Hey guys! Orrin here with some thoughts about Nationals I’d like to share. This article will give you an explanation as to why Blastoise has had incredible amounts of success as of late. I will share my personal list and matchup analysis in case any of you are looking for ways to improve your own Blastoise list. Toward the end I will give my thoughts on how to perform your best at Nationals.
Why is Blastoise so good?
There are many ways to answer this question, but in short this can be put into 3 words; powerful, consistent, and simple. All three of these are characteristics you want in a deck, except for maybe the simple trait. This deck usually claims victory by Black Kyurem EX steamrolling through your opponent’s Pokémon until they have nothing left.
What are the issues with running Blastoise?
Its main issue is that it’s a set up deck. Most of your games hinge on whether you hit the Rare Candy/Blastoise early enough to get rolling. Other issues are not drawing into Squirtles early enough, Blastoise being KO’d midgame, or if your opponent N’s you to 1.
How should I expect this deck to treat me if I run it at Nationals?
The deck works just as nicely in the top cut as it does in Swiss rounds. It has a nice variety of matchups ranging from good to bad. Fortunately, most of your good matchups, like Plasma and Darkrai, will be well represented. This deck is definitely one of my top choices for Nationals.
I cannot stress enough that consistency comes first when building Blastoise. When running a deck that hinges on whether or not it will set up, it is important to dedicate as much space in the list as possible that focus on getting up Blastoise. Especially for a tournament as large as Nationals, you should always pick consistency over tech.
Here is my list:
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 34
Energy – 13
My Pokémon lines are probably as standard as you could get, but one option is to cut a Kyurem for a Keldeo. I do not like this, mainly because I do not think you need 3 Keldeo for any reason, nor would I feel safe with running only 2-of the main attacker in the deck. The only reason I could think of doing this is to improve your Gothitelle matchup, but I wouldn’t waste my time on that. Two Keldeo is already enough to compete with Gothitelle, and it won’t see much play anyway.
I guess I should also mention Mr. Mime. This card will heavily boost your Plasma and Darkrai matchups. Preventing that extra 30 builds up over time. And it also means that they can’t soften a Blastoise for an easy catcher Prize; they have to catcher up the Blastoise and deliver the full 140 in order to get the KO.
The 4-4 line of Juniper and Skyla is a must. The amount of N and Colress you play is up to you. I love Colress in this deck, but then again I am taking an early game risk. I would, however, recommend that you have a total of at least 15 drawing outs in the deck (not including your ACE SPEC).
The biggest standout here is the inclusion of Energy Retrieval. This little 1-of has gotten me out of numerous situations where I couldn’t use a Superior Energy Retrieval. Most times, you don’t even need to get out full 4 Energy from the discard to get the KO.
If there was room for a 61st card in here, it would have to be Max Potion. There will be a lot of scenarios where you would like to heal damage off a Pokémon. I recommend that you try to fit in a single copy in your deck.
Most Common Matchups
You will be facing these decks multiple times throughout your Nationals experience. These matchups are the most important.
Vs. Darkrai: 60-40
This matchup you get set up almost every time. And, since Darkrai needs a lot of cards in their hand to 1HKO a Blastoise, you usually Knock Out all of their Energy in play and take the win. The ways Darkrai usually wins is either they do get the combo in order to 1HKO your Blastoise or they N you to 1 and hope you draw dead.
Vs. Plasma: 55-45
This is a closer match up than Darkrai. Plasma stands a better chance because they can 1HKO your Blastoise much easier and their main attacker (Kyurem PLF) is a non-EX. The reason why this is slightly in the Blastoise player’s favor is because Plasma has weaker Energy acceleration than Darkrai as well as being terrible late game.
Normally all you have to do is KO 2 Kyurems in a row and get them in an Energy drought scenario where you are given some free turns to get more Prizes. If you can drag this game out long enough, you usually come out on top.
Vs. Mirror: 50-50
This matchup is all luck. Basically whoever gets the first Black Ballista off usually wins. But a few things you can do to give yourself in edge is bench multiple Squirtles, in case they decide to Ballista your Blastoise, you can always have a Squirtle on the bench ready to evolve.
Less Common Matchups
There is a good chance that you will run into these decks at least once.
Vs. PlasmaKlang: 30-70
This isn’t too good. Your only hope is to pile 8 Energies onto a Blastoise and 1HKO a PlasmaKlang. Fortunately, this deck won’t be played as much due to its terrible Darkrai matchup.
Vs. RayEels 40-60
The advantage they have is that they can expend fewer resources to get off a 1HKO on Black Kyurem, resulting in a faster set up on their behalf. If you get off the first EX KO, you win.
Vs. Gothitelle 60-40
If you get out a Blastoise before the lock goes online, your odds of winning this matchup greatly improve. If not, then manually charging up a Keldeo is another option. Getting rid of their Gothitelle is the main priority.
Don’t worry about these match ups too much, because there is a little to no chance you will encounter them at nationals.
Vs. Snorlax: 80-20
Blastoise as a whole destroys the idea of the deck, you just drop your Keldeo and 1HKO their Snorlax while they can only hit you for 30 each turn with Laser. The only chance they have is if you draw completely dead for almost the entire game. But remember, the odds of you being paired up against this deck are very slim. Not a lot of people will want to play it because it has a lot of terrible matchups, including Blastoise.
I gotta say, they have the slight upper hand here. They have 1HKO potential on your EXs with a non-EX. The best way to approach this matchup is to attack with Keldeo and kill any Eevee or Flareon they have in play.
Final Words on Blastoise
In my opinion, Blastoise is probably the best deck you could play going into Nationals. This deck is in an environment where it is easy to 1HKO your opponent while it is hard for them to respond. This deck Knocks Out attackers so easily to the point that its opponents don’t have enough Energy on the board to respond. In general, this deck just works so smoothly together, and as a combo these cards are very powerful.
Tips for Nationals
An important thing that many players forget is to be relaxed. I know a lot of people that stay up all night Thursday night because they are too stressed about the tournament. Staying up all night leads to little sleep which greatly affects your performance.
The cure to all of this is to find something that can get you in a relaxed mood. Music, food, TV, and books are all options to getting you relaxed, unless you watch a scary movie.
Ideally I would set a curfew for somewhere around 10:00 PM Thursday. That way you’ll get plenty of rest. Then I would recommend waking up at 7:00 AM Friday to give you time to get ready. From there you should get a healthy breakfast and be at the convention center by anywhere between 8:00 and 8:30 AM.
I would always recommend a watch. They are very useful when the clock is about to end, giving you an advantage by being able to plan your turns in such a way that time is called on your opponent’s turn. In top cut, they can be used to help determine whether you want to scoop a game or not. Also, be sure that you don’t set your watch to stopwatch mode. You could get in trouble with the judges for that.
Editor’s Note: I am not sure about the legality of using timekeeping devices. Read the official ruling on electronic devices (section 9). It says no electronic devices, which I assume includes all types of watches that run on batteries (both analog and digital), but the Tournament Organizer may deem them allowable at their digression. Maybe an hourglass or sundial would be ok…
When you go into round one it is very important that you are feeling confident. Being nervous uses up the energy in your brain when that energy could have been spent on making the best decisions in your matches.
The most important thing is to have fun, remember that luck is a factor in this game, and don’t get mad at yourself for losing off of luck. That’s just the nature of the game.
I’ll be signing off here. I hope you guys and gals liked my article. I may or may not be writing again this year, depending on what free time I have been to work with. High school soccer is eating up most of my summer days as of late.
Good luck to everyone attending US Nationals!