Junk Hunt, Junk Hunt, Junk Hunt… A Nationals Report

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A new deck?

I just got back from a fun filled weekend at Pokémon Nationals spending good times with a lot of friends, and I also am coming back with a report for what was a deck that I was probably the only one playing in all three of the age divisions.

Headed into U.S. Nationals the three decks I was most excited about were Blastoise, Team Plasma, and Darkrai/Garbodor. I felt like these were the three strongest decks that I had at my disposal. I sold all my Plasma stuff before Nationals to cash in on it since everything is coming out in tins, and I never felt comfortable that there was anything I could do in mirror to give me too much of an advantage.

Blastoise is definitely a great deck, but it seemed like the counters in Klinklang and Garbodor would be played in high numbers to counter it, so I was scared, especially after hearing a lot of friends were going with Klinklang, and the deck did make it’s way into the cut in pretty high numbers.

I was testing Darkrai/Garbodor at league at Yeti Gaming the week before Nationals, and while I was winning most games because it does a good job countering Plasma and Blastoise, I was winning most of my games in 40-45 minutes, which obviously wouldn’t work in a 30 minute Swiss environment.

At work the week of Nationals, I came up with an idea since I have plenty of time to think at my job. What if I took the Darkrai/Garbodor concept and cut out the Darkrai EXs and Absol PLF I had in there and just played all Sableye DEX, using the newfound space to play Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym?

My theory was that Hypnotoxic Laser could speed up the deck because I could start putting damage on my opponent’s field while I was in the hammering phase of the game with poison damage. It only takes three full turns of poison damage to Knock Out an Pokémon-EX, which isn’t all that slow.

While waiting at a friend’s apartment, waiting for her to get back I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote out a list for the deck. This was the list I would use at Nationals, no changes made from that point on. Here my new deck was born.

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Shadow Box… I like it!

I was trying to think of a good name for the deck, but couldn’t think of anything too great, but I think I want to name the deck Shadow Box. The reasoning is that Sableye is a Dark Pokémon (Shadow), and it is a tool box deck of Items (Box), and the deck is really playing more against itself and enforcing its strategy on the opponent, so it’s doing more shadow boxing than actual boxing against opponents decks if that makes sense.

On Tuesday night, I put together the deck, and played some games against Juniors and Seniors with the deck to see how it runs, since no Masters showed up to test, and it seemed to work pretty well. Then after some fun happy hour time at the Embassy on Thursday night, I made sure to get in some games against Plasma, Blastoise, Darkrai, and some other decks to figure out my strategy against those decks.

Basically the way I viewed my tournament run was this: I will be able to beat everything except Item lock decks, and if I were to run into an Item lock deck I would just lose if they played Tool Scrapper, which all good lists would, but I was depending on Blastoise keeping down the main Item lock deck, Gothitelle, which clearly didn’t happen for a number of reasons.

Here is the list I ended up bringing to Nationals:

Pokémon – 10

4 Sableye DEX

3 Trubbish DRX

3 Garbodor DRX

Trainers – 44

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Skyla

1 Colress

2 Random Receiver


4 Ultra Ball

4 Crushing Hammer

2 Enhanced Hammer

4 Float Stone

2 Switch

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

3 Pokémon Catcher

1 Max Potion

1 Super Rod

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Energy Search

1 Eviolite

1 Dowsing Machine


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 6

6 D

What am I thinking? Seriously, I am going to play what is essentially a Quad Sableye deck with Ability locking support from Garbodor for Nationals? Yeah, it was totally crazy.

But I really loved the deck, it is a very good deck that has positive matchups toward most of the metagame, with the one obviously flaw having no real way to beat Item lock, but everything seemed to have some auto-loss, so this seemed as good of a deck to play as any.

The other thing I loved about the deck was that it bucked the trend of what everyone thought about the format. People didn’t think rogue could be viable in this format, but I wanted to prove them wrong with this. Most people complained about the price of cards, but my entire Pokémon lineup probably costs less than $10 to buy, and the most expensive cards in the deck are Pokémon Catcher and Ultra Ball. People complained about the power and high HP of Big Basic Pokémon-EX, but this deck played no EXs and all of my Basic Pokémon had only 70 HP.

Sableye’s Toolbox

This deck played a ton of Item cards obviously, coming in at a whopping 44 Item cards, which is a ton. Probably second most in the format to Quad Snorlax decks. Each tool that Sableye has at its disposal is very important to making him execute his strategy to the fullest.

2 Random Receiver

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Great in a pinch.

Sometimes Sableye will want more of its tools at its disposal to use on a given turn but doesn’t have a Supporter in line to get a bunch of them for the next turn. With Random Receiver, Sableye had an out to a Supporter from the discard pile giving himself great consistency.

3 Pokémon Catcher

Sableye is most effective when he has turns to go about his Junk Hunting while not being hit by attacks, so Pokémon Catcher was important for bringing up stuff that were unable to get out of the Active Spot that couldn’t attack allowing Sableye to get back resources without fear of attack damage.

Additionally, Pokémon Catcher was important for bringing up stuff that couldn’t retreat to Hypnotoxic Laser to take Prizes against.

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

Sableye can only do 10 damage with its Confuse Ray attack, which surely isn’t enough to win many games. Hypnotoxic Laser in combination with Virbank City Gym could put 60 damage on an opposing Pokémon every turn.

4 Crushing Hammer, 2 Enhanced Hammer

The deck’s main strategy was to prevent the opponent from being able to attack, and this was accomplished through the use of the hammer duo. Enhanced Hammer was great against Plasma decks for assuring the removal of their Special Energy cards, and Crushing Hammer could be used against Special Energy, but was mainly in there to deal with decks that ran Basic Energy primarily.

Someone I talked to during the tournament mentioned how good Lost Remover would be in here compared to Enhanced Hammer. Lost Remover would have improved this deck’s Plasma matchup to near auto-win status as they wouldn’t be able to Raiden Knuckle the discarded Energy back on. Darn you rotation!

1 Tool Scrapper

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For disposing of Float Stones.

Sableye likes bringing up stuff that can’t retreat, and Float Stone was a prevalent card for giving Pokémon free retreat so removing Float Stone to prevent the opponent from retreating was important for executing the deck’s strategy.

1 Energy Search

Great for finding the few Energy in your deck to continue setting up more Sableye to continue the Junk Hunt marathon.

1 Max Potion

Sometimes opponents would start putting damage on your Garbodors which are very important, as limiting Abilities helped make the deck tick. Max Potion could be used on Garbodor to remove any damage, making it so my opponent’s almost never scored a knockout on Garbodor. Additionally, it is effective with Sableye too since it only takes one Energy to attack!

1 Super Rod

Deck building regulations state I only can have 4 Sableye in my deck, so I needed to find a way to let me use more than that and Super Rod did just that. Additionally, as this deck fights a long drawn out war of attrition while going through the deck fairly quickly deck out is always a concern and Super Rod helped prevent that.

2 Switch

One of the best ways for my opponent to take down a Sableye was to Laser it, so having a way to Switch Sableye out of the Active Spot to get out of the poison damage was important. With Garbodor’s with Float Stone on the bench, I was able to easily switch back to my Sableye to continue Junk Hunting.

4 Float Stone

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Keeping Garbodor afloat.

I never used these on Sableye much, they just were there to go on the Garbodors, but Sableye is a bud and would get them back for his buddy Garbodor with Junk Hunt. What a pal.

2 Eviolite

It’s amazing how little damage output most Pokémon do with their low Energy attacks, typically around 30 damage, especially when shutting down damage boosters like Power Connect with Garbodor. With Eviolite, my opponents would often only be able to hit Sableye for 10 damage, turning Sableye into a 7HKO. That’s super effective.

1 Dowsing Machine

A lot of people told me to play Life Dew as my ACE SPEC, but Dowsing Machine is too important to making sure the strategy executes fully to not play. It’s important for allowing you to always keep Virbank City Gym in play, as without it, you’re only doing 10 damage from poison in between turns which will make it take forever to Knock Out opposing Pokémon.

Additionally, there are some plays with Dowsing Machine for N that can help you from decking out. I had to do both of these things to win games throughout the tournament, validating my selection of Dowsing Machine as my ACE SPEC.

Lastly, it can just be used to get an extra Enhanced Hammer during your turn, or getting Tool Scrapper without having to Junk Hunt.

Deck Strategy

The strategy of the deck remains very simple, and you use the same exact strategy against pretty much every deck that there is in the metagame right now.

Lock ’em up.

Step 1 is to setup the Ability lock with Garbodor’s Garbotoxin Ability. The two things this does in this format is blocks Energy acceleration Abilities such as Deluge and Dynamotor, which limits the amount of Energy your opponent can get in play as there isn’t much other Energy acceleration in the format.

The other one is shutting off Deoxys-EX’s Power Connect Ability, greatly weakening Team Plasma Pokémon. This means Team Plasma Pokémon only can really do 30 damage at most with their low Energy attacks and that goes down to 10 with Eviolite attached.

Step 2 is to remove all of the Energy from your opponent’s field so that they can no longer attack in the game. You use Enhanced Hammer against Plasma and Crushing Hammer against pretty much everything else. The Plasma matchup seems intimidating at first because they can accelerate Energy with Colress Machine and Raiden Knuckle, but you just remove two Energy a turn until they’re out, always removing Energy from the Thundurus EX, and you get a boost because Plasma Energy are relatively useless in the matchup and not the real targets of your Hammers.

Step 3, after your opponent cannot attack, you finish off their Pokémon by Catchering a Pokémon that cannot retreat and poisoning it until it dies. The nice thing about Hypnotoxic Laser is that your opponent’s Pokémon will get Knocked Out going back into your turn, forcing them to promote something new, giving you a lot of control over your opponent’s field. (At least with the 170-180 HP EXs, which are your prime targets). You use Tool Scrapper to remove any Float Stones, and without Energy, their Pokémon just get stuck in the Active.

There really isn’t too much matchup specific stuff here, as you literally use the same strategy against every deck for the most part.

Tournament Report

For this tournament I won’t cover each match in depth, as is usual, because there isn’t too much to say about it. My deck either executed its strategy or it did not, which makes for most matches to be boring. Also, because of the nature of the deck, there are a lot more turns than usual and I can’t remember everything that happened. Most games are just a series of Junk Hunts for Hammers, followed by Catchers, Lasers, and Tool Scrapper.

Here is how my Swiss rounds played out:

Round 1 – David Herrington – Team Plasma – L (0-1)
Round 2 – Bye (1-1)
Round 3 – Stephon Robinson – Team Plasma – W (2-1)
Round 4 – Ashon Haswell – Team Plasma – W (3-1)
Round 5 – Brad G. – Team Plasma – L (3-2)
Round 6 – Natalie Shampay – Blastoise – W (4-2)
Round 7 – Branden Jackson – Klinklang – L (4-3)
Round 8 – ????? – Articuno-EX/Garbodor – W (5-3)
Round 9 – Mike Davies – Blastoise – W (6-3)

In the first round of the tournament, against a Team Plasma deck I couldn’t find my Enhanced Hammers, which isn’t too good. Instead I had to rely on Crushing Hammer throughout most of the game, and I actually flipped zero heads on them, so I was unable to remove much Energy which allowed my opponent to Energize his field and easily win 6-0. If I could have gotten my Enhanced Hammer, I think I could have won fairly easy as my opponent stumbled in his setup, and outside of the Enhanced Hammers I setup fine.

Round 2, my opponent didn’t show up, so it got put in a bye, which helped my resistance a bunch as I wouldn’t have a player who went really negative in the tournament in my resistance.

Round 5, against Brad is an interesting case. I am just going about my strategy as usual, and for all intents and purposes am going to win this game. I remove all of the Energy from his deck, so he can’t do anything except lose to the poison lock. My opponent realizes this and starts stalling, spending like 45 seconds a turn looking through his discard, then 45 more seconds looking through mine, and then just sitting there with his hand doing nothing.


I call a judge over for the stalling, but there isn’t too much that is going to happen with that. We have a judge standing behind our game for the rest of the time which makes my opponent speed up a bit, but he still worked on milking as much time as he could during his turns. If there was a chess clock going on this game, it probably comes out to something like 9 minutes of game time for me to 21 minutes for my opponent, which is totally unfair.

I end up coming 20 damage short of poison by the end of the turns on time, and lose as a result, in a game I certainly would have won if not for the stalling.

Simply put, Brad is a giant cheat at this game and will doing anything he can to win, because he can’t just outright beat people at this game. I seriously hope Pokémon checks into this player’s lack of adherence to Spirit of the Game, because I know he certainly helped ruin or sour multiple people’s Nationals experiences.

I was pretty dejected after this game, and felt my deck wasn’t going to work because my opponents the rest of the way would realize the way my deck works, and for the most part, the two ways to beat it are going to be by playing Item lock, or just by not playing the game and doing nothing.

Luckily, every single one of my opponents afterward (and everyone before him as well) were all honest players who understand what Spirit of the Game is, and that made me regain a more positive outlook on the game. I’m honest in saying that I really didn’t care about playing Pokémon very seriously after this if this was the type of play that I had to deal with, but thankfully all of my remaining opponents restored my faith in the player base. It’s just a few bad apples like Brad who need to be removed from the game.

In Round 6, I finally played something that wasn’t Plasma, and played Blastoise, which is probably the deck’s strongest matchup. I got a turn 2 Garbodor setup going first, and she didn’t play Tool Scrapper, so that game was pretty much locked up on turn 2.

In Round 7, I played Klinklang, which I theorized was a really strong matchup for the deck, which is somewhat true, but not completely. I hadn’t tested the matchup, and was just going on my theory of how to attack it, but I got this a bit wrong. While I would have won an untimed game against this Klinklang build, I had no way of beating it on time because of all the Max Potion (I counted 3), allowing him to reset the damage clock after every two turns. He didn’t slow play at all or anything like that, just was able to keep the damage off long enough to keep me down on prizes.

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Should have gone for the Laser.

Pokémon is designed in part with the time limit in mind, so not being able to beat a deck on time when the opponent doesn’t slow play is a legitimate way to lose. If I could redo this matchup, I would have been more aggressive with Hypnotoxic Laser and less Hammer Happy to start putting the damage pressure on him early and often. Oh well, I guess this is why you should test your deck more before a big tournament like this.

Round 8, I played an opposing Garbodor deck. Articuno-EX needs three Energy for its lowest attack, so it was easy to keep the Energy off the field and have complete control of the game.

Round 9, I played Blastoise again and got a turn 2 Garbodor going first, and he also didn’t play Tool Scrapper so it was a really straight forward win.

In the end, I finished 6-3, and had a good enough resistance to take 59th in the Blue Pod. My Top 128 opponent was Andy Kay, who was playing Plasma. Andy was a good opponent to play against, and it was nice to have someone you could joke around with in cut during your match. He was definitely an o-KAY guy.

I took the first game, as I went first and got a fast setup and I’m not sure he knew how to play against the deck too well as he had probably never seen anything like it before, and he attached some Energies to stuff that wasn’t Thundurus EX, which gave me a strong edge in the game, and after removing all of his Energy from play I believe and setting up the poison lock he scooped.

In Game 2, he of course went first and got a fast start that really messed up my setup. There was a turn where I played a Colress just to see what I would get to see if the game was worth playing in. I didn’t get the broken hand I was hoping for off of it, and got a decent enough hand to keep the game going but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t slow his deck down enough to make the comeback, so I scooped to give us plenty of time for a full Game 3.

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Uh oh… where are my comrades?

The story of Game 3 is that I prized two of my Sableye. I got all of the cards I wanted to Junk Hunt going, and used Super Rod to recycle Sableye’s back in at some point to keep my Sableye strategy going strong. At some point in the game, I had a decision to make, which was to Junk Hunt for Super Rod, and give up a turn of him gaining on the Energy attachments, or go on without it and continue removing his Energy from the field so he can’t attack in the long run.

The one out he had was a Hypnotoxic Laser to Knock Out a Sableye, and I think he only had one remaining in his deck. I felt it was best to hedge the bet that he wouldn’t have it, and not let him gain a turn of Energy, and then Junk Hunt for Super Rod a bit later when he couldn’t threaten me much. But he did have the Hypnotoxic Laser and Knocked Out my last Sableye. This left me with a field of Garbodor, and I couldn’t do anything for the rest of the game and ended up decking out.

Andy did a really good job of figuring out the matchup between the first game and the third game, playing the matchup to his fullest potential by Game 3 as he then knew how to take on the deck.

All in all I finished with a Top 128 finish, and then got some prize packs and sleeves for placing in the Top 128, and pulled a Full Art Deoxys-EX in my packs which made me happy.

Thoughts After Nationals

Overall, I can’t say I am anything but pleased with how this deck did for me. In the end though, I think I misread the metagame and what would do well. All the counters to Blastoise allowed Gothitelle to really flourish, as Gothitelle owns the counter decks to Blastoise, while being strong against Plasma and having a 50/50 against Blastoise. Obviously with all of the Gothitelle in top cut, no matter how many Plasma or Blastoise decks I took out, I would have eventually lost to a Gothitelle deck.

As far as changes to the list I would have made, there are two considerations I have going forward. First, if I knew Plasma was going to be as played as it was, I would have changed my hammer split to 3 Crushing Hammer and 3 Enhanced Hammer. With three Enhanced Hammer, I would have been better suited to get my Enhanced Hammers early and often against Team Plasma.

Second, I think an Absol PLF would have been good in here. It only takes two turns to power up, and could have been used in situations when the game went to time or whatever to do damage with an attack to Knock Out Pokémon more easily when time was becoming a factor. I don’t think any of the games I lost on time I was down more than 1 Prize when I lost, and Absol probably would have evened the prize count for me in all of those games.

Additionally, with the Garbotoxin Lock, Absol could have possibly just lasted two turns as most stuff would struggle to Knock it Out in opposing Plasma decks, so it could have been used to just take 4 Prizes for me, even if they still had Energy on their Pokémon.

It was definitely a consideration headed into the tournament, and I think if I had tested some of the matchups a little more it would have made the cut into the deck.


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It was awesome being able to watch the finals on the big screen with commentary.

Just like last year, U.S. Nationals was a super fun event. The only thing I didn’t like was that they haven’t yet moved to streaming the Swiss Rounds and the rest of the top cut for the main event. Hopefully in the future they move to this, because the way they showed the finals on the big stream was super cool and I think most players liked it. Overall there was a lot of good that they did with this years event, with increased Prize support in the top cut, and the Last Chance for Championship Points tournament was a great addition.

Also want to say congratulations to Sam Liggett for 3rd place at the tournament. I wish he could have won it, Sam’s an awesome dude, but 3rd place is still awesome. And also congrats to the other fellow Missouri players – Timmy Bauer, Brit Pybas, Mitch Stromsdorfer, and Andrew and Zak Krekeler for also making top cut giving us a strong showing this year.

I had a great time playing my deck this weekend, and it was awesome to do well with something out of the ordinary. I don’t think it will be a strong play for anyone at Worlds if Gothitelle remains as popular as it was, but against everything else, I think the deck is great, especially if Absol is added in.

Reader Interactions

35 replies

  1. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    Congrats on making the top cut with a gutsy play.

    Especially as you had to win out after your round 5 opponent was such a douche.

    Cheating and/or bending the rules to win at Pokemon is a pretty good indication that someone is a sad and unpleasant character in general.

  2. jet9855

    i always new sableye could be a good deck by himself but i never thought to pair him with garbador. genius! thumbs up!

  3. Roarkiller Master

    Well, I’m glad someone got further with a deck I designed and used a few months ago. Then again, I’m not too lucky with the hammer flips, and some games I had HALF my hammers prized. Not cool.

    I wrote an article about this deck some time ago, check it out.

  4. Zach

    That was a great read Andrew. Surprised and glad to see such a cool rogue deck make cut.
    Sorry to hear about your loss to Gustas, he is making a pretty bad name for himself…

  5. Ihana Mazezka

    Great deck! I played something like this in a side game but he used Durant too. Have you ever thought about Durant? When I played him he set up the Garbodor, Junk-Hunted to set up, and decked me with Durant. He had kept using Junk Hunt on his LIfe Dew so i couldn’t take any prizes. It was an interesting game. Mabey you should consider Durant and Life Dew. Anyways, Great article!

  6. Brad Gustas

    I apologize for what happened round 5. To be fair, I did have energy left and options about what I could do. I still had two energy (although one was a useless plasma), two N, and a laser with one prize left. I’m just a slow player in general (I had at least four games during Nats go to time. Your deck along with a Plasma, Darkrai, and Blastoise). I took five prizes and needed only one more which could have come from Thunderus plus a heads on a laser flip to your tails after using an N. I understand how you could feel after this game. I didn’t understand your deck so I had no clue how to go about it. There were still a great number of matches going on around us so I had no clue the amount of time left, I thought we still had at least five minutes when it was called.

    I just want to stress that I play for fun and I don’t take the game too seriously. Anyone from my area who is reading your article, who actually knows me, are probably wondering if you are talking about the same person.

    As for what happened with me throughout the rest of the tournament, I had an opponent leave some major details out about what really happened when they chose to tell everyone afterwards. I’m just going to say, don’t believe everything you hear.

    Out of the past two years since I’ve come back to the game, I’ve never had any problems at any tournaments until this Nationals. It made a rather unpleasant experience for me as well. I have never had to call a Judge in the past couple of years and I did it twice at this tournament but only because I believed I was right in doing so. If I could sympathize with any one about a given match it would be yours. I had no idea how much time was left and you could have won. In fact if we had another two minutes, I’d be interested to see what could have happened.

    Outside of that, it i s great to see that you top cut. I wish I could have come up with a deck as brilliant as yours but I just don’t test play enough to actually come up with something like that anymore. I ended up losing in top 64 when I missed drawing a laser after drawing the last 10 of 13 cards in my deck. It was an exciting way to go out. But enough about me, congrats!

  7. Owen Rhoads

    I think the deck has already been made it’s sablelock

  8. Joseph Lee

    Let me get this straight Mr. Wamboldt:

    In a format where the contents of the discard pile are important, when facing an opponent with a deck where the contents of both discard piles are even more important than normal… you find taking time to make sure one knows the contents of the discard pile suspicious?

    You’re mad you lost due to time when if time weren’t as big of a factor… how many matches would you have won if there had been the time for the entire event to run best two of three? Frankly, you didn’t convince me you should have won; your loss was due to your own lack of a good cleaner in your deck.

    Then there is the testimony of the other player; if I take both at face value, you’re the one who looks bad. If I assume both are incomplete/spinning for their own side… you both look bad. If you are telling it accurately and your opponent is obfuscating…

    …you still look bad. All your accusations are based on counting time in your head or estimating it, right? Pretty easy to misjudge that when you’re in a match and things aren’t going well… or even when they are going well but the only thing that can ruin them is if your opponent is stalling.

    • Gerardo Del Toro  → Joseph

      I have to agree with this post. I was put off by the article’s bitterness even before reading the other player’s mature response to the situation. While cheating occurs in this game, I don’t think it is fair to jump to that conclusion and call the opponent out as “a giant cheat at this game” who will do “anything
      he can to win, because he can’t just outright beat people at this game.” A huge judgment of a player based on a single game.

      Maybe I just prefer my articles without sour grapes…

      • Piplup_isPimp  → Gerardo

        So let me get this straight.

        You go to a big tournament, such as Nats or Worlds playing a deck that isn’t known very well, and hasn’t seen much if any play.

        Here at this tournament you meet people who you don’t know and haven’t played against before.

        It just so happens that while playing in this tournament, you face a person (in this case several people) who don’t know how to respond to your deck because they haven’t tested against it.

        Eventually, you get him or her in a situation where you have the win in a few more turns, but they are still winning at the moment. Therefore your opponent (who may I remind you of, may or may not be a cheater and possibly know that time is the main weakness of your deck) starts to think franticly.

        After all it is a big tournament and this kind of pressure can get on some people’s nerves.

        So you sit and watch as he or she just looks through each players discard and at their hand, taking all the time in the world from what you can see.

        This agitates you to the point where you can safely assume that your opponent is trying to stall you out.

        Now tell me honestly, considering all the factors involved such as playing person you don’t know and at big tournament where you stand a good chance to Top Cut, would you “jump to conclusions” if after watching turn after turn your opponent waste time when you know there is very little of it left?

        • Gerardo Del Toro  → Piplup_isPimp

          Considering all the factors you mentioned, I can actually see why the opponent was “franticly” searching for a way to beat a not super widespread or known deck in a big tournament where pressure can run high. I can see how the opponent might struggle to think of a plan by looking at all the possible plays available and might take more time than he realizes.

          Neither of us was there to judge whether the opponent actually spent that much time each turn (apparently 12 minutes total more than Andrew) and neither of us can “safely assume” that the opponent was purposely stalling Andrew out.

          What we can lend our opinion to is the way the matter was handled on a public website. That is all.

          I admit, I would have been ticked off if I lost due to time (I do sympathize with Andrew there), but I wouldn’t submit an article where I bash the guy. I know it was only a small portion of the article, but the anger could have been left out.

        • Piplup_isPimp  → Gerardo

          Let me restate my question: Would you have done anything different if this happened to you? (Assuming that you would also write the article directly after the fact).

        • Gerardo Del Toro  → Piplup_isPimp

          I sort of addressed this already, but I suppose I can be more specific. I absolutely would have called a judge over since I was not comfortable with the manner my opponent was playing. Yes, I would have been put in a bad mood if I lost due to time being called, especially if I attributed it to my opponent’s slow turns. My day certainly would have been a soured if I believed my opponent cheated me out of a win.

          Here is where I would differ, however. I do believe that it should be mentioned in the article that it felt like my opponent was stalling and that I lost due to my opponent’s slow plays and cheating may have been involved. It would have been a good topic for discussion, but the way it was handled was not the way I would have done it. It did not sit well with me that the player was called out to be, without a doubt, a cheat and that the only way he could ever win was by cheating and that he should be exiled from the game.

          It just felt like it was meant to incite some resentment toward that specific player within the community. And this might be a good place to mention that I have nothing against Andrew. I enjoyed the article overall, just not that part.

          I hope this answers your question. :)

        • Joseph Lee  → Piplup_isPimp

          The question isn’t “Would you have done anything different if this happened to you?” the question is “Should Andrew have handled this situation differently?” Perhaps you are just a better human being than I am, but I know there are many times where I’ve made a bad decision and done the wrong thing… but the wrong thing remains the wrong thing.

          If it seems like some of us are being “harsh” with Andrew, it’s because he keeps making bad calls that make the situation worse. Assuming he is completely correct that his opponent was cheating and is a habitual cheater, Andrew is handling it wrong. Defamation is a crime in most of the U.S. and unless Andrew is holding out on information, his accusations can’t be proven. This isn’t a private message board but open-to-the-public reading on a commercial website: “allegedly” and similar phrasing is Andrew’s friend here.

        • Piplup_isPimp  → Joseph

          By “some of us” you mean mainly you, Arnoudh, and Chaosrider8.

          I already know Chaosrider8’s side of the story and I don’t care for Arnoudh because it seems to be the same, but you really look like the person who is hitting Andrew the hardest.

          Why? Well “it’s because he keeps making bad calls” sounds a lot more like “I’m going to point out his every mistake and criticize him for it”.

          I’d be lying if I say I understand you’re trying to help him make better judgement calls, but unless you know Andrew personally you should stop doing this to him.

          That being said I really don’t see the point of continuing to discuss this topic since I’ve read all I need to read about it.

        • Nikki Wertheim  → Joseph

          Defamation is a crime if the defamer is saying/writing something they know to be false, or with reckless disregard to whether or not it is false, with malicious intent. It also needs to come from a reputable source (this is why the National Enquirer can get away with publishing complete lies; the public does not take it seriously as a publication), not an op-ed blog post in a sea of op-ed blog posts. Moreover, it would have to effect someone in a larger way than just a potentially busted-up reputation in the nats community. If defamation were simply a matter of voicing an opinion that could hurt someone else’s reputation, the entire internet would be shut down.

          However, we do have the freedom to voice our opinions, in which case, Andrew is protected.

          I think Andrew believed what he was saying was true, and was voicing his bitterness as a way to draw attention to a player he–and apparently others–believed was cheating. That’s not defamation. More than that, Brad has not been banned from playing competitively, and it seems he has plenty of people coming out to support him–many of whom are not handling the situation as graciously and maturely as he did.

          If you want to take issue with how Andrew is reacting, that’s fine. But don’t bring in legal jargon when it doesn’t help your argument. It only makes you look foolish.

        • Joseph Lee  → Nikki

          Ms. Wertheim,

          I am not involved in the legal profession; I have only had one class on Business Law, while I was in college (that and $2 will buy me a coffee). A cursory search did not provide information supporting your claims, though as indicated this was not an in depth investigation. Please provide citation so that I can learn from my mistake, if it was my mistake.

          Nuisance lawsuits are a recognized problem in the U.S. legal system. One does not need a legitimate claim to file one, and one does not need to win such a lawsuit for it to be problematic for the party being sued. I believed I was careful with my wording so that I did not present myself as a lawyer, judge, or anyone else who could give a concrete legal opinion, nor to indicate that “Brad G.” had a case he could win… just that he could attempt to take legal action.

          If I am wrong, I do want to know it. Your post doesn’t convince me that I am, though it raises an excellent question that makes me realize I overstepped and didn’t follow my own advice: I was not clear, and did not indicate that I was worried about the risk of legal action, not about the quality of such action. Unfortunately your analysis is quite flawed; in short I think you may be guilty of that which I stand accused.

          You state as absolute requirements things that are situational; for example defamation does not require malicious intent in all cases. Negligence can be enough, circumstances permitting. You refer to the article as a “post”; implying it as no different than comments posted on a message board (which does draw a legal distinction). If you are at all familiar with this website, then you know this is not the case; Six Prizes may not have an exhaustive screening process, but it has a screening process. Not everything that is submitted is posted.

          The United States is founded upon the concept of “liberty”, the “freedom to do what is right”. You try to paint me as infringing upon Mr. Wamboldt’s freedom to express himself, instead of recognizing the protection of those “innocent until proven guilty”. I do not believe I can prioritize one over the other, so one must seek a delicate balance. Mr. Wamboldt could easily have made his statements in a manner where this wouldn’t have been an issue.

          If you wish to prove that no damage has been done to Brad G. please do so. You merely pointed out that one of the most severe outcomes did not happen. Explain to me where the amount of support he has in defense is relevant?

          When this debacle began, I saw an angry article that was throwing around accusations that are even less substantial once you consider the writer’s own words. I “called” Mr. Wamboldt on that. I don’t remember if I was the first, the last, or somewhere in the middle. I just know that it was within my power and without extraordinary effort for me to do so, hence why I did it. Most of my posts are in response to the comments of others, if you didn’t notice.

        • Nikki Wertheim  → Joseph

          One more thing to apologize for: I went back and re-read the link I offered you, and saw that malicious intent only applies to public figures (such as politicians). That was very sloppy on my part to have not been clear on the details. Regardless of this, I still don’t believe a defamation case would standup in court, but that’s a moot point that needs no more arguing as far as I’m concerned. The point is, I screwed that up, and I’m sorry.

          One last thing (for real this time)–in response to you asking me to explain why your comments were “wrong.” When I was alluding to them (and not just yours, but the others who were speaking in support of Andrew) it was to show that it didn’t seem to me as though the entire community was ganging up on Brad and suddenly believing him to be a cheater. It was basically to argue against the idea that his reputation had been damaged in the extreme. In this case, it does matter how many people are defending him, because the amount of people who don’t take a claim seriously can be indicative of how damaged a reputation is. I don’t think the comments were wrong, and I don’t believe I ever said they were wrong. In fact, I said it was fine for you to voice whatever opinion you have, but that bringing up legalities that I did not feel had any part in this made you look foolish (and then I looked foolish by mentioning malicious intent, so clearly it was really the pot calling the kettle black at that point). As for the “graciously and maturely” comment, that was specifically how I felt about Brad’s apology to Andrew, and the fact that he had made what I believed to be a very calm and rational comment when he could have been as angry as some of the other commenters here, and he left it at that, as opposed to, again, some of the other commenters who continued arguing.

          I generally have a very good sense of humor and I try to be fair in my reasoning, but sometimes my irritation gets the best of me on the internet and I act without thinking too much about whether or not it was reasonable. I really should have let this one go, and on that note, that’s exactly what I’m going to do now. Best of luck to you.

        • Joseph Lee  → Piplup_isPimp

          Actually, sounds like you have it a bit crooked. ;)

          Yes Andrew has reason to be suspicious of his opponent cheating… and the same motive Brad has for cheating is the same motive Andrew has for exaggerating. They also were both in a stressful situation that can impair one’s ability to mentally keep track of time (no where was I told Andrew or his opponent had access to a time keeping device).

          Winning due to time is legal; there are just certain illegal stalling actions that Brad apparently wasn’t doing while the judge was watching… meaning if he cheated, it was when it wasn’t safe to assume. I mean, 45 seconds? When he takes 4 to 5 minutes, it is safe to assume he is cheating. :D

          Now… the fact that Andrew chose to name a name and make accusations he can’t prove (he can argue they are true, but he can’t actually prove) in his article instead of just issuing a general warning gives evidence that his judgment is impaired and he is running on emotions, not reason. This casts his testimony in doubt… and it doesn’t matter if I would be foolish enough to make the same mistake (sadly, I believe I would); wrong is still wrong.

    • Andrew  → Joseph

      Meh, what else is someone going to say when they piss off at least 3 well known community members at a tournament as a result their friends as well?

      And it’s not like he’s being completely honest in his response anyhow. In our match he had drawn his entire deck before N’ing it back in. If he had the cards in his deck to win the game by taking his final prize he would have done it, but he didn’t which one would only logically assume he didn’t have what he said he did.

      And discard piles are important, but I show him what two cards I’m taking every time with junk hunt, and it’s not like I was ever taking anything tricky. Usually just two enhanced hammer or catcher/laser.

      Just because a deck plays from the discard doesn’t give you a right to hog the time of the match looking at both discards during your turn. All my other opponents would look at discards during my turn to keep pace of the game.

      • Arnoudh  → Andrew

        I dont like also the fact that you put a players name on a public website and call him cheater.

        And one more thing. If you dont give the time to your opponentto make its plays you might be rushing and be the cheater.

        I understand that when someoneplays an unknown deck in a big competition the minimumto expect is to make every play very carefully.

        Also you have to assume the fact that this deck might lose due to time.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Arnoudh

          People need to face up to the fact that shady behaviour DOES happen in this game. If we just keep making excuses we are just giving dodgy players a free pass.

          Same thing happened with the blatant stacking at Canadian Nats, with people making themselves look silly trying to defend it (‘maybe they were stacking unintentionally’ lmfao).

        • arnoudh  → Jak

          I don’t like the fact that the writer put a player’s name in a public website and calls him cheater. I think this is not fair.

          How can we be sure of who tried to take advantage of the tempo with only this article ? What matters is facts. Where is the proof that the 5th round player was stalling and that Andrew wasn’t rushing at him in order to get advantage of the tempo ?

          What I see here is that the judge was called and he felt that the tempo was ok as he did not issue a warning, if it was not ok he would signal the infraction and extend the time (which is what usually happens in this kind of situation).

          We can’t rely only in one player’s perseption. As Einstein said, “everything is relative”.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → arnoudh

          Ideally, the situation that you described would happen.

          What actually happens in most cases is that a judge is called, the player speeds up while the judge watches, the judge moves on to the next issue.

          It’s all too easy for an unscrupulous player to take advantage of these situations.

        • arnoudh  → Jak

          I know that stallers exist,
          I already lost a national final because of this.

          BUT I don’t like the fact that he publicly denounces a player on a public
          website. Especially that here nothing indicates that his opponent cheated.

          Andrew called the judge and
          according to the report the judge stayed behind the whole game. His opponents
          plays was still “too slow” for Andrew, but not for the judge and the
          other player. So? Maybe it’s Andrew that has a wrong perception of the time when
          his opponent plays?

          At the end of the match, if
          Andrew was not ok with the outcome of the match he could have not signed the
          slip and call for the head judge. Did he do that? If he was not happy it was
          the right time, what is the point in writing an article against a player?

        • Jeremy Wauchek  → arnoudh

          This comment is spot on, if the player had such a problem with how the game went it’s their right/responsibility to get the head judge involved. As a well seasoned Judge/Professor I would expect any player that is so displeased with my ruling that they feel the need to maliciously slander their opponent on a well know site to bring this not only to my attention, but also to the attention of the Head Judge/T.O. This is a matter that needed to be handled privately and maturely between the players and the judge staff and not in this childish manner. For the first time in almost 10 years I feel ashamed to be associated with a game that has players “well known in the community” that behave like this. Whether Brad was stalling or not I am disappointed with how Andrew and his friends handled this situation, plain and simple.

        • Joseph Lee  → Jak

          Andrew himself states in the article that the judge was there for the rest of the match. So if there was cheating happening with the judge watching, then we should be discussing the judge, shouldn’t we?

          Remember also that this is a “he said/he said” situation; we have NO PROOF that Brad was every illegally playing slow. We have the testimony of someone with a motive to lie who isn’t under oath or anything, and has demonstrated he’s pretty upset over the whole matter, calling into question the reliability of even honest testimony.

          Reading all this, it really comes across as someone with some standing on Six Prizes making a huge mistake when building his deck (left out a “cleaner” for these situations) and when someone is able to legally win (winning due to time is legal – it is a player’s job to build and play their deck to avoid this) due to this oversight, he starts using his standing to defame that person and get help from his “buddies” with similar standing to further defame his opponent.

          I don’t want to believe that, but the comments I keep reading are pretty persuasive. I mean the comments by Andrew himself and you; if Brad really is a cheater, you two are awesome allies.

        • Gerardo Del Toro  → Jak

          We are not saying that cheating does not happen. Andrew was absolutely in the right for calling over a judge if he suspected there was was an issue over cheating. No one is saying that he should have just kept playing as is and remained uncomfortable doing so. The issue at hand is the way one can talk about it in an article.

          He could have brought up the issue of potential cheating and how it could have shaken his confidence in the tournament, but to call the opponent out and say that he should be “removed from the game” because he thinks that the only way Brad could win is by cheating is a bit much.

          I just don’t think it was necessary to add that much anger in his writing, but alas that is just my opinion. Clearly it was deemed appropriate for the site if no one asked him to change it.

        • Joseph Lee  → Jak

          People need to face up to the fact that when you write an article for a commercial message board, and that article is available to the public to read on the first page, you can’t make accusations lightly. They need to realize that the best friend of the cheater is misdirection… and that life works best when people are innocent until proven guilty (though I realize this concept is obsolete in the modern era, I still value it).

          The Canadian Nationals involved video evidence of a player cheating. All we have here is the losing player demonstrating a lack of self-restraint and calm thinking, making accusations he can’t prove and in some cases, that his own words disprove.

          While unlikely, should Six Prizes really risk a lawsuit because some writer had a grudge over a lost match and couldn’t bring himself to preface his comment with “allegedly”? Adam is smart enough I am assuming he’s got the standard disclaimer to minimize his own liability, so I probably needn’t worry, but a nuisance lawsuit would be a nuisance lawsuit… and of course Andrew himself doesn’t have such protection.

      • Joseph Lee  → Andrew

        What “should” someone say? There is a lot you can say and do, but not all of it is good for you or justified, let alone both.

        You haven’t proven any of the points you’ve been trying to make, and some of it, if not contradicting, is confusing; the “cheater” played at least the final chunk of your match with a judge watching, so if you are saying he was cheating then as well (and that is how it reads to me – let me know if that isn’t what you meant) then are you accusing the judge of misconduct or incompetence?

        I don’t say this lightly or proudly, but from what little online interaction we have, you know I find it easy to argue with anger and emotion instead of logic, and that when I do I fail. I fail to convince others and I fail to live up to the standards of logic, reason, and even etiquette. That is how you’re coming across as I read this.

        Did you have a means of mechanically keeping time? Your own words paint you as being at least agitated during the match, so if you were just keeping track “in your head”, the stress of the situation makes it less likely you were accurate. You may have been, but your comments in the article and down here don’t paint you as calm, cool-headed, and a reliable source of information.

        Brad didn’t write (at least here) that he had a guaranteed way to take his last Prize, but that he had a possible way; sounds like it relied on coin flips and should be saved until you made a mistake or he had absolutely no choice.

        As for someone taking twice as long as someone else in a game… so what? Again, your own words paint the game as being on “auto-pilot” for you with obvious Junk Hunt choices and an opponent you believed was out of options. Why should your turns take that long? Yes, he saw what you took with Junk Hunt the previous turn… your opponent still needs to keep an eye on what you could Junk Hunt next turn and what may be left in your deck or in your hand.

        TL;DR: Yes, I would have been suspicious of Brad as well. Yes, I probably would have lost my temper, maybe even posted a similarly scathing comment in an official article posted to the front page of a commercial website (as opposed to a private message board). That doesn’t mean I would have been right, and it doesn’t mean you were right to do so. You can’t prove he was a cheater and if he was a cheater, so far you’re doing everything in YOUR power to make him look better. Plus I don’t know the law as well as I should, but aren’t we getting dangerously close (if not actually into) defamation territory, here?

  9. Caine Stednitz

    Brad “pissed off 3 well known names in the community” what does that even mean? Are you stating that the fact Brad upsetted 3 well known people means he should be looked at as a fiend? Just because he made people that are “well known” upset does not mean Brad is the enemy. Also even if you’re a reputable name in the community you take a loss by bashing someone on a very well known website that many people read, it shows your immaturity quite well, Andrew. Don’t be so narcissistic. Its a little upsetting to see such a website as 6P allowing such profiling on people in way that people are bashing on others that quite frankly Andrew, you have no idea who Brad is. And to see a front page article writer be completely sour to a loss and to go out of their way to tell other is pathetic and I think you’re scum. Brad is a great friend of mine and many people in the east coast can back me up on this, Adam himself who even played Brads RayEels deck for PA states. So grow up Andrew, you lost and this whole “well known” in the community is a bunch of BS. Dont get off to yourself in a mirror. Also, don’t tell me Ty Smith didn’t twist his FB status because he sure as hell did. These “well known” people in the community know they can get anyone to follow them if they can make themselves look like the victim. Don’t take too much pride.

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