Hi SixPrizes, my name is Joe Hebert and I am a competitive Senior from Portland, Oregon. Since this is my first article for SixPrizes, let me share a bit about me with you. I am currently a freshman in high school and enjoy playing basketball and soccer for my school. I currently have 665 Championship Points putting me at 30th in the US and Canada. This is actually my first year playing Pokémon, but sadly my last year in Seniors. I recently placed in the Top 4 of United States Nationals so I will give you a detailed report of my tournament experience.
For the weeks leading up to Nationals I was completely undecided on what to play. I looked at a couple of the successful decks from European and Canadian Nationals and didn’t find a deck that I really liked. I expected for there to be tons of Mega Rayquaza and Waterbox at the tournament based on the results of those previous events.
Metal: I had tested this deck and it seemed very consistent which was appealing for the biggest tournament of the year. Something that was not appealing about the deck was its matchups. I felt it lost to both Night March and Mega Rayquaza which I knew would be big.
Darkrai/Giratina/Garbodor: This deck beat the big three decks which were Greninja, Trevenant, and supposedly Night March. I thought the deck was consistent and had good matchups but I didn’t like how much of a target was on its back and its 50-50 matchup vs Waterbox which I expected to be the most popular deck.
Greninja: This deck’s matchups were very good in my opinion when it had 2 Startling Megaphone to combat Garbodor. However something I didn’t like about the deck was that it could never consistently set up in testing which ended being a huge problem and is why I didn’t play the deck as a whole.
Trevenant: Like Greninja I thought this deck had great matchups when able to set up a turn 1 Trevenant. I thought the deck was extremely inconsistent and it dead-drew for me once per best-of-three which I knew would be a major issue at a big tournament like Nationals.
Night March: I had played this deck through the entire season and knew how to play it pretty well. I just thought that everyone knew the deck would be popular and it had a massive target on its back.
Night March/Vespiquen: My friend Ethan Colborn had told me how good this deck was and the raw power it had. The deck seemed like it had great matchups besides Trevenant and Greninja but I didn’t expect anyone to play either of those decks because of how much of a target they had on their backs. Something that also was appealing about the deck is that I had only received 30 Championship Points playing a deck that didn’t have Night Marchers or Vespiquen in it, so I was more comfortable and confident with this option. After playing a few opening hands with the deck I knew I wanted to play it.
Pokémon – 24
4 Joltik PHF
3 Combee AOR
Trainers – 32
4 Trainers’ Mail
4 Ultra Ball
1 Town Map
Energy – 4
This was the only switching card in the deck which really was painful and I would have loved to have a Float Stone in here. If I were to cut something for a Float Stone it would probably be the 4th Trainers’ Mail.
1 Xerosic, 1 Enhanced Hammer
These cards were for the Darkrai/Giratina/Garbodor matchup and ended up being extremely clutch in other matchups such as the Night March mirror.
1 Town Map
I started off playing Teammates but later released how much better Town Map is. It let me be able to get exactly what I needed to close many games without using my Supporter for my turn.
If I could change one card from my list this would be it. I never really needed it other than vs the mirror. I would definitely play a Dimension Valley instead of this card. Pumpkaboo starts with no Dimension Valley were really painful.
Lots of Vespiquen/Night March lists were running none of these and instead opting for more techy cards. However, I was not very fond of this and instead opted for consistency in the 4 Trainers’ Mail. However I did notice myself failing quite a bit of these.
Now for the tournament report! There were 300 Seniors, 9 rounds Day 1, 5 rounds Day 2, and a Top 8 cut.
Round 1 vs Blake W. w/ Metal (WW)
Game 1 he sets up Aegislash on turn 2 with a Fighting Fury Belt but I am able to counter him perfectly with a Megaphone/Hex Maniac/Night March for 180. After this he can’t do much and I win quickly after. Game 2 he prizes both Aegislash and we trade EX for non-EX and you could guess who wins that war.
Round 2 vs Orlando K. w/ Mega Rayquaza (WW)
These games aren’t that interesting other than the fact that Game 2 he plays N after he already played a Sycamore which leads to a win for me.
Round 3 vs Emily C. w/ Medicham/Carbink BREAK (WW)
This was by far the closest series of the weekend. Game 1 she has a rough start but is able to punish me with a late-game N on me to 2 cards. After passing until she had 1 Prize left I finally am able to hit a Xerosic to remove her Focus Sash and a Double Colorless to use Bee Revenge for the game. Game 2 we trade fairly even until I am able to use Startling Megaphone for two turns in a row via Puzzle of Time which allows me to 1HKO two Medicham leaving her with zero Energy on board. GG Emily!
Round 4 vs Kaden S. w/ Metal (LL)
Game 1 he mulligans and doesn’t show me his hand and shuffles it into his deck. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that with him doing that it could result in a game loss and I casually let it slide. I ended up getting benched both those games which really stunk.
Round 5 vs Brian B. w/ Mega Rayquaza (WW)
It’s an auto-win for me as long as I don’t dead-draw. I didn’t dead-draw either game and it was smooth sailing.
Round 6 vs William K. w/ Night March/Garbodor (WLW)
Game 1 he has to bench Shaymins to set up and burns through 3-of his Puzzle of Time turn 1 which allows me to win purely off of discarding all 4-of his DCE. Game 2 he starts Joltik and doesn’t bench any Shaymins. I start Pumpkaboo continue to bench them assuming he will play down Dimension Valley. He never puts it down and I lose very quickly after that. Game 3 we trade with each other fairly well but he prizes his last DCE and had to discard Puzzles earlier in the game which meant that when he ran out of DCE I won.
Round 7 vs Wesley P. w/ Mega Manectric/Garbodor (WLW)
This matchup is super dependent on who goes first and he won the coin flip. I knew the only way I could win is if I get turn 1 NM 180 which is exactly what happened. After that he is left with zero Energy on the field allowing me to to just Lysandre whatever gets an Energy on it. Game 2 I can’t get the turn 1 180 and am not able to ever 1HKO his Mega Manectrics. Game 3 is basically the same thing as Game 1 except that he N’s me to 1 while he has 5 Prize cards and I draw/pass until I find a Sycamore leading me into my last Jolitk and DCE to 1HKO his Mega Manectric.
Round 8 vs Emil R. w/ ??? (ID)
Round 9 vs Wesley H. w/ Mega Manectric/Garbodor (W ID)
I offer him the ID and he declines it. I then 6-0 him and offer it again and he accepts it.
At this point I am amazed that I made Day 2 as I was just shooting for Top 64. My friend Ethan Colborn and I went downtown and playtested a little bit for Day 2 at a restaurant. The Columbus restaurants were awful and overpriced in my opinion, which really sucked. Nonetheless, I made Day 2 so I was pretty happy. Ethan just had to go 1-2-2 as he was first seed going into Day 2. Going into Day 2 there was tons of Night March/Vespiquen which I was scared of playing because I had no Dimension Valley or Target Whistle.
Round 10 vs Sean M. w/ Waterbox (WW)
This matchup is very boring. I just set up Vespiquen and 1HKO his Seismitoads with Bee Revenge.
Round 11 vs Nolan W. w/ Mega Manectric/Garbodor (WLT)
Game 1 I get the turn 1 Night March for knockout on his Manectric-EX and he quickly falls apart after that. Game 2 I am up 4-2 on Prizes when he N’s me and I am not able to find a Supporter and lose. Game 3 I go first and have an amazing turn 1. He then realizes that he can’t respond to it and stalls his turn and makes it take 10 minutes when it could have taken 2 minutes which leads us to time.
Round 12 vs Quintin N. w/ Waterbox (WW)
Game 1 he can’t do anything and I bench all three of my combos turn 1 allowing me to just attach Double Colorless and evolve into Vespiquen and 1HKO his Seismitoads. Game 2 he draw/passes and I just win.
Round 13 vs Ryan B. w/ Vespiplume (ID)
He offered the ID and I of course took it because that matchup is gross.
Round 14 vs Alex S. w/ Zygarde/Vileplume (WLW)
At this time Alex was ranked #1 or #2 in America for CP so I knew I was facing a tough opponent. Game 1 I go first get 9 Pokémon in the discard and bench 2 Combees. He then brings up Zygarde and Knocks me Out. I then just use Bee Revenge to hit Weakness on his Zygardes. Game 2 I prize 2 DCEs and Sycamore another one away. Game 3 he whiffs Vileplume and I destroy him while using all of my Items.
I am absolutely shocked that I managed to Top 8 considering I hadn’t Top 8’d any other tournament (bubbled at 9th and 10th at two Regionals). I wasn’t happy that Top 8 was in two hours though. I would have preferred for it to be on Sunday. Instead I decided to grab a bite to eat and chill in the hotel room. Unfortunately my friends Alex Bobenrieth and Ethan Colborn had both lost in Top 8 so the pressure was on for me to win a game for both of them!
Top 8 vs Calvin C. w/ Mega Rayquaza/Jirachi Promo (WW)
This game was actually on stream which was pretty awesome.
I know Calvin is a amazing player so this wouldn’t be easy even though I have a good matchup. Game 1 Calvin does cute things with Jolteon-EX and Jirachi but I was able to trade better with my non-EXs and use Puzzle of Time to get back my DCEs. Game 2 I prize 3 DCE but find Town Map and am able to collect them after each knockout. Calvin was only able to collect 1 or 2 Prize cards by the time I got down to two. He played a Professor Sycamore while I had game in hand which was a huge sigh of relief as I played my Lysandre on his Shaymin.
Top 4 vs Nolan W. w/ Mega Manectric/Garbodor (LL)
I felt confident playing against him because I basically beat him in Round 11. However this is not the case here as my deck decides to not run as hot as it did the whole weekend and he 2-0’s me. I didn’t dead-draw or anything but I wasn’t ever able to 1HKO any of his Pokémon.
Wow, that was one of the most exciting weeks of my life. Never did I think I would make Top 4 in the country in my first year playing. I met so many new people from all over the country. Some people I would like to thank are my main testing partners Nick Conocenti and Ethan Colborn, who also made Top 8 with the deck. Those two are the only reason why I could have made it to Top 4.
Thanks to the Oregon crew and especially Alex Bobenrieth and the Yeung family. It’s great to test with you guys at League. Thank you Paul Yeung for your words of wisdom in the final Swiss rounds and for letting me use an N when the one I had was marked. Also thanks to the California guys and especially Jacob Chen, Preston Ellis, and Connor Pederson, your guys testing the night before the event was extremely helpful. And of course my grandparents for putting up with me during the whole weekend and you for taking time out of your day to read this!
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