Hello everyone, James here! You may not know me since I haven’t written since August of last year, so I’ll introduce myself again. I am from Southern California and in the Senior Division. I ended up earning 592 Championship Points this season, good enough for 37th in the US after Nationals. I was pretty consistent throughout the year, and I always found myself in the top cut of Regionals and States. I even managed to win SoCal Regionals! My Nationals performance was pretty lackluster with a 5-4 86th place finish after starting off 4-0, but I was determined to do better at Worlds.
Leading up to the event I was testing Stefan Tabaco’s Groudon deck a lot and really liking it. I continued to test it exclusively with friends like John D’Alotto, Michael Stromp, Raymond Cipoletti, and Israel Sosa. After countless hours of testing on PTCGO, I decided it would be “the play” a few days before the event. I wanted to make my deck max rarity since Worlds is a special occasion and playing good-looking cards for the biggest event sounded cool, so I traded and borrowed a few alternate holos to make my dream a reality.
I went to the airport Tuesday night and departed for Newark as a connecting flight to Boston. I didn’t get much sleep at all on the red-eye flight; only about one hour. I arrived in Boston about 8:30 AM on Wednesday, then I got on the shuttle to my hotel in Quincy, MA. Since the hotel didn’t let us check in until 3 PM, we had to find something to do till then. We got on the subway then went into downtown Boston to get a bus tour of the city. After that, it was about 2 PM so we went to get lunch at Panera then returned back to the hotel. I went to sleep at about 6 PM that night since I was so tired.
I got up the next day, Skype’d with John to test some of Groudon’s matchups, then headed into the city to stand in line at the Hynes Convention Center with Michael for a couple of hours till they opened up the place. When they finally opened the doors to the convention center, we got into the retail line immediately to try and get some merchandise before registration. The retail line was barely moving, so we had to step out of line and have people hold our spots until we got back.
Registration was very quick; we got checked in within 15 minutes. I opened up my swag bag, and all of the stuff inside was really awesome, including the bag itself which looks amazing. I however received probably one of the only bags which not have a Worlds cup thingy (or whatever you call it) included, so I went back in and got one. Apparently I had a lot of things in my hand so I dropped the cup and it broke. Luckily I don’t really use cups so it can just go on a shelf and still look nice.
Went back to the hotel around 8 PM and got some Domino’s since it was only a 5-minute walk away. I ate, wrote down my decklist, then got Groudon all sleeved up in my Make-Believe Pikachu Magikarp/Gyarados sleeves, then chatted with some friends till about 12 AM then decided to call it a night.
I woke up around 6 AM, ate breakfast, then went to the subway to meet my friend John and his brother Christian. We got to the convention center around 8:15 AM, so we had to wait a bit before they opened it up. When they finally did, we got upstairs for the opening ceremony which got me super hyped for the day. I quickly snagged my 6P shirt from Adam after the players meeting, then changed into it before pairings went up. We were playing 5 rounds for the day, which is crazy since you only needed 9 match points to qualify for Day 2, which is the equivalent of 3 wins or 2 wins & 3 draws.
This was the Groudon list I ended up playing for Day 1:
Pokémon – 11
3 Primal Groudon-EX
Trainers – 38
Energy – 11
It’s pretty standard outside of the 2nd Pokémon Center Lady, which was clutch in almost every matchup. I didn’t really like Shrine of Memories in the deck since I felt it was too situational, so I replaced it for a 3rd Silent Lab.
Day 1: Decent Draws
Round 1 vs. Sebastian H. (DK) w/ Night March
Game 1 I set up one Primal Groudon and he can’t hit for much at all, so I use Pokémon Center Lady to heal off the little damage he does. I take all 6 Prizes with that one Groudon.
Game 2 I use Landorus-EX with a Focus Sash and take most of my Prizes. He is in a position where he has to Lysandre my Benched Groudon to avoid it KOing his Mew, but I have a Teammates in hand to fish out a Strong Energy and a Fighting Stadium to Hammerhead for 90 (since I already have one Strong Energy attached) for the last 2 Prizes.
1-0. Straightforward match.
Flareon PLF/Cofagrigus PLF 56/Milotic PRCRound 2 vs. ??? (US) w/
Again, can’t remember my opponent’s name.
Game 1 he hits a dead hand for a few turns. I go crazy and get setup, taking the game pretty easily.
Game 2 I don’t set up very well, so I am forced to Burrow to try to get him low on Energy. I manage to discard 1 DCE. I am at a point where I have to topdeck a Lysandre to deck him out since he had no more outs to retreat, but I don’t hit it and he takes the game the next turn.
Game 3 I get stuff going but time is called and I can’t take enough Prizes in two turns so we end up tying.
1-0-1. I’m sort of happy about the tie. I don’t think it was a very good matchup to begin with.
M Manectric-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Mewtwo-EX/Zapdos LTRRound 3 vs. Sara C. (IT) w/
Game 2 is similar but I can’t Pokémon Center Lady as often so I have to send in damaged Primal Groudons to attack. She hits three heads with Thundering Hurricane and KOs one Primal. I get another going and she misplays by using a Professor Sycamore before playing a Switch to promote a Mewtwo-EX on the Bench. If she used Switch she had the DCE in hand to KO my Primal Groudon and win Game 2. I have the Stadium in hand and win the next turn.
2-0-1. Feeling sorta lucky that she misplayed the 2nd game away.
We intentionally draw this round. I didn’t know what he was playing until after the round, but the way he offered the ID was sort of shady. I asked before the round began if he wanted to ID; he declined. After we started shuffling he offered it. I should have known to decline since he just realized it was an awful matchup, but I didn’t. I accepted.
2-0-2. Opponent lies to me right after the round saying he was playing Flareon with 4 Leafeon …
Round 5 vs. Justin L. (CA) w/ Hippowdon
ID. Both of us were 2-0-2 and this meant guaranteed a Day 2.
Well, I made it to Day 2 relatively easily and didn’t have to play my last round. I hang out for a couple more hours and buy some Japanese sleeves to use for the next day. After that I head out to the hotel and eat some leftover pizza.
At the hotel I didn’t think I was going to play the same deck. I thought about Raichu/Bats/Leafeon but said forget it after playing the Manectric/Toad/Bats matchup with my friend Alex J. on PTCGO. I built Christopher S.’s Virizion/Genesect list and had Groudon in mind when going to sleep, so those were the two lists I had written down. I expected Groudon mirror so I cut a Wobbuffet and a Silent Lab for a Landorus FFI and a 2nd Fighting Stadium. I woke up around 5:30 AM and decided on Groudon. After sleeving up with my new Axew sleeves I was ready to go.
Day 2: Fast Start
Round 1 vs. Reo Okada (JP) w/ Archie’s Blastoise
Game 1 I start Wobbuffet and set up two Primal Groudon. I only had to use one to take all 6 Prizes because of Pokémon Center Lady and Hard Charm. Game 2 I start Wobbuffet again, then do the exact same thing except I have to use both Primal Groudon to win.
1-0. Pretty hyped about that.
Round 2 vs. Yasin B. (GB) w/ Primal Groudon
This was by far the most fun match of the day. Yasin was a pleasure to play against and a very nice opponent.
Game 1 we both set up the same basically, using Landorus to hit each other and I KO a Wobbuffet also. I use a Pokémon Center Lady on my Landorus so his gets KO’d first by Hammerhead, then he has to send up a Primal to attack me. I take advantage of this and KO his Primal back with mine. I get N’d to one later and need a Fighting Stadium. I have 2 Robo Substitute and Wobbuffet to sacrifice before I am forced to bring up my Primal.
I whiff stuff for a turn or two then draw a Juniper. If I hit a Fighting Stadium in my small deck I win the first game. I whiff it and get N’d the next turn into a Professor’s Letter, then draw for the turn and finally see Fighting Stadium. I win a long, drawn-out first game.
Game 2 he kind of draws dead so I 6-0 him.
2-0. Didn’t expect this at all.
N. (US) w/ Primal Groudon/Hawlucha FFIRound 3 vs. Harry
Table 1 hype!
Game 1 he starts Wobbuffet and goes “pass,” “pass,” “pass,” “pass,” “pass.” I’ll leave you to figure out who won.
Game 2 I use Burrow about five times before he finally KOs my Bunnelby. He only set up one Primal Groudon and I set up two — that’s pretty much all you need to know. Almost every time he used Flying Press with Hawlucha, I had a Pokémon Center Lady to heal. A pretty quick 2-0.
Okay, okay … I start 3-0 at Worlds. #hype
Round 4 vs. Xander P. w/ Primal Groudon
Game 1 I take pretty easily. I prized two Groudon-EX that game, but still managed to win. Landorus-EX is huge in that matchup. I used Land’s Judgement on his Landorus-EX to force out a Primal Groudon. I forgot about 20 prior damage on his Primal Groudon, so I waited a turn before realizing I could KO it. This didn’t end up mattering though; it was a pretty long game.
Game 2 I prize two Primal Groudon AND Landorus-EX (why, Pokémon, why?). I am to a point where I am using Rototiller with Bunnelby, and I put back in a Focus Sash and a Switch. I should have either put back in two Robo Substitute or a Focus Sash and a VS Seeker. Time got called shortly and I was trying to stall, so I retreated to Landorus FFI and attached a Focus Sash. The next turn, he played N and Gaia Volcano’d for 110.
I need to hit my 2nd Pokémon Center Lady to stall out the last turn, and I whiff it. I do end up hitting my Switch, so if that was a VS Seeker instead I would have ended up winning since I could Pokémon Center Lady then retreat then he wouldn’t be able to KO my Landorus with a Hammerhead. Xander ends up winning on the third turn of time and we tie.
3-0-1. Kicking myself for not bringing back the VS Seeker with Rototiller, but oh well. Couldn’t have known that exact scenario would have happened.
Round 5 vs. Justin L. (CA) w/ Hippowdon
This is a bad, bad matchup, but let’s hope I can do this.
He gets a T2 Resistance Desert. My Landorus FFI does some work because with two Strong Energy and one Fighting, it can 1HKO a Hippowdon with Sky Lariat. I KO Hippowdon, then he brings up Shaymin. He N’s me out of Lysandre, then passes. I KO the Shaymin since I’m not going to leave it Active where he can just retreat. He uses Professor Sycamore into LaserBank and he has a Strong Energy on his Hippo, so there goes my only non-EX attacker. I Lysandre a Hippowdon, then Rip Claw. Heads. He then uses Computer Search into his last DCE then uses Resistance Desert. I try to deck him out, but he has one too many cards left.
3-1-1. Bummed that I had to hit such a “meh” matchup, but I still felt like it was very winnable.
Round 6 vs. Choi Ji H. (KR) w/ Turbo Rayquaza/Leafeon
These games were very weird. Game 1 he Lysandres my Groudon then uses Set Up three times with Shaymin-EX and hits me for 150 with Emerald Break. I scoop.
Game 2 I have a dead hand but I do have a Teammates. I sacrifice a Landorus-EX then use it and get my Primal Groudon set up. Pokémon Center Lady continues to be clutch and makes it so I only have to use one Primal.
Game 3 I am drawing dead but I have one Primal set up. I hit a Mega Rayquaza for 200. The next turn I have to topdeck to keep my dreams of Top 8 still alive. I draw and see Korrina. I grab a Landorus-EX and Switch. I Switch to Landorus and KO the Benched Mega Rayquaza. He can only hit for 150, so I Lysandre a Deoxys-EX on the Bench then Hammerhead hoping he cannot retreat. He prized his last DCE and cannot retreat. I take 3 Prizes with Landorus from the Deoxys and a Benched Swablu. I just Gaia Volcano once he brings up Mega Rayquaza and I win.
Phew. I take a deep breath and walk away. Only need to win two more matches to make Top 8 at Worlds. This is huge.
Manectric-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Mewtwo-EX/Crobat PHFRound 7 vs. Jon E. w/
Game 1 I draw nothing and scoop quickly.
Game 2 I am drawing poorly again but I Lysandre out his only big attacker on board — which was a Mewtwo-EX — and Gaia Volcano it. I take all 6 Prizes with one Primal Groudon.
Game 3 I get N’d into the worst hand ever and am in another position of topdeck or lose. I topdeck another Korrina and grab Primal Groudon. I get one KO with it and then lose it to an X Ball. I set up another and am to a point where I need a Bunnelby or a Supporter to fish out Bunnelby to Burrow and deck him out, but I hit neither. I retreat as a last-ditch effort hoping he doesn’t run a 4th VS Seeker or he prized it, but he has it for N to return cards to his deck to avoid running out of cards.
4-2-1. The dream is over, but I still hope to win the next round for some sweet prizes and scholarship money.
Round 8 vs. Michele Zuchelli (IT) w/ Night March
Game 1 I start lone Bunnelby and no Supporter. Donked.
Game 3 I prize Focus Sash and dead-draw as well. Him getting a T1 Lysandre on my Groudon and hitting it for 100 isn’t fun either. I N him to one as a last resort and he needs his last Joltik or his last W Energy, and he hits a VS Seeker for Juniper and crushes my dreams.
4-3-1, 43rd place
This was probably the most fun I’ve had at an event since since winning Regionals back in February, not to say Nationals wasn’t a blast (it was amazing too).
- John D’Alotto for testing and discussing Groudon a lot
- Michael Stromp for testing and making T32
- Israel Sosa and Raymond Cipoletti for testing
- Stefan Tabaco for the original Groudon list and discussing the deck
- Christopher Schemanske for chatting about decks and matchups
- Patrick Martinez for winning Worlds and repping California
- Adam for the 6P shirt
- Brandon Smiley for 6P dice right before the tournament
- YOU for reading this article and anyone that I talked to during the event
The World Championship was a blast and I will hopefully see all of you at events next year — especially at Worlds in San Francisco!