I’ve never written a tournament report before, but I’ve gotten multiple requests for a report and multiple people have asked me about my decklist. First, I guess I should introduce myself.
My name is Jando (pronounced Hondo) Luna, I am a 22-year old senior finance major at NIU, and I started playing at the very beginning of the HGSS-on format. I used to play a little bit when I was younger, but I never played competitively as I wasn’t old enough to drive yet and my mom didn’t feel like bussing me around to tournaments.
Since starting up again, I have multiple made multiple top cuts and final appearances at Battle Roads and City Championships.
However, I have never found too much success at larger tournaments like States or Regionals. Some of the lack of success I attribute to poor deck choice (e.g. playing Durant at States and Regionals last year), but other times I admittedly scrubbed out.
In any event, I have stopped taking these large tournaments as competitively as most players, and rather just enjoy going down and hanging out with all the friends that I have made playing this game. It honestly makes the game more enjoyable for me, as it removes all pressure of performing well, especially because I wouldn’t even be able to attend Worlds as I begin my full time job come June.
Of course everyone likes to do well, but the best part of the game for me is just hanging out with all my friends. But enough about myself, here is the story of how I got second at the largest Regionals in Pokémon TCG history.
My friends Joe, David, Isaac and I headed down Friday morning to St. Louis for our Regionals endeavor. I told them I wanted to leave around 8 AM so we could hit up all the tourist sights (I know I’m lame like that). We get down there around 12:30 PM, hit up some killer BBQ at Bogart’s, went to the top of the Arch, and toured the downtown area. All in all, it was a great afternoon.
We get to the hotel around 5 PM or so and begin testing a little bit for the next day. David is set on his Blastoise deck that he has been playing all Cities, Isaac is pretty set on playing his Ho-Oh deck that he has been doing well with, and Joe and I have no idea what to play.
I was pretty convinced in the weeks leading up to Regionals that I was going to play Rayquaza/Eelektrik, as I had done pretty decent with the deck at the Chicago marathon (a couple 5-2’s and a Top 4).
I felt that when the deck set up, it could beat anything. However, virtually all my losses with the deck were due to dead-draws, failing to set up, or just getting steamrolled by an early Landorus. I kept trying to tweak the list, going back and forth on Emolga DRX, but overall just did not feel comfortable with the deck. So I was back to square one.
At the last day of the Chicago marathon, Joe and I put together an Empoleon DEX/Dusknoir BCR/Mewtwo EX/Landorus-EX deck (inspired by Adam Keibler) that he piloted to a 5-2 finish. The deck lost to a T2 Night Spear for sure, but it was just so much fun to play. After accepting that I was likely to scrub out anyway, I thought I might as well just play this deck and just have a good time with it.
When we are testing, Joe asks me to pull out my Garbodor deck that I put together at the very beginning of the Cities format. He steamrolled my Eels deck with it, but we both admitted that the list had a few flaws. He tweaks the list a little bit and tells me he wants to play it at Regs, but I try convincing him otherwise after I roll it with both Darkrai/Hammers and Empoleon.
I told him it had a bad Hammers matchup, a horrible Big Basics matchup, and an iffy Empoleon matchup if anyone decided to play that. He agrees and says he’s likely going to audible back to Darkrai/Terrakion/Hammers, his go-to deck throughout Battle Roads and Cities. We go to sleep around 2:30 AM without a clue of what we are going to play in the morning.
I am second in line to take a shower in the morning, so I go in the bathroom to brush my teeth as Joe is washing his face. Both of us half asleep still, I say, “What’s the play doo?” and he responds, “Garbodor man.” I laugh and say, “Alright. I’ll play it too then,” despite me not testing the deck a single game the night before.
When I get out of the shower, Joe is sorting the deck and attempting to squeeze in another Eviolite, another PlusPower, another Garbodor, and just a whole bunch of other stuff that ain’t gonna happen. I do agree with him that the list needed another Eviolite, as we were only running 6 Tools at the time, and tell him that the only cut we can make is a Catcher.
He looks at me like I just checked into the insane asylum, but I argue that the deck doesn’t need to Catcher often, and you just conserve them until you need to take a crucial KO.
I finally decide that I’m going to cut the fourth Catcher for the second Eviolite, and he follows my lead. Now, I will admit, playing 3 Catchers is definitely sketchy, however the second Eviolite won me a lot more games than a fourth Catcher would have. This is the final list we “brewed” up.
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 37
Energy – 11
There honestly isn’t a single card in this list that didn’t help me a win a game at some point or another. The one thing that I still am unsure of is whether I would go back to playing 1 Terrakion and 1 Bouffalant DRX. Bouffalant is just such great attacker against EXs. Isaac convinced me to go 2 Terrakion, as he said that every time he plays 1 something goes wrong.
The other thing besides the 3 Catcher people might question is the 3 N. However, I felt that Garbodor often suffered from late game N’s, and the spot would be better used for just another straight draw card.
When we arrive at the venue, we meet up with Vince, Ryan Soles, Jeremy and the rest of the Chicago crew. Vince asks me what I’m playing and I tell him Garbodor, and he and Soles instantly start telling me not to play it. They both tell me, “Friends don’t let other friends play Garbodor.”
At this point, I was too lazy to change up the deck as I had already pulled out all the Catchers and other cards from my other decks to put this list together, so I just tell them, “Nah nah nah it’s the play guys.” They repeatedly try to tell me otherwise, but I just say meh and turn in my decklist.
I playtest a game with Vince against his Darkrai/Terrakion/Hammers list, and narrowly win by decking him after he rolled one for four on Hammers. We both agreed that Hammers was not a good matchup for the deck, something I already knew though coming in.
After a software malfunction and a lunch break before Swiss even started, the tournament finally begins at around 12:30 PM. I apologize that the actual report might not be the most detailed, as this is all from memory.
Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant DRX/Terrakion NVIRound 1 vs. Britt with
Immediately I am facing one of the few decks I do not want to play against. I am essentially playing a mirror match with 8 dead cards in my deck (although Rescue Scarf can prove useful in the Mewtwo war). I start Landorus, and Hammerhead his Active.
Over the course of the next three turns, he Potions/Max Potions all the damage that I place on his board, while building up a Buffalo I believe. I take a few Prizes, but he puts me in the pincer lock where he can take his last 2 Prizes with either Landorus or Mewtwo.
At this point I already want to drop. It was 60 degrees out, and I just didn’t feel like playing Pokémon in all honesty. There were rumors that not even all the 7-2’s would cut, as we had 390 Masters, so I figured at this point my resistance is shot anyway. But, all my friends still want to play obviously, so I continue on.
Round 2 vs. ??? PokéDad with Rayquaza/Eelektrik
I don’t remember too much about this game expect that I got the lock on fairly early and just Landorus to take all my Prizes. He was having some bad draws and making a few questionable plays, but either way I don’t think he could have won.
Caroline was a super nice girl who didn’t seem too interested in playing Pokémon, but was rather there to support her fiancé. Again, this game is fuzzy as we were talking so much, but I get the lock out, just load up attackers, and try to take advantage of the EXs she kept putting into play.
I do think that Empoleon is a bad matchup for Garbodor, however I somehow win pretty comfortably.
Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus EX/Roserade DRX 15Round 4 vs. Kidd Starck with
Ugh Big Basics again. I figure this is probably the point where I go 2-2 drop and just hang out and root everyone else on. I took 2 Prizes Knocking Out something either a Landorus or Tornadus with a fat Mewtwo, and then he responds to my Mewtwo with his own I believe.
The big play in this game is when I Hammerhead his active Mewtwo and his benched Landorus. I Switch to my Mewtwo, attach DCE, and Knock Out his Mewtwo with mine and just have to hope that he doesn’t have the response (he only has 2 Prizes left). He whiffs and Hammerheads or something. I Skyla for a Catcher, pull up his damaged Landorus, and Land’s Judgment for 150 for the win.
Round 5 vs. Eugene with Blastoise/Keldeo
Now on paper this is one of my best matchups. However, Eugene’s list ran 3-4 Super Scoop Up and 2 Tool Scrappers. I get the lock on early and start X Balling Keldeo’s repeatedly. At one point early on, he had 2 Energy on his benched Keldeo with 60 damage and a naked one active with 40, so I catcher PlusPower his benched Keldeo with my 3 energy Mewtwo.
Next turn he Scrappers, drops a boat load of Energy, and Knocks Out my Mewtwo with Keldeo.
I promote my Mewtwo, attach another Tool, and X Ball to Knock it Out.
After this, the game gets a little fuzzy, but I do remember him flipping rather poorly on Scoop Up throughout the game. I think I ripped a Catcher or something for the win but I’m not entirely sure.
I go first and open Mewtwo to his Sableye. I attach DCE, drop Trubbish, and X Ball it for 40. He immediately plays Enhanced Hammer and right away I think I’m playing a Darkrai/Hammers deck. He Ultra Balls for Darkrai, Catchers my Trubbish and uses Confuse Ray.
He gets a Landorus out eventually but I think I set a Garbodor at this point, and his Darkrai was locked active. He is forced to manually retreat his Darkrai and starts Hammerheading my Garbodor.
At this point, I realized he doesn’t play Hammers and just start building up Terrakions on the bench while Hammerheading. He eventually Knocks Out my Garbodor but I got the lock back on next turn I think.
My board position is amazing at this point, and time gets called when he has at 5 Prizes to my 2. When he’s turn 2 he realizes he can’t take 3 Prizes and concedes.
Round 7 vs. Kurt with Rayquaza/Eelektrik
Kurt was one of the most animated players I have ever played against. I always like playing against players that aren’t super uptight and like to crack jokes throughout the game. He goes first and opens Rayquaza EX to my Landorus, grabs some Tyanamos, and Celestial Roars discarding Eel, Switch, Juniper. We both agree that it is one of the worst attacks in the game. I start Hammerheading some things while trying to set up Garbodor.
I had a big play early on where I double PlusPower Hammerheaded his Rayquaza to put it at 80, anticipating that Terrakion would come and hit it for 90 at some point in the game. He is able to Catcher one of my Trubbishes and use Dragon Burst to Knock it Out. I Catcher out his undamaged Eel and try to buy some time to set a Garbodor.
At this point he his 3 Switches in the discard already, so I feel pretty safe, and Hammerhead his active for 60 and Knock Out a benched Eel with 60 on it. He whiffs the Switch and I’m able to set Garbodor finally. I Knock Out the active Eel and he promotes a Rayquaza. I think he was able to Dragon Burst my Landorus which I follow up with a Retialiate from Terrkaion.
There is a crucial point toward the end the game where he has a Rayquaza active and the Rayquaza that had the 80 damage on the bench with Fire/Lightning/Lightning on it. I need an Energy and a Catcher off my Cheren to bring it up and Knock it Out to negate the threat of him Knocking Out one of my Pokémon.
I draw my 3 and draw Energy Switch and Computer Search. I Computer Search for a Catcher and Energy Switch to the active Terrakion and Land Crush the benched Rayquaza. He promotes a clean Rayquaza and Celestial Roars. However, I rip the last Catcher off my Prize, Catcher up his damaged Rayquaza, and Land Crush for the game.
Round 8 vs. Patrick Glynn with Blastoise/Keldeo
Patrick was an accounting major so immediately he and I had something in common. This game looked grim for me early, as I struggled to set up the lock and I am forced to Juniper away 2 switches and 2 Energy Switches early on. I eventually set Garbodor and everything goes as planned, with my Mewtwos Knocking Out one of his Keldeos and one of his Mewtwos.
Toward the end of the game he Catchers my Garbodor and I’m out of Switches. I search my deck with some ball, and realize I have 2 DCEs, 2 Catchers, and a Fighting left with only about 10-ish cards in the deck. He has a damaged Keldeo on the bench within X Ball range so I attach a fighting to Garbodor and use his Beach for about 5 cards.
On his turn he just Beaches, and I was able to get a DCE and a Catcher off the Beach for the game.
Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant DRX/Terrakion NVIRound 9 vs. Treynor Wolfe with
I go first and open Trubbish to his Terrakion. I draw Landorus, play Switch and start Hammerheading. Two turns later he still has drew nothing, so he tries to Catcher stall on my Trubbish, but I have a Switch and a Fighting to Land’s Judgment for the game.
Thankfully for him he had already made it into cut.
Joe lost his “win and in” match round 9 to Ty Wheeler with the same list I played to end at 6-3. David also finished 6-3 and Isaac ended 4-4 drop, after starting Ho-Oh 3 out of his first 5 games.
At this point I am so sick of playing Pokémon that I never want to play ever again. A bunch of us go to Texas Roadhouse for some steak, we had back to the hotel, and I pass out pretty shortly after we get back.
Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant/TerrakionTop 32 vs. Isaiah Bettridge with
So I have to play the “mirror” match with a clunky version of his deck essentially.
He goes first and I have to put down 2 Trubbish so I don’t get donked. He opens Mewtwo, attaches DCE, and Knocks Out my active. I drop a Mewtwo and try to Juniper for the response, but don’t hit the DCE/PlusPower. He Catchers my Mewtwo, drops another DCE plays a PlusPower and Knocks it Out. At this point I’m able to send up a Mewtwo with a DCE to respond and N him to 3.
Luckily for me, his deck was loaded with stuff that he didn’t want, since he took 3 Prizes so early. He Catchers out Trubbish and Knocks it Out with Terrakion. I just keep loading up my Mewtwo, and N his hand of 5 back to 2 as he looks too content, and he tells me he ripped Juniper off his prize. He can’t draw out of it this time and my fat Mewtwo Knocks Out both his Terrakions.
This one is a bit fuzzier. I know it was a similar situation where he a took bunch of Prizes early and I N him to 3 or so. He draws a Bianca but I N his hand away next turn I believe. He plays his hand down to zero and I just take control of the game.
Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant/TerrakionTop 16 vs. Treynor Wolfe with
He has a huge advantage for the majority of the game. I had been using Hammerhead early on to set up easy Mewtwo Knock Out later but he repeatedly uses Potion to negate damage on Mewtwos. He eventually Eviolites all his Mewtwos and I have to Hammerhead his benched Landorus to make the attack even worthwhile.
Eventually I Catcher his clean Landorus, N him to 1 and myself to 4, and start Hammerheading both Landorus. He Energy Switches to his active and does the same. After 3 turns I Knock Out the one on the bench and he puts my Landorus at 150 with Hammerhead.
However, next turn I have a Switch and a Catcher to knock his benched Mewtwo with my own.
He gets a big jump on my again. I don’t remember this game too much other than the fact that I struggled to keep up with the Prize exchange. I scoop toward the end of the game once I realize there is no way I can come back.
Again, this game is a little fuzzy in the beginning. I remember he has a Landorus active with 2 Energy and I am able to X Ball PlusPower for 90, and I have a Terrakion with an Energy on the bench.
However, my hand is pretty much dead at this point. He chooses to play an N to go for the third energy and N’s me out of my horrible hand, but rips an Energy and Land’s Judgments to Knock Out my Mewtwo. I am able to return the KO on his Landorus with Retaliate.
I think he sends up a Mewtwo with an Eviolite and a DCE at this point and Knocks Out my damaged Terrakion. I believe I had another Terrakion with an Exp. Share on the bench, so I keep a Fighting in play. I am able to drop a Mewtwo with a DCE, Energy Switch the fighting to it, play a Switch, and N him to 3 and myself to 4 and then Knock Out his Mewtwo.
He rips a Juniper but whiffs the DCE. He attaches a Fighting to his his benched Mewtwo and passes with a Bouffalant active. I Skyla for the Catcher, attach an Energy and X Ball his Mewtwo for the game.
Gardevoir NXD/Mewtwo EX/Sigilyph DRX/Meloetta BCRTop 8 vs. James Proctor with
James was probably the coolest PokéDad with the coolest deck that I have ever played. I’m glad I’m playing somebody whose laid back because my brain is just mush at this point from a lack of food and playing so much Pokémon.
I actually think I forgot to draw a card at one point in the match after activating a Rescue Scarf, which I don’t think I’ve ever done in my life. That just goes to show where my head was at this point in the day.
I go first and open Mewtwo to his Mewtwo. Never having seen this deck before in my life, I figure he doesn’t play PlusPower because of the Gardevoir line and decide to got the ignorant route and attach a DCE and an Eviolite to my Mewtwo and X Ball for 80.
From here, the game pretty much goes downhill really quickly and I lose to a Psydrive on my Landorus.
I open Mewtwo to his double Ralts. I have the DCE in hand, but am too scared to take the Knock Out on his Ralts. I eventually just bring out Landorus and hit his benched Mewtwo for 30 to set up an easier X Ball. He Catchers out my Mewtwo and hits it for 80 with his. I respond with a DCE and the game turns into a straight Mewtwo war.
I evolve a Garbodor on the bench but never attach a Tool to it because I need the Energy boost from Gardevoir for the Mewtwo wars. I am able to come out on top of the war.
He starts Sigilyph to my Mewtwo. This time I set up the Garbodor lock to Knock Out his Sigilyphs with my Mewtwos. He Catchers my Garbodor and Knocks it Out with another Sigilyph, but I get the lock back on the net turn and Knock Out his other Sigilyph with Mewtwo. He Catchers out Garbodor to stall for time, and I am forced to just bench a Landorus with an Energy and pass.
Next turn I top deck a Switch, Switch to my Mewtwo with a DCE, Energy Switch the Energy off Landorus, Catcher his Mewtwo with a DCE, and attach a DCE to my benched Mewtwo. I Knock Out his Mewtwo with mine, and he promotes a Mewtwo, X Balls, and extends his hand, knowing I can just return the KO next turn.
Top 4 vs. Kevin Forbes with Blastoise/Keldeo
This game was pretty similar to my other Blastoise matches. I get the lock on, at one point Catcher his benched Keldeo and do the infamous X Ball + PlusPower for 110 to Knock Out his Keldeo. He plays a Tool Scrapper and unloads like 10 Energy on the board, 6 on his Keldeo and 4 on his Blastoise and Knocks Out my Mewtwo.
I respond KO with another Mewtwo. He Catchers up Garbodor and N’s me to 2, and takes the KO on my Garbodor. I promote my Mewtwo, attach an Energy to it and another Tool to a Garbodor and KO his Blastoise. He concedes next turn.
He gets a turn 2 Secret Sword on my lone Landorus.
I get the lock early and he Prizes his one Tool Scrapper. I just load up Mewtwos and X Ball my way to victory.
Super Scoop Up/DCETop 2 V.S Andrew Krekeler with Blastoise/
We both get pretty good starts but I start Landorus. I get the lock on turn 2 but I believe he hits a Scoop Up heads to negate a lot of the Hammerhead damage. He powers up a Keldeo and eventually Knocks Out my Landorus.
I think Andrew’s biggest advantage over me was my lack of knowledge of how many DCE he ran. I remember playing more conservatively than I should have been because I kept fearing a DCE on his Mewtwo with one Energy which would have Knocked Out both my Garbodor or my Mewtwo.
At one point he Catchers up my Mewtwo and hits it for 50 with his Keldeo to set it up for a two-Energy X Ball KO. Next turn I could have gone the conservative route and attached a Fighting to Knock Out his Keldeo.
However at this point, I need to Juniper to draw another attacker, so I play my last PlusPower before I toss it, and hope to rip DCE and a Catcher to Knock Out his benched Mewtwo with one energy.
I whiff completely. I don’t draw another attacker, Energy, or Catcher. So I just play a Switch as I feared a second DCE on his Mewtwo to Knock Out mine and let him Knock Out a Trubbish. Next turn I N him to 2, Knock Out his Keldeo, and just hope he doesn’t have Energy to respond to my Mewtwo. He draws Juniper, finds the Energy, and wins Game 1.
I start lone Trubbish and hand of nothing. I draw an Energy attach and pass. He can’t find a DCE so he just attaches a Water, drops a Squirtle, and passes. I draw a Cheren, find another Trubbish, Catcher his Squirtle and use Garbage Collection to put the Cheren back on top. I had drawn an N as well, but I noticed that his hand looked to be equally as weak, so over the course of the next few turns I repeatedly use Garbage Collection for the Cheren.
I get a third Trubbish in play and he starts Knocking them Out. I have a DCE and a PlusPower in my hand, but I can’t find the Mewtwo. After he Knocks Out two Trubbish, I finally draw a Computer Search and get a Mewtwo and Knock Out his. He still has nothing so promotes a Squirtle, drops a Keldeo with an Energy and passes.
Eventually he is able to get an N and put me at 3 and sets up a Blastoise and gets Mewtwo to Knock Out my own. Next turn I Juniper and try to go for the return KO with my Mewtwo but am missing a PlusPower/Energy Switch and am forced to just Retaliate for 90.
Next turn he Catchers out my lone benched Trubbish and X Balls it. I bring up the Terrakion, attach a Fighting and N him to 1 and take out his Mewtwo. I have a Skyla for a Catcher the next turn to take out his Keldeo for the game.
I made it all the way to the finals, play the matchup that my deck was designed to beat, and lose. It was a heartbreaking loss after making it that far, but I still can’t really complain. Saturday morning I had no interest even playing Pokémon, and then I somehow was able to make it to finals of the largest Regionals in the country with a deck that I put together the morning of the tournament.
I get two boxes of Boundaries Crossed for getting 2nd, a Finalist trophy, 110 CP, and a two round bye at Nationals. Unfortunately, I am unsure if I will be even be able to go to Nationals and utilize these byes as I will be in New York training for my job. All in all it was a great experience though and a great weekend, and it was really awesome to see all my friends rooting me on through the whole tournament.
I know a lot of people were hating on me for getting this far with such a stupid deck, but people can say what they want to say.
Thank you to everyone for reading this behemoth of a report. To anybody I played against, I apologize if some of these details were a little off, but it should be pretty accurate if I recall correctly.
I hope everyone has a good States run and more so hope the format doesn’t boil down to decks just playing 4 Hypnotoxic Beams and everyone donking each other. Hopefully it will be better than the donk-fest that was the Mewtwo dominated States format last year.
Take care everyone and I hope you enjoyed reading about how not caring about how well you do and making a deck the morning of a huge tournament can take you all the way to the finals.
Oh and I guess because everyone else does it:
- Joe and I for making the “brew”
- Joe, Isaac, David, Soles, Vince, Jeremy, and the rest of the Chicago crew for rooting me on throughout the whole tournament
- Shaun Kauffman, Dustin Zimmerman, and the rest of the Hovercats
- Pooka and The Top Cut for covering the event
- 60 degree weather
- Vince and Yeti Gaming for running the event
- Sauce on the Side
- Gateway Arch
- St. Louis
- Sketchy pods to get to the top of the Gateway Arch
- Taking a lunch break before the tournament even started
- Having to sit inside and play Pokémon all day when it’s 60 degrees and sunny out
- Having to play 16 hours of Pokémon in two days