pokemon.theirstar.comWith Cities finished in most areas I thought it would be a good idea to go over how Cities went for me, which decks I used, how I faired, and give a little bit of metagame analysis to help you prepare for the upcoming Winter Regional Championships.
I haven’t done the majority of my testing for Regionals yet, but with no new sets being released between now and then, I’m confident that having knowledge of the current format and being able to accurately predict your local metagame will be all you need to net a successful Regionals run.
I ended up playing in 17 City Championships, netting points from four of them with a 1st, 5th, and two T16s. I’ll admit that I did worse than expected, but given the format and the competition I was faced with (a good number of those events were held during the Texas Marathon), I’m not entirely too disappointed with my performance and feel like with a little hard work I can nab an ever-elusive Worlds invite.
I’ll save you the trouble of going through each and every one of the Cities I played in, as I said, it’s quite a lot. Instead I’ll be going through full tournament reports of my 1st and 5th place performances, providing decklists and breaking down both decks and in-game decisions.
Mukilteo, WA – December 10th, 2012
Deck: Mewtwo/Landorus/Bouffalant (MLB)
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 39
Energy – 12
I go back and forth with the one Terrakion. Its usefulness is almost entirely dependent on what percentage of your metagame you predict will be Sigilyph DRX. If the percentage is low you needn’t worry about including it, but if you fear a torrent of Sigilyph, it’s a very good play.
Max Potion is very good and I always wanted more. Gold Potion is also 100% correct in my mind. This is largely a 2HKO format and being able to essentially take away an opponent’s turn can be absolutely game breaking.
Round One: Jonathan Anderson w/ Rayquaza/Eelektrik
I understand that some of you don’t want to read tournament reports from your Underground content, so I’m going to do my best to condense these round-by-round summaries into small chunks of insight about the matchup rather than just giving a summary of how the game went.
This game was about how I expect this matchup to play out. I took an early lead with Landorus shenanigans, but at a certain point he was able to rebuild, set up an Eel or two, and almost win the game.
pokemon-paradijs.comI don’t feel like I did anything wrong, I just feel like if the MLB player doesn’t donk or just completely run over their opponent with Landorus, there is an opportunity for the Eel player to rebuild (especially if they choose to play Emolga), play a well-timed N, and come back with a big Rayquaza.
In particular, I believe I was almost benched this game, simply because MLB runs so few Pokémon and an opposing Rayquaza can quickly take out one or two.
Something I didn’t expect to be as much of an issue in this matchup was the Shiny Rayquaza. It doesn’t die to anything a Landorus can do except Hammerhead + Land’s Judgement + PlusPower, or a Land’s Judgement blowing up your Energy if you’re one of those YOLO players.
And if you do manage to Knock it Out, it’s only worth 1 Prize, essentially acting as Eelektrik’s Bouffalant. Additionally, it can Shred through your Eviolites for a 2HKO on Landorus, albeit for a substantial Energy investment.
In the end I still won this match and I never felt like I was in that much danger, but had a few things gone the wrong way for me I could’ve lost.
As a quick aside, time is also a huge factor in this matchup as the Landorus player can take an early lead and not leave enough time for the Rayquaza player to get setup (if they ever do), so look out for that.
Round Two: David Cohen w/ Rayquaza/Eelektrik
This match was actually pretty dumb and I’m not sure if there is any strategical insight to be gained from it other than to remember how much HP your Raikou-EX has, and more importantly not to run Raikou-EX in a metagame that’s absolutely crawling with Landorus-EX.
Round Three: Darkrai/Hydreigon
In this game I learned that a fast Landorus win this matchup. I don’t remember the exact details, but I’m pretty sure I had something like… go first, T1 Hammerhead, hitting a Deino on the Bench and an Active Darkrai.
T2, kill the Deino and hit another Deino for 30. T3, Land’s Judgement the Darkrai, T4 kill a Zweilous via Catcher + Land’s Judgement, T5 Land’s Judgement for 300 a Darkrai EX.
My opponent played well and outside of hitting Energies and Skyla I didn’t actually run that well, I just feel like if the Hydreigon player doesn’t get a quick Hydreigon and misses Energy drops it’s probably over for them. I guess the same can be said when playing Hydreigon versus any other deck, but I feel like Landorus’ presence here really puts a tight clock on the Hydreigon player.
I’ll get to my thoughts on Hydreigon and its various techs a bit later in the article, though.
Landorus-EX/Tornadus EX/Bouffalant DRX/Mewtwo EXRound Four: Recco Connor w/
I got absolutely steamrolled this game. Unfortunately I’m unable to provide a turn-by-turn breakdown, but if memory serves I didn’t draw what I needed at all and tried to make feeble attempts at comebacks with several of my EX cards, which were of course meant with well-timed Bouffalants to the face.
I don’t necessarily think this matchup is negative as MLB is more consistent than this deck, but the option of Tornadus certainly helps the villain here.
If I remember correctly the game was pretty dumb so I’m not sure I can give the greatest input, but in general I think the most important tips should you encounter a real game would be to time your Tropical Beaches well and to try and play around their Max Potions as much as possible.
I feel like in a real game in which you’re able to keep those two thoughts in mind the matchup would be even to positive.
Round Five: ???
pokemon-paradijs.comI don’t remember round five at all. That seems to happen to me every once in a while; I just completely blank an entire round of a tournament from my memory. Maybe someday someone smarter than me will be able to tell me why that is. Probably something to due with dehydration, if I was a betting man.
Round Six: Lane Tower
My good friend Lane Tower decides that he’s had enough Pokémon for today and concedes me into top cut in round six. It wouldn’t have mattered as we both have insane resistance, but I am eternally grateful to him for being such a swell fellow. If you ever come across him, please treat him like a saint, because he is one.
Landorus-EX/Tornadus EX/Bouffalant DRX/Mewtwo EXTop 8:
These games were mostly uninteresting, as during the break between Swiss and the top cut I was able to reflect on my loss to this same deck in Swiss and think about what I could do to improve.
I won’t lie, I think most of this game came down to me getting better draws than my opponent and just making the obvious plays, but I’d like to think that I couldn’t have secured the 2-0 victory without a little bit of skill.
At the very least I improved upon what I did in the Swiss round.
Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Rocky HelmetTop 4: James Good w/
James is a newer player from our area who has been doing very well as of late. He has a propensity for getting extremely lucky (multiple Ns to one into Juniper, a turn 2 180 on my Landorus-EX, etc.), so in addition to all of us ribbing him a bit about it (and him being an awfully good sport about it, all things considered), I’m always sort of afraid to play him.
I always know that the games are either going to be intense, drawn-out battles or I’m going to get donked and be a bitter berry. Fun!
Unfortunately, I feel like Big Basics mirror matches come down to whoever draws better. Particularly in the realm of Energy Switches, Energy, and cards necessary for Mewtwo wars.
I start off slow but he whiffs a few times in the mid game. It eventually ends, as a lot of these matches do, with one of us needing to get luckier than the other off an N to one. He does, and it’s all she wrote for me.
This game is actually very intense. I know that we have less than ten minutes left in the round and the only way that I’m going to win is by being extremely aggressive. He takes an early lead, but I try to keep myself off of tilt and focused.
After considering my options for a few minutes, I eventually build up a 3 Energy Mewtwo to take out his 2 Energy Mewtwo. He whiffs the response and passes. I then attach a second DCE to said Mewtwo and Catcher KO his Mewtwo on the bench.
He whiffs the response again, and before I know it we’re in a sudden death Game 3.
pokemon-paradijs.comSudden death doesn’t exactly make the best article material, particularly in such a luck based matchup, but here’s a simple breakdown of what happened for those who care… we both start Landorus, James goes first and gets an early lead.
My only option is to try and build a Mewtwo EX on the bench. Foregoing the conservative route that almost certainly would’ve led him to victory, James tries to pull off a Mewtwo play which involves him switching to Mewtwo, attaching a third Energy, Catchering my Mewtwo, and N’ing us both to 1, hoping to hit a PlusPower to win.
He whiffs, and attacks for 160.
I of course am on mono “run goods” for the evening and hit the DCE off of the N, to seal the match. Probably the most intense series of games I’ve ever played, and it was in a top 4-of a Cities, heh.
Empoleon/Accelgor was an attempt to respond to the fact that MLB had won the past three Cities in our area, and the more I think about it, the more genius it was. I don’t have the full decklist available, but if you’re interested, here’s my best guess at what something like this would look like…
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 31
Energy – 10
I’ve been a huge fan of Accelgor since I played the Mew Prime/Accelgor DEX/Vileplume UD/Darkrai EX/Chandelure NVI deck at Nationals 2012, but I never felt like I could make a consistent enough list for this kind of deck.
Even the list I have above is liable to just stop working at a certain point, as there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of big, open windows for whiffing.
pokemon-paradijs.comI run hotter than the sun, and have Switch (and sometimes even double Switch!) along with Gold Potion and Max Potion basically whenever I need it. The game is close, but there was just no way he was going to be able to keep up with my draws.
This was probably the only game worth talking about in the series. I ran just as hot as Game 1 and was able to cut off his Accelgor locks pretty quickly, but I kept being forced into positions where I was attacking with Mewtwos and hoping for the best.
This line of play eventually led to me getting N’d to 1 or 2 and Lane absolutely beating my face in with his Mewtwo.
Lane is a much better player/smarter human being than I am, so I’m sure I walked right into this, but I’m unsure if there was much else I could’ve done. This is probably the one game in my entire Pokémon career that I would most want documented, as I’d love to see what I could’ve done differently and if that would’ve mattered.
This game was dumb, with Lane starting lone Mew-EX and whiffing everything until I “beat” him and went home with the trophy. Sorry for the lack of interesting input, but this game was really one of the worst I’ve ever played and it physically pains me that I had to beat Lane in such a way. I guess that’s life, though.
MLB is what I’d call the “safest” play. It doesn’t have any terrible matchups, and it gives you the most options to work your way out of bad situations. It also has a lot of “free wins” in the form of Landorus donks, Mewtwo donks, and generally just insane early pressure by either of the two forementioned superstars.
The only word of caution I would give you if you’re considering the deck for Regionals is to be afraid of Blastoise/Keldeo. I don’t think the matchup is overwhelmingly terrible, as you have such a strong Mewtwo game, but there will be times when the variance sides with them, and there will be times when you can’t get out of your Landorus-EX start, or whatever.
It’s something I feel confident playing once or twice at a Cities, but with how big of a presence I think Blastoise/Keldeo will be at Regionals (at least in my area), I would have to make very sure I was both very prepared for the matchup and very confident in my analysis of the local metagame to play MLB.
Watauga, TX – December 27th, 2012
BulbapediaThe next time I would taste sweet success would be in Watauga, TX with a teched out Hydreigon list that Tyler Ninomura and I worked on.
Upon deciding to attend the Texas Marathon, I had worked out a game plan that I would play MLB for day 1, and then switch to Hydreigon for day 2, assuming the metagame wasn’t completely anti-Hydreigon. The reasoning behind this decision was that Hydreigon is versatile and can be teched for any specific metagame.
I didn’t see too many RayEels on day 1, so that night I gave Tyler and call and we put this together…
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 33
Energy – 12
Kyurem EX was an idea that I first saw Amelia Bottemiller implement in a local City Championship. The idea, at least in my case, was that it’s very strong against Landorus, with the potential to 1HKO it, or the ability to just put insane pressure on using Frozen Wings.
Additionally, it’s good vs. decks that rely on Special Energy, such as Klinklang, which saw a lot of play throughout the entirety of the marathon.
Overall I really love the card, but it is metagame dependent. If you expect any kind of Accelgor tricks, or a lack of Special Energy in your metagame, Keldeo is undoubtedly the right play. Otherwise, I’m a big fan of Kyurem, especially as he is somewhat of a surprise to a lot of players.
Shaymin EX is a card I’ve been seeing a lot of people cut, and maybe rightfully so, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It won me multiple games throughout Battle Roads in this deck, and I’m a firm believer that its end game power more than makes up for its lack of HP and place as a pretty awful starter.
Shaymin is an even better play, of course, if you expect a lot of Klinklang, as they often will rely on Terrakion-EX to handle your Darkrais, a Pokémon that gets one-hit by a Shaymin after your opponent has taken a mere 2 Prizes.
The Super Rod was of my own doing, because I was paranoid about having to get rid of important tech Pokémon to dig for a Hydreigon or another piece of the puzzle. Although I am glad I played it, it only saved me in one game and I’m not entirely sure it’s the correct play.
I certainly think that the more techs you play and the less conservative of a player you are the more you should consider including the Rod, though.
Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer were once again put in to combat Klinklang, Hydreigon, and decks with Double Colorless Energy. The thought was that against decks like that I would be able to act as a psuedo-Hammertime list, getting my Hydreigons setup and my Energy base correct while slowing them down and spamming Junk Hunts every turn.
Although I had to cut consistency cards for these, which I never like doing, I feel like they were 100% worth it in the end.
Unfortunately I didn’t keep any records of my games or how they went, but I have most of the important details I wanted to talk about here in the old brain grapes…
1. This deck absolutely cannot beat a Rayquaza/Eelektrik deck. I played a version of it later in the marathon with a single copy of Shiny Rayquaza and although I didn’t see any RayEels that day, I’m not even sure how effective that would’ve been.
I played against Martin Moreno in Round 5-of Swiss (we were both 5-0) and was able to 6-0 him because he didn’t draw a single Supporter besides a Bianca for 2 on turn one. We later played in the top 8 (curse of the first etc!) and he destroyed me 2-0, with neither of the games being all that legitimate.
If you can avoid the donk, outspeed them, and not play into their tricks you have a chance but the matchup is highly unfavorable and I’m not sure how you fair if you don’t get a T2 Hydreigon.
2. I don’t know the specifics of the Hydreigon vs. Klinklang matchup, but I do know that the Hammers helped me in both of my games versus the deck. One of the games, in round 3-of Swiss I believe, they were Prized so I had to play smart and pay attention to his energy counts and such.
I ended up winning that game, but it was very close and I’m not sure if I could’ve done it if I didn’t draw the Hammers off the Prizes at the right times.
My other games vs. the deck was against “MiamiMike” Mike Canaves, who is a heck of a gentleman. I started off very slowly, but was able to Junk Hunt for Hammers and Computer Searches early, so much so that he assumed for the first few turns that I was just playing Hammertime.
He eventually got setup as I had to focus on things other than Hammering, but I was able to bait him into killing a Darkrai with a Terrakion-EX so that I could revenge kill it with Shaymin, knocking all of his Energy off the board. From there on it was hard for him to set anything up and he never really came back.
Why I Played Darkrai/Hydreigon
The main factor that made me want to play this deck was its very positive matchup vs. Blastoise. I was unlucky enough to only face one in Watauga and he just drew dead the entire time, but I’m confident that with Shaymin, Mewtwo, and Hydreigons (to 1HKO Blastoises), the matchup is very favorable.
Later in the marathon, after Blastoise had seen a surge in popularity, I played both Virizion EPO and Shaymin EX and although looking back that may have been a bit of overkill, the fact that you have that option and that it’s viable is pretty astounding.
Like I said, I ended up losing in the quarterfinals to Martin Moreno with ACE SPEC-less Rayquaza/Eelektrik (who ended up winning the entire tournament), but I had a good run. It was a bit of a shame that it was my only noteworthy performance in Texas, but the fun of the marathon more than made up for disappointing results.
I don’t want to go on too long about this, but if you ever have the chance to travel for a marathon that a good portion of your friends will be at, I highly encourage you to do so. It was my favorite Poké-vacation thus far (better than Worlds ’11 and ’12 as well as Nats ’12 and a bunch of States/Regionals) and I can’t imagine not attending every year that it’s offered to me.
Looking Ahead to Regionals
BulbapediaAs I said before, I’ll be doing the majority of my Regionals testing this upcoming weekend and I don’t want to step on any of the other UG writers toes, as they strategically chose their dates to be as close to Regionals as possible to give the most relevant, up to date information.
However, it would feel wrong to not mention Regionals at all, so I’m going to go through and give decklists and matchup thoughts for the two decks I’m considering playing the most at the moment.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 34
Energy – 13
Ahh, Blastoise. The over hyped deck that maybe wasn’t so overhyped at all. By now I’m assuming all of you are familiar with the deck and how it works. I also feel like my list is pretty standard, but if you’d like further explanations I’m willing to talk in the forums about specifics.
I didn’t play this deck throughout Cities because I felt like I could never work out a consistent list that didn’t have trouble versus the things in our area. In reality if I had just tested more and came to this list earlier, I probably could’ve had a lot of success during Landorus’ reign of terror in the Northwest. Live and learn, I guess.
I think the key to succeeding with Blastoise is going to be maxing out consistency as much as possible. I would even like to cut the fat out of the list above, shave the baby Keldeo, cut the Tool Scrapper, add another Energy or the fourth Blastoise or something of that sort.
The deck is very simple and should be aiming to accomplish the same task every turn of every game – get a huge Keldeo and kill big EXs as fast as possible.
pokemon.theirstar.comWhat’s holding me back from playing this at Regionals, then? The fact that I think most players have come to realize that this is the best deck in the format, or at least close to it. I’ve never been a fan of playing the biggest deck for two reasons.
Firstly, it’ll have the biggest target on its back, rogue builders will be actively trying to make anti-meta decks that counter it, and everyone else will be searching for that secret tech that tilts the mirror in their favor.
Secondly, mirrors are pretty terrible in general and having to play them all day is something I’d prefer to avoid at all costs.
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 33
Energy – 12
Speaking of Landorus, my fear of him is a big part of what’s holding me back from registering this for Regionals. Its matchups vs. the rest of the metagame are very solid and I know the deck inside and out. Additionally, it’s very consistent and subscribes to the “One strategy, every time” plan that Blastoise/Keldeo is also on.
I’m just not sure that I could risk playing 40 HP Tynamos versus a field of Landorus that easily 1-shot you for fun. Much like Keldeo/Blastoise I don’t feel like there is a lot to be said about this list. Eelektrik has been around for a year, and Rayquaza/Eelektrik has been a mainstay for quite a while in its own right.
About the only interesting thing I’ve added is a single copy of Max Potion, which is still a very experimental slot. My rationale is that it not only helps vs. Darkrai’s splash damage from Night Spear, but also against Landorus. Being able to mess up the math in either situation seems very good.
The other consideration is running a Tornadus EX-based version of the deck, but I feel like that version is much worse versus pretty much everything else (particularly the mirror, where a single Zekrom should tear you apart), and Tornadus isn’t even the absolute best at fighting Landorus in the first place, considering that they can still donk you and that Landorus is still an extremely powerful card.
I can’t say what’s right or wrong quite yet, but I didn’t put it in the above list because I feel like it has the same problem as a lot of other cards: It still dies to a 30 + 150 from Hammerhead and Land’s Judgement, respectively.
Additionally, the lack of Water Energy in this deck means you’ll be 2HKOing Landorus no earlier than turn 2 or 3, if all of your Tynamos live long enough to evolve. Needless to say, I’m not quite sold.
That’s about all I’ve got to say on Regionals. There are a handful of other decks that are viable choices, but I don’t have time to discuss them all right now. I’m sure someone out there is cooking up a spicy rogue brew to beat the metagame, but trust me when I say that if there is one out there, I haven’t seen it.
This format isn’t as bad as a lot of people think, but it is very stale and very linear and I’m very unsure if there’s any way to “next level” any given opponent or metagame.
pokemon.theirstar.comTo close out the article, even though I know this isn’t your typical Underground fair, I would like to give a huge shout out to everyone who made the Texas marathon an amazing experience, but most especially Alex Sedevie and the Noah family, without whom I would quite literally not have been able to attend the event.
They are some of my best friends and I am eternally grateful for the generosity they’ve shown.
Good luck at Regionals, everyone! I should have a (hopefully first place!) Regionals report out in a few weeks, followed by a Plasma Gale set review. Talk to you soon, lovelies.
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