion
pokemon-paradijs.comWe both get slower starts, but I was able to keep him from attacking by spamming Hammers. He also drew pretty poorly and only ever had two Pokémon in play which were quickly KO’d.
Round 5 vs. Recco with White Tea
I started pretty slowly, not being able to use Hammers or Night Spear until around turn four, and as soon as I did exposed my Darkrai it was KO’d by Landorus – without him even needing to discard Energies for Land’s Judgement.
My second Darkrai went down the next turn and suddenly I was down 4 Prizes against a deck with better late attacking than mine. I Catchered to stall him with his Terrakion and try to Junk Hunt my way back into the game. I cannot recall exactly what happened the next few turns but I was able to maneuver around his attackers and set up KOs with Night Spear.
We get down to a point where we both have 2 Prizes and I can win next turn, but I was not sure if I wanted to use a N. His hand was 3 cards, but he had not done much for the past two turns so I was assuming his hand was dead and using N would just give him more new cards to try to win with. I did not N in the end, but that turned out to cost me the game.
After the game I thought about it and I should have N’d based on the fact that it was unlikely that the 3 cards that he would have had from N plus draw would have won him the game because they would have needed to be 3 exact cards (he had used up most of his Supporters so I didn’t think that would affect anything).
The cards he already had in hand could have been what he needed to win; he was just holding onto them for the right moment.
Round 6 vs. David Cohen with RayEels
westseattleherald.comBefore we started he said he would scoop because he was 5-0, but he wanted to play anyway. (Thanks!)
I don’t recall to much of this match, but I know he was not able to get more than two Tynamos out at once and I KO’d them before he was able to threaten with Rayquaza EX. I won in short fashion.
The highlight of the game was our discussion over how broken Sableye with Dark Claw is – SERIOUSLY it does 30 for 1 and flips for Confusion? BAN PLZ!
I was able to make Top 8, but Cor didn’t make it at 4-2.
Top 8 vs. Alen with Landorus / Mewtwo / Terrakion / Bouffalant
This was actually the highlight of the tournament because I got turn one Night Spear going second! I got some early board advantage because of this, but Alen does start to power up his Terrakions and at one point I know that I cannot afford to trade Terrakions for Darkrais, so I Catcher a Terrakion without any Energy, then start to Junk Hunt for Hammers.
I believe it was 3 turns before he was able to get a Supporter and by then I was able to reduce the Energy on board so that he would not be able to get consecutive Retaliates and then just finished him off.
Top 4 vs. David Cohen with RayEels
Games 1 and 2
I know that both games went pretty much the same in the sense that he would start attacking with Shiny Rayquaza and try to set up Eels while I would just kill them all and we would not be able to continuously power up Rayquaza EX.
His draws were not the best and I was able to Hammer away all his Fires, but like I said before the matchup seemed like almost an auto-win in Darkrai’s favor because it’s faster and more consistent.
Finals vs. Recco with White Tea
Game 1 and 2
I really cannot recall much from this match except that it was a huge grind. I was able to take the lead and keep it all the time, but like I said, that deck can tank. He had Eviolites for all his attackers and would use Max Potion every time I was close to KOing an EX.
I was able to win both games by over a 3 Prize discrepancy, but they felt like they were by 1.
So I won the first Cities of the year and it was a pretty good feeling. I knew that I needed to start doing well if I want to get an invite to Worlds in my hometown.
After the event we went to the hotel we were staying at because we were going to play in another Washington Cities the next day. We decided that based on the format we wanted to add an Enhanced Hammer to deal with all the Fighting based decks we saw using DCE.
There was a difference for this event in the sense that the prior day it was only Cor and I who played Darkrai/Hammers, while for today’s event Ricky also got to play it and some other friends of ours from Canada came down and played it. I believe total around six people played the deck for the second event.
Round 1 vs. James with White Tea
I cannot remember much of this match at all, but I believe I was able to play around Terrakions and KO them with Dark Claws.
Round 2 vs. ??? with Stunfisk / Mewtwo
pokemon-paradijs.comI start with a 100% dead hand and he is playing great hits such as quad Stunfisk and quad Fast Ticket. After a few turns I am able to get a Supporter, but not after he has done some good damage to my Darkrais. We start exchanging hits and not surprisingly Darkrai deals with Stunfisk way better when it can attack.
The one point that might have changed the game was when he had a Mewtwo with 60 damage against my active Darkrai (with three Energy, Dark Claw, and 120 damage) and my benched Darkrai with nothing.
He did only have one Energy on the Mewtwo, but then played a DCE and I felt like I was probably going to lose, however he Catchered the bench Darkrai and did 40 instead of KOing the one with all the Energy and the ability to KO his Mewtwo… mind blown.
I won shortly thereafter and then he tells me that he misplayed. I ask if it was when he Catchered my Darkrai and he tells me:
“No, I forgot to play my Fast Ticket at the beginning of the game.”
… mind blown again.
Round 3 vs. Jack “Pritcher” Pitcher with Gothitelle / Accelgor
Jack is a friend of mine who made top 4 at Worlds last year in Seniors and already has an invite to Worlds this year, so he has just been playing fun decks this year and scooping to friends.
Needless to say he scoops to me, but we play for fun and I lose a close game due to decking. That deck is probably one of the worst matchups for Darkrai considering the deck is around half Trainers.
Round 4 vs. ??? with White Tea
trollandtoad.comThis game was pretty bad. I went down 4 Prizes really early to a Landorus and after that we kinda stalled. I prevented him from getting any more damage in, but whenever I was close to KOing an EX he Max Potion’d it.
When time was called I had 6 Prizes left but would have been able to take 5 within the next 2 turns, surprisingly, if not for the fact that was going to deck. Pretty close game even if it didn’t show.
Round 5 vs. Ricky Gao with Darkrai / Hammers
Round 6 vs. ??? with Blastoise / Keldeo
I start with Darkrai and can’t get a Sableye to Junk Hunt. He gets turn two Blastoise and turn three Keldeo attacking. I didn’t last very long.
I did not expect to make cut, but I ended up having two 5-1’s, two 4-2’s and 2 3-3’s as resistance and was able to squeeze in at 8th. Unfortunately I had beat out Ricky by 1%. (Sorry!)
Top 8 vs. Carlie with RayEels
Game 1 and 2
pokemon-paradijs.comAgain against RayEels I KO his Tynamos/Eels and they really can’t do much. He got a pretty good start game two with two Eels and another Tynamo, but I got rid of them all in two turns.
Top 4 vs. Bidier with Darkrai / Hammers
Bidier was another friend of mine who came down for the tournament today. He was playing the same deck, but his list was a bit different than ours.
We both Junk Hunt for the first few turns. I am able to get the first Night Spear off, but he had an Eviolite on his Darkrai and I didn’t. It went back and forth and I did get him into a position where I was going to KO his Darkrai with Energy and I had an option of KOing a Sableye or putting his other Darkrai at 60 with the residual Night Spear damage.
I hit the bench Darkrai, but that was incorrect considering it let him Junk Hunt for Random Receiver and Dark Patch to get him back in the game. I ended up decking when I believe I would have won the damage trade, but I am almost sure that not KOing the Sableye lost me the game.
So I didn’t win this event, but Bidier did go on to win. I feel like the deck did pretty well over the two events. The second day three of the six people playing it made T8 and all three made T4, and we also had someone in 9th with it. We calculated our win % over the weekend with the deck and it was around 71% (pretty good).
- Ricky for coming up with the list
- Cor and his mom for driving us
- The TOs for running great events
- All the Washington players for being great as always
- Recco for making the finals on both days (rough that he had to lose to the same deck both times)
- Bidier for winning day two
Thoughts on the Cities Format
There are four different types of decks right now:
- Darkrai Decks: These decks come in a few shells, mainly Hammertime, Darkrai/Hydreigon and Darkrai/Terrakion and/or Landorus.
- Landorus Decks: Mainly White Tea variants or Ho-Oh.
- Eelektric Decks: RayEels is the most popular, but I have also heard of Tornadus/Eels coming back into popularity.
- Blastoise/Keldeo: Pretty standard deck with not many variations, some tech Terrakion or Shaymin.
ebay.comWhen I look at these decks the first thing I have noticed is that Eelektric decks lose to Darkrai decks and Landorus decks, and I am not sure what the matchup is for Blastoise. I don’t really feel like the deck is positioned well in the format right now.
The Landorus decks seem good, but they do have a weak spot to Hammers because they have no Energy acceleration, so you know if you Hammer them out of Energy they won’t be able to attack.
Blastoise is a very interesting topic with everyone debating if it’s the new BDIF or if it’s trash. It only had one top 8 over the two days of events that I went to, but I definitely didn’t want to play it because Hammers does so little to hurt it.
I think its fine, but it has a rough matchup against the White Tea decks that can 2-shot everything in it while being able to heal itself or switch attackers.
Darkrai is just Darkrai, always there and doing fine but there is always room to change the deck up or add a new tech. I personally don’t like Darkrai/Hydreigon because it seems pretty weak to Landorus being able to KO Deinos and Hydreigons. I would play an all Basic form of Darkrai. Hammers is good because it’s just so simple and powerful, but playing Terrakion seems to be better if you expect many mirrors.
Well that’s all I have for you guys for now. Maybe I’ll do another report or some greater analysis of Cities after a few more weeks, but until then have fun at Cities!
I also have a YouTube Channel where my friends and I post deck techs and matches, starting next week I will be filming local Cities and posting the top cut matches so be sure to check it out and subscribe!