Hello SixPrizes! Long time no see! So what have I been up to?
Between getting married and starting my own business, I didn’t have the most time in the world to test this season. I managed to get a T4 and T2 at Cities with Darkrai/Terrakion, Top 32 at Regionals and Top 4 at Wisconsin States with Blastoise, the latter being the subject of The Top Cut’s first and only edition of “Table Talk.” Overall, my minimal testing proved to be my undoing; making a misplay in Game 3 versus Mr. Lucas that cost me the game.
Through Battle Roads and looking forward to Nationals, my testing group made a conscious effort to play more than ever. Joe Baka (1st place Wisconsin States), Jando Luna (2nd Place St. Louis Regionals), Ryan Soles and Adam Vernola (multi-time Worlds competitors), Jason Klaczynski (multi-time Battle Road runner-up), and the rest of us tested nonstop.
Going into Nats, the decks we liked were Blastoise, Plasma Kyurem, Gothitelle, and Darkrai/Garbodor. I felt that Blastoise was the best deck but struggled against the Kyurem-heavy Plasma lists. I played Gothitelle for Spring Battle Roads and really liked the deck, though I questioned it’s ability to set up so many times in a row. Darkrai/Garbodor was a control deck that Jason really liked, but it struggled to win in 30 minutes.
After getting frustrated trying to predict the meta, our testing would often degenerate into watching Jando and Isaac Soto play 2012 Nats format games with CMT vs. Meganium. In fact, on a weekend testing retreat to my lake house, the vast majority of the time was spent doing just that, (and fooling around with a horrible Shedinja deck idea).
I drove up to Indy Thursday morning and met everyone at the Embassy for the annual Softball game. The weather held up for us and it ended up being one of the highlights of the trip. During the bottom of the 9th inning with the bases loaded, tie game, 2 outs, I was pitching to Ross Cawthon. He pops it up half way between home plate and the pitchers mound and I run in to catch it to force the game into extra innings – but I drop the ball. I couldn’t help but take this as a bad omen for the biggest tournament of the year that was just around the corner.
That night, having both Blastoise and Gothitelle built, I decided Blastoise was far too risky with all the Kyurem/Plasma decks running around and I made up my mind to play Goth. I felt my list was fully optimized and I had tested the most with it. I knew the Blastoise matchup was iffy, but Blastoise needs to do a few things to win the matchup.
First, they need to go first and bench Squirtles. Then, they need to get a T2 Blastoise and search out some Keldeos. Even if they do all of that, if they only run 2 Keldeos, I can still win by 2-shotting one Keldeo with “Deck and Cover” one turn with Mew and the next turn with Accelgor, (60 + 110 = 170). Once the first Keldeo dies, you can lock up the other one and sweep.
Additionally, the release of Superior Energy Retrieval allowed players to run less Water Energy; where 12 used to be the norm, I saw players running as few as 9. This forces the Blastoise player to manually draw into each Energy and they could easily whiff the 4 Energy needed to “Secret Sword” for 130.
So, convincing myself that my ‘worst matchup’ was 55-45 in my favor, I felt great going into the tournament with Gothitelle.
Pokémon – 24
Trainers – 32
Energy – 4
I decided to go with Computer Search over Dowsing Machine, because although the latter allows you to use precious recourses again, (Tool Scrapper, Float Stone), the most important part of the deck is getting a T2 Gothitelle.
The only other change I considered was dropping a Munna for a 4th Float Stone, and in hindsight I wish I would have made this change. I also went with 3-2 Ultra Ball/Communication split because of the importance of thinning the deck late game.
Onto the report!
Round 1 vs. Trey Reece w/ RayEels
I lose the flip and have a very slow start. I finally managed to get Gothitelle active by Turn 5 or 6. He is able to get 2 Eelektriks in play along with a single Keldeo. I start to get worried as I am forced to sacrifice a Munna and a Mew-EX to a few “Dragon Bursts.”
What saved me was when he was forced to Juniper away his 3rd Eelektrik, thus constraining him to only 2 “Dynamotors” per turn for the rest of the game. So even though I had such a slow start, he was forced to “Dynamotor” twice to Keldeo, “Rush In,” retreat, manually attach to Rayquaza, and “Dragon Burst” for 60 every turn.
If you’ve ever played against Gothitelle, you’ll know that if you need to 3-shot a Gothitelle, you are probably going to lose. Eventually I establish the lock and I can finally “Sinister Hand” 170 damage onto Keldeo to get rid of his “Rush In” options. Time is called, and I am able to “Sinister Hand” to come up on Prizes on T3. Great Game!
Round 2 vs. Joshua Roman w/ Plasma
I win the flip, open Mew and bench some Gothitas. On his turn, he gets out a Deoxys (you only need one to 1-shot Gothitelle with Kyurem), and a Keldeo. He Lasers me and hits heads, and I stay asleep coming back into my turn. This is very bad because now I have no option to get an active Gothitelle on T2.
On his next turn he finds another Keldeo and attaches a Float Stone to each of them, and “Blizzard Burns” my Mew for 2 Prizes. From here, I Scrapper his Float Stones and get my own Float Stone on my active Gothitelle and start building my fleet behind my wall. Once I manage to KO one Keldeo, the other gets Catchered and the lock begins.
Round 3 vs. Luke Reed w/ Blastoise
I go first, opening both Gothita and Duskull because I don’t know what deck he is playing and you aren’t safe in this format opening a lone Basic. He opens Black Kyurem and I immediately regret benching the Duskull. So I search out another Gothita and a Shelmet and pass.
On his turn he goes for Squirtle and Keldeo and Catchers my Duskull. This is what I was worried about. Now I need to draw a DCE or a Float Stone in order to retreat and get Gothitelle active, and even if I do, I just wasted a precious resource doing so. I am able to get T2 Goth, but I have no way to retreat my Duskull!
On his next turn, he rips the Rare Candy Blastoise and benches a 2nd Keldeo. At this point I am ready to scoop as he “Secret Swords” my Duskull. On my turn I promote Shelmet and evolve into Accelgor, attach DCE and a Float Stone to a benched Gothita (there would be no point in attaching the Stone to my Gothitelle because I need to assume it is getting 1-shot next turn by double “Rush In” + “Secret Sword” for 130), retreat, and “Deck and Cover” with a Mew for 60 damage, promoting Gothitelle.
Just as I thought, he “Rushes In” twice, attaches the needed 4th Water and kills my Goth. I promote Accelgor, attach DCE, Rare Candy into Gothitelle, and bench another Shelmet, which is crucial because I plan on attacking with Accelgor this turn to take advantage of Keldeo’s Weakness. I’m able to “Deck and Cover” for the remaining 110 damage to KO his Keldeo, and I give myself one turn to survive (I didn’t have a bench spot open for another Gothita).
Luckily for me, he Junipers and whiffs the 4 Energy needed to 1-shot my Gothitelle, so I am able to lock up his active Keldeo for the rest of the game. I suspect that he may have played a lower Energy count and only 2 Keldeo, which barely allowed me to sneak away with a victory.
Round 4 vs. Kian Amini w/ Blastoise
Kian has 2 byes so I am worried immediately. Luckily I get to go first, but unfortunately open Munna. When you open either Duskull or Munna with the Gothitelle deck, it makes it a lot harder to get a T2 Gothitelle because you only play 7 cards that get you out of active. With Mew or Shelmet you can “Deck and Cover” or free retreat with Accelgor to get Gothitelle active.
So yet again I get a T2 Goth but can’t retreat Munna. He whiffs the T2 Blastoise, so he begins to manually attach to a benched Keldeo. On my turn I am forced to waste a Float Stone on Munna, and after searching my deck, find out that another one is Prized. This is the game where I kicked myself for not cutting a Munna for a Float Stone.
I manage to 2-shot a Keldeo in a similar fashion as my last game, but I whiffed the Float Stone off my prizes and the fact that I am limited to only one Gothitelle + Float Stone for the rest of the game sealed my fate as his manually charged Keldeo ran through my field.
Round 5 vs. Aaron Worob w/ Darkrai
I go first and start to set up my bench. My opponent opens Keldeo and gets a monster turn, Dark Patching twice to a Darkrai and then Computer Searching. He grabs a Juniper and shuffles his deck, then does a long delayed sigh, realizing he needed to grab a Darkness Energy to attach to Keldeo to retreat, then Energy Switch up to Darkrai for the T1 “Night Spear.”
Dodging a huge bullet, I get T2 Goth and slowly establish my board. The fact that Darkrai can’t 1-shot Gothitelle gives me a lot of time to set up. When the time is right I Catcher his Keldeo and lock it active. He only plays one, so I can easily “Sinister Hand” my way to victory.
Round 6 vs. James Good w/ Blastoise
James was another player with 2 byes hungry for his Worlds invite. I lose the flip and the race is on to see who gets their Stage 2 out first. Luckily for me, he Junipers for a Blastoise on T2 and whiffs. Whenever Gothitelle gets out first, you can bet that “Deluge” won’t be a factor that game. “Magic Room” shuts off Rare Candy, and Wartortle is a bad solution at best.
If you are playing Blastoise and lose the race, your best option to win is to manually attach Waters to a single Keldeo and wait until you can 1-shot Gothitelle.
Since I only play 2 Catchers, this is a viable option. The idea is to kill 2 Gothitelles with the same Keldeo, which can be done if Keldeo gets the first hit. After doing this, the Blastoise player needs to get 1 turn without Item lock, where he is free to use Rare Candy and Superior Energy Retrieval. It still isn’t favorable, but its the only chance Blastoise has to win if Gothitelle hits the board first.
My opponent took a different route, attaching Energies to Squirtle. I understand his thinking: He wanted to flip to hit Gothitelle for 30 so that he could follow up with a 3 Energy Keldeo. In practice however, he would have just been better off attaching to Keldeo and “Rushing In” when he was ready for the KO. The fact that he essentially wasted turns manually attaching to Squirtle, (he got tails on “Water Splash” anyway), combined with his admission that he failed to test against Gothitelle led me to my first 6-0 victory of the day.
Round 7 vs. David Herrington w/ Plasma
I go 1st and get the perfect setup, T2 Goth and T2 “Deck and Cover” with Mew. I don’t think my opponent was prepared for Gothitelle, and I never saw him put down a Keldeo. One turn there was 150 damage on his active Thundurus EX and he replaced my Tropical Beach with Virbank City Gym, which killed his Thundurus going into my turn. I think that was simply an oversight, but I was happy to take my 2 free Prizes.
Round 8 vs. Alex Gardner w/ Plasma/Lugia
I lose the flip and this allows him to play enough Items, namely Colress Machine, to get a T2 “Plasma Gale” on my Duskull. I have a miraculous T2 that consists of Rare Candy > Gothitelle + Float Stone, Tool Scrapper the Float Stone off his Deoxys and Catcher it. Unfortunately, I had no follow-up. My only saving grace is he only had 1 DCE left in the deck to retreat.
I draw dead a few turns in a row and eventually he is able to draw into his last DCE to retreat and “Plasma Gale” for what would be the game. I’m confident that if I had Beach in play I would have sailed to victory, but my bad topdecks did me in.
Round 9 vs. Brenden Jackson w/ Klinklang
This is another “Race Of The Stage 2s” matchup, but it’s a lot more common for Klinklang to play Klang than it is for Blastoise to play Wartortle. He goes 1st, but whiffs T2 Klinklang. Instead, he is able to evolve his active Klink into Klang, which is almost as good. On my 2nd turn I explode with Rare Candy > Gothitelle and Rare Candy > Duksnoir, bench Shelmet and Tropical Beach to fill my hand to 7. Luckily for me, (or perhaps both of us) I am able to KO Klang before it evolves.
The reason I say this is because once PlasmaKlang gets out, the game becomes extremely slow moving. Mew no longer does damage to Metal Pokémon with “Deck and Cover” thanks to “Plasma Steel”; instead, you are forced to water torture them with Poison damage for the whole game or plan out some attacks with Accelgor.
This wasn’t a factor this game, and I achieved the lock, taking my remaining 5 Prizes at once with “Sinister Hand.” The reason you usually wait to take all of your Prizes is so you don’t get N’d into a low number of cards and miss a turn of “Deck and Cover.”
Standings are posted and I am the 25th seed in the blue pod. I have about 30 minutes to run to Noodles and Co. and back before Top 128 starts.
Top 128 vs Brit Pybass w/ Klinklang
I go first and whiff benching a Gothita. This means I put myself at a T3 Gothitelle at best, which is bad against another Stage 2 deck relying on Rare Candy. My Gothita being late to the party allowed him to get a T2 double Rare Candy > double Klinklang, (“Shift Gear” and “Plasma Steel”). At this point we both know we’re in for a long, drawn out game. I set up the lock and begin thinning my deck.
I need to be very careful because I want to have the best odds of using “Deck and Cover” each turn, but at the same time, I don’t want to be caught off guard by an N that forces me to deck out. In order to counter this strategy, I decide to use “Sinister Hand” to move 140 damage onto his PlasmaKlang, Knocking it Out.
This has an upside and a downside: It lets me take a Prize and weaken his options to deck me out with N, and it allows me to pile up damage more quickly so I can potentially take all of my prizes in one turn with “Sinister Hand”. The downside to taking the Prize is I risk the option of drawing a prize that I can’t play, like Tropical Beach, and it strengthens his Ns because now I only get 5 cards and I have a higher chance of missing a “Deck and Cover.”
Sure enough, I draw my unplayable Tropical Beach off my Prize, and on his turn, he plays a well timed N. I draw my 5 cards, having no “Deck and Cover” option among them. He moves some energy around, and passes. On my turn, I look for ways to “Deck and Cover” but “Forewarn” is fruitless.
I am forced to miss a turn, and I realized I would have lost the game if he had used “Shift Gear” to move a Metal Energy or 2 up to his active Cobalion the previous turn. Instead, I “Sinister Hand” 140 damage onto his ShiftKlang to Knock it Out and Tropical Bach to end my turn and fill my hand. Now he has no option to retreat or attack, and that one turn was all I needed to be able to “Deck and Cover” safely for the rest of the game; Brit having exhausted all of his Ns.
He chooses to go first and for the 2nd game in a row is able to get T2 double Rare Candy > Double both types of Klinklang! “Here comes another looooong game” I thought. The last game had eaten up almost an hour! I search my deck on my T2 and discover both of my Accelgors are prizes for the first time in the tournament.
Without Accelgor in the deck, there are almost no options to attack or do damage; certainly not enough to mount any sort of legitimate offense. I think for a moment if it would be smarter to try and deny him the Prizes necessary to complete Game 2, or just scoop and try to win a quick Game 3. I decide to flip over all my Prizes, exposing both Accelgors, and it’s on to Game 3!
I go 1st and get the T2 Gothitelle. For some reason, I decide to Catcher his Klang and “Deck and Cover” it. My mistake bit me as he was able to evolve into ShiftKlang right away to escape Paralysis, “Shift Gear” 3 Energy up to it and go for a huge “Gear Grind”… double tails!
At this point time is called and I “Deck and Cover” again to put him at 90 damage coming out of his turn. On turn 3, I Juniper into the DCE I need to “Deck and Cover” with Accelgor for the win.
Great series Brit!
Top 64 vs James Hart w/ Flygon/Dusknoir
I had heard he was playing Flygon but couldn’t believe it. How could this deck make it to top 64?!?
He goes first, opening Trapinch. At this point I am in shock. He finds another Trapinch and a Duskull and uses Tropical Beach to fill his hand. I have no idea how to approach this matchup, so I just set up as normal. He gets a T2 double Flygon, and evolves into Dusclops while “Sand Slammer” begins to wreak havoc on my board. I Catcher up his Dusclops and get T2 Goth, but it’s no use as he is able to retreat Dusclops, (he played 2 DCE specifically for this matchup), and evolve into Dusknoir which lets him “Sinister Hand” enough damage onto my Accelgor to Knock it Out.
Left with no attacking options, I am forced to Beach, searching for my second Catcher. Unfortunately I can’t dig through my deck deep enough to find it and the spread damage builds until he can wipe off my entire field with “Sinister Hand.” He wins in a 6-0 game.
I go first and set Gothita and double Shelmet. I know that I can easily win if I can just Catcher a Dusknoir and lock it active for the whole game. On his 1st turn he attaches a Float Stone to his benched Duskull and Beaches. I get a T2 Goth and now in addition to needing a Catcher to win, I need my Tool Scrapper.
I feverishly search my deck with Ultra Ball to find it… PRIZED! Without the option to lock up his Dusknoir, he wipes off all my Shelmets and Accelgors with “Sinister Hand” and wins in yet another 6-0 game.
It was a sad way to end my Nationals run, but overall I was very happy with my playing and deck choice. Edmund Kuras ended up winning the whole thing with Gothitelle, so needless to say I was reassured that I made the right choice.
- To Carlos Pero and PokéGym for making online pairings possible!
- To Pooka who secured his Worlds invite by making it to Top 16 and by winning enough games in the Last Chance for Championship Points Tournament!
- To Edmund Kuras for representing and bringing it home with Gothitelle!
- Ross Cawthon for taking Garchomp/Altaria to Top 64.
- James Hart for taking Flygon to Top 16.
- Vince Blasko for lending me a Tropical Beach.
- All of my friends, testing partners, the guys from The Top Cut and Lafonte for making Nats ’13 such an amazing experience.
I finished my season with 232 Championship Points, so I will not be in Vancouver. However, with Edmund Kuras winning the biggest Nationals in the World with Gothitelle, you better expect to see “Magic Room” at Worlds. After all, Item lock is preeetty good.
Thanks for reading!