My Little Penguins – Regionals and Cities Reports

the truman show jim careyGood morning, or depending on when you’re reading this, good afternoon, good evening or good night. I figured I should have a uniform opening to my articles and this’ll do for now. Might as well put this at the start too: I run a weekly podcast, and please check it out.

I meant to write an article detailing my Regionals adventures, but alas and alack work scuppered my plans, so I’ll give you a quick rundown now. In the UK we have no States and so it appears that we have a LOT of Regionals, when in fact they replace the States and Regionals seen in other territories.

First time around we had 3 Regionals and I played the same deck for each. It contained Ho-Oh but it was not a traditional Ho-Oh deck. It was a Tornadus EX / Terrakion NVI / Mewtwo EX deck that had a couple Ho-Oh just for Energy acceleration. It didn’t contain a huge mix of Energy and only ever used Ho-Oh to attack against Shaymin EX or Klinklang (where 2 different types of basic Energy were enough).

I’d played this deck a fair few times (gaining a second place in Sheffield Battle Roads with my ridiculous list focussing on Basculin EPO 24 and Kyurem EX) and I felt comfortable both in my ability to play the deck and the deck’s viability within the current metagame.

Regionals #1 – Aldershot

stunfisk dragons exalted drx 70pokemon-paradijs.comI got a memorable victory over Sami Sekkoum, Catchering an Eviolited Terrakion and Rumbling with Stunfisk DRX 4 times while I set up a Mewtwo for the win (though I was aided when the turn before I won he drew his entire deck bar one card and missed his remaining Switch) when he needed only one more Night Spear for game.

I had 2 losses though, finishing 4-2 and missing cut. The first was against Darkrai / Hydreigon when my opponent N’d me to 2 and I failed to draw a Supporter OR Catcher OR Energy for SIX turns in a row. I also missed FOUR Ho-Oh flips, any one of which would give me the win.

My second loss was to Jake Walvin when I missed a Supporter for six turns in a row, eventually needing one Energy off a 4 card N to (effectively) give me the win. More than ¼ of my deck was Energy. I whiffed.

I played 15 Supporters in this list and lost both games due to Supporter droughts. Undeterred I popped a Tropical Beach into my deck and went down to Nottingham Regionals.

Regionals #2 – Nottingham

Sitting at 2-0 in this event I had game in hand when my opponent used Skyla to get an N. I thought he was playing it and threw away a guaranteed win when I shuffled my hand into my deck, resulting in a double game loss as the head judge thought he may have baited me.

I ended up paired up next round and won (presumably against the same opponent I would have had if I’d have been 3-0) meaning I should have been 4-0 and in cut due to good resistance. As it was, I lost to a better player in round 5 and had to win my final game to make cut.

It was again against Jake Walvin and I could win with a Moo2 if I could draw either my last Catcher or Energy Switch. I had a Juniper in hand and 9 cards in my deck. I drew every card except for the Catcher and Energy Switch and lost 70 CPs.

So at this point I’d recorded wins over such notable players as Sami Sekkoum (Top 8 Worlds 2012), Nathan McLewee, Pokéman Dan Middleton, and Jak SA (Top 32 Worlds 2012) and yet had managed to just miss cut both times. But I had one more chance.

Regionals #3 – Exeter

potion-black-white-blw-100pokemon-paradijs.comFor this tournament I took out the Eviolites and popped in Potion and Max Potion and that was HUGE on the day. I started the day 4-0, beating a Hydreigon and a Darkrai / Terrakion, using Potion to stop 2HKOs and Tropical Beach to prevent Ns in both games, validating my card choices.

Game 5 I was against drawn against Jake Walvin and I again lost in statistically unlikely circumstances where a misplay would have given me the win. I ended up as 4th seed, scraping into cut only because George Boon (my round 4 opponent) won his final game, despite me having only lost my final game!

I took 90 CPs but lost to Jake in Top 4. Interestingly, of my 6 losses at Regionals (Not counting my double game loss) 4 of them were against Jake. Also, I never went first against him!


After Regionals I went to 2 Cities, again playing the same deck, picking up 30 CPs by getting 3rd place in the worst tournament I had ever had the misfortune to play in (covered in my podcast) and missing cut mostly through playing like an idiot in Sutton Coldfield (was a fun tournament though).

Back to the Present

So, I was sitting on 162 CPs, needing to get Top 4 in 3 more Cities (out of 6 I planned to attend) and Top 8 in 2 more Regionals (out of the 4 I was planning to attend). This seemed like it could be done. But first…

New Deck Idea

new logoFor this tournament I decided I wanted a change. Ho-Oh had let me down in Sutton Coldfield and as I’d had a few weeks off playing over Christmas and New Year I’d got to thinking about Empoleon and whether it was still viable.

At the very start of this season I’d experimented with Empoleon / Terrakion, cutting one of two Battle Roads to which I took it but it had problems. Most notably were the fact that it took a couple of turns to get going and the fact that if your opponent disrupted your set up, there was no way you could get going again in one turn. Empoleon was a Stage 2 and Terrakion needed 2 Energy.

I started experimenting with Empoleon / Mewtwo but it relied too much on Empoleon to avoid the Mewtwo war and was therefore too disruptable. Then I remembered Tornadus.

I ended up with a deck playing 4 Tornadus EX and 5 Stadiums, as well as 4 Skyla, Computer Search and a couple of Random Receivers. What this meant was that I could get a Tornadus EX going on T1 very often. Putting Mewtwo into the deck gave another T1 attacker and having Tropical Beach helped the T1 Tornadus but also gave another thing to do on T1 if I couldn’t get an attack off.

I also played a 1-1 Roserade DRX line to up the consistency of the deck and I started to find it ran very smoothly, often giving an Empoleon on T2 and streaming Empoleons nicely when it got going. Empoleon also had the advantage of running Max Potion as all of my attackers could be powered up with just a single energy.

Empoleon acted as a nice anti-N strategy due to Diving Draw and with him hitting for 70-120 damage for one Energy and only giving up 1 Prize, while being extremely difficult to 1HKO (outside of Lightning attackers which are rarer than hen’s teeth nowadays) made him a very efficient attacker and helping you to pull ahead in the Prize trade.

Sheffield Cities – January 12th 2013

I was not feeling overly confident with my deck but I really wanted to play Empoleon, so I did. I was accepting the fact that I had an almost auto-loss to Hydreigon and before round 1 I counted at least 6 Hydreigon decks. Brilliant.

Round 1: Pokéman Dan Middleton (Darkrai EX / Bouffalant DRX / Moo2 / Terrakion NVI) (Finished: 3-2)

empoleon-dark-explorers-dex-29pokemon-paradijs.comI win the flip this game and set up rather nicely. Dan started Terrakion and this gave me an easy, early Prize. I got Empoleons set up fairly quickly and he had no way to 1HKO them which, combined with my Max Potions, gave me a nice early board position.

I made a mistake in the early game when I put 4 Energy on a Mewtwo to soften up a Darkrai, only to see him drop a Mewtwo and take 2 Prizes.

Later on in the game he had a Bouffalant to take down my Tornadus and Mewtwo and rather than retreat my half-dead Mewtwo and use Max Potion (taking the Energy off of him as well) I put a third Energy on him to 1HKO the Bouffalant.

This of course allowed him to take another 2 Prizes with his second Mewtwo. Luckily he had no real answer for my Empoleons and I was able to 2HKO a Darkrai for the win.


Round 2: Duncan Sugrue (Blastoise BCR / Keldeo-EX) (Finished: 4-1) (1st)

He started lone Squirtle here but went first and started setting up nicely, including dropping a Tropical Beach, demonstrating that this was in fact a “good” list. Boo.

On my first turn I got a Tornadus and DCE but, not having a Stadium to drop to KO the active Squirtle, I decided to not do 30 damage and just use his Tropical Beach to draw out of my pretty terrible hand. Yes, you’ve spotted the mistake haven’t you? Luckily I did draw out of a VERY bad hand so it was still the best thing to do.

Needless to say he got a T2 Blastoise so I hit a Keldeo for 110 with Empoleon (my deck again set up beautifully) and he retreated it to the bench and dropped a Pokémon Centre to start healing it.

Rather than Catchering it I hit a different Keldeo for 110 then the following turn (when the original Keldeo was back to 100HP) I dropped a Skyarrow, getting rid of the Pokémon Centre and leaving him with 2 Keldeos easily in range of my Empoleons.

This netted me 4 Prizes in 2 turns, and when he dropped a third Energy on his Mewtwo to 2HKO my Empoleon I was able to promote my own Mewtwo and drop DCE for the win.


Round 3: Laura (Darkrai EX / Hydreigon DRX 97) (Finished: 3-2) (8th)

deino-dragons-exalted-drx-93pokemon-paradijs.comLaura was someone was playing in her very first tournament ever. Not only that but she was sitting at 2-0. Not only THAT but the people she had “taken down” were none other than last year’s CP leader and worlds competitor “My Good Friend” Tommy Roberts and fellow Worlds competitor Tamao Cameron. This made me very happy!

I knew she was playing Hydreigon and this worried me greatly because my deck doesn’t really 1HKO anything. I knew if I let her set up I would almost certainly lose.

She started with one Deino out and I won the flip but I whiffed the T1 Tornadus, though I did manage to get 2 Piplups and a Roselia out, giving me a good chance to get something going T2. On her turn she was unable to get a second Deino and I was able to get an Empoleon and a Roserade, leading to a second Empoleon and a Catcher to take out her Deino.

The next turn she again had only a single Deino and I was able to Catcher and KO due to my playing 4 Skyla and having 3 Empoleons (I’m not going to lie, my deck ran very, very smoothly in this game, I got lucky!). Unfortunately I discovered that 2-of my Catchers were Prized and I had yet to draw either of them from my Prizes.

I was able to KO a Sableye the following turn and grab a Catcher from the Prizes which I used on my 5th turn to take my 4th Prize from her 3rd Deino. The feeling was 2nd to none. I was thinking I might even get 1st today… I’m done now.

At this point I need 2 more Prizes and have only one Catcher left (which I have also now drawn from my Prizes) so I have to let her bench a Deino and hit her Darkrai for 100. She then has one turn to get a Rare Candy, Hydreigon, Max Potion or I can Catcher for the KO.

She does get an N and N me to 2 but with 4 Empoleons out by now I’m able to draw my entire deck and find the Catcher for the win.


Round 4: Johnny Hall (Blastoise BCR / Keldeo-EX) (Finished 4-1) (4th)

tornadus ex dark explorers dex 108pokemon-paradijs.comAll the good luck I had in the previous round came back to bite me in this game. I went second and finished my turn with a Tornadus and DCE. That was it. He then took his second turn and managed a Blastoise, Keldeo with 3 Energy, and Keldeo with 1 Energy.

I did make a mistake on my first turn KOing a Squirtle when he had 2 on the bench. I should have anticipated the T2 Blastoise and worked on taking down Keldeos instead.

When he was down to 2 Prizes I dropped an N and a Mewtwo to grab 2 Prizes but needless to say he got his own Mewtwo and took a well-deserved victory.


Round 5: Jono Cowley (Darkrai EX / Hydreigon DRX 97) (Finished 4-1) (5th)

I again went second in this game but I was able to take 3 Prizes off of Deinos using Catchers and a combination of early Tornadus (with DCE) and Empoleons. I was able to get 3 Empoleons out fairly quickly and so was able to dig and give myself the Catcher every turn.

I again got a cheap Prize from a Sableye, leaving me with 2 Prizes left and one Catcher, just like in my earlier game against Laura. I hit the Darkrai for 90, giving him one turn to get the Rare Candy, Hydreigon, Max Potion and though he hit the Rare Candy, Hydreigon, he couldn’t find the Max Potion, giving me one turn to pull off the victory.

I had Catcher in hand and 3 Empoleons out, though I didn’t have any W Energy yet. I drew and then used diving draw 3 times but 7 cards later I STILL had no W Energy and the only supporter I had was Skyla.

I’d used my Computer Search to keep the early pressure and I played no Energy Search but I used the Skyla anyway, only to discover that W Energy was the next card.

From here he ripped the Max Potions and I could do nothing while he stopped me taking Prizes and took the win.

3-2, 7th

This was very annoying as I thought I’d done enough in that last game to take the win but these things happen. Truth be told, I was less upset about the points and packs lost and more upset that I’d just missed out on a chance to get to Top 4 with Empoleon. Nevermind.

My resistance (you can see how my opponents did in my match reports) was a crazy high 72% so I made 7th place as the highest ranked 3-2 and picked up 20 CPs for my trouble, so all in all a job well done.

Interestingly the top 4 was as follows (final standing after top 4):

  1. Duncan Sugrue (Blastoise / Keldeo)
  2. Charles Barton (Blastoise / Keldeo)
  3. George Boon (Blastoise / Keldeo)
  4. Johnny Hall (Blastoise / Keldeo)

I’ve not seen a top 4 that devoid of differentiation since the LuxChomp days! Just a shame I couldn’t put a penguin in to play with all them turtles and ponies.

On the upside, this keeps me on course for my invite with 182 Points. If I cut 2 more Cities (I should be attending 5) and 2 more Regionals (I should attending 4) I’ll make it. Wish me luck!

P.S. Check out my podcast! I think it’s awesome, then again, I would!



Twitter: @thewossy

Reader Interactions

9 replies

  1. Joseph Baggs

    Tornadus EX/Empoleon, Great deck idea! Landorus EX would of really hated you, anyway, what would you change about the deck to have a better HydroPony match up? would you add an energy search? and did you play Evilolite?

    • Ross Gilbert  → Joseph

      Ha ha, i wish i’d played some Landorus ;) Although his first attack could be devestating if i don’t get an early Empoleon!

      Honestly the hydropony match-up is pretty good. Tornadus is excellent for early pressure and killing little turtles and then Empoleon is really good at the prize exchange. It only becomes a problem if they get 5 energy on a Keldeo (OHKO Empoleon) and you haven’t got enough attackers to kill the Keldeo and take their energy. In my testing the match was never less than 50-50.

      In the tournament i went 1-1 against Blastoise. My win was against the tournament winner (his only loss all day) and my loss was against a great player who went off like a rocket.

      Energy search would be nice but there’s no room. It would have won me the game in Round 5 but i’d have had to cut something for it. In that game drawing 7 cards should have been enough but the stats were against me.

      As for eviolite, i wouldn’t go for it. Only good for Tornadus and he’s mostly used for early pressure. I rarely used power blast and as he only needed a DCE you can use Max Potion as it’s more use.

      The care i WOULD like is Plus Power (OHKO Sableye, 2HKO Keldeo with Tornadus etc.)

  2. Bryan Ward

    This is probably my favorite article I’ve seen in the past month or two. I’m glad to see some people still like Empoleon. I’m running a different Empoleon deck myself, but I wasn’t able to make it to any Cities this season. My deck uses a thin Empoleon line, with more of a focus on Darkrai and Bouffalant. The deck was working great for me in testing, but I never got a chance to try it out in an actual Tournament. Now Plasma Gale’s being released soon, and like Empoleon/Zoroark, that might make my deck bad for the Metagame. I guess we’ll see.

    Anyway, props for finding a (What sounds like) a great use for Empoleon!

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