Hello everyone, my name is Henry and this is my first article for SixPrizes. I am fourteen years old, and I am into my second year of competitive play in the Seniors Division. I got into the game last year after I started watching videos online, and I haven’t looked back yet. I have played in two States, a Regional and a handful of City Championships over these two years. I am currently sitting at 105 Championship Points and have no intensions of going for my Worlds invite. Outside of Pokémon, I run cross country and play basketball.
So, three weeks before States, I started talking to my friends and found out that neither of them was going to make New Jersey States, meaning I would have access to most of their cards. This allowed me to play just about every deck in the format — a privilege I never had before. After one week of deliberation, I was able to narrow my choices down to three decks: Yveltal, Seismitoad/Slurpuff and Flareon. I considered Flareon to be the best deck in New Jersey due to Virizion/Genesect’s resurgence, but I was still missing two Eevee. I knew that Yveltal was a safe play, but I was not quite comfortable with the deck. I liked Seismitoad’s matchups, but VirGen was looming on the horizon and I was afraid of the mirror match.
A week prior to States, I settled on Flareon. I had been testing with the deck and made numerous changes to Orion Craig’s deck list that won Florida Regionals. I was still missing two Eevee up until the day of the tournament. Lex D’Andrea let me borrow his, so I owe him a huge favor.
This is the deck list that I brought to New Jersey States and helped me reach my first top cut:
Pokémon – 24
Trainers – 29
1 Town Map
Energy – 7
4 Flareon PLF, 3 Leafeon PLF
I ran four Flareon because it is the main attacker in the deck. This deck has two ways of winning. One is to stream OHKOs with Flareon and not attacking with anything else. The other strategy is to use other attackers that hit for Weakness to conserve resources, and use Flareon as a tech attacker instead. I used Leafeon to counter Seismitoad, Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre.
2-2 Raichu XY
Yveltal was up and away the most popular deck in my meta, so it only made sense to play a hard counter to the Evil Bird. Raichu was only played to counter Yveltal, so these cards are Battle Compressor targets in most other matchups. Raichu also serves as free retreater because I do not run any Float Stone.
This card is such a lifesaver. It is the only reason that the Archie’s combo works consistently, and it can also help pull me out of hard situations. It also allows me to get a better setup. I play two because they are so critical and are not your worst starter. If the opponent knocks out Jirachi, that means my Eevees and Flareons survived another turn.
3 Silver Bangle
Although many people believe that two is more than enough, I really like having three Silver Bangle in the deck because it helps so much. This is due to the fact that we run so many attackers that benefit from the extra 30 damage: Flareon needs three less Pokémon in the discard pile, Raichu can OHKO Yveltal with only 4 Benched Pokémon, and Leafeon can OHKO Seismitoad with only three Energy attached as opposed to five.
1 Lysandre’s Trump Card, 1 Town Map, 1 Training Center
I play all of these cards to prevent specific events from occurring. I play Lysandre’s Trump Card to prevent myself from decking out. I play Town Map in case Archie’s is prized. I play Training Center to counter other Stadiums and because a 170-HP penguin can be quite scary.
I feel that this is a very good matchup for Flareon/Raichu because there are counter cards for every Pokémon in their deck except Darkrai. Seismitoad puts a stop on our Items, but it isn’t really a big threat because Yveltal/Seismitoad doesn’t typically run much Energy removal.
Virizion/Genesect: Highly Favorable
Flareon wolfs down Virizion and Genesect for breakfast. With Silver Bangle, you only need four Pokémon in the discard pile to take a one-hit knockout due to Weakness. This really stops them from getting any setup.
Dialga is also Weak to Fire, but Aegislash-EX is very good against Flareon. If they play two Aegislash, this matchup would almost be unwinnable, but Flareon can handle one.
This matchup is very tough because it has a very favorable Prize trade against us. Flareon plays a low Lysandre count, so it is very hard to KO Donphans. If you set up fast enough, this deck can beat Donphan though.
Seismitoad/Slurpuff: Incredibly Unfavorable
This is almost unwinnable. Seismitoad hits for Weakness against Flareon and stops us from playing Acro Bike, VS Seeker, Battle Compressor, and Ultra Ball. In particular, the Quaking Punch + Lysandre’s Trump Card turn is very deadly.
Landorus makes quick work of Eevees and prevents our setup. Empoleon can take OHKOs against Landorus though, making the matchup winnable.
Aromatisse Variants: Favorable
This matchup is tough for Aromatisse because they lose Energy very quickly since Flareon can knock their attackers out in one hit. Mega Manectric and Mega Gardevoir help a lot, but if they never come out, Aromatisse really struggles. If a Mega does hit the board, it is very hard for us to deal with.
Round 1 vs. Sam E. with Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX
These games were both fairly easy for me. Sam is a good friend of mine who recently Top 4’d a Regional, so I felt really bad to give him a loss so early on in the tournament. The game was really relaxed for me, and there were no surprises.
Justin is another friend, and he was running a deck I had never seen before. He completely dead drew the first game, so I handily took game one. I never got Empoleon or a Flareon game two, so I got steamrolled. Game three was close. I got a quick setup with a turn one Empoleon and turn two Flareon knockout. We traded evenly with M Manectric and Flareon, with me eventually wining the Prize trade when he missed the Spirit Link. This was a really good game.
Ryan is someone that I’ve recently started to know, and he is a player that I really respect. Both games came down to Leafeon taking Seismitoad knockouts, Raichu taking care of Yveltal, and Flareon taking the final blow. Empoleon decided to show up both of these games, giving me enough draw to keep running under the Seismitoad lock.
Once again, I am paired up against another one of my friends. There were 32 people in the room, and I managed to be paired up with all of my friends. This series went very similar to my game with Ryan. Notably, I never got Empoleon out the game I lost. Damian never got Seismitoad out game three, so I swept with Raichu and Flareon.
I was intending to scoop this game because Joe was 3-0-1 and I was 4-0 to secure us both records of 4-1 or better, locking us both into top cut, but I noticed something else. There were only two other people that could be 4-1 that I haven’t played yet. My four other opponents had won the rest of their games. This meant that both Charlie would have to win and I would need to be paired up next round, or another kid would have to win and I would have to be paired with him.
I played out the series to see if I could go 5-0 and not have to worry, but I lose, so I have to pray I get paired up. Charlie won and the other kid lost, giving me only one person that I could be paired with and still ID the next round.
Round 6 vs. ??? with Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX
Well, it turns out that I got down-paired to a 3-1-1 player that needs this game to get Top 8, so I am forced to play it out. I thought I would be paired against my friend, seeing that I had the highest resistance, but I guess the system isn’t that predictable. I sat down knowing three things; I can win and be into cut, tie and be into cut, and maybe lose and be into cut. I know two 4-2s will make it, but I do not want to take this risk.
We set up and flip over our Actives, and I see a Virizion-EX. I let out a sigh of relief knowing that I don’t have to play Seismitoad. I get donked game one, never getting Flareon up and running. Game two and three are stressful, knowing that one more dead draw and I’m out, but I find everything I need to sweep the last two games.
After Swiss, I’m the only 5-1 and am first seed. I sort out my deck for the deck check. I eat dinner with my friends, trying to learn as much as I can about what a Top 8 feels like and what deck my opponent plays.
This was by far the weirdest series of the tournament. I was playing my autoloss and a player that I know is close to their Worlds invite. Game one starts with a turn 1 Empoleon and no Supporter for Michael. After I set up a Leafeon, I take down his first Seismitoad-EX. He fails to find the second DCE, and I finish setting up my board. With Leafeon failing to do any damage, I set up a Flareon just in case he never finds that second DCE. By turn six, I have 3 Leafeon on the board and a Flareon just waiting to get Energy and attack into its arch nemesis. After the Leafeons take down one more Seismitoad, Flareon comes in and finishes the game.
Game two Michael actually gets a setup and steamrolls me. Crushing Hammer after Crushing Hammer with Super Scoop Ups and Item lock kept me from taking more than two Prizes. There wasn’t too much to this game.
Game three, I go first and get a turn one Leafeon via Energy Evolution. Alongside Silver Bangle, Leaf Blade creates a large pressure to act on Michael’s side of the board. After turn 3, Michael never finds a Supporter outside of a Skyla. He finds Juniper which I N away, putting him back into a Supporter drought. My single Training Center and dual Audino do a very good job of negating Michael’s LaserBank combo.
Eventually, I pull ahead 4 Prizes to 1. Time is called, and my heart jumps. I realize that no matter what Michael does, he will not be able to take enough Prizes in his two remaining turns. I promote Empoleon with Training Center in play and push the Michael into turn 3. With two Prizes left, he passes the turn.
I have now won my Top 8 match, which confuses me alongside all of my friends. I didn’t think that it was possible to beat Seismitoad, but I guess that any deck can lose if it draws poorly enough. Thanks for a great Top 8 match, Michael — you did great.
Looking at the other people that have moved into the Top 4, I see that my friend Charlie has made it, but was forced to scoop his match. He had to go somewhere else, and couldn’t continue. (Congratulations Charlie on your second Top 8 and a trophy!)
Sam E. had also moved into the Top 4, meaning two out three people that I could play are not Seismitoad, my biggest worry. The other contender is playing Primal Kyogre, and I had no idea how to play against that deck.
Top 4 vs. Sam E. with Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX
I sit down across the table from Sam knowing that this probably won’t end up well for him. Even though he already has his invite, I don’t like ending his day knowing that he had to play his autoloss twice. Game one goes very quickly, with me getting three knockouts in a row and Sam getting only one off a turn 2 Megalo Cannon. We start game two. An early knockout gives me plenty of time to set up two more Flareon without being attacked. Sam gets a knockout on my only Flareon with a DCE, and I struggle to find another one. This game comes down to the last two Prizes, but I end up taking the win.
Well done, Sam. It was a pleasure to play you and talk to you all day!
After a little break, I start to set up across from Zach, a player who has continually beaten me in previous tournaments. He pushed me out of top cut in last year’s States, delivered my first loss in Regionals, and beat me Round 4 in my only Cities. I hope I can end this streak and walk away with a first place trophy.
Game one starts with a turn two Empoleon and an early pair of Leafeon. Zack starts to find his setup, but doesn’t get very far. I Energy Crush his Kyogre turn two, but it is not knocked out. Zach drops a Keldeo and Rushes In, evolves into Primal Kyogre and passes. I bench Mr. Mime and Lysandre out the Kyogre. After this point, I keep Lysandre-ing out EXs and take the game 6-3. Mr. Mime really saved my Jirachi this game.
Game two I start to realize the power of Primal Kyogre and how it got to the finals. Even though both Zack and I keep forgetting to put the thirty damage on Benched Jirachis, he remembers enough to hit a critical 3-Prize turn. Zach also starts to show of the power of Suicune in his deck. Every time he uses Tidal Storm, he moves the Energy onto Suicune, effectively discarding them due to Suicune’s Safeguard Ability. This completely limits by damage from Energy Crush, and Flareon is unable to do any real damage due to Primal Kyogre’s massive HP. Zack takes this game without a hitch.
Game three is only moving into the fifth or sixth turn when time is called. I forget all the turns before this, but I know I got a Kyogre knockout and took two Prizes. Zack is turn zero, and he sets up for 3-Prize turn. I am unable to stop him, and he takes three Prizes, stopping me from taking the game on turn 3.
This was by far and away the closest game I played all day, and I am sad to say that it didn’t go very smoothly. I accidentally Diving Drew twice in one turn, misplayed a couple of times, and failed to keep correct damage on Benched Jirachis. It didn’t change the state of the game, but it still makes me feel a little off inside.
I did make one major misplay in games one, two and three that I believe cost me the series. Every game, I used Lysandre to polish off damaged Primal Kyogre instead of Suicune. If I took out Suicune, Zach would be forced to attach more and more Energy to keep attacking, boosting Leafeon’s damage every turn and allowing me to take OHKOs against Primal Kyogre. Thanks for the amazing series, Zach.
Overall, this was the best tournament I have ever had. Thanks to all the judges from Time Warp Comics & Games that ran the event and congratulations to everyone that played. I hope that this article was enjoyable and showed people that Flareon can thrive outside of Florida, and that there is more than one way to play a deck. I also hope that my report will serve as a reminder to people that any deck can beat any other deck on any given day.
Thanks for reading,