Hi again guys! It’s Sam Taylor here with my second article, the first of which was a card commentary on Stunfisk DRX. I feel like I didn’t properly introduce myself then, so I’ll introduce myself a bit now. I’m a Senior who lives slap bang in the middle of England, with no major TCG tournament achievements, with this being my first season, however I did come second in UK Video Game Nationals in 2010 (Juniors), netting me the Worlds trip.
Well, I’ll be truthful here. I tested TDK for about a week… and didn’t want to fork the cash out for it. I decided to stop testing it and settled on testing Darkrai/Absol for Nationals instead.
I ran Darkrai/Absol at an 8 man Battle Roads two weeks before Nationals. In round one, I happened to lose to a RayEels deck (@VictiniCup on the forums) and this really threw me off Darkrai. I wasn’t great at using Junk Hunts and it just didn’t function well for me, even with trying many different types of builds. I’d lost confidence with the deck.
By now I had two main options available to me: the “1HKO” decks, RayEels and Blastoise. Blastoise proved to be too reliant on Beach and hitting an early game Blastoise, but RayEels could fire off 1HKOs really smoothly with Keldeo-EX/Float Stone. With a lot of help from good friend Oliver Barnett, along with much testing with him, I fell in love with the deck really quickly.
As I haven’t decided what deck to run at Worlds yet, I won’t be posting my list. However, I’ll be explaining some key choices for the deck.
If you run really high counts of both of these, then streaming Rayquaza EX gets that much easier. You only need one Rayquaza in play which helps a lot with Fire attachments. Keldeo + Stone fixes one major problem this deck had before the combination existed: Catcher-stalling Eelektrik; it just doesn’t happen anymore. The combo also frees up the Stadium spot for Tropical Beaches which aids in consistency.
This little guy wins games. Its (bearing in mind “Mr.” Mime can be female, so I can’t use his!) Ability is just so good against many common threats to this deck. Being a Basic and searchable by Level Ball only helps with the utility of this card. Kyurem PLF and Landorus-EX can no longer destroy Tynamo as easily. Darkrai EX hurts from not hitting the “magic numbers” on Rayquaza and Eelektrik.
The ruling that if “Mr. Mime is KO’d while in the Active Spot, the bench damage doesn’t happen” is also something that makes Mime great. Absolutely a staple in this deck.
All hail Keldeo-EX/Float Stone! Due to that combo Skyarrow Bridge really isn’t needed in this deck any more. Tropical Beach helps so much with setting up and is an even better counter Stadium than Skyarrow Bridge. With Call for Family Pokémon taking a hit from the early damage from TDK, having something else to do is no bad thing.
This is the ACE SPEC for this deck. RayEels doesn’t really have much of an early game per se, and boosting its late game is a lot better than trying to speed it up. Get back Catchers, Tropical Beaches to win Stadium wars, or the other big one it got me back was Energy Search. Energy Search is fantastic in this deck with its relatively low R Energy count and usage of Skyla. Dowsing Machine for Energy Search won me a couple of games.
So without further ado, now I’ve got the deck stuff out of the way, here comes the tournament report! I didn’t take notes on the day, so some things may be incorrect. If you have any corrections send me a PM.
Round 1 vs. Rhys W. with RayEels/Techs
Knowing and being quite friendly with Rhys, neither of us was happy to be paired against each other in the first round. We have to roll with it though, so we flip and I start.
He opens Tornadus-EX PLF, and I believe a Keldeo-EX. This gives me a bit of insight into what he’s playing, but I’m still trying to figure it out when I go first. I get a pretty normal set up with a couple of Tynamo at the end of my first turn and then manage to Beach. He draws and then uses a Bicycle. At this point I’m lost as to what he’s playing, but then he uses a Level Ball for a Tynamo and it’s obvious this is more or less the mirror.
He sets up more quickly than I do due to multiple Bicycles and then Windfalls to get a new hand. I carry on setting up but only have 1 Eelektrik by the end of turn two as well as two Tynamo, and a Rayquaza I begin manually attaching to. Next turn he benches a Raikou-EX and another Tynamo, evolves two Eelektrik and hits the Volt Bolt to KO my only Eelektrik. On my turn I manage to get another Eelektrik and a Tynamo into play, attach again to Rayquaza EX, grab Mr. Mime PLF and then Beach.
Rhys is in a tough spot at this point because his bench is full and Raikou-EX is the only attacker he has charged up, which has to attack my active due to Mr. Mime. He deals 100 damage to my active Keldeo-EX. From then on I get my Rayquaza EX set up, as well as two Eelektrik and manage to get 180 Dragon Bursts as well as Catchers for the next two turns to win.
N. with Darkrai/AbsolRound 2 vs. Jonas
I say hi to Jonas, and through chatting discover he’s @pokemonguy on the forums! We then get down to the game and I get a pretty bad start. After turn 2 I have no Eelektriks set up and only 2 Tynamo in play, with a 1 Energy Rayquaza EX benched and 2 Keldeo-EX, both with Float Stone, and one with 2 L Energy attached.
He then decides to Catcher/KO a Keldeo-EX with two L Energies he’d damaged the turn before. This actually helps me because I had no other way to get Lightning in the discard. I believe the next turn I set up 2 Eels, fully charge up the Rayquaza, grab a Mr. Mime and KO 3 Darkrai using a couple of Catcher.
Tool Scrapper and only benching 4 Pokémon helps a lot in this matchup to stop his Absol from hitting those magic numbers.
Round 3 vs. James L. with TDK
I start with Victini and Tynamo in my hand. I bench Tynamo for fear of Kyurem donking Victini, and I’m very lucky I did. He opens Kyurem and two Deoxys-EX, but whiffs the Colress Machine off a Juniper. With my Victini poisoned I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I wasn’t going to be losing prizes from turn 1.
I can’t remember too much else about this game, except for the fact that I came really close to being able to start Dragon Bursting early game. My only problem is… I need a Float Stone on a poisoned active Keldeo-EX that will become KO’d at the end of my turn.
Later on there’s a point where I’ll lose if I can’t get another EX in play. I Juniper and miss out on one of two Ultra Ball, a Rayquaza EX or a Keldeo-EX. At this point he has the win next turn so I scoop.
Round 4 vs. ??? with Darkrai/Absol
I’m really sorry to whoever I played this round! I can’t remember a thing about it except for the fact the opponent played Darkrai/Absol, and that I managed to win through clever benching. Really sorry!
N-L. with TDKRound 5 vs. Charles
I came into this round pretty nervous, as I know Charles has been to Worlds before once or twice. I start lone Tynamo, he goes first… and just about whiff the donk. Then he whiffs KOing my lone Tynamo/ Eelektrik combo after turn 2. I just set up Rayquaza EX fairly early on and through Catchering Deoxys-EX and KOing an active Thundurus EX I manage to win with a fair lead, while he whiffed Catchers and generally drew dead.
Round 6 vs. ??? with Blastoise/Black Kyurem
Can’t remember a name here but remember that my opponent turned up slightly late. We start and it became a case of who can 1HKO faster. Thankfully, I get the Rayquaza EX set up before he gets his Blastoise set up, and he ends up with a Lightning and a W Energy left on his Black Kyurem EX at the end of his turn. He uses Rush In and Tropical Beach.
I hit the Catcher and KO his Black Kyurem EX with the Energy on it, and basically he can’t set anything up. I believe he KOs an Eelektrik but it’s still quite a comfortable win.
At this point I know for sure I’ve cut, so I go and see how my sister has done in Juniors TCG. Unfortunately she went 1-4 getting her lone Sableye donked round 1, and having multiple Darkrai EX prized in other games.
I go back and check the standings. I cut at 2nd seed. 1st seed turns out to be my round 3 opponent, James L., who went 6-0. This means that I’ll play Luke T. in Top 8. I gulp, having heard his name somewhere before and knowing he’s got an invite, but get ready to play in Top 8 (as we were playing it on the Saturday) knowing whatever happens someone with the same surname as me will Top 4.
Top 8 vs. Luke T. with TDK
This time, I gulp. 2 Tynamo are prized.
I grab and Tynamo and a Rayquaza EX and get on with it.
With the use of my multiple Super Rod I do manage to get a couple of Eels up, and after managing to get Ray to Dragon Burst he draws pretty dead for a couple of turns. Somehow, miraculously, I can get the Catchers I need, as well as Rayquaza EX and Keldeo/Float Stone to stream Rayquaza (with 2 Dynamotors and an attachment each turn) and somehow pull the game around. I KO a Deoxys for my last 2 Prizes and flip them over.
He starts and opens with a Kyurem PLF and a Deoxys-EX benched. He proceeds to attach, Juniper, and passes. I have a Keldeo, a Tynamo, and a Level Ball at this point. I grab another Tynamo and pass. This turn, he attaches again, Lasers and does 50 to my Keldeo, but doesn’t use any Supporters. I am basically forced to Colress for 3 to get a chance and getting some stuff but get nothing. I pass. He Catcher/KOs a Tynamo.
I think I get an Eel up, but come to the point where he can KO my Keldeo on the next turn. I have to Dowsing Machine for a 2 card Colress. As is expected and about right, nothing. Next turn the Eelektrik’s dead, and still I have nothing. I pass knowing that all he has to do is Blizzard Burn next turn.
This game was basically both of us just dead-drawing for a few turns.
I start and get a pretty good set up of a few Tynamo and a Ray, attach Fire and Beach. He begins attaching, but what this game came down to was me going behind on about 3 Prizes, then using Ns three turns in a row to make him draw dead while picking off some benched Pokémon with Catchers. Due to those Ns I take the win.
I was pretty pleased about how well I’d done so far. Top 4 was going to be on the Sunday… against my round one opponent Rhys W. We laughed it off saying whoever won, we’d be happy: as the winner of the match would leave with the travel award to Worlds, which was the only way either of us would go to Worlds. I preregistered to the Video Game event believing I’d fail in Top 4 and get to play in it, and go home to find my order of sleeves and some Float Stone had just arrived. Yay!
Sunday morning I arrive at nine o’clock so that my sister can play in Video Game Juniors. Top cut isn’t until eleven so I just absorb the atmosphere for a bit, picking up some Garchomp prerelease sleeves for Top 4, as it was going to be screened and my Ultra Pro Mattes were a bit plain.
Top 4 vs. Rhys W. (again!) with RayEels/Techs
I believe he goes first. He gets some explosive Bicycles and I think gets 2 Eelektrik and a Tynamo up on turn 2. Thankfully, my start isn’t too far behind. I get set up at a similar pace, but my heavier Super Rod lines and Mr. Mime walling his Raikou-EX helped me to just about win this match.
This one was similar to Game 1 except it goes in his favor this time, I think I only see one Eel this game overall.
Acts out very similar to Game 1. I start, get set up. He gets some insane early game Bicycles but the longevity of Supporters again wins out on the speed of Bicycle, and I get quite scared of a Ditto BCR he plays down.
It came down to time needing a R Energy to attach to a Ray to win. With my Energy Search gone, I luckily get hold of Dowsing Machine to get it back, search for the Fire, attach it and Dynamotor three times, before Dragon Bursting for the game.
I look to my right to see James L., my round 3 opponent, beat a Blastoise on the other Top 4 table. TDK was what I thought I’d face in the final. I was slightly nervous about it, but seemed a lot calmer than he did at this point. I went into the finals not too fussed on the outcome as we’d both won travel awards at this point anyway.
I start Keldeo and Tynamo with 2 Level Balls in hand. The setup here is ridiculously amazing as I also had the Beach and a Juniper in hand, as well as two L Energy. I get 3 Tynamo in play turn 1, and a Rayquaza with a Fire too before Beaching. I get turn 3 Dragon Burst with a fully set up board (3 Eelektrik, Mr. Mime and Rayquaza) and stuff goes down.
My setup was a little bit slower than Game 1, and we’re both on 2 Prizes toward the end of the game. I have the whole board set up but he has a Kyurem active, and I need the Catcher to get something off the bench. I whiff the Catcher, so I send up Rayquaza EX and KO the Kyurem, knowing too well that his Deoxys-EX could deal the 60 damage needed to KO Rayquaza. It sounded better than scooping anyway.
I think I start Rayqauza and Tynamo and win the flip. I manage to get two or three Eels up by the second turn and Rayquaza EX follows shortly after. Mr. Mime again helps loads against Kyurem PLF here, stopping Tynamo and Eelektrik KOs like nobody’s business. My boy Energy Search was prized this game which stopped me Dragon Bursting for a turn late game (after using Skyla to grab it) but I could survive without it.
At one point I nearly won this game through my opponent putting their hand on their deck after I used a Colress. Thankfully, I stop him just before he shuffles.
He Catchers up a Mr. Mime hoping he can KO it in one turn and also deal snipe to my 140 damage Rayquaza EX, however he then frets and checks with the judge whether the bench damage happens or not from a Mr. Mime KO. The judge says that she can’t say, and so James uses another Catcher on that turn to get the Rayquaza up and KOs it. I have an Ultra Ball and R Energy in hand to get another Rayquaza up all ready to Dynamotor, and only need one more prize for the game.
At this point I was in a bit of shock at that. After the game my little sister runs up to me to tell me that she’s Top 8’d Juniors Video Game, thereby earning a paid trip herself. I was pretty over the moon at this point. I think I just had to deal with a slew of hugs and high fives for about half an hour, before doing all the photos and prize giving stuff. One of the highlights of my day was just chatting with everyone after.
Anyway, onto the good/bad (well, mediocre at best) parts of the weekend!
- Winning Nationals
- Choosing not to run Darkrai
- Mr. Mime ^^
- All the amazing people I met for the first time or catching up with. You guys are the reason this game rocks!
- My sister for getting a travel award.
- Sam M-S for going 5-2 in the Video Game with a team I gave him the day before.
- 3 Full Arts in my booster box!
- None of my 5 EXs being Thundurus, Deoxys or Tornadus, and no Kyurem or Ghetsis holo in my box.
- Not changing the dreadful puns in the title. (I had some more too…)
Before I finish this article, I have some very important shoutouts and thanks to make!
- Huge thanks to Oliver Barnett (@lucarioAdventure1) for basically giving me a list to work with, for lending me cards, testing with me extensively and being a great friend to have.
- Sam M-S for lending me 2 Tropical Beach (and he makes quite clear he wants thanks for lending me a Benchtini which was specifically a reverse holo).
- All the judges for being awesome (especially Becca Mander for being the most humourus judge you’d ask for in Top 4/ Finals).
- Everyone else for being amazing! Whether you were an opponent, wished me luck or just said hi, the community is what makes this game as good as it is.
All I can say now is thanks for having the patience to read this far down the article! I hope it’s been a good read, as it was a blast writing it. I doubt it’s the last time you’ll hear from me!