Hello 6P, Alex Hill here. I haven’t written an article in a while, so I figure I should do a little sort-of introduction. I’m a player from Michigan and I started back in June 2005. I’ve never really achieved a whole lot, and before this year, didn’t go to a lot of tournaments.
I’ve had a decent showing this year with a handful of Top 4s in BRs and Cities, and a Top 8 at Ohio States. I have had the opportunity to go to a lot more tournaments this year thanks to my new friends up at Michigan State where I will be a sophomore this fall.
The Michigan region doesn’t really get a lot of credit for being difficult, but there are some pretty good players in the area. We have 1 Worlds Qualifier this year, 4 players between 200-300 CP, and another 8-10 players with 100 CP or more. We’re definitely not as good as the Illinois region, but I wouldn’t say we’re anything to scoff at. Plus, all 3 States in the area (MI, IN, OH) had 140+ players and 8 rounds, so there are a decent number of people in the area.
Before this past weekend, I had played in 2 other Battle Roads. In the first, I was using Klinklang where I rushed out to a 2-0 start against Big Basics and Blastoise. I then lost a very close game to Darkrai in sudden death, got paired up to RayEels and got destroyed, and ended up with my worst game of the day losing to Darkrai to finish 2-3.
At the next BR, I played Plasma and went 4-1, just barely squeaking in at 4th place. I beat a RayEels (off of a lucky N to 1, hitting an N, and Ning myself to 1 again for the Laser for game),a Gothitelle who never set up, and a Plasma mirror. I lost to Blastoise, and then won a super close game against a Darkrai that was 10 damage short of the win.
Toledo, Ohio – Saturday, June 15
I went into this past weekend knowing I would be playing Plasma. It’s pretty high on my list of choices for Nats and I wanted to get some good testing in with it. For the last BR, I used Lugia and Scramble Switch, and that ended up winning me my final match. However, I came to like Dowsing Machine more, and changed out the Lugia for an Absol – as I could then play a better 7 Prize game – and it’s a generally better attacker.
The Saturday BR was in Toledo, OH and had around 25 Masters, most of whom I knew. That is definitely one of the things I love most about this game: the fact that going to a tournament is like a large gathering of friends, many that I’ve known for years. We all cheer each other on, and there is a good amount of friendly competition as well, especially with these small events.
Round 1 – Austin Hinkle w/ Plasma
This game began pretty decently, with me starting Deoxys (it seems like I always do) to his Thundurus or something. I probably went second, as I only remember going first twice all weekend.
He swung for 30 or 40 and I played a Supporter to refresh my hand. It ended up that I got an Ultra Ball, Switch, Blend/Prism Energy, Kyurem and two other non-Supporters. I could either just sit on my hand and hope not to lose, bench the Kyurem and wait, or just play my hand down and get some pressure going.
I ended up playing my hand down to 0 to get my attack off and obviously didn’t have a Supporter for next turn. It took me 3-4 turns to topdeck well enough to get anything going and I ended up losing to the combination of 140 from his Kyurem on my Thundurus late game, and he hit the last 30 damage from his Kyurem’s snipe.
Round 2 – RJ Gaskill w/ RayEels
Now this is a matchup I like and seem to have good luck with. I went second again but started Thundurus this time. I hit a Catcher on my first turn and Knocked Out a Tynamo. The next turn, I Knocked Out another Tynamo with Thundurus. After that, I brought up my Kyurem and Catcher’d up his third Tynamo and Knocked it Out, placing 30 damage on his Rayquaza EX. I Knocked that Out a turn or two later, and was able to Knock Out anything he put in his Active Spot for my last prize after that.
Before the match started, RJ mentioned that we had played before and that he remembered me to be a nice guy. I thanked him for that, and apologized that I didn’t recognize him. I’ve played so much this year that I forget a lot of my opponents, but it was really nice to know that I leave a positive impression on at least some people.
Round 3 – Frank Serafinski w/ Plasma
Frank is a good friend of mine from the area and I was not too happy to have to play him knowing the loser wouldn’t make Top 4. Frank had a nasty start, never got anything really set up, and I just ran through him with a Kyurem using Blizzard Burn every turn thanks to a Keldeo with a Float Stone on the bench. Rough game, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
Round 4 – Amanda Salenik w/ Gothitelle
Yuck, my worst matchup by far. I actually did go first in this game, and was for once excited by my Deoxys start as she had 2 Gothita in play. I had the Prism in hand, and just needed to Juniper for the Colress Machine.
However, I first played an Ultra Ball for a Kyurem, and made a HUGE misplay by discarding my Keldeo. If I had benched it, I had a Float Stone off the Juniper and the game would have been much more interesting.
Either way, I hit the Colress Machine off the Juniper and took out two Gothita in two turns. She got a Gothitelle out the next turn, but I retreated into my fully powered Kyurem and Knocked that Out.
She used an Accelgor to paralyze me, and I couldn’t find my Dowsing Machine (all of my Switch had been discarded while I responded to Catcher stalls). That bought her the turn she needed to get the lock up, and I stood no chance.
Round 5 – Jack Iler w/ Blastoise
I knew that I wasn’t going to be placing at all today at this point. However, I was playing another friend of mine from the area and I remarked that at least we’d get a good game in to test for Nationals. However, Jack didn’t get the Turn 2 Blastoise, and I took out two Squirtles in the first two turns, leaving him with little to work with.
Kyurem worked its magic again and piled some heavy damage on. I powered up all 3-of my non-EX attackers so that even if he got something going, he wouldn’t be taking enough prizes to win. I took this one without much difficulty.
I ended up near the bottom of the 3-2s in 9th place, but a fellow Team Poliswag member and a good friend of mine, Chris Derocher, won with Quad Snorlax. It was quite funny actually, as Chris was just playing it to have some fun today.
He played 3 Darkrai decks, a Klinklang, and a Plasma (that drew very poorly) and it just ended up being a good metagame decision. Even though I played two Blastoise decks, they seemed to be the only ones, and between those and the one Gothitelle deck, he only had to dodge 3 bad matchups out of a field of 22.
As much as it can beat Darkrai decks pretty well, I wouldn’t play Snorlax at Nationals as I think Plasma has a good matchup against it and it suffers auto-losses to Blastoise and Gothitelle.
Tecumseh, Michigan – Sunday, June 16
Sunday’s Battle Road was in Tecumseh, MI. Both days were run by the same PTO, a great guy named Rich Lindsay. He just became a PTO this past year and runs fantastic tournaments. He has great judges, there are rarely any delays in the tournament, and the venues are all pretty good.
Sunday was both Father’s Day and Race Weekend in Michigan, as there was a NASCAR race just 20 minutes from the venue. We didn’t think there would be a lot of players as a result, but over 50 people showed up total. We again had 5 rounds in Masters.
Round 1 – Carlton Shideler w/ Blastoise
I was playing against a player I had never met and didn’t know what to expect at all. Playing a new player in the Michigan area was very strange to me as I know most of the regular guys and at least recognize the rest of the player base.
Anyway, my opponent opened Squirtle to my Kyurem and went first. He played an N, attached and passed. I had a rather bad hand off of the N and attached a Plasma Energy, benched Deoxys, and passed. He played a Cheren for his turn and had to again pass. I topdecked a Juniper and played it to grab a Plasma Ball for Deoxys, Blend, and Laser for game.
Round 2 – Jeff Moses w/ Blastoise
Jeff is a player who has been around forever, even since before I started playing late in the 2004-2005 season. He started with the Baby Keldeo to my Kyurem and this was the second and last game of the weekend where I got to go first! I attached, Colress Machine for Plasma, and did 30. He played Cheren, attached an Energy, and passed. I think I got an Ultra Ball, searched out a Deoxys and did 40. He played another Cheren, didn’t find a Basic, and scooped.
Round 3 – Elizabeth Prince w/ Blastoise
Starting to see the trend here? Elizabeth is a new-ish player who I knew was playing Blastoise because she got 2nd at a Battle Road a few weeks ago, but without Tropical Beach. She started with Black Kyurem and could do nothing but attach and pass. I had a Kyurem and got off a Frost Spear for 40. She benched a Squirtle, attached again, and passed. I Catcher’d up the Squirtle, benched another Deoxys, Laser’d and Knocked it Out. She attached and did 60. I just dropped the Blend and used Blizzard Burn for the game.
It was getting to the point where my friends were starting to laugh at how quickly my games were ending. I was definitely glad that my friend Chris didn’t play Quad Snorlax in this field, or maybe I was just hitting all of the Blastoise decks.
Round 4 – Joseph Riggio w/ Landorus/Empoleon
Going into this round, there were three 3-0s. It was me with Plasma, Nikhail with Darkrai, and Frank with Gothitelle. I definitely didn’t want to play Frank, and was delighted to see that I got paired down (go figure). My opponent opened Landorus and Piplup to my Kyurem, and sighed, knowing his weakness would be very detrimental.
He started and played an N. He dropped a Piplup and a Blend Energy, hitting my Kyurem and Deoxys. I topdecked a Ghetsis and played it, shuffling his Computer Search, Super Rod, and Tool Scrapper back into his deck. I then drew into a Blend to go with my Colress Machine.
He started dead-drawing, and I combined my Blizzard Burns with Keldeo and Float Stone to win in 5 turns.
Round 5 – Nikhail Kuruvati w/ Darkai/Victini/Bouffalant
Nik beat Frank last round due to Frank’s terrible setup, so I would actually get to have a shot at winning this round! I opened Deoxys to his Absol and went second. He thinks for a minute, plays Skyla for Ultra Ball and grabs Victini-EX. He attaches to his active, plays Victory Piece, retreats and hits me for 100. Awesome.
I have to N myself but I do get a Thundurus and Kyurem, but no Switch. I attach to Kyurem and pass, with no supporter in hand. He Knocks Out my Deoxys and I send up Kyurem. I attach and hit him for 60, damaging his Darkrai on the bench. He Catchers my Thundurus and does 100 again.
I finally get the Switch and knockout his Victini, drawing a Supporter from my prizes. He brings up Darkrai and Catchers my Thundurus, and I’m suddenly 2 Prizes away from losing after 4 turns. However, my Kyurem evens the score with a KO on his Darkrai a turn later while I charge up an Absol on my bench.
I attack his Keldeo with my damaged Absol (it had 90 on it from a Night Spear) the next turn, but he uses Max Potion to heal it off. If he hadn’t, I would have had the knockout and game with my Kyurem the next turn.
He Catchers up my Kyurem and uses a Laser on it, putting it at 90 damage due to earlier Night Spear damage. He puts me to sleep and I don’t wake up, or else I had the Laser to knockout his Keldeo along with my two Deoxys. He doesn’t have any Darkrai on the field or a Supporter in hand so he just passes.
I can’t find a Switch to win the game, so I pass and get Knocked Out coming into my turn. He was able to manually retreat his Keldeo, but I have a Catcher so I have one more chance to win. I bring up my Absol that is 10 damage short of the knockout, Catcher Keldeo with 30 damage on it and his bench has 3 Pokémon on it. Absol is doing 80 damage, plus 20 from Deoxys, so a 3rd Deoxys and a Laser off of a Colress to 6 in a 16 card deck will win.
I had 2 Laser left, 1 Deoxys and a few Balls in my deck, but I whiffed the Laser. He had Junk Hunted for the Catcher last turn, so I didn’t even try to retreat my Absol, just attacking the Keldeo to put it at 150. He Random Receivers and I pray for N. He hits a Juniper, gets the energy and Darkrai to retreat, and brings up Sableye to do the final 10 damage and seal my fate.
Great game, but I’m on the losing end.
Nik was the same Darkrai player that I played against in my 2nd BR, and he certainly got his revenge. He is a pretty new player and obviously doing pretty well. I still ended up in 2nd and pulled a Full Art Thundurus EX in my packs. In the words of my friend JW, “That’s not a bad trade off.”
I feel pretty good with my showing, hoping I can ride my momentum through US Nats. True, most of my games on Sunday were glorified donks, but my deck consistently set up and I felt happy with nearly all of my card choices.
Speaking of Nats, I would love to meet any of you who are going. Currently, my plan is to arrive around noon on Thursday to play in Jimmy Ballard’s wonderful side events. Check those out if you don’t know about them yet; they will be a great way to test for Friday’s main event while also earning some great prizes. Also, Adam Capriola is going to be there giving out some lovely 6P dice that I am ecstatic for!
Thanks everyone for reading, and good luck at Nationals!
P.S. I have to insert a shameless plug for the MSU Pokémon YouTube page. It’s called Team Poliswag, which is our sort of little joke. We have content for both the collectors and players and would love for you to check it out and subscribe. Thanks!