If I’m Dreaming, Don’t Pinch Me

smashandslash’s 1st Place Utah Regionals Report

Hello again everybody. It’s Alex with another tournament report. In my previous (and first) article, I told you guys about my experience at Anaheim Regionals. This time, I’m going to tell you all about my time at Utah Regionals where I placed first. Here we go!


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Marowak fell a little bit short.

Prior to the event, I had gone to Seattle during Week 1-of Spring Regionals. I used a Maxie’s Yveltal list that was only 2 cards off from the list that I ended up using in Utah, but ended up going 3-2-1 in Swiss to finish 18th place overall. With that over, I turned myself over to testing for Utah Regionals. I noticed a few things during the many testing games; Fates Collide didn’t seem to offer that much to Yveltal except for Marowak FCO, and Yveltal should beat Seismitoad-EX and Giratina-EX variants regardless of its inclusion, so I felt like Marowak was just a wasted spot in the deck, since it was completely useless in literally every other matchup. I knew there would be some Night March, as the Mew from Fates Collide would inevitably be too good for people to pass up. I ended up playing against a Night March that did not run Mew though, so it looks like I may have been wrong in that matter. M Alakazam-EX was interesting for sure, but I didn’t have the time to craft a good list.

Night March was fun, sure, but I just didn’t feel comfortable with it. That left my choice all cut-and-dry; Yveltal. For me, all roads lead to it anyway. Here is the list that I used, along with some explanations for some of the cards.

Pokémon – 12

2 Yveltal-EX

2 Yveltal BKT

1 Yveltal XY

1 Darkrai-EX DEX

1 Darkrai-EX BKP

1 Keldeo-EX

1 Gallade BKT

1 Archeops NVI

1 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 37

3 Professor Sycamore

1 N

1 Lysandre

1 Colress

1 Hex Maniac

1 Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick

1 Ghetsis

1 Delinquent

1 AZ

1 Xerosic

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

4 Dark Patch

3 Trainers’ Mail

3 Battle Compressor

2 Fighting Fury Belt

1 Float Stone

1 Computer Search

 

2 Silent Lab

1 Reverse Valley

Energy – 11

7 D

4 Double Colorless


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It was too powerful to resist playing, so Y not?

The differences from this list and my week 1 list were -1 Delinquent, -1 Professor Sycamore, +1 Maxie’s, and +1 Reverse Valley.

Looking back, I could see myself trying to fit in a Parallel City or two to shore up the M Rayquaza-EX matchup, which going into the tournament was pretty much the one matchup I 100% did not want to face. Now here are some of the card explanations.

1 Darkrai-EX DEX: Until recently I ran 2 of these, but I only used 1 per game. For the longest time, I was adamant on running 2 since prizing it was very crippling in certain matchups, and not just for its Ability. While Dark Cloak is still one of the best Abilities in Expanded, Night Spear is also a potent attack. It can be the go-to attack in certain matchups like Night March and Vespiquen due to the game-saving potential of the 30 snipe damage. If you plan to run Dark decks in Expanded, I recommend that you always include at least 1 copy of this card.

1 Darkrai-EX BKP: This was one of the MVPs of the weekend. Dark Pulse is an attack — that when you think about it — is one of the most versatile attacks this deck has to offer. It’s a low-utility attacker in the mirror that can in some cases hit just as hard as Yveltal-EX. The difference is that in Darkrai’s case you can save your Dark Patches for other attackers.

2 Yveltal BKT: I used to run 1, but I realized it was the go-to attacker in almost every matchup. Pitch-Black Spear is probably one of the most overpowered attacks in both Expanded and Standard, and it’s absolutely broken in Yveltal mirror matches. The difference is that in Expanded, it’s easier to power up which makes it all the more powerful. Mark Garcia, who won Utah in Masters this weekend, ran 3, which is obviously very powerful and brings a very potent surprise factor, but you really would only use the third against Groudon.

1 Delinquent: This card was easily the MVP of the weekend. Delinquent was included in the deck purely on theory at first, and it looks like that theory was proven correct! So many times my opponents would end their turns with very low hand sizes, particularly during the late game, which is when Delinquent shines the brightest: making your opponent discard their last DCE they need to Night March for their last Prize, or discard that VS Seeker they need to Lysandre your Shaymin for the win. Delinquent can be just as effective early game. Did your opponent VS Seeker that Professor Juniper back into their hand for next turn to avoid Ghetsis ruining their day? Well fret no more, for your friendly neighborhood Delinquent can lighten his purse for him. After that, your opponent knows you run it, and if they’re smart, they’ll be more careful with their hand sizes from then on.

Delinquent can also help you win the Stadium war, which is quite useful against Mega Ray, Trev, Raikou/Eels, and Night March to name a few. Overall, it’s a very versatile and powerful card, but an element of timing is necessary in order to use it correctly.

2 Yveltal-EX: I never needed a third one, since I actually didn’t always attack with Yveltal-EX in some matchups. 2 is so that I have it when I need it, but also so that I don’t have it when I don’t need it. I’d usually only use the EX to clean up late game, or to apply early pressure, or to quickly wipe a potential threat off the board as quickly as possible. This obviously doesn’t apply to every matchup, so yes, 2 is the perfect count in my personal opinion.

1 Keldeo-EX: Lately I’ve seen some Yveltal lists drop Keldeo altogether due to the presence of Silent Lab. I think that is a mistake. Keldeo is one of the bare necessities in this list. If you want to drop it, then go ahead, but it may just come back to bite you later. Keldeo is your source of mobility in matchups where it’s dangerous to drop down Darkrai.

1 Float Stone: I can understand if any of you are skeptical about this count, and believe me, the 2nd Float Stone is one of the cards I would dearly love to cram back in. However, the list can get by with just 1 copy, so 1 copy is what I ran.

1 Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick: The only reason you would run 2 Maxie’s is if your deck absolutely needs to get a Maxie’s (or Archie’s if it runs that instead) off to win certain matchups, or to win at all, like Archie’s Blastoise for example, or Archie’s Aerodactyl (if it whiffs Archie’s, it loses — end of story). Furthermore, you would only run 2 to avoid prizing issues. I run a lot of 1-of Supporters in this deck, and while it may occasionally prevent a Maxie’s hand from happening, I feel that it gives me enough in-game options that it is worth the occasional whiffed Maxie’s.

1 Ghetsis: Ghetsis is probably the most broken Supporter in Expanded, and when you throw a Silent Lab into the mix, this combo can singlehandedly steal random games, or slow your opponent down significantly.

1 AZ: AZ is probably one of my favorites, right up there with Delinquent and Ghetsis. It can act as a Max Potion and/or Super Scoop Up (without the flip) all at once. This is particularly clutch in mirror and other such matchups. It’s mainly to deny Prizes, and believe me, it does that job very effectively.

1 Hex Maniac: Hex Maniac is probably the card I used the least the whole weekend. The list doesn’t absolutely need it, but I personally love the options Hex Maniac can give you. Shutting off all Abilities even for just a single turn can be game-swinging. If you want, you can drop the Hex Maniac, since it isn’t a 100% needed card. For me, however, it is a practical staple.

Tournament Report

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s some detailed descriptions on how my rounds went.

Seniors had 54 players in total, with 6 rounds, and a Top 8 cut.

R1 vs Speed Darkrai: WW

My opponent didn’t run a Mewtwo-EX, and she didn’t draw very well both games. Game 1 I get Gallade out and take a couple of Prizes with it. Game 2 I didn’t get Maxie’s off but I managed to win before time was called.

1-0-0

R2 vs Metal Ray: WW

When he flipped over a Rayquaza-EX ROS 75, I groaned. But then he set up stuff like Bronzor. I know he ran the Ancient Trait Altaria and Dodrio BKT. I don’t remember many details from these games, but I think the first game was kind of close. He didn’t draw very well during the second game, so I took advantage of that.

2-0-0

R3 vs Corbin T. w/ Night March/Gallade: LWT

Corbin would end up making Top 4. I don’t remember if he ran Xerosic. I don’t think he ran Enhanced Hammer, but maybe I’m wrong. He did not run Archeops or Marowak though. He won the opening flip, and ended his turn with about 5-7 Night Marchers in the discard. He had 2 Joltiks in play, one of them Active, and a Shaymin-EX on the Bench. I don’t remember what I topdeck, but I get turn 1 Night Spear to kill 2 Joltiks, leaving him with just a Shaymin-EX. Next turn he gets Joltik/DCE/Escape Rope to kill my Yveltal-EX on the Bench. I don’t really recover after that when he takes care of my Darkrai with Gallade.

Game 2 I don’t remember the early game, but he eventually used up all of his Puzzles and all but 1-of his DCEs, which he attached to a Gallade. I had Jirachi-EX in my hand, and I benched it to grab Xerosic, but Xerosic was prized. However, I decided to Lysandre one of his two Shaymins, Pitch-Black Spear them both, and pray he didn’t have a way to retreat. He didn’t.

Game 3 I remember not drawing as well as I would have hoped. We’re trading knockouts but then time is called. If we had more time he probably would have won.

2-0-1

R4 vs M Alakazam-EX/Wobbuffet: WW

If I remember correctly, I think I won the flip … and started Yveltal-EX, 2 D Energies, Hex Maniac, VS Seeker, and I think a Maxie’s and one other card that I don’t remember, but it may have been the Dark Pulse Darkrai. I attach to the Yveltal-EX turn 1, Hex, then pass. He starts double Alakazam-EX, and uses Pokémon Fan Club. He gets Dimension Valley and an Energy and uses Suppression. I draw, and topdeck Sycamore. However, I decide to chain Hex for one more turn in case he explodes with Kinesis next turn. I Evil Ball for 80. Next turn he doesn’t get much. Next turn I Sycamore and take off. He doesn’t recover, or draw a Mega.

Game 2 he Sycamores a Mega away turn 1, and prizes the other two. GG.

3-0-1

At this point, I was really nervous. I didn’t want to have to play against Toad/Tina; I would much rather prefer Donphan. But when the Round 5 pairings go up, I’m paired against …

R5 vs … Ryan P. w/ Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX: WLW

Game 1 I lost the opening flip. He started Shaymin-EX; I started Darkrai-EX DEX. He played a Hypnotoxic Laser, flipped tails, and passed. I was shocked. I didn’t have the donk, and he topdecked an Ultra Ball on his second turn. However, he missed the Quaking Punch, and burned 2-of his 4 Super Scoop Ups trying to pick up his Shaymin. I took off from there, and when he tried the Chaos Wheel/Silent Lab play, I had Delinquent to counter.

Game 2 he went for the turn 1 Ghetsis. I was left with a Sycamore and several other things I don’t remember in my hand, but I Sycamore’d and drew a ton of Items and couldn’t keep up as he slowly Quaking Punched me to death.

Game 3 wasn’t looking much better. But he used all of his Crushing Hammers really early, allowing me some comeback potential — if I could just make him miss a Quaking Punch even once. It got to the point where I Xerosic’d the DCE off his Toad with a Fury Belt on it. He scooped it up the next turn (it had 60 damage on it), and didn’t even bench it or drop the Fury Belt on the other Toad. He played N or Colress (I don’t remember which) and whiffed the DCE. And I breathed a sigh of relief. I used Pitch-Black Spear for several turns while he drew-passed. I killed a Shaymin, and put his only Toad in play at I believe 130 when he finally broke the DCE drought, played a Laser on my Yveltal BKT, but I already had Keldeo/Dark at that point. Then I dragged out his Hoopa with Lysandre and used Pitch-Black Spear, Knocking Out the Toad on the Bench. Next turn he had the DCE to retreat the Hoopa (he had a Giratina with I think a Fury Belt built up on the Bench), Lysandre my Yveltal-EX that has 80 damage and a Head Ringer on it, and Knock it Out with Chaos Wheel. However, I have Darkrai-EX BKP, D Energy, Dark Patch, and VS Seeker for Lysandre on his Hoopa-EX and Dark Pulse for the game.

4-0-1

oh yeah

R6 vs Aiden T. w/ Sableye/Garb: ID

Once we ID’d, we played a fun game out and I scooped the fun game when I started to get bored. I made note of certain aspects of his list. He ran a Delinquent, but no Stadiums. He also ran a Laser or two, a Ghetsis, and a Jirachi-EX.

4-0-2

ash yespokemonscreenshots.tumblr.com

At this point, I was exhausted but exhilarated. There were several other Oregon players doing well at this tournament, and several of us enjoying success at the same time created an exciting buzz within our own sub-group of players. Two Juniors (Aiden Y. and Quinn D.) were in cut, but sadly had to face each other in Top 8. Three Masters (Stephen Bates, Nathian Beck, and Sam Hough) were tracking well after 6 rounds, and Stephen ended up having to play Sam in Top 8.

At the end of Swiss rounds, here were Senior standings along with their decks below.

  1. Morgen M. w/ M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX
  2. Preston E. w/ Donphan
  3. Alex B. w/ Maxie’s Yveltal/Silent Lab/Reverse Valley
  4. Corbin T. w/ Night March/Gallade
  5. Aiden T. w/ Sableye/Garbodor
  6. Kegan M. w/ Maxie’s Yveltal/Silent Lab/Reverse Valley
  7. ??? w/ Maxie’s Yveltal/Lasers/Umbreon-EX
  8. Jacob C. w/ Toad/Manny/Bats/Jolteon

Whew! Mirror match in Top 8! It could have been much worse. On my side of the bracket were all pretty favorable matchups — except for Donphan purely because I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Sableye/Garb and Mega Ray/Jolteon were the two matchups I didn’t want to face, but they were on the other side of the bracket.

I turned in my deck, and after trading with some people, went back to the hotel. My dad got us In-N-Out Burger and let me tell you, do NOT eat a burger, fries, and a milkshake right before going to bed. I thought I was never going to get to sleep, but I finally did. I woke up the next day absolutely jumpy. I was impatient to get down to breakfast and then to the venue. When the Top 8 players were let in, I realized I had misplaced my dice bag at the hotel. My dad ended up letting me use his dice for top cut. Thanks Dad!

Finally, FINALLY, the judges called us over to the tables. I, in the meantime, tried not to hyperventilate from excitement. We shuffled up, and then top cut started.

Top 8 vs Kegan M. w/ Maxie’s Yveltal/Silent Lab/Reverse Valley: WW

I won the opening flip, and started with a pretty hot hand; Yveltal BKT, Ultra Ball, Computer Search, VS Seeker, and Battle Compressor to name a few. He starts I believe with an Yveltal-EX. I went straight for the Ghetsis. I got rid of several cards, but ended my turn with just a Lysandre, a VS Seeker, and a Computer Search to try and set up Maxie’s for next turn. He topdecks a Trainers’ Mail and nabs a Ghetsis of his own. I almost exclaim out loud, but thankfully don’t. I think he gets an Ultra Ball off the 2 cards from Ghetsis, and grabs a Shaymin. From there he benches a Fright Night of his own. He attaches manually to his Active Yveltal-EX and passes. On my turn I don’t remember what I topdeck (possibly a Silent Lab or an Energy), but I Lysandre his Fright Night to try and stall for a few turns. He kind of draws dead for a couple of turns. However, I topdeck a Sycamore, and when I use it, I draw I think 2 Dark Patches, DCE, Delinquent, Dark, Compressor, and one other card that I don’t remember. I get Pitch-Black Spear that turn by attaching the DCE to my Active Fright Night (it already had a Dark on it from a previous turn manual attachment), and I set up some stuff on my Bench. From here is when it gets crazy. He gets a Dark on his Fright Night, and retreats into his Yveltal-EX to KO my Fright Night, but there’s a Reverse Valley in play (with the +10 Dark side facing him) and he has 3 cards in his hand … next turn I Delinquent his hand away (I think it was Sycamore, VS Seeker and Compressor), and get an Yveltal-EX of my own powered up. I use Evil Ball to KO his Active Yveltal-EX, and he’s left with not much on his board. He never recovers from that. I set up the 2nd Fright Night and clean up with that.

Game 2 I start an okay hand which he N’s away, only for me to draw an even better hand. I started applying pressure pretty early and he just couldn’t keep up.

5-0-2

Top 4 hype! Woo-hoo!

The Sableye/Garb player lost to the Night March player, the Donphan player’s opponent never showed up, and the Mega Ray player beat the Toad/Manny/Bats/Jolteon.

Top 4 vs Preston E. w/ Donphan: WW

To be honest, I was expecting my tournament run to end right here. Preston thought so too. But this turned out to be the most fun series of the tournament for me. I start with Fright Night Game 1, and win the opening flip again. I get a DCE on the Fright Night and only bench an Yveltal-EX and other baby Yveltals (both XY and BKT). I lead with the Fright Night, doing 60 at a time, and I think by the time he took a Prize card, I had 2-3 left. When he dropped down Eevee AOR I immediately Lysandre’d and KO’d it with Pitch-Black Spear. Otherwise Jolteon would have spelled deep, deep trouble. Another crucial thing I did is I didn’t Compressor away Supporters I thought I might need. Hex Maniac, yes, I threw away because I would literally never need it. Gallade, Archeops, Energies, sure. Other Compressors and useless cards? Absolutely! But Delinquent? Ghetsis? Sycamore? Lysandre? I didn’t throw those away, except when Sycamore’ing them away. I tried to draw into them, which wasn’t too hard considering how consistent my list was. By the time I had 2 Prizes left each game, I always had 2 VS Seekers left. Preston also started with Phanpy both games. I don’t remember how I won Game 1 in detail, but I took all 6-of my Prizes.

In Game 2, Preston went first, Korrina’d for a Phanpy and a Level Ball, with which he grabbed Eevee AOR, benched both, attached to the Active Phanpy and passed. On my turn, I got DCE on my Active Fright Night, got the double Dark Patch onto my Benched Yveltal-EX, and Evil Ball’d turn 1 to KO his Phanpy. My memory is sort of a blank from there until the end. With me at 1 Prize, and him still at 4, he decides to Wreck away my Silent Lab to KO my last Fright Night. His Active Donphan has a DCE, Fighting, Strong, and Focus Sash on it, and it has full HP. As for me, I have an Yveltal-EX with a Fighting Fury Belt, 2 D Energies and a DCE on it ready on the Bench. I bring it up, and use the Xerosic I had in my hand for the past turn or two to discard the Focus Sash off of his Active Donphan, then Evil Ball for the game.

6-0-2

At this point, I’m totally stoked. But waiting in the finals is Mega Ray/Jolteon. Ugh. Well, let’s just pray.

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Me when I find out what’s waiting for me in the finals.

Finals vs Morgen M. w/ Mega Ray/Jolteon: LWW

Wait a sec, this kid looks familiar … oh, that’s because his brother is the one who I beat in Top 8. Morgen is from Idaho, and he was pretty nice. Game 1 he wins the flip and I get totally pounded into the dirt. Not even that close of a match. Next!

Game 2 he’s ahead … until Delinquent saves my sorry hide yet again. Late in the game, he has the win next turn if I can’t do something. But he has only 1 Sky Field left and it’s in play. I Delinquent away 2 VS Seekers and a Hoopa. He is at 1 Prize, but is now out of VS Seekers and his Lysandre is already in the discard. I then send up a Fury-Belted Darkrai-EX BKP and Dark Pulse for 110. He retreats his Mega Rayquaza into I think a Hoopa and passes. I have Fright Night charged up, and Pitch-Black Spear to set up his Jirachi-EX to give me my last 2 Prizes the next turn. He scoops then and there.

Game 3 he starts Hoopa, Compressor’s away an Exeggcute, Propagates and benches it, then passes. I start slower than I would like. I kill his Hoopa and the egg, but by then he has a lone Jolteon-EX. I desperately try to set up Maxie’s, but can’t. I drop a Reverse Valley to bump the Silent Lab and then pray that he benches things. He does. Much later in the game, he Emerald Breaks my Fury-Belted, fully powered up Darkrai-EX DEX for 90. He has a Shaymin-EX with 30 on it on the Bench, and I think a Hoopa and a Keldeo/Float. He also has a fully powered up Jolteon-EX. As I’m putting the damage counters on my Darkrai so that it has 160 damage on it in total, one of the judge’s phones starts beeping. Time! Morgen is turn 0 with 4 Prizes left. I have 3 Prizes left and no cards in hand, but I topdeck VS Seeker. I VS Seeker for Lysandre to bring out his Shaymin-EX and Night Spear for the knockout to go down to 1 Prize. Morgen kills my Darkrai with his Jolteon, but that was his last turn and I am still ahead on Prizes. Since I have 1 less Prize card than Morgen, I win by default!

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I probably would have dabbed for one of the many pictures we took afterward, but it sadly slipped my mind.

I was so pumped, and my dad took a bunch of pictures. Overall I had a ton of fun this weekend.

Thank-You’s

I want to thank the Yeung family, especially Paul for the help with card choices and the guidance you’ve offered. Thanks! Hopefully I can return the favor sometime!

I also want to thank Aiden for all the playtesting, and Ateena for driving me back to the hotel the night before cut, and letting me hang out in the hotel room for most of the evening.

I want to thank the Oregon community for all the congratulations and well wishes I received after the win. You guys are the best, and are a big reason why I play this game.

Props

  • Sam Hough made Top 4 in Masters, losing to Jeremy Jallen’s Groudon deck. Good job Sam!
  • Nathian Beck also got Top 4 in Masters on the other side of the bracket, losing to Mark Garcia and his dark deck. Really good job Nathian! Keep it up!
  • Aiden Y. got Top 8 in Juniors. Keep it up Aiden, and don’t stop chasing that spot in Top 16!
  • Quinn D. got second in Juniors with Vespiquen/Flareon. Nice job Quinn! You deserved it!
  • Faith Bacigalupi won the Juniors VGC, so congrats to her.
  • Stephen Bates made Top 8 in Masters and secured his invite. Good job Stephen!

Slops

  • Plane rides.
  • I lost my dice bag and never found it. RIP Worlds 2015 dice bag.
  • The weekend had to end too quickly.

Anyway, I hope everybody enjoyed reading this. It was fun to write, and I hopefully will try to do Nationals and Worlds reports in the future. Send me a comment if you would like that. See you all at Nationals and Worlds then!

Faithfully,

smashandslash

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