Hey everyone, it’s me again after a bit of a season-long absence. This time I’m going to give a report on my first World Championships, which I had the pleasure of attending earlier this month.
I guess I’ll start by saying that regardless of how my tournament record turned out, it was absolutely amazing just to be able to attend this event. I’ve known about the World Championships since before I was even able to attend a League, let alone play competitively. In the nearly three years since that League started, attending Worlds gradually shifted from an impossible, unattainable goal to within my reach and a genuine possibility.
I guess, as that Pokémon CD once put it, “You can do it if you really try.”
And with that bit of unpleasant and large-scale smugness out of the way, I guess now would be a good time to mention what I tried to win the event with.
Following my once-faithful Virizion/Genesect deck becoming an inconsistent monster pretty much as soon as I qualified (OK, OK, it was me that cut the Jirachi-EX for an extra Pikachu the night before Nationals. I accept all responsibility for that one…), I wanted to use something different.
There was a friendly tournament being held the day after UK Nats, and I remembered I’d lent my friend Laurent most of the cards for a deck he’d used a week or two before. Laurent returned the cards at Nationals, which meant I now again had the cards I would need to play a Plasma variant, and I decided to give that a go.
I filled in the free slots and made my list half an hour before registration ended, played it and found myself at 3-1-1 and 2nd place. Not too bad for an untested deck the day after going 2-3-2, so I basically decided that if it kept working well I was going to use it for Worlds. And that is how I met Plasma/Eevees.
My list was and is as follows:
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 29
Energy – 14
I suppose I’d better explain myself about those Eevees now. They’re good attackers (except possibly the Glaceon) in their own right:
- Flareon can easily hit 1HKOs late game for DCE, and that’s without mentioning the VirGen matchup.
- Leafeon can hit for high damage on anything that keeps a lot of Energy on the board, and its Grass typing means it can KO Keldeo very easily.
- Glaceon, ummm, could maybe one-hit a Charizard-EX if it got lucky? It’s mainly there for the Ability of course, though it can still be useful against Pyroar purely by being an Evolved Pokémon.
The Druddigon was there in case of any Blastoise matchups. I don’t think they were expected to be very common, but I decided it was worth keeping just in case.
Another thing is the Lugia-EX as opposed to Kyurem PLF. The Lugia are only really useful in certain circumstances. Usually my Bench fills too fast and I need to be powering up other things. But when it can be utilized, the ability to hit for 1HKOs and take extra Prize cards seems too good not to have. Funnily enough, that was actually really useful against Accelgor. Though I hadn’t at all put it in with that in mind, if you can take more Prizes when you do attack, you don’t have to break the lock as often.
So that was the general strategy behind my deck. Now on to the tournament itself!
Thursday and Friday
I flew out from the UK a little later than most people. We flew out on Thursday and got there mid-afternoon (time differences are useful like that). After walking to the hotel and nearly killing my suitcase in the process, we went and scouted out the venue.
Nothing going on in the convention center yet of course, but there across the road was the open gaming room, down in the basement of the Marriott Marquis. 10 minutes of excitement and running around later, and I’d met several people, made several deals, and not least found out that my Japanese, while extremely inexpert, works!!
I’ve been learning it for a few years now and work on it for an hour each day, but I only get to speak it to another person once a week in a lesson, so I was extremely happy to make use of it in real life. What with that and the fact that what I was talking about was trading, it’s safe to say I had a great time at the open gaming room.
On Friday we actually went and did some sightseeing for the first half of the day (it helped that I don’t seem to get jet lag much), but by around 3 o’clock I was back at the open gaming room, buying, selling, and trading even more, along with trying to get important information like when it was best to start queuing for registration.
I also managed to save a friend in Juniors some money off Japanese card sleeves with the simple words “I know how much these cost at the Pokémon Center.”
For those that don’t know, anyone who can get Japanese card sleeves at the retail price can automatically make an absolute killing. A deck’s worth of sleeves is only 500 yen (4.80 USD, 2.90 GBP) over there!
We worked out we’d better head over to the convention center to queue at around 3:30, which was about right as there were a few people in line already, but not so many. And so began the weekend’s first Great Queue.
Skipping over receiving the competitor pack and the second Great Queue for the store, all I’ll add about Friday is that by complete coincidence I ended up having a game against Trent Orndorff (the eventual Seniors Champion) and got down to 1 Prize card left before then getting soundly thrashed. This was the first idea I had that someone might be playing Trevenant/Accelgor.
Skipping forward to Saturday, and the opening ceremony…
The feeling of having come so far, and to be competing in the World Championships was absolutely amazing, especially as I’d wanted it for so long. And sitting in front of the big screens as the music played and we were all welcomed and congratulated, I’d properly arrived.
A delayed players meeting later, and now for the event itself. I didn’t realize the gap between the players meeting and the rounds starting would be so small, so when the first round pairings were called I felt quite surprised and unprepared. It’s probably just as well though, really, I’d have been more nervous with more time to think about it.
I wanted to win, obviously, but after a couple of outright awful tournament runs I couldn’t help but worry that I wouldn’t be good enough. That I wasn’t quite strong enough to beat people at least as good as me, who wanted to win just as much. That I’d just be defeated and not manage to pull through any games, and after coming all this way I so badly wanted that not to happen. After qualifying, I wanted to show I really was good enough.
Now for the real test, to see if I could actually win a round at Worlds.
I’m afraid I’m rather hazy on the details of most of my games, so much else was going on that day for me to be able to recount things card-by-card.
If you were one of my opponents and I’ve mixed up what round you were, or your name, or if you can tell me anything I missed in my accounts here, please let me know in the comments.
Round 1 vs. Daniel with Blastoise
Game 1, we both just generally dead-draw. He ends up loading up Keldeo, I end up killing it with Leafeon. Genesect gets involved. Druddigon uses Revenge a lot plus I find out that Genesect hits for really quite high damage when put in Plasma. I take the game.
Something pretty similar happens Game 2, though I can’t remember which game it was where he ended up with 3 Blastoise but no Energies. I manage to take Game 2 as well. Looks like I’m at least not going 0-X then!
Round 2 vs. Dorian with VirGen
I don’t remember this one too clearly, but we ended up at one game each when time was called. For whatever reason, even with Flareon, I didn’t quite manage to take the win, possibly because the little guy was a target the second I evolved it. I think I had the advantage in Game 3, but then time was called and I ended up with a tie.
Round 3 vs. Jack with Trevenant/Accelgor
Ah, my old nemesis, we meet again! Gothitelle/Accelgor doomed me at my first Nats, and now its successor has returned to haunt me once more, on the one occasion of the whole season that I didn’t play VirGen.
Regardless of that I still manage to horrify my opponent by starting with a single Genesect, but once I Bench a Thundurus-EX the game is up. There follows a brutal, if a little one-sided battle and he takes Game 1.
Game 2 comes down rather closer. I’ve used almost all my resources for getting out of the lock, and it’s nearly time. I have 2 Prizes left, and the Item cards in hand to get out of Paralysis but only if the Item lock goes down.
But then Jack opts to promote another Pokémon (Accelgor I believe) after Deck and Cover. Incredulous, I ask why and am met with the answer that he doesn’t have the Float Stone to get it out of the way again.
In that turn, I escape the lock and use Lugia’s Plasma Gale for my last 2 Prizes. Adding insult to injury, his next topdeck would have been a Float Stone.
That’s time, and tie number two!
Another thing I’ll add about that game was that my opponent was a genuinely nice guy. I drew too many cards off N and dropped my hand (sending the lot out of sight) once or twice and immediately offered to call the judge, but he said it was fine each time and mostly even declined to cut my deck.
Round 4 vs. Ian with Yveltal/Garbodor
The first thing he says is asking me if we can play fast. “Not, like, making mistakes and rushing fast, but fast enough so that we can get three good games in?”
I’m not quite sure about the not making mistakes and rushing part myself to be honest.
In Game 1 my start isn’t quite ideal and he quickly gets ahead, but I keep feeling that I’m being rushed, malicious intent or not, and am right on the edge of calling the judge on it for pretty much the whole game. Especially as I’m sure it led to me making several unnecessary mistakes.
I lose Game 1.
Game 2, I’ve basically learned my lesson and take it at a slightly more normal pace, though still fairly quickly. I get ahead this time and take the game using basically nothing but Thundurus-EX.
Game 3 and we both have 2 Prizes left. It’s coming down really 50-50, plus we’re really having to play quickly this time. He practically shouts at me to hurry up, then promptly apologises.
I think I threaten to call a judge on the speed a couple more times, as I know I could easily make a mistake and take a loss instead of a tie. His desire for speed is eventually to my gain, however. Using the extra time gained by going to quickly, I’m able to use Plasma Landorus to KO his Darkrai-EX for game.
Round 5 vs. Trevor with Plasma
I’m actually really pleased with my record at this point, halfway through Worlds and still undefeated! You could have called this a mirror match, but it wasn’t really. I had Eevees and Lugia and he had Absol and Kyurem.
We each take a game, and it all comes down to whether I can attack the next turn and win. Kyurem can still really apply pressure, you have to KO it really quickly or it can 1HKO you, but it still only gives up 1 Prize.
Anyway, I need to draw my one Prism Energy that’s left to attack and take the game with Helix Force. If I don’t, he’ll win the next turn. There are ten cards left in deck and I have a Juniper.
Do I draw it? Of course not! Oh well.
Round 6 vs. Hunter with Trevenant/Accelgor
Accelgor again. Sadly didn’t manage to scrape a tie out of this one. I don’t think a blow-by-blow account is needed for you to get the general idea, really.
Round 7 vs. Thales with Yveltal/Garbodor
I wasn’t sure what Thales was playing at first. He opened with a Keldeo-EX, and then he Benched a Bouffalant a while later, so I originally though I was perhaps up against a Big Basics deck.
He got quite a slow start, but I was unable to capitalize on it, owing to my most spectacular Energy/Supporter drought for a long time. I had a Prism Energy and was repeatedly using Raiden Knuckle for various amounts, but I wasn’t able to load up the Plasma Landorus on my Bench at all, nor anything else for that matter.
It might say something about his start that I still KO’d the Keldeo, but he came back and got set up a lot better than me. I of course drew into Skyla to break the drought, and it was some time later before I had Energy. I took about 3 Prizes, but lost Game 1.
I don’t really remember Game 2, but I certainly didn’t win it!
This was also my first game against someone that didn’t speak English. Playing in silence generally and announcing card names seemed to work pretty well.
I’m now on the same record at Worlds as I was at Nats. That says something about how awful my performance was in the latter…
Anyway, round 8 and by now all I want to do it just please not lose four games in a row. Time to go out with a bang and win this one!!
Round 8 vs. Gianluca with… TREVENANT/ACCELGOR AGAIN!?
Forget “old nemesis” – try “perpetual” instead.
He took the lead in Game 2 and was clearly going to win that.
However, I decided ending on a tie was OK by me. Or at least that I really didn’t want to lose four games in a row. Owing to the fact that the time remaining was being shown, I was able to work out that while if I scooped to him now to get time for a full Game 3, I had a chance of beating him outright, if I stayed put and made him have to beat me himself he’d have no time left to beat me outright.
I let it get to ten minutes left on the clock just to be sure, then scooped and endeavoured to get a lucky Lugia steamroll or donk or something. Alas, it was not to be.
I ended therefore on the pretty OK record of 2-3-3. In the end I came 113th, but that sounds a lot better when I put it as “second-highest placing UK TCG Senior.”
It could have definitely been better, but it could also have been a lot worse and I’m quite pleased with it. To describe just the games I had at Worlds though could never do the event justice. I did so much other stuff, made so many new friends and had such a great time, though, that the tournament I’d come for wasn’t nearly the whole story.
My other highlights would include, I’m not sure in what order:
- Making loads of new friends and meeting loads of fellow Pokémon players. You lot are awesome!
- Getting interviewed on the live stream (and thanks to one of my new friends for helping to set that up!).
- Getting my mat signed by Junichi Masuda and Hironobu Yoshida.
- Getting to get all the merchandise and trading like there was no tomorrow. (Well, there certainly wasn’t going to be another opportunity like that.)
- Managing to finally make it there, and get as far as I did.
- Everything else!
So that’s it from me for now then, next time I’ll be reporting from somewhere near the bottom tables of my first event in Masters.
Until then, see ya and thanks for reading!