A Tale of Four Cities

Hello SixPrizes! My name is Steve Lewis, and I’m a competitive Pokédad, if there is such a thing, from the Houston, Texas area. I have 2 children that are competitive players, a son in Juniors, who just took 3rd place at the South Fall Regionals (parents are such braggarts), and a daughter in Masters. I’m also a Pokémon Professor, a regular judge, and a co-league leader in Katy, Texas.


My family and I started competing in the Pokémon TCG at Fall Battle Roads in 2011, and so far my only individual accomplishments have been top cutting Texas States this past spring, top cutting one Spring Battle Roads, and two 2nd place finishes at Fall Battle Roads this season.

Some may know me as Speedy from PokéGym, Speedy385 from the PTCGO, or speedy3875 from HeyTrainer. I’m known locally for being “that guy that always takes notes.” Usually, my results aren’t that great, so I don’t write a report, but just use the notes to learn from the competitions.

However, I recently went undefeated through Swiss and took 3rd place at a City Championship, so I decided to write an article about my experiences through my first four City Championships.

Table of Contents

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City #1 – Magnolia, Texas – November 17, 2012

Magnolia, TX

I ended the Fall Battle Roads season playing a Ho-Oh EX list with 3 Mewtwo EX, 2 Terrakion NVI, 1 Tornadus EPO, and 1 Bouffalant DRX. I enjoyed playing Ho-Oh despite my 4-4 showing at the South Fall Regionals in Houston. At that competition, I repeatedly drew dead for long stretches.

To correct this problem, I increased my supporter count to 4 N, 4 Juniper, 3 Skyla, and 2-3 Bianca. I also changed the Pokémon lines for my first City Championship to 2 Mewtwo EX, 2 Tornadus EX, and 1 Landorus-EX. I also threw in some Aspertia City Gym to help Tornadus EX counter all the Landorus-EX I expected to face.

To accommodate these changes, I took out the 4 Super Scoop Ups that I had been playing, knowing that a Ho-Oh EX start would end up leaving a useless Pokémon on the bench. I also knew the risks of running into Blastoise BCR/Keldeo-EX decks, but I hoped I could get around this problem using my other attackers.

Round 1 – Ernie Sparks with Blastoise BCR, Keldeo-EX, Mewtwo EX, Kyurem NVI

Ernie is a good Poké-friend that I regularly run into at local competitions. He is known for playing controlling decks such as Chandelure NVI/Tropical Beach and Meganium Prime, or slightly different versions of meta-decks, such as the Darkrai EX/Zoroark BLW deck he used during Fall Battle Roads.


I start lone Terrakion NVI versus his Mewtwo EX and 2 Squirtles on the bench. Right away, I’m facing probably my worst matchup, and I know I’m in for a tough game. I am able to get out Tornadus EX first turn using an Ultra Ball to start Knocking Out Squirtles.

He was playing a pretty standard list from what I remember, with Kyurem NVI being his only real tech. He was able to Glaciate once during this game, which set him up for easy Prizes.

The Prize count stayed pretty even (I think), but the turning point in the game came when I had a Tornadus EX active with a Skyarrow Bridge Stadium in play so I could retreat to any attacker.

His lone Blastoise is on the bench with 60 damage. I need to Catcher and Knock Out this Blastoise to have a chance to win. I decide to use Ho-Oh EX, as I have 2 in the discard pile. I get a heads for Rebirth, attach 3 Energies from the discard pile, and play Skyla to get a Pokémon Catcher.

Unfortunately, I had already played 3 Pokémon Catchers and the 4th was prized. Obviously, this was a huge misplay. I attack with Tornadus EX onto the active, and I think he would Catcher the benched Ho-Oh EX for a free 2 Prizes that put him too far ahead for me to catch up.


Round 2 – Taylor Smith with Mewtwo EX, Gardevoir NXD, Cresselia-EX, and Audino EPO

Taylor was the unfortunate victim of a Ho-Oh EX donk on a lone Nincada DEX when we played at the last Fall Battle Roads. So, in a way, I really didn’t want to beat him too badly.

Unfortunately, he was trying to use Gardevoir’s “Psychic Mirage” Ability to power up Audino’s Powerful Slap attack. Since the Psychic Mirage ability only works on Psychic Pokémon, this strategy doesn’t work.

I start lone Terrakion NVI versus his lone Audino EPO. I get going pretty fast, and between Terrakion NVI and Mewtwo EX, I’m hitting all his Pokémon for Weakness. He never got out Gardevoir NXD, and the match was over pretty quickly.


Round 3 – Lynn with Landorus-EX, Terrakion NVI, Shaymin EX, and Bronzong NXD

Lynn is with a group of players who drove in from Austin, Texas to attend this City Championship. Her deck features Fighting Pokémon with a Bronzong NXD tech to ensure she can 2-shot EXs and a Shaymin EX for late-game comebacks.


Unfortunately for her, my list doesn’t include any Potions. With my Fighting-resistant and Fire-type attackers, this is not a good matchup for her. I start a lone Tornadus EX versus her Shaymin EX. She goes first and switches to a Landorus-EX, but Hammerhead just isn’t very effective against Tornadus EX.

I attack with an active Tornadus EX for a long time in this game. After a few attacks, I do some trickery. Her active Landorus-EX has 30 HP left, but instead of finishing it off, I Catcher a benched Terrakion NVI and use Power Blast for 100 damage.

I don’t remember what she does, but on my turn I switch to Landorus-EX with 90 HP left and use Hammerhead, Knocking Out the Landorus-EX and Terrakion NVI to take 3 Prizes in one turn. This leaves me with 3 Prizes left.

She then attacks with another Terrakion NVI using Retaliate to Knock Out my Landorus-EX to take 2 Prizes. On my turn, I could Catcher the Shaymin EX and Knock it Out with Ho-Oh EX’s Rainbow Burn.

Since Asperia City Gym is the Stadium in play, I don’t have free retreat and would have to use another Switch. So I just Blow Through to put 60 damage on the active Terrakion NVI.

She then switches to Shaymin EX to use Revenge Blast to put 180 damage (previous damage plus 120 from the attack) on my active Tornadus EX. This is a misplay by both of us because Tornadus EX has 190 HP with the Aspertia City Gym in play. However, we don’t realize this, and she takes 2 more Prizes.

On my turn I Knock Out her Shaymin EX with Ho-Oh EX. It’s now 2 Prizes to 1 in my favor. She catchers a Tornadus EX with no Energy on my bench to try to stall, but I have everything I need to Knock Out the benched Terrakion NVI with 60 damage for my last Prize.


Round 4 – Steven Grimes with Rayquaza EX/Eelektrik NVI

pokemon-paradijs.comI start Terrakion NVI (again, that’s 3 out of 4 games) but get out Landorus-EX. I take 4 Prizes quickly Knocking Out Tynamos and Eelektriks. He has an Eelektrik on the field for one turn but can’t Dynamotor because he doesn’t have energies in the discard pile.

He does take some Prizes by manually attaching to his Rayquaza EXs, but this is the game state when I have 1 Prize left: he has 2 Rayquaza EXs with 90-100 damage each, and I have a Terrakion and a Ho-Oh EX with 3 Energies each ready to Land Crush or Rainbow Burn for my last Prize. Good game (GG).


Round 5 – Christian with Tornadus EX, Mewtwo EX, Zekrom BW, Eelektrik NVI

I start Mewtwo EX with a Tornadus EX on the bench. He starts a Tornadus EX (I think) with a Tynamo NVI on the bench. I go first but don’t have a Supporter in my hand. However, I do have a Computer Search.

So I Catcher the Tynamo and play Computer Search for a Professor Juniper. I play the Professor Juniper and draw nothing. No Energies whatsoever.

Apparently, I should have used the Computer Search to get a Double Colorless Energy (DCE) and taken the sure Knock Out.

This proves to be a very big misplay because he Knocks Out my Mewtwo EX over two turns. I get out a Landorus-EX and take Prizes by Knocking Out Tynamos. In the meantime, he goes to work on my Landorus-EX with his Tornadus EX while manually attaching to a Zekrom BLW on his bench.

I should have figured out where this was going, but I was too focused on Knocking Out Tynamos. Sure enough, he Knocks Out my Landorus-EX and then uses his fully-loaded Zekrom to Bolt Strike the Tornadus EX just sitting on my bench for his last 2 Prizes.

I got overconfident and never recognized the threat while he was manually attaching Energies to Zekrom BLW. Good job by him to pull a win out of what looked like a bad matchup.


I finished in 13th place out of 31 Masters. Christian, my final round opponent, finished in 5th place to just bubble out of top cut. Tough break.

City #2 – College Station, Texas – December 1, 2012

College Station, TX

On this day I decide to play my daughter’s Darkrai EX/Hydreigon deck as she couldn’t make it and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to play. For the tournament, I added a Keldeo-EX to her Mewtwo EX and Shaymin EX techs.

I also only played 2 Dark Patch as I didn’t feel that speed was necessary for this deck, and I took out her one Tool Scrapper.

Another reason I wanted to play this deck because my daughter kept telling me it just wasn’t a good play in the current format and that Landorus-EX was its death nail. I wanted to prove her wrong, but instead I did the opposite. On to the matches!

Round 1 – Matt with Mewtwo EX, Tornadus EX, other big Basics

I start lone Deino versus a Mewtwo EX. He goes first, Ultra Balls for Tornadus EX, attaches a DCE, plays Switch and N. He gets the Skyarrow Bridge off the N and does Blow Through for a turn 1 donk. Ouch.


Round 2 – Alton Fisher with Mewtwo EX, Landorus-EX, and Garbodor DRX

pokemon-paradijs.comOnce again I go second. He starts Mewtwo EX but starts attacking with Landorus-EX. He gets out Garbodor turn 2 or 3, and I get out Hydreigon the very next turn. He does some big Land’s Judgment attacks to Knock Out a Darkrai EX and my Hydreigon.

I’m not able to mount a counter-attack, and 2 out of 3 Deinos were Prized. It’s really no contest, especially without Tool Scrapper.


Round 3 – Chris with Darkrai EX, Terrakion-EX, and Sableye

Chris says he’s a collector – not a player – and that he’s using a deck built by a friend. He doesn’t put on any early pressure, and I get setup and take out his Terrakion-EX. He plays very slowly, often only attaching an Energy and passing.

It goes to time, but his deck doesn’t have a lot of synergy and is generally not as strong as Hydreigon, so I take enough Prizes to win.


Round 4 – Kevin Pang with Zekrom BLW, Tornadus EPO, and Eelektrik NVI

I’m not sure if Kevin’s strategy was to not use Pokémon-EX to make people earn Prizes or if he just didn’t have access to Pokémon-EX, but he was severely over-matched. I get a turn 2 Hydreigon. He gets a Tornadus EPO powered up on turn 2 and hits my active Darkrai EX for 80 with Hurricane.

pokemon-paradijs.comUnfortunately, I’m holding a Max Potion and a Professor Juniper. I proceed to just plow through him from there with Darkrai EX. I bench him after taking 4 Prizes.


So far, I’ve lost pretty badly to two competitive decks and soundly beat two non-competitive decks. I’m starting to think my daughter might be right.

Round 5 – Martin Moreno with Terrakion-EX, Mewtwo EX, Landorus-EX, and Bouffalant DRX

He starts on a roll with Terrakion-EX. I attempt to stall with Pokémon Catchers while trying to setup a Hydreigon, but he gets his Switches to keep the pressure on. He uses Rock Tumble on something, but I Max Potion the damage away.

Next turn, he Pump-up Smashes a Darkrai EX to take 2 Prizes. However, he doesn’t attach any Energy to his benched Pokémon. Next turn I get a Hydreigon and can only Junk Hunt with Sableye. The following turn he uses Pump-up Smash to Knock Out the active Sableye.

Once again, he doesn’t attach any Energies from his hand to his benched Pokémon. I promote Hydreigon with one D Energy attached. I’m down 3 Prizes with only a Hydreigon in play. Things look bleak.

Knowing it will be Catcher-bait but not really having a choice, I Ultra Ball for Darkrai EX and play N getting a fresh hand of 6 cards. In my hand, I have the cards I need to Knock Out his active Terrakion-EX and remove all his Energies from play.

I Ultra Ball for Shaymin EX, and attach a Blend Energy GRPD. I retreat the active Hydreigon using Dark Cloak, Dark Trance the D Energy to Shaymin EX and Revenge Blast for the Knock Out. I forget who he promotes, a Mewtwo EX I think, but he just attaches a DCE to the Bouffalant on his bench and passes.

Since Martin has taken 3 Prizes, Shaymin EX’s Revenge Blast attack does exactly 120 damage. So I Catcher the Bouffalant and Knock it Out with Shaymin EX. Now he promotes Landorus-EX and uses Hamerhead to put 10 damage on Shaymin EX and 30 damage on someone else.

pokemon-paradijs.comI attack with Revenge Blast again to put 100 damage on his Eviolited Landorus-EX. On his turn he attaches a DCE to Mewtwo EX on the bench and uses Hammerhead again.

He must have Catchered something and put 30 more damage on Shaymin EX because I know that if I attack with Shaymin EX again, he can attach one more energy to Mewtwo EX and X Ball for the Knock Out. And if I attack with Darkrai EX, I’ll only do 70 damage because of the Eviolite.

Instead, I think I used Skyla to Ultra Ball for Keldeo-EX. I use Rush In and Dark Trance to make Keldeo-EX active with 3 D Energy and use Secret Sword for 80 damage (50 x 2 Weakness – 20 for Eviolite) to knockout Landorus-EX. He promotes Mewtwo EX, attaches a third Energy and uses X Ball for 120 damage.

Fortunately for me, I drew my Computer Search off the 2 Prizes I got for Knocking Out Landorus-EX. I play Computer Search for Mewtwo EX, use Dark Cloak to retreat Keldeo-EX, use Dark Trance to move two energies to Mewtwo EX, and X Ball for the final Knock Out.

What an amazing comeback! After taking 3 quick Prizes, he didn’t take another Prize, which I guess proves the power of Hydreigon. To be fair, Martin was very sick on this day, and may not have been at his best for this game.


I finished in 15th place out of 33 Masters. Although I had an epic comeback in my last game, I had to agree with my daughter, the format has gotten too fast for me to enjoy playing Hydreigon. So many decks use Landorus-EX, Tornadus EX, or Mewtwo EX to apply early pressure that just wrecks havoc with Stage 2 decks. So we put Hydreigon away for now.

(Although, I just read an article in SixPrizes Underground discussing the New England variation of the Hydreigon deck that has been winning some City Championships!)

City #3 – Houston, Texas – December 2, 2012

Flag of Houston

For this tournament, I return to playing a faster deck that I enjoy – Ho-Oh EX. But, I changed the number of Pokémon so that I relied less on Ho-Oh EX for Energy acceleration. Also, I dropped the count of Terrakion NVI to 1 since I really did not want to start with it so much.

My list for this competition included 3 Mewtwo EX, 2 Landorus-EX, 2 Bouffalant DRX, 2 Ho-Oh EX, 1 Terrakion NVI, and 1 Tornadus EPO. I also didn’t play any Stadiums or Eviolites, but instead went with 1 Max Potion and 1 Gold Potion (mainly because my kids were using our 2 Computer Searches).

My Energy line for this tournament was 4 DCE, 1 Prism, 4 Fighting, 2 Psychic, 1 Grass, 1 Fire, and 1 Water. Why do I run the 2 P Energies and 1 Prism Energy? For a very significant attack that lets me win games – Psydrive.

Round 1 – Rodney Dede with Serperior BLW 6, Keldeo-EX, Mewtwo EX, and Promo Snivy (Paralyzing Gaze)

Rodney is also a member of the Katy Pokémon League and a friend, so I knew this newly created deck inside and out, which was not good for him. I start Bouffalant DRX to his Keldeo-EX. I attach Energies to Bouffalant over two turns while he starts to setup his Serperiors. I use Gold Breaker on turns 2 and 3 to Knock Out his Keldeo-EX for my first 2 Prizes.

pokemon-paradijs.comBy this time he has 3 Serperiors out with a Mewtwo EX on the bench. I think I put 60 damage on his Serperior with my Bouffalant, but because of Serperior’s Royal Heal ability (healing 20 after my turn and 30 after his turn) his active Serperior only has 10 damage when it’s my turn.

He has two G Energies on the active Serperior and one G Energy on the bench. Obviously he didn’t think he would be Knocked Out this turn or he would have moved more energy to his benched Pokémon using Leaf Tornado.

This is a major turning point in the game because I use Mewtwo EX’s second attack, Psydrive, for 120 damage to Knock Out the active Serperior. Since he doesn’t have any Energy acceleration, losing those two Energies was a significant setback that he couldn’t recover from. I proceed to roll him from there winning 6 Prizes to 0.


Round 2 – Lisa with Blastoise BCR, Keldeo-EX, and Mewtwo EX

Lisa is a Pokémom for a competitive Seniors player. I start Landorus-EX to her Keldeo-EX and Mewtwo EX. In this game we both have Supporter/Pokémon/Energy droughts thanks to getting terrible hands off of early-game Ns.

trollandtoad.comI attach a F Energy to Landorus-EX and use Hammerhead over two turns to put 60 damage on both Keldeo-EX and Mewtwo EX. I also get a Bouffalant on the bench.

She manually attaches three W Energies to Keldeo-EX over three turns. She gets head on Super Scoop Up to heal her Mewtwo EX. She then uses Secret Sword to Knock Out my Landorus-EX.

I promote Bouffalant, bench Mewtwo EX and attach a P Energy to Mewtwo EX. She attaches a fourth energy to Keldeo-EX and Knocks Out my Bouffalant. I am now down 3 Prizes and things are looking bleak once again.

I promote Mewtwo EX with no Energies or Supporters in my hand. I top deck a Skyla, play it for Energy Search, use that to get another P Energy, which I attach to Mewtwo EX. I then use X Ball for 120 damage to Knock Out the Keldeo-EX that already had 60 damage.

She promotes her Mewtwo EX and can’t get out another Pokémon. She just attaches a W Energy and passes. Thanks to my Prizes, I have a DCE in hand, which I attach to Mewtwo EX and have the option of using X Ball or Psydrive to Knock Out her Mewtwo EX, benching her for the win. Crazy game.


Round 3 – Brad Curcio with Mewtwo EX, Tornadus EX, Bouffalant DRX, Zekrom BLW, and Eelektrik NVI

Brad is a very good player who regularly top cuts at major tournaments. In this match I make several misplays, and he plays it perfectly. I start out using X Ball to Knock Out a Tynamo NVI.

He begins setting up a Mewtwo EX of his own, and I go all in on a play to Knock Out a benched Eelekltrik NVI, attaching a second DCE to Mewtwo EX, playing a PlusPower and then a Professor Juniper.

Unfortunately I don’t get the Pokémon Catcher, and he Knocks Out the loaded Mewtwo EX on his turn. I really can’t recover from this. Near the end of the game I’m attacking with Landorus-EX. Brad puts 100 damage on him with Tornadus EX and Power Blast, I think.

I play Skyla and could get the Gold Potion to last another turn, but instead I get an Ultra Ball to put a Ho-Oh EX in the discard pile. This is a misplay though, because he only had 2 Prizes left! Anyway, let’s just say he got the win pretty easily.


Round 4 – Christine Michie with Blastoise BCR, Keldeo-EX, and Mewtwo EX

Christine is a judge in the Houston area, and we play each other in almost every tournament, or maybe it just seems that way. I start Mewtwo EX versus her lone Squirtle. I have a chance to donk on my second turn, but I play N and get a bunch of Pokémon and Switch. No Energies, ugh.

pokemon-paradijs.comI stall with a Bouffalant and a bench of three Mewtwo EXs. She sets up a Blastoise and uses it to attack Knocking Out my Bouffalant and a Mewtwo EX over a few turns. I am finally able to setup a Mewtwo EX to X Ball and Knock Out her Blastoise.

She has a Keldeo-EX, and we trade some attacks. I must have taken 1 Prize by Knocking Out a Squirtle also.

At this point in the game, she has an active Keldeo-EX with 100 damage from an X Ball and a Mewtwo EX on the bench with no Energies or damage. I have an active Mewtwo EX with a P Energy and another basic Energy and a Mewtwo EX on the bench with no energies or damage. She leads in prizes 3-1.

I finally top deck a Supporter, a Professor Juniper. I attach a P Energy to the benched Mewtwo EX and happily play the Professor Juniper. In my fresh hand of seven cards I get an Energy Switch and a Pokémon Catcher.

So instead of Knocking Out the damaged Keldeo-EX, I Energy Switch the P Energy to the active Mewtwo EX, Catcher her benched Mewtwo EX, and Psydrive for the Knock Out. She is completely surprised by this play as she never saw it coming.

From here, I’m able to Knock Out her damaged Keldeo-EX and then Pokémon Catcher a benched Squirtle for my last Prize.


Round 5 – Devon Huntoon with Mewtwo EX, Gothitelle EPO 47, and Gardevoir NXD

Devon is another judge in the Houston area. We also play each other frequently at tournaments. Devon has been playing Gothitelle since Emerging Powers came out and some version of Gothitelle EPO/Gardevoir NXD since Next Destinies. He’s done very well with what most would consider a rogue deck.

youtube.comUnfortunately for him, I’ve beaten him at least 3 times straight, and I know his deck very well. Could I keep the streak alive? In short, no.

This was a classic Mewtwo EX war with me also trying to Knock Out Gothitas, Ralts, and Kirlias. In addition, I was constantly playing my Trainer Items knowing that a Gothitelle EPO could be coming if a Gothita was in play.

About midway through this game, I don’t quite have the cards needed to Catcher and Knock Out his Kirlia on the bench. The next turn he gets out Gardevoir NXD and has a much easier time powering up his Mewtwo EXs.

When I have 2 Prizes left to his 1 Prize, I try to stall with an active Tornadus EPO. I have a Mewtwo EX with a DCE on my bench and an Energy in hand, but I don’t have the Pokémon Catcher to get a Mewtwo EX active for the Knock Out.

On his turn, he attaches a P Energy to a benched Mewtwo EX with one Energy, retreats the active, and Psydrives to Knock Out Tornadus for his last prize. How did I not see that coming? In this game, I really missed Tornadus EX to take easy prizes on his low HP Pokémon.

Also, I needed Computer Search to get that Pokémon Catcher to Knock Out a benched Mewtwo EX for my last 2 Prizes. Oh well, live and learn.


Round 6 – Charlotte Pettit with Blastoise BCR, Keldeo-EX, and Mewtwo EX

ebay.comCharlotte is yet another judge in the Houston area. We haven’t played each other that much, but I have never beaten her. Neither has my daughter. Being 3-2, I was pretty sure I was out of contention for top cut. So I guess I was playing for family pride? Nah. I just don’t like losing.

I don’t have a lot written down about this game, but she gets off to a good start taking 3 quick Prizes. I N her to three cards and get going with Mewtwo EX taking prizes of my own.

Late in the game, she uses a Pokémon Catcher to make a Mewtwo EX with no Energies attached active, but I have Switch and Energy Switch in hand to finish off a Squirtle and a Blastoise for my last 2 Prizes. Wish I could remember more about this match.


I finished in 11th place out of 50 Masters. I am disappointed, but I knew that my fifth round battle with Devon was critical and would probably decide my chances at making top cut. I take some comfort in the fact that I beat 3 Blastoise BCR/Keldeo-EX decks with a Ho-Oh EX deck after losing to one in my first City Championship.

Mewtwo EX and Bouffalant are very strong against that deck. Add in Tornadus EX to take early knock outs on Squirtles, and I think I actually have a very good matchup.

City #4 – San Antonio, Texas – December 9, 2012

Flag of San Antonio

For this tournament, I decide to play Ho-Oh EX again with the following Pokémon: 3 Mewtwo EX, 2 Ho-Oh EX, 2 Tornadus EX, 2 Terrakion NVI, 1 Landorus-EX, and 1 Bouffalant DRX. Thought I might run into more Darkrai EX and Eelektrik NVI decks, so I increased the count of Terrakion NVI.

I also increased the count of Tornadus EX and played 2 Skyarrow Bridge Stadiums to help put on early pressure and maybe get some easy knockouts on Squirtles. Did I make the right calls? Read on to find out.

Round 1 – Ana Maria with Eelektrik NVI

I start Ho-Oh EX (ugh!) versus her lone Tynamo NVI. I go first and bench the Tornadus EX I just top decked, then Ultra Ball for Landorus-EX, attach a F Energy from my hand, and play Professor Juniper. I get 2 Switches and am able to Hammerhead for the donk.

I never find out what attackers she plays because she decides not to play another match just for fun. Oh well.


Round 2 – Lee with Blastoise BCR, Keldeo-EX, and Mewtwo EX

I start lone Landorus-EX versus a Bouffalant. Before I can get too excited, Lee benches a Squirtle and N’s into a Keldeo-EX who he manually attaches a W Energy to. Good feeling gone. On my turn I bench a Mewtwo EX but don’t draw a F Energy and don’t have a Supporter.

Instead, I attach a DCE to Mewtwo EX and pass with lame-duck Landorus-EX still active. Next turn Lee attaches another W Energy to Keldeo-EX and passes.

On my turn I play the Skyla I just topdecked for Energy Search, get a F Energy and attach to Landorus-EX, Catcher the Squirtle and Hammerhead 30 to Squirtle and 30 to Keldeo-EX.

On his turn, Lee Potions the 30 damage off of Squirtle, attaches a 3rd W Energy to Keldeo-EX, Rushes In, and KOs Landorus-EX. He also plays a Skyla he just topdecked to get an N. On my turn, I attach another DCE to Mewtwo EX and X Ball the active Keldeo-EX for 140 for the knockout. Good job Landorus-EX to setup that Knock Out!

Next turn Lee plays the N. We proceed to have a normal game after surviving the early Supporter drought, but Lee can’t seem to have the right cards to get out Blastoise BCR. On my turn, I X Ball a Squirtle while attaching a F Energy to a benched Terrakion NVI.

Soon I switch to Terrakion NVI and Land Crush the Bouffalant for my 4th Prize. Still no Blastoise. Lee attacks my Terrakion with Keldeo-EX while having a Mewtwo EX with 1 Energy and a Squirtle on his bench. I simply Land Crush to put 90 on Keldeo-EX setting me up to Knock Out either his Mewtwo EX or his Keldeo-EX next turn.

Finally he gets out Blastoise, but it’s one turn too late. I think he retreats to Blastoise and passes. I don’t remember if my Terrakion NVI was Knocked Out or not, but I am able to Catcher the Mewtwo EX on the bench and X Ball for 200 for my last 2 Prizes. GG.

Lee actually made top cut on this day, getting a turn 2 Blastoise in several other games in Swiss. He would lose in the first round of top cut though.


Round 3 – Shannon Williams with Darkrai EX, Terrakion NVI, Sableye, and Hammers

pokemon-paradijs.comWe start lone Terrakion NVI versus lone Terrakion NVI (ha!), but she quickly gets out Darkrai EX and Sableye. She gets heads on the first few Crushing Hammers making it difficult for me to sustain my attack.

I take 2 Prizes with Tornadus EX (Sableye and a Terrakion softened up by Hammerhead from Landorus-EX). She always uses Crushing Hammer or Enhanced Hammer to remove my DCEs from play the following turn, so I make sure to take a prize whenever I attach a DCE.

Without DCEs in play, Tornadus EX becomes almost useless, but I get heads on Rebirth and start attacking with Ho-Oh EX. She then hits a stretch of 4 or 5 tails on Crushing Hammers, and she can’t Junk Hunt them back too much because Ho-Oh EX can 1-shot her Sableyes.

I was very careful with my Energy attachments in this game knowing that she could Hammer them away. For example, I got out 2 Terrakions, but only attached 1 or 2 energies to either one so that no matter which she Knocked Out, I could Retaliate her Darkrai EX.

At one point, she’s ready to get a Knock Out, looks at my side of the field, and calls me a genius. I don’t come close to approaching “genius” level when playing Pokémon TCG, though I try my best. Pretty sure I blushed and thanked her for the compliment.

She does Knock Out something, and I decide to Catcher her healthy Darkrai EX on the bench and Retaliate with Terrakion NVI to take 2 key prizes. She’s left with a Darkrai EX with 3 energies but a lot of damage. All in all, it’s just too much for her to mount a comeback, and I get the win.

Shannon was very nice, and my games with her with the most enjoyable of the day (we would meet again in Round 1-of top cut). Usually we just ended up laughing at our flippy, unpredictable decks (her Crushing Hammers and my Rebirths!).


Round 4 – Dakota Gonzales with Darkrai EX, Hydreigon DRX 97, Sigilyph DRX, and Shaymin EX

pokemon-paradijs.comI was now sitting at the top table facing the winner of the previous City Championship here in San Antonio. This was a very serious game without any joking or laughter, and I could really feel the tension.

I start Mewtwo EX versus his Sigilyph DRX and benched Deino NVI. Seeing the dark Deino, I immediately Ultra Ball for Landorus-EX… oh, it’s Prized. So instead, I get out a Terrakion NVI, attach a F Energy, and Skyla for Computer Search, but don’t use it.

This was a misplay as I should have gotten out another supporter like an N. Doesn’t matter because he N’s me the next turn.

Pretty sure I attach a second Energy to Terrakion NVI and Retaliate that benched Deino NVI for my first prize. He gets out a dragon-type Deino and then has to bench a Shaymin EX before playing a Professor Juniper. Pretty sure he got his Hydreigon off of the Juniper, which would have been turn 4.

He decides to attack my active Terrakion NVI with 2 Energies with Shaymin EX doing 120 damage. Pretty sure he was hoping that with only 10 HP left, I wouldn’t attach another energy and Land Crush his Darkrai EX.

However, I decide to get the most use that I can from this damaged Terrakion NVI. I catcher the benched Darkrai EX and play Professor Juniper or N. This is the turning point in the game because I get a great hand.

pokemon-paradijs.comI Energy Switch a fighting energy from a benched Pokémon (not sure which one) to the active Terrakion NVI, then bench a Bouffalant and attach DCE. He only has a few energies on the board, and his only real attacker other than Darkrai EX is Shaymin EX.

If he decides to attack with Shaymin EX on the next turn, my Bouffalant is ready to 1-shot it back. So I Land Crush the Darkrai EX for prizes 2 and 3. He uses Shaymin EX to Revenge Blast Terrakion NVI for his first prize, and then I use Bouffalant’s Gold Breaker attack to Knock Out Shaymin EX for prizes 4 and 5.

After that, I have a tough time taking any more prizes. The game goes to time, and I have too big a prize lead for him to come back. In the end Dakota graciously extended the hand, and we both moved on.

Obviously attacking with Shaymin EX when I had Bouffalant on the bench wasn’t the greatest move, but maybe he felt like he didn’t have another option, and I still had to attach one more energy to make it work. Good game.


Round 5 – Gene with Darkrai EX, Mewtwo EX, Sableye, and Dusknoir BCR

I get paired down and play a 3-1 player while the top table has two other 4-0 players. A bit of a bummer, but I try not to have a letdown. Gene is a Pokédad that I played before at a Battle Roads in the Houston area.

I don’t remember a lot about this game. I know I played Mewtwo EX and Terrakion NVI. I might have gotten an early Rebirth because I remember using Pokémon Catcher to Knock Out a benched Dusclops BCR, which had 80 HP. I could have been attacking with Tornadus EX though.

Anyway, the next turn he Rare Candies a benched Duskull into Dusknoir. He makes a nifty play on a benched Mewtwo EX with a DCE attached by playing Pokémon Catcher and then using Sinister Hand to move one damage counter onto it before Knocking it Out with his own Mewtwo EX with a DCE attached.

This game was very interesting, but my deck was too much for his, and I get the win.


So, I finished 5-0 in Swiss, but I didn’t think I would be top seed since the other 4-0 players had higher resistance than me going into the final round. The PTO had decided to only have 5 rounds in Swiss even though we had 40 Masters.

I wasn’t happy about this, and neither were the 3 other guys who rode with me that finished 3-2. One more win, and they might have made top cut. However, we did have a lunch break after Round 2, and the local PTO bought everyone pizza, so that was good.

Top Cut – Round 1 – Shannon Williams with Darkrai EX, Terrakion NVI, Sableye, and Hammers

Turns out I am the top seed, and Shannon is the bottom seed. We were happy to be facing each other again, but this wasn’t the best matchup for her. I have Fighting Pokémon that hit Darkrai EX for Weakness, I play Pokémon with Fighting-resistance (Tornadus EX and Ho-Oh EX), and I have Energy recovery thanks to Rebirth.

And unfortunately for Shannon, that’s exactly the way both games would go. I won both pretty easily as Ho-Oh EX is just really good in this matchup. I do attack with Tornadus EX, but I make sure to take prizes on the turns where I attach a DCE.

Sure enough, she Hammers them into the discard pile immediately. Landorus-EX was my MVP in this matchup, putting early pressure and spreading damage to setup knockouts.

Top Cut – Round 2 – Brandon Cantu with Darkrai EX, Mewtwo EX, and Roserade DRX 15

Brandon introduces himself and says he just started playing Pokémon TCG this year but has already top cut a number of events including the Fall Regionals. Instantly I start to think this guy might be a good player. I wasn’t intimidated, but I also know my abilities and my limitations.

Of course, my deck didn’t help at all my first game. His deck was basically speed Darkrai EX with a Roserade tech for consistency. He also played Mewtwo EX as a secondary attacker along with DCEs and Energy Switch. I played four Ns in the first game pretty quickly trying to conserve the other resources in my hand.

pokemon-paradijs.comThis completely backfires as I don’t draw into the energies that I need. On one N, I actually get a hand of 6 Supporters. After he takes several quick prizes and has a very good board position, I scoop to try to give myself enough time to win 2 games.

The second game was much more competitive, but I couldn’t quite do enough to win. At one point in the middle of this tightly contested game, I have an active Landorus-EX with a F Energy.

I had attached a Prism Energy to Landorus-EX to try to setup a Land’s Judgement the following turn, but he used his 1 Enhanced Hammer to move the Prism to the discard pile (what a tech!) Over the next several turns, I have a DCE and Energy Switch in my hand.

I also have either a Pokémon Catcher in hand or the means to get one. All I need is a heads on Rebirth to get a significant Land’s Judgment attack. Unfortunately, I hit tails over several turns and can’t get the Rebirth.

Also in this game, I mistakenly benched a Mewtwo EX. He gets 5 Energies on a Mewtwo EX of his own and Catchers my Mewtwo EX for 2 easy Prizes, which you don’t want to give up in a tight game like this. I proceed to lose 2 games to none.

Against this deck, I really could have used Tornadus EPO to Hurricane the 70 HP Roselias. Not having a way to easily Knock Out these significant support Pokémon hurt me because it let him get whatever he needed throughout the game (like that Enhanced Hammer!) Roserade is really good not just because of its Le Parfum ability, but also because of Roselia’s 70 HP.

So I lose this round and finish in 3rd place thanks to my top seeding. The other person to finish 5-0 in Swiss was Frank Garino with Darkrai EX, Terrakion NVI, and Landorus-EX. He and Brandon would face off in the finals. Brandon would win this match thanks in part to a Supporter drought for Frank in the first game.

All in all, I was very happy with finishing 5-0 in Swiss and taking 3rd place. Here is the decklist I used for this tournament.

Pokémon – 11

3 Mewtwo-EX NXD

2 Tornadus EX

2 Ho-Oh EX

2 Terrakion NVI

1 Landorus-EX

1 Bouffalant DRX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Bianca

3 Skyla
4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Ultra Ball

4 Energy Switch

4 Switch

1 Energy Search

1 PlusPower

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search


2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

4 Double Colorless

1 Prism

3 F

2 P

1 G

1 R

1 W

With this type of Ho-Oh EX deck, you can easily modify the counts of the different attackers. The best call I made was using 2 Terrakion NVI and only 1 Bouffalant. With all the Hammers being used (even the Hydreigon deck that I faced in Round 4 had an Enhanced Hammer!), you simply can’t count on DCEs staying in play. Without DCE, Bouffalant really isn’t very effective.

pokemon-paradijs.comAlthough I ran 3 Mewtwo EX, I never got into a Mewtwo EX war and generally avoided putting it on my bench against the Darkrai EX decks that I faced. However, Mewtwo EX and Bouffalant are really strong against Blastoise decks, so I wouldn’t take them out.

The significant techs in the deck are really how many and what kind of Stadium cards you use, as well as the number of PlusPowers and Tool Scrappers. You could take out Ho-Oh EX and include more PlusPowers or Eviolites, but then you lose your energy acceleration.

I prefer the Ho-Oh EX, but other players are doing well with just big basic attackers and a more streamlined energy line.

The current metagame is proving to be very interesting, with no clear cut Best Deck in the Format (BDIF) and a lot of decks that sort of counter each other. For example:

  1. Landorus-EX counters Eelektrik NVI
  2. Tornadus EX and Keldeo-EX counter Landorus-EX
  3. Mewtwo EX, Tornadus EX, and Bouffalant DRX counter Keldeo-EX
  4. Eelektrik NVI decks with Zekrom BW and Mewtwo EX counter Tornadus EX and Mewtwo EX
  5. Sigilyph DRX counters all EX-Pokémon

As currently constructed, my Ho-Oh EX deck pretty much automatically loses to quad-Sigilyph, unless I can manage to get out the Terrakion NVIs quickly. I may look into adding some Tornadus EPO, as it would be great against Sigilyph and Roselia, but I’m not sure.

Hopefully, I can keep winning and make some more top cuts. Good luck to everyone else competing in Cities!

Reader Interactions

3 replies

  1. Twan van Vugt

    Nice report and good job with those tournaments. It gives great insight on your thinking. Ho-oh is pretty good especially since it is like landorus/mewtwo but with energy recovery :D

    Also in tournament 1 round 3: ‘Unfortunately for her, I didn’t play any Potions.’ How was this unfortunate? If you did she would be in big trouble :)

  2. Lee Caffee

    Glad to see those notes finally got put to use. Didn’t even realize your deck was a Ho-Oh deck until reading this… I just remember those three Mewtwos from our game making me very uncomfortable. I think in my brief summary of our tournament I listed you simply as “Mewtwo/Terrakion/Landorus EX.” That was a fun Cities. Good job on your results!

  3. Steve

    Lee – Thanks! I wasn’t in a hurry to play a Ho-Oh EX versus your Blastoise deck.

    Twan – Thanks too! What I meant by my comment was that she would devote time and energy to get out Bronzong, but it wouldn’t help against me. But I appreciate the sarcasm.

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