The New Mexico State Championship, which I attended last year, was the most enjoyable event I’ve ever attended. I was able to take third in 2013 and this year I was aiming for first. I didn’t quite make it there this time around, but still had a heck of a lot of fun in the process.
After deciding against playing Darkrai because I lacked the proper amount of Yveltal-EX to play the deck and was too broke to buy two tins, I decided to go back the deck that had gotten me 3rd place at State Championships the previous year: Big Basics. I decided not to run any Cobalion-EX this year, which turned out to be a good play.
Here is the list I used:
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 34
Energy – 11
2-2 Raichu XY
Raichu is very good at countering two popular attackers: Yveltal-EX and Lugia-EX. Raichu also serves as an excellent non-EX attacker who can 2HKO an EX. Pikachu XY is also very good, as Nuzzle can buy you a couple turns to set up another attacker.
This was a choice I was a little uncertain of going into the tournament, but it paid off throughout the day. N is great because it allows you to control your opponent’s hand size, but once you Knock Out an EX, Shauna outclasses N in the amount of cards you get from it. This deck needs as many cards in hand as possible to work the best.
Escape Rope was clutch for me all day. It allowed me to put my opponent in an uncomfortable position by making them bring up a Bench-sitter or an unpowered attacker. It even won me a few games by forcing up an EX for a KO instead of Knocking Out an Active non-EX which would have extended the game by one more turn.
R1 vs. Andrew Zavala w/ Big Basics (0-1, 0-1)
R2 vs. Alvin Roybal w/ Straight Fairies (2-1, 1-1)
R3 vs. Oscar Montes w/ Darkrai/Yveltal (2-0, 2-1)
R4 vs. Josh Trujillo w/ RayBoar (2-0, 3-1)
R5 vs. Rodrigo ? w/ Plasma (2-0, 4-1)
R6 vs. Alec Noah w/ Ninetales/Munna (1-1, 4-1-1)
R7 vs. Bryan Carroly w/ RayBoar (1-1, 4-1-2)
14 points, 14th place
The first round against Andrew was incredibly frustrating. I probably held on for too long in the first game as I had almost nothing going. In the second game I was two turns away from winning and time was called between turns. This made the turn I had just taken turn 0, which robbed me of my chance to win the game.
The first game of the second round was another frustrating one where I suffered a five turn Supporter and Energy drought, which effectively cost me the game. I won the second game and Alvin was cool enough to scoop Game 3 and give me the win.
The third round was incredibly close. Oscar had just Knocked Out my Mewtwo-EX but forgot to take Prizes for it for around three turns. This resulted in a Prize penalty for him. The Prize card I drew was a Double Colorless Energy, which allowed me to Knock Out his Yveltal-EX. This changed the game drastically because he would have been able to attack at least one more time before I knocked his Yveltal out.
I managed to win a close game one and got going quickly in game two. I eventually got him cornered to a point where he was Junk Hunting to set up another Yveltal and I was sniping everywhere on his Bench with Landorus while I had Bouffalant DRX set up. He eventually KOs Landorus. I then bring up Bouffalant and Gold Breaker for the win.
I started running hot against Josh in the fourth round and won both games in about 10 minutes each as I got Garbodor out T2 and was swinging with Landorus-EX T1 both games.
The fifth round was another round where I was running hot, as I got Raichu swinging early, which prevented him from getting any knockouts with Lugia. The second game saw me get T2 Landorus-EX with a Muscle Band hitting his Thundurus-EX. From there I was able to 6-0 him to win game two and the series.
Round six pitted me against the most intriguing deck I have seen this season. It used Ninetales DRX as its main attacker and took advantage of Munna BCR’s Long-Distance Hypnosis Ability to set up Special Conditions without the need for Amoonguss NXD and Devolution Spray or Hypnotoxic Laser (although he did run LaserBank). I was able to win the first match by applying huge pressure with Landorus-EX from T1 on.
The second game was much closer and he came out on top by 1HKOing a Mewtwo-EX with a Bangled Hexed Flame for 150 + 30 from Poison damage. He hit just about every heads he possibly could have, which really hurt me as he was basically 1HKOing anything I sent up.
Game one of round seven was very frustrating as my opponent seemed to have an answer to everything I threw at him, from Tool Scrappers the turn I got Garbodor set up to having three R Energy just sitting in his hand for the game winning Dragon Burst. Game two was much different as I was able to control the pace of the match with a Float Stone on my Garbodor for much longer than in game one. Time was called on his second turn of the third match of the series, which resulted in neither of us being in any position to win.
I bubbled out at 14th place, the last of the 4-1-2s. My resistance was atrocious because three of my opponents dropped in order to compete in the League Challenge.
Deck Check Rant
After the sixth round I was the subject of a random deck check. I was alerted around 5 minutes after round seven pairings had been posted that there was an issue with my decklist. I had put 3 Landorus-EX BCR 89 instead of 2 Landorus-EX BCR 89 and 1 Landorus-EX BCR 144. The reason for this was that I was in a hurry and had done the exact same thing the year before at State Championships.
I was going to need to track down another Landorus-EX BCR 89 if I made into top cut. I feel I was fortunate to only get a warning for my mistake in filling out my decklist, but wondered: “Why was this issue not brought up at the initial deck check?” The same guy who checked my deck before the tournament did the second check. When he checked my deck at the beginning of the day, I noticed that he did not even look at my card counts to ensure my list matched my deck, but only checked the quality of my sleeves.
It may just be me, but I thought the purpose of the deck check is to ensure the player’s list and deck match as well as to ensure the quality of their card sleeves. The person who has checked my deck at every other tournament I have ever attended has checked my decklist against my deck contents as well as my sleeves.
This really stressed me out going into my final round and totally ruined my focus in the first game of that series and I made a few misplays which probably cost me the game. I was also distracted by trying to figure out who there might have a Landorus I could borrow.
Then my friend who dropped and was going to play in the League Challenge had to change his sleeves because you could see by looking at the top of his deck where the Team Plasma cards were (dark blue border). He had used the exact same deck and sleeves in the main tournament, which he had gone through deck check perfectly fine with for the main event.
I don’t know if the judges at New Mexico State Championships were simply being weird with deck checks or what, but I hope this is not the norm for State Championship-level and above tournaments. That’s just my personal rant on deck checks though.
My Top Rogue Decks from State Championships
There were quite a few interesting decks at States, some of which I believe have serious competitive power. Here are my top three favorite rogue decks I saw being played at States.
This deck really caught my attention. It obviously has an auto-loss to Virizion/Genesect, but has an even to good matchup against every other top deck. It sets up very fast with a 4-2 split of Level Ball and Ultra Ball, and uses Keldeo-EX to break a Status lock resulting from an unlucky Long-Distance Hypnosis flip. It is also difficult to beat because it is very good in the Prize trade. I think that with Virizion/Genesect on the decline this deck has the potential to be very, very good at Regionals.
This deck works the same way BLW-on Klinklang did, except it uses Aromatisse’s Fairy Transfer instead of Klinklang BLW’s Shift Gear. The deck also utilizes the newest Metal-type EX: Skarmory-EX. The deck uses Registeel-EX to put damage all over your opponent’s field and then brings in Skarmory-EX to Tailspin Piledriver your opponent into oblivion.
The guy playing this deck was running so many different lock cards, it wasn’t even funny. His deck included Trevenant, Garbodor, Snorlax, Keldeo-EX, and Accelgor DEX. From what I heard from him he used Garbodor for Virizion/Genesect, Snorlax to trap Keldeo-EXs, and Trevenant for general Item lock. The guy who was playing it was able to get a decent placement with it as well.
My Five Takeaways from State Championships
1. Darkrai/Yveltal is very, very good.
This deck is going to be played a lot at Regionals. It is fast, powerful, can pick off Bench targets, has access to non-Ability based Energy acceleration, and can simply overwhelm you with its massive damage output. That, and it doesn’t have many true counters. Add in the consistency boost and utility provided by Sableye DEX and you’ve got a tier 1 deck that will have a strong presence at Regionals.
2. Blastoise is still a strong deck.
I did not face one at States, but the deck still had a strong presence. Multiple Blastoise decks made top cut. Professor’s Letter has made this deck just that much stronger. Tropical Beach is essential to the success of the deck and it does have a few poor matchups (Garbodor, Virizion/Genesect), but the fact still remains that this deck has the potential to win a game in three turns.
3. Raichu XY is one of the best non-EX attackers in the format.
Raichu is very good. It not only serves as an excellent counter to huge threats like Yveltal-EX and Lugia-EX, but it is also able to provide solid offense in mid to late game situations. Circle Circuit for 150 with Muscle Band + LaserBank for only two Energy is extremely powerful coming from any Pokémon in the format right now. That, and Raichu only gives up 1 Prize.
4. Aromatisse is the best Energy-mover in the format.
Aromatisse has already proven its value in the metagame. The fact that players can use Rainbow Energy as well as Prism Energy at once, which allows the deck to move eight total Energy cards around, in addition to however many Y Energy the player decides to run, makes Energy movers even better. Aromatisse’s real value comes from the fact that it does not need Rare Candy or have to go through a Stage 1. Its strength is even more evident with the fact that players are using it to resurrect the Klinklang deck of olden days.
5. The format is incredibly diverse.
The format is healthy. I think the facts that decks like Ninetales/Munna can succeed and that Stage 2 Rain Dance decks are seeing the same amount of success as fast EX decks are testaments to just how diverse and balanced the format right now is. There is no true top deck and every deck has an adversary that can beat it.
State Championships are always fun to attend and this year was no exception. I wish I had made it to top cut, but I still had a ton of fun. I honestly think League Challenges during bigger events should be scheduled for after top cut begins to prevent people’s resistance being harmed by their dropping to play in League Challenge. Big Basics is still a good deck and can definitely do some damage at Regionals. Hopefully I will be able to attend Regional Championships in Utah, which I am certain is going to be a great time.
Thanks for reading,