Q: How do you beat a two-time World Champion?
A: A lot of luck.
The Indiana State Championship was a frustrating day for me. I started 0-1 and couldn’t crawl out of the middle tables en route to a 5-3 finish. All day I felt one step behind my opponents and my deck choice didn’t alleviate the straightforwardness of the format. However, I did play the most exciting match of my season and possibly of my short career.
My round seven opponent was Jason Klaczynski playing Darkrai with Hammers and Lasers against my Big Basics. I want to start by saying that Jason has a fantastic history in the Pokémon TCG. He could lose every game he plays until he’s 90 and he would still be considered one of the greatest players in the game. He made the right deck choice (playing the deck that would go on to win the tournament), but he just hit some extremely bad luck.
I’m able to get early pressure with Tornadus EX, but eventually transition to Landorus-EX. I Knock Out two of his Sableye via Hammerhead, but I find myself down on prizes 4-2. He has two fully loaded, albeit heavily damaged Darkrai EX and a Keldeo-EX with an energy on the bench.
I realize my only chance at winning is to Catcher the Keldeo and play Hypnotoxic Laser to stall while I try to draw into my one remaining Max Potion before he can attack with Darkrai and snipe my benched Landorus-EX for his last 2 Prizes.
I flip heads on Laser, and he flips tails on the sleep flip. Virbank City Gym is in play, and his Keldeo is now at 60 damage going into his turn because it was hit once with a Hammerhead earlier in the game.
He passes and flips for sleep… HEADS! Luckily, I have another Laser in hand and play it. Again, I put his Keldeo to sleep. He flips tails going into his turn, passes and flips tails once again on the sleep flip.
At this point, his Keldeo-EX has 150 damage on it and I still haven’t drawn into the Max Potion. Thus, if I were to pass, Keldeo would be Knocked Out from poison, and he would promote Darkrai to snipe my damaged Landorus.
I look at my hand in despair as there’s nothing I can do to prevent losing. I then realize I’m holding a Stadium that’s not Virbank City Gym! I play the Aspertia City Gym so that his Keldeo only takes ten damage in between turns and forces one more sleep flip.
Of course, he flips tails on the sleep flip going into his turn and has to pass while his Keldeo-EX is Knocked Out from poison. I draw my 2 Prizes and find a F Energy. He promotes an undamaged Darkrai and I promote my damaged Landorus knowing that I will either have to topdeck the Max Potion to extend the game or the Pokémon Catcher to win it.
I draw my card and am overwhelmed when I see the Catcher. The series of events that led to the win were incredibly improbable. I certainly didn’t deserve to win this game, but that’s an extreme example of the format right now.
Regionals is fast approaching. As I won’t be attending, I want to give you my Big Basics list that I played in Indiana. Here’s my list with some card explanations:
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 39
Energy – 12
The Pokémon line may seem unorthodox at first. However, I figured I would be playing against a lot of Big Basics and RayEels. Tornadus EX is good against against Big Basics because most Big Basics play high counts of Landorus-EX. Tornadus EX’s resistance to Fighting combined with Aspertia City Gym gives Tornadus EX the ability to tank against fighting-based Big Basics lists.
Tornadus also is a great starter against Blastoise and Klinklang because it can take cheap KOs on Squirtles and Klinks. Landorus-EX is obviously fantastic against RayEels as it has the ability to destroy Tynamos T1 for a single Energy.
The singleton Mewtwo EX is a peculiar card. While two would have been a fine play, I feel like I never want to start Mewtwo in any matchup. However, with Super Rod, I felt like I had the option to reuse it if needed such as when a Blastoise player has built up a huge Keldeo or I am able to play Mewtwo, N, and sweep any deck late game.
In testing, a second Mewtwo just didn’t do enough against Big Basics decks to warrant its inclusion. The EXs in the deck when combined with Lasers can 2-shot anything in the format.
Finally, Mewtwo makes for easy Prizes if the opponent also plays Mewtwo and I just felt like I could manage board position better if I attacked with a Tornadus EX or Landorus-EX over a Mewtwo in most cases.
Tornadus EPO was an average choice. Looking back, I didn’t use it as much as I thought I would in the tournament. What I really liked about it in testing was that it could conserve Energy with its attack, which is huge for this deck. Combined with Aspertia City Gym, this little guy can put up quite a fight.
But I found myself always preferring an EX attacker or just not having Tornadus in my hand when I wanted it. The other downside is that you need Energy every turn to attack, but Pokémon generally aren’t surviving more than two turns nowadays. This was one of those choices that was borderline good in testing and below average in the tournament.
Bouffalant is extremely strong, especially when combined with Eviolite (which my list didn’t run). I think Bouffalant could be the sleeper card of Spring Regionals because of its raw power against Pokémon-EX and its Bouffer Ability. If Eviolited, Bouffalant can withstand a Hammerhead.
I think Bouffalant was a fine choice, but I just didn’t use it in many of my games. It did help force the opponent to take a 7th Prize in two of my games, but it always seemed like a resource hog when used and, without Eviolite, it could be 1-shot by opponents’ 3 Energy Mewtwo EXs.
This slot was dedicated to either Energy Retrieval, Super Rod, or Revive. Super Rod gave me weakened versions of both Energy Retrieval and Revive which is why I decided to include it. I believe heavily in the power of versatility when constructing decks and this is a perfect example.
pokemon-paradijs.comI cannot stress enough how vital it is to go first in today’s game. The speed of cards like Tornadus EX combined with the high damage output of the Laser/Virbank combo can often put enough pressure on the opponent that they are constantly scrambling to set up; the player going first has such a massive advantage.
Four Stadiums were perfect for this deck. I could have gotten a Turn 1 Tornadus swinging for 60 damage in 5-of my 8 tournament games, which was huge and shows the consistency of the build. I also liked the potential to counter Tropical Beach on a whim.
I figured most of the decks I would play against in the tournament would be playing Virbank City Gym, so I opted to go with Aspertia City Gym to enlarge my Colorless Pokémon’s HP and be able to manipulate how much Poison damage I would take from Hypnotoxic Laser.
I opted to go with Scramble Switch over Computer Search because of its ability to turn an unfavorable board position into a favorable one. Scramble Switch was very helpful at setting up crucial Land’s Judgments or a late game sweep with a big Mewtwo EX.
Computer Search is infinitely better in the first few turns, but after that, the ability to search any card in your deck becomes less important. Sure, Computer Search can easily grab a Double Colorless for a T1 Blow Through with Tornadus EX, but it doesn’t have the game breaking ability Scramble Switch has.
There is no doubt Scramble Switch can be a useless card, but when it is used at the right time, it can negate all the effort your opponent has put in to Knocking Out your active and swing a game in your favor.
Big Basics, however, is a deck that relies on having a large hand and drawing lots of cards (hence why I only play three N). I often found myself using Skyla to grab a Juniper which is basically wasting your supporter for a turn.
So that’s all I have! I hope you enjoyed the article and please feel free to comment critically. I will not be attending Regionals, so I have nothing to hide from you guys. Ask any question and I will give you my full and honest answer (not that I wouldn’t anyway)! Thanks for reading.